December 8, 2005
Front Page

County pushes ahead on road plan, system

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

A renewed push to develop a county road classification system and a road maintenance plan based on that system unfolded during a work session following Tuesday's regular meeting of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.

Interim County Administrator Bob Jasper said reasons for the push were twofold. First, Jasper said developing a road classification system and a maintenance plan are critical steps in the current administration's efforts to deal with a legacy of road problems. To this end, funding for roads was listed as the county's top priority in the 2006 proposed budget, and developing a classification scheme and maintenance plan follow a number of recent steps to improve roads and road related services. Those steps include: an autumn full of weekly road work sessions, the board of commissioners' approval to purchase updated snow removal equipment and the hiring of five additional road and bridge workers and the adoption of revised road and bridge design standards.

Secondly, Jasper said, although the current board policy is to maintain and provide snow removal on all county roads except private roads and United States Forest Service roads, resolution No. 2004-64, passed in November 2004, actually prohibits county-wide maintenance and snow removal operations.

Under the terms of the resolution, road maintenance is linked to a road's eligibility for Highway Users Tax Funds (HUTF) and the resolution lists those roads that can be legally maintained by the county.

The current county policy runs contrary to the terms of the resolution, and Jasper said the push for the classification system and maintenance plan was needed in order to rectify the oversight.

In addition, Jasper questioned whether limiting and linking road maintenance to HUTF funding was the foundation from which to build a road maintenance plan. Jasper said HUTF funds should be maximized but that they provided just a piece of the overall funding puzzle.

During the work session, Jasper, Archuleta County Engineer Sue Walan and department of public works asset technician Sheila Berger, presented a series of maps, outlined road classification definitions and offered two proposals for a road maintenance plan based on a road's designation within the presented classification scheme.

The first proposal would provide maintenance on arterials, collectors, recreational access roads and rural collectors.

Under the second proposal, maintenance would be provided to the same road designations as the first proposal with the addition of a fifth group of roads called "local access roads."

Jasper said the two plans were an attempt to strike a balance between what is fiscally feasible while being as inclusive as possible. Jasper cautioned the commissioners against attempting to take on more than was financially possible.

"Reaching a solution you can't afford is a recipe for disaster," Jasper said.

Jasper added that either plan could be modified as circumstances or situations change and that both proposals were designed for the long term.

"We need to look at not what meets the needs of today, but to look out into the future. We need a consistent planned approach to maintenance for the long term," Jasper said.

Although there was some dissention between Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro and county staff regarding road classifications and classification definitions, the proposals drew staunch support from commissioners Mamie Lynch and Ronnie Zaday.

Lynch said the time for debate was over.

"I'm personally sick and tired of not getting anywhere. We can debate this for months, but it's time to bite the bullet and act," Lynch said.

Jasper echoed Lynch's sentiments and said years of civic strife regarding road issues had divided the community and he said it was time to stop arguing, and to focus efforts on problem solving and the future.

Although Tuesday's work session was an important step, solving the county's road issues and developing a maintenance plan is not without its challenges.

Both Jasper and Zaday said equity issues loom large and must be seriously considered when developing the final maintenance plan - add the Fairfield settlement and questions of county liability into the mix and equity questions become even more complex.

Another layer of complexity unfolds when, "You are having to retrofit a road system over one that's already been built," Berger said.

After Tuesday's meeting, Walan said the commissioners will study the proposals and provide further recommendations to county staff. County staff will then fine tune the proposals and will bring them back to the commissioners for additional review. A public hearing will then be scheduled in January.


Town imposes new big box moratorium

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

With developers prospecting for a location to build a 500,000 square-foot commercial center, the Pagosa Springs Town Council unanimously approved an emergency ordinance temporarily halting big box development within the town boundaries.

Tuesday's decision to approve the moratorium came following a meeting between an unidentified project developer, Town Manager Mark Garcia and Town Planner Tamra Allen. During the meeting, Garcia said the developer outlined plans to build a commercial center with a 250,000 square-foot retail space along with a strip component of 272,000 square feet on a 60-acre parcel south of U.S. 160 across from the Pagosa Country Center and the westside City Market.

Garcia said the developer's preliminary plans looked much like the commercial strip center which currently houses Durango's Wal-Mart.

A crowd was packed into the council chambers to hear the council's decision, and once the moratorium was approved the jubilant group gathered outside to discuss the victory.

"We're very pleased. I think the community was startled by the size and scope of the development," said Angela Atkinson of the town's Big Box Task Force.

Garcia said the six-month moratorium, which expires June 15, will allow the town the time it needs to complete various planning projects such as the Comprehensive Plan, the Downtown Master Plan and the impact fee study.

In addition, Atkinson said, the moratorium allows the town's Big Box Task Force to complete its work in providing recommendations the town council can use when considering and crafting future big box legislation.

Earlier efforts to approve a big box ordinance failed in August when town council members called some of the task force's data into question and expressed concern regarding the use of square footage size caps which were key in the failed legislation.

Atkinson and Garcia said the town council and the task force intend to work closer together, with the task force operating under more clearly defined parameters and guidance from the council.

In a brief discussion with Atkinson during Tuesday's meeting, town council members agreed that future big box legislation should incorporate design guidelines and that square footage caps should be instituted in the downtown area.

The question remains whether size caps should be instituted outside of the downtown area and whether town and county big box planning efforts can be coordinated.


Operation Helping Hand deadlines near, donations needed

The deadlines for Operation Helping Hand are drawing near and many more donations are needed to ensure a Merry Christmas for 193 families consisting of 245 adults, 302 children and 52 senior citizens who have requested assistance for this holiday season.

Program organizers coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, business organizations and individuals.

Used items needed

Organizers are getting numerous requests for used furniture, blankets, pots and pans, VCRs, DVDs and electric blankets. These items, which organizers say can be "used, but still usable," should be brought to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard by Tuesday, Dec. 13. The Kiwanis Club of Pagosa Springs assists with this portion of Operation Helping Hand by sorting the items, and assisting program recipients with locating items they need.

Toy outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program.

Parents can help their children select a toy or toys they no longer use, but which are still in good condition, for donation. Used bikes, Playstations, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. Donations should be brought to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard by Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 1,500 requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets. These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats. To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from the board in City Market, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family. Take your gift to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard by Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Secret Santa Toy Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There are tags at the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center and both City Market locations for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests this year include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, models, CDs and CD players. To be a Secret Santa, choose a tag and deliver your newly purchased, wrapped toy to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard by Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Snowflake Program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas food boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners. It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be brought to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill or Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard by Tuesday, Dec. 13.

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

Questions about Operation Helping Hand may be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Monetary donations can be made to Operation Helping Hand account No. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo or account no. 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans or mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


District deals with water quality issues

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Water quality was a major topic at Tuesday's Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board meeting, with the primary focus on issues regarding Hatcher Lake and its water treatment plant.

"Hatcher's definitely the issue," said Karen Wessels, PAWSD board chair.

The board studied a Briliam Engineering report which charted monthly total organic carbon (TOC) levels of both raw and finished water for the three treatment plants (Hatcher, San Juan and Snowball) for 2004 and 2005. TOC levels are directly linked to the formulation of dangerous disinfectant by-products created when chlorine is added as the final water finishing step. Hatcher has been plagued by excess levels of TTHM's, a disinfectant by-product, recognized as a health hazard by the EPA and strictly regulated.

Baseline or "goal" TOC levels for finished water is two milligrams per liter (mg/l). Snowball and San Juan TOC levels are generally acceptable, showing only a few spikes above two mg/l related to runoff rates and seasonal temperatures. Hatcher, on the other hand, consistently show levels of TOC's at twice the baseline level. "Although we don't have industry and other contaminants in the water, mother nature does a pretty good job of polluting our water," said Gene Tautges, district assistant manager.

To combat the excessive TOCs, the district recently completed an extension of the Hatcher Lake intake pipe to approximately 300 feet towards the center of the lake, where Solar Bees aerate the water and the water intake is further removed from decomposing organics along the shore. No data is available yet, but district engineers expect TOC levels at the Hatcher treatment plant to be significantly reduced by the extension.

The district recently completed an enlargement of the backwash ponds used to clean the filtration systems. The backwash pond enlargement is also expected to improve water quality, according to Tautges. Additionally, the district will begin implementing a systematic hydrant flushing system which, by increasing flow through of water, reduces the levels of chlorine that must be added to the water to ensure proper residual chlorine levels.

For 2006, PAWSD is investing over $5 million in new resources. The bulk of this new money, funded by a bond issue, will be used to enlarge Stevens Reservoir and to create a new Stevens treatment plant (using an advanced membrane filtration system). Approximately $1.5 million will be used for new granulated activated carbon (GAC) beds at the Hatcher treatment plant, which are installed between the filtration and water chlorination systems. The GAC beds significantly reduce TOC levels.

The district is also actively investigating additional treatment methods. Potential methods include UV disinfection (which would replace the need for chlorine if it weren't for the necessity of residual chlorine disinfectants for possible post-treatment contamination), and a chlorine dioxide system (which oxidizes TOCs prior to the filtration process). District engineers have completed testing on two different chlorine dioxide systems and plan to implement a system at Hatcher in 2007.

PAWSD is also building a 1 million gallon clearwell water storage tank at Hatcher which will improve the district's ability to fine tune the chlorine levels for water purification, according to Patrick O'Brien, professional engineer for Briliam Engineering.

A new issue affecting Hatcher is the discovery last summer of an invasive species of aquatic weed called the Eurasian Milfoil. Eurasian Milfoil is a highly aggressive plant which can congest waterways and crowd out native plants. In extreme cases, a milfoil dominated lake becomes covered with a flat, yellow-green matted vegetation creating the perception that the lake is "dead." It is often transported from lake to lake on recreational boats. More problematic for the water quality, the presence of milfoil can exacerbate algae blooms, which increases TOC levels. Eradication of milfoil can be difficult, with wholesale methods often affecting native beneficial plants, with the preferred method requiring manual extraction of individual plants.

Water quality is an ongoing challenge for the water district's managers, who "anticipate things (regulations) will get tighter," said Tautges.

To pay for the improvements, the PAWS board is currently discussing fee increases. Impact and water resource fees, charged when there is a change of use or when lots are further subdivided, are expected to increase. The board discussed alternatives to increases in general usage fees and the monthly service charges, with new rates expected to be implemented prior to next June's water meter readings.

In other matters discussed at the board meeting:

- The board approved its proposed 2006 budget and mill levies.

- The Dutton Ditch project was reported mostly completed with "everything in the ground," according to Carrie Campbell, district manager. There is still some clean-up and reseeding to be done. Three cubic feet per second of water has been travelling through the pipes.

- The PAWS district board is still hoping work at Stevens Reservoir will begin in 2006. Three "biggies" still remain, according to Campbell: the Army Corps of Engineers' wetland mitigation requirements, ongoing land negotiations (other than moving forward with one land owner, there's "not a whole lot of progress," on that front, said Campbell), and the final design of the reservoir itself.

- The district office expansion hit a snag requiring a $5,000 change order when "excess groundwater" was found on the premises, said Campbell.

- The smoke testing program was cancelled this year, but is expected to take place in 2006.

- The toilet rebate program is "still rolling," with The Spa Motel coming in on the last day of the 2005 program with 11 toilet replacements. Approximately 65-70 high-volume toilets were replaced this year, compared to 50 last year.

- In lieu of a infrastructure project expected to cost over $25,000 as designed by Davis Engineering, the board decided to purchase a pressure booster pump for one resident on Cameo Court who reported zero water pressure at the house one evening. The pump is expected to cost $600 to $700. Cameo Court has the lowest water pressure in the entire district.

-The board approved a $1,000 payment to the Western Weather Consultant's cloud seeding program after a short debate on the merits of the program. One board member likened cloud seeding to "throwing darts with a blindfold," but all agreed that it was a "cheap insurance policy."

 Inside The Sun

Kiwanis offers chili supper Friday and Saturday

By Frank Schiro

Special to The SUN

Certain things just seem to conjure up thoughts of the holidays - the lighting of the community Christmas tree, watching the annual Parade of Lights, listening to the Community Choir perform seasonal songs, and enjoying a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter's eve.

The Pagosa Springs Kiwanis Club is prepared to bring at least one of those nostalgic events to life for the enjoyment of Archuleta County holiday gatherers.

The entire community and visiting friends are invited to join local Kiwanis members at their annual Holiday Chili Supper. Warm chili and drinks will be served up to all guests 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

The supper should provide a heart- and tummy-warming start for enjoying the parade of lights Friday evening at 6 or the Pagosa Springs Community Choir Concert on either night, directly after the chili supper concludes at 7.

The minimal charge of $6 for adults or $3.50 for kids covers an ample amount of chili and a drink for all guests and, more importantly, provides funds that go toward local Kiwanis Club efforts to help area kids. Some funds are used for activities such as buying books to support the Reading is Fundamental program at Head Start in March.

Other moneys will be applied to supporting the Week of the Young Child in April. Still other dollars will be allocated towards the three or more scholarships that are given to seniors who are pursuing technical or non-traditional studies.

For more information on Kiwanis, the club welcomes anyone interested to join them at one of their lunches that are held every Thursday at noon at the Hog's Breath.

That's where local community men and women who care about reaching out to Pagosa's kids meet. Why not be one of them?


Three suspects find new home in Pagosa ... in jail

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs police received a call at approximately noon, Nov. 30, from an employee of First Southwest Bank on San Juan Street, reporting suspicious activity outside the building.

According to Det. Scott Maxwell, three occupants of a mini-van with New Mexico plates parked in the lot of the bank were observed "changing clothes out of a backpack." One of the three, a male, had attempted but failed to open an account at the bank, "but did manage to draw attention," said Maxwell.

When officers arrived, said Maxwell, the occupants had walked away from the vehicle, and a check of the license plate indicated the mini-van had been reported stolen in Albuquerque from a car rental company. Two male suspects were then observed outside the downtown City Market near a pay phone.

The suspects were taken into custody and detained for motor vehicle theft. The two suspects were identified as Brian Lee, 25, and Jeffrey Scaggs, 28, both of Albuquerque, N.M. The police discovered Lee had a felony warrant for "drugs and destruction of evidence" in New Mexico, and he was arrested.

The female suspect was located in a nearby shop and detained. She initially gave a false name and was found to have the key to the stolen vehicle in her possession, said Maxwell. Following an interview with the female suspect, it was discovered she was Stayce McCafferty, 29, also of Albuquerque, N.M., and she admitted to travelling in the vehicle with the two male suspects.

The three suspects were charged with aggravated motor vehicle theft, a class 3 felony. The "aggravated" charge refers to the taking of a stolen vehicle across state lines and being in possession of the vehicle for more than 24 hours.

Upon inspection of the vehicle, the police found a "large amount of mail from the Albuquerque area" not addressed to the suspects, including bank statements, ID cards, credit cards and social security information. A large number of checks from numerous accounts in New Mexico, equipment for making forged documents and drug paraphernalia were also found in the vehicle, said Maxwell.

The three suspects were then additionally charged with unlawful possession of identifying information, conspiracy and forgery. McCafferty was charged with criminal impersonation and the unlawful possession of a financial transaction device. She was found to have a warrant from Durango for motor vehicle theft, and a warrant from Bernalillo County, N.M. for concealing identity, false evidence of title or registration, and failure to appear for receiving or transferring stolen property.

Additionally, inside the vehicle the police found the registration, insurance documents, and a large amount of mail and personal property removed from a Jeep Cherokee that had been reported stolen earlier that morning in Durango. The Jeep Cherokee was subsequently located by La Plata County Deputies abandoned in the Durango area, and the Pagosa Springs Police Department is working with the Durango Police Department on the case.

Maxwell said it "appears to be a classic case of identity theft where innocent parties are taken advantage of." Maxwell said the suspects are in the Archuleta County Jail, that an investigation is continuing, and that there will be follow-up with numerous law enforcement agencies. Maxwell said he was told the suspects "were planning to make their home in Pagosa."


Snowmobile use limited on north side of Wolf Creek Pass

The Divide Ranger District is seeking comments for the analysis and decision concerning use of "over-snow vehicles" (e.g., snowmobiles, Snow Cats, etc.) in the Lobo Overlook area.

The Lobo Overlook area is located north of U.S. 160 on Wolf Creek Pass. Pending the decision, the Rio Grande National Forest has put in place a temporary closure order that limits over-snow vehicle use to the Lobo Overlook Road (Forest Road 402).

"There have been a lot of safety issues in the Lobo Overlook area," said Divide District Ranger Tom Malecek. "This area receives a lot of winter use by motorized and non-motorized winter recreation enthusiasts. We thought it was prudent to put a temporary closure order in place until the analysis is completed."

The south side of U.S. 160 on Wolf Creek Pass is still open for over-snow vehicle use except within the boundaries of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The final decision concerning over-snow vehicle use in the Lobo Overlook area should come out in January 2006.

For more information, contact Steve Brigham on the Divide Ranger District at (719) 657-3321.


Final push to aid Mississippi town

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

After nearly a month in the planning, the Town of Pagosa Springs, the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pagosa Springs Builders Association, local civic organizations and individuals are making their final push to provide aid to hurricane-battered D'Iberville, Miss.

Mary Jo Coulehan of the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce said funds have been gathered and a donation station has been established at Terry's Ace Hardware, west of town on Navajo Trails Drive, next to U.S. 160.

Coulehan said the station will continue to receive donations until 4 p.m. Dec. 10 and Coulehan said donations can also be brought to the chamber from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Coulehan said once collections are complete, Durango's RAC Transport will haul the trailer to Denver where Yellow Freight will carry the goods to Mississippi Dec. 12.

Both companies are providing their shipping services free of charge.

Following Hurricane Katrina, D'Iberville, Miss., a small coastal town just north of Biloxi, was left battered and reeling and in desperate need of help.

Pagosa Springs Town Manager Mark Garcia said 18 D'Iberville town council and town staff members lost their homes to the hurricane. In addition, the entire public works facility was destroyed, as was the police department offices, including numerous law enforcement vehicles.

To make matters worse, Garcia said D'Iberville officials reported the town had received little or no help from the American Red Cross and was experiencing difficulty in dealing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), particularly in regard to temporary housing.

Coulehan, who is helping spearhead aid efforts on behalf of the chamber, said recent conversations with D'Iberville officials indicated the housing solution is far from being resolved.

She said D'Iberville residents have recently moved into "bare bones" trailers from tent cities, but that rebuilding of homes cannot begin until FEMA designates new flood plane zones. That work, Coulehan said, was supposed to be completed Nov. 15.

In addition, she said FEMA is in the midst of a tedious house-by-house assessment to ensure structures are fit for rebuilding.

"They are going house by house to take moisture readings. If the moisture readings are too high, they can't rebuild," said Coulehan.

Coulehan added that D'Iberville officials do not know when FEMA will complete its assessment project.

In light of their situation, Coulehan said D'Iberville residents are in great need of non-perishable items and the things necessary to establish a kitchen in an unfurnished home. She said towels, bedding, cleaning supplies and tools would also be of great use.

In addition to material goods, the Town of Pagosa Springs is contributing $5,000 to the relief effort and town staff is foregoing their annual catered Christmas party and will contribute funds earmarked for the event to the D'Iberville cause.

Those wishing to make cash contributions can contact the Town of Pagosa Springs at 264-4151.

General information on the effort can be found by contacting either the town or the Chamber at 264-2360.


EMS holds Operation Christmas Cheer this weekend

The Upper San Juan Health District Division of EMS and Operation Helping Hand are sponsoring Operation Christmas Cheer - a toy and food drive for the less fortunate citizens of Archuleta County.

Currently, there are over 100 families being helped by the generous support of the residents of Pagosa Country.

Help the district and EMS help those in need have a special heartfelt Christmas celebration. Collection will take place Dec. 10-11 in the ALCO parking lot.

Fill the ambulance with toys, clothes and nonperishable food items. Items will be distributed by Operation Helping Hand.


Airport Commission holds 'civil,' productive meeting

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

One hundred years ago the railroads were the vanguard of population growth and commerce in American towns. Fifty years ago the birth of a modern trans-America highway system drove future development. Today, it is the airport that spurs growth and attracts people and businesses to communities, towns and cities.

Although the effects of a recent upgrade of Stevens Field have not yet begun to alter Pagosa's current character, airport commissioners are certain that future economic benefits will be profound. Currently, airport commissioners cite $23 million added annually to the local economy from the airport's presence, with more expected in the future.

And that is why, when questioned about the expected airport costs to the county to the tune of $450,000 annually, several members of the airport commission state a preference to "wait and see" how the new airport will pay for itself. (Current airport revenue is less than $150,000 per year, while $300,000 is budgeted for operating expenses; in addition the county pays an annual $308,000 debt service for a $2.5 million loan for the new FBO, hangars, and fueling station that will continue until 2014.)

Bob Jasper, interim county administrator, has been a regular attendee at airport commissioner's meetings, pleading, cajoling and demanding that the Airport Advisory Commission come up with a plan to increase fees so the airport can "at least capture ongoing operating costs."

In response, at the AAC meeting Dec. 1, Bob Howard, former AAC chairman, presented various scenarios for specific fee increases with a series of spreadsheets projected on the wall of the packed meeting room. Backed by fee survey data from 120 airports (out of the estimated 5,200 airports in the U.S.), Howard plugged in various fees for fuel surcharges, tie down and landing fees, and automobile parking charges - the four common fees that airports charge their customers.

With an emphasis of providing "good service, reasonable prices, and reasonable policies" for airport users, Howard warned against anti-competitive pricing structures, which could drive away the "charter, corporate and private operators" who could be a boon to both the airport and the community. In the end, Howard made five recommendations the AAC approved to be brought to the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners for approval.

The recommendations from Howard (and subsequently approved by the AAC board) for fee increases are as follows: an increase from 5 cents to 7 cents per gallon county fuel surcharge; daily tie-down fees (overnight airplane parking fees) of $5 for single piston planes, $7 for multipiston planes, $15 for turboprop planes, $25 for light jets and $50 for medium jets; no landing fees (Howard stated that "very few non-towered airports" charge landing fees), and a $1 per day automobile parking fee (or $180 for an annual parking permit). In all, the increased fee structure was expected to add roughly $40,000 to the existing revenues, bringing the total expected annual income from the airport to an estimated $148,854 (which includes $45,000 hangar land lease and $10,000 FBO lease income).

Howard also made a fifth recommendation, which was to be conservative with fee increases for 2006, "examine real statistics" at the end of next year, and consider fee increases again in February 2007. He said it would be "premature and foolish" to overprice Stevens Field "until we have established that we are worthy of the traffic that we expect to come here."

