January 26, 2006
Front Page

Village at Wolf Creek inspires legal actions

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Two recent and separate legal actions involving the planned Village at Wolf Creek have both supporters and opponents hoping to gain the edge toward an eventual outcome of the proposal.

On Tuesday, Jan. 17, Federal Magistrate David L. West of the U.S. District Court in Durango gave the U.S. Forest Service just two weeks to fully comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that project opponent Colorado Wild had made over the past year. Colorado Wild ultimately sued the Forest Service in June 2005, seeking to acquire documents detailing communication between the agency and village developers, Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture. Until Tuesday, the Forest Service had only partially complied with the court-ordered releases, which were supposed to be provided by last Nov. 11.

According to Colorado Wild, all such documents should have been available to the public all along, and allege some released last September clearly indicate collusion between the developers and the Forest Service. As stated on its Web site (coloradowild.org), "Partial document releases in Sept. 2005 under court order revealed that McCombs' high-powered Washington DC attorneys and lobbyists ghost wrote federal policy providing access across National Forest lands for the proposed village." Most notable among those releases, a March 11, 2004 grant of access, is also the subject of litigation.

Judge West called on the Forest Service to release documents that might shed light on allegations that an attorney for billionaire developer Billie Joe "Red" McCombs drafted a letter later signed by lawyers for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service. The letter supposedly played a vital role in Mineral County's approval of final building plans for the village.

In addition, the judge ordered Forest Service officials to provide Colorado Wild with a full index of communications between the agency and any party associated with village developers, to include any "ghost written" agency policies authored by the developers or their associates.

"Without a description of how the search was conducted, there is no way for the public to know whether the Forest Service actually handed over all documents that show potential dictation of public policies by Village at Wolf Creek developers," said Colorado Wild executive director Ryan Demmy Bidwell.

"We got what we have been looking for all along," said Jeff Berman, Campaign Coordinator for the Friends of Wolf Creek. "The court's decision may reveal extensive collusion between the developer and federal officials to facilitate this development behind closed doors."

Colorado Wild believes the ruling came at an opportune time, with the Forest Service scheduled to release its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) regarding the proposed development sometime in the next month.

"Only with a complete FOIA in hand, can the public honestly evaluate whether the FEIS is legitimate," said Bidwell. "The public deserves to know whether the Forest Service process has been transparent."

Berman questions why it took over a year and numerous court hearings to receive a complete response to Colorado Wild's FOIA request. "The Forest Service has given us every reason to suspect they are hiding something," he said. "The court's ruling will allow the public to stay informed about our government's behavior."

Meanwhile, on Jan. 18, attorneys for the village developers and the Mineral County Board of County Commissioners filed a Joint Appeal Notice to the Colorado Court of Appeals, appealing an Oct. 13, 2005, 12th District Court decision remanding the November 2004 county approval of the village proposal. Additionally, appellants are appealing the court's refusal of their subsequent request to reconsider.

After hearing arguments in a consolidated lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Wolf Creek Ski Corporation, Colorado Wild and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, Judge O. John Kuenhold ruled against the plaintiffs on 10 of 11 issues raised. But on the final matter, regarding development access over public lands, he ruled that Mineral County's "decision to abandon a requirement for meaningful year-round access was arbitrary and capricious," and that they (the county) "misconstrued the state statute and the Mineral County Subdivision Regulations."

The ruling, if upheld, would require developers to first obtain a permit for access to U.S. 160 from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) before county plan approval can be valid. According to Colorado Wild, the judge also questioned the county's lack of public involvement, hurried process and inattention to vital details.

The developers and county are appealing the judge's decision, questioning whether the order misconstrued the approval requirements for vehicular access by Mineral County, in concluding that the county abused its discretion in finding adequate vehicular access.

Other issues raised in the appeal include:

- whether the district court misinterpreted applicable state statutes and the county's land use regulations in concluding that the applicant needed to show more than legal access;

- whether the district court erroneously applied Mineral County Subdivision Regulation Section, which by its terms only applies to a two-lot subdivision;

- whether the district court substituted its judgment for the county in finding that the county's approval and the conditions on vehicular access were inadequate;

- whether the district court went beyond its jurisdiction and misapplied the law in requiring that Leavell-McCombs do certain things on remand, such as obtaining a CDOT access permit prior to reapplying to Mineral County.

Josh Marks, attorney for the developers, said in part, "We feel that under the circumstances of this development, Mineral County acted well within its land use authority on the access issue. We look forward to the opportunity to revisit this aspect of the approval."

Mineral County attorney John Wilder said only, "The notice of appeal speaks for itself."


'Transparency' issue heats up at airport

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

An increasingly common theme heard around the county concerns the perceived lack of transparency involving Stevens Field airport matters. Lately, even members of the Airport Advisory Commission has noted their lack of inclusion on airport policy and plans.

"Why not?" asked Elmer Schletter, chair of the airport advisory commission, at last week's AAC meeting. The question was posed to Rob Russ, airport manager, and Bob Jasper, former interim county administrator, as to why county airport matters are so opaque, and why the AAC is not informed concerning the broader decisions regarding the airport.

The issue came up when Schletter was apprised of the airport manager's solicitations to aviation planning firms and consultants only after a potential consultant called Schlettler to find out more about the position. The planning firm and consultants are being solicited to replace Washington Group, which had previously notified airport management of their intent to cease Colorado operations. No one on the AAC was apprised of the notification, even though Schletter said he had been in frequent communication with the airport manager on other matters since the Washington Group notification was given.

The AAC was established by Archuleta County Resolution No. 2005-10, which states that the AAC "shall act in an advisory capacity to the BOCC and the airport manager in all matters relating to the airport." Later in the document, the role of the AAC in the "preparation, updating, and implementation plans for Airport development" is specifically stated. The hiring of an airport consultants and planning firms is a core aspect of airport development, because of their role in the preparation of the airport's Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), the source document that determines FAA funding for future Airport Improvement Projects (AIPs).

Commission member Gerald Pearson presented a five-page document outlining more than a dozen instances in 2005 where the advisory commission has been ignored or not included in county airport decisions, and said the "virtual secrecy" in which the airport management has operated has culminated "in the results that you see today." Pearson said the problems with Washington Group, delays in the completion of the Fixed Base Operator (FBO) building, acrimony between the pilots and airport management, and the lawsuits involving hangar leases were the result of uninformed choices - problems that could have been alleviated if the AAC had been included in the airport decision-making process.

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams has also expressed issues with communication with airport management. "They started to build the FBO before they had a hydrant," said Grams. Unlike with most commercial buildings that are built in the county, which require a building permit prior to building, the situation at the airport is apparently different. "You just don't know what they are going to do out there until you drive by," said Grams, who later required a 1,500 gallon-per-minute fire flow hydrant, obligating the county to spend an additional $175,000 for improvements.

Monetary concerns are paramount to many in the county, and future airport expenses are anything but clear. Bob Burchett, county finance director, has a handle on current county expenditures on the airport, but future expenses remain vague. "The county has to contribute matching funds (to grants), which makes it a strain in cash flow. I don't find out about grant applications until after the fact - wait a minute, folks, do we know that the matching funds are in the county budget? Finance needs to know what is going on," said Burchett.

Burchett reports that a preliminary estimate of 2005 expenditures of cash outlays from the county general fund for airport capital improvements amounted to $573,000, far over budget. In total, nearly $3 million of county funds will be spent on capital improvements related to the current Airport Improvement Project No. 15, approximately $500,000 over the original budget (the FAA paid for $9.07 million of the project).

In addition to the capital improvements, the county subsidizes operating costs at the airport. Last year, the airport had $208,000 in expenses, but only $94,000 in revenues (primarily from ground lease income and fees), according to Burchett.

In the works for Stevens Field in 2006 and 2007 are AIP 16 and AIP 17. Although Russ has repeatedly expressed the urgent need for the county to implement the AIP projects prior to 2007, "because the FAA may end the AIP program in 2007," Don O'Brien, from the Denver FAA office that administers the AIP grants, reports that the AIP program is subject to an annual Congressional spending bill. Although the 2006 funds are already allocated, O'Brien said there is nothing to indicate that program will end in 2007, though "every year we're subject to change," in terms of the amount of Congressional funding," said O'Brien. The AIP program collects revenues from user fees, fuel taxes and other similar revenue sources, and distributes the funds to public and privately-owned airports nationwide.

Each airport requesting AIP grants first compiles a five-year Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), and sends it to the FAA on an annual basis. Responding to a SUN request for the latest CIP, Russ provided a document from May 2005. At last week's AAC meeting, Russ said the CIP includes a "perimeter road and a helicopter landing pad," items not on the publicly available CIP. At the meeting, Russ also spoke of a stormwater management plan ($20,000), a spill prevention and control plan ($10,000), a wetlands mitigation/delineation plan, and environmental site assessment for new property, and "expansion requirements" as projects for 2006.

When asked for an estimated time when an updated CIP document will be available, Russ said "Who knows when?," and said that any future projects "depend on whether we get more grants." But according to Brad Davis, FAA project manager who administers the AIP grants for Stevens Field, $430,000 has already been allocated for Stevens Field for "land acquisition and an airport layout plan planning document" in 2006, and "roughly $4.5 million" for a parallel taxiway in 2007. The FAA pays for 90 to 95 percent of capital improvement projects, and the remainder has typically been split between the county and the state. According to Burchett, only $9,131 is budgeted for capital improvements for the airport in 2006. Final approval of future AIPs requires sign-off from the county commissioners.

The concern of many who are watching county airport expenses is the additional costs related to the AIPs, such as the last year's need to build a new FBO and eight new hangars at county expense (the FAA specifically excludes hangars and FBO from their AIP program). As has been the frequent case in the past, once the AIP grant is requested and approved, the county is often surprised with urgent requests for cost overruns, change orders (there were at least 14 change orders for AIP 15), and additional expenses related to complying with the requirements of the AIPs.

Ironically, it is often said that the local users drive the need for airport improvements, but Jim Carey, a retired Fed Ex pilot, who is in close contact with 60 pilots at the airport, said "all we wanted was a smooth runway. Most pilots think this development is way overkill." Most of the pilots with hangars located at Taxiway Bravo (all but two hangar owners) are now isolated from access to fueling trucks and the FBO, and currently need a $25 gate card to enter their hangar. Carey said that the current lease and management policies are "running off a lot of hangar owners."

In addition to the current hangar lease lawsuit draining county funds, Carey expects future lawsuits to erupt from the current direction of airport management, speaking of an alleged county plan to "cancel Gisburne's deeded easement" (Becky Gisburne is a owner of land within the airport's security perimeter fence). Many of the pilots have tens of thousands of flying hours, and are interested in the airport's planned instrument approach procedure; however, Carey said, "Russ refuses to show us (the plans) for security reasons."

Officials involved with the airport are striving for increased transparency. At the public AAC meeting, Jasper said he was sending "strong signals" to the airport manager to communicate with the AAC. Grams said he intends to keep an eye on the progress of the airport; and Burchett said he intends to implement a process to "centralize all grant documents." Schletter also plans to meet weekly with the airport manager, so he and others can be better informed of airport plans in the future.


Fee increases approved for PAWS water, sewer

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

After consideration of a variety of fee increase scenarios, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board of directors approved 2006 fee increases for water and sewer services within the district. The action took place at last Wednesday's meeting.

Fee increases will go into effect this summer, when water use from the meters is recorded. On a monthly basis, water users are billed a service charge and a rate tier fee, which is based on the gallons of water used (per equivalent unit). The monthly service charge will increase 33 percent, from $6 per month to $8 per month (per EU). The rate tier fees will increase about 5 percent for each of the three tiers. Tier rates will be $2.20 for the first tier (0 to 8,000 gallons per EU per month), $4.45 for the second tier (8,001-20,000 gallons per month), and $5.45 for the third tier (more than 20,000 gallons per month).

In February, the district is expected to issue over $5 million in revenue bonds to secure new money to pay for increased infrastructure. The money will be used to pay for necessary improvements to the water treatment plants, a new water storage tank, and costs related to the enlargement of Stevens Reservoir.

The logic behind the monthly fee increases is that the service charge increase will roughly cover the revenue bond debt service payment, while the more moderate monthly rate tier increase will be proportionate to the expected 2006 operating costs.

Sewer fees are also expected to increase from $17.50 per month to $18 per month. The fee increases are expected to balance costs in future years but, in 2006, an expected $78,000 of district reserve monies will be required to cover costs (since the fee increases will only apply to the last six months of 2006).

For new water and sewer service within the district, there will be a 3-percent increase in capital investment fees. Residential fees will be $1 per square foot of living area (minimum 1,000 square feet) for water, and $1.50 per square foot for wastewater, based on the Archuleta County or Town of Pagosa Springs building permit. Commercial fees will increase to $1,998 per EU for water and $3,007 per EU for wastewater. There is also a cost-based $1,175 residential water and wastewater connection fee ($875 for water only). Commercial connection rates vary on an individual basis.

Two additional water-related fees are being discussed, an impact fee and a water resource fee, which will apply to new developments and changes of use. The impact fee relates to land acquisition and specific construction costs related to a new raw water reservoir site. PAWS is discussing a new reservoir site with the San Juan Water Conservancy district at Dry Gulch (northwest of town). The storage capacity is expected to be between 12,000 and 35,000 acre-feet of water, with a 15-20 year timeline for completion. Impact fees as high as $7,900 per EU have been discussed. The other alternative to an impact fee would be to raise the mill levy, according to Fred Schmidt, chairman of the San Juan Conservancy District.

PAWS has already approved a separate water resource fee, but the amount has not yet been set. The resource fee will help pay for the development of water, including reservoir treatment plants. The logic behind the water resource and impact fees is that "growth has to pay its fair share of impacts on community services," said Carrie Campbell, district general manager.


 Inside The Sun

New public works director for Archuleta County

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Archuleta has a new public works director, Alan Zumwalt, from Kenosha, Wis.

Previously, Zumwalt was the county construction manager for Lake County, Ill. ("just across the border" from Kenosha). Zumwalt said he was looking on the Web for jobs in the area "between Chama and Durango" because he and his wife, Melody, wanted to "get back to our roots." In the 1990s, Zumwalt worked as the pavement division manager for Los Alamos County in New Mexico.

"I've been in development and construction my whole life", said Zumwalt, with jobs ranging from real estate development, to overseeing a $500 million Boeing factory expansion for 777 jet production as Boeing's construction manager.

He's also managed factory construction projects for Chrysler and Toyota in his work as an engineer. Zumwalt has a civil engineering degree from San Diego State, where he graduated in 1974, after "a couple stints in Vietnam" while in the U.S. Navy.

Zumwalt's role as the Archuleta County Public Works Director will be to manage the road and bridge, solid waste and fleet departments for the county. He said the "work will definitely be challenging" because of the "major growth issues facing Pagosa." Zumwalt believes there will be a lot of organizational challenges that require "serious planning efforts to meet the growth."

One of Zumwalt's first planned tasks will be to create a five-year capital improvement plan, which apparently exists, but needs "serious refinement," said Zumwalt, because of recent "big changes," such as the county's recently approved road and bridge plan.

The new road and bridge plan excludes the continued winter maintenance of many Forest Service roads. Zumwalt said he expects to create a process so "people can have the opportunity to get roads into the county system," which may involve a petition process, and incorporate aspects similar to some in La Plata County's system.

Ready to meet the challenges of a rapidly growing southwestern town, Zumwalt said of Pagosa Country, "I love it here - mountains, clean air, the people are very friendly. I feel relaxed and at home in the mountains."

Intermediate school releases first semester honor rolls

The following are the first semester honor rolls at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School.

All A - sixth grade:

Sydney Aragon, Moses Audetat-Mirabal, Kyle Danielson, Alexandra Herrera, Samantha Hunts, Zerek Jones, Natasha Medici, Austin Miller, Kristi Plum, Reahna Ray, Samuel Romain and Robert Swenson.

All A - fifth grade:

Keith Archuleta, Satara Arthaud, Sable Maxstrom, Megan Davey, Kitman Gill, Alyssa Lee, Hannah Matzdorf, Nikolas Monteferrante, Jasmine Nesbit, Gabrielle Pajak, Jason Reece, Blake Roman, Jonah Sanchez, Kendra Schlom, Toni Stoll, Brandan Thomas and Isaiah Thompson.

All A-B - sixth grade:

Kyle Anderson Andresen, Katya Armbrecht, Tiffany Bachtel, Nate Bard, Ricky Belarde, Laura Bell, Sarah Bir, Saje Brinkmann, Evan Brookens, Torey Bybee, Jerica Caler, Caitlin Cameron, Brilliht Catano, Brooklynn DuCharme, Shelbie Edwards, Alexandra Fortney, Karis Fritzsche, Zoe Fulco, Amber Goldberg, Brooke Hampton, Seth Hansen, Mary Haynes, Abbigale Hicklin, Zachary Irons, Daniel Martinez, Desiree Pastin, Euriako PeBenito, Daniel Puskas, Michael Reynders, Tyson Ross, Karla Sanchez, Kelsy Sellers, Danny Shahan, Jonathan Shirk, Destiny Soto, Brooke Spears, Courtney Spears, Alexander Theys, Silas Thompson, Mariah Vasquez, Eli Velasquez, Cheyann Walker, Tiffany Watson, Jennie White, Crystal Wilson and Rebecca Zeller.

All A-B - fifth grade:

Tristan Bennett, Sean Blanchard, Katie Blue, Heather Brooks, Sierra Bryson, Ashlyn Burch, Matthew Cary, Garek Erskine, Sienna Espinosa, Kaylee Fitzwater, Angela Gallegos, Zachariah Griego, Dean Hampton, Amber Hanley, Brannon Harbur, Kylie Johnson, Meadow Karr, Jaime Kirkland, Sean Lee, Kain Lucero, Mireya Ortega, Chase Purcell, Benjamin Reece, Emma Reynders, Julio Rodriguez, Shannon Rogers, Clay Ross, Samuel Sarnowski, Quinn Smith, Elijah Stephens, Tyler Talbot, Rowan Taylor, Cierra Weiss and Coleman Zellner.


Junior high announces honor roll for second nine weeks

The following eighth-grade students had a perfect 4.0 grade the second nine weeks of the school year:

Julia Adams, Gary August, Seth Blackley, Jessica Blum, Ashley Brooks, Casey Crow, Taylor Cunningham, Jordan Davey, Natalie Erickson, Emily Greer, Michael Heraty, Paul Hoffman.

Also, Tamra Leavenworth, Kala Matzdorf, Katarina Medici, Casey Meekins, Brian Montoya, Sarah Sanna, Nicola Shaw, Josie Snow, Shevi Tunnell-Hunt and Wesley Vandercook.

The following eighth-grade students made all A's and B's on their report cards

Victoria Espinosa, Kiaya Humphrey, Amber Lark, Presley Payne, Nahtanha Sell, Amie Webb-Shearston, Jacob Anderson, Denise Bauer, Bridgett Brule, Megan Bryant, Samara Hernandez, Rose Quintana, Doug Rapp, Rebekah Riedberger, Taylor Shaffer.

Also, Lauren Silva, Desiree Ewing, Jordin Frey, Michael Gallegos, Courtney Hudnall, Haley Malesic, Amanda Oertel, Riley Aiello, Kara Hollenbeck, Joshua Jones, Beth Lucero, Ashley Taylor, Jessie Bir, Sierra Olachea, Edgar Torres, Mary Brinton, Daniel Buchanan, Michael Flihan, Jonathan Hudson, Wesley Ricker, Sarah Sexton, Carlee Tamburelli and Ashlee Wilkinson,

The following seventh-grade students had a perfect 4.0 grade the second nine weeks of the school year:

Kelsea Anderson, Amanda Barnes, Briana Bryant, Kayla Catlin, Amelia Harbison, Kenneth Hogrefe, Mele LeLievre, Zachary Lucero, NaCole Martinez, Tayler McKee, Danielle Pajak, Cy Parker, Crystal Purcell, Kimberly Rapp, Rachel Shaw, Garrett Stoll, Sienna Stretton and Tyler Vaivoda.

The following seventh-grade Junior High students made all A's and B's on their report cards:

Gabrielle Dill, Michelle Garcia, Shea Johnson, Magan Kraetsch, Joshua Long, Viridiana Marinelarena, Dakota Miller, Jefferson Walsh, Christopher Brown, Cheyann Dixon, Tiana Johnson, Tyler Martinez, Sarah Stuckwish, Gabriela Gonzalez, Kelsi Lucero, Kaitlin Mastin, Roxana Palma, Rocio Palma, Luke Baxstrom, Andrea Fautheree, Derek Hujus, Hope Krogh-Forman, Taylor Loewen, Sierra Riggs, Lukas Morelock, Ashley Calhoun, Denise Espinosa, Mareyna Pillard and Erika Pitcher.


Balloon crew members needed for Winterfest rally

Rise with the sun Saturday , Feb. 4, and thrill to the sight of hot air balloons ascending over Pagosa Springs.

Balloonists will float on the breezes, taking in the breathtaking beauty of the San Juans.

If you're the hands-on type, you are encouraged to volunteer and crew for one of the balloons. Pilots are happy to show you the ropes.

If you are physically fit, have a valid driver's license and would like to be part of a chase crew, you are encouraged to do so. Chase crews help pilots set the balloons up for inflation and launch, keep visual contact throughout the flight, and assist in deflation and packing up once the balloon has reached its final destination.

Balloons become one with the wind, and are guided by the direction in which it blows, so the landing spot can be just about anywhere.

