April 6, 2006
Front Page

Aragon wins, lodger's tax issue passes

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Incumbent Mayor Ross Aragon will serve another four-year term in office following his 200-72 victory over challenger Paul Nobles Tuesday.

Aragon has served the town of Pagosa Springs for 30 years, 28 of them as mayor.

"I think it's pretty close to a mandate, nearly three-to-one," Aragon said Wednesday of the final tally. "It's hard to please everyone, but I know in my heart I've been trying hard; I take this very seriously. Now, there's a lot of work cut out for the council, and it's no time to twiddle our thumbs. I am gratified the townspeople want me to serve them another four years."

Voters also approved a 1.9 percent lodger's tax Tuesday, by a margin of 157 to 105.

The 1.9-percent tax added to the 3 percent that is currently being collected for use by the tourism marketing committee, will bring funding for the town council-appointed committee's endeavors back to a full amount which was the intent and scope of a November-approved tax increase.

Due to an oversight by town legal counsel, the lodger's tax approved in November 2005 trumped the county lodging tax within the town boundaries. Therefore, with the 1.9-percent county lodging tax removed from the equation, what was supposed to be a revenue boost, actually resulted in an inadvertent revenue cut. And the 3-percent tax that should have gone entirely to the tourism advisory committee was slashed, with the first 1.9 percent going to the Chamber of Commerce as a substitute for the lost county lodging tax, leaving just 1.1 percent for the tourism advisory committee.

Town manager Mark Garcia said Wednesday the voter approval "corrects problems we had with our original intent in November. Now, we can fund the Chamber at 1.9 percent and have three percent for marketing."

USFS approves access for Village at Wolf Creek

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

On Monday, the United States Forest Service released its much anticipated final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding access to the controversial Village at Wolf Creek development.

Although the document, titled, "Application for the Transportation and Utilities Systems and Facilities for the Village at Wolf Creek Final Environmental Impact Statement," thoroughly addresses the impact of access and transportation and utility corridors on the surrounding environment, Ryan Demmy Bidwell of the Durango-based environmental group Colorado Wild, said the document lacks a critical and necessary component - a discussion of the impact of the Village itself.

"The major flaw with the document is that the Forest Service refuses to analyze the impacts of the Village," Bidwell said, despite the document's acknowledgment that the Forest Service is charged with protecting public interests, and ensuring compatibility with the surrounding national forest and the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

According to the document, "... the conveyance of the 287.5-acre private property into non-Federal ownership included several easements to assure the adequate protection of public interests and compatibility with surrounding NFS (National Forest System) land uses, including the ongoing operation of the existing Ski Area permitted by the USFS."

And such a statement, Bidwell said, is just one of the document's numerous contradictions; and Bidwell added that the document reads as though the proposed village, which could ultimately house 10,000 people, with 2,200 residential units, 220,000 square feet of commercial space and luxury hotel accommodations adjacent to the Wolf Creek Ski Area, simply doesn't exist.

Bidwell said the Forest Service's decision to look solely at, and to grant access, and their refusal to study the impact of the development as a whole, runs contrary to public sentiment.

"It's discouraging to see the agency make a decision that flies in the face of public opinion," Bidwell said.

While Colorado Wild has been an outspoken opponent of the Village, it has been more than just the environmental group who has urged the Forest Service to rethink their approach to the Environmental Impact Statement.

State Rep. Mark Larson, state Sen. Jim Isgar and U.S. Rep. John Salazar have all urged the Forest Service to broaden the scope of the analysis, citing numerous concerns with the proposed development's impact on water, wetlands, the surrounding national forest and neighboring communities.

In addition, following allegations of lobbying abuses by the developer, Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, and allegations of collusion between the developer, the Forest Service and Mineral County, Larson and Isgar co-sponsored a resolution urging the Forest Service to halt completion of the Environmental Impact Statement until the allegations could be investigated.

That resolution was killed two weeks ago in committee.

"I am extremely disappointed that the Forest Service chose not to analyze the full impact the Village at Wolf Creek development will have on our watersheds and wetlands, but instead chose to focus solely on the access issue. This is more than a matter of road access - this is a matter of the well being of our communities," Salazar said.

Yet Forest Service officials overseeing the EIS project have long argued they are bound by federal law to assess, and ultimate provide access to private property inholdings within the national forest system.

"The Forest Service is required by law to provide access across the National Forest to private property," Forest Supervisor Peter Clark said. "I have the responsibility to specify how and under what conditions access will occur."

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 sets the framework for Clark's position.

According to the EIS, the agency is bound to "Provide access across National Forest System land to private land that is adequate to secure the owners reasonable use and enjoyment of their land without unnecessarily reducing the management options of the Forest Service or damaging National Forest lands or resources."

In a statement regarding the recently issued EIS, Clark said, "The scope of my decision was limited to actions relating to the construction, use, and maintenance of access roads and utility corridors across National Forest lands to the Village at Wolf Creek property. The Forest Service does not have the authority to prescribe development scale or activities on any private property."

Clark and other Forest Service officials have said that county, state and other federal agencies have jurisdiction over development on private property, and that Mineral County, through the Planned Unit Development process is the final arbiter in the scale of development on the site.

In 2004, Mineral County approved the Village at Wolf Creek final development plan, yet that approval was later revoked by 12th District Judge O. John Kuenhold on the grounds of insufficient year-round access.

In his decision, Kuenhold called Mineral County's approval of the final plan, "an arbitrary and capricious exercise of authority," and said the county's approval "misconstrued state statute and Mineral County subdivision regulations."

As part of the ruling, Kuenhold decreed that once the developer obtained adequate year-round access and received a Colorado Department of Transportation permit to access U.S. 160, they could seek re-approval of their final plan from Mineral County.

With the EIS complete, step one of Kuenhold's mandate is essentially complete.

According to the EIS, year-round access, and the main access point to the Village, will be provided by the construction of a new road called Snowshed Road. The second access point is a 250-foot extension to the existing Tranquility Road which will provide access between the ski area and the village.

Michele Ames, a spokesperson for the Village at Wolf Creek Ski Area said the ski corporation will pay to complete the 250-foot Tranquility Road extension, although it is unclear who will ultimately foot the bill for the multi-million dollar Snowshed Road access.

The EIS and Record of Decision are subject to administrative appeal.

For complete details on the 45-day appeal process and to view the complete environmental impact statement and record of decision, go to www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande.

In other Village at Wolf Creek news:

Despite a legislative boycott of an upcoming public forum regarding the Village at Wolf Creek, event organizer Jon Boyd, president of the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development Council said the event is still on.

Boyd said, "The Upper Rio Grande Economic Development Council is hosting this public forum to provide an opportunity for all citizens to come and learn in more detail about this development directly from the agencies in charge of the land development approval processes."

Invitees to the forum include, Mineral County commissioners, the United States Forest Service, Wolf Creek Ski Corporation, state senators Lewis Entz and Jim Isgar, state representatives Rafael Lorenzo Gallegos and Mark Larson, U.S. Rep. John Salazar and Village developers Red McCombs and Bob Honts.

As of presstime, Boyd said, representatives from the Forest Service, Mineral County Administrator Les Cahill and Bob Honts had confirmed they will attend, yet key legislators, namely Isgar and Larson, will be absent.

Both legislators have announced they will boycott the forum, stating the "agenda is stacked to prevent a free exchange of ideas."

"This ostensibly unbiased forum is a sham. The Upper Rio Grande Economic Development Council hosting this forum has already come out in favor of the Village, is stacking the participant list to promote the Village, and has refused to address numerous biases in how the forum would be carried out," said Larson.

Dusty Hicks, vice president of the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development Council, is a paid consultant for the Village at Wolf Creek, although Boyd said Hicks had recused himself from the forum.

Among Isgar and Larson's reasons for the boycott are concerns that the Upper Rio Grande Economic Development Council, who they say are Village supporters, are the facilitators, while the group's president, Jon Boyd, would serve as the event's moderator.

In addition, they said the council's control of the forum could allow them to bar certain citizens or groups from entering the event, that questions could be filtered and that individuals could be removed at the council's discretion.

Furthermore, representatives from Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council had been denied participation on the panel, which Bidwell of Colorado Wild confirmed.

Boyd said the panel would be comprised of land-use decision makers and that the environmental organizations did not fit that description.

"They are not decision makers in the process," Boyd said. They are in a position to ask questions."

"After their response," Bidwell said, "We decided it would be inappropriate to attend the forum."

With Colorado Wild leadership boycotting the event, Pagosa Springs member and local ski shop owner Juanalee Park said she strongly opposes the development and that she would still attend.

"If we're really going to make a statement, we need to show up in numbers. If nobody attends, it appears there is no valid opposition."

Park said that although attending the event might validate what she said was a forum utterly lacking in credibility, she said she will still go to Creede to send her opposition message to the developer.

The forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, April 4, in Creede at the Creede Community Center in the Underground Mining Museum.

Stevens Field airport manager resigns

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Stevens Field manager Rob Russ submitted his resignation to the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners Monday, effective at the close of business tomorrow. Monday was his final day of work.

Following what Russ described as a difficult relationship with county government, he has decided to pursue other interests, not the least of which will be a return to Iraq and Afghanistan. Russ is a pilot with the Air Force Reserves, and has flown combat missions in both countries.

"I'm going back (to Iraq and Afghanistan) for three to six months," Russ said. "I'm a reservist and the Air Force has asked me to come back. I already have enough time in to retire if I wanted, but I don't want to give it up just yet."

Russ said his reserve unit is already abroad and will be, until December. "I'll be going sometime in the next two weeks," he said. "I really want to do it."

Russ and his wife moved to Pagosa Springs about a year ago, and following a month of "attending Federal Aviation Agency conferences and briefings," he began work as airport manager May 1, 2005.

But, in the course of exercising his management responsibilities, conflicts arose with members of the Archuleta County Airport Advisory Commission and county government.

"Some of the (advisory) commission members tried to get me fired," Russ said. "They told the sheriff's department I was carrying a gun around the airport. They actually tried to have me arrested."

Russ feels attempting reconciliation with commission members is a waste of time. "I haven't gone to their last few meetings, because I can't work with those people. I think they're all out to get me."

Reacting to Russ's resignation, advisory commission chairman Elmer Schettler said, "I wish Mr. Russ well in whatever he embarks upon in life. I really hope he finds his place in the sun."

Schettler went on to say, "A new day is dawning at the airport. We've heard the terms 'the good old boys' mentioned in reference to people who've been around the airport a long time. I know those people and see them as ones giving back to the community and society as a whole.

"The two people who used that language (good old boys) are no longer involved, and the commissioners (BOCC) are reviewing applications for three new members on the advisory commission. This is an opportunity for people to step forward and serve on the commission. I see a new era of transparency and working together to build community."

Differences with the advisory commission notwithstanding, when asked what the primary reason for submitting his resignation was, Russ said, "I'm leaving because of the turmoil in our county, and mismanagement by the commissioners. I want the airport to succeed and to continue with the safety improvements, but if the commissioners continue down the road they're on, we'll never make it (the airport) self-sustaining. They're totally mismanaging it, and I can't work like that anymore.

"I want commissioners who are committed to the airport," he continued. "We'll have to repair or resurface that runway someday, and we're not doing anything to prepare for it. The commissioners are running it in the ground."

In response to Russ's allegations, Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday said simply, "It's a personnel issue, but it has not been easy to work with Mr. Russ and some of the other personalities involved with the airport, and I know it hasn't been easy for him. So, I understand his decision to move on."

Russ believes his leadership brought about the completion of recent airport improvements that, in his words, "stalled under two previous managers. They couldn't get it done, but I came in, and now we have a new runway and FBO (fixed base operation) building. The people of Archuleta County were fortunate to have me."

When asked what his plans following overseas military duty might be, Russ said, "We'll have to see. I'll keep my house here and in Santa Fe. We came from Daytona Beach and I have a job offer there, but it'll take a lot to get me back there. I have other interviews too. They're not local, but I'm in a position to be a little picky. It's a good position to be in."

Russ also said, "The county government would have to change before I'd ever work for the county again. I have no hard feelings."

Regardless of Russ's reasons for leaving, a level of dissention has clearly divided airport management, the advisory commission and the BOCC for some time. Therefore, according to county administrator Bob Campbell, "We now have an opportunity to find new people, move ahead and continue the progress."

For now, Campbell, airport maintenance supervisor Chris Scarpa and administrative assistant Jennifer Chavez will share oversight of airport operations until a new manager is eventually selected.

 Inside The Sun

Senior dental services available

The Area Agency on Aging and Old Age Pension Dental Program provide limited dental services to seniors over 60 who meet income eligibility requirements.

Several dentists in southwest Colorado participate in the program, which will provide x-rays, examinations, fillings, extractions and dentures. Patients are responsible for the minimal co-pay.

Archuleta County residents should call Sally Johnson, regional OAP coordinator, 259-1967.

County and town represented at land-use forum

Local officials recently participated in the 2006 Western Community Stewardship Forum - Innovative Solutions to Community Land Use, sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) and the Sonoran Institute.

Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs representatives joined others from La Plata County, Chaffee County, Saguache County, Boundary County, Idaho and Missoula County, Mont. Six workshop participants from each county were allowed and received, free of charge, three days training, lodging and meals as well as a copy of the new publication, "Planning for Results: Practical Advice for Building Successful Rural Communities."

The purpose of the forum, held in Grand Junction, March 15—18, was to strengthen the capacity of county officials in rural Western counties to manage growth in their communities through innovative approaches to community land use and by stimulating healthy economies, preserving local identity, and safeguarding natural and cultural resources.

Specifically, participating county officials received practical, timely, and ground-tested training and technical assistance in the use of information, tools, and strategies to address community stewardship goals.

Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro, Planning Commissioner Larry Garcia, Development Director Blair Leist, Senior Planner Dave Alvord, Associate Planner Cindy Schultz, and Town Planning Director Tamra Allen represented Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs.

Throughout the forum, hallmarks of successful communities were discussed on how to: Develop a broadly shared vision; understand your economy; understand natural and cultural assets; effectively manage growth and change; promote leadership.

Specific items noted by the Archuleta County/Town representatives that should be completed prior to or concurrently while completing a new Land Use Code/Comprehensive Plan in our community were: a natural and cultural assets list; a growth model; a comprehensive regional capital improvements plan; a costs of community services study. Additional issues included regional transportation systems and affordable housing needs assessment and planning.

Allen stated: "It was a great opportunity to have discussions on regional planning and growth issues with both town and county players at the table."

NACo and the Sonoran Institute have worked in partnership since 1999 to address the increasing need for innovative community-driven solutions to land use issues.

Lutheran youth attend Chicago event

By John Widmer

Special to The SUN

At the beginning of spring break, Our Savior Lutheran Church's Youth Group left to spend a four-day weekend in the windy city.

Accompanied by John Widmer and Ruth Earley, they joined hundreds of other Christian teenagers attending a youth encounter called "Construction Zone" in Chicago.

Last summer, the youth group visited New York City and spent a week at Camp Sonrise in the Adirondacks in upstate New York, where they met and became friends with a youth group from Trinity Lutheran Church in Fenton, Michigan.

At the time, they told our young people about this youth encounter in Chicago and extended an invitation to join them. We were happy to have this opportunity to meet up with Michigan Youth Group again and to participate in this wonderful event.

The weekend was filled with worship, Bible study, breakout sessions call "pathways," dealing with different topics like evolution, drug abuse, life experiences in a war zone, coffee shop ministries, etc. There was also a lot of good Christian rock music which our youth enjoyed thoroughly.

One of the weekend's highlights was the on-site service project, "Feed my Starving Children," where the kids hand-packaged meals. These nutritious meals feed desperately hungry children in over 20 countries worldwide.

We concluded the trip with a visit to the Field Museum where we admired the exhibits on Pompei and dinosaurs in China. Unfortunately, our sight-seeing was cut short due to the bitter cold and windy conditions in Chicago.

County and airport hanger owners reach settlement

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

In a press release dated April 4, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners announced a settlement of recent litigation between the county and several aircraft hanger owners at Stevens Field.

In Archuleta County District Case 05 CV 147, referred to as Humble et al. v. Board of County Commissioners of Archuleta County Colorado, county officials and staff met with the plaintiffs in court-ordered mediation last Friday, in an 11-hour session culminating with agreed terms of a new "ground lease."

The arrangement allows the plaintiffs to assume immediate possession and ownership of eight hangers built for their use in the summer of 2005. According to county administrator Bob Campbell, the county has also agreed to reimburse the plaintiffs $50,000 in damages incurred during the course of the litigation, and to require only a $1 million/$2 million liability insurance policy per hanger, instead of the $1 million/$5 million policy "typical of other airports."

On the other hand, hanger owners will only be allowed to sublet their hangers to other aircraft-related users, subject to full BOCC approval, and all forms of use must comply with all state and federal regulations. Additionally, should hanger owners choose to sell their hangers, the county will have first right of refusal at 90 percent of the appraised value.

While a hanger owner actually retains ownership of the physical hanger structure, he or she does not own the land it sits on. Consequently, the owner is subject to a ground lease and must pay the county rent. According to terms of the new agreement, rent cannot exceed 38 cents per square foot the first year.

The dispute between Archuleta County and the plaintiffs revolved around a hanger ground lease specifically outlined in a 2004 agreement signed by Ken Fox, a former airport manager, and the then county administrator William Steele. In the three-page document, hanger owners agreed to vacate their property to facilitate demolition of their existing hangers as part of the Stevens Field improvement project. In return, the county agreed to construct new hangers and provide hanger owners bills of sale, thus transferring ownership.

The old hangers are gone and the new ones have since been built, but when the county suggested hanger owners sign a new lease in order to receive bills of sale, the owners found additional terms in the final version of the lease that were "unacceptable." Their refusal to sign eventually resulted in eviction notices and threats of eminent domain.

The terms deemed unacceptable by hanger owners, many of which are outlined above, have now been resolved and a new contract is in place. The BOCC believes the settlement fulfills its obligations to the plaintiffs, and, according to the April 4 press release, "regrets the fact that the litigation in question has caused a certain amount of acrimony between the county and certain long-time users of Stevens Field."

Also in the press release, the BOCC said it is "hopeful that this settlement will be the first step toward restoring the public's faith in the county's ability to operate the airport for the benefit of all county residents in the future." It also expressed the Board's appreciation of the efforts of new county administrator Bob Campbell "in helping to bring this matter to resolution."

Family Night at the education center

By Renee Haywood

Special to The SUN

How about an evening out for dinner and entertainment with your child?

The Archuleta County Education Center's Parent and Child Together Night, 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, April 13, is the place to be.

Parents and children will gather for dinner and a fun evening of storytelling with Jeff Laydon.

This month, the education center is combining the evening with the "Week of the Young Child." There is no cost for this fun-filled family outing, but parents need to preregister by calling the education center at 264-2835 or stopping by our office located on the corner of 4th and Lewis streets.

It's spring - time for delays on Wolf Creek Pass

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and contractor Kiewit Western Company have resumed road construction activities on U.S. 160 east of Wolf Creek Pass.

The latest phase of construction involves a half-mile stretch of U.S. 160, from the Big Meadows Reservoir access road at mile marker 174.7, to the east. Crews are blasting and removing rock, widening both lanes to 12 feet, widening the shoulders to eight feet, and upgrading guardrail to meet current federal safety standards.

As of Monday, motorists could expect delays of at least 45 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, as traffic queues are cleared in each direction. Drivers can expect similar delays on Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., until Memorial Day weekend.

Overnight pass closures will begin again April 10, and will occur every Monday through Thursday night until Memorial Day weekend. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., those traveling east of Wolf Creek Pass should go south on U.S. 84 to Chama, then turn east on N.M. 17 to Colo. 17, then continue east to U.S. 285. From there, turn north to Alamosa, Monte Vista and beyond. Westbound traffic should follow the same alternate route in reverse.

Restrictions of commercial vehicles 10 feet wide and 80 feet long will be in effect from April 10 through May 26, with no weekend restrictions.

"We look forward to resuming this challenging project and remaining on schedule for summer completion," said CDOT project engineer Craig Black. "We appreciate motorists' patience and the use of safe driving practices during the final months of construction."

For updated project information or to leave questions or comments, the public may call the construction hotline at (719) 849-1778, or log on to www.cdot.info/wolfcreekpass/.