Other proposals were considered but not approved. Marc Weiler, airport commissioner, made a motion to present the county commissioners with a substantially increased fee structure that would pay all operating costs. The motion died for a lack of a second. A discussion of "ramp fees," a general service charge for airplanes on the airport (which could be waived if the planes were fueled), and a rental car surcharge were both briefly discussed. Jasper, consistently pressing for substantial net numbers, at one point quipped, "I'm not wanting to tie you down because then I suppose there would be a fee for that."

During the meeting, the AAC elected new officers. Elmer Schettler was elected as chairperson, Tom Broadbent as vice-chairperson, and Nancy Torrey as secretary.

On Tuesday, Schettler presented the AAC's recommendations to the county commissioners. Commissioner Mamie Lynch stated that "January is the time we establish fees for the county." The county board decided to delay the establishment of a revised airport fee structure until January.

Schettler also presented an AAC-approved request for cooperative funds from the county for a planned fund-raiser for promotion of the airport. The AAC events committee is planning to produce a four-color brochure promoting Stevens Field that will be sent to a mailing list of 1,400 businesses, FBOs, airport managers, pilots and interested parties. An open house and "re-dedication" of the airport is planned for June 28, 2006, concluding with a SunDowner hosted by the FBO.

The AAC requested matching funds from the county of the expected $16,000 to $20,000 budget for the events committee's promotion of Steven's Field, in effect requesting a maximum of $10,000 from the county. Ronnie Zaday, county commissioner, asked, "What, $308,000 is not enough?" presumably referring to the airport's debt service. Commissioner Lynch explained to Schettler, "Yes, we want to support the promotion of the airport, but we can't tell you today. It will certainly be considered and we hope to be able to do something." Jasper said the county should know by Dec. 13, when "all the competing demands" on county funds has been determined more definitively.

In other matters, airport management has conceded on a few issues of concern to pilots. Rob Russ, airport manager, presented an update. A connector road has been built between the Midfield Apron (site of the FBO) and the North Ramp (where 23 tie-down anchors are provided for the smaller planes). Although the connector road is not certified for airplane use, fuel trucks will be able to transport fuel to the North Ramp, and pilots will be able to drive their cars from the FBO to the North Ramp to load and unload airplanes. In addition, the plan for the security system has been revised to allow hangar owners on Taxiway Bravo to have access to the FBO through the north gate. Jasper said he met with Howard for an hour and a half prior to the meeting, and said he believes the recent management decisions represent "individuals' needs balanced in today's world and FAA requirements to keep the airport secure." At the end of the meeting, Weiler summed it up and said "it has been a wonderful meeting, I appreciate the civility," and thanked all who were present.


Pagosan dies in Dec. 2 highway crash

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs resident, Chris Young, 22, was killed Friday, Dec. 2, in a head-on car crash on U.S. 160 near milepost 104.

According to a Colorado State Patrol accident report, Young was driving westbound in a 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and began to pass a vehicle. Young's truck entered the eastbound lane into the path of a 1966 Ford F250 pickup truck. Johnny Powers, 52, and Chris Harrell, 19, both of Bayfield, were in the Ford F250.

The driver of the Ford F250 skidded and swerved to avoid impact, but Young's vehicle impacted the Ford head-on with a slight offset to the right for both vehicles. After impact, both vehicles spun a quarter turn counter clockwise, remaining connected, and came to a rest blocking the eastbound lanes. Both lanes of U.S. 160 were closed for 30 minutes for vehicle tow recovery, and one lane was closed for three hours following the crash.

Airbags deployed in the Tacoma driven by Young. The Ford F250 was not equipped with seatbelts or airbags. Powers received fractures and internal injuries while Harrell received leg injuries. Both were taken to Mercy Medical Center, according to the report. Young was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:50 a.m. by La Plata County Coroner Carol Huser.



Bear cubs released back into the wild

By Joe Lewandowski

Special to The SUN

Two bear cubs, captured last summer after their mother was killed, were released back into the wild north of Pagosa Springs Nov. 30 by the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW).

On the bright, cold afternoon, the bears bounded quickly out of a holding container and into the woods. In a natural response, both cubs climbed a few feet up trees, then wandered off to explore their new environment.

Based on tracking of other bears released in the past, the cubs have a good chance of surviving for several years, said Mike Reid, district wildlife manager for the DOW in the Pagosa Springs area.

"The biggest thing is to get them nice and fat before releasing," Reid said. "We've done that and they look to be in good shape."

The cubs - a male and a female - weighed only about 10 pounds when they were captured. Just before the release they each weighed more than 100 pounds.

The bears' trip back into the wild started when they were born last spring. Their mother had wandered into Colorado from New Mexico sometime last year. Her ear tags indicated she had been trapped in New Mexico, probably after she rummaged in human garbage and became a nuisance.

Last summer at a campground north of Pagosa Springs, with her new cubs in tow, she continued foraging in Dumpsters and at campsites. She was shot and killed in July by an owner of one of the campgrounds. The owner was not cited for any wildlife violations, Reid said.

"They took care of their garbage in the right way. But the bear had become too accustomed to human food," Reid explained.

The cubs were captured two days later and transported to the DOW's Frisco Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in the San Luis Valley. There, the bears were kept in a special holding pen away from people and fed a mix of typical forage food found in the wild and a ration of prepared feed.

Bears need to develop large fat stores to get them through six months of hibernation, said Kate Larsen, manager of the wildlife center. Because the bears put on weight quickly she and Reid are confident the cubs were ready to be released to hibernate in the wild.

Because the mother indirectly taught the cubs to forage for human food, Reid and Larsen are concerned that the cubs could find their way back to another campground.

"By going into hibernation in a remote area, there is a good chance that they'll forget about people and learn quickly how to live in the woods," Reid said. "The more distance we can put between bears and humans - in both distance and time - the better."

The bears were released about 40 miles north of Pagosa Springs near a wilderness area. Reid said that they will quickly find a place to hide and hibernate for the winter.

Two more cubs, captured in Lake City in late September after their mother met a similar fate as the New Mexico sow, are also being held at Frisco Creek. DOW wildlife managers decided that the bears will stand a better chance of survival if they are held throughout the winter and released next spring. Those cubs have gone into hibernation.

Most bears throughout Colorado are in hibernation for the winter. But the DOW reminds residents to stay in the habit of taking care of garbage properly by storing it in secure containers. Bears are attracted to human food and if they cause problems in residential areas might be euthanized.

"Stash your trash. A fed bear is a dead bear," Reid said.

Forest Service to close roads for winter, new rules in effect

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Every year the San Juan Forest Service officially closes its roads for the winter, yet for years the county has snowplowed miles of Forest Service roads for residents living in areas isolated from county roads, including access routes to official county subdivisions.

Not so this year - in October Archuleta County announced it will stop maintaining private roads and many Forest Service roads.

In response, the Forest Service will require residents living in areas accessible only by Forest Service roads to obtain special use permits to plow snow, and a travel authorization permit (which may or may not be combined with the special use permit).

Major Forest Service roads that will be officially closed to the public this winter will be Mill Creek, Burns Canyon and Fawn Gulch, each of which will have a new gate installed. Closures of Turkey Springs and Fosset Gulch roads (west of town, accessing Ute lands), and additional spur roads such as Nipple Mountain and Echo Canyon, will also affect residents requiring forest service road access.

"We'll try to keep the roads open through Christmas so that people can still get (Christmas) trees," said Jo Bridges Friday, on her last day as the Pagosa District Ranger for the San Juan National Forest. Then, depending on the snow, the Forest Service will selectively close roads through January, and reopen them in the spring after they dry out, which could be as long as late May, according to Bridges.

Piedra and McManus roads will continue to be snowplowed by the county to the Hinsdale County line, said Sheila Berger, asset technician for the Archuleta Road and Bridge Department. Several short (0.3 to 0.8 miles) initial sections of Forest Service roads to parking areas will also be snowplowed by the county for public recreational winter access, including Mill Creek (0.3 miles to a new parking lot and gate), First Fork (FS 622), and the East Fork (FS 667) roads.

The rationale for the closures and the new gates is to protect the roads. "Our roads were never built for winter use," said Ron Decker, recreational staff member of the Pagosa Ranger District. Damage from deep ruts caused by cars driving on saturated roads can render a road unusable, and many roads would need improvements such as gravel to be suitable for year-round use.

"If we don't pull the gate shut, there will still be some people who try to go through. Then you end up with a wrecker," said Bridges. And since the residents who are acquiring the special use snowplowing permits are assuming responsibility for the condition of the unimproved road, "it's not fair to have it available to everyone," said Bridges.

Bridges said that the Forest Service has a very good partnership with Archuleta County and "we do all we can to maintain roads and provide public access." Bob Jasper, interim county administrator, said the county is open to maintaining Forest Service roads again in the future, but emphasizes "It's their road; tell us (the county) what you want to do." When asked if the Forest Service would ever give up popular Forest Service roads to the county, Bridges answered "Happily."




Proper protocol?

Dear Editor:

I am the mother of the child who was stabbed at the junior high school. My family has only been in this community since the start of the school year. Before that my son was in the Bayfield schools. We love this area and my children have some of the best teachers we have ever had the pleasure to come in contact with.

Every time my children enroll in a school we have to fill out Emergency Contact Information sheets, giving out private, personal information. That, I assumed, was so the school could contact us in case of an emergency, or a child behavioral issue, etc. I received one call from the principal this year in reference to my son not paying enough attention in one of his classes. I supported the school fully.

On Nov. 17 my son was running while playing dodge ball at school, turned and slammed into a brick wall, knocking himself out for a short time and giving him double vision and a bruised/swollen knee cap. I was called. By the time I got to the school it was a half hour later. The nurse advised he knew who he was, and was doing better, but may have a mild concussion (a head injury like this could have been a serious bodily injury, which could have resulted in a brain injury or a broken neck). I had her call ahead to the clinic for an emergency evaluation, since EMS was not contacted to evaluate him prior to my arrival.

I did not pursue this any further since my son was going to be fine.

However, in the incident Nov. 28, at 3:10 in the afternoon, police were not called, EMS was not called and, more importantly, we the parents were not called. I was very upset when my son came off the school bus and advised us he was stabbed at school. He had immediately reported this to the teacher who put a Band-Aid on him and sent him to the principal's and nurse's office, along with a witness. The nurse was not there and so the principal spoke with them. He began questioning them about the incident to find out why and how it happened. Many of the students in the art class witnessed the incident.

While I understand the school's work to this point, I do not understand why the parents, police and EMS were not notified immediately. When our son advised us of what had happened, we called the police while the wound was treated.

The police officer advised the principal he needed to contact us because we were very upset. The principal called us between 5:30 and 6 that evening and spoke with my husband briefly on what he knew to that point. The next day we found out the rest of the story. (Suspect threw a pen/pencil at my son and hit him on the nose, drawing blood. My son threw it back at him and went back to his work. The other kid grabbed the exacto knife issued to him by the teacher, walked over and stabbed my son in the triceps, dropped the knife and ran.) This act is disturbing in itself. But, while the kid was picked up and charged by the police who are keeping us up on the progress of the case, the district superintendent is telling the paper and public the school "followed appropriate protocol."

My question is this: If this student, instead of stabbing my son, had slit his throat, had a gun at school, was in possession of drugs/alcohol, or was being a bully - what is the protocol? Doesn't the school have a duty to report crimes to authorities? Isn't a school obligated to notify parents if their children are injured in any way? I find it odd I was advised of my son's behavior in a class and of a self-inflicted injury, but when a crime was committed against him in the classroom, resulting in injury, neither parents, police or Emergency Medical Services are advised.

I firmly believe we, as parents, have the right to know if our child is injured, the victim of a crime, and that our children have a right to proper medical attention in the case of an injury. After Columbine we all became nervous about our children in public schools, and have a misguided faith in the smaller schools, believing this won't happen in my school. Well now I ask, what if it does? When does the superintendent think they should notify police, parents and EMS?

Lynnette Ervin

Editor's note: Asked to supply The SUN with the written policy that defines the school district protocol, Superintendent Noggle sent the following.

"Policy JKD-JKE states: The Board of Education shall provide due process of law to students, parents/ guardians and school personnel through written procedures consistent with law for the suspension or expulsion of students and the denial of admission."

The district board of education meets Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. in the junior high school library.


Get the facts

Dear Editor:

Although she certainly is entitled to her opinion, Pat Skroch should have gotten a few facts before writing her letter to the editor regarding the proposed development at the top of Wolf Creek Pass.

If she had, she would have known that there are many problems with it, none of which pertain to a "stand against property rights" by a "vocal few." She would have known that the original plan has been ramped up from 200 condos to over 2,000. She would have known that the original land swap for public national forest land was rejected by local forest service people and later approved mysteriously in Washington, D.C. She would have known that the approval of the project by Mineral County commissioners on the advice of their attorney, John Wilder, was recently revoked by Judge John Kuenhold because it was, in his words, "arbitrary and capricious and misconstrued the state statutes and the Mineral County subdivision regulations." She would have known that there basically is no access, no water, no power, no sewer, and no services to take care of 10,000 people trying to survive at 10,000 feet in thin air covered by 400 inches of snow. Most of these needs and their negative impacts will have to be met by local downstream taxpayers in the form of increased costs and subsidies, while the property tax revenues are sent to remotely located Creede.

Had she looked into the facts, Ms. Skroch would have known that Rep. John Salazar was extremely diligent in gathering facts before deciding to oppose the development. He has had meetings with interested parties for months, including the forest service and the developers themselves.

Personally, I would like to thank him and Judge Kuenhold for doing a great job of trying to protect our laws and irreplaceable public assets such as Wolf Creek Pass and the Rio Grande watershed. It is obvious to most folks that we can't leave this task to developers.

Greg Gosar

Monte Vista


Get real

Dear Editor:

The Dec. 1, 2005 issue of The Pagosa Springs SUN included a letter from Cary Ellis, who "had the privilege Š of watching a documentary film Š on the ethics and business tactics of Wal-Mart."

How nice. I'll bet this "documentary" film was totally objective and unbiased in its presentation, right? Just a carefully-crafted, educational piece intended to enlighten us, and inform us of the evils of the corporate monster that intends to take over the world, enslave the poor, and grind the noble members of organized labor into the earth under its ugly boot.

What a piece of total garbage! With absolutely no basis in fact or reality, this writer presents unjustifiable conjecture as the way the world will turn if a Wal-Mart comes to Pagosa Springs. Cary Ellis may not realize it, but fabrication presented as truth is called "lying," and however it might be sugarcoated with solicitous regard for our teens, ethnic groups and women, it's still lying.

I have no special place in my heart for Wal-Mart, but any entity, personal or corporate, whether in the private sector or in government, has the American right to be truthfully portrayed. The letter attacking Wal-Mart bears no resemblance to the truth, and I suspect that Cary Ellis is well aware of that, but is happily willing to sacrifice the truth for the sake of promoting an agenda.

The stated conjecture that "the county will have higher costs for social services, health care and welfare" because of the presence of a Wal-Mart is beyond ridiculous. There is a substantial population in Archuleta County who struggles every day to find meaningful work, and a large number of these already depend on the county for many of their basic needs. Employment opportunities offered by a major employer such as Wal-Mart would improve the daily life for many of these persons immeasurably.

Apparently, though, no job at all for these residents is better circumstances than a job that offers less than what Cary Ellis considers appropriate.

Further, the bizarre suggestion that a Wal-Mart parking lot would somehow attract "predators" that are, apparently, not a problem for City Market and Alco, is so absurd as to bring into question the basic intelligence of someone who would offer it as a realistic prospect. Get real, please. Businesses don't import a criminal element to populate their parking lots, and Wal-Mart is no exception.

Finally, the assertion of "Šinvestigations pending on chronic discrimination by Wal-Mart against both ethnic groups and women..." is an absolute, unmitigated lie. The same allegations have been made against Home Depot and Sears, among others, and are equally false. Those presenting these fabrications as fact are aware that, by their nature, the lie is plausible to the casual reader, and is difficult to disprove. This doesn't change the fact that the lie is still that: a lie.

Anthony M. Kelley


Thanks Pat, John

Dear Editor:

May my wife and I take this opportunity to thank two people who were in last week's Pagosa SUN.

The first is Patricia Skroch, of South Fork. Patricia stated, "The opponents of the Village are a vocal few, the majority of whom do not live in Mineral or Rio Grande counties. The Village offers real economic development to Mineral, Rio Grande and Archuleta counties."

We appreciated Patricia's letter because now my wife and I know of at least one person by name who supports this project. Every single friend that we know in Pagosa, and we have been here fourteen years, is opposed to this project.

That brings me to the second person who was on the front page of last week's Pagosa SUN. And this is Rep. John Salazar. I do not know John Salazar nor did I vote for him in the last election. Maybe I should have because of his clear-sighted opposition to the Village. In your newspaper, Rep. Salazar very clearly stated why he opposes this project.

By now, Patricia will have had an opportunity to read in The SUN the many and various reasons John Salazar opposes this project. Salazar's key paragraph is where he stated, "He supports economic development but not at the expense of the Coloradans he is charged to represent."

Paul Lerno


Peace be with you

Dear Editor:

Pagosa Country is a very special place and we, for a time, were privileged to have a reporter in our community who wove the fabric of our lives with his words in stories he told in the SUN.

I heard of the passing of Richard Walter at our monthly Pagosa fire training meeting last Saturday; announced by a somber Chief Warren Grams. A moment of silence was observed in respect. Richard was an avid supporter of our fire department and encouraged us with all our activities, much like he did with our school teams, driving to far corners of the state to report and support the Pagosa teams. He wove his tale about the triumphant victory and the heartbreak defeat with detailed descriptions of the action that took place.

I especially enjoyed running into Richard on his walks around Pagosa, packing his camera and recalling some of his childhood memories about the way life was back then. We shared a common thread sitting by the river enjoying the peace, serenity and beauty only this country can give you. Richard was, in my opinion, a working man's man. He would tell stories about marbles and kids' games, educate you about ghosts and goblins, or why the human spirit is drawn to church on Christmas and Easter.

Richard had a great respect for the people who served this country in military service. He knew that if you gave respect to others you would get it in return, or at least hope you would. There were times we would meet on the street in passing and during our chat the noise from a loud truck with barking dogs or loud music would take away that moment of peace and friendship. We would look at each other, shake our heads, and try to understand why people move here if they don't understand what the thread that binds us together as a community is really all about.

Richard, I thank you for all your stories. Peace be with you always.

Guiseppe Margiotta


Hometown talents

Dear Editor:

My wife and I moved to Pagosa about one year ago. In the last year, we have attended several performances at the high school. I can't believe the quality of the shows. I am impressed by the young men and women and the quality of their talents. Not only is the acting good, but so is the choir and music the orchestra provides. It is wonderful to see so many students participate in the arts, both on center stage and behind the scenes. It takes so many, many of whom no one knows about, to put on these kinds of shows. It takes long hours and dedication.

We have also seen several performances by the Music Boosters. Attend one show and you will witness the wide range of talent of those living here in Pagosa. What really impresses me is all who participate are volunteers, and they give of their time and talents freely. I'm talking about the whole realm, from set design, costumes, sound, lights, to opening curtain. Everyone involved is a volunteer; no one gets a penny for their time and efforts. The Music Boosters earn money by putting on these shows and donate the money to promote the performing arts and award scholarships annually. Hometown people helping hometown students. When you attend any of their shows, you will see and hear hometown people, both young and old, continuing to enjoy their talents and sharing them with others, both on stage and in the orchestra pit. After you attend several of the local shows, you will begin to see a lot of the same people coming back time and time again to support the arts. If you have never been to see one of the shows, you really should; you don't know what you are missing. I believe that if you come to one of these shows, you will become a loyal supporter of the high school and Music Boosters.

If you have a desire to volunteer, or are blessed with talent and you are willing to share your talents with others, ask around, I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction to get involved.

If you have participated in one of the local shows in the past year, whether it was a high school performance or one that the Music Boosters put on, we would like to say thank you for your time and talent. We look forward to future performances.

Kenneth and Michelle Smith

Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist


The Mountain View Homemakers will meet with Margaret Rouke who lives at 206 Pine Club Place. The program is the annual Christmas party and gift exchange, and collection of gifts for the Four Corners Safe Home in Durango. Call 731-4858 for more information.


Tickets are on sale at Sisson Library for a beautiful quilt made by the Pagosa Piecemakers to benefit the library. Tickets are $5 each. The raffle will be Dec. 15. The quilt is on display at the library.

Dec. 9-10

Kiwanis Club Chili Supper, 4:30-7 p.m. at the community center. This is a fund-raising event for the club and money raised will go towards scholarships. Come enjoy dinner, then go straight to the Christmas concert.

Dec. 9-10

Holiday Bazaar at Our Savior Lutheran School, 1:30--4:30 p.m. Dec. 9, and 2 p.m. Dec. 10. Items for sale are wreaths, plants, tree skirts, ornaments, decorations, baked goods and handmade wrapping paper. All items are handmade by students and their parents.

Dec. 9, 10 and 11

Community Choir Christmas Concert starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 4 p.m. Sunday. It's free, though donations will be greatly appreciated.

The concert will be at the community center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Seating is limited, so arrive early in order to get a seat. Concerts are a gift to the community.

Dec. 10 and 12

The Children's Chorale will present a concert at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church. They will present the same concert Dec. 12 at Restoration Fellowship Church at 6 p.m.

Dec. 13

The December meeting of the Archuleta County Republican Women will be a Christmas Coffee at the home of Carol Fisher. It will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13. Republican women interested in issues challenging our local, state and federal governments are invited to attend. Please come and get acquainted. They welcome new members but there is not an obligation to join. Call Barbara at 731-9916 for directions to Carol's home.

Dec. 14

The Pagosa Women's Club will hold its annual silent auction and holiday luncheon at JJ's Upstream Restaurant at 11:15 a.m. Musical entertainment will be provided by John Graves during the traditional holiday luncheon. Proceeds from the auction go to various community projects that need funding and support. Members, nonmembers, and guests are encouraged to attend this fun and worthwhile event. For more information, call Mary Webb at 731-1288. Reservations must be made prior to Dec. 12, at noon. Please do not call JJ's for reservations for this event.

Dec. 15

The Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs Christmas party will be held at Betsy Gill's house. She lives at 999 Stevens Lake Road (this is a place change.) Call 731-4725 or 731-9979 for directions. The time is 7 p.m.

Dec. 17

The Sarah Platt Decker Daughters of the American Revolution meets at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center at 10 a.m. Call 247-1965 for more information.

Dec. 18

Pagosa Singles (40-plus are welcome) Christmas party, 4:30 p.m. Bring a white elephant gift. Bring hors d'oeuvres to share and your personal drink.

Call for directions, 731-9129.

