January 5, 2006
Front Page

Health district sets May 2 election

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

The Upper San Juan Health Service District board passed a resolution Tuesday calling for a May 2 regular district election.

The election is expected to be held concurrently with Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the Pagosa Fire Protection District elections.

Three issues will be on the health district ballot.

Voters within the health service district will elect four district directors for terms expiring this year.

Voters will also have the opportunity to give the health district permission to incur debt to build a Critical Access Hospital. The wording for the ballot issue is still in draft form, and the board has hired a law firm, Sherman and Howard, LLC, to write the final ballot language. The board is eager to ensure that the ballot wording clarifies that a 'yes' vote will allow the district to seek the revenue bonds necessary to finance the hospital, but will not result in any new taxes or add to the mill levy.

If for any reason, according to the board, the district defaults on the debt used to build the hospital, only the hospital and the land associated with it would be encumbered with the legal and financial obligations of the bond issue. Although the district could use a portion of the general operating mill levy revenue to pay for the hospital, the existing tax revenues would "in no way be encumbered," according to district officials. As a side note, the district does collect a separate mill levy of .531 mills (amounting to $118,472 in revenue) for payment of a general obligation bond on the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic. Dave Bohl, chair of the finance committee, said if the new bonds were issued for the hospital, it would be "quite possible" to pay off the existing bond, and to "stop collecting that portion of the mill levy."

The third issue in the May 2 election will ask the voters to both "de-Bruce" the district, and exempt the district from a 5.5 percent statutory property tax revenue limit (Colorado Revised Statutes 29-1-301). De-Brucing allows an exemption from the restrictions in the TABOR amendment and would permit the district to "collect, retain, and spend" all revenues generated from its existing general operating mill levy. Similarly, an exemption from C.R.S. 29-1-301 would lift the 5.5 percent maximum annual increase in revenues limitation. Last year, the health district had to "temporarily reduce" its mill levy because of the 5.5 percent limitation. Most of the special districts in Pagosa are already exempted by the voters from fiscal year spending limits, allowing them to benefit from an increase in assessed land values while maintaining a constant mill levy.

The health district board debated for a short time regarding the election procedure. J.R. Ford, a member of the audience, argued for a polling location in town (at the Methodist Church), but the district decided instead to have a single polling place, at the Vista Clubhouse at 230 Port Avenue, and to arrange buses to transport downtown voters to the clubhouse. Kim Nemecek, or Mercy Regional Medical Center, will be the designated election official for the district. Absentee ballots can be requested between now and April 21 by sending the request to Kim Nemecek, 189 N. Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

In other matters brought to the health district board:

- Brett Murphy, EMS director, described a significant increase in the worker's compensation insurance from Pinnacle Insurance Agency, Inc., based on a Dec. 28 bill. The board authorized Michelle Visel, board member, to investigate a new workers compensation insurance carrier, and to work with Rick O'Block, of Mercy Medical Regional Center.

- Murphy reported a 100-percent increase in EMS transports from the past month, with 60 patients transported in December. For the year, EMS had 921 total calls, with 582 transports.

- Bob Goodman, board member, presented the year-end financials. The district ended the year with $212,691 cash on hand.

- The board publicly thanked the Mary Fisher Foundation for its previous loan, which was paid off in 2005.

- The board announced that, on Jan. 11, the firm BKD will interview local providers in preparation for the feasibility study for the Critical Access Hospital. Members of the architect firm Prochaska and Associates, of Omaha, Neb., which the district has hired to design the CAH, will also be here on that date. Pam Hopkins, district chair, notes that the architect firm "wants to meet as many people from the community as possible." The district is also planning a special meeting at noon on that date at the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic.

 

Isgar kicks off Senate campaign

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

State Sen. Jim Isgar picked the Archuleta County Courthouse in downtown Pagosa Springs as the first stop on a whirlwind, district-wide tour announcing his plans to seek re-election to the District 6 Senate seat.

Isgar's announcement, made last Thursday in front of a small group of citizens and endorsed personally by U.S. Rep. John Salazar, came eight days after Isgar's Republican challenger, state Rep. Mark Larson, announced he was bowing out of the District 6 Senate race. Isgar said the two events were not connected.

As the incumbent, Isgar said, he felt less pressure to make an early re-election campaign announcement, and that last Thursday's campaign kick-off simply fell according to his timetable of getting the formal message out before the legislative session resumed in January.

During the stop, Isgar spoke of recent successes and future challenges both he and those living in his district faced.

He said voters had shown tremendous trust with their approval of Referendum C, and now it was up to the Legislature to keep its end of the bargain.

"We need to show responsibility with the Referenda C money. We need to run a tight ship, be frugal and be responsible," Isgar said.

Isgar said one of the chief upcoming challenges would entail striking a balance between energy development and protecting vital natural resources such as water and national forests.

He said the region was poised to become the major player in supplying energy for the nation, and that "energy development will have a major and massive impact on every one of these Western Slope communities."

Isgar said, "Some say were going to be the energy capital of the world. And energy is good and bad. There's lots of revenue, but what's the price in natural resources?"

After his stop in Pagosa Springs, Isgar said he would spend the next two and half days making 15 more stops throughout the eight-county district.

As yet, the Republicans have not announced a candidate for the District 6 seat, and Isgar, the Democratic incumbent, remains unchallenged.

 

Lost Valley residents still hitting the bottle

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

As residents of the Lost Valley of the San Juans subdivision (LVSJ) continue to rely on bottled water for most household uses, their fresh water and wastewater systems remain unsafe and in disrepair.

Meanwhile, Colorado Land Sales, Inc. (CLSI), the apparent owner and entity responsible for the condition and maintenance of the utilities, has taken the first step, as required by the state of Colorado, to bring LVSJ into compliance with the Colorado Primary Drinking Water Regulations, the Colorado Water Quality Control Act and the Colorado Operators Certification Regulations.

In a letter dated Nov. 16, 2005, the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (Division) had ordered CLSI to respond to 13 specific concerns related to LVSJ water systems by Dec. 20, or face significant fines. According to the division, CLSI did reply as instructed; though by this writing, the division has not analyzed CLSI's retorts, and CLSI's new registered agent, Derral Hineman, has yet to answer relative questions posed directly to him, via e-mail.

The 13 concerns expressed by the division, which stemmed from a "complaint investigation," were lined out in a detailed report by division district engineer Greg Brand, following his inspection of the LVSJ systems last October. The division, as a result of Brand's concerns, subsequently ordered a mandatory bottled water advisory to LVSJ residents.

Shortly after, the board of county commissioners of Mineral County ordered a moratorium on the issuance of building permits there, until such time as the division advises the board that both water systems are properly licensed and operating per compulsory standards. LVSJ is located in Mineral County, roughly 12 miles north of Pagosa Springs, though its only vehicular access is up Archuleta County Road 400 (Fourmile Road) and Forest Road 634.

Among division concerns, Brand listed: a lack of required certified operators in charge of each water system, inadequate filtration and disinfection of raw water sources (wells), a lack of required aeration equipment at the treatment lagoons, and no Domestic Wastewater Discharge Permit. He also suggested the existing systems, while certainly substandard by today's requirements, were probably never built to the original approved plans and specifications.

Though division concerns have revealed significant problems with LVSJ infrastructure, area landowners say they simply reflect the type of management that's been in place since David Trepas and others bought CLSI in 2001.

CLSI was originally formed by developer Burt Barrett, who subdivided LVSJ in 1972. But, according to local residents, as soon as Trepas took over (as president of CLSI), monthly water and sewer fees doubled, systems maintenance halted, and CLSI began lodging special assessments on properties to pay for occasional, and often expensive, system repairs. Because they pay monthly fees, residents regard the assessments as unfair.

In the meantime, Hineman, who bills himself as "Area Representative for CLSI (in liquidation) and Acting Treasurer/Secretary," insists that CLSI is "solely a holding entity with no formal business activity." He claims, "CLSI management is of a voluntary nature until a landowners' association is formed and takes over the infrastructure."

He also insists that CLSI has urged LVSJ landowners to form an association for years, and that, once formed, is required by the original subdivision covenants to take over the infrastructure. However, a review of the original covenants reflects a paragraph allowing for the formation of a "committee" if landowners so choose, but finds no mention of any committee or association "taking over" ownership of, or responsibility for, the infrastructure. In fact, the covenants only require homeowners to connect to the water and wastewater systems and pay a connect fee.

In an earlier interview (via e-mail), Hineman said that David Trepas had "recently resigned from CLSI for personal reasons unrelated to LVSJ." He also said that CLSI would cease to exist sometime in 2006, and that its remaining assets, namely 900 acre-feet of water rights, the LVSJ water and wastewater systems and related facilities, are listed for sale. He also acknowledged that CLSI has collected monthly fees from property owners for water and sewer use at least since Trepas' takeover in 2001.

Also in his e-mail, Hineman explained that CLSI was in liquidation after the financial institution funding its assets and improvements collapsed following the events of Sept. 11, 2001. However, The SUN has learned that Trepas and Rachel McElhinney, acting vice president of CLSI, were recently convicted of federal fraud and tax-related charges in connection with the promotion of a tax evasion scheme utilizing abusive trusts. LVSJ landowners say the timing of the arrests coincides with the total cessation of regular road and utility maintenance.

Meanwhile, when asked why a property owners association hasn't yet been formed, various LVSJ landowners say they have voted overwhelmingly to create one, but are in no hurry to formalize it until the current CLSI management is gone. Some have said they're not anxious to inherit failed utility systems in need of expensive updating and repair.

Landowners have also said CLSI approached them, offering to sell the roads, water and wastewater systems (but not the water rights) to a newly-formed association, but as one resident put it, "CLSI wants to sell us the headaches and keep the gold."

At this point, it's unclear who will assume ownership of CLSI assets should it successfully dissolve. But one thing is sure: the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment-Water Quality Control Division will soon require notable changes and upgrades to LVSJ water and wastewater systems, and someone will have to pay.

 

Town of Pagosa Springs establishes voting districts

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

In April 2006, voters in the Town of Pagosa Springs will have an opportunity to select, or re-elect, three trustees for the Pagosa Springs Town Council.

However, elections this year will be slightly different. Rather than electing council members from a pool of "at large" candidates, voters will now choose three of the six candidates by district.

The change comes following Tuesday's council approval of an ordinance establishing voting districts.

Town Special Projects Director Julie Jessen said the move to establish voting districts in the town began two years ago with the drafting of the town's Home Rule Charter.

At that time, Jessen said, it was understood voting districts would eventually be established and the mandate was written into the charter. Jessen said the districting goal was to ensure wide representation on the council and to avoid having a majority of council members from just one part of town. As written, the charter allowed the town two years to study growth patterns and to prepare a map outlining the districts.

The districts, according to the charter, must be equally represented, i.e., one council member for one district, and the voter populations within the district must be similar. Jessen said the charter allows for a 15-percent difference in voter populations between districts, and that the districts, as currently organized, have about a 9-percent difference. Jessen added that the boundaries of the districts can be changed or updated every six years.

Town Planner Tamra Allen said that after working with Clarion Associates, the land use consulting firm hired to complete the town's Comprehensive Plan, and studying growth patterns and voter population densities, three key areas emerged which formed the basis of the districts.

Following the study, and with the two-year window coming to a close, Jessen said it was time to implement the districting plan.

Following the council's approval, voters will now elect three town council members, one from each of the three districts and the other three from an "at large" pool, on a rotating basis.

For example, in April 2006, the three district seats will be up for election. Then, during the next election cycle, the three "at large" seats will be up.

Jessen said voters will not be required to live in a particular district to vote for that district's candidate. Voters, she said, will cast ballots for all the candidates listed and will use the same poll locations.

Jessen said districting will have the greatest affect on town council candidates.

She said those seeking one of the district seats must live in that district for at least one year and be a registered voter.

"At large" candidates can reside within a particular district, but can only run for office during the "at large" election cycle.

The current District 1 seat is held by Jerry Jackson, District 2 by Judy James, and District 3 by Darrel Cotton.

For a complete description of the district boundaries, contact the town at 264-4151 or on the Web at: www.townofpagosasprings.com.

In other council action:

- Town Manager Mark Garcia said town staff was working with lodgers to remedy the lodger's tax situation.

Garcia said town staff had discussed the collection of a 1.9 percent surcharge by lodgers to fund the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber of Commerce funding was inadvertently cut when it was discovered a municipality's lodger's tax replaces a county lodgers' tax within the municipality's boundaries.

Voters approved the lodger's tax during the November election. A work session was scheduled Jan. 10 at noon to explore long-term solutions to the problem.

- Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon appointed Angela Atkinson as chair of a committee to explore options for the Alley house relocation.

Council members Stan Holt and Judy James were also named to the committee, with the final committee members to be selected by Atkinson.

The house, located at 214 Pagosa Street, known formerly as Frankie's Place, and prior to that, the Rolling Pin Bakery, was donated by BootJack Management to the Town of Pagosa Springs.

To date, relocation ideas have centered on locations around Town Park and potential uses include ideas for a children's museum or an art gallery.

- Following the recent demolition of three properties eligible for the local historic landmark register, the Town of Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board urged the council to consider adopting a moratorium on the demolition of buildings more than 50 years old.

Council members unanimously expressed support for a moratorium, and town staff was directed to draft a resolution for their review.

- The first reading of an ordinance designating two buildings at 380 Lewis Street as local historic landmarks was approved by council members.

The two adjacent buildings, on Lewis Street behind the junior high gym, once housed the county jail while the other was the home of Dr. McKinley.

 

 Inside The Sun

Two power outages hit Pagosa Country on same day

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Two separate power outages left a number of Pagosa Springs residents in the dark Tuesday morning, with faulty equipment apparently the cause of at least one of the outages. The cause of the other may never be determined.

According to La Plata Electric Association's marketing and communications specialist, David Waller, at approximately 6:36 a.m. Tuesday, an Oil Circuit Recloser (OCR) failed and caught fire, which quickly destroyed it and two adjacent OCRs. All three were mounted on a power pole in the 3500 block of County Road 600 (Piedra Road).

The resulting service interruption encompassed an area of undetermined width on either side of Piedra Road, and stretched north roughly from Stevens Lake Road to Williams Creek Reservoir. While the total number of customers actually affected is unknown, 801 meters lost power, until crews managed to bypass the damaged equipment and restore service by 7:37 a.m.

When asked exactly what an OCR is, Waller described it as a piece of equipment that opens and closes electrical circuits. "It serves to protect equipment for safety's sake," he said. "Some in the system are located in substations, and others are mounted on poles."

Apparently, a faulty OCR is rare and, as part of their regular maintenance, LPEA replaces them every four years. But by Tuesday afternoon, Waller said the cause of this particular failure was unknown, and may never be discovered.

"So far, we've concentrated on restoring power and replacing defective equipment," he said. "We won't have any idea what caused this one to fail until we've had a chance to examine it, and even then, we may not be able to figure it out. Sometimes animals, especially birds, can cause problems."

Waller said replacing the OCRs should take about a day, and once the new ones are in place, the power might "blink" again as they're energized.

A second outage occurred at 9 a.m. the same morning and lasted approximately 40 minutes. This time, the affected area ranged for some distance on either side of U.S. 160 and spread west from the Trails subdivision to the La Plata County line. Again, LPEA couldn't say exactly how many customers were without service, but 968 meters lost power.

According to Waller, the cause of the second disruption was completely unknown and may never be found.

"As usual, the system automatically attempted to re-energize itself," he said, "but after the third try or so, it stayed down. At that time, our crews drove the lines looking for problems, but didn't find anything. So, we reactivated it, and it held."

Waller added that such outages are not uncommon, and thinks that animals or perhaps Tuesday's gusty winds might have played a role. "Sometimes we just can't determine the cause," he said. "Even a branch or something could've blown into a line, and by the time we drive out there, it has fallen off and we never know."

 

County adopts road and bridge standby policy

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The Romans built roads stone by stone, cobble by cobble. The work was incremental and, at times, probably overwhelming, even tedious.

At times, solving Archuleta County's road problems may seem Romanesque, yet county staff and the board of county commissioners has been steadily chipping away and Tuesday's commissioner's meeting marked one more milestone in the process.

During the session, the board approved a policy, presented by county Human Resource Director Katherine Ross and interim County Administrator Bob Jasper, to provide weekend standby pay for Level II and Level III road and bridge equipment operators.

According to the policy, standby equipment operators would receive $50 per weekend day when on standby duty.

If called in for service, the operator would then receive pay according to the pay scale once they begin work, and in addition to the standby pay.

Jasper said the standby staff would operate primarily in the winter as a hot-shot crew and would be called out in the event of an after-hours road emergency or when special circumstances, such as heavy snow or icy roads, warranted it.