Kiwanis to sponsor lunch at Saturday's Kids' Fair

By Frank Schiro

Special to The SUN

As part of ongoing efforts to support local activities that help children, the Pagosa Springs Kiwanis Club will sponsor the lunch at the Week of the Young Child Kids' Fair that takes place Saturday.

Officially, the Week of the Young Child runs this year April 2-8. The National Association for the Education of Young Children sponsors this annual celebration.

Locally, it is headed up by the Head Start Program and Seeds of Learning. The Week of the Young Child is intended to focus public attention on the special needs of young children and their families and to highlight services that are needed to meet those needs.

The theme for this year's celebration is "Building Better Futures for All Children." The week emphasizes attention in the areas of childcare and supportive employer policies; better access to high-quality early childhood programs; and better nutrition and health care.

One of the high points each year is the Kids' Fair. That fair will be Saturday and will be held in the Elementary School. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and will consist of the typical kid favorites of hot dogs, chips, sodas and other goodies.

Demonstrating their well-known motto, "Serving the Children of the World," local Kiwanis Club volunteers will sponsor the lunch and serve it up to all who attend. A nominal fee will be charged to help allay some of the food costs.

Kiwanis members encourage everyone in town, especially those with young children, to come out and enjoy the fair and lunch.

Additionally, anyone interested in helping the local club continue to reach out to the kids in Archuleta County can find out more about Kiwanis by joining members at their weekly lunch held at noon every Thursday at Boss Hog's Restaurant.

Health services board considers ambulance needs, hospital project

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

At the regular Upper San Juan Health Service District meeting Tuesday, discussion centered on two primary issues: One involved the district's aging ambulance fleet, while the other covered a number of topics related to a proposed Critical Access Hospital for Pagosa Springs.

At present, the district operates four ambulances, including two older models with more than 100,000 miles each. The other two have fewer miles, but are already showing signs of wear. All are four-wheel drive.

At Tuesday's meeting, district EMT/Paramedic Devon Schrader reviewed the status of the Emergency Medical Services ambulances with the board

Following the review, Schrader recommended the district spring for one newer ambulance right away, and another in a year or two. Based on preliminary research, he suggested choosing one of three available used models, including two Ford diesel van-type units, one a two-wheel-drive, and a donated GM chassis that would accommodate the box from a retired unit.

At that point, a lively discussion ensued, with board members weighing in on the merits of two-wheel drive versus four-wheel drive units. As anticipated, functional utility, patient transport safety, reliability and projected costs were considered and eventually, all agreed that dependability in the emergency transport business was paramount.

By unanimous vote, the board supported a motion instructing Schrader and district manager Pat Haney to gather information on the possible purchase of a new four-wheel-drive box-style ambulance, and present it to the board at the next meeting. During the discussion, Schrader said he knew of four reputable ambulance manufacturers, and would contact them for details. Based on his knowledge of the four companies, he estimated the cost of a new ambulance at $95,000 to $110,000.

As meeting topics turned to the proposed hospital, board chair Pam Hopkins passed out copies of an artist's rendering, depicting what the facility might look like as a one-story building. The design combines the existing Mary Fisher Clinic structure with another much larger one, and includes a large flowing entrance canopy bringing the two together.

While briefly reviewing the rendering, board members and others in attendance reflected some skepticism, and turned to discussing whether the structure should be built to allow eventual "upward" expansion by adding a second floor when necessary. Again, costs were considered, together with the amount of room available for eventual outward expansion, and the general consensus shifted to economics. Though board reception to the rendering seemed cool, most agreed that some sort of canopy be included to let in ample light.

Since the last district board meeting, a conceptual "footprint," referred to as "Option B," gained approval by the Hospital Construction Committee, though the layout is still being tweaked.

Building a new hospital takes serious money, and fund-raising committee chair Michelle Visel reported that contributions are still flowing in. Visel said many people have stepped up and progress is ongoing, but the district is still a long way from achieving its goal of matching recent pledges.

Visel suggested anyone interested in supporting the hospital project can contact the following individuals to pledge their support: J.R. Ford, 264-5000; Lisa Scott, 264-2730; Dr. Deborah and Ron Parker, 264-0022; Maria Kolpin, 264-0355; or Michelle Visel, 264-2797.

Of course, the district is hoping the largest share of support will come from voters in under four weeks. In a special election scheduled May 2, all registered voters from Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties living within the district will be asked to approve an increase in district debt by $12,000,000.

Titled 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 communityŠ"

In essence, according to board member Bob Goodman, the ballot issue simply asks voters, "Do you want a hospital, or don't you?

Planning Commission

The Archuleta County Planning Commission will hold its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the Board of County Commissioners' meeting room, in the Archuleta County Courthouse.  Public comment is welcome and encouraged.

  The agenda includes:

- Call to order / roll-call.

- Ketchum Minor Impact Subdivision - Sketch

The applicant is requesting approval of the sketch plan phase of a minor impact subdivision in order to subdivide one lot previously improperly subdivided.  The property is located in the NW 1Ž4, NE 1Ž4, Section 8, Township 35 North, Range 1 West, N.M.P.M., Archuleta County, Colorado. 

- Lee Minor Impact Subdivision - Final Plat

Kathleen Lee is requesting Final Plat approval that will allow her to legally create and sell a 13.19 acre parcel. The property is located in the W 1Ž2, E 1Ž2 of Section 11, T 32N, R 1W, N.M.P.M. The proposed parcel has been assigned an address of 4920 CR 359.

- Paloma Blanco Minor Impact Subdivision - Final Plat

This is a request to obtain approval of the Final Plat for the purposes of subdividing a parcel of 6.31 into 2 lots of 3 +/- acres each.   The property is located in the SE 1Ž4, NE 1Ž4, Section 31, T32N, R1W, N.M.P.M.  The parcel address is 3000 U.S. 84.

- Park Place - Conditional Use Permit

This is a request to obtain approval of a Conditional Use Permit for the purpose of creating up to 18 townhomes on 5.89 acres. The property is located in Central Core, Parcel 2, Section 17, T35, R2 W.  The proposed parcel has been assigned an address of 1401 Park Ave.

- Coster - Minor Impact Subdivision Sketch Plan

This is a request to obtain approval of the Sketch Plan for the purposes of legalizing an illegally subdivided parcel of 4.92 acres. The property is located in the E 1Ž2, S 1Ž2, N 1Ž2 SW 1Ž4 NE 1Ž4 Section 11, T34N, R1W, N.M.P.M.  The parcel address is 2051B Catchpole Drive.

- Review of the planning commission minutes of  March 8, 2006.

- Other business that may come before the commission.

- Adjournment.

 Catch and Release

No column this week.

High Country Reflections

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

Like the spring weather itself, emotions ran the full gamut, as we readied for the release of four more Canada lynx into the wilds of Colorado.

Within us, amid periods of cold and snow, harsh winds and a warm searing sun, genuine excitement, pride and intense gratification wrangled with underlying fear and uncertainty, distrust and even anger, as we relished the moment, yet pondered the future. In the end, after having witnessed an amazing affair, we all quietly dispersed, fading back into relative obscurity, most to simply wait and see Š to hope for the best.

For Jackie and me, and perhaps a hundred others, April started early with a blustering ring of the alarm. On that final morning before daylight saving time began, we rose to the crackling sound of frozen rain pelting the windows. Diffuse light filtered through a dark and ominous daybreak sky, and as the outside temperature hovered close to freezing, huge sodden snowflakes mingled with the sleet, forming a thin blanket of white on the dank forest floor.

Ordinarily, the jaunt from our house to South Fork takes the better part of an hour, but an icy spring storm at home almost certainly meant heavy snow over the pass. As we packed lunches and loaded the truck, I wondered if we'd make it there at all, let alone in time to meet up with the Division of Wildlife.

As expected, the further we traveled toward the Wolf Creek summit, the heavier the weather and whiteout conditions. Plows worked to keep up, but the road was slick, and the driving treacherous. At one point, we stopped to check on the driver of a jackknifed semi, who appeared fine, other than obviously shaken, as he waited for a tow and eventual rescue.

Proceeding on, we took our time in four-wheel-drive, and eventually dropped into South Fork without incident. Surprisingly, the roads there were dry under partly-sunny skies, with only a gale-force wind marring the otherwise clement surroundings.

We met several DOW personnel at a prearranged place, and in fact, arrived with time to spare. Before long, TV film crews, ecologists, conservationists, and others arrived, some from as far away as Nebraska, and once a sizable group had assembled, DOW director Bruce McCloskey addressed the crowd.

He thanked all for coming, and acknowledged several who worked to make the lynx reintroduction program a reality. At once, he presented division biologist Scott Wade, who then explained the wild and timid nature of the four cats being released. Wade further described their confinement since capture (over the past three months), including minimal human exposure, and asked that everyone, upon arriving at the release site, respect them with orderliness and quiet.

With proper instructions and a general air of elation, we formed a motorcade of 20 vehicles or more, and drove nearly an hour to a stretch of forest road a few miles short of the release site. We parked there, piled into the back of a few DOW trucks, and were taken to within a hundred yards of four canvas-covered "nest boxes" the cats had called home since Christmas. Again, we were asked to remain silent, as we zealously moved to within a few yards of the metal crates and their precious cargo.

The neatly-spaced boxes were placed facing a broad clearing, beyond which sheer mountains rose sharply to the south. Covered by dense coniferous forest, except for a few long and relatively narrow avalanche chutes, the precipitous summits held a good population of snowshoe hares, and would hopefully make fine homes for the single male and three females, all originally from the forests of British Columbia.

Meanwhile, the weather had improved to spring-like conditions, with bright sun, mild temperatures and moderate breezes. As all assumed positions, readied cameras and waited for handlers to open the first box, I glanced toward the vast high-country, wondering just where four misplaced felines might settle in for the night. I wondered how far they'd roam and how soon food would be a necessity. Like virtually all in attendance, I feared for their safety and quietly wished them well.

Suddenly, without fanfare, three people approached the first box, cautiously removed its canvas cover and gently raised the door. I held my breath, aimed the Olympus and watched as the first of four surprisingly large cats slowly emerged from its transitory confinement. In an instant, as the wary beast first glanced at the audience, then recognized freedom, it bounded off to the nearest of trees and soon disappeared into the forest beyond.

The remaining flights mirrored the first. Again and again, in quiet succession, as a door slowly opened and another captive sensed deliverance, it too, leapt over the snow, in a beeline to the far end of the meadow and the cover of woods.

The entire affair lasted but a few minutes, yet all stood fast for a long moment, as if expecting the four to return for an encore performance. I too, waited and watched, hoping against hope for one final glance.

But the stately cats were gone, leaving only four lines of tracks, as they set off for new digs in another chapter of life. If all goes well, each may live another decade or more, and perhaps collectively, they'll parent dozens of offspring.

Before heading to the trucks and eventually toward home, many of us gathered round McCloskey, as he again acknowledged the many involved in the day's release and the lynx program overall. He thanked vice-chair Tom Burke of the Colorado Wildlife Commission for participating, and expressed gratitude to attending members of Great Outdoors Colorado and the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation. Combined, they have contributed two-thirds of the nearly $6 million spent on the project since 1997.

As the director recognized the U.S. Forest Service and others for their vital roles in the project, I thought of the DOW and the tireless work of its own staff, never mind the $2 million it has invested. I mulled its progress and considered the uncertainties, and wondered, aside from nature, what could possibly derail the endeavor. Of course, the answer was obvious Š unfettered human expansion, habitat fragmentation, poaching; in other words, mankind itself.

At once, I asked Director McCloskey when the public could expect the division to issue an official stance on the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, particularly in light of the enormous effort and expense in the reintroduction so far, and the fact that the proposed development sits squarely in the middle of the bulk of lynx activity, as indicated by satellite telemetry.

After pretending to pick up a snowball with the intent of throwing it at someone, he chuckled and said, "Well, there's a lot we don't know right now. We don't have all the answers, but we're working to get them, and we're providing comments to the various agencies involved. I'm hopeful that consideration of the lynx project will be part of the equation when deciding on the approval of the proposed village."

In the meantime, according to the DOW's lead field researcher Tanya Shenk, "The cats are doing very well, and Colorado offers good habitat. While most hold tight for awhile following release, they have great dispersal abilities and can do well in atypical habitat too."

Shenk explained that once the cats are captured in Canada or Alaska, they're held for about three months before being released. She described initial concerns with possible human acclimation or muscle atrophy, "But," she said, "we've minimized human exposure and fed them mostly rabbits, carnivore diet or roadkill, and we've had none of these problems. They're really mellow cats."

Shenk cautions that it's too soon to know how successful the program will be, but suggests the strong natural reproduction rate over the past three years leaves room for optimism. "At this point, no one knows what the optimum number of lynx in Colorado will be," she said. "We'll see how they do."

After Saturday, the DOW plans to release another 10 lynx this month, and perhaps 15 a year, the next two years. Since 1999, a total of 204 cats have been reintroduced, with 105 known kittens born in the wild since the spring of 2003. Today, biologists estimate between 150 and 200 lynx are now roaming the Colorado mountains.


A "need?"

Dear Editor:

Puzzlement Š why is public killing good for society, particularly as it's often supported by the righteous when not opposing abortion?

Pascal said it best: "He who would act the angel becomes the beast." Man is certainly predictable. Again and again, national, local and religious groups seek to cleanse through ritual killing and the individual "chosen" is almost unfailingly a minor actor caught up in the times. For example, a Christian convert in Muslim Afghanistan was given asylum as he would likely die at the hand of true believers or Mr. Moussaoui as proxy for the 9/11 attacks. Beware the true-believers of any stripe.

Moussaoui is a paradox as he is anxiously trying to die/join the other 9/11 martyrs in the Garden. He also is best described as an "open mike," or a dupe who chose to be some part of Al Qaeda and is now left behind mostly by his fellow planners who dismissed him as unreliable. Our federal prosecution team says he deserves to be executed as he refused to tell investigators that Al Qaeda was going to fly planes into buildings.

Whether he did or not, we are purposely overlooking the FBI executives who were "busy," when their field agents repeatedly sent very real warnings of the pending attack. Our government's response was best described by Mr. Roemer, former Democratic congressman from Indiana: "It's like the elephant fighting the snake." I'm sure no pun intended.

The fact is to "put things right," we "need" to publicly kill someone here in the U.S. for this truly foul crime; and Moussaoui, a reject by his own, is a ready-made volunteer.

Today we don't know the outcome of the trial or for that matter his after life; but I'm guessing Allah doesn't provide virgins for stupidity.

Dave Blake

Use the board

Dear Editor:

I just heard that the airport manager, Rob Russ, will be leaving his job. Whatever the reason for his departure, this is welcome news to all who have been adversely impacted by his management tactics. Since my husband has been involved with the airport as a pilot, flight instructor and aircraft inspector for over 16 years, I have been included in many conversations regarding Mr. Russ' behavior toward both airplane and hangar owners.

Before the commissioners hire a new manager, one would hope they would involve the Airport Advisory Board in the process with both job requirements and interviews of potential applicants. The board, many of whom are airplane and hangar owners, embodies many years of practical airport experience and knowledge and has a vested interest in the operation and management of the airport. To rely on the advice of a single individual such as Ken Fox who does not own an airplane or hangar, offers little hope for providing a more user-friendly environment for the future of Stevens Field.

Our commissioners should seriously consider using the Airport Advisory Board to recommend a suitable temporary manager until an experienced manager can be found. With the advent of a new runway and the settlement of the hangar dispute, the time is right for a friendly airport environment for both local pilots and visitors. If we expect to increase airport utilization and economic advancement, we need management that will provide friendly and imaginative leadership.

Sam Goulds


Dear Editor:

Thank you for your call to awaken to what we have, and may be losing, of our individual rights.

The Bill of Rights is a good place to start. To me, the most significant is Amendment 9, which states, "The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." In other words, the Constitution does not and should not contain a list of all our rights.

It must be remembered that the Constitution does not grant us our rights. It is the other way around. When the federal government was founded, it was the people who granted certain powers to this new government. Therefore, the Constitution is the structure within which the federal government is to operate.

Some Americans have become enamored with "globalism," and how other countries, especially European, are run, that they tend to forget the basic difference _ other governments grant rights to their people. In the United States, our rights, according to the Declaration of Independence, are God-given, and the constitutional government is set up to secure these rights. To my knowledge, this is the most advanced type of government the world has ever known, and embodies the concept of man's self-government. Let's keep it if we can! (Didn't Benjamin Franklin say that?).

To protect individual rights, it would help if the federal government would obey the Constitution and work within the framework it provides. Other laws are provided to protect these rights from being violated by other individuals.

A sobering thought: These rights are ours only as we respect the rights of others. William Penn said, "Men will be governed by God, or will be ruled by tyrants."

You mention Bonhoeffer. I have read the book. This describes the awful tragedy of allowing a nation to come under despotic tyranny in exchange for the illusion of protection from danger and in the name of "safety and security."

Clive Lamprell

Pothole tragedy

Dear Editor:

Nissan Sentra here again. For 12 years, I have started with one turn of the key, but since I sank in that pothole in the Pagosa Country Center, I'm broke! These holes have been there for months. Is this town so broke they can't afford a truck, two men and pothole fillers? What a disgrace!

Brenda McCooey

Editor's note: When you stop by the ICU to see your car, tell it the potholes noted here were patched early this week.

No sense

Dear Editor:

I read with interest and amazement, the article in the March 9 issue of the South Fork Times that outlines the political opposition to Wolf Creek Village. The article goes on to say that U.S. Rep. John Salazar is firmly opposed to the project known as Wolf Creek Village from moving forward.

It is my understanding that this project has essentially obtained all its approvals and has been properly zoned for 20 years. Why, at this late date, does Rep. Salazar step forward trying to stop this worthwhile project? Who is he really representing? All he is doing is placating to a couple hundred very vocal anti-business, anti-development, anti-everything group.

Rep. Salazar does not make sense. Certainly the majority of the residents in his district support Wolf Creek Village. Fish and Wildlife has said that there is no major impact to the lynx from this project. His opposition is certainly contrary to the best interest of the business owners and taxpayers of Mineral County, Rio Grande County, Archuleta County and other surrounding counties. Further, Wolf Creek Village will certainly have a positive impact on the county's tax base, employment opportunities and quality of life in the area.

I have been contemplating making an investment in that area of Colorado for a second home based on what I thought was happening in that area. I have put my investment plans on hold until I see what happens with Wolf Creek Village. Rep. Salazar's opposition defies everything that makes the USA a great country to live in. In the next election, I hope the voters find a new elected official that represents their best interest and is not blinded by a few vocal people.


Karen M. Sass

Port St, Lucie, Fla.

Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist Today

Class reunion plans

Members of the Pagosa Springs High School Class of 1977 are invited to help with plans for the class reunion. Meet in the elementary school cafeteria at 5:30 p.m. For more information, call Steve Voorhis at 264-4233 or e-mail svoorhis@pagosa.k12.co.us.



Partners in Education at the elementary school will sponsor an evening of storytelling 6-8 p.m. Families are invited to attend and hear a wide variety of entertaining stories.

Charlie King, Jann Pitcher, Heather Hunts, Linda Lucero, Jeff Laydon, Polly Cole and Mark Brown will be among the storytellers. The event is held in conjunction with the Scholastic Book Fair, which will be open for shopping. Wear your pajamas, have a snack, get a special treat and hear some fabulous, entertaining stories.


Outdoor club

The monthly meeting of the San Juan Outdoor Club will be held in the community center at 6:30 p.m. Charles Elliot, 30-year ski patrol veteran, will present a program on the history and development of the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Sign-ups for activities this month include: snowshoe/cross country ski outings and upcoming road/mountain biking. For information call Fred Reese at 731-0612. Visitors welcome.


Loaves and Fishes

Loaves and Fishes is a free meal served between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. every Thursday at the Parish Hall on Lewis St.

April 6-8


Performances in the high school auditorium April 6, 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. with an additional matinee April 8 at 2 p.m. (Note: no performance April 5.)

Tickets available at the Plaid Pony (731-5262).

Advance purchase sales recommended.

April 7-8

Rummage sale

The community center's annual Spring Rummage Sale will be held 3-6 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Tables are $20 for both days. Clean out your closets and call Michelle at 264-4152 to reserve your space.

April 8


The Pagosa Piecemakers will conduct a general meeting starting at 10 a.m. at the Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Jeanine Malaney will provide a lecture and demonstration on "Painting with Fabric." The program will start at 11 with the demonstration at 1 p.m.