Dec. 21

"Old Fashioned Christmas," 6-8 p.m., at the Power House Gym, located behind the Humane Society Thrift Store, by the Town Park ball field. Spend the evening making old-fashioned Christmas decorations, decorate and eat Christmas cookies, sing along with your favorite Christmas carols, listen to Christmas stories and spend time with your family. Cocoa and goodies will be sold at the snack bar. For more information, call Kay Dean, 731-5767.

Dec. 31

Community New Year's Eve Dance, 9:05 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at the community center. John Graves, Larry Elginer, Susanna Ninichuck and John's son will provide the music. Watch for more details.

Jan. 12

The Newcomer Club will meet at JJ's Upstream Restaurant at 6 p.m. No reservations necessary. Price is $8 per person. The club is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. For more information, call Lyn DeLange at 731-2398. There will be no December club meeting.

Community News

Harpist Natalie Tyson at A Classic Christmas

By Paul Roberts

Special to the PREVIEW

Prospecting for music in southwest Colorado can be an exhilarating experience, especially when one discovers a wonderful resource like harpist Natalie Tyson.

Tyson will perform solo harp music, plus direct the Mountain Harmony Ladies' Barbershop Chorus, at the upcoming concert, A Classic Christmas, to be held at 7 p.m. Dec. 17, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Featuring a mixture of classical instrumental music and traditional Christmas carols, "A Classic Christmas" promises to be fine showcase of local talent. The concert also features John Graves, Bob Nordmann, Melinda Baum, Larry Elginer, June Marquez, Jessica Espinosa, Jeannie Dold, Carla and Paul Roberts.

A Classic Christmas is a rare chance to hear Natalie Tyson perform solo harp. She will play "A Minuet from Sixth French Suite," by Bach; "My Heart at Thy Sweet Voice," by Saint Saëns; and a 15th century pavane.

Tyson loves to quote an old aphorism: "Life is like a musical instrument; what you get out of it depends on how you play it."

"Music is my life," she said, "I don't know that I could get by without it."

Growing up in northeastern Indiana, Tyson played clarinet in her junior high and high school bands.

In college she was inspired to study the harp, attracted by the instrument's varied and soothing palette of tone colors and its wide range of expression. She has traveled to harp conventions all over the world to study with some of the great masters of the instrument. She has performed with community theater orchestras and with the Oklahoma City Community Orchestra.

Tyson performs a fascinating program for church groups, in which she presents a narrative about women in the Bible, and then plays music that evokes the character of these women.

"The versatility of the harp is so wonderful," she says. It can be very relaxing. It was great for my kids; it helped them go to sleep. My husband enjoys going to sleep while I'm practicing. It's also a kind of meditation time for me."

An ethereal effect is created on the harp by a technique known as glissando. "Glissandos are created by running your fingers across all the strings," Tyson explained.

The harp is a great instrument for angelic sounds, but it's hardly limited to that. "It can also be quite exciting," she said. "There are a lot of rumbas, tangos, and sambas that have been arranged for the harp. There's also a lot of jazz that's fun to play.""

Describing some other harp techniques, she said, "You can use the soundboard as a drum, tapping on it for an effect. You can play close to soundboard for more of a twangy sound. You can press your hand against a string and produce a harmonic that sounds an octave higher, making a bell-like tone. The pedals make it possible to play different chords. Composers went wild when pedals were invented for the harp."

Playing any musical instrument has its challenges. The harp has some big ones, like the 45 strings that need to be tuned and occasionally replaced.

"It's like a Swiss watch," said Tyson. "It's such a precision instrument. It has to be built just right and adjusted just right. There are very few people in the U.S. who can do the repairs. It's an expensive instrument to buy and it's expensive to maintain."

In 1995, she and her husband, Jarrell Tyson, (a Methodist minister), began a seven-year ministry in Russia. When they returned to the US, they traveled all over the country, speaking to church groups about their experiences in Russia. The Tysons moved to Pagosa in 2001.

Tyson has taken an active role in the local music scene as director of the Mountain Harmony Ladies' Barbershop Chorus.

Come hear Mountain Harmony and harpist Natalie Tyson performing for A Classic Christmas.

A Classic Christmas is produced by Elation Center for the Arts, a local nonprofit. The concert - which includes a dessert social - follows the organization's recent Pagosa Song Fest, last summer's American Roots Music Festival, and the Ancient Cultures arts-in-education program at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School. Proceeds from the concert will help support Elation Center's efforts in bringing quality community concerts, classes and other cultural enrichment programs to Pagosa Springs.

Tickets will be available at the door. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children under 18.

Bring a dessert to share, if you wish. Also, volunteers are needed to help with holiday decorations and refreshments. Call 731-3117 for more information.


Medicare drug workshop at The Silver Foxes Den

Confused about Medicare's new Part D drug coverage for seniors?

If so, Sen. Jim Isgar and the Colorado Gerontological Society want to help.

Isgar will host a series of four free public workshops Dec. 15-16 to help southwest Colorado seniors understand the new Medicare benefits. The workshops are presented by the Colorado Gerontological Society.

A workshop will be offered in Pagosa Springs.

"We want to make sure seniors in southwest Colorado have access to helpful Medicare information. We encourage people to come and speak with an expert and learn more about what plan is best for them," said Isgar.

Seniors receiving Medicare benefits can enroll in Medicare Part D, the new federal prescription drug discount plan, through May 15. Coverage starts Jan. 1 for seniors who have already registered.

According to Medicare's Web site ( under Part D almost one in three people with Medicare will qualify for extra help paying their prescription drug costs.

To better determine which prescription drug plans could best supplement current Medicare coverage, seniors are asked to bring a list of the medications they are taking to the workshops.

For further more information about Part D, contact Medicare at (800) 633-4227 or go to or for more information on the session or other questions, call the Colorado Gerontological Society toll free at (866) 416-0659.

The Pagosa workshop, featuring speaker Don Kreutzer, will take place 9-11 a.m. Dec. 15 at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center (264-2167, located in the community center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Refreshments will be provided.


County Republican Women to hold Christmas Coffee

By Barbara Rawlings

Special to the PREVIEW

The Archuleta County Republican Women will hold a Christmas Coffee at the home of Carol Fisher 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13.

This is an opportunity to meet others in the community who have an interest in the direction of our local, state and federal governments. It is a way to become acquainted if you are new to the community or just want to meet others with similar interests. Come join us for a cup of coffee and goodies. Call Barbara at 731-9916 for directions to Carol's home.

Our organization was established three years ago and is open to all registered Republican women as members and registered Republican men as associate members. Luncheon meetings are held the second Tuesday of each month at 11:30 a.m. at the Hog's Breath. We promote Republican ideals and candidates, participate in community services and provide educational programs for our members. We are always open to new membership, but there is not an obligation to join.

Groundbreaking show is inspirational

By Leanne Goebel

Special to The PREVIEW

In a nondescript warehouse on Bastille Street, in an industrial area of Pagosa Lakes, is a hidden treasure: The Space@Shy Rabbit.

Nestled between a wholesale bread distributor and a drywall company, in unit B-4 (the only white door with a black logo of a bunny sitting atop the words Shy Rabbit) is a contemporary art center. While the exterior is nothing fancy - a drab metal building, oil stained asphalt, trucks everywhere - it's the interior that matters. Inside, is a clean, well-lighted gallery space with 14-foot-high ceilings, concrete floors and light avocado green walls.

Currently on display is the Shy Rabbit Invitational and Juried Art Show, a collection 48 works of art, featuring four invited artists and 15 artists selected by a committee of jurors. Thirty-three of those works of art fill The Space. Fifteen photographs by invited artist Emilio Mercado are displayed in the much more intimate, original Shy Rabbit showroom in unit B-1.

The Space is dominated by the presence of three warrior figures created by Durango-based artist Marsan, also known as Susan Anderson. These warrior figures are over 6-feet tall and stand almost diagonally in the middle of The Space. Marsan calls them "Spiritual Warriors" - "Harvest," "Awakening" and "Guardian." Each is crafted from indigenous primitive materials from around the world. Old fabric is wrapped and wound, but not cut. There are ancient tools, implements, jewelry attached to the warrior. Many of the objects used to create these warriors are more than 100 years old. A scroll accompanies each warrior that speaks to its traits, materials and purpose.

"My belief about art is that it either creates, or captures what is past," Marsan said. She believes that the warriors are created for the specific person who purchases them and those who derive insight from observation. "You will be innately drawn to the spiritual warrior most resembling the character trait you were endowed with to serve God's purpose. Each artifact has meaning and relational qualities to the overall piece as well as to the character of the person relating."

Marsan's warriors are impressive, but the smaller, organic sculpture, "Unity of . . . ology," an actual tortoise shell, feathers and wire frame is most striking for its simplicity. Marsan has five works in the current show, more than any other artist.

Marsan's warriors balance the three giant canvases by another Durango-based artist, Sarah Comerford. Comerford has a BFA in painting from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Comerford was in New Jersey Sept. 11, 2001, and her two paintings, "The Twins," represent her experience that day. The two canvases, hang nearly touching, each feature a blonde twin wearing a crystal chandelier. The chandeliers represent capitalism and its wealth and bought beauty, but rather than being purely esthetic, the chandeliers are worn by the human figures in a burdensome manner, one even tied around the neck like an albatross. Floating on the gold leaf-covered canvas are dozens of Frida Kahlo-esque hearts which represent not only death, but also the anticipated suffering still to come.

Comerford's canvases are impressive in their size, 3-feet wide by 5-feet tall. Her "Self Portrait" directly across the room from "The Twins" is the more intriguing painting. The artist stands nude between heavy red velvet drapes, strategically holding a bunch of grapes while sneering, grinning skulls float around her on the canvas.

In her artist's statement, Comerford writes: "I attempt to evoke otherworldliness or 'the other' that is beyond literal explanations. By 'the other' I refer to loss, pain, love and longing while understanding and appreciating beauty in the face of disintegration, fleeting life and degeneration of the body and mind." Comerford's work seems to focus on the mortal limitations of embodiment. And, like Frida Kahlo, Comerford paints her own reality, not some surrealistic dreams.

The third invited artist also deals in reality: The reality of nature. "I strive for the child's perception in which all things become both referential and reverential," Shan Wells said. "I try to strip away the everyday contexts - the cliché's of 'beautiful nature,' and reveal components that are overlooked&emdash;the visual mechanisms of creation." Wells, another Durango-based artist, received his MFA from the University of Canterbury, in New Zealand. Wells, whose body of work encompasses drawing, painting, sculpting and public art projects, is best known as the cartoon artist for The Durango Telegraph and his most recent "Moments" project, a conceptual work that utilizes historic photographs mounted on steel stanchions in the approximate location the original photograph was created. The purpose of the project is to make Durango residents more aware of their history and their connection to the land.

Wells' creative approach is similar to Marsan's. "I believe there is a creative force that runs through human culture, thought and expression," he says. "The expression of this force is not limited solely to our species. Elephants draw it, orca sing it and bower birds sculpt it."

His most prominent work at the Invitational and Juried Arts Show is "Leaf Press" a wooden vise compressing oak leaves. Made from recycled pine, maple, oak leaves, found steel and wood, the work implies both the structure of nature and the structure of human invention. Representing the gradual transition of loam into soil, it also represents the gradual destruction of nature by our human disconnect from the natural world. His other works, "Swabs," are made from burn mud slurry from the Missionary Ridge Fire, steel, cotton, paper and hemp and hang on the wall like giant Q-tips dripping with the blood of the earth.

"Often, I wind up touching my ancient heritage as a human animal," Wells says in his artist statement. "Foraging for color, collecting emotion." With "Swabs" he seems to have collected the emotion of not only humans affected by the fires of 2002, but of the earth itself.

The fourth invited artist, Emilio Mercado does not forage for color.

"They say the world is full of color," Mercado says. "But I'd rather do black and white. It's more interesting."

Fifteen of Mercado's black and white photographs hang in the front space at Shy Rabbit. It's the perfect, small space for the purity of Mercado's light-painted photographs. Inspired by 17th Century master still-life painter Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, Mercado uses only natural light for all of his compositions. Like Chardin, Mercado is a purist, insisting on precision and perfection at the shot and in the darkroom. Many of his original photographs took years to be developed and printed in the fashion that he originally envisioned, due to the advancement of film processing. An example of this is the still life, "Butterfly, Coffee Pot and Three Eggs," which was taken in 1965, but not actually printed until 1985. The photo was shot using a common window screen to create the grainy appearance.

Mercado's photographs are masterful. The composition of Mercado's work is precise, like in "Small Oiler and Leaf" (1995) where the tip of the leaf aligns perfectly and almost touches the slender spout of the oilcan. There is purity in Mercado's work and this purity is reflected in the choice by Shy Rabbit to exhibit his photography without the adulteration of other art.

Juried and multiple artist shows are often difficult, jumbled and crammed together. At Shy Rabbit, this is not the case. The work seems to flow from one piece to the next. Each work of art pops on the soft green walls. There is an abundance of earth tones, gold foil, bronze and where there is brilliant color, in Ted Fish's "Remember XT," Kathleen Steventon's "Quintessential," and Mikki Harder's "Away," it is kept together and draws the eye into the far right hand corner of The Space. Work is hung horizontally and vertically, utilizing the height of the walls and ceiling. Tirzah Camacho's "The Four Misdirection's," is four Masonite panels that the artists originally envisioned hung horizontally, but the work is impressive stacked one atop the other in a tall totem.

By far, the most compelling work from the juried artists is that of Pat Erickson from Pagosa Springs. Her long narrow canvas, "Scripture Bound," of a male figure with his head bound in red cloth and wrapped in thorns, angel wings outstretched is from a series of work called "Mind Games." This ongoing project is currently comprised of 10 images that represent the various states in one's own mind or those states imposed on the individual from without. The wings in "Scripture Bound" are actually vulture wings, the artist explained.

Erickson said that she rewards herself for creating her more traditional wildlife images and prints, which pay the bills, by taking time to create new work in this series. She has two new "Mind Games" images planned. Erickson's "Mind Games" canvases are primarily black and white with shots of color, like the red cloth covering the eyes and the green vine wrapped around the head, holding the wings in place. Erickson's work is brilliant. The technique is entirely transparent watercolor painted on 8-ply cotton rag board. The artist does not use pencil, watercolor pencil, gouache, pastel or any other medium. Transparent watercolor pigments are very finely ground and mixed in a binding medium composed of a solution of gum Arabic. Very thin, transparent layers of pigment mingle with the white effect of the paper. Using a dry brush technique, mastered by artist Andrew Wyeth, Erickson, creates work of precise detail. The hundreds of hours involved in creating each tiny stroke is mind blowing. For Erickson, it's a Zen-like meditation. The artist's second work in the show is "Inspiration" and shows the profile of a woman, arms outstretched, back arched as if preparing for a back flip, a hawk is poised to land on her bare chest, talons ready to grip. "Inspiration" is the first positive state from the series, which includes title like "Fear," "Right Brain Bondage," "Suppression" and "Introversion."

Erickson's "Inspiration" is the work that encompasses or could represent the entire Invitational and Juried Art Show at The Space@Shy Rabbit, which, after dozens of visits, is still stimulating and innovative.

Other work of note includes the elegant lines in Chad Haspels "Above Us All," a more contemporary sculpture than those in Town Park or at Vallecito Reservoir. Don Long's political statement on the destruction of our National Forest and his commentary against the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, "Trapped," is an excellent use of found objects to create a highly sophisticated work of art.

Painter Shaun Martin shows a series of three canvases from a series called "She Comes Fortified" that express the idea of discovery through the artistic process. The titles are intended as a jumping-off point, not only for the artist, but for the viewer: "Fault Finding," (the best of the series for its design elements and structure) "Conception" and "Surplus." One other work, "Groundbreaker," is an exploration of the concept of what it means to break ground and to be groundbreaking. Martin acknowledges he is still discovering the deeper layers of the original concepts as he contemplates his own work.

Linda and Lal Echterhoff, husband and wife sculptors show three interesting and unique bronze sculptures. The bound wood of Lal's "Bird Form" is an organic shape that tempts the viewer to ponder its meaning and Linda's "Eve" is a trio of forms representing Eve, Satan and the Apple.

Other artists whose work is on display include: C.J. Hannah, Eric Cundy, Donna Emsbach and Jerry Lester.

Shy Rabbit is propelling Pagosa's art scene into the 21st century. The work compiled for the Invitational and Juried Art Show is worth the trip down Bastille Drive. The work is provocative and the energy of the Space is inspiring and cutting-edge. Weekend hours are the ideal time to peruse and ponder and discuss art with one or two of the artists whose work hangs on the walls, as it is the artists who are helping to keep the gallery doors open for visitors.

Shy Rabbit is not as difficult to find as some think. Take North Pagosa to Bastille Drive (the road just after the Buffalo Bar and before UBC) and turn left. Follow Bastille just past Hopi. Look for Pine Valley Rental on your right. Shy Rabbit is in the warehouses next door, in the former location of Joy Automotive and across the street from the UPS warehouse. Look for the sandwich board with the bunny and the words Shy Rabbit. The gallery will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 p.m. through Dec. 18.

Don't miss this show.

If you can't make it to Pagosa, but are interested in perusing some of the art, log on to for photos and more information.


Early bird tickets available

for Indiefest and folk festival

By Crista Munro

Special to The PREVIEW

Tickets are now on sale for the inaugural FolkWest Independent Music Festival - Indiefest.

The event will take place June 10-11 on Reservoir Hill in Pagosa Springs.

The Confirmed Lineup for Indiefest includes Ruthie Foster, Brave Combo, Terri Hendrix and Clumsy Lovers. Many more will be announced.

Early Bird Prices (Dec. 5 - Feb. 17) are: Saturday only, $25; Sunday only, $25; two-day pass, $40; vehicle camping pass, $25. Kids 12 and under are admitted free.

The 11th annual Four Corners Folk Festival is set for Sept. 1-3, on Reservoir Hill.

Holiday pricing (Dec. 5 - Jan. 20) is: two-day pass, $50; three-day pass, $60; on-site camping/three-day pass, $75; vehicle pass, $35. Kids 12 and under admitted free.

To order tickets for either or both events, call toll free, (877) 472-4672 Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Order online or by mail order at

Additional information is available at the same Web site.


Sisson Library to host open house

The Ruby M. Sisson Library will host an open house 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 17 at the newly expanded library facility at U.S. 160 and 8th Street.

The open house begins with an 11 a.m. program, a reading of "The Polar Express," in the Children's Room.

The Pagosa Pretenders will present a dramatization at noon in the Great Room. "Polar Express" will be featured again at 1 p.m. in the Children's Room and refreshments will be served in the South Room beginning at 1.

Lester and Frank Rivas will sing Spanish Christmas carols at 1:30 p.m. in the Great Room.

The day's events end with holiday songs from many faiths and cultures performed by the Mountain Harmony Singers, 2 p.m. in the Great Room.


Pagosa Pretenders receive El Pomar award

By John Egan

Special to The PREVIEW

If the "world's a stage," as Shakespeare once said, the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater has found its way to the center of that stage.

On Nov. 17, Susan Garman, president of the local theater group, accepted an award as one of three finalists for the William Howbert Award for Excellence in Arts and Humanities from the prestigious El Pomar Foundation of Colorado Springs. The award was made in recognition of the groups' strengthening "Šthe bond between family and community utilizing the creative process of the performing arts, from planning to performance."

The award further cited that, "Children of all ages perform side-by-side with their parents and peers in creative, original plays created through cast improvisation with an all-volunteer staff." A handsome plaque presented to the Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater was accompanied by a check in the amount of $7,500, the cash reward for being a finalist.

The El Pomar (The Orchard) Foundation, established in 1937 by Spencer and Julie Penrose, was originally dedicated "to enhance, encourage and promote the current and future well being of the people of Colorado through grantmaking and community stewardship." Penrose is best known for building the Broadmoor Hotel and Resort. Based in Colorado Springs. El Pomar Foundation is one of the largest and oldest private foundations in the Rocky Mountain West, with assets totaling $500 million. El Pomar contributes approximately $20 million annually through grants and community steward programs to support Colorado nonprofit organizations involved in health human services, education, arts and humanities, and civic and community initiatives. El Pomar has provided more than $300 million in capital program, and general operating support through direct grantmaking. The Association of Fundraising Professionals honored El Pomar by naming it Foundation of the Year in 1998. Part of the nomination read, "Šwe know of no foundation that has so enthusiastically embraced such a broad scope of creative programming in the service nonprofit sector."

This year's Awards of Excellence included the areas of Human Services, Sports and Recreation, Youth Development, Education, Environmental Issues and Health care, among others. The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater was a finalist for the Arts and Humanities Award of Excellence along with The Doctor Martin Luther King Museum of Pueblo. Music in the Mountains of Durango took top honors in the category.

Of the ceremony Garman said, "It was very humbling to be in the World Arena with so many exceptional non-profit organizations. Being a finalist is an honor to share with everyone who has ever participated in a Pagosa Pretenders production. I thank and commend all our volunteers. They make every production a reality. They are The Pretenders."

The Pagosa Pretenders has a history of producing many fun theatrical productions including last year's "An Evening with the Stars" and memorable shows like "Lord of the Springs," "Sleeping Beauty" and "2001; a Space Oddity."

The programs first entertained locals in the Multi-Purpose Room at Pagosa Springs Elementary School and moved more recently to the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium. What make these productions unique are their casts: everyone from kindergartners to senior citizens find themselves "treading the boards" in these entertaining, high energy and fast-paced shows, many of which include dancing and singing.

Garman and the board of directors of Pagosa Pretenders have other aspirations for the organization, which may include more productions each year, a Summer Theater Camp, a Readers' Theater and scholarships for students of theater. "Pagosa Pretenders has fulfilled its initial mission of providing an opportunity for those interested in theater to have an introduction to the stage," said Garman. "It's time we redefine our goals so that we can expand our mission in the community."

The board of directors has even discussed taking on more serious theatrical endeavors. While no plans have been announced, it is clear Pagosa Pretenders is moving in the direction of a wider variety of stage presentations to round out its service to Pagosa Springs.


Our Savior Lutheran School holds Christmas Bazaar

By Susie Jones

Special to The PREVIEW

Colorful, unique and crafted by little hands - this best describes the numerous Christmas decorations for sale at Our Savior Lutheran School's Christmas Bazaar, 1:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in the school gym, 56 Meadows Drive.

Some traditional, some contemporary, most of the items offered for sale have been handmade by the students. Also included are items made by parents and other donors.

Among the array of festive creations are bright-colored ornaments made by the preschoolers, wrapping paper painted by first-graders, cloth Indian angels crafted by third- and fourth-graders, and decorative wall hangings made by the school's fifth- and sixth-graders. Kindergartners are offering flower seed packets, and paint cans which they have cleverly embellished with puzzle pieces that can be used as waste paper cans, a recycling project.