If you would like to try your hand at being a crew member, be at the Mountain Heights Baptist Church parking lot at 8 a.m. Saturday morning. There will be a call for crew at the pilot's briefing. You'll need a pair of gloves and your warm snow boots.

Don't be shy, come out and experience the adventure of ballooning. We always need crew members.

A reminder: Event organizers have prepared a little fun for Saturday after dark. As the sun dips below the horizon, the stars will have to share the night with a few other glowing bodies. If anything can compete with the beauty of Colorado skies, it's a balloon glow at dusk. Pilots will light up the soccer field across from Town Park with their balloons in a display that is sure to please.

Sunday, Feb. 5, gets started with another balloon ascension. Once again, the fields in the Pagosa Lakes area west of town will be awash in color as balloons are laid out and prepared to float skyward for their final display until fall's Colorfest rally arrives.

If you have questions, e-mail them to info@pagosarally.com.


Radon awareness workshop

Learn more about radon in your homes at a radon awareness workshop at the Pagosa Springs Community Center 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.

Radon is an radioactive gas that is invisible and odorless. It can seep through any crevice, from cracks in walls to gaps around pipes, and sometimes through the water supply. Radon's nature means it can enter any type of home or building with or without a basement.

Attend the workshop, learn the details and receive a free radon test kit. Call Marian at 247-5702, Ext. 223, for more information. Sponsored by San Juan Basin Health Department and CSU Cooperative Extension.



Take precautions when out on the ice

Ice has formed over lakes, ponds and streams. For people who ice fish, waterfowl hunt, ice skate and play out on the ice, it is important to become familiar with basics of ice safety to avoid a mistake that could be fatal.

Always act under the assumptions that all ice is unsafe, that unsafe ice conditions may occur anywhere, and that ice thickness varies from place to place. Four inches of ice is generally considered safe for ice fishing and ice-skating, however, ice thickness and ice conditions can be affected by several factors. Underwater currents, water level fluctuation, weather, moving water, and objects protruding through the ice are all factors that can influence thickness and conditions. The best advice is stay off the ice when there is any question about thickness and conditions.

Some signs of unsafe ice include: ice of different colors, water on top of the ice, cracks, pressure ridges, open water and bubbles in the ice. Also beware of ice covered with snow. Sometimes the snow serves as insulation, keeping the ice from melting. Other times, it has the opposite effect, insulating the surface from freezing. Snow also covers up ice fishing holes.

If you do venture onto the ice in an unsupervised situation, remember the following ice safety tips:

- Never go onto the ice alone. A buddy may be able to call for help if you fall in. Also never attempt to walk out onto the ice to rescue your friend because you might also fall through the ice.

- Always wear a life jacket. Wear a life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) over winter clothing. Life jackets can provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia (loss of body temperature). A throw-able PFD such as the seat cushion type makes something nice to sit on and could be used to keep you afloat if you fall through the ice.

- Assemble a personal safety kit. Always wear a safety kit on your body when going out onto the ice. Safety kits should include an ice pick, rope, and a whistle to call for help.

- Always keep your pets on a leash. Never allow your dog to run out onto the ice and never walk your dog near a frozen lake or pond without a leash. If your dog falls through the ice, do not attempt a rescue. Go for help.

- Reach-Throw-Go. If you can't reach the person from shore, throw them a flotation device or a rope. If you still can't help the person quickly - go for help.

If you fall through the ice:

Don't panic. Try to remain calm to conserve as much energy as possible. Try to get your arms onto the ice and kick as hard as you can with your feet to help lift you onto the ice, and then roll to safety. If you can't get out of the cold water by yourself, take appropriate actions to extend your survival time while waiting to be rescued:

Do not swim. Swimming will cause your body to lose heat much faster than if you stay as still as possible.

Act slowly and deliberately to conserve heat. Expect a progressive decrease in your strength and ability to move. Make the harder maneuvers at the beginning, while you can.

Keep your upper body above water. Keep your head and upper body as far out of the water as reasonably possible tºo conserve body heat.

Ice fishing holes cannot exceed 10 inches in diameter, no litter may be left on the ice, and fires on the ice must be enclosed in a metal container. Waterfowl hunters should wear a flotation device along with a rescue line tethered to the shore.

It is important to keep in mind that no one can tell you when and if the ice is safe. It is ultimately up to you to decide. However, taking some certain precautions when venturing out onto the ice can reduce the risk.


Learn to live safely in lion country

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Has anyone seen a mountain lion lately?

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), now might be a good time to remind area residents and guests that Archuleta County, including Pagosa Springs, is mountain lion country.

Last week, local DOW officer Justin Krall told The SUN, "We've had a lot of calls recently and most are coming from Aspen Springs. People have reported missing pets and other signs of what they think are the result of lions roaming their property."

But in most cases, Krall said, no one has actually seen the big cats. "They see large tracks of a strange animal, and they figure a mountain lion has taken their dog or cat. Most of the time, though, the tracks turn out to be canine tracks, probably a loose dog or coyote."

While reliable evidence verifying the presence of lions may often be scarce, there should be no doubt they inhabit the area. Just a couple of weeks ago a yellow Lab belonging to an Aspen Springs family luckily survived an attack in its own backyard. Had the owners not been home at the time and successfully frightened the hungry predator away, the outcome might have been tragic.

Earlier this month, in another episode on Reservoir Hill, a lion hunter managed to legally harvest a male cat after tracking it through the center of Pagosa Springs. Hunting season, which began Jan. 1 and runs through the end of March, allows a total harvest quota of 10 cats in game management units between the top of Wolf Creek Pass and Durango.

Adult mountain lions are a solid tawny color with white underbelly, and range from seven to nine feet in length. Weighing between 80 and 200 pounds, their uncanny agility allows them to spring forward 25 feet (from a standstill), leap 12 feet in the air, and jump safely from a height of 60 feet. As silent and secretive hunters, they are active any time of day, but prefer hunting at night. Deer seem to be their favorite entree, but they also kill elk, porcupines, small mammals, various livestock and, yes, domestic pets.

To reduce the risk of problem encounters with mountain lions, folks should travel in groups and make noise when moving about between dawn and dusk. Keeping children in sight always, and carrying deterrents such as a walking stick, air horn or pepper spray will discourage attacks. Pets should be leashed at all times. Homeowners should remove thick brush from around the house, consider installing outdoor lighting, keep pet food indoors, and confine pets and children to fenced areas in plain view.

In the unlikely event of a mountain lion approach, parents should pick up small children and place older ones behind them. Always leave a cat room to escape, and appear as large as possible by opening a jacket or sweater. Remain calm and speak in a low firm voice. Above all, keep a watchful eye on the lion and, while standing upright and facing it, slowly back away.

If a lion acts aggressively, throw rocks, branches or anything you can get your hands on, without crouching down to pick it up. If attacked, fight back with whatever is available, including a hat, jacket, binoculars or bare hands.

The DOW is responsible for managing, conserving and protecting Colorado's wildlife, and wants to hear your concerns. If you have an encounter with a mountain lion, or an attack occurs, you should immediately contact the division in Durango at 247-0855, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. On weekends or off hours, call the State Patrol or local sheriff's department. To report a sighting, call the Division during regular business hours.

Mountain lions are magnificent animals, and as efficient predators play an essential role in the balance of nature. With a little common sense and genuine respect for them and their habitat, we can all live and recreate without fear in lion country.


San Juan Gobblers set annual dinner, auction

By Bob Curvey

Special to The SUN

The eighth annual San Juan Gobblers dinner and auction will be April 1 in the Extension building at the county fairgrounds.

A great array of door prizes is on hand again this year, donated by local businesses and, as always, there will be a super auction package from the National Wild Turkey Federation, exclusive to this banquet.

This year, for the first time in the history of the NWTF, the gun of the year and Jakes' gun of the year will be rifles, not shotguns.

The banquet will start earlier than in past years. Doors will open at 3 p.m., dinner will be at 5:30 p.m., with the auction to follow.

Contact the following committee members' numbers for tickets and information on the banquet: 731-9172, 731-4984, 264-9377 and 264-2415. We will have a drawing for a beautiful "early bird" door prize for those who buy their tickets early.

The NWTF and San Juan Gobblers are dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey, its habitat and the hunting traditions.

Now, more than 525,000 members strong, the NWTF continues to help turkey populations expand, is improving habitat for all wildlife and is providing outdoor opportunities for men, women, children and the disabled.

So, come join a great team, have a great dinner and a fun-filled evening and help us raise money for the wild turkeys.


Order tree and shrub seedlings now

The San Juan Conservation District is taking orders for seedling trees and shrubs to be planted especially for conservation planting, shelter belts, reforestation and wildlife habitat enhancement.

Seedlings come from the Colorado State Forest Service Nursery in Fort Collins. Bare root trees are available in multiples of 50 per species and potted trees are available in multiples of 30 per species.

Landowners can obtain a seedling order form from the San Juan Conservation District located at 505A Piedra Road or the CSU Cooperative Extension Service at the Archuleta County Fair Building.

Orders will be taken through March 17. Place your order early for best selection. The trees will be available to pick up on April 12.

For more information, call 731-3615.


High Country Reflections

To live the good life, we must preserve the intangibles

By Chuck McGuire

It snowed last night, the first real storm of a dry winter season, and the entire landscape is finally veiled in a virgin blanket of white.

Early this morning, an hour before sunrise, I awakened and quickly peered out a window into the frozen forest beyond. At some point, the overcast had withdrawn and in a sapphire sky, bright stars glimmered through the pines and above the distant serrated horizon. A waning moon, still a few days before Last Quarter, shone luridly from high overhead, flooding the scene with a soft iridescent glow. The trees themselves cast long vivid shadows upon the woodland floor, even as countless tufts of powdery flakes clung tentatively to their deeply furrowed trunks. In the clear mountain air, all was quiet and serene.

The overwhelming splendor, while nearly indescribable, instilled in me profound reverence, and I stood at the window for a considerable length of time. Throughout, I sensed much more than just light, trees, shadow and snow. I realized beauty and sublimity, and a meticulous order unmatched anywhere in our synthetic human society. Though looking into the icy chill, a feeling of warmth passed over me, stirring my very soul and, at once, making me thankful to be alive.

Those of us fortunate to live in such grandeur know these occasions well. A colorful sunrise glistening through the pine boughs of a backlit ponderosa, a sudden change in the weather, or a golden alpenglow in the evening twilight each rouses our emotions, and as we pause quietly to appreciate the grand views before us, we concede their vital role in determining the quality of our lives. We recognize these values, however ambiguous they may be.

City dwellers, too, revere such moments, but frequent distractions invariably rob them of the peace and tranquility associated with valuable time spent in the great outdoors. With towering skyscrapers, neighborhood strip malls and widespread urban sprawl covering a reshaped topography for miles around, unyielding traffic congestion, persistent smog and the discordant drone of round-the-clock commerce prohibit solitude, clarity and calm. On typical workdays, brief respites from this human hive of activity are only possible with visits to artificially-groomed parks, a zoo or museum. On weekends, it seems, everyone flocks to the same countryside lake or pocket forest preserve. The intangible values of these experiences, while difficult to describe, are real and irrefutable.

Whatever our surroundings, each of us craves quiet and seclusion now and then. As residents of a modern technological world, we are not so far removed from the primitive and nomadic lives of our ancient ancestors that nature's impressions have been effectively erased from our psyche. Humans have survived in, contemplated and depended upon their natural environment for tens of thousands of years. The advent of modern industrialization, along with our rapid migration from rural to urban settings, has only faintly transformed us for little more than a century or so. Indeed, our need for serenity seems more a psychosomatic requirement than simple preference.

If, then, by fulfilling our mental and emotional needs for quietude and innate spaces, we concurrently elevate the merit of our own existence, we can fully appreciate the substantial and undeniable worth related to them. These are not simple values measured in dollars and cents, but rather ones that transcend palpable exchange. They are difficult to define but, as Sigurd F. Olson once said, "they stir the emotions, influence happiness and thereby make life worth living."

Even as we struggle to explain the intangible values found in nature, we can clearly distinguish them. Many times, in fact, we can categorize them according to levels of perceived implication.

For instance, if we stroll the path of a commercial wildlife park and stop to view the black bear exhibit, we quickly gain an up-close appreciation for a splendid omnivorous species indigenous to the wilds of our region. We find the experience both enjoyable and rewarding, yet the fact that the bears are penned up lessens the occasion somewhat. Only when we unexpectedly see one foraging in its natural habitat, do we get the exhilaration and full joy of a true bear encounter.

Back in the mid-'90s, Jackie and I lived in a small mountain town in northern Colorado, and for a couple of years, heard a pair of gray wolves howling almost nightly. Of course, they were confined to an unsheltered pen in a neighboring backyard, where we could see them constantly. They were large magnificent animals, and their lonely cries reminded us of the northern woods of Minnesota and Ontario. Nevertheless, we hated seeing such remarkable symbols of true wilderness caged like domestic dogs, and dreamed of watching them run wild and free, deep in some Colorado forest.

There can be no doubt about the intangible values inherent in nature, universally coveted and most often associated with what we call "the good life." Certainly, as our population has increased over the millenniums and most people have taken to living in large metropolitan areas, the meaning of the good life has changed. But even today, most will agree that living well means enjoying a life of adequate prosperity, with freedom and plenty of open space, including natural surroundings rich with indescribable beauty and diverse wildlife.

Clearly, for us to know such a time in the face of today's burgeoning population, global warming and dwindling resources, we must become wise stewards of what's left of the natural environment. To now, we have recklessly exploited its intangible values for the simple sake of material wealth. We have opened and fragmented our forests, destroyed wildlife habitat and hundreds of wild species themselves. We have poisoned our air and waterways, and continue using the oceans as garbage dumps. In the name of agricultural commerce, we have extirpated wolves from Colorado and elsewhere, which we now know are critical to an ecological balance of the land.

In the past year, we have witnessed the cutting of trees, the considerable movement of earth and the advancement of new roads and infrastructure to accommodate large commercial and residential developments along the highway through our town. Several other projects of varying size are in the planning and approval process, and still more are envisioned for the foreseeable future.

Of these ventures, most consider them the inevitable progress that rises from rapid growth. But we must begin to question which comes first; population growth and the subsequent need for additional housing and commerce; or the random construction of industrial and residential communities, followed by a call for new businesses and citizens to occupy them. As long as we allow outside developers to dictate what we need, we will allow them to exploit our picturesque environment for their own personal profit.

If, for succeeding generations, we are to preserve the intangible, yet indisputable, worth of our pristine woodlands, crystalline rivers and pure mountain air, we must find ways to curb population growth and slow the demand for unfettered development. If our children, and their children, are to know the value of a moonlit walk in an old-growth forest, or the glory of a blaze-orange sunset resonating from the snowy slopes of a high alpine summit, we have to imagine life with less, rather than always seeking more. Only by finding ways of conserving what remains, can we assure our requirements for the future.




Unwise fees

Dear Editor:

Since every body knows that anyone who flies an airplane is rich, let's just agree with the premise. One might say, what do these rich pilots care if we raise the fuel flow fee, charge high ramp fees, or invent other fees? The county needs the money!

Knowing that the town needs money, why not install parking meters downtown and charge the highest value in the state? That too would raise a lot of money. Moreover, if someone is going to spend $50 at Goodman's, why should they care if parking costs $2.50 per hour? Every body knows that raising fees always raises government income.

The answer is while airplane owners and shoppers can both afford the fees, they will both be deterred by what they believe is an arbitrary and unfair fee structure. If you apply the same strategy to parking meters that the county is proposing for airport fees, government can expect your parking meter income, sales tax, and airport income to all drop by encouraging consumers to fly to or shop at locations where they are not affronted by a fee structure.

H. Pat Artis


Ski patrol

Dear Editor:

It seems every year I am writing a letter thanking the Wolf Creek Ski Area. This year, I have to thank Adam Steele and Jon Reed, two fine professionals in the Wolf Creek ski patrol.

We were on top of Wolf Creek Pass just finishing an early morning snowshoe trek with the San Juan Outdoor Club. A young man ran up to us asking someone to dial 911. His buddy was injured and was lying in a gully across from the Lobo parking lot. We couldn't raise 911 so we went to the Wolf Creek parking lot and informed a parking attendant of the accident. Within minutes, the Wolf Creek ski patrol arrived. They stabilized the young fellow (I think his name was Chris), pulled him out of the gully and hauled him to the road through very deep powder. The EMS arrived, they made sure Chris was okay to transport. Soon a helicopter arrived and Chris was on his way to great treatment and hopefully can ride another day.

The Wolf Creek Ski Patrol knew what to do and did it. It is comforting to know we have professionals looking out for our well-being as we play in the snow. The Wolf Creek Ski Area has proven again to be a good neighbor.

Thank you all who wear the white cross.

John Bozek


Who cares?

Dear Editor:

During a recent ski rental, I inquired of new snow. After being told of the poor conditions, the weather report was quickly followed by, "You know, of course, that there is no such thing as Mother Nature Š that God controls everything."

Finally, I realized why the so-called evangelical Republican politicians and their business cohorts are so eagerly blind in their pillage of the environment: when George said he believes that God wants him to be President then, by default, God wants/doesn't care about their destroying the environment for profit Š locally, think Village at Wolf Creek.

Is it really possible that these people believe the Rapture will come and their destructive actions for profit are the will of God? Further, I am continually amazed at the lack of protest (to put it politely) from sportsmen or Fish and Game, DOW, BLM or Forest agencies.

Then I read an article that states that six former heads of the Environmental Protection Agency - five Republicans and one Democrat - accused the Bush administration of neglecting global warming and other environmental problems.

Agency heads during five Republican administrations, including the current one, criticized the Bush White House for what they described as a failure of leadership. "We need leadership, and I don't think we're getting it," was repeatedly said at an EPA-sponsored symposium centered around the agency's 35th anniversary. "To sit back and just push it away and say we'll deal with it sometime down the road is dishonest to the people and self-destructive."

All the former administrators and the EPA's current chief, Stephen Johnson, raised their hands when asked whether they believe global warming is a real problem, and again when asked if humans bear significant blame.

Lee Thomas, Ruckelshaus's successor in the Reagan administration, said that "if the United States doesn't deal with those kinds of issues in a leadership role, they're not going to get dealt with. So I'm very concerned about this country and this agency." Bill Reilly, the EPA administrator under the first President Bush, echoed that assessment.

Christie Whitman, the first of three EPA administrators in the current Bush administration, said "You'd need to be in a hole somewhere to think that the amount of change that we have imposed on land, and the way we've handled deforestation, farming practices, development, and what we're putting into the air, isn't exacerbating what is probably a natural trend," she said. "But this is worse, and it's getting worse."

There are intelligent good people and there is hope when we work together.

Dave Blake


No morale problem

Dear Editor:

I would just like to take the time to address an issue that has been mentioned concerning morale at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

I have worked for two other sheriff's departments in my nine years as a deputy sheriff. This department is no different than the other two I have worked for. There is always someone who is working right along beside you who is a cry baby, a complainer, a worker, a know-it-all, and an I don't care about anyone else but myself. You don't have to work for a sheriff's department to relate to these people. You probably have one of these or all of them at your own office.

Archuleta County Sheriff's Department has one or two of these people. It's simple. If you are unhappy at your job, then move on or find another line of work.

When it comes to a law enforcement agency, morale is not that big of an issue. If you are proficient at your job and have a good attitude and a good sense of humor, then usually you can get along with just about anyone or get through just about any situation.

I've worked for the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department for over a year. I am very happy working for Sheriff Tom Richards, Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp and Captain Eugene Reilly. These men are some of the best supervisors anyone could ask to work for. They each have an open-door policy and all are very approachable. Their attitude is that family comes first and, when asked, they will do what ever it takes to accommodate an employee's needs if feasible.

This department is moving forward with the command staff that is already in place. Undersheriff Grandchamp and Captain Reilly both come from two of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United States. They bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to this county. Tom Richards has done an outstanding job as sheriff of Archuleta County.

I am proud to work for these men and for Archuleta County. This is a very small department compared to the two other agencies I have worked for and sometimes rumors can be detrimental if not addressed immediately.

This rumor sounds like a deceitful plot to undermine the department in order to benefit only one person in this town who has no concern for the affects it causes to this community and to the employees of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

If what you are being told is that there is a morale problem at the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, then you are being deceived.

Tony R. Bybee



Dear Editor:

As co-chairs of the Psychiatric Community Resource Task Force, we wish to thank all of those in Southwest Colorado who are making Crossroads a reality. Construction started in December on this facility that will incorporate a Psychiatric Urgent Care unit, a Triage unit, and a Detox unit. Crossroads will provide the mental health care for persons in psychiatric crisis that Southwest Colorado has been without, and that has entailed transport of our citizens to Pueblo or Grand Junction. This innovative and state-of-the-art treatment facility will help consumers stay close to family and community while dealing with a mental health crisis.

Every town, city, county, law enforcement and human service entity in the five county service area have endorsed this regional community partnership helping to move us all toward a healthy mental health future. We have received construction funding from federal (12 percent of the project cost), state, and regional governments, along with funds from private foundations.

Now we need your support - the private citizens of Southwest Colorado who will benefit directly from Crossroads services - to raise the final construction dollars. Please consider giving to this critically needed resource. You may mail donations to Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center, earmarked for Crossroads construction, at P.O. Box 1328, Durango, CO 81302. You may also give on our Web site at www.swcmhc.org.

For more information about Crossroads, contact Beth Utton at 259-2162.

Thanks to you, Crossroads is now a reality and your continued support is very much appreciated.

Mark Larson, Bill Mashaw


Water and growth

Dear Editor:

This letter has also been sent to our county planning commission.

