December 22, 2005
Front Page

County road system, plan move forward

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The creation of a county road classification system and a road maintenance plan based on that system inched one step closer to fruition during Tuesday's regular meeting of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.

During the meeting, and in a move to lay fresh legislative groundwork for the forthcoming plan, the board repealed county resolution 2004-64.

The resolution, passed by the previous board, limited road maintenance to only those roads eligible for Highway Users Tax Funds (HUTF). The resolution halted county-wide snow removal operations after spring 2005.

The board's current policy of providing snow removal on all county roads, except private roads and United States Forest Service roads, runs contrary to provisions of the old policy.

In addition, interim County Administrator Bob Jasper questioned whether linking road maintenance solely to a road's eligibility for Highway Users Tax Funds was the best foundation on which to build a maintenance plan. Repealing the former resolution provided the county with a clean slate, Jasper said.

But the move to repeal the legislation was not without dissent from Commissioner Robin Schiro.

Schiro abstained from voting for the measure after hearing the motion put forth by Commissioner Ronnie Zaday.

Zaday's motion called for all three commissioners to sign the resolution, as per the drafting of the document.

The new resolution was drafted to mirror the former resolution, which also called for the signatures of all three commissioners.

Schiro said she was exasperated by inconsistencies in the signature process.

She said some resolutions required only the chair's signature and others called for all three to sign. She asked why the procedure could not be consistent and said she would not vote because voting would only perpetuate the problem.

During his presentation to the board, Jasper said he recommended the repeal because the previous resolution fell short of the mark. He added that, in light of the current board's recent efforts to resolve the county's road woes, it was up to the current board to craft legislation in tune with the new vision.

"The resolution (2004-64) was limiting. We were shooting ourselves in the foot," Jasper said.

With the approval to repeal resolution 2004-64, Jasper said the county is no longer violating any of its own laws and the stage is set for the county to embark on "a whole new path."

To that end, Jasper requested a work session with the commissioners and called for a public hearing to present the details of the plan. The board agreed to both.

Jasper called the move, "the last big step to totally revise and revamp the road system in Archuleta County."

Jasper said the effort will not be without its challenges, and the county will have to face some tough decisions.

Will county residents allow the board to create a maintenance plan that is fair, fiscally possible, and that maximizes manpower and technical expertise; or will the question of maintenance and taxation to pay for maintenance ultimately go to a county-wide vote?

Jasper said a vote for county-wide taxation brings up significant equity issues, particularly for those living in metro districts.

Jasper said, "They raise their own taxes, maintain their own roads and are proud to do so." But, Jasper added, if a vote were approved, those living in metro districts would be paying twice for road maintenance.

Jasper called the history of Archuleta County roads "convoluted and complex," and said the county had made numerous errors throughout its history and that this was an effort to rectify the errors of the past.

Jasper said, "We're digging ourselves out of some major potholes. For 20 years we've been fighting over the issue. It's time we make a decision and get ourselves out of the pothole."

The work session is scheduled for Jan. 5 at 10:30 a.m. in the commissioners' meeting room. The public can attend, but public comment will not be taken at that time.

A public forum is scheduled for Jan. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Extension Building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.


Town lodger's tax misses the mark

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

During the Nov. 1 mail ballot election, voters in the Town of Pagosa Springs approved a 3-percent lodger's tax that would have boosted the town's tourism marketing coffers by nearly $300,000 for 2006 - but "would have" is the key.

Pagosa Springs Town Clerk Deanna Jaramillo said, while creating the forms lodging establishments would use to report the tax, she discovered reference to a state statute that boded ill for the recently approved measure.

According to Jaramillo, the statute - C.R.S. 39-26-102 (11) - allows for counties to levy a lodging tax (a maximum of 2 percent) to be used for advertising and marketing local tourism, but that the county tax cannot be levied within a municipality's boundaries if the municipality levies its own lodging tax.

In short, a municipality's lodging tax supersedes the county lodging tax within the municipality's boundaries.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said, "A town lodger's tax trumps the county lodger's tax within town limits."

Before voter approval of the current lodging tax, Garcia said lodgers paid a total of 8.8 percent in taxes on their lodging bill - 6.9 percent in sales tax and a 1.9 percent county wide lodging tax which was passed through the county and on to the chamber of commerce.

After receiving voter approval, town staff believed the 3-percent lodger's tax would be added in addition to the listed taxes, and that those funds would be used for tourism-related marketing, and capital improvements governed by a tourism advisory committee appointed by the town council.

However, because the county lodging tax is no longer applicable, 1.9 percent of the recently approved 3 percent tax is earmarked for the Chamber of Commerce to assist with marketing and other expenses.

In turn, this leaves the tourism advisory committee with only 1.1 percent out of the 3 percent they had anticipated. The result: An estimated budget of $300,000 for 2006 was hacked, inadvertently, to $100,000.

Jaramillo said the town is in the process of talking with the state to determine if the town can petition the state to allow the ballot measure to work according to the town's and the voters' intent.

Garcia said if the request fails, lodgers could collect a voluntary 1.9 percent surcharge to replace the amount lost. Lodgers could then contribute the surcharge revenue to fund the Chamber of Commerce.

The last option Garcia said is to send the question back to the voters, and ask them to approve an incremental lodging tax increase of 1.9 percent.

Garcia said asking voters to approve an incremental increase, rather than a repeal and replacement vote, would ensure the current 3 percent tax stay intact, despite its shortcomings.

Garcia said the question could be put to voters during the regular April 2006 election.


Propane scare or shortage?

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Is it a propane shortage or a propane scare hitting Archuleta County at the moment?

A bit of both, as it turns out. Archuleta is definitely a "propane county," with thousands of households dependent on propane for heating this winter.

Propane in this region comes primarily from the natural gas wells on the San Juan Basin near Ignacio and Bloomfield. A unique feature of propane is that it is not produced for its own sake, but is a by-product of other natural resource extraction. Companies on the San Juan Basin, which primarily produce natural gas, extract "wet" fuels like propane and butane to prevent problems in natural gas pipelines. When the price of natural gas is high, it is often more cost effective to burn off the wet fuels rather than refine them (the flames sprouting from a refinery's chimney are from the burning of "by-product" fuels such as propane).

Recently, the Ignacio plant operated by Williams Field Services put its suppliers on allocation, limiting them to two or three times the propane ordered in June of last year, according to Rick Taylor, of AAA Propane.

"That's not near enough," said Taylor, who had purchased 30,000 to 40,000 gallons all of last June, and needs about 50,000 gallons per week in the winter to supply his 1,300 customers. But, he notes, his company is in "pretty good shape," as his company has "clearance" with refineries in northern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and as far away as Texas. Taylor notes that getting propane from Texas can cost an additional 14 cents in freight, but, he adds, "I'm not going to run out of propane."

Bob Sivers of Bob's LP Gas, thinks that part of the perceived shortage has to do with people "scare buying," because people have heard that propane prices are going up. "If you're told your gas is going up 25 cents tomorrow, what's the first thing you're going to do today?" Sivers asked, rhetorically. Sivers said he has seen in the "news media" that propane prices may rise to $2 per gallon (current prices at around $1.85 per gallon). "It's not going to go that high, I think," said Sivers.

Angela Geistman, the manager of Selph's Propane (formerly Mesa Propane) believes part of the problem is the lack of propane regulations. Unlike natural gas, she said, which has federally-mandated price controls, propane does not, which causes it to be considered secondary by refineries. Geistman urges people to call Congress to include propane in natural gas regulations.

Overall there is plenty of supply. Sarah Carlisle, executive director for the Colorado Propane Gas Association, said that according to the Department of Energy, the U.S. has 7 million more (55 gallon) barrels of propane stored "above what we had last year." She notes that the current issues in Colorado are a result of the distribution system. Since 9/11, propane drivers are required to have an FBI background check for the CDL HAZMAT endorsement for transporting propane, limiting the number of propane truck drivers. Additionally, there is an "hours of service" requirement that limits the amount of time drivers can spend on the road. Carlisle said the National Propane Gas Association is working with the Department of transportation to exempt propane drivers from the "hours of service" rule during the peak winter season.

Since propane is typically produced at a steady rate throughout the year, but demand increases significantly in the winter, "every year it gets a little tight," said Sivers, "the problem is just getting it out in the field" during peak times. "When that first snowstorm hits, the phone will be ringing off the hook."


 Inside The Sun

Halliburton comes to Pagosa ... for a day

By Leanne Goebel

Special to The SUN

The world's largest provider of services to the oil and gas industry was hired by BootJack Management Company to cap two geothermal wells in downtown Pagosa Springs this week. The geothermal wells are located on property between the Archuleta County Courthouse and Fifth Street, adjacent to the former Chevron station.

"The casing lining on the wells is worn out and water is seeping out all over, endangering the courthouse." David J. Brown said. "Halliburton will cap off the old wells and we will have to drill new wells."

Halliburton completed work on the wells Dec. 20.

Brown and his company, BootJack Management, purchased the property from Lou Poma this year. Fuel tanks at the site were removed during the summer and demolition of structures at the site began this week. Next spring, according to Brown, the area will be planted and kept as open space until a development plan is finalized.

"It will be a minimum of two years. We are currently master planning the site," Brown said.

The geothermal wells on the property were drilled in 1955 as a favor to Vic Poma, Lou Poma's father. Vic Poma moved to Pagosa Springs in 1944 and bought the station, which consisted of two hand-crank gasoline pumps. He purchased a 10-foot square building and started a business that he would own until 1985, adding lots, bays and buildings. In 1955, a seismograph crew spent a month in Pagosa Springs searching the area for uranium. After each day's work, Vic Poma would keep the seismograph trucks in good repair, working on them all night.

"As a token of their appreciation, they asked if he would like a couple of hot water wells and drilled them for him for free," Lou Poma said.

Over time, the casing linings corroded. "They've been there for fifty years," Poma said. "The minerals in the water eat through the metal."

Lou Poma inherited the metal building with a full basement that was once Western Auto. In 1990, Poma bought back the service station and convenience store on the neighboring property and converted the old Western Auto into a Big O Tire store.

In 2001, Poma approached Archuleta County and offered to sell the county the property.

"I offered it to them for $650,000," Poma said. "They knew then that they needed to expand the jail and they had just got a grant or something."

The county passed on the offer, even though the property was appraised at $990,000 in 1999. BootJack Management purchased the property in 2005 for $1,050,000.

"I wanted to get out of there pretty bad," Poma said. "I had enough."

Poma said he never had any problem with the geothermal wells. Water problems he had at the site in February 2005 involved plastic piping under the concrete that utilized geothermal water to melt snow on the driveway.

"One of the plastic pipes leaked right over the filler pipe of the fuel tank," Poma said.

Three hundred gallons of water ended up in the 8,000-gallon fuel tank. The tank was not full and no fuel ever spilled. The tank sensor went off, but staff of the Mataya's Chevron, which rented the convenience store and gas station from Poma, did nothing and several customers unknowingly filled their auto tanks with water instead of gasoline.

As for the tearing down of property that once belonged to his family and his thoughts on the future, Poma said, "Hey, life goes on.

"The filling station died in 2005 and it's going to be replaced with something newer and hopefully something to benefit the town," Poma added. "Mr. Brown is going to use the hot water, and God bless him; I didn't have the money to do it and he does. He's going to make it bigger and better and nicer than I ever could. As far as what he is doing - I think it's fantastic for the town."


Minding your mill levies as new budgets are approved

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Ferreting out the final numbers from piles of spreadsheet-packed file folders that fill her office, Archuleta County Assessor Keren Prior has been hard at work this week proofing the 2005 property tax revenue distributions to the various county entities.

In the past weeks, the county and each of the various taxing districts have been certifying their current mill levies. Mill levies are the voter approved percentages the county and each district use to determine their revenues for the year. Once certified, the mill levy is then multiplied by the total assessed property valuation within each district to determine each district's revenues (the "mill" refers to the thousandth percentage of the levy number.)

The lion's share of property taxes goes to the school district, which last year got about 39 percent of the approximately $14 million total property tax collected and distributed. Next up was the county at 28 percent, followed by Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District at 13.7 percent. In all, the total pie is divided up among 19 entities: 18 districts and the county.

One of the responsibilities of each taxing entity is to ensure that its total revenue does not exceed TABOR limits or it's precursor, the 1982 "Gallagher Amendment" to the Colorado Constitution. The Gallagher Amendment set a 5.5 percent maximum increase for each taxing entity's annual revenues.

Although districts are unable to raise their levy without voter approval, often, because of increases in property valuations, a district has to reduce its levy to ensure compliance with the tax revenue statutes.

In the case of the Upper San Juan Health Services District, for example, voters temporarily approved a district waiver on TABOR requirements in 2001, according to Dick Babilis, health district finance committee member (thus "de-Brucing" the district, after Douglas Bruce, who scripted the TABOR amendment). However, the health district is still required to abide by the Gallagher Amendment.

Compliance with the Gallagher Amendment required the health district to reduce its Archuleta County levy from 3.884 mills to 3.674 mills this year, due to increases in property valuations (the health district operates in three counties). For 2006, the health district's Archuleta County portion of revenues will increase from $740,798 to $819,712 (excluding bond payments). Our mathematically savvy readers realize this is more than a 5.5 percent increase, but the Gallagher Amendment calculation takes into account new construction within the district and allows an adjustment based on "growth."

Prior's recent investigations into property market values reveal that all the property in Archuleta County was worth over $1.6 billion as of June 2004. From this amount, Prior calculates the assessed (taxable) value, based on the assessment rates set by the Colorado State Legislative Council, currently at 7.96 percent for residential land, and 29 percent for vacant and commercial property. Overall, assessed Archuleta County property values rose to approximately $234 million this year, up from the previous assessment of approximately $200 million as of June, 2002 (the assessor revalues property every two years, in odd-numbered years).

The next revaluation will take place in 2007, with values based on market prices as of June 2006. Thus, this year's boom in real estate prices won't affect assessed values for the next two years. Prior notes that property transfers, the amount of property changing hands, is up to around 535 properties per month, up from a "couple hundred" per month a few years ago.

Although property owners often hold the assessor's office accountable for the amount of their tax bills, Prior notes that her job as the county assessor is primarily to discover taxable properties and to value them. Collectively, the districts and the county determine the tax amounts by means of the mill levies. Prior does verify that districts are in compliance with the TABOR and Gallagher Amendments but, she notes, "it's not my job to police them.

"It's up to the taxpayers to keep the taxing districts honest," said Prior, who recommends that citizens get involved with knowing who's generating the revenue (residential, commercial, agricultural, natural resources, etc.), what the mill levies are based on, and how the property taxes are distributed.

Each year, Prior compiles a single page, three-ply brochure for the public called the "Abstract of Assessment and Levy of Taxes," packed with details outlining the assessed values by category, the mill levy of each district, and the annual distribution of revenues. Fascinating reading, for those so inclined.


Health district approves 2006 budget

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Last week, the Upper San Juan Health Services District approved its 2006 budget.

With $1.265 million expected in total tax revenue from three counties, and an estimated $167,000 surplus from 2005, the health district is planning to leverage its revenues in its pursuit to begin building a Critical Access Hospital in Pagosa Springs next year. Total 2006 district revenues are expected to be $2.29 million.

This year, the district has broken down its budget accounting relative to the three divisions of the health district: EMS, administration and the Mary Fisher Clinic.

The district has allocated $390,287 of the property tax revenue to EMS, with an additional $1.26 million in revenues expected from ambulance fees, recovery of bad debts and other revenue, bringing the total EMS revenue to $1.65 million. Expenses and cost of sales for EMS are expected to be $1.72 million.

The $1.2 million expected from ambulance fees is a big jump from 2005, which collected $634,000 (projected) in revenues. Brett Murphy, EMS director, said the increase will be in part from an estimated $60,000 increase in ambulance service fees (based on a $100 increase with an estimated 600 transports per year), and largely because of an increased amount of collections.

The health district has recently implemented an in-house billing system, which Murphy expects to aid in collecting 45 percent of the amounts billed for services. Previously, the district was only collecting 20 cents on the dollar, according to Murphy, when the billing system was out-sourced.

The administration sector of the health district is looking at a budget of $343,524 in revenues, and $432,580 in expenses. Income will be derived from a $149,472 portion of the property taxes, $74,000 from Colorado's "Specific Ownership Tax," and $120,052 for bond revenue (collected as a separate mill levy item). Expenses include the $65,000 cost of management from the Mercy Medical Center, and $50,000 for the professional consultant hired to advise on the building of the Critical Access Hospital. The bond revenue is being used to pay $35,052 in bond interest, and $85,000 in loan reduction.

The Mary Fisher Clinic, closed since last April, is working with a $294,839 budget, with $32,742 in costs, resulting in a net of $262,097.

Overall, all three departments are expected to have a net gain of revenue versus expense of $56,468 for 2006.

The district is expected to incur some "front-end" fees for the Critical Access Hospital prior to the bond issue special election planned in May. These include preliminary architect's fees, and fees for the Critical Access Hospital feasibility study. Dave Bohl, chairman of the district's finance committee, notes that "this is the very first time we will not have to borrow money to get to March," when the property tax revenues for 2005 are initially distributed.


Sketch plan for new development presented to town commission

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Sketch plan approval for the 96-acre, Blue Sky Village subdivision proposed south of Pagosa Springs was tabled by the town's planning commission following the developer's presentation Tuesday evening.

Rather than providing an approval or denial, the commission moved that the sketch plan be reviewed by the Pagosa Springs Town Council.

With two commission members missing, chair Tracy Bunning and Kathy Lattin, and of the three commission members in attendance, Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon, Judy James and Natalie Woodruff, one, namely Woodruff, stated a conflict of interest in approving or denying the sketch plan and this left James and Aragon to decide.

Instead of moving for an approval or denial, James moved that the sketch plan be presented to the town council for consideration in January 2006.

As presented by the developer's representative, Carl Valldejuli, and project engineer Stephen Clay, of Russell Engineering, the subdivision would be located on the east side of U.S. 84 just south of the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. The project would include 67 single-family lots on 17 acres, 60 multi-family or townhome lots on 18 acres, 17.6 acres for commercial use along the U.S. 84 corridor and 25 acres of open space.

Valldejuli said the project would be governed by numerous conditions, convenants and restrictions, and that the project included strict design criteria, and plans for footpaths providing interconnectivity within the subdivision including building envelopes.

Although the property is outside town boundaries, Town Planner Tamra Allen said the site falls within the town's Comprehensive Planning area and that an intergovernmental agreement is being drafted between the town and Archuleta County that would give the town's planning commission oversight and approval powers on the Blue Sky Village and other projects that fall within the town's comprehensive planning boundaries.

