March 23, 2006
Front Page

$500K pledged for hospital

Voters will decide fate of Critical Access Hospital

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

As plans for a proposed Critical Access Hospital heat up, the Upper San Juan Health Services District (USJHSD) has received generous financial contributions to help defray costs. Now, the district hopes voters will step up May 2, allowing the project to become reality.

At its rescheduled monthly meeting March 16 (originally set for March 7), the USJHSD board announced its Summit Leadership Challenge, encouraging community citizens and businesses to pledge donations needed to match those promised by four affable area families.

According to board member Michelle Visel, Mr. and Mrs. Sid R. Bass, David J. and Carol Brown, Karin Griscom, and Bob and Betty Lindner have collectively agreed to match all contributions to the district's Our Mountain Hospital Campaign, up to $500,000. The USJHSD board launched the campaign last month with a goal of raising $1,000,000 in donations.

Members of the board and fundraising committee have personally contributed a total of $102,000 to the crusade, and another $10,000 has been donated by Dr. Dick Blide, a former USJHSD board member who is credited with birthing the hospital idea. Though Dr. Blide no longer lives in the district, Visel feels Blide's strong belief in the importance of the hospital to the community prompted the doctor to extend such a gracious offer.

While the fundraising committee seems well on the way to achieving its goal of a million dollars in donations, it's still looking for vital financial assistance from anyone willing and able to contribute. Meanwhile, the district is applying for a Department of Local Affairs grant, and finance committee member J.R. Ford said he was, "comfortable we're going to get it."

Of course, members are hoping the largest share of support will come from voters in little more than five weeks. In a special election scheduled for May 2, all registered voters from Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties will be asked to approve an increase in district debt by $12,000,000.

Entitled, the Upper San Juan Health Service District Ballot Issue A, the current version of the ballot reads in part, "Shall Upper San Juan Health Services District debt be increased $12,000,000, with repayment cost of $33,500,000, without increasing existing taxes or imposing any new tax, by the issuance of bonds or other financial obligations to construct an Acute Hospital, which will be converted to a Critical Access Hospital, in order to provide the highest level of medical care available to enhance the quality of life, health, and safety of the community..."

The ballot goes on to ask voters if the revenue from the district's existing operation and mill levy of 3.884 mills shall be utilized as necessary, along with other district revenue, to pay the principal, premium (if any) and interest on the debt through the issuance and sale of what amounts to "limited tax bonds."

A limited tax bond is defined as a municipal bond secured by a pledge of a specific tax, in this case, all or part of the district's existing mill levy, which generated $819,000 in revenues last year (following a levy reduction to 3.674 mills, in compliance with Colorado's Gallager Amendment).

Though final ballot language does not specify the type of municipal bond incorporated in the ballot, district board members have agreed that the limited tax bond allows more flexibility in getting a better loan, while making default less likely. Ford has said that by encumbering a portion of the mill levy (through use of a limited tax bond), the district can shave 1.5 to 2 percent off the interest rate, saving it $200,000 a year over the course of the bond issue.

In essence, according to USJHSD board member Bob Goodman, the ballot issue simply asks voters, "Do you want a hospital or don't you?" And Ford has suggested, "The hospital will pay for itself with its revenues."

The estimated costs of building the hospital include $8 million for construction (with an added five percent contingency), $750,000 in medical equipment (with additional equipment already pledged by Mercy Medical Center), $600,000 in architectural and engineering fees, and $1.8 million in working capital.

In the weeks to come, the Mary Fisher Foundation will provide additional information on the mechanics of the entire process.

Meanwhile, in other matters discussed at Thursday's meeting:

- The USJHSD board reviewed a conceptual floorplan of the new hospital, with further revisions declared an almost certainty.

- Acting business director Pat Haney reported that minor problems with the billing software are nearly resolved, and payments of Medicare statements are averaging 14 days from billing. Payments of private-party statements are averaging 21 to 23 days post billing.

- Haney also announced the establishment of a Workers Compensation insurance policy for the district, written by Pinnacol Assurance. For now, she explained, the policy is a "zero deductible" plan, but will likely change to a less expensive program with unspecified deductibles, as the district continues to reflect new-found strength and stability.

- EMS personnel continue working to acquire grants and other funding for the purchase of another ambulance, and several upcoming interviews will hopefully fill staff vacancies.

EMS committee chairman Brian Sinnott described current training funding as inadequate, and asked the board to consider reallocating surplus capital from other areas of the EMS budget to allow a total of $10,000 annually for instruction and continuing education. He also proclaimed committee deferment of a proposed graduated pay-raise scale, with intent to establish one based more on merit.

Airport grant request to be reviewed by county

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public work session at 9 a.m. this morning, with just two items on the agenda.

The first is to consider a funding request by the Sheriff's Emergency Operations Division to pay for two temporary firefighters, who will work in wildland fire suppression this summer.

Even with recent snows, water experts are calling for a warm and abnormally dry summer, with increased fire danger a real possibility. Therefore, depending on actual needs, the anticipated cost breakdowns are as follows:

- Two firefighters for an additional 10 weeks, at $12.50 an hour (equals $10,000), plus a 34-percent burden of $3,400. The total is $13,400.

- One firefighter for an additional eight weeks, at $12.50 an hour (equals $4,000), plus a 34-percent burden of $1,360. The total is $5,360.

- One firefighter for an additional four weeks, at $12.50 an hour ($2,000), plus a 34-percent burden of $680. The total is $2,680.

According to division estimates, the total cost of the additional staffing equals $60,032, an amount "based on an extended fire season." Division director Greg Oertel has said, "As we cannot predict the conditions in the fall, we may not need to keep all of the staffing towards the end of the season, which would reduce the amount actually spent. However, I feel it would be prudent to prepare according to the information that we have currently, to provide for the safety of the public and our firefighters."

The second agenda item involves consideration of a request by airport manager Rob Russ to apply for a Federal Aviation Agency grant to purchase real property and construct a parallel taxiway at Stevens Field. By press time, Russ had not responded to phone messages left at his office, but according to county finance director Bob Burchett, the request is the next logical step in achieving long-term capital improvements planned for the airport.

Based on a six-year Capital Improvement Program worksheet, the current cost of acquiring land and building the taxiway is estimated at $5.4 million. If extended, an FAA grant might pay 95 percent. The state of Colorado may pick up another 2.5 percent, with Archuleta County taxpayers having to cover the balance ($135,000). Of course, if the state fails to contribute, or the FAA grant falls short of 95 percent, the county liability will obviously increase.

"The questions come down to how much it'll cost and what the county can ultimately afford," Burchett said.

When asked how soon he thought the county could afford to pay the typical two-and-a-half- or even five-percent of the total cost of such a project, Burchett simply said, "Not this year."

Today's work session could presumably establish a timeline for the next phase of airport improvements, depending on finances and valued public input.

School board selects elementary principal

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

The Board of Education of the Archuleta School District 50 Joint emerged from three hours of executive session meetings Thursday, March 16, to vote publicly on elementary school principal candidate Mary (Kate) Lister. The board decided in a unanimous vote to offer Lister the position, currently filled by Terry Alley, interim principal.

The board called the existing principals and various members of the faculty recommendation committee into the executive session for comment prior to the vote.

"It was a tough choice with several well-qualified candidates. Obviously, we're happy it was a unanimous 5-0 vote," said school board president, Mike Haynes. "It being a very large elementary school, it won't be an easy job for a rookie principal, but I feel that the district and faculty will give her full support as she gets established."

Lister is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, and has 21 years classroom teaching experience, 16 of those years in Pagosa Springs. She has nearly completed the process of earning her master's degree in educational leadership with a principal endorsement from Adams State College in Alamosa. After supervising the two summer programs offered by the district, all of the internship requirements of her advanced degree will be met.

"I'm just thrilled to be given this opportunity. I'm fortunate to be able to intern under Mr. Alley," said Lister. "Our staff is so highly educated and experienced. We're going to make a collaborative effort to make it an excellent experience for our students."

Local officials make plans for fire season

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Despite recent snows, unseasonably warm weather and a less-than-average snowpack has local fire officials gearing up for what they think will be a long, dry and potentially volatile fire season.

Pagosa Fire Protection District Chief Warren Grams said although recent snowfall has helped to increase forest moisture content, April rains will play a pivotal role in mitigating summer fire threat. If spring rains don't arrive on schedule, Grams said, it is likely Pagosa Country will face a tough fire season.

Unfortunately, long term weather forecasts don't bode well for Grams or other area fire fighting agencies.

According to documents presented at a February Archuleta County fire briefing, current temperatures average five to 15 degrees above seasonal norms, with southern Colorado at a 25- to 50-percent precipitation deficit.

Weather professionals attribute current weather patterns to a "moderate" La Nina trend, and they say if the trend maintains its current character, or strengthens, warm, dry conditions and below average precipitation will persist through spring, with above average temperatures and windier than average conditions expected through the summer.

Although the report indicates the current La Nina trend may deliver "near average" precipitation during the summer months, the prospect of a wet monsoon season does not boost the Archuleta County Director of Emergency Operations, Greg Oertel's, hopes.

Summer monsoons bring lightning, Oertel said, and with dry forests and windy conditions, rain won't negate the increased fire threat caused by the unseasonably dry winter.

And that fact, Grams said, has his crews prepped, even now, for the worst.

Grams said all Pagosa Fire Protection District fire fighters are prepared to fight a wildland fire at a moment's notice.

"All the guys are carrying their wildland gear at all times," Grams said.

In addition, Grams said his fire fighters have attended wildland firefighting refresher courses, and he is confident his crews are prepared, well equipped and are ready to go.

At the county, Oertel said he has a four-man, seasonal fire fighting team on deck, and has requested two more fire fighters plus the funding to extend the four-man crew's season until November should conditions warrant the expense.

Oertel said last year's acquisition of a new wildland firefighting truck, and the expected arrival of a second, has his team well-equipped to battle blazes in outlying areas of the county.

With both agencies prepped and with both men aware of the havoc wrought by fire, their message to residents was clear - make a plan, be vigilant and create defensible space around homes.

"The best plan is to have a plan, so you're not running around at the last minute," Grams said.

To that end, Grams said during the height of the season, roughly May through August, homeowners should have evacuation bags with valuables, prescription medications and extra clothes, packed and ready to go. Any valuables left in the house, he said, should be stored in fireproof containers.

He said those with small pets should have car carriers ready for those animals' transport, and that evacuation plans for livestock should be made well before the fire season begins.

Both men agreed that creating defensible space around homes is a critical component of any emergency plan, and Oertel said the county can help homeowners with a free, defensible space evaluation and assessment.

"We will be working with homeowners on mitigation efforts," Oertel said.

As temperatures warm and spring cleaning begins, Oertel urged county residents to exercise caution when burning brush. He said that although the county does not currently require a burn permit, a call to county dispatch is mandatory prior to burning. Oertel said dispatch will have information on weather conditions and possible burn bans, which, he added, could go into effect as early as April.

"This year is going to be an extreme year, and we need to be extremely cautious with fire," Oertel said.

For complete information on creating defensible space and a fire emergency evacuation plan, call the Pagosa Fire Protection District at 731-4191. For permission to burn, contact Archuleta County dispatch at 264-2131.

Caucus results pending

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

For many Archuleta County voters, the caucus process remains as mysterious as that far off, eastern European mountain range with a similar sounding name.

For clarification, the first rule of a caucus is: One does not win a caucus. A county caucus is a process in which individuals of the same political party gather at various precinct locations to nominate delegates to the county assembly.

In Archuleta County, the county assembly will be held April 22, and by presstime Wednesday, a list of the delegates nominated to the county assembly was not available.

The SUN will print complete caucus results March 30.

 Inside The Sun

Long-term maintenance solution sought for Mill Creek Road

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

A tenuous short-term solution to winter access and snowplowing concerns up Mill Creek Road has suffered a serious setback.

Earlier this month, David Dallison, acting district ranger of the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest, sent a letter to affected landowners, county officials and other interested parties, informing them that management of this season's winter access up Mill Creek Road has not gone as planned. Dallison cited concerns with gate control and construction traffic as primary causes for a need to re-address the issue.

Last fall, after several meetings with Archuleta County representatives and a handful of year-round Mill Creek Road residents, the Forest Service agreed to rebuild three-tenths-of-a-mile of road to an all-weather standard, install a road closure gate, build a parking lot, and provide a public winter access trail from the parking lot to the forest. The improvements were subsequently completed as promised, at an estimated cost of $27,000.

In return, private landowners were to supply a community lock for the gate, with a promise of keeping it closed to all but authorized users and essential service providers. They would also oversee snowplowing operations conducted by a private contractor, working under a required special use permit issued by the Forest Service, who owns the road.

Based on periodic monitoring of the gate and road use this winter, the Forest Service feels the permit holder lacks sufficient stake in managing the road, and doubts another permit can be issued under similar circumstances next season.

Meanwhile, Forest Service employees have reported several occasions when the gate was left open. As a result, the Pagosa Ranger District has taken numerous calls from disgruntled members of the public who have passed through the gate, only to find it closed and locked upon their attempted departure. At one point, when the gate was left open, forest employees say unauthorized off-road traffic caused significant resource damage, illustrating the importance of keeping it closed at all times.

Unanticipated construction traffic has also elevated concern among forest officials this winter. According to the original agreement between the Forest Service and residents living beyond road's end, the special use permit was intended to authorize residential use, but not heavy construction traffic.

Nevertheless, traffic related to three separate construction projects has been ongoing since the original gate closure, and forest personnel are quick to point out that increased road use, particularly by heavy construction vehicles, is contrary to the agreement and nature of the bond used in securing the permit.

At this point, the Forest Service says, unless Mill Creek residents renew their commitment to managing the road based on mutually accepted terms, it will have no choice but to explore other control alternatives for next year.

One alternative might include the issuance of a snow removal permit to a recognized property owners association, increasing the security bond based on this year's experience, and restricting road use to residents and clearly defined essential service providers only. Another alternative would simply close the road and restrict wintertime use to snowmobiles or other over-the-snow vehicles.

Of course, all sides, including the county, ultimately prefer a long-term solution, which would almost certainly involve upgrading the road to an all-weather standard through a cooperative effort. However, the county has not said whether it would participate in such an undertaking, nor has it indicated whether it would assume ownership of the road once improvements were made, thereby assuming responsibility for year-round maintenance, including snow removal.

For now, the Pagosa Ranger District says it acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of involved residents in their repeated attempts to find answers to such a complex problem. In Dallison's letter, he affirms the district's commitment to resolving the matter, and plans to hold an end-of-season meeting in April, to engage further discussion.

Mayoral candidates answer questions

Ross Aragon

1. Please provide a short biographical sketch of yourself.

I am a part of the fifth generation of my family in this local area. I was born in Archuleta County and have lived here all my life.

My tenure as mayor:

During the past three decades, 1976 to 2006, I have been involved with different council members and staff in guiding our town.

I feel I have been productive and care very much for our town and take the job very seriously. I have never missed a regular monthly scheduled meeting in 30 years.

Some of my accomplishments, through involvement as mayor, are growth through annexation, good police protection, recreation programs and facilities developed, Reservoir Hill trail and park system and the Riverwalk. We've had two vehicular bridges and one pedestrian bridge built, with another planned for later this year, and many streets and alleys have been paved. Pagosa Springs has been included in the Pagosa Fire Protection District, as well as the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District to provide domestic water, and we have taken over the local sanitation district.

Most recently, our town converted to a home rule government and embarked on private/public cooperative efforts to develop plans and planning tools related to anticipated growth in our community.

Lastly, the two things that I am extremely proud of are our city hall and community center.

Throughout the years, I have fulfilled my obligations and duties with the utmost respect for the citizens of our town.

2. What difference, if any, do you perceive between the mayor's role and that of other town council members?

The mayor has one vote Š the mayor conducts the meetings. The mayor is the liaison between the board and the public. And the mayor is involved in all ceremonial activities. With the help and input of the rest of the council, as well as staff, the mayor provides leadership and direction.

3. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the town in one year, and during the next four years - and, if elected as mayor, how do you plan to address those issues?

I believe the most pressing issue will be major development and growth, and traffic congestion Š and the significant impact of these on the infrastructure. As mayor, I will work closely with the council utilizing the Comprehensive Plan with every attempt to guide growth in an orderly manner so as not to become a Vail or Aspen Š the biggest challenge is to maintain our unique small town character.

4. What is your vision for the town, and how will you implement that vision during your four-year term.

I see our town becoming pricey Š high-end. And, therefore, as mayor I will emphatically try to ensure that the town be sensitive to and participate in attainable housing.

5. What do you think are the town's development priorities in the next four years?

- expand waste treatment facilities

- expand recreational facilities (build a recreation center)

- comprehensive street maintenance program

- traffic control

Paul Nobles

1. Please provide a short biographical sketch of yourself.

Born in Prescott, Arizona 1949, 57 years old. High school - Jerome, Arizona; college - Grand Canyon Phoenix, Arizona; Marine sniper 1969-70 Vietnam - Purple Heart; journeyman finish carpenter 24 years; Fluor-Daniel Architectural Superintendent four years in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Three children, Heidi, Jessica and Jerome; Realtor, Romar Realty; construction superintendant, Phoenix, Arizona.

2. What difference, if any, do you perceive between the mayor's role and that of other town council members?

Very little - Mayor is just one of the town council's team that runs the day-to-day growth of one of the prettiest towns in America. Mayor should be a strong leader and a very good listener. Interact with all the townspeople on a daily basis.

3. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the town in one year, and during the next four years - and, if elected as mayor, how do you plan to address those issues?

Growth! Keep a daily hand on doing everything as perfect as we can and the next four years will be a resounding success. We are the keepers of Pagosa Springs for the next bit of time and need to be vigilant and progressive in the 21st century. Keep the old - make way for the new.

4. What is your vision for the town, and how will you implement that vision during your four-year term.

Pagosa Springs should be the friendliest, happy, small destination resort town that caters to the fulfillment of our tourists that come here to recreate and restore their spirits in the surrounding mountains and springs. Everyone loves Pagosa.

5. What do you think are the town's development priorities in the next four years?

Continue a strong Riverwalk plan. Plentiful parking and easy access to businesses and hot springs are essential. Nighttime lighting; good clean sidewalks; safe crosswalks; and fun parks and recreation need to be high on our priorities. I envision a hospital for our town at 160 and 84 on the old sawmill site. Wouldn't that be progress?

a) Town - Pool of intelligent people; tap into this!

b) Credit to generous residents who donate money and time to benefit Pagosa Springs.

c) Tremendous history of Hispanics and Indians and pioneers have contributed greatly.

d) Long range city cooperation with highway department and county roads.

e) Movie industry could proliferate in the beautify of "Pagosa Country."

f) Music festivals do well and attract thousands.

g) Pioneer homestead "ranch" with lifestyle display.

h) Continue bike races.

i) Take advantage and promote resources of our area.

Liquor compliance sting sees 50 percent failure rate

On March 13, the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department assisted Agents of the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division in conducting compliance checks of local businesses that are licensed to sell alcoholic beverages.

Local law enforcement officers and Liquor Enforcement Agents of the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division conducted compliance checks at 18 local businesses. The checks were conducted by utilizing undercover civilian operatives who were over 18 years old, but under 21 years old. The operatives were observed and monitored by the officers. The underage operatives entered the establishments and attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages.