Please consider this letter important for our community. This is not the first letter I have written to you on the same topic, i.e., water, growth, lack of water, and now our weather pattern and what is next?

Slowing growth is an easy avenue to take and common sense. Many other communities have halted growth for certain periods of time; it is possible. You just need to act on this issue now!

We all need water to live and for those of us that love to grow our own veggies, we do not want to lose this natural healthy means to life, just to view more rooftops.

Pam Morrow


D grades

Dear Editor:

Ms. Anderson, I called Mr. Hecox at Colorado College. I found out that the "State of the Rockies Report" is issued yearly. The last report was April 2005, nine months ago, and reflected the temporary library quarters in the basement of the Humane Society Thrift Store. Two thirds of our books were in storage as well as all of the computers, and only a very limited amount of other services were available - hence our "D" rating in capacity.

I called the Pagosa Chamber of Commerce and found that our median income is about $19,500-plus. Cortez C of C says their income is $25,000. I am sure the employees in Pagosa would be amazed to find their wages have risen 30 percent in the past four years, as you stated. I believe most of the increase in housing and income is due to retirees moving here and in second homes. In talking to a man that installs satellite dishes, he said almost every job he has done since last spring has been a relocation contract.

The library is an important item in our lives, but by no means the only one. Your haranguing the people was incredibly poor timing with home heating bills tripled, high local gas prices, and thanks to our county commissionettes, a great expense now to maintain the roads.

I realize you are new to our area and to your job and in no way will you be able to replace Lenore, but manipulating facts, complaining about lack of full-time volunteers, voicing your frustration over internal budgeting decisions, etc. is not making friends and allies.

There has been no mention in the paper of donations of books, magazines, money given in memory or to honor loved ones and friends. Has this source of assets dried up since you took over? Maybe I will donate the next stack of new books to the library in Dolores, I'm certain their librarian will have the common courtesy of saying "thank you."

All in all, I'm afraid your first report card is a "D." I am hopeful you will be able to improve.

Jan Nicholls


Pray for safety

Dear Editor,

In response to last week's letter from Robert Kern, Jr.: Apparently you are not a parent or pet owner. If you are, I pray for your children's and pet's safety. If you are not, I thank God for small favors.

Connie Prunty


Moderate Republicans

Dear Editor,

State Representative Mark Larson's departure from the 2006 Senate race is indeed a blow that many of us regret seeing happen.

Yet, few would fault Mark for his honest reasons to change his mind about running, given that the job of most elected officials is all consuming, often thankless and fraught with partisan bickering, and does not pay well.

As many have already noted, Mark has worked extremely hard to serve all of us in southwest Colorado. For those who are disheartened, (or excited, given your point of view), in thinking that moderate Republicans committed to the core Republican values of limited government, local control and individual and fiscal responsibility are now gone with Mark ... please, think again. We are still here and are working hard to help the Republican Party be a party of differing opinions and one that is respectful of all of its members, be they conservative, moderate or liberal. Thanks again to Mark, for his many years of dedicated service to our corner of the state.

Ellen Roberts



Support for CAH

Dear Editor:

After working for over one year and a half as a medical provider in your community, I remain very interested in the establishment of a healthcare delivery system in Pagosa Springs.

During my tenure as a physician at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, I was given the opportunity to interact with many wonderful people that I still consider as friends, no matter which side of the political fence they were on. My wish is for all Pagosans to focus on the positive. Criticism has a value only when it has the goal of producing a better outcome.

As I see the Health District board making progress towards the realization of a Critical Access Hospital, I can only applaud their efforts and hope that every citizen will support their endeavor. This is exactly "what the doctor ordered."

For those who have attended the board meetings while I was in Pagosa, you have heard me say many times that there was no reason in the world why the local providers could not work together to offer the population the needed medical care. A Critical Access Hospital is right; the resources are there to achieve the project. After the bond issue is approved, it can and will work, but only if the local providers buy into the program. They need to put behind the past issues, start fresh and place the community interest first. The whole concept is doomed unless there is a commitment on their part. A healthcare provider cannot survive without patients. As a patient you have the right and duty to mandate such a commitment. You are in the driver's seat: let it be known.

When I started in Pagosa, I was supposed to be there for eight weeks. I ended up staying for 20 months and enjoyed it. I wish I were 20 years younger: I would be there without hesitation. I raise my hat to the majority of the board members who have shown genuine dedication in their willingness to navigate the troubled waters of healthcare delivery. Please thank them and support them.


Guy Paquet M.D.


Community News

Spring is in the air for community choir

Pagosa Springs Community Choir is gearing up for Mother's Day weekend performances, May 12, 13 and 14 in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

Rehearsals begin at the Community United Methodist Church (434 Lewis St.) Tuesday, Feb. 14. Directors Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer have been busy selecting music including patriotic, Broadway, folk, gospel and jazz selections. Melinda Baum has agreed to be the new accompanist due to Shirley McGee's transfer back to Arizona.

On Feb. 14 only, vocalists are asked to arrive at rehearsal by 6:45 p.m. to register and receive music. There is a $20 registration fee due the first night.

Rehearsals will then continue every Tuesday night from 7-9 p.m. Previous members are asked to return any old music and/or folders they might have at home.

New singers are always welcome - the only requirements are a love for singing and a commitment to rehearsals once a week.

For more information, call Pam Spitler at 264-1952.


Film society to screen 'The Snow Walker'

The Pagosa Springs Film Society will screen and discuss the 2003 Canadian feature film "The Snow Walker" Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Based on a true story, a bush pilot takes an ill Inuit woman on a routine flight, only to have it go down in the remote wilderness of the tundra. They survive the crash, but the woman seems too sick to walk for help, so the pilot heads out on his own. He gets lost, but his passenger has secretly tracked him, and she nurses him back to health. They finally opt to trek back to civilization, after the native woman has taught her pilot extensive survival skills.

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


Dance club offers Country Two Step lessons

By Deb Aspen

Special to The PREVIEW

Dance, along with music, has always dynamically expressed the spirit and personality of every culture.

Modern western dance is part of this global language and its roots run wide and deep. They can be traced to the taverns of Ireland and to the ballrooms of Europe, to the Czarist palaces of Russia and further back still to the fluid tribal rituals of Africa. Representatives from all of these cultures brought their native dances when they landed in America. Widely differing peoples who had little or no exposure to one another gathered and danced on common ground.

In the settling of the West, people organized barn dances and country balls. To prevent chaos from dominating the dance floor, as few knew the same steps, a hero emerged. He was the "caller" and it was his job to orchestrate the heterogeneous crowd into harmonious movement. Thus, the square dance evolved, out of a waltz-type position. A new dance called the Polka moved west. Having the "intimacy of the Waltz and the vivacity of the Irish Jig," many found refuge in the Polka due to its similarity to so many other European folk dances. The freed black Americans in particular exerted a stylistic influence that can still be seen in today's country swing dance. However, the most important influence came from the cowboy!

The cowboy, not the most limber of creatures due to the long hours in the saddle and strenuous work, was a not a dancer of fashionable finesse. Neither was he usually of a temperament to master intricate dance steps or to gracefully lead a fair maiden across the floor to the strains of a fiddler's reel. Rather, he would join a dance with a wild whoop and a holler.

Joseph McCoy, the first great cattle baron, wrote in 1874 that the cowboy "usually enters the dance with a peculiar zest: his eyes lit up with excitement, liquor and lust. He stomps in without stopping to divest himself of his sombrero, spurs or pistols." The cowboy paid little attention to traditional dance forms. One observer commented in 1873, that "some punchers danced like a bear 'round a beehive that was afraid of getting stung. Others didn't seem to know how to handle a calico, and got as rough as they do handlin' cattle in brandin' pens." The swing of the leg when dismounting from a horse became a mighty Polka gallop.

The habit of wearing spurs even on the dance floor forced the cowboy to keep his feet apart and "shuffle" as he moved to the music. Several of these cowboy mannerisms, although tamed, survived in today's modern western dance. The "double arms over" move is reminiscent of the final "tying off" of a calf's legs prior to branding. The basic "push pull" position recaptures the rhythm of grasping the reins.

Since country western dance is largely made up of "borrowed" dance forms, it's probably better to define it as an attitude. In fact, some have ventured to say that it is merely ballroom dance done to country music, with the difference in style and attitude separating the two. This dance style was not so much original as it was a spontaneous adaptation of traditional moves brought west by various immigrant cultures.

Although usually danced to much faster paced music, Two Step is very similar to ballroom's Foxtrot with six-count rhythm: slow, slow (two counts each), quick, quick (one count each). Regardless of the similarities, the Country Two-Step did not originate from the Foxtrot. C/W dancers typically use more of the "open" and "side by side" positions, and have a slightly different view of lead and follow. For instance, many times the leader will lead the follower into a move and until the move is completed. The follower will temporarily switch roles; or occasionally, they will both participate in individual moves and become leaders until the completion of the moves. Another style difference can be seen in the separation of the dancers when dancing in the "closed position." There is usually much more space between the dance partners in c/w dancing that in ballroom.

Country dancing survived through the flapper, jazz and eccentric eras largely due to Chicago radio station WLS broadcasting the National Barn Dance in 1924. A year later, the now famous Grand Ole Opry from Nashville was initiated. C/W dancing picked up moves from swings during the '30s and '40s, and after WW II it took on some of the characteristics of rock 'n roll through the '50s and '60s. Country music rose in popularity again after the Disco era in the late '70s, and a resurgence of interest in western dance emerged.

A lot of credit for the development of the Country Two Step should be given to Eddie Lopez who owned the Exclusive Dance Club Studios in Houston. Even though the studios no longer exist, many well known dancers either taught or learned the steps which were considered to be the first in the competition style Country Western Two Step. Along with Polka, C/W Swing, Progressive Swing, Three Step and Texas Two Step, it can be seen and performed in any national or international ballroom dance competition arena.

In Pagosa, however, its a fun and exciting social dance. Grab your hats, don your boots, and come on down to the PLPOA Clubhouse to learn the Country Two Step.

The class schedule for Country Two Step is as follows: Feb. 1,8,16 and 23 from 7-9 p.m. and practice sessions Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26 from 3-5 p.m. All sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse 230 Port Ave. Please arrive 10 minutes early to register, and have your attendance recorded towards merit points. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that have smooth or split leather soles (something that does not leave black marks or mud).

For more information call Deb Aspen, 731-3338.


Seminar features photo contest judge

By Joan Rohwer

Special to The PREVIEW

The 18th annual PSAC photography contest judge's seminar, presented by Dave Taylor, will be held 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 4, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center

There is a $5 fee for contest entrants, $10 for interested persons who have not entered the photo contest. Sign up for the seminar when you deliver your photos to the contest or at the door the day of the event.

Dave Taylor has been making his living with photography since his days as a military photographer. He has kept his technical skills current by attending and teaching seminars and training classes. He currently co-owns Elegant Images in Farmington where he creates fine portraiture, wedding and commercial photography.

Taylor is willing to share his experience and expertise with participants during the morning seminar. The workshop will be presented in a very informal way, with plenty of time to answer questions and to provide one-on-one assistance.

The seminar will be appropriate for all levels of expertise. Bring your camera, your questions and your enthusiasm for an interesting morning of discussion.

The seminar will not deal with the judge's selection of contest winners. Entrants are encouraged to attend the Saturday evening show opening to discover the judging results. Taylor will explain his judging techniques and choices at that time. The opening will afford plenty of opportunity for photographers to talk one-on-one with Taylor about their contest entries.

The opening reception for the annual photo show is at Moonlight Books, 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4. Attend the reception and cast your vote for the People's Choice award.


Film society to screen 'The Snow Walker'

The Pagosa Springs Film Society will screen and discuss the 2003 Canadian feature film "The Snow Walker" Tuesday, Jan. 31.

Based on a true story, a bush pilot takes an ill Inuit woman on a routine flight, only to have it go down in the remote wilderness of the tundra. They survive the crash, but the woman seems too sick to walk for help, so the pilot heads out on his own. He gets lost, but his passenger has secretly tracked him, and she nurses him back to health. They finally opt to trek back to civilization, after the native woman has taught her pilot extensive survival skills.

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


Free numerology workshop with Michael Brill

Michael Brill, internationally acclaimed numerologist and originator of cosmic numerology, will be teaching a free workshop at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, in Pagosa Springs in the Exhibition Hall at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds building on U.S. 84.

Cosmic numerology is the study of the mathematical patterns associated with the numbers and letters that make up our realities. Numbers and letters represent the codes of creation (numerology). Cosmic numerology views these codes as being generated by conscious intention (quantum physics).

With a masters degree in education (special education - emotionally disturbed/social maladjusted), Michael Brill has been a numerologist for over 20 years. He has appeared on Fox television, as well as on over 400 radio stations in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Cayman Islands. Michael's books include "Know Your Numbers, Know Your Self," "Discovering the Solutions to Your Life's Challenges; Stay Healthy Š Do What You Love Not to be Loved or to Maintain Control," and "Identify Anyone's Behavior Patterns in Less than a Minute: Why We Behave the Way We Do - At Work - In Relationships - With Family."

More information can be found on Michael's Web site at www.awakener.come. Call 264-9987 to register. The workshop will last approximately three to four hours, and mini consultations with Michael will be available following the workshop as time allows.


Annual Girl Scout cookie sale underway

For nearly 90 years, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has helped girls foster a sense of personal and collective empowerment by promoting skills they will use throughout their entire lives.

Through this annual activity, girls ages 5-17 learn how to set goals, develop action plans to reach those goals, work together as a team and cultivate a sense of business ethics. Additionally, they build confidence by developing public speaking and interpersonal communication skills. Girls also acquire knowledge in money management, marketing and customer service, thereby making the Girl Scout Cookie Program the nation's premier financial literacy and entrepreneurship program. Throughout New Mexico and southwestern Colorado, girls began selling Girl Scout cookies Jan. 13 and will continue through March 19.

"I know we are training girls to fill all sorts of roles in the future," says Nancy Bryant, Chaparral Council's CEO. "These young ladies could some day become secretary of state, CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a local business owner, governor, Nobel Prize recipient Š the opportunities they have are limitless."

Girls build confidence through cookie program

Girl Scouts who participate in the sale learn how to set goals, develop plans for achieving those goals, and work together as a team. Girls also develop leadership, decision-making and presentation skills. This annual activity builds upon skills they are learning in school, including math, reading and communication skills. By being successful and learning or improving these skills, girls become confident in their everyday lives.

"The entire Girl Scout program is about helping girls develop courage, confidence and character so they may be successful now and in the future," states Bobbie Williams, Chaparral Council's board president. "The cookie program builds on this principle and you can see the girls' confidence shine as they achieve their cookie sale goals."

Everyone can support Girl Scouts

All of the proceeds from the Girl Scout Cookie Program stay locally. Participating troops receive a portion of the proceeds to carry out their activities for the year, including attending events, going to camp, providing community service, and purchasing supplies for their troop. Many troops have used their proceeds to attend camp, travel to regional and international destinations, and help others who are in need. The remaining portion stays within the local council, after paying the baker, and supports training for adult volunteers and girl program and activities at little or no cost.

Did you already purchase cookies from a neighbor or co-worker's child? That's wonderful, and Chaparral Council thanks you for your support. You can still help additional Girl Scouts without having to eat more Girl Scout cookies. For the fourth year, Girl Scouts throughout the area are participating in a community service program called "Gift of Caring." You can purchase additional boxes of cookies for other nonprofit organizations in the community, such as food pantries and shelters. After the sale, Girl Scout troops will deliver these "Gift of Caring" cookies to these organizations. This is a wonderful way to support your local Girl Scout and other organizations at the same time.

If you are on a restricted diet, you can purchase boxes for the Gift of Caring project or you can purchase a box of Lemon Coolers, which are a refreshing, reduced-fat treat. Girl Scout cookies also freeze well, so you can stock up and enjoy them throughout the year.

So keep watching for your local Girl Scouts. This is a wonderful way to help girls become tomorrow's leaders.

Girl Scouts of Chaparral Council, Inc., serves more than 6,000 girls and 2,000 adults in nine counties in New Mexico and five counties in southwestern Colorado, including Archuleta County. Chaparral Council is committed to helping girls ages 5-17 develop values, social consciousness, self-esteem and skills for success in the future. Through the many enriching experiences provided by the Girl Scouts, girls can grow courageous and strong.

To volunteer, join or contribute, call (505) 343-1040, (800) 658-6768, or visit the Web site at www.chaparralgirlscouts.org.


Local Chatter

Cleaning produces Fun on the Run

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

Humor brightens the day. While cleaning out my Fun on the Run file last week, I found these.

1) Ralph and his friend were driving through town when they came to a red light. Cruising through the red light, Ralph's friend expressed concern.

"Don't worry," Ralph said. "My brother George does it all the time, and he never gets caught."

Coming upon another red light at the next intersection, Ralph again went speeding right through.

"Don't worry," Ralph assured his friend, "George does this every day, and nothing ever happens to him."

At the next intersection, the light was green, and Ralph came to a complete stop.

"Why do you run through all the red lights and stop when we come to a green light?" asked his friend.

"George might be coming through," replied Ralph.

2) Here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.

Diets and dying Š

The Japanese eat very little fat and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and also suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.

Conclusion: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

3) Contemporary signs for the home Š

- Clean enough to be healthy, but dirty enough to be happy.

- Kitchen closed, this chick has had it!

- So this isn't "Home Sweet Home." Adjust!

- Ring bell for maid service. If no answer, do it yourself!

- I clean house every other day. Today is the other day!

- If you write in the dust, please don't date it!

- I would cook dinner, but I can't find the can opener!

- My house was clean last week, too bad you missed it!

- I came, I saw, I decided to order takeout.

- If you don't like my standards of cooking, lower your standards.

- My house doesn't always look like this. Some days it's even worse.

- Help keep the kitchen clean. Eat out!

- Countless numbers of people have eaten in this kitchen and gone on to lead normal lives.

- My next house will have no kitchen, just vending machines.

4) The Mafia was looking for a new man to make weekly collections from all the private businesses that they were "protecting."

Feeling the heat from the police force, they decided to use a deaf person for this job. If he were to get caught, he wouldn't be able to communicate to the police what he was doing.

Well, on his first week, the deaf collector picked up over $50,000. He got greedy, keeping the money and stashing it in a safe place.

The Mafia soon realized that their collection was late, and sent some of their hoods after the deaf collector. The hoods found the deaf collector and asked him where the money was. The deaf collector couldn't communicate with them, so the Mafia dragged the guy to an interpreter.

The Mafia hood said to the interpreter, "Ask him where the money is."

The interpreter signed, "Where's the money?"

The deaf man replied, "I don't know what you're talking about."

The interpreter told the hood, "He said he didn't know what you're talking about."

The hood pulled out a large gun and placed it in the ear of the deaf collector. "Now ask him where the money is."

The interpreter signed, "Where is the money?"

The deaf man replied, "The $50,000 is in Central Park, hidden in the third tree stump on the left from the West 78th Street gate."

The interpreter said to the hood, "He said he still doesn't know what you're talking about, and doesn't think you have the guts to pull the trigger."

5) A man absolutely hated his wife's cat and decided to get rid of him one day by driving him two miles from his home and leaving him. As he was getting home, the cat was walking up the driveway.

The next day he decided to drive the cat five miles away. He put the beast out and headed home. Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat!

The man kept taking the cat further and further and the cat would always show back up at home. At last he decided to drive a complicated route many miles away until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there.

Hours later the man called home to his wife: "Jen, is the cat there?"

"Yes," the wife answered, "why do you ask?"

Frustrated, the man answered, "Put that darn cat on the phone, I'm lost and need directions."


Community Center News

Community center features busy meeting schedule

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Area Association of REALTORS® is hosting a training session for local realty associates and their assistants regarding the new multi-listing service (MLS) system 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26.

San Juan Outdoor Club

The outdoor club has its monthly get-together the first Thursday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. at the center. The next meeting is Feb. 2.

Aus-Ger Club

The next gathering of the Austrian German Club will take place Feb. 2 at the Buffalo Inn on North Pagosa Boulevard. An Austrian lunch will be served at noon. Afterward, those attending will share ideas and conversation. Call the club president, Roger Behr, at 731-0409 or the community center at 264-4152 for more information.

Beginning yoga

The class will be held despite Richard Harris' absence for the first two weeks of February. Diana Baird has agreed to act as leader. The group meets every Thursday at 11 a.m. Bring a towel or yoga mat and dress in comfortable clothes. Call 264-4152 for more information.

Thai cooking class

The community center is preparing to offer another in its series of cooking classes. This one will feature Thai cuisine.

Call 264-4152 and leave your name and phone number if you would like more information.

Valentine's dance

Preparations for the dance are in full swing.

Siri Schuchardt, the volunteer coordinator for the Community Center's adult dances, is looking for those of you with a helpful spirit; she needs volunteers to help with the food, the decorations, the setup of the multi-purpose room and the take-down after the event. Call her at 731-9670 or the center at 264-4152 if you can help.

Music will be provided by one of this area's best bands, Tim Sullivan & Narrow Gauge. Tim is a enormously popular singer-songwriter from Durango who has performed at Fort Lewis College, the Wild Horse Saloon in Durango and at the Archuleta County Fair here in Pagosa Springs. So, make a note on your calendar for Friday, Feb. 10, from 7 to 11 p.m.

Tickets are now available at the center and WolfTracks. Cost is $20 per person in advance, $25 at the door. The price includes desserts, soft drinks and coffee. A cash bar with beer and wine at nominal prices will be available.