April 8

Kids' Fair

Week of the Young Child kicks off with the Kids' Fair. Bring your young ones to the elementary school from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for free activities, free games and free fun. Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the week and will offer their famous hot dog lunch for a small fee.

April 8

Pagosa Reads! at Sisson Library at 3:30 p.m. Dr. Andrew Gulliford will do a slide show on "Cadillac Desert," followed by tea and dessert.

April 9


PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) will meet at 6:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church. Topic will be "What about gay marriage?" For information, call 264-0225.

April 10

Doll Day

Stop by your favorite shops, restaurants and offices starting today to see the creations of Pagosa youth during Week of the Young Child. It's Doll Day. More than 100 dolls, decorated by local children in honor of this week will be displayed throughout the community.

April 11

Walk a mile

The Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program will have a special event for Sexual Assault Awareness Month at noon. Walk A Mile In Their Shoes will be a march in which men will wear women's shoes and women will wear children's shoes representing the shoes of sexual assault victims. Meet at Bell Tower Park at noon. If you have shoes you'd like to wear, please bring them, but make sure they truly represent a victim's (women or children) shoes.

April 11

Talent show

Need free entertainment? Tonight is Night of the Young Child at the high school auditorium starting at 6 p.m. Laugh, cry and be inspired by tomorrow's stars in this annual talent night.

April 11

Republican Women

The April luncheon meeting of the Archuleta County Republican Women will be held at Boss Hogg's Restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Bob Moomaw, a Republican candidate for Archuleta County Commissioner, District 3, will be the speaker. New members are welcome but there is not an obligation to join. Call Barbara at 731-9916 for additional information.

April 12

Pagosa Women's Club

The Pagosa Women's Club will meet at JJ's Upstream Restaurant. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., lunch is served at noon. The program will be "Famous People II," by Carole Howard. Cost is $10 and reservations are required. Call Tanice Ramsperger by noon Monday, April 10, for a reservation.

April 12

Immunization clinic

Free immunizations for children at San Juan Basin Health Department from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m.

April 12

SIDS workshop

A free SIDS workshop will be provided at Our Savior Lutheran Church Gym at 6 p.m. to inform the public about reducing the risks of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

April 13

Ed center event

Join the Archuleta County Education Center at the monthly Parent and Child Together Night. Moms and dads can take the night off from cooking and enjoy their kids in good company. Preregister for the free event by calling 264-2835, so enough dinner is prepared.

April 13


The Newcomer Club will meet at 6 p.m. at the Buffalo Inn on North Pagosa Boulevard. Cost is $8 per person and includes a buffet. If you're new, or fairly new to the area, you are most welcome. Reservations are not necessary.

The Newcomer Club is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. Call Lyn DeLange at 731-2398 if you need more information.

April 13


The Mountain View Homemakers will meet at noon at Community United Methodist Church. The program, given by Lora Laydon, will be "Pamper Yourself: Tips on how to care for your skin the winter."

April 14

Stories at library

Take the kids out for an afternoon of storytelling at the Sisson Library as Week of the Young Child ends. This event is 1:30 to 3 p.m. and it is free.

April 19

Garden club

The Mountain High Garden Club will meet at 10 a.m. at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds Extension Office. Guest speaker will be Bonnie Sprague of High Plains Nursery. Bonnie will talk about the proposed planting project at the Community Center/ Senior Center. She'll also bring some blooming and interesting shrubs to discuss. Garden Club meets the third Wednesday of each month; dues for the entire year are $5. There will be refreshments and a door prize at each meeting. Everyone is welcome regardless of gardening experience. For more information, contact Frances Wholf at 731-2012

April 20

Civic Club

The Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs will meet at 1:30 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church. Steve Sewell will speak on drugs and alcohol. Visitors are welcome.

April 22

Chi Omega

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

April 26

Making a Difference

The annual Archuleta County Education Center luncheon is at First Baptist Church, 11:45 a.m. Keynote speaker is Dave DeForest-Stalls, president and CEO of Big Brothers and Sisters of Colorado. The luncheon is a primary fund-raiser for the education center. Call 264-2835.

April 30

After-prom party

A post-prom party will be held at the community center, 1-5 a.m. Entertainment, fun and the safety of our young people are the focus.

Community News

Take part in Week of the Young Child activities

By Lynne Bridges

Special to The PREVIEW

Join in, Pagosa Springs: Building better futures for all children during Week of the Young Child, April 8-14.

Week of the Young Child honors the more than 35 million children up to age 8 in America, and the families, teachers and others who help children make the most of the opportunities during their early years.

During the Week of the Young Child, join the celebration and help our community support all young children.

You and your business can help support your children and early childhood education:

- Thank early childhood teachers and others who work to make a difference for children.

- Organize a volunteer event for employees to work with local children in our community.

- Educate yourself and others about issues affecting young children and their families.

- Recognize the needs of families (especially low income) and adopt family-friendly policies.

Research shows that high-quality early childhood programs help children, especially those from families with low incomes, develop the skills they need to succeed in school and in life. Early childhood education is vital to all communities. The majority of mothers with children under the age of 18 work, and working families rely on childcare providers to help them care for their children while they work.

Local celebrations of the Week of the Young Child build support for programs and policies that are vital to young children of Archuleta County.

This year's Week of the Young Child is being sponsored by Kiwanis - a global organization of volunteers dedicated to changing the world one child and one community at a time. Service projects are linked to the Kiwanis program, "Young Children: Priority One." This initiative places continuing focus on the needs of all children.

The following are activities for the Week of the Young Child in Archuleta County.

The Kid's Fair is 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 8, at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School. This event is planned to honor children and their families. It is free and there will be many activities in which children can participate. The Kiwanis Club will serve hot dogs and chips and the Pagosa Springs Elementary School will host a Scholastic Book Fair. Come by and visit "Camp Read a Book! And Let the Book Bugs Bite!" At the book fair, teachers, parents and students can choose from the best and newest books. You'll find paperback editions of the books children want to read, educational and skill-building resource books, and books for all ages, including adults.

Monday, April 11, is Doll Day. Every year, the Colorado Children's Campaign works hard to ensure the voice of children is heard by community and government leaders throughout Colorado. Hundreds of adults and children will decorate dolls. The dolls will be displayed in business and storefront windows. If you would like to request a doll for your business, contact Mardel Gallegos at Pagosa Early Childhood Head Start, 264-2484.

Tuesday, April 12, is the Night of the Young Child - a wonderful opportunity to support and honor our children and their many talents. This event will be held 6-8 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium and will feature Pagosa Springs Gymnastics, San Juan Fisherman Praise Band and Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale, just to name a few. Join us as we support and honor our local youth. For more information, call me at Seeds of Learning, 264-5513.

An immunization clinic sponsored by the LaPlata Electric Round Up Foundation will be offered 10 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. at San Juan Basin Health, Wednesday, April 12. This event is free to all children up to age 16 who need their immunizations updated.

The Colorado SIDS Program will offer a workshop about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at Our Savior Lutheran Church Gymnasium, 6-8 p.m Wednesday, April 12. Speaker will be Tena Saltzman, executive director of the Colorado SIDS Program. She will discuss medical knowledge and research about SIDS. Although SIDS is currently not preventable, parents and care providers can substantially reduce the risk. The workshop will highlight the latest risk-reduction measures advocated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. A continuing education certificate will be awarded to care providers upon completion of the class. This workshop is an opportunity to address your concerns and questions with an expert. Parents, grandparents, caregivers and childcare professionals are encouraged to attend this workshop.

Thursday, April 13, is Parent and Child Together Night at the Archuleta County Education Center, 5:30-7 p.m. Parents and children are invited to gather for an evening of fun activities. Dinner will be provided. There is no cost for the activity, but families are asked to preregister by calling the Education Center at 264-2835.

Friday, April 14, will be storytelling time, 1:30-3 p.m. at the newly-remodeled and expanded Ruby Sisson Library. Early learning experiences, like reading, are crucial to the growth and development of young children. Like the old saying goes, "if you can read this, thank a teacher." And thank the wonderful staff and board at the Ruby Sisson Library for all their hard work in expanding our library.

Week of the Young Child is brought to you by the Archuleta's Children Team (ACT) Council - a coalition of licensed childcare providers dedicated to improving and insuring high quality childcare continues in Archuleta County. Along with providing high quality care for children, members work many volunteer hours to make sure Week of the Young Child takes place every year. Take a moment and thank your licensed childcare providers for their dedication and commitment to you and your family.

For more information on any of the events, call me at 264-5513 or Mardel Gallegos at 264-2484.

Seeds of Learning to host three FUNd-raising events

Once Upon a Time - 6 p.m. Friday, May 12.

Seeds of Learning invites the community to a dinner and auction at the community center, which will be transformed into a storybook fantasy land. 

Pagosa Springs Mayor Ross Aragon will be the honorary host for the evening that will include a buffet dinner, cash wine and beer, and auction.

A table to seat eight can be reserved for $300.  Proceeds from "Once Upon a Time" will support the Seeds of Learning capital FUNdraising campaign. 

Contact Susan Thorpe 264-5253 or Carole Nasralla 731-0411.

Playin' In the Park - 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 13.

The community is invited to a day of family fun in Town Park (or at the community center in case of inclement weather).  The day will include music and entertainment, food, games, facepainting, clowns, arts and crafts, vendors and a special Mother's Day activity.  The day will culminate with a concert by Eddie Spaghetti.  Families will be able to pay as they "play in the park" (several activities will be free) or purchase a family admission that bundles all "Playin' In the Park" activities, the Eddie Spaghetti concert and a spaghetti dinner can purchased. 

Eddie Spaghetti Concert and Dinner - 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13.

Eddie Spaghetti is a lively children's musical artist and children's book author. His concert will include - what else - eating spaghetti with Eddie. 

Proceeds from Playin' In the Park and Eddie Spaghetti will support the Seeds of Learning capital FUNdraising campaign. Contact Susan Thorpe 264-5253 or Seeds of Learning 264-5513.

Indiefest Q and A; Public Property on the way

By Crista Munro

Special to The PREVIEW

Now that the FolkWest Independent Music Festival (or Indiefest for short) is a mere two months away, the public's curiosity is growing.

Indiefest will take place June 10 and 11 on Reservoir Hill, right here in Pagosa Springs. In the interest of dispelling any misconceptions and other general confusion about the event, I'd like to address some of the more common inquiries we've received.

Question: Why is it called Indiefest? Is it Indian music?

Answer: No, Indie musicians are not signed by a major recording label and publish music on their own label or with a small company. Some Indie bands haven't yet "been discovered," others have turned down record deals to retain control over their own careers. We respect both kinds of Indie musicians.

Question: Will Indiefest have the same kind of music as your other festival, the Four Corners Folk Festival?

Answer: Yes and no. Some of the artists on this year's bill have performed at Four Corners - Ruthie Foster, Eileen Ivers and Terri Hendrix. But other Indiefest musicians push the envelope for the type of music that's typically booked at Four Corners, playing reggae, world beat and rock. The lineup will be varied but, like Four Corners, all of the bands are amazingly talented.

Question: Will people be able to camp on Reservoir Hill for Indiefest?

Answer: Yes, in that sense the two festivals are alike. Indiefest, like Four Corners, will also feature a free children's program, free admission for kids 12 and under, a beer and wine garden, arts and crafts vending and a food court.

The FolkWest staff like to say that Indiefest is our alter-ego festival - proof that we enjoy many different kinds of music. Indiefest will allow us to bring this music to our audience, providing a venue for artists that we like but who just don't "fit in" with the Four Corners format.

Hopefully this clears up any confusion you might have about what to expect at FolkWest's newest musical festival.

Public Property, who will play on Sunday, June 11, may have the distinction of being the first reggae band to play Pagosa Springs. The band started out in 2003 as a simple trio. In a very short time, they built a huge local following in their native Iowa and a growing Midwest following through their work ethic and love of creating fresh music.

Public Property's sound is an original hybrid of the best '60s and '70s Jamaican reggae mixed with modern hip hop influences, Hawaiian music, soul music, dancehall, funk and ska. Songs like "Power Trip" highlight the band's love of ska music, utilizing the full acoustic sound of the ukulele while sending a message over a catchy progression. That style is contrasted with the reggae/hip hop vibe of the title track "What's Goin Down," mixing a one drop with hip-hop rhythms and rhymes. Songs like "Never Again" and "Choo-Choo" hem closer to the style of early Jamaican reggae. Basically, if it's funky, if it's got a groove, chances are they dig it.

Musically the band achieves their sound by making a cohesive whole out of a nine-piece band; making the textured finish of a song bigger than its individual parts. Harmony is highlighted in almost every song. Public Property's three female vocalists often get credited with sounding like Marley's I-Threes, though they sing solos, rap, dance and write. Half of the rhythm section sings. The result of this discipline - bringing all the parts together - is that each member of the group contributes to, rather than dominates, the song, making the whole finished product more driving and soulful.

Besides their trademark fresh mix of styles and emphasis on harmony and female vocalists, Public Property is often praised for their songs' lyrical content. The name and the message of Public Property are practically one and the same, promoting peace, nonviolence, social action and knowledge to uplift the community. Although the songs are often searing, social messages put to a driving groove, the band's lyrics and sound range from angry confrontation to lover's rock, soul reggae to party skank, hip-hop flow to soca sun. The mix of sounds and emotions in the music of Public Property not only provide a church for the choir, but a house for the party.

Tickets to Indiefest are on sale in downtown Pagosa Springs at Moonlight Books. Tickets and information are available by calling 731-5582 or online at www.folkwest.com.

All's in bloom at Spring Fling dance

By Siri Schuchardt

Special to The PREVIEW

April showers bring May flowers, and colorful crocuses will be emerging from mounds of "snow" on each and every table at the community center "Spring Fling" dance, 7:30-10:30 p.m. Friday, April 21.

Our decorations chairman, Pam Stokes, has been hard at work on the table decorations, and along with her assistant, Janet Nordmann, will have the tables "blooming" for spring.

This month, we will feature a DJ provided by KWUF, and we assure you there will be a good variety of music played for your dancing enjoyment. There will be a cash bar with assorted beer, wine and soft drinks. Snacks will be provided at no additional charge. The dance is an over-21 event and ID may be checked at the door.

Tickets are just $5 per person in advance and $8 at the door. Tickets are available at the community center and at WolfTracks. Tables can be reserved for parties of 8-10. We will take reservations at the community center for seats at our new singles tables.

Last month, more than 100 people enjoyed the St. Patrick's Day Dance at the community center and danced to the music provided by DJ Bobby Hart. There were door prizes generously donated by Walter and Doris Green at Lantern Dancer and by Deb Aspen of the In Step Dance Club. There was also a clogging demonstration by the Durango Country Cloggers.

The dances are monthly events at the community center and are an affordable evening out on the town dancing and visiting with friends, and provide a good way to make new friends.

In June, the community center dance will feature a very popular band, the High Rollers, of Durango. The date will be June 23, and the time will be 7-11 p.m. Details are currently being firmed up and will be printed in a future edition of The PREVIEW.

For additional information on the monthly dances, contact Mercy at 264-4152, or me, at 731-9670.

The center is located at 451 Hot Springs Boulevard.

Four 'Seussical' performances remain this week

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

It's opening week for "Seussical" by Stephen Flaherty.

And it's hard to believe we have been working since mid-January on this challenging and exciting music, dance, and fun-filled show. Make it to the PSHS auditorium and catch this terrific production with 43 cast members and over a dozen crew and technical folks.

The cast is privileged to be joined by 16 orchestra members from the school and community. They are: Lisa Hartley, conductor; Chris Baum, Shane Tuller, violin; Laura James, viola; Joy Redmon, Brook Cumbie, flute; Ellen Niehaus, clarinet/tenor; Bob Nordman, alto sax; Malinda Fultz, bari sax; Larry Elginer, Don Weller, trumpet; Shawna Carosello, trombone; Travis Moore, guitar; Dave Krueger, bass; Melinda Baum, piano; Kathleen Isberg, keyboard.

Each musical the high school program produces elicits more response from the exceptionally talented musicians of our community. "Seussical" brought out a strings section of three - a first for us!

There are four shows remaining: at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, April 6, 7 and 8, with an additional matinee at 2 p.m. April 8. Reserved seating tickets are $8 adults, $5 students, and are available at the Plaid Pony or at the door.

"Seussical" is a musical for everyone!

Shy Rabbit presents first master-in-artistic-field workshopShy Rabbit presents first master-in-artistic-field workshop

Beginning Sculpture with Roberto Garcia, Jr. runs May 10-June 14, at Shy Rabbit.

 In an ongoing effort to present master artisans in their field, Shy Rabbit is thrilled to offer this sculpting workshop with southwestern Colorado artist and foundry owner Roberto Garcia, Jr., who owns and operates The Crucible Gallery in Pagosa Springs.

Garcia is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and studied at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture in Princeton, N.J. For 30 years Garcia has lived and worked as a freelance artist. He has done everything from monumental commissions to gallery-sized bronze sculpture. For Garcia, "art is a discipline and it takes much practice to be skilled. Every piece is a step or lesson to create the next one."

 Garcia has shown at Shidoni in Tesuque, N.M., Good Hands Gallery in Santa Fe, N.M., in the Loveland Sculptural Invitational, and most recently in solo retrospective at Texas A&M International University Center for the Fine and Performing Arts Gallery.

This is an 18-hour course with six, three-hour sessions 6-9 p.m. on Wednesdays. The specialized master workshop is limited to 10 participants and costs $250, plus a $25 material fee.

 In this course, participants will work on a disciplined, figurative project using oil-based clay on an armature provided. Focusing on a half-size human head, all participants will learn the basic techniques for modeling in clay. Garcia encourages students to work on extracurricular projects based on sketches or views of their intended creation. The oil-based head is a temporary form and may be kept for a second course in mold making that will be offered in the future.

 Beginning Sculpture will be followed by a mold making workshop and eventually a foundry arts workshop where participants will learn how to pour bronze.

 For more information and to register, plan to attend a "Get to know the Artist" slide show at 6:30 p.m Wednesday, April 12, at Shy Rabbit. More detailed information about the workshop, registration and images of the artist's work will be presented at that time.

To register, contact Shy Rabbit at (970) 731-2766, leave your full name, address and phone number and mail a nonrefundable check for $275, to secure one of 10 participant slots in this workshop, to P.O. Box 5887, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Book fair, storytellers at elementary school

Pagosa Springs Elementary School will host a Scholastic Book Fair through April 13 in Room 4, during school hours.

Families, teachers and the community are invited to attend the fair, which will feature a special medieval theme: "Camp Read A Book! Let the Book Bugs Bite."

The book fair will offer specially priced books and educational products, including newly released titles, award-winning titles, children's classics, interactive software, adult books and current bestsellers from more than 150 publishers. There are products for all age ranges and many excellent gift ideas.

Proceeds from book fairs are used to purchase books for the school library and classrooms, software for reading achievement programs, and help fund many other improvements and purchase necessary supplies for the school.

Individuals attending the event can also help the school build individual classroom libraries by purchasing books for teachers through the Classroom Wish List Program which is highlighted at the book fair.

Tonight, Thursday, April 6, from 6 - 8 p.m., the Partners In Education Committee will host the fifth annual Evening of Storytellers at the school. This event is being chaired by Felicia Meyer and other volunteers.

Gillentine to speak at Center for Spiritual Living

By Nancy Ehlenbeck

Special to The PREVIEW

Join us at the Four Corners Center for Spiritual Living for our April service at 11 a.m. Sunday, April 9, at 97 North St. in Bayfield.

This month we will be celebrating the glories of spring with uplifting music and a thought-provoking message entitled, "As Above, So Below; Created in the Image of God," delivered by our guest speaker, Julie Gillentine.

Spring is the season of rebirth and renewal. Our service will be a combination of celebration and inspiration and will surely warm your heart and lift your spirits. We look forward to seeing you here.

As a result of a near death experience in 1966, Julie Gillentine pursued an intensive study of metaphysics. Focusing on symbols, mythology, astrology, tarot, kabbalah and dreams. Julie has been an astrologer, taroist and spiritual teacher since 1972. She has a B.S. in psychology, and did postgraduate study in dream interpretation and hypnotic regression. Thirty years as an executive and consultant in large corporations lends a "real world" perspective to her spiritual work. She is the author of "Messengers, The Hidden Power of Everyday Things" and the award-winning "Tarot and Dream Interpretation." She has traveled to sacred sites around the world, researching the material in her books and readings. Her popular astrology feature appears in Atlantis Rising magazine, and she writes a monthly dream column for Oracle 20-20 magazine in Atlanta.