Other fare for sale includes old-fashioned stringed light decors, candy cane mobiles and felt tree skirts. An assortment of baked goodies will also be available.

Proceeds from the bazaar will help fund the school's everyday operations.


Women's Club to change meeting site

By Marti Capling

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Women's Club announces a change in its meeting place. JJ's Upstream Restaurant will host the luncheons, beginning with the April 9 meeting. The time and price remain the same, with doors opening at 11:45, lunch served at noon, followed by a short program.

The Pagosa Women's Club meets the second Wednesday of each month for lunch and a program or speaker providing topics of interest to the community. The club is open to all women of the Pagosa area on a drop-in basis or by joining the group with a $12 membership fee. Current members are called each month with information regarding the menu and program. The same information is available in Kate's Calendar, along with a phone number to call for reservations, which are mandatory.

Monies raised by the club are distributed to various charitable organizations within the community. In the past year, donations have been made to Special Olympics, Wolfwood, the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, and the Salvation Army, for whom the club also provides bell ringers. In addition, the club has adopted a two-mile section of Piedra Road for clean-up as a service project.

Joining the Pagosa Women's Club is an opportunity to meet new people, enjoy a social occasion, learn new things and help the community. The club invites new members and encourages the return of past members.

Your input is valued in the selection of programs and organizations or charities to receive donations. For further information call Katherine Cruse, president, 731-2602, or Charlotte Overley, treasurer, 731-4991.

Community choir Christmas concerts this weekend

By Sue Diffee

Special to The PREVIEW

Pagosa Springs Community Choir directors Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer have been rehearsing the choir since early September, preparing a variety of music for the annual Christmas Concert.

The program this year will include sacred, secular, gospel and jazz music. The concert will last approximately 90 minutes and will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, with a 4 p.m. matinee Sunday, Dec. 11. The community center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd., will be the site for this year's concert. Due to limited seating it is suggested you arrive early.

Included in the program will be several new songs including "Bidi Bom," "All on a Starry Night," "We are Lights," "A Carol For To Sing!" and "Some Children See Him."

Other, more familiar songs on the program are "Sing Choirs of Angels," "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Winter Wonderland of Snow."

"Winter Medley," with soloists Bill Norton and Janna Voorhis, and "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with soloists Sheri Bahn and Matthew Brunson will also be performed.

Shirley McGee is our accompanist and Alex Baum is the percussionist on several selections. Elizabeth Jernigan will be signing again this year.

All of our concerts are our gifts to the community. Tax free donations are gratefully appreciated.


Kids' Holiday Retreat

The holiday season is here and the hustle and bustle of shopping has begun.

Do you need a safe place for your children to go while you shop? The Archuleta County Education Center has the answer. In the spirit of the holidays the center invites kids in first to sixth grades to participate in a Kid's Holiday Retreat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The day will be filled with fun crafts and movies. Snacks will be provided, however, students will need to bring a bag lunch. The cost for the day is $15.

To register your children, or for more information, call the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835.

Unitarians continue meditation series

On Sunday, Dec. 11, the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will continue its series of Mindfulness Meditation sessions, led by April Merrilee. This heart-centered meditation, celebrating the spirit of love, is quite appropriate for the holiday season.

Merrilee points out that "group meditation helps us experience a stronger sense of connection, which is especially meaningful this time of year." She invites anyone who is interested to come prepared to share insights and/or questions about the practice of meditation.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

Hospitality, customer service program offered at ed center

By Livia Lynch

Special to The PREVIEW

Workers interested in the customer service/hospitality industry but lacking the experience or skills now have access to a skills-driven training program sanctioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute (AHLA).

Skills, Tasks and Results Training (START) was developed by AHLA and is based on a 180-hour curriculum that provides students with the real-world knowledge and skills needed to begin a hospitality career. Graduates of the program will complete intensive classroom and hands-on training to master the skills and competencies associated with 12 line-level positions associated with the lodging industry, with a focus on rooms division, food and beverage, safety and security, professionalism and extraordinary guest service.

The START program is being offered throughout southwest Colorado. In Pagosa Springs, the Archuleta County Education Center will implement START, and the 180-hour program will be offered beginning in January 2006 on a scheduled basis, as well as offered in shorter skill-driven modules as needed throughout the spring.

START is designed to deliver integrated employment training services to individuals who have been identified as low-wage, low-skilled workers. These trainings will also be open to incumbent workers, and current employees of the local hospitality industry.

Participants who complete the program will receive certification that should increase their chances of getting a job and a higher salary in a career track.

The portion of the economy in Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan counties based on tourism averages 30 percent, with a range of 16-47 percent. Approximately 30 percent of workers in the region are in this field.

In some industries, "entry level" is shorthand for "no growth potential." Not in hospitality. The lodging industry is booming and opportunities abound for meaningful jobs with high-growth career paths" (AHLA) Several regional hospitality partners will give hiring preference to START program graduates, and hoteliers also stand to reap some cost savings in training new or current employees who "show promise." There are currently 52 AHLA workforce programs in 21 states, and research into their current programs shows that students of the START program take from 30-50 percent less training time to get up to productivity levels and the retention rate once employed is very high.

Classes are limited to 20 students and are free. Classes will be offered Monday-Thursday 1:30-4 p.m. in Pagosa Springs are slated to begin Jan. 3.

For more information or to sign up for Skills, Tasks and Results Training program for hospitality careers, contact Ashlee Allen, project coordinator, at (970) 769-1682 or via e-mail at Local information can also be obtained from the Archuleta County Education Center 264-2835.


Planning Commission

The Archuleta County Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, in the Board of County Commissioners' Meeting Room in the county courthouse. Public comment is welcome and encouraged.

The agenda includes:

- Call to order / roll-call.

- Review of Sketch Plan for Wagner Minor Impact Subdivision.

This is a request to obtain approval of the Sketch Plan to subdivide two lots of 7.75 and 7.21 acres, respectively, from a 14.96-acre tract of land, for purposes of possible future resale of one of the lots, and to use the second lot for the construction of the applicant's primary single family residence.

The property is located at 179 Navajo Road. Legal Description: SW4, NW4 of Section 28, and the SE4, NE4 of Section 29, Township 33N, R5W, N.M.P.M.

- Minor Impact Final Plat Review for the Leeper Minor Impact Subdivision.

This is a request to obtain approval of a Final Plat to legally subdivide a single parcel of 13.00 acres from a 39.70-acre parcel of land, for purposes of future resale.

The project is located at 1390 CR-400 (Fourmile Road). Legal Description: SW4 of NW4 of Section 12, Township 35N, R2W, N.M.P.M.

- Minor Impact Final Plat Review for the McInnis Minor Impact Subdivision.

This is a request to obtain approval of the Final Plat to legally subdivide a single parcel of 1.00 acre from an 8.41-acre tract of land, for purposes of future resale.

The project is located at 1150A-C and 1230 County Road 600 (Piedra Road). Legal Description: SW4, Section 9, Township 35N, R2W, N.M.P.M.

- Sketch Plan for the Ridge Ventures, LLC Minor Impact Subdivision.

This is a request to obtain approval of a Sketch Plan to legally subdivide a single parcel of 58.70 acres into three lots of 20.7, 18.2, and 19.8 acres, respectively, for purposes of future resale.

This property is located in NW4, SW4, NW4 of Section 15, Township 34N, R1W, N.M.P.M. The three proposed lots have been tentatively addressed as 357, 483, and 531 Whispering Woods Drive (Lots 1, 2, and 3 respectively).

- Review of the planning commission Nov. 9, 2005 minutes.

- Other business that may come before the planning commission.

- Adjournment.


Local Chatter

The library needs volunteers ... and potlucks

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

If the Ruby Sisson Library volunteers were following tradition, they would be holding a potluck for the staff this Friday (second Friday in December), with husbands invited.

But, because the jobs or volunteers were limited at the mini library (while the main library was under new construction), volunteers sort of scattered (after all, six months is a long time), and so the decision was made to forego the potluck.

Some asked, "Why?" but the most mumbling has been from husbands. They're missing the food!

But, come next year, when all is settled down, the potlucks will be resumed.

In the meantime, the library needs volunteers. Some have moved away and others have not checked in. If you would like to volunteer, let yourself be known at the desk.

Volunteer hours are important. They count toward grants. These past few years, 3,000-plus hours have been reported each year. But this year, the total will be much lower because the help hasn't been needed. This will change.

A beautiful quilt is on display at the library. It was given to the Pagosa Women's Civic Club as a fund-raiser for Sisson Library.

It was handmade by the Pagosa Piecemakers. It is queen size and has an autumn leaves pattern in fall colors. Tickets are $5 each. The raffle will be Dec. 22. Tickets can be purchased from civic club members or at the library.

Around Town

If talented people don't already live here, they move here (I'm convinced) to use their talents. The Music Boosters' production of Dicken's "A Christmas Carol" was superb from all positions - the characters, the orchestra, the set and the direction.

It was a rich holiday experience for all who were there.

Fun on the Run

Resumé blunders Š

How bad a mistake can you spot on a resumé? Here are some genuine goof-ups.

- "My intensity and focus are at inordinately high levels, and my ability to complete projects on time is unspeakable."

- "Education: Curses in liberal arts, curses in computer science, curses in account."

- "Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store."

- "I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse."

- "I am a rabid typist."

- "Created a new market for pigs by processing, advertising and selling a gourmet pig mail order service on the side."


Community Center News

Community center alive with holiday cheer

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

The Christmas trees in the lobby and the gym are full of lights and decorations; wreaths hang outside the building and in the halls, office and conference rooms. The spirit of the season is alive and well at the community center.

Special thanks to Erma and Reuben Mesa and Lura Thomson for their help in making the center a festive location for our holiday events.

Mercy reports that her time with family and friends in the Philippines started out on a very busy note but said she is now settling into the fun and relaxing stage. She asked that I pass along greetings to all her Pagosa friends and tell everyone who has been calling her at the center that she will be back in the office Dec. 14.

Yoga class

In West Boylston, Mass., veterans of World War II and the Vietnam and Korean wars are learning how yoga can help with posttraumatic stress, from which one in eight combat vets suffers. After some initial reluctance, all the participants in a Central Mass. Yoga Institute program designed specifically for veterans are finding some freedom from both physical and mental pain. Not only do they now believe that the program has been of great help to them, but they are recommending something similar for the veterans returning from Iraq.

Come to Richard Harris' Thursday yoga class (11 a.m.-noon) to see for yourself the kind of benefits the Massachusetts veterans are experiencing. All are welcome to join this free program. Please bring a towel or yoga mat and dress in comfortable clothes. Call 264-4152 for more information.


The last meeting of the scrapbooking group for 2005 will take place 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 10.

Teresa Mael will demonstrate how to use acrylic stamps. These stamps are mounted on a clear base so you can always see exactly where your stamped image is going. Teresa will talk about embellishments to stamped images and how to care for your stamps. Members of the scrapbooking group will also have time to work on their individual projects.

Come and be part of the fun. For information, call Melissa Bailey at 731-1574.

Aus-Ger Club

The Austrian/German Club will meet at noon Thursday, Dec 22, at the Buffalo Inn. The chef will prepare some German dishes for lunch.

There are no dues or set requirements for membership in this informational and social group. For example, there is no requirement that those who participate in the club know German. All those who are interested in Austria or Germany, or the language and culture of those countries, are welcome to attend.

Roger Behr, the new president, explained that the group is interested in finding ways to locate others in the Pagosa community who may not currently know about the club, but would participate in club activities if they were aware of them. There has also been interest in putting together a European trip to visit Austria and Germany.

Call Roger at 731-0409 for more information.

Computer lab news

Last week we discussed some gift ideas for the computer/gadget fans on your shopping list; however, all were hardware choices.

This week, I'm thinking about software. Lots of possibilities here.

First, the fun stuff. Most of us like playing computer games. There is evidence, I read, that playing computer games is good mental exercise and is of special benefit to those of us who are getting older. What a wonderful excuse to sit down for some game playing. Last year, my friend Ann recommended a game called Bookworm - she knows that I'm a word person. Although there is a free version available (see, the enhanced one has some really nifty stuff in it. It is available online and costs $19.95. Be careful, if you're a word person like me ... this one can be addictive. The biggest advantage of the purchased version is that you can play anytime; to play the free version you will need the Internet.

If you are looking for a game for a young person, it may be safest to ask what they would like. Then, when you have an answer, check carefully online or with other parents/grandparents to be certain that the title is appropriate for your young person. Many games which require purchase are available free to try. Do take advantage of this, to better judge whether or not to buy. Good sources for games are,, and

Types of software other than entertainment include the necessary things like anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, or applications which perform a service such as helping you to manage your money, organize your activities, create greeting cards or edit digital pictures.

Subscriptions can be fun. How about a year's subscription to an online newspaper? I liked the local newspaper where I used to live, and with the online version I can still keep up with Maryland news. Some online versions of newspapers are free and some you will have to pay for. A Chinese friend of mine regularly reads the Hong Kong papers online - in Chinese, of course.

If you're really short on money and have a little computer expertise, give a gift of time and help. Set up a free e-mail account for someone and teach him how to use it. Then be sure to send him a message every day or so.

Or take digital pictures of a family event, edit them, print them out and give a personal photograph album. If your gift recipient is interested in genealogy, search the Internet for clues about her family tree. Better yet, help her learn to find those clues herself. Another idea is to install a free office suite on a friend's computer and then spend time teaching your friend how to use it. Several years ago, a friend of mine who knew how much I love cats and books, put together a wonderful list of Internet resources for me - everything from archival paper repair to special diets for sick kitties. I consult that list even today.

New Year's Eve dance

Yes, Saturday, Dec. 31, from 9:05 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., the center is again sponsoring a dance for adults. Come join us for dancing or just enjoy listening to the music. Again, this is a BYOB event hence it's for 21 years and above. Be prepared to show your ID at the door.

Snacks and hot and cold beverages will be provided by the center. Tickets may be purchased before the dance for $15 per person or $25 for a couple. Ticket sales will end at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, and none will be available at the door.

John Graves and Company, who will provide the music, is a quartet of distinguished musicians. They excel as instrumentalists, and also as singers and entertainers.

Trumpeter Larry Elginer supplemented his career as a high school music teacher, band, orchestra and choral conductor by playing private parties and events with many of the finest musicians and groups in the Los Angeles area. He is now the co-conductor of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and Jazz Ensemble.

Bassist Susanna Ninichuck has played and sung with bands of all sizes and styles. She also plays a number of other instruments, including keyboard, drums, trumpet and tuba. Also on her resume are stints as a Hollywood stuntwoman, actress, choreographer, director and teacher of a course on opera history.

Drummer Kim Graves joined the Los Angeles Professional Musicians Union when he was 11 years old. He played with his dad, John, and other leaders at private parties all through his high school and junior high years. While attending college he worked in some big bands, which often accompanied celebrity stage shows. He is now an airline pilot living in Phoenix.

Keyboard player John Graves' main career was in the television and film industries, but he has always played several nights a week, or between film assignments, as a single pianist, side man or band leader. He played private parties for Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas and John Wayne. He has recorded, been a staff pianist at KLAC-TV, was on the first Betty White show, and accompanied such artists as George Burns, June Christy, Helen O'Connell, Rosemary Clooney, Rudy Vallee, Redd Foxx, Arthur Duncan and Jimmy Durante.

Center's hours

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

Programs needed

Do you have a special talent or hobby you would like to share - singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, foreign language conversation, sports, etc.? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming interest groups. Call Mercy at 264-4152.

Activities this week

Today, Dec. 8 - Colorado Rural Water, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors meeting, 1-3 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 9 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 2-8 p.m.; Mage Knight, 4-7 p.m.; Kiwanis Club chili supper, 4:30-7 p.m.; Pagosa Springs Choral Society Christmas concert, 7-9 p.m.

Dec. 10 - Drawing class with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Scrapbook Club work session, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Teen center open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Kiwanis Club chili supper, 4:30-7 p.m.; Pagosa Springs Choral Society Christmas concert, 7-9 p.m.

Dec. 11 - Church of Christ Sunday service, 9 a.m.-noon; Grace Evangelical Free Church service, 10 a.m.-noon; United Pentecostal Church service, 2-4 p.m.

Dec. 12 - Zimsky Law Office meeting, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; CDOT meeting, 1:30-4 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; LLHOA board meeting, 7 p.m.-9 p.m.

Dec. 13 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Non-denominational Bible study, 6:30-8 p.m.; Creepers Jeepers, 7-8 p.m.

Dec. 14 - Pagosa Brats play group, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Watercolor club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Durango Planned Parenthood session, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.;Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Need a place to have a party or meeting? We have very affordable rooms for small, mid-size and large groups. A catering kitchen is also available. Tables, chairs, a portable stage, a dance floor and audiovisual equipment are available, too. The center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Call 264-4152.

Senior News

The Den extends a helping hand

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

Operation Helping Hand receives donations from the community and distributes them to families, children and senior citizens in need during the holiday season.

The Den is going to sponsor a food drive through Dec. 13 to support Operation Helping Hand and as a way to give back to our community. We will be accepting canned goods and non-perishable food items. The food donation boxes will be located in the lounge. Please bring in a can or box of food and help those in need this holiday season.

Sound of Assurance

The Sound of Assurance, Susie Long and Judy Patton, will perform a holiday celebration at The Den, 12:45 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9. They will entertain us with good old classic holiday songs and sing-alongs. This will be a great chance for those of us at The Den to practice our singing voices for our big debut caroling later in the month.

Community Choir concert

The Community Choral Society holiday concert will be 7-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10, in the community center gym.

The choir was formed by folks in our community who love to sing and want to share their love of music with others. The concert is free to all, so join in and celebrate the holiday season with a night of festive musical favorites with family and friends.

Mental Health Month

Depression in the older adult population can sometimes be confused with normal age-related changes such as appetite loss, decreased physical activity and disrupted sleep patterns.

Many times, individuals who are depressed either do not recognize the symptoms or they refrain from sharing their feelings with others. When physical illness and depression occur at the same time, it is even harder to accurately diagnose depression.

It is important that depression be diagnosed because if it remains untreated it can get worse and/or complicate a coexisting medical problem.

The main features of depression are persistent sadness that may last for two weeks or more, accompanied by changes in the person's usual patterns, behaviors or moods. Physical symptoms that may accompany depression include aches and pains, fatigue and changes in sleeping patterns. Emotional symptoms are anxiety, feelings of emptiness and hopelessness, apathy and crying. Behavioral symptoms may include the loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities, neglect of appearance, difficulty with daily tasks, withdrawal from people or irritability.

Nutrition can also play a key role in the onset, severity and duration of depression, including daily mood swings. Food patterns that may precede and occur during depression are poor appetite, binge eating and a desire for sweets.

People who follow extremely low carb diets are at risk of feeling depressed, because the brain chemicals that promote a feeling of well-being are lacking. How and which carbohydrates affect mood and depression is not very clear. Depression is also linked to a lack of certain vitamins, such as B6, B12 and folic acid. The bottom line is that food plays a key role in maintaining mental health. Get into the habit of eating regularly throughout the day, replace sweets with fruits and whole grain carbs and drink plenty of water.

The more you can observe and be aware of the signs of depression, the more likely you are to help yourself or someone you know seek professional treatment if necessary.

Fight the holiday blues

The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time of good cheer and optimistic hopes. Yet, it is not unusual for many of us to feel sad or lonely during the holiday period - a condition that has come to be called the "holiday blues."

Holiday depression most commonly happens during the December holidays when it may seem like just about everyone in the world is celebrating in some way. While they may be intense and unsettling, holiday blues are usually short-lived, lasting for a few days to a few weeks prior to or just after the holidays, and usually subside after the holiday season is over and daily routines are resumed. At 1 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12, Susan Stoffer, a professional counselor, will be at The Den offering a valuable presentation on how to add some fun to those holiday blues. If you know someone who is having a difficult time this holiday season, please attend to learn what you can do to offer a helping hand.

Mountain Harmony

The Pagosa Springs' ladies barber shop group, better known as Mountain Harmony, will visit us at The Den, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14. They are going to do what they do best - entertain us with their lovely voices and lift our spirits with the sounds of the holiday season.

Soak at The Springs

Along the banks of the San Juan River, are 18 soaking pools of "naturally hot therapeutic mineral water." The source of these mineral-rich waters is the famous Great Pagosa Aquifer - the world's largest and deepest hot mineral spring. The Springs Resort has invited The Den to experience the tranquility of the hot springs, 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 14, free of charge. This generous offer is extended to 20 fortunate people, so sign up quick in The Den office to take advantage of an afternoon of pleasure. Either bring your own towel or you can rent one for $1. Lockers (if needed) are $2. Whether you are interested in seeking healing, relaxation or rejuvenation, our local spring is a great way to enjoy quiet conversation and time with good friends while immersing yourself into the serenity and peacefulness of the pools.

Help others - volunteer

The December holiday season is gearing up and with it comes many charitable projects filled with the spirit of giving. It is a wonderful time to support your neighbors and your community with volunteer service.

The Den is going to give back to our community by helping Operation Helping Hand at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, at the Extension Building on U.S. 84. Operation Helping Hand distributes food, clothing and other items to those in need in our community over the holidays. The Den will help sort our clothing and other donations into "something old, something new" piles so the items can then be organized into gift packages. Please sign up in The Den office by Friday, Dec. 9, to volunteer and lend a helping hand to those who are less fortunate this holiday season. Transportation is available if needed, with limited seating available.

Arboles party

The Den will celebrate the holidays with a holiday party in Arboles Thursday, Dec. 15, beginning at 11:30 a.m. The 15th is also declared "Red and Green Day," so wear your holiday colors.

Festivities will begin before lunch with a spread of appetizers graciously provided by Seniors Inc. After lunch, we will have a "bring a gift, get a gift" holiday gift exchange. Santa Claus is also coming to town and making a stop in Arboles to bring a little cheer. And, if that's not enough, we are honored to have John Graves on the piano, accompanied by vocalist June Marquez, join us for sing-alongs to some of our favorite holiday songs. The holiday party is guaranteed to be fun for all so join us for the festivities.

Party at The Den

Happy holidays and ho ho ho! Egg nog and the mistletoe. Join us to celebrate this holiday season, for the fun and friendship - which are the best reasons. The Den will celebrate the holidays with a holiday party at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16. The festivities will begin before lunch with appetizers such as cheese balls, crackers and other finger food graciously provided by Seniors Inc. After lunch, we will have a "bring a gift, get a gift" holiday gift exchange. If you would like to participate in the gift exchange, all you have to do is buy a gift, wrap it, label it with the appropriate "male," "female" or "both," so everyone knows if your gift is gender specific, then place it under the tree. After all of our bellies are full, we will take turns visiting our lovely decorated tree and choosing a gift. (But remember, you have to bring a gift and place it under the tree to receive one.) Santa Claus is coming to town and making a stop at The Den to bring a little cheer to our holiday party. John Graves will accompany vocalist June Marquez, so join us at The Den at 1 p.m. for sing-alongs to some of our favorite holiday songs.

