December 29, 2005
Front Page

Larson bows out

of 6th District Senate race

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

In a surprising turn of events, Colorado State Rep. Mark Larson announced he has bowed out of the 2006 state Senate race.

The announcement came Dec. 21, in a press release in which Larson stated he is "pulling the plug on his recently announced intentions to run for the State Senate 6th District seat."

Larson announced his candidacy Nov. 7.

Larson's tenure as the state representative for the 59th District expires next year due to term limitations. In the press release, Larson said he will complete his last term, but instead of pursuing a run for the state Senate, "he is looking forward to exploring other options."

In explaining why he was bowing out of the race, Larson said it was a race he probably shouldn't have entered in the first place.

Larson explained that he had faced significant pressure to announce his candidacy early, and that he had succumbed to the pressure despite his concern that he lacked the energy needed to mount a successful campaign. Even after announcing, Larson said the enthusiasm never took hold and the lack of motivation told him he should drop out of the race.

"I haven't really had the fire, Larson said.

Larson said his lack of enthusiasm stemmed, in part, from reflecting on time he had spent with his new grandson and family during Thanksgiving weekend.

He said the time had been invaluable, and soon thereafter he began to question the demands of his political career and his aspirations for the Senate seat.

Larson said the energy he devoted to his duties as a state representative had made the job a "24/7" endeavor, and that he expected a senator's position to entail much more of the same.

"I used to say that my wife hated my job. No, my wife doesn't hate my job, she hates how I do my job," Larson said.

Despite the long hours, Larson said he is proud of the service he provides to his constituents, that helping people has been extremely rewarding, but that something had to give.

"It was starting to be a ball and chain," Larson said. "It's time for me to do something different."

Larson said he would seek work that offered more regular hours and that he wanted to spend "weekends with my wife and grandson."

Between now and the end of his term, Larson said he will provide his constituents with the same level of commitment those in his district have come to expect.

"I will give one-hundred percent of my time and effort to my constituents through the next year and then it is time to move on," Larson said.

With Larson bowing out of the District 6 race, incumbent Sen. Jim Isgar, (D) Hesperus, remains unchallenged, at least for the moment. And this bodes well for Senate Democrats who are intent on maintaining their one-seat majority.

Isgar formally announced his candidacy this morning at the Archuleta County Courthouse.

However, even with Isgar in the running, the Democratic grip on the Senate remains tenuous, and the District 6 race could still turn the tables on the Democrat majority depending on who the Republicans field. The reason has much to do with sheer voter numbers.

Within District 6, which includes Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, San Juan, San Miguel and Ouray counties, registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats by nearly 13,000.


Service says Village no threat to lynx

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Another milestone in the approval process for the controversial Village at Wolf Creek was reached last week when the United States Fish and Wildlife Service released its biological opinion on impacts the development might have on the threatened Canada lynx.

In a press release issued Dec. 22, the agency concluded that "the development of the Village at Wolf Creek is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the Canada lynx in the contiguous United States."

Despite the assertion, the agency's conclusion came amidst a series of seemingly contradictory statements.

In the same press release, the agency stated the development would cause a two-fold traffic increase on U.S. 160 and that this "would increase the likelihood of lynx mortalities from vehicular collisions and likely inhibit effective use of the parcel by lynx."

In addition, the agency concluded that the development, coupled with traffic increases, would impair lynx movement through the local area, and would reduce linkage routes between larger habitat blocks in the San Juan Mountains which , the press release states, "are considered to be some of the best lynx habitat in the state."

However, while appearing paradoxical, the key to the agency's conclusion lies in the phrase, "Canada lynx in the contiguous United States."

Some biologists and lynx advocates have argued that lynx in the Southern Rockies ecosystem ought to be considered as a separate and distinct population from lynx living in the other core habitat areas found in the contiguous United States.

The rationale behind their assertion is that the Southern Rockies population is geographically isolated and separated from the species' main range by the Green River Basin and Wyoming' Red Desert and that this geographic separation sets the Southern Rockies lynx apart.

Kurt Broderdorp, a fish and wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said, "The Southern Rockies Ecosystem is isolated, that is true, but you can't just arbitrarily carve out a geographic area."

He said in order to designate the Southern Rockies lynx population as a distinct population segment, a number of criteria, not just geographic isolation, had to be met.

First, Broderdorp said, biologists ask two key questions: Are the members of the population in question genetically different and are they behaviorally different?

Broderdorp said the agency's findings revealed that the Southern Rockies Canada lynx was no different than those found in Maine or Montana.

"They were no differences in lynx in the northern hemisphere," he said. "The conditions were not being met to make it a distinct population."

And therein lies the basis of the agency's conclusion. Although seemingly a separate population, lynx impacts occurring near the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, must be considered in light of overall impacts to the greater population distributed throughout the contiguous United States, Broderdorp said.

"Thirteen states have lynx," Broderdorp said. "It looks pretty dire down in this neck of the woods, but the loss of four (lynx) out of 13 states is not a lot."

Nevertheless, as part of the biological opinion, the agency mandated that the developer, Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, work to reduce lynx impacts caused by linkage reduction, habitat fragmentation and vehicle/ lynx collisions on U.S. 160 "by facilitating safe passage of lynx across Highway 160 within the Project area."

To this end, the developer must fund a U.S. 160/lynx crossing study in conjunction with the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

As an adjunct to the study, the agency is requiring the developer to convene a technical panel, subject to review and approval by the United States Forest Service, to make recommendations on lynx impact mitigation measures such as: design, construction and monitoring of lynx crossing structures, habitat manipulation or management that would facilitate lynx crossing U.S. 160, traffic and speed control measures or other recommendations that would reduce lynx impacts and would facilitate lynx movement across the highway.

The biological opinion is a key component of the United States Forest Service's forthcoming Environmental Impact Statement regarding the Village at Wolf Creek.

Phase one of the project, located in Alberta Park near the base of the Wolf Creek Ski Area, calls for 24,000 square feet of hotel commercial space, 135,000 square feet of non-hotel commercial and restaurant space, 161 multifamily units, 160 hotel units and 140 mixed-use units.

Full buildout would include 2,200 residential units, more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space and nearly 10,000 inhabitants.

 Inside The Sun

A lifetime of careful flight: Pagosa's Gibson receives award

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

"Be careful but not cautious," said Harold ("Hoot") Gibson, when asked of the secret of safe flying.

Gibson recently won an award from the Federal Aviation Administration, in recognition of his 68 years of flying airplanes without an accident.

"The main thing is to be careful, but not timid, about everything you do," by being particular about the "weather, the aircraft condition, the engine, and so on," said Gibson.

Another key aspect, according to Gibson, is to "always have not just one alternative, but two."

Specific FAA regulations, for example, require pilots to carry enough fuel to get to an alternate airport in case they are unable to land at their intended destination. As a safeguard, Gibson prefers to ensure that two alternative airports will be within range.

Born in 1918, Gibson has been flying airplanes since he was a teenager. He worked for 25 cents per hour at his local San Luis Obispo airport, which he then traded for flying time at $3 per hour, "flying all the little airplanes I could," he said.

In 1940 Gibson joined the Army Air Corps Flying Cadets, the Army Air Corps being the precursor to the Air Force, beginning a 30-year aviation career for the military, which culminated with full Colonel rank and a worldwide distinguished career which included base commander positions, a Pentagon assignment, Chief of Safety at the Colorado Springs headquarters of the Air Defense Command, and active flying service during the Korean War, where he shot down a MIG fighter over North Korea.

"My career was not one of heroics, just of longevity," said Gibson modestly.

Gibson's recent FAA award, the Wright Brothers "Master Pilot Award," commemorates pilots who have "contributed and maintained safe flight operations for 50 years or more consecutive years of piloting aircraft."

And piloting he's done. With the gleam of fond remembrance in his eye, Gibson displays a stack of photographs of some of the more than 100 different aircraft he flew in his career. Many of the planes are readily recognizable, such as the P-51 Mustang, the AT-6 Texan and the B-25 bomber ("the ones that Doolittle took to Tokyo. They gave me my ears," said Gibson, referring to the eardrum damaging noise levels in the cockpit). Many of the planes Gibson has flown look like something from an Issac Asimov script, some with egg-shaped fuselages, others sleek and streamlined, and others still so massive and bulky it is difficult to imagine them ever having taken flight. Gibson has flown to 60,000 feet and has traveled at twice the speed of sound during his more than 10,000 hours in the air.

In all those years, he admits he had some close calls: Of the two forced landings in his 68 years of flight, one was as a teenager, when his engine quit and he landed in a barley field. Another close call was when another plane collided with his, bending his rudder. The rudder's hinges remained intact and he was able to land safely.

The Master Pilot Award disqualifies potential recipients who have a prior accident history. Gibson has none. "I haven't broken an airplane yet," notes Gibson. The award was presented in Colorado Springs Dec. 8 at the biannual Daedalians dinner, a group with over 12,000 members of current and retired military men and women pilots. (Daedalus, as readers of Greek mythology will recall, escaped with Icarus from King Minos after fashioning wings from feathers, wax and thread. Daedalus survived, but Icarus, after ignoring his father's warning of soaring too close to the sun, did not.)

The award also recognizes contributions to the aviation community. Christine Lucas, FAA aviation councilor and the award committee chairperson, said "It's because of people like Gibson giving all their input since not long after the infancy of flight that we are where we're at today."

Tom Broadbent, a local pilot who has flown with Gibson, said, "he's a darn good pilot who takes the time to mentor" fellow pilots in the community.

With his four-seater Piper Arrow, Gibson takes trips with his wife to places as far away as Alaska and Puerto Rico, flying his plane "every week or 10 days or so." Living by the words, "be careful but not cautious," Gibson continues to lead a life of adventure without misadventure.

"It's a lot better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here," said Gibson.


First six months of 2005 sets stage for interesting news year

Information from the archives of The Pagosa Springs SUN

The year in Pagosa Country began with news that would reappear, in differing forms, throughout 2005.

In fact, during the first few months of 2005, key stories emerged and began to take form. That process continues to this day and the advent of the new year - 2006.

The character and pace of growth in the Town of Pagosa Springs has occupied our attention throughout 2005, with town government, the Community Vision Council, and various consultants and citizens participating in a number of processes and events.

In January 2005, residents had their second chance to comment on a proposed conceptual master plan for the downtown area in Pagosa Springs. The draft plan, prepared by a consultant firm retained by the Community Vision Council - a partnership of public and private interests - was meant to provide a vision for development of the downtown area. Once complete, the plan was given over to the Town of Pagosa Springs for further consideration, as the town works to create its master plan.

Economic development consultants, also retained by the Vision Council, presented an economic baseline study to the public for comment in January. That study was to continue, following the public meeting, with consultants studying economic conditions in the community, as well as possible impacts of future commercial developments. All this material, too, was designed for use in a more comprehensive planning effort.

Weather, as always, occupied the attention of residents of Pagosa Country in January - this time, an abundance of winter weather. A powerful and long-lasting winter storm laid siege to Pagosa, with school district classes cancelled for a day, travel headaches abounding and traffic slowed on local roadways. Snowpack in the Upper San Juan Basin was recorded at 180 percent of average. Snow depths at some points near Wolf Creek Pass topped 10 feet and avalanche control work on the pass required closure of the highway.

Meanwhile, at Archuleta County in February, the commissioners took on a planning and development issue when they voted to extend a moratorium on so-called Big Box development. That moratorium had been instituted the previous August. The town passed a similar measure in January.

The ongoing saga of the Upper San Juan Health Services District continued as the new year got underway and the board of directors dealt with the question of the operation of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical clinic. In February, the board decided the clinic would remain open until March 31, when physician contracts expired.

In February, the county commissioners appointed a new airport advisory committee - a group that, by year's end, would be part of a sometimes contentious situation at Stevens Field. The seven-member board was appointed to assist with decision making and airport operations in an advisory capacity. A new operator was approved for the Stevens Field fixed-base operation - the Avjet Corporation, with primary offices in California and New Jersey.

Fluoride or no fluoride, that was the question. Or, at least it was the question in February when the directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District heard objections from a group of county residents regarding the addition of fluoride to the district's treated water supply.

On the sport front, three Pirate wrestlers earned medals at the Colorado 3A wrestling state championships at Denver. Senior Daren Hockett (125 pounds) and junior James Martinez (215) each brought home a third-place medal. Senior Marcus Rivas took fifth place at 189.

With over 11 feet of snow at a Wolf Creek pass monitoring site, water officials were breathing easier after a prolonged spell of drought. The measuring site registered a water content of 38.3 inches, nearly 15 inches over the average. The overall snowpack in the Upper San Juan Basin stood at 169 percent of average in February.

In March, the health district board reconsidered some decisions concerning closure of the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic, concluding the clinic would not close its doors on March 31 when doctor's contracts expired. A plan called for the clinic to be open limited hours, with a limited staff and with some on-call service after hours. Discussion continued, however, as to how best to deal with the clinic. At month's end, the directors changed course, agreeing to close the clinic April 1, with the intent of reopening July 1. Talk began to surface of an idea to create a medical campus at the site - a precursor to the concept of a Critical Access Hospital.

The Ruby Sisson Library announced a spring groundbreaking for a new addition to the facility at U.S. 160 and 8th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs. The addition was expected to add approximately 3,000 square feet to the library with new construction on two corners of the existing building. While construction was underway, the library relocated to the basement of the Humane Society Thrift Store on Pagosa Street, in the form of a "mini library" that continued to provide basic services to patrons.

A soon-to-be ill-fated river restoration project began in March in the San Juan River. The Town of Pagosa Springs provided funding for the project, entailing 500 feet of river channel and involving changes to in-river structures and bank stabilization. The project ran into the first of some snags later in the month when the Army Corps of Engineers questioned the permit status of the project, and other complaints were registered concerning proper notification of interested agencies.

In the meantime, the town planning department hosted the first in a series of public meetings prompted by development of a Downtown Master Plan for Pagosa Springs. Locals were encouraged to provide ideas concerning existing and desired attributes of the downtown area and, with information in hand, planners set another meeting for April.

School District 50 Joint appointed high school principal Bill Esterbrook to a newly-created assistant superintendent position, opening the high school principal job to applicants. Later in the spring, the school's assistant principal, David Hamilton, was named as principal.

The winter high school sports season ended with the boys' basketball team finishing third at the Colorado Class 3A championship tournament. Third place came with a win over Yuma.

A jail break at the Archuleta County Jail by three inmates ended with the capture of two of the escapees at the U.S./Canada border in Montana and the capture of the third escapee in Commerce City.

Local opponents of the fluoridation of drinking water got what they wanted in March, after the board of directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District voted to discontinue the practice.

Infighting over access to the proposed Village at Wolf Creek development on Wolf Creek Pass continued in April, in the wake of several lawsuits. A last-minute action April 15 temporarily halted developers' access by snowmobile to Forest Road 391. Suits aimed at stopping the project filed by Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council were being heard in District Court in Alamosa. The Pitcher family, owners of the ski area, filed suit against Mineral County in an attempt to curtail the development.

During one week of April, Pagosa Country got more than 110 times the amount of rain it had in the previous month. Warm temperatures and heavy rains led to fears of flooding. Flow in the San Juan River near Carracas hit 3,560 cubic feet per second and water equivalency in the San Juan snowpack at the Snotel monitoring site was measured at 128 percent of average. The snowpack at the site was 114 inches, 129 percent of average.

The town of Pagosa Springs began to move on two sizable annexations - one of 83 acres and one of 51 acres, both on Snowball Road north of the downtown area - with hearings before the planning commission. In May, an Economic and Planning Systems report commissioned by the Vision Council was delivered to residents and community leaders. The report indicated the economic future in Pagosa Springs is bright. Recommendations flowing from the report encouraged the town to adopt a multifaceted growth and development strategy, recognizing real estate, construction, tourism and retail will carry the town economy into the decade 2010-2020. Records indicated a 35-percent appreciation rate for land values in the greater Pagosa area. The report predicted, between 2010 and 2020, the area will experience a 40-percent increase in second home ownership, with the greatest growth occurring in the unincorporated areas of the county. A survey by the Big Box Task Force indicated 59 percent of respondents said "no" to Big Box development in the area.

Snow pack continued to melt in May, with flood warnings sounded. The Blanco River was running at 373 cfs, the Piedra River was running at 2,700 cfs and the San Juan was at 2,070. Flow depth in the San Juan in town was at 6.15 feet, with flood depth set at 8.96 feet. Navajo Lake was filling, with full pool expected for the first time in several years in mid-June.

The high school sports season ended in late May with the Colorado Class 3A Championship meet in Pueblo. Junior Daniel Aupperle won the state championship in long jump and the boys' team took third place in the state standings.

With more than 100 in the audience, county officials afforded a first look at a proposed county road map, designating arterial roads for maintenance. The initial proposal recommended that secondary roads would receive little or no maintenance, including snow plowing. The plan drew significant reaction, which, as county commission chair Mamie Lynch indicated, was just what the county commissioners wanted to hear. She noted the initial proposal was put forth to elicit ideas and reactions and that no hasty decisions would be made. A June Meeting proved the issue contentious with overall reaction to the county road map mixed. The map, required by state statute, would first identify the overall county road system, then identify primary and secondary roads within that system. Those designations would identify which roads could receive state HUTF funding for upkeep and maintenance. Officials were quick to point out that the map did not constitute a maintenance plan, but would be the basis for such a plan. A third meeting was set for the end of the month.

Following a hearing on the county's Big Box moratorium, county commissioners agreed to allow a business to move into an existing building that violated the size-restrictions listed in the moratorium. The moratorium had capped all retail development at 18,000 square feet. The building in question, now occupied by Ace Hardware, was 36,000 square feet in size. The situation highlighted the poor wording of the initial moratorium and that wording was amended to avoid further incidents.

Efforts began in June to sound out the chances residents would approve a Home Rule government for the county. A nonpartisan committee prepared to circulate petitions to get a Home Rule question on the ballot - a question that would ask for a vote on the Home Rule concept, then on the creation of a Home Rule charter commission.

Meanwhile, county government continued to suffer losses. Three key county employees resigned in June - the interim county administrator, the county administrative assistant and the head of the county building and planning department. One of those resigning a position attributed her departure to an "unprofessional, unethical" commission, some members of which she asserted were "becoming puppets of the special interest groups threatening recall." Two of the commissioners - Mamie Lynch and Ronnie Zaday - voted to utilize the services of a professional job search organization to produce candidates for the county administrator position.

As the second half of 2005 began, the stage was set for interesting times in Pagosa Country.