Our youth service is at 11 a.m., and there will be a potluck social immediately following the service.

For more information, call 884-4889.

Unitarians to hold meditation service

On Sunday, April 9, the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold its regular Second Sunday Group Meditation Service, led by April Merrilee.

Answering the question "Why participate in group meditation?" April refers to a revered yogic teaching: "Identifying with the false belief that we are separate is a primary cause of suffering in our lives. Group meditation can remind us that we are indeed connected - to each other, to the universe, to God, and to ourselves."

Everyone is invited to join the group for chanting, readings, silent meditation, and sharing. The service starts at 10:30 a.m. in the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa Boulevard by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign.

Spiritual Renewal at Mountain Heights

There will be a spiritual renewal April 6-9 at Mountain Heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave.

Service times are set for 7 p.m. April 6, 7 and 8, and at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. April 9.

The renewal will feature David Garrett, evangelist, preacher and musician.

This is a time of spiritual renewal for churches in the Mesa Verde Baptist Association. All are invited to make plans to attend.

For more information, call 731-4384.

Storytelling tonight at elementary school

By Stephanie Jones

Special to The PREVIEW

Partners in Education will sponsor an evening of storytelling 6-8 p.m. tonight, April 6, at the elementary school.

The event is held in conjunction with the Scholastic Book fair.

Families are invited to attend in their pajamas, have a snack, and hear a variety of interesting stories. The book fair will be open for shopping throughout the evening.

There are eight storytellers to choose from with four different storytelling sessions.

Included in the evening's entertainment will be Charlie King, telling his own story of growing up as a beekeeper. The kids will have the opportunity to try on his beekeeping gear.

Lori Lucero will tell the story of "Skippjon Jones," by Judy Schachner. The story is about a Siamese cat in Mexico that likes to pretend he's a Chihuahua.

Jann Pitcher will read "The Grouchy Ladybug," a wonderful story about a ladybug and why we need good manners.

Jeff Laydon will repeat his award-winning performance from last year with "The Trunk. Children will have the opportunity to create a story with Jeff by pulling out items from his "magical trunk of goodies."

Catherine Frye, Heather Hunts and Mark Brown will also be telling stories.

This will be the sixth annual evening of storytelling at the elementary school. Partners in Education provides these family nights to the community so kids can come to school with their families and enjoy a wonderful evening of entertainment, fun and education.

Learn Web site skills at the

ed center

By Renee Haywood

Special to The PREVIEW

The Internet today touches almost all of us.

From our news and communications to our banking and entertainment everyone, it seems, is online.

Each day about a million new Web sites are registered and unfortunately, just as many go off-line. The interesting fact is that most of these "failures" are not because of the product, service or purpose of the site, but simply because the individual or group creating and managing the site overlook some details which could be easily corrected.

What's great about the Internet is that everyone is on a level playing field. Due to the relatively cheap or free access to search engines you can compete with big Web sites with minimal investment on your part. You don't need lots of money to run a popular and profitable Web site; all you need is time and knowhow, and the time requirement isn't even that much. While some Web sites may require more maintenance than others, a typical site can be managed in your spare time, in the evenings or on weekends.

Learn what it takes to create a successful Web site; it really is quite simple.

From planning and execution to daily operations a new, hands-on course is designed to give you the resources and training you need, teaching you exactly what the professionals do and exactly how they do it - and providing you with the basic skills you'll need as well as reference materials and resources to improve on what you have.

Classes will be held 6-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesdays, April 24-May 17, at the Archuleta County Education Center. If you would like more information or want to register, stop by the education center office located at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets, or call 264-2835.

Local Chatter

PSHS grads move on

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

Pagosa Springs High School 2004 graduate Lindsay Abbott will be appearing in NBC's new sitcom, "Teachers," that made its debut Tuesday two weeks ago at 8:30 p.m.

Brought up in the rich theatrical environment of the high school, Lindsay was active in dramas and other activities including one production of Music Boosters.

Lindsay went to Hollywood at the beginning of the year and signed up to do background work for movies and television. Since then, she has appeared as an extra in the TV shows CSI, Scrubs and NCIS, and now she will be in NBC's new venture, "Teachers," that promises to be a potentially "hot potato that will hit the road running."

Lindsay will appear in the fourth, fifth and sixth episodes (that's April 18, 25 and May 2), as one of the students in the background.

The show includes (as of now) five teachers and a principal.

Liesl Jackson, also a PSHS 2004 graduate, went with Lindsay to Hollywood and she, too, signed up for background work.

Our PSHS graduates do move on.

Fun on the Run

A poor vagabond, traveling a country road in England, tired and hungry, came to a roadside inn with a sign reading: "George and the Dragon."

He knocked gently on the door.

The innkeeper's wife stuck her head out a window.

"Could ye spare some victuals?" he asked politely.

The woman glanced at his shabby clothes and obviously poor condition. "No!" she said rather sternly.

"Could I just have a pint of ale?"

"No!" she said again.

"Could I at least sleep in your stable?"

"No!" by this time she was fairly shouting.

The vagabond said, "Might I please Š?"

"What now?" the woman interrupted impatiently.

"D'ye suppose," he asked, "I might have a word with George?"

Tasting Notes

On the scent ... of a great Brunello

By James Robinson

PREVIEW Columnist

As a kid, growing up outside of Seattle in rural King County, there was a time of year that I remember my best friend, Russ, always dreaded - mating season. But it wasn't Russ himself that was worried about mating, it was Bo, his prized, purebred, black Labrador Retriever who caused my friend no end of grief.

Bo was a magnificent example of the breed - massive, broad chested and well-muscled, trained for ducks and pheasants and to respond without hesitation, to every command - except when he caught the scent of a female. When that happened, all Bo's training went to hell, and he would maniacally climb, dig and chew his way out of the kennel, and once freedom was attained, there was no hope of bringing him back. Sometimes he would return in a few hours, but sometimes he would return days later, but no matter the timeframe, it was only when he was ready and it was always on his own terms.

Bo's extended forays into the hinterlands of King County became legendary, and on Thursday, while driving to Albuquerque, I felt like Bo - only in my case, there was the scent of a '93 Brunello di Montalcino in the air.

The bottle was a gift from a former colleague in the wine business. It was unexpected and there was no reason for the gesture, except that one wine fanatic must have felt compelled to share his good fortune with another.

"I got a smokin' deal on this, you've got to try it, but don't wait too long, it could crash," said Dave as he handed me the bottle.

I looked at the label and a smile crept over my face. It had been ages since I'd enjoyed one of Italy's signature, powerhouse reds, and without hesitation, calls were made, the menu was set and the guest list was carefully trimmed down to three, four people, tops.

Matt, one of the principal invitees and the chef for the meal, offered to stow the wine at his house to save it from a certain pummeling on a long, hot, bouncy ride back to Pagosa. I agreed, but soon thereafter realized my mistake. Although distance would keep me from drinking the precious juice in a moment of desperation with a chicken pot pie, distance would also require that I drive 200-plus miles to enjoy the bottle and a good meal with friends. But some things are worth the effort, and like Bo, I ditched the kennel, buckled up and headed south.

The meal began in anticipation with Matt first removing the foil from around the bottle's neck ,then plunging the corkscrew deep to remove the cork. After a few twists and tugs, he extracted a perfect specimen and we poured tiny splashes and sent the tastes around.

Hailing from Tuscany, Brunello di Montalcino is regarded as one of Italy's finest reds, and the wines are made entirely from the Brunello strain of the Sangiovese Grosso grape - the Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) laws governing the appellation do not allow wine makers to blend the varietal. In addition, the same DOCG laws mandate that all Brunellos must age for at least three and half years in wooden casks, and "reserva" Brunellos must age for an additional year.

The name Brunello translates as "the little dark one" and the name is derived from the distinct brownish hue of the Brunello grape's skin. This hue, plus the mandated time spent aging on wood, in addition to 13 years in the bottle, clearly showed during the initial swirls in the decanter and in the tasting glasses, and the wine moved in faded burgundy tones at the core with gentle shades of tawny and burnt orange around the edges.

With the visual inspection looking promising, we each sniffed and sipped in quiet contemplation. As expected, the Brunello was tight and compact, with layers of dried apricots, prunes and raisins, some earth and subdued heat which we all agreed should blow off. Things were looking promising, but it was not yet ready to drink.

Brunello's, due to their tannins and structure, are long-lived wines whether they are ageing in the bottle or sitting in a decanter on the dinner table. In fact, some of the most stunning vintages can bottle-age well beyond 100 years, and true enjoyment of a Brunello should be a multi-hour affair.

With the Brunello decanted and it's prospects looking bright, we dove headfirst into a much simpler '04 Barbera d' Alba while waiting for the Brunello to unfold.

With pieces of hot baguette slathered with peppered goat cheese, we sipped the satiny wine from northern Italy's Piedmont region and enjoyed its rapid transformation.

What started as a hot, one-dimensional red, evolved into a polished, balanced wine, rich with black currants. Although, in an entirely different league than the Brunello, the wines from Barbera d'Alba are regarded as some of the finest wines made from the Barbera grape. The Barberas are food friendly and hold up to a wide variety of dishes - think pasta, tangy cheeses, chicken and veal.

With the Barbera finished and the baguette and goat cheese obliterated, we then tackled the main course - spaghetti bolognese.

With ground lamb, ground veal, and pasta cooked al dente, we passed the steaming serving dish around and piled our plates high. Between bites we sipped Brunello and talked.

Juxtaposed against the meat, the wine gained in complexity and each ingredient in the pasta accented some unforeseen nuance in the wine. The two worked in harmony, neither element overpowering the other, and after about an hour the Brunello suddenly blossomed revealing a core of creamy marzipan shaded with hints of amaretto. We sipped it like that for about half an hour, and then, toward the end of the meal and near the end of the bottle, as if on cue, the Brunello began to wither, and we savored every drop as it slowly died.

The '93 Brunellos, although regarded as a good vintage, lack the power and longevity of the '97s, which are considered to be one of the finest Brunello vintages in decades. Some have said the '93s would probably peak around 1998 or 1999, and perhaps our Brunello's relatively rapid demise was because it was past its prime. If it was, it certainly didn't show it, at least not until near the end.

We closed the meal with a simple salad, then espressos with pieces of dark Swiss chocolate followed by short glasses of fiery grappa. We lingered over the brandy, and although the conversation drifted, no matter how far it traveled it kept coming back, back to the Brunello.

Some things are worth the effort, Labradors have their motivators, and I have mine - a great meal, good friends and a '93 Brunello Di Montalcino are some of them.

The wines:

First Course: 2004 Guido Porro Barbera d'Alba DOC, "Vigna Caterina."

Main Course: 1993 Roberto Franceschi Brunello Di Montalcino "Il Poggione."

Digestive: Uve D'Alexander Grappa Di Prosecco.

Community Center News

Center rummage sale this week

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

OK, so you don't have time to tackle those overstuffed closets, cupboards and garages.

But you could quickly put together a box or two of items you no longer need, donate them to the community center, then feel good about cleaning up your surroundings as well as helping the community center. The center staff will sell your tax-deductible donations and all proceeds will benefit the center's programs.

But, if you are one of the truly motivated, get your stuff together and call Michele at 264-4152, Ext. 21, to reserve a space at the rummage sale which will be held tomorrow afternoon and Saturday morning.

Friday hours are from 3-6 p.m. and Saturday the sale is open from 8 a.m.-noon. There is still space available.

For the rest of you, plan to come by, pick up some bargains and have something to eat. The community center will be selling hot dogs, chips, cookies, and hot and cold beverages.

ManKind Project

On Friday, April 7, at 7 p.m., ManKind Project Inc. (mkp.org) and Women Within (womenwithin.org) will present a free interactive drama depicting the seven stages of emotional development.  A question-and-answer session and refreshments will follow.

One potential learning point is how adults can learn to live more connected to their feelings and be more authentic and congruent in their thoughts and actions.

This program is open to all adults.  ManKind Project and Women Within are international, secular, non-profit organizations dedicated to empowering men and women to live their lives' missions while in service to others.  The motto of MKP is: "Changing the World, One Man at a Time."

For more information call John Gwin at 731-9666.

Teen Center dance

The Community Center gym was the place to be last Friday night.

Eighty-three teens played beach games, snacked, danced and skateboarded the evening away.

The Teen Center's dance, "Spring Break in Southern Cali," raised more than $360 for Teen Center operations. The Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors sponsored DJ Bobby Hart. United Building Center loaned 15 sheets of plywood to construct a durable surface for skateboarding. Derek Hujus and Nathan Keyawa brought rails and a ramp to make the skating that much more fun. ALCO donated some beach toys that got plenty of use over the course of the night.

Post prom party

This yearly event, sponsored by the community center under the Teen Center program, will happen 1-5 a.m. Sunday, April 30.

The party's purpose is to provide a free, fun experience for Pagosa's youth, while maintaining a safe environment. The entertainment will include a DJ, a hypnotist, a coffee bar, food, casino-type games, and giant inflatables. Watch this space as other, new attractions are added to the list. There will also be electronic and cash prizes given away; the prom party committee has arranged to have a laptop computer as the grand prize.

Arts and crafts show

Mark your calendars: this opportunity for local artists and artisans to display and sell their handiwork is scheduled for 3-6 p.m. Friday, May 26, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 27.

Space assignments are being made on a first-come, first-served basis. Cost is $40 for an 8x8 space and $50 for a 10x10 space, including one 3x6 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.

Photoshop classes

We now have a sign-up list for the Photoshop classes which will be taught by Bruce Andersen in the center's computer lab. Watch this space for details or call the center at 264-4152 to get your name on the list.

Line dancing

The week before last, Peggy Carrai tells us the dance group learned New York, New York; this week they tackled the Cotton-eyed Joe. This community center-sponsored program is proving to be a source of smiles and laughter for all who attend.

Come join the fun at 10:30 Monday mornings If you're new to line dancing, Gerry Potticary, who is the leader of the class, 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.

Call Gerry at 731-9734 or the center at 264-4152 for more information.


The next meeting of the scrapbooking club will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 15, in the South Conference Room. There is no charge to attend; call the center at 264-4152 for more information. All are welcome.

Sewing classes

This new activity will begin 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, April 8.

Our volunteer teacher will focus on how to use your sewing machine, how to use and alter patterns, cutting out fabric, etc. Although the class is currently filled, please call the center at 264-4152 if you would like your name put on the waiting list.

If anyone has a sewing machine that isn't being used, we would appreciate your donation of the machine for these sewing classes.

Computer lab news

The beginning classes resumed their weekly schedule April 4 and 5. If you are interested in this class or intermediate or advanced free computer classes, contact me at the 264-4152 for information.

I have started an e-mail listserv where class members and other interested persons can hold e-mail discussions about computer tips, tricks, problems, etc. Any computer-related topics are appropriate. Call if you are interested in subscribing to this list; you don't need a currently active e-mail account to read the listserv's archives. But if you do have an e-mail account, we have a handout here at the center which will walk you through the subscription process.

Help needed

Volunteers are needed for the following events.

- Aug. 11 —Around the World in Pagosa. This event will feature a parade of traditional costumes and taste of food from different countries. We need both men and women or children to participate. Volunteers will each represent a country and display the traditional costume of that country. Others will sell foods that represent the different countries. More details to follow and volunteers may call us now, 264-4152 Ext. 22 (Mercy).

- Oct. 21 - Hunters' Ball. This will be a dinner and dance fund-raiser for all, but especially for hunters. All kinds of volunteers are needed, such as men and women dressed in early 1800s costumes, groups to perform short, funny melodramas, or businesses to sell souvenirs and gifts. More later.

- December - Festival of Trees. We are looking for individuals, families or groups to sponsor trees which will be decorated and displayed for a week at the center. The trees will be displayed for the public. There will be a nominal entry fee for each tree. At the end of the week, all trees will be auctioned off and the money will go to a non-profit organization, chosen by the tree's sponsor. More information to come later.

Center hours

The center is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10-4 Saturday.

Activities this week

Today - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; AARP free tax help, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; yoga, 11-noon; Computer Q&A session with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Leading Edge/Small Business Development, 6-9 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club, 6:30-9 p.m.

April 7 - Colo. Dept. of Education meeting, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; senior bridge, 12:30-4 p.m.; Cloverbuds, 1:30-3 p.m.; Teen Center open, 2-8 p.m.; CC rummage sale, 3-6 p.m.; UC Denver foster parent meeting, 5-9 p.m.; ManKind project, 7-9 p.m.

April 8 - CC Rummage sale, 8 a.m.-noon; UC Denver foster parent meeting, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; sewing class, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Teen Center open, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

April 9 - 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.

Apr. 10 - Line dancing, 10:30 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; senior bridge, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open (poker), 4-8 p.m.; Tee-ball, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; Tee-ball, 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Loma Linda HOA board meeting, 7-9 p.m.

April 11 - 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.; volleyball, 6-8 p.m.; Echo Ditch Co. business meeting, 6:30-9:30 p.m.; Creepers Jeepers, 7-8 p.m.

April 12 - 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, weigh-in at 5 p.m., meeting at 5:30; Tee-ball, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; photo club, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Tee-ball, 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Apr. 13 - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; AARP Free tax help, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; yoga, 11-noon; Computer Q&A session with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Chimney Rock pot luck, 5-9 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

Take action to minimize cancer risk

By Jim Pearson

SUN Columnist

Chances are, you have a family member who has been diagnosed with some type of cancer.

Last year, the American Cancer Society estimated that more than 1.3 million men and women would be diagnosed with cancer, and that 570,280 people would die from the disease.

How then does Archuleta County compare to the national cancer trend?

State cancer profiles produced by the National Cancer Institute show that our county remains stable, with cancer rates similar to the national average. Average cancer-related deaths per year in Archuleta County for the period 1998-2002 have remained stable at 16.

During this same period, the national median age for diagnosis of all cancers was 67.

Don't put too much emphasis on statistics when comparing Archuleta County with other counties or states. Variables that influence statistics are differences among racial and ethnic populations, medical care available, and the median age in areas, to name a few.

The point is, that being aware of cancer statistics in your area can be helpful, but you should also become knowledgeable about your family's medical history and ways of promoting a healthy lifestyle for yourself and others. Reevaluate what you eat and drink, how you live, and where you live.

One type of cancer that we are all exposed to is skin cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in this country. About 1 million Americans develop it annually. The sun's UV rays cause most skin cancers, including melanoma, a life-threatening condition. A person's risk of skin cancer is related to lifetime exposure to UV radiation.

Most skin cancers appear after age 50, but the sun begins damaging skin at an early age. People who live in areas that get high levels of UV radiation have a higher risk of skin cancer. People who live in the mountains, such as here in Archuleta County, are exposed to high levels of UV radiation.

As the weather warms up, our sun exposure increases because people tend to be outside more.

What can you do to limit UV radiation exposure? Wearing proper clothing is your best way to prevent harmful exposure to the sun's UV rays. Long-sleeve shirts and hats that protect your neck, face and ears are examples. The popular ball cap has limited protection, and exposes your ears and neck areas. There are ball cap-type hats being sold locally that offer neck and ear protection with a flap on the backside. These hats are common among river rafters.

Products sold as sunscreens and sunblocks, used in conjunction with proper clothing, are also beneficial, but buyer beware. I recently heard a dermatologist point out that the labels on sunscreen lotions and similar products tend to be misleading.

People think they can go for long periods of time with one application and be protected, and often do not apply enough lotion to exposed areas of the skin. Kids generally require more frequent applications than adults due to their higher activity level. This dermatologist advised people to carefully read the labels on these products and apply sparingly.

UV radiation is present even in cold weather or on a cloudy day, so try and limit exposure without proper protection. Here are some tips:

- Stay out of the midday sun (from mid-morning to late afternoon) whenever you can.

- Protect yourself from UV radiation reflected by sand, water, snow, and ice. UV radiation can go through light clothing, windshields, windows and clouds.

- Wear long sleeves and long pants of tightly woven fabrics, a wide brim hat and UV absorbing sunglasses.

- Use sunscreen lotions, especially broad-spectrum sunscreen to filter UVB and UVA rays with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

- Check your skin regularly and you will learn what is normal for you. Record the dates of your skin exams, and write notes about the way your skin looks.

To learn more about skin or other cancers, either contact the American Cancer Society toll free at (800) ACS-2345.