Whether you are interested in the appetizers, the gifts, Santa Claus, the holiday sing-along with John Graves or just hanging out with your friends, The Den's holiday party is guaranteed to be fun for all. The 16th is also declared "Red and Green Day" so wear your holiday colors to add to the festivity of the party.

Computer lab news

(By Becky Herman)

Last week we discussed some gift ideas for the computer/gadget fans on your shopping list; however, all were hardware choices. This week, I'm thinking about software. Lots of possibilities here.

First, the fun stuff. Most of us like playing computer games. There is evidence, I read, that playing computer games is good mental exercise and is of special benefit to those of us who are getting older. What a wonderful excuse to sit down for some game playing! Last year my friend Ann recommended a game called Bookworm - she knows that I'm a word person. Although there is a free version available (see, the enhanced one has some really nifty stuff in it. It is available online and costs $19.95. Be careful, if you're also a word person, this one can be addictive. The biggest advantage of the purchased version is that you can play anytime; to play the free version you will need the Internet.

If you are looking for a game for a young person, it may be safest to ask what they would like. Then when you have an answer check carefully online or with other parents/grandparents to be certain that the title is appropriate for your young person. Many games which require purchase are available free to try. Do take advantage of this, to better judge whether or not to buy. Good sources for games are,, and Types of software other than entertainment include the necessary things like anti-virus and anti-spyware programs, or applications which perform a service such as helping you to manage your money, organize your activities, create greeting cards, or edit digital pictures.

Subscriptions can be fun. How about a year's subscription to an online newspaper? I liked the local newspaper where I used to live, and with the online version I can still keep up with Maryland news. Some online versions of newspapers are free and some you will have to pay for. A Chinese friend of mine regularly reads the Hong Kong papers online - in Chinese, of course.

If you're really short on money and have a little computer expertise, give a gift of time and help. Set up a free e-mail account for someone and teach him how to use it. Then be sure to send him a message every day or so. Or take digital pictures of a family event, edit them, print them out, and give a personal photograph album. If your gift recipient is interested in genealogy, search the Internet for clues about his family tree. Better yet, help him learn to find those clues himself. Another idea is to install a free office suite on a friend's computer and then spend time teaching your friend how to use it. Several years ago, a friend of mine who knew how much I love cats and books, put together a wonderful list of Internet resources for me — everything from archival paper repair to special diets for sick kitties. I consult that list even today.

Volunteers needed

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

Make an immediate impact on someone's life and volunteer as a driver for medical shuttles to Durango to help those with medical appointments who are unable to drive themselves. A county vehicle and the fuel are provided for the shuttle. You must have good people skills and be a safe driver. All applications are currently being accepted in The Den office. A background check will be completed on all candidates.

For more information, contact Musetta at 264-2167. Please make a difference, and volunteer.

Medicare information

Have questions regarding the new Medicare Drug Insurance plans? The Den can help.

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

We are also expecting informative printed information from the State Division of Insurance regarding the new Medicare Drug Insurance plans. Please call The Den at 264-2167 for an appointment to answer your questions and help you choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Activities at a glance

Friday, Dec. 9 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; The Sound of Assurance holiday presentation, 12:45 p.m., Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.; Seniors Inc., board meeting, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 10 - Community Choir Holiday Concert, 7-9 p.m. at the community center, free admission.

Monday, Dec. 12 - Medicare Drug Insurance appointments, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. (call 264-2167 to make an appointment); gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.; "How to Put the Fun in the Holiday Blues," a presentation by Susan Stoffer, a professional counselor.

Tuesday, Dec. 13 - Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 - Mountain Harmony music extravaganza, 12:30 p.m.; soaking at The Springs, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 15 - Volunteering with Operation Helping Hand, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; holiday party in Arboles, 11:30 a.m.; $1 birthday lunch celebrations in Arboles.

Friday, Dec. 16 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; red and green day; holiday party at The Den, 11 a.m. with appetizers, a gift exchange, Santa Claus and John Graves on piano with holiday sing-alongs; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.


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

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

Friday, Dec. 9 - Green chili stew, flour tortilla, tapioca pudding and fruit cup.

Monday, Dec. 12 - Cream of potato soup, tuna salad wrap with lettuce and tomato, and grapefruit.

Tuesday, Dec. 13 - Chicken enchiladas, refried beans, Spanish rice, stewed tomatoes and fruit mix.

Wednesday, Dec. 14 - Beef with sweet peppers, steamed rice, orange spiced carrots and grapefruit.

Thursday, Dec. 15 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required by Tuesday, Dec. 13). Roast pork with gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli spears, wheat bread, apricots and birthday cake; $1 birthday lunch celebrations.

Friday, Dec. 16 - Meatloaf with gravy, cheesy potatoes, green beans and pineapple tidbits.

Veteran's Corner

Veterans Service Office to move soon

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office will move by the end of this year to a new location at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 1.

This building was the former Bank of the Southwest and is located behind the City Market on the west side of town. It is expected, at this time, that Archuleta County Planning Department offices, the Colorado Workforce Center and Colorado Driver's License Office will also move to this location.

Phone number change

I expect the phone numbers will also change for this office and I will be sure to inform all my readers of that change as soon as I know it. I'm sure there will be a phone number rollover set up so, if you call the old number, it will either inform you of the new number or the call will roll over to the new number.

However, for the time being, I will be in the same location in the basement of the courthouse with the same phone numbers.

Other Archuleta County departments will be using my old space after the move. Our aging county courthouse has run out of room for expanding county services.

VA budget matters

Last week I wrote about the approved VA budget for next year. If you read the whole article - which was basically just the official news release - you may have noticed at the very bottom some mention of money allocated to assist "rural veteran" health care issues.

Frankly, I feel this was mostly "lip service," not addressing the real problems with providing VA health care for our rural veterans. They said they were going to allocate money for information to rural veterans.

Real help needed

We don't need "information" for rural veteran health care assistance; we need the VA health care system to contract with local community clinics to provide primary health care for our rural veterans.

Further, we need the VA health care system to work with Medicare for veterans who are over 65 and eligible for both Medicare and VA health care. They should share information and allow Medicare veterans to obtain their primary health care with their regular Medicare providers and allow those providers to send the veteran's prescriptions to the VA.

Unneeded duplications

As I have often written here, this would reduce the VA budget by eliminating duplicate services for the same patients and provide local health care for Medicare eligible veterans. The Medicare provider would send the patient's prescriptions to the VA Pharmacy program and the veteran would receive them in the mail.

Older veterans

Many of our Medicare eligible veterans are 70 and 80 years old and frequently must travel a long distance to Albuquerque VA Medical Center for routine matters and prescription renewals that could be handled locally. It isn't cost effective for the VA and it certainly is not cost effective for our aging veterans.

Currently, Albuquerque VAMC does not provide mileage reimbursement or overnight accommodations for an estimated 95 percent of our veterans traveling to this facility. This means the entire cost of travel is borne on the backs of these very elderly veterans, usually on fixed incomes. Completely unacceptable!

Write congressmen

If you agree with me, I urge you to write our congressmen and senators in this regard. Urge them to support changes in the VA that would allow VA and Medicare to share information and work together for our elderly veterans.

I estimate that seven out of 10 veterans I have enrolled in VA health care are over 65 and are enrolling just for the prescription drug benefit. But they have to go to VA medical facilities to get those prescriptions approved. My plan would eliminate this wasted and unneeded duplication of services.

It could prove so cost effective that the VA health care system could once again open its enrollment to all honorably discharged veterans, instead of basing enrollment solely on income or VA service-connected disability ratings.

It is time for some serious changes in the VA health care system for our aging veterans.


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.

More Information

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


Library News

When, what and how to read

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

How do you find time to read? How do you select what you read? And, how do you decide "how" to read a particular book, or article or Web subject?

When I was a child there was a lot of work to do on the farm. Daytime reading was a rare luxury and we were sent to bed at 8 p.m. When the coast was clear, I often got up and read by the nightlight in the bathroom. In the winter, when it was too cold in the bathroom, I read by the light of the electric blanket control. Later, in high school, I read novels behind my textbooks while class was in session.

Finding time to read has never gotten easier. The wider the universe of my curiosity, the more irksome the proposition has become. I try to go to bed and turn out the lights at 9 p.m. but one recent Saturday night I just needed to get away. I read the last half of the new Harry Potter between 9 and 11 that night Š and paid for it the next morning when the alarm rang at 5 a.m. There's no free lunch Š except maybe for audio tapes. On my Thanksgiving trip to Los Angeles, I listened to one of our new acquisitions, "The Shadow of the Wind" by Zafon. It was a free lunch, and a pretty good one at that.

Then, we have what I feel, at least, is the grave matter of selection of reading material.

I'm not a great Zig Zigler fan, but I cannot forget his statement in "How to be a Winner," about "feeding your mind." I agree with him that one needs to feed ones mind good stuff. Therefore, one needs to select good stuff and be rigorous, but not rigid, about fending off junk reading. A potato chip now and then isn't a crime, but a diet of them will make you (a) fat (head).

All but the most classic of works get a limited audition for a place in my time allocation. I stand in the bookstore, or at the library shelf, and speed read the last chapter to decide if this newcomer is worthy of my attention. Often, the book will fail and I will put it out of my mind. Sometimes, as with "Kite Runner," the book wins a bookmark, or maybe even a checkout, in my mind.

Sometimes a book review will decide my choice, but even then, I'll usually preview the book, either by the last chapter, if it's fiction, by checking some set of facts against my knowledge base, if it's history, or a recipe, if it's a cookbook. Selecting in non fiction areas where I have no background is more difficult. But I don't "do" blind dates with books. Life is too short.

So, first, we have the issue of finding time to read. Then we have the matter of selection of the reading material. Finally, we have to decide how we are going to read what we have selected.

In my first weeks at the University of Illinois I took an Evelyn Wood's speed reading class. Speed reading is a great skill to add to your life. Many novels, even good ones, fall into the speed reading category for me. If they are really good, they can, and will, be reread.

Still, there are certain kinds of materials that one cannot speed read. Law school casebooks, for instance, do not lend themselves to speed reading. Scott Turow, in his book, "One L," about the first year of law school, characterized learning to read cases as "Learning to stir cement with your eyelashes." Too true!

If the poetry book is good enough for me to read, I will probably want to spend enough time to memorize one or more poems. The lifetime of rich reward is a line in Frost coming back every November or with every "Reluctance" in life.

If the garden book, or the cookbook, is good enough to check out, it's probably good enough to buy, to read slowly, and to think about. I have a friend who says that if you use one or two recipes from a cookbook for the rest of your life, it's a great book. I think he's right.

Being a citizen in these difficult political times has demanded a different reading approach. After 9/11, I started going into the web every week and checking the content of The American Conservative as well as the Nation, The Weekly Standard, Orion, the Guardian and The Denver Post. I balance Buckley's NRO with or In each, I try to speed read some article that piques my curiosity. I admit to giving up on Le Monde, because the time required by my unsophisticated grasp of French was just too much. Oh well.

If you are what you eat, you are, even more surely, what you read. Are you happy with the materials you are putting into your mind? Are you happy with the time you give to them? Are you pleased with how you have decided to read them? Now is the time for New Year's resolutions about reading.


Arts Line

PSAC schedules club meetings, classes, drawing session

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

Pagosa Springs Arts Council's third annual Gala Gallery Tour Walk was held last Friday, Dec. 2.

Participating galleries were: 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.

As always, this was a fun event and a great way to kick off the holiday season. Many thanks to the participating galleries, guest artists and a special thanks to Marti Capling - PSAC's chairperson for the tour - for all her hard work and effort in coordinating this year's gallery walk.

Perfect gift

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.

The PSAC gallery gift shop also has local artist items for sale. Available items vary from cards or bookmarks for only a couple of dollars each to higher priced limited prints, woodworking, silk items, and more.

Drawing with Davis

Drawing with Randall Davis begins Saturday at 9 a.m. Randall's sessions usually finish 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 two days a week, but someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Space allowing, walk-ins are always welcome.

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

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 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. 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.

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. 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 ( 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

There's never enough garlic

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

I lie in my little bed at night, and ask myself: Is there such a thing as too much garlic?

Oh, I suppose a ton or so dumped on the front porch would be considered "too much." But, I'm referring to the use of the stinking rose in food.

I realize, of course, that certain qualifications must be made, most notably one based on a distinction between uncooked garlic and cooked garlic.

It is easy to imagine too much uncooked garlic, the raw deal distributed indiscriminately throughout a dish. Oh, yeah, even the most avid lover of garlic could surrender at some point in the process if the prima materia were raw.

But, cooked?

Just before I wend my way to dreamland, after I've reviewed my garlic basics, I have the answer to my question: Is there such a thing as too much garlic?


The next day, I set out to establish a measure of proof for my position.

One wall of my foundation rests on the reality of roasted garlic. The stuff changes nature, exchanges its harsh, often bitter characteristics for a more pleasant character. I can eat properly roasted cloves of garlic like snack nuts. I'm sure you can, too.

Second, I know it is darned hard to over-garlic a tomato sauce, given the sauce is cooked long enough.

Bagna Cauda? Too much garlic? Surely, you jest. This delightful melange - olive oil, garlic, anchovy, milk-soaked bread - is the perfect dip for fresh, raw veggies, for hunks of crusty bread. Or your hand, if you're desperate for a garlic fix.

My argument relies on the fact the noble clove mellows considerably when cooked. The longer it is cooked, and the bigger the chunk of garlic, the milder it is when eaten. Still a bit prominent on the breath, mind you, but easier to consume.

You see, with garlic, the smaller the pieces, and in particular if those pieces are mashed, the more volatile chemicals are released from the flesh. Those volatile chemicals are, of course, the elements that make the vegetable stinky. Raw, mashed or shredded garlic is a culinary weapon that should be wielded by masters only.

But, a big piece of garlic, or a whole clove, cooked long and slow - braised or roasted - is a different animal entirely. Sweet, its rough edges gone, its effect mitigated, it is a lovely ingredient, hard to abuse with even the clumsiest paws.

I decided to do a test run to further cement my theory.

How about a take on the notorious Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic?

I remember the first time I enjoyed the bird fixed thus. I was a lad, just back to Denver from my adventures in musicland in New York City and all points in between, and I was (as the jargon went at the time) "crashing" with a pair of dubious hippie lovebirds in a hovel located in Capitol Hill. Pierre and Caspienne - poetry- and hormone-intoxicated bongo-playing quasi-students - had taken up cooking and drinking wine as a hobby.

Seemed fine to me. I was able to eat all manner of whole grain concoctions, and "rest" during my tenure in their "pad."

I tended to "rest" a lot, having expended an enormous amount of energy finding my way back to the Rockies from the Big Apple (remind me to tell you about Oxford, Ohio, sometime) and, one evening, I was awakened by the most extraordinary smell.


I staggered down a flight of rickety stairs, stumbled over a couple of old cats and lurched into the "dining room," which also served as the "living room" and a "bedroom."

In other words, the room contained a mattress-cum-dining table draped with a threadbare paisley bedspread, the space lit by a single fixture - a lamp made from the shin bone of a wapiti on top of which glowed a yellowed 60-watt bulb. There was a torn Family Dog poster taped to the wall.

Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic.

Caspienne was inspired by a recipe read during her break as a salesperson at the college bookstore. She scrounged the change needed to purchase a scraggly chicken at the market and there was enough left in hand to buy four heads of garlic. She borrowed salt and pepper from the peyote-addled folks in the commune next door.

She crammed the peeled cloves of garlic inside the bird, seasoned it, tossed it in the oven, successfully lit the oven without blowing up the apartment and Š

It was just peachy, the chicken consumed in the company of several glasses of four-day-old Almaden, all done to the accompaniment of tunes from the first Big Brother and the Holding Company album played on a battered Silvertone with only one working speaker.

Good times.

I think I can do the inimitable Caspienne one better. Jack the recipe up a bit, if you will.

I got me a chicken and cut it into a bunch o' parts. I procured an "organic" chicken to appease Kathy, since she refuses to buy my argument that there are no inorganic chickens. I have had an e-mail exchange recently with Henry Silver concerning the merits of Kosher poultry and he, no doubt, and accurately, would recommend an organic, Kosher chicken. Couldn't agree more - nothing beats proper, personalized exsanguination of flesh destined for human consumption. However the rascals are hard to come by at the local supermarket. If we can talk our market into carrying them, make a point of buying a few; you won't be disappointed.

I digress.

I snagged the chicken and cut it up. Eight pieces. I seasoned the pieces with salt and pepper.

I sauteed the chicken (with skin, please) in a large braiser, four pieces at a time, over medium high heat in olive oil, three minutes or so on each side. The chicken was removed to a tented plate when browned.

Into the braiser (could just as easily have been a Dutch oven &emdash;fancy and enameled, or plain) went forty to fifty cloves of peeled garlic. After the garlic spent a couple minutes over the heat, back in went the chicken with some chopped fresh rosemary and chopped fresh thyme. The braiser was covered with foil and went into a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, the hunks of bird getting the occasional baste with pan juices.

The foil was removed. I threw in a mess of thinly sliced cremini mushrooms, a bit of lemon zest. I popped the pan back in the oven, uncovered, for another half hour or so until the chicken was done and golden, toasty good.

Out came the chicken. The pan was put on the stovetop burner over medium high heat and I slipped in a couple shallots, minced, a bit more oil and cooked the shallots for two or three minutes. Then, I deglazed the pan with a smidge of dry, white wine. The garlic was mashed into the wine and another quarter cup of the wine was added and cooked for about five minutes. In went about three-quarters of a cup of chicken stock and a teaspoon of chicken demiglace and the sauce was reduced by about half. The seasonings were adjusted, a splash of heavy cream went in and about a half stick of unsalted butter was swirled in a glob at a time. Back to the pan went the chicken for a bath.

Served with a yam puree elevated with chopped, roasted green chile and hunks of asadera cheese warmed until gooey and this stuff was garlicky good.

Coulda used forty or so more cloves of garlic, if you ask me. There's no such thing as too much.

More proof, you say?

The same basic approach would work with a braised beef - a pot roast or a daube, with the garlic cloves and aromatic vegetables put through a sieve into a sauce composed of reduced red wine, beef stock and veal demiglace. Yow!

How about roasting potatoes with garlic. Sure, there's the cliché garlic mashed potatoes and, despite the fact they are ubiquitous in the restaurant trade, they are pretty darned good. But, roasted potatoes, with all the benefit of roasted garlic?

Try this. Get some new potatoes or some red potatoes and cut them into uniform hunks or spears. A head, preferably two, of garlic is needed, the cloves separated but not peeled. The potatoes are seasoned then spud chunks and garlic cloves are coated in olive oil and some rosemary is added. The veggies are put in an oiled roasting pan and nailed in a 350 oven for about 45 minutes, or until the spuds are at a state of golden-brown glory. Oh, my: Put a bit of that herb and garlic infused oil on the potatoes, pop out eight or ten cloves of the buttery roasted garlic and mix well. Put a few cloves of buttery garlic on bread, with some butter. Yikes!

Or, how about some beef tenderloin medallions lightly grilled then finished in a 400 oven for a few minutes, the surfaces slicked with a garlic glaze ala the recipe in "The Professional Chef" text from the Culinary Institute of America.

Easy stuff. First, make a Sauce Marchand de Vin: minced shallots, a couple sprigs of thyme, some cracked black peppercorns, a healthy hit of red wine, a bay leaf - all combined and the mix reduced to a syrupy state. A wad o' demiglace is added and the sauce is reduced again to where it coats the back of a spoon. The sauce is strained and butter is whisked in a blob at a time to finish.

To make the glaze, as per the recipe, the Sauce Marchand is mixed with a healthy amount of pureed roasted garlic and some glace de viand. ( A note here: glace de viand is a stock - veal, beef - reduced to a jellied state. Who's got the time or patience, huh? Use some commercial demiglace. Who'll know but you?)

The glaze is applied to the grilled medallions before they are popped back in the oven for finishing. One can give the medallions a sec under the broiler to brown the glaze.

Got a favorite recipe that calls for a lot of garlic?

Double the amount.

Invite friends over for dinner.

Don't forget: everyone has to partake (the old after-dinner mint or sprig of parsley isn't going to do the trick).

If you can, for sentiment's sake, serve up a couple glasses of four-day-old Almaden.

Anyone got a paisley bedspread?

Extension Viewpoints

Country Way of Life calendars on sale now

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Dec. 9 - Colorado Kids Club meeting, 2 p.m.

Dec. 9 - Beef Project meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 14 - Pagosa Peaks Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Not too long ago, residents of Colorado were asked to submit photos that represented the country way of life for a photo contest.

This contest was sponsored by Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance. The 2006 calendars are not in yet, and are being sold by local 4-H clubs and members for a fund-raiser. These calendars are $5 and proceeds will go to the 4-H member's club and to the 4-H Council. The front cover photograph just happens to be a scene here in Pagosa Springs.

Give us a call if you are interested in ordering any of these calendars, 264-5931.

Red Books are here

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.

Seedling applications

We now have the 2006 Colorado Cooperators Application for Seedling Trees at the Extension Office. Some conditions of sale include that you must own at least two acres and you can not resell plants as a living plant. If you have specific questions about seedlings you may contact the Soil Conservation District (NRCS) at 731-3615.

Registering livestock premises

Officials at the Colorado Department of Agriculture have set a goal of registering more than 20 percent of livestock premises by the end of 2006.

In Colorado, nearly 700 locations are registered, which is about 6 percent. Premises registration is the first step in the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which will allow animal tracing to be completed within 48 hours of a disease being detected.

"We want livestock owners to be proactive because there are many benefits as well as added value for producers once the system is fully operational," said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to make registration mandatory on January 1, 2008.

To meet next year's goal, officials are collaborating with Colorado State University Cooperative Extension to train at least one staff member in each office who can help with registration as well as answer producer questions.

In Colorado, livestock owners can register their location in just a few simple steps via the Internet. First, access the information at and click on Colorado. Next click on New User Registration and fill in the required fields, using the designated U.S. Postal Service address. If a producer has multiple sites, contact CDA to learn about the specific premises guidelines, since each ranch and production system is unique.

If the information entered is recognized by the USDA as a valid USPS address, a premises identification number is issued immediately. If the address is not recognized, allow about one week for the information to be processed. Return to the Web site and log in, using the designated name and password. Ranchers can access information on their specific premises, account maintenance and livestock activity.