"We'll always have a loaded sanding truck ready to go," Jasper said, adding that workers could hit trouble spots as necessary.

"I'm not promising we'll get out and sand every icy spot, but it will certainly be better than what we've been doing," Jasper said.

Jasper said maintaining a standby crew was common practice among other counties and that it would help keep roads safer and could lessen the frequency of ice and snow related accidents.

"We're working really hard to try and improve road service," Jasper said.

Commissioners Mamie Lynch and Ronnie Zaday voted in favor of the policy, but Commissioner Robin Schiro, after a lengthy discussion and comment period, abstained.

Schiro said her concerns stemmed largely from the verbiage of the document, and Jasper tried to quell her concerns by explaining the document marked the beginning of a policy that could be fine tuned in the future.

Moreover, Jasper said he did not recommend tabling or postponing approval of the policy because winter is well underway, and there is a need to have a policy in place that will guide standby workers who will ultimately provide services to county residents under emergency, or hazardous road conditions.

Schiro was not swayed and after the vote and during an intermission, she said the language of the document was confusing and could leave the county open to lawsuits.

She said the policy should have been reviewed by the county attorneys prior to adoption.

In a separate conversation, Ross echoed Jasper's comments and said the purpose of the policy is to provide guidance for staff while keeping roads safer in the immediate future.

She said the ultimate goal was to make the standby policy part of an updated policy manual which would then receive full review by legal counsel.

Oversight of the new policy will be undertaken, in part, by the new Archuleta County Public Works Director Alan Zumwalt.

Ross said Zumwalt is scheduled to begin work Jan. 18.

In other road-related action:

- The board approved adoption of a uniform, intergovernmental agreement to be used by all present and future metro districts.

The new agreement replaces those currently in use, which vary between districts.

According to county documents, "Previous agreements are inconsistent from one District to the other and all are unclear as to the responsibilities of both parties."

An intergovernmental agreement is required in order for the county to file for Highway Users Tax Fund revenues for roads in metro districts.

- A public hearing for the creation of a county road map, road classification system and a maintenance plan based on that system is scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 10 in the Extension Building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.

 

No more adult flu vaccine at health department

San Juan Basin Health Department has given out all of its adult flu vaccine.

During the last several months, San Juan Basin Health has provided flu shots to approximately 3,000 individuals.

Flu vaccine is still available for children up to age 18 and will continue to be provided during Wednesday immunization clinics from 3 to 5:15 p.m. at the 502 S. 8th St. office in downtown Pagosa Springs. The next clinic will be held Wednesday, Jan. 11.

With flu season just now hitting the community, these are the things you can do to avoid getting the flu: wash your hands; avoid contact with your face - don't rub your eyes, etc.; if people are coughing try to stay at least three feet away. If you or a family member gets the flu, stay home so you're not exposing others.

"The New Year brings challenges to staying healthy," says San Juan Basin Health Public Health Nurse Patsy Ford. "We all get busy in the new year, which is all the more reason that you continue to ensure good health habits such as exercise, eating well, getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids."

Great Web sites for you and your family include www.scrubclub.org and www.cdc.gov/flu/toolkit/.

  

DA office in Archuleta County sees big increase in business

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

"We're the sieve at the end of the funnel," said Craig Westberg, Colorado's Sixth Judicial District Attorney, whose office files over 6,000 criminal cases per year on behalf of the people of the State of Colorado.

Criminal charges originating from 20 agencies, including sheriff and police departments, tribal authorities, the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and federal agencies such as the FBI, are prosecuted in the county and district courts by the DA's office. Colorado's Sixth Judicial District encompasses Archuleta, San Juan and La Plata, counties, with an estimated population of more than 70,000 people.

With a district staff of 21 people, including nine attorneys, three investigators and one victim witness unit, Westberg said it is "a terrific challenge to equitably distribute resources" to handle the district's caseload.

"Pagosa Springs has often felt as though a stepchild" of the sixth district, said Westberg, whose main office is located in Durango.

Not anymore.

Last August, to handle the increasing number of cases in Archuleta County, Westberg opened an office in Pagosa Springs, staffed by two attorneys - Edward Bull and Sibylle Clark (part time) - an investigator, Pete Gonzales, and a victim intake specialist, Kathryn Gaskins. Westberg himself also frequents the Archuleta courts to prosecute criminals.

Setting up the satellite office in Pagosa Springs became a priority for Westberg after he was elected to serve as the prosecutor for the district last year. In 2004, for the first time, more than 20 percent of the annual cases the DA office handles originated in Archuleta County. "Percentage wise, Archuleta has grown faster than La Plata," said Westberg.

"The Pagosa office is a work in progress," said Westberg, who believes that the assignation of assets in Pagosa will be "justified and help serve the people here better."

In addition to prosecuting criminal cases, the DA's office also enforces Colorado's Victim Rights Amendment, created to ensure that the system gives victims at least the same rights afforded to criminals. Colorado Victim's Bill of Rights guarantees victims and witnesses to be informed of the "critical stages" of the criminal justice process and of the right to pursue a civil judgement against the person convicted of a crime; to be free of harassment or abuse by a person accused or convicted; to the prompt return of property used as evidence when it is no longer needed; and a number of other rights. Westberg also appoints the Victim Compensation Board, which arranges compensation for property losses as a result of criminal activity.

Colorado's judicial system has four levels of courts: county, district, court of appeals, and the Supreme Court. The courts have power to decide two kinds of disputes: criminal and civil.

Each of Colorado's 64 counties has a county court. The county court handles traffic cases and minor criminal matters, as well as civil cases involving no more than $15,000. County judges also issue search warrants as well as restraining orders in cases involving domestic violence arrest.

District courts handle felony criminal matters, juvenile matters (including adoption, juvenile delinquency, and paternity actions), probate (estates), mental health, divorce proceedings, and civil cases of any amount. There are 22 judicial districts in Colorado; some districts include one county while others include as many as seven counties.

Decisions made in the district courts may be appealed, a request to take the case to a higher court for review. The court of appeals, located in Denver, hears appeals from the district courts, and its determination of appeal is final unless the Colorado Supreme Court agrees to review the matter.

All criminal charges and violations of Colorado law are filed by the DA's office on behalf of the people of the State of Colorado in the county and district courts. On call 24 hours per day, seven days per week, Westberg calls his role in the judicial system, "the best job there is."

  

Cervical cancer is preventable

By B.J. Boucher,

Special to The SUN

Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide, and one of the most preventable and treatable. In 2005, an estimated 4,200 women in the U.S. will die from this illness and over 12,000 will contract invasive cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer begins in the lining of the cervix, or the lower part of the womb. It forms slowly as precancerous cells, and rarely are there any signs or symptoms that alert a woman to the problem. This is why it is so important for women to have regular Pap tests.

The Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus, is the most important risk factor for developing cervical cancer and precancers. The small sample of cells taken from the cervix by a Pap test, when examined under a microscope, reveals any change or unusual virus.

Cervical cancer usually occurs among women in their childbearing years and beyond. Though it is a gender specific disease, there are other risk factors that increase a woman's likelihood of developing cervical cancer. These include:

- Infection with HPV.

- Infection with HIV.

- Cigarette smoking.

- Having sex at an early age.

- Having many sexual partners.

- Having a diet low in fruits and vegetables.

It is important to remember that risk factors increase the odds of developing a disease but do not guarantee it will occur. Emerging trends in cervical cancer prevention include a vaccine that provides immunity to HPV and therefore prevents the illness.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, and the American Cancer Society urges all women to begin yearly Pap tests three years after they become sexually active, but no later than 21 years of age.

The Colorado Women's Cancer Control Initiative (CWCCI) provides free Pap tests to women 40-64 who are uninsured or underinsured and meet income criteria.

For more information about free Pap tests call San Juan Basin Health Department at 264-2409, Ext. 25, or Pagosa Women's Health 264-2218.

 

 Outdoors

Colorado lynx program featured in National Geographic Magazine

The Colorado Division of Wildlife's Canada lynx reintroduction project is featured in an article in the January issue of National Geographic Magazine. The edition is now on newsstands.

The story explains the history of the project and describes how the lynx population is being re-established in the Colorado Rockies, an area where the lynx once lived. Before reintroduction started in 1999, the last recorded sighting of a lynx in Colorado was in 1973.

The article was written by Daniel Glick, a Colorado-based writer and author who specializes in environmental topics. His stories have appeared in numerous national magazines. Glick worked with researcher Tanya Shenk, wildlife pilots and the lynx field crews to gain insight into this project.

In the article Glick writes that the reintroduction program "is now recognized as one of the most ambitious and thriving carnivore reintroductions in the nation."

Tim Holeman, public affairs director for the DOW, said the agency is honored to be featured in one of the world's most prestigious magazines.

"The lynx reintroduction program represents an important long-term conservation effort by the Colorado Division of Wildlife," Holeman said. "It will be several years before we can call the program successful, but we know that lynx are adapting to Colorado's mountains and that the reintroduction is going very well."

Since 1999 the DOW has released 204 lynx in the San Juan mountains; it is estimated that more than 200 are alive. During the last three years, 101 kittens have been born. After April 1, 2006, another 15 lynx will be released. Releases also are planned for 2007 and 2008.

 

SJMA seeks approval of candidates

SJMA (the San Juan Mountains Association) seeks membership approval of the following candidates to serve as directors on the SJMA board: Kathleen M. May (final year of second two-year term); Tim Maher (first year of second two-year term); Richard Robinson and Kent Short (second year of first two-year term); and William J. Warren and Nancy A. McGill (first year of first two-year term).

Directors may serve two consecutive two-year terms.

For additional information or to vote for these candidates, call (970) 3851312 or e-mail sbryson1@earthlink.net. Deadline is January 10, 2006.

For more information on SJMA, visit the organization's Web site, www.sjma.org.

 

Letters

 

Natural enemies

Dear Editor:

Thank you, George, for bringing "freedom and elections" to the Mideast; but could you help me understand why every time they hold elections a group of Muslim fundamentalists win? First in Algeria, (only to be stopped by the military, our current allies, who have butchered thousands); then Iraq (we know how that is going), followed by Egypt (minor change, the opposition thrown in jail), now Palestine where Hamas will likely achieve a significant position.

It's not PC, but there are some basics before advocating political change by invading another Mideastern country. Islam is the unifying blanket over all Arabs. In my opinion, non-American Arabs will always view the world from the priorities of "family, clan, tribe, sect, Islam against all others." These filters are why elections are predictable, death (suicide bombs) and revenge are preferred to cozying up to the West. It doesn't have anything to do with the leftist media, individualism, or Greek derived politics. Islam continually advocates it is the holy duty of every Muslim man to offer only three options to non-believers - death, conversion or subjugation. Islam and Christianity are "natural" enemies as they are both are missionary, conquering religions.

The Special Forces are fighting generalists and now have learned to achieve their global missions using more Peace Corps-like techniques than bullets. These restrictive rules of engagement are set by the Pentagon with the knowledge that "salvation and/or freedom" are much too overreaching terms to be achieved by the military on a national basis. The continually reinforced lesson learned by SF is that the basic right of mankind is personal security, not freedom ("Imperial Grunts" by Kaplan).

Regardless of the current war effort in Iraq, some outcomes are most likely: Iraq will be tri-partitioned, if not in reality then by virtue of militias and control of the oil by Shias, Sunnis and Kurds; and Al Qaeda is planning another U.S. attack.

The war against terrorism was never centered in Iraq. What we created by spending lives and hundreds of billions of dollars there are many more trained terrorists and Homeland Security took four years to apply Risk Management 101 techniques to budget allocations.

Dave Blake

 

Vets need help

Dear Editor:

Colorado veterans need help from Congress coping with the serious illnesses they contracted in the line of duty. I hope Senator Ken Salazar will join his colleague Senator Wayne Allard and 12 national veterans' organizations and support a bipartisan effort to enact relief for veterans by passing the Fairness in Asbestos Injury Resolution (FAIR) Act, or S. 852.

The legislation hits the Senate floor this January and it comes not a moment too soon. Twenty or 30 years after the fact, many veterans have discovered the harmful effects of the asbestos they were exposed to while working in shipyards, munitions factories or other military facilities. As a result, many veterans developed potentially fatal illnesses and face expensive medical care.

Unable to turn to the courts for help (they are barred by law from suing their employer - the U.S. Government), veterans need action from Congress. Fortunately, there is already bipartisan support for the FAIR Act, a viable solution that can help bring immediate relief to this national problem.

And help is needed now since many veterans have already waited a long time, and, sadly, don't have many years left. Those victims who served in the Second World War, for example, need immediate support. This is impossible for them to receive in the current legal system because of delays caused by massive and convoluted litigation.

The FAIR Act is a common sense approach towards solving veteran's problems and, if passed, it will not change current Veterans Administration benefits. It will also allow families of veterans to receive compensation in the place of the victim and cover family members who may have developed health problems because their relatives unintentionally exposed them to asbestos by carrying home the material.

The FAIR Act will also finance research into the mesothelioma, a deadly disease caused by asbestos exposure .

Unfortunately, this is not just a problem for veterans. The court system is bogged down with hundreds of thousands of lawsuits related to asbestos. Not surprisingly, the courts haven't been able to handle all of the victims' needs. The FAIR Act will address those concerns as well, providing immediate relief to all victims suffering from asbestos related illnesses.

I urge Sen. Salazar to join his colleagues and support The FAIR Act when he has a chance this January because it will help veterans and others who have no where else to turn for support.

James L. Mitchell

South Fork

 

Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

Today

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.

Today and Jan. 6

Pagosa Springs High School Drama Club one-act competition auditions, "The Strength of Our Spirit, The Vision of Anne Frank," by Cynthia Mercati. Today, 3:30 - 5 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 6, 1:30 - 3 p.m. in the PSHS auditorium. Prepare a one-minute monologue. Call Dale Morris for information, 731-3370.

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. 10

The January luncheon meeting of the Archuleta County Republican Women will be held at the Hog's Breath Restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Republican women interested in issues challenging our local, state and federal governments are invited to attend. Please come and get acquainted. The organization welcomes new members, but there is not an obligation to join. Call Barbara at 731-9916 for additional information.

Jan. 11

The preschool story hour (for ages 3 through 5) will be held at Sisson Library at 10 a.m.

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. 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

Family Readers Day will be held at Sisson Library. Call 264-2208 for the time.

Jan. 14

An orientation will be held at Sisson Library at 2 p.m. This is a call for old volunteers and new volunteers. Refreshments will be served.

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. 14

The Four Corners Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter is meeting for lunch at noon at the Durango Doubletree. For more information, contact Celeste Nolen at 264-5674.

Jan. 18

Read to Baby, Sisson Library's program for youngsters 6 months through 2 years, meets at 10 a.m.

Jan. 19

The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County meets at 6:30 p.m. at the Extension Building. The program includes an explanation of Colorado's caucus system. How does it work? Present will be county clerk June Madrid, Republican party chair Bob Moomaw and Democratic party chair Bob Douglan.

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. 25

Seniors will be given a tour of the Ruby Sisson Library.

Jan. 26

Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

 

Community News

Stellar local cast set for classical performance

By Paul Roberts

Special to the PREVIEW

The Winds of the West concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

If your ideal winter gathering is getting together with your neighborhood and community and basking in the uplifting rays of classical music, then Winds of the West is the place to be. The evening will showcase a delightful variety of collaborative performances, sure to charm and engage the audience.

Spotlighting some of the area's top musical talent, the concert features Chris Baum (violin), Harvey Schwartz (piano), Larry Elginer (trumpet), Joy Redmon (flute), Valley Lowrance (bassoon), Tim Bristow (clarinet), Lisa Hartley (flute), Melinda Baum (piano), Natalie Tyson (harp), Carla Roberts (recorders) and Paul Roberts (guitar).

Master of ceremonies John Graves (Pagosa's resident professor of erudition and frivolity), will help stoke the fires of inspiration for this gala event.

Pagosa's rising star, Chris Baum, one of the most sought-after violinists in the area, will perform the Bruch "Concerto in G Minor," accompanied by Melinda Baum on piano. Now in his senior year at Pagosa Springs High School, Baum holds the position of concertmaster for the Durango Youth Symphony and also performs with the San Juan Symphony and the All State Orchestra for Colorado.

Pianist Schwartz, whose musical vision has inspired students for many years, will perform solo Spanish piano pieces from "Suite Espanola," by Isaac Albéniz and an etude by Frederic Chopin.

Flutist Joy Redmon will perform in several ensembles, including a woodwind trio with Valley Lowrance and Tim Bristow; a harp/violin/flute trio with Natalie Tyson; and a violin and flute duo with Chris Baum.