Nine of the 18 licensed establishments checked sold alcohol to an underage person. The employees who sold the alcohol were issued summons for liquor law violations. The employees who were cited for violations that occurred within the town limits of Pagosa Springs were issued a Pagosa Springs Municipal Summons, and the employees who were cited outside the town limits were summonsed into County Court.

All of the businesses that were found to be in violation will also face possible enforcement action against their liquor license at the state level. Actions against the licensees who are first-time offenders may include fines or suspension of the license.

Due to time constraints, not all local licensed businesses were checked, but law enforcement officials are planning additional compliance checks in the near future.

In addition to increased law enforcement efforts, local authorities are planning training seminars for employees of local businesses where alcoholic beverages are sold.

Free weather spotter training

The National Weather Service is sponsoring free, weather spotter training classes for anyone with an interest in severe weather, as well as for those who would like to enhance or review their education in volunteer weather spotting for the National Weather Service.

The classes will be held April 3 through April 6 at various locations throughout southwest Colorado.

€April 3, 2006

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Basic Weather Spotter Training

Cortez Journal Building

123 N. Smith Avenue

Cortez, CO

€April 4, 2006

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Basic Weather Spotter Training

La Plata County Fairgrounds

La Plata Room (upstairs meeting room in the exhibition hall)

Durango, CO

€April 5, 2006

6:30-8:30 p.m.

Basic Weather Spotter Training

Pagosa Springs Fire Station #1

191 North Pagosa Blvd.

Pagosa Springs, CO

€April 6, 2006

6:30-8:30 PM

Advanced Weather Spotter Training

Note: Basic Spotter Training class is a prerequisite

La Plata County Fairgrounds

La Plata Room (upstairs meeting room in the exhibition hall)

Durango, CO

For more information contact Jim Pringle at (970) 243-7007 ext. 726, or via email:

james.pringle@noaa.gov

The weather spotter training schedule will also be posted on the National Weather Service web site:

www.weather.gov/gjt

Wanted: Red Ryder royalty

What is there to gain from being a rodeo queen or princess? There are the prizes that are won, knowledge gained on horsemanship, makeup, attire and there is the fun. But then there is the poise gained from being in front of people, learning to think on your feet, and learning to have confidence with who you are.

Young ladies between the ages of 8 and 21, who are not and have not been married and are not pregnant nor have been pregnant, and are residents of Archuleta County for at least six months, are eligible to try for royalty. The young ladies need to be able to ride a horse, talk to the public, and be willing to represent Red Ryder Roundup at various activities.

The contest starts June 30. There will be practices that will start the first of June. A mandatory meeting with parents or guardian will be announced later.

For further information, please call Sandy Bramwell at 264-5959, Belinda Thull at 731-5269, or Sherry Schultz at 264-4436.

April 1st as 9Health Fair Day

WHEREAS, the people of the Town of Pagosa Springs have always been concerned about good health; and

WHEREAS, 9Health Services will hold the annual 9Health Fair on Saturday, April 1st from 8 a.m. to noon at the Pagosa Springs High School; and,

WHEREAS, the 9Health Fair is open to all those 18 years of age or older; and,

WHEREAS, the 9Health Services, Inc. is a nonprofit organization and is endorsed by the Colorado Medical Society and the Colorado Health and Hospital Association; and,

WHEREAS, the purpose of the Fair is to promote health awareness and to encourage individuals to assume responsibility for their own health; and

WHEREAS, Pagosa Springs Rotarians, local businesses, and 220 volunteers are providing assistance to the Fair; and

WHEREAS, this is a unique opportunity to receive free and optional health screenings.

THEREFORE, be it resolved that April 1st be designated 9Health Fair Day for the Town of Pagosa Springs and so doing, ask that citizens participate in the 9Health Fair.

Signed this twentieth day of March, 2006

Ross Aragon, Mayor

Outdoors

Volunteer at Chimney Rock

By Karen Aspin

PREVIEW Columnist

Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA) invites community members to come meet their neighbors—from 1,000 years ago—at the association's annual open house, in the south conference room of the community center on Hot Springs Boulevard, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 1.

Okay, while there won't actually be any Ancestral Puebloans hanging around the community center during the event, there will be a host of Chimney Rock volunteers on hand WHOare eager to introduce guests to what they do know about the residents who occupied our neighborhood so long ago.

Another opportunity offered through this event is the introduction to the CRIA volunteer program. Since CRIA is primarily staffed with volunteers, like those you'll meet at the open house, it is essential to the program's success that the volunteer corps remains strong in skills and numbers. It is not unusual to have an average annual staff of around 80 volunteers.

Although the official Chimney Rock Interpretive Program season runs only from May 15 to September 30, the program volunteers have an established tradition of socializing throughout the year. Most notable, and popular, of activities are the frequent potlucks, often accompanied by an interesting guest speaker. Over this past winter, volunteers also took behind-the-scenes field trips to Aztec National Monument in New Mexico and to the fascinating, archaeological excavation site in Durango where the Animas-LaPlata reservoir and dam are being built. One cannot put a price on such things, and for volunteers, it's usually free, even to visit the captivating Chimney Rock Archaeological Area in season. Sometimes, there are off-season opportunities to visit the site, as well.

From the shadows of the awe-inspiring twin pinnacles of Chimney Rock to a cubbyhole of an office behind the Pagosa Ranger District, one can usually find an interesting mix of mostly local residents, generously volunteering for CRIA. Without their myriad skills and valuable time, it would simply be impossible to keep this local, non-profit, interpretive program viable and the gates to Chimney Rock Archaeological Area open but more volunteer help is needed.

Whatever skill or interest one has, it is likely that it would benefit CRIA in some way. If you can help with grant writing, fundraising, posting flyers, button making, bookkeeping, creating scrapbooks, administrative tasks, scheduling potlucks, putting together volunteer newsletters, or have a knack or inclination for mowing, maintenance, or construction projects, then volunteer! And best of all, Chimney Rock offers a great, in-depth training program to anyone interested in learning about the site. This year's training is scheduled from Thursday through Saturday, April 20 through the 22.

It's likely that most residents know at least one Chimney Rock volunteer. The interpretive program has a history of magnetizing locals, many who actively volunteer in a variety of community programs. Stop by the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce, for instance, and chat with one of the delegates - you're likely to find a "Chimney Rocker." When you see one, thank them for their commitment to the community.

For more information, stop by the Chimney Rock open house. Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, have a snack and chat with the volunteers. There is a welcoming committee waiting just for you!

CRIA operates in partnership with the USDA Forest Service, San Juan National Forest, Pagosa Ranger District, through a special-use permit. For program information, view the CRIA website at www.chimneyrockco.org, or call (970) 264-2287.

Deadlline for 2006 Big Game Applications is midnight April 4

The 2006 Colorado Big Game, Sheep and Goat Brochures are now available to the public at licensing agents, Colorado Division of Wildlife Offices (DOW) and on the division's Web site. Hunters who applied for a big game (elk, deer, pronghorn, moose and bear), sheep or goat license should have received a copy of the respective 2006 brochure in the mail.

Those who wish to apply for a preference point or a license for these species must have their application postmarked by midnight April 4. Hunters can also apply using the DOW Web site. Hunters who apply on the Web are encouraged not to wait until the last minute due to possible complications brought on by a high volume of Web site users.

In an effort to reduce the number of applications with errors, the DOW is encouraging hunters to apply for licenses using the DOW Web site. The Web site guides the applicants through the process and makes it much more difficult for applicants to use incorrect information. Applying on the Web will help eliminate some of the most common errors that occur on paper applications.

There were several oversights and issues that may need clarification that were printed in the 2006 Big Game Brochure.

Applicants should be aware that in the "Preference Points" section on page 3, under 2a, these licenses must be an annual license. Other licenses, such as a one day fishing license will not qualify an applicant to receive a preference point without the $25 fee.

The season dates for elk hunt codes "EE-001-Y2 and EE-010-Y2-R" were misstated in the brochure. The correct season dates are Oct. 14-18.

Elk hunt code E-F-25-P5-R is also valid in Game Management Unit 231.

Even though the hunt code E-F-231-P5-R is listed under Game Management Unit 231 for elk, these licenses are combined with the licenses for Game Management Unit 25. Hunters who have used this hunt code should know that the system will automatically convert it to the correct unit 25 hunt code.

In the moose section of the brochure under "Preference Point Hunt Code" applicants will not be charged $25 for a moose preference point regardless if they meet the criteria or not.

On the Game Management Unit Map in the brochure (pages 44 and 45) the boundaries of Game Management Unit 103 should be US Highway 36 to the north, the Kansas state line to the east, the Kit Carson-Yuma County line to the south and US Highway 385 to the west.

Also on the map, the printed numbers of Game Management Units where CWD has been found are brown and red. The Game Management Unit Map on the DOW Web site displays these unit numbers in blue. A complete list of CWD Game Management Units can be found on page 9 of the 2006 brochure.

There have been some significant changes made to Colorado's big game hunting regulations this year, specifically when it comes to the preference point system. Based on sportsmen's feedback, the DOW has instituted a few changes to allow greater flexibility in using preference points, while at the same time, making it more difficult to "stockpile" points with no intention of buying a hunting license.

The banking of preference points will automatically take place in 2006. If a hunter applies for a hunt that requires fewer preference points then their current total, the minimum number of points it takes to draw the license for that hunt, plus one additional point will be deducted from their preference point total. The balance will be returned to the hunter's preference point account.

Hunters are reminded that preference points will no longer be awarded to those who make errors on their applications. On group applications, only a hunter who makes an error will be denied a preference point, group members who filled out their application correctly will receive their preference point.

Existing elk, deer, pronghorn and bear preference points will be removed from a hunter's record after three years of not applying for a licensee or additional preference points for that particular species. The first year of point removal will be at the end of the 2007 draw.

A fee of $25 will be assessed for a preference point if an annual license hasn't been purchased in the previous year or if a big game license has not been purchased in the previous year. Hunters who draw a non first-choice license for a particular species in the current year will not be charged the $25 for that particular species.

Hunters who obtain licenses through the draw and then return them later in the year will not receive their preference points back unless they can provide documents that confirm a medical emergency involving the license holder or a death in the license holder's immediate family.

These changes to the preference point system were made in an effort to slow "preference point creep" or the trend of increasing numbers of preference points needed to draw specific hunts in Colorado.

For more information, visit the DOW Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us or refer to the 2006 Big game brochure "New for 2006" section on page 1.

Wild Turkey Super Fund auction and dinner set for April 1

By Bob Curvey

Special to the SUN

Hear ye, hear ye, it's once again time to gather the flock for the 8th Annual Wild Turkey Super Fund auction and dinner.

It's coming up fast, April 1, at the Archuleta County Extension Building. Doors will open at 3 p.m., with dinner at 5:30 and auction to follow.

You can get your tickets by calling the following committee members' numbers: 264-2415, 264-9377, 731-9172 or 731-4984.

All ticket holders will be eligible to win valuable prizes exclusive to NWTF events. Also, a great array of door prizes, sporting art, hunting guns, knives, calls, outdoor equipment and more will be available.

Your attendance and membership will help support wildlife conservation and projects on public, private and corporate lands and help preserve hunting as a traditional American sport.

Volunteer with the San Juan Mountains Association

The San Juan Mountains Association will have a volunteer orientation, April 5, 6-9 p.m., at the Public Lands Center in Durango. This orientation is for new SJMA volunteers or anyone interested in learning more about the organization. Information about upcoming volunteer opportunities and SJMA programs will be available. Interested participants must register on sjma.org or contact Kathe Hayes, 385-1310.

High Country Reflections

Keep state's roadless areas roadless

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

As a state agency, the Colorado Division of Wildlife has yet to issue an official stance on how best to administer the state's Inventoried Roadless Areas (IRAs). Meanwhile, 100 percent of its area managers and field biologists say ... keep them roadless.

At a Feb. 10 meeting in Denver, the DOW presented an extensive report to the Roadless Areas Review Task Force (RARTF) - a 13-member "bipartisan" group established to help determine the future of Colorado's IRAs. In part, a summation of the report states, "It is the consensus opinion based on science, local expertise and sound knowledge that all Inventoried Roadless Areas in Colorado should be protected, preserved, enhanced, managed and maintained in a manner that provides the maximum benefit for wildlife and wildlife habitat, and that in-turn can then provide significant return benefits to local and distant citizens and to forest visitors."

The report was presented in two parts, and is "a document in progress that will continue to grow in size and scope with the Inventoried Roadless Areas Task Force process until the last official Task Force meeting." The first part generally addresses all of Colorado's IRAs (as defined by the U.S. Forest Service), and the second discusses explicit characteristics of specific roadless areas.

In all, out of 14.5 million acres of national forest in Colorado, the state has 4.4 million acres of roadless areas and an additional 3.4 million acres of congressionally designated wilderness. Together, according to Trout Unlimited, a non-profit conservation group, these areas "provide the headwaters for almost all of Colorado's renowned trout fisheries, habitat for the majority of Colorado's native cutthroat trout populations, and essential seasonal habitat and migration corridors for elk, deer, and other big game animals."

The intrinsic value of these lands cannot be overstated, but unfortunately, in this era of interminable pursuit of the almighty dollar, their perceived economic values are the subjects of heated debate.

In July 2004, the Bush White House announced its intent to eliminate the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, a regulation issued under the Clinton administration in January 2001 to protect our last remaining wildlands from logging, energy exploration and other invasive activities threatening wildlife and its natural habitat. As adopted, the plan protected 58.5 million acres of pristine forest in 39 states, and, with overwhelming bipartisan support among a majority of Americans, was the most popular rulemaking undertaken in Forest Service history.

To replace it, Bush officials devised a process whereby governors can petition the Forest Service for protection of roadless areas within their states. While the administration touts its proposal as one giving states greater input over forest management, governors already have a right to petition the Forest Service regarding management issues. Further, the procedure demands arduous analyses and reviews, and the federal government retains final say over a governor's appeal.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Earlier this month, more than 250,000 Americans formally called upon the Bush administration to reinstate the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Conservationists, environmentalists, concerned citizens and over a hundred current and former U.S. Olympians employed the Administrative Procedures Act to petition for a policy reversal. In a letter to the Forest Service, group organizers demanded a response to the petition, as required by law.

"The public deserves a medal for stepping up time and again to defend our roadless national forests," said Robert Vandermark, director of the Heritage Forests Campaign. "While the administration has shut out millions of Americans who previously expressed support for protecting roadless areas, federal law requires it pay attention now."

Pressure on the White House continues to mount, as a Senate bill sponsored by senators Maria Cantwell (Wash.) and Jeff Bingaman (N.M.) seeks to restore the 2001 roadless rule into federal law. More than a hundred members of Congress introduced a similar bill last July, and a federal suit has been filed on behalf of three state attorneys general and two governors from four western states. Montana and Maine recently filed briefs in support of the suit, and a second legal challenge has also been filed by 20 conservation groups, collectively.

Marty Hayden, legislative director at Earthjustice said, "Expecting the Bush administration to protect pristine forest areas is like asking a shark to be a lifeguard at the local swimming pool. Without national legal protections for roadless areas, we can expect this administration to swing the door wide open for governors who support the timber industry's desire to squeeze the last remaining dollar out of our national forests."

Whether federal protection of the nation's roadless areas will ever return remains in doubt. Even as the roadless rule offered protection to just 30 percent of the nation's 191 million acres of national forests, lobbyists for the timber industry, oil and gas companies and motorized off-road vehicle groups are salivating over the idea of gaining access to what's left of our tranquil, relatively untouched, forests and wilderness areas.

And, as nationwide battles rage on, so too, do skirmishes in Colorado.

At a January public meeting in Pueblo, El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg (R-Colorado Springs) addressed an assembly of 300, saying local control over national forests has been declining for decades. "We really resent being dictated to by federal agencies," he said. "What we need are more, not less, roads and trails."

Bensberg began his spiel by naming the various off-road motorist clubs he belongs to, then bragged of his attachment to riding motorcycles through national forests. Political sympathizers applauded his comments, but were quickly silenced by the loud booing of a larger opposition.

In today's fast-paced society, where the term "public" is increasingly interpreted as "mine," business lobbyists and like-minded activists like Bensberg are growing in number and strength. However, so are the ranks of outdoor enthusiasts who recognize the constant erosion of our public roadless areas as a serious ecological threat to the health of Colorado's forests and wildlife.

In a 24-page report discussing the economic and biological benefits of roadless areas, Trout Unlimited explains how all three of the state's native trout species are heavily dependant on clean coldwater streams for their survival.

"Colorado's cutthroats have been displaced from their native habitat by stocking of non-native trout, over harvest, and habitat degradation via grazing, logging, mining, road building, and water diversion projects," the report states. "Only backcountry streams, remote enough to largely escape these cumulative impacts, have been able to sustain their native cutthroats."

The TU report also points out how big game animals, especially elk, benefit from high-elevation roadless areas. "Roadless areas provide a place for elk to escape motorists and motorized hunters," a passage reads. "Where they are able to utilize roadless habitat, elk can follow more natural seasonal movement patterns, spending more time on public lands and accessing productive foraging grounds."

The views expressed by TU seem to echo those in the DOW report submitted to the RARTF in February, which stress the opinions of 100 percent of agency field personnel.

"The report is a view of the roadless issue from a wildlife perspective," said Jim Goodyear, a Denver-area manager with the DOW. "It was compiled by the field operations branch and the wildlife protection branch of the division, the wildlife managers and the biologists." In other words, it's founded in science and not just sentiment.

The RARTF will continue gathering public input on the matter before sorting it all out and issuing IRA management recommendations to Gov. Bill Owens in September. The governor will then have until November to petition the U.S. Forest Service with his own recommendations.

While public opinion is currently running three-to-one in favor of keeping Colorado's roadless areas roadless, the final outcome is far from certain. Gov. Owens appointed five of the 13 members of the Roadless Areas Review Task Force, and as a republican governor, hasn't exactly been a friend to the environment.

As Mark Squillace, director of the University of Colorado's Natural Resources Law Center, put it, "No-one honestly expects Owens to protect all of the 2001 areas."

Letters
Meet your new neighbors

Dear Editor:

The three letters in last week's paper by David Blake, Joe Gilbert and Carl Kummer made me stop and think. They all had a similar theme and that was an uneasiness to even dissatisfaction with the way things are going, and certain helplessness in changing the course. Having been a resident of Pagosa Springs for nearly 30 years, I've had the same feeling several times.

I came here as a young man in search of God and happiness. Over the years, I too, became troubled with what I thought were ill-conceived projects: the East Fork Ski Development, the town geothermal pool in the park, Piano Creek and, of course, The Village at Wolf Creek. To the ire of some, I made my opinions known by writing letters and attending meetings. But now I'm feeling a real powerlessness and a giving into resignation about an outcome that appears inevitable. Like a weary warrior who has repulsed several attacks only to find that the enemy has increased in size and enthusiasm for a final assault, his arm too weak to lift the sword, having no fight left in him, he slumps.

The new proposed subdivisions off Trujillo Road have literally brought the city to my doorstep. But who am I to object to these projects? The town fathers don't sit around drumming their fingers and philosophizing whether or not development should happen. Their job is to plan and make sure codes are respected and growth is done properly. And because these fields lie fallow and can't be farmed, they need to be built on to accommodate others who are coming here for maybe the same reasons I did. Density is desirable for a town. Its services will be optimized. It happens everywhere, every day. Neighborhoods are "gentrified" and those houses and the people that are condemned are unfortunately "collateral damage."