In addition, producers who prefer to register via telephone or mail must submit a request to their County Extension office. Confirmation letters with the premises registration information will be mailed on a monthly basis.

Premises registration involves identifying every location, where animals are born, managed, marketed or exhibited. Producers must register premises in the states where the property is located.

"Although the program is voluntary at this time, it's important for livestock owners to realize that their livelihood can depend on providing and improving as many safeguards as possible to our food supply," said Cunningham.

The goal of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Animal Identification System is to create an effective, uniform national animal tracking system that will help maintain the health of U.S. herds and flocks. When fully operational, animal tracing ensures rapid containment of the disease.

For more information, visit the Web at or contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 239-4161.

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


Pagosa Lakes News

Savor life ... lose your marbles

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Recreation center memberships and lake use permits for 2006 will be available starting Thursday, Dec. 15 at the center. I encourage you to get one of both for the family as part of your holiday season gift-giving. It's a gift that lasts all year and reaps benefits of health, shared family time and relaxation.

Renters who rent in Pagosa Lakes are eligible for purchase of membership at property owner rates. A copy of both the lease and utility bill are required at time of purchase.

With the recent deaths of two friends, I find myself taking an even closer scrutiny of my own life. Please allow me to share this story with you (I first heard this at last Thursday's Rotary Club meeting).

"A few weeks ago, I was listening to an older sounding chap with a golden voice on a Saturday morning show. He was talking to someone named Tom about 'a thousand marbles.' I was intrigued and sat down to listen.

"Well, Tom, it sure sounds like you're busy with jour job. I'm sure they pay you well but it's a shame you have to be away from home and family so much. Hard to believe a young fellow should have to work 60-70 hours a week to make ends meet. Let me tell you something, Tom, that has helped me keep a good perspective on my own priorities.

"You see, I sat down one day and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average folks live about 75 years. Now then, I multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900 which is the number of Saturdays that the average person has in their entire lifetime. It took me until I was 55 to think this through in detail, and by then, I had already used over 2,800 Saturdays. I figured that if I lived to be 75, I had about a thousand Saturdays left to enjoy. So I went out and bought 1,000 marbles and put them in a large, clear plastic container here in my workshop.

"Every Saturday since, I take one marble out and throw it away. By watching my marbles diminish, I focus more on the really important things in life. There is nothing like watching your time on earth run out to help you get your priorities straight.

"One last thing before I sign off with you and take my lovely wife out to breakfast. This morning, I took the very last marble in the container. I figure if I make it until next Saturday, then I have been blessed with a little extra time to be with my loved ones. It was nice to talk to you, Tom, I hope you spend more time with your loved ones. Have a good morning!"

My brother in Singapore has been watching the marbles diminish and in trying to make up for the last 10 years of missed Saturdays with his two sons, he promised the boys a treat of their choosing. "We want to see New York City and Niagara Falls," they said. So, last Saturday, they arrived in New York from the hothouse climate of the tropics to spend nine days (translate that into nine missed Saturdays) in an Arctic zone. I have been worried about them. I do so want them to have a great visit Š their special time together as a family. I want Niagara Falls to meet the boys' expectations, I want this series of Saturdays and all other Saturdays to come to be meaningful for them.

The recreation center will close early tomorrow, at 5 p.m., for the annual PLPOA staff holiday dinner. While some folks are still trying to turn turkey into muscle, ham and eggnog is being served. Eat up, work out hard and may all your Saturdays be special and may you have many happy years after you lose all your marbles.




John Gurule

John T. Gurule was born to Pedro and Cleofes Gurule on Jan. 10, 1929, in Frances, Colo., and entered into rest on Dec. 1, 2005, in Durango, Colo. He was one of nine children. He lived in the Pagosa Springs area, working for the Ponderosa Lumber Company, then moving to Green River, Utah, where he transported uranium; returned to Pagosa Springs in 1957, where he worked for Aubrey Fowler/Moorehead Garage as a mechanic for several years. Then John worked for San Juan Lumber Company hauling logs and lumber to various cities and states, dabbled in construction with Lou Poma and Mr. Comstock, and lastly, worked for Richter Logging Company from which he retired in 1994.

His interests included many activities that he shared with his family and friends, including camping, traveling, hiking, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, motorcycling and Jeep fourwheeling . He lived his life to the fullest; even at the age of 70 he was snowmobiling. He kept up with the "boys," "grandma," daughters and grandchildren. He was nominated president of the Tortilla Snowmobile Club.

He was married on Nov. 15, 1952, to Dolores Eduvigen Rivera, having eight children. He continues to live through his children and their families: George and Margie Gurule of Pagosa Springs; Ramona Gurule of Pagosa Springs; Jerry and Cleofes Gurule-Williams of Pagosa Springs; Tessie Garcia of Pagosa Springs; John and Vanessa Gurule of Ridgway, Colo.; Steve and Margaret Gallegos of Pagosa Springs; Gerard and Amy Gurule of Ignacio, Colo.; Anita Gurule of Pagosa Springs; and Bobby and Linda Fernandez of Commerce City, Colo. He had 19 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren. Numerous nieces and nephews also survive him. He has two surviving sisters, Marian Lovato of Delta, Colo. and Rafelita Gallegos of Nyssa, Oregon. His brothers, Manuel, Alonzo, Filadelfio Gurule, sisters Mary Martinez, Maria Gurule and Teresita Gurule, and one granddaughter, Baby Mary, precede him in death. He has been a loving brother, husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, Godfather, uncle, great uncle, cousin, mentor and friend.

John T. touched the lives of many people of all generations. His love for his family and friends is evident by the calls, visits and prayers that our family has received. Throughout his life, many respected him. Although he was a man of very few words, we listened when he spoke; he offered a voice of reason and insight, and offered strength to those who felt they had none.

Visitation was held Sunday afternoon at La Quey Funeral Home. Recitation of the Rosary was given Monday, Dec. 5, 2005, followed by burial services on Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2005, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church of Pagosa Springs. The Celebrant was Father Carlos Alvarez. The Interment was held at Hilltop Cemetery.


Madena Hamilton

Madena Hamilton of Pagosa Springs passed away Nov. 26, 2005. Madena, born Sept. 18, 1928, in Shattuck, Okla., was the daughter of Gladstone and Iola Kahoe Firth. She was preceded in death by her husband, Ralph Sr., her daughter Linda, a sister Marie, and both parents. She is survived by her son, Ralph Jr., grandchildren Tonya and Aaron Hamilton, great-granddaughter Shannon Rogers, all of Pagosa Springs, twin sister Iris Kinney of Derby, Kan., brother Eugene Firth of Oklahoma City, and brother Ray Firth of Gore, Okla. She married Ralph Hamilton Sr. in June, 1946. They were longtime residents of Albuquerque, N.M. She had moved to Pagosa Springs in 1996 following the death of her husband. She owned a home in Pagosa Lakes, but had recently become a resident of Pine Ridge Extended Care Center following a stroke in July of 2005. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in her name to the Archuleta County Senior Citizens Center or the Pine Ridge Activities Center. Burial and services will take place in Oklahoma.


Christopher Young

Christopher Neil Young, 22, died Friday, December 2, 2005, in Durango. A funeral service was held Wednesday, December 7, 2005, at Our Savior Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod in Pagosa Springs. The Rev. Les Judge of Our Savior Lutheran Church officiated.

Mr. Young was born December 30, 1982 in Denver, Colorado, the son of Mark and Kathryn Young. Christopher graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2002. He had worked for his father's business, "At Your Disposal" and for Archuleta County. He was an avid fan of the New York Yankees baseball team. He enjoyed playing softball himself and had also been an umpire for the Pagosa Springs youth baseball association. He was a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Pagosa.

He is survived by his father, Mark, his mother, Kathryn, both of Pagosa Springs, Amy Young (sister) of Pagosa Springs, Mark Young, Jr. (brother) of Pagosa Springs, Jason Young (brother) of Pagosa Springs, Carson Young Martinez (nephew) of Pagosa Springs, Gerald and Lois Brinton (grandparents) of Pagosa Springs, Mary Young (grandmother) of Denver, Harold and Pauline Young (grandparents) of Denver, and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.


Gordon O'Neal

Gordon Neal O'Neal passed away peacefully at his home in Farmington, N.M., on Dec. 3, 2005, at the age of 72. He was born July 25, 1933, in Penn Yan, N.Y. to John (Buck) Ebon O'Neal and Nellie Hannah Tallman O'Neal. He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Vernette (Willie) O'Neal; daughter Mary Elizabeth O'Neal; four grandchildren, Ashley Elizabeth, David Rufus, Ivy Rose and Kelly Lynn; brother Vernon Ouray O'Neal (Shag); and wife Reyne; six nieces and nephews, Veronica, Janice, Melissa, Patrick, Brian and Mary.

Gordon had a great love for life and was well loved and respected by all who knew him. He was known as one who always had a kind word and a great sense of humor. He was a wonderful storyteller and historian. He was very talented, a jack-of-all-trades, and was always willing to lend a helping hand to anyone around him. He was retired from the Colorado State Highway Department, where he was employed for 25 years. He will be dearly missed by all who knew and loved him.

Services are pending.


Richard Walter

Richard Clark Walter, 69, of Pagosa Springs died December 2, 2005.

He was born in 1935 at Mercy Hospital in Durango to Nellie Hotz Walter and David Walter.

The family later moved to Ignacio where his father served as mayor.

Richard and his mother settled in Pagosa Springs in 1945.

After graduating from Pagosa Springs High School in 1953, he attended Denver University for two years.

He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1956 and upon completion of recruit training at USNTC Great Lakes, graduated from the center's Journalism School. Then followed twenty months aboard the USS Philippine Sea, assigned to the admiral's staff.

In 1958, he returned to Great Lakes and spent the remainder of his four years at Fleet Home Naval Center. He was honorably discharged as a Journalist Second Class.

He then began thirty-seven years of employment with The Waukegan News Sun, an Illinois daily newspaper, where he held several positions, among them managing editor for five years of the paper's weekly sister publication, The Libertyville Independent Register.

Upon retiring in 1997, he and his wife moved to Pagosa Springs. He enjoyed the leisure time, but missed the newspaper days. In April 2000, he joined the staff of The Pagosa Springs SUN, beginning five of the most enjoyable years of a journalism career that spanned forty-two years and continued until his death.

He is survived by his wife, Karen, and son, Kevin.

Preceding him in death were his mother, in 1997, and his father in 1967.

He is survived by an aunt, Minnie Johnson, of Westminster, and an uncle, Kenneth Hotz, of Montana.

Preceding him in death were two aunts, Goldie Anderson and Muriel Girardin, of Pagosa Springs, and four uncles, William Hotz and Robert Hotz of Pagosa Springs, Bert Hotz of Bayfield and Thomas Hotz of Westminster.

Among surviving cousins are Myrtle Snow and Billy Hotz of Pagosa Springs, Franklin Anderson of Allison, Juanita Bellacosa of Westminster and Evelyn Anton of Oregon.

Cousins preceding him in death were Johnnie Snow of Pagosa Springs, Ramona Johnson Uptain of Westminster and James Anderson of California.

A 1 p.m. visitation and a 2 p.m. funeral service will be held Saturday, Dec. 10, at Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis Street, Pagosa Springs, with Pastor Donald Ford officiating.

A private graveside service will follow at Hilltop Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 would be appreciated.


 Business News

Chamber News

Get ready for another action-filled week

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

This past weekend was great. There was definitely a lot going on in this town.

First off, we have to send a thank you to the Music Boosters for once again giving us a wonderful holiday play with their performance of "A Christmas Carol." The actors, the set, the costumes were all top notch. Can't wait until the next musical.

Then, a thank you goes out to all the galleries that participated in the PSAC Gala Gallery Walk. There was wonderful art, good food, some music and lots of camaraderie. The businesses worked hard in putting their best foot forward, and I hope the tour was successful for them in return.

Thank you to all the parents, grandparents, children and townsfolk who participated in the lighting of the Chamber. A very special thank you to the musical groups who braved the winds and cold to perform for us: The Children's Chorale, performers from "A Christmas Carol" and the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus. Staying toasty inside was the Bell Choir from Community United Methodist Church.

We didn't blow any fuses when we turned on the lights, the winds finally died down and I think Santa got to hear all the children's wishes. We love this time of year and hope that families continue to bring their children down to the Chamber to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. We have reserved them for next year, and I am already scheming to make things even better and brighter for next year. This town could really glow!

More to come

I saw lots of people out cutting their Christmas trees last Sunday, and it was a beautiful clear, crisp day to do so. I think everyone is getting into the holiday spirit and there are still lots of happenings around town, so here are some more dates for you to mark down on your calendar.

- Friday, Dec. 9, is the annual Parade of Lights. Beginning at 6 p.m., walkers, trucks, cars and flatbeds will move down San Juan and Pagosa streets starting at 6th Street and ending at 2nd Street. Bundle up and come out to cheer the hardy participants.

There is still time to enter the parade. There is no entry fee and you could win $100 for the best and brightest in the family, organization or business categories. You'll also probably be a lot warmer if you participate in the parade instead of standing there watching. Have your applications into the Chamber by the end of the day Thursday, Dec. 8.

Also, remember that lots of businesses will be staying open late to accommodate the paradegoers. What a great time to bring the family out to do a little shopping, then watch the parade. Many of the stores will be having specials and hot drinks to keep you in the mood for the parade. Come on out and have a great time in our downtown area with shopping and the Parade of Lights.

- Starting at 4:30 p.m. December 9 and 10, the Kiwanis Club will have their chili supper at the community center. You can get some nourishment, go watch or participate in the parade, then come into the center to gather with friends and warm up.

The Community Choir's Christmas Concert starts at 7:30 p.m. at the center both days as well. The choir will put on an afternoon performance Sunday, Dec. 11, starting at 4 p.m. These wonderful voices never cease to enchant and cheer me. This is another one of those "don't miss" events.

- Improving every year under the direction of Sue Anderson, the Children's Chorale will have two performances this year. Their first performance will be at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. They will also perform at the Restoration Fellowship Church 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 12. These children sounded great at the Chamber lighting even though their teeth were chattering due to the cold and high winds. What great troupers. Go out and support these talented youth!

- If you are going to go out shopping and need to have some time alone, the Education Center is hosting its holiday Retreat for Kids 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. Children in first to sixth grades are invited to spend the day watching movies and creating fun crafts. Snacks will be provided, but a sack lunch will need to accompany the child. The cost is $15. Call the Education Center at 264-2835 with further inquiries.

- The holiday open houses continue. Touch of the Tropics will have an open house bash 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today, Dec. 8. Give-aways, food, fun and hourly gift drawings are being offered. There will also be a $10 raffle for a valuable spa package.

On Friday, Dec. 9, Pagosa Baking will host an open house during the Parade of Lights. Now here's a great place to watch the parade! I also want to give a super special thank you to Kathy Keyes, owner of Pagosa Baking, for building a delightful gingerbread house for the Chamber. The house is designed after our building and is on display here at the Visitor Center. Please come by and see this whimsical work of art made by a very talented lady. No snacking on it though!

On Dec. 10 and 11, Victoria's Reign will celebrate an open house. Refreshments, goodies, and 20 percent off storewide are just some of the treats in store for the shoppers on those days. Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Victoria's Reign is located right next to Victoria's Parlor, so you can shop, snack or take a break and have a delicious meal.

Once again, lots of shopping opportunities are available to the Pagosa consumer. You can spend any Pagosa Perks you may have received at any of these stores. If you haven't purchased your Pagosa Perks for your friends or employees, don't worry - the Chamber still has lots of checks available and there's still plenty of time to issue them to you before the holiday. Beautiful merchandise, great shopping opportunities, and your dollars stay in Pagosa, so shop here at home first.

D'Iberville or bust

Somewhere else in this issue, there is an article about what we are trying to accomplish on behalf of our community to aid the citizens of D'Iberville, Miss. So, I won't belabor this point too much.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the effort. There is a semi truck available at Terry's Ace on the west side of town and we will collect items at the Chamber as well. This truck and the shipping was a joint effort by RAC Transport and Yellow Freight, and we are so grateful for their generosity.

We will collect the following items: tools, non-perishable food items, cleaning supplies, bedding and kitchen items. These items will be going to our "sister city" of D'Iberville, Miss., Monday, Dec. 12. The truck should arrive in D'Iberville Monday, Dec. 19.

The things being collected are items requested by the volunteer relief coordinator in D'Iberville. They are needed to help the citizens move into trailers that have finally arrived in the town but are "bare bones." If you have any questions about what to donate or the drop-off points, or have other questions, call us at the Chamber at 264-2360. This project has been in the works for several months and it is finally coming to fruition, and just in time for the holidays. What a wonderful gift we will give to so many people. Please remember that your donations should be new or in good condition. Thank you Pagosa for your generosity.


One new member and six renewals hit the newspaper pages this week.

Our new member is Summit Services, with Stefanie Harville-King. This creative business offers personal, corporate and real estate concierge and personal assistant services to area residents, businesses and property management companies. This is a great service, especially if you are not here full time and you need business or home concierge services completed while you are away or just prior to your return to Pagosa. For a more complete listing of Summit's services, call Stefanie at 903-3288 and then keep her number handy!

First out of the renewal box this week is Mike Marchand and Adventure Real Estate. Our second renewal is High Country Title, with Tracy and Karen Bunning. Third to renew is Paint Connection Plus with Mark and Michelle Mesker, now in the throes of their big expansion process.

All About You Day Spa and Liz Marchand renew this week, as does Carl Nevitt with Big Sky Studio. We also welcome back Just Gourd-Jus, and Shirley Luhnow.

Thank you again Pagosa for all the wonderful support you have extended to the Chamber and the community. Please call with any questions about the D'Iberville project and continue to enjoy this wonderful holiday season. And one more thing: do that snow dance thing, please.


Biz Beat

Taminah Custom Framing

Thanks to its loyal customers, prospective customers, friends and business associates of Pagosa Springs, and because of their encouragement and the need for a professional frame shop in Pagosa Springs, Taminah Custom Framing is back in business.

Owner Karen Cox assures customers Taminah is offering the same exceptional and incomparable service and high standards they came to expect in the past. "We can frame, shadowbox, conserve and preserve most anything. We have a supply of ready-to-go frames, and the number available grows every day. We now offer personal picture frame design consultation in your home. Listening to you, we brought back four of our most popular art jewelry designers."

Framed and unframed art prints are available again. Pat Erickson, an artist and professional framer with 25 years experience, heads up the manufacturing department. Cox, Julie Blanchard and Abby Linzie are design consultants. They are ready to provide the best service in Pagosa Springs.

The new location at 2343 Eagle Drive - the frontage road next to U.S. 160 west, at the top of Put Hill - offers lots of parking. Taminah Custom Framing is open Tuesday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday 10-2. Call 731-4484.

If these hours don't work for you, call Cox on her cell, (970) 946-4810, to individualize your order with specialized customer care.




The marriage of Gina Frances Trapani and Timothy Nichols Thayer was solemnized on Oct. 22, 2005, at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church in Pagosa Springs, with Pastor Bill Postler officiating. The bride is the daughter of Charles and Margaret Soniat of Pagosa Springs, and the late Christopher Trapani of Covington, La.

The groom is the son of Gary and Nina Thayer of Los Alamos, N.M.

Following a wedding trip to Ouray, the couple will reside in Westminster, Colo.


Sports Page

Lady Pirates bring home championship trophy

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

If early results are any indication of the prospects for the 2005-2006 season, something big could happen with the Lady Pirate varsity basketball team.

The Pirates (2-0) came home with the Buena Vista Tournament championship trophy last Saturday after downing the 4A Alamosa Mean Moose (1-1) in the finals by a lopsided score of 57-39.

The Pirates outscored their tournament opponents (Alamosa and La Junta), 108-66.

Pagosa, led again by starters Jessica Lynch, Liza Kelley, Kari Beth Faber, Caitlin Forrest and Emily Buikema, used the same MO in the first quarter as in Friday's game against La Junta to put the contest out of reach early.

The Pirates went on an 11-0 scoring run to take an eight-point lead at the end of one, and never looked back. The Mean Moose outscored the Pirates in the third period, but the damage was already done.

Kelley, who started out slow in the first half, came back in the second to share scoring honors with Buikema at 14. Forrest followed with 12 points; Faber and Lynch each had seven while junior Kim Canty, seeing her first minutes in the tournament, scored three. Lynch led the Pirates with six assists.

Senior Crystal Loch led the Mean Moose with 13 points. Junior Marina Lara and sophomore Katie Bussey each had eight.

The biggest problem for the Lady Pirates was they couldn't keep their hands to themselves. Alamosa was able to stay in the game with free throw shooting. In the first half, 11 of Alamosa's total 16 points came from the charity strip, after going into double bonus early. Kelley had to sit in the second quarter after picking up her third foul. Buikema and Forrest also committed three each and Lynch fouled out with over five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Coach Bob Lynch indicated his team was "using a pressing defense which caused most of our foul troubles, but it is something we certainly have to deal with in practice next week. We did cut down the number of turnovers from last night's (Friday's) game, but that still needs work too. Overall we played pretty well against both opponents and I am pleased with the girls' efforts."

The Mean Moose scored first on a bucket by Lara after controlling the opening tipoff, and it was the only time they would lead in the game. The Pirates went on the 11-0 run with buckets by Kelley, Buikema and Forrest. Lynch popped a trey to put the score 13-5 at the end of one. Three of the five Alamosa points in the quarter were on free throws.

The second quarter was more of the same, as the Pirates outscored the Mean Moose 22-11 to go 35-16 at intermission. Buikema, Forrest, Lynch and Faber took up the slack as Kelley sat with three fouls and four points.

In the third quarter it appeared Alamosa might come back when Lara hit a three-pointer and the Pirates went cold. The Mean Moose then went on a seven-point scoring run to decrease the Pirates' lead to 42-28 at quarter's end.

Pagosa came back in the fourth on two quick buckets by Kelley. Lynch committed her fifth foul and the rest of the Pirates responded to outscore Alamosa 15-11 to close out the contest.

The Pirates will need to go to work early as they face three quality opponents in this week's Wolf Creek Classic.

The Lady Pirates open the home season tomorrow night when they host the classic. The weekend event is a round-robin affair for the girls' teams. The other three schools in the classic are the 3A Gunnison Cowgirls, the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Lady Panthers and the New Mexico 4A Aztec Lady Tigers.

Pagosa opens with Gunnison tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. They face two opponents Saturday. The first will be with Montezuma-Cortez at 11:45 a.m. followed at 6:45 p.m. against Aztec. All three games will be fun to watch and all three opponents have brought very good teams to the tournament in the past.