Allen said, when the property becomes eligible, it could be annexed by the town.


Holiday and winter pet tips

By Linda Lawrie

Humane Society of Pagosa Springs

Special to The SUN

Christmas, New Year's and other winter holidays are almost here.

Though we don't have a lot of snow yet in Pagosa Springs, we've had plenty of cold weather. Here are a few pet-care tips that will help make the holidays and cold weather more enjoyable.


To our pets, the holiday season doesn't mean much; they feel the excitement and smell the food, but don't understand why one day is so different from others. But they can feel stressed. Anything that upsets the routine for the pet will be stressful: boarding, taking a trip, strangers in their house.

Try to maintain their routine and give them quiet places to avoid the hubbub if necessary.

Looking into those soulful eyes makes it doubly difficult to resist feeding them those "extra goodies" (for example, turkey skin, fat, pieces, crackers, kids' leftovers). And having company who doesn't have your steely resolve just compounds the problem.

But, resist! You do not want to spend Christmas evening calling your veterinarian. Dogs' systems are sensitive and cannot handle lots of rich, fatty or spicy food. A serious condition, known as pancreatitis, can result from their overindulgence. Also, our older pets' systems cannot handle as much as the younger ones. To help them feel part of the celebrating, add a little turkey and/or broth to their evening meal.

Don't forget that chocolate is also a bad substance for dogs. Theobromine in the chocolate is the culprit and there is more in dark chocolate than milk or light chocolate. A half ounce per pound of dog is enough to be fatal.

Likewise, rich desserts and candy should be kept out of a pet's reach.

Watch for potentially poisonous plants, such as poinsettia, and keep them out of reach. (Other poisonous plants commonly used at this time of year include azaleas, oleander, yew plants and Easter lilies, mistletoe, holly and amaryllis.) Christmas trees should be securely fastened or fenced away from the pets. Christmas tree decorations (glass ornaments, tinsel) should not be swallowed by pets. And watch for wrapped packages that could contain food - a dog's sense of smell is much better than ours.

If all your careful plans fail and the pet does eat something and starts to show signs of distress, call your vet or emergency facility and describe the situation. If possible, bring some of the ingested contents - should you have to bring your pet in.

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Cold weather

Cold weather can be tough on our pets. Don't forget, though, that warmer weather in the winter can mean that the pests like mosquitoes might still be around - if that is possible, perhaps you should continue heartworm preventative.

Frostbite and hypothermia are dangerous possibilities in the winter. Watch your pets for signs of discomfort. If they whine, shiver, seem anxious, slow down or stop moving, or start to look for warm places to burrow, they need to be taken inside. In general, keep them inside as much as you can - and provide shelter against the wind and plenty of non-frozen water if they must stay outside.

Our feline friends may seek warmth and shelter from the winter chill by crawling into a car's warm engine compartment. Cats can sustain severe injuries when an unsuspecting owner starts their car. Checking to make sure kitty is not under the hood and providing a warm and cozy nest for your cat in a quiet and warm spot will help prevent such a mishap.

Usually, the air pockets in their coats insulate them nicely. But if they get wet, the air can get compressed out and they may get cold.

To keep pets that go outside (where their pads can accumulate rock salt, ice and chemical ice melts) from getting chapped and raw, wipe their feet with a washcloth when they come inside. Spraying their pads with a similar cooking spray product can keep snowballs from forming. There are several non-toxic ice melts on the market that can be used in the winter months - signs of toxic ingestion include excessive drooling, vomiting, and depression.

If your pet gets wet from snow or sleet, dry him thoroughly with a towel or blow dry (set on warm, not hot, air).

Be careful if you walk your pet near frozen lakes and ponds - he could slip and become seriously injured or drown. If you can't skate on it, your dog probably shouldn't go on it either.

Never leave your dog in a vehicle because the cold air could become dangerous. On the other hand, sometimes even winter sun can overheat a car.

Your pets may need a little extra food in colder months for more energy production and to keep the body temperature regulated.

Be aware of poisonous substances, such as antifreeze, which may smell good and taste sweet to your dog, but is lethal. A half teaspoon of antifreeze per pound is enough to cause problems for your dog. Early detection and treatment is a must. There is no known truly safe antifreeze product on the market.

If you have a fireplace, make sure to keep it out of range of tails and paws. Likewise for space heaters. Not only could your pet be burned, but knocking over a heat source could endanger the entire family.

Pets can become dehydrated in the winter, as well as in the summer, so always give them plenty of fresh water.

Finally, young pets, debilitated pets and older pets are probably the least tolerant of the colder weather. They may not be able to keep themselves warm. No pet should stay outside for unlimited amounts of time in extremely cold weather.


Annual lighting contest winners announced

Winners in the 2005 Lighting Contest sponsored by Colorado Dream Homes have been selected.

Take your family to see these holiday treats. The addresses are listed below.

Ten judges cast their votes, scoring the entries from 1 to 10, with 10 being best.

First prize and $500 went to Nick Printz, 1222 Lake Forest Circle.

Second prize, $100 each, went to two entries: Dan Winter, 157 S. 8th Street, and Chris and Johnny Lindquist, 21 Fiesta Place.

Third prize of $100 was won by Mamie Gallegos, South 8th and Zuni streets.

If you wish to view this year's Christmas Lighting Contest entries they are located at:

- East of town - 4871 E. U.S. 160; 4871 E. U.S. 160.

- Downtown - 316 N. 3rd Street; 157 S. 8th Street; South 8th/Zuni; 535 S. 5th Street; 1035 Hillcrest Drive.

- Pagosa Lakes - 39 S. Birdie Court.; 165 Butte Drive, No. 1 and No. 2 duplex; 21 Fiesta Place; 1222 Lake Forest Circle; 47 Antelope; 130 Antelope.

- West - 145 Fireside Drive, 282 Sam Houston Ave.; 968 Ute Drive.


Local company auctions pies, buys toys, summer camp vouchers

Bob Hart, owner of Hart Construction Corporation, and his employees set out to "make a lot of kids happy this Christmas."

At the company's annual Christmas party they held a pie auction and auctioned off 10 pies to the 140 employees, subcontractors, suppliers and customers at the party, raising a total $5,410.

Bidding competition was high with one apple pie bringing a total of $1,800. All the money raised was used to buy Christmas gifts for needy children in Pagosa Springs and to send 20 kids to summer camp.

"It's wonderful to see everyone come together and contribute to such a good cause, and we hope to make a difference in many children's lives," said Hart.

The toys and clothes will be distributed to foster home boys and girls in the Pagosa area by Carol Novack with Whimspire, Inc., a Colorado licensed child placement agency, in time for Christmas.

Camp vouchers will be distributed now but used next summer.

A crew of 10 (Brian Escude, Amy Bass, Bobby Hart, Brian Zazula, John and Sherry Montoya, Sharan and Mike Comeaux, Bob and Mary Hart) did the shopping at Wal-Mart (which contributed another $400) and filled a dump truck full of toys for the trip back to Pagosa.


A Colorado Christmas

By Chris Gerlach

Special to The SUN

This little story is written for all who are and remain as children in their hearts, and who have always known that the best of stories tell of the best of gifts - gifts we all give each other with every act of Love. May we all give and receive that gift that passeth understanding On each day and on that Special Day that comes once a year, and lives always in our hearts, let there be peace.

It was the year of 2005 and all were called to return to their home towns to be registered for a new national program to aid safety in a troubled world. Among all these people was a young couple, Joe and his wife Mary. They had decided to return to the home of her childhood, a little town deep in the mountains where the air was still clear, the forests deep and green and the people kindly and generous to all. They did not have much in the way of the world, but what they had they packed in their car, and taking with them their hopes and dreams of a better life, started their journey.

They had a precious treasure to bear with them, for Mary was with child and soon would be given that special gift that is a mother's greatest joy and a father's too, a baby soon to come. As they drove along into the night, Mary thought of all that they had labored over in the cities behind them, and of their journey and of their shared joys and was at peace, for Joe was a good man and a kind one, and she trusted him in all things, and she was content.

The road soon rose up and up into the mountains, and as night fell so too the snow began to fall, for it was near the very end of the year, and the town they were returning to was high up in valleys at the very feet of the great Continental Divide, beyond one more great mountain pass.

High up they drove, and as the night grew dark, they passed the ski area silent and still, and reaching the peak, began their final descent among the sleeping pines and the moonlit shoulders of the mountains around them.

They reached the valley floor, passed the tall gates of BootJack Ranch, and went on across quiet valleys towards the town. The horses in the fields by San Juan Village stamped their hooves quietly as they drove by but the windows of the Be Our Guest B & B were dark. It was late when they finally reached their destination, and though everywhere there were bright Christmas lights, and a warm glow from many a window and home, the streets were still, and covered in the fast falling snow.

They passed over the bridge just east of town, and they looked for a place to stay, for Mary's time was near, and they both knew that she might bear their child that very night. They looked and asked at each inn and motel, but all were full. From the High Country Lodge, to Elk Meadows, the Fireside Inn, the First Inn and the San Juan, there were no vacancies. Jim at the Everyday Store sent them on into town, past Jackisch Drugs, and the Liberty Theater and the courthouse, all shrouded in snow. But all through town, at the Spa, at The Springs, the Best Western too, they were turned away. Even up the hill, at the Super 8 and at the Lodge, there was no room. All the timeshares and condos for Fairfield and Pagosa Lakes were full.

By now, Joe grew concerned, and Mary, though filled with faith, trust and joy in being finally in what they hoped would be their new home, knew her time was close at hand. As they drove back toward town, the snow grew thick about them, and they turned toward the airport seeking somewhere to at least rest a while. The car, their trusted friend, finally stopped, and Joe got out to find a shelter for his family. He came back, "Mary, I have looked and looked and finally I think I may have found a refuge for us." And Indeed, he had. An old hangar at the airport was standing empty, soon to be replaced, and within it was warm and dry and a haven in the storm. Joe brought in their sleeping bags and camping gear, lanterns and a little stove, and made a warm and secure place for his wife. Safe and warm in that place in the night, she gave birth to their child, on the eve of Christmas, in the little town in the mountains that was to be their home.

All the while, outside the flakes fell quietly, covering the fields, and the roads in a soft blanket of new snow.

Out on the road, a while later, a county snowplow driver saw their car and stopped to see if someone needed help as the good people of that town did, being both good and kind. He found the little family and the new babe, and went to seek help in the night and the snow.

Down Highway 84, some ranchers were out in the fields, watching over their cattle and sheep as the snow was deep, and they kept watch by night to see that all was well.

One of them drove up in his ranch truck to where his fellows were parked, close to Echo Lake, and said, "It just came over the scanner: one of the county plow drivers just found a family stuck in the snow, up in one of the old hangars at the airfield, with a new baby, and could anyone help? The EMTs are all up the pass, and the clinic is closed."

They gathered up some of their cattle, the ones they most needed to watch, and headed up the hill, trucks and trailers, to do what they could without a second wasted. Soon they found Joe and Mary, and the little baby, wrapped in a down comforter and lying peacefully in Mary's arms. They brought their cows and a sheep or two into the hangar to keep warm, and knelt down to do what they could to help. But the birth had gone well, and mother and baby were both resting happily, but weary.

High above in the snowy storm, a plane full of pilots who had just been at firefighting school in Colorado Springs was flying slowly through the night.

The pilot at the controls turned to his fellows and said, "Guys, we are going to have to set down here, the storm is getting too thick and they have just installed a new runway and gear, so we should be fine until it blows over. And by the way, I just heard over the radio, as we land, there is a family with a new baby just born in the storm, in the old hangars at the south end of the field. We should stop in to see if we can help." The sleepy pilots in back all agreed, and in the dark of the cabin all they could see was the gleam of the snow blowing by outside, and a faint glow from the instruments up front that gleamed on the pilots' wings on each man's chest.

Soon they were on the ground and stomping through the deep snow to the old hangar, and as they gently eased open the old doors, they saw the little family in the light of a Coleman lantern, surrounded by the ranchers and the cattle and, of course, they saw the little baby sleeping quietly in Mary's arms. The pilots tiptoed quietly in, and Joe and Mary smiled at them and made them welcome. Somehow the sight of the family there in that place, with the breath of new life around them, brought on a sense of peace and comfort as they could barely remember. It was as if they were the ones coming home, and to a home they never knew they had left or known, but that it was always there when they were ready.

Down on 160, at the junction, meanwhile, as the evening wore on, there was little traffic on the highway, and the skiers and the townspeople were snug in their rooms and homes. There was another car coming into town, an old Volkswagen bus, and in it were three astrologers from New Jersey. They had come, following a foretelling that they had about a star in a far off town. They had come this far and were getting near, they felt. "There," said one of them, "Look!"

And there they saw, high up on the hill over this little sleeping town, a great white star gleaming in the night, shining down on the dark trees and the quiet houses and stores of the village below. "We are almost there" said another of the astrologers. "Let us follow where the star points." And they drove on up a long hill, and turning towards the mountains in the far off distance, they came upon Joe and Mary's car and beyond, the hanger and the family within. "This is the place" they said to one another, and went within.

Meanwhile, nearby in the Mountain Vista Condos, there was a family gathered for Christmas, and from that family a little boy named Zachary was playing in the night, running across the far end of the airport, but far from the runway, for he knew that that was not a good thing to do. Suddenly he saw light in one of the old hangars, and went to see what it was. He peeked in the door and there he saw Joe, and Mary with the baby in her arms, surrounded by the ranchers, their cows and sheep, the firefighting pilots, standing by the family, and the three astrologers, all talking quietly in the glow of the lanterns, for the ranchers had brought their's with them too. Zachary's eye grew wide, and he raced across the snow back to the condo where he knew Christmas dinner was about to be served.

As he sat down with his family at the table, all bright and happy and joyful for the holiday and for being together, surrounded with love and warmth, he was very quiet and thoughtful. Even his sister could not get him to twitch.

His mother, as mothers always can, knew something was up, and asked him, "Zachary, what is the matter, dear?"

"Mother," he said, " I just saw a family with a little baby out in the snow, on this special night, when we are supposed to be thankful, and they are cold and we have so much and all this food. We have sooo much. Couldn't we take them some?"

His mother and his family were loving and good people, and it wasn't a moment before the Christmas dinner, which was about to be served was headed out the door, carried by grandparents, parents and Zachary, his sister and cousins.

The cat had to stay behind.

They all headed down the stairs and across the snowy field to the hangar that held Joe, Mary and the baby, and their visitors. Soon there was turkey and stuffing and stew and a rich and wonderful homey warmth and everyone - the family, the ranchers, the pilots, the astrologers and now Zachary and his family - were eating quietly together, sharing in quiet voices so as to not wake the baby.

After a little while, Zachary looked around and his eyes grew wide. First he saw the ranchers and their cows and sheep standing peacefully near. Then he saw the pilots, and saw especially their kindly faces and the golden gleaming pilots' wings pinned to each of their uniforms, with the little wings outspread. Then he saw the astrologers, dressed in rather odd but colorful outfits, all of them with long and gleaming beards. And then he saw Joe and, close by him, Mary, holding in her arms the tiny and happy sleeping baby.

Zachary turned to his sister, who was close by him, "Look!" he said in a whisper, "They are all here, just like in the first story!" She looked and looked again. His mother heard him, and hugged them both, for she knew already. It was true. There in the snowy night, as if by chance, yet by some gift given by the Giver of all, the age-old message was clear, and given again.

Printed by permission of the Town of Pagosa Springs.


AEDA offers business training course, business plan competition

By Bart Mitchell

Special to The SUN

To help existing business owners and start up companies develop the necessary strategy and plan for business success, the Archuleta Economic Development Association (AEDA) is offering a local business training course - the Nx Level Leading Edge Course.

Previously, the course was offered at the Small Business Development Center at Ft. Lewis College in Durango. However, due to the difficulty for Pagosa business owners to make the drive to Durango, the class is now being offered by AEDA at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Anyone wanting to register for the course can do so by calling AEDA at 264-4722 or by downloading an application at

The 12-week course costs $280, or $395 for those wanting three hours of college credit. Classes begin Jan. 26 and will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursdays at the community center.

To sweeten the deal for owners, a business plan competition has been thrown into the mix. To help promote the course, local banks have offered some generous incentives in terms of a business plan competition.

The business plan competition is open only to students in the Leading Edge program. Not only will the contestants receive valuable feedback on the business plans they develop, but they also will get cash incentives. The first-place winner gets $400, with $150 and $50 going to second- and third-place winners, respectively. Area banks donated money for the prizes and the business plans will be reviewed by local bankers and the AEDA board of directors. The competition is sponsored by the Bank of Colorado, Wells Fargo, First Southwest Bank and Bank of the San Juans.

Business plans will be judged on project description, market analysis, legal structure and break-even analysis, among other criteria. The training course and the competition will provide a good measurement to determine which ventures have potential. The competition's winners will show they've evaluated the pros and cons of starting their business, conducted a good market analysis, have good financial planning, looked at long-term cash flow needs, and prepared for the skills necessary to accomplish their goals, said Mitchell.

Taking a little time to educate yourself and prepare effectively makes a big difference to long-term success in business. As the old saying goes, most people don't plan to fail, they fail to plan. This course is an excellent way to make sure you start your business on the right track or a great way to get your business back on track for future success.

The Leading Edge Training program is a 12-week intensive training program that is taught nationwide by the SBDCs across the U.S. The Leading Edge class is designed to encourage business expansion and growth for start-ups or for existing companies that need some rejuvenation. It focuses on teaching the art of better business practices while producing a comprehensive business plan to guide the owner's decisions and activities.

Region 9 Economic Development District is sponsoring a $280 scholarship for the Leading Edge program. To apply for the scholarship, go online to the AEDA Web site: Attach a one-page written narrative describing your business background, why you need the scholarship and how it will help you achieve your business goals. Follow the directions at the bottom of the application for submission.

Archuleta Economic Development Association (AEDA) is a non-profit organization whose sole purpose is to enable, grow and sustain economic development in Archuleta County. Our mission is to provide business development and support in our county in order to nurture a diverse, local year-round economy that supports the needs, values and quality of life of our community. Because we are not tied directly to any government authority, we are able to independently help businesses in the county. AEDA accomplishes these goals by offering business mentoring, training, financing assistance, incentives, advocacy, business and economic data, and job creation services.



Catch and Release

A welcome remedy for a failed fishing trip

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

A long day at the office and two hours spent in a cold, drafty laundromat had zapped me. As I hauled my clothes out to the truck with nose dripping, head pounding and teeth chattering I knew there was only one cure - a hot meal and a drink.