Drive through any city and you will find an old house amid the new structures and perhaps some old man outside raking leaves as the cars whiz by. No, I didn't come here to fight traffic and look out my window at houses, but here it is. What to do? Ora et Labora. Shrug your shoulders, say phooey and smile. Maybe even try to wave at the new neighbors.

Sincerely,

Mark Bergon

Vaccinate for HPV

Dear Editor:

Every year 5,000 American women die, victims of the human papilloma virus (HPV for short) which causes cervical cancer. There is no antibiotic or chemotherapeutic agent to combat this disease. There is now, however, a new, safe and effective vaccine to immunize young girls against this virus, but strong voices in Washington are opposing its use. It's not because it's dangerous; it isn't. It's because the routine use of this vaccine to prevent this disease from occurring would undermine top priority programs of a political right wing religious organization.

Vaccines are routinely used to protect people against a host of bacterial and viral diseases which throughout history have killed, deformed and disfigured millions. These include tetanus, cholera, diphtheria, mumps, measles, rubella, pneumonia and polio. Though causing more dangerous reactions, smallpox vaccine has practically eradicated that disease from the entire world. Why, then, the opposition?

First, understand that HPV is transmitted through sexual contact. Then go back 20 years and recall how, when there was still no treatment for it, AIDS was labeled a holy curse, God's revenge on social degenerates like homosexuals and IV drug users. Even President Reagan voiced a couldn't-care-less attitude toward those victims who were finally said to be paying for their sins. That is, until the virus spread into the general population, bringing down innocent people unprotected from God's vengeance, like doctors and nurses who compassionately tried to help the victims or just the unfortunate surgical patient who needed a blood transfusion.

The same rhetoric used against AIDS victims is aimed at HPV. The Family Research Council, a right wing "Christian" organization in Washington, D.C., has focused a lot of time and money on abstinence programs, using the threat of the virus to encourage compliance by creating fear and anxiety; "Just Say No," if you don't do it, you won't get it. And like the admonitions about AIDS, this is false, too. Many a pure soul who married a man holding a secret indiscretion in his past has succumbed to cervical cancer. So it boils down to their reasoning that if inoculation could prevent the disease, thus removing the terror of this cancer, could we imagine what would happen? Without a wall of fear, what would stop a wave of sexual immorality, like a Katrina, from sweeping over the United States?

Men of little faith, are your programs that important?

Henry Buslepp

Kudos to Miller and melodrama

Dear Editor:

First, we have all sorts of changes in parks and recreation and then something really nice happens: Jim Miller appears! We have appreciated his beautiful work out in the parks, but who would have guessed he had such a special way with words. I have enjoyed the column and the coming out of Jim Miller.

I also would like to say that I hope Music Boosters will present another melodrama. The four performances were slammed by the most welcome blizzard last weekend, keeping the audiences small, but the cast knew we were in attendance because of our loud and raucous behavior. It was all such fun and Ron and I appreciated all of the hard work.

Cindy Gustafson

County roads

Dear Editor:

A road is a road, but here in Pagosa Springs, primary, secondary and recreational, is the real title!

So if you're on a secondary, take a moment to call your public works director, Allen Zumwalt, 264-5660, #24, and express your concerns and needs of a snow removal road with good access. You do pay your taxes. Write to your county commissioners, as well, and express the same concerns: PO Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Let them hear from you now and again and again.

Put your taxes to work now!

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Snowmobilers call Village at Wolf Creek a "disaster"

Dear Editor:

The Wolf Creek Trailblazers Snowmobile Club of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, wishes to offer several concerns regarding the proposed "Village at Wolf Creek."

1. The proposed development is, for many reasons, an economic and environmental disaster about to happen. Once it is started and then fails, that which was once a pristine high mountain basin will remain spoiled for the foreseeable future.

2. While we believe the planners (Honts and McCombs) think they have adequate water supplies on paper, physically there is not water enough available during drought conditions. We fear that 60 acres of high-quality wetlands would be dried up by this development and that sewage would pollute Alberta Lake. The developers would be competing with agriculture in the San Luis Valley for scarce water in one of the most over-appropriated watersheds in the west and our citizens' water rights and use would be threatened.

3. We strongly believe this proposed development will seriously curtail recreational user activities.

4. We urge the developers to find a more responsible and environmentally friendly use of the property.

5. We feel the proposed development will negatively effect local businesses in Pagosa Springs which rely on the Wolf Creek Ski Area for wintertime income from tourists. The promised tax revenue from the proposed development would go to Mineral County, thus causing affordable housing shortages, and costs to taxpayers for healthcare, police, schools, food stamp programs and courts in Archuleta County.

6. We feel the proposed development would negatively affect the Wolf Creek Ski area, which employs the largest number of individuals in the area. It would also destroy the unspoiled backcountry and downhill skiing. Tourists and locals love the Wolf Creek Ski Area precisely because it is not Aspen or Vail. The proposed Village development would bring the threat of increased traffic and thus dangerous road congestion on U.S. 160 at the pass.

7. We feel the proposed development would destroy the critical wildlife habitat in and around Wolf Creek Pass as it is a major wildlife migration corridor for the threatened lynx. Our state and federal agencies reintroduced the Canadian lynx, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to capture, transport, medicate, fee, track and care for the lynx. Yet they are now silent when this proposed massive development would likely lead to the death of nearly 25% of Colorado's current lynx population due to increased traffic over time, as concluded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alberta Park Reservoir and its tributaries, all within or adjacent to the proposed village, also provides some of the best habitat for the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, which has been petitioned for listing as a federal endangered species.

8. We feel that the forest service should open up the issue of the proposed Village at Wolf Creek in a public hearing instead of open house meetings.

Sincerely,

John Taylor

Wolf Creek Trailblazers Snowmobile Club

Break the code of silence

Dear Editor:

Dear Colorado Healthcare Workers and Nurses:

On behalf of many Coloradans, we want to express our sincere gratitude for your kind care and advocacy to the patients of Colorado. Please break the code of silence by endorsing Health Bill 1193 (Whistle Blower protection bill). HB 1193, which has passed the full state House on second reading, is needed to make all Colorado healthcare facilities safer for the patient. This bill has the endorsement of the Colorado Nurses Association http://www.nurses-co.org/default.asp?PageID=10002256.

Hospital nurses sat with us, cried with us, tenderly listened to our darkest fears as we helplessly watched a loved one die. They told us something was wrong with the care our family member was receiving, but said they couldn't help us prove it for fear of losing their jobs. How many families hear this day after day all over the nation? How many nurses go home every day and sob over what they feel they cannot change? Isn't it time for them to have a safe place to go and report when they sincerely feel something is wrong?

I urge nurses and healthcare workers to post under this topic in Denver Post business editor Al Lewis's blog. http://www.denverpostbloghouse.com/lewis. Please tell your stories randomly about what you cannot say to your lawmakers publicly. Tell them how your hearts are broken for those who have suffered such a tragic loss. Tell them you want to make a difference as a healer. Tell them the code of silence that hides all is in your way and must be broken once and for all. No healthcare worker should be terminated for reporting substandard care. Healthcare workers need to be treated with respect and trust.

HB 1193, if passed, will prevent problems for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, not create them. Full disclosure and honesty is the only pure way to deal with problems in such a sacred profession. A new study finds that there are 195,000 preventable deaths per year in U.S. hospitals alone, not including other preventable deaths or injuries in other facilities or at home (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=11856). That means there are 22 Americans per hour dying of avoidable adverse outcomes. Given the chance, healthcare workers can decrease these numbers considerably if given the voice of reason. Please tell your lawmakers to break through the code of silence.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Dingman

Citizen urges legislators to question Village at Wolf Creek

Dear Editor:

I would like to share the following open letter to our state Representatives/Senators.

I realize I'm not from your district, however this issue should matter to every Colorado elected representative. Therefore, I would like to give you a citizen's eye view of our misgivings concerning the over-ambitious project of two thousand housing units, quarter-million square feet of commercial space, huge hotel, and all that comes with it, called the Village at Wolf Creek. The location of this project should give pause to all. It's at 10,000 feet elevation, just below the Great Divide, smack in the middle of the upper South Rio Grande Watershed. Next to the infamously dangerous Red Mountain Pass highway too boot.

Basically, many voters believe the upper South Rio Grande Watershed is too valuable to allow it to be maimed by destructive, greed driven, development.

The dealings of Mr. McCombs and his associates during all phases of the process has left much to be questioned.

In particular, we believe the Rio Grande National Forest Service must consider and publicly answer the following questions before proceeding with any further permit issuance:

A) Is the developer capable of meeting its future utility obligations? What guarantees?

B) How will the highway access problem be approached, resolved and paid for?

C) What is the monetary value of that currently productive biome - namely the upper South Rio Grande Watershed with all its biological appurtenances?

D) Just how valuable is pure mountain water in a protected watershed, and will that value increase these next few decades?

E) Why was the original land acquisition shrouded in such secrecy? How legitimate is that transaction under closer scrutiny?

Your attention to this matter will be much appreciated.

On behalf of many, sincerely,

Peter Miesler

Hermosa, Colorado

Editor's Note: The proposed Village at Wolf Creek is located just below the Continental Divide at the summit of Wolf Creek Pass.

PAWSD fee unjust

Dear Editor:

The following is a letter sent to the Pagosa Area Water & Sanitation District.

Attention: Water Board

My wife and I picked Pagosa Springs as the place we wanted to retire to in 1984. We purchased a lot and have been paying water fees and taxes to the community since that time. It takes a great deal of planning to ensure that retirement is a natural transition.

We have planned our home in Pagosa for several years. A few years ago, we heard that there was a substantial capital fee for both water and sewer. In our case, this amounts to over $13,000. Prior to this time, no capital fees were directly assessed anyone, other than the tap fee. The fairness of these particular fees escapes us. In all other cases we can think of, planning for future water needs is a community assessment that takes the form of bonds or is assessed to all in the water district.

Now, I hear that you are trying to assess yet another significant fee. This is just plain usury. An individual cannot afford, nor is this fair to someone who has planned an individual house all these years.

Our lot is located in a community that has been in existence for many years. The water tap fees were already paid. The only thing left is a lateral to the existing system. My general contractor is submitting our plans this month. As a new home builder, we have already been assessed burdensome substantial fees that other home owners have not had to pay. In our case, any additional fees are not fair. We not only want to express our concern, but our outrage as being singled out for having to pay such a large portion of future needs for the community. To be fairly assessed, these type of fees need to be shouldered by many, not just a few so that the impact is not so severe.

Sincerely,

Leonard and Margaret Kleiner

PAWSD fee on the mark

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to PAWS for their new development fees. As a community, we must think and act in a sustainable way. If a developer buys a piece of land, what water rights come with it? They should only be able to build what that available water will sustain. Another tool for smart growth is for LPEA to require any new development to provide 50% alternative power before any power lines are provided or upgraded, also, before any gas line from Kinder-Morgan or a new propane tank is set. Any new structures should be required to be solar oriented to take advantage of free solar energy. As board members of any of our public utilities or members of the building and planning departments, it is your duty to not "cow" to the developers, but demand that they step up. Demand they build smart. Demand they build sustainably. Any new construction has to be done with the idea that 50 years from now we do not need fossil fuels, oil or coal. Harnessing the sun's energy is the only safe future we have. Don't believe most developers hype that they will take their money elsewhere. Other people with the right mindset will continue to come to Pagosa Country. Send the greedy, shortsighted developers packin'!

Thanks,

G.E. Giehl

Community News

In Step dancers to host April Fool's party

The In Step Dance Club will host its second annual April Fool's dance Saturday, April 1, at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

It will begin at 6 p.m. with a potluck dinner and all adults are welcome. Beverages will be provided. Bring your appetite, a dish to share, and plan on having some fun.

There will be dancing to all types of CD music, and some live entertainment. Some of the club members have graciously agreed to exhibit their talents, demonstrating cha cha, Argentine tango, country two-step, and others. Also slated are two surprise ex (not X-rated), old-time movie stars who plan to perform a classic waltz.

Deb Aspen and Charles Jackson will attend the International Dance-O-Rama in Banff, Canada, the last week of April. In addition to their usual dance entries, Deb will be competing in the Scholarship Division with instructor Bob Long from Albuquerque.

Due to the rigors of preparation, Deb regrets there will be no classes in April, but promises to be back in May to teach the jitterbug.

The jitterbug schedule will be as follows: classes on May 10, 18, 25 and June 1 from 7-9 p.m.; practice sessions May 14 and 28 from 3-5 p.m. All sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse.

No preregistration necessary. Just arrive 10 minutes early to sign up, and wear comfortable clothing, and shoes that have smooth or suede leather soles, (something that does not leave black marks or mud).

For more information, call Deb at 731-3338.

March into Music, at a spring break music camp

The Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale is offering a two-day mini camp for former, current and future/potential singers Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25.

This event will be facilitated by seven teen members of Singers Council of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale .

Fun-filled workshops will be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Power House youth facility on Hermosa Street.

Participants will learn what it means to belong to a children's chorale and will be taught skills involving vocal production, posture, warm-ups, choreography, drama/stage presence, team-building, leadership and etiquette. Teen participants will learn how to facilitate musical activities for younger singers.

Informative classes for parents will be hosted by the adult leadership of the Colorado Springs Children's Chorale, who have over 35 years of experience developing their organizational techniques. Topics such as Commitment, Fund-raising, How to Grow Your Choir and Hardwork equals Excellence are included, and question and answer sessions will be featured for the adults.

A minimal workshop fee of $10 will include lunch for participants and will help offset camp costs.

All interested youth ages 6-17, boys and girls, are invited to attend and should call Sue Anderson at 264-0244 to reserve their space.

Film society features "The Grey Fox"

By John Graves

PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Film Society will screen and discuss Phillip Borsos' 1982 Canadian feature, "The Grey Fox," at their meeting March 28.

Bill Miner, the "Gentleman Robber," robbed stages and trains from Arizona to British Columbia. This is a beautifully photographed and lyrical telling of his later career, fighting the law and the law winning - for a while at least.

Critic Roger Ebert said, "This could, of course, be an innocuous Disney movie, but it's well written and directed, and what gives it zest and joy is the performance by Richard Farnsworth, who plays Miner."

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

Free yoga forum March 30

Standing Mountain Yoga offers a free yoga forum the last Thursday of each month, 5:45-7 p.m.

Join in March 30 for an informal gathering and discussion about yoga, 450 Lewis St., second floor. Call 946-7359.

Help Support Archuleta County Ed. Center

By John Graves

PREVIEW Columnist

What do the Superbowl, marine biology, investment banking, gang leaders, break dancers, and graffiti artists have in common? Well, a ticket to the Archuleta County Education Center's annual "Making a Difference" luncheon April 26 at the First Baptist Church will provide the answers.

Dave DeForest-Stalls, who for nine years was defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, the Los Angeles Raiders, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has devoted his post football career to various combinations of these interests, problems, and challenges. And, like the Archuleta County Education Center, he is making a difference in the lives of countless at-risk young people.

Denver's The Spot, which DeForest-Stalls created in 1994, serves urban youth ages 14-24 and provides activities such as recording studios, graphic and web publishing, break dancing, murals, GED preparation, computer certification, Internet access, Web site design and much more.

In 2003, The Spot merged with the award-winning Urban Peak. The same year, DeForest-Stalls became executive director of Aspen Youth Experience, which attracts urban high school age youth from throughout the U.S. to intense outdoor experiences in the Colorado mountains. DeForest-Stalls is now president and CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Colorado.

The luncheon is the primary fund raiser for the Archuleta County Education Center, one of Pagosa's most vital and productive organizations. This elegant affair, starting at 11:45 a.m., will be catered by JJ's Upstream restaurant. Tickets are available for a donation of $45 each. For more information, call 970-264-2835.

'Seussical'- a musical for all ages

By Dale Morris

Special to the PREVIEW

The combined forces of the Pagosa Springs High School music and drama departments have offered some outstanding musicals over the past several years, and have been playing to packed houses. From "Grease" to "Annie Get Your Gun," from the antics of "Footloose" to the exciting dancing in "Fame," to last year's tremendously successful "Beauty and the Beast," our actors have outdone themselves in their performances and brought smiles, laughter and applause to their audiences and stage. And this year will be no exception.

The directors and coaches of this year's cast of "Seussical" have been working with and challenging our students to reach even higher, as they have taken on a production with over 30 musical and dance numbers, more than 40 cast members, an orchestra of 13 and a crew of more than 15. The ensemble has been working since mid-January, adding extra rehearsal time, in order to be prepared for their April 4 opening date.

"Seussical" is a musical for all ages. The youngest audience members will be delighted by familiar Dr. Seuss characters, costumes and tales. Old and young alike will enjoy the varied musical styles, from Broadway to gospel to ballad; from rock-n-roll to marches to swing and beyond!

"Seussical" offers universal messages about perseverance, loyalty, acceptance, and never giving up. And one can't help but get swept up into the energy and enthusiasm of the "Seussical"cast as they perform their hearts out for their Pagosa audience!!

We recommend getting tickets early - remember last year's "Beauty & the Beast!"

"Seussical - The Musical" by Stephen Flaherty will be performed at 7 p.m. April 4, 6, 7 and 8, with an additional matinee April 8 at 2 p.m. All shows are in the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.

Reserved seating tickets are available at the Plaid Pony - 731-5262.

Fair royalty orientation meeting

An orientation meeting for those interested in participating in the Fair Royalty Pageant at the 2006 Archuleta County Fair will be held 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, March 29.

The meeting will take place in the Extension Office at the fairgrounds on U.S. 84.

Pageant applications are available at the Extension Office and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.

Bring your completed application with you to the orientation meeting.

The pageant will be held Sunday, May 7, in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

Freemasons and religion

By Bob Case

Special to The PREVIEW

Last week we explained, "What's a Mason? - what is Freemasonry? - what Do Freemasons do?"

One of the frequently asked questions is, "Is Freemasonry a religion?"

The answer to that question is simple: No.

We do use ritual in meetings, and because there is always an altar or table with the Volume of the Sacred Law open if a lodge is meeting, some people confuse Masonry with a religion; but it is not.

That does not mean that religion plays no part in Masonry - it plays a very important part. A person who wants to become a Mason must have a belief in God. No atheist can ever become a Mason.

Masonry encourages every Mason to be active in the religion and church of his own choice. Masonry teaches that, without religion, a man is alone and lost, and that without religion, he can never reach his full potential.

But Freemasonry does not tell a person which religion he should practice or how he should practice it. That is between the individual and God. That is the function of his house of worship, not his fraternity, and Masonry is a fraternity, not a religion.

Masonry believes in the wisdom contained in the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, or any other great books of faith that have been universally recognized as man's best guides to happiness in this world and reward to the next.

Freemasonry, therefore, welcomes to its ranks Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists and all good men of whatever religion who truly aspire to live according to the creator's will.

Because it is universal in scope and inclusive in membership, Masonry binds all men in a mystic tie of sincere brotherhood and mutual love. Masons everywhere labor through Freemasonry in peace and harmony to honor the creator and serve mankind.

Such are the objects of Freemasonry.

Obviously, they complement, not contradict, sound religious beliefs.

Herbalist to speak at Unitarian Fellowship

By John Graves

PREVIEW Columnist

For the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service on Sunday, March 26, Jennie Blechman, certified clinical herbalist, will speak on the lore and health benefits of wild-harvested and organic herbs.