Joining this unique collaboration will be Larry Elginer. Elginer directed one of the top school music programs in the U.S. and has performed professionally for many years. His devotion to the fine arts has significantly enhanced the cultural quality of life in Pagosa.

Throughout history, many parents have believed that music education is important and have made sure their children receive classical music training from a young age. Most of the musical performers for this concert have also been quite active in our community as music teachers, helping people to find the music and rhythm in their lives. Schwartz is one of these performer/teachers.

Schwartz began developing his unique music program in 1981. He moved to Pagosa, 10 years later, and has been teaching piano lessons here ever since. His original method, entitled "The Schwartz Course," is considered a highly enjoyable and successful way for students to quickly gain performance skills through ear training, improvisation and music theory.

"Piano teacher doesn't really begin to describe Harvey," says the parent of one of his student. "Studying music with him is a total experience. He incorporates history, art, math, music appreciation and other subjects into his program. Harvey puts his whole soul into his work."

Come bask in classical elegance as a cast of fine musicians performs a diverse selection of works at the Winds of the West concert.

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

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

Please 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. Through community concerts, recording, touring and educational programs, Elation Center for the Arts strives to serve the people of Pagosa Springs through artistic excellence.

Call 731-3117 for more information.

 

Boosters' auditions, 11 actors needed

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

Come try out your melodramatic acting talents at Pagosa Springs Music Boosters' auditions for Tom Tagggart's "Lily, The Fellon's Daughter," A Gay 90s production set in Boston, Mass., in 1890.

Characters such as Lily Fairweather (as pure as the driven snow), Mrs. Bloodgood (as mean as dirt), Jonas Fairweather (as true as blue) and Craven Sinclair (as poisonous as a toad - The Cad!) are waiting for your performance.

Auditions will be held 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, in the high school auditorium. Adult and high school age actors are needed to fill 11 roles. Readings will be from the script.

For additional information, call Scott Farnham, director, at 264-1280.

 

Two Pagosans elected to Music in the Mountains board

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

Two prominent Pagosa women, Carol Brown and Teresa Huft, have been elected to the board of directors of Music in the Mountains, headquartered in Durango.

"These appointments reaffirm the importance of the Pagosa Springs program to our overall classical music festival," said Jim Foster, past president of the board and also an adviser to the Pagosa Springs steering committee. ""The success and growth of Music in the Mountains in Pagosa is nothing short of phenomenal."

The addition of Brown and Huft brings to three the number of Pagosa residents on the board. Jan Clinkenbeard has been a director since 2003.

Brown has a B.A. in political science from the University of California in Los Angeles. She was a production assistant at the CBS news station there, moving on to various sales and management positions in advertising and retail sales. She later spent 10 years in commercial real estate. She and her husband, David, purchased BootJack Ranch in 1995 and have made their home there since 1999. Founding members of Pagosa Springs Music in the Mountains, they also host the festival's local concerts at their ranch.

Huft has almost 20 years of business experience and an M.B.A. in finance from Texas Tech University. She was co-founder and president of Base2 Systems Inc., an integrated circuit design company based in Boulder, Colo. She and her husband, John, moved to Pagosa as full-time residents in 1997 after building their home on land purchased in 1993. She has been a member of the Music in the Mountains Steering Committee in Pagosa since its inception, and also serves as co-chair of the benefit committee.

Since its launch 20 years ago, Music in the Mountains has built a rich history of classical music, first in Durango and now also in Pagosa Springs. The festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary here this summer.

From its local debut in 2002 with two concerts, the Pagosa schedule has grown to six concerts for 2006 - two with the full festival orchestra - featuring internationally famous performers who have played for audiences all over the world. They include a free family event in Town Park plus a special benefit concert to raise money in support of classical concerts, children's musical events and music scholarships in Pagosa Springs. Musical scholarships for local talent, in-school events and instrument loan programs for youth in school bands are major components of Music in the Mountains efforts in our community.

  

Arts and business topic at SHY RABBIT legal workshops

By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

SHY RABBIT invites you to attend Colorado Lawyers for the Arts, COLA workshops, Arts Business - Act I & Act II, presented by Chris Beall, on Jan. 15. Sessions run 9 a.m. - noon and 1-4 p.m. Cost is $15 per session.

Arts Business - Act I, 9 a.m. -noon.

A set of three, one-hour lectures covering legally-related basic business issues most often encountered by artists. The focus is on issues related to business entity formation, licenses and contracts. These presentations concentrate on establishment of a business entity, formation and regulation of not-for-profit corporations, and on what an artist needs to know about contracts, terms and use of licenses to protect an artist's creative work.

Arts Business - Act II, 1 p.m. -4 p.m.

A second set of three, one-hour lectures that goes beyond the basics presented in Act I. Act II focuses on the commercial heartbeat of the arts world: intellectual property. An artist's work is known as intellectual property (IP), and this unique property is at the intersection of work using the tools of trademark (branding their art, and assuring they are not violating anyone else's trademark) and copyrights (protecting their artistic creation, whether visual art, written materials or music). Also included in this series are the ever-evolving issues surrounding the Internet and its impact on the artist.

The information presented is designed to address a broad scope of issues for artists of all disciplines while also giving new information to attorneys who practice in areas of law that relate to the arts community. CLE credits can be earned by attorneys for attendance.

Class sizes are limited and will fill quickly, so sign up early. Registration fees are nonrefundable.

Call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com for more information or to register. The workshops will take place at The Space @ SHY RABBIT, 333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-4.

 

Intuitive book art workshop at SHY RABBIT

By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

SHY RABBIT invites you to attend Intuitive Book Art: A Workshop with Susan Andersen, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost is $45.

Susan Andersen is known by most as the talented and energetic Exhibits Director for the Durango Arts Center. What is little known is that she is also a highly accomplished artist, selling her work internationally under the name of MarSan. Her soft sculptured "Spiritual Warriors" are made from indigenous primitive materials from around the world, some of which are over 100 years old. Susan also creates unique wood sculptures, abstract paintings, and jewelry.

"I work in abstract because it unveils a story, and often times, reveals a path," said Andersen. "My belief about art is that it either creates, or captures what is past."

Reveal directional pathways and unlock unanswered questions from past experiences or dreams. In the Intuitive Book Art workshop, you can create a very personal, one-of-a-kind book that will forever hold intrinsic value for its maker.

The creative process of intuitive book making exposes a greater understanding of who we are, what path we were created for, and what messages or elements we are missing in our life.

Each book will reflect the individual maker or artisan. Common and uncommon materials are integrated together to create a unique piece of art that will be cherished for more than its esthetic value. The tools needed to create the books will be posted and sent out several weeks before class. Any artist/individual who would like to participate should come to class with one question, dream, relationship or vision that, as of now, has not yet been revealed, answered or understood. The workshop is fun, exciting, revealing and surprising - especially for those with inquiring minds.

Class size is limited and will fill quickly, so sign up early. Registration fee is nonrefundable.

Call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com for more information or to register. The workshop will take place at The Space @ SHY RABBIT, 333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-4.

 

Get entries ready for annual photo contest

By Joan Rohwer

Special to The PREVIEW

Have you been preparing for this year's Photography Contest?

Are your new and exciting photographs matted or framed and ready to hang?

Don't wait until the last minute!

Once again the annual Photography Contest will take place in February at Moonlight Books. Guidelines are available at the bookstore or at Mountain Snapshots.

Deadline date for entries is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Remember to read the guidelines thoroughly to avoid any problems when entering your prize-winning photos. Entry forms must be attached to the back of the entry. Carefully choose from the following categories when filling out the entry form:

- Domestic Animals;

- General Landscape;

- Architecture;

- Patterns/Textures;

- Autumn Scenic;

- Sports;

- Flora;

- People;

- Up Close;

- Winter Scenic;

- Black & White;

- Wild Animals;

- Sunrise/Sunset;

- Special Techniques;

- Open.

  

History informs a

contemporary building

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Peter Coe tends to view his work in an historical context.

Perhaps that is because he has worked on a lot of 18th and 19th century homes in Connecticut and Massachusetts. But Coe's perspective really stretched when he worked as on-site supervisor for an unusual home-building project in the Upper Blanco.

The home is designed around a six-sided living room, which has a spectacular, cribbed log, domed ceiling. Making a whirled ceiling out of a stack of logs is an enormous undertaking, but Coe - whose building projects as well as his wilderness adventures have been featured in several national magazines - is always one to enjoy a creative challenge.

Coe became fascinated with the origins of the cribbed log ceiling when a Navajo carpenter told him that he had seen roofs like this on sacred Navajo dwellings, called hogans.

By studying the kivas at Chimney Rock and Chaco Canyon (major centers of ancestral Puebloan culture between AD 850 and 1250), Coe learned that cribbed log roofs played a significant role in prehistoric architecture of the Four Corners area.

"The Chacoans built cribbed log roofs on their smaller kivas," says Coe. "They built the circular kiva walls, then made the cribbing. Then they filled in the space between the cribbing and the circular walls until the top was level with the plaza."

This level of curiosity and need to seek a deeper level of understanding, is characteristic of Coe. Like many creative people, his interests were encouraged in childhood. As a young boy, he worked alongside his parents as they remodeled their home in Connecticut. This gave him the confidence to design and build his own canoe. Gradually, he became skilled in many areas of woodworking, from cabinetmaking and furniture building, to home construction. Through his college studies in marine engineering and naval architecture, Coe attained knowledge and skills that further developed his abilities.

His home in Canaan, Conn., was built in 1870. By the time he had finished remodeling it, he had rebuilt every floor, wall and ceiling and had decked it out with his custom cabinetry and furniture. When magazine articles about his work began to appear, his services were in high demand throughout New England. Historic houses that he has helped remodel have been featured in Fine Homebuilding and Country Living magazines, and his lushly abundant Canaan, Conn., gardens featured in Food and Wine and Kitchen Garden magazines.

When not building, Coe enjoys exploring the wilderness, playing music and dancing with his wife, Susan. Their slice of heaven is a ranch in Pagosa, where they live with their two dogs, a dome greenhouse and beautiful views of the San Juans.

 

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.

  

Meditation Sunday at UU Fellowships

Sunday, Jan. 8, is a Meditation Sunday at the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

Leader April Merrilee asks, "What better way to welcome the New Year than by participating in group meditation?" She goes on to say, "We shall continue to develop the ability to calm and center ourselves together, and to strengthen the skill of verbally sharing our insights or questions about the meditation experience. Join us for this opportunity to set our intentions for the coming year as individuals and as a spiritual community."

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, 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.

  

Precept Bible study on Exodus to begin

Restoration Fellowship will host a new Precept upon Precept Bible Study beginning 9 a.m. Jan. 19.

The study will be on the book of Exodus. Exodus is a wonderfully practical study of God's Word that contains foundational truths about deliverance, redemption, the Law and the Tabernacle.

Walk with Moses out of Egypt and gain insights for leadership. Observe the judgments of God while delivering His people. Understand the Old Covenant of the Law and how it was given to Israel to help in our understanding of the New Testament. Examine the contents and structure of the Tabernacle of God among His people and catch a glimpse of His holiness. Learn powerful truths about who God is and what His ways are like.

The cost is $21. Contact class teacher Kathy Koy at 731-4568 to register or for more information.

 

Free Pap tests may detect early cases of cervical cancer

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and the Colorado Department of Health and Environment reminds readers that regular Pap tests can save lives.

Free cervical screenings in southwest Colorado are offered through the Colorado Women's Cancer Control Initiative (CWCCI) to women between 40 and 64 years of age without health insurance who meet qualifying income guidelines.

Cervical cancer is one of the most preventable and treatable types of cancer, yet more than 4,000 women die each year from the disease. Forty-five years ago, cervical cancer was the most common cause of cancer death for American women. Since then, the number of cervical cancer deaths in the United States declined by 74 percent due to increased use of the Pap test, a screening procedure that permits diagnosis of pre-invasive and early invasive cancer. If detected in its earliest, noninvasive stages, cervical cancer is nearly 100-percent treatable.

Cervical cancer death rates are higher for Native American and Latina women in Colorado, and the incidence rate is almost two times higher than Anglo women. In addition, Native Americans and Latinas with cervical cancer are usually diagnosed later than Anglo women.

All women are at risk for developing cervical cancer but if you smoke, your risk doubles. The best protection is early detection.

To find out if you qualify for a free Pap test, call San Juan Basin Health at 264-2409, Ext. 25, or Pagosa Women's Health at 264-2218.

 

Women's barbershop chorus begins 2006 season

By Natalie Tyson

Special to the PREVIEW

Mountain Harmony, Pagosa Springs' women's barbershop chorus, will begin rehearsal for its 2006 season at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 16.

The group will meet for two hours every Monday evening at Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St. in downtown Pagosa.

We have a good group already, but we always welcome more. In "'Shop Speak" our harmony is sung in tenor, lead, baritone and bass voices. These equate to first and second soprano, alto and tenor in choral terms. The only requirements are to be able to sing on pitch and to be able to memorize music. Those who can't read music can learn their parts from listening to tapes.

The chorus sings throughout the year for various activities, with highlights for Valentine's Day, Fourth of July and Christmas. The group holds concerts and is planning a special weekend this year with a regional workshop and festival.

For more information, contact Natalie Tyson, director, 731-6273, or Sherry Neill, member (and church secretary), 264-5508.

 

Local Chatter

Remembering the Sparklers and the Rose Parade

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

The 2006 Rose Parade was fabulous, despite being rained upon.

The parade is sometimes referred to as the "eighth wonder of the world" because of the designs and engineering of the floats and, then, the amazing use of organic materials that cover the floats. One of the best TV shows of the year is announcers describing these decorations.

Pagosa Springs made the 1995 Tournament of Roses. It happened this way: Pagosa had a ladies' riding club called the Pagosa Sparklers, and they rode in the 1995 parade. There were 110 entries that year and the Sparklers were number 107. Because they were at the end of the parade, they didn't make TV coverage, for the parade was so long the coverage was cut.

But Mo and Ralph Covell were there for the parade and they cheered and cheered. Probably, there were others from this area because the Sparklers rode in a Durango parade (as well as others) and were on TV.

Donna Kelly was the marshal. Other members were Darlene Archuleta, Ginny Gaywood, Kathy Conway, Diana Delue, Sharman Dennison, Kitzel Farrah, Joyce Heaton, Kelly Lee Kamps, Lyn Norbury, Emily Rogers and Debbie Scarpinata.

To raise the money for the trip, the Sparklers held an auction and dance and raised $4,800. It was a fun auction. Chris House was the auctioneer and did such an entertaining job that people didn't want to dance.

Maybe another ladies' riding club will get started.

Fun on the run

The teenager lost a contact lens while playing basketball in his driveway. After a fruitless search, he told his mother the lens was nowhere to be found.

Undaunted, she went outside and in a few minutes, returned with the lens in her hand.

"How did you manage to find it, Mom?" the teenager asked.

"We weren't looking for the same thing," she replied. "You were looking for a small piece of plastic. I was looking for $150."

 

Community Center News

Success of dance due to efforts of many

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

The center's New Year's Eve dance was a rousing success, with several hundred people enjoying food, music and conviviality, leading up to the midnight countdown.

The tables were decorated with candles, black-on-white tablecloths, silver and gold tinsel, noise makers and party hats. Up in the air was a revolving mirror ball. Even more eye-catching were the large, glittery creations resembling balloon chandeliers. Hanging from the chandeliers were black and white balloons and gold and silver streamers and ribbons. The beautiful ballroom effect generated smiles and oohs and aahs from people as they arrived at the door.

The music by John Graves and Company was alternately lively, romantic, Latin, country, classic. Old favorites like the twist brought so many couples out onto the dance floor that the crowd spilled over on the floor of the gym. Mercy announced that money collected at the dance would go to purchasing more panels for the dance floor and that Bob Grandchamp had agreed to start the ball rolling with a $100 donation. As of this writing, Bob collected $650, which will be used to purchase more dance floor panels.

Mercy and the community center staff would like to thank all those who helped with planning, decorations, food, setting up and taking down chairs and tables, making phone calls, etc. We especially thank Siri Schuchardt, the volunteer coordinator for all the center's adult dances. Siri worked tirelessly to make this event the rousing success it turned out to be. Pam Stokes, the decorating chairman for the dance, designed the chandeliers, and Earl Stokes managed all the mechanics of putting them together. The InStep Dance Club with Deb Aspen and Charles Jackson, provided support, table decorations and dance demonstrations. WolfTracks, Studio 160 and Moonlight Books sold tickets. Mountain Storm Interiors and The Lighting Center provided lighting equipment. Hogues Glass made a permanent donation of mirror squares for the centerpieces. Michael DeWinter loaned us the mirror ball. City Market donated a gift certificate towards food. KWUF helped with publicity. The Town of Pagosa Springs staff gave help and loaned equipment to put up and take down decorations. Thanks also to the Town of Pagosa Springs police officers who were present several times during the evening and who patrolled the area outside the center.