I considered a trip to the market, but the thought of the dog locked inside my house pushed me homeward. He was, undoubtedly, ready for me to be home.

When I arrived, the first thing on my mind was getting the pooch outside and building a fire. With the dog outdoors, I split kindling, packed the woodstove full of Pagosa SUN back issues and slivers of wood and set it all to blaze. As the fire crackled, I unloaded my truck and once everything was inside a sinking feeling hit. I had made a tactical mistake - I was out of wine.

I had drank my stash down, except for two bottles I was intent on saving, and it was at least a week before the order from Berkeley would arrive. I turned and looked at the plate I had left on the table. I was doomed.

I had come home at lunch and pulled out a hunk of Raclette, a brick of Huntsman and a loaf of paté with mushrooms to have as an appetizer. They had sat, slowly warming throughout the afternoon, and the aroma of Raclette and Stilton told me they were prime for eating. A baguette sat beside the plate, waiting to be devoured.

That was when realization number two hit - I didn't have anything prepped for dinner. I'd gone to trouble of readying the appetizer, but I'd forgotten the main. I considered making a meal out of cheese and pate, I'd done it before, but without wine it would be an utter waste. To make matters worse, I was still cold. The thermometer on the porch read single digits, and my stomach wanted heat. It wanted comfort food.

I was wasting time deliberating. I was beat. I was famished. I had no choice and headed for the freezer and pulled out a chicken pot pie and tossed it in the oven. With the main course baking away, my resolve buckled. I headed for the stash.

Squirreled away in the bottom of the armoire lay a 2000 grand cru Bordeaux, and an '03 Crozes-Hermitage. I was weak, but not weak enough to crack the Bordeaux. Besides, considering the menu, the Rhone was the only option. Cold weather food demanded a meat-on-your bones red, and I shuffled back to kitchen and pulled the cork.

As the fire warmed the house, I gobbled hunks of bread slathered with pate. I cut wedges of Raclette, methodically trimming off the rind, and popped them into my mouth, washing them down with slugs of the powerful northern Rhone. Forty-five minutes and two glasses of wine later, I served up the main course.

The pot pie, golden brown and gorgeous in all its processed, overpackaged goodness, steamed when I cracked the crust. With its creamy guts exposed, I jammed my nose in and inhaled. Heaven. I took a bite, chewed and knocked back more red. It was simple food, a muscular wine and the day melted away in Syrah-based bliss. It was perfection. It reminded me of a fishing trip.

For once I had left Albuquerque at a decent hour. We had packed the car the night before and all that was required was to get out of bed, fill the coffee cups and head out.

We stuck to the plan, and before we knew it we were south of Socorro, and were crossing the San Augustin plains en route to Silver City and Gila National Forest.

Soon we blasted through Datil, and were eating up the countryside and talking like old friends do.

After the Datil cut-off, we started down N.M. 12 en-route to Reserve. The coolness of the morning was finished and the July heat baked us inside the car. It was time for a break and we stopped at a mom and pop service station for ice cream and to top off the tank.

With the goods in hand, we continued on, happily chomping on our Eskimo Pies and soon barreled through Reserve. No problem, we were headed south and Silver City was not far away.

We followed the asphalt out of town and were jolted from our ice-cream induced stupor when the pavement suddenly ended.

It seemed a little odd to drive on dirt to Silver City, but we were traveling in the right direction so we continued.

Ten minutes passed, then 20. The conversation died. Brown Forest Service mile markers ticked past. My companion glared at me. We knew without saying that somewhere we'd gone wrong. We were in the middle of the Gila National Forest and well off the route. I pulled out a map and guesstimated where we were. It was, "kiff-kiff," as the French say, the same distance on dirt to Silver City, as it was to backtrack out to the pavement and the proper route. We argued for a while. I won - it was dirt to Silver City.

Mileage on dirt and mileage on pavement are two different things. Sure, it was the same distance on dirt, but the speed we could travel was an entirely different matter. After the first few miles the road disintegrated. Groomed gravel transformed into a rutted track. Potholes threatened to swallow the little Subaru. We dodged rock and tree roots as we crept along, each bump punctuated with an insult or accusation from my traveling companion.

By seven in the evening we were still hours away from Silver City. We inched past a National Forest campground with a small creek and beaver pond. I suggested we camp, at least we could fish. My companion decided that after all the hell I had put her through, it would be a nice meal and decent hotel in Silver City or nothing at all. There would be no trout. I tried to persuade her. She wouldn't budge. We pushed on, insults and accusations flying.

We fought the final three hours into Silver City and finally rolled into a dive hotel at about 11 that night. There was a Harley rally in town and our lodging options were limited at best.

After 14 hours in the car, we were tired, starving and ready to kill each other. But with no place else to stay we grudgingly checked in and settled into our cinder block hell-hole for the night.

The interior design team had a keen eye for economy. Why bother with complicated color schemes when you can simply spray paint the interior of the room the same aqua marine as the exterior? Why bother with fancy track lighting when one, bleak 60-watt incandescent bulb will do?

It was clear we'd struck out on the "decent hotel" option, so we inquired about restaurants.

"All closed," our leather clad concierge said.

We went back to the room, and sat on the floor at opposite ends and glared at each other. There was no romance. There was no love.

I considered starting another fight, but as much fun as that might have been, my stomach got the better of me and I began rummaging around for food. My efforts were not wasted and the menu proved superb&emdash;canned, French cut Del Monte green beans, Chef Boy Ardee ravioli, also in the can, and a '97 Barolo to wash it all down.

She snarled as I worked the Swiss Army knife. She wasn't going to eat that canned crap, she informed me. No, instead, she was going to remind me of the hell I had put her through all in the name of trout. That was until she caught a glimpse of the wine.

"What are you drinkin'?" she asked. I grunted and passed her the bottle. She took a slug and the anger began to melt.

"That's pretty good. What are you eating?"

I passed her the veggies and handed her a spoon. She shoveled the green beans straight from the can into her mouth. We switched. I traded the ravioli for the green beans and the Barolo went back and forth.

We ate greedily and plowed through the mighty Italian red. Course two: a digestive, a simple Montepulciano and, at that point, who cared? The day had been hell, the food questionable, but the wine made everything right.




Honor them

Dear Editor:

I agree with James Huffman in his letter, "Outraged," Dec. 15. He tells it like it is for our young men and women in military service: "The military in this country does not make policy and they don't get to decide where, when, or how to implement policy. They go where they're told, when they're told, to do what they're told, how they're told to do it. We fought, died, and were wounded in Viet Nam because Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Congress sent us. We did the same thing in Somalia because Clinton and Congress sent us and we're doing the same thing in Iraq and Afghanistan because Bush and Congress have sent us. Those who pay the price for supporting their elected government's policies deserve better than this."

By "this" Huffman was referring to the only get well card received by a young soldier, Joshua Sparling, recently wounded in Iraq who is recovering at Walter Reed. The card's message was, "Have a great time in the war and have a great time dying in the war. PS DIE."

Periodically the Denver Post publishes "Portraits of Valor," a compilation of pictures, facts, and comments of relatives, friends and others who knew them, about the military men and women who have died as a result of the war in Iraq. If you want to know what kind of people they are and something about them, I can't imagine a better place than "Portraits of Valor" to learn.

When I read Huffman's letter I had just finished reading the 28 portraits in the Post's Nov. 25 issue. I had extracted the following statistics preparing to pass them along in a letter to The SUN. For categories I chose how they were killed, when, and their age ranges.

They were killed by roadside bombs (16), other bombs and explosions (5), attacks of small arms fire, etc. (4), and vehicle accidents (3), for a total of 28.

Their ages were (19-20) 6, (21-30) 9, (31-40) 12, (41-50) 1.

They died in August (2) and September (26). All except one were killed in Iraq; and he died in a hospital in Germany from injuries in Iraq.

There were no commissioned officers. There was one chief warrant officer, a helicopter pilot.

Earle Beasley



Dear Editor:

Concerning the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, Matthew Diehl wrote questioning the validity of facts presented by others. I find a number of flaws in Mr. Diehl's facts and logic but will only comment on two aspects of his letter.

First, Mr. Diehl refers to the "ignorant clan who oppose the Village Š who oppose any other entity with economic development aspirations" as having their opposition "seated in jealousy and envy" because "they are not capable of any kind of significant undertaking of their own." Failing in fact and logic Mr. Diehl has resorted to the lowest and weakest form of argument, name calling.

Second, in stating that Pagosa Springs is "a place where they are not required to live up to standards or achieve anything at all," Mr. Diehl has managed to insult every person who lives here or has ever lived here from the original native American inhabitants and their descendants to the early pioneers and their descendants to the newest arrivals.

Lal Echterhoff


Missed the point

Dear Editor:

Mr. Diehl is missing the point of concern of those who oppose the "Village." Our opposition is not just about the interests of people. Sure, we love skiing the silent glades, hiking the knife ridge in a snowstorm, cross county skiing around Alberta Lake, or just appreciating the silence, lack of lights, stores, restaurants and shopping. But our main concern is for the significance of the place in the bigger scheme of things.

Wolf Creek is a unique place, situated at or below the Continental Divide, between the wildest wilderness areas left in Colorado, the south San Juans and the Weminuche. While not a wilderness itself, it is not a huge, obnoxious, inappropriate development for its location either. Those who have traveled or lived in different places have seen the same thing repeatedly, big development at the cost of wild places, like a cancer eating up what little is left. Sometimes development brings economic benefits, sometimes not. Most feel the "Village" would be harmful to local economies on both sides of the pass. But that's beside the point. Our remaining wild places are islands, in a sea of human developments and impacts. Can't we make a little room? Wild places don't have a voice, so we must speak for them, before what's left is gone.

Just because someone can do something does not mean they should. Sure, we can build nuclear bombs; we've built lots of them, enough to destroy our world 100 times over. Does that mean we should keep building them just because we can, just because there is more profit to be made, more egos to satisfy?

I'm sure the Pitchers could make more money by maximizing development at Wolf Creek, but they are mindful of the place they manage, and the effects of development upon it. How refreshing, someone who can, but doesn't, because they care and recognize its inherent value. I am thankful to them for fighting this development. They have the support of the majority, locally and nationally.

Mr. Diehl makes rude references to Rep. Salazar's opposition to the "Village" and his concern for the economic well being of the Pitcher family, as if they are not worth defending. Rep. Salazar did speak on behalf of his constituency's interests. He not only recognizes the value of Wolf Creek's environs not suffering such development, but also the role the Pitchers play in our local economy. Wolf Creek ski area employs many people, mostly during the winter ski season, but some year round. This is a reliable source of employment. Don't underestimate the value of these jobs in a community as small as ours. They are one of the largest employers in our area.

You call us an "ignorant clan." How sad, that those who are a voice for our shrinking wildland treasures are labeled thus. There is sound evidence suggesting this would be harmful in every way except perhaps to the developer's pocketbook. I beg to differ upon who is ignorant.

Adrienne Haskamp


Who benefits?

Dear Editor:

Wow! I wish I was as smart as Matthew Diehl and had all the answers as he does. Sadly, as an opponent of the Village at Wolf Creek, I must be one of Rep. Salazar's "ill informed constituency." Worse, as someone who has a "Pillage" bumper sticker, I am actually "ignorant," at least by his definition.

No, Mr. Diehl, I am neither ill informed nor ignorant. However, apparently unlike you, I actually value some things other than money. I haven't sold my soul to greed - oh, excuse me, "economic development." I find great worth in wilderness, in beautiful mountain vistas, in trees, in solitude, in those 20 or 30 lynx who will probably lose their lives to the increased traffic (as well as the deer, elk, and even people). Although I am not a skier, I think it is great that we actually have a ski area nearby that doesn't charge $80 a day and have two-hour-long lines. If that makes me "ignorant," well thank God for that!

Ironically, the good citizens of Creede and Mineral County actually fought a long court battle to keep a volunteer group from reopening the old Rio Grande rail line into Creede, because it would bring more tourists into town (read, economic development). They wanted to "Keep Creede Creede." So, apparently, the county is in favor of development when it is 75 miles away and trashes mountains they can't see, creates traffic that won't affect them, damages watersheds that they don't depend on, and wounds the economies of other jurisdictions.

Who will really benefit from the Village? Mainly, Mr. McCombs, who is already a billionaire! Oh sure, Mineral County will get some tax money, although the infrastructure and social costs may well offset this. In the meantime, Archuleta County and Rio Grande County may well have to shoulder significant public costs to accommodate the hundreds of low-paid service employees who won't be able to afford to live in the Village (and aren't going to commute from Creede). If you don't believe this, just look around the state at Aspen, Telluride, Vail, Breckenridge, etc. So, sorry Mr. Diehl, but I won't change my opinion to help some Texas billionaire become a multi-billionaire by putting a city the size of Montrose or Alamosa at 11,000 feet in one of Colorado's special places. In fact, I think I'll make another contribution to Colorado Wild.

John W. Porco

Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

Dec. 22

Loaves and Fishes will serve a free Christmas lunch, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Parish Hall.

Dec. 24

Christmas Eve services at Immaculate Heart of Mary are 4 p.m., 6 p.m. and midnight. Christmas Day service is at 8:30 a.m.

Dec. 24

Christmas Eve services at Community United Methodist Church are at 7 p.m., featuring a living nativity with children, and a 9 p.m. service. Christmas Day service is at 10 a.m.

Dec. 24

Christmas Eve services at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church are 5 and 8 p.m. Christmas Day service is at 10 a.m.

Dec. 24

There will be a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service at 6 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 2772 Rock Road.

Dec. 24

Grace Evangelical Free Church will hold a community Christmas service at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The service will include traditional Christmas carols, a scriptural reading of the Christmas story, an inspiring message and a time of fellowship with cocoa and cookies immediately following the service.

The nursery will be available for infants and toddlers.

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. 5

The monthly meeting of the San Juan Outdoor Club will be held at 6:30 p.m. at the community center on Hot Springs Boulevard. This month's program will feature David Hunter sharing his colorful slide show of the Zion National Park hiking trip. Sign-ups for activities this month include snow shoeing and cross country skiing. For information call Sue Passant at 731-3836. Visitors welcome.

Jan. 10

Creeper Jeepers, the 4 Wheel Drive Club meets the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the community center. Outings throughout the year will be the second Tuesday of the month. For further information, call Don or Linda Dodson at 731-3498.

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

Music in the Mountains tickets, a perfect Christmas gift

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

If you are looking for a very special holiday gift, Music in the Mountains suggests gift certificates for one or more of the outstanding concerts scheduled for Pagosa Springs next summer, as our local classical music festival celebrates its fifth anniversary in our town.

Gift certificates are available for four 2006 concerts, each featuring world-class musicians:

1. July 19 - The season opens with the outstanding Adkins Quintet featured on strings and piano. Tickets for this concert are $40.

2. July 21 - Dueling violinists Vadim Gluzman and Philippe Quint will provide a unique opportunity to see two of the world's finest violinists on stage together, accompanied by Gluzman's wife Angela Yoffe on piano. Tickets for this concert are $40.

3. July 29 - The full orchestra will perform with Bruce Hangen, principal guest conductor of the Boston Pops, and Van Cliburn medalist Avram Reichert on piano. Tickets for this concert are $50.

4. Aug. 4 - The full orchestra returns under the baton of Boris Brott, an internationally recognized Canadian conductor. World-famous classical guitarist Sir Angel Romero will be the featured soloist. This is the first time Pagosa hosts a second full orchestra concert in the same season, the addition coming as a result of the highly positive response to our first full orchestra event last summer. Tickets for this concert are $50.

Tickets at the Chamber

To make tickets to one of these events a gift for special people on your Christmas list, visit the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Pagosa Springs or call them at (800) 252-2204 or 264-2360. Pay by cash, check or credit card (MasterCard or Visa) and arrangements will be made to get you an attractive holiday gift certificate.

All of the Music in the Mountains concerts take place in a spectacular mountain setting, under the tent at BootJack Ranch at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass.

Chairman of the Pagosa committee organizing these local festival events is Jan Clinkenbeard. "We're incredibly lucky to have first-class musicians who have performed to rave reviews around the world come to Pagosa to play for us," she said.

Clinkenbeard pointed out that ticket prices cover only a small portion of the cost of putting on these concerts. "Pagosa audiences enjoy the many soloists we attract summer after summer. That is why the contributions we receive from individual donors, businesses and other larger organizations are so crucial to our Pagosa festival," she said.

As well, all of the planning and organizational work is done by Clinkenbeard and her local volunteer steering committee composed of Melinda Baum, Mary Jo Coulehan, Lauri Heraty, Carole Howard, Crystal Howe, Teresa Huft and Lisa Scott.

Various promotion opportunities are available to program advertisers and major donors. For more information, contact Clinkenbeard at 264-5918.


ManKind Project to

present interactive drama

By John Gwin

Special to The PREVIEW

Do you think, say or do things you regret?

Perhaps you hide, repress or deny your feelings?

ManKind Project International will present "Head Heart and Soul," which demonstrates how we can heal emotional wounds and become more congruent and connected to our feelings. This interactive drama will be presented at 7 p.m. Jan. 10 at the Pagosa springs Community Center.

"Head Heart and Soul" sculpts a person's stages of emotional development from childhood, and demonstrates how we create "shadows" by hiding, repressing or denying our feelings.

This free drama is open to all adults, regardless of religious beliefs, marital status or gender. Refreshments and a question/answer period will follow this interactive presentation.

MKP is a secular, non-profit, multicultural international men's organization, 40,000 strong, whose motto is: "Changing the world one man at a time."

ManKind Project and Women Within, a sister organization for women, enable men and women to hold themselves accountable and be in integrity with themselves and others.


Grace Evangelical plans Christmas Eve

Grace Evangelical Free Church will hold a community Christmas service at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The service will include traditional Christmas carols, a scriptural reading of the Christmas story, an inspiring message and a time of fellowship with cocoa and cookies immediately following the service.

The nursery will be available for infants and toddlers. As always, all are welcome.


Christmas Eve candlelight service

There will be a Christmas Eve Candlelight Service 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 24, at the First Baptist Church, 2772 Rock Road. All are welcome.


Christmas season event and worship schedule at CUMC

By Donald A. Ford

Special to The PREVIEW

This Christmas season, the Community United Methodist Church will include the following events and worship services.

On Sunday, Dec. 18, the choir will present its annual Christmas Cantata at both the 8:15 and 11 a.m. worship services. A special Children's Sunday School event will take place 9:30 a.m. during the Sunday School hour between worship services. At 3 p.m. we will host a community Christmas carol sing-along that will include Handel's "Messiah." Then, at 5 p.m., an all-church Christmas dinner will be served that will include a special guest dressed in red who is very jolly.