Blechman, owner of Artemesia Botanicals Company in downtown Pagosa Springs, points out these humble, simple-looking plants have been used for centuries to treat all manner of discomfort and disease by wise women and men, healers, and herbalists the world over.

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

Local Chatter

Kate's on the mend, home again

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

I just got out of the hospital - my way of celebrating spring break! Nothing seriously wrong. Just a way of getting a rest and having people wait on me, you know.

Anyway, in my room there were two intriguing signs graphically indicating pain intensity using moon faces: The 0-10 numeric pain intensity scale and the diagram of the finger span scale.

They work this way. First, the 0-10 numeric pain intensity scale, using six moon faces: Moon face 0, no pain; moon face 1-2, mild pain; moon face 3-4, moderate pain; moon face 5-6, severe pain; moon face 7-8, very severe; and moon face 9-10, worst possible. The faces express the degree of pain with the position of the mouth - from a bright smiling face to a teary face.

The other chart, called the diagram of the finger span scale, uses a hand in three positions: diagram A indicates no pain (forefinger and thumb together); diagram B indicates a medium degree of pain (forefinger and thumb stretched halfway apart); diagram C indicates the most pain possible (forefinger and thumb stretched as far apart as possible). This scale is for those who can't talk. Both were very interesting.

About the up and coming new hospital in Durango, due to open in June - an aide told me that the latest scuttlebutt is that the present hospital will be razed because it's falling apart.

But for sure, the new hospital will have good TV's and gowns with all the snaps and ties working.

Fun on the Run

A man is a person who, if a woman says, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," lets her.

A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her, gets mad.

A man is a person who, if a woman says to him, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her and she gets mad, says, "Now what are you mad about?"

A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her and she gets mad, and he says, "Now what are you mad about?" says "If you don't know I'm not going to tell you."

Community Center News

Saint Patrick's Day dance thanks

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

Thai cooking class

There are several spots left for Pao Tallman's Thai cooking class on Monday, March 27, from 10 a.m. until noon. Please call the center to reserve your place. The $10 fee helps defray the cost of ingredients.

Community spring rummage sale

The snow is melting - time to start cleaning out your closets, cupboards and garages - just in time to rent one or more tables at $20 per table for both days of the community center's spring rummage sale April 7 from 3-6 p.m. and April 8 from 8 a.m.- noon. Call Michelle at 264-4152, ext. 21 to reserve your spot. For those who are not yet thinking about spring cleaning, plan to come, browse, buy and enjoy the day. The center will be selling snacks, food, and hot and cold beverages.

St. Patrick's Day dance thank-you's

The community center thanks Walter and Doris Green of Lantern Dancer for their donation of a door prize for the St. Patrick's Day Dance. Deb Aspen also made a donation - a gift certificate for dance lessons for two for a month.

The volunteers who set up, put out food, tended bar, and put everything away afterward included Joanie and Kenny Hearing, Winnie Pavlovich, Karen Bynum, Dick and Peggy Carrai, Elaine Lundergan, Jerry Granok, Gerry Potticary, Buddy Schuchardt, Janet and Bob Nordmann, Betty and Dale Schwicker, Dave and Margaret Wilson, Mary Jo Coulehan, Bill Korsgren, and special kudos to our dance coordinator, Siri Schuchardt.

Special thanks to the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors for their donation of a wireless microphone for the PA system and to the Durango Country Cloggers for their wonderful clogging demonstration. We apologize if we missed anyone who helped with the dance.

Newsletter now available

The community center now has a monthly newsletter. The first issue highlights the community center sponsored programs, which are designed to provide learning experiences, entertainment, and fun for the broad spectrum of the Pagosa community.

For the most part, these programs and services are free to everyone. Volunteers give their time as leaders, facilitators, and teachers. The center provides a place to meet, publicity for the programs, and help with organization and record keeping. Stop at the center to pick up a copy of the center's first newsletter. We would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Teen dance - Cali style

Are you going to the beaches of California for spring break? If not, then come get your fix of "Spring Break in Southern Cali" at the Teen Center Friday, March 31, from 6 - 9pm.

This dance will raise funds for Teen Center operations. The Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors is sponsoring DJ Bobby Hart. Tickets are $3 before the day of the dance and $5 on March 31. Tickets are available at the community center office, the teen center, the high school and the junior high. Ages 12 to 19 are welcome.

To volunteer as a chaperone or for more information, please call Jen Stockbridge at 264-4152 x31 or email pagosateencenter@centurytel.net.

Photoshop classes

The community center has agreed to partner with Bruce Andersen when he begins a series of Photoshop classes in the center's computer lab. No details are yet available, however, Bruce hopes to begin sometime in April. Please call the center at 264-4152 to let us know that you are interested in learning the ins and outs of your digital camera and how Photoshop will help you to manipulate and enhance your digital photos.

Line dancing

Gerry Potticary is the volunteer leader of this new community center sponsored program. Gerry had 16 students last Monday and all are welcome to join the fun this Monday at 10:30 a.m. If you're new to line dancing, Gerry suggests coming 15 or 20 minutes early to get a head start on learning the steps. Another tip from Gerry: If you can't remember the steps, get in the back row and watch everyone else. Each person who came enjoyed him/herself - lots of fun, smiles, and laughter. Call Gerry at 731-9734 or the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Aus-Ger Club

The Aus-Ger Club met at the Buffalo Inn on March 16 for a lunch of chicken with mushrooms and bread pudding for dessert. Mercy attended the meeting and presented information about community center sponsored programs. She will send an e-mail to President Roger Behr confirming what she said at the meeting, and Roger will disseminate that information to all club members. Watch your e-mail for a message from Roger. The date and time for the next meeting has not yet been determined.

Scrapbooking

The next meeting is Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. in the south conference room at the community center. There is no charge to attend. Call the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Post-prom party

Sunday, April 30 from 1-5 a.m. Yes, 1 to 5 a.m. right after midnight April 29. The community center under the Teen Center program is sponsoring this event. The purpose of this party is to keep our youth safe while they have lots of fun. Entertainment will include giant inflatable, casino-type games, a live DJ, a hypnotist, a coffee bar, food and much more to be announced later. Electronic and cash prizes will be given away during the party. The committee has arranged to have a laptop computer as the grand prize!

Arts and crafts show Memorial Day weekend

The Center invites all artists and artisans to display their handcrafted items for sale during the show on Friday and Saturday, May 26 and 27 at 3-6 p.m. and 9a.m.-4 p.m. (changed from 10-5), respectively. Space assignments will be made on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost is $40 for an 8' x 8' space and $50 for a 10' x 10' space, including one 3'x 6' table. Proceeds from this show will be used to benefit community center programs and to defray operations costs. Call 264-4152 ext. 21 to reserve your spot.

Sewing classes

This is a go! Several interested individuals have called and signed up for these beginning sewing classes. There are still two spaces available. Students will learn the basics, such as threading a sewing machine, adjusting and cutting out a pattern, choosing the right fabric, etc. Call the center at 264-4152 to let us know of your interest. A tentative start date is sometime in April, possibly on weekends. If anyone has a sewing machine that isn't being used, we would appreciate your donation of the machine for the sewing classes.

Yoga

Last week, Diana Baird, who is teaching until Richard Harris is back, led the group in poses and stretches using a chair for balance. This weekly session for those interested in meditation, relaxation, and breath awareness meets on Thursday mornings from 11 a.m. until noon. Yoga is not a religion but a spiritual practice, which does not require any specific belief system to participate. The philosophies of yoga are universal and can be incorporated within any belief system. Join in to experience for yourself how yoga can affect your life. Dress in comfortable clothing and bring a yoga mat or a towel. Call the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Computer Lab news

The center's beginning classes have now had two weeks of keyboard and mouse practice. During that time, we came across a very complete list, which details the use of regular keyboard keys and especially the combination keys such as ctrl, alt, and the Windows key. Stop by the center to pick up your copy of this handout. Knowing these keyboard shortcuts will allow you to access many tasks, which would normally be accomplished by using the mouse.

The beginning computing classes, which started this week, will not be held March 28 and 29.. Classes will resume Tuesday and Wednesday, April 4 and 5.

Would anyone who has a Lexmark color inkjet printer, model Z12, Z22, or Z32 please give me a call; I have a question for you.

I will be off the week of March 27 through March 31. Call after the first of April with your computer questions.

Center's Winter Hours

During the winter months, the Center will be open Monday through Friday, 8 am-5 pm. Saturday hours are 10 am until 4 pm.

Free Programs/Activities Needed.

Do you have a special talent, hobby, or interest that you would like to share - singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, foreign language conversation group, coffee mornings, bird watching, gardening, sports, etc.? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming any of these interest groups. Call Mercy with your ideas, 264-4152 x22.

Activities this week:

Today - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; AARP free tax help, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Humana medicare meeting, 10 a.m.- noon; Yoga, 11 a.m.-12 noon; computer question and answer session with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; volleyball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Leading Edge/Small Business Development, 6-9 p.m.; basketball practice, 7-10 p.m.

March 24 - Humana medicare meeting, 10 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; senior bridge, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 2-8 p.m.; Teen Center dance, 6-10 p.m.

March 25 - Meier marketing zone-heating system, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

March 26 - 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.; volleyball, 4-6 p.m.

March 27 - seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; senior Bridge, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.; drumming practice, 5:15-6:15 p.m.

March 28 - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; beginning computing skills, 10 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open (Uno Attack!), 4-8 p.m.; arts council board meeting, 5-7 p.m.; creativity by the light of the moon, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; volleyball, 6-8 p.m.

March 29 - beginning computing skills for seniors, 10 a.m.-noon; Wednesday bridge club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; preschool play group, 11 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.; SWC ASA girls softball, 5-7 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

March 30 - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; AARP free tax help, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Yoga, 11-12 noon; computer question and answer session with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; volleyball, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Leading Edge/Small Business Development, 6-9 p.m.; basketball practice, 7-10 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

Nutritional awareness important as we grow older

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

March Is National Nutrition Month.

It is important that we make the right decisions to sustain life and have good health at any age. As we grow older it is even more important.

A healthy diet is the cornerstone to good health; meeting this goal can be a challenge. With age, energy output may go down, mostly as a result of declining physical activity and decreasing lean tissue.

Despite a drop in energy needs, an adequate supply of over 40 nutrients like proteins, vitamins and minerals is still important for good health. Any food that supplies calories and nutrients can be part of a nutritious, balanced diet. The suggestions below are designed to help Americans choose the foods they need to support good health:

- Choose a variety of foods from among the basic food groups (meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables and grains) while staying within calorie needs.

- Control calorie intake to manage body weight. Don't eat more calories than you burn because excess calories are stored as body fat.

- Be physically active every day.

- Eat more fruits and vegetables.

- Eat more whole grains and choose more nonfat or low-fat milk or milk products, preferably three servings of each per day.

- Choose fats wisely. Fat is a nutrient, but some fats are better than others.

- Choose carbohydrates wisely. Grains, beans, fruits and some veggies are the best source.

- Choose and prepare foods with little salt.

For more information on food and nutrition or for a referral to a nutrition professional in the area call (800) 366-1655 or visit www.eatright.org.

Free monthly movie

Our free monthly movie (popcorn included) 1 p.m. tomorrow at The Den is "Finding Neverland," rated PG.

Peter Pan and the imaginative place of Neverland have captured the hearts and minds of J.M. Barrie's readers. But how did the creative author ever envision a world so wondrous yet perilous? Johnny Depp plays Barrie, a writer inspired by genius and dedicated to seeing his vision come to life onstage at the Duke of York's Theatre in 1904 London. Kate Winslett co-stars in this magical film that nabbed seven Oscar nominations.

Maintain Your brain

Take steps toward a brain-healthy future 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, March 28, at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. Join an interactive workshop to give you the tools to make brain health part of your overall wellness goals.

Reservations required via e-mail at Elaine.stumpo@alz.org, or call (970) 259-0122 for more details.

Quilting lessons

Have you ever wanted to learn the creative skill of quilting? Join us at The Den 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, in the dining area for quilting lessons. Whether you are a beginner, want to improve or learn new quilting techniques or want to come for the fun of socializing, you are sure to enjoy The Den's quilting club.

What is in your food?

Ever wonder what the difference is between fat free, saturated fat free, low fat, reduced and less fat? Between organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables? Or if a food is high or low in the percent of Daily Value for key nutrients?

People look at food labels for different reasons. But, whatever the reason, many consumers would like to know how to use this information more effectively and easily.

The government has defined certain claims that can be used on food. Label-building skills are intended to make it easier for you to use nutrition labels to make quick, informed food choices that contribute to a healthy diet.

Ruth Earley will be at The Den 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 29, sharing her knowledge of reading food labels and choosing healthy foods for a healthier you. Joy's Natural Foods has been in business for 17 years and Ruth has worked there for six years as the buyer for their supplements and meats. Join us at The Den to learn how to choose foods and make the decisions that are right for you.

Den lunch trip

The Den will go to the Dogwood Café for lunch 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 30. The cost is $10 per person. This will include your choice of pot-roast, meatloaf or chicken casserole, choice of two sides, plus cornbread, drink and dessert. Please sign up at The Den office by Tuesday, March 28.

Birthday celebration

If you are age 60 or over, and your birthday is in March, come on down to The Den Friday, March 31, for a delicious lunch and celebrate your birthday. Seniors, Inc. has graciously agreed to pay for a portion of your birthday meal, so it will only cost $1 for a great lunch and birthday cake.

Tax time

The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program returns this year.

This program provides free tax counseling and preparation by IRS/AARP trained volunteers. The 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.

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 every Thursday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., through April 13 in the arts council room of the community center.

Seniors Inc. membership

Seniors Inc. memberships for folks age 55 and over can be purchased in March at The Den for $5 on Mondays and Fridays, 9: a.m.-1:30 p.m. and Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9-11. No memberships will be sold Thursdays.

Your Seniors Inc. membership entitles you to a variety of great discounts from participating merchants in our area, plus much more. 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.

Understanding Your medicines

Each year, thousand of people are hospitalized, remain sick and spend more money than they have to because they don't understand their medications. The American Pharmacists Association recommends that you be able to answer the following 10 key questions before taking any new medications:

- What is the name of the medication and what is it supposed to do?

- When and how do I take it?

- How long should I take it?

- Does this medication contain anything that can cause an allergic reaction?

- Should I avoid alcohol, any other medicines, food, and/or activities?

- Should I expect any side effects?

- What if I forget to take my medications?

- Is it safe to become pregnant or to breast feed while taking this medication?

- Is there a generic version of this medication?

- How should this medication be stored?

While medications can be extremely helpful in treating medical conditions, it's important to understand them so that you can maximize their effectiveness and protect your health.

Home delivered meals

The Den provides home delivered meals to qualifying homebound individuals who want the benefits of a nutritional lunch. The Den's caring volunteers deliver the meals to homes Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays while taking the time to check in with the individuals. The appetizing lunches are served hot and ready to eat.

Whether you want a meal delivered one or four times a week, we can accommodate your needs. For more information, call Musetta at 264-2167.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, March 23 - Snowshoeing, 9 a.m.; AARP tax assistance by appointment only, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday, March 24 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 fun, 12:30 p.m.; free movie, "Finding Neverland" rated PG, 1 p.m.

Monday, March 27 - Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15; Bridge 4 fun, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, March 28 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30; canasta, 1 p.m.; final sign-up for lunch at Dogwood cafe.

Wednesday, March 29 - Basic computer class cancelled; quilting club, 1 p.m.; "What Is in Your Food," presentation with Ruth Easterly, 1 p.m.

Thursday, March 30 - Luncheon outing at Dogwood Café (reservations required), 11:30 a.m.; AARP tax assistance by appointment only, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday, March 31 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; $1 March birthday lunch celebrations; Bridge 4 fun, 12:30 p.m.

Menu

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

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

Friday, March 24 - Baked ham, sweet potatoes, broccoli, whole wheat roll and cranberry.

Monday, March 27 - Roast pork and gravy, whipped potatoes, parslied carrots, dinner roll and strawberry Jell-O salad.

Tuesday, March 28 - Sloppy Joe on bun, scalloped potatoes, peas with mushrooms, and applesauce.

Wednesday, March 29 - Chicken salad on whole wheat bread with lettuce and tomato, grapefruit and orange juice.

Friday, March 31 - $1 March birthday lunch celebrations. Roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean amandine, whole wheat roll and apricot peach compote.

Veteran's Corner

More on emergency medical issues

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

Emergency VAHC Issues Part 2

Lately I have had a number of veterans or surviving spouses come to me with questions about emergency care at non-VA facilities and asking who is responsible for paying for those emergency services for veterans enrolled in the VA Health Care system.

Last week, I wrote about some of the official information given me by the VA.

This week, I will try to expand on that information. Some of this additional information was provided by Fee Services at the Albuquerque VAMC.

Five main criteria

Following is a quote from an official Albq. VAMC "denial" letter:

"Payment may be made if all 5 of the following criteria are met: (1) veteran is financially liable to the provider for emergency treatment; and (2) veteran is enrolled in the VA health care system and received treatment within a 24-month period proceeding emergency care; and (3) the veteran has no other coverage under a health plan contract that would pay, in whole or part; and (4) VA facilities are not feasibly available and an attempt to use them beforehand would have been hazardous to life or health; and (5) emergency services were provided in a hospital emergency department, a free standing urgent care clinic, or a similar facility held out as providing urgent or emergency care to the public, up to the point of medical stability."

All five must be met.

"The absence of any one of these criteria precludes payment by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs."

Recent official denial letter

"Consideration of possible VA financial assistance has been given your claim under the Veterans Millennium Health Care and Benefits Act, H.R. 2116. The following decision has been made: Claim has been disapproved.

"Reason(s) for not approving claim: Veteran has other health coverage (Medicare, Medicaid, CHAMPUS, blue Cross and Blue Shield, etc.)."

I asked the Albuquerque VAMC Fee Services to explain further. I was told:

"if the veteran is 50 percent or more service connected disabled, ER treatment should be billed to the VA, even if Medicare pays the bill, and the VA can still pay and the ER facility will reimburse Medicare".

The key term here is "can" pay. Payment is decided by Fee Director review.

The above letter was sent to a 100-percent SCD, Medicare-eligible veteran. Why his ER bill was not paid is unknown at this time. It may be a matter for appeal.

Non SCD

However, if the veteran is not service-connected disabled and is covered by Medicare, the VA most likely will not pay for any part of the bill.

Medicare Part A & B would be considered "other health care coverage" and would be first payer. It appears the veteran is stuck for the Medicare co-pay.

If the non-SCD veteran does not have Medicare or any other health care coverage then the veteran would meet that part of the five-part criteria and the VA would most likely pay for the ER services. You will be required to pay the normal VA co-pays.

What if a VA Outpatient Clinic doctor diagnoses a critical medical problem with the patient and sends them to a local ER provider? In that case, the VA Clinic doctor should notify the Managed Care Office (Albuquerque VAMC) within 48 hours for pre-authorization of the ER need. The VA pay/no-pay rules above could still apply.

The VA advised that it will pay for fee-based services for any required ER services in non-VAHC facilities related to a veteran's VA service-connected disability. Also, the VA will pay for fee based services in non-VAHC facilities for any required ER services as a result of prior treatment for that medical condition in a VAHC facility.