Free yoga class

A Boston television station reports that a study in the annals of internal medicine indicates that yoga may be helpful to those suffering from lower back pain. Some physicians have begun to prescribe yoga for patients with chronic back pain. After two months of doing stretching and strengthening poses, one woman reported that she was able to resume jogging; she had previously had to stop running because of pain in her back. Join the yoga group at the center to experience yourself the benefits of this ancient practice.

The weekly yoga class, conducted by Richard Harris, meets every Thursday at 11 a.m. Bring a towel or yoga mat and dress in comfortable clothes. Call 264-4152 for more information.

ManKind Project

The Mankind Project (mkp.org) and Women Within (womenwithin.org) will present a free interactive drama depicting the seven stages of emotional development at 7 p.m. Jan. 10.

One potential learning point is how adults can learn to live more connected to their feelings and be congruent in their thoughts and actions. Q&A and refreshments will follow. This program is open to all adults.

For more information, contact John Gwin at 731-9666.

Aus-Ger Club

The Austrian/German Club met this morning at the community center. A brunch of scrambled eggs, fruit and muffins was served.

Call the center at 264-4152 for information about this social gathering of Pagosans who share an interest in German language, culture and food. It is not necessary that you speak German to attend and enjoy these gatherings.

Computer Lab news

It's that time of year when every other person you know goes on a diet.

I recently read that losing weight is the most popular of New Year's resolutions. The Internet provides an overwhelmingly huge variety of Web sites to help you in your weight loss effort. A simple Google search on "weight loss" yields 62.5 million hits!

Now that's enough right there to make you reach for a leftover Christmas cookie. Skipping over the obviously poor choices like Eddy's lose-it-fast Web site (guaranteed to help you lose 10 pounds in one week) and Diet and Weight Loss Pills for sale, I concentrated on what looked sensible and safe.

The first site that stuck out was the Food and Drug Administration's fda.gov site where I did a search on "weight loss" and got to another page where I found what seemed to be good advice on meal planning, counting calories and setting attainable goals. While poking around on the FDA site, I was bounced to a Health and Human Services/National Institutes of Health site titled WECAN - Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition. This looks like a truly useful resource for parents and caregivers interested in practical tools to help children 8-13 maintain a healthy weight. By the way, it also includes tips on reducing children's "screen time."

The American Dietetic Association at eatright.org has a tip of the day feature. I read a dozen or so of these and all sounded sensible. Also check out some of the many links on this site to lists of nutrition sites and lists of recommended reading. I was intrigued by "Dieting for Dummies" by Jane Kirby (2nd ed.) and so went to amazon.com where I read ten pages or so. I found lots of interesting information there about carbs vs. protein and sugar facts. Did you know that you can often read portions of books on Amazon after you log in? It's a relatively painless procedure and free. But you might get an e-mail now and then urging you to buy something.

Some sites offer help with calorie counting. See caloriesperhour.com, myfooddiary.com, or sparkpeople.com. The last one is particularly easy to use: you enter a food and serving size and nutrition information pops up.

Lots of sites offer encouragement. There are several which will help you track your weight loss; Weightcommander is one. The price is $10 for a lifetime subscription. You would need to enter your weight each day, and the software keeps track over time of gains and losses. I especially liked this program's tips and support.

The bottom line in all of this is that the old, tired advice seems to still be true. With the exception of the sites where "quick" and "easy" were the operative words, all the sites I visited recommended seeing your doctor, eating a variety of foods, moving more. We already knew all this, but sometimes it's good to hear it again.

Questions about computer use? Call me at 264-4152.

Center's winter hours

The center is now open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday hours will be 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Free Programs/Activities Needed. Do you have a special talent, hobby, or interest that you would like to share - singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, foreign language conversation group, coffee mornings, sports, etc.? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming interest groups. Call Mercy with your ideas, 264-4152, Ext. 22.

Activities this week

Today, Jan. 5 - Aus-Ger Club Brunch, 9-11 a.m.; beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club meeting, 6:30-9 p.m.

Jan. 6 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open (pool and darts), 4-8 p.m. C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Mage Knight, 4-7 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 7 - Raymond Rent-a-nerd free computer fixing, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; youth basketball, 9 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (dodgeball), noon-4 p.m.

Jan. 8 - Church of Christ Sunday service, 9 a.m.-noon; Grace Evangelical Free Church service, 10 a.m.-noon; United Pentecostal Church service, 2-4 p.m.

Jan. 9 - Philanthropy Day, 9-10:30 a.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m. ;C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m. ;Teen Center open (board games), 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Red Cross meeting, 6-7:30 p.m.

Jan. 10 - 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.; PSCCAB meeting, 3:30-5 p.m. ;Teen Center open (movie), 4-8 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45 p.m.-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; ManKind Project workshop, 7-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 - 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 (Uno Attack!), 4-8 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m. ;Democratic Party Steering Committee meeting, 7-9 p.m.

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

 

Senior News

Suggested donation prices change at The Den

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

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

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

Lunches for the congregate meals (including the salad bar) at The Den and the home-delivered meals, will be 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.

Seniors Inc. memberships

Beginning in January, Seniors Inc. memberships for folks aged 55 and older 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 eye glasses, hearing aids, dental expenses, and prescription and medical equipment. Your 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 Seniors Inc. members.

As you can see, the benefits of a Seniors Inc. membership are endless, so stop 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.

Lean on Me

Need a helping hand or an ear to bend?

Susan Stoffer, a professional counselor and a registered nurse, will be available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays in January at The Den. Whether you need support, a friend to listen, or whether it is a health question, Susan is here to help you. She will spend up to a half hour with you, free of charge. (However, if you would like to make a donation, Susan has requested that the donation be made to the senior center.) All appointments are private, with no written records. Either just stop in to chat with Susan, or make an appointment in The Den office for her time. Take advantage of this generous offer from Susan. We can all use a friend, an ear and a helping hand every once in awhile.

Feet were made for walking

The holidays are over and our tummies are full of treats. The new year is here and it is time to get back on our feet. Burn those calories and get exercise along the way. Make walking a part of your every single day.

We have been a little busy and a little lazy with our walk-a-thon here at The Den. But what better time to begin again than with a fresh start of the new year. Put on those walking shoes and get some exercise in the indoor gym at 11:15 a.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

Good for body and mind

The older we get, the more important it becomes to stretch on a regular basis.

Yoga and Qi Gong are two of the best ways to stretch, relax and build strength. Yoga has been changed to Tuesdays at 10 a.m. with Qi Gong remaining on Fridays at 10 a.m. Mark your calendars and join these classes free of charge at The Den to experience a healthier mind and body.

Computer classes

Computer classes for beginners will commence in January on a new day and at a new time. The Den's computer classes will be Wednesdays, 10 a.m.-noon with Becky Herman as the instructor. (And she's awesome as many of you already know.) The Wednesday basic computer classes will be held in the computer lab located in the community center. Conquer your fear of computers or increase your skill level. Surf the Internet or e-mail your grandchildren.

Whatever your goal is, Becky is an excellent instructor and source of knowledge for all.

Spirit Day

We got spirit, yes we do, we got spirit, how about you?

Let's bring back Spirit Day at The Den. On Fridays, wear your Silver Foxes Den T-shirts and sweatshirts (which can be purchased at The Den) to celebrate all the good times and friendships that we have here at our home away from home.

Medicare drug 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 the director, Musetta Wollenweber. Walk-ins without appointments will not be accepted. Call The Den at 264-2167 for an appointment to answer your questions and help you choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Thanks for the flowers

The Silver Foxes Den would like to send a big thanks to James and Tamara Evans from the Flower Cottage. They donated five lovely, fresh flower arrangements and a beautiful centerpiece with flowers and candles. Everyone here at The Den greatly appreciated the added beauty to our dining area and we hope that everyone stops in at the Flower Cottage and welcomes them to the community of Pagosa Springs.

Activities at a glance

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

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

Tuesday, Jan. 10 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 11 - Basic computer class, 10 a.m.

Menu

Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus, all others $5.

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

Today - Lunch in Arboles. Baked ham, whipped yams, green beans with almonds, whole wheat roll and peaches.

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

Monday, Jan. 9 - Baked fish, whipped potatoes, mixed veggies and pineapple mandarin compote.

Tuesday, Jan. 10 - Macaroni and cheese, zucchini and applesauce with strawberries.

Wednesday, Jan. 11 - Roast turkey with gravy, cream of potato soup, carrot salad, tropical fruit and whole wheat roll.

Friday, Jan. 13 - Beef stew with veggies, corn cobettes and biscuit.

 

Veteran's Corner

VSO to open in new location next week

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

A reminder: The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office will officially be in a new location Jan. 9, 2006. It will be located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7. This is the old Bank of Southwest building behind the City Market west store in the Pagosa Country Center.

The office will no longer be in the basement of the courthouse as it has been for many years. The old courthouse has run out of room, with expanding county services. The office will be closed today and tomorrow, Jan. 5 and 6, while I make the move and transition.

Office hours/phone numbers

Office hours will remain the same: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

I will have new telephone numbers so be sure and make a note of them: 731-3837 (voice), 731-3879 (fax), 946-6648 (cell).

Shared location

My new office is in the same location as the Archuleta County Building and Planning Department, Colorado Work Force Center, and the Colorado Driver's License Office. As you enter the building, the VSO office will be straight ahead. You will see a sign next to the door.

The receptionist you'll see on the left as you enter the building works for the building and planning department. Please do not disrupt her work with veteran information questions; just come straight back to the VSO office to see me. I won't have the old dutch doors your so used to seeing, so just knock if the door is closed. There will be some chairs nearby in which to sit and wait if I am busy with a client.

Transport vehicles

VA health care transportation vehicles No. 240 and No. 241 will be kept at the new location. However, the keys will still be at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Dispatch office. So, you will need to pick up the keys first before coming out to the new office location for the vehicles. When your trip is finished, you will return the vehicle to the new location and drop the keys off at Dispatch, like before.

Share-A-Ride

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

Durango VA Clinic

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

Further information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7. The office number is 731-3837, the fax number is 731-3879, cell phone is 946-6648 and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

 

Library News

Thanks for all of the help in reopening the library

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

There are so many people to thank for the work of reopening the new library and the December festivities.

A special thanks to Cathne Holt with her Cents for Sisson Greeters at the entrance of the library on Nov. 12.

The grand reopening would not have been the fun it was without Lisa Hartley's Pagosa Pep Band providing the cheering musical start! Thanks to all of the high school students who came out on the drizzling morning to give us a send off. And a special thanks to Dave Krueger, one of our new trustees, for playing with them.

Thanks to Kate Terry, our longtime volunteer for her words of wisdom on the podium, along with thoughts of the past and the future from Mayor Ross Aragon and Archuleta County Commissioner Mamie Lynch.

Thanks to former librarian Lenore Bright for snipping the ribbon along with former trustee Joan Rohwer.

Treats from the Pagosa Bakery were enjoyed throughout the day.

The grand opening in the kid's room included delightful story renditions from Warren Grams, our fire chief, Bob Grandchamp, our undersheriff, Mary Jo Coulehan from the Chamber, and Police Chief Don Volger. We thank you all for charming the children.

Outside of the Children's Room, Rada Neal's Children's Chorale delighted us, especially with "SMILE!" Bob Bigelow's sixth-grade hosts and attendees provided a special note of warmth in Meagan's Place, our pre-teen room.

And a deep thank you to Ken Morrison who both went to Santa Fe to pick up the Hershey chairs, and did yeoman's work in moving speaker's platforms. We appreciate the help so much.

John Clay did a huge amount of work in moving the "mini-library" which was packed by Donna Geiger (who may as well join the staff full-time, she contributes so much and is so constant in her help), Carrie Weisz, Donna Gregory, Jim and Margaret Wilson, and John and Marilyn Dahn. We could not have moved without all of you.

Our shelf builders, Jeff Schaupp and Tom Hanff, made it possible for us to put the books up!

And thanks to all of you who labored so graciously and lovingly through the week before the opening, so there could be an opening: April Thomas, Josie Hummel, Maggie Hart, Carol Dillard, Susan Dussell, Ben Bailey, Marti Capling, Chris McCracken, Lorrie Church, Mo Covell, Sara Wilson, Carrie Weisz, Marilyn and John Dahm, Mary Nickels, Donna Geiger, Nettie Trenk, Barb Elges, Darlene Wilson, Kathy Hamilton, Gayle Reedy, Andrea Garrett, Kelsey Lyle, Jim and Margaret Wilson, Patty Stoeppleman, Donna Gregory, Darlene Wilson, Dru Sewell, Jeanne Alexander, Stephanie Hicks, and once again, our dear Kate Terry. (If I have missed anyone, you didn't sign your volunteer hour sheet.)

The library staff, Peggy Bergon and her daughter Maddy and friends, Jackie and Peter Welch, David Bright, Nancy Cole, Shirley Iverson, and Barb Draper knocked themselves out. They really showed their stuff and I was proud of all of them, and grateful to and for them.

Likewise, the community made the holiday celebration on the 17th of December a fun and festive treat for everyone. Kudos to Gayle Reedy and Kathy Hamilton and all of their elves for taking on the task of decorating the library, the library tree and setting up the lovely entrance exhibit! Thanks to Marsha Silver for loaning her lovely menorahs and to Natalie Tyson for adding the exquisite Russian Christmas eggs to the exhibit.

The readings of the "Polar Express" by Mary Webb and Kathy Hamilton brought joy to a bunch of kids.

Susan Garman and her Pagosa Pretenders and "A Good Day to Fly" were a pleasure for all of us. Thanks to Brad Iverson, Ashley Iverson, Veronica Feder, Jaclyn Harms and Brett Garman.

Then we had a very special treat when the Rivas families came and regaled us with spirited Spanish Christmas music. Thanks to the Josephs, both Jr. and Sr., Lila and Lester, Hank and Marie, Kimberly and April Clark. The music was wonderful, and we loved Charlotte Archuleta leading us in the rhythm clapping. What fun.

Doug Anderson and Sara Pino volunteered the lovely chocolate chiffon cake that was stacked like boxes of presents. It was beautiful, and enjoyed by all. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness.

Dot Jones, June Geisen, Betsy Gill, Scottie Gibson and Linda Bennett guarded the cake and punch while they sold raffle tickets for the gorgeous quilt donated by the quilters. Ultimately the raffle garnered almost $1,000 for the library and we are so grateful for the donation and the work.

Finally, the Mountain Harmony Singers, led by Natalie Tyson, completed a joyous day with songs of Christmas, Chanukkah, Kwanzaa and Yule. We thank you for your delightful performance, Jade Addison, Paula McFaddin, Bonnita Lynne, Karen Harper, Lillian Steele, Alice Jelinek, Betty Reid, Robby Reidy, Pat French, Kimberlee Hutcherson and Sherry Neill

I must also include, in this litany, special thanks to Ellen Wadley for her continuing work on the library's new Web site, www.pagosalibrary.org.

And, thanks to shelvers like Patsy Broiles and Mo Covell who have come in and taken on the tasks at hand, while I got myself organized re. the volunteers. On Saturday, the 14th of January, at 2 p.m., we will have a winter volunteers orientation. A social hour will follow. I will write more about this in next week's column.

It does, indeed, take a village to run a library or at least to make it a vibrant, wonderful community home. And, on behalf of the trustees and the staff, and all of the community who uses the library and attends its programs, I say thank you!

 

Arts Line

Full workshop schedule ahead at PSAC

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

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

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

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

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

Learn the basics, especially the things you need to know about materials and techniques to begin the process of creating your own works of art. With two instructors, there is plenty of individual attention and assistance.

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

Beginner's oil painting

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photography club

The Pagosa Photography Club will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, in the arts room at the community center.

This month's program will include a presentation by Wendy Saunders on how to market your photography.

Monthly photo competitions are held during each club meeting. The two competition categories are the theme category and the open category, where any subject is allowed. This month's theme is "Holidays." Members may enter one print in each category. Ribbons are awarded in each category to the top three prints, as voted by the members.

The photography club meets the second Wednesday of each month during the club year from September through May.

Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend at no charge for the first meeting. Any and all are invited to join for a modest annual fee.

For more information, contact club president Jim Struck at 731-6468 or jim@perfassoc.com

Mion workshop

An internationally known artist and illustrator, Pierre Mion worked with Norman Rockwell for 12 years, and will teach a winter watercolor workshop beginning Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The first day will include an outdoor photo class, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Students will meet, then carpool to Pierre's favorite winter scene photo locations throughout the day, breaking for a group lunch at a nearby restaurant. Photos will be developed and the students will meet 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. for indoor painting classes Feb 21-23 at the community center.