Saturday night, Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, the 7 p.m. service will include a living nativity with all children present involved. We will provide costumes for each. The 9 p.m. service will be the traditional candle-lighting service that will end with the singing of "Silent Night, Holy Night" and candle lighting.

Sunday, Christmas Day, we will have one combined worship service at 10 a.m. with no Sunday School. There will be one service at 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1.

We wish each and all a very joyous and meaningful Christmas.


UUs plan Christmas Day service

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a special service Dec. 25, Christmas Day.

It will be led by Pauline Benetti, with music by John Graves.

Based on a sermon by Heather Lynn Hanson, UU Interim Minister, Wilmington Del., and a selection of poems by Howard Thurman, Chaplain at Boston University for many years and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Benetti's service will explore how UUs, with all of their diversity, celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Benetti points out that the acceptance of Jesus as the Christ is not universally held in this faith. However, whether UUs accept Jesus as the Savior or not, they can all agree that his values provide the foundation for the UU principles that they believe in and work toward:

- Respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person;

- justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

- acceptance of one another and encouragement to grow spiritually;

- a free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

- the right of conscience within the democratic process;

- the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all; and,

- respect for the interdependent web of all existence.

Also, most UUs are very uncomfortable with the consumerism that threatens to overwhelm this date. Benetti suggests that the antidote to commercialism might be to spend our dollars helping people this season, whether locally or globally. An example would be purchasing a goat for a Nigerian family through the HEIFER Project. "We can all do our part and feel good about it."

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


Grace Evangelical plans Christmas Eve service

Grace Evangelical Free Church will hold a community Christmas service at 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, Dec. 24.

The service will include traditional Christmas carols, a scriptural reading of the Christmas story, an inspiring message and a time of fellowship with cocoa and cookies immediately following the service.

The nursery will be available for infants and toddlers. As always, all are welcome.


Local Chatter

Peter Marshall's Christmas prayer

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

This Christmas prayer was written by Peter Marshall, who was appointed chaplain to the U.S. Senate in 1947 and in 1949. At the time of the appointment, he served as pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C.

Marshall died Jan. 26, 1949, only weeks after President Harry Truman's inauguration. After his death, his widow Catherine (Wood) Marshall wrote, "A Man Called Peter," which became a best seller on d was made into a movie.

Peter Marshall was born in Scotland and came to the United States in 1927. He was straightforward and practical and attracted all ages with his brogue and pithy sayings. During his chaplaincy, he was quoted by such prestigious magazines as The New Yorker and Reader's Digest.

"In a world that seems not only to be changing, but even to be dissolving, there are some tens of millions of us who want Christmas to be the same Š with the same old greeting 'Merry Christmas' and no other.

We long for the abiding love among men of good will which the season brings Š believing in this ancient miracle of Christmas with its softening, sweetening influence to tug at our heart strings once again.

We want to hold on to the old customs and traditions because they strengthen our family ties, bid us to our friends, make us one with all mankind for whom the Child was born, and bring us back again to the God Who gave His only begotten Son, that 'whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.'

So we will not 'spend' Christmas Š nor 'observe' Christmas.

We will 'keep' Christmas - keep it as it is Š in all the loveliness of its ancient traditions.

May we keep it in our hearts, that we may be kept in its hope."

- Peter Marshall



Community Center News

New Year's resolutions should improve computer lab at center

By Becky Herman

SUN Columnist

The community center will be closed Dec. 24, 25 and 26 for the Christmas holiday.

New Year's Eve dance

Plan now to stop by the community center to pick up your tickets for the third in our series of community dances for adults.

The dance will start on New Year's Eve at 9:05 p.m. and will end at 12:30 a.m.

Siri Schuchardt, our volunteer dance coordinator, and the staff of the community center are planning wonderful finger foods and glittering decorations to celebrate the start of 2006. Remember, this is a BYOB event and no one under 21 will be admitted. Please be prepared to show your ID, if asked.

Cost for an individual is $15 and $25 for a couple. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and the sale of tickets will end at 5 p.m. Dec. 30. We have arranged for regular patrols in and around the community center by Pagosa Springs police officers, so you can be assured this evening will provide not only a fun experience, but also a safe one.

If you are putting together a group of friends and neighbors to come to the dance, consider reserving a table. Each table will seat eight to 10 people, and a table reservation ensures you can spend the evening with your friends.

So pick out something sparkly to wear, or come Pagosa style, and get ready for an evening of music and dance. John Graves has assured us that all who attend will be pleased with the wide variety of music he has selected. And, if you're no Fred Astaire or Ginger Rodgers, so what? The music alone will be worth the price of admission.

After the New Year's Eve extravaganza, look for information about the Valentine Dance, scheduled for Feb. 10, featuring music by Tim Sullivan and Narrow Gauge.

Free yoga class

Richard Harris, who conducts this weekly introductory class, tells me he has been practicing yoga since 1988. His experience includes teaching at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and working with Ming Steen here in Pagosa Springs at the recreation center.

I was particularly glad, when I spoke to Richard, to hear the yoga class works on breathing techniques and on releasing muscles and ligaments in order to go into various easy poses. Some visitors to the center have commented about the yoga class and said to me, "Oh, I can't do that kind of thing. I'd hurt myself." Richard's assurance that people do only what is comfortable for them should allay any concerns you might have.

The weekly class meets in the community center every Thursday at 11 a.m. Bring a towel or yoga mat and dress in comfortable clothes. Call 264-4152 for more information.

Aus-Ger Club

The Austrian/German Club meets at noon today, Thursday, Dec. 22, at the Buffalo Inn.

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 speak 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 club's new president, explains the group is interested in finding ways to locate others in the Pagosa community who may not currently know about the group, but would participate in club activities if they knew about them. There has also been interest in putting together a European trip to visit Austria and Germany.

Call Roger at 731-0409 if you are interested in participating, or for information.

Mage Knight gamers

I'm old enough to remember when Dungeons and Dragons was the game of choice for teenagers. Mage Knight reminds me a little bit of the D and D marathons, which used to take place in my basement. There's the combat element. There are the elements of monstrous creatures and mythology. And, of course, the little figurines.

But the kids tell me that Mage Knight is very different from D and D. Check out this game and the interesting group of young people (ages 11-17) who play it. They get together Friday afternoons at the center. Call Chris Jackson at 264-9154 for more information.

Computer lab news

Every year at this time, I make resolutions. And, yes, I'm like most people in that I don't always follow through. My intentions are good, however. So here I am again, resolving to take better care of myself and all these wonderful machines entrusted to me. Here goesŠ

Resolved: to make the best use of my time by making myself aware of what I can do more quickly and efficiently. I sometimes realize that I haven't been doing a task as well as I could. Keeping track of volunteers and the hours they devote to helping out at the center is certainly a job for a computer program. Another similar project involves an inventory of the center's hardware; planning for replacement is so much simpler when we know how long a piece of equipment has been used.

Resolved: to read manuals. I know that reading a manual is usually a last resort. Just the other day, I was thumbing through an XP manual and found something called ClearType. It's a setting under the Effects button on the Appearance tab in Display properties. My laptop was set to "standard" and when I changed it to "cleartype," there was a marked difference in the sharpness of the icon captions on my desktop. Try it; it's especially useful for those of us in our golden years who don't see as well as we used to.

Resolved: to increase the number of computer class participants at the center by 50 percent. So far this year we have had 71 people attend a computer class of some kind - mostly beginners, but some sophisticated users, too. Putting together these classes has been extremely satisfying for me. Laughing while I'm learning, and you can be sure that I'm learning just as much as the class members, gives me a this-was-a really-great-day feeling when I'm packing up to go home.

And, finally, resolved: to reexamine the security layers in place at the center and to adjust and fix as necessary. Just when I think we have a great security setup, I read about some terrible security mishap in a place where the System Administrator is much more knowledgeable than I. Doubts creep in; I get nervous. So I will go over the setup at the center with two or three people I trust - just to be sure. Thinking about this, by the way, is a good idea for any of you who have computers. If you don't absolutely know you're safe, then find someone who knows about these things, and take his/her advice.

There you have it. Check back with me in June or July; we'll assess how my resolutions are succeeding, or failing. If you have questions about computer use call me, 264-4152.

Center hours

To further serve our community we have 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.

Do you have a special talent, hobby, or interest that you would like to share? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming interest groups. Call Mercy with your ideas, 264-4152, Ext. 22.


Today, Dec. 22 - Beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 23 - 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 (cookies and basketball), 2-8 p.m.; Mage Knight, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 24-26 - Community center closed.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; Teen Center open (movie), 4-8 p.m.; Arts Council meeting, 5-7 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 - 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.; Teen Center open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Lord of the Rings movie marathon, noon-midnight; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 29 - Beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 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

Holiday in high gear at The Den

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

The Den will offer a holiday feast with turkey and gravy and other fixings for lunch Friday, Dec. 23.

There will be drawings for some great door prizes to rejoice the season of giving. Come to The Den to begin the holiday weekend celebration with your extended family and friends, with a delicious lunch and enjoyable company.

Free movie

Our movie at The Den at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, is "Scrooged" rated PG-13. A coldhearted TV exec (Bill Murray) is about to discover the true meaning of Christmas - the hard way. This wild, woolly spin on Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" sees Murray visited by three high-spirited spirits Š and while there are laughs aplenty, Murray's reformation and redemption are immensely powerful. Join us for free popcorn in the lounge and enjoy the hilarious supporting and loving cast in this modern Christmas classic.

Den luncheon

JJ's Upstream Restaurant is a world class restaurant offering outstanding cuisine and it is located right here in our little town of Pagosa. The Den will visit JJ's for lunch at noon Thursday, Dec. 29, to celebrate the closing of the year 2005. We will meet here at The Den at 11:45 a.m. then arrive at the restaurant as a group. The cost is $10 per person for a fabulous lunch including dessert and the bus transportation is a suggested donation of $1. Please sign up with The Den office by Friday, Dec. 23, to enjoy this luncheon outing.

Birthday celebration

If you are age 60 or over and your birthday is in December, come on down to The Den Friday, Dec. 30, for a delicious lunch and a celebration of your birthday. It will be a New Year's feast and Seniors, Inc. has graciously agreed to pay for a portion of your birthday meal, so it will only cost $1 for a holiday lunch and fun festivities.

New Year's Eve party

The end of 2005 is upon us and it's time to parrrrty! On Friday, Dec. 30, The Den is celebrating all of the memories of 2005 with New Year's Eve festivities. Join us for a New Year's feast with friends for our final lunch together in 2005.

Closed for the holidays

The Silver Foxes Den will be closed Monday, Dec. 26, and Monday, Jan. 2, for the holidays. We wish you all a merry time and look forward to seeing you on the Tuesday of each week.

Medicare appointments

Have questions regarding the new Medicare Drug Insurance plans?

The Den can help. Medicare Drug Insurance appointments can be scheduled at The Den Tuesday, Dec. 27, 9:30 a.m. - noon. January dates will be listed next week. Walk-ins without appointments will not be accepted. 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.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed at The Den to help enroll folks in the new Medicare Drug Insurance program.

Training will be provided and computer skills are necessary. Call Musetta at 264-2167 if you are able to donate a few hours a week.


Dollar-Rent-A-Car is new to the community and is offering a 10-percent discount to members of Seniors Inc. If your vehicle is in the shop or you're going out of town and looking for a reliable economy car or 4-wheel drive, call Robyn at 731-4477 or 264-0746 to accommodate your requests.

Holiday party a success

Last Friday, The Den hosted a lively holiday party attended by 75 people and it was a blast!

The Den also hosted a party in Arboles which was equally fun and festive. A variety of appetizers were graciously provided by Seniors Inc. with tasty cheese, crackers, salami and an assortment of cookies and desserts. A visit from Santa Claus brightened faces as he passed out gifts and listened to their holiday hopes with a twinkle in his eye. John Graves on piano and June Marquez on vocals entertained everyone with great holiday favorites and sing-alongs. The festivities, the company, the food and the entertainment were enjoyed by all.

A quote from one of the members of the Silver Foxes was "This is the best holiday party The Den has ever had!"

Activities at a glance

Friday, Dec. 23 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; free movie, "Scrooged", rated PG-13, with popcorn, 1 p.m.; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 26 - Closed for the holiday.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 - Medicare drug insurance appointments, 9:30 a.m.-noon; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 29 - Luncheon at JJ's Upstream Restaurant, noon, (reservations required by Tuesday, Dec. 27, at The Den office.)

Friday, Dec. 30 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; $1 birthday lunch celebrations, noon; New Year's party, noon; 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. 23 - Holiday feast: roast turkey with gravy, whipped potatoes, veggie medley, raisin nut cup and vanilla pudding with bananas.

Monday, Dec. 26 - Closed for the holiday.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 - Combination burrito with green chili sauce, lettuce and tomato, black beans and diced pears.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 - Spaghetti with meat sauce, mixed fruit, orange juice and garlic roll.

Friday, Dec. 30 - New Year's feast and $1 birthday lunch celebrations: Baked ham, yams and apples, green beans with mushrooms, roll and birthday cake.


Veteran's Corner

VSO will move first week of January

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

I would like to wish each and every one of our veterans, their families and loved ones, a very merry Christmas, happy yuletide season, happy holidays, and best wishes for this festive time of the year.

Our nation is at war and I hope all of you take a moment and give thanks and remember of all those who serve in our armed forces around the globe to make American safe and allow us the freedom to enjoy this season, each in our own way.

VSO to move

As I mentioned last week, the Archuleta County Veteran Service Office will move to a new location, effective Jan. 9. The new office will be in the old Bank of Southwest building at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7. This location is behind the Pagosa Country Center City Market in the Pagosa Lakes area. Mailing address will remain the same: P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Closed Jan. 5-6

The office will be closed Jan. 5-6 during the transition. This office will be sharing the new location with other Archuleta County departments and services including the building and planning department, Work Force Center and the Colorado driver's license office. These departments will relocate between now and early January at different times. The county is busying setting up phone lines and Internet connections, and making the offices ready for occupancy.

Phone numbers

I will have new phone numbers once I am fully relocated. Those numbers will be: (970) 731-3837, voice, and (970) 731-3879, fax. Our e-mail address will remain the same:

Remember, these changes in location and phone numbers will not take affect until Jan. 9. I imagine the old phone numbers will either have a message giving the new phone numbers, or perhaps a rollover to the new numbers.


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.

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

Grandpa's gravy, a gift better than Kleenex

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

No way around it for most people, the holidays mean relatives.

For some, this is a joy. For others it is misery. We all want that storybook family and that picture perfect Christmas.

When I was little, my parents made a great effort to give us the myth. But they were star crossed.

My father was a farmer, and my mother was a debutante from Shaker Heights, a difficult match during the entire 10 years before the divorce, but much more difficult on holidays when her mother or father (divorced by then) came to visit. My grandfather, my mother's father, was a tall, rotund, loud, bombastic, scotch-drinking Irishman. Quite a lady's man, he had polished steel rim glasses, wore a lot of cologne and usually wore very starched, pin-striped, pink shirts. My father loathed him.

I have a newspaper clipping that tells me Grandpa's brother was killed in a Capone-style killing. I have a diary that leads me to believe he, himself, was a bigamist. I have a picture of him in front of a Model T from which he sold pies. His second (or third) wife was not a favorite with me or my siblings.

My grandmother rarely said anything about her former husband, but I do remember her opining, in a persecuted tone, that, "John gambled away my diamond stick pin in a poker game."

By the time Grandpa came to us for Christmas visits, he was a very successful salesman for Kimberly Clark Corporation. You might think this meant that on our rare Christmas visitations there would be some nice presents. Well, there were presents all right, but you would never guess what the presents were.

He always put a giant cardboard package under the tree (it came by mail if he wasn't visiting). And when we opened it, what did we see? Kleenex: green, red, multicolored Kimberly Clark paper products of every assortment popped out into our little hands and greeted our bewildered eyes. Imagine trying to get your kids to write thank you letters to Grandpa for the boxes of Kleenex and you'll get the picture. It was baffling then, and is hilarious now.

Many years after the Kleenex Christmases, I taught domestic relations and I read a great deal about families. I realized that my family was not atypical after all. Most families have rebels in the closet, crazies in the attic, stories that are not to be spoken aloud, dinner tables occupied by prisoners dying for escape. During the holidays, that "happiest time of the year," often the worst comes to the fore, or at the very least, the longing for the ideal makes reality seem more difficult.

As has always been true in my life, a book helped me deal with the conundrum of what was versus what should have been. In this case, the book was called, "The Way We Never Were." I recommend it, or other comforting tales of the trials of real families, should you be suffering from the angst that sometimes comes with a less than Madison Avenue family occasion. What a relief it was to have a book tell me that my family was, if not ideal, not abnormal.

Books comfort us with the knowledge that other humans have had the same problems we have. Books assure us that other people made it though difficult periods and were stronger and richer for their trials. Books give us escape and make difficult times tolerable, good times better. What adult or child doesn't feel relief that Harry Potter escaped his mean uncle and aunt and creepy cousin? What human doesn't enjoy the pleasure of a happy story, a James Herriot rescue for the deserving dog?

These are the reasons books continue to be published, public libraries continue to exist, to answer the deepest human need: someone has written the story, told us how to make it through, given us a better understanding of our lives and the lives of others, lifted our spirits, given us a goal.

Far from the Kleenex Christmases now, I can look back at my grandfather and appreciate his two redeeming gifts. He taught me how to make gravy on one of those Christmas trips: long-simmering, luscious gravy, with a browned roux, wine, vegetable waters and drippings. I make it several times a year and always think of him, gratefully. And, his puzzling life made me look for the truth about the history of American families, which, I found in a book in a library Š where I find so many of the answers to the puzzles of life.


Arts Line

Arts Council offers winter, spring workshops

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

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.

Beginner's oil painting

Children know the secret to living and enjoying life. It's like the first snow of winter when excited children joyfully play. They forget cold fingers and toes, insisting on climbing the highest hill in their backyard, only to slide down screaming in terror, throwing snowballs at their little brother, knowing hot chocolate is waiting inside.

You too are invited to discover the small child within you. Climb high hills, throw away caution, forget and leave behind the baggage you have carried with you. Betty Slade will hold your brush in hand, wipe away the perspiration from your brow as you scream, "I can't do it."

Yes, you can! You can learn to paint. With instructions in technique, drawing, design and color you can express yourself through painting with oils. You will be surprised at what you can do.