Inpatient care

Essentially, it seems the same rules apply for Inpatient ER care at a non-VA facility. The VA must be contacted within 72 hours so the veteran can be transferred to a VAHC facility as soon as the patient is stabilized. This VA contact can be made by the veteran, a family member or the ER provider.

In summary, the VA refers to the "Millennium Bill" as the essential guideline for fee-based services in non-VA health care facilities and the pay/no-pay decisions. Service-connected disabled veterans are given highest priority. For non service-connected veterans, the Millennium Bill says the VA is the last resort for payment for fee based services

Share-A-Ride

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

Durango VA Clinic

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

Further information

For information on these and other Veterans benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7 (behind new City Market). 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

Ask Colorado, for more library services

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

I'm sure you all wake up in the morning thinking, "What is the Colorado State Library doing for me now?"

What! You don't wake up thinking about the state library and its services?

Oh well, all of us at the library are thinking about it for you. The state library is working on what we want, and we are working on what you want.

Help kids with homework

So, how many of you have gone to the pagosalibrary.org Web site and clicked into the Ask Colorado button (at the bottom, right) to get a reference question answered? We know that some of you do because the state library has recorded 219 questions coming from Archuleta County in 2005.

Ask Colorado is a collaborative, online reference service for all Colorado residents and students, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in English or Spanish, via live chat over the Internet. The service is coordinated by the Colorado State Library and staffed by a statewide team of over 350 reference librarians from many libraries. Ask Colorado staff answered 45,000 reference questions in 2005, with 30 percent of the questions coming from rural areas. School kids account for 76 percent of the use of this service, and the rest is split among professionals, college students and the general public. Try it - you'll like it! Use it to help your kids with their homework late at night, when you think there's no way to get answers to questions.

Colorado Virtual Library

Another icon on the library Web site (also bottom right) is the Colorado Virtual Library Web site. This supplies web-based search access to library catalogs throughout the state, Colorado-focused Web sites, digitized materials such as historical photographs, and resources for K-12 students. This, again, is a cooperative project of the Colorado State Library and the library community. Which leads us to another state coordinated service ...

Interlibrary loan

The Colorado Library Courier comes from the state library, through the Colorado Library Consortium. The courier provides reliable delivery service that brings your interlibrary loan books to you from other libraries. Patrons of Ruby Sisson library ordered 560 books on interlibrary loan last year. Most of these came to us by courier. We sent out 71 books to other libraries via the same service. You can search the Colorado Virtual Library, or other online catalogs, and find your book. We will request it, and it will come in by courier if we can get it from a library in the state of Colorado.

Colorado library card

This is the state library coordinated service that allows you to use your Ruby Sisson library card and check out books from any participating library when you are visiting other places in Colorado. Then, you can return the book here at home, and we will send it back to the originating library via courier. Nice, no?

Summer reading program

The state library instigates the summer reading program for all of the public libraries in the state. They choose the topic, and send notebooks full of potential program ideas for the children's librarians to work from. And, they award mini grants, one of which we got for this library last year, to help fund the program activities.

This year's theme is "Paws, Claws, Scales, and Tales." Look for our float, featuring kids by you, in the Fourth of July parade. It will be fun.

Early literacy initiative

This is a state library initiated strategic plan to encourage libraries to improve their range of early literacy programs and services.

We are now offering six monthly reading sessions for moms and their babies, or preschool kids. See the library Web site for times, or come in and visit the Children's Room, where the schedule is posted outside of the door.

Colorado talking books

This is the service for the visually impaired that I wrote about in last week's column. It includes delivery of large-print books to the library, or direct delivery for patrons who meet state qualifications.

Other support

The state library also provides us with a lot of services that are not visible to the patron. We get consortium discounts for our equipment and some supplies, continuing education programs for librarians, help with all kinds of statistical information, consulting services if needed, trustee training programs and myriad other benefits. In short, the state library does a lot for your library and for you.

Anonymous has been very busy donating books this month and we want to thank all of you who are in this category of wonderful people. You know we need you, and you give generously. We thank you very much.

We are also grateful to the Mountain High Gardeners of Pagosa, who gave us a lovely check to go towards xeriscape plants for our landscaping. Many of the master gardeners in their club are also volunteering their services for help with the grounds (when we decide on a landscaping plan, which should be reasonably soon).

Arts Line

PSAC wants you to get to know the artist

By Wen Saunders

PREVIEW Columnist

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.

Dodgson workshop

JoAnne Dodgson is a healer, teacher and author ("Gifts of the Grandmother and Walking the Spiral Path: Awakening Power and Passion").

She will conduct a series of workshops in March and April. Her work is centered in the ancient tradition, Ka Ta See, living in balance from the heart.  She has been involved in counseling, holistic healing, teaching and community outreach for over 20 years.  Her workshops and seminars invite the dynamic awakening of personal empowerment, compassion, creative passions, and joy.  She has a doctorate in counseling psychology and has been on the faculty in holistic health, women's studies and psychology programs.

By the light of the moon

The moon is a powerful teacher about natural cycles of growth and creativity.  Connect more deeply with your own creative process as you connect with the cycles of the moon.  Learn to set clear intentions for new beginnings and intentionally focus your energy and attention to enrich the potency of your creative endeavors.  Explore empowering tools for letting go of patterns, judgments and fears that inhibit the creative flow and which keep you from nourishing yourself and honoring your process along the way.  The class will meet for four weeks, beginning on the new moon.

Classes meet 5:30-7:30 p.m. March 28, April 4, 11 and 18. Cost of the workshop series is $80 for PSAC members. Call 264-5020 for further information.

Get out of your slump

It's time to wake up and market your business!

What business hasn't experienced a marketing slump? Perhaps it could be because of personal challenges, lack of motivation, the competition has a new service, technique, product, or maybe there's just more competition in Pagosa (and surrounding area) these days.

Pagosa Springs Arts Council presents a series of four marketing workshops, "Falling Forward: Web Site Marketing & Logistics" and "The Secret of Your Success: Marketing Your Biz," to be held April 18 and 20. The series is specifically directed toward artists, but would also benefit any business. Each session's information stands alone and sessions may be attended individually or as an entire series. All sessions will be held at the arts room in the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

As series presenter, I realize the marketing dilemma for artists and small businesses, as I have been in those very same trenches. For more than 25 years, I've continued to operate a thriving photography, graphic design, marketing consulting, marketing and photography workshops, and Web site design business. My business and artistic talents have given me ultimate success in an industry where most fail and I will present my successful strategies in this jammed-packed, two-day marketing series in Pagosa Springs.

Barring catastrophic events, businesses just don't dive into a "marketing slump." Marketing slumps can occur even when things are going well and you feel you can "coast." The problem is you can not coast uphill. Successful businesses don't wait to start their marketing ascent, as they know the longer they wait - the harder the climb!

"Falling Forward: Web Site Logistics" (session one) is April 18, 9:30 a.m.-noon.

Artists create great art and may even offer exception services, but how do they let everyone know it?

Creating and producing effective marketing for artists doesn't happen by accident. The public is increasingly turning to the Web as a quick source of information, working 24 hours for businesses. We'll deal with authentic Web site setup, design, and how to implement and market themselves through the Web's low cost in their business operations. Whether you have a site or are thinking about a site, this session will give you new ideas on how to fine-tune your site. Web site knowledge is not required when attending this session. And, if you are Web savvy, this session will turn you toward the next creative level.

Topics for this morning session include: Obtaining a Site, Setting a Web Site Budget, Hosting Resource and Fees, Registering a Site (Name), Sectioning Your Site, Web Editors (Front Page), Pre-Designed Sites, Creating "User Friendly" Sites, Choosing Images and Information for Your Site.

"Falling Forward: Web Site Updating and Front Page" (session two) is April 18, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

In marketing, you have to look forward and think ahead. This afternoon session will satisfy the attendee's need to gain more knowledge of how to update (or set up) a Web site. I will demonstrate the Web editor software Microsoft Front Page as a means to easily manage and change your site information. If you are familiar with Microsoft Word, then you can easily use Front Page.

In simple terms, Front Page is the word processing format (software) for the web. Surround yourself with others who have a desire to learn how to manage their own Web sites. This session will give participants a better knowledge of Web sites, providing them with a better ability and understanding when a need arises to communicate with web site designers. Topics for this afternoon session include: Creative Ideas to Market Your Site, Getting the Client to Your Site, Creating Repeat Site Traffic, Site Hit Number Strategies, E-Commerce, Co-op Sites, and Additional Site Links.

"The Secret of Your Success: Marketing Your Biz With Print Media" (session three) is April 20, 9:30 a.m.-noon.

When was the last time you broadened your print marketing habits? This session will help businesses fine-tune their marketing activities and target their customers more efficiently.

During this session, learn marketing failures and successes for large and small, new and established businesses. Learn more about how to grow your business. I will share those winning strategies and give participants the opportunity to interact and focus marketing efforts. Marketing is the true success for any business, including artists.

As a special bonus, resource vendors will be offering special marketing discounts to participants, allowing them to not only focus their marketing dollars but to also gain more marketing dollars to spend. Topics include: Print media (post cards, PR PACS, brochures), Press Releases, Coupons, Artist/Company Bio, Web Site Marketing, PR Images for Your Business, Self Printing Verses Professional Printing. Each participant will receive a free sample packet of successful marketing materials.

"The Secret of Your Success: Different Perspective Marketing Mix" (session four) is April 20, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

When it comes to spending marketing dollars, everyone is looking for the magic formula.

This marketing session is not about what's always right or wrong; it's about a different perspective.

Lining up your work passion with a keen marketing strategy will breed that "magic formula" for the marketing dollar. You may not be particularly good at coming up with marketing options on your own. This afternoon session focuses on the Perspective Marketing Mix for businesses. Highlights of the session include: Creating Print Marketing (Professional Design and Software Options), Implementing a Web Site, Media Resource List, Newspaper, Direct Mail, E-mail Marketing, Networking, Client Follow-up, and Company Branding.

This exciting marketing series is available to PSAC members and the general public. Advanced registration by April 7: Individual sessions are $45 for PSAC members, $55 general ($65 after April 7). Full-day sessions are $85 PSAC, $95 general ($105 after April 7). For advance registration and further information, call me at 264-4486 or visit www.wendysaunders.com and pagosa-arts.com.

Gathering for artists

Come explore your personal journey as an artist; honor who you really are.  Claim your passions and gifts.  Learn empowering tools to access your vast inner resources and let go of old patterns, expectations and assumptions that block your creative process and expression.  What do you really want to manifest in your life and with your art?

Cost of the session with JoAnne Dodgson, 1-5 p.m. Saturday, April 1, is $35 for PSAC members and $40 for nonmembers.

Watercolor club

The PSAC Watercolor Club, (formed in the winter of 2003) meets at 10 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month in the arts and craft space at the community center. The next meeting will be held April 19.

Watercolorists of all levels are provided the opportunity to use the room for the day. Each attending member contributes $5 for use of the space. The goals for the day vary, with watercolorists getting together to draw, paint and experience technique demonstrations from professional watercolorists or framers. Participants are encouraged to bring still lives or photos to paint and draw; or a project to complete. Attendees should bring a bag lunch, their supplies and a willingness to have a fun, creative day.

For more information, contact PSAC at 264-5020.

Drawing with Davis

Drawing class with Randall Davis takes place the third Saturday of every month at the community center. The next class will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. April 15.

Subjects vary month to month and all levels of aspiring artists are welcome. Attending each month is not necessary, since each session is focused on different subject matter. This is a wonderful opportunity to experience your creative talent together with the guidance of a talented professional.

Attendees should arrive with a large sketchpad, a few drawing pencils (preferably a mid-range No. 2 or 3 and a No. 6 (bold and hard leads), ruler and eraser. Participants should bring a bag lunch (soda machines available). Fee is $35 to PSAC members and $40 for nonmembers. For further workshop information, contact Davis at 264-2833. Reservations should be made by calling PSAC, 264-5020.

Time to join

PSAC is a membership organization that helps ensure a flourishing and diverse community by enriching lives through the arts.

The privileges of membership include involvement in membership activities, involvement in the community, socializing and participating in the camaraderie of the arts, discounts on PSAC events and workshops, recognition in Artsline and listing in PSAC Artist Guide and PSAC Business Guide. Workshops and exhibits are sponsored by PSAC to benefit the art community. In addition, your membership helps to keep art thriving in Pagosa Springs .

Membership rates are: Youth, $10; Individual-Senior, $20; Regular Individual, $25; Family-Senior, $25; Regular Family, $35; Business, $75; Patron, $250; Benefactor, $500, Director, $1,000; Guarantor, $2,500 and up.

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.

If you are a PSAC member and would like to volunteer hours working at the gallery, call PSAC at 264-5020 for a listed of openings. Hours worked at the gallery may be used to attend PSAC workshops throughout the year.

Upcoming events

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.

March 28 - "Creativity by the Light of the Moon" workshop with JoAnne Dodgson, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

April 1 - PSAC Workshop "A Gathering For Artists" by JoAnne Dodgson , 1-5 p.m.

April 4, 11 and 18 - "Creativity by the Light of the Moon" workshop with JoAnne Dodgson, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

April 12 - Pagosa Photo Club, 5:30 p.m. Program topic featuring Web site design and maintenance for small businesses.

April 15 - Drawing with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.

April 18 - PSAC "Falling Forward: Web Site Logistics," 9:30 a.m.-noon.

April 18 - PSAC "Falling Forward: Web Site Updating & Front Page," 1:30-4:30 p.m.

April 19 - Pagosa Springs Watercolor Club, 10 a.m.

April 20 - PSAC "The Secret of Your Success: Marketing Your Biz With Print Media," 9:30 a.m.-noon.

April 20 - PSAC "The Secret of Your Success: Different Perspective Marketing Mix," 1:30-4:30 p.m.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Artsline, send information to PSAC by e-mail (psac@centurytel.net). We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Artsline. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.

Food for Thought

Mad about meat. Civet, anyone?

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

Meat.

Ahhh.

I'm reflecting on my life as a carnivore.

It's all I have to do. I've squandered hours in front of the TV, doing cultural research, watching one after another of my favorites - cooking shows, right-wing political commentators, police chases.

I've downed a couple of glasses of a zippy Zinfandel and I'm watching a repeat episode of Iron Chef. I know who wins (that somewhat rakish Morimoto). That's the nice thing about repeats: a lack of ambiguity, no surprises.

As a result, I'm in a pensive mood, taking inventory of what is important in this life of mine.

I reduce my options down to a precious few - among them my family, the National Hockey League, aluminum foil and clogging - then focus on one.

Meat.

I love meat. Not to the exclusion of all else, but Š

Arnie wanders over and sits in front of me, giving me his I-want-to-go-for-a-walk look, his clear brown eyes swimming behind his long lashes. He's a beautiful dog: a big, ripe yellow Labrador retriever, one of the greatest animals I've ever had the pleasure to know. Arnie's a wonderful and entertaining companion: a trustworthy friend.

I realize as I stroke his big head, if push comes to shove, I'll eat him - in a heartbeat.

I'm a carnivore and, in times of great stress, meat is meat. Protein is king, the epicenter of my existence. With my fondness for lifting heavy objects and putting them back down, protein is always on my mind.

Master Kaga, introduces the challenger for the week's show, a stern and stout chef from a major Tokyo hotel. Kaga is dressed in his customary homophile Zorro outfit and he smirks as the week's ingredient - foie gras - is unveiled. A platform heaped with distorted globs of flesh rises in a haze of fake smoke. Meat times ten: the liver of a goose, swollen with fats from an inordinately unhealthy, forced diet.

I'll eat diseased goose liver. In fact, I've eaten foie gras, in many forms, many times, completely absent the pressure of famine, and enjoyed it immensely.

If it's meat, I'll consume it.

I tried horse once. A bit dense, somewhat sweet.

I've devoured plenty of things that fly, that crawl. I've tasted squirrel, chocolate-covered bees and toasted grasshopper. Rabbit (excuse me, hare)? You bet. Leviticus never stopped me. I've never had a shot at rock badger or eagle, but ... who knows what I'd do if the opportunity arose?

I love flesh.

I'm bucking a trend.

Kathy subscribes to a raft of we're-so-healthy-we're-smug magazines. I read them while occupied in the bathroom. The magazine covers feature middle-aged women, scrubbed and glowing, radiant with the flush only a daily dose of yogurt and a weekly trip to a colon hydrotherapist can provide.

The articles are rife with fevered, near-hysteric advice about organic produce and whole grains. Every article regarding diet sounds the alarm about meat, and red meat in particular. If the authors don't come right out and urge complete abstention from meat - reciting a list of hideous somatic disasters that come of carnivorous indulgences - they preach a reduction in intake so severe it reminds one of the diet at a Zen monastery.

Stay away from red meat. Watch out for hormones in fowl. Careful about mercury in fish.

No way.

I'm fat. My blood pressure is slightly elevated. There are times my blood must be like pudding. I live in fear of undergoing a complete cardio exam and watching as my physician shakes his head, asks if I have family members with me, and refuses to look me directly in the eyes.

But, I'm not giving up red meat.

Not even with my recent tussles with gout.

I might not eat Arnie soon, but I do not plan to empty my diet of flesh.

The problem: With our limited options at the market, action in the kitchen and at the table gets tedious. Plus, Kathy refuses to eat lamb. I don't know why. Lambs are incredibly cute and well suited as a prime food source. You can raise a lamb on a small piece of property, watch it frolic, give it a cute name, then eat it. What's not to like? A perfectly cooked leg of lamb, a platter of kibbeh, rack of lamb pink and oozing juices - what could be much better?

Bottom line: mindful of the regularly woeful state of seafood in this part of the universe, I'm limited to beef (so, what's the problem with a touch of mad cow disease?), pork, chicken or turkey unless a hunter friend has an ischemic event that loosens a brain screw and causes him to give me the backstrap from an elk.

Beef, pork, chicken, turkey. Ground or in the typical cuts. Sautéed, grilled, braised and roasted.

Jeez. If it wasn't for the fact a serious percentage of the world's human population is scrounging for food sufficient to simply maintain life, I would gripe on and on and on.

Since, however, we are riding a wave of unprecedented prosperity and take for granted a style of life directly contrary to a positive future for our planet and species - a lifestyle in which we have unlimited access, for the moment, to endless supplies of beef and pork - I won't complain.

The problem in my jaded and often misguided existence is how to cook these products in new and inviting ways, how to keep the carnivore lamp lit, as it were.

I've coated, spiced and sauced meats in myriad ways. I've encased them in pastries and wraps. I've used them in conjunction with a wide variety of sides.

I need more options

I go to the Web for answers.

At first, I am trapped at a fascinating site delivered, free (can you believe it?), from Amsterdam. From a Mylar-wrapped sweetie named Helga. Several hours of enlightening entertainment later, I decide to forgo any more Web searches and strike off on my own.

I make a trip to the store, gather supplies and settle in for a weekend of science. I set up Karl's Food Lab and start to work. Arnie plays Igor to my Food Frankenstein, snapping up any fragment of my work that falls to the floor. I am determined each day to work a variation on a theme, to develop a dish worth serving to company, with as little effort as possible.

Saturday I hit the target dead center. I prepare filet of beef with pancetta, shallots, garlic, mushrooms, and roasted peppers in puff pastry with a sauce composed of veal demi-glace, shallots, garlic, red wine and butter. I serve it with steamed green beans and a mesclun salad with tomato, avocado and a simple citrus and olive oil dressing.