Price of the workshop is $240 for PSAC members and $265 for nonmembers. (The extra $25 will automatically give you a one-year PSAC membership.)

The first day we will met at the Alco Sparking lot at 9 a.m. and go out to shoot photos of snow scenes around the area. After lunch at a local restaurant at noon, we'll continue photographing through the afternoon.

During classes in the arts room at the community center we will paint from our and/or Pierre's photos. Bring your lunch.

An optional fifth day, Friday, Feb. 24, will be available for $60 per person, and will require at least four students.

All levels of students are welcome. You will receive a lot of individual attention and assistance.

We have a lot of fun in these workshops; ask anyone who has taken one.

Sign up early because this workshop is limited to 10 students. Sign up by calling PSAC at 264-5020. For further information on supplies, etc., call Pierre at 731-9781.

Drawing with Davis

There will not be a January drawing class, but Randall Davis will teach this popular Saturday drawing class again in February. So, mark your calendar for the third Saturday of the month, Feb. 28.

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 Pagosa-arts.com. Hurry ... the calendar is rapidly filling up for the 2006 season.

 

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.

February 15, 21, 22 and 23 - winter watercolor workshop with Pierre Mion, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

March 1-3, - 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 (psac@centurytel.net). We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Artsline. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.

 

Food for Thought

Plan your menu now ... the end is near

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

Some situations sharpen the appetite better than others.

You've experienced this, haven't you? Senses are piqued, perceptions are expansive, every aspect of being is enlivened, made electric, distinct.

Food tastes better, deeper, richer.

Nothing produces this condition more effectively than a bit of excitement - agitation and activity give way to a surge of appetite, and the consumption of food produces a wave of endorphins.

A precious cycle: excitement to satiation.

The equation is clear: Agitation plus the right eats equals enhanced gustatory pleasure. Therefore, ultimate agitation should equal ultimate eating pleasure. A big blast of adrenaline-driven nervousness should create optimum eating conditions and maximum endorphin-soaked pleasure, right?

So, let's get to it. You want the primo food experience?

Answer this question.

What are you going to eat just before THE END OF THE WORLD?

I've been assured by a number of people that THE END OF THE WORLD is just around the corner. I've had different cataclysmic scenarios thrown at me, but the upshot is the whole shebang is ready to fly apart. It's inevitable, it's imminent and it ain't gonna be pretty.

Aliens are rocketing toward the earth inside a fake planetoid in order to battle with a race of small but powerful gray beings who live in the bowels of the earth. This orb of ours is doomed, kids. What is now solid and sensible will soon be chaotic plasma.

Or, the cosmic fabric will soon be ripped by a profound supernatural imbalance. The space-time continuum is about to be shredded like a piece of cheap wrapping paper at a the orphanage Christmas party. There are at least ten dimensions and we are about to experience every one of them, first hand.

Or, an asteroid is shooting through cold, dark space - a sinister glob of icy stone is hurtling toward a collision with a small town in the Ohio River Valley. It's ice age time boys and girls, and only the voles will survive.

Or, a tectonic tango is about to begin, with the plates in the earth's crust on the cusp of a wild geologic dance, set to grind away all traces of human existence. Mountain ranges will rise and fall in a moment's time, seas will change location, the magnetic poles will reverse, Vancouver will cease to exist.

Or, cult-crazed berzerkers are going to empty petri dishes full of mutant organisms into the atmosphere and we'll all grow tails then die.

Or, a brutal one-world government will take control of all aspects of human society and force the entrapped populace to watch Jerry Springer reruns on television, 24-hours a day. We'll all grow tails, then kill ourselves.

Or, there's those darned chem trails being spewed into the atmosphere by commercial and military aircraft, the concoctions designed to make us vote Republican. For sure, we'll kill ourselves.

Pick a scenario, any scenario.

One way or another, it's gonna happen. It's grim.

So, let's cheer up and conceive a Millennium Menu, so we can deal with our inevitable demise with brains awash in endorphins.

You've got a few hours left and you're hungry.

Hmmm. What's it gonna be?

I asked my wife this question and she answered immediately, in her typical down-to-earth way. She should have been Amish.

"Pot roast, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes."

A bit Norman Rockwell, but very comfortable. All the males will wear bow ties, all the females will sport frilly aprons, all the kids will be rosy-cheeked, well-scrubbed and on their best behavior.

I posed the END OF THE WORLD menu question to a grumpy colleague . He muttered for a moment then constructed his ideal last meal.

"Hot links, with chile, chopped onions, sauerkraut and cheese - Monterey jack. And there need to be some outrageous beans involved too. Really spicy. I'd dump the whole garlic thing into them."

I should have known: Leave it to this guy to come up with a tailgate party prior to the final moment.

Another friend needed time. He wouldn't succumb to impulse with such a grave matter at hand. Academic guy that he is, he pondered an answer for two days. He took notes, made charts, agonized over his choice.

Finally, he decided he would opt for a breakfast, THE END OF THE WORLD being, in a manner of speaking, the start of a brand new day.

He selected an omelet, "with all kinds of good Mexican spices, and jalapenos. And grits (Southerner to the end!) on the side. I'll need some strong coffee. Make it Colombian."

Good choice of beverage; if you are going to take part in the ultimate disaster, you should be wide awake, nerves buzzing with a monumental hit of caffeine.

I too had some trouble making my choice.

When you spend most of your time thinking about food, it is difficult - even when faced with THE END OF THE WORLD - to select one dish as the last you will taste, as the last fuel for the paramount endorphin experience.

I took considerable time paring down my options.

Lamb vindaloo.

Tuna sashimi and some sushi - tuna, yellowtail, eel and shrimp - with shoyu and wasabi.

Carpaccio of salmon with slivered onion and capers, like they serve at old what's his name's place just a few blocks from the Louvre.

Duck confit, in a cassoulet.

Lobster thermidor (a tip of the hat to tradition).

Molé, complex, dark, irritatingly equatorial.

Filet of turbot with a simple sauce of butter and parsley.

All excellent choices, but then it struck me: Considering my extraordinary immaturity, why not retreat to childhood, to something fraught with sentimental value, gloriously alive with taste?

There's only one place to go ... back to Aunt Hazel, and the stuffed rigatoni recipe she learned from Dewey Bellodi. A fat kid's delight - and the perfect way to fill up, to carbo load prior to THE END OF THE WORLD.

I used to help Aunt Hazel put this beauty together when I was a kid. I stood on a chair next to her kitchen table, steam fogging the thick lenses of my glasses, my little fingers busy stuffing the pasta, watching Aunt Hazel as she fussed and streaked around the kitchen chopping ingredients, tending pots, slamming oven doors. I fumbled with the pasta as I listened to her chatter about the people next door who had drinking problems and no wonder their two sons were in reform school and there was never a sight so incredible as the procession down The Mall during Queen Elizabeth's coronation. Let them say what they will Karl, but the Royal Family is the cornerstone of civilized society. When they go, the mundane will triumph.

Indeed, but not even the Royal Family can delay THE END OF THE WORLD.

You'll need some time to prepare this dish, so let's hope THE END OF THE WORLD involves an asteroid and you have a bit of advance notice. Some people will run out to loot stores in order to get in a day or two of high definition television before Zero Hour. Others will cook, crack the best bottle of wine they own, and eat.

Try to get to the grocery store before mass panic sets in and rioters destroy the joint. Pay for what you need: granted, it's a mere gesture at this stage of the game, but good manners are a blessing during a crisis, the mark of a higher kind of being.

Make a meat mixture of half high quality do-it-yourself ground beef and half ground pork (oh, wait, the lights are about to go out, so who cares about saturated fats and cholesterol - make it hot Italian sausage), salt and pepper, lots of minced garlic, oregano and basil, chopped Italian parsley, some freshly grated Parmesan, a beaten egg and enough fresh, milk-dampened breadcrumbs to knit it all together.

Since time is limited, purchase a bottle of decent spaghetti sauce.

Make a couple cups of bechamel. Use lots of butter, whole milk and cream (refer to saturated fat and cholesterol, above). Season with salt and pepper and a touch of freshly ground nutmeg.

Cook medium-size rigatoni until half done. Do not cook all the way to tender, since this dish is going to bake in the oven. But, given the circumstances, if you make a mistake and the rigatoni is bit overdone, who's gonna complain?

Cool the rigatoni (time's a wasting, so cool the pasta in cold water, then drain).

Carefully stuff each rigatoni with the meat mixture and place in a single layer in a greased baking dish. If there is a chubby little gap-toothed guy in the house, enlist his aid and yap relentlessly about members of a syphilitic German family who ascended to the throne of England then changed their name during World War I to hide their identity and save their sorry rear ends. Add that they remain royalty however and, thus, are better than the alternative. Note the size of the males' ears.

Spoon a layer of white sauce over the rigatoni and top with dollops of spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 for at least an hour and a half.

I intend to serve the stuffed rigatoni with some warm crusty bread, a carload of butter, and a plate of greens, dressed with a simple vinaigrette.

I'll load my plate and go out on the deck.

I'll pop the top on that bottle of snooty Cabernet I've been saving for a special occasion (and, whoo boy, is this gonna be special!), sniff, swirl, savor the legs, note the lush berry-riddled bouquet ("with chocolate overtones and a rich oaky base"), pet the dog, give Kathy a smooch and sit back in my favorite chair.

Just as the fiery glow appears in a suddenly dark sky, just as the approaching shock wave crests Nipple Mountain and the Continental Divide, I'll experience a blast of adrenaline, shovel in a mouthful of those gorgeous rigatoni and ...

Extension Viewpoints

Commit now to a winter exercise program

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Jan. 5 - Shady Pine Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Jan. 6 - Colorado Mountaineer Club meeting, 2:15 p.m.

Jan. 6 - Session 1, 4-H Friday, Methodist Church, 2-4 p.m.

Jan. 10 - Rocky Mountain Rider Club meeting, 6 p.m.

Jan. 10 - Junior Stockman Club meeting, Chromo, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 11 - Pagosa Peaks Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Seedling application

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

Winter exercise

It is winter and it is cold outside. Getting up early in the morning to exercise when it's dark never seems like a very good idea at this time of year. Staying in bed where it is warm seems much more appealing. So how can you continue your exercise program in the winter and not lose all the progress you've made? New Year's resolutions often revolve around starting exercise programs during this time of year as well. The challenge is to make the decision to do it and be consistent throughout the year, no matter what the weather is like.

Right frame of mind

Make up your mind to be more active each day. It has to be a priority. Set a time and don't let anything get in the way. It doesn't have to take long periods of time. Studies show that several sessions of physical activity during the day give benefits similar to one longer session. If time is limited sneak in a quick 10 minutes in the morning, take a 10-minute walk at lunch and another 10 minutes in the evening. The recommendation is at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily in order to obtain health benefits such as decreased risk of heart disease and better blood sugar control for diabetics. For weight loss the recommendation is about one hour of exercise very day. Do things you already do more vigorously during the day for added benefits such as:

- Make extra trips up the stairs.

- Park further away from your destination.

- Shovel the snow yourself rather than having someone else do it.

- Turn on some lively music and dance while you vacuum.

- Don't just sit while watching TV; use this time to lift weights, do stomach crunches or something that will build muscle or burn calories. Building muscle gives the added benefit of boosting metabolism, which burns more calories.

Exercising outdoors in the winter (try skiing, snowshoeing, running or walking) can be invigorating. Dress in layers of breathable clothing to provide insulation that can be adjusted as you get warmer. Don't forget to drink water. You may want to warm up indoors if you can. Do a little exercise to increase your body temperature, and then go outside.

Exercise at home

Consider purchasing some inexpensive exercise equipment such as weights, an exercise ball or jump rope or exercise programs on video or DVD. It probably isn't a good idea to purchase expensive equipment unless you're sure you'll use them. Many people spend money on gimmicky equipment and then lose interest in it. It clutters the house and eventually ends up in a garage sale. The important thing to do is to find something you enjoy doing that you will stay with.

Vary the types of exercise to help maintain your enthusiasm. For example, walk on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Then try Pilates, bicycling or another activity that you enjoy on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. Set your goals so that they are achievable. If they're too high you might get discouraged and give up.

Maintain a good diet

Be aware of what and how much you are eating. It's very easy to eat too much of the high calorie foods that are available during the winter months. Overeating and inactivity are a recipe for weight gain. Include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean meat choices as much as possible. Avoid foods and beverages that are high in fat and sugar. Watch portions - try filling half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with meat and a quarter with starch. Eat fruit for dessert. Make what you eat count towards the needed servings from the food guide pyramid.

Keeping active and fit all year round may not be easy but it is possible if you set your mind to it. The benefits are both physical and psychological. If your goal is be more fit by summer, exercise, healthy food choices and portion control will help you to achieve it.

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension provides unbiased, research-based information about family and consumer issues, gardening, natural resources, agriculture and 4-H youth development. As part of a nationwide system, Cooperative Extension brings the research and resources of the University to the community.

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

 

Pagosa Lakes News

Be aware of ice condition on PLPOA lakes

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

A very happy new year to each and every one. May you be blessed with health and peace.

The Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center is a busy hub these days, selling 2006 recreation center memberships and 2006 fishing permits.

While warm-weather fishermen snuggle up to their fireplaces, the hardy breed of ice fishermen take to the ice and wind. Savvy ice fishermen tell me that winter shadows and low temperatures make hungry fish that lurk in the clear water under the ice. Trout, in particular, favor these colder, quieter months and are "suckers" for a fat worm wriggling from a hole in the ice.

Before taking to the ice, purchase a fishing permit. Be sure to check all regulations and confirm fish species possession and size limits.

In ice fishing, safety is the main concern. Ice develops on a lake in a little different way than in your freezer at home. When the water reaches 32 degrees F, water molecules cluster together and eventually become a solid. As the air temperature drops, the water underneath becomes ice. The ice thickens downward from the water's surface.

The general rule of ice thickness: two-inch thick ice is not suitable for an angler; three- to four-inch ice is borderline for an angler of average weight; five- to six-inch ice will support most fishermen. If there are several anglers, six- to 10-inch ice will support the additional weight. The criteria for safe ice is five inches and clear.

One has to be careful, as there is more than one type of ice. It is important to recognize these differences to make safe judgments. Safe ice is formed when temperatures drop and consistently stay cold for an extended period of time - when a layer freezes on the water's surface and works its way downward. The layer of ice on the surface insulates the water below and only bitter cold air above will penetrate to form thicker ice. Safe ice appears glass-like or translucent when chipped.

Fogged, brittle or blue ice is dangerous. Warm weather causes the ice surface (in most cases, the surface is covered with snow) to melt, only to be refrozen at night. The result is frozen slush on top of ice. The difference in layers, or strata (slush, ice, slush, ice, slush, ice), will appear to be frosted. The ice is dangerous when formed from the surface and its thickness is enhanced from above in the form of precipitation.

Later in the season, the ice becomes unsafe when the ice is sitting lower in the water. As the weather becomes warmer, the ice becomes unstable and develops many cracks. The once strong, stable ice that was lighter than the water below becomes heavier due to melting. The ice has achieved equilibrium with the water below, causing it to become heavier, less buoyant and no longer able to float as it did earlier in the season. The ice will now sit lower in the water and appear blue.

There is a fair bit of ice fishing activity taking place on our lakes. Those ice fishermen who were contacted were experienced anglers and had tested the ice as they went out by drilling holes and, because of the ice's thickness, determined that it was safe.

There is also some ski-skating and ice-skating taking place on Lake Forest and Lake Pagosa. Ice conditions in those particular areas being used is good (and regularly monitored by the users). But conditions near the aerators is not safe. Any time you are on the ice, you do so at your own risk. Old tracks on the surface of the lakes are just that it's no guarantee that conditions are safe for you at that point in time.

If you see a situation where you feel there is a safety issue on the lakes, such as unattended children, people too close to open water aerator holes (within 75 feet), free- running dogs, etc., call dispatch at 264-2131 and someone will be sent to investigate. If someone has fallen through the ice, call 911 immediately - do not attempt a rescue yourself.

 

Obituaries

 

William Branch Jr.

William Edward "Ed" Branch Jr. died Jan. 1, 2006, in Sulpher, Okla.

Ed was born Dec. 8, 1937, in Sulpher, to William Edward Branch and Lorene King Branch. He moved to Arizona where he attended school in Holbrook. He served in the U.S. Navy and married Sandara Sue Crawley, of Cortez, Colo. He lived in Sulpher then moved to Colorado, where he lived in Pagosa Springs until 1996, making his living as an upholsterer. He moved from Pagosa, back to Sulpher, Okla., in 1996.