"Let the little child in you come out and play," said Betty. "Forget what your fourth grade teacher said about you. I promise you - no fatalities, no snowball throwing. Only a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, a warm room with great lighting, encouragement and lots of warm friendship along with a great experience in learning how to think and paint like an artist."

Betty Slade has painted over 40 years, and has learned from the best. If you have said, "I'd like to learn to paint someday," probably that same passion that lives in true artists is in you.

This beginning oil painting workshop will arrive just as cabin fever sets in. Mark 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 1, 2 and 3 on your calendar. Details and supply list will be available at the PSAC. Cost of the three-day workshop is $120 for PSAC members and $145 for nonmembers. Call 264-5020 to make your reservation now.

Intermediate watercolor

Seeds of potential have been hidden in your heart as you continue to strive through practice and knowledge to become an artist. The 2006 intermediate watercolor workshop will help you take your creative desires to a new level of growth. The "Everything that grows" workshop will water and nurture those tender young plants that are blooming in you. New seeds will also be planted with the promise of a great harvest.

Betty Slade will show you techniques and skills that will draw out the garden of your soul. You will learn how to reflect your thoughts and moods when you touch your paintbrush to paper. The most important discovery will be your own growth as you learn how to push colors, direct the viewer's eye by creating a path of light to the focal point. You will begin to paint art, not subjects.

"Everything that grows" from flowers and trees to people will be part of this workshop experience. You will learn how to keep a sketchbook, describe details, express emotions, thereby turning your thoughts into great paintings.

Winter brings the promise of spring, as snow melts and waters the ground, bearing new growth in the earth. "For lo, the winter has past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing is come and the voice of the turtle doves are heard in the land Š Arise, and come away."

The song you carry in your heart will be heard as you paint the music of your soul. Come away and grow in your gift as an artist.

Details and supply list will be at the PSAC. The workshop is 9 a.m.-3 p.m., March 1, 2 and 3. Cost of the three-day workshop is $120 for PSAC members and $145 for nonmembers. Call 264-5020 to make your reservation.

PSAC workshops

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

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

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

Would evenings work better for you? To date, all of our workshops have been held during the day. We would like to know if there is a desire in the community for an evening workshop or series of classes. Perhaps 2 to 2 1/2 hours one evening a week, for six to eight weeks. If this is of interest to you, call PSAC at 264-5020 and leave your name and number. We'll touch base with you.

PSAC exhibits program

Applications are available to artists wanting to participate in the Pagosa Springs Arts Council's 2006 Exhibits Program.

From April through October, we present different exhibits for public viewing at the PSAC gallery in Town Park. Past exhibits have varied - from the high school art students, to jewelry, bronze, woodworking, photography, watercolor, oil painting, fabric art and a juried art exhibit.

Our exhibits committee will review portfolios by artists working in any medium. Selected artists will be scheduled for exhibits in the Town Park gallery in 2006. If you are interested or have further questions, contact PSAC at 264-5020 or download the exhibit forms from our Web site at Hurry ... the calendar is rapidly filling up for the 2006 season.

Updating e-mail

We hope members and artists have caught wind of all our past, recent and future events through snail mail, e-mail or the grapevine. We would like, though, to update our methods of contact as much as possible this year. Some of our mailing and e-mailing addresses are invalid (mostly e-mail), and we would like to fix this as soon as possible in order to inform you of current and upcoming events. Contact PSAC to update your information. Our phone number is (970) 264-5020, and e-mail is

Winter hours

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is now on its winter 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.

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

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

Feb. 1-3 - Beginner oil painting with Betty Slade, community center.

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

March 1, 2, 3, - Intermediate watercolor with Betty Slade, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., community center.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Artsline, send information to PSAC by 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

Feeling abandoned, empty? Try a classic

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

It had been five years.

I'd nearly forgotten the incident.

Only rarely - usually when I awake in the middle of the night, propelled back to consciousness by a bad oyster or one too many single malts - does the memory of the experience bubble up from the psychic depths and smack me in the frontal lobe.

Five years pass, and I get a letter in the mail.

It's from Stuart.

I see his name, I grow faint. (Were I to allow the Jane Austen in me to fully flower, I would say I "swoon.")

It is an invitation.

Stuart wants to see me again.

After all this time.

After I thought he forgot me. After I damped the powerful feelings I had following our first get-together. After I worked so hard to put everything behind me (so to speak) Š the rascal shows up again.

Bingo, he's back - acting like nothing happened. Acting like we had seen each other just yesterday. No apology for not calling: not a word about the five-year absence, no concern for the damage the estrangement did to my ability to feel, to care, to function as a fully-realized human being.

At first, I wasn't quite sure how to react as I stood there in the vestibule, knees weak, the letter fluttering in my trembling hands.

I read on, my heart beating faster, my breath ever more shallow.

"Dear Karl:

"Records show it's been five years since your last colonoscopy. Given the fact we removed two polyps during your last appointment, and given your family history, we urge you to contact the office and make an appointment for a procedure."

The cad. Trying to sweet-talk me again.

Imagine my pain as I scanned the missive and encountered that imperial "we."

I tossed the letter in the trash, spurned, insulted.

Two months later, another letter. Perhaps I hadn't received the first letter, it said. Perhaps I had simply forgotten to reply (oh, the nerve of the man). I turned on my heel, ripe with anger and tossed the second letter into the trash.

Finally, a third letter.

" Š we will not harass you. We will not remind you again. Should you wish to make an appointment, please call. Sincerely Š"

Playing hardball, eh Stuart? I wanted to hit my pillow with clenched fists and have a good cry.

Kathy found the letter and she put the screws to me.

"For crying out loud, a doctor is not required to pander to your distorted sense of romance. The man is probably somewhat normal - unlike you - and makes no connection whatsoever between a routine medical procedure and your deranged emotional state. Furthermore, if you let this thing go past the first of the year, the insurance company won't pay. Do it, lover boy. Put some balm on your damaged feelings, and anywhere else you might need it, and get the colonoscopy, now! If I absolutely have to, I'll take a day off and drive you to the hospital or wherever you have to go."

So, I called Stuart's office and got a last-minute seat on the Colon Express.

Ever had a colonoscopy?

If not, you gotta try it. Trust me.

Darned near mystical.

Everyone should experience the cleansing process required prior to the procedure at least once in their life. You need to clear the theater, so to speak, and it happens in dramatic fashion. After all, you pack a large amount of crud into your intestinal tract, even if you're one of those mincy feebs who monitors every little morsel that enters the mouth. There's a lot of Š oh, how shall I put it? Š crap running through your system. You flush the junk out in less than 24 hours time. It's stunning.

Granted, the violent emptying of the gastrointestinal tract is nothing unique to this procedure. A lot of Third Worlders experience the purgative process when they drink tainted water, eat some week-old capybara or contract malaria and whatnot. We privileged members of the advanced industrial techno world, however, "prep" in order to enjoy the experience. We don't know how good we've got it.

We do it under a doctor's supervision, a prescription in hand, with the benefit of contemporary, indoor plumbing.

I went to the drugstore and the pharmacist handed me a giant plastic jug with some sinister powder at the bottom. The instructions: Fill the jug with water, shake to mix dry ingredients, refrigerate overnight, be prepared to endure the unspeakable.

I won't burden you with details; let's just say a person can catch up on a lot of reading sitting on the can hour after hour after hour. I got up at 1:30 a.m. the morning of my appointment, downed the remaining half-gallon of salty, revolting fluid over the course of two hours, then sat around three more hours draining and rereading a major portion of Milan Kundera's "The Incredible Lightness of Being."

At six-thirty in the morning, portals closed tightly, it was off to Durango for the big event: My date with Stuart.

I was dressed in one of those back-less hospital gowns, stern to the wind, when Stuart appeared to deliver instructions prior to the procedure.

"Oh," he said. "You're the writer. I read the piece you did five years ago." He paused. "Yes Š very funny." He paused again. " Hmmm Š yes Švery funny."

Hoo boy, perhaps I shouldn't have written about the Sinatra CDs, the overwhelming urge for a cigarette, the lack of a call from the doctor the next morning. About no flowers, no candy.

I had little time to worry.

As Eric, the nurse wheeled me into Scopeville, he unloosed a jolt of anesthetic into my IV.

"You feel anything," he asked?

Hah. Me? I've knocked back an entire bottle of malbec and five gin and tonics before noon and still felt like a cool breeze. And we're not even talking about the '60s, when Š I ... ahhh Šfeel, but Šarrrrrr Š glogggleummmm.

I heard laughter, I dreamed.

About trains and tunnels. About puppies passing through pythons. About food.

Next thing I knew, I was semi-awake, stretched out on a bed in the recovery room.

I was recovering.

Stuart made another appearance. He was smiling, businesslike.

One polyp. Gone. A little bit of diverticulitis. Gotta change the menu, Karl. More fruits (wine's a fruit, isn't it?), more vegetables and whole grains. (Is cheese a vegetable? Surely, if the cow eats whole grains and I eat the cow. . .).

Then, he was gone. Again. No reassuring touch (something subtle would have been enough for me). No meaningful eye contact. Nada.

And I was left again with that empty feeling, literally and figuratively, left to wonder what I could eat to compensate for the hideous process I endured the night before. I started to dose off.

Suddenly, a sharp pain, on my back. It's Kathy. She's pulling hairs from my back. She has been at this depilatory project for some time now, attacking anytime I am defenseless. Says she's trying to spell out "Kick Me."

"OK, spud, we're outta here." Kathy pulled me from my comfy little bed. "Get that dumb gown off; its gruesome. No one should have to see that. Put on your clothes and let's hit a restaurant."

I love this woman.

I believe I discovered the perfect item for the post-colonoscopy meal. Take note if you are a candidate.

A grilled cheese sandwich. All the essential food groups rolled into one wonderful, hand-held delight.

Not just any grilled cheese sandwich, though. This trip on the poop deck is no ordinary bodily voyage, after all.

It should be a toasty-golden good sandwich made with two cheeses, some pesto and a bit of Spanish or Italian ultra-ham.

To adequately compensate for the loss of electrolytes, the bread can't be one of those "Gee, I'm so healthy and smug" crude boules preferred by the Birkenstock crowd. Nope - gotta have a crusty Italian or French white, made with ingredients prohibited by the American Heart Association. Accept no substitutes. Only these breads can be saturated to the required level with butter and the fats released by cheeses and meat, and react properly once staff of life hits hot metal.

Cut two slices of bread from the center of the loaf - we don't want to skimp on surface area. Butter one side of each slice with softened, unsalted butter.

For the filling: some chevre (plain) and some thin slices of a nice melter (perhaps a white cheddar, a jack); several paper-thin slices of one of them-there foreign hams; a teensy bit of pesto (commercial is just fine for this application; making your own following a colonoscopy could exhaust your limited reserves of energy).

Build thusly: the inside surface of each slice of bread gets a thin layer of ham. On to that goes a thin layer of the slices of your melter, the slices slicked with a sheen of pesto. One half of the sandwich is then topped with thin rounds of goat cheese and the package is slapped together.

Melt some butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When the butter is hot and begins to foam a bit, plop in the sandwich. Let the one side get crispy good before you turn the sandwich - you want to turn this beauty only once.

What to drink, considering you've jettisoned nearly every drop of wet from your body?

Pinot noir, of course. Some would say a white Bordeaux, but they need to have a few more colonoscopies before they commit to the choice.

Take the sandwich and the glass of wine and repair to the coziest nook in the house. Turn the lights down low, pop on a Marvin Gaye CD.

Eat, drink, dream.

Who knows, in another five years, things could work out.


Extension Viewpoints

Tips for safe emergency water storage

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Our office will be closed Dec. 26

4-H calendar

4-H members are now selling the County Way of Life calendar as a fund-raiser for both their club and the 4-H council. The photographs displayed on the calendar were winners of the Country Way of Life contest sponsored by Colorado Farm Bureau Insurance. These calendars are $5 and the monies generated will go towards the 4-H member's club and to the 4-H Council. The front cover photograph just happens to be of a scene here in Pagosa Springs. Give us a call if you are interested in purchasing this calendar at 264-5931.

Red Books and seedling applications

The 2006 Integrated Resource Management Red Books are now available at the Extension Office for $5. Also, the 2006 Colorado Cooperators application for seedling trees are available too.

If you have specific questions about seedlings, contact the Soil Conservation District (NRCS) at 731-3615.

Emergency water storage

An unexpected blizzard, ice storm, tornado or flood can create water supply and safety problems. To be prepared for such events, experts advise keeping at least a three-day supply of water on hand.

Amount to store

Whereas a quart of water or other fluid daily will sustain life, according to the Department of Defense and the Office of Civil Defense, it is recommended that a gallon of water per day per person be stored for food preparation and drinking. A gallon provides added comfort and accommodates increased fluid needs at higher altitudes or warm climates. An additional one-half to one gallon per day is recommended for bathing and hygiene, and to wash dishes.

Containers to use

Food-grade plastic or glass containers are suitable for storing water. One-, three- and five-gallon water containers can be purchased from most outdoor or hardware stores. Any plastic or glass container that previously held food or beverages such as two-liter soda bottles or water, juice, punch or milk jugs, also may be used. Stainless steel can be used to store water which has not been or will not be treated with chlorine; chlorine is corrosive to most metals.

Clean used containers and lids with hot soapy water. Once the containers have been thoroughly cleaned, rinse them with water and sanitize the containers and lids by rinsing them with a solution of one tablespoon chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Leave the containers wet for two minutes, then rinse them again with water. Remember to remove the paper or plastic lid liners before washing the lids. It is very difficult to effectively remove all residue from many containers, so carefully clean hard-to-reach places like the handles of milk jugs. To sanitize stainless steel containers, place the container in boiling water for 10 minutes. Never use containers that previously held chemicals.

Do I need to treat water?

Once you properly clean containers, fill them with potable, or safe, drinking water. All public water supplies are already treated and should be free of harmful bacteria. However, as an additional precaution, it is recommended that you add five to seven drops, about 1/8 teaspoon, of chlorine bleach* per gallon of water stored. This precaution protects you against any lingering organisms in storage containers that may have been inadvertently missed during the cleaning process.

Where to store water

Clearly label all water containers "drinking water" with the current date. Store the water in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources. Do not store it near gasoline, kerosene, pesticides or similar substances. When potable water is properly stored, it should have an indefinite shelf life; however, it's a good idea to use and replace the stored water every six to 12 months. Rotating water this way provides you with an opportunity to experiment and check the amount of stored water against what you require. It also serves as an additional precaution against bacteria or viruses growing in containers which may not have been thoroughly or properly cleaned and sanitized. If you have freezer space, storing some water in the freezer is a good idea. If you lose electricity, the frozen water will help keep foods in your freezer frozen until the power is restored. Make sure you leave 2 to 3 inches of space in containers because water expands as it freezes.

Emergency sources

In an emergency, if you have not previously stored water and commercial or public sources of water are not available, drain water from your plumbing system. Unless you are advised that the public water supply has been contaminated and is not safe, open the drain valve at the bottom of the water heater and salvage the water stored in the heater. A typical water heater holds 30-60 gallons of water. Discard the first few gallons if they contain rust or sediment. Let the water heater cool before draining it from the heater so it does not scald you. Turn off the electricity or gas to the water heater to prevent the heater from operating without water. Once water has been drained into clean, sanitized containers, add five to seven drops of chlorine bleach* per gallon of water, and stir or shake the solution to mix it. Let it set 30 minutes before use.

Treat water for storage

In an emergency, if you do not have water that you know is safe, it's possible to purify water for drinking. Start with the cleanest water you can find and treat with one of the following methods:

Boiling and chlorinating: Water can be purified by boiling. Boiling times may vary from state to state, depending on altitude. In Colorado, the water is safe to use once after it has been boiled for three to five minutes and has cooled. If you plan to store boiled water, pour it into clean, sanitized containers and let it cool to room temperature. Then add five to seven drops, or 1/8 teaspoon, of chlorine bleach per gallon of water (1/2 teaspoon per five gallons). Stir or shake the solution to mix it. Cap the containers and store them in a cool, dry place.

Filtering and chlorinating: You can filter water if you have a commercial or backpack filter that filters to 1 micron. These are available in sporting good stores and are recommended for use when backpacking. They are not recommended to clean large volumes of water. Filtering eliminates parasites such as giardia and cryptosporidium, but it may not eliminate all bacteria and viruses. Therefore, it's recommended that five to seven drops (1/8 teaspoon) of chlorine bleach be added per gallon of filtered water (1/2 teaspoon for 5 gallons). Stir or shake the solution to mix it. Wait 30 minutes before using the water, or cap the containers and store them in a cool, dry place.

*Use liquid household bleach that contains 5.25 percent hypochlorite. Do not use bleaches with fresheners or scents as they may not be safe to consume. The above treatment methods use a two-step approach so less bleach is needed, yet giardia and cryptosporidium are destroyed through boiling or eliminated by filtering. Chlorine may not be effective against these parasites. Since adding too much chlorine to water can be harmful, it's important to be as accurate as possible when measuring.


Pagosa Lakes News

A visit with Mom, a walk in the wild

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Traveling can be dangerous to your health.

My husband, Tom, and I were in Malaysia late this summer to be with my mother.

At 88 years old, physically she's a wreck - with horrible osteoporosis that eventually has left her in a wheelchair for the past many years (23 to be exact). But she is mentally with the program, has a good appetite and an upbeat attitude. She lives a quiet existence with a live-in Indonesian maid on 12 acres of jungle.

Along with Tuti, her Herculean-size maid, mother's other companions include eight noisy geese, eight sullen dogs, half a dozen tilapia fish, one ancient turtle that resembles Yoda, and a myriad of other unwelcome companions - cobras, monkeys, wild pigs and "biawaks" (monitor lizards). It all sounds wild and dangerous and indeed it is wild but not near as dangerous as living in town.

Deep in the urban jungles of the cities in Malaysia, human society is at war against a wild and elusive beast: the mosquito.

Malaria, more commonly familiar to western travellers to Southeast Asian countries, no longer strikes fear in the hearts of tourists.

Now it's the Aedes mosquito that spreads dengue fever. Its footprints (have you ever seen mosquito footprints?) are growing.

First surfacing in Manila in 1949, dengue is now a cyclical, Asia-wide crisis which has spread to tropical zones in other continents as well.

In southeast Asia alone, dengue leaves an average of 400,000 people in the hospital every year, and causes around 3,000 deaths.