Workforce office to move

The Southwest Colorado Workforce Center will move next week to a new location.

The downtown office will be closed Jan. 5 and 6 and will reopen the following week at 46 Eaton Drive, behind the Pagosa Country Center. The new office phone number will be 731-3876.


Progress made on Mill Creek Road issue

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Landowners up Mill Creek Road have worked out a tenuous solution to snow plowing concerns this winter, but questions remain over how they will ensure access to their properties in future years.

Following months of brainstorming and negotiations, Mill Creek Road residents, U.S. Forest Service officials and A&M Construction & Excavation, Inc. have reached an agreement designed to provide reasonable winter access to the High West, Mill Creek Ranch, Cimarrona Ranch and Rito Blanco subdivisions this season. While the arrangement promises reliable snow removal through next May, it falls short of guaranteeing passable road conditions during spring thaw, and fails to address access issues in subsequent seasons.

The three-mile section of road in question begins at the end of Archuleta County Road 302 (at the San Juan National Forest boundary) approximately four miles from the intersection of Mill Creek Road and U.S. 84, and continues to the entrance of High West and other residential areas. Though the entire stretch lies within national forest jurisdiction, the county has maintained it for many years under informal arrangements with the Forest Service.

However, in the process of reevaluating countywide road concerns, the county has said it will no longer manage the forest stretch of road, beginning this year. A contributing factor to that decision may have been the above-average snowfall and a big spring runoff last year, which, with heavy use, seriously marred the road's condition, rendering it all but impassable for a time.

To compound the problem, the road is considered "primitive" by Forest standards, and according to officials, was never built to sustain the kind of traffic it has seen recently. The Forest Service typically closes such roads until after spring runoff, but some have suggested this one be upgraded to an "all weather standard," thus affording year-round use. Forest Service engineers estimate the cost of doing so at more than $600,000, and say they have no incentive, when the road's current status meets their seasonal needs.

The Forest Service also believes, while it is not legally obligated to provide year-round access to residents, something must be done, as more people are building homes in the area. Of course, to date, there are too few landowners willing or able to collectively contribute the full cost of the upgrade themselves. Meanwhile, the Forest Service acknowledges some responsibility in sharing the burden, and certain county officials have even quietly hinted at possible county participation sometime in the future.

In the meantime, the interim agreement between the Forest Service, property owners and A&M Construction & Excavation, Inc. will at least close the road to all but local residents (and related vendors), and assure adequate snow removal this year. For the agreement to be legal, however, the Forest Service must allow continued public access to the national forest, and issue a special-use permit to A&M Construction, the contractor agreeing to provide snowplowing services.

Under the terms of the agreement, the Forest Service has provided materials and in-kind services in the upgrade of a short stretch of road and the installation of a gate for eventual road closure. It has also built a parking area and bypass trail for forest users. A&M Construction, meanwhile, has agreed to accept the special-use permit and post a $1,050 bond, guaranteeing that current road conditions won't be compromised in the plowing process. For their part, landowners have agreed to "guarantee" the bond posted by A&M Construction, and pay the seasonal cost of their plowing services.

While this arrangement appears to solve short-term concerns, it does not provide a solution to poor road conditions that might still result, should we have another wet spring. In such an event, residents may still have difficulty reaching home at some point, though that's a risk they're willing to run.

According to landowners and the Forest Service, the ideal long-term answer to myriad Mill Creek Road issues would include upgrading the road and turning jurisdiction over to the county for year-round access and maintenance. By law, the Forest Service can't pay for the upgrade, but it does seem willing to relinquish authority over the road, once it is improved.

Of course, county representatives can't say whether the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) would, in fact, vote to accept the road into their system. But they have implied that, if area residents agreed to form a Local Improvement District, the BOCC might be willing to become the taxing authority and collect revenue designated solely for providing regular road maintenance. That would conceivably cover all expenses, without costing the county a red cent.

At this point, there appear to be two main obstacles to forming a Local Improvement District up Mill Creek Road. One, is gaining the required 51-percent approval of all landowners involved, which some residents fear may not be attainable; the other is the apparent necessity of landowners having to accumulate the entire cost of upgrading the road beforehand. At this stage, it is unclear whether the upgrade costs must be in the form of cash, or can be covered by a bond.

While several Mill Creek Road issues are yet unsolved, progress continues, and all involved parties remain engaged.


Register for spring semester at PCC

Registration for the spring semester is underway at Pueblo Community College's Southwest Center.

Classes such as Introduction to Business, U.S. History, Introduction to the PC, Sociology and Psychology begin Jan. 9 in Pagosa Springs.

Financial aid is available for qualified students.

To learn more, call the Durango office at 247-2929 or go to the Web at


Sheriff's office to assess booking fee in new year

As per the dictates of Colorado Revised Statute 30-1-204(1)(n), the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office will assess a $30 booking fee, as of Jan. 1, 2006, to all persons arrested and booked by the Archuleta County Sheriff's Office on criminal charges.

This includes probable cause arrest on new charges, as well as arrests for warrants, parole holds, probation holds, motion to terminate and transfer, as well as remand on a mittimus to serve a sentence.

By statute, booking charges are not assessed against those on mental health holds or detoxification holds. Also, the fee will not be assessed on courtesy holds for other agencies.

The purpose of this statute-authorized fee is not punitive, but is meant to be an offset fee for service for arrests. Arrestees contribute to the cost of their booking and help offset the processing cost to the taxpayers of Archuleta County through the sheriff.

These fees are assessed from the arrestees at the time of booking. It is not a one-time fee on a case; it will be assessed each time an inmate is processed on the same case or different cases. The person who posts the bond can pay the fee, or if the individual held has money on his or her person when they arrive, the fee will be subtracted from their inmate account immediately after their booking is completed. Any remaining funds not spent by the inmate or owed to the Archuleta county Sheriff's Office for previous recovery will be refunded to them upon their release. If they do not have the money upon arrival, it will be assessed against any deposits to an inmate commissary account. If the person does not have enough funds in their account during their stay, the recovery amount will be assessed against their inmate account for future recovery.

If a person is found not guilty at trial or the charges are completely dismissed, they can request a refund. If their charges are amended on the case or they accept a plea bargain, they are not eligible for a refund of the booking fee.

However, if they are eligible for a refund, they can fill out a booking fee request refund form at the Archuleta County Detention Center and attach the proper court documentation. The request will be verified and a refund check will be issued and mailed to them. The documents required to request the refund are: the receipt received when the fee was paid, proper identification and a document from the court stating the person was found not guilty or the charges were dismissed.

The refund requests must be made within 90 days following the entry of judgment or dismissal of all charges associated with the booking for which the fee is assessed.


Fugitive arrested at courthouse

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

John James Duffy, 51, of Pagosa Springs, was arrested without incident in the county courtroom Dec. 21 and booked into jail on three outstanding warrants.

Duffy was at the courthouse "presumably to turn himself in," said Capt. Eugene Reilly of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

Duffy was arrested on 14 charges, including attempted murder in the second degree, four domestic violence charges, two harassment charges, aggravated assault, kidnapping, two counts of violating a restraining order and two counts of bail bond violation.

According to Det. George Daniels of the sheriff's department, Duffy's total bond amount is $32,250.

Duffy has been a fugitive since September of this year.


Get computer help at Fix-It-Free Day

Computer on the blink? Fix-It-Free day is set for Jan. 7.

The mission of the Computer Fix-It-Free Day is to provide free technical assistance to members of the community who would otherwise not be able to obtain it.

Targeted are those who have a computer by means of hand-me-down or charity that is not functioning correctly. Local computer technicians are donating their time to this event.

Used parts will be provided at no charge for the purpose of repair by The Humane Society and the volunteering computer technicians. If new parts are needed, they will be provided at a discount.

If you would like to donate parts and/or used computers, label the items "Fix-It-Free" and drop them at the Humane Society Thrift Store.

The session will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7 - by appointment only.

Only one computer per household will be repaired. Interested individuals can reserve a one-hour time slot by calling 731-6373.


Residents warned: Don't feed deer, elk

The Colorado Division of Wildlife urges residents not to provide any type of food for deer and elk. Even though less food is available during the winter than in warmer months, deer and elk know how to handle stressful, cold-weather conditions.

"These wild animals do not need to be fed by humans," said Kelly Crane, district wildlife manager for the Ridgway area in southwest Colorado. "Feeding large animals causes more harm than good and it can also be dangerous for people."

Studies show that deer and elk normally lose up to 15 percent of their body weight during the winter, and they can easily withstand temperatures to 30 degrees below zero, explained Scott Wait, senior terrestrial biologist for the DOW's southwest region.

"These animals are very well adapted to cold temperatures and a reduction of weight during the winter months," Wait said. "They do quite well without our help."

Wild animals learn quickly when an easy meal is available and will return to the same place again and again. But even though they appear tame, they are wild and can become aggressive towards people or pets that might get near the source of unnatural feed.

"It is dangerous for habituated deer to be around people. Deer and elk do attack," Crane said.

Feeding animals also causes them to bunch up and that is a significant contributing factor to the spread of disease. Just like humans, deer and elk contract viruses and infections that cause a wide variety of problems. These can include respiratory infections, eye infections, nasal infections, skin infections, blindness and others. When animals are in close quarters, disease-carrying ticks also can spread easily.

Colorado residents are reminded that it is illegal to feed wildlife and the offense carries a minimum $68 fine. If you are concerned about people feeding deer and elk in your neighborhood, contact the local DOW office. Tips can be offered anonymously.


Don't let your dogs chase wildlife

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) urges dog owners to make sure their pets are secured and not given the opportunity to chase wildlife. Throughout the state, dogs chasing wildlife is a growing problem for wildlife managers.

Every year DOW offices receive hundreds of calls reporting dogs chasing deer and elk.

Most pet owners don't believe their dogs would chase wildlife. But dogs, if given the chance, will follow their instincts and run after wild animals - especially deer and elk, and especially during the winter.

"Every year I get dozens of calls about dogs chasing wildlife," said Ron Harthan, a district wildlife manager in the Montrose area. "And I know that other district managers get a similar number of calls."

Dogs evolved as predators and it is their natural instinct to chase other animals. When two or more dogs get together a "pack-mentality" develops and greatly increases the dogs' desire to chase and kill wildlife.

Deer and elk that must run from dogs also are forced to use the energy stores that they need to get them through the winter. Even if the animal is not caught, the stress of the chase is exhausting and could cause the animal to die later.

The problem is growing in some areas because rural subdivisions are being built near or in deer and elk winter-range habitat. Large animals congregate during the winter making them easy targets for dogs.

Patt Dorsey, area wildlife manager in Durango, explained that people shouldn't leave dogs outside that can get out of yards.

"Just because your dog is on the front porch when you leave for work in the morning doesn't mean the dog sat on the front porch all day," Dorsey said.

Dogs can easily cover 10 or more miles in a day and still be back on the porch in time for dinner.

Pet owners are legally responsible for damage to wildlife caused by their dogs. By Colorado statute pet owners can be fined $274 if their animals are harassing wildlife. If a dog kills or injures an animal, an additional fine of $500 can be levied.

All Colorado peace officers are authorized to shoot dogs that are chasing wildlife or livestock.

Dorsey explained that animals that run loose are not only in danger of being shot, they are also more likely to be hit by a car or to be stalked by other wildlife - namely mountain lions and coyotes.

"Dogs that are kept secured at home will have a longer life than those that are allowed to run free," Dorsey said.

DOW officials also point out that dog/wildlife conflicts are not just a winter problem - pets harass wildlife year around. Deer fawns and elk calves are especially susceptible to attack shortly after they are born in the spring. Cats also should be controlled because they are adept at killing birds.

If you see dogs chasing wildlife call the local DOW office or any law enforcement agency. In residential areas, please talk to neighbors whose dogs are running loose.


High Country Reflections

An outdoorsman says 'yes' to fee increase

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

In a few days, the state of Colorado will raise the total cost of an annual resident fishing license by 53 percent and, as an emphatic flyfisherman, I am elated.

That's right. I'm happy that, after 14 years without an increase, many resident fishing and hunting license fees are finally on the rise.

It's about time.

What's more, most nonresident licenses are going up, and a fund has been created to protect vital wildlife habitat and help finance public education regarding wildlife management throughout the state. These changes have come about by the passage of House Bill 05-1266, and are good news for sporting groups, outdoor organizations, conservationists and others who value Colorado's natural environment and all the wild creatures living within.

Historically, the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has been the lone agency responsible for protecting, managing and enhancing Colorado's wildlife resources, and since its inception in 1903, 70 percent of its funding has come from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses. Federal excise tax contributions, Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) funding, and federal research grants have provided the balance of revenue, but contrary to popular belief, the DOW has never been supported by state taxes.

The Colorado General Assembly approved the last increase in resident hunting and fishing license fees for 1992. But in the years since, according to DOW statistics, inflation climbed 45 percent, and costs for heating agency buildings, fueling vehicles and providing employee health insurance plans have risen dramatically. The rapid growth in human population and the emergence of new wildlife illnesses, like Chronic Wasting Disease, have also added to everyday operating expenses that have threatened the DOW's ability to adequately fund its Strategic Plan.

The plan, developed by hundreds of interested Colorado participants and adopted by the Colorado Wildlife Commission on Jan. 11, 2002, presumably serves as a blueprint for the DOW and state wildlife management. According to a DOW press release, it "includes such important goals as: researching and eliminating diseases, protecting deer and elk habitat, increasing hunter satisfaction through customer service, protecting fish habitats, increasing the number of healthy stocked fish, and expanding the number of Colorado school students who learn about wildlife issues."

Without the funding changes provided under HB 05-1266, progress on many of these issues might have stalled indefinitely, particularly when the state General Assembly killed a 2004 bill designed to increase some hunting and fishing license fees, further perpetuating DOW capital deficiencies.

Immediately following the 2004 bill's defeat, the DOW assembled wildlife advocates from across the state with hope of creating a comprehensive wildlife-funding plan to alleviate their growing financial woes. As instructed by DOW Director Bruce McCloskey, the four DOW regional managers gathered interested sporting groups and organizations, conservationists and members of the public together to develop a bill for legislative consideration in 2005. The sportsman's advisory groups (SAG) met on numerous occasions, and eventually agreed on a three-phase measure that quickly gained support from sportsmen, conservationists and dedicated lawmakers alike. The measure soon became HB 05-1266, and will now become law January 1.

The first phase of HB 05-1266 raises most hunting and fishing license fees. For example, an annual resident fishing license, now $20, will rise to $25, and an annual resident small-game hunting license will increase from $15 to $20. An annual nonresident fishing license will jump from $40 to $55, as will nonresident small-game licenses. Except for the youngest hunters, turkey licenses will also cost more, and all resident big game licenses will be slightly higher. While the cost of most nonresident big game licenses appear higher next year, they are adjusted annually according to the Denver/Boulder/Greeley Consumer Price Index and are subject to change. For a complete list of current and future license fees, refer to the DOW Web site at

The second phase of HB 05-1266 requires hunters, anglers and anyone entering designated state wildlife areas to purchase and possess a Habitat Stamp. Only those between the ages of 18 and 65 need a stamp, and a maximum of two is required for sportsmen and sportswomen buying two or more hunting and/or fishing licenses in the same calendar year. Stamps cost $5 when purchased with a hunting or fishing license, and $10 for hikers, bikers, birdwatchers and other recreationalists not engaged in hunting or fishing.

The Habitat Stamp evolved through examination of similar programs in other states, and will help preserve Colorado's wildlife habitat. The money collected will pay to maintain and expand access for hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing, and is expected to raise $2.3 million each year. Preventing habitat loss and fragmentation are primary goals, and prior to 2010, 60 percent of revenues must go to protecting and increasing big game winter range and migration corridors.

The stamp will also generate necessary funding for the maintenance of facilities at some state wildlife areas. "In some of these areas, we have to clean restrooms, maintain parking areas, repair damage from vandalism and pick up trash," said Southeast Regional Director (for the DOW) Dan Prenzlow. "With the habitat stamp, we'll be able to provide services when necessary, and make sure that people who use the areas are providing for its upkeep."

Aside from the cost of hunting and/or fishing licenses and the required habitat stamp or stamps, sportsmen and women will also be subject to two small surcharges, adding a total of a dollar to the overall cost of recreational licenses in 2006. The first is a 25-cent fee, which aids in funding search and rescue, and has been assessed with the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses since 1992. The second is a new 75-cent surcharge, which will fund the Wildlife Management Public Education Advisory Council.

According to the DOW, the state Legislature created the council in 1999, with its primary function being "to develop and implement a comprehensive media-based information program to educate the general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management, and wildlife-related recreation in Colorado." However, because the council, with its admirable mission, lacked sufficient funding, SAG members decided the new surcharge would be a reasonable method of providing it financial support.

While sportsmen and women have historically provided the bulk of financial support for wildlife management in Colorado, the average age of those who hunt and fish is rising, and fewer young people are showing an interest. Therefore, the future of environmental policy and wildlife management, including the utilization of hunting and fishing as viable management tools, rests with a largely urban population who don't partake in either sport. Thus, the legitimate need for broad public awareness to the intrinsic values of wildlife and environmental preservation.

By adding $5 to the price of an annual fishing license, and including the $5 Habitat Stamp and new 75-cent surcharge (on top of the existing 25-cent surcharge), the annual cost of my flyfishing is about to increase 53 percent. However, in view of how I, as an avid outdoorsman and quasi environmentalist, will personally benefit, I consider it a worthy investment.




Dear Editor:

Your article on propane, page A8, Dec. 22 was confusing. As stated correctly, gas plants process gas. But, refineries process crude oil. In processing crude oil some gaseous products are produced and most is used to provide heat to the processes. The flame people see from some stacks in refineries are flares used to maintain the refinery fuel system in pressure balance. These stacks are not chimneys, but pressure relief valves. Propane and butanes are normally recovered by the refinery processors and stored in those spherical tanks for later sale. Propane and butanes are not included in the gas burned as refinery fuel to provide part of the heat used in the refining process.

What's different now for gas plants is that with natural gas selling at all-time high prices it leaves very little incentive to spend a lot of energy to maximize propane recovery since what doesn't get stripped out of the gas sells for premium in the gas product.

The production of propane from refineries versus from gas plants entails a very different set of circumstances.


Ed Mergens


No big boxes

Dear Editor:

The big box discussion lingers, on the way I have tried to remain silent. Yet, having traveled widely and having personally witnessed the Wal Mart affect, important issues are present and can be shared.

- A community is changed with the Wal Mart presence.

- The "old town" area especially suffers and it takes about 20 years to rebuild.