He is survived by his wife, Sue, of Sulpher; daughter Liz McClure, of Sulpher; sons William Edward Branch III, of Midway, Calif., and Douglas Branch of Rye, Colo.; three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A service was held Jan. 4, 2006 at Midway Hill Baptist Church in Sulpher, Rev. Willard McCartney Jr. officiating.

 

Antonia Rosa Martinez

Antonia Rosa Martinez, 80, died of natural causes Friday, Dec. 30, 2005, at her home in Durango. Recitation of the Rosary and visitation were held on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006, at Hood Mortuary Chapel. A Mass of Christian Burial was Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006, at St. Peter-St. Rosa Catholic Church in Arboles. Msgr. Daniel Huber of St. Ignatius Catholic Church officiated. Burial took place at Rosa Cemetery in Arboles.

Mrs. Martinez was born Oct. 12, 1925, in Antonito, Colo., the daughter of Alfonso and Trinidad Mercedes (Garcia) Montano. She grew up and graduated from high school in Pagosa Springs. She worked for Hersch's Dry Goods in the 1940s and remembered when they had to ration food and supplies at the store for the war effort. She met Antonio "Tony" Jose Martinez soon after and they were married on Aug. 25, 1947, in Lone Tree, Colo. They moved from the area to Wyoming for his road construction job. Then, in the early 1950s, they moved back to the Durango area and she remained at home, raising her family. On occasion, she would help her husband with some of his construction jobs. She enjoyed embroidery, cooking, sewing, making and collecting earrings, fishing, hunting, pinon picking and watching the sport of boxing. She was a devoted Catholic church member.

She is survived by Teofilo Martinez (son) of Ignacio, Eugene Martinez (son) of Durango, Bernard Martinez (son) of Bayfield, Mercedes Jones (daughter) of San Diego, Calif., Pauline Martinez (daughter) of Durango, Maria Martinez (daughter) of Durango, Marcella Martinez (daughter) of Gallup, N.M., Victor Montano (brother) of Pagosa Springs, six half brothers and sisters, five grandchildren, one great-grandchild, and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband in 1995, one grandchild, one sister, and three brothers.

 

 Business News

Chamber News

AEDA offers Leading Edge training course, business plan competition

By Bart Mitchell

Special to The SUN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Chamber News

Some thoughts on the Chamber, new year

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

Are we ready to have a great 2006, or what?

I am and here's why:

When I went to Mississippi, I went there to try and help when and wherever possible. In turn, the people there ended up helping me.

Let's go back to the evening of our arrival in D'Iberville. Immediately upon entering the city we attended a D'Iberville Chamber of Commerce board meeting. This was their first meeting since the hurricane hit in August. The theme of the meeting was how were they going to reorganize, build membership, and what kind of fund-raising opportunities might be available.

Switch to another conversation that I was having with our hostess and business owner, Nancy Walters. My questions to her as a past Chamber board president were, "Why would people want to join the Chamber when they have limited funds, what do you offer your members, and what do you stand for?" My questions to her prompted me to think about these questions in relation to our town.

We are a unique community in the fact that we have over 750 members in our Chamber of Commerce. That is one of the highest per capita memberships in the state. But it's not just about the numbers, it's about the involvement of the businesses. Often, when people are looking to join, they ask, "What are you going to do for me?" Many businesses think if they don't get a certain number of chamber referrals, then it's not worth it for them to continue to be a member. But a Chamber is more than just referrals. Of course, we are one of the first resources that visitors and potential new residents come to as they research the community. By being associated with the Chamber, you have your business listed in the printed directory and on the Web site directory, with a direct link to your Web site, if you have one.

This listing to a "shopper" means that you care enough to be involved in the business community. If you are not a Chamber member, will this hurt your business? Maybe so, maybe no. But, if not, then you ride the coattails of those businesses that are working hard to create a supportive business environment and whose support is "plowed back" to yield community benefits through central advertising that, in turn, increases visitor numbers and through community events and public exposure.

These Chamber businesses have created a network of contacts, interactions and referrals. When you attend a Chamber function such as the annual meeting or a SunDowner, you network. You not only have fun, but you make contacts for your business or perhaps refer one of your customers to another business. These events are great for introductions and building relationships. Referrals not only come from the Chamber but the people and businesses we know and trust.

Our Chamber of Commerce is here to improve our businesses and our town. We are here to promote the Pagosa Springs area as both a travel and relocation destination; to unite area commercial and civic interests by supporting collective activities that promote the welfare of the entire community; encourage cooperation and camaraderie among all members and strive to be the energizing force in the community to achieve positive development and economic stability throughout the area.

In 2006, we are working on ways to increase visitor numbers through special events we sponsor and special events that other organizations sponsor. For June, typically, a semi-soft visitor month, we are looking to hit the ground running June 10-11 with the new music festival, Indie Fest, then look to the bike tours near the latter part of June. For fall, Colorfest is being revamped and improved upon and now Winterfest is adding some different activities. In addition to the hot air balloons, the ice fishing tournament and the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race, we have added a winter triathlon up at the Wolf Creek Ski Area. And while it may not happen this year, we are also working on a snowmobile tournament.

Here's the catch, though: While we are a good group of people down here at the chamber, we're not the be all and end all — we're three people! We can't do these activities without your help, support, ideas and involvement. I have an idea, but I have never been on a snowmobile! I can't run this event without some expert advice. I want to showcase our restaurants, caterers and subsidiary businesses with the resurrection of the Taste of Pagosa, but I need business input and expertise to get the biggest bang for our community buck. There has been lots of interest in a growers or farmers market during the appropriate seasons; I have a location in mind to involve the west side of town and lots of ideas concerning the project, but I need some interested involvement!

At a social event the other evening I was commenting on how I would like to see more of town from the Bell Tower Park to the River Center lit up during the Christmas season. Not only would the Chamber light up at the beginning of December but the businesses could light up in segments throughout the town at this same time. A business owner suggested not only lighting up at Christmas but for the winter season, maybe until Winterfest. How unique and beautiful would that make our town to the visitors who come through? It's just an idea, and it's a start, but it takes involvement.

In 2006 we will start working on "branding" for our community. Last year we received lots of "tag lines." We will take these ideas and those from our professional marketing firm and work on giving Pagosa more of an advertising identity . This will be a new process and we hope the community will have fun and grow with this endeavor.

The Chamber is also in the process of revamping our membership data base information. We have just purchased a new data base system intended to streamline our work and enhance your benefits as Chamber members. We will provide better and more timely communications to our members and our record-keeping systems will improve. With so many members and so many different publications and lists available, this system will cut down on the potential for mistakes and things falling through the cracks. Please bear with us as we move through this transition period, and know we are thrilled at what we will be able to offer you the next few months.

We will enhance our newsletter to keep you up to date on changes in the community, region or state that might affect your business. We will have a section of business tips, and we will also have a section dedicated to customer service tips (after all, we are in the customer service industry, no matter what business we have).

We have always been committed to helping your businesses grow and in being one of the cogs of the community wheel. However, for me, it was this trip to D'Iberville that gave me an even clearer sense of what a Chamber means to a community. I believe that our Chamber of Commerce is the central organization equipped to promote our community and work with businesses to improve economic viability. I went to Mississippi hoping to add a grain of sand to the beach of help, but I came back with more than I think I gave. Thank you D'Iberville.

Nomination forms

Just one more gentle reminder: You have until Monday, Jan. 9, to submit your nomination forms for the Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Forms have been rolling in, with some great nominations. It will be an honor to announce this year's winner at our Chamber annual meeting and party Saturday, Jan. 21. This year's function with a western theme will be held at the community center with festivities starting at 6 p.m. We will have great food provided by Wildflower Catering, a cash bar with beer and wines, and games (including one where you can win a free yearly membership).

We will then have a short meeting during which we will announce winners as well as the Pagosa Pride awards and we will say goodbye to our departing board members. After the awards, we are pleased to have Chamber members, The Bar D Wranglers, perform for us. Then, after the performance, stick around and dance as Hart Productions with Bobby Hart slides in the CDs (doesn't have the same ring as spin the records, but you get the picture) for you to rock, western or slow down to some favorite tunes. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Tickets are available at the Chamber.

One other very important note: Don't forget to vote for the incoming candidates for the Chamber board of directors. If you will not be able to attend the annual meeting, make sure you take two minutes out of your busy schedule and stop by the Chamber to cast your vote for up to three of six candidates for the board. These people commit three years of service to this community and they take these nominations seriously. Please honor them by casting your membership vote. There is only one vote per membership and you can vote in advance or the night of the meeting.

We are looking forward to having a great time at the meeting this year. We have lots of new members and lots of old ones who will make for a great party and networking opportunity. Stop by and get your tickets.

It's about members

Talking about a party, this first new member for 2006 is all about a party and fun: P.S. Just for Fun. Our own Kimberley Swinney has bounce house rentals for all occasions. The castle bounce house is great for birthday parties, family reunions, school or church activities, or just for fun! You think just the kids love it, you should see some of the adults. You can call for pricing information or to reserve a date at 903-0221.

If you want to get ready for a party, then give Susan Kay a call at HAIRitage to get you started. Susan offers a full service hair salon at 561 Dutton Dr. She has men's and women's hair styling, color, highlights, lowlights, perms, and conditioning treatments for damaged hair. She also offers facials, eyebrow waxing, mail services, beard trims, and has free consultations. You can reach her for an appointment at 731-4247. We thank Ann Rasich for referring Susan to the Chamber as a new member. Ann will receive a free admission card for the SunDowner of her choice.

Now we welcome Elkwood Manor and Darlene Gonzales. Elkwood Manor is a luxury bed and breakfast located at 85 Easy St. The Manor is an all-suite facility with accommodations including a private bath and sitting room, panoramic views, an in-room fireplace, decks or balconies, and a gourmet breakfast and evening complimentary wine tasting. They are in Continental Estates which is only about two miles south of town. For reservations or information, check out their Web site, www.elkwoodmanor.com, or give them a call at 264-9166.

We also have Christopher Smith and Wildwood Homes & Properties joining us for the new year. Wildwood is a real estate development company and we thank them for their participation with the Chamber.

Now for renewals.

We start off with Aspen Springs Realty II and Blase Dragna at the helm.

If you purchase a piece of property in Aspen Springs, then you can rely on the Aspen Springs Metro District to take care of your roads out there. We appreciate them renewing.

Next, we have Stan Maddux and Foam Insulation Specialists.

Nathan Thomas, at Talent Financial Services, renews for the year.

We also welcome back Gloria Haines and Century 21, Wolf Creek Land and Cattle Real Estate.

Renewing for the upcoming year is Scott Allen and Mountain Snapshots.

Welcome back to Mike Hanosh and the All State Insurance Agency.

Rounding out the renewals for this first week of the new year, we welcome back Parelli Natural Horsemanship. .

As we start this year with personal resolutions we hope we can keep, we are very excited about the benefits and services we will provide to our members. As always, we grow by listening to our constituents — you. While we may not be able to act on all the suggestions, know that we appreciate the feedback and involvement.

Here's to a successful, profitable and fun 2006.

 

People

Cards of Thanks

 

Casa de los Arcos

Thank you from Casa de los Arcos to the following people and organizations for their generous donations.

Loves and Fishes, as always, for the delicious lunches and the leftovers; Helping Hand for the generous Thanksgiving and Christmas boxes and presents; the LPEA Santa team for the Christmas goodies; Judy James for the delicious fruit tray; Michelle Smith of Satori Boutique and Jenny Blechman of Artemisia Botanicals Company and their delightful girls, Ella, Nina and Molly, for the homemade Christmas cookies.

Sincere thanks for helping us to have a wonderful holiday season from Casa manager Molly Johnson and all the Casa residents.

Molly Johnson

 

Jernigan

This is a heartfelt thank you to the wonderful couple that stopped and came to my rescue this past Sunday morning, Jan. 1, when I was slipping and sliding on North Pagosa Boulevard, trying futilely to get up an icy incline close to Mission Drive.

Even though I never made it to church, I was certainly blessed by the actions of this couple, who went out of their way to come back and get me to safety. I am so grateful to the gentleman, who slipped and slid his way down to my aid, and to his wife who carefully drove their vehicle back down the incline to pick him up. They were certainly my guardian angels that first day of the new year. Thank you so very much for your time and caring for someone you didn't even know.

And, by the way, I am taking very good care of the nice pair of sunglasses you left on my dashboard and would like so much to get them back to you. I hope to hear from you. Please call me at 731-6515. And thank you both again so very much.

Elizabeth (Lyz) Jernigan

 

Engagement

Webster-Pellegrin

Ruby and Joe Jaramillo would like to announce the engagement of their granddaughter, Wendy Webster, of Pagosa Springs, to Ryan Pellegrin of Louisiana. The wedding will be held on Nov. 11, 2006.

 

Locals

Devon L. Owens

Army Pvt. Devon L. Owens has graduated from One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Sill, Lawton, Okla. The training included completion of basic military training and advanced individual training (AIT).

In basic training, the soldier received instruction in drill and ceremonies, weapons, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army history and traditions.

During AIT, the soldier completed the field artillery fire support specialist advanced individual training course. The course is designed to train soldiers to establish, maintain, and operate radio and wire communications and speech security equipment, including encoding and decoding messages using specific line templates; prepare and maintain daily staff journal, fire support situation map, status charts, capability overlay, and other fire support and target processing records; and assist in initiating requests for field artillery, mortar, naval gunfire, and aerial delivered munitions.

Owens is the son of Michael and Diane Owens of Pagosa Springs.

He is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.

 

Sports Page

Pirates look to improve 4-3 mark before league play

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Opportunity comes knocking only once in a while.

It is knocking now for the Pagosa Springs High School varsity basketball Pirates before Intermountain League (IML) play begins Jan. 20 at Bayfield.

This golden opportunity for the black and gold comes in the form of three straight home games with an objective to improve on their 4-3 mark.

The Pirates' last game was Dec. 20 at Piedra Vista High School in Farmington where Pagosa bounced back from a loss to Farmington High School the previous night to beat the Panthers. Led by senior Craig Schutz's 26 points and eight rebounds, the Pirates won easily, 74-52, and now look to keep the momentum going.

Coach Jim Shaffer will have just a few days practice after the long holiday break to work on building some more momentum for the series.

The fun begins Monday night when the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers come to town for a 7 p.m. tipoff. The Panthers bring a 5-4 record into the game with wins against San Juan, Utah; Monticello, Utah; Blanding, Utah; 5A Hinkley from Aurora and 5A Dakota Ridge. The Panthers' losses were to Montwood, Texas; Alamogordo, N.M.; 5A Columbine and to 4A Kirtland, N.M. in "The Gym" by just three points, in overtime. This game will be another tough test for the Pirates and an early indicator of how well they made it through the Christmas cheer.

On Jan. 13, the Pirates host another team with a storied past when the Kirtland Broncos come a callin'. This one also starts at 7 p.m. Coach Brad Lenaburg brings his Broncos in with a 6-4 record with one of the wins against Cortez Dec. 20. Other wins of interest include those over Thoreau, Bloomfield, Rio Rancho and Gallup. Losses of note include those to Durango, Shiprock and Albuquerque N.M. Academy. The Broncos have a full early schedule with five games before coming to Pagosa, one being a home rematch against the Durango Demons who won easily in Durango, by 16 points. The game against the Pirates should be another interesting matchup that Pagosa should win at home.

On Jan. 14, the Pirates host their final game before IML play. The highly anticipated rematch with the Farmington Scorpions will tip off at 7 p.m. The earlier matchup in Farmington Dec. 19 saw a close game with two good teams squaring off and playing to a tie at halftime. Farmington built a four-point third quarter lead, then outscored the Pirates by one in the fourth to take the win. The Scorpions are coming off three straight losses in a Wyoming tournament to Bishop Gorman Nev., Cheyenne East and Campbell County, but will have three home games to recover before coming to Pagosa. They are currently at 6-6 and will look to improve. If this one is anything like the first meeting it will be another barn-burner.

IML league action for the Pirates begins with two road games - one at Bayfield on Jan. 20 and at Centauri Jan. 21.

The Bayfield Wolverines came through the holidays with a deceiving 6-0 record and have three games to play before the home opener against Pagosa. Two of their wins - Farmington and Durango - were against the opponents' junior varsity teams. Action against common opponents includes narrow wins against Gunnison and Piedra Vista, teams the Pirates toyed with. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. and the game should be a fairly easy win for the Buccaneers.

The Centauri Falcons went into holiday break with a 2-2 record. The wins came against 2A Sangre De Cristo and 3A Salida , with losses to 2A Sanford by forfeit and to 4A Alamosa. The Falcons get on the hardwood five times before meeting the Pirates, including their IML opener at Monte Vista Jan. 14. The Pirates should shoot down the Falcons on their home court. Start time is set for 7 p.m.