Medical shuttles

A shuttle service to Durango for medical appointments is available through Archuleta County Senior Services.

This service is available to adults of all ages and will get you to and from your non-emergency medical appointments.

In most cases, service can be provided with 48 hours advance notice. The roundtrip fare is $30 or less, with rates varying depending on the number of passengers. If you are a 2006 member of Archuleta Seniors Inc., your fare is $10.

Our mini-van is unable to accommodate wheelchairs.

Call Musetta at 264-2167 for further information.

For cancer patients needing transportation for cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society provides free round trip transportation to Durango. For further information contact the Durango office at 247-0278.

Tax time

The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program has returned 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 can 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 9 a.m.-4 p.m. every Thursday through April 13 in the arts council room of the Community Center.

Phony IRS e-mail

The Internal Revenue Service is warning taxpayers about suspicious e-mails they might receive, which claim to come from the IRS.

Taxpayers should send the information to: phishing@irs.gov. The IRS investigates possible fraudulent e-mails involving misuse of the IRS name and logo. Instructions on how to properly report these e-mail communications to the IRS can be found on the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov. Enter the term "phishing" in the search box in the upper right hand corner, then open the article titled, "How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails." Scroll through it until you find the instructions.

Following these instructions helps ensure the bogus e-mails relayed by taxpayers retain critical elements found in the original e-mail. The IRS can use the information, URLs and links in the bogus e-mails to trace the hosting Web sites and alert authorities to help shut down these fraudulent sites. However, the IRS will not be able to acknowledge receipt or reply to taxpayers who submit their bogus e-mails.

The phishing@irs.gov mailbox is only for suspicious e-mails and not for general taxpayer contact or inquiries.

Scam e-mails are aimed at tricking recipients into disclosing personal and financial information that could be used to steal the recipients' identity and financial assets.

The IRS does not send out unsolicited e-mails asking for personal information. There has been a recent increase in these scams, many of which originate outside the United States. Presently, there are more than two dozen IRS-related phishing scams that are known to be active in at least 20 different countries including the United States and Canada. The IRS reports that current scams claim to come from the IRS, tell recipients that they are due a federal tax refund, and direct them to a Web site that appears to be a genuine IRS site. The bogus sites contain forms or interactive Web pages similar to IRS forms or Web pages, but which have been modified to request detailed personal and financial information, such as credit card or bank account numbers, from the e-mail recipients.

In addition, e-mail addresses ending with ".edu", involving users in the education community, currently seem to be heavily targeted. 

 Typically, identity thieves use someone's personal data to empty the victim's financial accounts, run up charges on the victim's existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim's name and to file fraudulent tax returns.

For more information on suspicious e-mails and identity theft, visit the IRS Web site at www.irs.gov.

Seniors Inc.

Seniors Inc. memberships for folks age 55 and over can be purchased at The Den for $5, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays, and 9-11 Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 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.

For those that have not yet enrolled, it is extremely important that you enroll before May 15. If you decide to wait, you will be penalized and that penalty is one percent per month for each month that you are eligible and did not enroll.

In plain English, if you are eligible to enroll now and decide to wait beyond the deadline of May 15, you will not be allowed to enroll until the next open enrollment period in November 2006 for coverage beginning in January of 2007. You have then waited approximately seven months until your coverage begins and your penalty will be a 7-percent increase in premium for the rest of your life. The 1-percent penalty is based on the national average premium, which is currently approximately $30 per month. This penalty would increase your monthly premium from $30 to $32.10, or an additional $25.20 annually for the rest of your life.

Here's another scenario; You are healthy today and do not take any medications, but two years from now you have suffered an illness or injury. Your $30 a month premium just turned into $37.20 a month or an extra $86.40 annually because you waited two years to enroll. Wait longer and your premium will continue to increase.

Don't delay, enroll today.

For qualifying individuals there is extra help available to help pay the monthly premium and lower the cost of your prescriptions. In most cases there is no monthly premium and most medications are from $1 to $5. If you are single with an income of less than $1,197 per month and your assets are no more than $11,500, you may qualify. If you are married with incomes less than $1,604 per month, and assets of not more than $23,000, you may qualify. Assets do not include the house, the land on which your home is located, your personal possessions or your vehicles.

If you do qualify for this extra help, a separate application is necessary - do not wait to apply. Applications for extra help must be completed before applying for Medicare D. Don't fret; we are able to help you determine if you qualify for the extra help, and we are able to assist you in the application process. Call for an appointment immediately.

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.

Arboles meals

The twice-per-month meal program in Arboles is expanding, with more people coming to the Catholic Church to enjoy socialization and a good meal.

More participants from Archuleta and La Plata counties means increased costs and a need for additional funding to support this program. To the rescue comes the La Plata Electric Round Up Foundation with a generous grant.

The foundation is a community service program developed to gather voluntary contributions from participating co-op members by rounding up their monthly bills to the next dollar. The small change collected from members has produced enough income to aid local organizations requesting assistance. We are thankful to this foundation for their support of the Arboles meal program.

Spring holiday party

The Easter Party and Spring Hat Day is almost here, so mark your calendar.

The party is April 6 in Arboles, and for Pagosa Springs, it's April 14. Come for lunch and see what treats Peter Cotton Tail has left for you. There will be Easter eggs, chocolates, prizes and fun for all.

It is also Spring Hat Day and there will be a prize for the most creative spring hat. Come join us for laughs and celebration for the young at heart.

Pagosa Reads

The Sisson Library is sponsoring "Pagosa Reads," a program designed to increase reading in our local area. The upcoming book of choice is "Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water," dealing with a topic that affects all of us who live in the Southwest. For the beginning of this new program, the library is supplementing the reading choice with a four-hour video. The Den is supporting the Pagosa Reads program by sponsoring the video presentation of "Cadillac Desert" Tuesday, April 11, and Wednesday, April 12 ,from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. each day, in the lounge. Please join us to learn the history, the issues, the politics and the future of the West and a limited water supply for a nation that continues to grow.

9HealthFair thanks

Last week's 9HealthFair, held at the high school, brought many people to our table with Medicare Prescription Drug program questions. Thanks for coming by with your concerns and questions about the program.

We not only answered questions, but provided pamphlets and other information on the program. It became clear there are still many local seniors, age 65 or older, who are unaware of the penalties involved in not registering by the May 15 deadline, or who don't think they need to register now because they are not presently on expensive medications. Don't let the May 15 deadline slip away, or wait until the last minute to register. For more information, call Musetta at 264-2167.

Gym Walk

Meet Joe, a newcomer to The Den.

Joe uses a walker and is concerned about getting enough exercise. He participates in the Gym Walk program to build endurance and to improve his health.

The first day he showed up, he completed two laps around the community center gym. After each lap, he would sit down and rest before taking on the next lap.

Last week, he completed three laps and recorded his accomplishment on a record sheet.

This is an unsupervised activity aimed at seniors of all abilities, and it provides a safe place to get the exercise they need to maintain and build strength and endurance. Getting enough exercise is a great way to prevent accidental falls at home and one important way of maintaining your health.

We invite all seniors looking for such activity to drop by The Den Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays and join in this fun and social activity at 11:15 a.m. We always encourage those who wish to participate to check with their family physician if they are unsure if their medical condition will allow such an activity.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, April 6 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required); AARP tax assistance by appointment only, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Friday, April 7 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; veterans, services, noon; Bridge 4 fun, 12:30 p.m.

Monday, April 10 - Medicare Counseling by appointment, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 Fun, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 11 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; Part I, "Cadillac Desert" video presentation, 1-3 p.m.

Wednesday, April 12 - Basic computers, 10 a.m.; Part II, "Cadillac Desert" video presentation, 1-3 p.m.

Thursday, April 13 - AARP tax assistance, by appointment only, 9 a.m-4 p.m.

Friday, April 14 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; Gym Walk, 11:15 a.m.; Easter Party and Spring hat day, noon.; Bridge 4 fun, 12:30 p.m.; Seniors, Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.


Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus, and kids 12 and under; all others $5.

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

Thursday, April 6 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required). Salmon patties with cream sauce, steamed rice, mixed veggies, whole wheat roll, tangerine and raisin nut cup.

Friday, April 7 - Chicken a la king, whipped potatoes, orange, apricots and whole wheat bread.

Monday, April 10 - Chili con carne, yellow squash, pineapple mandarin orange compote and corn bread.

Tuesday, April 11 - Tuna macaroni salad, cool cucumber salad, orange Jell-O with bananas, peaches and cheddar drop biscuit.

Wednesday, April 12 - Roast chicken, scalloped potatoes, Harvard beets, cinnamon apples and whole wheat bread.

Friday, April 14 - Crunchy baked fish, mashed potatoes, mixed veggies, pineapple mandarin, orange compote and whole wheat bread.

Veteran's Corner

Salazar introduces bill to help rural veterans

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The 9Health Fair at the Pagosa Springs High School last Saturday was certainly a very successful endeavor, judging by the many people attending to get healthcare checkups.

VSO assists vets

I was there with my Veteran's Services table and computer to assist veterans with information and application for benefits and claims.

This was my fifth year participating in this event as part of my outreach programs to veterans in this area. I met quite a few new veterans and said hi too many old friends, too. Armed with my laptop computer, data base, printer and electronic VA forms, I was able to fill out applications for military records and VA healthcare enrollments and Means Tests for a number of our veterans, right on the spot.

Homelake participation

Vickie Olson, Admissions Director from Homelake Veteran's Home in Monte Vista, shared my table with me and was there to give out information on that veteran's facility. This was the third or fourth year Vickie has come over to assist me working with our local veterans and her help was much appreciated.

Rural vets bill

I recently received some information from Sen. Ken Salazar that he has introduced a bill in the U.S. Senate, along with a bi-partisan group of fellow senators, that would establish the position of an Assistant Secretary of Veterans' Affairs for Rural Veterans within the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA), and take additional steps to expand access to VA healthcare and other services for veterans living in rural communities. Here are some excerpts from Salazar's communication.

Rural vets issues

"Because of the distance and other difficulties associated with obtaining care, many rural veterans put off preventive as well as necessary treatment. As a result, veterans living in rural areas are in poorer health and pay more for health care than their urban counterparts. There are approximately 5.7 million veterans in the U.S. living in rural areas."

Rural travel

"Many of these veterans are forced to travel hundreds of miles to obtain care.

"According to a recent VA study, veterans in rural areas are in substantially poorer health than their urban and suburban counterparts. With an average U.S. health score of 50, urban veterans scored a 37, and rural veterans scored a 33."

Should provide HC

"More than 44 percent of U.S. military recruits come from rural areas. In contrast, 14 percent come from major cities. Nearly one quarter of the Nation's veterans live in rural areas and the VA should tailor their policies to provide them adequate care.

"Our Nation's veterans deserve access to quality health care no matter where they live. It is clear that there is a need to better focus veterans' healthcare policies on veterans living in rural or geographically remote areas."

Growing concern

"'Access to quality health care is a growing concern for rural Americans across the country-especially for many rural veterans who have to travel long distances to receive medical attention at designated VA facilities,' Sen. John Thune said. The VA does the important work of serving the health care needs of millions of veterans across the country, but unfortunately our rural veterans are often unintentionally overlooked."

Assistant secretary

"The legislation we introduced today would appoint a first-ever Assistant Secretary of Veterans' Affairs for Rural Veterans to ensure America's rural veterans are receiving equal access to quality, reliable health care.

"Our veterans have made great sacrifices for the safety and well-being of every American; in turn, they deserve nothing but the best in care and benefits. I'm hopeful this legislation will receive broad bipartisan support in the Senate, so we can move swiftly to improve health care access and quality for rural veterans across the country."

Centers of excellence

"In addition to creating an Assistant Secretary for Rural Veterans, the Rural Veterans Care Act would establish centers of excellence to research ways to improve care for rural veterans, and require the Secretary to implement a pilot program in areas with high populations of rural veterans to explore ways to practically implement this research. It would also improve rates for veterans seeking reimbursement for travel expenses related to VA medical care and codify policies on the use of fee basis care when veterans must receive care from third-party providers outside the VA."


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.

More information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7 (behind City Market). The office number is 731-3837, 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

April showers us with reading pleasures

By Christine Eleanor Anderson

PREVIEW Columnist

Our first Pagosa Reads! presentation is Saturday at 3 p.m. Please join us.

Andy Gulliford is coming to talk to us, and we are excited!

Gulliford, professor of Southwest studies and history at Fort Lewis College, where he teaches environmental history and wilderness courses, is doing a slide presentation and talk about "Cadillac Desert," the first of the books in our 2006 Pagosa Reads! series.

Gulliford's books include "Boomtown Blues: Colorado Oil Shale," which won the Colorado Book Award, "America's Country Schools" and "Sacred Objects and Sacred Places: Preserving Tribal Traditions." He is the series editor for the Mesa Verde Centennial Book Series and he leads tours of the West for the Smithsonian, the National Geographic Society and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Lenore Bright, former Ruby Sisson librarian, will introduce Gulliford for our kickoff event. Refreshments will follow the presentation.

We hope you will have watched the four-part video series, also titled "Cadillac Desert," at the community center this week. But, if you didn't, it will be shown again next week at the senior center at 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Reading the book, seeing the video and listening to Gulliford is a wonderful opportunity to begin to understand water in the West.

In the weeks following this first event, there will be two more "Cadillac Desert" panels with local experts who will increase our understanding of this topic so critical to our survival on our earth. The calendar for the entire two months of programs is at www.pagosalibrary.org and posted at the entrance of the library.

National Poetry Month

I love poetry.

My father dosed his children with it early and often. I remember him reading "The Highwayman" to his wide-eyed little girls on stormy nights out on the farm. He paid me a dollar to memorize Kipling's "If," a poem he considered an essential life tool. Now, close to 45 years later, lines of it play daily in my head. Can you keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you? I asked my nephew Matt to memorize "If" for recitation at my 50th birthday party. We must pass these loves along.

Each week this month, I will mention a little-known poet/poetess whose poetry I love. I hope you will want to get to know them as I do.

Anna Akhmatova, was a great Russian who defied Stalin. He banned her writing and institutionalized her. She is a giant among poets and her words will live as long as humans read poetry.

"That was when the ones who smiled

"Were the dead, glad to be at rest."

From "Requiem," a banned cycle of poems written at the time of Stalin's Great Terror, not published in Russian in its entirety until 1987.

Joan Baez wrote a heart-rending song memorializing her. We have ordered Akhmatova's autobiography and one of the volumes of her poetry. More can always be requested on interlibrary loan.

National Library Week

I am delighted to announce The PREVIEW is starting a new column this week, starring you (if you will write a book review).

National Library Week is April 2-9 this year. In honor of this celebration The PREVIEW will begin printing reviews of Sisson Library books that citizens in Pagosa Springs have chosen to read and share.

A wide variety of books will be reviewed: cookbooks, mystery books, political books, biographies, art books, natural histories - all of the kinds of material being checked out of the library as fast as it comes in. And we have school kids, teachers, sportsmen, housewives, dog people, horse people, business people, retirees, needle artists, cooks, and just about everyone who reads and writes, getting reviews ready. Some of these people claim they haven't written book reviews since high school.

We hope you find the reviews interesting and provocative. If you like a review and want to read the book, remember, you can call the library and have the book put on "hold."

And, if you want to review a book you have enjoyed, please call me and I'll put you on my book review list for that book, if no one else is already writing about it.


Special thanks

This week, a special thanks to one who is not officially a volunteer, but has volunteered quietly and continuously for over five years: Chris Pierce. He has donated his time and expertise to the well being of trees on the library property. He has fertilized, trimmed and cared for our living ornaments so that many of them have made it through the tough transition of the last year. He's also a fine musician but, best of all, he's an avid reader and library patron. Thanks to you Chris, for the care of our trees.

Arts Line

PSAC gallery schedule set, fund-raiser coming soon

By Wen Saunders

PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Art Council has set the schedule at the Town Park Gallery, with 10 shows upcoming in 2006.

Shows include artwork from students, professional artists and aspiring artists. Media represented in the show include oils, watercolor, photography, wood working and others. Show opening receptions will be posted in this column, as show dates approach.

The PSAC 2006 Town Park Gallery schedule is:

April 27-May 17 - Pagosa High School Student Show.

May 18-June 7 - PSAC Juried 2007 Calendar Exhibit.

June 8-27 - PSAC Watercolor Club Exhibit.

June 29-July 19 - Juried Art Show.

July 20-Aug. 9 - PSAC Instructor's Art Show: Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett.

Aug. 10-30 - PSAC Pierre Mion Students Show.

Aug. 31-Sept. 20 - Artwork by Sandy Applegate.

Sept. 21-Oct. 11 - PSAC Wood Object and Furniture Show.

Oct. 12-Nov. 1 - PSAC Juried Photo Show.

Nov. 2-23 - PSAC Gift Shop (with PSAC members' artwork).

Support PSAC fund-raiser

Are you an artist new to Pagosa Springs? PSAC is seeking donated items for a silent auction to be held June 3.

Donating artwork for our silent auction provides free exposure of your work to our community.

Local businesses can keep their names out in the public with their auction donations and gift certificates, and show their support of art in Pagosa Springs with a donation.

Items can be delivered to the Town Park Gallery or a PSAC member will arrange for an item pickup the week of April 17.

For more information, contact PSAC at 264-5020.

PSAC's silent auction and general membership meeting will be held 5-7 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. The event is open to the public with tickets priced at $15 (PSAC members) and $20 (nonmembers). Ticket price includes food and beverage. A cash beer and wine bar will also be available.

Over 40 percent of the PSAC budget is derived from fund-raising events and your support is needed to keep the arts thriving in Pagosa Springs. Many PSAC members have generously donated their artwork, providing the public a wonderful array of art for purchase.

Contact PSAC at 264-5020 for your advance ticket purchase.

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 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 jam-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 cannot 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 exceptional 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 spur you toward the next creative level.

Topics for the 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.

Photo club Web seminar

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club will meet 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, in the arts room at the community center. This month's program is Web Site Design and Maintenance.

Topics discussed will include: Web site logistics: setting up a site; using a Web editor (front page to load and work on your site); adding images and products to the site (scanning to digital files, using digital files); hiring the right Webmaker; designing and maintaining the site yourself with a template; hosting pricing options and resources; and marketing your site (getting people there and search engine logistics).

Prior Web site experience is not necessary, as Web site information will be broken into easy-to-understand material. The presentation will include an evaluation of a series of sites, discussing pros and cons. This free presentation is especially tailored to persons who want to gain Web site knowledge either to work with a site, create a site, or communicate with others maintaining a site.

Photo competitions are held at each club meeting. The two competition categories are the theme category and the open category - where any subject is permitted. This month's them is "green." Members may enter one print in each category. Ribbons are awarded in each category to the top three prints as voted by the members during the meeting.

The photography club meets the second Wednesday of each month from September through May. Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend the first meeting at no charge. Any and all are invited to join for a modest annual fee.

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

PHOTOlearn® kids' arts camps

Parents are always searching for creative summer camp options for their children.

PSAC is excited to announce a special art camp, PHOTOlearn®, July 17-20 for youngsters ages 5-10.

I will be the presenter in this a series of children's PHOTOlearn®' classes, held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. I've covered life's events as a photojournalist for more than 25 years, and I'll share my knowledge with aspiring child photographers. I hold a B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in communications arts and design and I have spoken numerous times at professional photography conventions and was featured as the one of 12 wedding photographers in Wedding 2000, a live video cast program in 1998. My cowboy and rodeo images have appeared in American Cowboy Magazine and western images will be featured in the Greeley Independence Stampede Art Show in 2006.

The series of photography PHOTOlearn® class sessions is a special opportunity for children to learn with a real working professional. Space is limited to 15 students. There are two sessions (total of four days) offered. Students may attend two or four days, with budget pricing for those attending all four days.

The two-day session fee is $145 (PSAC members $125). The four-day session fee is $195 (PSAC members $155). A second child is $95 /$125. The fee includes all materials, disposable cameras or film, and image processing. Participants should wear sunscreen and hats, as we'll be photographing outside (water bottles provided). Preregister for the summer camp by April 17 and save $10 per session.

For more information and registration, call me at 264-4486 or visit www.wendysaunders.com and www.pagosa-arts.com.

Using A Disposable Camera to Document Your Vacation or Holiday, session 1 - July 17-18.