Computer Lab news

Members in last week's beginning classes learned about browsers, search engines, and plugins.

This week, we tackle the subject of e-mail and e-mail providers. PC Magazine recommends the emailaddresses.com Web site for all sorts of information about e-mail. There you will find reviews of hundreds of free and for-fee e-mail providers, information on how to search for e-mail addresses of friends and family, and advice on how to use e-mail.

The Web site's currently featured e-mail provider is fastmail.fm, where I signed up for one of the free "guest" accounts. It provides a decently large mailbox as well as fast delivery of messages. The best feature, however, is that the signup process is very quick and less than half a screen long.

Some e-mail providers make you jump through hoops in order to sign up, so this was a pleasant surprise. One essential part of the sign-up procedure is to enter a current e-mail address to which a confirmation message will be sent. So, if you don't already have an e-mail address, plan to borrow an address from a family member or friend, which you can use to receive that message. Remember that multiple e-mail accounts are handy for reducing the amount of junk mail you receive. If, for example, you buy something on-line, you may then be bothered with follow-up attempts from the company to sell you more. To prevent this, simply enter an e-mail address in the order form, one which you don't plan to use and which can then be deleted in due time by the e-mail provider. You can, of course, try to make up a fake address; however, some e-mail providers check on the address and will stop your enrollment process if a fake is detected.

The discussions on emailaddresses.com make interesting reading. There are questions about what constitutes a good provider, as well as how to solve specific problems. If you are thinking about trying fastmail, you could read the fastmail discussion board to see what others think about the service.

Within the e-mail guide portion of the Web site, there is a section entitled "Understanding E-mail Restrictions." This is worthwhile reading, even if you have been using e-mail for some time. There, you will find detailed explanations of message limit size, storage space, bandwidth and inactivity limits. A limit on message size means that each message sent must fall within a specified number of bytes. Keep in mind that even if your e-mail provider allows large messages, the provider used by your message recipient may not. Storage space refers to the number of messages which can be held in your account at any one time. Bandwidth limits the total size of the messages you can send or receive in any given time period. Less bandwidth will be used if you maintain your account as webmail, rather than downloading messages to your own computer. An inactivity limit indicates the time that your account can be dormant before the provider deletes it.

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

Winter hours

During the winter months, the center is open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday hours are 10-4.

Programs/activities needed

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

Activities this week

Today - PSAAR training, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; watercolor workshop, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.; Leading Edge Class/Small Business Development, 6-9 p.m.

Jan. 27 - Watercolor workshop, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; men's open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open (pool and darts), 2-8 p.m.; Mage Knight, 3-6 p.m.

Jan. 28 - Teen Center open (dodgeball), 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Grace Evangelical, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Jan. 29 - 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.; sustainable housing, 2-4 p.m.

Jan. 30 - Seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Senior Bridge, 12:30-4 p.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.

Jan. 31 - Beginning Computing, 10 a.m.-12 noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open (movie - Groundhog Day), 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 1 - Oil painting workshop, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; seniors' beginning computing, 10 a.m.-noon; preschool play group, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Planned Parenthood, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open (Uno Attack!), 4-8 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Feb. 2 - TOPS Police Department training, 7 a.m.-4 p.m.; oil painting workshop, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; beginning yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open (Ground Hog Day, fun with shadows and poker), 4-8 p.m.; Echo Canyon Ranch Associates HOA meeting, 5-7 p.m.; Leading Edge class/small business development, 6-9 p.m.

Need a place to have a party or meeting? We have very affordable rooms for small, mid-size and large groups. A catering kitchen is also available. 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

Get some tax tips, assistance at The Den

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

The Den is pleased to announce that we have a new bus driver, Tom Ferrell.

Tom is a retired park ranger and he has worked in Pagosa at Chimney Rock and for Wilderness Journeys. We are very happy to welcome him into our extended family. Please be sure to stop by and introduce yourself to Tom.

Birthday celebration

If you are age 60 or over and your birthday is in January, come down to The Den Friday, Jan. 27, for a delicious lunch and to celebrate your birthday. Seniors, Inc. has graciously agreed to pay for a portion of your birthday meal, so it will cost only $1 for a great lunch and birthday cake.

Tax time

The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program is returning this year.

This program provides free tax counseling and preparation by IRS/AARP trained volunteers who reside in the Pagosa Springs area.

Counseling is confidential and the emphasis is on serving the low and middle income taxpayer, with special attention to those 60 years of age and older.

This service includes tax form preparation and review of federal and Colorado state returns. Electronic filing is also available at no cost to the taxpayer. If the taxpayer has prepared their own return, but has questions regarding it, they can come in for assistance.

An application for the Colorado Property Tax/Rent/Heat Rebate (PTC) will also be prepared when appropriate. The PTC rebate is usually available to residents of Colorado for the year 2005 (brief absences are OK) Residents must be over 65 or a qualifying widow(er) over 58 whose income is less than $11,000 single, or $14,700 married, and who has paid property taxes, rent or heating bills in 2005. Also, it is not too late to file an application for the year 2004. If you think that you may qualify for this program, please come in for consultation (usually you will not be filing a federal or state return).

You may also receive your state sales tax refund by filing the PTC application. Qualified applicants can receive a rebate up to $600 of their property tax and $192 of their heating expenses paid during the year. Applicants should bring copies of their tax receipt and heating bills when applying for the rebate. The program is for individual tax returns.

There are some tax forms which are not in the scope of the volunteer tax preparers. In this case you may be advised to seek the assistance of a paid professional tax preparer. Appointments for tax assistance may be scheduled via a sign-up sheet in the senior center dining room. Appointments will not be accepted by phone. This program will be offered Feb. 2- April 13, every Thursday from 9 a.m.—4 p.m., in the Arts Council room at the community center.

Red Shoe Trio

Treat yourself to a "red hot" afternoon of music Wednesday, Feb. 8, at Restoration Fellowship, 264 Village Drive. The performance begins at 2 p.m.

The Red Shoe Trio was formed in the fall of 2003 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. The trio has performed throughout the region to delighted audiences and was described as "red hot" by the Durango Herald. The trio is dedicated to performing the great standards of the repertoire, while avidly championing contemporary compositions.

Members of the trio - Mikylah Myers McTeer on violin, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano - are currently faculty members at Fort Lewis College where they maintain active teaching and performing careers. Ticket prices are $12 for adults, $10 for Seniors Inc. members, $10 for children ages 8 to 12, and children under 8 years of age are free. Tickets are available at The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center located in the community center.

All proceeds will benefit The Den and the Fort Lewis Scholarship Fund. Join us for an afternoon of celebrated music and help support The Den's continued growth and commitment to provide activities and services to our community.

Price changes

The Den has raised the suggested donation prices for both transportation and lunches. 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) for folks age 60-plus at The Den, and the home delivered meals, will be a suggested donation of $3. People under the age of 60 are $5.

Seniors Inc. membership

Seniors Inc. memberships for folks age 55 and over can be purchased for $5 at The Den 9 a.m.—1:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. No memberships will be sold Thursdays.

Your Seniors Inc. membership entitles you to a variety of great discounts from participating merchants, it provides scholarships to assist with medical expenses for qualifying members, and it will also cover $20 of the transportation fee for medical shuttles to Durango. The Den's Monthly Mystery Trips are sponsored by Seniors Inc. so these cool trips in the warmer months are open to all Seniors Inc. members. Join now and acquire the benefits for 2006.

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.

Volunteers needed

Volunteers are needed at The Den to help enroll folks in the new Medicare Drug Insurance program and to offer Medicare counseling. Training will be provided and computer skills are necessary. Call Musetta at 264-2167 if you are able to donate a few hours a week.

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has another opportunity for you to make new friends while you donate your time to our senior citizens. Make an immediate impact on someone's life and volunteer as a driver for medical shuttles to Durango to help those with appointments who are unable to drive themselves. A county vehicle and the fuel are provided for the shuttle. You must have good people skills and be a safe driver. All applications are currently being accepted in The Den office (a background check will be completed on all candidates). For more information, contact Musetta at 264-2167. Please make a difference, and volunteer.

Shuttle price decreases

Senior Services has lowered the cost for medical shuttles to Durango.

Effective Feb. 1, the transportation fee for the med shuttles will be $30 for one person, $20 each for two people, $15 each for three people and $10 each for four or more people.

If you are a member of Seniors Inc., they will pay $20 of your medical shuttle fees. Our medical shuttles provide door-to-door service for doctor appointments in Durango Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Medical shuttles are not available Thursday. Emergency shuttle services are not available any time.

Please try to schedule your medical shuttle at least one week in advance. This will be greatly appreciated since it is a volunteer program. Medical shuttles scheduled less than 48 hours in advanced will not be accommodated.

Computer Lab news

The Beginning Computing class has had an auspicious start. Every seat is filled in the Tuesday class and the Wednesday class for seniors. If you had hoped to join this group of beginners, please be patient while waiting for the new classes to start in March. Do, however, sign up early. About one third of the available seats are already spoken for. Call 264-4152 to reserve your space.

A little humorŠ

I feel like my body has gotten totally out of shape, so I got my doctor's permission to join a fitness club and start exercising. I decided to take an aerobics class for seniors. I bent, twisted, gyrated, jumped up and down and perspired for an hour. But, by the time I got my leotards on, the class was over. Remember: You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

Activities at a glance

Friday, Jan. 27 - Spirit Day, wear your Silver Foxes Den shirts; Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; $1 birthday lunch celebrations, noon; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 30 - Susan Stoffer available for coaching and counseling, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 31 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 1 - Basic computer class, 10 a.m.

Thursday, Feb. 2 - Lunch in Arboles with reservations required and $1 birthday lunch celebrations; AARP tax assistance, by appointment only, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 3 - Spirit Day, wear your Silver Foxes Den shirts. Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon; Bridge 4 fun, 1 p.m.


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

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

Friday, Jan. 27 - Pasta primavera, whole wheat roll, orange wedges and birthday cake; $1 birthday lunch celebrations.

Monday, Jan. 30 - Salmon patties with cream sauce, brown rice, veggie medley and peaches.

Tuesday, Jan. 31 - Meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans and pineapple tidbits.

Wednesday, Feb. 1 - Salisbury steak, whipped potatoes and gravy, Italian green beans, whole wheat roll and peaches.

Thursday, Feb. 22 - Lunch in Arboles with reservations required and $1 birthday lunch celebrations. White chili with chicken, spinach, cornbread, mixed fruit with blueberries.

Friday, Feb. 3 - Chicken and snow peas over rice, oriental vegetables, tropical fruit and whole wheat bread.


Veteran's Corner

VA medical system receives high marks

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The Department of Veterans Affairs medical system once epitomized poor-quality care. But after a series of changes, the system has been hailed in recent years as a model for health care reform.

Now, survey results released this week indicate that those improvements have translated into a high level of satisfaction among veterans getting treated by the rehabilitated VA.

The telephone survey, conducted in October, found inpatient care received a rating of 83 on a 100-point scale; outpatient care got a rating of 80. By comparison, a similar survey of patients receiving private care found they rated their satisfaction at 73 for inpatient care and 75 for outpatient care. The survey involved more than 200 veterans who received care at one of the VA's 154 hospitals or 875 clinics.

Good grades           

"We're very pleased and continue to be very proud of the work that people are doing in this vast health care system," said Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson. "The real proof in the pudding is in the taste - that is, 'What do the people we're taking care of think?' And they give us very good grades."

Outranks private care           

The findings mark the sixth consecutive year the VA health care system has outranked the private sector for customer satisfaction.

Nicholson attributed the high ratings to the changes in the system, such as implementation of electronic records to reduce the risk of errors.

"Our system has become not only much more efficient, but safer," Nicholson said.

The survey, known as the American Customer Satisfaction Index, has been conducted since 1994 by the National Quality Research Center at the University of Michigan business school and two consultants, the CFI Group and the Federal Consulting Group.

American Legion comments

Peter S. Gaytan, director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion, said he was not surprised by the findings because the quality of VA care has been steadily improving.

"The old image of the VA warehousing veterans has changed immensely in the past 20 years," Gaytan said.

Rural care problems

But, Gaytan said many veterans have to wait months or travel long distances to get care because tight budgets have forced many facilities to cut back on service.

"The problem that the American Legion has is the accessibility to care. There are veterans waiting in line to receive care," Gaytan said. "With the veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, it's our hope that they won't be turned away."

Nicholson acknowledged that some veterans do have to wait for care, but he said the waiting time has been improving and continues to improve.

"We absolutely are working on that and are making progress," he said.


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 in order to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

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

More information

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


Library News

Genealogical collection in Sisson Library

By Harold Morrison

President, Archuleta County Genealogical Society

Special to The SUN

When a genealogist exhausts the information about his/her family history gleaned from memory or the memories and treasures of family members, the next step is to research the books.

The Archuleta County Genealogical Society has been building a very fine collection of materials for a number of years that have been stored in the Sisson Library. That collection has now been given to the library and will be cataloged as part of the entire library collection. This will make these Library Use Only volumes more available to the entire population.

In the collection are general information volumes for the beginning and seasoned researcher. There is information by state for nearly every state in the Union. The collection covers about 80 linear feet of shelf space. The library has microfilm of newspapers, some obituaries, etc. There is a reader-printer and copier, and the computers can pull additional information from all over the world.

Genealogy is the science or study of family descent. This is the study of a family's history. It makes history of a locality come alive for the person involved in the study. It is a great hobby. Some believe it to be akin to a disease, it is so consuming of some people. The books make it fun, inviting, and help the researcher understand more of their world.

Often, the result of genealogical research is one or more additional books. Persons who have done extensive research want to share this with others in their family or with others who are more distantly related. Family histories are included in many genealogical collections. Producing a quality family history often becomes the goal of persons who originally intended to determine only some information about their great-great-grandfather.

People have many reasons for doing genealogy. Some are just curious, some have a church reason, some want to answer a question from their children about family. There are medical reasons to determine what diseases may have been handed down from earlier generations that might affect the current generation. Whatever the reason, it has become a popular pastime for more and more people. Computers have made record keeping and research simpler.

The local genealogical society was formed in 1979 and has a membership that has always hovered around 20 persons. The hobby is a solitary one, but working and talking with others with similar interests can help solve problems with techniques that have worked for others who have hit a "brick wall" in their research. Genealogists are always ready to help someone who is new to the activity, or someone who lost a path along the way.

The best way to get started is recording your family information beginning with yourself and your immediate family, then working back one generation at a time until the need for printed records is necessary.

The information you need to gather is each person's birth date, birthplace, marriage date and place, spouse's birth date and place, parents' names and birth dates and birthplaces, children and their birth dates and places. Maiden names and occupations help move the picture forward.

Census records are valuable in finding the movements of families and the names and ages of family members. The family information about those living close by, as recorded in census records, helps individuals find relatives or those who may marry into the family. Land records give information about family members through inheritance. Migration routes of pioneer families during foot and wagon travel help follow movements of families as they moved from east to west and south. Family stories from older members often offer more clues than direct searches.

When foreign trips or vacations are in areas where the family originated, the travel becomes more interesting if it leads to homes or towns of ancestors. History comes alive if there is a personal involvement. Families who originated or lived in New England or the east coast near the time of the American Revolutionary War, or areas of the War Between the States find history of these areas required reading. Origins of names become fascinating to some.

Many books of interest to genealogists are being published on CDs. Many early court records can be found in this format.

The Internet has become a place where many family histories are found. There are family "associations" formed with large repositories of family or clan history as Internet files. Various family members add to these histories and related families may be appended to them. Libraries such as the Family History Library in Salt Lake City can be searched from your own home, or Family History Centers, using computer Internet files and programs. Many of these files are ship's logs showing origin, destination and passengers. There are indices of names with associated birth, death, and marriage records available. Original census record copies are more and more available via on-line computer searches. Books are written telling where to find and how to use these records. Quite a number of software programs for storing and searching for information are being written to make the genealogist's work or hobby easier and more fascinating.

The Sisson Library has the computer, the books, the copiers, and the people to show you how to use these tools. The past, the present and the future seem to be meeting in the newly remodeled library.


Arts Line

Still time to enter annual PSAC photo contest

By Wen Saunders

PREVIEW Columnist

The opening reception at Moonlight Books for the annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council photo contest will be held 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, with photography on display Feb. 4-25. There is still time to enter the contest.

The mission of the contest is to act as an outreach program, encouraging broad, local participation and to provide viewers with a fresh, new show each year.

A generous list of categories ensures that you, too, have a photo to submit to this annual contest. Categories are: domestic animals, architecture, autumn scenic, general landscape, patterns/textures, sports, flora, people, up close, winter scenic, black and white, wild animals, sunrise/sunset, special techniques (any type of manipulation), and open (any picture that doesn't fit other categories).

Dozens of local shutterbugs get involved each year, and any photo has a chance for a ribbon. It doesn't seem to matter if it's a simple matted print or a high-end framing job on a big enlargement. Judges tend to look at the overall impact of the photo. Each exhibitor may submit a total of three photos, but no more than two in any single category.

The annual photo contest is considered one of the highlights of Pagosa's art scene. The opening reception has turned into quite a social event; put the date on your calendar now. A complete list of contest rules and applications may be picked up at Moonlight Book, or downloaded from the pagosa-arts.com Web site.

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

Attend the opening reception and vote for the People's Choice Award.

Two Slade workshops

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.

Seeds of potential have been hidden in your heart as you continue to strive through practice and acquisition of knowledge to become an artist.

The 2006 intermediate watercolor workshop with Betty Slade will help you take your creative desires to a new level of growth. The "Everything that Grows" workshop will water and nurture those tender young plants that are blooming in you. New seeds will also be planted with the promise of a great harvest.

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

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

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

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

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

Watercolor workshop

An Intermediate I watercolor workshop with Denny and Ginnie is scheduled Feb. 8-10.

Class size is limited so sign up early at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council building in Town Park or call the council at 264-5020. You can also call Ginnie at 731-2489 or Denny at 731-6113.

Don't forget the PSAC gallery is on winter hours, with limited personnel only there on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 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.

Pierre 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.

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

The price of the workshop is $240 for PSAC members and $265.00 for nonmembers. The extra $25 will give you a one-year PSAC membership.

The first day, participants will meet at the ALCO parking lot at 9 a.m. and go out to shoot photos of snow scenes around the area. We break for lunch at a local restaurant at noon, then continue photographing in the afternoon. The rest of the classes will be held in the arts and crafts room at the community center where we will paint from your and/or Pierre's photos. Bring your lunch.

An optional fifth session - Friday, Feb. 24 - will be available for $60 per person, minimum four students.

All levels of students are welcome, and they 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 the primary workshop is limited to 10 students. Call 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.

Valentine's dance and art show

Put on your dancing boots for a fun evening, 7-11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

You'll enjoy this area's finest country music band, Tim Sullivan & Narrow Gauge. Tickets include dessert bar and soft drinks. Cash beer and wine bar will be available with proceeds to benefit the community center dance program. Tickets are $20 per person and are available at the community center and WolfTracks (by Feb. 9) or by calling 264-4152, or Siri at 731-9670. Tickets at the door are $25 per person.

Shop for that special Valentine's art gift at a Western Photo Art Show 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Feb. 10-11, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. The photo art show features local (and national) photojournalist, PSAC columnist and member Wen Saunders. Stop by before the Valentine's Dance. Admission to the show is free. Art includes framed photographs, matted photographs, photo specialty greeting cards, photographic images on T-shirts, cooking aprons, tote bags, and Got Rodeo? hats. Saunders is donating 15 percent of the sales to the community center dance program. Support the arts. Support dance!

Get to know the artist

We want Pagosa to "Get to know the artist." If you are a PSAC member and would like to be featured in our upcoming, weekly "Get to know the artist," send your bio, photo, and up to six samples of your work for review. Format requirements: (Bio: Microsoft word file. Images: jpeg format, 300 dpi / up to 4x5 inches, or pdf file). For consideration, your information should be presented in CD format and mailed to Wen Saunders, PSAC, P.O. Box 4486, Pagosa Springs, CO 81157.

For more information, call Wen Saunders, 264-4486. Of course, if you are not a PSAC member, perhaps you should be. Visit our Web site, pagosa-arts.com, or call 264-5020 for membership information.

Gallery hours

The PSAC Gallery in Town Park is on winter hours: Tuesday and Thursday, 11 a.m.-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. 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. 4 - Opening reception, photography contest, 5-7 p.m., Moonlight Books.

Feb. 4-25 - Photography contest exhibit, Moonlight Books.

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

Feb. 8 - Pagosa Springs Photo Club, 5:30 p.m., community center.

Feb. 10 - Valentine's Dance (Tim Sullivan & Narrow Gauge), 7-11 p.m., community center.

Feb. 10-11 - Benefit Western photo art show and sale (Wen Saunders, photojournalist), 11 a.m.-7 p.m., community center.

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

Feb. 15 - Watercolor club. 10 a.m., community center.

Feb. 28 - Drawing with Randall Davis, community center.

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

Arts Line is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Arts Line, send information to PSAC e-mail (psac@centurytel.net). In the subject area of your e-mail, please write "Arts Line-Wen Saunders." Your attachment should be in a Microsoft Word file document format. Images should be limited to two and sent as a separate (individual attachments) e-mail. For large image files, you can also mail a CD to Wen Saunders, P.O. Box 4486, Pagosa Springs, CO 81157. Deadline is at least two weeks prior to an event. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.


Food for Thought

Bring on the fat, we'll tame it with truffles

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

They can, on certain occasions, make women more tender and men more lovable Š"

Alexandre Dumas

They sure make me more lovable.