- Change is coming. Change will come, it cannot be stopped, it can only be molded into a common community vision.

Having moved here 15 years ago, I came for the community that Pagosa Springs is. More folks shall be coming for the Pagosa that is. That cannot be stopped, even though the nasty county assessor will keep trying.

The surrounding 100-mile area has enough big town stuff to keep all happy; Pagosa does not need it.

Keep the current character of Pagosa, Pagosa, by trying to control and mold the shape of the economic engine to sell Pagosa as Pagosa, which means no big boxes.

Michael Riegger


Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

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. 6

Auditions for the Music Boosters' spring show, "Lily the Fallen Fellows Daughter" at the high school auditorium 6-8:30 p.m. Needed are adults and high school actors to fill 11 roles. The melodrama is scheduled for March 9, 10 and 11, with a matinee March 11.

Jan. 8

Pagosa Singles (PALS) meet for dinner at 5 p.m. at Dionigi's Restaurant (upstairs). All singles 40-plus welcome. Call 731-2445 to R.S.V.P.

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 on the second Tuesday of the month. For further information, call Don or Linda Dodson at 731-3498.

Jan. 11

The Pagosa Women's Club will meet at JJ's Upstream Restaurant. Doors open at 11:45 a.m. and lunch will be served at noon, followed by the program presented by Barb Draper from the Ruby Sisson Library. The cost is $10 and reservations are required. Please call 731-5797 by noon Monday, Jan. 9, for reservations. Contact Terri Andersen for more information at 731-5797.

Jan. 12

The Mountain View Homemakers will meet at the Community United Methodist Church for a noon potluck. Jan Donavan is host. The program is "Ode to a Cowboy: Cowboy Poetry," by Bill Downey.

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.

Jan. 14

Pi Beta Phi alumnae club will meet at 11:30 a.m. at Victoria's Parlor for a no-host luncheon and planning session about two 2006 literacy initiatives - reading to elementary school children, and the Cat in the Hat event at the library March 2 as part of the Pi Beta Phi national literacy day celebrations. R.S.V.P. to Lisa Scott at 264-2730 by Jan. 12.

Jan. 21

Pagosa Singles (PALS) will meet for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. at the Rose Restaurant (downtown). All singles 40-plus welcome. Call 731-2445 to RSVP.

Jan. 26

Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.


Community News

Classical music at Winds of the West

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Pagosans will get a rare chance to bask in classical elegance at a concert entitled "Winds of the West," featuring a collaboration of fine, local musicians performing their distinct repertoire of classical music, 7 p.m., Jan. 14, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Larry Elginer (trumpet), Joy Redmon (flute), Valley Lowrance (bassoon), Tim Bristow (clarinet), Lisa Hartley (flute), Melinda Baum (piano), Natalie Tyson (harp), Carla Roberts (recorders), Paul Roberts (guitar) and others will perform a delightfully diverse program of instrumental music. Master of ceremonies, John Graves, will add a touch of spice.

Classical music often aspires to communicate a range of emotion that has a transcendent quality, expressing universals of the human condition. One criterion that distinguishes classical music is its staying power. Compositions that are hundreds of years old continue to be widely performed and appreciated. It is performed on instruments invented prior to the mid-19th century, often much earlier.

This concert is an opportunity to hear local ensembles and soloists perform sophisticated and refined works of great musical depth and complexity. So, for a satisfying experience of musical grace and sensitivity join our performers at Winds of the West.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Avenue in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Blvd. Turn north on Vista, then left on Port.

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

Bring a dessert to share, if you wish. Volunteers are needed to help with setup, cleanup and refreshments.

Winds of the West is produced by Elation Center for the Arts, a local nonprofit. Proceeds help the center bring quality community concerts, music and dance classes and other cultural enrichment programs to Pagosa Springs. Call 731-3117 for more information.


In Step features Argentine tango in January

By Charles Jackson

Special to The PREVIEW

The In Step Dance Club has some exciting new changes for 2006, the beginning of its third year.

Deb Aspen, the club director/instructor, has developed a merit program in which members can earn points for on -time attendance, helps and exhibition dancing. At the end of a six-month period, there will be an Awards Banquet & Ball where winners will be awarded dance vouchers for $100, $50 and $25 (first, second and third places respectively).

Also, at the end of each month, Deb plans to give each member the opportunity to "check out" and earn a grade mark. By successfully performing each pattern of the dance of the month with a partner (either an instructor or another member), and by themselves, they will receive a frameable merit award certificate at the next awards ceremony. So, mark your calendars for July 8 and Dec. 31 for In Step Dance Club's Awards Banquet & Ball, and watch for more details.

Slated for 2006 are some exciting new dances like hustle, Viennese waltz and Lindy hop. We plan to repeat the ever-popular east coast swing, and bring back some other favorites from previous years such as country western two-step, cha cha, progressive swing, merengue, country western waltz, foxtrot, and Argentine tango which will kick the season off in January.

Argentine tango originated in the brothels of turn-of-the-century Argentina. In 1869, the population of Buenos Aires was 180,000, but by 1914 it had risen to 1.5 million. The intermixing of African, Spanish, Italian, British, Polish, Russian and native-born Argentines resulted in a melting pot of cultures, and each borrowed dance and music from one another. Traditional polkas, waltzes and mazurkas were mixed with the popular habanera from Cuba and the candombe rhythms from Africa. In this period, the wailing melancholy of the bandoneon (an accordion-like instrument imported to Argentina from Germany in 1886) became the main instrument of tango music.

Most immigrants were single men hoping to earn their fortunes in this newly expanding country. They were typically poor and desperate, hoping to make enough money to return to Europe or bring their families to Argentina. The evolution of tango reflects their profound sense of loss and longing for the people and places they left behind. Young men, called compadritos, mostly native-born and poor, who liked to dress in slouch hats, loosely tied neckerchiefs and high-heeled boots usually had knives tucked casually into their belts. The compadritos took the tango back to the Corrales Viejos-the slaughterhouse district of Buenos aires-and introduced it in various establishments where any dancing took place. It was here that the African rhythms met the Argentine milonga music (a fast-paced Polka), and soon new steps were invented and took hold.

The worldwide spread of the tango came in the early 1900s when wealthy sons of Argentine families made their way to Paris and introduced the tango into a society eager for innovation. No dance was accepted by Europe or the U.S. until it was made a "standard" by the French. Since anything French was automatically "cool," the dance was soon found in New York, and had become an international phenomenon by 1913. The tango reached the pinnacle of popularity in Argentina, when Juan Peron rose to power in 1946. Both he and his wife Evita, embraced it wholeheartedly. Today, you can dance tango day or night in most major cities across the United States.

Deb will partner with Les Linton, formally of Albuquerque, N.M. Les learned this most elegant, romantic and sophisticated dance from Argentine instructors, and has been performing and teaching the dance for 10 years. This will be his third time teaching at In Step. Be sure to join us for the dance that once took Paris by storm, and is now "snowing" in Pagosa. Beginners are welcome, as Argentine Tango is not hard to learn, but takes concentration, and the desire to break out of the ordinary.

Classes will be 7-9 p.m. Jan. 5,11,19 and 26, with practice sessions 3-5 p.m. Jan. 8, 15, 22 and 29. All sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

Please arrive 10 minutes early to register and have your attendance recorded towards merit points. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that have smooth or split leather soles - something that does not leave black marks or mud.

For more information call Deb Aspen 731-3338.


Special UU service New Year's Day

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a special New Year's Day service at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, led by Susan Junta.

Junta points out that "New Year's Day is a time for renewal, which is quite different from making those resolutions which come back to haunt you! In a coffeehouse atmosphere, we'll celebrate the New Year by joining together in song with John Graves, our own resident UU musician."

She extends an invitation to "Come ready to exercise your vocal cords and uplift your spirits through songs and sharings. If you have an inspiring reading you would like to share with the group, come do so. There'll also be plenty of coffee, tea, and tantalizing things to eat after the service."

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


Tierra Alta School has successful fall semester

By Dan Loper

Special to the PREVIEW

For a brand-new school, Tierra Alta Schools (TAS) is having a successful run as it lives up to the meaning of its name, High Ground.

The fall semester was marked by good academic growth and exceptional attitudes. The staff has been very excited to see the personal growth of all students. Extracurricular projects, which are a part of the program used to enhance each student's abilities, included preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the school families, an opportunity to display individual talents and a three-part Christmas program. These goals and their achievements are a direct reflection of the intentional dynamics of TAS which include low student-to-teacher ratio, which enables personal attention to specific needs in a very caring environment.

This is in line with Proverbs chapter one, which indicates that there is a particular "formula" for developing wise students through truly God-directed goals. The formula looks like this: Instruction + knowledge + understanding = wisdom. Explanation: It is completely (100 percent) the teachers' work to prayerfully be involved in instruction through God's direct enabling power to pour "the facts" into the minds of students who cooperate (70-percent teacher/30-percent student) in the process of gaining knowledge. The percentages reverse in the next two steps as the student diligently applies himself to understand (30-percent teacher/70-percent student) and to put this understanding into practical usage, i.e., wisdom (100-percent student), in so doing, beginning the process all over. In a sense, this could be stated in four steps: 1) I do; 2) you watch me do; 3) I watch you do; and 4) you do. In other words, at TAS we believe that it is important that people who are being used to shape the future generations should themselves have and lead a good life in order that their life is a worthy example to be followed.

We continue to maintain that TAS is a G.R.E.A.T. school, featuring Grade improvement and advancement for students behind in school, or who wish to make it through earlier; Real, loving staff members who aren't just in it for the paycheck (we pride ourselves in being a friendly place where anyone who's willing to try will succeed); Experience with a variety of techniques to get the information across in an easy-to-learn format (our style helps many students "pre-learn" material); Attitude of realistic confidence for a positive self-image is encouraged in every student in all facets of their life - mental, emotional, physical and spiritual;Training that goes beyond the normal classroom (we see life as a continual learning place to make us into important people with eternal values).

The spring semester will feature multiple classes in science, a variety of math courses, English courses, including speech and writing, physical education and health, as well as an opportunity for directed studies for those who are interested in specific academic needs. Enrichment projects will include an American heritage program, a science fair/invention convention, and an end-of-the-year traveling trip with the entire student body, as well as other opportunities for a well-rounded educational experience.

For more information about Tierra Alta Schools, call (970) 903-3382.


New series of programs at library for youngsters

By Barb Draper

Special to The PREVIEW

With the beginning of a new year, what better time to begin a new series of programs for young children and for youth at the Ruby M. Sisson Library? Activities will get underway beginning Wednesday, Jan. 4, with the following schedule:

Read to Your Baby - first and third Wednesdays at 10 a.m. in the children's room. This is an opportunity for moms, dads, grandparents or care givers to spend quality time learning how language skills can be taught to children at a very young age. This is a program for babies at about 6 months through age 2. The formal presentation will last about 20 minutes and there will be plenty of time afterwards for everyone in attendance to read stories to their young ones.

Preschool Stories and Fun - second and fourth Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Activities at these programs will be aimed at the 3- to 5-year age group. There will be a seasonal/holiday or special interest theme for each session. The kick-off session Wednesday, Jan. 11, will be all about snowmen. The programs will last approximately 30 minutes, after which there will be time to check out books.

Family Story, Activity and Game Day (all ages) - second Saturday of each month. Time is yet to be determined for this group. Watch for information to come home from the schools or call the library at 264-2209. There will be a variety of age-appropriate activities and stories each month. We are excited to have the Pagosa Pretenders taking an active role in this program. The activities begin Jan. 14.

Friday Afternoon Club - meets right after school on the third Friday of the month, beginning Jan. 20. To begin with, this will be a program for elementary, intermediate and junior high school kids with a variety of stories and activities for each age group. These will include book discussion groups, stories, games and teen special interest groups. At the first meeting there will be some discussion about the direction each group wants to take.

There is no preregistration needed for any of these programs, at least in the beginning. Just show up at the library at the scheduled time. Programs will begin promptly at the scheduled time, and if the program is already in progress when you arrive, just take a seat and join in.


ManKind Project to present interactive drama

By John Gwin

Special to The PREVIEW

"Changing the World One Man at a Time" is ManKind Project's motto.

The mission of MKP, established in 1985, is to enable men to live their life's mission while in service to others. Men (New Warriors) who have completed the initiation training, The New Warrior Training Adventure, have taken their "Hero's Journey" and looked within themselves to become more connected to their feelings and their shadows. New Warriors strive to live in integrity with themselves and others by doing what they say they will do. Their life's mission includes service to others and staying congruent in their thoughts and actions.

MKP's New Warriors total over 40,000 world wide and are established in nine countries including: South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada and the United States.

The Southwest Colorado Community has four men's circles that meet weekly; one of which meets in a home located near Chimney Rock. These circles are open to any man. Women Within, a sister organization also established in 1985, is currently reforming a Southwest Colorado Community.

New Warrior Training Adventures occur monthly throughout the world. The Southwest Colorado community, part of the Greater New Mexico Community of MKP, sponsors three New Warrior Training Adventures annually.

The next training is scheduled Jan. 27-29. This training challenges men physically and emotionally in a safe, sacred environment, to look at what is going right and wrong in their life and what they might want to change. The fruits of this training may look like a higher sense of purpose, a better marriage, good fathering, fresh career direction and community volunteerism. A New Warrior learns to listen and communicate better; he has less anger, more compassion, and an inner smile because he is fully awake, conscious, loving and fiercely alive.

Training is open to any man 18 years or older (there is also a Boys to Men program for young men under 18). A man's physical challenges are not a hindrance during the training and men with significant challenges such as blindness and paralysis have successfully completed the weekend.

MKP - a secular, non-profit, multicultural international men's organization - and Women Within will present an interactive human drama, "Head Heart & Soul," that sculpts the seven stages of emotional development and the healing journey that can lead an adult from their head to their heart. When a person hides, represses or denies their feelings, those feelings become "shadows" and are projected on to others. One of the points of the presentation is how adults can learn to live more connected to their heart (feelings) and become congruent in their thoughts and actions.

This free drama is open to all adults and will be held at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, Tuesday, Jan. 10. The drama will be followed by a question and answer period and refreshments.

Call John Gwin, 731-9666, with any questions you might have about ManKind Project or Women Within.


Local Chatter

I know the lyric, do you know the dance?

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

One time I took a college course in musical games and dances, and this was one of the dances.

I remember the words but not the dance steps and I just wonder if maybe a reader would know them. The words go:

"Today is Christmas Day

Today is Christmas Day

And after Christmas follows Easter.

No, no that is not so

No, no that is not so

For Lent alas comes in between them."

And these words lead right into filling the 2006 calendar.

When is Easter? What is Lent?

Lent is the 40 days (minus Sundays) before Easter Day. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent. The day before Ash Wednesday is Shrove Tuesday (also called Fat Tuesday).

Some calendars include moon data. The 2006 Jackisch Drug Store calendar does, and one can check out this rule for himself by reading April in the calendar.

And to go back to the original question. Does anyone know the dance steps to this verse?

Around Town

One of the funniest things that happened during the holidays was this: Someone gave Dr. Kitzel Farrah an ornament collection of feathered birds and blown glass birds, and her cat ate one of the feathered birds!

Fun on the Run

A man scolded his son for being unruly and the child rebelled. He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear and his piggy bank and proudly announced, "I'm running away from home."

The father calmly decided to look at the matter logically.

"What if you get hungry?" he asked.

"Then I'll come home and eat," bravely declared the child.

"And what if you run out of money?"

"I will come home and get some," he readily replied.

The man then made a final attempt, "What if your clothes get dirty?"

"Then I'll come home and let mommy wash them," he answered.

The man shook his head and exclaimed, "This kid is not running away from home, he's going off to college."


Community Center News

Purchase your New Year's Eve dance tickets now

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

What: Fabulous New Year's Eve celebration dance for adults.

Where: The Community Center's beautifully decorated multi-purpose room.

When: Dec. 31, at 9:05 p.m. (until 12:35 a.m.).

Details: Tickets - $15 for a single, $25 for a couple. Ticket sales end at 5 p.m. Dec. 30. No tickets sold at the door. BYOB event - 21 and over only - be prepared to show ID. Reserved tables available. Music by John Graves and Company. Finger foods and soft drinks will be provided.

Come to laugh and relax with friends, dance to great music, celebrate the old and the new.

Yoga class

The weekly class conducted by Richard Harris 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 met last week for a fabulous lunch at the Buffalo Inn. The German meal, provided by Jim Stone, consisted of buffalo sausage, sauerkraut, green beans and German potato pancakes with gravy. Club members brought sweets to share including cookies and stollen - a fruit- and nut-filled sweet yeast bread. These, along with bonket, a wonderful almond-filled pastry made by Shirley VanDyken, rounded out the dessert selections. Bodil Holstein conducted a short business meeting, during which it was decided that Richard Wholf will be the new vice-president and Cindy Gustafson will continue as secretary.

The next meeting will be held at the community center, 9 a.m. Jan. 5. Brunch will be served.

Computer Lab news

Good news - we should be able to accommodate everyone who has indicated an interest in the next Beginning Computing class.

We will split the group in half and have one class Tuesday and one Wednesday. All those who have signed up for the next Beginning Computing Class should come to the Computer Lab at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.

At that initial meeting, we will organize ourselves into the two groups: the Seniors' class will move to Wednesdays, and the Tuesday group will be open to others (of any age) who wish to come. Both groups will progress at the same rate and cover the same topics for the first eight meetings.

After that, anything goes. I will cover whatever subjects are of interest to class participants.

Each class will be limited to 11 so everyone can have his/her own computer. We'll have Windows98 computers available, as well as ones with WindowsXP. One laptop will also be available. Here is a short summary of what will be covered in each of the first four classes:

- Week 1 - Hardware. What it is, what's obsolete, what's new, what hardware you need to have, mousing, tips for beginners, disks and drives.

- Week 2 - Customizing your desktop, windows and windows jargon (opening, closing, moving, and resizing).

- Week 3 - Files and file organization.

- Week 4 - Review of previous weeks' topics and finding lost files.

The community center thanks those of you who have helped us turn the Computer Lab into a place where there are now 11 computers for public use. These computers have varying operating systems and software to suit the differing needs of our users. Some visitors to the lab have Windows98 on their home machines; consequently, we have kept three PCs with that operating system in order to have screens with a familiar look for those users.

We can now offer color and black and white printing, scanning, CD and DVD burning, the professional edition of MS Office software, MS Digital Image software for editing images and photographs, computer classes, weekly question-and-answer sessions and much, much more.