We will begin this PHOTOlearn® session (8:30 a.m.-noon) with a brief history of photography and cameras.  I'll share with participants a variety of vintage and modern day cameras. Students will also explore how photographs began and the cameras that were used.  Actual vintage tintype photographs will be shown. 

Then, the children will learn techniques to take better images with a disposable camera.  Indoor and outdoor photography will be discussed and photographed.  Focusing distance and flash coverage ranges will be tested by each student and their camera.

Cameras will be collected for overnight processing. Images processed from the previous day's shoot will be critiqued.  Students will have the opportunity to interact concerning one another's images through the critique process.  Participants will have the opportunity to review and discuss their images, including image composition.  After the critique session, students will design their photograph album.  Students will again photograph with another camera using the skills discussed.  Cameras will be collected for overnight processing.

Using A Disposable Camera to Document Your Vacation or Holiday, session 2 - July 19-20, 8:30 a.m.-noon.

The day will begin with a critique session of the previous day's shoot.  After the critique session, students will add images to their photograph album. Students will then select their best images for mounting and framing.  Cropping and composition will be discussed.  Students will mount and frame at least two images.  In addition, students will select images from their previous shoots to make special occasion cards.

Parents will be invited to review a gallery of images at the end of the second day and join students for a pizza lunch. Students will leave the PHOTOlearn® camp with all their images and negatives and the art experience of photography.

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.

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.

Volunteer at gallery

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.

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 17 - Deadline for donation to PSAC silent auction.

April 17 - Preregistration discount deadline for PSAC PHOTOLearn® classes and kids' camp.

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.

April 27-May 17 - PSAC Pagosa High School Student Show.

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

No column this week.

Extension Viewpoints

Soil, the key to successful gardening

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

April 6 - Shady Pine Club meeting, 6 p.m.

April 7 - Cloverbuds at community center, 1:30-3 p.m.

April 7 - 4-H Fridays at Community United methodist Church, 1:45 p.m.

April 7 - Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2:15 p.m.

April 7 - Goat Project meeting, 3:10 p.m.

April 8 - Democratic Assembly.

April 10 - Advanced Archery at Ski and Bow Rack, 4 p.m.

April 10 - Entomology-Group 2 project meeting, 4 p.m.

April 10 - Dog Obedience Project meeting, 4:30 p.m.

April 10 - Swine Project meeting, 6 p.m.

April 10 - Livestock Committee meeting, 6:30 p.m.

April 11 - Rocky Mountain Riders Club meeting, 6:30 p.m.

April 12 - Photography Project meeting at Pagosa Photography, 4 p.m.

April 12 - Entomology-Group 1 project meeting, 4 p.m.

April 12 - Sportsfishing Project meeting, 4 p.m.

April 13 - Vet Science meeting at San Juan Veterinary, 5:30 p.m. Seed potatoes

Orders are being taken for seed potatoes.

As usual, there are two kinds available: Sangre (red potato) and Yukon Gold (white potato).

Yukon Gold potatoes have an oblong tuber shape with buff skin and yellow flesh. They tend to be high yielding and are used for baking, mashing and roasting. Yukon Golds generally have an attractive appearance and a good flavor which make them suitable for many culinary uses.

Sangre potatoes are a round type tuber with dark red skin. They tend to be high yielding and are used mostly for baking, boiling, and for salads. The Sangre was developed in Colorado. They may emerge erratically and tend to develop a slight net in some soils. Sangres store well and have excellent cooking quality.

Currently we are charging 40 cents per pound for both species. To those of you who are just starting out and are experimenting, it is our suggestion that you order two to three pounds of each species instead of ordering a lot of them. This way you can experiment and see if you like them and then order more next year.

When orders arrive at the Extension Office each person will be contacted to pick up their order. If you are interested in ordering seed potatoes call 264-2388, e-mail us at archulet@ ext.colostate.edu or stop by the Extension Office. Orders should be available the second week of May.

Soil and successful gardening

Interest in organic Gardening has been successful largely because the practice encourages the use of organic matter as an amendment, thereby improving soil texture. This, in turn, improves the environment for good root growth and the development of soil microorganisms that make nutrients more readily available. Organic matter also supplies some nutrients, but most forms of organic matter are rather low in amounts when compared with the commercial inorganic sources. From the standpoint of plant use, it makes no difference whether the nutrients are supplied from organic or inorganic sources since the plants can only use the nutrients in the basic inorganic form. The difference is primarily in the availability. For instance, nitrogen from organic sources is released more slowly than from most commercial fertilizers. Slow release of nutrients would be desirable in a soil already adequate in nutritional levels. On the other hand, where soils are deficient in one or more nutrients, it usually is desirable to add commercial, more quickly available fertilizers to correct the deficiency.

Before adding fertilizers to a soil, first determine whether a problem in growing healthy plants is due to nutrition or a physical property of the soil, such as poor texture. A plant in a "tight," poorly aerated soil may do poorly because the root system is unable to utilize the nutrients, even though they may be present in adequate amounts. Amendment with organic matter to "open up" the soil first is more appropriate in this case than adding a commercial fertilizer.

Soil texture and drainage

Soil with a steep slope, while having good surface runoff (often confused with good drainage), may have poor subsurface drainage if the texture is fine (high in clay) or if underlying soils create a barrier to water movement. Water is always held more tightly in fine soils than in coarse, sandy soils. A fine-textured soil underlaid with buried organic matter, sand and even gravel will not drain well. The water will not move through the coarse layer because it is held more tightly in the finer-textured soil above. The best soils for growing plants are uniform in texture throughout the root zone with a good balance of minerals, air and organic matter. Texture Test: Roll some slightly moistened soil between your thumb and forefinger. If it forms a firm ball, feels smooth and becomes sticky when moistened, it is too high in clay. If you cannot form a ball, the soil won't stay together and it feels somewhat grainy, the soil will be of a better texture. If, on the other hand, the soil feels very coarse, it may be too sandy and will not hold an adequate amount of water.

Subsoil drainage test: Dig a hole in the garden area about 12 inches deep and the diameter of a spade. Pour water in the hole to the rim. Refill the hole a day later and observe how long it takes for all the water to soak in. If the water soaks in within a few minutes, the subsoil drainage may be too good. Such soils may not hold enough water to sustain plant life and can loose valuable nutrients through leaching. If the water takes more than one hour to soak in, the subsoil drainage may be poor. Plants may suffer from oxygen starvation (drowning) under these conditions.

Soil amendments

Soil improvement is a continual process. It often takes 10 or more years to make a productive Garden soil. If your soil is too sandy or too high in clay, the solution to both extremes is essentially the same—add organic matter. In a sandy soil, organic matter acts much like a sponge to hold moisture and nutrients. In clay, organic matter helps to aggregate the finer particles allowing for larger pore spaces, thus improving aeration and drainage. It is possible, especially in clay soils, to create a soluble salt problem by adding too much organic matter all at once. The general "rule of thumb" is to incorporate no more than 3 cubic yards of organic matter per 1,000 square feet per year. This is equivalent to 1 1/4 inches of amendment on the soil surface before it is tilled in. All amendments added should be thoroughly tilled into the soil, making it a uniform mixture.

The best organic amendments include relatively coarse, partially decomposed compost and aged barnyard manure. The type of manure is not important, but it should be at least one year old if planting is anticipated soon after amendment. Fresh manure usually is too high in ammonia, which injures plant roots. If the manure has a strong acrid odor, avoid using it or let the amended ground lie fallow for several months before planting. Because of high salts, avoid repeated use of most feedlot manures unless the salts can be leached first. Dairy cattle manure generally is lower in salt content. Coarse sphagnum peat is a good amendment but is expensive when compared with manure or compost. Avoid using the "native" sedge peats unless mixed with coarser material. Most are too fine in texture and can act as a glue, complicating a tight soil situation.

In addition to coarse sand, inorganic amendments include calcine clay products (such as Turface), pulverized volcanic rock (scoria), perlite (heat-treated limestone) and diatomaceous earth. These materials are expensive and feasible only to amend small plots or small amounts of potting soils.

Liquid amendments

Like household detergents, liquid products break the surface tension of water around the soil particle and allow deeper water penetration. They in no way increase the pore space of a soil. The liquid "conditioners," therefore, cannot be considered as soil amendments and are properly called "adjuvants." At best, they may provide a temporary improvement of water penetration but do not break up clay soils as some claim. They are not substitutes for amendments.

What About gypsum?

Gypsum is a salt - calcium sulfate —and when added to calcareous clay soils (the typical high calcium soil in Colorado), does no more than increase the already high calcium content. Thus, gypsum + calcareous clay = gypsum + calcareous clay.

In other words, adding gypsum to a soil that does not need calcium is a waste of money. Also avoid adding gypsum to a saline soil. Gypsum increases salt levels.

The use of sulfur in a clay soil high in calcium also has been acclaimed by some as a method of breaking up a tight soil. While sulfur added in small amounts over a long period of time eventually can improve the soil condition and reduce soil alkalinity, this practice generally is not advised because the sulfur reacting with the calcium simply forms gypsum.

The only soil that can be benefited by adding gypsum is a soil high in sodium, called "sodic soil" or "black alkali." These soils normally are found where there is a high water table and poor drainage. Such soils are hard and cloddy when dry and take water very slowly. Few plants can survive in them.

For more information on soils contact the Extension Office at 264-5931.

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

Pagosa Lakes News

Use time well ... it's a gift

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

This past Sunday, we set our clocks ahead one hour. Daylight Saving Time.

This little horological maneuver not only affords extra light, but also serves to remind us of the silent, steady passage of time. It is the eternal, critical determinant of our lives.

It's all about time. Time is of the essence. There's never enough time. Timing is everything.

The topic yields countless truisms but, perhaps, a single satisfactory insight: Time is not a liability or a limitation.

Time is, rather, a gift, an asset, a deep wellspring of opportunity. Those who understand that try to use time intelligently, precisely, just as they would any other resource, e.g. capital, equipment, work force, etc.

Those who do not manage their time wisely squander this precious commodity. The clock is ticking. The hours passing. Are you using - or losing - time?

The passing of time brings warmer days. Ice on the lakes is receding rapidly and fishermen are cautioned to stay off the precariously thin ice. Please limit fishing to off the docks and shoreline. In a matter of days, it will be open water throughout the entire lake. Then it will be time to bring out the boat.

If, however, you still hanker for winter, that can be easily addressed. Wolf Creek Ski Area will reopen this weekend so powder hounds can have one last big fix. I'm looking forward to climbing 11,900-foot Alberta Peak, disappearing into the mist with my snowboard in hand and scouting that perfect line of descent. It's hard to go wrong anywhere with blue sky, snow-covered mountainsides and powder galore.

The long-range forecast for this Saturday is "mostly sunny, with high of 68 degrees F."

With such ideal conditions, the egg hunt hosted by the recreation center is definitely on.

Calamity and her friends will be around to entertain the kids with her clownish pranks.

The actual hunting will begin at 9:30 a.m., in two waves, of toddlers to 4-year-olds and 5- to 8-year olds. Since conditions on the lawn are still muddy and dirty, the hunt will take place in sand. We will use the sand volleyball court and the playground.

Hot chocolate and graham crackers will be served to the "hunters." Extra parking will be available next to the recreation center at Mountain Heights Baptist Church.

This event will be over after 10 a.m., by which time the Kid's Fair at the Pagosa Springs Elementary School will have just started.

Remember, use time wisely. Plan the day so the children can do it all: Hunt eggs, play games at the Kid's Fair, a wee nap, followed by a musical, "Suessical," at the Pagosa Springs High School.

With prevailing muddy conditions outside and high foot traffic into the natatorium at the recreation center, a new regulation is being enforced on users. No street shoes will be allowed into the natatorium. The end gain will be better sanitation and cleaner water.

Public meeting date

The community meeting for owners and residents of Vista Subdivision was announced in this column last week minus the date and time. Here are the missing details.

On Monday, April 17, the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department will hold an open discussion on issues affecting the Pagosa Vista Subdivision neighborhood.

Some of the issues to be discussed will include (but are not limited to) animal control and response, traffic, speeding, abandoned vehicle and other quality of life issues that are being impacted by the above-mentioned nuisances. Attendees will be invited to be a part of a community effort to solve the issues.

The public forum will be held at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 2300 Port Ave. It will start promptly at 6 p.m. Cake and refreshments will be provided by the sheriff's department.


No births this week.


Margaret Daugaard

A lifelong resident of Pagosa Springs, Margaret A. Daugaard, 76, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, March 7, 2006, in Pennsylvania with family at her side. After a lifetime of leading her family by example, she provided a final life-lesson by leaving with grace, courage, love, steadfast faith and devotion to God.

Born Sunday, June 30, 1929, in Dulce, N.M. to the late Lionel M. and Ruby G. Archuleta, she was a 1948 graduate of Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas.

She is survived by three children: Charles M. Daugaard and partner Cindy Speer, Adrian V. Daugaard and wife Dixi, all of Pagosa Springs; one daughter, Miquela R. Strait and husband Kevin R. Strait of Warfordsburg, Penn.; brothers, Alfonso Archuleta and Manuel Archuleta of Pagosa Springs; and one sister, Paulette Archuleta, of Denver.

She was the proud grandmother of nine grandchildren: David G. Daugaard, Jessie M. Daugaard, Dawn A. Baker, Seph A. Hammer, Samantha H. Vebeek, Sara R. Daugaard, Megan R. Daugaard, Riann A. Daugaard, Cole H. Strait, as well as great-grandmother to four great-grandchildren, Gage Daugaard, Leah Curtis, Dylan Baker and Nova Hammer. She loved and adored her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and cherished the time spent with each of them.

She was the aunt to numerous nieces and nephews including one godson, Kevin Archuleta.

She was preceded in death by three brothers: Charlie Archuleta, Lionel Archuleta and Joseph D. Archuleta.

She was a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.

Margaret enjoyed travel, reading, politics, dancing, watching sunsets, and raising cattle at her ranch located in Coyote Park. Her nephew, Donald Ray Archuleta, was a great help to her at the ranch and she appreciated him very much. Despite her busy schedule, she took time to write beautiful and timelessly classic letters to family and friends; she never failed to remember birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and celebrations and sent tidings of comfort to those who were ailing or had suffered a loss.

She owned and managed the La Cantina Bar located on Pagosa Street in historic downtown Pagosa Springs. The La Cantina Bar, which had been purchased by her parents Lionel M. and Ruby G. Archuleta in 1941, closed its doors May 5, 2001. During the 50 years she managed the La Cantina she was an iconic part of Archuleta County's history. She proudly served the people of her community, and over the years she hosted countless benefit and charity functions to aid and contribute to the well being of individuals and civic groups in need of assistance. Her clientele also included world-famous actors and actresses, politicians, singers, songwriters, weary travelers, tourists, hunters, skiers and snowboarders. Her professional bartending and business skills were legendary and all guests were greeted with a friendly smile; they quickly discovered her great sense of humor and boundless knowledge as she was gifted with the ability to share wonderful stories, jokes, legends and lore. As a business leader and noted historian, she promoted Archuleta County and the State of Colorado tirelessly and was a reflection of the great spirit of one of America's oldest pioneer families. She frequently joked through the years that when she departed from this life she was bound for "Bartenders Heaven." With that said, we bid her a loving farewell, wishing her Godspeed and a peaceful rest, her loss is greatly felt by all who were blessed to know and love her.

A memorial service will be held in her honor Saturday, June 24, 2006, at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs Her ashes will be laid to rest during a sunset internment at the Archuleta-Daugaard Ranch.

Dr. Brian Scallion

Dr. Brian Scallion, age 28, died March 14, 2006 in Alamo, Tennessee.

Brian is survived by Grandmother Marjorie Nevitt of Pagosa Springs, Uncle Carl Nevitt of Pagosa Springs, Mother Toni Scallion of Alamo, Tennessee, Brothers Mike and Brigham Scallion and their families also of Alamo, Tennessee. Services were held at the First Baptist Church in Alamo on March 17, 2006 with the volunteer fire department acting as pall bearers.


 Business News
Chamber News

Club 20 meeting features candidates

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

There are some first and last notices this week.

I was pleased to have attended the biannual meeting for the Club 20 organization - considered "The Voice of the Western Slope" - this past weekend in Grand Junction.

This group has been representing the interests of the western part of Colorado since 1953. Along in attendance were J.R. Ford, the other board representative for Archuleta County, and county commissioner Robin Shiro.

Club 20 was the first organization in the state to hear from the three new candidates for governor: Bob Beauprez, Marc Holtzman and Bill Ritter. They expressed reasons why they wanted to be governor and they answered questions relating to Western Slope concerns from a panel of Club 20 representatives.

These candidates are enthusiastic about running for the office and have a lot to say about issues facing our state such as budget deficits, health care, strategies for reducing methamphetamine abuse, illegal alien admissions and border crossings, and many more critical topics. When you can, read material or attend a public forum, then get out and vote in November.

The "last" notices are two.

Remember this is the last week for the Knight's of Columbus Fish Fry at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Hall on Lewis Street. The annual event comes to a close just prior to Easter week. Get your fill of flaky fried catfish, fresh French fries, cole slaw, spicy hush puppies, drinks and dessert before the Fry is gone until the next Lenten season. You can also get takeout dinners and enjoy the food in the comfort of your own home. Thank you again to this organization, which provides us with an annual community gathering and continues to accommodate the increase in attendees every year, keeping the food as tasty as ever. We all have to go through withdrawal for a couple of weeks coming off that low cal fried food!

This is also your last reminder for assisted tax service. Help with tax preparation for mid- to low-income taxpayers is available at the community center Thursday, April 6, and Thursday, April 13. Sign up for an appointment at the senior center dining room or call Bob Henley for more information at 731-9441. This is another great service provided to our community, manned completely by volunteers. Thank you to all the individuals who give of their time to help those in need.

Newsletter information

Check your Chamber newsletter this week for numerous important announcements and insert information.

Many of the announcements are from businesses that work out of their homes. Just because they work out of their homes, do not discount these work horses from being viable and important businesses in our community.

One such flyer is from the Chamber of Commerce and Dial Pagosa, concerning the new information center that is replacing the kiosk located outside the Visitor Center.

This information board will have business information for our visitors to view either after hours, or if they are just outside, stretching their legs and walking around the center. If you have a business open in the evening or on the weekends, or just want more exposure, you would be wise to advertise in this space. The reader board will be broken into sections such as lodging, dining, real estate, miscellaneous services, etc. There will be a dedicated phone with speed-dial numbers directly to businesses.

This enhanced service is just one more way we are working to give our retail and service facilities more exposure ,while providing a user-friendly system for our visitors. Call Chris Musgrove at 264-2401 for more information on this improved service.


Don't forget the High School performance of "Suessical" continues this weekend. The wildly popular Broadway hit performed by our high school students will have nightly performances at 7 p.m. April 6-8 and a 2 p.m. matinee performance Saturday, April 8.

Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased at The Plaid Pony or at the door. Get out those red and white hats and come out for a Suessin' good time.

Ed center luncheon

Never one to provide the community a dull event, the Archuleta County Education Center will host its annual luncheon at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 26.

This year's speaker will be former defensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys Dave DeForest-Stalls, who is the current president and CEO of Big Brothers and Sisters of Colorado.

The education center, which contributes so much to this community through its youth and adult learning endeavors, hosts this major fund-raising event in an effort to increase awareness of needs and how they "Make A Difference."

If you are able to attend this event, contact the center at 264-2835. Tickets may be obtained for a donation of $45 each.

Welcome members

We have one new member this week to welcome to our fold. Jade Addison brings her knowledge and love of horses to the therapeutic side of business with Jade Mountain Equine Massage. Massage, whether you are two- or four-legged, helps increase blood flow and mobility, eliminate metabolic waste, alleviate tight and sore muscles, increase lymphatic flow and stretch muscle tissue. With approved veterinarian approval and supervision, massage could also help facilitate healing. Take care of your investment whether you have a show horse or a work horse. Jade can be contacted at 731-0573. She is happy to work with trainers, youth organizations or the individual horse owner. Give your animal the gift of massage - you know how good you feel after a session!

This is not a new business, but we do have a new owner, at Taminah Custom Framing Gallery. We welcome Lindy Moore as the new owner of this first class framing shop. Taminah continues the tradition of quality and incomparable service. Their expert custom picture framing includes services to individuals, interior designers, businesses and real estate offices. Taminah Gallery is where framing becomes art. We welcome Lindy and want to thank Karen Cox for all her support these past years. Best wishes to both of these ladies in all their new life pursuits.