Oh, yeah.

My advice: Don't be afraid of store-bought puff pastry. It can work well and, with the addition of a sheen of melted butter, it tastes almost like homemade.

Roll the sheet of puff pastry to about half the thickness it exits the package.

Cut several four-inch squares, then cut an equal number of six-inch squares.

Less than a pound of tenderloin will suffice for four people. Cut the meat into half-inch cubes and season. Sauté a mess of mushrooms - whatever looks good at the store - with bits of pancetta, a hefty portion of minced shallot and a mix of roasted red and green pepper, diced small. Throw in a diced, roasted and peeled poblano for an extra kick. When the mushrooms lose their moisture and begin to brown, add minced garlic. Season with salt, pepper, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Add the beef and sauté briefly. Don't overcook. Set aside in a bowl to cool.

Sauté minced shallots until transparent in the same pan you used for the beef. Deglaze with red wine and stock. Reduce over medium high heat to demi-glace consistency, until jelly thick. Add some chopped parsley, some minced garlic, salt and pepper to taste, a touch of rosemary and thyme, dilute a bit with stock. Reduce slightly and strain. Keep warm.

On a small square of puff pastry, mound up some of the meat mixture. Brush egg wash around the perimeter of the pastry and cover with one of the larger pastry squares. Seal edges and trim. Brush the top of the packet with melted butter then with egg wash. You can use the pastry trimmings to decorate the package, gluing and sealing with egg wash. Replicate the royal seal of the Romanoff family; it will stun your guests.

Bake the puff pastry packs on parchment, on a baking sheet, at 400 for 15 minutes or so, or until toasty golden brown.

When the packs are done, turn up the heat under the sauce, add a ton of cold butter a bit at a time and whisk constantly until the butter melts and the sauce takes on sheen. Do not overcook the sauce or it will break.

My, this is good. Especially in the company of a lot of fine, red wine.

Sunday I make large chicken and spinach ravioli using pancetta left from the night before, touched with tarragon, garlic, and shallot. I whip up a bernaise sauce to go with them. A dusting of fresh-grated Parmesan, and the dish is more than OK. The next time, I'll forget the bernaise and make a roasted red pepper cream sauce and dribble on some chive oil. The dish will be deadly.

The weekend reaffirms my status as a committed carnivore. I am energized, secure in who and what I am.

Now, I am excited, anxious to try other recipes using meats. Perhaps something off the beaten track.

Though you rarely see it in a cookbook, the French have a recipe for civet that sounds intriguing. I intend to hit the Web and see where this leads.

Do you know where your pets are?

Extension Viewpoints

"Super termites" of little concern to Coloradoans

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Formosan Termite of Little Concern

As you are clicking through your email, don't be alarmed if you find a warning about a "super termite" that might be lurking in that bag of bark mulch you just purchased.  According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, there's just a hint of truth behind the circulating story, and the creature in question, the Formosan termite, can't live in our semi-arid climate and cold winters. 

 "Although the Formosan termite is a significant problem in parts of the U.S., it is not something Coloradoans need to be concerned about," said Colorado Department of Agriculture entomologist Jerry Cochran. 

According to Cochran, the information circulating on the Internet and in some news reports vastly exaggerates the potential that the Formosan termite presents to Colorado. 

"While there is a remote possibility that it could be transported to Colorado, the likelihood of it becoming established is zero," he said.  The termite needs warm, damp climates. "The Formosan termite is a serious problem in some Southern states, and those states are taking steps to be sure that hurricane debris and other wood products from infested areas is not sold for mulch," he said.   For more information contact the Extension Office.

 Animal ID Training

March 28 at 9:30 a.m. at the La Plata County Fairgrounds there will be a Train-the-Trainer Animal ID Training for those who will be training others on Animal ID in the San Juan Basin Area. Those encouraged to attend this training are CSU County Extension Personnel with livestock responsibilities, Colorado Brand Inspectors, large animal veterinary practitioners and FSA personnel. The main objective for the training is to train key persons who are involved in educational roles regarding the purpose for and process of livestock premises registration as part of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Those needing to attend must RSVP to Archuleta County Extension office at 264-5931 by March 25 to be guaranteed a lunch.

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

Calendar

March 27 - 4 p.m., advanced archery meeting at Ski & Bow Rack; 4 p.m. entomology group second meeting; 4:30 p.m., dog obedience project meeting.

March 28 - 4 p.m., photography meeting at Pagosa Photo Studio; 6 p.m., 4-H council meeting.

March 29 - 4 p.m, entomology group one meeting; 4 p.m. sportfishing project meeting; 6 p.m. fair royalty meeting.

March 30 - 5:30 p.m., veterinary science meeting at San Juan Veterinary Hospital.

Pagosa Lakes News

Special Olympics changes lives

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

When I look at competitive sports, I'm always reminded how extremely competitive it gets. It isn't for the people who need it, it's for the people who want it. To hear a group of racers discuss the next athlete to be left from the pack isn't feel-good athletics. There is no "Pollyanna" attitude in competitive sports, but there does exist simultaneous camaraderie.

In Special Olympics, however, sports and recreation is used to increase independence and quality of life for individuals with physical disabilities. While very few special Olympians reach the high achievement of international competition, they are all driven beyond their limitations by the challenge of sports.

Our own small group of special athletes - nine of them (Tommy Bernard, Christopher Brown, Darren Garcia, Zachary Irons, Grant Logan, Jonathan Pitts, Sydney Poole, Nick Saunders and George Stevens) - have had a successful alpine ski season. As I watch them practice at Wolf Creek Ski Area, I know that they have had to climb mountains to reach their current level of athletic performance. I also think that in doing so they have, in some measure, healed themselves.

A sizable group of volunteers, with the help of three unified partners, have helped create not only a successful season but the largest numbers of athletes at the Southwest Regional meet held in Durango February 25.

Sydney Poole, Nick Saunders and unified partner Hailey Peck will be going on to the state level meet at Copper Mountain Sunday and Monday.

Unified partners are peers matched up with a special athlete. But in the absence of sufficient peer partners, adults are sometimes used. In addition to Hailey Peck, Lee Ann Hersom and Shannon Rogers are unified partners. The image of a successful athlete who is also a balanced and happy child with a handicap should allow others to hope. To view pictures of the alpine program for special athletes, visit Wolf Creek Ski Area's web page.

Special Olympics aquatics program will begin on Tuesday, April 4. The athletes will practice every Tuesday and Thursday, from 6-7 p.m., for the entire month and then host a Southwest Regional meet on Saturday, May 6, 9-11:30 a.m. The practices and the swim meet will all be held at the recreation center, under the able coaching of Dale Schwicker. If you are able and willing to help with the aquatics program, please call Becky Berg, Special Olympics coordinator, at 731-3318.

The pool, kiddie pool and hot tub use schedule will not be impacted by the practice times for Special Olympics.

A mother of a child with special needs once described the importance of participation in disability sports in terms of rebuilding lives. She said, "When your life has been turned upside down by a disability, you need success and you need accomplishments. Participating in sports rebuilds - both a rehab tool and a lifestyle too!"

In short, the importance of Special Olympics for the athlete is to discover that you have arrived and have overcome - that you have achieved your goals, which you thought to be possible only in your dreams. My thanks to each and every one of you who had a part in making that dream a reality and my best wishes go with the athletes to Copper Mountain for the state level meet and for the upcoming aquatic season.

Births

Ava Carolyn Laydon

Ava Carolyn Laydon, new great-granddaughter of Steven and Delores Butler, of Pagosa Springs, granddaughter of John and Lauren Laydon, of Loveland, and daughter of Abe and Kim Laydon, of Denver.

Obituaries

Paul Brown

Paul Brown, 88, passed away Wednesday, March 15, 2006, at the Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.

Paul was an Army veteran of WW II. He received the WW II victory medal, American service medal, European-African-Middle Eastern service medal, good conduct medal and the jubilee of liberty medal for veterans who participated in the Normandy invasion.

Paul is survived by one nephew, Richard Brown, of Minneola, Florida. He was preceded by his wife, Jean Brown, in March 2005.

Funeral services were held at the La Quey Funeral Home in Pagosa Springs Saturday, March 18, 2006, at 2 p.m., with Pastor Burnett officiating. Burial was in the Hill Top Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.

Helen L. Curvey

Former Pagosa Springs resident Helen Louise Curvey, 87, of Taylorville, Ill., died at 2:17 a.m. Saturday, March 11, 2006, at the Meadow Manor Nursing Home in Taylorville.

She was born July 29, 1918, in Taylorville, the daughter of Harland H. and Winnie Louise DePugh Parks. She married Robert Curvey on Oct. 26, 1943, in Paducah, Ky. She was a civilian secretary in the USAF in Dayton, Ohio, during World War II. In the early 1950s, Helen and Robert moved to Terre Haute, Ind., to operate a large grain farm. Then they moved to Pagosa Springs in the late 1960s, where they owned and operated the Best Western Motel Restaurant and Lounge, also known as the Great Pagosa Hot Springs.

Helen and Robert sold their business and retired and moved back to Taylorville in 1979. Helen enjoyed the outdoors where she loved to hunt, fish and watch wildlife. Some of her favorite pastimes were cooking, crocheting, sports and visiting with friends. She always loved living in Pagosa.

Surviving are her sons, Robert E. (wife Tessie) Curvey of Pagosa Springs, and James D. (wife Cindy) Curvey of Taylorville, Ill.; grandchildren Shawn C. (wife Rayann) Curvey and Robin J. Curvey, all of Pagosa Springs; one great-grandchild, Zackary Curvey; and one step-great-grandchild, Chris Ryan, and several nieces and nephews, also three sisters-in-law.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, brother, three brothers-in-law, one sister-in-law, and two grandchildren.

Funeral services were held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 14, in the Shafer Funeral Home, with Father Alan Hunter officiating. Burial was at the Morrisonville Cemetery, Morrisonville, Ill.

Jean Ann Frisbie

Jean Ann Frisbie, 63, of Pagosa Springs, CO., passed away March 13, 2006 of cancer.

Jean Ann Frisbie was born in South Bend, Indiana on January 24, 1943, to Floyd and Lucille Frisbie.

She attended John Adams High School, South Bend, Ind. and Ball State University, Muncie, Ind.

In the early 1960s Jean worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. She also had a brief acting career in a Danny Thomas Production. Jean then became a commercial studio driver for Warner Brothers Studio which she continued to do part time after moving to Pagosa Springs in 1994.

Jean was known for her love for all living things and as a strong advocate for animals. She was an active volunteer for the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, especially in soliciting donations for the yearly Auction for the Animals, and in 2003 was Volunteer of the Year for the organization.

Jean was preceded in death by her parents and survived by her brother, James Frisbie, nephews Andrew and Steven, and her beloved dogs, Charlotte, Betsy, Rosie, Nikki, and Yankee.

A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, March 25, 2006, from 3-5 p.m. at the home of Diane Owens, 554 Haley Place, Pagosa Springs, Colorado.

As she requested, Jean was cremated and her ashes will be spread at a later date.

Anyone wishing to make a memorial donation in Jean's name may do so to Hospice of Mercy, 35 Mary Fisher Circle, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, or to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, PO Box 2230, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Walter Claude Thomas Jr.

Long time Pagosa Springs resident Walter C. Thomas, Jr. passed away Saturday, March 18, 2006, in his home. He was 81 years old.

Walter was born on June 4, 1924, in Raton, N.M. He grew up in Long Beach, Calif., where his father, Walter C. Thomas, Sr., was a respected medical doctor. Walter joined the Army Century Division and served during WW II in France and Germany. He was wounded in France on Nov. 12, 1944, and received a Purple Heart and an Honorable Discharge on March 29, 1946. Walter attended school on the GI Bill and graduated from Occidental College with a degree in chemistry. He then worked as a chemist for Lever Bros. Co. for a period of time before moving to Pagosa Springs in 1953 to manage his father's two cattle ranches.

Walter belonged to the American Legion and was an active member of the Pagosa Springs Lion's Club for many years. His greatest love was working around the ranch where he built his home and other ranch buildings, built a bridge over the San Juan River with the help of friend Worthe Crouse, and was in the process of creating a pond and landscaping for a home he had recently had built.

Walter is survived by his loving wife, Marcia, of 59 years, his son Richard Walter Thomas and his daughter Mary Kathryn Carpenter, all of Pagosa Springs; grandchildren Rory Bissell of Mesa, Ariz.; Sean Griffin of Columbia, Mo.; Cody and Kayley Thomas of Austin, Texas; and sons-in-law Nick Bissell and Van Carpenter of Pagosa Springs. He was preceded in death by his daughter Julie Ann Bissell.

Walter is being cremated and his remains will be laid to rest on his beloved ranch. A memorial ceremony will be conducted at his home later this summer. Donations may be sent to the American Cancer Society.

 Business News

Chamber News

Hospitality seminar offered for May

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

We focus on businesses this week with lots of pertinent information about a variety of training classes soon to be offered, and some changes here at the Chamber that will also affect your business.

First, the classes being offered: On April 5, the Ft. Lewis College Small Business Development Center and the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce will co-host a "Doing Business on eBay" class. What does eBay have to do with my business you might wonder? Well maybe nothing, but maybe this class will show you opportunities to increase product exposure, how to start a business part or full time, or how you might find a way to work with other businesses to establish a co-op store.

Teaching the class will be Terry Dowling of Glenwood Springs courtesy of the Ft. Lewis College Small Business Development Center. Terry got hooked on eBay when, on his first attempt at an eBay sale, he invested $22 and reaped sales of $587. He is now an instructor for the advanced eBay classes that eBay PowerU developed more than a year ago. During the class, Dowling will go through the basics of selling on eBay, and will explain how individuals or businesses can sell goods on line and how a group of businesses can set up a co-op or regional store.

The class will be held at the community center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 5. The cost is $60 and includes training materials, continental breakfast and snacks. Space is limited. Please call the Chamber of Commerce at 264-2360 to reserve a spot.

The next important Chamber-sponsored class is a two day-two week hospitality seminar to be held in May. We will talk more about the seminar in the coming weeks, but we want businesses to be aware of the classes and the importance of getting staff to these sessions before the frenetic pace of the summer season.

Kathy Saley of Dynamic Workforce Training and I will be facilitating the classes which will be held on May 9 and 10 and on May 16 and 17. The second week of classes will build on what was learned during the first week's classes. It is not mandatory that you attend both sessions, but if you attend only the second session, it may be difficult to get up to speed on what was learned and discussed previously. Businesses can reserve spots now for the classes and then fill in the names later, as seating will be limited. The two hour classes will be held on each of the dates mentioned at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. And here's a side note: business owners can benefit greatly from these classes. Taking time away from your business, investing in yourself, and perhaps learning a new tip can provide you with new skills for working with your employees and customers. Classes will be held at the Community Center and the cost is $20 per person for Chamber members and $25 for non-members.

We hope apathy has not set in on all aspects of Pagosa life, and that we will see lots of participants at these seminars. For more information, please call us at 264-2360.

Dial Pagosa

The after-hours information kiosk in front of the Chamber will soon be gone. While the technology theory is great, the kiosk has been riddled with problems both for the Chamber and businesses. We want to change that for all of us. The screen will be replaced by a very simple "reader board" with a direct dial phone. If you want to reach after hours visitors or give yourself more exposure, you can buy 15 square inches of ad space (about the size of a dollar bill) or 30 square inches of space and a direct connect, speed dial number will be associated with your business. The system is similar to those found at airports for rental car or transportation services. The new look will be clean, crisp and you will have your own information or logo on the site. The board will be protected under the gazebo and will still be available for visitors 24/7. This new information source is great for lodging, dining, emergency services, rental cars and much more. The board will be sectioned into categories and we want to make it user friendly, advertiser effective and functional.

For more information on Dial Pagosa, please contact provider Chris Musgrove at 264-2401 or you can contact Mary Jo at 264-2360. We anticipate the new reader board will be up and running by the beginning of June and we are very excited about the addition of this new information resource to our Visitor Center.

Attention parents and young adults

Here are three opportunities for our youth to occupy their time. The first is the "Spring Break in Southern Cali" dance to be held at the Teen Center on Friday, March 31 from 6-9 p.m. The dance will help raise funds for Teen Center operations. The Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors is sponsoring DJ Bobby Hart for the event and he is sure to rock the kids! Tickets are $3 in advance or $5 the day of the dance or at the door. The dance is open to youth 12-19 years of age and tickets are available at the Teen Center, the Community Center or at the junior high or high school. Parents or other adult volunteers are needed to chaperone. To volunteer or for more information, please call Jen at 264-4152.

On Wednesday, March 29 at 6 p.m. there will be an orientation meeting for young ladies interested in trying out for the Archuleta County Fair Royalty Pageant to be held in May. The meeting will take place at the Extension Building at the fair grounds and parents are encouraged to attend. This is not just a commitment from the youngsters, parents are involved all year long as well. For more information, call the Chamber at 264-2360 . Applications are available at the Visitor Center.

Also for young ladies, we have information and a $100 discount coupon towards pageant sponsorship participation for the Miss American Coed Pageant to be held in Denver June 22-24, 2006. Entry forms are available at the schools and the chamber. Entry categories range from ages 3 to 18. To obtain the $100 discount coupon, contact Mary Jo at the Chamber at 264-2360. Good luck to those young ladies that take the time, energy and dedication for either of these endeavors and to the parents who also take the time and give the support necessary for these young ladies to participate.

Chamber members

One not so new, but rather an additional business joins us this week, Coyote Safety Solutions. You are probably familiar with Coyote Appliance Repair with Wally Rediske. Now Wally has Coyote Safety Solutions where home and business safety is a priority. Wally installs smoke and heat detectors and early warning systems, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and he also conducts a complimentary fire safety inspection to help you get ready for the one by our Fire District. We live in an area where wood stoves, fireplaces, heaters and other devices are under constant use during our winter months. Give Coyote Safety Solutions a call at 264-3555 to minimize your exposure to a major fire threat. We thank the Rediskes for joining the Chamber with a second business.

Moving on to the renewal list this week we have Pagosa.com, Pagosa's online newspaper and community directory. We also welcome back a local favorite, Isabel Webster and the Flying Burrito; J.P. Rappenecker and his House of Muskets; and Kerry Dermody and Management of Fine Properties.

Moving to the lodging industry, we welcome back Lynne Killey and her rental home, A Place on the Lake. We thank Lynne for her listing and her other business, Queen Bee Sauce.

We also wish a "welcome back" to Tom Thorpe with his Top Lab Consulting Services and after a little hiatus, we welcome back Anna O'Reilly and Anna's Energy Massage.

We're going to jump out of the area now and recognize some Durango based businesses. First is Schultz & Associates, publishers of Durango Magazine. We also welcome back Peak Card Services and Durango Credit and Collection.

We now welcome back some non-profit agencies. First on the list, based in Durango but with an agency here, is SW Colorado Mental Health Center. Also back is the Pagosa Springs Spanish Fiesta Club.

Now for our associate members, we welcome back associate Realtor John Smith with the Number1Experts group. Also joining as an associate real estate agent is Frank Schiro with Jim Smith Realty. Then last but not least is the associate membership of Dot and Curl Jones.

Thank you to the community for attending the St. Patrick's Day Parade this year. We had lots of fun, snuck in between the weather changes, and had some new entries this year. Thanks to the winners: The Humane Society for the Best Float, St. Patrick's Episcopal Church for the Greenest Float, and Ron Gustafson for the Most Bizarre entry. We'll see you next year at the celebration of the green! Don't wait too long to reserve space at one of the upcoming training classes!