Give me several slices and I'll join a men's drumming group, strap on a beaded loincloth, engage in collective weeping and let the old anima flow through me like water. Bring me a whole one, mature and fragrant, and I'll wear pantyhose.

Bring 'em on.



Rooted from the earth by pheromone-crazed female pigs or by specially trained dogs eager to get a biscuit as a reward.

I don't care how they're found, as long as I can eat them.

Show me a menu with ". . . aux truffes" (fill in the blank with whatever harmonious goodie you wish), and I am placing an order. Stat.

I am crazier yet for this rare and expensive food due to the fact it is kind of hard to come by here in Siberia With a View. Have you noticed you don't find fresh truffles on the shelf in the produce section at the local market?

But, make a trip to the Big City, go to a decent restaurant and there, every once in a while, on a menu, you read " . . . aux truffes."


There's a couple fine choices when it comes to truffles and the argument rages as to which is superior. You've got your basic tuber melonosporum - the black truffle, with its penetrating, pungent flavor - and you've got the white, tuber magnatum, with an intensity that surpasses its dark cousin. There are some pretenders, grey and red-grained, but I'm not wearing a goofy outfit and sitting in a sweat lodge to confess my history of insensitivity to the women in my life for one of these. Nope, for me to be more lovable, it's gotta be black or white. I'll let the French and Italians battle it out as to which is preferable (and, boy, with their recent military histories, that'd be some kinda fight, wouldn't it?).

Of course, if you consider the incredible cost of this fungus, (up to $900 a pound for the good stuff) I am not going to be more lovable very often, or for very long in any circumstance.

I did have the opportunity a couple weeks ago to indulge my love of this precious fungal knob and to consume some of my fave truffe-kissed fare.

I was in Denver, out on the town with Kathy and our oldest daughter, Aurora Borealis.

Let it be said at the outset: If the company includes me and Aurora, no restaurant is safe. The girl has eaten at incredible establishments in Europe, Asia, South America. She is a food dynamo: She has a deep familiarity with the great cuisines yet can turn on her heel (fairly slowly, to be sure) and put the most accomplished fast-food aficionado under the table. She's comfortable in a four-star and a drive-thru. Buffets have been known to put up the closed sign when she's spotted in the parking lot.

She like truffles, too.

So, as we scan the menu at one of our favorite French joints we see two, four-course prix fixe offerings ". . . aux truffes." Some joints feature all-you-can-eat catfish. This place has Truffle Night, and we've hit the jackpot!

Aurora looks like she's going to faint. Her face is buried in the menu. She is moving her lips as she reads. Then she reads the menu again, aloud, just in case her aging parents can no longer see well enough to scan it themselves.

"Ooooh," she says, fanning her flushed face with one menu as she reads another. "Truffles everywhere you look. Dear heavens: Oven roasted Mahi Mahi with a beurre blanc enhanced with white truffle oil. Eeek! Risotto with white truffles and shrimp. Oh, mercy: Salade Perigordine with a truffle oil dressing and shaved black truffle. I think I'm going to pass out, Dad. And Š tournedos Rossini. Dad, tournedos Rossini. You know what this means?"

Well, yes, I do: It means I am going to be more lovable.

Kathy and I go for the tournedo - one of the most sublime treatments of the tenderloin. Aurora opts for the fish. She and I select the risotto, Kathy the salade Perigordine.

In a word: Incredible.

Well, let's add another word (if I can be allowed to create a term): Truffly.

Incredibly truffly.

The risotto is superb, creamy, topped by four perfectly cooked shrimps.


I help Kathy with the salad, in particular with the thin slices of black truffle scattered throughout.


And the tournedo? The perfect blend of flavor and fat. Aux truffes.

At first, I decide to punch the dish along with a muscular red but I switch tactics at the last moment, selecting a Provencal blend. It works well, cutting the fat, but not fighting it out for attention, allowing the luscious concert of flavors to play on the palate.

And there are plenty of flavors in this dish that bears the name of one of my favorite operatic composers, known perhaps more than any other for his love of food

- the Italian, Giacchino Rossini, a guy who honed his taste for wine working mass as an altar boy. He had more dishes named after him than any other musician, including Rossini Sauce, a blend of foie gras, truffles and demi-glace. He loved food so much he even named compositions after ingredients. He traded arias for paté. One source, Lucie Renaud, writes that Rossini adored turkey stuffed with truffles and cried only three times in his life - the third time being when a turkey stuffed with truffles was lost overboard during a boat trip.

My kinda guy.

I also love Rossini for "The Barber of Seville" and "William Tell," both of which I first saw as a mere lad. Listen to the overture to "The Barber of Seville" some time, then listen to the opera and see if you can figure what is unusual about the overture.

Anyway, a regular at a number of Paris restaurants (no doubt those where the words " . . . aux truffes" appeared on the menu) Rossini was honored with a dish combining the tournedo from the tenderloin, foie gras, toasted bread, veal demi-glace and a splash or so each of Madeira, Port and brandy. Oh Š and truffles.

Can life get much better?

No, it can't.

This beauty can be duplicated at home. At least in part.

I intend to use a filet, halved. Who will argue?

First off, I'll make a brown sauce, of sorts, reducing a bit of beef stock with a smidge of tomato paste and a substantial wad of veal demi-glace.

I'll take a medium thick slice of crustless, white country bread and cut it to the same approximate shape as the filet. I'll toast the slice of bread.

As does nearly any worthy recipe, this one requires butter. I'll heat a mix of butter and olive oil in a frying pan over high heat and pop in the seasoned meat, searing it well on both sides. I'll remove the meat to a warm plate and tent it.

I'll also sear a slice of foie gras the approximate shape of the filet in another pan and drain it on a piece of paper towel. (I have a small can of duck foie gras in the pantry, maybe two years old. It scares me Š but I'll use it.)

Here's the tricky part. It's truffes time, and chances are Š there ain't gonna be no truffes hanging around the homestead.

I know I can order them on the Internet, but I can't afford them. I've got a handy-dandy truffle slicer somewhere, that I've never used. And I am not going to use it soon.

If you have truffle, slice it thin (black, please) and braise the slices in a bit of butter and a touch of Madeira. Since I won't have the truffle, I'll thinly slice some wild mushrooms and give them the same treatment.

I'll deglaze the pan in which I seared the meat with about a quarter cup of my brown sauce and add a teensy bit of Port and brandy. I might even throw in a bit more demi-glace, then I'll reduce the blend a bit.

On the plate goes the round of toast. On top of the toast goes the meat, followed by the foie gras and the mushrooms and sauce.

I'll pop "The Barber of Seville" on the CD player, break out a bottle of this incredible (and incredibly cheap) barbera I came by a couple weeks ago, and I'll dig in.

But, I still need a truffle fix. And there's a way I, and you, can get it.

Truffle oil.

We'll side with the Italians here and specify white truffle oil. This we can come by, since it is available from a variety of merchants at a relatively reasonable price.

The best place to use it, aside from a dribble in a salad dressing? With potatoes.

Try it with mashed potatoes, a bunch of Russets simmered, dried over medium heat riced and blended with heavy cream. Then, a major-league wad of unsalted butter and a tablespoon of white truffle oil. A bit of salt and freshly-ground black pepper and the dish is ready. Or, roast some small, red potatoes (halved or quartered, depending on size), greasing them up with a blend of olive oil, truffle oil, salt and pepper. When they're done, dress them with a mix of white wine vinegar, truffle oil and thyme. Warm them back up for a few minutes and enjoy.

It's possible to get a truffle fix, even here in Siberia With a View.

I'm ordering a couple bottles of truffle oil this week.

And, I'll think about getting fitted for a loincloth.

I'm going to be oh so lovable.


Extension Viewpoints

Be aware of 4-H livestock project deadline

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Jan. 27 - 4-H Fridays-GIS, Sewing, Foods, 1:45-4 p.m.

Jan. 27 - Rabbit Project Meeting, 2 p.m.

Jan. 27 - Poultry Project Meeting, 3:30 p.m.

Jan. 30 - Beef Project Meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 31 - Master Gardener at Vista Club House, 9 a.m.

Jan. 31 - Livestock Project Registration deadline, 5 p.m.

Feb. 2 - Shady Pine Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Mandatory livestock deadline

The deadline date for 4-H members to declare a livestock project is 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 31. If all livestock projects are not declared, 4-Hers cannot show in divisions at the Archuleta County Fair in August. You will still be able to drop projects but no livestock projects can be added. Call Pamela with any questions at 264-5931.

Cookie dough is back

Local 4-H youth will soon start their annual cookie dough sale and their goal this year is 2,000 tubs.

They will be selling several different types of cookie dough: Chunky Chocolate Chip, Made with M&M's, Peanut Butter, Oatmeal Raisin, Sugar, White Chocolate Macadamia and new flavors Fun-tastic Dough, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough and Monster Cookie.

Cookie dough comes in three-pound tubs (about 96 half-ounce cookies each) that can be refrigerated or stored in the freezer. The cookie dough can even be eaten raw because it is made with pasteurized eggs instead of raw eggs. Cookie dough will be delivered around March 22. Prices and order forms will be out soon.

If anyone would like to order cookie dough but cannot find a 4-H member to order from, they can contact the Archuleta County Extension Office at 264-5931 to place an order.

Weed management

The 14th annual Four Corners Weed Management Symposium will be held Thursday, March 2 at the Farmington Civic Center in Farmington, N.M.

Topics include: Industry Label Update, Roundup Ready Alfalfa, Russian Olive and Salt Cedar Control Measures, Weed Control Principals ID and Integrated Pest Management, Weed Control in Turf and Ornamentals, Knaps and Thistles, Re-Vegetation and Natural Herbicides: Truth or Fiction. The cost for the symposium is $20 if you register before Feb. 23, or $25 after. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. Contact the Extension Office at 264-5931 to register.

Beef Symposium

The Beef Symposium date has been set for 9 a.m. March 7 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. More information will be available soon.

Vesicular stomatitis-free

All quarantines for vesicular stomatitis (VS) virus were lifted Jan. 17, returning Colorado to a VSV-free status. With this status, animals including livestock and horses will be allowed to move more freely to countries such as Canada and Mexico.

"We were one of nine states in the country with VS this year, so we're fortunate that the cases were identified and controlled quickly," said Wayne Cunningham, state veterinarian at the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

In 2005, a total of 102 ranches, or premises, were quarantined that included 74 premises with equine and 28 with cattle. During the 2004 outbreak, Colorado had 199 premises quarantined.

Vesicular stomatitis is a viral disease that is usually not fatal but causes painful lesions around an infected animal's mouth, nostrils, teats and hooves - symptoms similar to foot-and-mouth disease. Only laboratory tests can differentiate the diseases. All disease samples in Colorado have been conducted at the National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa. VSV primarily affects cattle, horses, and swine.

"If the herds are not managed correctly, severe weight loss can occur, especially in the young animals," said Cunningham. "These blisters enlarge and break, leaving raw tissue, which makes it painful for animals to eat or drink."

Prior to 2004 and 2005, the last case of VSV in Colorado was diagnosed in 1998. Although vulnerable, humans are rarely infected with the disease and usually display flu-like symptoms. In addition to livestock, other susceptible animals include llamas, goats and wild animals such as deer, bobcats and raccoons. For more information on VSV, visit the Web site at www.ag.state.co.us.

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


Pagosa Lakes News

First perch tourney a great success, second on the way

By Larry Lynch

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Lakes Winter Perch Tournament this past Saturday was one of the most successful tournaments we've had in the four years of putting on these events.

The tournament was sponsored by Terry's Ace Hardware and around 150 adult contestants and 25 youngsters showed up on a beautiful day on Lake Pagosa. The weather was perfect - a little cold in the morning but, by noon, layers were coming off and anglers were settling in on a cloudless sunny day on the frozen lake.

A couple inches of fresh snow on top of around 13 inches of solid ice was the right combination for firing up the perch fishing. We estimate that over 4,000 perch were harvested during the tournament and that number included some of the biggest perch we've seen in quite a while. Not only does this help with the association goal of reducing the population of this introduced species, but it provides a lot of happy anglers with perch dinners for days to come. Perch is really one the best tasting fish we have in the area, being a member of the walleye family; the meat is light and flaky and can be baked, grilled or fried.

Please keep in mind we have another tournament coming up soon. We've scheduled Saturday, Feb. 4, as our next date. The next tournament will be at Hatcher Lake starting at 9:30 a.m. and will run until 2:30 p.m. The entry fee is $10 pre-purchase and $12 at the lake. Tickets are available now at Ponderosa Do-It-Best (sponsoring this next event), Terry's Ace Hardware, the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and the Pagosa Lakes administration office in Vista. The tournament will be part of the upcoming Pagosa Area Winterfest celebration.

We did raise the entry fees slightly this year, but all fee revenue is given out as prize money. We awarded a record amount of cash money Saturday to 10 winners in the adult category. All the kids who turned out were awarded fishing-related prizes donated by Terry's Ace Hardware, including combination fishing poles, new reels, tackle boxes, ice fishing sets, lures and other tackle.

The winner in the overall most perch caught category was Bob Moody —179 perch and a $300 award. Second place went to Les Yoke - 166 perch and a $200 award. In third was Jeff Ping —149 perch and a $100 award. Fourth was Jeff Bock —148 perch and an $80 award. Fifth place was taken by Tommy Martinez - 138 perch and a $60 prize.

The winner in the largest perch caught category was Robert Webb - a 1 pound, 1 ounce perch brought a $300 award. Second place went to John Hostetter - a 15 ounce perch and a $200 award. Third place went to Brian Gerst - a slightly lighter 15 ounce perch and a $100 award. In fourth was Michael Ford - an even lighter 15 ounce perch and an $80 award. Fifth place went to Jerry Bellis with a 14 ounce perch. Jerry received a $60 prize.

We had three different age categories in the 16 and under group who were competing for the most perch caught by number. The winner in the 12 to 16 age group was Robert Deluna, 78 perch; second place, Kyle Aragon, 71 perch; third place, Andrew Parker, 66 perch; fourth place, James Garlinghouse, 62 perch; fifth place, Ricky Belarde, 48 perch; sixth place, Dustin Mchaughan, 42 perch; seventh place, Jack Schon and Logan Vendagar, 25 perch each.

In the 8 to 11 category the winner was Ben Bard, 39 perch; second place, Zach Brown, 35 perch; third place, Shayla Lucero, 31 perch; fourth place, Brendon Maxwell, 22 perch; fifth place, Kayla Lucero, 18 perch, sixth place, Sara Aamot, 17 perch and Kellen Baney took seventh place with 10 perch.

In the age 2 to 7 category the winner was Chris Benell, 45 perch; second place, Aaron Buchanon, 34 perch; third place, Kiana Salazar, 23 perch; fourth place, Owen Sevens, 22 perch; fifth place, Preston Lucero, 13 perch; sixth place, Emily Rockensock, 4 perch; seventh place, Kyle Mundy and Bret Mundy with 1 perch each. All went home with great prizes and perch for dinner.

We would like to thank the Archuleta County Search and Rescue Department and members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District for being on site Saturday. They kept an eye on everybody and also took the opportunity to do some ice rescue training.

Other volunteers we'd like to thank are Ken Bailey, Jere Hill and Kerry Evans who helped us run the event and made it go as smoothly as it did. And, a big thank you to Terry's Ace Hardware for the sponsorship, support and generous donation of prizes for the kids.




Filbert Archuleta

Filbert Archuleta, 68, of Lumberton, N.M., passed away Dec. 23, 2005, at the Dulce Clinic in Dulce, of a heart attack. Filbert was born Jan. 1, 1937, in Pagosa Springs, to Alberto and Sulema Garcia Archuleta.

He graduated from Ignacio High School and served in the U.S. Air Force. He then graduated from Fort Lewis College with a teaching certificate and taught at the Dulce Elementary School and, in his later years, he managed the Waterhole Cafe in Dulce.

He had lived in the Lumberton area for 40 years and was well known as a giving person. His family was the most important thing to him.

Filbert was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Rudolpho Archuleta and David Archuleta.

He is survived by two sisters, Josie Rivas of Pagosa Springs, and Maria Archuleta of Denver; numerous nieces and nephews and his special "adopted" nephew, Barry Alburg, who misses his "Tio" very much.

Services were held at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Lumberton. He was cremated and his ashes were buried in the Lumberton Cemetery.


Barne T. Caranta

Barne T. Caranta, 62, passed away at the Veteran's Hospital in San Diego, Calif., of cancer. He had lived in the Lumberton, N.M., area most of his life.

Barne was born Dec. 12, 1943, in Lumberton to John and Matilde Caranta (Reyes). He attended St. Michael's School in Santa Fe from 1955 to 1960, when it was still a boarding school, and graduated in 1961 from Southgate High School in Southgate, Calif. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1964 to 1968.

He owned and operated the Caranata Shopping Center with his brother, John, for two years, then owned and operated the Waterhole Saloon; both were located in Dulce. He split his time between Lumberton and Las Vegas, Nev., the last 10 years of his life.

Barne was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Max Riviera and Donald Caranta.

He is survived by his son, John C. and wife, Danielle, of Las Vegas, and his daughters, Catherine Palatore and husband, Salvador, of Laurel, Md., Adell Fuller and husband, Patrick, of Las Vegas, and Shannon Jefferson and husband, Kevin, of Crowley, Texas; seven grandchildren; and special friend, Laurie Bowden of Las Vegas. He is also survived by brothers, Paul Riviera of Los Angeles and John Caranta of Farmington; sisters, Mollie Quintana of Cerritos, Calif., and Louise Peralta of Hampton, Va., and numerous nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his cousins, Irene, Bernadette, Joe Barne, Mary Frances, Marty, Taffy, Marcelle, Barney Pierre and Claudette, who were considered his other brothers and sisters, and his uncle, Jimmy Caranata, and wife Margaret of Albuquerque.He was cremated and a private service will be held at a later date, when his ashes will be buried at the family plot in Monero.


Lucille Drake

Lucille Henry Drake (88) passed away Jan. 11, 2006, in Atlanta, Georgia. She was born August 24, l9l7, in Pagosa Springs, to Rebecca Confar Henry and Robert Henry. Lucille was raised on a horse ranch in Chromo and in her early years she attended the Chromo one-room school. She was an excellent horsewoman and as a teenager worked in Pagosa Springs. Horsemen would have matched races on the track by the Hot Springs and she would be asked to jockey for them. She would leave her job and ride the race and go back to work. She was highly successful in winning the race.

Upon completion of high school in Pagosa Springs she moved to Monte Vista and married Olen Drake. Lucille was a devoted mother, homemaker and avid fisherwoman. She inherited the talents of her mother in capturing her favorite subjects with oil paintings on canvas. She was an accomplished and nationally recognized artist. She developed a special skill in doing bronze sculptures and was well known for her western bronze art. Lucille also did special requests for busts of many notable people including Pop Warner, Judge Michael Musmanno, who presided at the Nuremberg trials, and Cesare Beccaria, Father of American Juris Prudence. Her brother, "Buzzy" Henry, was a movie star who worked closely with John Wayne and was instrumental in getting the Movie "The Cowboys" filmed in the Pagosa Springs area.

In the early l990s she moved to Georgia and resided at Chateau Élan Estates until the time of her death.

Her parents, two brothers and three sisters preceded her in death. Survivors include her children Larry K. (Lee) Reed of Hamilton, Ga. and Dr. Lynn Drake of Boston, Mass. She is also survived by her grandchildren Suzanne R. (Joel) Fine of Columbus, Ga., and Robert N. (Shannon) Reed of Windermere, Fla., and three great-granddaughters, Harper and Cassidy Fine, and Emma K. Reed.

Services were held Jan. 18 in Monte Vista. Internment was in the Monte Vista Cemetery.


Bessie Pennell

Bessie Ella Pennell, 90, died Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs. A memorial service was held Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006, at the Ignacio Community Church with Pastor Curt Alderton officiating. Private interment was at the Ignacio West Cemetery.

Mrs. Pennell was born May 31, 1915, in Allison, Colo., to James and Martha Briggs. She graduated from Durango High School. Bessie married Lee Pennell on Dec. 1, 1933, and they made their home in Ignacio.

She was preceded in death by her husband and 10 brothers and sisters.

She is survived by her sons Robert Dean Pennell of Greeley, Colo., Thomas Pennell (spouse: Linda) of Pagosa Springs, and Charles (spouse Martha) of Loveland, Colo., and a daughter, Ann (spouse: D.L.) McAfee of Oklahoma; by grandchildren Danny and Michael McAfee, and Pamela Johnston of Oklahoma, Victor and Mark Pennell of Ignacio, Anne Chillman of Denver, John Pennell of Washington, and Tim and Randall Pennell of Maryland; and by 11 great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.


Aaron "A.J." Williams

Memorial services for Aaron Joe "A.J." Williams, 85, of Shallowater, Texas, were held Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006, at First Baptist Church, Shallowater, with Mitch Wilson officiating.

He was born on July 16, 1920, in Wilbarger County, Texas, to Mac Marion "M.M." and Mary Etta Williams. He passed away Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2006, in Lubbock. He graduated from Whitharral High School in 1939. He married Connie "Mickey" Yeager on Nov. 9, 1940. She preceded him in death on Feb. 12, 2001.

He served in the European Theater during WW II in Company C, 371st Army Engineer Construction Battalion and obtained the rank of corporal. He was awarded two purple hearts, a Victory Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.

He worked in the oil fields of West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, living in Seagraves, Hobbs, New Mexico, Frankel City, Andrews and Seminole. He retired from Union Oil Company of California in 1968. He then owned Tall City Service, a well servicing company in Seminole, for several years. He retired and moved to Pagosa Springs in 1984 where he served on the town board. In February 1993 A. J. and Connie moved to Shallowater.