Also not a new business, but a new name: Welcome Dial Oil Company, better known now as the Phillips 66 station (previously the Chevron) on North Pagosa Boulevard. Terry Ambrose runs this full-service, popular convenience store offering everything from soup to nuts, and quite a bit in between. They have the 24-hour,"pay at the pump" services, and air and water for emergencies. Their friendly staff will get you on your way in the morning with your caffeine fix whether it be with coffee, soda or the latest drink boost. Welcome back, new name and all.

We have a number of renewals this week.

Welcome back Appraisal Services, Inc. with Jessie Formwalt.

It's a pleasure to welcome back the ever effervescent Marianne Caprioli of JEM Jewelers.

We move to historic downtown where long standing member The Silver Mine Country Company is renewing.

I have a three-fer business renewal this week with longtime resident and entrepreneur, Peter Dach.

Licensed both in Texas and Colorado, we welcome back Margie Hollingsworth, licensed professional counselor.

We appreciate the membership of these next two organizations and will continue to strive for even closer working relationships: the Town of Pagosa Springs and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Dept.

We have another organization that serves a key sector of our population here in Pagosa, the Tri-County Head Start program, and it renews this week.

Our one associate membership renewal this week is for the dancing king and queen, Dee and Steve Butler. Not only are they great dancers, but their travel stories are always entertaining and when they are in Pagosa, you're sure to see them at one of the events going on.

Keep an eye out on business hours and such, as many establishments will close and take time off prior to our busy summer season. Have a good rest and get ready for an exciting summer.

If you are a non-profit organization and did not get your Ride the Rockies or Bike Tour of Colorado food vendor information, give me a call at 264-2360 for the appropriate forms. The deadline is upon us.

Biz Beat

The Hill Agency, Inc.

Bill and Cathe Hill, shown here with office manager Shea O'Briant, left, own and operate The Hill Agency, Inc. - an Allstate Insurance Company, in Pagosa Springs.

"We and our staff are excited about continuing the service you have always known with Allstate," said Bill and Cathe. "This is a full-service insurance agency, offering a complete line of insurance products and services including traditional life insurance. We are committed to providing extraordinary customer service. Customers can receive service 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year by calling our office number, (970) 264-5190."

The agency sells auto, property and life insurance. In addition, agency staff members will offer guidance and counseling about those products, helping customers choose what insurance coverages best meet their needs.

Bill and Cathe bring with them a broad range of business background and people services. They have over 20 years of insurance experience and are excited about relocating here from Farmington. This agency has been a part of the Pagosa Springs community since 1997. Bill and Cathe look forward to contributing to the community. "We invite you to stop by and meet us and have a cup of coffee."

The office is located at 190 Talisman Drive, Suite B-1.

Cards of Thanks


Seeds of Learning would like to thank the Pagosa Piecemakers for the beautiful quilts they donated to the Toddler Room. They are absolutely beautiful and are very much appreciated. Thank you so much for thinking of us.

Lynne Bridges

Teen dance

The Teen Center's dance, "Spring Break in Southern Cali," raised more than $360 for Teen Center operations. The Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors sponsored DJ Bobby Hart. United Building Center loaned 15 sheets of plywood to construct a durable surface for skateboarding. Derek Hujus and Nathan Keyawa brought rails and a ramp to make the skating that much more fun. ALCO donated some beach toys that got plenty of use over the course of the night.

Thank you, Pagosa Springs, for your support of the Teen Center. The center will continue to offer a safe and fun environment for teens because of the generous contributions and gifts of time by businesses and citizens. Thanks to Michelle Jamison for her cash donation and to ACE Hardware for the duct tape. Door and contest prizes were donated by Liberty Theatre, The Getaway, Slices of Nature, The Malt Shoppe, Pagosa Candy Co., and Wild Rose/$9.99 Outlet. Volunteer chaperones for the evening were Zack Stockbridge, Perry and Stephanie Pillard, Jeannine and John Thomas, Frank Schiro, Isabel Webster and Vita Herrick.

Thanks again, everybody.


I wish to express my heartfelt thanks to Dan Keuning and Mark Wienpahl for literally saving my great-granddaughter's life. Also, many thanks to Wanda Rivas for coming to Sofie's aid.

We are very thankful for having these dedicated friends and professionals in our community.

God bless you.

With love,

Wanda Christie

Daugaard Family

The family of Margaret Daugaard would like to say "Thank you" for the outpouring of calls offering care and support during our mother's illness and for the cards of encouragement and prayer. Those acts of kindness meant the world to Margaret and her family. Thank you as well for the flowers and condolence cards. The love and support provided by her friends and extended family will always be remembered.


Charles M. Daugaard, Adrian V. Daugaard and Miquela R. Strait


I have lived in Pagosa Springs for 16 years and have always known what a caring community it is. I experienced this care firsthand last week, when I was involved in a car accident.

I want to thank the emergency services personnel who responded so quickly and made sure that I was okay; Becky and Eric Deitemeyer, who stopped to help; and friends, co-workers and complete strangers who expressed their concern. Most of all, I want to thank Clayton Tennant. He was the first to stop and the last to leave, and I will always be grateful for his help.

I was lucky to survive the accident without injury and am even luckier to be living in Pagosa, where people stop to help you when you need it the most.


Susan Durke


No weddings


No Engagements this week


No Anniversaries this week


No Locals this week

Sports Page

Pirates pound the Cortez Panthers

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

Good thing there is a 10-run rule in high school baseball.

If not, the Pagosa Springs Pirates might still be at bat.

The Pirates went into Englehart Field in Cortez last Thursday with an objective to improve their hitting that started in Alamosa the week before when they scored 14 against the Durango Demon JV squad. They wanted to jump on the Panthers and pound them into submission.

It started early.

The Pirates (5-2) scored three runs in the top of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead and never looked back.

Cortez did tie the score at 5-5 in the bottom of the third inning, but Pagosa would make them pay. The Pirates added four more in their half of the fourth, then erupted for seven runs in the top of the sixth. The Panthers went down in order and the umpires invoked the 10-run rule to end the game with a big 17-6 victory for the Pirates.

Coach Charlie Gallegos was excited after the win.

"This is how we are capable of playing. We focus a lot on hitting in practice and it paid off today." The Pirates recorded 16 hits in the game, with Casey Hart leading the way.

The coach went on to say, "Casey (Hart) had a big game today at the plate and also played well in the field at second base. I was really proud of the way our whole team played today." Hart went four of five at the plate stroking three doubles and a long home run with six RBIs to lead the Pirates.

"We finally finished off an opponent," added the coach. "We were hoping to jump on (the Panthers) early, to give some cushion to our pitchers and it worked for us today."

The Pirates still found a way to win big even though they were playing shorthanded when Travis Richey did not suit up and Adam Trujillo was still on the DL.

Josh Hoffman started on the mound for Pagosa and went three and a half innings before being replaced by Wes Walters. Walters came in and pitched shutout baseball for the rest of the game.

The coaching staff praised Walters, only a sophomore, for the way he controlled the last innings of play.

The Pirates came out strong in the top half of the first. John Hoffman led off and reached base on an infield error. Josh Hoffman hit a single to left field. With two on Hart hit his first double that scored one. Karl Hujus and Cody Bahn both hit singles and the score went 3-0 with four hits and two left on base.

The Panthers followed with one run in the bottom of first on two infield errors.

Pagosa loaded the bases in the top half of the second on walks by Dan Cammack, Josh Hoffman and Matt Gallegos, but were left stranded and the score remained 3-1.

The Pirates shut out the Panthers in the bottom of the second with good defense and a big 6-4-3 double play from Averey Johnson at third to Hart to Jim Guyton playing at first base.

Hujus led off with a walk for Pagosa in their half of the third and stole second on a passed ball. Bahn banged another single to right that scored Hujus. Bahn went to third on a passed ball and Guyton sacrificed him in for the second run of the inning and a 5-1 lead for the black and gold.

The bottom of third was the only big inning for the Panthers. Cortez loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batter. Jody Garner, who also pitched for the Panthers, doubled to deep left center to score three. The next batter, Skyla Schrage, also doubled to add another run and tie the score at five. Guyton was injured on the final out when the runner stepped on his ankle.

The Pirates came storming back. The three leadoff hitters, John Hoffman, Josh Hoffman and Gallegos reached base on two errors and a walk. Hart came up again with the bases loaded and hit his second double and two RBIs. Hujus followed with his own double and another RBI to put the visitors in the lead for good at 9-5. Guyton shook off his injury and singled to right to end the inning.

Two Panthers reached base to open the bottom of the fourth on an error and a walk. Dylan Muzzy scored on a passed ball error for their sixth and last run of the day. Walters relieved Josh Hoffman on the mound and sent the next three batters down in order to pitch the Pirates out of a jam.

Cammack led off the fifth with a single to right. John Hoffman followed with a single and Josh Hoffman was hit to load the bases. Gallegos sacrificed Cammack in and the score went 10-6.

Garner reached base on an error to open the Panthers' fifth, but Schrage hit into another Pirates' double play when he grounded to Josh Hoffman playing at shortstop. Hoffman stepped on second and threw to Guyton for the force. Walters struck out the next batter.

Pagosa sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the sixth for six hits and six RBIs. Hart led off with his towering home run to left center. Bahn and Guyton both reached base on a fielder's choice. Cammack sacrificed one run in. Walters singled to center to score two more. John and Josh Hoffman followed with singles and the route was on. Gallegos reached base on an error and the Pirates scored again. Hart came back to the plate for his second at bat of the inning and pounded another double and two more RBIs for the 17-6 lead.

Walters forced the next three Cortez batters to ground out and end the game.

The Pirates look for their first home game in at least two years at Golden Peaks Stadium this afternoon when they host the Ignacio Bobcats in the first Intermountain League game for both teams. This is a scheduled doubleheader. The start times have been changed to 2 and 4 p.m. If the weather is bad, the venue will change to Ignacio. Let's hope the weatherman cooperates to let the home town boys show their stuff.

Pagosa will then host the 2A Dolores Bears Monday, April 10. The first pitch is set for 3 p.m., an hour later than the original schedule indicates.

Pirates show mercy to Center, play solid at Durango

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

How does 21-1 sound?

The 21 belongs to the Pirate soccer team.

The 1 belongs to Pirates Southwest League opponents in the young season.

The Pirates had outscored Ignacio and Center 22-1 following Friday's 11-1 victory over Center at Golden Peaks Stadium.

The game showed off Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason's commitment to a quick offense and the Pirates kept the ball in Center's end of the field for nearly the entire game.

In the first half, as a matter of fact, the Vikings never advanced the ball far enough into Pagosa territory to get a shot on goal. The Vikings managed only one shot on the Pirate net in the mercy rule-shortened contest.

Meanwhile, the Pirate offense launched one attack after another on the beleaguered Viking keeper.

The onslaught started early and never waned until the game was called in the second half with the mercy rule - the game automatically called when a team builds a 10-goal advantage - called into play.

The Pirate attack consistently sucked an inexperienced Viking defense into the middle of the field. The ball was pushed outside, taken down the wings, then put back to the middle, creating one shot after another for Pagosa.

Junior midfielder Laurel Reinhardt started the scoring spree, and she ended the game with her third goal of the day.

Senior Jennifer Hilsabeck also scored a hat trick against the Vikings.

Kailey Smith was relentless at midfield and ended the day with two goals.

Emmy Smith, Nicole Kazminoff and Mariah Howell each put one into the net.

Howell, Reinhardt and Hilsabeck each had two assists. Emmy Smith, Kazminoff, Kailey Smith and Ashley Portnel each had a single assist in the game.

The Pirates had a three-goal lead within the first 10 minutes of action and effectively put the game out of reach. Center was unable to break out of the defensive end of the field and Kurt-Mason substituted liberally, giving his players plenty of playing time. Kailey Smith then drove through the heart of the Center defense, moving in from 30 yards out and scoring with a kick to the high right corner of the net.

With three minutes left in the half, she struck again, this time from 25 yards out. The half ended with the Vikings logging no shots on net with no balls struck within 40 yards of the Pirate net. Pagosa led 6-0 at the whistle.

Center got its goal as the second half began, getting the score on the only shot on net the team would get in the match.

For the remainder of the action, the Pirates controlled the field. Moving the ball to the wings and moving the action to the box with crosses, Pagosa put shot after shot and numerous rebounds at or on the Viking net.

With just over 32 minutes left in the match, Reinhardt fired the shot that brought mercy to the visitors.

"Center let themselves get bunched up," said Kurt-Mason, "and they were easy to pick apart. Our wings were wide open. We put it to the wings, took it downfield, then knocked it into the middle. We ran our two-touch passing game most of the time and we didn't get sloppy.

"The kids also dropped back well and there was a lot of unselfish play. They kept their heads up to see what was going on before they dealt with the ball."

Despite the ease of the win, Kurt-Mason called the game "a good chance to practice our passing, to practice the kind of game we want to develop. If this team stays at a high level when they play better teams, they're going to be OK."

How does 22-5 sound?

Still pretty good, eh?

That's the regular-season goal total following a 4-1 loss at Durango Tuesday - a loss that, in effect, might be somewhat of a victory for the Pirates.

Why? Because Pagosa battled the Durango varsity (generally the team plays the Demon junior varsity) and the result was an excellent match, for both squads.

The teams were fairly even throughout the first half of action, with Durango getting on the scoreboard first, at about the 20-minute mark, following shortly after with a second goal.

Pagosa closed the gap, however, when Reinhardt put a shot to the upper corner of the far post from 35-yards distance. The half ended with the hosts ahead 2-1.

Durango scored the only goals of the second half, but the Pirates came away knowing they had made a solid effort.

"It was a real midfield battle," said Kurt-Mason. "It was the Laurel and Kailey show: Laurel and Kailey against the Durango team, and we were real strong in the middle."

Durango nailed the final advantage by working the ball to the corners, then moving it in to the box. Pagosa's wings - unused to the energetic attack from outside - were not able to adjust coverage to players advancing to the goal to take the passes from the corner.

Pirate keeper Iris Frye had three saves in the first half, four in the second.

"We had our chances," said Kurt-Mason. "Laurel had two shots and one goal. Kailey, Stephanie Erickson and Maria Howell all had clean shots and near misses.

"This was a good match for us, a fun match to watch."

ASA training clinics for adults

ASA Certification clinics for adults interested in becoming softball coaches, umpires or scorekeepers will be held at the office of Lone Pine Custom Millworks, hosted by state Junior Olympic Commissioner Lori Swope, Saturday, April 22.

The following certification courses will be offered:

- Ace Coach certification clinic, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Clinic cost $20 - includes coach's training manual, instruction and testing, certificate of completion. This course qualifies an individual to coach youth and adult ASA programs, 2006 coach insurance ASA rules book and skills and drills playing cards.

- ASA umpire class, field training and certification, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Clinic cost $40 - includes umpire instruction, certificate of completion, 2006 insurance, bat ring gauge, Umpire ASA rule book. This course qualifies an individual to start umpiring at the ASA 6U-12U league and tournament level. Renewing umpires are welcome. Classroom training 11 a.m.-2 p.m., field clinic 3-5 p.m.

- ASA scorekeeper clinic, 2-5 p.m. Clinic Cost $12 - includes scorekeeper handbook, ASA scorebook/pencil, 2006 insurance. This clinic teaches the fundamentals of scorekeeping, certifies an individual to scorekeep at ASA game, introduces the stat recordkeeping concepts for advanced scorekeepers. A must for new and renewing scorekeepers.

All parents of girls playing ASA Softball must attend the mandatory parent/player meeting at 10 a.m. April 15 at the community center. Signups for ASA adult training clinics will be accepted at this meeting or by phone. Call (970) 903-8878 to register or for more information.

Pagosa athletes win medals at state event

By Jody Cromwell

Special to The SUN

Congratulations go out to the Pagosa Special Olympics Ski Team.

Team members brought home gold and silver from the recent 2006 Special Olympics Colorado State Winter Games at Copper Mountain Resort.

Pagosa Springs had two athletes and two Unified Partners go to the State Winter Games this year. From the opening ceremonies with fireworks, to the dance party, there was never a dull moment.

With over 200 athletes competing, it's quite an achievement to go to the state competition in skiing, let alone win a medal.

Pagosa's Nick Saunders and Unified Partner Hailey Peck received gold medals in slalom and silver medals in giant slalom. Sydney Poole and Unified Partner LeeAnn Hersom received silver medals in giant slalom.

Our young athletes worked very hard over the winter ski season to qualify for regionals at Durango Mountain, thanks to the generosity of Wolf Creek Ski Resort, Wilderness Journeys, Pagosa Ski Rental and all the volunteer coaches and helpers.

Athletes and program supporters are looking forward to next year's event with more of our local Special Olympics athletes going to state.

Pirate track team opens season at Rocky Ford meet

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Call it a long ride, to learn a valuable lesson.

Chalk it up to experience.

See it as a chance to test the goods.

A moderate start to what should be a fine season.

The Pirate track team left Pagosa in the early morning hours Saturday for a long bus ride to the southeastern plains - to Swink, for the Rocky Ford-sponsored invitational track meet. It was a windy day, and an extended one (the Pirates would not arrive back home until the late hours of the night).

The competition featured three Class 3A teams - the Pirates, Monte Vista and Lamar. The remainder of the large, 30-team field was made up primarily of 2A teams, many of them very good teams.

Good enough to provide the Pirates with what Coach Connie O'Donnell called an "eye-opener."

How good, otherwise, we might never know.

Apparently, the computer age has not made its debut in Rocky Ford or Swink, since no results, either individual or team, were made available to O'Donnell and her staff after the event. But, one thing is for sure - a potentially good team from Pagosa did not bowl over the competition at the meet.

"I hope it was a wake-up call for us," said the coach. "I hope, after this meet, our kids realize things won't be handed to them. We have work to do, and we need to work hard. I hope this trip was a worthwhile drive, for all that."

Not that some members of the team did not distinguish themselves on track and on field. There were some fine individual efforts for the first outing of the season.

Veteran distance runner Emilie Schur won the 1,600 meters. Schur is no stranger to the medal platform or to the state meet and her season began in a way that indicates the senior will be in the thick of it until season's end.

At least two Pirate runners set or came close to personal best times in events: Kim Fulmer closed in on her best time from last year in the 400 and A.J. Abeyta ran his best-ever 3,200.

"A.J. performed very well," said O'Donnell. "He ran his best thirty-two hundred and then turned around and ran a leg on the four-by-four. He also ran a good leg on the four-by-eight relay. I was really impressed by his attitude. I asked him to run a lot, and he didn't flinch.

"Kim came real close to her best time in the 400 and she's definitely on track to improve that time. She also ran some pretty good relay legs."

Junior Caleb Ormonde made a mark at the meet, turning in good performances in the triple jump and high jump. Ormonde ran the open 200 and a leg on the 4-by-200 relay.

O'Donnell also singled out senior sprinter Nikki Kinkead for her work at the Rocky Ford meet. "Nikki ran five races, counting prelims and finals," said the coach. "She made the finals in both the hundred and two-hundred and she ran a personal best in the hundred.

"The other advantage to this meet," said O'Donnell, "is that a lot of our freshmen were nervous and, with this behind them, hopefully they got that out of their systems."

Pirate ranks were thinned due to a lack of buses; O'Donnell took only 38 of 70 team members and that situation is likely to change as the team participates in two meets this week. Tomorrow, April 7, the team motors to Ignacio for what is traditionally a small meet. "We're taking everybody," said the coach.

Saturday, the team makes the drive to Farmington, for a larger and more competitive meet on the Scorpions' home turf.

Meanwhile, it's time to do the work the coach mentioned. The hard work.

"The first meet of the year always helps me remember what I've forgotten to tell the team at practice," said O'Donnell. No doubt, the work this week reflected that refreshed memory.

Pagosa Springs Recreation

New reservation policy for town parks

By Jim Miller

SUN Columnist

With the help of our parks and recreation commission, a new reservation policy has been developed for the parks.

It reflects an effort to fairly assess the impact of various events and charge accordingly. It also acknowledges that the town has no wish to generate revenue by providing a location for the wide range of public and private functions that occur in our parks.

Events attracting fewer than 200 people will be charged an administration fee, an electricity usage fee, if necessary, and be asked to provide proof of liability insurance. A deposit will also be requested to cover the cost of cleanup and possible repairs resulting from the event.