A fourth straight IML title is Pagosa's to lose. After all, they have lost only two league games in the past three years. At this point, there doesn't seem to be any other IML member who might challenge the Pirates, barring season-ending injury or some other obstacle.

The Ignacio Bobcats currently sit at 4-3, losing to Bloomfield in the finals of the Bloomfield tournament earlier in December. With their outstanding athlete, senior Derek Rodriquez, the Bobcats may be the only team to present any challenge to the Pirates. Rodriquez has been scoring in double figures and is a force to reckon with. The first meeting is Jan. 24 at PSHS.

The Pirates from Monte Vista have a 1-5 record. Monte Vista's only win came against 2A Antonito, with losses to 3A Buena Vista by 41 points, to 4A Alamosa by 48 and to 2A Del Norte by 26. Their league opener at home Jan. 14 against Centauri could be a good indicator of how the rest of the league shapes up.

 

Lady Pirates get three game tune-up before IML begins

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

It's tough to go into a long break after a loss.

The Pagosa Springs High School varsity Lady Pirates will have waited three weeks to get a chance for redemption. Their last round-ball game was Dec. 16 at Kirtland Central, and the Pirates came home with a loss in the books to go into the long holiday break at 4-2.

The first chance to get the kinks worked out was Tuesday night at practice, and Coach Bob Lynch will need to step up the pace as his team hits the road and the hardwood Saturday night to face the New Mexico 3A Bloomfield Lady Bobcats.

The Lady Pirates play three games against New Mexico schools to tune up for Intermountain League (IML) league play starting Jan. 20 at Bayfield.

The first game is at Bloomfield followed by rematches with schools Pagosa faced earlier in the year. The first rematch will be on the home floor against the Kirtland Central Lady Broncos Jan. 13, followed the next night with a road trip to Aztec to face the Lady Tigers.

Pagosa has a chance to start the New Year right in Bloomfield. Coach Ann Stewarts' Lady Bobcats come into the game with a goose egg in the win column at 0-9. Their roster shows they have two 5-11 forwards, one 5-10 forward and a 5-8 guard, but they have seemed to struggle so far and are in need of a big boost - but not courtesy of the Pirates who are 2-1 on the road so far this season.

The Bobcats and Pirates have played two common opponents. The Bobcats lost to the Kirtland Lady Broncos, 63-25, then to the Aztec Lady Tigers by another lopsided score, 60-33. Coach Lynch will probably come out pressing and running the floor to get the early lead and hopefully get rid of all the holiday goodies. Tipoff for Saturday night's game is at 7 p.m.

On Jan. 13, the Lady Pirates will host the Lady Broncos at 5:30 p.m. in the anticipated rematch of the final pre-holiday game in Kirtland. The Broncos were able to shoot well from the outside against the Pirates zone defense on their home floor. Sophomore guard April Christie pumped in three treys and was perfect from the foul line to get 13 points. The other guard, junior Dayton Hall-Jones, had a game-high 17 for the Broncos in their 12-point win. Senior Emily Buikema had her best game so far this season for Pagosa when she was perfect from the field and the line to lead the Pirates with 16 points and seven rebounds.

Coach Lynch indicated after the loss that "it will be a different basketball game when we play on our home court. It was difficult playing in Kirtland gym and I think we will play much better against them this time around." Look for the coach to use a more aggressive defense at home.

In the final game before IML play, the Pirates will travel to Aztec Jan. 14 to meet the Lady Tigers in a scheduled 7 p.m. start. The Pirates hosted Aztec in the final round of the Wolf Creek Classic and came away with a 51-41 win. The Tigers (4-5) have height and speed with 6-2 center Raly Doty and track star sophomore Patricia Malouff, who will give the Pirates a good game on their home floor.

The IML schedule begins with two road games. The first is at Bayfield Jan. 20 and the second is at Centauri Jan. 21.

The Bayfield Lady Wolverines currently have a published record of 3-1 with wins over Dove Creek, Salida and the Montezuma-Cortez junior varsity. The one recorded loss is to Gunnison, a team the Pirates beat by 18 points in December. Tipoff for the opener is scheduled at 5 p.m.

The Centauri Lady Falcons are currently undefeated, at 7-0, and have pre-holiday wins over New Mexico 2A Questa, 2A Antonito, 2A Sangre De Cristo and 3A Salida. The one common opponent with the Lady Pirates is 4A Alamosa. Both teams defeated the Lady Mean Moose by more than 20 points. The Falcons are ranked No. 2 and the Pirates No. 9 in the most recent 3A polls, so anything can happen when they get together. This will be a very important test early in the season for both clubs. The start time is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

As in the past few years, the league again looks to be a two-team race between the Lady Pirates and Lady Falcons. In the 2004-2005 season they had identical IML records at 7-1. In the 2003-2004 season the Lady Falcons came in No. 1 and the Lady Pirates finished second. This year, barring injury or unforeseen mishap, it appears to be a similar story as these two teams will outclass the rest of the league going into district tournament play the end of February. Look for Pagosa to win the league if they get by Centauri Jan. 21.

The remaining teams will battle for the third spot with Bayfield (3-1) or Ignacio (not recorded) the likely choice. Monte Vista (1-6) will be fighting for wins. Monte's only win is against Buena Vista, also struggling at 1-6.

  

Wrestling is center stage this week in Pagosa

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

You say you like wrestling?

Well, if you're a Pirate wrestling fan, it's time to put up or shut up.

This week marks the start of the second part of the high school wrestling season and local fans will get their fill as tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, high school wrestling takes center stage in Pagosa.

Tonight, the Pirates host the first Intermountain league meet of the year as the Ignacio Bobcats come to town to fight it out in a dual that will count toward the IML crown awarded at season's end. The IML title is decided on the basis of dual meets with the other four league teams and a win is important for both teams tonight.

Coach Chris DeKay's Bobcats will provide a good test for the Pirates and Pagosa coach Dan Janowsky is well aware the win could go to either team.

"They've got five good kids," said Janowsky of the bobcats, "five real strong kids as far as how the weights pan out. But, that's what makes duals interesting. In order to win duals, you need to upset some of the other team's good wrestlers, or at least wrestle them tough. And you have to beat others - where you are evenly matched and where you have the advantage."

Ignacio will bring several veterans to the fray tonight. State tourney competitor Cody Haga will fight at either 119 pounds or at 125. Travis Darling is a handful at 135. Jacob Appenzeller returns after a state tourney season last year at 140. Jared Jones will likely take the mat at 160. Last year, Jones and Matt Nobles of Pagosa had some serious battles and the duo can be expected to start out in high gear this season. Matt Olguin is one of the state's best at 171 or 189.

The key to a Pagosa win might be some of the Pirates' youngsters - wrestlers who showed well in the first part of the season. "Our young kids need to step up and keep us in the game," said the coach. "It should be close, and it'll be tough."

Tomorrow night, four teams, including the Pirates, will compete in a modified dual meet tournament format. Pagosa will be joined by three New Mexico teams - Bloomfield, Espanola and Taos. The teams will fight it out in two, two-team preliminary brackets, with the winners fighting for first and the losers going at it for third.

Saturday, some big guns come to town for the annual Rocky Mountain Invitational - one of the toughest tourneys on the Western Slope during the post-holiday portion of the season.

The tournament should prove fine pickings for the knowledgable wrestling fan: One of the best teams in the nation, Alamosa, is coming to Pagosa and should be the favorite to take the tourney team title.

"They are definitely one of the best in the country," said Janowsky of the Maroons. "And they have some of the best individuals in the nation. If you like wrestling, you need to come see them."

After that, said Janowsky, places in the standings are "up for grabs. On paper, Monte Vista is good . We beat them at the Warrior (December's Warrior Classic, in Grand Junction), but this is a different format. Depth is a factor at the Rocky Mountain."

Durango has one of its better teams in recent memory and, according to Janowsky, " will be in the mix. They won a tournament in Bloomfield and there will be a lot of teams here that were at Bloomfield. Durango and we were close at the Warrior; we could be close here."

Beyond the heavy hitters, however, the Rocky Mountain Invitational offers a smorgasbord of excellent individuals, many of whom end up in the semifinals or finals, but whose teams don't make much impact in the team standings.

"This tournament is interesting because of some of the smaller teams," said Janowsky. "They are not particularly strong as teams, but they will bring some outstanding kids who'll make it interesting."

And, Pagosa's chances?

Last year, the team started the season with a head of steam and competed well in the early going. When it came time for the home-gym Rocky, the team had one of its "best weekends of the year," said the coach. "But, we didn't build on it."

The question is whether this year's team, also riding a better-than-average pre-holiday performance, can duplicate last year's good showing at the Rocky, then go on to improve.

"We finished strong in December," said Janowsky, " but, then, you take ten days off and it depends on the level of commitment your kids have, when it comes to how you bounce back. Some come in ready, some you have to coax along, and some you lose. This is a critical week, a tricky week."

So, how does Janowsky think the team is likely to do this week?

"If we can pick up where we left off "

 

High Peaks Volleyball Club finishes third at Powersurge Tournament

High Peaks Volleyball Club traveled to Eagle during Christmas break and took third place out of 17 teams in the Powersurge Tournament.

This Rocky Mountain Region Tournament kicked off the USA Volleyball season for the Pagosa Springs athletes. "I felt the team came together very well considering this was the first tournament of the season. We improved in all areas of fundamentals and set a good base to build on for the rest of the year," said Myles Gabel, club coach and director. High Peaks Volleyball Club is open to all girls ages 10 to high school seniors.

For more information call 731-1711.

 

Pagosa Springs Recreation

A smashing good time at River Center pond

By Jim Miller

SUN Columnist

With a cordless drill and an auger bit, we can check the thickness of the ice on the River Center pond for the skaters' safety. Last Wednesday, the thinnest spot I found was about six inches.

So Friday, when a young visitor to the pond sweetly asked, "Can you fix the ice, mister?" I had no hesitation in bringing our Kubota tractor to blade off the surface. The first few passes went fine, until a fan belt broke. A call to the shop brought a co-worker with a new belt and wrenches, and we resumed knocking down the rough, frozen ridges, expanding the area of skating ice.

As it turned out, we expanded it one pass too far. The right rear tire broke through the ice and suddenly we were in, rather than on, the pond.

My attempts to extricate the tractor using its attached backhoe were succeeding, until the motor died. I quietly muttered a bad word.

Our little tractor had been in the pond a few years back, and the resulting damage to the motor had been very expensive to repair. I hadn't been driving it that time; this breakthrough was definitely my fault.

Our only recourse was to bring the big backhoe from the shop and use it to drag its little cousin ashore. That done, getting it back to the shop, where it reluctantly started, was easy.

I hope the assembled spectators at the pond found our predicament entertaining. It's amazing how many of them had cameras.

And I hope the presence of the cones defining the soft spot on the northwest side of the pond reminds skaters to be cautious. The ice is thick and the pond is shallow, but hazards exist.

Youth basketball

Youth basketball games for the 9- and 10-year-old division begin Saturday morning at the community center. Games in the 11- and 12-year-old division begin Monday night at the center.

Schedules for this year's regular-season youth league have been finalized and are available to coaches and parents at the recreation department office at Town Hall. Schedules will also be handed out at games. Because we have a combined total of 17 teams in our divisions this year, and gym time/space is limited, not every team will play on scheduled game dates. Team uniforms will be handed out prior to each team's initial game.

Saturday's 9- and 10-year-old lineup includes the following: Pacers vs. Cavs at 9 a.m., Knicks vs. Sixers at 10 a.m., Jazz vs. Kings at 11 a.m. and Celtics vs. Nuggets at noon.

Monday's 11- and 12-year-old slate includes: Cavs vs. Jazz at 5:30 p.m., Nuggets vs. Pacers at 6:30 p.m. and Timberwolves vs. Bulls at 7:30 p.m.

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.

Referees/scorekeepers

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 and 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 townofpagosasprings.com 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.

 

Editorial

Fanciful thoughts

It's the start of a new year and it will be an interesting one in terms of politics. There are a number of local races on the horizon in town and county; there are regional races - one for state Senate, the other for the House - and there is a critical race looming for governor of Colorado. It's not too early to think about our choices.

Senator Jim Isgar has made his intent official: He's running again for the seat representing Southwest Colorado, including Archuleta County. Mark Larson announced he is pulling out of the Senate race. Larson was term-limited from running again for his House seat and had thrown his hat into the ring for the Senate nod early on. It was a race we did not look forward to; both men have served us well, each often heedless of party affiliation when reason told them otherwise, each intent on doing the best he could for the entire district. It would have been a difficult choice - either way, we would have lost a great voice in Denver.

Ellen Roberts is pushing to replace Larson and the Republican is looking at a race with fellow Durangoan, Democrat Jeff Deitch. It remains to be seen who will step up to run against the Democrat, Isgar.

Looking a rung up the ladder, we find it interesting, and distressing, to consider the candidates lining up to run for governor. So far, the Republicans have been able to do no better than Mark Holtzman and Bob Beauprez. One has only moderate legislative experience, the other is solidly partisan. And the Democrats? Equally tepid, with Denver's Bill Ritter in the limelight, with little or no legislative experience. There are some who whisper the name of Denver mayor John Hickenlooper - a character with little mileage on the political engine.

Can't we do better than this?

We think we can, though we also think our choice for governor is both an extraordinary longshot in terms of state politics and, on a personal level, unavailable for the race and service.

Mark Larson.

First, he's a Coloradan. No late-in-life Texas transplant, he.

Second, he's a rural Coloradan. No umbilical links him to Front Range interests. It's time for a Western Slope governor.

Third, he's the smartest, most conscientious, most practical, best focused, least partisan politician we've seen in action in 20 years. Maybe ever. Enough so to enrage simple-minded partisan thinkers, whether local, regional, or at the state level. There is no greater compliment to be paid a contemporary political leader.

The loss felt when Larson pulled out of the Senate race was pointed, despite the aforementioned conflict. The gain, in the unlikely event he returns, would be profound. For all of Colorado.

Larson is the kind of straightforward, straight-speaking thinker we need. His ability to understand issues, to affect the compromises needed to move forward, has been displayed again and again during his seven-year tenure in the House. He can cross cultural, party, geographical lines with ease. He can make decisions and can support them with more than partisan rhetoric.

Alas, there's little chance he'll do it.

But we'll make the argument anyway. We'll argue that the pay is better than $30,000 per year. We'll argue that the time needed on the job is less than he gave as a representative. We'll argue he could have a great place to enjoy the company of his wife, Margie, and his family if he occupied the governor's mansion in Denver. We'll argue the stress is actually less than in his former job.

He ain't gonna do it.

And it's a shame.

The guy would be great. And we would all benefit.

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

 

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 7, 1916

The winter feeding of sheep in Archuleta County, instead of driving to the lower country for grazing, seems to be the coming method of handling that animal in this vicinity. It is done successfully elsewhere, why not here: The feeding experiments now being carried out by some of our ranch men will be watched with much interest.

For the convenience of the residents across the river, an electric light will be placed at the east end of the bridge.

The Elmer Chapsons and Grandpa Chapson have moved down from their West Fork Ranch for the winter.

Town Marshall Thayer has reinforced the stairs at the end of the bridge.

 

 75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 9, 1931

Two lads of Pagosa, who admitted being guilty of breaking street lamps in a certain section of town, were taken before Police Magistrate R.C. Hill, who imposed a fine of $10 and cost then suspended the sentence pending their good behavior. A word to the wise should be sufficient.

James Martinez of Pagosa Junction has been tendered a position as assistant enrollment clerk in the house of representatives of the 28th general assembly, which convened at Denver Wednesday noon and we understand that he will leave Monday to assume his duties during the session.

Our predicted storm of last week was very mild, less than an inch of snow falling.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 5, 1956

The year of 1956 appears to be one of promise for the town and county with good times ahead for this area.

The new Forest Service Road to be built up the Piedra will be a big boost to the payroll situation, and there are indications that the oil and gas drilling will increase in Archuleta County during 1956.

There are also indications that there will be an increase in home building over previous years and there are also signs of an increase in business buildings.

Roads in the area have been bettered quite a bit with the new stretch between here and Chimney Rock being completed. The county roads have also received a lot of work and improvement.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 8, 1981

The weather has remained dry and mild this week and it has been more than 30 days since any measurable precipitation has been received in town. Four inches of new snow fell on Wolf Creek Pass, but at present snowfall is far below normal.

With this issue of the SUN, the publication is under new management. John Motter has been named as general manager and managing editor. Glen Edmonds, former publisher, will remain on as news editor for a few months. There are no other changes in personnel.