Because I was both horrified and fascinated by this little winged beast, I paid attention to local mosquito lore and facts. Did you know that despite its huge compound eyes, the mosquito doesn't find its victim by sight - it uses chemical sensors to detect carbon dioxide exuded by its prey. I must exude more carbon dioxide than the average Malaysian for the mosquitos found me to be a veritable moveable feast.

To escape the Aedes mosquito, we had to escape from people, for the Aedes sucker doesn't wander more than 100 yards from human dwellings (thus guaranteeing her meals). We headed into Malaysia's oldest rain forest - Kenong Rimba Park. Accessible only by many miles of rough dirt road, it's not only remote but untamed - many experts consider it the most ecologically intact and wildlife-rich ancient rain forest in the tropics.

On every trip into the wild, there comes the electric moment when you realize you've truly left the safety and confines of the modern world behind. Ahead lies adventure and discovery, and - if you're going to any self-respecting wilderness - large, wild carnivores who can, and will, eat you.

After we almost ran into a six-foot long "biawak" sunning itself on a dirt path, I twisted my weak right ankle stepping into an elephant footprint. "Well, I think, as of this moment, we have officially abandoned civilization," I told my husband.

On the trek we took, we saw a continuous procession of animal footprints and scat that reminded us we weren't the only creatures using this travel corridor. I couldn't help but feel we were the daily special on display in a wilderness cafeteria, with all of the tigers, panthers, bears, wild buffalos and pythons sizing us up, just out of sight, from the forest shadows.

The entire rain forest floor is covered with a matchless abundance of leeches waiting for a bloody meal. Humans are God's gift to leeches: we are their paradise, nirvana and happy hunting ground.

The leeches found us and we fed them well. Alas, in escaping the mosquito, we had traded one sucker for another. Not at all prepared for proper leech disposal, we simply yanked them off our bodies. The anticoagulant that they carry in their saliva kept the puncture wounds bleeding for some hours. After a couple dozen leech punctures on my legs (and one on my belly), I was beginning to worry "Pak Belalang" - the Malaya euphemism "uncle stripe" to refer to the tiger - would be driven to new heights of hunger by the smell of fresh blood.

In that eight-hour trek to get to our destination, Tujuh Telaga (seven waterfalls), we saw, smelled and heard so much. We could spin out one day for an eternity of experience.

Seeing abundant signs of wildlife was exciting. It reminded me how much I love exploring wild places, places where the predators are savage and the prey abundant. I can't tell you exactly why these places call out to me in my dreams or why I seek them out with an almost religious fervor garnished with fear, but I do. Maybe it's because they seem whole. All of the actors are there, and the set is the savage theater of the wilds - the greatest show on earth.



Alonzo Luis Gutierrez

Daniel and Christina Gutierrez of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the birth of their son, Alonzo Luis Gutierrez. Alonzo was born at 12:51 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2005, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. He was 7 lbs., 12 oz. with a length of 19 3/4 inches. Alonzo has a grandmother, Rebecca Austin, along with uncles and aunts, Junior and Becky Morris, Ricardo Alonzo and Patricia Gutierrez, all of Las Cruces, N.M. Alonzo is also welcomed into the family by great-grandmother Joan Ruggles of southern California, and his grandfather, Michael McMillan of Texas.




June Lynch

June Hughes Lynch passed away of natural causes on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Four Corners Health Center in Durango.

June was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., on August 6, 1916, to Frank and Emma Hughes and was a descendant of the Maddox family who arrived in Aztec, N.M. in the 1880s by covered wagon, including her 88-year-old Irish great-great-grandmother Jane Emmet Maddox. A street in Aztec bears the Maddox name.

On May 6, 1935, June was married to Ben K. Lynch at Saint Columba Catholic Church in Durango. Her mother ran a restaurant in downtown Durango and met Ben while he was a pharmacist at Wall Drug. Mrs. Hughes introduced Ben to June while she was home from business school in Texas and the rest is history. Ben soon purchased Jackisch Drug in Pagosa from Frank Jackisch and continued to operate the "Drug Store" until his death in 1975. His Colorado pharmacist number remains on the sign at the back door of the store.

Four children were born to June and Ben: Pharmacist Ben L. Lynch, who owned and operated Jackisch Drug since Ben's K's passing; Jack Lynch, teacher, coach, administrator and football official of Aurora, Colo.; Maureen Lynch, bookkeeper; and Casey Lynch, CPA of Durango.

The true spirit of June Lynch rested in her energetic, generous and compassionate heart. She and Ben would take the last of the toys from the Drug Store shelves on Christmas Eve and distribute them to the front porches of Pagosa's less fortunate families. Kids always ate first at June's house - it was just the way it was. She led the polio vaccination program in Pagosa and would drive ball players all over the San Juan Basin before school busses were provided. She would climb the slopes at Wolf Creek and ski down even before there were rope tows on top of the Pass. After tows were installed, most winter weekends saw her there with a carload of young skiing enthusiasts. And ski trips to Aspen with June were one of life's highlights for several young Pagosans. Sledding down the highway on Wolf Creek on a cold winter night was also known to have happened.

June, along with Barbara Corrigan, taught hundreds of kids swimming and lifeguard lessons in the existing outdoor pool at the Spa. She was a member of the school board, town board, Booster's Club, Bridge Club and Catholic Daughters. She played the organ in the choir loft at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church most every Sunday, at Midnight Mass, again the next morning for the Christmas Mass and would serve Christmas dinner for 15 friends and family, all after handwriting 50 Christmas letters. Most people she touched were made to feel special.

Many a young Pagosan found an extra $50 in their pocket as they left for the big city, or an extra $3 under the front seat as they washed the car for spending money. Numerous people lived under June's and Ben's roof or visited often, and no one ever went away hungry.

Some of her hardest times were the death of her beloved Ben, her daughter-in-law Lucille's battle with cancer, and the loss of her independence going into the nursing home where she continued to give and waited patiently for 10 years to join Ben and her many old Pagosa friends. The philosophy she lived was: "It's not how long you live, but how much you give." She lived it to the end and, in that, was a great mentor to many.

Mama June is survived by her four children and families, seven grandchildren - Pat, Mike, Larry, Grady, David, Michael and Kelly Lynch - five great grandchildren, her sisters-in-law Pan Boyd, Bonita Ledford, Lenore Lynch and Rae Lynch, all of San Diego, Calif. Her parents and six siblings preceded her in death.

A Vigil and Rosary service was held Monday, Dec. 19, at 7: p.m. at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church with funeral services at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 20. Internment at Hilltop Cemetery will follow at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to either the Lupus Foundation of Colorado, 6795 E. Tennessee Ave., Suite 100, Denver, CO 80224, or to the American Cancer Society, 2255 S. Oneida, Denver, CO 80224.


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.

A service will be held Friday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs.


 Business News
Chamber News

Get your events on the Chamber calendar

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

You might think I am here with you in Pagosa but, as you read this article, I am either in, or in transit from D'Iberville, Miss.

I can't wait to get back and report on the conditions in and the effort for our "sister" town.

The response from our community was overwhelming and we have been asked to repeat the collection effort we just completed. When I return with a better understanding of the situation, and as the community in D'Iberville continues to get on its feet, this would be a good idea. Thank you again Pagosans for your generosity.

Calendar of events

Believe it or not, we're well into our planning for 2006 here at the Chamber.

With this thought in mind, if there are any organizations out there who know their scheduled events for 2006, let us know as soon as possible. We print a continually updated calendar of events for our visitors to use when they plan their vacations and for use by the residents of Pagosa Country. We want to be the clearing house for events so folks can be aware of what is happening and not book too many events on top of each other.

Remember, you can go to the Chamber Web site,, and view the calendar of events, or enter your event online. You can also print out the calendar a week at a time for your lodging guests or place it in a strategic place in your business for customers to see. This weekly calendar is a great customer service tool. I try to highlight major or unique events, exhibits, or happenings with other state, regional or trade publications in order to draw visitors to the community and I am already submitting advertising for the spring and summer of 2006. So as soon as you know your information, pass it on to your Chamber of Commerce.

Annual meeting

Mark your calendars, shine up your boots, pick out your good pair of jeans or saloon dress and come on over to the community center Saturday, Jan. 21, for the Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

Prior to the meeting portion of the show, we will have some great food provided by Wildflower Catering. There will be a beer, wine and non-alcoholic cash bar, as well as games of skill and prizes to go with the games that include a yearly membership.

It is the annual meeting, so expect a little business; we want you to know what your Chamber has been up to.

We will honor the volunteer and citizen of the year and hand out the Pagosa Pride awards.

The highlight of the evening will be the entertainment provided by one of our Chamber members, The Bar D Wranglers. And since the meeting will be held on a Saturday night, after the meeting and the performance by the Bar D Wranglers, you can stay and dance the night away to a great DJ playing lots of dance music.

Western style seems to suit a lot of people in this area, but it may not be your thing. You do not have to outfit yourself in western attire. Come in evening dress or appropriate costume, but come to have fun. We'll mix the dance music so we can two-step as well as rock and roll.

Tickets can be purchased after the first of the year at the Chamber for $30 in advance. They will cost $35 at the door. Get ready to meet some new people, have some great food, honor some deserving citizens, do a little business, vote for the incoming Chamber candidates, and have some fun. Call us at the Chamber at 264-2360 for more information.


The forms are starting to roll in for citizen and volunteer of the year. Thank you to all who have taken the time to nominate someone. There are so many great people in our community; just nominating them shows you care and it is a great way to thank them. These forms are due back Monday, Jan. 9.

You have until the evening of the annual meeting to vote for three of six candidates for the Chamber board of directors. If you are not going to be able to attend the meeting, stop by the Chamber to vote. You are allowed one vote per membership. Our directors represent your voice in the community and they direct the business and marketing strategies for Pagosa. Read their bios, talk to them, and make an educated decision. You're a member; express yourself through your choice of your representatives.


Skills, Tasks and Results Training (START) is a program sanctioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute, designed for workers who are interested in the customer service/hospitality industry but have little or no experience.

This 180-hour program is designed to deliver integrated employment training services to local hospitality workers, as well as to individuals who have been identified as low-wage, low-skilled workers. The START program will offer certification to those who complete the courses, increasing their chances of getting a job and a higher salary in a career track. The class will be limited to 20 people and enrollment has been extended until Dec. 30. Courses will cover training from front desk and rooms division work to food and beverage exposure.

With the hospitality industry a major employer here in Pagosa and in the southwest area, free training such as this is quite an advantage. Classes will be offered Monday through Thursday, 1:30 - 4 p.m., starting Jan. 3. Interested persons should call Kathryn Saley at 946-6646. To gain qualified training at no cost is an opportunity not to be missed if you have even been thinking of entering the customer service industry. Check it out.

New Year's Eve

There will be lots of private parties going on and some of the restaurants will be offering special meals on New Year's Eve.

In addition, the community center will host a dance Dec. 31 from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Music will be provided by John Graves and Company and the cost is $25 per couple or $15 per person. It is a BYOB event and soft drinks, hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and coffee will be provided. You must be over 21, and you must purchase your tickets by Friday, Dec. 30. There will be no ticket sales at the door. You can purchase tickets at the community center, Moonlight Books and WolfTracks. You can reserve a table at 264-4152. Have a safe but fun time with friends and enjoy some great music.

Renewing members

All memberships this week are renewals.

We start off with Elk Meadows River Resort owned by Tony and Nancy Gilbert.

Alpha Engineering renews as does Steve Kuhlman and Kuhlman Hardwood Floors.

Genesis Mortgage and Wade Duncan renew this week and are joined on the renewal list by Upscale Resale.

We welcome back Keyah Grande Guest House, as well as Certified Folder Display and a non-profit organization, Community Connections. Last but not least, we have an associate member renewing this week - Judy James.

I wish everyone a wonderful Christmas, whether you are staying here or traveling to be with family and friends. I look forward to reporting on our trip to Mississippi and I'm sure I will be very happy to come home to celebrate the holidays here in my wonderful town. Thank you again for your generosity, and merry Christmas.



Biz Beat

In Balance Physical Therapy

Physical therapists are movement specialists who help you get moving easier with less pain.

Nathan Trout, MPT, and In Balance Physical Therapy, focus on active recovery from injury or illness, allowing a person to return to his or her normal level of activity more quickly.

Thorough evaluations are conducted in one-on-one sessions with treatment programs following until the person's goals for recovery are met. The public often thinks of physical therapy for back or neck pain or other musculoskeletal problems, but PTs also treat people after strokes or pneumonia, or people who have balance or walking difficulties.

In Balance Physical therapy is located at 175 First Street in downtown Pagosa Springs and is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 264-9200.



Cards of Thanks


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County is pleased to acknowledge the following businesses for their support of our efforts to construct decent affordable housing in Pagosa Springs during the past year:

Todd and Linda Miller, Honda Hauls, Strohecker Asphalt and Paving, Bauer Electric, Yerton Plumbing, Hart Construction, Lloyd "Bud" Short, Surveyor, Wigton Design Inc., Domono's Portable Toilets, High Plains Nursery, Formrite Custom Counter Tops, The Lighting Center, Concrete Construction Supply, Appraisal Services Inc., Ponderosa Do-It-Best, Frank and Robin Schiro, Azure Engineering.


Walter family

Our thanks to everyone for their thoughts, prayers and many acts of kindness during Richard's illness. They meant so much.

To those who attended the service, we thank you for your kind words and support. The remembrances of Richard you shared will be treasured.

The cards we've received have given us comfort and encouragement.

The gifts to Operation Helping Hand are much appreciated.


The Richard Walter Family


Pine Ridge

We want to thank all the wonderful volunteers who came to Pine Ridge and helped our residents enjoy this holiday season:

Paula Dorame with City Market for the beautiful flowers, Dick Hamilton (Santa), First Baptist Church for the Thanksgiving meal and the birthday parties, the Community Choir, Sue Anderson's choir, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints singing group, Mountain Heights Baptist Church singing group, Lutheran Church singing group, John Graves and June Marquez, the Methodist Thrift Store, Danielle Sullivan and her group, La Plata Electric for the Santa Sacks.

MaryAnn Martinez



Airman 1st Class Rachel L. Powell

Air Force Reserve Airman 1st Class Rachel L. Powell has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.

During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, and military customs and courtesies; performed drill and ceremony marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises, and special training in human relations.

In addition, airmen who complete basic training earn credits toward an associate degree through the Community College of the Air Force.

She is the daughter of Lisa Mettscher of Pagosa Springs, and granddaughter of Anna Leah Powell of Jacksonville, Fla.

Powell graduated in the year 2000 from Trinity Christian Academy, Jacksonville.


Sports Page

Pirates grab needed holiday win

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Santa Claus brought an early holiday gift to the Pagosa Springs varsity basketball Pirates, and it was just what the doctor ordered.

After struggling with two losses in a row, the Pirates won big against the New Mexico 4A Piedra Vista Panthers in Farmington Tuesday night by a lopsided score of 74-52.

The win comes just in time for the long holiday break and serves as a needed morale booster going into January and Intermountain League play. The Pirates' record improves to 4-3, while the Panthers drop to 1-7.

Coach Jim Shaffer said: "This was an ugly win for us. Our kids struggled to play at the level we are accustomed to. We played much better against Farmington last night but a win is a win, even though it was ugly."

The coach went on to say his team "still gave up too many fouls and turnovers, but I'm glad we get the boost going into the holiday break."

The Pirates committed a team-high 21 fouls and 21 turnovers, but improved at the foul line from the previous night, hitting on 75 percent.

Senior Craig Schutz led Pagosa with a game-high 26 points, his seventh in double figures. The Pirates would get some bench strength when junior Caleb Ormonde had his best effort so far with 17 points in just three quarters of play. Junior Jordon Shaffer followed with 11, while seniors Casey Schutz, Paul Przybylski and junior Kari Joe Hilsabeck each booked a half dozen. Junior Derek Harper rounded out the scoring with two. Hilsabeck and Przybylski led the Pirates with four assists each.

For the Panthers, senior Jonathan Maestas led with 13 points, sophomore Michael Suarez put up eight and senior Brittain Charley recorded five.

The game opened ugly as both teams tried to find some rhythm. The score was tied at six with half of the first quarter in the books. Casey Schutz kept the Pirates close with seven points in the paint. Ormonde came in with under three minutes remaining and swung the momentum the Pirates' way on three short jumpers in traffic to build a 17-8 lead at the end of one.

With another deuce from Ormonde and a trey from Przybylski the Pirates went on a 7-0 run to open the second period and increase the lead to 16.

At the five-minute mark, the Panthers would start their own short run on points by Suarez, junior Dakota McAdam and sophomore Artie Ruiz. Craig Schutz got back in sync with six more and Pagosa went to intermission up by 17.

The Pirates opened the third quarter as if there were no break when Craig Schutz and Shaffer tallied five to put the visitors up by 20.

The Panthers' full court press started to work as the turnover bug hit Pagosa. Piedra Vista took advantage and went on a big 13-0 run to close within nine with three minutes remaining. Coach Shaffer pulled four of the starters to let them sit and "think" about their play. Craig Schutz had a putback and trey to increase the lead to 45-34 at the buzzer.

After thinking for a while on the bench, Pagosa came out in the final stanza to put a stamp on this game, outscoring the Panthers 29-18 This was the largest scoring quarter for the Pirates so far this season. Ormonde muscled in eight to lead the attack with help from Hilsabeck, Craig Schutz, Shaffer, Przybylski and Harper.

The Pirates will now have time to think about this win over the long holiday break. The mandatory break gives some needed rest going into a full January schedule. Pagosa will return to the hardwood with three home games to start the New Year. On Jan. 7 they face the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers followed by a Jan. 9 home game against the New Mexico 4A Kirtland Broncos. The anticipated return match against the Farmington Scorpions is Jan 14. All are scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff and should be great games to watch, especially after the earlier match-up in Farmington.


Pagosa Springs: 17, 15, 13, 29-74

Piedra Vista: 8, 7, 19, 18-52


Shaffer, 3-7,0-0,5-6,11; Cody Bahn, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Hilsabeck, 1-2,0-1,4-5,6; Przybylski, 0-2,1-1,3-6,6; Harper, 1-3,0-1,0-0,2; Casey Schutz, 1-4,0-1,4-5,6; Richey, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Ormonde, 7-13,0-0,3-4,17; Hart, 0-1,0-0,0-0,0; Craig Schutz, 9-14,1-1,5-6,26. Rebounds: Shaffer 6, Hilsabeck 5, Przybylski 2, Harper 1, Casey Schutz 4, Ormonde 7, Craig Schutz 8.


Scorpions sting the Pirates, 58-53

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The New Mexico 4A Farmington Scorpions used a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to sting the upstart 3A Pirates 58-53 in Farmington's green gym last Monday night.