People

Cards of Thanks

Laverty

Danna and the clan would like to offer a heartfelt thanks to the many people who attended the benefit concert at Restoration Fellowship Church the night of March 4. The turnout was spectacular. Another shout of thanks to all the talented performers who live around this little town, you all made the evening of music amazing. It was a great time in a great town. Thanks also to Sean and Darcy Downing and friends for all of their hard work and time in making this event possible. A special thanks to Coach Kurt-Mason, bus driver Harry Cole, and the girl's soccer team for getting Allison to the church on time. Thank you all again and may you be blessed for blessing our family.

God bless.

The Laverty Family

Red Cross

The Archuleta Chapter of the American Red Cross would like to thank the community center and the community that donates to this superb facility.

On Saturday, March 4, the Pagosa chapter of the ARC held a Disaster Action Team training session at the community center. On behalf of the American Red Cross, I would like to thank the staff at the community center, who helped make this training session a success. On her day off, Mercy Korsgren opened the doors one hour early and Becky and Michelle provided technical support. The facility was spotless, the computer lab was available, and the equipment functioned perfectly. Archuleta County is fortunate to have a facility that reflects the high standards and spirit of the people in the county.

The Red Cross would like to thank the Pagosa Springs volunteers for participating in the disaster training. Please contact me for additional training information at 264-0716.

Sports Page

Accolades continue for Pirates after outstanding season

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Another outstanding basketball season for the Pagosa Springs High School Pirates is in the record books and the post season awards continue to pour in.

The Pirates went undefeated in Intermountain League (IML) play for the third straight year and the fifth straight year to grab the title. Pagosa went on to win the IML district tournament that won them the right to host a first round 3A state regional tournament.

For a fourth consecutive season the Pirates won the regional tournament and advanced to the "Great Eight" in Fort Collins.

For the second consecutive season Pagosa brought home the third place trophy going two out of three in the tournament. In the quarterfinal round the Pirates upset a very good Kent Denver Sun Devils team when Craig Schutz netted a three pointer with four seconds remaining to preserve the win. The Pirates then lost in the semifinal round to the Roaring Fork Rams. That loss sent them into the third place game and pitted them against another good Colorado Springs Christian Lions team. The Pirates outplayed the taller Lions for the trophy.

As a result of their outstanding season and play, individual awards came streaming in for the Pirates at the state and IML district levels.

3A state all tournament team

Craig Schutz was selected, for his play in the 3A state tournament, as one of five to the all tournament team. Schutz is teamed with four other outstanding players including three from the state champion Denver Christian Crusaders and one from the second place Rams.

The Crusaders chosen were senior center Brent Schuster and senior guards Cameron and Tristan Matthies (another set of twins). Joining the Crusaders and Schutz was senior forward Christian Tena from Roaring Fork.

For the three game tournament the Pirates' senior 6'4" post player averaged 18.7 points per game shooting 57 percent from the field including three treys and the game winner in the quarterfinal round. He also averaged 5.3 rebounds per game giving up as much as 3" in height at his position. This was an outstanding tournament for Schutz who could be anybody's most valuable player.

Schutz was also honored by the Colorado High School Coaches Association when he was chosen as a participant on the 3A team in this summer's All-State Games.

IML coach of the year

For the second consecutive year, and third in the last four years, head coach Jim Shaffer has been named IML coach of the year. This is an honor since the vote came from his peers.

This season was probably one of his most challenging and fulfilling. Shaffer found himself without the height in the middle that he enjoyed over the past several years. To work around that he had to adjust both the offensive and defensive schemes to take advantage of the skilled players he had. And to help get his team prepared for district and state play, he added a tougher schedule. With a record of 6-5 headed into district play it was somewhat deceiving. Four of the five losses were to bigger high schools and none were more than a five point spread. Three went to overtime.

It worked.

The Pirates sailed through district winning their fourth straight IML title and seventh in the last eight years. Shaffer then led them to the second consecutive third place finish at state. You know you have a good coach when they adjust the scheme to the players and not the players to a scheme.

IML player of the year

Craig Schutz was selected IML player of the year. Being named to the all tournament team at state and then selected as district player of the year is quite an accomplishment. Schutz led the Pirates to an 18-7 season overall, the district championship and the high finish in the state tournament. During the regular season he averaged a team high 14.2 points per game and 7.7 rebounds. A highlight of this season was his 30 point game in the first round of the state regional play against the Colorado Academy Mustangs.

IML first team

Casey Schutz has been named to first team all district. The 6'2" senior forward was the second leading scorer for the Pirates this year. He also played through a tough ankle injury early in the season and did not miss a start. During the IML regular season, Schutz averaged 13.2 points per game and led his team with 10 three point baskets. He recorded game high honors in a win over Ignacio with 16 points that included three treys.

Joining the Schutz brothers on first team are Troy McCoy and C.J. Bell from Bayfield, and Estevan Armenta from Centauri.

IML second team

Two Pirate starters were named to the second team all district. They were Paul Przybylski and Kerry Joe Hilsabeck.

Przybylski, a 5'11" senior guard, was known mostly for his defensive skills. In most games Coach Shaffer matched him against the opponent's best offensive threat. In two district wins over Bayfield, their high scoring guard was held to just five and eight points. In the district championship game, also against Bayfield, Przybylski showed his offensive skills with 13 points.

Hilsabeck, a 5'10" junior guard, was the Pirates floor general and play maker. He led the Pirates with 5.8 assists per game in district play. He also averaged 4.6 rebounds during that time from his guard position. As a difference maker, he iced the district championship game by hitting ten of 12 from the free throw line late in the game to preserve the win. He also came off the bench, after sitting with two fouls, to spark a 6-0 run for the Pirates that proved to be the victory over the Bishop Machebeuf Buffaloes that sent Pagosa to the "Great Eight" in Fort Collins.

Others district members on the second team included Scott Hill and Derek Rodriquez from Ignacio and Kyle Guilliams from Bayfield.

IML honorable mention

Jordan Shaffer has been named all district honorable mention. Shaffer, a 5'11" junior swingman, was only two votes short of making the district's second team. Playing at guard or forward this offensive threat could take it to the hoop or score from beyond the three point line. In district play Shaffer averaged almost ten points per game with a high of 15 against Centauri. He also led Pirates from the free throw line with 77 percent and added six three pointers. In the district championship game he led the Pirates with 17 points.

Others chosen for district honorable mention are Kyle Martin from Centauri and Chester Hatton from Monte Vista. 

Lady Pirates earn post season honors

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School Lady Pirates finished their basketball season at the state tournament in Fort Collins a fortnight ago. They did lose in the consolation bracket but had an outstanding season and one of just eight 3A teams to make it to the "big dance."

The Pirates' season was highlighted by winning the Intermountain League district tournament championship over the previously undefeated Centauri Lady Falcons. In the end, this was the Falcons' only defeat as they went on to win the 3A state championship.

Coach Bob Lynch said he is proud of how his team played this season and their 19-7 record. He said he was extremely pleased to watch the seniors grow in their varsity careers and that they had the opportunity to participate in the state tournament. Probably one of the team's biggest memories, Lynch said, will be their win over Centauri in the district finals.

The juniors and sophomores gained valuable experience at the state level and it should help their confidence next season.

IML selections

Athletic Director Jim Shaffer and Coach Lynch are announcing three members of the Lady Pirates to the IML all-district team.

IML first team

Liza Kelley was named to the first team all-district. The senior guard had an outstanding career with the Lady Pirates and was a team leader. Kelley averaged 10 points per game during district play. She stepped up her game at the IML district championships and improved to over 14 per game. Kelley could score outside and inside. A highlight of this season was when she netted 17 points, including two treys, in the first district game at Bayfield.

Joining Kelley on the first team are; Janette McCarroll (also named IML player of the year), Amanda Gylling and Marcie Cooley from Centauri; and A. J. Vigil from Ignacio.

IML second team

Two Lady Pirate starters were named to the second team all-district. They were Emily Buikema and Jessica Lynch.

Buikema, a senior center, was a force in the paint for the Lady Pirates. She could score off the rebound and putback or from a ten foot jump shot. She was one of the leaders for the Pirates with 5.9 rebounds and 10 points per game during district play. A highlight for Buikema was a career night at the Monte Vista Pirates where she recorded a double-double on 30 points from the field and 11 rebounds.

Lynch, a junior point guard, was the play maker and floor general for the Lady Pirates. She could just as easily hit a trey or take it to the hoop. Lynch averaged 9.7 points per game during the regular season and led the Pirates with 4.9 assists. Lynch stepped up her game during tournament play with two 18 point games against Centauri in the district final and Holy Family in the first state regional. In the Holy Family game Lynch went four of six from three point range. She should be force to recon with as a senior.

Other second team all-district members are Lucia Muniz from Centauri, Whitney Howard from Bayfield, and Emily Schaefer from Monte Vista.

IML honorable mention went to Ashley Shaw from Bayfield.

IML coach of the year was Dave Forster from Centauri.

Coach Lynch was honored by the Colorado High School Coaches Association when he was selected as an assistant coach for the 3A girls' team in the All-State Games this summer. He will assist head coach Becky Mudd from Denver Christian.

Baseball practice opens for Pirates

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Look outside. Look again.

All that snow must mean it is still winter. It feels like winter.

But it's spring and time for March madness and some baseball.

Head Coach Charlie Gallegos welcomed 26 potential all-stars to opening practice for the 2006 Pagosa Springs High School baseball season. Of the total, Gallegos has ten returning lettermen coming back from last year's team that went to the state tournament in Pueblo.

According to Gallegos there will be 12 varsity players and 14 on junior varsity and he said, "We will start the year this way but there is a chance that two may swing between. The reason for the numbers on the junior varsity team is that we want the kids to play. We would rather see them getting playing time than sitting on the bench."

Gallegos added, "We have lots of experience coming back and I like our chances. We think our strength is in our hitting but we have some people who can pitch. It has been hard to practice on the (high school) parking lot but we are excited about getting back. This past snow storm has set us back (playing on the home field) but we'll just have to work through it."

The varsity players starting the season include returning seniors Jim Guyton, Josh Hoffman and Avery Johnson. There are six juniors that have multiple years of playing time. They are: Karl Hujus, John Hoffman, Casey Hart, Adam Trujillo, Travis Richey and Matt Gallegos. Rounding out the current varsity squad are sophomores Cody Bahn, Wes Walters and Dan Cammack. Most will play multiple positions including infield, outfield and pitcher.

The Pirates opened the season last weekend at the Bloomfield Invitational and finally had the opportunity to get off the pavement and onto the grass. This was a winner take all tournament but each team had the chance to play three games, even in the loser's side of the bracket. There was an upper and lower bracket with eight teams participating. Pagosa was seeded in the lower bracket with Window Rock, Ariz., Bloomfield, N.M. and 4A Denver Manual. The upper bracket included Bayfield, Kirtland, N.M., Pojoaque, N.M. and 4A Cortez.

This weekend the Pirates travel to Alamosa for the "Dirt Bag Bash." This is a two-day event that starts tomorrow afternoon. Pagosa will open with a double-header starting at noon. Their first opponent is Alamosa, followed by a 2:30 p.m. contest with Summit on the North Field. They will play Saturday at either noon or 2:30 p.m., depending of Friday's results, also on the North Field. Other participants include Monte Vista, Custer County and Rampart.

Pirates open season at Bloomfield Invitational

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School baseball Pirates left the pavement of the school parking lot for real turf at the Bloomfield Invitational last weekend. This was finally an opportunity to get some real-time experience, especially with hitting, pitching and playing defense.

The Pirates opened with the Scouts from Window Rock, Ariz.

Pagosa came from behind to defeat the Scouts in the opening round on Thursday. Window Rock took the lead in the third inning off a three run shot over the left field wall. Pagosa came back for two in the bottom of the third and two more in the bottom of the fifth to preserve the win. Josh Hoffman's triple started the rally for the Pirates.

The win sent the black and gold into the semifinal round against Bloomfield last Friday evening.

Coach Charlie Gallegos said afterward, "This was a good first win for us. Our hitting needs to get better but I was pleased with our fielding and defensive play. It's always good to win the first one and get it out of the way."

The Pirates (1-0) were the home team in the game that saw Karl Hujus on the mound for Pagosa.

Hujus walked the first batter in the top of the first. The next two batters flied out to Matt Gallegos in right field and an infield fly rule to Casey Hart at second. The fourth batter grounded out.

The Pirates went three up and down in the bottom of the first. Hart did connect on a deep fly ball to the second baseman.

Hujus settled down in the top of the second and the Scouts went three and out.

The Pirates sent five to the plate in the bottom half of the second. John Hoffman was hit by a pitch and then stole second base.

Jim Guyton hit a single to the right side that put Hoffman at third with two outs. Guyton easily stole second base. With runners on second and third Averey Johnson struck out to end the inning with two left in scoring position.

The top of the third started out like the others when Hujus walked one and the next two grounded out that put a runner on first with two outs. The next batter hit an infield single. With two on, Mel Young jacked a long home run over the 320 yard left field fence to put Window Rock up 3-0. The next batter grounded out to Josh Hoffman at short stop to end the pain.

The Pirates bounced back in their half of the third to put the score at 3-2 when seven batters went to the plate. Dan Cammack walked and stole second on a passed ball. With one out, Josh Hoffman stroked a long triple to left center that scored Cammack. Hujus hit a single that scored Hoffman and the Pirates were back in it.

Pagosa started to play good defense on a double-play from Josh Hoffman at short to Hart at second to Guyton at first base to end Window Rock's half of the fourth.

With two outs in the Pirates' fourth, Cammack hit a single down the third base line but was thrown out trying to steal second.

Coach Gallegos changed pitchers in the top part of the fifth and went with the left hander Adam Trujillo. He walked two, struck out one and the other two went down on ground outs.

The Pirates' half of the fifth inning proved to be the difference maker. Travis Richey opened with a base hit. Josh Hoffman hit another single that scored Richey with no outs. Hart was safe on an error and Hoffman scored to put the black and gold in the lead for the first time at 4-3. Hujus hit a high fly to first but Hart was tagged on the steal to home for two outs. John Hoffman singled and stole second and Matt Gallegos struck out to end the inning.

The Pirates played good defense the rest of the way and did not need to bat in the bottom half of the seventh to end the game.

In other first round action the Bayfield Wolverines were defeated by the Kirtland, N.M. Broncos in upper bracket play by a score of 5-4.

Bloomfield semifinal round

Pagosa ran into some reality in the semifinal round with the Bloomfield Bobcats. The Bobcats hit, ran and scored early and often to beat the Pirates 11-1 in the night cap last Friday evening.

The Pirates (1-1) were the visiting team and opened at the plate but the hits wouldn't come. Coach Gallegos said, "Their pitcher was throwing some pretty good heat and we just couldn't find it. Since our field is covered in snow, we take hitting practice inside on a short field, that doesn't help, so I'm glad we are getting some at bats here."

Pagosa could manage only 3 hits on the night. Two came off singles from Josh Hoffman and the third came when Matt Gallegos hit a towering home run over the 380 foot sign in left center for the Pirates' only run in the top of the fourth inning.

Josh Hoffman started on the mound for the Pirates. He gave up four runs in three innings of work against a good Bobcats team that already had some quality playing time.

"A lot of these teams playing here have already gotten four to five games under their belts so we'll just have to play through it," added the coach.

Wes Walters relieved Hoffman in the bottom of the fourth but could fair no better. Richey came in and looked the best out of the three. "Travis (Richey) was throwing some pretty good junk at them (Bloomfield) and kept them on their toes," said Gallegos.

The game ended in the sixth inning on a controversial call by the umpire. Hujus caught a fly ball in deep left with the bases loaded and threw to second for another force out. The umpire called the third base runner safe at home before the force out happened at second to end the game.

The Pirates got another chance for some quality playing time when they faced a good Pojoaque, N.M. Elks team in the third place game last Saturday afternoon. Pojoaque was upset on Friday by the Kirtland, N.M. Broncos 11-4 in their semifinal.

In other tournament action, Bayfield lost for a second time to Cortez and would play Denver Manual for seventh place. Cortez faced Window Rock for the consolation trophy while Bloomfield and Kirtland faced off in the championship round.

Pirates take third place at Bloomfield Invitational

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs High School baseball Pirates were looking to bring home some hardware from the invitational tournament held last weekend in Bloomfield.

Standing in their way were the defending New Mexico 3A state champions from Pojoaque. Both teams had gone 1-1 in the tournament and the winner of this one would take home the third place trophy.

No problem.

The Pirates (2-1) were the visitors again and led off at the plate. They took advantage of some early errors by the Elks and scored two in the top of the first inning. Their bats finally came alive in the fourth to add four more and a 6-1 lead. The Elks used a four run fifth inning to get back in the ball game but the Pirates closed them out with two more in the top of the sixth to bring home the third place trophy with a good 8-5 win.

"This was as good a win as we have had against a good baseball team," said head Coach Charlie Gallegos after the wind blown and chilly afternoon contest. "I was worried about our hitting so I changed the (batting) lineup and it helped. After scoring only one run against Bloomfield I was proud of the way our kids came back today." The Pirates would rebound with eight hits against the Elks.

The Elks' starting pitcher, David Sullivan, got into trouble in the top of the first when he hit the lead off batter, John Hoffman, then walked Matt Gallegos to put two on with one out. Both scored on passed ball errors to put the Pirates up 2-0.

The battery for Pagosa was Casey Hart starting at pitcher and John Hoffman behind the plate. Hart walked the first batter and then he forced the second to hit into a double-play started by Josh Hoffman, playing at short-stop, who touched second and threw to Jim Guyton at first. The third batter grounded out to Cody Bahn at second base.

The Pirates went three and out in the top of the second but they did put the ball in play.

The Elks' Aaron Maistas doubled down the third base line to open the bottom the second. After walking the third batter John Hoffman made a great throw to Bahn to put him out trying to steal second and the inning ended with Maistas left on third.

Five Pirates went to the plate in the third when Sullivan had some control problems again and hit Josh Hoffman and Hart. Karl Hujus reached first on a fielder's choice but the inning ended with two left on base.

The Elks rallied in the bottom of the third inning for a run when two batters walked and the Pirates committed two errors to score Randal Ortega from third. Coach Gallegos changed pitchers and brought Adam Trujillo to the mound. He promptly sent three Elks back to the dugout to end the inning with the black and gold up 2-1.

The big inning for the Pirates came in their half of the fourth. Trujillo walked and stole second on a passed ball. Coach Gallegos inserted sophomore Julien Caler as a designated hitter and he stroked one to deep left center for a double that scored Trujillo.

The umpire, indicating that Caler had not been reported in, called him out and put Trujillo back at third. He scored (again) on a passed ball. John and Josh Hoffman reached base on a walk and an infield error by the Elks. Both stole bases to second and third. The Umpire called John Hoffman in for a score on a pitcher's balk by Sullivan. Matt Gallegos reached base on an infield hit when he out ran the throw to first and Josh Hoffman scored. Hart hit a single into center that scored Gallegos to put the Pirates up 6-1.

The Elks went down in order in their half of the fourth.

Guyton hit a single to center field for the only Pirates' action in the top of the fifth inning.