Some of you have donated hardware: whole computer systems, printers, mice, keyboards, and cables. Others have brought us software on CDs. A few have spent time in the lab helping beginners. I especially want to thank Peter Welch who so generously donated time to help me configure the eight computers donated by Michael Baker, Jr. Inc. I'm also thankful for Peter's much-needed advice, encouragement and moral support. None of the improvements to the lab could have happened without the support of the Pagosa Springs community. Thanks to all of you who watched the changes happening, made encouraging comments, then remembered us with your donations of equipment, time and money.

Questions about computer use? Call Becky, 264-4152.

Center's hours

To further serve our community we have extended our hours of operation. The center is 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 hours.

Do you have a special talent, hobby, or interest 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 - Beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 30 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.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.; sale of dance tickets ends, 5 p.m.

Dec. 31 - Community center closed during the day; New Year's Eve dance for adults, 9:05 p.m.-12:30 a.m.

Jan. 1-2 - Community center closed.

Jan. 3 - Beginning Computing organizational meeting, 10 a.m.-noon; 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.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 4 - Pagosa brats play group, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 11-4 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Planned Parenthood meeting, 5:30-7 p.m.; Church of Christ bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Jan. 5 - Aus-Ger Club brunch, 9-11 a.m.; beginning yoga, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club, 6:30-9 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 as well as tables, chairs, a portable stage, a dance floor and audiovisual equipment. The center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Call 264-4152.

Holiday hours

The community center will be closed Dec. 31 and Jan. 1-2 for the New Year holiday.


Senior News

Buy your Seniors Inc. memberships at The Den

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

Beginning Jan. 3, 2006, Seniors Inc. memberships for folks age 55 and over will be sold at The Den.

The 2006 memberships can be purchased for $5 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. No memberships will be sold Thursdays.

Your Seniors Inc. membership entitles you to a variety of great discounts from participating merchants in our area. For qualifying members, it provides scholarships to assist with the costs for eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental expenses and prescription and medical equipment.

The Seniors Inc. membership will also cover $20 of the transportation fee for medical shuttles to Durango. The Den's Monthly Mystery trips to fascinating destinations are sponsored by Seniors Inc., so these cool trips in the warmer months are open to all members.

As you can see, the benefits of a Seniors Inc. membership are endless, so stop on in at The Den during the scheduled hours to renew or purchase your first annual membership. Please remember that you do not need to be a Seniors Inc. member to join us at The Den. Everyone is welcome to be a part of our extended family.

Den luncheon

The Den will visit JJ's Upstream Restaurant for lunch at 11:30 a.m. today to celebrate the closing of the year 2005. We will meet here at The Den at 11:15 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 $1.00. Reservations are required to enjoy this luncheon outing.

Birthday celebration

If you are age 60 or over and your birthday is in December, come to The Den Friday, Dec. 30, for a delicious lunch and to celebrate 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 at our final lunch together in 2005.

Closed for holiday

The Silver Foxes Den will be closed Monday, Jan. 2. We wish you all a happy New Year and look forward to seeing you Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006.

Price changes

The Den has raised the suggested donation prices for both transportation and lunches, effective Jan. 3, 2006.

Transportation on our new handicap accessible bus in our service area will entail a suggested donation of $2.

Lunches at the congregate meals (including the salad bar) at The Den and the home-delivered meals, will be available for a suggested donation of $3. It has been a long time since we have raised the suggested donation and we hope, with the increase in prices in fuel and food over the last few years, you will understand the necessity of our suggested donation increase. Thank you for your support and your understanding.

Make new friends, keep the old

"One is silver and the other's gold "

Remember that childhood song? Well let's start off 2006 visiting some old friends you might not get to see very often. The Den will visit Pineridge Extended Care Center Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 10 a.m. to bring smiles to those who are living or recovering there.

Maybe you will see some folks you know, maybe you will be able to visit someone who is lonely, maybe you will even make some new friends. Either way, it will be nice to stop by and say hello to the people at Pineridge. Let's take our good cheer and share it with others in this upcoming year.

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 with our director, Musetta Wollenweber.

Walk-ins without appointments will not be accepted. Please call The Den at 264-2167 for an appointment. We'll try 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.

Senior discounts

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 are looking for a reliable economy car or 4-wheel drive, call Robyn at 731-4477 or 264-0746 to accommodate your requests. Dollar-Rent-A-Car is open seven days a week and is located at the mini golf course next to Pizza Hut on U.S. 160.

Computer Lab news

By Becky Herman

Good news - we should be able to accommodate everyone who has indicated an interest in the Beginning Computing class. We will split the group in half and have one class Tuesday and one Wednesday.

All those who have signed up for the next Beginning Computing Class should come to the Computer Lab at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3. At that initial meeting, we will organize ourselves into the two groups: the Seniors' class will move to Wednesdays, and the Tuesday group will be open to others (of any age) who wish to come.

Both groups will progress at the same rate and cover the same topics for the first eight meetings. After that, anything goes. I will cover whatever subjects are of interest to class participants. Each class will be limited to 11 so everyone can have his/her own computer. We'll have Windows98 computers available, as well as ones with Windows XP. One laptop will also be available. Here is a short summary of what will be covered in each of the first four classes:

Week 1 - Hardware. What is it? What's obsolete? What's new? What hardware do you need to have? Mousing, tips for beginners, disks and drives.

Week 2 - Your desktop, windows and windows jargon (opening, closing, moving and resizing).

Week 3 - Files and file organization.

Week 4 - Review of previous weeks' topics and finding lost files.

Call Becky, 264-4152, for more information.

Activities at a glance

Today - Luncheon at JJ's Upstream Restaurant, 11:30 a.m. (reservations required with The Den office).

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.

Jan. 2 - Closed for the holiday.

Jan. 3 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; Seed of Learning kids visit, 11:45 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Jan. 4 - Basic computer class, 10 a.m.; visit Pine Ridge Extended Care Center, 10 a.m.

Jan. 5 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Tuesday, Jan. 3).

Jan. 6 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.


Suggested donation $3 (beginning Jan. 3) for ages 60-plus, all others $4.50.

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

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

Jan. 2 - Closed for the holiday.

Jan. 3 - Oven chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, asparagus and almond peaches.

Jan. 4 - Lasagna, Italian vegetables, bread stick and fruited Jell-O.

Jan. 5 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Tuesday, Jan. 3). Baked ham, whipped yams, green beans with almonds, whole wheat roll and peaches.

Jan. 6 - Taco salad with salsa, lettuce and tomato, corn bread and cinnamon applesauce.


Veteran's Corner

VA updates burial records, technology

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The burial locations of more than 5 million veterans for whom the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has provided grave markers, are now available on the Internet, as well as the information inscribed on the markers.

Online since April 2004, the nationwide gravesite locator ( helps veterans' families, former comrades-in-arms and others find the graves of veterans.

Database added

VA recently added 1.9 million records for veterans buried primarily in private cemeteries to its database.

The gravesite locator previously carried records on 3 million veterans buried in VA national cemeteries since the Civil War, and in state veterans cemeteries and Arlington National Cemetery since 1999.

VA expands IT

"The expansion of this innovative program continues VA's commitment to using Internet technology to fulfill the important mission of memorializing our nation's veterans," said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "By adding records to our online database, VA also helps families research their genealogy and ensures that future generations of Americans will be able to honor these veterans for their service."

The new records date from January 1997, the earliest time for which electronic records exist. The information comes from applications made for these veterans' headstones or markers. Beyond the 5 million records now available, VA continues to add approximately 1,000 new records to the database each day.

Last year, VA furnished nearly 369,000 inscribed headstones and markers for veterans' graves worldwide.

Internet users only need to provide the last name of the deceased veteran or dependent. Typically, the information available includes name, birth and death dates, rank, branch of service and the address and phone number of the cemetery.

Burial eligibility

Veterans whose discharges are other than dishonorable, their spouses and dependent children may be buried in a national cemetery, regardless of where they live. No advance reservations are made. VA provides perpetual care, as well as a headstone or marker, a burial flag and a memorial certificate to survivors.

Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from a VA Web site at or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at (800) 827-1000.


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. Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is 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.

Happy New year to all our honored veterans.


Library News

Encyclopedia Britannica - a great starting point

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

There are reference tools, then there are great reference tools.

The Encyclopedia Britannica is a great reference tool. The library is about to acquire a hardback copy of what has been the greatest reference tool in the English language since the late 1700s. (We will defer the discussion of the greatness and defects of the Web and Google as reference tools to another column or columns).

The EB was the product of the Scottish enlightenment. Its creator, Colin Macfarquhar, a bookseller and printer, decided to publish a digest of the different arts and sciences in 100 parts and three volumes. The publication started in 1768 and was complete by 1771, with 2,391 pages. It sold 3,000 copies. The 2nd edition, published between 1777 and 1784, added history and biography as topics. By the 3rd edition, published between 1788 and 1797, the work had grown to 18 volumes, with two supplements and was 16,000 pages. It was the first encyclopedia to include articles written by experts and academics.

The landmark 9th edition, the "Scholar's Edition" was published between 1875 and 1889.

Preeminent authors wrote many of the pieces. The set is considered a high point in the history of English language encyclopedias. And, the 11th edition, the one for which Einstein himself authored the piece on relativity, was published in association with the University of Cambridge. The rights were then sold to Sears in America and, from then on, the articles were shorter, and there were fewer of them.

Politically, the Britannica was a fairly conservative publication. The supplement to the 3rd edition was dedicated to the King with comments on distinguishing itself from the French Encyclopedie. That compilation was thought to have disseminated information that encouraged anarchy and atheism, possibly abetting the bloody French Revolution, which so terrified the English nobility.

There are charges that the Britannica was substantially edited of matters and articles that displeasured the Catholic Church, and that the content was changed to reflect the view preferred by the establishment. One discussion of this can be found on the web at The discussion is interesting, to say the least. Not having access to the earlier editions as I write this, I cannot pass on the truth of the matter. One can be sure, however, that this is not the only issue of censorship and manipulation in the EB's long history.

In the 1980s, Microsoft approached the Britannica about a CD-ROM version, but Britannica's sales were good, going towards an all time high of $650 million in 1990. The publishers gave Bill a cold shoulder.

The decision led to the Microsoft Encarta and big financial problems for the Britannica. In 1996, the rights to the EB were bought by the billionaire Swiss financier Jacob Safra who has been tireless and altruistic in his approach to reorienting and marketing the set.

The question, why use the Britannica when you can use the Web's Wikipedia, was weighed when the science magazine Nature published a comparative review in 2005.

The Britannica has about 120,000 articles with 55 million words. The Wikipedia has 875,000 articles with 292 million words. Nature found that there were close to three errors per article in the Britannica and close to four errors per article in the Wikipedia.

The Britannica has also been dissected in "The Myth of the Britannica" by Einbinder and in Kogan's, "The Great Encyclopedia Britannica." In October 2002, Esquire editor A.J. Jacobs set out to read all 33,000 pages of the Britannica. He wrote about this excursion in his 2004 book, "The Know It All."

The current version of the encyclopedia has over 4,000 contributors, including illustrious names like Milton Friedman, Carl Sagan and Michael DeBakey. An international editorial board, with equally illustrious names, is planning the 16th edition.

So, why are we buying hard copy? Why are you reading this newspaper in hard copy? A lot of people still prefer hard copy, don't like the eye strain caused by computers, or, believe it or not, just flat out don't use computers.

And, why use this venerable reference tool?

When you want superficial knowledge of a topic, you check one or maybe two sources. You may not be too choosy. So what if you get the wrong information?

When you want to really understand a topic, you have to move into elbow grease territory. The EB is a great starting point, and a counterpoint to the Web. It has reassuring authority, even if, as with all authority, you have to know more and more to understand if the authority is correct or how the branch was bent. This knowing more and more, and being capable of weighing and comparing sources, is the beginning of understanding, the beginning of confidence sometimes, even the beginning of wisdom.


Arts Line

Take or teach an Arts Council workshop

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.

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.

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 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 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. 11 - Photo club meeting, 5:30 p.m., community center.

Jan. 18 - Watercolor club meeting, 10 a.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

Finally, a crack at Career Day

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

Career Day.

Every year, teachers at the high school ask professionals from the community to speak to the kids - to motivate the youthful scholars, to focus them on their studies, to get them charged up about the future.

I've got sort of a career so, year after year, I've waited for my invitation.

It has not arrived.

David, the school principal, assured me this has been the result of an oversight, a computer error or a mistake on the part of the postal service. According to David, each year my invitation is misplaced by a careless administrative underling, omitted from the system by a software malfunction or delivered to someone else - a timeshare salesman or telemarketer who shows up at the school on Career Day to tantalize the kiddies with talk of huge profits, Humvees, flashy baubles, tight clothing and bonus trips to resorts in Costa Rica.

This year, said David, it will be different. He assured me I would receive my invitation and a classroom full of eager youngsters would be waiting for my presentation.

Finally, a crack journalist will intrigue the kids with spicy newspaper war stories, enthrall young minds with the glittering banter only a seasoned scribe can generate. At last, I'll have the opportunity to nudge the best and brightest of the pubescent pedants into the Fourth Estate.

To function there as wage slaves and as my minions.

I'm excited.

I've been working on my presentation for the last two weeks, staying up late at night, editing, rewriting, agonizing over each paragraph, practicing in front of a mirror.

Let's give it a preview, shall we?

First, I'll clear my throat. I'll pause, then I'll begin.

Those of you who arrived late, please come down front and sit in the aisles. I didn't expect such a huge turnout, and I'll try not to disappoint you. If you have trouble hearing me, please realize I am terribly shy and ask me to speak up.

I've learned I have some hard acts to follow.

Apparently, Police Chief Volger was here last year to deliver his always-popular, "History and Theory of the Breathalyzer" speech. I know it never fails to overwhelm the guys at the Masonic Lodge and I am told it kept you on the edges of your seats. I heard the chief was so thrilled by your responses, he tossed in a brief exposition regarding the key role bowhunters play in the defense of our national security and stayed after hours to show you his nunchucks. Believe me, that's an honor: Few people get a chance to see the chief's nunchucks.

It's reported that two years ago Mr. Branch had your brains alight with his presentation: "The Metaphysics of Accounting: Numerology and the Modern CPA." That had to be a doozy and, no doubt, sent countless seniors on a search for pocket protectors and a bad haircut.

No question, I'm in fast company, but I think we're going to hit some new heights today my young friends, so fasten your seat belts and get ready for a zany ride!

The best way to introduce you to small town journalism - this most dynamic and noble of pursuits - is to put you in the shoes of an ace reporter from The Pagosa Springs SUN (an award winning newspaper, by the way) and lead you through your typical day.

Hold on to your hats kids here we go. Saddle up, and let your imaginations out of the corral.

5 a.m.

Your day starts early - every day. You perceive time differently than most people. You've memorized key selections from Husserl's "Phenomenology of Internal Time Consciousness" and you repeat them as a mantra when you wake. You remind yourself that Bergson made it clear everything in Being is duration and you are braced for the flow.

Mentally ready, you prepare yourself physically for the arduous and sometimes dangerous work ahead with a half-hour of tantric yoga. Your kundalini is roaring.

As a budding newswriter you were taught several key things when you took college or, as in my case, correspondence journalism courses, (some find their way to education via counselors and college catalogues, others steer their way aided by material printed on a matchbook cover. It all works, kids).

The first thing you learned is that no one divulges critical information to a slob.

That's right: personal hygiene and the correct wardrobe are high on your list of priorities as you start the day.

You have a standing appointment each week with your personal stylist, Ramon, to ensure your hair is perfect.

Acceptable clothing, as per the Style Manual: blue suit, boxer shorts (a snappy, embroidered saying on the waistband, or a slightly risqué illustration on the seat is acceptable), white shirt, links (no buttons), school tie (look for estate sales in the want ads, buy a Harvard tie - who'll know except the widow?), wingtips at a high gloss. Everything, except the shoes, must be freshly ironed.

For women: the same, except for the shoes.

Properly attired, you leave for work.

6 a.m.

The power breakfast.

A sleek profile is a must for reporters, so breakfast must lend itself to maintenance of your cheetah-like physique: bran muffin, three-quarters cup of decaf coffee. Nothing more, nothing less.

You meet for breakfast with people who count: "Movers and Shakers," the folks who exist at the centers of power in the community, the people who get things done. You listen to the rapid-fire exchange of ideas, always careful not to influence the natural flow of the discourse, and you take notes. You take copious notes wherever you go.

The conversations held by these intellectual lions are formidable. This is where you get most of your ideas for stories. Some would call it theft. What do they know?

Just the other day, the above-mentioned accountant captivated the breakfast crowd at a local cafe with a comparison of the Eberhard Faber No. 2 and the "Mr. Click" automatic pencil.

No sooner had others at the table caught their collective breath than a noted land baron and developer snared them with the ethical net. Is it wrong when selling a parcel of land to simply say: "Oh sure, there's water. Don't worry, its right down there?" (He accompanied this statement with a dramatic head-to-toe gesture.)

A major retailer in the area asked the brain trust if a 75-cent bag of Funions would sell as well as the 25-cent bag.

Minds spinning, the group was catapulted into the realm of aesthetics when a renowned local artist discussed the role of tracing paper and the slide projector in western art.

You stagger from such an assembly, emerging from the great depths like a diver with the bends, like a half-drunk bar patron beaned with a Louisville Slugger

8 a.m.

You leave the dense atmosphere of the local cafe to make an appearance at the office. It's time for the editorial conference.

This is where the course is set - where the news dreadnought is outfitted and sets sail.

The editor is a steely veteran who sits at a gigantic oak desk, smoking his pipe in front of a set of bookcases filled with hardbound non-fiction best sellers, barking out orders to members of his attentive staff. It is here you bandy about the story ideas that will fill the next edition.

What about the two-headed Charolais down in Arboles? What about the two-headed director on the property owners' association board?

Any line on that bear seen driving the Volkswagon?

Is it ever too early to print county fair news?

As goes the editorial meeting ... so goes community opinion.

8:45 a.m.

Fuel stop.

The last batch of Danish is out of the oven at the bakery. You need to make sure you have enough energy for the rest of the morning.

You eat two.

9 a.m.

You visit your counselor.

The stress produced by your work is unbearable; you're not afraid to seek help.

Your counselor is a crackerjack practitioner. Enough to say, he has a beard. The walls of his office are covered with diplomas. A large document from Bob's College of Psychotherapy and Auto Body Repair is at the center of the array.

Your counselor is convinced the world is doomed. He occasionally giggles uncontrollably, for no discernible reason. He believes sinister maniacs in high places have made plans to deprive us of our individual and cultural identities and will soon force us all into a system built on unprecedented, cruel deprivation. Everyone will be forced to own a compact car.