The green and white Scorpions improved to 6-3 while the black and gold went to 3-3 with one game remaining before holiday break.

The Farmington players and coaches looked almost overconfident during the pregame warmups and thought that Pagosa might just be a pushover. Why not? They had previously beaten another Intermountain League team, Centauri, by a lopsided score of 58-16 in an invitational tournament in Taos earlier in December.

Not so fast!

The Pirates were every bit as good as the Scorpions and gave them all they wanted on their home floor. Pagosa played very well against another good basketball team but came up short again.

It came down to mistakes and missed opportunities.

Same song, different verse.

The mistakes were too many turnovers in the second half. The missed opportunities came from the free throw line where the Pirates shot less than 50 percent. Their eight misses were the difference in the basketball game.

Senior Craig Schutz continued to dominate in the paint with a game-high 26 points to improve his average to 23.5 so far this season. Junior Jordan Shaffer started hot with two treys in the first half, but did not get any touches in the second, and ended with 10. Senior Paul Przybylski, who picked up three fouls in the first half, canned six. Junior Kerry Jo Hilsabeck put up five points but had another fine game with assists and rebounds from his point guard position. Junior Derek Harper, playing his best game so far, tallied six.

Farmington had a fairly balanced scoring attack. Randy Betz, a senior guard, put up 16 points to lead the Scorpions. Senior Brandon Monroe followed with 15 while junior Davon Steen had seven. Jonathan Aikle, a 6-5 senior center, rounded out the scoring with six in the paint.

Pirate Coach Jim Schaffer said, "We had chances to win a game against another good basketball team. We were tied with them at the end of the first and second quarters. It came down to who would make the least mistakes. They outscored us in the third quarter to get the win."

The coach added, "We played another good basketball game and one like this will only help us get better going into January and league play."

The first quarter started as if the Scorpions should look overconfident. Betz and Monroe both hit treys to give Farmington an 8-0 lead with just under two minutes off the clock. Craig Schutz's inside play and a three-pointer from Shaffer tied the score with just over a minute remaining. Both teams traded baskets to end the period at 13 apiece.

In the second stanza, Craig Schutz and Shaffer matched buckets with Betz and Monroe to keep the score tied at 19 with 5:53 showing. Craig would end up with 14 points at intermission and the score would be tied again at 29. The Pirates would miss four from the line. Junior Caleb Ormonde picked up three quick personal fouls and would have to sit.

The pace slowed down in the third period. However, with just over four minutes remaining, the Scorpions' Aikle scored two on a putback to give his team the lead. Farmington would increase the lead on Pagosa turnovers and end the quarter up by four at 41-37.

The Pirates went on a 9-4 run to open the final quarter and tie the game at 50 with five minutes showing on the game clock. Monroe, who had been on the bench with four fouls, came in to spark a 10-0 Scorpion run to put Farmington up by 10 at the two-minute mark. Craig Schutz came back with three and a jumper by Harper reduced the lead to five. Both teams would trade a free throw to end the game.

The Pirates would need to forget this one quickly as they traveled back to Farmington Tuesday night, Dec. 20, to face the New Mexico 4A Piedra Vista Panthers. The Panthers, in the same district as Farmington, had been struggling so far in the season and were 1-6 prior to the game with Pagosa.


Pagosa Springs: 13, 16, 8, 16-53

Farmington: 13, 16, 12, 17-58


Pirate grapplers take 16th at Warrior, two medalists

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Pirates returned from the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction 16th place in a field of 33 teams - one of the better Pagosa finishes in recent years at what many consider one of the toughest regular season wrestling tournaments in the region.

Several of the Pirates' freshman wrestlers used the Warrior as a means to continue to come into their own - some of them at mid-level weights where freshman often find the going incredibly tough. Several of Pagosa's veterans did the jobs they were expected to do, earning points, medals and leading the way for the squad.

The competition was rugged, with only five of 33 teams from the Class 2A classification and only five from 3A, including the Pirates. The rest were from larger programs in three states, many top caliber.

At 103 pounds, one of Pagosa's freshmen, Steven Smith, compiled a 2-2 record. Smith pinned an opponent from Rocky Mountain High School in the third period and earned a 10-5 decision over the 103-pounder from Thunderbird High School, of Phoenix.

"Steven showed some real promise," said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky. "He didn't have an easy match in the tournament."

Pirate senior Orion Sandoval won a match and earned points at 125. Sandoval pinned a Monte Vista wrestler - one he could face several times before seasons's end.

Another freshman, Joe DuCharme took the mat at 130. DuCharme won one match, pinning an opponent from Fountain-Fort Carson.

Freshman Mike Smith went 2-2 at the Warrior. Smith began competition at 135 with a second-period pin of a wrestler from Olathe. In his first consolation match, Smith earned points with a first-period pin of an athlete from Denver's Mullen High School.

Ky Smith had not faced tough competition up to the warrior, but the action at 145 gave the Pirate senior plenty to work with as he forged a 5-2 record on his way to the fourth-place medal. The senior began the tournament with a bye then dropped to the consolation round with a 4-2 overtime loss to an athlete from Grand Junction Central. Smith came back strong, earning a technical fall against Douglas County; pinning a wrestler from Chaparral in the third period after falling behind 0-4; then pinning an opponent from Roosevelt in the second period. Smith fought his way to the match for fourth place with a third-period pin of an opponent from Broomfield, then lost the final battle to Zach Harvey, of Palisade.

"Ky was a leader all tournament long for us," said Janowsky. "He fought five matches in one day."

Senior Justin Moore scored two wins at the Warrior at 152. Moore got a tech fall over Grand Junction in the first match of the tournament, then pinned an opponent from Thunderbird in the second period of his first consolation-round match.

Senior Matt Nobles was another Pirate Janowsky singled out for his leadership during the tourney. Nobles was 3-2 at 160, pinning an athlete from Rocky Mountain in his first match and scoring an emphatic 19-4 tech fall over a Monte Vista opponent in his second match. A loss to a wrestler from Uintah, Utah, put Nobles in consolation, where he won his first match with an 8-2 decision over an opponent from Cortez. "Matt wrestled strong for us," said Janowsky.

Bubba Martinez took fifth place at 215 in very strong bracket. The senior began with three consecutive wins: a first-period pin over Arvada West; a second-period fall against Fruita; a second period pin of an opponent from Grand Junction.

"This was a match where Bubba got thrown on his back, but didn't give up the pin," said the coach of Martinez' Grand Junction battle. "As a result, he got his opportunity in the second period, and he won the match. We've been preaching that to our guys - you've got to stay in the match. And Bubba showed why."

Following a loss to a nationally-ranked wrestler from Nucla and a 2-1 loss to a wrestler from Pueblo South, Martinez ended on a winning note, with a 17-7 major decision over his opponent from Chaparral.

"Joe Romine had a good tournament," Janowsky said of his senior 275-pounder (fighting against true heavyweights at only 205 pounds).

Romine started the tournament with a pin against Rifle in the first period, then lost a match to a wrestler from Cortez. Romine got two wins in the consolation round - a fall against a Farmington athlete in the second period and a second period pin against an opponent from Delta. The two losses suffered by Romine were against opponents who finished the tournament in second and fourth places.

The 16th place finish was one of the best in recent memory for Janowsky, and he was pleased with his team's performance.

"This was one of the best showings we've had in a long time as a team," he said. "We won a lot of matches, and guys who didn't place got some wins. Our points were scored by a lot of guys and came due to a lot of hard work."

Though the Warrior has lost a few of its traditionally tough entries, the tourney remains difficult - enough to put a real test in the way of any team that makes the trip to Grand Junction. "The round-to-round competition was top-notch," said Janowsky. "Maybe the tournament was missing a few of the great teams, but it didn't diminish the overall quality of the wrestling. It was a dogfight every corner you turned. We faced wrestlers from some big teams, and we had to fight through all of them. You take a weight like 135 pounds as an example - there were three state champs at that weight."

What was obvious, as it was obvious at the two dual meet tournaments with which the Pirates began their season, is this year's group is a pretty good team.

With a way to go to be a great team.

"I came home from Grand Junction with a measure of satisfaction," said the coach. "But I recognize this tournament is a stepping stone for us. There are teams ahead of us at this point, but there were enough positives at the Warrior to motivate us to keep working and to improve."


Lady Pirates drop tough road game in 'The Gym'

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Road games are tough.

Road games are tougher when you have to play in the Kirtland N.M. Central High School gym. It is named "Bronco Arena" but most refer to it as "The Gym."


Because it just may be the worst designed basketball facility anywhere in the west. In most gymnasiums the spectator seating starts on the hardwood and has an open air design. Not at Bronco Arena. There is a four- to five-foot wall that rises above and surrounds the hardwood. The seating starts behind the wall. The only seats on the hardwood are for the players. Not good for viewing and certainly not good for the visiting team to play in. It feels like a fine place for handball or racquetball ... not basketball.

The Lady Pirates dropped a tough one last Friday night against the New Mexico 4A Lady Broncos in "The Gym" by a score of 54-42.

The game was closer than the score indicates.

The Broncos used the home court advantage to score five treys in the first half against the Pirate zone defense to keep the game close and then won it in the fourth quarter at the foul line. Kirtland has always had a good basketball program and won the New Mexico 4A championship just last season.

The Pirates went to 4-2 on the young season while the Broncos improved to 3-1.

Coach Bob Lynch started the usual five with Jessica Lynch and Liza Kelley at the guard positions, Kari Beth Faber and Emily Buikema at forwards and Caitlin Forest in the paint.

Buikema had her best outing of the year so far with seven rebounds, was a perfect seven-for-seven from the field and two-for-two from the charity stripe. Eight of her team-high 16 points came in the first quarter.

Lynch was next with 10 while Forrest and Kelley each added seven. Kelley was held well below her 14.8 scoring average. Lynch led the Pirates with four assists.

The Lady Broncos started three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman. Junior Dayon Hall-Jones led the Broncos with a game-high 17 points.

April Christie, just a sophomore and the coach's daughter, pumped in three treys and went 4-4 from the charity strip to add 13.

Coach Lynch agreed that "the Kirtland gym is a tough place to play in. They had the temperature at (what felt like) 90 degrees in the locker room and 60 out on the floor. I think our kids played through it and had a good game under the circumstances. I was especially pleased with the breakout game Buikema had tonight."

The coach added "we play Kirtland again in mid-January and I think it will be a totally different game, playing on our court."

Both teams shot well in the first period. Coach Lynch used a zone defense and the Lady Broncos were able to score from the outside on three treys in the first eight minutes. Buikema answered with eight points and the quarter ended with Kirtland up by one, 19-18.

The Broncos would answer early in the second stanza and build a 10-point lead. Back came the Pirates on a 6-0 run. Kirtland ended up outscoring Pagosa 11-8 to go in at intermission up by four.

The Pirates came out as cold as the gym in the third period. The Broncos took advantage and built an 11-point lead on 7-0 run. Pagosa started another comeback on the strength of Lynch's two treys but the Broncos outscored Pagosa 15-10 in the quarter.

The Lady Pirates went into their trapping defense in the fourth and held the Lady Broncos to just three points until the final minutes. Pagosa closed to within six points at the end but had foul to regain possession of the round ball. Kirtland was great from the free throw line down the stretch, building a 12-point lead to end the game.

Lynch went on to say that "this was another good experience for our team heading into conference play in January." In the meantime the Lady Pirates will be on a Colorado High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) prescribed holiday break until after the new year.

The first game after the break is set for Jan. 7 in Bloomfield against the Lady Bobcats, another 4A New Mexico team in the same district as Kirtland Central. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.


Pagosa Springs:18, 8, 10, 6-42

Kirtland: 19, 11, 15, 9-54

Scoring: Lynch, 2-4,2-4,0-0,10; Mackey, 0-0,0-1,0-0,0; Kelley, 1-4,1-2,0-0,7; Canty, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Faber, 1-1,0-0,0-0,2; Buikema, 7-7,0-0,2-2,16; DuCharme, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Forest, 1-3,0-0,5-8,7. Rebounds: Lynch 1, Mackey 2, Kelley 2, Faber 3, Buikema 7, DuCharme 4, Forrest 4.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Town skating ponds alive with activity

By Jim Miller

SUN Columnist

Pick-up hockey games are occupying the skate pond at the River Center, which opened last week.

Saturday morning, a large group of players of varied ages and skill levels were enjoying a friendly scrimmage. It's great to see the better skaters helping the beginners and the hockey skaters making room for the figure-skating set.

The ice is scheduled for resurfacing Monday and Thursday evenings, conditions permitting. On these nights the pond will be closed to skating at 7 p.m. and will remain closed overnight to allow the fresh ice to cure out. All other nights, the lights stay on until 10 p.m.

For a different type of skater, the South Park skate park will be cleared of snow as soon as feasible by the parks crew. This has become a very popular after-school spot for many younger citizens. They have done a great job minimizing problems such as graffiti, vandalism and loud music that have plagued skate parks in other towns. Keep up the good work and we can all enjoy the varied activities our town provides.

Thanks to Dreux Williams and Brad Dennison for the great seasonal lights at the Bell Tower. These long, cold nights are warmed and brightened through their efforts. Happy holidays to one and all.

Tree recycling

The town will conduct a Christmas tree recycling program this holiday season. Please bring trees, stripped of all ornaments, to the posted area in South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball games are tentatively scheduled to begin the week of Jan. 7. In the meantime, youth basketball practices and open gym will be held Dec. 27, 28, and 29 from 2-7 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Junior High School. At least one court will be open to free shooting during these dates, and youth basketball coaches who would like to reserve court times can call the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department at 264-4151 Ext. 232. Since space is limited, court times will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.


If you have a background in basketball and a little free time on your hands, we need you.

Participation in youth basketball this year is at an all-time high, and the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is in need of part-time referees and scorekeepers for the 2005/2006 youth basketball season.

High school students and adults are welcome. Training will be provided. Game schedules will generally require evening shifts Monday through Thursday, as well as some Saturday work. Pay is dependent upon experience, certification and the level of the games officiated.

Contact the department office at 264-4151, Ext. 232, if interested.

Soccer photos

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

Sports hotline

General information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be obtained by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to and going to the Parks and Recreation link.

All schedules and upcoming events are updated on a weekly basis.

For additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, call 264-4151 Ext. 232.



A good time of year

The winter holiday season is upon us, and we use these words deliberately - not to offend those who, of late, have taken umbrage with the term "holiday," but in light of the fact that two events occur coincidentally this year: Christmas and the start of Chanukah - two events that celebrate miraculous events. Toss Kwanzaa into the mix and the winter holiday season is upon us. Regardless of what you choose to call it, regardless of which rite you observe.

It is a time of year we enjoy. Not for the often grotesque gluttony and materialism that has come to characterize this time of year. Certainly not for the stresses that many experience as they attempt to produce the "perfect" celebration. Rather, we enjoy it because some of the best things about our species manage to shine through.

First is our desire, indeed our need, to recognize something greater than ourselves. To stand in awe of the incomprehensible.

Less ethereal, but just as important, is a generosity and largeness of heart exhibited by a significant number of people. We see it clearly this time of year and it buoys our spirit. A widespread exhibition of charity and caring fortifies faith in our fellows, leading us to conclude, in the face of sometimes overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that we are always capable of compassion and concern, and are willing and able to take action to help others. We do so, not out of guilt or under duress, but because we want to do good, to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

It happens here in Pagosa Country year-round, but is extremely visible during this season. We are, further, convinced it happens nearly everywhere. While we shy away from pronouncements concerning essence, we believe the will to charity is universally present - an admittedly naïve bit of optimism and one of the few we permit ourselves. But, we see proof, again and again.

Check out the work done here by the volunteers who coordinate and operate Operation Helping Hand, our largest local holiday charitable effort. Last week, Operation Helping Hand provided toys, gifts, clothing and food to 196 local families in need - to hundreds of adults and children. Items distributed, and the energy involved in collection and distribution, were donated by residents, by local businesses and civic organizations.

There were other efforts made to collect and distribute gifts to those who could not afford them - by church groups, by businesses. The Loaves and Fishes program will provide a Christmas dinner today at the Parish Hall and many who would not otherwise enjoy a festive meal will do so, free of charge.

Does it make a difference? Granted, there are a cynical few among us who take advantage of the community's good will, but those in genuine need are many. And grateful. Read this short note to Helping Hand organizers, sent this week by a recipient.

"I really deeply appreciate the wonderful Christmas you have brought to my kids and myself. I hope your Christmas will be as special as mine now will be. You have brought a beautiful smile to myself knowing my kids will be happy! Once again, thank you!"

Rather than wrangle about words, argue about who owns this time of year, engage in theological tussles or tout our preferred miraculous occurrence, we choose to laud the enduring capacity to do something real about our concerns.

For the next week or so, we will wait for the challenges of the new year, for the battles and the controversies that are sure to come, and we will do so comfortable in the fact there is something consistently good happening out there.

Have a wonderful holiday.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

If only they knew, he thought

By Richard Walter

SUN Columnist

Editor's note: Out of respect for the talents of our colleague, the late Richard Walter, and in recognition of his 2005 award from the Colorado Press Association for Best Serious Column writing, we will reprint Pacing Pagosa selections until the new year.

The grizzled old man, hunched forward, leaning into the driving snow, a ragged scarf wrapped down from an ear-flapped hat to cover his nose and mouth.

Car after car passed him, none even slowing to see if he needed a ride. If only they knew, he thought to himself.

As ice began to freeze in his beard, he pulled off a tattered glove to wipe it away, his wrinkled hands chafing from the cold.

A pair of dogs straying from the nearby subdivision barked, sniffed knowingly, but stepped back into shadow when he turned toward them. A light flashed on at the first house inside the development and both dogs scampered back as a voice called them. The woman saw him and quickly turned away.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

He continued on, lights of a small town inviting him into the valley along a river. Spires of churches reached the sky, painted by the heavy snow.

His path carried him past them, past a crowd entering one, arms filled with gaily wrapped gifts, past two small children who regarded him with furtive looks and quickly turned away. He trudged onward, a small cafe beckoning. He stood at the door reading a menu in the window. Suddenly the woman inside hung a "closed" sign on the door and closed the blind.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

As the snow deepened beneath his step, he felt the chill of water inside, seeping through holes in the soles of the long-worn boots lined with scraps of cloth to ward off the cold.