Functions taking place over the course of two or more days, or which attract more than 200 people, will be asked to negotiate a special event permit with the town.

Reservation forms and a deposit schedule are available at the parks and recreation office at Town Hall, and details can be obtained by calling me at 264-4151, Ext. 233.

Youth workers

I met last week with Allison Laramee of the Southwest Conservation Corps to finalize plans for our participation in the Community Corps program this summer. Fourteen- and 15-year-olds in the Pagosa area are encouraged to apply for this four-week program which begins July 10 and ends Aug. 3.

There are openings for eight workers who will earn and learn while contributing to projects that will beautify and improve our town. We are also looking for two adults to serve as crew leaders.

Contact Julie Jessen at 264-4151, Ext. 226, or go online to www.townofpagosasprings.com for applications.


The 2006 tee-ball schedule has been finalized and is available at the recreation office in Town Hall. Games begin April 10.

Parents who have not been contacted by their child's head coach should call the recreation department office at 264-4151, Ext. 232, for roster information and coaches' contact numbers.

Participating children need only bring gloves; bats, tee-balls and tees will be provided. Uniforms will be handed out prior to game time on each team's opening night.

Parents and coaches should be aware that all games scheduled to be played in the community center will be moved to Town Park, weather permitting, and will begin at the same start times. Coaches will be notified in advance when there is a change in venue and the sports hotline (264-6658) will be updated accordingly.

The tee-ball schedule for the coming week includes:

April 10 at the community center - White Sox vs. Angels at 5:30 p.m. and Royals vs. Orioles at 6:30 p.m.

April 12 at the community center - Rockies vs. A's at 5:30 p.m. and Angels vs. Royals at 6:30 p.m.

Adult basketball

The competitive league schedule (all games at the junior high school) for the coming week includes:

April 10 - High Mountain Performance vs. Concrete Connection at 7 p.m. in the upper gym, Slack Attack vs. Buckskin at 7 p.m. in the lower gym, Chama I vs. M. Kelley at 8 p.m. in the upper gym and Bear Creek vs. Chama II (Ballerz) at 8 p.m. in the lower gym.

April 12 - High Mountain Performance vs. M. Kelley at 7 p.m. in the upper gym, Bear Creek vs. Buckskin at 7 p.m. in the lower gym, Slack Attack vs. Ruff Ryders at 8 p.m. in the upper gym and Chama I vs. Chama II at 8 p.m. in the lower gym.

The recreation league schedule (all games at the junior high school) for the coming week includes:

Tonight - Shot Callers vs. Green Machine at 6 p.m. in the upper gym, Ponderosa vs. South Pagosa at 6 p.m. in the lower gym and Allen's Auto Body vs. Citizens Bank at 7:05 p.m. in the lower gym.

April 11 - Citizens Bank vs. Shot Callers at 6 p.m. in the upper gym, Tim Miller Custom Homes vs. Allen's Auto Body at 6 p.m. in the lower gym and Green Machine vs. Ponderosa 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.

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


Who's in control?

Government-mandated tests were administered in Archuleta

School District 50 JT buildings and, once again, it is obvious how

the tests symbolize the erosion of local control over public education and the growth of administrative buffoonery in the educational arena, rather than any real gain in our ability to teach our young people.

No Child Left Behind. Sounds great, doesn't it?. An idea gilded with fine rhetoric and sloganeering; a general failure and a bit of political skullduggery. The same, we think, can be said for CSAP - the state's take on the notion.

What's wrong with testing kids in schools? Nothing, in theory. Tests can be positive additions to the educational arsenal

But, when one combines test results with punitive action? When one considers how curricula and educational objectives might be shaped by fear of that action, rather than by attention to the goal of a targeted, rounded education? Then Š there's a lot that's wrong.

One of the most common justifications of NCLB and CSAP is that test results show us "what we are not doing well."

Defined by whom?

By bureaucrats whose nests are feathered by a punitive system? By systems that increase administrative spending in response to "pressures," thereby squandering money better spent on new teachers - employees who are underpaid to begin with? By politicians who buy votes with codified rhetoric?,

It is not defined by the community and we have to ask: Can we still set a course of action designed to prepare our youngsters for a future that is changing in ways a traditional curriculum and approach cannot meet?

Or do we have a system that scurries around, trying to avoid the punitive aspects of NCLB and the state-mandated CSAP process, producing mountains of paperwork, unable to stand against the tide?

We recognize many school districts are financially strapped to a point they cannot face the prospect of funding withheld, of sanctions imposed for not meeting arbitrary and ill-conceived programs fueled by politicians - many of whom could not pass the tests they mandate. And so, the districts go along.

But, why? What sense does it make when punitive measures loom over a district's test results and, at the same time, the politicians who craft the legislation make it so parents can choose to have a child opt out of CSAP tests, but a zero must be factored into the school's overall test results for consideration by the powers that be? What kind of idiocy is this? And why do we put up with it?

Why would you have a student who has just arrived from another nation, barely able to speak English, if at all, take language tests and have his or her abysmal score factored into a school's results for consideration by the powers that be? What kind of nonsense is this?

What possible good is done here and in like examples? What good is the potential loss, under test pressure, of verifiably valuable programs like arts, music and the like?

The good is done for bureaucrats and politicians. But for few others.

CSAP, NCLB, administrative dominance and growth, all are symptomatic of a society that has lost control over core processes - in this case, education. We suffer from a failure of elected leadership and public will. We accept sloganeering and endure bureaucratic trumpery in order to avoid responsibility. We have not taken a clear-eyed look at the world our children will face and we do not demand effective educational responses, rather than test-driven reactions, to probable realities. Educational responses, not administrative responses. We are succumbing to over-control of education by big government and the manipulation of that lack of control by bureaucrats at the expense of the youngest members of our society.

If we don't change, those children will pay a huge price.

Karl Isberg


90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 7, 1916

For the first time in the history of Pagosa Springs as a corporation no town election was held Tuesday, the people deciding that the old officials were good enough and that the $300 election expense could much better be expended on the streets than providing a little incidental election excitement that would benefit no one except as a trade stimulant for the festive bootlegger.

A large portion of the bridge across the Navajo at Juanita, which was taken out last week by high water, will be reconstructed as soon as conditions permit. Ed Friend went down Tuesday to estimate requirements for its repair, and Commissioners Ewell and Swanson went down Wednesday to look over the situation concerning both bridges and roads in that section.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 10, 1931

A goodly number of veterans of the World War met at the court house Wednesday evening with Dr. S.C. Parker and H.A. Robertson of Durango for the purpose of reorganizing the Lester W. Mullins post of the American Legion. Sufficient signatures were obtained and application has gone forward for a charter. Present plans are to hold election of officers on Monday, April 20th.

Pagosa Springs will shortly have a new town marshal and street commissioner in the person of Buck O'Neal, who was elected to the position by the town board Tuesday evening. He succeeds J.W. McGee, who continues as water superintendent only, instead of holding down the three positions.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 5, 1956

V.A. Poma is redecorating his service station and the new white paint on the outside makes a very attractive station. This week was Indian pay day and a lot of the Indians were in town on shopping trips. Kind of took some of the stores out of the spring doldrums.

Spelling champion. Terry Pat Alley, second grade champion, won out over Nancy Gardner when he was able to spell "knee." The second grade champion is in Mrs. Trujillo's room and like all other grade champions received a certificate to attest to his spelling ability. Virginia Minium won the fourth grade spelling crown on "forwarded" which put Susan Schoonover down after a long contest. Virginia has Mrs. W.H. Diestelkamp for a teacher.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of April 9, 1981

The Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees approved the 91-acre Pagosa South annexation, scheduled a public hearing for the Western Addition annexation, and set a two-hour limit on the landfill parking lot.

The marina on Lake Navajo at Arboles is being enlarged, new boat slips are being built, and a modernization program is underway there. Navajo State Park, at Arboles, is one of the more popular boating and water sport areas in the Four Corners area, with visitation of about 80,000 persons last year.

Spring is definitely on the way, although some of the travelers on Wolf Creek Pass Friday of last week might not have thought so. A spring storm there made for problems for motorists who did not have proper equipment.


Travels to faraway places ... always lead home

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

"Here Š right here in the San Juans," answered Brad Rhees, when questioned about his favorite place in the world.

For nearly 30 years, Rhees has been an expedition leader for adventure travelers in some of the most exotic places on earth including Antarctica, the Arctic and the Upper Amazon Basin.

Born and raised in Ouray, Rhees worked in the mining industry until it slowly closed its doors, one mine at a time.

He ventured "back East," and began work at a travel agency.

"I was like a kid in a candy store," said Rhees with a smile, recalling the glossy brochures describing dreamy destinations. He was intrigued by an adventure travel company and called the owner about a position. Two weeks later, Rhees found himself on an expedition.

"I had experience only in being a tourist," he said, but Rhees learned quickly on the job. "Everything I did was work-related - it's all hands on."

The core of Rhees' responsibilities revolves around preparing the adventure of a lifetime for the groups he leads into the wilderness. The adventures focus on wildlife and culture and day trips are conducted from Zodiacs - heavy rubber boats resembling white water rafts, that hold as many as 12 passengers and are powered by outboard motors. All the adventures Rhees directs are ship-based, although the cruising is not comparable to the "party" boats advertised on television.

"Depending on what ship I'm on, sometimes I go two to three weeks without access to a phone - excluding satellite phones that can cost $11 per minute," explained Rhees.

As he lays out itineraries for the ship's passengers, in conjunction with meeting the captain's needs, Rhees pulls on his years of experience in pinpointing the best adventures possible in these areas that have become almost as familiar as his own backyard.

Rhees knows which cliffs are likely to draw polar bears due to routines in the bears' diets in the Arctic; he knows which icebergs are most apt to "calve," sending great blocks of ice avalanching into the water in Antarctica; and he knows which tributaries lead to the best bird-viewing vistas in the Amazon.

"I get to choose all my favorite spots in making the itinerary," said Rhees. "The nature of this business is to be in places that are virtually unknown. A lot of times, we have to work around factors that are out of our control," which makes his expertise all the more valuable.

Although his heart calls the San Juan Mountains home, Antarctica ranks as Rhees' second favorite place to be. "I've been there more times than anywhere else," he said. "Every time, it's a different experience. It's constantly changing - that's the beauty of it."

Rhees is able to surround himself with whales, seals and penguins in the course of his average work day. "It's hard to explain this life to people," said Rhees. "It might sound jaded, but the things that are so extraordinary are everyday (for me). I never loose the thrill of seeing these things. It's like National Geographic, and that's my job."

The typical tourist season in Antarctica is November through March, and in the Arctic, the months to travel are July through September. The average daytime temperature in these destination locations is usually somewhere in the 30s to low 40s, Fahrenheit. "I'm in summer just about all year," added Rhees with a grin. "Only it's with polar bears and penguins."

Many of Rhees' best experiences are wildlife related, simply due to the close proximity to the animals he and the tourists observe. Last fall, Rhees had to throw rocks at a metal barrel to make enough commotion to drive away polar bears that were a bit too curious about the humans in their territory. Although Rhees carries a rifle on polar bear tours, he has never fired it.

Adventures in such remote locations can be dangerous, if the guide and crew are not prepared for every possible occurrence. "I could tell you some really great seasick stories Š if you want seasick stories," added Rhees. He has had to turn back the tour ship for seriously ill passengers once or twice, and can count on one hand the number of times his expeditions have encountered major difficulties.

"I have abandoned ship with a Shackleton," said Rhees of one such mishap. The cruise ship ran aground, and Rhees had to clear the ship of all passengers. One of the men on board was Keith Shackleton, great-nephew to the well-known explorer, Ernest Shackleton.

Rhees has retraced the footsteps of the famous adventurer across the rock and ice fields to Stromness, a now abandoned former whaling station, with a few of his tour groups, as well as visited Elephant Island, the rescue point for Shackleton's men. Antarctica is overflowing with natural history as well as the legendary histories of such explorers.

"Just the beauty of (Antarctica) - this is nature at its finest," said Rhees. Throughout his travels, Rhees has grown in his respect for nature and the spectacular beauty he discovers there. "I'm more environmentally aware. I'm more conscious of global warming. I recycle everything. My house is run with solar power. I don't hunt anymore - I'd much rather see the animals (in the wild). Some of these animals could be gone in our lifetime."

Rhees relishes the time he spends in Pagosa Springs. "You give up a lot for this lifestyle," he said. On board the ship, the moment he steps from his cabin, Rhees is on duty. After four straight months, the physical exhaustion takes a toll. The mountains provide a sanctuary to rest and regroup.

"The weeks pass so quickly at my house. I'm quite content being home for weeks on my own. Sometimes, I come to town only once a week. I miss the wild turkeys out my backdoor, and the squirrels that come running when I'm outside."

With a business partner in Durango, Rhees has founded an "eco and adventure tours" company called Colorado Plateau Adventures. "It's three years old and growing - slowly growing, but growing. It's a work in progress."

"I keep finding myself back in this area," said Rhees. When in the mountains, Rhees enjoys mountain biking, hiking, fishing and being outdoors in general. Although he savors his far-reaching adventure travels, Rhees looks forward to someday spending more time in the mountains he loves and calls home.

Pagosa's Past

Hurrah! Let's burn the hoiuse down

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

"Hurrah" sounds a lot like "hurray," and can mean "good for our side."

In the Old West, a hurrah could have an entirely different meaning such as, "Let's have some fun and burn the house down."

A Pagosa Springs hurrah was described in one of the first issues of the Pagosa Springs News in 1891. That the house involved still stands today is amazing when you consider the amount of sacrilege the old building took from its cowboy antagonists. It's well to keep in mind: These events took place at a house warming party.

Known by old-timers for years as the Sturdivant house, the two-story frame structure remains east of the river on San Juan Street, exactly where a former sheriff by the name of Billy Kern erected it in 1891. The possession of new digs so excited Kern, he decided to throw a dance to celebrate the proud moment.

News editor Dan'l Egger described the social fracas this way:

"The pleasure of the dance in the new Kern building last Saturday evening was marred by the very ungentlemanly behavior of four cowboys named Bob Kelly, Emmet Wourt (Wirt), Bill Davenport, and Jack Gerart, belonging to Carlisle's (cattle) outfit. The boys were treated with due respect by those present, yet they were determined to have a row and expose their brutish natures. About the close of festivities during a dispute with Mr. Kern, one of them demolished the lamp with his gun. This seemed to be the signal for each one to begin the perforation of the new building with bullets, and the four guns were emptied twice. The manner in which they flourished their guns in the face of the proprietor of the building was not very pleasant for him. Warrants were sworn out for their arrest Sunday morning, but the sheriff and his deputies, after a futile chase in the direction of New Mexico, returned without their men."

Emmet Wirt went on to become one of the best known men in the Four Corners area in his role as trader and benefactor to the Jicarilla Apaches in Dulce. The fact that he became the friend of senators and governors, not to mention the extremely wealthy, has led to mixed opinions about whether his life should be remembered as one of helping the Apache or one of greed.

The best approach may be to acknowledge that Wirt helped the Jicarilla establish cattle and sheep industries while becoming wealthy in the process.

As to Egger's statement that Wirt and the other cowboys worked for the Carlisle outfit - that puzzles me a bit. I know that the Carlisle Cattle Company belonged to one of those large English investment firms common to the settlement days of the far West.

I know the Carlisle Cattle Company was very active in San Juan County, Utah, with a headquarters a few miles north of Monticello. I would not be surprised if they operated in northern New Mexico as well, but just don't have the documentation to prove it.

As I mentioned some weeks back in this column, U.S. 64 runs east/west through Dulce. Just off the western side of the reservation, the highway follows a canyon called Vaquero Cañon which dumps into La Jara Cañon. Old maps show a former post office located at the east end of Vaquero Cañon called "Vaquero." I've recently visited a place called "Cowboy Springs" which is close to the former site of Vaquero.

"Vaquero" is Spanish for "cowboy." Could this post office have been located at a Carlisle Cattle Company headquarters?

Quien Sabe?

Pagosa Sky Watch

Find Coma Berenices in April, early May

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

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

Sunrise: 6:46 a.m.

Sunset: 7:35 p.m.

Moonrise: 1:07 p.m.

Moonset: 4:08 a.m. on April 7.

Moon phase: The moon is waxing gibbous with 62 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

As spring gradually advances, its key constellations, Bootes, Virgo, Leo and Hydra are moving to more prominent positions in the night sky. With bright stars and distinct outlines, these common constellations are fun and easy to targets for the backyard star gazer. But for those who want to travel off the beaten astronomical path, tucked away among these more common heralders of the season, lies Coma Berenices - a fainter and lesser-known, but albeit, springtime constellation.

Like the faintness of its stars, the origins of Coma Berenices are somewhat difficult to discern. While the historical record agrees that the constellation was founded in the mid to late 16th century, it disagrees on the constellation's founder. One source asserts Coma Berenices was the work of the Dutch cartographer, Gerardus Mercator in 1551, while a second source attributes the formal founding of the constellation to the astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1590.

Although the identity of the constellation's founder appears unclear, the record indicates that both men had similar motivations for naming the grouping of stars. Since ancient times, astronomers had considered the star grouping that is now known as Coma Berenices, part of the constellation Leo. Yet, after studying Leo and its environs, Mercator and Brahe concluded that because of its distinct shape and significant separation from Leo, the grouping warranted its own name and status.

Once it had been established that the grouping warranted recognition as a distinct and independent constellation, the next step required giving the constellation a name. Sticking to astronomical tradition, the name Coma Berenices was taken from a Greek legend, although with one caveat - Berenices was a real historical figure, not a mythical entity.

Berenice II was a third century B.C., Egyptian queen, who, according to legend, offered to sever her cherished locks as an offering to the gods if they would ensure the safe and victorious return of her husband, Ptolemy III, from battle.

When Ptolemy returned, Berenice made good on her promise, and placed the severed braids in the temple of Aphrodite, where soon thereafter, they vanished. At first it was believed thieves had stolen the locks as an insult to the queen, yet the court astronomer, Conon of Samos, convinced Berenice that the gods had taken the braids and placed them in the heavens.

Eratosthenes, the third century B.C. astronomer, was one of the first to note the faint grouping of stars, and Brahe and Mercator simply built on this earlier tradition.

True to the legend, the constellation appears between, and slightly below Canes Venatici and Leo, as two long braids configured in a slightly tilted "L" shape. The open portion of the "L" faces south, away from Canes Venatici and the Big Dipper and toward the constellation Leo.

To locate Coma Berenices, you should begin observations after 9 p.m. when the sky is sufficiently dark and the constellation is well above the horizon. Start by facing east and look for a bright orange star about five degrees above the horizon - this is Arcturus, the brightest star in the constellation Bootes and the fourth brightest star in the sky.

Using Arcturus as a guide, shift your gaze directly up about another five degrees and there you will find beta Comae Berenices, a magnitude 4.2 yellow star and the brightest in the constellation.

The star marks the midpoint along the constellation's L-shape, and also marks our own Milky Way's, galactic north pole. When you gaze at beta Comae Berenices you are looking beyond our own galaxy and into the farthest reaches of the universe.

The rest of the constellation is comprised of essentially two stars that lie at points nearly equidistant from beta Comae Berenices. The higher star, is gamma Comae Berenices, a 4.4 orange giant lying 170 light years away. While at the opposite, and lower arm of the "L," lies alpha Comae Berenices, a magnitude 4.3 binary system comprised of twin, yellow-white stars that orbit each other every 26 years.

Coma Berenices and its environs, including the vast Coma Star Cluster located near gamma Comae Berenices, are probably best observed with binoculars. Binoculars will allow observers to enjoy the full scope of the Coma Star Cluster, and may make it easier to pinpoint the faint stars of the constellation proper due to the binocular's wider viewing angle. Those with advanced amateur telescopes may enjoy the numerous, deep space viewing opportunities Coma Berenices provides.

Among the region's highlights are: M64, the Black Eye Galaxy, M100, the Coma Pinwheel Galaxy, and NGC 4565 commonly known as the Needle Galaxy, which can be viewed with small to medium sized amateur telescopes.

The preponderance of moonlight this weekend may make locating Coma Berenices difficult, but the constellation will gradually gain in prominence throughout April and early May, when it will reach meridian, or peak height, May 15. Therefore, sky watchers who have trouble locating the constellation this weekend, will still have ample, and undoubtedly more favorable viewing opportunities, throughout the coming weeks.


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