He was a 32nd degree Master Mason and a member of Seminole Masonic Lodge No. 957, Mackenzie Lodge No. 1327, and was a member of the Scottish Rite.

He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Tabitha Michelle Williams, his brothers Walter, Billy, Harry and Jean Williams. He is survived by his brother, Clifford Williams, of Lubbock.

Survivors also include his daughter, Sharon, and husband Tom Sawyer, of Albuquerque, and their children Aaron, Marci, Mark, Linda and Debbie; a son, Joe Mack, and his wife, Christine, of Sugar Land and their son Cody Joe; and a daughter, Mickey, and husband Randy Trimble of Midland and their children Aaron, Kimberly, Jerry, Jimmy and Tammie; and his former daughter-in-law, Brenda Williams, of The Woodlands. He is survived by 15 great-grandchildren.


 Business News
Chamber News

Annual meeting a rousing success

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

We hope a good time was had by all at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and western party Jan. 21.

An enthusiastic crowd of more than 150 people was entertained by the Bar D Wranglers from Durango and enjoyed great food by Wildflower Catering.

Numerous awards were handed out and a lively crowd stayed to dance to the tunes played by Bobby Hart Productions.

Although not announced at the meeting, a new slate of board candidates was determined by the voting process and the three new members will serve for three year terms.

New members are Jan Brookshier with Brookshier Photography and Framing, Elsa Lucero with Bank of the San Juans, and Michelle Mesker with Paint Connection Plus.

We are pleased these three members have agreed to serve on the Chamber board and we look forward to experiencing their business savvy and enthusiasm during the next few years. Please pass on your congratulations to these individuals. We also wish to thank Walt Moore, Eric Hagman and Briana Jacobson for running for these positions. It was a close race, and perhaps you will see their names on a ballot in the near future.

Citizen/Volunteer of the Year

Shocked reactions and humble words graced the stage Jan. 21 as Lyn DeLange was awarded Citizen of the Year and Jan Clinkenbeard was honored with Volunteer of the Year.

Each graciously accepted the award and honored Pagosa by indicating how many other people in our community are equally deserving and how many volunteers it takes to make all their efforts successful.

Lyn DeLange, a 30-plus-year resident has owned the Welcoming Service for three decades. She is also a past Chamber manager, dedicated volunteer with the American Heart Association and numerous other local charities, and a huge driving force behind the original "Shop Pagosa First."

Jan Clinkenbeard is most known for her work with Pagosa's Music in the Mountains series. She has dedicated innumerable hours to furthering this classical music concert series, working to secure a first-class venue, and helping to bring in varied artists every year.

We thank all the people who went out of the way to bring in nominations for both categories this year. Just to be nominated is an honor. So, speaking of that, here are the nominees in each category. For Volunteer of the Year the other nominees were: Susan Neder, the Music Boosters, Dan Burgess and Jo Ann Irons. In the Citizen of the Year category, other nominees were: the Music Boosters, Jo Ann Irons, Norm Vance, John Hostetter and Tony Gilbert. Congratulations to all nominees and winners. You are all the lifeblood of Pagosa and your efforts and contributions do not go unnoticed. Thank you.

Another group of awards, the Pagosa Pride Awards, were issued to businesses that have improved the outside physical structure of their buildings or undertaken new construction. Signage and incorporation of the building's design into the historical or "natural" setting was also considered.

Winners this year were the Galles Real Estate building on Pagosa Street, owned by the Raant Group; Wild Spirit Gallery on San Juan Street, owned by Ken Patterson; and the renovation of a former auto parts store on San Juan Street into The Wild Rose T-Shirt Outlet, owned by DeDe Dietz. There were many recommendations and the voting was very close. Only businesses that are Chamber members were considered; however, we do appreciate all the sprucing up that has gone on in the area, Chamber members or not! Thank you for looking out for the esthetics of Pagosa.

Winterfest, already!

Don't forget to register for the Winter Triathlon to be held at Wolf Creek Ski Area Sunday, Feb. 5. You will be able to cross country ski, snowshoe, and either alpine ski or snowboard on a pre-set course. We have the course already mapped out for you, if you want to practice. You can enter either as a team or as an individual. Lots of prizes will be awarded in different categories. The triathlon will start at 9 a.m. and spectators are invited to come out and cheer on their favorite participants. Call Kimberley in our office at 264-2360 for more information, or if you would like us to fax you a registration form.

Now that we have a little bit more snow, it's time to get creative for the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race, Saturday, Feb. 4.

Our gracious hosts at Best Value High Country Lodge will provide the sledding hill and the free food and drink for the event. This is always an entertaining event for the racers and spectators alike. Please remember that all sleds must be homemade and there must be a braking system on the sled. There will be cash and merchandise prizes for the fastest and most bizarre sleds. There will also be "door" prizes given out to spectators. Registration starts at noon, with races at 1 p.m. You can go out and watch the balloons earlier that morning and still have plenty of time for breakfast before you head for the sled races. Entry forms are available at the Chamber. Just call us and we can fax you one of those as well.

I also think, weather permitting, we will have a balloon glow. The location has been changed since my announcement last week with the new glow site on the soccer field in Town Park, where the glow was held for Colorfest. The balloon glow will take place Saturday, Feb. 4, with setup and all else starting around 5 p.m. Pack up the family and come on down to the park. Oohs and aahs will definitely be heard!

Welcome members

We welcome one new member and a slew of renewals this week.

Our one new member is SJ Development Company, with Tom Kasper as our contact. Having come to the area for years, Tom decided he would move here and bring his building knowledge to an area he loved. SJ Development builds custom homes and they also have land/home packages. They feature San Juan Log & Timber and Build It Better systems. Don't think that you can only build a log house with them. SJ also builds conventional, framed homes and their work can be from design to completion or anything in between. We appreciate their joining the Chamber and welcome them to our community. To see some of their work or for an appointment, call Tom at 264-2796.

Once you have your home design in place, you need the accoutrements to go with the house. Our first renewal this week, The Lighting Center, can help.

Another renewal we are glad to have back on board is McCabe's Repair Service.

We also welcome back Pagosa Fone Net this week.

How about welcoming back some non-profit organizations as well?

First on the list is the Wolf Creek Trailblazers. Another very active non-profit group is the San Juan Outdoor Club.

Just finishing their annual fund-raising ski day, and renewing, is United Way of Southwest Colorado.

Going outside the area for renewals, just over the pass to South Fork, we find the Rio Grande Club.

Last but not least on this week's renewal list is associate member Jim Fletcher.

As I close out my column this week, I would be remiss if I did not once again thank all the volunteers, the board of directors and the chamber staff for the great job they performed at this year's annual meeting. The decorating alone was quite a task and everyone, especially the board members, took time out of their business schedules to really make this event special. Thank you to all the members who attended the party, and we hope we see you all next year.


Biz Beat

Pacific Auction Exchange

PAX, Pacific Auction Exchange, Auction Option LLC, a franchise of Pacific Auction Exchange, Inc., was named "Franchise of the Year 2005" at a Dec. 2 award ceremony in Bakersfield, Calif. Auction Option LLC is owned and operated by Aristotle and Janelle Karas and based in Pagosa Springs.

PAX Auction Option LLC is one of 33 franchises nationwide. In addition to "Franchise of the Year," the company placed first and second in the "Highest Auction Price" category. They sold a property in Kailua Beach, Hawaii, for $14,630,000 and the Ptarmigan Ranch in Durango for $1,078,000. The Karas' were also awarded the prize for "Most Number of Auctions." They hosted 20 auctions in 2005.

Their personalized service includes: extensive consultation and detailed real estate auction planning assistance; aggressive real estate marketing and sale support; professionally trained and bonded real estate auctioneers and bid assistants; and innovative computerized on-site accounting and other business services on auction day.

Contact 731-3949, or toll-free (877) 612-8494, or check out the Web site http://www.auction-works.com.



Sports Page

Pirate, grapplers in action tonight, tomorrow, Saturday

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pagosa wrestlers managed a 43-30 dual meet victory over the Durango Demons Jan. 17, but needed some big wins at meet's end to overcome a Demon lead.

The meet began at 160 pounds, with Pagosa's Matt Nobles battling Ron Goodman. The first period was a close one, with Nobles scoring a late takedown to take a 2-0 lead.

Nobles started down in the second period and got a point with an escape. A takedown put the Pirate up 5-0, but Goodman reversed for two points. Nobles escaped and managed a takedown for an 8-2 lead at the end of two periods.

Goodman escaped to begin the final period but Nobles took control, taking Goodman down then intentionally allowing the escape to set up the next takedown. Goodman scored with one last escape; Nobles again took the Demon to the mat and finished with a 14-5 major decision and four team points.

Durango took the team lead as Kyle Steed pinned Pagosa's Eric Hurd in the second round of their match at 171.

Then, it was the Pirates' turn to go ahead. Reynaldo Palmer and Durango's Justin Whirlow tangled at 189 and neither wrestler managed to score in the first period. Starting the second period down, Palmer scored a point with an escape then took Whirlow down for two points. Palmer allowed the Demon to escape then took Whirlow down again. Palmer let Whirlow up a second time but the Demon foiled the takedown-escape scheme with a takedown of his own. Palmer led at the end of two, 5-4.

The third period was Palmer's. The wrestlers started in the neutral position and Palmer took the Demon to the mat. He put Whirlow on his back and got the fall at the four-minute, 55-second mark of the match. The win put the Pirates ahead in the team score, 10-6. Durango forfeited at 215 and the Pirate lead went up to 16-6.

Pirate coach Dan Janowsky moved Bubba Martinez from 215 to 275 for the dual and the Pirate senior took on a much larger opponent in Eddie Tonita.

No problem.

Martinez shot out to an impressive 10-1 first-period advantage with two takedowns and two, three-point near falls.

Martinez started the second period down and scored the only two points of the period with a reversal.

The wrestlers were in neutral position to begin the final period. Martinez got the takedown and put Tonita's shoulders to the mat at 4:38.

Pagosa was ahead, with what appeared to be a comfortable margin, 22-6.

But, there is no comfort in wrestling.

Ty Penning worked Pagosa freshman Steven Smith hard at 103. Smith held on, but was unable to score in the 6-0 loss. Durango had three team points.

The 112-pound match didn't last long as the Demons' Dan Toledo pinned Travis Moore in the first period. Pagosa 22, Durango 15.

Pagosa forfeited at 119. Durango got six points.

The Demons got three more points and took the lead with a decision at 125. Pagosa's Orion Sandoval got into a deep hole, falling behind Rhett Breed 10-1. The Pirate then battled back gamely, but dropped a 12-6 decision.

Joe DuCharme faced Durango's Jeremy Foster at 130 and brought the point lead back to Pagosa's side of the scoreboard. The Pirate freshman took a 2-0 lead with a first-period takedown. Foster responded in the second period, escaping and taking DuCharme down to build a short-lived 3-2 advantage. Short lived, as DuCharme's reversal at period's end put the Pirate in front, 4-3.

DuCharme controlled the action in the final period, starting down, escaping and taking Foster down for the 7-3 win. Pagosa was ahead 25-24.

That advantage evaporated quickly as Sterling Balliger pinned Pagosa's Mike Smith in the first period at 135. Durango moved in front, 30-25. The lead was ephemeral; Durango forfeited at 140 and the Pirates held a one-point lead, 31-30.

The final push to the meet victory began at 145, as Ky Smith moved up to fight the Demons' Charlie Erickson. Smith easily took Erickson to the mat then allowed the Demon to escape. Another takedown followed, as did two back points. Smith led 4-1 at period's end.

The wrestlers began action in the second period in the neutral position. Smith took Erickson down, then pinned him at 3:36.

Pagosa 37, Durango 30.

The last match of the evening pitted Pagosa's Justin Moore against Durango's John Lavergood, at 152.

Lavergood got the first takedown of the match, then surrendered a penalty point. Moore escaped, took Lavergood down and scored a three-point near fall to finish the first period with a 7-2 lead.

Lavergood took Moore down to start the second period but the Pirate escaped and scored two more points with a takedown. The Demon then received a penalty point on an illegal hold. Moore led 10-5 at the end of two.

The wrestlers started the third period on their feet. Moore took Lavergood down, scored three back points, then pinned his opponent at 5:39 to add the last six points to the Pirates' team score.

"I thought it was a good dual," said Janowsky, "with a lot of excellent wrestling. I thought our guys, in some critical places, wrestled through problems they've been having."

Janowsky also singled out two Pirate matches - both losing efforts - as examples of progress he is seeing with the members of this team. Regarding Steven Smith's battle at 103, Janowsky lauded the freshman's fortitude and the fact he did not give up points on a fall. "A lot of times over the years, the ability to stay in a match wasn't there for a lot of our guys. There were a of times guys would have thrown in the towel. Not Steven, and matches like this will be to his advantage in the near future as he continues to learn from them."

Janowsky was also happy with Sandoval's effort at 125. "Orion went down ten to nothing in that match," said the coach, "then he controlled the rest of the match against a very good guy - a guy who took second at Alamosa and third at the Warrior. To score points from top position against Rhett is something not many guys do. We had some big matches in this dual, even in the case of a couple losses. If we get consistent in the attitude department, we should be able to go to the next level. I think we took our (third-place) finish at the Alamosa tournament and built on it against Durango."

Tonight, the Pirates travel to Bayfield to meet the Wolverines in an Intermountain League dual meet. The dual begins at 6 p.m.

Tomorrow, Pirate fans have their last chance this season to see the team in action at the PSHS gym as an extra dual-meet date has been added to the calendar. Del Norte Huerta High School, from Pueblo, is in town with a 6 p.m. start time.

Saturday, the team makes the first of two trips to La Jara in a week's time. The Pirates compete at the Centauri Invitational Saturday, with matches starting at 9 a.m. The team makes a return trip over Wolf Creek Pass Feb. 3 for a 6 p.m. IML dual against the Falcons - the last meet before the regional tourney.

The Centauri event is a dual meet tournament and Pagosa is in a preliminary pool with a very tough opponent - Rocky Ford, which defeated the Pirates at the season-opening Rocky Ford Tournament.

The competition is stiff in the tourney's second pool, with both Monte Vista and Olathe in the mix.

"We keep improving," said the coach. "Our varsity got a little rest after the Durango tournament, giving us time to correct mistakes and improve our conditioning a bit. Now, we're looking forward to a lot of action leading up to the state tournament."


Pirates take care of business in league opener

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The PSHS varsity basketball Pirates went into Bayfield last Friday night with a chip on their collective shoulders. The Pirates had just lost two in overtime and were looking for ways to somehow, some way, break the jinx.

Bayfield had an unblemished record with ten straight wins and a ranking in the state 3A polls. The Wolverines looked to keep their record clean.

But in came Craig Schutz and company to take care of business.

The Pirate senior dominated inside play putting up a game high 18 points, on eight of 12 from the field, and had six rebounds, to lead the Pirates (6-5, 1-0) to a convincing 54-38 win over the Wolverines (10-1, 0-1) before a packed house, many fans traveling from Pagosa to support their team.

Casey Schutz, also a senior, put up 13 on eight of 10 from the free throw line, while junior Jordan Shaffer went in, around and through the Wolverines for 12. Shaffer was also a perfect five for five from the charity stripe.

The Pirates started early and didn't stop. Craig Schutz, playing against the Wolverines' touted and talented 6-7 senior Troy McCoy, sank 12 first quarter points to build a 10-point lead. The Wolverines, showing their skills, came back in the second to outscore the Pirates 10-6 to cut the lead to six at intermission. The lead would be reduced to three in the third period, but the Pirates regained control with solid team performance to win going away.

Coach Jim Shaffer said, "We played a good game tonight against a good basketball team. We held a potent offense to just thirty-eight points and held their top scorers (McCoy and senior C.J. Bell) well below their averages. Paul (Przybylski) and Craig (Schutz) played great defense against them."

Shaffer added, "My only concern was that we went over six minutes in the second quarter without scoring. We need to continue work on our offense." However, the Pirates only turned the ball over 13 times and were 16 of 23 from the charity stripe.

Rounding out the Pirates' scoring with six points was junior Derek Harper. Junior Kerry Joe Hilsabeck, playing a good game at point guard, followed with three, and junior Caleb Ormonde added two.

Hilsabeck and Przybylski led the Pirates with six and four assists respectively.

McCoy, who led the Wolverines in scoring, was held to just 10 points. Seniors Steve Flint and Mickey White, both coming off the bench, scored six each followed by seniors Travis Phelps and Bell with five each.

The Wolverines controlled the opening tipoff, but the Pirates put the first points on the board by an inside deuce from Craig Schutz. Phelps came right back on a trey for the Wolverines to give them the early and only lead of the game. Craig's big moves to the bucket for 10 more and four points from Harper put the Pirate lead at 19-9 after one.

Bayfield opened the second period on a 6-0 run on inside buckets by McCoy and Flint. Finally, at the 2:13 mark, Shaffer went to work for three. A driving layup and free throw from Hilsabeck put the score at 25-19 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

The Pirates would build the lead back to 11 early in the third on a big outside trey from Casey Schutz. The Wolverines answered with seven of their own from McCoy and Flint to bring them within three at the 3:30 minute mark.

Casey Schutz put up four straight and Ormonde added two on a 6-0 run for the Buccaneers. Craig Schutz banked one off the in-bounds pass to keep the momentum on Pagosa's side going into the final stanza.

The lead would increase to 10 with 3:32 remaining in the game on a big quarter from Shaffer and a strong putback from Craig Schutz. The Wolverines would go into foul mode and finally, the Pirates answered at the line on six straight from Shaffer and the Schutz brothers. Harper and Casey Schutz would end the scoring at 54-38.

In other IML action:

Ignacio (6-5, 0-0) lost to Kirtland N.M. 75-68 in overtime.

Monte Vista (1-9, 0-1) lost to Sanford, 81-38.

Centauri (7-5, 1-0) defeated Del Norte, 46-41.


Pagosa Springs - 19, 6, 13, 16-54

Bayfield - 9, 10, 10, 9-38

Scoring: Shaffer, 2-5,1-3,5-5,12; Hilsabeck, 1-3,0-0,1-2,3; Przybylski, 0-0,0-0,0-1,0; Harper, 3-4,0-2,0-0,6; Casey Schutz, 1-5,1-3,8-10,13; Richie, 0-0,0-0,0-2,0; Ormonde, 1-3,0-0,0-0,2; Hart, 0-1,0-0,0-0,0; Craig Schutz, 8-12,0-0,2-3,18. Rebounds: Shaffer 4, Hilsabeck 6, Przybylski 4, Harper 3, Casey Schutz 4, Ormonde 3, Craig Schutz 6.


Pirates win ugly at Centauri, 57-46

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Pirate varsity basketball coach Jim Shaffer assumed going into last Saturday night's second Intermountain League game in Centauri that it would not be easy playing in the Centauri Middle School gym, or against the Falcons' style of play.

He was right.

Centauri coach Larry Joe Hunt's aggressive offense and defensive schemes made the game an ugly one, but the Pirates persevered and came away with a hard-fought victory over the Falcons, 57-46, in front of the usual partisan crowd.

The win puts the Pirates at 7-5 and alone on top of the IML at 2-0. Centauri drops to 8-6 and tied with Bayfield at 1-1 in the league standings. Bayfield came back to beat Monte Vista 63-38 Saturday night in Monte Vista.

The game between the Pirates and Falcons was closer than the final margin indicated.

This was a tough, close game through three quarters of play with the score even at the end of one, the Pirates up by four at intermission and by five at the end of three.

There seemed to be several keys to the Pirates' victory. The team kept its collective composure throughout the tough battle and only turned the ball over 12 times, one of the lowest figures this season. Secondly, they hit a season best at the free throw line, 25-30, a very important statistic against an aggressive defense that will foul.

The most important key to the victory came in the last two minutes of the game with Pagosa up by only four points. The Falcons got even more aggressive trying to regain possession of the basketball and the referees' whistles blew constantly. The Pirates sank 10 of 11 free throws on a 10-2 run to end the game.

Craig Schutz, stepping up his league play, led the Pirates again with 14 points on five of nine from the field and four of five from the free throw line. He also had the game high eight rebounds. Kerry Joe Hilsabeck, having his best scoring game so far, was next with 13 points on nine of 10 at the line. He also pulled down six rebounds. Jordan Shaffer put up 12 points on two of four behind the three-point arc and a perfect six for six from the charity stripe. Casey Schutz carded 11 on two of five from three-point range and was also perfect at the line on three of three. Caleb Ormonde followed with four points and Paul Przybylski had three.

For the Falcons, senior Estevan Armenta led his team and all scoring with 16 points. Senior Nathan Lucero followed with 13 and sophomore Albert Dunn banked in eight from his post position.

Coach Shaffer said, "We knew going in that this would be a tough basketball game in their gym. It is difficult to play against their style and we thought it might get ugly. And it did. But a win is a win."

He added, "It is hard to simulate the Falcons' offense and defense in practice, but our kids played well under the circumstances. I was pleased with how we kept our poise and held on to the basketball. Our free throw shooting was the best so far and it was great how we hit them down the stretch to win."

Shaffer concluded, "The extra time spent in practice on our free throws is starting to pay off."

The first quarter opened with four straight points from Hilsabeck on two from the line and a fast break layup. The Falcons' Lucero put up a trey and the Pirates led by one. Shaffer pumped in his first trey and Hilsabeck added two more. The first period ended with Lucero hitting two from the line and the score tied at 11.