Montezuma-Cortez will open the round-robin against Aztec Friday at 3 p.m. The first game Saturday will pit Gunnison against Aztec at 8:15 a.m. Gunnison will then face Montezuma-Cortez at 3:15 p.m.


Pagosa Springs 13, 22, 7, 15 - 57

Alamosa 5, 11, 12, 11 - 39

Scoring: Lynch, 2-6,1-1,0-0,7; Mackey, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Kelley, 6-10,0-0,2-3,14; Harris, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Canty, 1-1,0-0,1-1,3; Faber, 2-5,1-1,0-0,7; Buikema, 6-8,0-0,2-2,14; Gayhart, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; DuCharme, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Forrest, 5-8,0-0,2-2,12. Rebounds: Lynch 1, Kelley 7, Canty 1, Faber 5, Buikema 9, Gayhart 1, DuCharme 3, Forrest 6.


Lady Pirates open with win at Buena Vista

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The opening basketball game of the 2005-2006 campaign for the Pagosa Springs High School varsity Lady Pirates could not have been better.

Playing in the first round of the 2005 Buena Vista Tournament, the Pirates (1-0) outclassed the La Junta Tigers (0-1) with an impressive 51-27 win. Coach Bob Lynch said earlier that his team had experience and depth and it showed last Friday night from the opening tipoff. Pagosa came out fast in the first quarter on a scoring run of 13-5 to put the game out of reach early.

The starting five of Jessica Lynch, Liza Kelley, Kari Beth Faber, Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest dominated both ends of the floor, using a stingy defense and their fast break offense. Kelley led all scorers with a game high 16 points. Buikema followed with 11, Lynch with eight, and Forrest put seven in the books. Lynch led the field with five assists. Chelsea Rodriguez led the Tigers with seven points.

Lynch was pleased with the effort but said "we had some trouble with our passing, some dumb fouls and too many turnovers. But we'll take an opening win like this one." Pagosa committed 20 turnovers on the night.

The first quarter opened slow as it seemed there was a lid on both buckets but the Pirates maintained and built a 6-1 lead with just over four minutes left with their tight man-to-man defense. Faber and Kelley started to warm up and built a 13-5 lead at the buzzer.

The second quarter opened on a Kelley fast break and the Pirates built another 10-point margin. The Tigers came back on a five-point run but Pagosa would not let them get within seven and the quarter ended at 25-14 for the Lady Pirates.

The third quarter saw more action as the points scored were almost doubled over the entire first half. This time, Forrest and Buikema came to play with their rebounds and putbacks. The Pirates extended their lead to 14 with 2:49 showing on the clock. The quarter ended on a Forrest score and the Pagosa lead went to 41-25.

Both teams traded baskets to open the final period. With almost five minutes left in the contest, Coach Lynch switched to a trapping 1-3-1 zone defense and held the Tigers scoreless for the rest of the game.


Pagosa Springs 13, 12, 16, 10 - 51

La Junta 5, 9, 11, 4 - 27

Scoring: Lynch, 4-5,0-4,0-0,8; Mackey, 0-0,0-0,1-2,1; Kelley, 8-12,0-0,0-0,16; Harris, 0-2,0-0,0-0,0; Faber, 2-4,0-0,0-2,4; Buikema, 4-10,0-2,3-6,11; Gayhart, 1-2,0-0,2-2,4; DuCharme, 0-1,0-0.0-0,0; Forrest, 3-4, 0-0, 1-3,7. Rebounds: Lynch 2, Kelley 5, Harris 2, Faber 7, Buikema 4, Gayhart 2, DuCharme 1, Forrest 4.


Pirates come up short in final against Buena Vista

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

In the boy's championship game of the 2005 Buena Vista basketball tournament against the host Demons, it appeared early that the opponents' distinctive height advantage might be an issue for the PSHS varsity Pirates. After all, the entire Buena Vista roster included only one player under 6 feet and big 6-9 Nate Solder at the post.

In the end, height was not the issue but the hard fighting Pirates (1-1) came up short anyway to the Demons (2-0) by a score of 59-55.

Pagosa came out as cold as the weather outside to open the game and let Buena Vista build an 18-7 lead on two treys by senior Matt Wolford. The Pirates' Paul Przybylski answered with his own three at quarter's end, but Pagosa had to play catch-up the rest of the night.

The Pirates would come back strong by outscoring the Demons in all three remaining quarters but the 11-point margin was too much to overcome. Pagosa did come within two on several occasions, but the Demons would respond, given their early momentum.

Wolford led the Demons with 21 points on the strength of four treys. Solder was held to just 10 points, followed by Jon Woolmington with nine.

For the Pirates, 6-3 Craig Schutz matched Wolford's output at 21. This was a great effort, given he was matched against Solder. Casey Schutz added 12, while Jordan Shaffer and Przybylski each pumped in eight. Derek Harper followed with five points. Przybylski led Pagosa with six assists.

Coach Jim Shaffer pointed out that "our kids fought hard against a very good basketball team. We dug ourselves a hole early and we came back strong. I'm proud of the way we played and handled the early deficit."

Shaffer went on to say "We need to get better offensively and learn to spread the floor without a big guy in the middle. We also gave up to many easy buckets on transition."

The Demons opened fast by controlling the opening tipoff. Woolmington scored a three the old-fashioned way on a bucket and a free throw. The Pirates stayed close until halfway through the quarter, when Solder scored three. Buena Vista went on an 8-0 run on the strength of two Wolford treys and the Demons were up by 11 after one.

The Pirates came back quickly on treys by Casey Schutz and Shaffer. Pagosa would come within two, 24-22, but Buena Vista answered on another three by Wolford to lead at intermission, 33-25.

The Demons opened the third quarter with a 7-0 run. The Pirates finally got going again on a trey by Harper. Shaffer's three and points by Casey and Craig Schutz narrowed the margin to four. Wolford was left open again and hit his fourth trey to end the quarter with Buena Vista up by five.

The teams traded baskets to open the final stanza. Casey Schutz hit a three and the score went to 51-47 for the Demons with 5:31 showing on the clock. With 1:02 remaining, the margin was one but Wolford scored and was fouled.

Craig Schutz banged a three with 23 seconds showing to bring the Pirates within two but then they had to foul to get the ball back. The game ended on the four-point difference.

The experience continues with a three game Wolf Creek Classic hosted by the Pirates this weekend.

The Pirates will need to practice hard and focus on the home openers.

The Wolf Creek Classic begins tomorrow night at the PSHS gym. The Pirates host the Gunnison Cowboys in the first round. Tipoff will immediately follow the Lady Pirates' contest, and is tentatively scheduled for 8:15 p.m. Other participants in the boy's bracket include the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers and the 4A Battle Mountain Huskies.

The Tigers and Huskies will square off at 4:45 p.m. tomorrow. Winners of the first-round games will play for the tourney championship at 8:30 p.m. Saturday; first-round losers meet at 5.

A third "cross-over" game is scheduled for each team Saturday. The cross-over game is required to meet some Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) guidelines. These games will pit the winner of the Battle Mountain/Aztec contest against the loser of the Pirates/Cowboys' game at 10 a.m. The loser of the Battle Mountain/Aztec game will play the winner of the Pagosa/Gunnison game at 1:30 p.m. The cross-over game does not impact the tournament bracket but gives a third game to all participants against an opponent they will not meet in the bracket.

This will be a full and fun weekend of hoops. The tournament will see four games Friday, with action starting at 3 p.m. and continuing through the Pirates' game. On Saturday, there will be a total of eight games played, starting at 8:15 a.m. and continuing through the boys' final that night.


Pagosa Springs 7, 18, 17, 13 - 55

Buena Vista 18, 15, 14, 12 - 59

Scoring: Shaffer, 0-3,2-4,2-2,8; Hilsabeck, 0-2,0-0,1-2,1; Przybylski, 2-2,1-1,1-2,8; Harper, 1-3,1-5,0-0,5; Casey Schutz, 3-5,1-4,3-5,12; Ormonde, 0-1,0-0,0-0,0; Craig Schutz, 7-12,2-5,1-2,21. Rebounds: Shaffer 4, Hilsabeck 2, Przybylski 1, Harper 2, Casey Schutz 4, Ormonde 2, Craig Schutz 5.


Pirates storm past La Junta for first-round win

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

A winter storm was supposed to hit the Arkansas valley last Friday night and blanket Buena Vista. Leadville had received over a foot and a half of the white stuff earlier in the day.

The storm did show up, but only in the Buena Vista gym.

Coach Jim Shaffer's 2005-2006 varsity basketball Pirates buried the La Junta Tigers in a veritable avalanche in the opening round of the 2005 Buena Vista Tournament, winning the game 85-19. The Pirates (1-0) outsized, outclassed and outplayed the Tigers (0-1) in a game that was not much better than a practice session or scrimmage.

Coach Shaffer opened the season with the starting five of 5-10 junior Kerry Joe Hilsabeck and 5-11 senior Paul Przybylski at guards, 5-11 junior Jordan Shaffer and 6-2 senior Casey Schutz at forwards and 6-3 senior Craig Schutz at the post.

This new starting five dominated from the opening tipoff with a 21-2 run in the first quarter. Casey Schutz hit a jumper to put the score at 2-0 and it was all downhill from there for the Tigers. La Junta could muster only six points in the entire first half.

The contest wound up being a Schutz brothers' show as both had nearly identical numbers. Casey had the game high with 22 points followed by Craig with 21. Caleb Ormonde, a 6-5 junior coming off the bench, followed with eight points. Hilsabeck led with eight assists while Shaffer and Przybylski had six and five, respectively. Ricky Nelson led the visitors with eight points.

Pagosa controlled the opening tipoff and the scoring machine went into gear. Casey Schutz hit a three with just under four minutes remaining and Pagosa never looked back. Additional buckets by Craig Schutz and Ormonde ended the quarter with the Pirates ahead 21-2.

Pagosa continued the barrage in the second quarter. Przybylski's three pointer with just over five minutes remaining built a 29-point lead. La Junta scored its second bucket at the 5:40 mark. A 21-4 run put the Pirates up 51-6 at the intermission.

In the third quarter Coach Shaffer changed from the pressing man-to-man defense to a 1-3-1 zone to give his charges experience with the D. The Tigers scored five and must have made the Pirates mad as they went on another 14-0 scoring run to end the quarter at 73-13.

Coach Shaffer cleared the bench in the fourth quarter to give the younger players some game experience. Coming in to finish the game were 6-0 junior Adam Trujillo, 5-9 junior Travis Richey, 6-2 junior Casey Hart and 6-3 junior James Martinez. Hart hit six points and Martinez four in the final eight minutes to end the game.


Pagosa Springs 21, 30, 22, 12 - 85

La Junta 2, 4, 7, 6 - 19

Scoring: Shaffer, 2-4,0-1,0-0,4; Hilsabeck, 3-4,0-1,0-0,6; Przybylski, 2-2,1-1,0-0,7; Trujillo, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Harper, 2-2,1-1,0-0,7; Casey Schutz, 7-9,1-2,5-6,22; Richey, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Ormonde, 4-5,0-0,0-0,8; Hart, 2-3,0-0,2-2,6; Craig Schutz; 8-12,0-0,5-6,21; Martinez, 2-5,0-0,0-1,4. Rebounds: Shaffer 2, Hilsabeck 1, Przybylski 1, Trujillo 2, Harper 4, Casey Schutz 2, Richey 1, Ormonde 4, Craig Schutz 7, Martinez 1.


Pirate wrestlers fourth at Rocky Ford

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pirate wrestlers got their first taste of action Saturday at the Rocky Ford Duals and came home with a fourth-place finish - one of the better finishes in recent memory.

The team went 2-2 at a meet won by the host Meloneers. While other Pirate teams have posted the same tourney record, this year's team posted its wins in preliminary action, advancing to the championship pool of the tourney.

The wins came against Florence (54-23) and Las Animas (72-6).

The Pirates competed with a team marked by big differences in age and experience, with several tested seniors in the lineup, joined there by some underclassmen entering the first varsity action of their high school careers.

Pagosa got a victory against Florence from Josh Nelson, who scored with a pin in the third period at 119 pounds, Senior Ky Smith began what would be an impressive tournament outing at 145, with a 21-4 technical fall. Senior Matt Nobles opened his season with a third-period pin at 160. Joe Romine also started on a positive note at 275, with a pin in the first period. The remainder of the Pirates' points came on forfeits by the Huskies.

Las Animas got six points from the Pirates on the basis of a forfeit at 140 pounds. The rest of the way, the dual turned into a first-period pin spree by Pagosa.

Travis Moore scored with a first-period pin at 112. Nelson did the same at 119. Joe DuCharme got a pin in the first at 130, as did Mike Smith at 135.

Smith continued the trend at 145. Justin Moore took an 11-6 decision at 152 and Nobles earned a 20-7 major decision at 160. Newcomer Eric Hurd pinned his opponent in the second period at 171. Reynaldo Palmer scored a first-period pin at 189.

Bubba Martinez saw his first action of 2005-2006 at 215 and easily crafted a 16-0 technical fall. Romine rounded out the scoring with a first-period pin at 275.

Competition in the championship round was considerably sharper than in the opening session.

In the semifinal, the Pirates faced the host Meloneers and, according to Coach Dan Janowsky, "they (Rocky Ford) drilled us. They cradled the living daylights out of us and we weren't ready. We've covered a lot of things early in the year, but that's not one of them. We don't see a lot of that (cradling) in our league, so we wait to deal with it. We'll get to it, though."

The Pirates dropped out of championship contention with a 59-15 loss to the Meloneers. Pagosa's points came from Smith, with a pin in the second period at 145, an 8-1 decision by veteran Orion Sandoval at 125, and a forfeit at 215.

La Junta defeated the Pirates 46-30 to take the dual for third place.

Smith again showed strong, with a first-period pin at 145.

Nobles earned points at 160 with a 9-5 decision. Martinez got a crack at the Tigers' man at 215 and made short work of him, pinning him in the first period.

Steven Smith got his first varsity win at 103, fashioning a 14-9 decision.

The verdict, following the first four matches of the new season?

"We're an above average team," said the coach. "We have a way to go to challenge the really good teams, but its not an impossibility. We can wrestle better."

A bright spot for the team as whole, according to Janowsky, showed in terms of conditioning. It sustained many Pirates through the initial flurries in their matches, giving them a chance to stay in the running.

"Our conditioning was noticeable," said the coach. "In the championship round, Rocky Ford and La Junta were more physical than us, and we had to exert ourselves early in many of the matches to fight them off. When we did, we won the second half of the match. Sometimes it was enough to win the entire match, sometimes not. We need to teach our kids to be physical right off the bat; they need to learn to keep matches close in the early going."

In practices so far this year, Janowsky and his staff have worked the wrestlers on techniques on the mat, with less time spent on battling while on the feet. That will change. "Overall," said Janowsky, "we've been working to build a solid foundation. We used this meet to fortify what we've worked on and to strengthen our top work. We got out-hand fought at times and we need to work on that now."

In terms of individual performances, Janowsky singled out Smith and Martinez. "I thought we got outstanding performances out of Ky and Bubba," he said. "They were unbeaten and unchallenged. Matt Nobles was 3-1 and did well, and Joe Romine wrestled well all day. Orion (Sandoval) was 2-2 and fought hard. Among our young guys, Steven Smith and Joe DuCharme wrestled well and had progressed noticeably by the end of the day. DuCharme fought good fights against two very tough guys at the end of the day. This tournament was a good first go for us."

The next go is Saturday, at the Buena Vista Duals, with the Pirates returning to the tournament as part of a yearly tradition. Included with the Pirates and host Demons will be Centauri, Florence, Middle Park, Del Norte, St. Mary's, Glenwood Springs, Salida and Lake City. First-round matches begin at 9 a.m. Finals are scheduled for 5 p.m.


Pirate cheerleaders finish fifth in State Spirit event

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Pirates cheerleaders took fifth place in State Spirit competition on Saturday, Dec. 3. Twenty-one high schools were represented by their cheerleading squads at the event.

"The girls did awesome," said Head Coach Renee Davis. "They missed going to the finals by one point." Pagosa scored 88.17 points in the preliminary round. Four teams advanced to the finals.

The Pirate squad drew the first spot in competition order. "We had to go first, and judging is more conservative at the start," stated Davis. "They really did their best," she said of her team. "They are a good group of girls. I'm so proud of them - they did such a great job."

Davis was amazed at how many other coaches approached her with compliments of the group. "They'd come up to me and say, 'I can't believe how good they are!'

"We'll do things a bit differently next year," explained Davis. "We'll try to get to one competition before state. Then we can see what the style is for the year, and give ourselves a little exposure.

"I told the girls, 'You need to focus on the journey that gets you there - not the end result,'" said Davis. "All in all, we had a great trip."

The cheerleaders will perform their state routine at halftime of the Saturday evening boys' basketball game at the Wolf Creek Classic tournament.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Officials should serve as role models

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Over the years as an athlete, collegiate coach and recreation director, I have come in contact with many referees, umpires and officials who have made an impact on me and the players on the field or in the gymnasium.

These officials take the time to show their love for the game by helping all players and coaches on the field share that love for the game with them. Enjoying what you do is important in all areas of life. For an official, having fun and enjoying the experience makes the game better for all involved - supervisors, players, coaches and spectators.

Good officials treat each game like it's the best assignment they have ever had. Players like having officials who enjoy what they do, and players normally respond positively when they see an official enjoying the way the players are playing the game. The game is for the players and having an official treat the game and the players with that kind of respect usually makes for a better experience for all involved.

Did you ever hear the saying, "Some people bring happiness wherever they go and some people bring happiness whenever they go,"? Good officials strive to be the first person in this quotation, not the last. Making the game fair for everyone involved is an important part of making the game fun. Remember: Sports plus children should equal fun, and a good official can help everyone enjoy the game and learn some valuable life lessons in the process.

Role models come in all shapes and sizes. As an "authority figure" on the field, referees of all ages are role models for players, coaches, spectators and other referees, so good officials strive to set the example of professional behavior. Providing an atmosphere that is safe for the players, fair to all participants and fun for everyone is a good place to start when striving to be a role model for children. Good officials are courteous and treat everyone with the same courteous manner. This isn't always easy, especially when the people on the sidelines are going crazy and yelling at you.

Another quality that good officials serving as role models share is character. Character is easily defined as doing the right thing even when no one is watching. As an official, you have a great deal of influence over how the game is played and how enjoyable it is.

Officials serving as role models also possess a great attitude. Attitude is just about the only thing one can control. You can't control the weather, the kind of field you are playing on, the skill level of the players, who the coaches are and what kind of people are on the sidelines. But the one thing good officials can control is their attitude, and that will determine how they handle all of those things they cannot control.

Finally it is respect, caring for others and passion for the game that shows everyone an official is in the game for all the right reasons. The official who shows respect for others will get their respect back in the long term. An official who cares for others is recognized as such by everyone present at an athletic contest. Passion for the game is the fire that burns within, and an official who has this will never tire of giving service to the game and the players.

Last week we lost an official and friend in Chris Young. Chris embodied all of the positive traits described above that we continually strive to find in our officials and in our friends. His amazing respect, care for our young athletes and passion for the game came through each and every time he stepped on the field. Chris Young's great attitude, character and professionalism made him a true role model for the youth of Pagosa Springs participating in our programs. His presence will be truly missed.

Hoop Shoot

The Elk's Club Annual Hoop Shoot was held Saturday, Dec. 3, with over 30 participants in six categories. Fun and great competition was had by all, with the following athletes and alternates moving on to regional competition in Durango Saturday, Jan. 7.

Girls 8-9 Division: First place, Anissa Lucero; alternate, Taylor Strohecker.

Girls 10-11 Division: First place, Leslie Turner-Baughman; alternate, Emily Bryant.

Girls 12-13 Division: First place, Brianna Bryant; alternate, Sierra Riggs.

Boys 8-9 Division: First place, Tyreese Tyndall; alternate, Tate Drane.

Boys 10-11 Division: First place, Kain Lucero; alternate, Zach Griego.

Boys 12-13 Division: First place, Tanner Vrazel; alternate, Tyson Ross.

Christmas lighting

A big "thank you" goes out to LPEA and Mike Alley for arranging to have the bulbs on the Christmas Star on Reservoir Hill replaced and lit. Historically, the Town of Pagosa Springs would get the bulbs from a local sorority chapter, then staff members would climb up the star and cross, changing the bulbs.

The two structures are no longer safe to climb, so with the new sponsorship of the upkeep and the replacements of bulbs taken over by Rotary, we were able to call Mike and LPEA workers to change the bulbs prior to Christmas in Pagosa. It was a beautiful site to see the town all lit up and festive.

The parks crew spent a good portion of the last week lighting the corner of U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard, as well as setting up the nativity scene in the Town Park. We have received calls from former sorority members thanking us for keeping up the tradition started by these energetic women of our community.

Soccer photos

If you bought and paid for extra photographs of your children playing in our youth soccer league this past fall, your pictures are still available at Pagosa Photography, 480 San Juan St. in downtown Pagosa Springs. You can call 264-3686 to speak with Jeff Laydon about delivery of your photos.


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 recreation department at 264-4151, Ext. 232, if interested. Sign up now.

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 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, 264-4151, Ext. 232



30 for a great newsman

Our colleague and dear friend Richard Walter passed away last week at age 69 here in Pagosa Springs, the town he loved, the town in which he lived and grew as a young man. The town he captured, in print, over the last five years.

Richard was the consummate newspaperman and journalist, in love with the business, dedicated to excellence in his craft, proud of the newspapers he helped produce. He came by it early - as a kid editing his school paper. A graduate of the U.S. Navy's Journalism School, he left the service for work in the news business in Illinois. He never stopped honing his skills through 42 years in the profession, and those skills were enormous.

In Illinois, Richard worked for the Waukegan News Sun, serving eventually as the managing editor of a sister newspaper, the Libertyville Independent Register, sitting behind the old horseshoe-shaped editor's desk, sheets of copy flying like flakes in a wind-driven blizzard. He could, and did handle it with aplomb.

He retired and came back to Pagosa Springs where he had lived from 1945 to 1953 before he went on to the University of Denver, then to the navy. He came back from Illinois to live in his late mother's house on Hermosa Street.

That's when we first noticed him: The Mystery Walker. He walked incessantly, was seen everywhere, striding along in his distinctive way, elbows up and out, wearing a pair of huge sunglasses and giant headphones.

We should have known: He was a newsman.

Richard couldn't stay away from the business and, in 2000, he became a staff writer at The SUN and, soon after, a columnist and our copy editor. He was incredibly productive, obsessed with his work, a mentor to young writers, an inspiration to all, pursuing his tasks with extraordinary energy. His discipline, his dedication, were unmatched. His work, invariably fine.