Wolf Creek Ski Area, with the best skiing in Colorado, has been having a busy season. As of Wednesday of this week the area attendance was more than 31,000 skiers.

Features

The same means to a different end:

Pagosans featured on television series, forging a bond with their horses

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"There's nothing better than hitting the trail on a good horse," said Ron Toland, Pagosa Springs resident. "I can have a bad day at work and once my (backside) hits leather, it's all good."

Toland and Charmaine Talbot, a senior at Pagosa Springs High School, are featured on the RFD-TV channel in a new series developed by Parelli Natural Horsemanship.

The television series features a number of horse lovers with their animals, all of the owners experiencing problems in the training or maintaining of their horses. The various riders seen on the shows contacted Parelli Natural Horsemanship to discuss these difficulties, and a number were chosen for taping.

"Pat and Linda [Parelli] help a different human achieve a transformation for themselves and their horse through the simple and effective teaching system they've developed over the past 26 years," wrote Dianne Killen, in an article printed in Savvy Times, the magazine published by Parelli Natural Horsemanship and distributed to Savvy Times members. "They have great instincts for television and never lose sight of the fact that through those cameras they reach millions of people with their horses," said Michael Killen in an interview for the article.

The horse training techniques displayed give horse lovers a new way to connect with their animals, forming a bond that will enable animal and rider to experience a deeper connection and sense of partnership. Regardless of the final intention, or "job to do," the techniques of engaging with horses are the same.

"He was all anxious at the gate," said Talbot of her horse, Turbo. Talbot rides Turbo competitively in rodeos, pole bending and barrel racing. "It's not uncommon, but I wanted to fix it."

Talbot has been riding horses "since I could walk," and has been competing in the rodeo setting for nearly 10 years. She is "hoping to go to bigger things" in her rodeo riding in the future.

Talbot finished last year's rodeo season ranked third amongst Colorado's high school competitors. She rode at the national high school competition in Gillette, Wyo., in July 2005.

Although Talbot and Turbo are enjoying a "Christmas vacation," they train together during competition seasons ever day after school until daylight is spent. "Sometimes it's tough," said Talbot. "I get pretty tired, but it's worth it."

Toland began riding five years ago. He is showcased in the Parelli series with his horse, Kiowa. "I've been having problems shoeing him. He doesn't respect my space, and he doesn't stand still for grooming."

Toland is no stranger to training difficult horses. His first horse, Rusty, needed much training before he could be called reliable. "When I first got him, everything spooked him - rocks, cactus, tree stumps. I rode him three hours a day, four to five days a week to help him get over it."

Toland's neighbor in Arizona, his place of residence when he began riding, was Hal Coker, a true "buckaroo cowboy."

"There aren't many times I get into a saddle that I don't think of Hal," said Toland. "He trained Rusty and trained me - probably saved Rusty's life, and mine too (from a riding accident)."

According to Toland, Coker's methods and techniques are much the same as those he learned in the taping of the television shows. Toland discussed the wide range of philosophies in the training of horses, varying from viewing horses as a tool, to seeing them as a trusted companion and coworker. "You can have a slave or a partner," stated Toland.

Toland is currently preparing Kiowa for the horse's first ride in the 200-mile journey from Holbrook to Scottsdale. The ride is commemorative of the Arizona Pony Express. Each horse and rider sprints for one mile before handing off a mailbag to another rider. The pair then moves further down the route for another handoff.

"Neither rain, sleet, nor dark of night can stop the Hashknife Pony Express. Each January for the last 45 years, the Old West is brought to life as an elite group of riders thunder through Arizona. This exciting event is the oldest officially sanctioned Pony Express in the world. Each rider is sworn in as an honorary mail messenger braving weather, terrain, and modern-day obstacles to deliver the United States mail," states the Web site of the self-proclaimed Scottsdale watering hole of the horsemen, the Rusty Spur Saloon.

The thunder created by the large group of horses galloping into the city announces the start of the festivities in the Scottsdale Jaycees Parada del Sol celebration. "People have even started crying —it's a pretty emotional thing," said Toland of the entrance.

February 6 marks the beginning of the celebration this year, and Toland looks forward to his fourth ride with the Navajo County Sheriff's Posse and Search and Rescue. Toland rides Kiowa as a member of the Archuleta County Mounted Search and Rescue team as well.

Kiowa has been taught to be comfortable with motor vehicle traffic, so Toland will be able to ride him safely in the Pony Express ride. "I used to ride to The Office Lounge every week before it closed - it has a great handicap sign that I used to tie him up to. Besides just being fun, it served to train him as well."

Toland purchased Kiowa as a "project." The horse had been neglected for about a year. "He used to bite, buck, kick - he was a mess. He's got a lot of attitude. Every ride I have to remind him who's in charge. But he's a good little horse."

"The bond is everything," said Talbot. "It's not fast (in being formed). It makes the horse want to work for you. It makes them want to do their best."

Toland agreed, saying of his horse, Kiowa: "He's learned to trust me."

Although their trails have extremely different ending points, the steps along the way are the same. Talbot and Toland share a strong desire to connect with their horses on a personal, substantial level.

"The feeling of coming out on the other side - working through the issues with a horse," said Toland, is what makes training, bonding and loving horses all worthwhile.

The new Parelli Natural Horsemanship television series aired this fall on RFD-TV. Those shows featuring Talbot and Toland will be rebroadcast Jan. 25, Feb. 1, 8 and 15.

 

Pagosa's Past

The editor takes a Pagosa Country journey, circa 1880

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

How would you like to have traveled with a freight team from Durango through Pagosa Springs and on to Chama during November of 1880?

The editor of the La Plata Miner, a Silverton newspaper, made such a journey. The terminus of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad at that time was on Cumbres Pass, up the hill from Chama. Fortunately for us, the editor left an eyewitness account describing the adventure.

We continue from last week where the traveling party had reached a point 32 miles east on the second day out from Animas City.

"But camped for dinner, and dinner being over, we had better make a start, for we have a drive of sixteen miles to reach a camping place for the night, which is at Stollsteimer's ranch on Stollsteimer's creek thirteen miles from Pagosa and forty-eight or fifty miles from Animas City. Mr. Stollsteimer is one of the most successful stock men in Southwestern Colorado and has immense herds of cattle and sheep which roam over the mesas and foothills to the west of the San Juan river. Mr. S does not keep travelers, it is not his business, he is a stock man, but he kindly furnished the necessary blankets to the writer, for a bed and a comfortable place to sleep, and permitted the balance of the party to occupy a comfortable camping house. Getting an early start, Pagosa Springs, thirteen miles distant, is reached by 11 o'clock and here we stopped for dinner and are sixty-three miles from Animas City. At Pagosa Springs there is at present a very slim hotel accommodation; it certainly is the best point for someone to locate and erect a hotel of 30 or 40 rooms, that we know of in Southwestern Colorado, and whoever is first to occupy the field will certainly be well rewarded. The Springs are the finest in the United States, they have been fully described heretofore in the Miner; the railroad will pass twenty miles south of them, and in another summer they will be easy access for invalids from all sections of the east. Here we were treated to an excellent dinner at the Hotel de Blair, (Motter's note: a little humor, the editor stayed with Blair, who had no hotel, but ran a bar) of which Tom Blair of Silverton is proprietor and Hon. A.K. Fleming, (Motter: more humor, Fleming was Blair's bartender.) formerly mayor of Ophir, is the chief caterer. Thos. and Alex Blair keep the Rose Bud saloon and billiard hall. Mr. Fleming and Alex Blair are in the hay and grain and feed business, keeping in connection a feed stable. Leaving Pagosa Springs at 2 p.m., we make camp on the Chumanche (Motter: Blanco River near one of the Chamber's homesteads, a log cabin still in existence, but perhaps not in existence at that time?) ten miles south from Pagosa, here there is no accommodation for the traveler unless he is prepared for camping out, if so he can get wood and water and hay for stock. There is a camphouse and in it our party put up for the night which was a very cold one, and as our supply of blankets was limited not a very good night's rest was afforded. We were up and started by 15 minutes after six in the morning, as we have a good day's drive to make the Chama thirty miles distant."

More next week with an eyewitness account of traveling from Durango (Animas City) to Chama during November of 1880.

 

Pagosa Sky Watch

Goodbye Venus - inferior conjunction mid month

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data for Jan. 5, 2006, is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:22 a.m.

Sunset: 5:05 p.m.

Moonrise: 2:02 a.m.

Moonset: 12:48 p.m.

Moon phase: The moon is waning crescent with 29 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

The new year marks a time of transition, and for star gazers, it marks a time of departure for one of the evening sky's most familiar, prominent and stunning objects - the planet Venus.

Venus has been visible in our western sky after sunset since May and its bold brilliance has served star gazers well by providing an unmistakable, and key celestial landmark that has been worthy of observation in its own right.

However, it's usefulness as a signpost for observations of the evening sky will soon expire when the planet passes between us and the sun in mid-January.

Astronomers call this passage an inferior conjunction, and the event marks a change of location for Venus in our sky.

To witness the transition, keep an eye on Venus in the early evening for the next two weeks. During this time, and on subsequent days, diligent sky watchers will observe the planet at progressively lower points on the western horizon until about Jan. 10.

Near Jan. 10, Venus will make its final appearance in the evening sky, and then will disappear altogether as it moves closer toward making its passage between Earth and the sun.

Astronomers have calculated that Jan. 14 marks the exact date of the planet's passage, and within a few days after Jan. 14, Venus will reappear in the east before dawn as the "morning star."

Tonight, following early evening observations of Venus, star gazers willing to venture back outdoors at around 8 p.m. can view one of the sky's largest constellations - Eridanus - when it is on meridian, or, in other words, when it is at its highest point in the night sky.

Eridanus, the river, is the sixth largest constellation and has the greatest north-south range of any constellation in the night sky.

The mythology behind Eridanus is extensive. According to the Greeks, Eridanus is the river into which Phaethon crashed after losing control of the chariot of his father, Helios the sun god.

Another version of the story says that Zeus hurled Phaethon and the chariot into the river after Phaethon lost control and the chariot, on its wild erratic path, was burning up the earth.

The Greek tradition links the constellation to the Po River in Italy, yet other cultures have identified the constellation with rivers of their own. The Egyptians viewed the constellation as a celestial representation of the Nile, while the cultures of Sumeria linked it to the waters of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Depending on the viewer's cultural perspective, Eridanus could easily represent any of these rivers for the constellation truly meanders in a circuitous, river-like path across the sky.

To trace the constellation's path, start in the east-southeast by locating Orion and Orion's brightest star Rigel, which marks Orions foot.

The constellation's northernmost portion begins just below Rigel, with beta Eridani, or Cursa, meaning the "foot stool." The name is derived from the star's position under the foot of Orion and it is a magnitude 2.8 blue-white star 89 light years away.

The next noteworthy star for naked-eye observers is epsilon Eridanus. It lies on the same horizontal plane as Rigel, and is below and to the right of Aldebaran in Taurus.

Epsilon Eridani is a magnitude 3.7 orange main-sequence star that is orbited every seven years by a planet with a mass similar to that of Jupiter.

Observations indicate that epsilon Eridani is the most sun-like of all the nearby stars, and this, coupled with the fact it has a planetary companion have made it the subject of intense observation for researchers intent on searching for extraterrestrial life.

Unfortunately, Eridanus' brightest star, alpha Eridani, or Achernar, meaning "river's end," lies far to the south and below our horizon. However, star gazers at latitudes south of 32 degrees north, will be able to view the magnitude 0.5 blue-white star which is the ninth brightest star in the sky.

Unfortunately, viewing the rest of the constellation could prove problematic for naked eye observers. Although Eridanus is one of the largest constellations, it is also one of the faintest, and mounted binoculars or a small telescope are needed to fully appreciate all the constellation has to offer. In addition, a star chart, guiding sky watchers along the river's meandering path, will prove invaluable.

 

Weather

 

 

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

12/28

46

16

-

-

-

12/29

42

16

-

-

-

12/30

35

9

-

-

-

12/31

45

17

S

1

.1

1/1

39

13

S

2

.2

1/2

44

11

-

-

-

1/3

43

17

S

T

T

Weather predictions, ruminations on the calendar

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Once again, the Old Farmer's Almanac has been "spot on" with the region's weather predictions.

Based on an analysis of sunspots and other cryptic meteorological science, the venerable journal forecasted December's precipitation to be one inch below average. Pagosa, on average, receives 1.78 inches of precipitation in December; actual totals amounted to .71 inches of precipitation for the month.

The year started off right, however, with eight inches of new snow reported by the Wolf Creek Ski area on New Year's Day. Last week, the lows dropped to 8.6 degrees on Friday, with highs generally in the low 40s.

Expect cool nighttime temperatures in the mid to low teens, and nice sunny days in the mid-40s for the coming week. Some clouds may move in Sunday, then look for clearing and a cooler Monday. The Farmer's Almanac predicts January to have a half inch less precipitation than average (two inches is typical for January), but does predict snow showers for the coming weeks.

Happy New Year! Ever wonder why January first is considered a new "year"? It is completely arbitrary, if one considers the three natural timekeepers for the planet.

First, of course, the world rotates around on its axis, creating the "day." Then the moon spins around the earth about every 29 and a half days, creating the "month." And thirdly, the Earth revolves around the sun every 365.2564 days, creating the "year."

Because of the lack of simple ways to integrate the natural month with the natural year (the moon makes 12.369 revolutions around the earth in a year), people for centuries have been grappling with calendars that are both accurate and predictive of important events such as planting seasons and cultural festivals, such as Easter, which is based on the moon's cycle.

The earliest calendars developed by the Egyptians were based on the moon, but as they failed to predict the annual flooding of the River Nile, the Egyptians switched to a solar calendar that began with the annual rising of the Dog Star, Sirius. Soon after Sirius rose in the pre-dawn sky, the Nile provided its life-giving flood to the Egyptians.

The Egyptians discovered the "tropical" year (currently 365.2422 days), which is measurable from annual phenomena, such as the rising of a star or the winter and summer solstices. It wasn't until thousands of years later that the Greek Hipparchus realized that the "tropical year" was distinct from the sidereal year, which is the time it takes for the earth to return to the same position around the sun. The reason for the difference is due to the earth's precession, the wobble of the earth that comes full circle every 25,800 years. A sidereal year equals 1.000039 (1 plus 1/25,800), tropical years, a difference of about 20 minutes. Most calendars, including the Gregorian calendar we use today, are based on tropical years, and incorporate the difference in periodic corrections such as leap years so that specific phenomena, such as the solstices, occur on roughly the same date each year.

Prior to the Gregorian calendar, many calendar schemes existed. The ancient Babylonians, who live in what is now Iraq, used a calendar based on the moon's cycles, with alternating 29- and 30-day months. This system required periodic corrections to align Babylonian timekeeping with the tropical year.

The Islamic calendar is purely based on the lunar cycle, with an Islamic year comprising of 12 lunar cycles, making the Islamic year 354.36 days. Years are counted since the Hijra, Mohammed's emigration to Medina in 622 AD, thus the Islamic new year is about 11 days earlier every year.

The Hebrew calendar, still in use today, is a combined lunar/solar calendar. Since 12 lunar months is about 11 days shorter than a tropical year, a leap month is inserted about every third year to keep the calendar in tune with the seasons. An ordinary (non-leap) Jewish year has between 353 and 355 days, while a leap year has between 383 and 385 days. The Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, always begins on a new moon. Years are counted since the creation of the world, which is assumed to have taken place in 3761 BC.

The Chinese calendar is similar to the Hebrew calendar, which strives to have the years coincide with the tropical year and the months coincide with a lunar month. The Chinese also have periodic leap years with a 13th month; however, unlike most calendars, the Chinese do not count years in an infinite sequence. Instead the years have names that are repeated every 60 years. Chinese New Year always takes place in January or February, approximately 11 days earlier or later than the preceding year, and based on the new moon. This year, the Chinese will celebrate New Year's on Jan. 29, when the year of the dog begins.

Before tthe Gregorian calendar, western civilization used the Julian calendar, which by degree of Julius Caesar, defined the year as 365.25 days. A leap year occurred every four years. This introduced an error of 1 day every 128 years. By 1582, seasonal events such as the vernal equinox had shifted 10 days backward with respect to the calendar, so Pope Gregory XIII reworked the calendar. In addition to the wholesale elimination of 10 days, the new calendar set March 21 as the date for the vernal equinox, eliminated leap years in years ending in 00 (to counter the Julian shift), and set Jan. 1 as the official start of the new year. Prior to 1582, March 25, celebrating the day of Christ's incarnation in the womb of Mary, was the start of the New Year.

It wasn't until 1752 that Britain and its colonies (including America) switched from the Julian to the Gregorian Calendar, making New Year's Jan. 1 as it is today.