Shaffer opened the second stanza on another trey when he was left alone from behind the arc. Craig Schutz hit an inside bucket and was fouled to put the Pirates up by four. Lucero hit two straight jump shots and Ormonde answered with his own in the paint. Another Craig Schutz deuce from inside and a long three pointer from Casey Schutz ended the period with the score 24-20 for Pagosa.

Casey Schutz opened the third period with another outside three and the Pirates would build an eight point lead on Craig Schutz's two free throws. The Falcons used a 5-0 run with less than two minutes remaining to close within four. With 12 seconds showing, Casey Schutz put up a deuce and was fouled to give Pagosa 34-29 lead at the buzzer.

Both teams traded points to open the fourth to keep the score close until the Pirates went into double bonus from the line with 4:03 showing. And the whistles kept blowing until Centauri went into double bonus as well, with 2:36 on the clock. Lucero scored eight of his game-high points in the fourth, but buckets by Shaffer and Ormonde, plus free throws by Hilsabeck and Przybylski, kept the Pirates in the lead by four. Pagosa went to the line five more times on the 10-2 run to close out the win.

In other IML action Saturday, Bayfield (11-1, 1-1) defeated Monte Vista (1-10, 0-2) 60-53.


Pagosa Springs - 11, 13, 10, 23-57

Centauri - 11, 9, 9, 17-46


Shaffer, 0-1,2-4,6-6,12; Hilsabeck, 2-4,0-0,9-10,13; Przybylski, 1-2,0-0,1-2,3; Harper, 0-3,0-1,0-1,0; Casey Schutz, 1-4,2-5,3-3,11; Ormonde, 1-5,0-0,2-3,4; Hart, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Craig Schutz, 5-9,0-0,4-5,14. Rebounds: Shaffer 4, Hilsabeck 6, Przybylski 1, Harper 1, Casey Schutz 1, Ormonde 3, Craig Schutz 8.


Pirates down Ignacio for third straight win

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Pirates' head basketball coach Jim Shaffer had indicated all season long that the Intermountain League (IML) would be more balanced this year and provide tougher competition.

He was certainly right.

The Pirates fought hard again, for the third straight outing, and this time beat a scrappy and athletic Ignacio Bobcat team in the Pagosa Springs High School gym Tuesday night by a score of 48-37.

The outcome was in doubt for the first three quarters. The Pirates hunkered down in the fourth, played some good defense, and outscored the Bobcats from the field 19-9 to get the "w."

The win gives Pagosa an 8-5 mark and a 3-0 in league play that puts them a top the IML leader board. The Bobcats go to 6-6 overall and 0-1 in league.

Shaffer said afterwards that, "This was certainly a big win for us. We have three wins in league play with two road wins and that puts us in a good position. We played one of our best games defensively and held Ignacio to just thirty-seven points. I believe they had sixty-eight points against Kirtland. We held their top scorer to just two points in the second half. Paul (Przybylski), Derek (Harper) and Jordan (Shaffer) played him (Derek Rodriquez) tough all night."

The coach went on to say, "We didn't do as well offensively as I would like. We missed a lot of easy lay ups and some key free throws in the first half. But we did hit from the line when it counted in the fourth period." The Pirates scored six of eight from the line in the last two minutes but were just 68 percent for the night. They also recorded a low 10 turnovers in the game.

Casey Schutz led the Pirates and tied for game high honors with 16 points on three of six from three-point range. Craig Schutz was next with 10 points on four of six from the field and also pulled down the game high eight rebounds. Kerry Joe Hilsabeck followed with nine points on five of seven from the charity stripe. Shaffer recorded five points while Przybylski and Caleb Ormonde rounded out the scoring with four each. Hilsabeck led the Pirates with five assists.

Rodriquez led the Bobcats with 16 points on the strength of four treys from way downtown.

Rodriquez opened the scoring for the Bobcats on his first trey to give them the lead. A strong putback by Craig Schutz, netting it on his way to the floor, brought the Pirates within one with just over three minutes remaining. A bucket by Shaffer and one at the line from Ormonde tied the score at nine after one quarter.

Casey Schutz opened the second period with his own three and gave the Pirates the lead for the first time. Points by Shaffer and the Schutz brothers put Pagosa up by six. Rodriquez answered with three more long treys to tie the game. Casey Schutz put his stamp on the quarter with another three to put the Pirates up by one going into the locker room.

Rodriquez opened the third on a deuce and the Bobcats retook the lead, 24-21. Hilsabeck banked in an inside deuce and was fouled to bring the Pirates within one at the six-minute mark.

Both teams committed turnovers but Pagosa would capitalize on a Craig Schutz bucket. Two free throws from Przybylski gave the Pirates a 29-28 lead to end the quarter.

Hilsabeck scored on a driving layup and two from the line when he was fouled on another inside drive to give Pagosa a three-point lead to start the final quarter. Ormonde netted a 15-foot jumper and Przybylski sank two more from the line to increase the lead to seven. Back came the Bobcats on a long trey but Casey Schutz's third three-pointer put the nail in the coffin with two minutes showing. Craig Schutz, Hilsabeck and Przybylski dropped in the six free throws to preserve the win on a 19-9 quarter.

The Pirates step out of IML action on Saturday night to meet the 4A Mean Moose in Alamosa. This will be another tough, big game for Pagosa. The Mean Moose are currently 8-3 and 5-1 in the South Central 4A conference with big wins over the Pueblo schools. Coach Shaffer indicated that, "This will be another tough road game against a good team. They are probably more like Farmington, Cortez and Kirtland." Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. in the late game of a doubleheader with the Lady Pirates.


Ignacio - 9, 11, 8, 9-37

Pagosa Springs - 9, 12, 8, 19-48

Scoring: Shaffer, 2-4,0-3,1-2,5; Hilsabeck, 2-6,0-0,5-7,9; Przybylski, 0-2,0-0,4-4,4; Harper, 0-2,0-0,0-0,0; Casey Schutz, 3-7,3-6,1-2,16; Ormonde, 1-7,0-0,2-4,4; Hart, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Craig Schutz, 4-6,0-1,2-3,10. Rebounds: Shaffer 3, Hilsabeck 1, Przybylski 1, Harper 1, Casey Schutz 2, Ormonde 4, Hart 1, Craig Schutz 8.


Third Fun Race results from Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek Ski Area hosted the third in the Fun Race series Jan. 21 and, while the field was small, the competition in many cases was intense.

Ryan Ruyluson, of Durango, won the gold medal in the Boys' 6-8 race, with a time of 45.37 seconds.

Gold went to Bo Wilson, of Monte Vista, in the Boys' 9-11 category. His time was 44.47.

Eli Chertkob, of Los Alamos, N.M., posted a time of 36.19 to win the Boys' 12-14 event.

In Boys' 15-17, Lance Watkins, of Albuquerque, was first at 38.38.

Wilderness Walters, of Lubbock, Texas, took first in Men 21-25 with a time of 35.54. Second went to Brady Coolier of Lubbock, at 36.63.

First in Men 36-40 was won by Mike Chertkob, of Los Alamos (32.85). Second was Eric Bouon, of Arboles (45.83).

Pagosa's Will Spears was first in Men 41-50 with a time of 37.12. He was followed by Neil Watkins, of Albuquerque (46.06) and D. Wilson, of Monte Vista (49.11).

Gold in Men 51-60 went to Chris Phillips, of Pagosa Springs, at 28.73. Silver was won by Bill Morgan, of South Fork, at 30.66. Bronze was awarded to Greg Lavo, of Lubbock, at 33.98.

Dallas Weisz, of Pagosa, topped the field in Men 60-plus. Weisz skied the course in 32.50. He was followed by Bryant Lemon, of Pagosa, at 32.81, and Dick Bond, of Pagosa (no time recorded).

Girls' 9-11 competition featured Courtney Spears, of Pagosa, in first at 37.53; Brooke Spears, of Pagosa, in second, at 41.17; and Adele Wilson, of Pagosa, in third at 52.45.

The Girls' 12-14 gold was won by Olivia Wilson, of Monte Vista, with a time of 45.97.

Stephanie Grauke, of Albuquerque, got the gold medal in girls' 15-17 with a time of 52.11.

Albuquerque residents swept the medals in Women 41-50. Cindy Tobias was first, at 38.75; Catherine Lemon was second at 44.64; Dirce Granke was third at 59.17.

In women 60-plus, Carolle Ash, of Pagosa, took top honors at 35.40. She was followed by Pagosa's Carrie Weisz, at 37.41, and Mary Miller, of Pagosa, at 39.09.


Lady Pirates dominate in league opener

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

It appeared, at least on paper and in the statistics, that the Intermountain League opener for Pagosa's Lady Pirates and the Bayfield Lady Wolverines would be a close game. After all, the Lady Wolverines had only one check in the loss column, while the Lady Pirates had three.

It wasn't.

The Pirates (7-3, 1-0) dominated from the opening tipoff to beat the Wolverines (6-2, 0-1) last Friday night in Bayfield, 63-41.

It started at the opening tipoff when Pagosa built an early lead on the strength of seniors Liza Kelley and Kari Beth Faber. They combined for 11 first quarter points to put the Pirates up by nine after one. By intermission it was all over when the Pirates increased the lead to 35-19 as Kelley continued to dominate inside and out. She led all scorers with 17 points, including two treys, all in the first half.

Coach Bob Lynch would substitute freely in the second half to preserve some strength for the next big league contest on Saturday night.

Lynch said, "We felt good about our chances with Bayfield when we looked at the schedule early in the year. However, we weren't quite sure what to expect given their excellent record so far this year. In the end it was a good win for us."

Lynch added, "We will now need to focus and concentrate on our game tomorrow in Centauri. This is a tough early road schedule for our team."

Following Kelley for the Lady Pirates, Faber had her season-best outing so far, dropping in 12 points on five of six from the field and a perfect two for two from the free throw line. Seniors Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest put up nine and seven. Sophomore Tamara Gayhart also had her season best with seven points on two of three from the field and three for four from the line. Junior Jessica Lynch followed with four while junior Kristen DuCharme put up three. Juniors Lyndsey Mackey and Samantha Harris rounded out the scoring with two each. The Pirates committed only 13 turnovers and were 13 of 23 from the charity stripe.

Forrest matched her scoring total with nine rebounds while Lynch had seven assists.

For the Lady Wolverines, sophomore Reheanna Moe led her team with 12 points, followed by sophomore Kelsey Dean with nine. Sophomore Jessica Laue, coming off the bench, contributed six.

The first quarter opened with the Faber and Kelley show for the Pirates as they would go up 15-6 after one.

The second stanza saw Forrest, Buikema and DuCharme enter the show to add buckets and build a 14-point lead. A key play came with less than four minutes showing when Kelley was fouled after netting a long trey to add four more to her total. DuCharme put in two and Kelley followed with a short jump shot in the paint to go into intermission with the Pirates in command at 35-19.

The third period opened on a putback by Faber and three points from Buikema. Lynch and Mackey would follow, and Gayhart came in for three on a 15-7 quarter for the Pirates.

Forrest added five quick points, and two from Buikema opened the fourth as Pagosa continued to dominate the inside game and build an insurmountable 57-35 lead. The Lady Wolverines would have their best quarter, netting 15 points on balanced scoring from Moe, Dean and sophomore Alexis Pommier. Gayhart and Harris would end the scoring for the Lady Pirates.

In other IML action Friday:

Centauri (12-0, 1-0) defeated Del Norte, 63-34.

Monte Vista (1-10, 0-1) lost to Sanford, 34-31.


Pagosa Springs - 15, 20, 15, 13-63

Bayfield - 6, 13, 7, 15-41

Scoring: Lynch, 2-5,0-1,0-0,4; Mackey, 1-2,0-2,0-0,2; Kelley, 4-7,2-3,3-3,17; Harris, 1-2,0-0,0-0,2; Canty, 0-3,0-0,0-4,0; Faber, 5-6,0-0,2-2,12; Buikema, 4-7,0-0,3-5,9; Gayhart, 2-3,0-0,3-4,7; Rand, 0-1,0-0,0-0,0; Martinez, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; DuCharme, 1-5,0-0,1-4,3; Forrest, 3-4,0-0,1-1,7. Rebounds: Lynch 1, Mackey 2, Kelley 4, Faber 5, Buikema 6, Gayhart 3, Rand 3, DuCharme 3, Forrest 9.


Lady Falcons fly past Pagosa

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

If last Saturday night was any indication, the Centauri High School varsity Lady Falcons are deserving of their high state ranking in the 3A polls and their undefeated record.

Led by a balanced scoring attack, the Falcons (13-0, 2-0) easily flew under, around and through Pagosa's Lady Pirates by a score of 72-47. The Pirates could pretty much do nothing right and looked on in frustration as everything worked for Centauri on their home court.

Four of the Falcons' five starters were in double figures, with junior Marcie Cooley and senior Janette McCarroll tying for game-high honors with 17 each. Senior Lucia Muniz followed with 15 and senior Amanda Gylling added 14.

It started late in the first quarter, after the Pirates had built a four-point lead and the Falcons were in early foul trouble. The turning point came when Centauri coach Dave Forster called a timeout and put his charges in a full-court zone-pressure defense that seemed to halt any momentum Pagosa might have. The Falcons put together a 21-8 point second quarter that put them up by 18 at intermission. Centauri seemed to play mistake-free basketball the rest of the way for the win.

The Falcons now hold the early Intermountain League lead with two checks in the win column. The Pirates are tied in second place with Bayfield, each team with a win. The Lady Wolverines came back Saturday to beat the Monte Vista Lady Pirates in Monte Vista.

Coach Bob Lynch was stymied by the outcome. He indicated, "We thought this game would be a big test for us and I've felt good about our chances all year. They (Centauri) pressed us early. Our turnovers and their half-court pressure seemed to hurt us more than the full-court press. Everything worked for them and we couldn't get anything to fall." The Pirates committed a season high 26 turnovers.

Lynch went on to say, "This is certainly a wake-up call for our team. I know we have a good basketball team but we have a lot of work ahead of us to get where we want to be."

Junior Jessica Lynch led the Lady Pirates with 13 points, including one three-pointer and four of six at the foul line, from her point guard position. Liza Kelley, a senior, was next with 10. Junior Lyndsey Mackey had her best scoring game so far with eight points on six of eight from the charity stripe. Senior Emily Buikema was held to just a six-point effort. Senior Kari Beth Faber followed with four, and juniors Kim Canty and Kristen DuCharme rounded out the scoring with two each. Pagosa was 15 of 31 from the foul line.

Faber had a season high seven rebounds, followed by DuCharme with six and Forrest with five. Canty also had her season best with four. Lynch led the Pirates with three assists.

Both teams seemed tight to open the game, going scoreless for almost two minutes and getting into early foul trouble. The Lady Pirates took the lead on free throws by Kelley and Buikema and a deuce from Lynch. The momentum swung the Falcons' way when McCarroll sank a trey to give them the lead for good. Another trey by Cooley and two from the Pirates' Forrest had the game at 11-6 for Centauri after one.

Forster called for the pressure and Falcons went on a 10-2 run to open the second period. Turnovers and fouls hurt the Pirates, and Centauri was in double bonus at the five minute mark. Another 12-6 run by the Lady Falcons increased the lead to 18 at intermission.

The Pirates came back in the third on a big 18-17 quarter, but the damage was already done. Faber, Buikema, Kelley and Lynch finally found the range, even with the pressing defense. But for every bucket Pagosa sank, the Lady Falcons would find a way to match, mostly from the foul line.

Up by 17 to start the fourth quarter, Centauri continued with the full-court press, a strategy that may come back to haunt them in the future. Forster also kept most of his starters in until there was less than two minutes remaining in the game. Mackey and Lynch provided the offensive power for the Pirates.

The Lady Pirates would need to forget this one and move on quickly, because there was only one practice until their next league game against the Ignacio Lady Bobcats Tuesday night in the PSHS gym.

In other IML action Saturday, Bayfield (8-2, 1-1) defeated Monte Vista (1-10, 0-2) 60-53.


Pagosa Springs - 6, 8,18, 15-47

Centauri - 11, 21, 17, 23-72

Scoring: Lynch, 3-7,1-21,4-6,13; Mackey, 1-3,0-1,6-8,8; Kelley, 2-7,1-2,3-6,10; Canty, 1-2,0-0,0-0,2; Faber, 1-6,0-1,0-2,2; Buikema, 2-8,0-0,2-3,6; Gayhart, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; Rand, 0-0,0-0,0-0,0; DuCharme, 2-3,0-0,0-2,4; Forrest, 1-5,0-0,0-4,2. Rebounds: Lynch 3, Mackey 2, Kelley 4, Canty 4, Faber 7, Buikema 4, Gayhart 3, DuCharme 6, Forrest 5.


Lady Pirates overpower Ignacio, 75-36

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Coach Bob Lynch and his Lady Pirates needed a quick pick-me-up after a poor showing at Centauri High School and the long ride back from La Jara last Saturday night.

They got just what the doctor ordered.

After just one day of practice, the Lady Pirates were able to overcome some early staleness and overpower the Ignacio Bobcats Tuesday night in the Pagosa Springs High School gym by a lopsided score of 75-36.

The win improves the Pirates record to 8-4 and puts them in second place at 2-1 in Intermountain League (IML) standings. This is the first IML contest for Ignacio and the loss puts them at 0-1.

The game started slow and was scoreless for the first two minutes of play. Finally, Pagosa found the range and went on a 17-2 run to put it out of reach early. Based on a balanced scoring attack, and a stingy defense, the Pirates continued the run and recorded the big win.

Coach Lynch said, "We started out looking like we were not ready to play. It took a few minutes to work the kinks out and from there we played a pretty good game. I was glad that we could get a win after the Centauri game to build some confidence back in our team."

Lynch added, "Now we have a few days to get back in the practice gym and work on getting better." The Pirates will have just one game this weekend, on Saturday night.

Almost everyone on the roster got into scoring action. Jessica Lynch led the Lady Pirates and tied for game-high honors with 14 points. Emily Buikema and Samantha Harris, putting up her season high, followed with 12 each. Liza Kelley scored 10, Kari Beth Faber six, and Kristen DuCharme five. Tamara Gayhart, Kim Canty and Lyndsey Mackey rounded out the scoring with four, four and three respectively.

The Lady Pirates would build a 17-5 lead at the end of the first quarter on buckets by Lynch, Faber, Buikema and Kelley. Mackey scored on a long trey to end the period.

Forrest got into action in the second quarter on an inside deuce. A fast break layup by Kelley on an assist from Lynch put the score at 29-9 with just over four minutes remaining. Pagosa continued the barrage over the Lady Bobcats to go into the locker with a commanding 36-12 lead.

The third quarter was one of the best so far this year for the Lady Pirates from the field. Coach Lynch called for a full-court press and Buikema got four quick points off the resulting in-bounds steals. Lynch netted a long trey to put the Pirates up by 30 with four minutes remaining. Harris, having her best varsity outing, banked in eight straight points in the paint to end the period.

The Lady Bobcats finally found some offensive power in the fourth by outscoring the Pirates 18-16.

Coach Lynch substituted freely to get every one of his Lady Pirates some game experience. Canty, Gayhart and Harris scored inside deuces on putbacks from good offensive rebounding to end the scoring.

The Lady Pirates have a few days in the gym to prepare for their next outing Saturday night in Alamosa against the 4A Lady Mean Moose, who are currently 4-7 and 2-4 in South Central league play. This contest is a rematch of action that opened the season in the Buena Vista Tournament early last December. The Pirates beat the Mean Moose in the championship game by a score of 57-36. The rematch should be an interesting one in the Alamosa gym. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Get involved in town parks, open space discussion

By Jim Miller

SUN Columnist

A steering committee of local residents continues to discuss the downtown master plan.

Parks are an important topic of these ongoing talks. No one seems to disagree that open public spaces are a crucial component of any successful community, but there are contrasting views about the appropriate sites and utilization of those spaces.

Will Town Park remain the center of social activity for a large segment of the population? How long can it comfortably accommodate a growing Pagosa? The sooner these questions are answered, the quicker we can begin the process of implementing the changes that are deemed necessary.

Please get involved in the discussion. A public meeting will be held Feb. 2 at 6 p.m. in the community center to gather public input. For further information, contact me at 264-4151 Ext. 233, or Tamra Allen, town planner, at 264-4151 Ext. 235.

This is an important opportunity to contribute to the future of our town.

Adult basketball

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is now accepting team registrations for the 2006 adult men's and women's basketball leagues.

Registration forms are available at the department office in Town Hall; deadline for registering teams in this year's leagues is Feb. 17. Team registration fees are $250, plus a $25 fee per player.

There will be a team managers' meeting in late February, and the leagues are tentatively scheduled to begin in early March.

Youth basketball

After having this week off, teams in the 9- and 10-year-old youth basketball division resume play at the community center the evening of Jan. 31 at the following times: Spurs vs. Celtics at 5:30 p.m., Knicks vs. Nuggets at 6:30 p.m. and Jazz vs. Pacers at 7:30 p.m.

There are no games scheduled this weekend in the 11- and 12-year-old youth division; however the schedule for the coming week includes:

- Jan. 30 at the community center - Pacers vs. Jazz at 5:30 p.m., Nuggets vs. Spurs at 6:30 p.m. and Lakers vs. Cavs at 7:30 p.m.

- Feb. 1 at the community center - Bulls vs. Lakers at 5:30 p.m. and Timberwolves vs. Jazz at 6:30 p.m.

Christmas tree recycling

To assist with the proper disposal of this year's crop of Christmas trees, the town is once again conducting a tree recycling program. The program will run through the end of this month.