If you bring your counselor candy, he cries. He hugs you and he feels much better.

You have a brighter outlook on things after a session with your counselor.


You stop for a latté at your favorite shop.

What's a latté without one of those giant cookies?

10 a.m.

You cover a government (or pseudo-government) meeting.

You can tell how important the meeting is by counting the number of flags in the room. Two or more flags and you're in for serious business! You also know if two of five members of a board can read, you are in for some earthshaking moments.

You know where the news is made at a typical meeting: The correction of the minutes of the last meeting. A great deal of time is spent at this task. As everyone knows, the records of these meetings will be perused in two thousand years by historians from a major university - from another planet.

Invariably, during the "public comments" section of the agenda, an irate member of the audience stands and says something incoherent. You write this down. You also write down the remarks of the members of the board when they thank the citizen for "participating in the democratic process," and assure him or her that the attention of the appropriate petty bureaucrat will be focused on the problem, post haste.

10:55 a.m.

You are fatigued. A small submarine sandwich solves the problem. Journalists never order vegetarian.

11 a.m.

You return to the office and write.

11:04 a.m.

You turn in your first story.

11:05 a.m.

You take a photograph.

The photo will be of someone who caught a giant bass, three or more people trying to shake hands and exchange proclamations or checks, a guy who is receiving the Boy Howdy Award, or a gaggle of school kids doing an esoteric Iranian folk dance at the elementary school in the interest of international harmony.

The subject is not nearly as important as the techniques you employ taking the photo.

First, you make sure the light is either incredibly harsh or preternaturally dim.

If the light is abnormally bright, you orient your subject with the source of light directly behind him. If you pose subjects wearing baseball caps or hats with broad brims, you put the source of light directly above them. You ask them to smile.

With gloomy light, you ask your subjects to turn so the light hits only one side of the face. You ask them to close their eyes.



Time to stoke the furnace.

Corn dogs are the lunch fare preferred by experienced journalists. You have three, and you dip them in ranch dressing. Your corn dogs are cooked in the same fat used for the deep-fried burritos and the onion rings. This imparts a je ne sais quoi to the homely treat.

You are very careful not to slop any grease on your suit coat or school tie. Remember, your appearance is critically important!

1 p.m.

You open and read mail from your admirers.

1:01 p.m.

You cover a BIG EVENT.

The nature of the big event will vary week to week, but you count on something BIG happening, and happening at just the right moment.

You cover an almost-forest fire. You are slurry bombed three times. You discover that fire retardant has the bouquet of a 1969 Chateau Latour.

You arrive at a crime scene only to be identified by the hysterical convenience store clerk as the fiend who read the biker magazines without buying them. You are arrested by local law enforcement officers, strip-searched and forced to post a surety bond. Your name is listed in Police Blotter.

You report on the arrest of several notorious felons. You look at the mugshots and realize the suspects were at your daughter's birthday party the week before! Local law enforcement officers take great delight in showing you your lawnmower and stereo speakers in the evidence locker at the station.

1:50 p.m.

You calm your jangled nerves with a banana milkshake. We all need potassium.

1:55 p.m.

You return to the office and write.

1:57 p.m.

You turn in your second story of the day.

2 p.m.

Snack break.

You send the old blood sugar on the upswing with some Velveeta and corn chips. You melt the Velveeta over the chips in the microwave oven in the break room and pop the top on a tin of Vienna sausages.

You are careful not to spill molten Velveeta or any of that strange jiggly stuff they put in the can with the sausages on your school tie.

2:15 p.m.

You cover an important trial.

It's vital to know who is who in this most dramatic of arenas. If you know the players, your story will write itself.

The egomaniac wearing the goofy black outfit and sitting way up high up at the front of the room - legal experts call it the "courtroom" - is the judge. When he starts to look out the window and wave at the birdies on the window ledge, you know the questions and testimony you are hearing are not worth writing down. You also know the guy is not wearing pants beneath that black robe.

The twelve folks sitting in the box seats to the side of the judge's stand are not fans with season tickets, and they are not going to do The Wave. Usually.

This is the jury. Despite the mock serious looks on their faces, the jury members are very happy, because 1) they get to miss work and, 2) the court clerk orders pizza for lunch. A good jury always deliberates through the lunch hour. For some unknown reason, you are not allowed in the jury room during lunch. It hardly seems fair.

The somber woman sitting at the table in front of the judge and to his left is the prosecutor. She wears a dark-colored, plain-cut dress, and her hair is pulled up in a tight bun. Her fingernails are bitten to the quick. Her credit card limits are maxed out after a trip to Vegas with a bail bondsman. She's had a heck of a time lately with her ex-husband demanding his support payments and her miniature poodle, Clark - her "only true friend" since the divorce - was hit by a cement truck the day before the trial. She ate a moldy granola bar for breakfast and she is not in a mood to hand out a plea bargain.

At the other table in front of the judge sits a thin man with unkempt hair who smiles wildly and winks at everyone in the room.

He wears a plaid sport coat, rumpled khaki pants, white socks and a pair of cream-colored loafers with tassels. He flips his pencil across the table and guffaws loudly every time the prosecutor asks a question or makes a statement, embellishing his laughter with remarks like "fat chance" and "in your dreams, babe."

This is the defense attorney. You note the number of times the judge looks back from the window to glare at this man and threaten to eject him from the courtroom.

The fellow seated next to the defense attorney, the one banging his head against the table top and whimpering, is the defendant.

He's the guy who will go to jail when the trial is over. Make sure you spell his name correctly.

3:30 p.m.

You return to the office and write.

3:32 p.m.

You turn in your third story of the day.

3:35 p.m.

Break time.

While the other workers in the newsroom drink coffee and engage in aimless chitchat, you wolf down several chicken fingers and hustle down to Golden Peaks Stadium to practice kicking field goals.

There's never enough time for personal growth.

4 p.m.

You interview a political candidate.

Actually, you can compose most of your interview prior to meeting any candidate for public office.

Roads? A problem, for sure. Needs more attention. Not enough money. Good roads equal good communities. Need a solution? I got it. Believe me.

Planning? Need to look to the future. Need to have some land use controls, but we have to protect traditional values. Balance growth against retaining our quality of life. Good plans equal good communities. Need plans. I got 'em. Believe me.

Economic development? Infrastructure. Gotta catch up. Small businesses are great. A big business would be fine too, as long as it doesn't come in a Big Box. Jobs ... that's the answer. But, you need business and for business you need infrastructure. Good infrastructure equals good communities. I know infrastructure. Believe me.

Education. Reform the whole darned mess. The kids today can't even red or wreet. Back to the basics. Teach Latin. Good education equals good communities. Our kids (candidate gets choked up, begins to weep) are the future, our greatest asset. Our kids come first. Believe me.

Crime. Too much. Lock em up. More prisons. Not enough money. Whattya gonna do with those kids, huh? Where are the parents? More programs will do the trick. Boot camps, a new jail. But, we have to intervene before that. Yeah, yeah, intervene. The purpose of law enforcement is to be proactive. That's why I want to be elected! I'm proactive. Believe me.

6 p.m.

Dinner. On the run. Ham and cheese hotpockets, four of them. A bag of Fritos Scoopers and a can of bean dip.

You streak home, kiss the spouse, and say hello to your daughter - good old what's-her-name. The petulant teen is watching television with two marines and, piercings jangling loudly, turns to you only long enough to ask for twenty-five bucks and to make an offhand remark about an infected tattoo.

Your family life is the center of your existence as a reporter. It provides a balance to the often chaotic events of the work day.

Grab a piece of cake on the way out. Say goodbye to what's-her-name.

7 p.m.

High school sports coverage.

High school sports are a key thread in the fabric of small town life.

The coverage must be expert; rabid parents eagerly await each week's report on how little Biff or Suzie fared. A scholarship to Notre Dame is in the offing, for crying out loud!

To do the job here, you perceive the subtleties of a sport, and you convey them with enormous skill.

Just knowing, for example, that a stuff block on second down in the fourth quarter counts as a three-point near-fall is not enough. You punch up the coverage with boffo sportswriter terms like, "blitzed," "kayoed," "rammed," "trashed," "demolished" and "annihilated."

As in: "The Lady Pirate set was perfect. Roxanne Ripper soared high above the key to blitz the Farmerettes front four. With precious seconds left in the final round she annihilated her opponents with a perfectly executed cradle, and kayoed any chances the opponent had of making it to the playoffs."

You buy a chili dog at the refreshment stand.

9:55 p.m.

You return to the office and write.

9:57 p.m.

You file your final story of the day. It's time to go home.

10 p.m.

Once home, your work is not over. You do research. You flip on the TV and watch "A Current Affair" and "Inside Edition." These folks really know what they're doing. And they look good too! Remember, appearance is everything!

10:30 p.m.

You go to bed, an exhausted pro, confident in the knowledge you've performed a valuable civic duty, certain you've earned the big bucks that pour into your bank account at the end of every week.

Well kids, that's the end of our four hours together. I hope you've had as rich an experience here today as I have.

I'm sorry we weren't able to share the slides I brought along; I have some incredible shots of auto accidents and dramatic pet rescues.

If you're interested in journalism, I heard on the office gossip hotline there's going to be an opening at the newspaper. Real soon.

Listen, there's the bell.

I'll race you to the cafeteria.

There's bound to be a good story there.

It's soft taco day.


Extension Viewpoints

Exercise, monitor weight for better health

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Jan. 2 - Office closed

Jan. 5 - Shady Pine Club meeting

The 2006 Colorado Cooperators Application for Seedling Trees are available at the Extension Office. If you have specific questions about seedlings you may contact the Soil Conservation District (NRCS) at 731-3615.

Oh, my aching health

It's that time of year again when we try to make New Year resolutions, so I did some research and found a few reports that might help strengthen your willpower about health issues.

Larger portions/overeating

According to a Cornell University study, when moviegoers were served large tubs of stale popcorn, 34 percent more was consumed than those given the same stale popcorn in medium-sized containers. When the popcorn in large tubs was fresh, people ate 45 percent more than those given fresh popcorn in medium-sized containers.

The moviegoers were apparently unaware the amount they ate was due to container size. The study's researchers concluded large packages and containers can lead to overeating because people apparently are unaware of the amount of food or do not monitor consumption. Source: Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 2005; 37(5): 242-245 (September/October).

Add years with daily exercise

A good workout almost daily can add nearly four years to longevity, according to the first study to calculate the impact of physical activity on length of life. The researchers analyzed data from the Framingham Heart Study, a well-known research project that has followed 5,209 residents of a Massachusetts town for more than 40 years, collecting detailed information about their lifestyles and health. The researchers calculated the effects of low, moderate or high levels of physical activity on life span, accounting for the possible effects of factors such as age, sex, education, and whether they smoked or had serious health problems.

The results showed that those who engaged in moderate activity - the equivalent of walking for 30 minutes a day for five days a week - lived about 1.3 to 1.5 years longer than those who were less active. Those who took on more intense exercise - the equivalent of running half an hour a day five days every week - extended their lives by about 3.5 to 3.7 years. The findings show that even for people who are already middle-aged, exercising more can add years to their lives.

While adding one to four years may not seem significant, exercising regularly also enables people to live healthier lives, free from chronic illnesses that can make it hard for people to enjoy their later years. The exercisers tended to put off developing cardiovascular disease - the nation's leading killer. Men and women benefited about equally. Source: Archives of Internal Medicine, 2005; 165(20): 2355-2360 (November).

Weight monitoring

An 18-month randomized trial was led by Rena Wing, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University, on a new study called Stop Regain. The research group presented the data at the annual meeting of The Obesity Society (NAASO), an organization of professionals working in obesity research, treatment and prevention.

Wing's team of researchers at Brown University in Providence wanted to assess the safety zone around weight maintenance. According to Wing, about 80 percent of people who lose a large amount of weight regain it over time. Too often the saga of weight loss shows that dieters on aggressive programs lose an average of 20 to 22 pounds - or about 10 percent of their starting weight - in the first six months and then plateau. Many do gain the weight back, which is frustrating to both dieters and weight-loss professionals.

The discovery of Stop Regain was that the key to keeping weight off is to monitor weight keeping an eye out for weight gain. If the reasons for the gain can be halted at about 5 pounds, the chances are good for keeping the lost weight off.

Researchers have learned a lot from members of the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), a study of about 5,000 people who lost an average of 73 pounds and kept off at least 30 pounds for more than six years. As one of the founders of the registry, Wing used the data from the registry to design the latest study.

Members of the NWCR have lost an average of 73 pounds and kept off at least 30 pounds for more than six years. Wing and colleagues recruited 314 people from the NWCR who had lost 10 percent or more of their body weight in the past two years in a variety of ways, including following Weight Watchers, Atkins and other programs. The average weight loss was 44 pounds though some lost more than 100 pounds.

The 314 participants in Stop Regain who had lost weight from a variety of weight loss methods were randomly assigned to one of three groups for 18 months. The control group received only a periodic newsletter with weight maintenance tips. A second group went to classes regularly. The third group used the Internet to get educational information similar to the material covered in the classes, including the same frequency of face-to-face or online group meetings or counseling, respectively. Median weight regain was 2.5 pounds in the face-to-face group, 6 pounds in the Internet group, and 10.4 pounds in the newsletter group.

"Weight-loss maintenance is the No. 1 problem in the treatment of obesity," Wing says. "The question is: Can we stop regain? The answer is a resounding yes." The government-financed Brown University study employed many of the successful strategies from the NWCR. Among the strategies was daily weighing which helped keep participants from getting off-track if they gained more than five pounds, considered the "red zone." More participants in the face-to-face and the Internet groups weighed themselves daily (71 percent and 65.2 percent, respectively) compared to only 28.9 percent of the newsletter group. The study concluded that daily weighing was useful information when face-to-face or Internet-based counseling, skill building and motivation were also employed to make constructive changes in their eating and exercise behaviors. Among those who weighed daily in these two groups, 61 percent maintained their weight within five pounds. Additionally, people who were the most successful exercised for about an hour a day. Source:

Most adults at risk

The first community-based study to follow 4,000 people over three decades assessed the long-term risk of developing overweight and obesity in adults. Researchers studied data gathered from white adults every four years and found that nine out of 10 men and seven out of 10 women were overweight or became overweight. In addition, more than one in three were obese or became obese. The study was supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Researchers assessed the participants' body mass index (BMI), a standard measure of weight relative to height, which is an indicator of total body fat. Making it to middle age without extra pounds was no guarantee for staying at a healthy weight. About one in five women and one in four men who were at a healthy BMI at a routine study examination became overweight after four years. Among those who were overweight, 16 to 23 percent of women and 12 to 13 percent of men became obese within four years.

NHLBI Director Elizabeth G. Nabel, M.D., who also co-chairs the NIH Obesity Research Task Force, is concerned that this study suggests the incidence of overweight and obesity could worsen over the next few decades. If the trend continues, our country will face substantial health problems related to excess weight. The study's researchers hope these results will serve as a wake-up call to Americans of all ages.

"Even those who are now at a healthy weight need to be careful about maintaining energy balance to avoid gaining weight. Taking simple steps to make sure that the overall number of calories you consume do not exceed the amount you burn can play a major role in lowering your risk for many chronic conditions," adds Nabel.

Overweight increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, stroke, breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea, some cancers, osteoarthritis, and gall bladder disease. Obesity is associated with these conditions as well as with early death. Research has shown that even a small weight loss (just 10 percent of body weight) can help people who are overweight or obese lower their risk of developing many of these conditions. Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, 2005; 143(7): 473-480 (October).

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Pagosa Lakes News

Childhood in Malaysian jungle produces different approach to holiday

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

In my life I have been given many wonderful gifts: lovely handmade embroidered items, expensive and high-tech sports gear, works of art, earthy rustic crafts, primitive watercolor paintings on simple newsprint created by the chubby little hands of my own two children. I have been honored and complimented.

But none of these gifts has been so valuable to me as the gift of an interesting childhood. The lopsided balance of discipline with a little hard-earned freedom, the love of simple things, the respect for elders and a deep reverence for thrift.

I truly believe that most of what I've been able to do with my life has been a direct result of the rich and no-nonsense heritage I enjoyed. My family gave me a head start on life with a realistic concept of disciplined effort and the resulting reward that comes of it.

At my house, in a village in the central highland jungles of Malaysia, everything was an event - even Christmas in a Buddhist household. The local churches had their Christmas party in our family's grocery store. The abundant supply of food and drinks made the store a logical venue. There was always lots of singing - nonsensical lyrics about dashing through the snow and snowmen coming to life. To a 6-year-old, it was all exciting, even the bedraggled Santa costumes on scrawny Chinese men with black eyebrow, sans beard. The mistress of ceremony for the longest time was an American missionary by the name of Miss Mabel Mitchell.

To Miss Mitchell, I owe my ability to spell (in English), sing Yankee Doodle by age 5, and an unhappy love affair with Santa Claus. Miss Mitchell told me fabulous stories about her country. She told me that if I behaved well, every day throughout the year, Santa Claus would bring me presents on Christmas Eve. I behaved very, very, very well for a very, very, very long time. I waited for Santa to come with a present on Christmas Eve. I waited for Santa to come with a present on Christmas Day I waited through the morning, through the afternoon, through the evening, and by nightfall, there was no Santa and no present.

As I look back on the initial events that shape my conception of Christmas, I realize that I'm, to this day, a Santa backslider who did not share the Santa myth with her own two children and who will, perhaps someday, be disinvited to be part of the Santa spin-machine with her own grandchildren.

The PLPOA administrative office will be closed Jan. 2. Since the recreation center is in the business of helping folks achieve their new year's resolutions, we will dutifully stay open, even on New Year's Day.

For holders of 2005 annual recreation center memberships, renewal by Sunday, Jan. 1, 2006, is necessary to continue use of the facility.



John Duran

Hesperus native John Christopher Duran, 64, died at the Hospice of St. John in Lakewood Saturday, Dec. 10, 2005. The cause of death was metastatic kidney cancer.

He was born in Hesperus to Joseph G. and Emma C. (Archuleta) Duran on Aug. 9, 1941. Mr. Duran earned his GED and enlisted in the U.S. Army when he was 17. He was discharged honorably three years later.

After his discharge, Mr. Duran worked in Denver as a dispatcher for Engineers Union No. 9 for 13 years before becoming a heavy-equipment operator working with excavation machinery. He retired at age 62.

In 1969, he married Rafelita Martinez in Denver and adopted her three sons. The marriage later ended in divorce.