He saw a thrift store operated by a church and stood looking in the window at the varied goods available. It was closed for the day. Two women exiting the store after turning out the lights saw him and moved quickly to the outer edge of the sidewalk.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

A theatre's marquee advertised a holiday film, the star playing the role of a grown Christ child. It seemed everyone not at church was trying to get in. A long line waited to buy tickets. They crowded closer to the wall as he passed by.

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

His bones aching from the cold, his path becoming less clear as the storm intensified, the man stumbled around a curve and ran head long into one headed the opposite way. The other man, flustered, picked himself up and chastised the man to "Watch where you're going you old reprobate."

If only they knew, he thought again to himself.

He moved on, a service station with bay aglow to light the purchase of fuel lay on his left. He stopped, looked in the window and the young woman inside beckoned him in.

"You look like someone who could use a hot cup of coffee," she said. The grateful man agreed, accepting her service. "It is as I said in Matthew 15:40: 'Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me,'" Christ told the woman.



90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 24, 1915

Prof. Bader of the Ft. Lewis agricultural school and Prof. Smith of Durango gave us a very interesting lecture last Monday afternoon and eve in regard to rotation farming, stock raising, dairying and poultry raising. The lecture was well attended and highly appreciated.

Pagosa was full of shoppers from Dyke Saturday, regardless of their catalogue house traits.

Instead of wishing your neighbor a "Merry Christmas," pay him what you owe him in money and consideration for his rights. Then he will know you are sincere and really mean what you say - that's our Christmas greeting.

Wedding bells are jingling lively now.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 26, 1930

Hon. Chas. F. Rumbaugh, senator-elect from the Eighteenth district comprised of the counties of Archuleta, Hinsdale, Ouray and San Juan, will leave Sunday morning via Chama and Taos for Denver to prepare for the incoming session of the General Assembly. For the present, Mrs. Rumbaugh will remain at the Pagosa home.

Mrs. Louisa Dunn, principal of the Pagosa Junction school, together with her little son and daughter left for Denver to spend the holidays last week.

Dave Hersch has leased his La Boca ranch to Smith and Conrad of Bayfield and the men who have been employed at La Boca by Mr. Hersch are leaving this week for Pagosa Springs.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 22, 1955

The town has a very good bunch of decorations this year and certainly many motorists passing through here at night have commented on the decorations. The Hersch Mercantile Co. is always one of the first to get outside decorations up in the business sections.

There is no one who can ruin a good political argument quicker than a fellow who knows the facts.

With long winter nights ahead it might be well to remind the readers of this column that there is a large library of pocket books, detective stories, westerns and other here at the SUN office. There is no charge for using it. Just bring your books and exchange book for book.

To some people almost any question is like the moon; they see only one side of it.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 25, 1980

Stevens Field now has lights and as soon as they are installed night landing will be possible there. The lights were donated by the Holbrook, Arizona airport and hauled up by Cecil Hawkins. Local flying enthusiasts are seeking donations to pay for the cost of installing the lights.

More than 300 children of the community attended the annual Chamber of Commerce free party and movie last Saturday. They all had an opportunity to visit with Santa Claus, see some special cartoons, and get a bag of candy.

Christmas holidays will find practically all retail businesses closed. Such establishments as motels, cafes, and others will be observing holiday hours and business activity will be at a low point.



Pagosan returns to Louisiana and his family home

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"We knew exactly what was coming," said Pagosa Springs resident Glenn Raby of Hurricane Katrina. "We knew it was going to be bad&emdash;the 'one' everyone always talks about."

Raby was born and raised in Arabi, La. Arabi is located east of downtown New Orleans, in Saint Bernard Parish, one of the areas hit hardest when Hurricane Katrina made landfall Aug. 29.

"No one was hurt in our family. That's what's important - what we bless God for," stated Raby, whose family resides in Louisiana and Mississippi. "And everyone has a place to live." Raby's mother, brothers and sister, aunts, uncles and cousins evacuated to escape the hurricane.

Although Raby has lived in the Four Corners area for 25 years, he still considers New Orleans home. He makes a yearly pilgrimage to the New Orleans area to visit family and to eat his fill of authentic Cajun food. This year's journey was one of sorting and salvaging, rather than enjoyment.

"The thing we never expected - hoped would never happen - it did happen," said Raby of the failure of the levee system. After the levee protecting Saint Bernard Parish gave way, water flooded the neighborhood where Raby grew up. "There was water completely covering the single-story houses," explained Raby. "The general public didn't know [the levees] were as bad as they were. Out of sight, out of mind. Somebody should've forced the issue and no one did."

A topographical map of the city of New Orleans and surrounding parishes displays a startling fact: Not one area developed in the 1880s was flooded by hurricanes Katrina or Rita. "We got fooled by technology. All technology can be overwhelmed, and that's what happened," explained Raby.

"We've been through hurricanes in our neighborhood," said Raby. "As a kid, hurricanes were kind of an adventure. I was fifteen when Hurricane Betsy hit. My brother and I went into the attic to save what we could. We watched the water rising on the walls of the hallway, and knew when it reached a certain level, we'd have to leave the house. There were bundles of two-by-fours at the building site next door, and since they float, we tied [a bundle] to the house in case we needed to get away," said Raby of his makeshift Huck Finn raft. "It took an entire year for our house to be rebuilt. After Betsy, the bloom was off the rose, so to speak (regarding the adventurous perspective on hurricanes)."

Hurricane Betsy was the only storm to flood Saint Bernard Parish in the 50 years of its developed history before hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck this fall.

"[Hurricane Betsy's destruction] was very different from what happened this time," said Raby. "It may have been as bad as Katrina, but that's not how I remember it. People weren't in chaos, they were just annoyed."

Saint Bernard Parish was home to 25,000 homes and businesses prior to Hurricane Katrina. Almost the entire parish was underwater following the storm, and there is currently no electrical power available. One school has opened in a county that used to house 70,000. The school is a consolidated K-12 building, but only 250 students are in attendance. "The enormity of the thing is hard to grasp," stated Raby.

Raby's childhood home is still standing, although it spent nearly six weeks under flood waters. "The houses [in the neighborhood] are all still there. They don't look so bad on the outside, even though the water was over the rooftops," said Raby.

The interiors of the houses tell a different story. The Raby home was "rotting from the inside out," attested Raby. "There were fingers of green stuff growing out of the wood paneling. There was even mold growing on the sidewalk. We were in the neighborhood for about six hours, and we saw three people. The weirdest thing was the absolute silence - no birds, no motors, nothing."

The members of the Raby family residing in Mississippi did not fare much better, materially speaking. The home of one Raby's aunts was lifted off its foundation, and was deposited by the flood waters in a nearby swamp. "It was like Dorothy after the tornado," said Raby of the defying angle at which the house is now perched. "We teased one of my cousins for building his house on nine-foot pilings, but even he had four feet of water inside his home. Some of those small Mississippi towns are just gone, after Rita.

"The people down there knew (how bad it would be). Those whose stayed simply could not get out," due to lack of financial resources, or even basic transportation. "The airports closed a full day before the storm hit. Every school bus and public transportation bus in the city just sat there and filled with water. I'm really disappointed with FEMA. After all these years, you'd hope it would be better than it was, but it was the worst it has ever been," remarked Raby of the utter chaos that followed the storm.

"The members of the Coast Guard are the unsung heroes," said Raby. "Along with citizens who took their own boats to pick up survivors."

Many former residents are in the process of making the decision of whether or not to move back to the New Orleans area, and more specifically, Saint Bernard Parish. "A lot depends on what the parish government decides to do," said Raby. "People will rebuild.

"New Orleans is going to be there. It won't be the same as it was, but it probably shouldn't be." Raby is hoping to see a thoughtful growth plan enacted for the rebuilding of the city. "It would be nice if everyone could sit down logically without emotional attachment and decide what would be best." But Raby admits that is unlikely to happen.

"There is a strong sense of home," stated Raby. "You get homesick for it."

Raby's family intends to stay in the area. "By and large, we came out well. It doesn't mean we want to go through it again. We still consider it home - we may not live in the same places anymore, but it is home."


Local blood drive set next week

United Blood Services will hold a blood drive in Pagosa Springs at 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29 at the Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St.

You may now sign up for drives at I.D. is required.


Pagosa's Past

Businesses come and go in early Pagosa

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Frontier settlement in the Rocky Mountains was a tricky thing, especially when the settlers were depending on gold as a source of income. Ever so often, when the boom was over, the settlers moved on to the next boom. Some of the "boomers" came in expectation of a boom that never developed.

Pagosa Springs was no different, even though the town never depended on any ores for its boom. Many of Pagosa's first settlers, especially the businessmen, expected a steady source of income from Fort Lewis and an anticipated Ute Agency and reservation that never came.

The first businesses in Pagosa Springs probably opened their doors in 1878. The fort came in 1878. The Ute Reservation with headquarters near Pagosa Springs never came. And by 1880, everyone knew the fort was moving. Consequently, a majority of those first businessmen moved on, many of them to the new gold strike at Rico.

An apparent pattern of moving businesses followed settlement into the Four Corners area. For example, we first notice Newman, Chestnut & Co., drugs, books, and etc., over at Fort Garland on the east side of the San Luis Valley at about the time the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad crossed La Veta Pass on the initial leg of its westward movement. I think the same firm had businesses at Alamosa, Summitville and Del Norte, and before coming to Pagosa Springs in 1880. By 1882, the firm was no longer in Pagosa Springs but later set up shop in Durango and then Silverton.

Some of those 1880 businessmen remain as well-known pioneers of the San Juan Country, even though they did not remain at Pagosa Springs.

For example, Christian Stollsteimer is listed as a butcher in Pagosa Springs in 1880. He also had a ranch west of town and is the source for the name of Stollsteimer Mesa and Stollsteimer Creek. Stollsteimer was born in Germany in 1842. He probably arrived in the San Luis Valley in 1864 where he engaged in business at Fort Garland, later married a Santa Fe lady and settled at Conejos in 1869, moved to Embargo Creek north of Del Norte, and later became postmaster of Del Norte. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1880 and to Durango a couple of years later. In his later life, he served as Indian agent for both Southern Ute and Jicarilla Apache. He died at Pagosa Springs April 13, 1906. Many of his descendants remain in the area.

Another 1880 merchant, W.D. Peabody, ran a general store and was sutler at Fort Lewis. Peabody followed the fort west to Hesperus. He was related to James H. Peabody who later served two terms as governor of Colorado.

Tom Blair, an 1880 merchant, ran a saloon and had formerly been a miner at Silverton. Blair Street in Silverton bears his family name. Blair also built the first public bath house at the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

Joseph M. Clarke comes about as close as anybody to being a Pagosa Springs town dad. Clarke, in association with the first post office about one mile south of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring, ran a general store. A bachelor, Clarke settled in Pagosa Springs in either late 1877 or early 1878. When town lots were auctioned by the U.S. government in 1885, Clarke purchased more lots than anyone else, including almost all of Block 21, today's main business block. It is unclear if the money for the purchase was Clarke's or belonged to another investor. Clarke later moved to Durango, where he served as a La Plata County commissioner, but he continued to visit Pagosa Springs regularly to dip his "gouted feet" in the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.

A number of people named Cooper dot early Pagosa history. One ran a lumber mill while the fort was still at Pagosa Springs. An E.R. Cooper ran a grocery store in 1880. A Cooper also erected the two-story frame house on Lewis Street now occupied by the De Vore family. I do not know if it was the same Cooper. I do know the Coopers living on the west side of Yellow Jacket Pass on the way to Durango were a different family.

More next week on early businessmen in Pagosa Springs.


Pagosa Sky Watch

Deep winter, late night, perfect time for an asterism

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data for Dec. 22 is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:19 a.m.

Sunset: 4:55 p.m.

Moonrise: 11:38 p.m.

Moonset: 12:05 p.m. Dec. 23

Moon phase: The moon is waning gibbous with 60 percent of the visible disk illuminated. On Dec. 23, the moon will be at last quarter.

The heart of winter marks the peak of the night sky's brilliance. One look overhead on a cold, clear night, and the view of billions of objects shimmering in space is both breathtaking and dizzying.

To the beginning sky watcher, the prospect of making sense of the night sky is often overwhelming, and the task may seem daunting at first. Therefore, the key to star gazing success lies in finding familiar landmarks or patterns among the heavens.

Luckily, ancient star gazers have done much of the work for us by organizing the stars into the now-familiar constellations. In addition, astronomers both past and more contemporary have identified other groupings or patterns of stars, beyond those of the constellations. These patterns are called asterisms. In short, asterisms, like their counterparts the constellations, help star gazers organize the sky into smaller, more manageable pieces and examples of common asterisms include: the Big Dipper, the Sickle of Leo, the Teapot of Sagittarius and the Great Square of Pegasus.

However, not all asterisms are found within the same constellation. In fact, some asterisms span multiple constellations and cover vast areas of sky - examples of these include the Summer Triangle and this week's highlight, the Winter Circle.

The Winter Circle, hence the name, is made up of a pattern of stars belonging to the different constellations that dominate our winter sky. All told, the asterism includes seven stars from six constellations.

Observations of the Winter Circle should begin no earlier than 9 p.m. This allows time for the stars of the asterism and Saturn, which will be used as a landmark to locate Sirius, the first star in the asterism, to move well above the horizon.

Looking almost due east at 9 p.m., Saturn will be visible just a few degrees above the horizon. (One fingertip held at arm's length with the night sky as a backdrop is equal to about one degree.) The planet appears as a bright yellowish, or cream colored object in the sky.

To locate Sirius, maintain roughly the same elevation while shifting your gaze from Saturn to the south, or right, about seven or eight degrees. In this part of the sky, look for a brilliant blue-white star. This is the star Sirius, the brightest star in the sky and the key star in the constellation Canis Major.

The star's name comes from the Greek meaning "searing" or "scorching," and it is a magnitude, negative 1.44 brilliant white star 8.6 light years away.

Over the course of millennia, Sirius has held such a prominent position in our sky that it has played a significant role in many culture's mythology and cosmology. In fact, the ancient Egyptian calendar was based on Sirius' yearly motion across the sky.

To view the rest of the asterism, imagine viewing the face of a clock with Sirius marking the six o'clock position. Moving in a clockwise direction, or to the left, the next star in the asterism is Procyon belonging to the constellation Canis Minor, the lesser dog. Procyon is a magnitude .40 yellow white star 11.4 light years away.

From Procyon, moving up to about the nine o'clock position, lie the twin stars of the constellation Gemini - Castor and Pollux.

In the asterism, Pollux lies below Castor, and is seen as a magnitude 1.2 orange giant. Castor, which lies just above Pollux, appears to the naked eye as a single, blue-white magnitude 1.6 star. However, telescopic observations reveal Castor to be a multiple star system with six separate components.

Moving up the clock to an area between the 11 and 12 o'clock positions lies Capella, the brightest star in the constellation Auriga, the charioteer. Capella is the sixth brightest star in the sky.

From Capella, and moving to the two o'clock position, lies the star Aldebaran of the constellation Taurus, the bull.

Aldebaran is an orange giant and marks the bull's eye. It burns a distinct, orangish-red.

The last star of the asterism, lying just below the three o'clock position, is Rigel which represents the foot of the great hunter depicted by the constellation Orion.

Rigel, a magnitude 0.2 blue-white supergiant, is the brightest star in the Orion constellation.

Truth be told, the asterism doesn't make a perfect circle. In fact, it is more oblong in shape and because of this, some observers are more comfortable calling it the Winter Hexagon. This being the case, use the references to the clock positions merely as a rough guide. If you get stuck, a star chart might help.

With a little persistence, creativity and using Saturn as a starting point, explorations of the asterism will offer star gazers a grand tour of some of winter's most prominent constellations and their brightest stars.



Date High Low Precipitation

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No snow? Blame it on the jets

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Dreaming of a white Christmas? If so, head up to Wolf Creek Pass to play in the snow this year.

In town, Christmas should be a nice sunny day, with highs in the mid 40s. Next week, there's a storm brewing on the horizon, with snow predicted for midweek. The rest of the weather in Pagosa should be moderately overcast, with highs in the 40s, lows in the teens.

We had a low of six degrees below zero last Thursday and a high of 45 on Tuesday. Only a trace of snow in town Saturday, sadly enough.

Why aren't we getting much snow this year? It has a lot to do with the jet stream, that mythical fast-moving stream of air high in the troposphere and sought after by circumnavigating balloonists. The jet stream, despite its singular use, is not just one stream of air, but refers to several swift currents of air passing high over us. Jet streams have a lot to do with the weather, and the weather has a lot to do with the jet streams.

Generally, there are two major jet streams in the northern hemisphere circling the globe in an easterly direction - a northern jet stream wandering between 30 and 70 degrees north latitude (the polar jet), and a southern jet stream meandering between 20 and 50 degrees north latitude (the subtropical jet). Pagosa Springs is at 37.25 degrees north latitude, within the range of both jet streams.

Generally the biggest storms hit when the southern jet, bringing in moist warm air from the Pacific, merges with the cold polar jet in our vicinity. The southern jet has consistently been travelling to the south of us, only moving north as it passes through Kansas and beyond. The exception was on Dec. 12, when the southern jet stream passed over Colorado, and we got a few inches of snow in town.

This year the northern polar jet has been meandering farther south than normal, currently passing through Colorado in a southeasterly direction. What little moisture has been drawn in from the cold polar jet has been dumped on northern Colorado before it reaches us, and all that's left by the time it gets to us is the cold polar air. For current and past images of the jet streams, see

Overall, Colorado has an above normal snowpack this year, with some parts of northern Colorado 37 percent above normal. Southwestern Colorado, however, has less than 50 percent of average snowpack levels.

Fun Fact: Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, or as some like to say, the longest night of the year. Here in Pagosa, the day was 9 hours and 35 minutes long. In Anchorage, Alaska, the day was 5 hours, 38 minutes long. Yesterday the North Pole was bathed by an unchanging twilight, while at the South Pole the sun circled the sky at a constant 23-degree angle above the horizon.

In ancient times, the winter solstice marked an auspicious time, recorded by ancient Hisatsinom petroglyphs and pictographs which mark the spot where the sun's rays hit on the winter solstice. At Chaco Canyon, one of the great houses, Wijiji, is thought to have been built in alignment with the winter solstice. Standing at the northwest corner of Wijiji, the sun rises on the edge of a distant notch aligned with one of the walls on the winter solstice. The winter solstice marked the time to offer prayers and offerings to the Hisatsinom sun god Tawa to reverse its southward journey. Legend has it that without the prayers, Tawa would continue south, with perpetual cold and darkness as the consequence.

The term solstice comes from the Latin solstitium, meaning, literally, for the sun to stand still (from sol: "sun" and sistere: "stand still").