Please bring trees, stripped of all ornaments, to the posted area in South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street.

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.



Coughing up funds

Read the Legacies column printed below; skip to 25 Years Ago. Notice anything? Beside the fact there was scarce snow that year? Airport? Improvements proposed? Funds "accumulating?"

Times have changed, haven't they? We don't "accumulate"" funds any more - we just cough them up.

Let's take a flight of forecast and fancy to ponder the future of our county airport, considering it in light of the ongoing cost of things already built, of things proposed but not yet done, of operational costs and against the backdrop of what else exists in Pagosa Country that cries out for quick remedy. Let's also consider how we, the taxpayers, are presented with the phenomenon of Stevens field and its value to our community.

This is not a simple situation. An airport is without doubt a valuable asset; a dirt strip, or a poorly constructed and maintained facility, is a liability. And there is no question Stevens Field is developing into a gem of an asset - if seen in a simplistic way.

A critical question must be asked, however: What percentage of the residents of Pagosa Country have ever set foot inside the fences surrounding Stevens Field, given there is no commercial service offered there? Any guesses? Our estimate is 2 percent, and we suspect we are exaggerating.

When confronted with this kind of observation, the refrain from many supporters is peppered with statistics concerning the amount of money visiting pilots bring into our community. The talk of tens of millions of dollars of economic input is gaudy, and ephemeral.

Read: Unsupportable.

What is certifiably true is that - despite the oft false claim the county is merely responding to the FAA when it incurs debt for capital improvements (you must first fish for most grants from the FAA, thereby gaining the "great deals" where major costs are paid by the federal government) - the local taxpayer is putting a growing amount of money into Stevens Field. And, lest one jump to wrong conclusions, it is not for local pilots. Many, if not most, of our local aircraft owners would have been satisfied to have a smooth runway and easy access to their hangers. Most need neither an 8,100-by-100 runway that will handle aircraft weighing up to 70,000 pounds nor all the current and proposed accouterments.

Last year, county coffers were drained of an estimated $573,000 for capital improvement at the field and, when fee revenues were deducted, an estimated $114,000 to meet operational costs. Now, there is an estimated $308,000 set for debt service each year to 2014, as well as $300,000 in 2006 operation costs, with airport revenues not yet estimated due to a delayed decision on proposed increased airport rents and fees (many of which are unfair to local pilots).

The bottom line: We taxpayers subsidize operation of the airport and, given that more grants are sought and more projects undertaken with more debt incurred, we will continue to pay for the foreseeable future. Since fees and rents cannot meet operational costs, add that money to the pot.

With road and other infrastructure problems of paramount concern to the majority of county residents, and pressures increasing on growth-related planning efforts, we wonder: When will the airport support itself? In fact, will it ever support itself? And, if it can't, how can we justify taking on more costs there?"

We don't need estimates of fictional sales tax revenues, nor do we want to learn about more grants that increase our debt load. We deserve, if we are to continue a short-term subsidy program, to know when the drain will be plugged and we can divert more money to a future that includes well built and maintained basic infrastructure - something we all use.

Karl Isberg




90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 28, 1916

Arboles, thirteen miles west of Pagosa Junction, is a D. & R.G. station at the foot of Arboles mesa. This mesa is cut in two by the Piedra River and Col. Bill Chockley. Arboles has a store, a modern school house, Catholic Church and a few dwellings. At present she is entertaining the bridge crew, which is erecting a steel bridge across the Piedra.

Rosa, N.M., is two miles away but seems only a stone's throw. The two combined would make a burg. And, with Rosa's two saloons, they would make a new Durango - if they didn't make a mistake. Rosa's shipping point is two and a half miles west of Arboles, at Darlington Spur. The Rosa saloons are working overtime pumping irrigating suds into Colorado.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 30, 1931

Joe Williams is having a new roof on his house. His sons are doing the work.

County Superintendent of Schools, Mrs. Susie Ford, visited the Juanita school last Friday enroute to the Juanita school last Friday enroute to the Springs from visiting the Carracas school. The children were highly pleased with the little talk given the school by Mrs. Ford. Tom Ford was acting as driver for his mother.

The Preacher says men reap what they sow. Their actions upon others are followed by reactions upon themselves. As it is with men so it is with nations. Those who have given up their resources and strength in the service of mankind have received as a reward the friendship and esteem of other countries.

 50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 26, 1956

Preparations for the 1956 Red Ryder Round-Up are already underway and the dates for the show this year have been set for July 3 and 4, which fall on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fess Reynolds, famous rodeo clown, and his trained mountain lion will also be here this year. Reynolds is rated as one of the nation's top rodeo clowns and bullfighters. Both the clown and the specialty act will be of top caliber and should be big drawing cards for the rodeo.

Every week the weather seems to get just a little more like winter and the storms last weekend and this week are bringing some most welcome moisture. The snow here in town is piling up a little and the two storms brought about a foot of new snow up until Wednesday night.

 25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 29, 1981

The fund drive to install lights at Stevens Field has gotten off the ground. Howard Stallings, the airfield's ground based operator, said the system will allow night landings and thus increase business within the community. The runway markers, surveying and pricing have been completed for the project, and money is gradually accumulating.

Snowfall on Wolf Creek Pass this winter is far below normal for this date, with the winter snowfall, through Tuesday of this week totaling 111 inches. January snowfall up until Wednesday of this week was five inches and the average snowfall for January over a 21 year period is 81 inches. Last January 165 inches fell during the month.



Knucka gets you up and gets you dancing

Local band ready to release third CD, move to next level

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"Overall, it's a boot-stompin', butt-shakin' good time," said Matt Degelman of the performances by Pagosa Springs-based band, Knucka. "The band is named after my dog, Little Knucklehead."

Knucka is a five-member group that found its beginnings at open-microphone nights at a local restaurant facility in 2002. The five musicians comprising the band have not changed, and have built a cohesive bond - both musically and in friendship - over the course of four years.

The band's unique sound is comprised of a harp, played by Degelman; guitar, played by Chris Rapp; drums, played by Jason Dockter; bass, played by Tony Madrid; and vocals provided by Chris Haas.

"The band consists of five members whose individual musical backgrounds and influences form a catalytic chemistry of one original sound," states an advertising flyer produced by the band.

"Getting five dudes to keep it collectively together is challenging," said Tony Madrid. "We were all snowboarding buddies first. We've been shredding together for ten years." Madrid and Degelman are cousins who moved to Pagosa Springs in 1996.

Haas is an artistic individual who sought to begin the band as an opening for poetic expression. "He wanted a classic country, honky-tonking band with a young kid attitude," explained Madrid.

"With flavor from rock-n-roll, emotion from blues and country, and the energy from punk-rock comes a unique, full-throttle, boot-stompin' good time," states the band's flyer.

"It sounds like a mix of Hank Williams Senior, the Sex Pistols and Blues Traveler," explained Dockter.

Knucka has met with much acclaim in the Four Corners area, performing to packed houses and selling out multiple printings of their CDs, as well as enjoying radio airtime across the region. They've played in Durango and Alamosa as well as Pagosa Springs, "selling out every show," according to Dockter. "We have big audiences. Everyone loves it - guys, girls, all rockin' out."

"It was like a dream to get recognized and set up, but it's more about making music," said Degelman. "It's in our hearts, big time."

Each member of Knucka is passionate about his role in the band. "Getting on stage and being with these guys - it's like breathing," said Dockter.

Knucka would love to see their prospects as a band grow to nationwide status, and they have made contacts with a few large-label bands. Knucka opened for Nashville band BR549, and have been discussing performance options for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. Currently, the band's goal is to "play through" Colorado at festivals, in ski towns and at motorcycle rallies.

"It's so exciting for us to go to other towns; after our second CD, we all got a lot more serious about it," said Degelman. "I know we'd be considerably bigger if we had management. If someone could take over the business side of things, and we could just play."

"The biggest thing for us is that we're trying to do it all ourselves," explained Dockter.

"We'd get on a tour bus tomorrow if we could," said Degelman, although the members of Knucka have definite roots in Pagosa Springs.

"We all love it here," stated Madrid. "Pagosa Springs is the best. This will always be our town."

"We came from the city, but there is no turning back," attested Degelman.

All members of Knucka live and work in Pagosa Springs. Though their "day jobs" range from high-end food service and preparation to landscaping, house painting, custom furniture building and tile work, the band members find themselves united in their passion for the music they create after they've completed their tasks of the daylight hours.

Knucka practices at Rapp's well-buffered home, although some sound manages to escape. "We should give a shout to Rapp's neighbors for being so cool," said Madrid of their late-night practice sessions.

The band finds inspiration through varied means, not the least of which is pure and simple mountain living. "Snowboarding, friends and good beer," stated Madrid when asked about his inspirational influences.

"And man's best friends," added Degelman for the dog-loving musicians.

Knucka is in the studio in January to record their third album, to be released in February.

"There's a lot going on in the background - stuff that, as we sat in a room, we thought 'That would be fun. Let's try it,'" said Degelman.

"It's not very complex music. Lyrically it is, but it's more about the emotion," explained Dockter. "You can't help but get out and get dancing."

"We're not background bar music," added Madrid.

"It's very high energy," said Degelman. "Every song tells a story."

Contact Rapp at 731-0277 for more information about Knucka, to book a performance or purchase a CD.


Pagosa's Past

Where was Amargo, and what went on there?

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Gen. Palmer's Denver & Rio Grande Railroad became the life blood of the San Juan Mountains when it crossed Cumbres Pass in 1880 and reached Durango in 1881.

As with other railroads building west, the latest "D. &R.G. end of the line" was a rowdy tent city full of alcohol, gamblers and bawdy ladies, all out to separate the railroad workers from their money.

One of those "end of the line" cities was Amargo, a place you'll not find on any current map.

In its day, starting perhaps in 1881, Amargo was a rip-roaring place that attracted a fair share of businessmen hoping to finally strike it rich. Amargo had hotels, bars, a livery stable, general stores and a variety of other businesses. It also served as a rations distribution point for Jicarilla Apache Indians during part of their quest to gain title to a reservation in the area. And, oh yes, for a short time Amargo served as home to the Allison Gang, probably the most notorious gang of outlaws in Pagosa Country.

Pagosa old-timers still remember where Amargo was located, and I know one who claims to have in his possession highway signs denoting the edge of the place. Ray Macht told me that, during the 1930s, his family used to drive cattle from their Pagosa to Amargo where there were holding pens needed for the task of loading the cattle onto the railroad.

Still, as a town, Amargo disappeared long before the 1930s and in a later article we'll talk about the events setting the stage for the town's exit.

A pertinent question for today's readers is: Where was Amargo? The easy answer is: Amargo was located along the railroad between Monero and Lumberton, about one mile east of Lumberton.

Using today's map, the easiest answer is Amargo was located mostly north of U.S. 64 on the flats about one mile east of Lumberton. I left the coal-mining town of Monero out of the final answer because there are no highway towns depicting its location. And, of course, during Amargo's heyday, the highway followed a different route than it does today.

Until Lumberton was formed in the mid-1890s, Amargo was the southern terminus for a stage coach line which ran north to Pagosa Springs. A goodly percentage of the freight and people bound for Pagosa Springs got off of the train and onto a stagecoach at Amargo. The stage clattered northward through Coyote Park, Halfway Cañon and on to Pagosa. A resting point at the southern end of Halfway Cañon provided meals, an overnight stop and a change of horses. I presume the Halfway House was the source of the name for Halfway Cañon. Quite a number of Pagosa pioneer names are associated with the stage coach operation at different times, among them John Dowell, E.T. Walker and Fil Byrne. I could write columns about each of these individuals, but won't at the present time. It is interesting to note that shortly after Fil Byrne, perhaps the first school teacher in the county, married Annie Kern, the newlyweds operated the stagecoach and lived for a time in Amargo and even at the Halfway House.

Frankly, I'm not certain when Amargo started. Most of what I read indicates it started when the railroad came through circa 1880-1881. Other things I read indicate that Amargo, or the immediate vicinity, was located along ancient trails followed by Indians, mountain men and Hispanic traders.

In any case, we are fortunate to have eyewitness accounts of frontier life in Amargo as preserved in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country." In the Pagosa Springs News, a newspaper printed in Pagosa Springs between 1890 and 1900, we find the entire story of the demise of Amargo, an event coinciding with the birth of Lumberton. More on Amargo next week.


Pagosa Sky Watch

Pogson's the man for stargazers

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data for Thursday, Jan. 26, 2006, is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:16 a.m.

Sunset: 5:26 p.m.

Moonrise: 4:54 a.m.

Moonset: 2:01 p.m.

Moon phase: The moon is waning crescent with 11 percent of the visible disk illuminated. The new moon arrives Jan. 29.

Amateur astronomers and backyard star gazers are blessed in Pagosa Country. The altitude, coupled with clean air, cold nights and little light pollution make for prime sky watching conditions.

In town, depending on your location, backyard star gazing is generally superb, but a short drive out of town or backcountry trip are like traveling back in time. One look overhead, and the effect of the Milky Way and billions of shimmering points of light is staggering and it is the same kind of view ancient astronomers probably enjoyed.

But if today's backyard astronomer, even with all the information and technology available, has difficulty making sense of all there is to see in the night sky, how did our predecessors do it? Part of the answer lies in ancient Greece with the astronomer Hipparchus.

In 129 B.C., Hipparchus established a scale which would lay the groundwork for future comparative observations and measurements of stars and their brightness. The scale would come to be known as the magnitude scale, and with it, Hipparchus divided the naked-eye stars into six different classes, or, magnitudes.

Under Hipparchus' scale, the brightest naked-eye stars were called first magnitude and the faintest stars visible with the naked eye sixth magnitude. Stars in between the two extremes were classed with a magnitude number based on their brightness.

In Hipparchus' scale, the lower the magnitude number, the brighter the star and the higher the magnitude number the fainter.

Lacking sophisticated instruments or modern observing equipment, Hipparchus' rough classification scheme sufficed. It gave early astronomers a common language with which to discuss and compare celestial objects, and it is a scale, following some fine tuning, that astronomers still use today.

The fine tuning came about in 1856 with the English astronomer Norman Pogson. Pogson recognized Hipparchus' scale was logical and usable by star gazers of all abilities, yet technology and more sophisticated observational techniques had made gauging a star's brightness less subjective. In fact, by Pogson's day, astronomers could measure a star's brightness to an exact fraction of a magnitude and Pogson sought to create a more precise system that would allow for the incremental differences in star brightness.

The result was that Pogson created an updated version of the Hipparchus magnitude scale using logarithmic mathematics.

On Pogson's scale, he defined a magnitude one star as being exactly 100 times brighter than a star of magnitude six. Therefore, a difference of five magnitudes corresponded to a brightness difference of 100 times, and a one magnitude difference was equal to a brightness difference of just over 2.5 times.

What set Pogson's scale apart, was that it allowed for an infinite range of measurement using both positive and negative numbers and thus could classify objects that were either very bright or very faint. Furthermore, Pogson's scale was more versatile than the Hipparchus scale, and could be used to measure an object's apparent magnitude and its absolute magnitude.

Apparent magnitude refers to how bright a star appears to us in the night sky. Absolute magnitude refers to a star's actual light output when measured from a specific distance - namely, 10 parsecs, or, 32.6 light years.

Absolute magnitude is the stuff of professional astronomers, while apparent magnitude, or simply the term "magnitude," is the common language found in star charts and field guides and is used by all sky watchers to describe how bright a star appears to us in the sky. The term "magnitude" when used without qualification, always refers to an object's apparent magnitude.

Using Pogson's scale, the sun, which is the brightest object in the sky, has a magnitude of -26.74. Sirius, the brightest star in the sky, has a magnitude of -1.44. Conversely, fainter stars are given progressively larger positive numbers to denote their magnitude. Thus, the faintest objects in the sky are roughly magnitude 27 and are only visible with telescopes.

The scale works the same for absolute magnitude, with negative numbers denoting brighter objects and positive numbers denoting fainter objects. Yet the numbers, due to distance at which the star's brightness is measured, are drastically different.

For example, the absolute magnitude of the sun is just 4.8, while the absolute magnitude of Sirius is just 1.4.

To the beginner, or the mathematically challenged, Pogson's scale may seem confusing, but in essence, it operates on the same basic principles as the Hipparchus scale - the lower the number the brighter the star, the higher the number the fainter the star. Stars whose apparent magnitude is greater than six are not visible with the naked eye and the brightest stars have negative magnitudes.

While absolute magnitude tells professional astronomers the true brightness of a star, apparent magnitude, or simply magnitude, thanks to Hipparchus and Pogson, provides a common observing language all sky watching enthusiasts can use and understand.





Date High Low Precipitation

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Jetstreams, snow and chicken soup

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Yesterday's storm was a result of the jetstream splitting off into two paths off the coast of southern California by a strong and compact low-pressure system located just north of Baja.

The southern jetstream path dropped south, passing over the Gulf of Mexico and collected moisture, then jetted (as jetstreams do) straight north, bringing in its lovely moisture directly to northern New Mexico and the San Juans. By this afternoon, the low-pressure area should be expanding and moving north and the two splits of the jetstream will reconnect in Kansas somewhere, resulting in temporarily clearing skies for Pagosa.

Friday night, another system may approach the western mountains, with the drier air northern jet swinging back south, with cloudy if not snowy conditions in town, and snow in the upper elevations likely. Blustery winds also likely. That system will be moving out by Sunday, with clearing skies for early next week. Another storm is possible by mid-next week.

Last week, we had bitter cold conditions early in the morning over the weekend and early in the week, with lows in the negative Fahrenheits. Last Saturday's high was only 30.7 degrees, with temps warming as the week progressed, and a high of 51.3 degrees was reported Tuesday.

Last week's storm on Thursday deposited around four inches of snow on town, and 18 inches at Wolf Creek Ski Area. The powder remained strong for Friday's skiers, with good conditions continuing into the weekend. Another fine weekend on the slopes is likely, with a 54-inch base reported on the summit prior to yesterday's snow.

The snowpack in the San Juan basin is still less than 50 percent of normal, while statewide the snowpack average is 99 percent of normal (source: Snowtel).

With an average altitude of 6,800 feet, Colorado is the highest state in the nation. Three-quarters of all the land in the U.S. above 10,000 feet is in Colorado, which has 830 mountains higher than 11,000 feet.

Weather and health

For as long as people have pondered the weather, the effects of weather on human health have been pondered, too.

Weather can be considered a combination of five ever-changing variables: barometric pressure, humidity, precipitation, temperature and wind. Although each of these has a particular effect on the human body (such as stiffening joints with an increase in humidity), the combination of all five variables has varying effects on the body's dynamics.

Although there is no widely accepted theory on the health effects of weather, changing weather conditions are more likely to affect human health than consistent climate conditions. Changes in a body's internal thermostat adds extra stress to the immune system, one of the hardest working systems in your body.

Of course it's well known that the frequency of the common cold is more prevalent in winter than in summer. Myriad theories explain this phenomena - a common one is that the increased amount of time spent indoors in the winter increases the likelihood of virus transmission. Another theory is the cold constricts the blood vessels in the nose (where most colds originate), shutting off warm blood and nourishing white cells that fight infection. Dry winter air can also contribute to this effect. Other experts claim that there is no evidence that you can get a cold from exposure to cold weather or from being chilled or overheated.

Unlike the flu, which is a single family of viruses, cold viruses come in many forms. The most common strikes from a family of rhinoviruses (from the Greek rhino, meaning "nose"). Such viruses grow best at about 91 degrees F., the typical temperature inside the human nose. Other cold viruses include the coronaviruses, adenoviruses, coxsackieviruses and echoviruses, to name a few. Unlike bacterial infections, viruses are immune to antibiotics, and there is no cure for the common cold (still!).

Transmission usually begins when someone picks up the virus from a surface (many viruses can live up to three hours on objects such as door handles or stair railings), or through the air, where the virus hitches a ride on a droplet of suspended moisture, commonly through a sneeze or a cough. Once a cold virus is "caught" it takes between one to five days for symptoms to appear. Colds generally last no more than a week. In terms of weather, some studies have shown that there is a two- to three-day time lag between the changing climate and vulnerability to colds.

Adaptation to weather has been noted to have beneficial effects. A study of people travelling to the arctic showed that persons bathing in 60 degree F. water for one half hour over nine consecutive days fared better from cold-induced stress than those who bathed in warmer waters. Cold showers in the morning, anyone?

Resting, getting plenty of fluids seems to be the only way to alleviate symptoms. Cold medicines and other drugs may help you feel better, but most haven't been proven to have much effect on getting over the cold. Apparently, there's some new anti-viral drugs that can clear up the symptoms a day or so sooner than usual, but it's unclear whether the benefits of these drugs outweigh the risks.

The best strategy is to keep your immune system strong before a cold takes hold. Natural plants like echinacea and garlic are the favorite of many, taken the moment a cold is sensed. Many also swear by zinc, vitamin C, and "superfoods" like spirulina and bee pollen. Other personal favorites include astragalus, eucalyptus, ginger, goldenseal, mullein, St. John's wort, and Asian mushrooms.

And, let's not forget the worldwide favorite, chicken soup, which has been a documented reliever of the common cold since the 12th century physician, Moses Maimonides, wrote prolifically about the healing elixir.

Some say the combination of chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery, parsley, and spices somehow work together to create a mysteriously beneficial brew. Modern studies suggest than a certain amino acid released from chicken during cooking keeps a check on the white blood cells that cause congestion in their rush to attack an invading virus. Whatever the reason, Grandma knows best, after all.