He had lived in Westminster for the last 20 years. During the last eight years, Mr. Duran had been building a vacation home on the property where he had grown up in Hesperus. He finished it just when his cancer was diagnosed.

Mr. Duran is survived by his companion of many years, Connie Taylor, of Westminster; sons Eric Joe Duran of Lakewood and the twins, Kelly Paul Duran of Las Vegas, Nev., and Kerry John Duran of Durango; brother Bobby Duran of Durango; and nine grandchildren.

Cremation has occurred. A rosary was recited Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2005, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. The memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2005, also at Sacred Heart. Burial will follow at Greenmount Cemetery. A reception will follow at the American Legion Post at 878 East Second Ave.

Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, 3801 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301.


Hattie Kingsley

Hattie Anna Kingsley, 98, daughter of Colorado pioneers Samuel O. and Josephine E. (Nelson) Snooks, died Dec. 14, 2005, of natural causes in Puyallup, Washington. Hattie was born Sept. 6, 1907, on the Piedra, and grew up there with brother Otis H. Snooks and sister Ilvah (Babe) Snooks Mosby. Her mother, Josie, was the first white baby girl born in the Bayfield area, on June 9, 1878.

On Aug. 3, 1941, Hattie married Frank E. Kingsley, son of George and Josie Kingsley, pioneers of the Pagosa Springs area. After Frank's death in 1961, Hattie worked as a housekeeper for the Durango Inn and the Siesta Motel, retiring in 1984. She lived the first 80 years of her life within 50 miles of her birthplace. In 1988, due to ill health, she moved to Washington State to live near her daughter.

Hattie is survived by sons Kenneth (Carmene) Fosberg of Fruitland, Idaho, and Darrell Fosberg of Flagstaff, Ariz.; daughters Harriet Perry of Henderson, Nev., and Audrey (Bill) Powell of Buckley, Wash.; 12 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 8 great-great-grandchildren; nephews Otis H. Snooks, Jr., Neal Snooks, Stanley Snooks; and niece Jeannie Yeager. Her husband, brother, sister, son Calvin Fosberg, and grandson Kirk Perry, preceded her in death.

The Neptune Society conducted cremation and burial will take place at Crestview Cemetery in Durango, at a later date.

Memorial contributions can be made to Linden Grove Health Care Center, 400 29th Street NE, Puyallup, Washington 98372.


Christopher Young

Christopher Neil Young was taken to be with the Lord in his heavenly home on Dec. 2, 2005.

Chris was born to Mark and Kathryn Young on Dec. 30, 1982, in Denver, Colo.

Christ attended Our Savior Lutheran Church and grew in Christ at Our Savior Lutheran School. He graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in May 2002.

Chris was an avid softball player and loved playing on his father's team here in Pagosa. He also traveled through Colorado and New Mexico to play softball. Chris had great character and a great attitude on the field, and also a burning passion for the game, which led him not only to play but to also umpire for the Pagosa Youth Baseball Program. His favorite baseball team was the New York Yankees, and he had hoped to see them play in person.

Chris loved and cared for his family very much, and he showed his love with his willingness to work for this family's business, At Your Disposal. Chris also worked for Archuleta County.

Throughout his life, many people grew to know and like him, even love him. He had a wonderful sense of humor and an unforgettable smile to match his great personality. He will forever be loved and missed by many.

In memory of Chris, a memorial fund has been established with the Bank of the San Juans. The donations will be used to help the town and park youth baseball program, as well as Our Savior Lutheran School.


Henry "Hank" Bruce Storff

Henry "Hank" Bruce Storff died Dec. 24, 2005 in Pagosa Springs, Colo. He was 78 years old.

He was born July 15, 1927, in Wasco, Calif., to Henry and Thelma Storff.

Hank is survived by his son, Steven B. Storff, of Oklahoma City, Okla.; daughters Vandy L. Evermon of Columbia, Mo., and Karen D. Coe-Ross of Oklahoma City: grandchildren Robert T. Evermon of Nixa, Mo., and Erin M. Storff, Alison M. Storff and Lindsay R. Storff of Oklahoma City. He had one sister, Paula Walker, (deceased).

Hank was an Army and Air Force veteran, and worked in civil service at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma City. He retired from civil service in 1982 and moved to Pagosa Springs. Hank made many friends in his beloved Colorado and enjoyed ballooning when his health was better in the early '80s, just after moving to Pagosa Springs.

During his lifetime, Hank enjoyed many hobbies, including (but not limited to) falconry, fishing, photography, model trains, horses, tropical fish, traveling, reading, satellite TV, computer Internet surfing and chatting with people around the world. He had an innate appreciation of nature's beauty and majesty, and instilled in his children a love of archeology, anthropology and, especially, art. He taught us all that, as we travel down the road of life, be sure to look off to the sides, because much of life doesn't happen right in front of you.

Memorial services are scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 30, 2005, at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce and Memorial Garden - a brief celebration of Hank's life, under the stars, next to the San Juan River.


Thomas Koch

Thomas Koch passed away at his home in Pagosa Springs on Monday, December 19. He died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 57.

Tom was born on December 24, 1947, in Buffalo, New York. He lived in Southern California from the age of 5 until he moved to Pagosa Springs with his family in 1994. In California, Tom built a successful construction company, and he put his artistic talents and creativity into all of the homes he built. He was also a passionate painter, sculptor and potter. His artwork was always his passion, but it came second to his love for his family and desire to provide security for them.

With the creative soul of an artist and surfer, Tom's thoughtful, laid-back attitude - along with his trademark flip flops - was prominent in the way he lived his life and related to others. Tom was a source of wisdom and support to so many people here in Pagosa Springs and in California. He made fast and loyal friends wherever he went and touched the lives of so many with his generosity, huge presence, and open heart. He will be greatly missed.

An active man, Tom loved being outdoors. He spent summers on the river, rafting, and in the woods. He never missed a powder day in the winter and would always enjoy a cold beer with family and friends afterwards. He loved to sail and to find new adventures, and he always wanted to know what was just beyond the next ridge.

Tom met and married the love of his life, Alana, at the young age of 19. They were together for over 38 years, and their marriage was an inspiration to many. He is also survived by his two children - Mara Koch Taylor and Jake Koch - and five grandchildren, all living in Pagosa Springs; his brothers - Kevin and Terry Koch - and his father, Fred Koch - all of California.

A memorial service will be held to remember Tom at Our Savior Lutheran Church on Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to - the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network - to support research and the fight against pancreatic cancer.

 Business News

Chamber News

Back from D'Iberville, ready for a new year

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

"This is a 20 year plan."

"This is your town, you need to be involved in the planning process."

"This plan is great, but what is going to happen next week?"

"This is a beautiful plan, but who is going to pay for all of this?"

"Not everyone can afford all these new houses going up. How are you going to take care of the rest of us that live here?"

It is Monday night, Dec. 19, and Kim Moore, Helen Richardson and I are sitting in a public town meeting for the community to discuss the new comprehensive master plan for the town of D'Iberville, Miss.

Or was it a Pagosa Springs town meeting that I was sitting in? When we adopted this small Mississippi community, I had no idea how similar many aspects of our communities would be. This town meeting was just one example of the growing pains that many communities like ours face. Here was the silver lining on the cloud: Both communities are taking steps to create a plan. In our case, in an attempt to handle growth. In D'Iberville's case, to rebuild. The process is slow and painful and there are many hurdles to overcome. But, no matter which of these cities you live in, the process has started and everyone needs to try to get involved. After all, as both town's conceptual planners have said: "It is your community."

This trip was an experience of a lifetime. When we first arrived, we weren't sure that we had chosen the right city. It just didn't look that bad from the freeway.

Then, we stayed in a beautiful home that had been renovated in the past four months, so there weren't many signs of destruction there. Were we too late? Had everyone rebuilt already?

Then came the light of day and we were shown the reality of Katrina. None of the pictures you have seen accurately portray the total destruction of communities and the emotions that go with the visual experience.

We were lucky to attend a Chamber of Commerce meeting (the first since the hurricane), the open town meeting, a Rotary meeting in Biloxi, Miss., where the governor happened to be the guest speaker, and a D'Iberville town council meeting - all in two days and in addition to being taken on several tours and working with the truck that was delivered.

My most honored and emotional moment of the trip came when I addressed the town council and described what our town had done. I briefly described how we chose D'Iberville to partner with; how, as a community, we quickly gathered goods upon notification of the transportation donation by Yellow Freight. I noted our town's donation and that our town employees donated the funds from their Christmas party to the town employees of D'Iberville who had lost their homes. I remarked on the similarities of our two communities and our growth processes. I reviewed how we were working on distributing some of the goods we had brought.

In response, the town council and everyone in the audience gave us a standing ovation. Thank you's resounded throughout the room with personal hand shakes and greetings as we left.

My heart broke. Here we were, depositing a drop of water into the sea of hope, and this community was so grateful. Grateful not only to us, but to all the other communities that gave goods, time and financial assistance. They said that without help like ours from faith-based groups and communities, they would not have been able to start rebuilding. There were so many flip sides to so many coins - from FEMA, to the Red Cross, to the relief efforts, to rebuilding. There were different takes on the response efforts, the involvement of government agencies and getting people and businesses back up and running.

Everyone had a story. For example, although there wasn't tremendous damage to the home that we stayed in, these wonderful people took in four families they didn't know, plus their own relatives, housing 33 people, five dogs and three cats for 10 days, with no electricity or water. They had the means through other family members to bring in fuel, generators and food only to have these family members take away the assistance items they brought plus any items the D'Iberville family could spare to handle their own hurricane, Rita, when it hit their city weeks later.

I could write a novella detailing my few days in Mississippi, but here is what I took away from the experience: This community was so grateful for anything that we did. Those here in Pagosa who gave goods, should know that many of the items were used to fulfill Christmas wish lists that parents and children had made out. Some of the goods were made available to the children so that they could give something to their parents for Christmas.

As people get out of tents, items will be used to outfit the FEMA trailers.

The financial funds will be used for the next process - construction and rebuilding. D'Iberville will close the relief center next month and move onto the next phase of reconstruction. They will keep the food kitchen open to feed the volunteers who come into town to work.

The volunteer organization has controls in place to help people who may not qualify for FEMA reimbursement to obtain building materials to help with the rebuilding of their homes. While rebuilding is occurring, many areas still look like a bulldozer went through the neighborhoods, taking down everything in sight.

Anyone interested in volunteering in the future, contact me so I can work with you and the city of D'Iberville. When I thought that our little donation didn't add up to much in the whole scheme of things, they reminded me every little bit does help. Some person has an item they didn't have before, and every day something great happens: a person gets a trailer to live in, someone goes back to work, another piece of a highway opens up or a business reopens its doors. Every day there is progress, no matter how small. They are anxious and excited to rebuild.

D'Iberville was forgotten in most of the news reports and was struggling to get attention from relief efforts. But we were one of the towns of hope giving to a town that is full of hope, promise and, yes, growing pains. You did good Pagosa, thank you so much! I will have pictures from our trip in next week's SUN.

I was able to leave the destruction and come home to the town I love and call home. I will continue to help make our town the best it can be. I will be involved in our own growing pains and our successes. I was so proud to be from Pagosa and offer to help another community. It was a great way to end 2005, Now it is time to reflect and begin 2006 with great hope. We are a very special place with special people. I heard someone say: People come for the beauty and stay for the people. Ain't that the truth.

Citizen/volunteer awards

Speaking of special people, don't forget you have until Jan. 9 to vote for the volunteer and citizen of the year. Thank you to those who have already taken the time to fill out a form and get it to us.

We can fax you a nomination form if you cannot make it into the Chamber, or check your last Chamber newsletter - there were inserts in that publication. This honorary award is given to an individual, couple or group to honor them for making a difference here in Pagosa for the betterment of our community.

I know it is hard to choose a winner because there are so many qualified people in our town, but try to nominate a few people. Winners will be announced at the Chamber annual banquet Saturday, Jan. 21.

While you're turning in your volunteer or citizen of the year form, don't forget to vote for up to three candidates for the Chamber board of directors. Candidates this year are: Jan Brookshier, Eric Hagman, Briana Jacobson, Elsa Lucero, Michelle Mesker and Walt Moore. You are allowed one vote per membership. We have always had great community representation on this board. I know, with any of these candidates, this tradition will continue. Exercise your voice and come by and vote. Of course, you can wait until the last minute and vote at the annual banquet.


We have two new members that round out our new memberships for 2005.

The first is Charlie Robertson and 2nd Home Solutions. You see how beautiful the Chamber looks again this year, and we have Charlie to thank for the decorating. Put this quality to work for you and know your property is in dependable hands. 2nd Home Solutions will open and close your home for the season, provide cleaning, shopping, security checks, minor and major repairs, yard maintenance and also arrange short or long term rentals. If you don't live here year round, maintaining a second residence can be more of a hassle than it's worth. Call 264-6923 and Charlie Robertson for a consultation, quote and references.

We also welcome aboard Maryla Robertson, a representative for Avon Products. Avon is the carrier for the revolutionary new product: Anew Clinical Line and Wrinkle Corrector, Avon's No. 1 beauty product. Offering great products at great prices, independent sales representative Maryla Robertson has all the books and information you need to enhance your gift or beauty product inventory. Give her a call at 264-6923 to place an order or receive a promotional booklet.

First on the renewal list this week is HTI Builders. HTI Builders provides professional We then have long-time resident and businessman, Medray Carpenter, and Romar Properties renewing this week.

Jim Askins renews this week with Fairway Mortgage.

We also have another great real estate office renewing this week United Country Premier Brokers.

Then we have a two-fer this week with renewals from the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and the Humane Society Thrift Store. I would like to commend the Humane Society for taking such an active lead role in the Katrina Hurricane animal disaster relief effort. What a great job this shelter performed and thanks to all who adopted or fostered an animal.

Renewing from out of the area again this year is the Durango Herald.

Rounding out the renewals this time around are great Chamber and community supporters JoAnn and Ray Laird.

On behalf of the staff and board of directors at the Chamber of Commerce we thank you for your support, comments and suggestions. Without your input, we would be a stagnant organization. It is with your input that new ideas are put into practice and new traditions are set. I look forward to unveiling some improvements and programs we have cooking up here at the Chamber.

I hope everyone has a safe, fun and, of course, prosperous New Year!


Biz Beat

Guthrie's Concrete Pumping

Catfish Guthrie, seen here with his children, and his wife, Cheryl (not pictured), own and operate Guthrie's Concrete Pumping.

Pagosa finally has a hometown concrete pumper and Catfish can pump nearly any mix with his 7,000-pound line pump and its 1 1/2-inch aggregate capacity.

The company pumps sonotubes, footers, stems and slabs, and Guthrie's grouts block.

The desire of the staff at Guthrie's is to please the contractor with their efforts. Catfish and crew will do complete place and finish of slabs, or provide help finish if notified in advance.

Catfish and Cheryl have lived in Pagosa for more than five years. They have seven children and are huge fans of adoption - just ask them!

Call Catfish and his Lil' Rascals at 264-6855 or 946-6855 if they can be of service. They love what they do, and it shows.


Cards of Thanks

Hart Construction

Hart Construction thanks all who contributed to the Christmas toy drive, including: pie makers Jill Phillips, Penny Blum and Mary Hart; auctioneer Hank Blum; pie buyers GIG Enterprises, Rod Rea and Associates, Doors and More, Jerry and Jill Phillips, Wells Fargo Bank, Hart Construction, LaSierra Construction, Sara's Kitchen Cabinets, Yerton Plumbing, Paint Connection Plus and Southwest Custom Builders; and to our other contributors - Greg Martz, Dale Wilbanks, UBC, Hank and Penny Blum, Jerry and Jill Phillips and Wal-Mart.


Civic Club

The Woman's Civic Club would like to thank the Pagosa Piecemakers Quilt Guild for their donation of a fabulous, queen-sized quilt that was created by members of the group. The quilt was raffled by our club and we wish to congratulate the winner, Sharon Feyen. Thank you to all the rest of you who purchased a raffle ticket. Everyone who helped is a winner in this event, as all the proceeds from the raffle will be used to purchase new books for the adult collection at the library. Come check out our new titles as they arrive.

Barb Draper


The Upper San Juan EMT association would like to express its deepest appreciation for the wonderful Christmas dinner that was brought to us on Christmas day. The dinner was delicious and made with such warmth and happiness. We extend our thanks to the Johnson family - Ben, Connie, Jace, Kelly, Mitch, Kylie Jo, John, Sue, Tiana, Tyler and Abbey.

A special thank you to Kylie Jo for the wonderful note expressing her thanks for the crews that were working. These kind words are what keeps us going in the job that we do for our community, no matter the day of the year.

Carrie Trumble


Many blessings to Dr. Dan Hepburn, not only for listening to my needs, but for responding to my concerns with care and appropriate medical treatment. You are a great physician, and I'm glad you are again practicing in Pagosa. Welcome back, and thank you.

Margaret Gillean


I want to thank all of those who extended their prayers, well wishes and positive energy to me over the past weeks while going through major surgery and the recovery time. (Thankfully the tumor removed was benign.) Thank you so much to those who made and/or delivered yummy food to me; drove me to and from work; set up and served the church Christmas dinner and the kids' gifts for me and my husband; went shopping for me; wrapped new clothes for a needy child for me; and shipped my presents to my family for me; all while I could not do so myself. It was appreciated more than you will ever know. I feel so blessed to be living in such a great community where there is so much compassion!

Thank you all.

Robin Schiro


I wanted to take the time to send a letter of thanks to all of the parents, coaches, referees, umpires and especially to all of our young athletes for the support you have shown over the past two years in our town's recreation programs. I will miss all of you as I move on to new challenges, finally using my teaching credential to enter the field of education, taking charge of the physical education program and coaching duties for the Dulce Independent School District. I will also have the pleasure of joining my wife, Maggie, who currently teaches in the same district and with whom I will finally be able to share summer vacations with!

I have had a great experience directing recreation programs in Pagosa Springs and I believe I have made an effective contribution to the town's programs. I truly appreciate the great support of the community and the town in these endeavors.

I wish the town continued success in serving the children and adults of Pagosa Springs through an effective recreational program and to that end I remain a supportive community member.


Myles Gabel



Craig Lucero

David and Elsa Lucero are proud to announce that their son, Craig Lucero, graduated magna cum laude with an associate of applied science degree in diesel technology on Dec. 2, 2005, from DADC, Denver. Craig is a Pagosa Springs High School graduate, Class of 2004.


Sports Page

Lady Pirates optimistic, ending pre-holiday season at 4-2

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School varsity Lady Pirates remain optimistic about the future after ending the pre-holiday basketball season with a 4-2 mark.