And there was another side to him that complemented his work ethic and intensity.

He loved Pagosa Springs and the people of the community. When the tone of newsroom talk grew dark, his was the optimistic voice. It was Richard who lavished praise, who told the stories about the old days and who held out the greatest hope for the future.

That hope showed in his love of Pagosa's youngsters. He covered all the activities at the schools. He wrote stories, took photos, traveled across the state to cover soccer games, basketball, baseball. The sight of Richard, notebook in one hand, camera in the other, running down the sideline at a soccer game, or at the end line of the basketball court, or walking on to the stage at a concert, is etched in our minds.

In a business in which practitioners often fall prey to cynicism and sarcasm, Richard was infected with neither. After all, he was home. He was a good man, in fellowship with people he loved and whose lives and accomplishments he chronicled. Cynicism had no place with him.

His columns melded his experiences into beautifully-expressed opinions. He brought history and current issues into play, mixing sentiment with criticism always aimed at bettering his beloved hometown. His Pacing Pagosa was read and enjoyed by many.

Fittingly, we were notified Monday that Richard won one of this year's awards for serious column writing from the Colorado Press Association. We hope he is watching and enjoying the moment, sitting behind a grand horseshoe desk, munching on a ham and cheese and peanut butter sandwich, tearing the living daylights out of poorly written copy, getting ready for a long walk on a perpetually sunny day.

He's met his last deadline here, and will be greatly missed.

That's 30.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

Youth's trails become memories

By Richard Walter

SUN Columnist

Sometimes our paths through life are smooth and easy, the distant horizons beckoning us along trails of ease.

At other times the route is arduous, filled with the thorns and briars of life's hardships nipping at us and sometimes causing detours we hadn't planned.

So it is, too, with the paths of Pagosa Country. Trails of the exuberant youth are no more, hidden memories among the varied roadways leading to ever more housing development and population.

Where once a slender trail led up a mountainside, across a fallen log traversing a stream to a sparkling pool filled with trout, there is now a roadway carrying any and all to the site without effort. But most of the fish are gone; in their place the trash of modern man - the empty beer cans, discarded food wrappers, ground (or burned) out cigarette butts, spent ammunition - the offal of uncaring, uneducated visitors looking for the memories we worked so hard to collect.

Walking, bicycling, running through the woods were once youthful leisuretime ways of learning about nature, of seeing what the land is all about, finding signs of early passersby who marked their paths but did not destroy.

Most of those childhood memories are now only memories, physically erased by the progress of settlement.

Gone are the meandering streams of the Upper Piedra Valley, the lifelines of the farmers and the playground of the widely diverse population of the time. They are gone forever beneath the waters of Williams Creek Reservoir. Gone, too, the streams which were teeming with native fish and dammed to create the Vallecito at the beginning of World War II.

Open lands, public lands, free range trails still exist, but are dwindling. Even at the higher elevations, trails have been widened, made easier, and littered with the throwaways of modern outdoor enthusiasts.

As population grows and development spreads, the old trapping holes where winter furs were taken to supplement family income have disappeared.

Where once we strode confidently through fields of columbine, aster and wild coneflower the paths have been beaten down, the flowers forced ever higher to survive and then eliminated because they can't survive at that altitude.

In the eye of a child, they say, beauty is a boundless thing. In the eyes of a no-longer child, in fact an aging native, the beauty is less and farther away, tinged when found by the thoughtless degradation of the new hordes.

Still, Pagosa Country is in the soul. Driving, caressing, luring us to sample the delights, no matter how spoiled they have become; if only to rekindle the memories of more than half a century ago:

Face to face with a mountain lion ranging its territory; landing the "biggest trout you ever saw" from the San Juan River; sledding down slopes "in town" without fear of death in an endless stream of traffic; swinging from a rope tied to a tree over Cotton Hole and dropping into the cold water.

The path, like youth, lost in life's dreams.




90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 10, 1915

In response to a call made by County Superintendent John Q. Vermillion, 45 teachers and directors met in the high school building on Saturday. This was a new venture in the interest of the educational work of the county. The large attendance shows the interest taken in the rural districts of the county, every school district being represented but two, some delegates coming 45 miles to be in attendance. Other persons who were neither teacher nor director came 30 miles to see if some plan could not be devised to provide their community with a school. It was unanimously decided to adopt uniform textbooks for the county and urgently requesting teachers and school boards that when a change in books was to be made, to buy the books selected by the committee.


75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 12, 1930

We are having an unusual warm spell of weather and doors of homes are open all day. We appreciate the change.

Parties needing furniture should see or phone Mrs. Myra Day at once as she is offering all of her household goods for sale at bargain prices.

Ben Talamante of Edith was brot to Pagosa last week for medical and surgical treatment, having sustained a broken leg when thrown against a fence by an unruly horse.

Call and see the bulbs pushing green noses above the brown earth. I have a variety of kinds, in post, now ready. Buy early and watch them grown and unfold into beautiful blooms. Svante Wiwel, Florist.


50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 8, 1955

The new Pomolift Ski Tow at Wolf Creek Pass Ski Area will be open for use Saturday, Dec. 10, and will operate every Saturday and Sunday until May with the exception of Christmas Day and from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Snow conditions are ideal. There is 3' of new powder snow on top of a 4' snow base. There is a small warming hut at the base of the tow and there will be a snack bar operated in the hut for hot lunches.

This snow storm, as last, the town streets were not plowed out and for the past few days it has been a little rough getting around after you get off the highway. The state snowplow crews cleaned up Main Street in good order after the storm was all over. It could have been done earlier except for the cars parked all night on the street.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 11, 1980

The Board of County Commissioners of Archuleta County has filed an official protest to the final census tally for the county. The preliminary count by the Census Bureau is about 25% under the estimated population, according to the protest.

The Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a free movie and free candy for the children of the community December 20 in the Mesa Theatre. Santa Claus will be present.

Skiing at Wolf Creek Ski Area is excellent these days, with 15 inches of new snow last weekend. Crowds have not been large and snow conditions are very good. The area has a 35 inch base and is just about the only area in Colorado operating on natural snow.



The "sport of kings" holds a spot in her heart

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

Sallie Dinning's eyes twinkle as she recalls the many adventures she's lived alongside her horses.

The walls of her room are covered with glamorous modeling photographs and paintings of her horses, with riding regalia. The wallpaper between is made of memories.

Dinning, 73, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and is a resident of the Pine Ridge Extended Care facility, but when speaking of her horses, Dinning recalls the past as though describing her reflection in a mirror.

"She was so extremely brave and beautiful and athletic," said Cas Heuer of his mother. "It is remarkable what she was able to do."

Dinning devoted her heart to horses at a very early age. She began riding as a small child and had an uncanny connection with the animals. At the age of 18, Dinning became one of the youngest licensed horse trainers in the country, as well as one of the few women to be licensed.

While she was attending college, Dinning was approached by a horse trainer representing Paul Mellon, whose family's art collection is the basis for the National Art Gallery. "Word was out that she was so good at working with horses - horse whisperer, if you will," said Heuer.

"It was rare that I ever hit a horse," explained Dinning. Mellon had a skittish horse that his trainers couldn't manage, and asked Dinning to have a try. She met the horse and met with success in calming the enormous race animal.

"Horses are just like children - sometimes they don't want to learn," said Dinning.

"There are two sides to my mother," said Heuer. "She has an important balance of tough and gentle Š discipline and control. Horses love to be ridden and they love to run."

Her love of horses and her riding skills led Dinning to flat track racing, such as seen in the movie "Seabiscuit." Dinning soon sought more adventure.

"I got tired of flat racing," said Dinning. "I wanted to get more jazzy."

Dinning found that jazz in 1949 in the form of steeple chase riding - racing horses over uneven terrain and jumping the animals over large horizontal timbers.

"It's really very dangerous," explained Dinning. "People are killed doing this." The most well-known of steeple chase accidents involved actor Christopher Reeve in 1995.

After divorcing her first husband, Dinning became a designer and model of ladies evening wear in New York. Her company, Daingerfield Inc., was carried by Woodward and Lathrop, "the original Macy's," said Heuer. She met with great success and enjoyed her time in the city and the fashion world.

Dinning was married three times over the course of her lifetime, and felt a constant tug in two directions: one to her domestic duties and the other to her devotion to horses.

"My mom always did her very professional, businesslike, ladylike thing," explained Heuer. "She was constantly ping-ponging between marriage duties and her love of horses."

In 1965, Dinning married her third husband whose name she carries to this day. Together, they purchased a farm to breed thoroughbred horses and found better than moderate success in their investment.

"They probably had over a hundred winners of stakes races," stated Heuer. "They never quite got to the level of the Kentucky Derby or the Preakness Stakes, but they did really well and were really well-known."

Horse racing is dubbed the "sport of kings," but along the east coast in the mid-20th century, many middle class people enjoyed the sport. Dinning became a very established owner and breeder.

"Even at the supermarket, people would ask me about my mom. They knew about her because they'd bet on her horses," recalled Heuer.

In the early 1970s, Dinning registered her first fox hound pack and lead many hunts upon her favorite horse, Amastaso. The horse was a large thoroughbred that never experienced fame on the flat track. Dinning trained him to be a jumper and she became the "huntsman." Dinning also raised the hunt dogs on her farm, usually caring for 25 adult dogs and 25 puppies at once.

Dinning led the hunts in full riding regalia, including a sleek top hat and horn. She was also trained to ride sidesaddle, a feat requiring much strength and agility. "It's very fancy and elegant looking, but sidesaddle is very difficult riding over pastures and through woods," explained Heuer. "She even jumped sidesaddle."

Dinning managed the details of running such a large farm with finesse and savvy. "I insisted that we had splendid workers - they were fantastic," remembered Dinning.

"She empowered a lot of people," said Heuer. "Years later, people would approach me and thank me for what my mother had done for them. She was a role model for so many of the girls - really all the workers - being trained on the farm. She has an indomitable spirit."

In 1992, Dinning sold her farm and moved to Washington D.C., where she sat on the board of directors of the Washington International Horse Show, where riders and horses compete in an indoor ring, jumping over man-made obstacles such as poles and brick barriers. As a director, Dinning traveled all over North America to the competitive events.

"When she couldn't ride anymore, she supported those who did," explained Heuer. Dinning's body underwent much abuse throughout her years of riding. She has had three hip replacements, both knees replaced and has had complete facial reconstructive surgery after a horse reared up and his hoof landed directly on her face, crushing all the bones. "The surgeon asked for a photo of my mother so that he could rebuild her face. He couldn't even tell what she was supposed to look like."

Dinning stopped riding altogether in 1998 due to complications with arthritis. "You don't have to ride to make it exciting. I've had an excellent life - I've been really fortunate," said Dinning with a smile reflecting her life-long love of horses.


County planning office to move

The Archuleta County Building and Planning office is relocating its offices from 527A San Juan St., to 42 Eaton Drive, to the site of the old Wells Fargo Bank building located behind the Pagosa Country Center City Market on the west side of town.

The move will take place Dec. 15-16. The office will be closed those two days and possibly Dec. 19. The new office will open Tuesday, Dec. 20.


Dems welcome state chair

The Archuleta County Democratic Party is inviting its members to a special meeting with Pat Waak, chairperson of the Colorado Democratic Party, 4 to 6 p.m Friday, Dec. 9, at 164 Blanca Place in Pagosa Springs. Waak is a tireless worker on behalf of the Democratic Party and will address upcoming local and statewide issues of special interest to Democratic voters.

For information call John Egan at 264-5455 or 749-6156.


Nursing group seeks nominees

The Colorado Nurses Foundation, sponsor of the Nightingale Event, and the Western Colorado Area Health Education Center invite nominations of candidates for the 21st annual Nightingale Awards. The prestigious awards will be presented Saturday, May 6, at a banquet in Denver.

Registered nurses throughout Colorado are nominated by solicitation from the five Colorado Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) in the state and Colorado Springs. Fifteen finalists will be selected by the six regions and forwarded to the Statewide Selection Committee, who determines the recipients.

- Nominees must be a registered nurse (RN) currently practicing in Colorado or retired from practice in Colorado.

- Nominee may have been previously nominated and/or a finalist but may not be a recipient.

Western Slope nominees will be honored at the regional banquet which will be held Saturday, March 18, at the Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction.

Nomination forms are available at the Western Colorado Area Health Education Centers (WCAHEC) or online at All nominations must be postmarked by Friday, Jan. 6, 2006.


Pagosa's Past

Action moves west as Fort Lewis in Pagosa is abandoned

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

The year is late 1880.

The place? Pagosa Country and the San Juan Basin.

What's going on? Anglo settlers are moving in, looking for a home. At the same time, anxious, angry Utes - hoping that, through a series of treaties with the whites, they have successfully retained a small portion of what was once their home - are asking themselves "will it happen again? Are they going to settle on the little we still have?"

The Army hoped to prevent a bloodbath by building Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs in 1878, then building another in Hesperus in 1880. The older Utes followed Ouray's advice and walked softly. But, like young men everywhere when they are squeezed, young Ute men were sullen, resentful, and almost convinced it would be better to die honorably than survive by surrendering. And so, in the San Juan Basin, confrontations occurred.

The Basin was still relatively remote. Huge, unfenced cattle ranches spread from the Continental Divide westward into the Blue Mountains of southeastern Utah, three of the larger spreads headquartered near Monticello, Utah. Confrontations between cowboys and Indians were inevitable. In "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," we read two stories in which a young cowboy named R.P. Hott rode helter-skelter to get aid for his beleaguered comrades, surrounded by militant Utes. Hott was the grandfather of R.D. Hott, still a rancher in Pagosa Springs.

It is true, a bloodbath was avoided. But the powder keg could have exploded anytime, given the desperation of the young Utes and the itchy fingered restlessness of the young cowboys. The Blue Mountains of Utah, along with the Paradox Valley, had a reputation as the last place a man with a past could hang out with no questions asked.

By 1880, a vast majority of the Southern Utes were moving on to the reservation they still occupy. The Moache and Weeminuche bands settled in Ignacio. The Weeminuche settled further west, around Sleeping Ute Mountain south of Cortez. Then, there were more, small band of Utes who settled even further west in Utah in the badlands between Cortez and Monticello. It happens that a lot of cattle were being grazed in the same area. For whatever reason, the U.S. government allowed a few of these Utes to remain off of the designated reservation. Their descendants are still there today. And, as late as the 1920s, incidents between white and Ute occurred, no bloodbaths mind you, but scary enough if you discovered yourself the center of attention for a group of rifle barrels.

And so, beginning in 1880, the Army built a substantial fort at Hesperus, halfway between the Ignacio Utes and the Ute Mountain Utes.

One company of infantry remained at Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs under command of a Capt. Torres. In a letter to the Adjutant General, U.S. Army dated Dec. 16, 1880, and sent from Headquarters Cantonment, Rio de la Plata, Col. "Sir, I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your communication of 18 ultimo, asking that returns for Fort Lewis, Pagosa Springs, for the months of August, September, and October, 1880, be forwarded. In reply, I beg to state that the troops constituting the regular garrison of that post, have all been on detached service for several months, and returns for the month of September and the succeeding have not as yet been received from Companies D '9th' Cavalry and 'B' 15th Infantry. As soon as the necessary data can be obtained, returns will be made out and forwarded.

"Fort Lewis, Pagosa Springs, is virtually abandoned, and is now a Substation under the commanding officer of this post. There is one company there, temporarily on detached service from this garrison. As soon as it can be done, a final return will be made and forwarded.

"This post has been frequently addressed as 'Fort Lewis on Rio la Plata,' as will be seen from the enclosed portion of an envelope. I respectfully ask if there is any authority for such designation."

More next week on the removal of Fort Lewis from Pagosa Springs.

Pagosa Sky Watch

Venus to reach 'greatest brilliancy,' Geminids in the offing

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:10 a.m.

Sunset: 4:50 p.m.

Moonrise: 12:47 p.m.

Moonset: 12:50 a.m. on Dec. 9.

Moon phase: The moon is at first quarter tonight.

As winter settles in, the night sky is becoming clearer but the nights are also markedly colder. For hardcore sky watchers, cold nights mean less haze and the potential for prime sky watching conditions. However, not all sky watchers are keen on midnight, sub-freezing forays into the great outdoors. Luckily, for those fair weather sky watchers, dusk still provides an ideal time to view two of our closest planetary neighbors - Venus and Mars.

If you have been observing the south-southwestern sky at dusk, a solitary, bright, blue-white object dominates the scene. The object is the planet Venus and it has been appearing ever brighter throughout recent weeks.

The reason for the increased brightness is because Venus has been gradually moving closer to Earth since the planet's appearance in our evening sky last April. As Venus has moved closer, it has grown more brilliant, and will reach "greatest brilliancy" on Dec. 9.

Although currently burning bold and bright, Venus' days as the brilliant "evening star" are numbered. As December draws to a close, Venus will gradually slip from our night sky, and after the new year, the planet will disappear for about a week, ultimately returning to our pre-dawn sky as the "morning star."

Mars, the other visible planet at dusk, has been burning a bold burnt orange in the eastern sky throughout autumn. Although the planet is now dimmer than during its period of peak proximity in late October, it is still visible and easy to locate.

For those new to observing the red planet, the moon on Dec. 10 will provide a useful landmark. Begin your observations at around 6 p.m., and Mars can be found to the left of the moon in the southeastern sky.

While the moon might be useful in locating Mars during the weekend, it will prove problematic for sky watchers wishing to view the Geminid meteor shower which peaks Dec. 14.

According to data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, the moon will be waxing gibbous during the Geminid peak, with about 96 percent of its visible disk illuminated. With the moon nearly full, sky watchers will have difficulty observing all but the brightest Geminids. However, if you should be lucky enough to see a Geminid racing across the sky, bear in mind these are some of youngest and most mysterious of all meteors.

Unlike the Perseids, which have been observed and recorded since as early as 36 AD, the Geminids suddenly appeared in our sky during the mid-1800s. The appearance of a new and previously undocumented meteor shower quickly drew the attention of astronomers who were intent upon discovering the shower's source.

Previous and contemporary astronomical observations had linked most meteor showers to the Earth's passage through a trail of cometary debris, and the race was on to locate the comet that was providing the fodder for the Geminid shower.

Even after decades of diligent searching, astronomers were left empty handed until 1983 when their fortunes changed. In that year, using NASA's Infrared Astronomical Satellite, researchers discovered an object moving in the same orbit as the Geminid meteor stream. An analysis of the two orbital paths indicated that the object's orbit, and the orbit of the Geminid stream, were a near perfect match and astronomers were convinced they had found the comet they had been searching for. But further observations soon revealed the object was something different and it now appears the source of the Geminid shower is an anomaly. What astronomers thought was a comet is actually a huge asteroid, roughly 37 miles by 29 miles, which they now call 3200 Phaethon.

Unfortunately, 3200 Phaethon's label as an asteroid is not exactly cut and dry. Observations indicate the asteroid's elliptical orbit is cometary in nature, but its composition is rocky like an asteroid. And the contradiction between Phaethon's behavior and its composition have led to many theories and much debate.

One of the early theories postulated that, as Phaethon traveled through space, it crashed into other asteroids and the fragments broken off in the collisions gave birth to the Geminids. But following more detailed investigations of the orbits of individual Geminids, this theory proved unlikely.

Following the debunking of the collision theory, astronomers then theorized that perhaps bits and pieces of the asteroid broke off when it passed near the sun, thus giving birth to Geminid shower. However, during the passage, the asteroid does not exhibit a comet-like tail.

As observations continued, another, and perhaps the most widely accepted theory emerged. Perhaps Phaethon is an extinct or dormant comet which has developed a thick crust over time. This crust, comprised largely of dust, allows Phaethon to shed the stuff of the Geminid shower and gives the object the rocky outward appearance of an asteroid. At its core however, lies the nucleus of the comet.

Until new observational technology is developed or a craft can be landed on the asteroid, this theory can't be proven and the full story of the Geminid source will remain a mystery.

To view the Geminids, moonlight permitting, you can start by locating the shower's radiant in the constellation Gemini. Gemini will be fully visible by 10 p.m. Dec. 8, and can be found almost directly north of the red supergiant, Betelgeuse in the constellation Orion.

From Betelgeuse, travel in a line north and slightly northeast to Gemini and the twin stars of Castor and Pollux.

Pollux is the brightest star in the constellation and is a magnitude 1.2 orange giant. Castor, which lies directly to the west, or left of Pollux, appears to the naked eye as a single, magnitude 1.6 blue-white star. However, investigations of Castor with a telescope will reveal a multiple star with six separate components.

With the radiant located, the next step is to find an area of sky least affected by moonlight. If you are lucky enough to witness a shooting, try to trace its trajectory to its point of origin. If the point of origin is in Gemini, you have seen a Geminid. Although the moon will be problematic, astronomers estimate as many as 100 Geminids will streak across the sky per hour. These numbers may give sky watchers the advantage needed to witness one of the year's most prolific meteor showers.


Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture











































Cold temps, little snow in forecast

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Not much snow is expected in Pagosa for the upcoming week. Friday should be cold and clear, similar to today, with temperatures warming for the weekend with highs in the 40s and partly cloudy skies. There's only a slim 20-percent chance of snow for the weekend. Next week, expect more of the same: partly cloudy skies for the early part of the week, clearing and getting colder the latter part of the week.

Ever wonder why it feels warmer when there are clouds present? It has to do with radiation, one of the three main forms of heat transfer, along with conduction and convection. When clouds are present, they are warmer than the sky above, so the body loses less heat through radiation (which is purely a function of the respective temperatures of the bodies transferring heat, in this case, the body and the sky). Nighttime clouds can also trap atmospheric heat, which is probably why this weekend air temperatures are expected to be warmer during the cloudy weather. The body also loses heat by evaporation, which is related to humidity. Pagosa's humidity has been peaking at around 70 percent, coinciding with the low temperatures of the morning, and decreasing to about 30 percent in the afternoons.

Last weekend, the town received 1.5 inches of snow, officially. The ski area naturally fared better with 16 inches of snow reported over the weekend. The ski area continues to get some snow here and there, even with clear skies in town, with another inch reported Tuesday, bringing the total year-to-date accumulation of snow at Wolf Creek to 57 inches (with a 33-inch base at the summit of the ski area).

Temperatures last week ranged from a high of 42 degrees last Thursday to a low of negative 5 degrees Monday morning, with Sunday and Tuesday also reporting below-zero temperatures.

Fun Fact: Freezing rain is a term sometimes given to rain that is supercooled to below freezing temperatures, but remains liquid. When the droplets hit a surface, such as trees or a road, the supercooled rain can then instantly turn to ice. A freezing rain can occur when rain from a warmer cloud passes through a layer of air that is below 32 degrees F.