The Elks rallied again for four runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the score at 6-5. They loaded the bases on a single, a walk and an error. Another Pirates' error scored one and then Jason Martinez stroked a single for Pojoaque to score three more to end the inning.

The Pirates would not be denied and added two more runs to ice the game in the sixth. John Hoffman reached base again on an infield hit deep in the hole at short. Josh Hoffman was hit a second time that put runners on first and second.

The Elks switched pitchers and went with Tom Holder but the runners advanced on a passed ball. Matt Gallegos sacrificed John Hoffman in for the score on a fielder's choice. Hart walked and Josh Hoffman went to third and scored on another passed ball. Travis Richey flied out to deep second base and Trujillo walked to load the bases again. Holder then pitched himself out of the inning with three Pirates left on base.

Richey relieved Trujillo in the bottom half of the sixth and sent three Elks down throwing nasty stuff that Pojoaque couldn't handle.

The Pirates looked like they might score again in the top of the seventh when Averey Johnson, playing third base, reached first on an infield error and John Hoffman singled to right. Josh Hoffman hit into an infield fly rule and Matt Gallegos singled to left center to load the bases with one out. Hart reached base on a fielder's choice when the Elks forced Johnson at home and Pojoaque worked out of the inning with three left on base.

The Elks had one hit in the bottom of the seventh but then Richey pitched a shutout to end the game.

In other tournament action, the Bayfield Wolverines (1-2) got into the win column by defeating the 4A Denver Manual Thunderbolts, 12-2, to take seventh place. The 4A Cortez Panthers defeated the Window Rock, Ariz. Scouts for the consolation prize.

The Pirates head to Alamosa for a three game tournament starting tomorrow afternoon. Refer to the article on baseball practice opening to get the schedule and start times.

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Recreation department welcomes new coordinator

By Jim Miller

SUN Columnist

It never seems to go perfectly. Someone stops to ask a question just as the call to close cross streets comes over the radio, and I miss my cue. Or another driver absolutely can't wait to get to the post office and absolutely must cross Main Street.

Am I allowed to call it that? Technically, it's San Juan Street until the courthouse bend, heading east, then it becomes Pagosa Street until the east end of town, where U.S. 160 becomes the official nomenclature.

The parade route enters the highway at South Sixth Street and heads to South Second. For eight or 80 entries, the drill for traffic control is the same, and so are the alternate routes around the blocked intersections: South Eighth Street to Apache Street to Hot Springs Boulevard, or U.S. 84 to Light Plant Road to Hot Springs Boulevard.

From my station at Fourth and Lewis streets, the actual procession is a mere diversion, a blip in the background. My parade consists of the bewildered, impatient drivers who couldn't care less about what's being celebrated and are far too distracted to appreciate the novelty of their path through town.

I attempt to emulate the inspired big city traffic cop from an old "Candid Camera" episode who responds to overwhelming chaos by dancing merrily in its midst, smiling and gesturing with simultaneous abandon.

A mudra is a gesture that is universally understood. I employ about a dozen of them during every parade. There are another dozen or so I've been able to restrain myself from using.

How many drivers sense the life of the place they're passing through? What does my scruffy friendliness symbolize to those who just want to make it over Wolf Creek Pass tonight? Do they know that their detour, costing them only a few minutes, offers a glimpse of this town rarely appreciated by even those of us fortunate enough to live here - a glimpse at a neighborhood, not a strip mall?

I'll bet some of them each parade, and perhaps each day, see Pagosa going about its diverse business with spirit and energy to spare. Some of them will return. Many, I hope, will remember being part of an unexpected parade, somewhere along Lewis Street on Saint Patrick's Day.

Tee-ball orientation

Registration for the 2006 tee-ball season has closed, and recreation department staff are in the process of finalizing rosters and schedules. Coaches and parents will be contacted with roster information by early next week.

In the meantime, the department is offering an orientation night at the community center next week for parents and players. The orientation will cover basic skills such as throwing, catching and running bases.

All players who signed up this season should attend Monday, March 27 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The season will begin the week of April 10.

Recreation coordinator

The recreation department would like to welcome and introduce Andy Rice as the new recreation coordinator. A 12-year resident of Pagosa Springs, Andy is excited to a bring a lifelong passion for sports and over 15 years of professional experience in numerous recreation and fitness roles to the town recreation department.

Adult basketball schedule

A reminder: all games in the men's competitive league originally scheduled at 6 p.m. will be played at 7 p.m., and all games scheduled for 7:05 p.m. will be played at 8 p.m. throughout the remainder of the regular season. All games will be played at the junior high school.

The competitive league schedule for the coming week includes:

March 27 - Buckskin vs. M. Kelley at 7 p.m. in the upper gym, Ruff Ryders vs. Concrete Connection at 7 p.m. in the lower gym, Bear Creek vs. Chama I at 8 p.m. in the upper gym and Slack Attack vs. High Mountain Performance at 8 p.m. in the lower gym.

March 29 - Concrete Connection vs. Slack Attack at 7 p.m. in the upper gym, High Mountain Performance vs. Bear Creek at 7 p.m. in the lower gym, Chama II (Ballerz) vs. Buckskin at 8 p.m. in the upper gym and M. Kelley vs. Ruff Ryders at 8 p.m. in the lower gym.

The recreation league schedule for the coming week includes:

March 28 - Allen's Auto Body vs. Ponderosa at 6 p.m. in the upper gym, Tim Miller Custom Homes vs. South Pagosa at 6 p.m. in the lower gym and Citizens Bank vs. Green Machine at 7:05 in the lower gym.

March 30'- Ponderosa vs. Shot Callers at 6 p.m. in the upper gym, South Pagosa vs. Allen's Auto Body at 6 p.m. in the lower gym and Tim Miller Custom Homes vs. Citizens Bank at 7:05 p.m. in the lower gym.

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

Editorial

Build for tourism

Let's turn again to the idea of development and growth in Pagosa Country and offer some ideas for consideration that follow from others recently carried in this space. Those notions considered two types of development: new, large-scale residential development, and commercial development. The suggestion was made that large scale residential might be curtailed temporarily and commercial be encouraged within revised guidelines in town and county.

Let's again identify the current economic base in Pagosa Country. It is, clearly, highlighted by the real estate and construction industries on one hand, and the tourist business (including seasonal residents) on the other. Both have grown and kept our region flourishing for decades now.

No question: With the amount of land and lots available and a demand for same, the real estate industry will be productive and, as it progresses, construction businesses will flourish. Regardless of a moratorium on new, large scale residential development.

Tourism, on the other hand, could easily reach a threshold, if it hasn't already - one it can transcend only with development that encourages tourism.

The question, despite the flowery proclamations of touts and many new arrivals, is whether this "most beautiful" place in the known universe has enough to offer?

Restrain the knee-jerk reaction and ask: Are there enough amenities, enough attractions, enough activities, to convince a tourist willing to spend a sizeable amount of money per day, to spend several days or a week here? This is not a community built at the foot of a ski area. We boast hot springs, a golf course, assorted minor recreational activities and the "pristine" outdoors that surrounds us. But, those who come to enjoy that outdoor experience more often than not stay in the out of doors. They do not spend their money for lodging, at restaurants, in shops and galleries. They do not listen to live music, enjoy theatrical productions, watch a wide selection of films.

Further, with many of the "higher end" residential projects underway, are there amenities enough to coax a response from the new residents who will inhabit them?

We have to start providing these amenities, if we wish to encourage the industry. The facilities that offer the geothermal spring experience are well run and successful. There are several restaurants in town worthy of discriminating diners. There are a few galleries and several shops capable of attracting interest.

But, enough?

No.

It is time for private interests to fill the gap, take the risks with capital and proceed with their projects - all within established guidelines from town and county. And it is time for the market to test the projects and sort them out. Note: private interests. Not a dollar of public money should be used for these kinds of retail and entertainment amenities; public money is best spent on essential services and infrastructure.

When Pagosa was founded, it served an Army fort for a short period of time. That fort moved.

Ranchers and sheepherders made Pagosa a commercial center. There are but a few ranchers who make their living here now. Most "ranches" are 35 acres and less and they, at best, raise llamas or gophers.

The timber industry once flourished in Pagosa Country. With the passing of the 1980s, logging and milling came to an end.

What is left? And how do we intend to capitalize on it?

The Pagosans who must continue to earn a living, who do not have the luxury of pensions and retirements and a leisurely existence, must ask these questions as prospects for development loom on the horizon.

What is left? And how can we benefit from it?

Karl Isberg

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 24, 1916

Quite a number of the representative people of the Navajo in discussing the telephone proposition seem to think that if some one or two will put in the line, the majority of the citizens will be only too anxious to have the line and will come across with the necessary coin of the realm to insure good service. Nossaman, Dudrow and Brooks, get busy.

The big mill and log camps of the Pagosa Lumber Co. are now temporarily closed down until the bottom of the roads appears somewhere near the surface again. A force of men, however, is busy on repair work, an annual necessity.

A blizzard last night and more wet snow falling. The range looks nasty for another blockade.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 27, 1931

Four new rubbish cans have been placed at advantageous points in the main business block on Pagosa Street by the town board.

The Kearns school closed its term on March 19th and the teacher, Mrs. Florence Arnold, has now commenced a term at the Yellowjacket school. The Lone Tree school finishes its term today.

One of those famous million dollar snowstorms descended upon us in full force Wednesday, and all of the ranchmen and most everybody else are happy. More snow fell here than at any previous time during the past winter.

The Speelman rooming house on Lewis Street has been treated to a new shingle roof.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 22, 1956

The Giordanos are rebuilding the swimming pool at the Spa. This will make the pool one of the most modern in this part of the state. They plan on being through with the work in time for tourist season this spring. The pool will be so constructed that with the addition of wind shields this winter, year around swimming may be enjoyed.

Vic and Alice Cole have moved their grocery store into the house belonging to Frank Brown just east of The SUN office. They will have open house Saturday afternoon. Later this year they plan to add a filling station to their set up.

Looks as if the river is going to rise pretty fast this week. That means plenty of muddy water.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 26, 1981

If area residents want continued television service at the present level, or if they ever want improved service, they must make their $20 contribution to the Lions Club television committee. While donations are entirely voluntarily, enough dues must be collected each year to maintain the operations budget. The television service has been discontinued a few times in the past until sufficient cash to resume service was received. The service costs from $8,000 to $10,000 a year to operate.

Total snowfall for the winter to date on Wolf Creek Pass is 213.5 inches, less than half the normal amount. March has been the heavy snowfall month with 70 inches reported there thus far this month.

Features

Head: The Cutting Edge of Surgery

Robotic Technology Repairs the Human Heart

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"You've got to get rid of it," said numerous doctors to Hank Roberge, a retired aerospace systems engineer and Pagosa Springs resident, who had a tumor growing in the right atria of his heart.

Roberge, 71, suspected a hernia in his abdominal area and visited his doctor to learn what might be done to repair it. The physician ordered a computed tomography (CT) scan, and although Roberge's suspicion of a hernia proved correct, the CT scan also revealed a mass in the upper right quarter of his heart.

"Hank was very asymptomatic," explained Hank's wife, Lauren Hall-Roberge, as he showed no signs of heart trouble. Fortunately, Roberge was proactive in seeking medical advice regarding his hernia, and was alerted to his rare but dangerous heart condition: a benign fibrous tumor described as a right atrial myxoma (pronounced mix-o-ma).

"A myxoma is a benign tumor in the heart most commonly found in the left atrium. Right atrial myxomas are very rare, occurring in about one out of 1 million people. Treatment is necessary to avoid metastasis and the formation of clots. In addition, untreated growth of the tumor can obstruct blood flow through the heart. Myxomas are curable with surgical removal," states Medline Plus, a medical website produced by the United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health (www.nlm.nih.gov).

The usual course of action in treating myxomas is to follow a two-step regimen. The first step is an angiogram, an imaging procedure in which a physician inserts a catheter and contrast "dye" into the blood vessels to study the flow of blood throughout the body, or the heart in Roberge's case.

The second step is usually a sternotomy. This procedure involves bisecting the chest by surgically cutting through the sternum to provide access to the heart. In the instance of myxoma, the tumor would then be removed by the surgeon. The sternotomy is the most widely used heart surgery method.

"I wasn't sure I wanted to jump into that," said Roberge of the invasive tactics common to an angiogram and sternotomy, and the Roberge's set out to find alternatives, using the tool they knew best - the Internet.

"The search systems are very sensitive to word choice," said Roberge. "Finding [robotic alternatives] was a bear."

But despite the challenge, Roberge discovered a faster and more precise method than the traditional angiogram using a tomography machine. The method is called CT 64 Slice technology, and it provides a clear image of the heart and its arteries without the invasive catheter.

According to a press release issued by the University of Chicago Hospitals in 2005, "The technology has been particularly exciting for studying the beating heart, providing the first clear non-invasive images of the heart and its major vessels. The scans can be timed to use only images gathered between contractions, so that the heart and its vessels can be seen without the blurring caused by motion."

Roberge underwent the CT 64 Slice procedure and the scan showed in precise detail the size and location of Roberge's myxoma. With the results of the scan in hand, he was then able to share his case details with doctors across the country.

After months of Internet research, Hall-Roberge came across Peachtree Cardiovascular, a surgical group based in Atlanta touted as "leading healthcare in robotic and minimally invasive surgery."

"I was looking for minimally invasive heart procedures," said Hall-Roberge. "After sorting through hundreds of [Internet] hits, I found Dr. Murphy. We emailed him over the Christmas holidays, and he emailed us the very next day. He was great."

According to Roberge, Dr. Douglas A. Murphy has successfully completed more than 200 robotic heart surgeries, with more than 20 of the procedures being myxoma removals utilizing the da Vinci Surgical System created by Intuitive Surgical of Sunnyvale, Calif.

"Intuitive's products can provide surgeons with all the clinical and technical capabilities of traditional open surgery while enabling them to operate through tiny incisions," states Intuitive Surgical's website, www.intuitivesurgical.com.

According to the manufacturer, the benefits of robotic surgeries are numerous: "By enhancing surgical capabilities, Intuitive's products are helping to improve clinical outcomes and redefine standards of care. Patients may experience the following benefits: reduced trauma to the body; reduced blood loss and need for transfusions; less post-operative pain and discomfort; less risk of infection, shorter hospital stay; faster recovery and return to normal daily activities and less scarring and improved cosmesis."

These benefits were described in detail to Roberge by Dr. Murphy. "In my experience, they were right all along," said Roberge. Another benefit Roberge said is the overall shorter amount of time spent in surgery as compared to the more standard sternotomy, which leads to less time under anesthetic and less time spent on the heart-lung machine.

Roberge underwent robotic surgery in Atlanta on Feb. 8. Three weeks later, he was completely off pain medications, and almost ready to resume his normal activities.

"They told us that had Hank had a sternotomy, his recovery would take about a year and a half," said Hall-Roberge. "Forty hours after his surgery [with Dr. Murphy], he was discharged."

Roberge has five small incisions on the side of his chest and said he experiences only mild discomfort.

In an email to family and friends, updating them on Roberge's recovery, Hall Roberge wrote: "You probably know that Hank had the surgery laproscopically—with the use of a da Vinci Robot.  Very exciting and cutting edge stuff!!!  This guy was the only doc in the U.S. who told Hank that it absolutely could be done that way and he was as good as his word.  I came expecting maybe a "bait and switch" type thing, suckering us in with promises and then changing to the sternotomy at the 11th hour etc, but that did not happen.  In fact, he told me that the procedure was 'easy and very routine.'  They were inside his heart for only 20 minutes?"

Robotic surgical procedures are currently used for many types of surgery including prostatectomies, hysterectomies, and various heart repair and bypass procedures.

"There are probably 200 robots in the country," said Roberge. "Only about 15 of those are doing heart surgery. To me, the moral is that if the only difference in cost is the price of a plane ticket, and if that's the only reason to [have surgery] close to home or go to the best, then it's worth the cost of the ticket."

Pagosa's Past

Archuleta County government organized

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Shortly after Archuleta County was formed in 1885, the first county officers were appointed by the Colorado governor to serve an interim period of time until an election could be conducted.

Officers appointed by the governor in 1885 were: Commissioners — J.M. Archuleta Jr., Algernon S. Dutton, and Jud Hallett; Superintendent of Schools — F.A. Byrne; County Clerk and Recorder — E.M. Taylor; County Assessor — J. P. Archuleta; Country Treasurer — Isaac Cade; County Sheriff — William Dyke; and County Judge — J. H. Voorhees.

The first meeting of the first board of elected county commissioners prompted the following article in a January 1887 issue of the Del Norte Prospector: "The people will learn with regret that the greatest Hot Spring resort in the United States has a large element of people who usurp the power of the law and deter public officials from the faithful performance of their duties. Such seems to be the fact, as much as it may be regretted by our people. On the third of the month, Commissioners Martinez, Archuleta, and Skase (Motter's note: C.D. Scase) met to transact the business of a regular meeting. An armed mob entered the place of the meeting and compelled the commissioners to disband and leave the work of their regular quarterly meeting. They demanded the resignation of the commissioners and it is stated under threat to burn the house of Skase, he tendered his resignation. The other commissioners refused to resign. It is feared by the good people that this will result in serious trouble. The mob deserves a little credit for coming out boldly instead of writing more anonymous letters, which some of them have certainly done before this time. If the people of Archuleta County can find no way to stop this bulldozing, they need not expect to increase their 140 votes of last election. We understand the people opposing the commissioners have called a special meeting for the election of three commissioners, which is certainly illegal."

Later in January, the same newspaper reported, "These are red-hot times for the people and commissioners in Archuleta County. The citizens of Archuleta County desire to change their name to Logan."

In February the Prospector reported, "The Pagosa troubles have called out much comment over the state. One of the Archuleta County Commissioners has been making himself Scase of late. When they get tired of county administration, they simply drive the commissioners into the woods."

Scase they were. There are no entries in the commissioner minute book between Jan. 20, 1887, and Sept. 24 of the same year. A grand jury convened in Durango Oct. 5, 1887. Under indictment for riot were the following leading citizens of Pagosa Country: E.M. Taylor, John Dowell, Frank Cooley, H.D. Bowling, John Kemp, Jacob Dowell, Charles Chambers, E.T. Walker, Tully Kemp, J.H. Hallett, and R.J. Chambers.

Judge George T. Summers heard the case brought by the People of Colorado against the named defendants. Summers entered a nulle prosequi, filed certain communications with the court, dismissed the defendants, and excused the witnesses. Barzillai Price, A.C. Poor, and Tully Kemp were appointed to examine the county books.

Witnesses to the proceeding, in an unrelated probate court hearing conducted in 1890 said the ruckus resulted from a struggle for political control of the county between ten or fifteen Mexicans in the southern part of the county and English-speaking people from Pagosa Springs. They affirmed that the English-speaking people came out on top.

Also in 1890, the county commissioners denied a claim from C.D. Scase for $2,538.26 to replace a building burned during the political riot.

The alluded-to power struggle and charges of election fraud lasted in Pagosa Springs for several decades, well after 1900.

An unconfirmed belief persists to this day that the Archuletas, et al, wanted to move the county seat to Edith, where Archuleta owned the county's first flour mill and had other interests as well.

Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

3/15

44

16

-

-

-

3/16

49

9

-

-

-

3/17

48

26

-

-

-

3/18

43

28

-

-

-

3/19

37

21

S

2

.2

3/20

41

16

-

-

-

3/21

38

18

S

3

.3