Three of the matchups were on the road.

The record could have easily been 5-1, considering the Pirates lost by two in the final seconds to the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers in the second round of the Wolf Creek Classic Dec. 10.

Pagosa opened the season on fire when they swept the Buena Vista tournament and brought home the championship trophy. After an opening round lopsided win against the La Junta Lady Tigers the Pirates faced the 3A Alamosa Lady Mean Moose in the finals. The Mean Moose reached the finals by beating the host school, Buena Vista. Alamosa was no match for the Pirates and they improved to 2-0 heading into the hometown Classic the following weekend.

The Lady Pirates opened the tournament with another easy win against the Gunnison Lady Cowboys and set up the anticipated match-up against the Panthers. The usually hot Pirates came out shooting poorly in the first half and found themselves down by 10 at halftime. Pagosa came back in the second stanza but could not stop the Panthers' 6-1 center as she knocked down a deuce in the paint to win.

Coach Bob Lynch was concerned that the loss might impact his teams' momentum going into the final WCC match against the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers. This was compounded by the fact that Cortez had beaten the Tigers earlier in the tournament. Coach Lynch breathed a sigh of relief as his Pirates won easily to improve to 4-1.

The win set up the final pre-holiday game on the road against the New Mexico 4A Kirtland Lady Broncos in "The Gym." The Broncos have a storied tradition and won the state championship a year earlier. Even though they lost several players to graduation, the younger Broncos came out shooting well from the outside and sank five treys in the first half to take a six-point lead into intermission. The Pirates were as cold as the gym to start the third and could never recover. Pagosa would close to within six in the fourth but lost it at the foul line.

The bright spot for this game was the effort by Emily Buikema, who went a perfect seven-for-seven from the field and 2-2 from the foul line. She also took down seven rebounds.

The Lady Pirates will get a chance to redeem themselves Jan. 13 when the Lady Broncos come to Pagosa for a rematch. Coach Lynch thinks there will be a different outcome on the home floor.

The coach is pleased with his team's effort so far and still likes the chances in the Intermountain League. The Pirates remain very upbeat and are using the completed schedule to help them get better going into January and league play.

Buikema, a senior center, leads the team with 13 points per game average on the strength of her performance at Kirtland. Senior guard Liza Kelley had the highest average all season but fell to 10.9 on a seven-point output in "The gym." Look for Kelley to bounce back after having the holiday break to rest her ailing knee. Junior guard Jessica Lynch ended pre-holiday play with two 10-point games and improved her average to 9.4. Caitlin Forrest, a senior center, has been consistent so far, with an 8.3 average. Rounding out the starting five is Kari Beth Faber, with 4.2 points per game.

Buikema also leads the team in rebounds, improving to 6.1 per game after collecting the seven in Kirtland. Forrest is second with 4.5 and Faber comes in with 3.9.

Lynch leads the team in assists with 4.4 per game followed by Faber with 2.5 and Kelley with 1.7.

The Lady Pirates continue post-holiday play when they travel to Bloomfield N.M. Jan. 7 to play New Mexico 3A Bloomfield High School. The tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. Following Bloomfield will be a rematch at home Jan. 13 against Kirtland with the start time scheduled for 5:30 p.m. followed on Jan 14 with another rematch against the Lady Tigers in Aztec N.M. The Pirates beat the Tigers by 12 at the Wolf Creek Classic. This start time is set for 7 p.m.

Pre-holiday records for other IML teams are: Centauri 7-0, Bayfield 3-1 and Monte Vista 1-6 (Ignacio's record was not posted). If the current records are any indication, it looks like the Pirates and Falcons from Centauri will be the teams to beat in the IML.


Pirate wrestlers: hard work, good results

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

With the first part of the wrestling season complete, and three tournaments under their belts, Pirate grapplers will return to action Jan. 5 having made significant strides as individuals and as a team.

The first competition of the season was, as has been the case for a number of years now, at the Rocky Ford Duals.

The Pirates' fourth-place finish at Rocky Ford got the team off to a decent start, with a higher place in the tournament standings than in several previous years. The team was 2-2 at the meet, with wins over Florence and Las Animas, and losses to the host Meloneers - sure to be one of the top Class 2A teams in Colorado this season - and to a perennial 3A power, La Junta.

Things picked up the following week as the team traveled to the Buena Vista Duals and came home the tournament champ. The Pirates took the title at Buena Vista with five victories.

In the opening matches in pool competition, the Pirates defeated St. Mary's of Colorado Springs, 4A Glenwood Springs, the 3A hosts and 2A Del Norte.

Advancing to the championship round, Pagosa faced Florence and defeated the Huskies 48-33.

Then, with the fall semester over and the Christmas vacation about to begin, the Pirates took a familiar trip for the program - up and over Red Mountain Pass to Grand Junction, to battle at the always-rugged Warrior Classic.

There were 33 teams at this year's Warrior and Pagosa finished the two-day competition in 16th place - again, one of the better Pagosa finishes in recent years, at what many deem the most difficult tournament other than the state competition in February.

This year's Pirates come to the mat with a roster featuring widely varying ages and experience - the team headed by a core of senior veterans, the lineup including a number of freshmen and underclassmen.

To date, the seniors have provided the examples and the leadership necessary to keep the team improving.

In particular, four of the seniors have been showing the younger members of the team how to win.

Ky Smith is proving to be one of the early-season standouts in the 3A 145-pound division. Smith has 14 wins so far this season.

Joe Romine - though he wrestles light in the 275-pound class - is proving a rough customer. Romine has put together nine victories thus far - most by pin.

Matt Nobles is succeeding at 160, on track to return to the state tournament, The Pirate senior has eight victories before the break.

Bubba Martinez could also find his way back to the Pepsi Center in Denver in February. The 215-pounder missed the Buena Vista Duals and still has six wins on his record.

Coach Dan Janowsky is happy with his team's start this season and expects improvement as the action resumes next week.

"Going seven-and-two in dual meets and our above-average showing at the Warrior is about as good as we've ever started," he said. "We're kind of a surprise team to a lot of people, but we don't want to think about it; we want to continue to build and see how far we can go."

Many of the Pirates gathered for holiday workouts - the Colorado High School Activities Association allowing practices until Dec. 23.

"Our holiday practices were the best we've ever had," said the coach. "A bunch of our kids sacrificed holiday time to get in there. From a technical standpoint, we got a lot done. I think we'll start better than we were when we left for the holiday. These holiday practices are particularly beneficial for our young guys - guys with a lot of potential. That extra time is valuable."

And extra time spent with the veterans is doubly productive.

"The younger guys put in the extra time, in large part, because the seniors were in there," said the coach. "The freshmen and sophomores will expect the same of themselves when they are seniors and that's the way I want our guys to see this program. That's the way leadership works."

The Pirates return to the wrestling room Monday to prepare for meets and tournament competition Thursday through Saturday in the home gym.


Pirates gain valuable experience in pre-holiday schedule

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

A tough seven-game schedule has given the Pagosa Springs High School varsity basketball Pirates a lot of valuable experience going into January and eventually into Intermountain League (IML) play.

Playing four of seven on the road to start the season, the Pirates ended with a 4-3 record heading into the holiday break.

The record is actually better than it looks.

The three losses, for a combined 10-point difference, were against good basketball teams, with two of the games on the road. Give credit to Coach Jim Shaffer and his staff for scheduling games early that would only make the Pirates better as the season goes on.

The first loss was to Buena Vista in the finals of the Buena Vista Tournament Dec. 10. After manhandling the La Junta Tigers in the opening round, the Pirates faced a very good and very tall Buena Vista Demons team on its home court. The Demons built an early lead in the first quarter and Pagosa would respond. The Pirates came back and out-scored Buena Vista in the final three quarters, but fell short by a score of 59-54. This was a game the Pirates could have, and should have, won.

A second loss was in the final round of the Wolf Creek Classic, hosted by the Pirates. After winning easily in the first two rounds against the Gunnison Cowboys and Aztec NM Tigers, the Pirates were matched against the 4A Battle Mountain Huskies. Pagosa led through three quarters but lost it by one in overtime, 54-53, when the Pirates shot poorly from the charity stripe.

The third loss on the road came at the hands of the New Mexico 4A Farmington Scorpions Dec. 19. The Scorpions came in with a 6-2 mark and had put a thud on another IML team, the Centauri Falcons. The score was tied after intermission, but Pirate turnovers hurt in the third quarter and the Scorpions would win by five, 58-53. The Pirates came back the following night and put a hurt on the New Mexico 4A Piedra Vista Panthers, also of Farmington.

Even though the losses could have easily been wins, the experience gained was more important to a team that has to learn to play with a more balanced attack. In years past, the bigger, taller Pirates would win easily over their opponents - not much help going into postseason play. This year, Pagosa has already played against talent equal to what they might face in the state tournament.

Senior Craig Schutz has been outstanding from his post position with 24.3 points-per-game average. The average currently puts him No. 1 in the state for 3A schools and in the top five when compared to 4A and 5A rankings.

Senior Casey Schutz was averaging 11.4 points per game until the two-game series in New Mexico, when he was hampered by an ankle injury. Look for Casey to recover after the holidays. On the other hand, junior Jordan Shaffer came on strong at the end to average 14.3 in the last four games.

Craig Schutz, who stands 6-3 and has outplayed the taller post players, also leads the team in rebounding with 6.9 per game. Shaffer, who plays both guard and forward, is second with 5.3 while Caleb Ormonde, the sixth (or seventh) man has 4.1 rebounds per game. Keri Joe Hilsabeck, a 5-9 junior guard, bangs with the big boys and has 3.9 per game.

Hilsabeck also leads the team in assists with 5.7 per game. Senior guard Paul Przybylski, who has had some foul troubles, follows with 3.7.

The most aspects of the game that have hurt the Pirates are turnovers and free throw shooting. The black and gold are averaging 15.8 turnovers with over 20 in each of the two New Mexico games. The Pirates are shooting a dismal 66 percent from the free throw line on 89 of 134. As Coach Shaffer had pointed out earlier, two of the three losses could be attributed to turnovers or misses from the line. The good news is that the free throw shooting can be corrected going into IML play because the Pirates are a fine shooting team overall.

Pagosa will return to the hardwood with a home game against the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers Jan. 9. On Jan. 13, the New Mexico 4A Kirtland Broncos come to town, followed by the much-anticipated rematch with the Farmington Scorpions Jan 14. All are scheduled for a 7 p.m. tipoff. These three games will be good tests for the Pirates before they head into IML play. Look for the Pirates to rebound against the Scorpions.

The current (published) records for the other IML schools are: Bayfield 6-0, Centauri 2-2, Monte Vista 1-5 and Ignacio 4-3. Two of Bayfield's wins were against junior varsity teams.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Town parks and rec programs benefit from local help

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

This is an appropriate time of year to thank the many individuals who help to make our work in the parks so rewarding.

To all the friendly locals and curious visitors, the dog walkers who use the "mutt mitts," the picnickers who clean up after themselves, the responsible parents who watch their children, the volunteers who staff the numerous activities and charity fund-raisers that occur in our parks: thank you very much. Also, a special thanks to the anonymous benefactors who replaced the broken bench below the footbridge. You all make our town a special place.

Likewise, the town recreation department would like to thank the countless persons who assisted with the administration of our sports programs throughout the past year.

Without the tremendous dedication and efforts of the referees, umpires, scorekeepers and concessionaires who worked tirelessly for the welfare of the department, public sports programming in our town would likely cease to exist.

In addition, we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to the many businesses and individuals who gave so generously as sponsors to help offset the costs of implementing our programs, and to the multitude of volunteer coaches and assistant coaches who served to make each season fun and beneficial for our local youth.

We would also like to acknowledge the tireless efforts of parents who juggled multiple schedules, tended to scrapes and bruises, provided the all-important, halftime snacks and assisted on a regular basis with the everyday chores of maintaining a functional sports environment. Your continued patience and enthusiasm is much appreciated.

Finally, we thank all of our participants, who competed in record numbers to make this year's youth and adult sports seasons truly memorable.

Skate pond update

The unseasonably warm weather has had an unfortunate effect on the skate pond.

Maintenance has been limited to blading off the surface during the golden moment between rock hard skate ruts and the afternoon slush that allows the ruts to form.

However, a few nights with lows in the single digits will permit our resurfacing efforts to resume. Until then, as always, be careful and skate at your own risk.

Christmas tree recycling

To assist with the proper disposal of this year's crop of Christmas trees, the town will once again be conducting a tree recycling program this holiday season. The program will run through the end of January. Please bring trees, stripped of all ornaments, to the posted area in South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball games for the 9- and 10-year-old division are scheduled to begin Jan. 7.

The schedule for the 11- and 12-year-old division will commence Jan. 9.

Team uniforms will be handed out prior to games on these dates.

Schedules for this year's youth league are currently being finalized and will be available to coaches and parents by Jan. 3 (note: the department office will be closed Jan. 2). Consult next week's issue of The SUN for the initial week of game schedules or stop by the department office at Town Hall for a complete season schedule.


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

High school students through adults are welcome. Training will be provided. Game schedules will generally require evening shifts Monday-Thursday, as well as some Saturdays. Pay is dependent upon experience, certification and the level of the games officiated. Contact the department office at 264-4151, ext. 232, if interested.

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.



Some positive notes

No doubt, when many residents reflect on the happenings in Pag-osa Country during the past year, they are likely to recall events that were characterized by controversy, by conflict, illuminated by emotional fireworks, accompanied by the furious footnotes of letters to the editor, heralded by loud declarations at public meetings.

Yes, 2005 has been notable for issues that caused a stir. But, we think it wise to end the year reminding ourselves of things that went right.

Take a look at Archuleta County government - a hot zone, for sure, burdened by genuinely difficult problems, rarely blessed with internal harmony.

Yet, county government has made progress on several fronts. For example, in dealing with a monumental road problem. The county has approved updated road standards and is working toward the creation of a county road map - necessary for any moves that will better the slapdash projects of years and decades gone by. This work should continue to bear fruit in 2006 - though the going will be difficult.

County officials are also, finally, working on ways to handle growth through adoption of land-use codes.

An interim county manager has ruffled feathers in certain quarters, but has helped our commission mature into a decision-making body - with at least two commissioners now able to find their way to agreement on most issues. The new year holds the prospect of a new administrator coming on board. The county should also soon hire a new director for the road and bridge department.

In town, major steps were taken to complete a Master Plan and a Comprehensive Plan, the process involving citizen participation and input. The town has hired top-tier planners to do the work; whether the town council is willing to adopt the plans remains to be seen. There have been significant annexations during the past year, major projects approved and others placed on the drawing board. More productive cooperation looms when a new intergovernmental agreement is finalized between town and county.

The Upper San Juan Health Services District is one of the year's great success stories, emerging from the financial swamps to enter the next year with a positive financial outlook, not needing, at last, to borrow money to make it to March.

Better yet, real progress has been made toward creation of a Critical Access Hospital for Pagosa Country, pending a vote this spring on a bond issue (with no new taxes involved). If all goes well, the hospital project could be well underway next year because of successes in 2005.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation district has weathered some storms and shown tangible progress with infrastructure. The district has, for all intents and purposes, finished the Dutton Ditch project and continues to work toward improvements at Stevens Reservoir. The district goes into the new year ready to rebuild the water treatment plant at Lake Hatcher - a move designed to improve water quality and enhance supply.

The Forest Service can look to a new year, with a new district ranger - Jo Bridges having recently left the post after a successful tenure. The school district will finish construction of a new maintenance and transportation facility near the high school, ridding the elementary school site of the bus barn and the traffic it produces.

Work on the runway at Stevens Field was finished and a new Flight Base Operations facility is near completion.

On a state level, Rep. Mark Larson and Sen. Jim Isgar represented us well, and both contributed mightily to the passage of referenda C and D on the November ballot.

These things, and others that go unnoted here, bode well for the coming year. They are examples of the products of patient, enduring effort, notable as we begin to deal with events in 2006.

Karl Isberg


Pacing Pagosa

A muddy path may lie in future

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.

Come walk with me as we step into a new year. See the paths of the future unfold before us as we set a pace to keep Pagosa Springs, the town we love, free of mudslinging.

Yes, there will be change, and much of it already has started. Yes, there will be furor over development - condemnation of some projects and praise for others.

It is my sincere hope the new Pagosa is a lot like the old one - that we do not lose sight of the fact one of our strengths is and always has been concern for our fellow man.

Pagosa Country has served us well as we depleted its resources. It has provided us with the lumber we needed for construction, the support services we needed to survive, and the caring, giving community of mankind we need for personal conscience development.

There is no question that some extremely visible areas need to be cleaned up. There is no question that law and order problems on a scale never known here before are looming in the days and months ahead.

We must understand, as must those who would change our ways, that there is a finite amount of the source of sustenance - our water supply - for the use of all concerned.

Prior rights, downstream commitments, growth needs all must be configured into a workable plan that will keep us a community of caring consumers who deal with each other as daily friends and customers.

Everyone has talked about affordable housing for the community but no one has made inroads in defining "affordable," deciding where it will be if it is truly affordable, or who will own and maintain it.

The visionaries and world class developers seemingly have eyes only for the profit margin. Time and again it has been proven in Colorado mountain town developments that the people who must do the work can rarely afford to live any longer in the community to which their families have given allegiance for a century or more.

We have natural resources to support growth, of a controlled, managed type that blends into the efforts which have gone on in the past. We do not have unlimited financial resources and, even without growth, the town itself faces immense sanitation system construction and expansion just to deal with the pollution it is causing right now.

Developing subdivisions in rural areas of the county want water and have found little supply available to them.

Automotive and truck traffic, because it is the only means of serving the community with workers and salable materials, has daily bottlenecks just like most major cities. But moving the traffic flow route, like some suggest, simply moves the flow of potential shoppers away from the retail areas.

Old town Pagosa Springs would most likely just become "old" until fading from the scene to be replaced by a plethora of strip malls.

We need to walk into the new year with caution, not rush into a decision because it seems like a financial windfall on the surface.

We may need to don hip boots to wade through some of the hogwash verbalized. Care in transit is mandatory for survival.



90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 31, 1915

Donald Chapson, one of Elmer's kids bumped into a big cinnamon bear this week near the ranch up the river with the result that his bruinship's 200 lb. carcass now hangs in Dickerson's butcher shop and is being sliced for Pagosa's epicurean palate.

Lady residents of the park want to thank Town Marshal Thayer for keeping the snow off the park steps for their special benefit. Little attentions like that are so rare when extended to them that they are humbly grateful. We include Clarence Dickerson in this also, because he cleaned part of the walk in the park.

About 6,000 head of cattle shipped from Archuleta County this year. Representing the aggregate shipments of small owners, it is a splendid showing.

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 2, 1931

Mrs. C.W. Gibson received a latest model eight cylinder Dodge sedan for a Christmas present. The car was delivered to her Christmas morning by Graden Weinland of the Channell Motor Co., Inc., Dodge distributors for the San Juan Basin. Mr. Gibson motored to Durango Wednesday morning to purchase the automobile for his wife.

Frances Mote drove down after his mother last Wednesday noon, leaving the same day for the lower Newton Ranch to spend Christmas with Mr. Mote. Mrs. Mote and son returned to Juanita Saturday evening.

Steve Hicks is visiting at the J.A. Latta home and while there is also putting down new floors in the home.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 29, 1955

V.A. Poma, who has been operating a Mobil Station and Bulk Plant here, announced this week that starting January 1, he will handle Texaco Products at his station and will be the Texaco Distributor for this area. His bulk plant is located at the west end of town and from there he will supply the various Texaco stations as far as Lumberton to the south and west to Chimney Rock.

The January-March issue of the Red Ryder Ranch magazine is now on sale at newsstands and like the last issue carries some very valuable publicity for the town and county. The cover is printed in color and has photos of local scenes, two being of Indians during the Red Ryder Round-Up and one of the bucking chutes at the rodeo grounds during the rodeo.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 1, 1981

The weather has remained so dry that even those who are not fond of snow are hoping for some white stuff to cover the ground. This has been a very long dry spell for this time of the year and temperatures have been higher than normal.

Wolf Creek Ski Area is having record crowds over the holiday period and one day this week saw 1,865 skiers on the mountain. All lifts are operating, skiing is good and Wolf Creek is just about the only area in Colorado with sufficient natural snow for skiing.

As 1980 draws to a close and the county starts on another year there are many projects and plans in store that could bring major changes and benefits to the residents of the area.


A walk through time ...

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Character: It is what gives a town a sense of place, ownership and belonging.

Part of the town's character is captured in its arrangement, the form created by the buildings and paths established by early pioneers and previous generations. What remains visible is the town's historic structures, anchoring the present to the pages of Pagosa's history.

A walk around downtown Pagosa Springs reveals many old buildings intermingled with the new, many with a rich history that reveal clues and remembrances of the early inhabitants.

Currently there are 12 buildings designated as historic landmarks by the town. Seven landmarks are within the Downtown Historic District, and five are to the east. There are no landmark designated buildings to the west of the historic district, although surviving buildings such as the old train depot on the north corner of 7th Street and Durango Street remain as a mighty reminder of Pagosa's past.

To become a historic landmark, a building has to be over 50 years old, and have historic significance based on one of 11 possible criteria listed in the historical preservation chapter (article 14) of the municipal code.

The Historic Preservation Board is planning to produce a walking tour brochure in time for next year's Historic Preservation Week, which takes place in the first week of May. With over 150 buildings identified by the town as potential historic landmarks, residents will have a rich selection to choose from to find out more about Pagosa's past.


Pagosans on a mission for children

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"Our mission is to take a vision of hope and translate it into action for the children of Haiti," states an informational pamphlet distributed by the Coalition of Children in Need Association (COCINA). COCINA is a 501 (c) 3 organization that raises funds, compiles material donations and organizes work teams for Institution Univers, a Christian school in Ouanaminthe, Haiti.

"The unemployment rate is nearly 80 percent," said John Neill, a Pagosa Springs resident and a member of the COCINA board of directors. "The staff of the school is made up completely of native Haitians. Until a Levi's factory was built recently, Institution Univers was the largest employer in Ouanaminthe."

Neill and his wife, Char, a member of the COCINA advisory board, learned of the mission of Institution Univers in 2000, when they met the founder and director of the school, Hugues Bastien, on a bus tour of Israel.

Bastien emigrated to the United States when he was 15 years old, earned a mechanical engineering degree at City College in New York, and became a U.S. citizen. Bastien then returned to Haiti with the vision of opening a kindergarten school. He dreamed of creating a new class each successive year for the students so that they might graduate from high school. The original kindergarten students are currently 10th-graders, and have completed each year at Institution Univers.

"Those with vision recognize that education is the true hope for this country and its people," stated a history of the school published by COCINA. By law, school is free and compulsory for Haitian children. The public schools are so underfunded that most do not have books or paper. Teachers typically teach from notebooks filled with notes from their own primary educations, according to Neill.

"Only about 50 percent of [Haitian] students attend school because many cannot afford the transportation costs to get there and the other basics," said Neill. "COCINA provides books, paper - everything to give these kids an education." Currently, less than half of the adult population of Haiti is literate.

As part of an incentive program for students, COCINA brings the top three students in academic standings after completing the third, sixth and ninth grades to the United States for a visit during the summer recess. The photographs of such trips are posted in the lobby of the school and all the students love to view the adventures lived by their peers.

Last summer, three boys who finished ninth grade were sent to Skagit Valley Community College in Washington for an English immersion program, then came to Pagosa Springs for a two-week visit.

"By the end of their time here, the boys were anxious to get home to their families," said Neill. "But they talked about having to be hungry again. They hadn't been hungry even once on their visit."

In addressing a group of US supporters, one of the ninth-graders who visited Pagosa Springs on his second visit said, "My family thinks I visit heaven when I come here."

COCINA provides funding for a meal every day for Institution Univers' 1,100 students. "Hugues [Bastien] said, 'We offer a variation diet: rice and beans one day, beans and rice the next,'" said Neill with a smile. "For many of the kids, this is their only real meal of the day."

Institution Univers has the only water purification system in the city of Ouanaminthe. "Think about 100,000 people without a sanitation system, no toilets - you can imagine the water quality. We offer the students the only pure water in the city," said Neill.

Neill has organized a group to travel to Haiti in March 2006 to provide a variety of services for the students of Institution Univers and the surrounding community. The group of 13 Pagosa Springs residents and one former resident includes a dental hygienist, a carpenter and a gifted musician.

"A keyboard was donated to the school by Pagosa Springs residents David and Catherine Brockan, but no one knows how to play it. Music lessons will be [the musician's] main job while we're there. [The hygienist] will be in the clinic most of the time. It would be great if we could bring 1,100 toothbrushes! The rest of the group will be working on construction projects like finishing the kitchen. There are no exhaust vents or cabinets - and they're feeding 1,100 kids every day."

The mission team will raise its own funds for food, lodging and transportation to and from Haiti. "We'll most likely hold a fund-raiser early next year. Maybe the Pagosa premier of 'Hope for Haiti,'" said Neill.

"Hope for Haiti" is a film documenting the remarkable story of the beginnings of Institution Univers and the vision of its founder, Bastien. "COCINA hired Grant Knisley to produce a seven-minute DVD talking about the school. He was so moved by what he found there, he made a full-length feature."

Neill was a member of a team last year that rewired the entire school with the guidance and expertise of Pagosa Springs electrician Jim Backus. "We couldn't have done it without Jim. He even trained a school staff member just for upkeep of the system," said Neill. The team also installed a solar electrical system donated by the Brackhans.

The latest project to be completed is a medical clinic funded and staffed by COCINA that opened six weeks ago. "There is only one doctor in Ouanaminthe - for 100,000 people. And that clinic usually has no supplies," explained Neill. "[The new clinic] will enhance our ability to meet medical needs of the kids and the community."

The new three-story building houses a medical facility with clean water and supplies and has the capacity to support major surgical procedures. The clinic also has a dental facility and a vision center.

"There are already two missions teams of doctors scheduled," stated Neill. Most medical teams will likely visit the clinic in conjunction with an established traveling medical group such as those organized by Medical Missions International or Doctors Without Borders.

"Medical teams are much more likely to come when there is a facility in place. Now we have one." The clinic will also employ one doctor full time.

All three of the students who visited Pagosa Springs this summer hope to become doctors and help the people of their country. "That is the most prestigious position they know of," stated Neill. "We encourage them to set their sights high."

The goal of university education is exciting and daunting for the members of COCINA. "You just about have to leave [Haiti] to get a good post-secondary education," said Neill. There is a university in Port au Prince, but the city is often unstable and unsafe. "We're scratching our heads about what we'll do to help these kids after high school. Since Haitian schools have thirteen grades, we've got a little time.

"People sometimes ask 'Why bother?,'" said Neill. "[COCINA's] vision is to give these kids a solid Christian education. We don't know what they will do, but they will be the ones to turn the country around. They'll be the entrepreneurs to start businesses that others will work for."


Pagosa's Past

Wanderlust leads to travel in San Juans

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Wanderlust gripped many of Pagosa Country's first settlers.

A listing of Pagosa Springs businesses found in the Colorado Business Directory for the years 1880, 1882, 1883 and 1884 contains the names of few families still living in the area. To be sure, not everyone or even every business existing in Pagosa Springs during those years was listed in that directory. Nevertheless, many of those long-forgotten names are important to Pagosa Springs' history.

Names appearing on the early list and still remembered by Pagosa old-timers include Christian Stollsteimer; H.R. and Sarah Bowling; J. Gilliland; the Opdykes; E.T. Walker; Henry Berard; Elliott Halstead; Loucks; the Cades. I'm not sure how many old-timers remember names like Tully Kemp, Ed Laithe, Charles Scase, J.H. Voorhees and A. J. Lewis, but those names are important to local history.

A traveler wrote in the June 12, 1880, Del Norte Prospector: "At Pagosa Springs are many well-known old timers, among who are Messrs. Chestnut, Blair, Thomas, Spradling, Pangborn, Devereux, Bennets, and others. Pagosa boasts of probably twenty-five business houses, several residences, and during the past winter had a population of 200 souls aside from five companies of soldiers which kept the place boiling at all times."

In November of 1880, the La Plata Miner editor from Silverton promised to provide its readers with an account of the southern route between Silverton and the end of the railroad, then nearing the top of Cumbres Pass on its march westward. The editor's trip was made from Animas City (just north of the then non-existent Durango) to the railhead with a freight team "in order that those who desire to follow after us may know what they have got to go through." A party of eight hired the freight team for a cost of $64; time to go through - five days. Here are the writer's own words describing the trip:

"Crossing the range from Conejos to the Navajo, that is Cumbres Pass, the party was stopped at three toll gates, broke a singletree, and the second cook bit the neck off a milk bottle when the wagon hit a chuckhole.

"Leaving Animas City on the 11th, for the first six miles we travel over a good road with a slight upgrade going east, at a point seven miles from Animas City there is water for camping purposes and here we paused to camp and take dinner. At nine miles from Animas City we crossed the Florida, a small stream and a tributary to the Animas River. From the Florida we crossed a low divide over an easy grade and splendid road to Pine river (Motter's note: The Pine River referred to is known today as Bayfield.) where we found the very best accommodations for the traveler that is found between Animas City and the end of the track. Mr. Johnson (Charlie "Racehorse" Johnson) is the proprietor of the hotel or stopping place. The house is large and comfortable, the beds first-class, and the table better than can be obtained at any hotel in Southwestern Colorado. At Mr. Johnson's we stopped overnight and on the morning of the 12th, the second day out from Animas City, made a point thirty-two miles from Animas, where we camped for dinner, with good water and plenty of wood (for that matter there is no point on the road from the Animas to the end of the track that there is not an abundant supply of wood for camping purposes and the greater part of the way the road passes through the finest saw timber to be found in the west, and from this section the whole state of Colorado will receive her lumber supply upon the completion of the D.&R.G. road.)."

More next week from an eyewitness account of traveling from Animas City, through Pagosa Springs, and on to Chama during October of 1880.

Pagosa Sky Watch

Dark skies perfect for Crab catchers

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data for Dec. 29, 2005, is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:22 a.m.

Sunset: 4:59 p.m.

Moonrise: 6:09 a.m.

Moonset: 3:22 p.m.

Moon phase: The moon is waning crescent with about 3 percent of the visible disk illuminated. A new moon will arrive in Pagosa Country Dec. 30, 2005.

With the moon just a thin crescent and a new moon due tomorrow, sky watchers will enjoy dark skies and should gain an advantage in locating Saturn, Saturn's largest moon Titan, and Cancer, the faintest constellation of the zodiac.

The story of Cancer, the crab, goes back to Greek mythology. According to the story, Cancer scuttled over to attack Hercules while Hercules was fighting the multi-headed Hydra. In the heat of the battle, Hercules dealt the crab a mortal blow when he crushed the pincered creature with a mighty stomp of his foot. Following Cancer's death, the gods placed the crab forever in the heavens.

Unlike Orion's nemesis, represented by the large, distinct shape of the constellation Scorpius, Hercules' foe, Cancer, is represented by a small, rather nondescript constellation that looks more like an upside-down Y than a crab. When viewing the constellation tonight, look for a pattern of stars that resembles the Eiffel Tower leaning on one leg hard to the left instead of resting with its legs perpendicular to the horizon.

For the back yard star gazer, what makes Cancer difficult to locate, is not its size nor shape, but the fact that of its five primary stars, only two are brighter than magnitude 4.0, (magnitude 6.0 stars are the faintest stars visible to the naked eye) although tonight's dark skies and the presence of Saturn may help.

Tonight, by about 10 p.m., Saturn will appear to be snuggled immediately to the left of one of Cancer's key stars - Asellus Australis. Asellus Australis, also known as delta Cancri, is a magnitude 3.9 orange giant, making it one of Cancer's brightest stars. It also marks the heart of the constellation.

To locate Saturn and adjacent Cancer, stand facing due east and move your gaze slowly upward from the horizon line to a point about a quarter the distance between the horizon and directly over head. In this region of the sky, Saturn will be clearly visible as a bright, creamy yellow object. The ringed-planet should be easy to locate due to the fact its magnitude is -0.3, making it the third brightest object in the sky after the stars Sirius and Canopus.

From Saturn and adjacent Asellus Borealis, star gazers can explore the constellation up the neck of the Y to iota Cancri, a magnitude 4.0 yellow giant with a magnitude 6.6 blue white companion that should be visible with binoculars. Traveling down the constellation to the terminus of the left leg of the Y, lies magnitude 4.3 alpha Cancri, or Acubens, meaning "the claw."

The terminus of the right leg of the Y lies at the star beta Cancri, a magnitude 3.5 orange giant and the brightest star in the constellation.

After completing a naked eye survey of the constellation and neighboring Saturn, use binoculars or a telescope to explore some of the nearby highlights in greater detail.

Looking with binoculars, just above and slightly to the right of Asellus Borealis, star gazers should find M44, or, more commonly, the Beehive Cluster. The cluster appears as a faint hazy patch to the naked eye, but binoculars should reveal a swarm of about 50 stars.

Going back down to the bottom of the left portion of the constellation, near Acubens, lies M67, a dense cluster of about 200 stars whose distance and magnitude make it more suitable for telescopic observations.

Lastly, star gazers should keep a keen eye out for Titan, the largest and perhaps most mysterious of Saturn's 30 known moons.

Much of the mystery behind Titan is linked to observations that indicate the icy moon may be one of the most Earth-like objects in our solar system.

Researchers studying Titan say one of the chief similarities between the two celestial bodies is that both have definite atmospheres made primarily of nitrogen. This fact clearly separates Titan from other moons in the solar system and puts it almost in the same life-supporting league as Earth. However, Titan's atmosphere although rich in carbon- based organic material, has methane, rather than oxygen as its second key component and this coupled with Titan's atmospheric density make it a vastly different atmosphere from our own.

Nevertheless, despite the differences in chemical composition, some researchers say Titan's atmosphere may be more similar to Earth's than it seems and that Titan's atmosphere may in fact resemble the Earth's atmosphere several billion years ago.

In addition to atmospheric similarities, data collected in January 2005 by NASA's Huygens probe, indicates Titan's surface appears to be shaped by the same, Earth-like processes of tectonics, erosion, wind and perhaps vulcanism.

But it is there, the similarities stop. Titan is a cold place, -291 degrees Fahrenheit to be exact. And rain, if and when it does come, falls in the form of methane.

Yet these differences don't discourage NASA researchers. Rather, they look at Titan as a time vault, a primordial Earth on deep-freeze, that through further study may reveal clues about the origins of life on our own planet.

Under ideal conditions, Titan can be viewed with binoculars, and was visible to the west of the ringed planet on Dec. 28.



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Slight chances for snow next week, time to go skating

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Snow continues to elude the southern San Juan Mountains. Though the northern Colorado ski areas reported another foot of snow last week, Wolf Creek Ski area only received another inch from last Monday night's storm. On the bright side, 100 percent of the ski area is open, with surprisingly decent packed-powder conditions on the main trails, and a summit snow depth of 33 inches.

Statewide, the average snowpack levels are at 99 percent of normal, down from 101 percent last week (source: Snotel Snowpack report, as of Dec. 27). The San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan basin region is at 41 percent of normal.

Tonight, the skies should be clearing for a sunny Friday, then we'll have a 30-percent chance of snow Saturday, New Year's Eve. New Year's Day has a slight chance for snow, otherwise a cloudy day will begin the new year. Same for Monday and Tuesday, then clearing for the remainder of next week.

Last week we had five days with temperatures in the 50s, with Christmas Day reaching 54 degrees, with skaters enjoying the balmy weather on the River Center Pond. Nighttime lows hovered in the mid to high teens last week, with a low of 13 degrees reported Tuesday.

On the river where its a bit cooler, Jim Miller, town parks superintendent, reports single digit temperatures at the skating pond the last few nights, creating beneficial conditions for his famed "hand-boni" ice resurfacing system. The hand-boni is the town's answer to the commercial Zamboni ice resurfacer, which both melts, scrapes, and resurfaces ice skating rinks in a single pass. Miller's system does the same thing in a two step process: first, the ice is scraped with a plow blade mounted on a 4WD vehicle. Then the hand-boni, a wood, PVC tube (perforated with 1/8 inch holes), and carpet contraption built by Miller himself, is dragged along the ice while being fed with water by a 200 foot hose. The carpet smooths out the evenly-distributed water dripping out of the 1/8 inch holes as the hand-boni is dragged along. The nighttime cold temperatures then bond the new smooth surface to the existing ice.

Miller says that simply hosing water on the pond would result in pockets of water freezing prematurely, creating mini-dams and an uneven ice surface. The process using the hand-boni takes about two hours and, when conditions permit, Miller performs the task Monday and Thursday nights. "Of all the things I have to do, this is the most complex," said Miller of the process.

The ice skating pond is open daily until 10 p.m., unless the hand-boni is in operation.