November 16, 2006

Front Page

Deputy DA fired following plea bargain

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

A deputy district attorney's handling of a high profile drinking and driving case has rocked the office and led to the termination of a key staffer.

Craig Westberg, district attorney for the Sixth Judicial District, said he was forced to fire Deputy District Attorney Keith Mandelski after Mandelski defied office policy by allowing Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday to plea bargain for slightly lesser charges relating to an Aug. 1 incident where Zaday was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) per se and unsafe backing.

According to Westberg, a preliminary breath test (PBT) administered to Zaday indicated a blood alcohol content of .14, while a subsequent breathalizer test indicated a blood alcohol content of .16. The legal limit is .08.

Westberg said although the PBT is not certified and is inadmissible in a DUI trial, the breathalizer test is the foundation on which the district attorney can make their case.

Westberg said in DUI cases involving elevated blood alcohol levels, it is his policy not to plea bargain. He said he reiterated the policy to Mandelski prior to Mandelski taking the case and asked Mandelski to consult with him as the case progressed.

Westberg said he told Mandelski if the disparity between the two blood alcohol content tests became an issue, he would request a special prosecutor, considering the political implications of the case, and to avoid conflicts of interest.

Westberg explained the board of county commissioners funds just over 20 percent of the district attorney's operating budget.

The DA added that use of special prosecutors is not uncommon where there is a danger of perceived conflicts of interest and is necessary to uphold the integrity of the district attorney's office.

Westberg said his goal was "to avoid any possible suggestion that we made an exception to the case because of who she is, but that is precisely what happened."

On Nov. 1, while facing Judge James Denvir in county court, Zaday pled guilty to driving while ability impaired (DWAI), and not guilty to DUI per se and unsafe backing.

In line with the plea agreement, Zaday was sentenced to 10 days jail - suspended - 12 months probation with alcohol evaluation and supervision, 24 hours community service, and fines, fees, costs and surcharges totaling $435.

Westberg said the key difference between the two charges is that a defendant found guilty of DUI would face a 12-point levy against their driver's license, leading to an automatic license suspension. DWAI charges do not carry the 12-point levy, but otherwise the sentencing is largely the same.

"Under certain circumstances, with lower blood alcohol levels, we would consider a plea to DWAI and we do that on a routine basis, assuming first offender of course. With higher blood alcohol levels, it is our policy to insist on a guilty plea to DUI, or go to trial and let a jury decide," Westberg said.

Westberg said although Zaday didn't simply "walk away" without consequence, Mandelski's decision to defy the no-plea policy implied favoritism, carried "horrific" political implications, sent "precisely the wrong message" and he was left without option.

"This was the most important case on his (Mandelski's) plate. He negotiated a plea agreement against my wishes. It was a transgression of such magnitude that I had no alternative but to terminate his employment," Westberg said. "I don't do this lightly."

Mandelski declined to comment for this story.


So, who pays for the road work on Wapiti Place?

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Elections are bizarre animals. They force analysts to speculate and pollsters to predict. And often, the final results run contrary to even the most educated guesses.

But it seemed two local questions on the Nov. 7 ballot, Ballot Issue 1B and 1C, were beyond speculation. In fact, the results appeared guaranteed by the electors themselves.

But ballot issues 1B and 1C failed, and in the end, eight property owners on a county secondary road got a major road overhaul and the county paid the bill, and opinions vary.

County staff says the road work was expedited and predicated on verbal agreements and assurances from the electors the ballot issues would pass. The voters involved say the road work was part of scheduled maintenance and needed to get done, that there was no quid pro quo in the arrangements. Perspectives differ.

Elections are bizarre animals.

Ballot Issue 1B and 1C were custom tailored for, and requested by, all the property owners living on Wapiti Place in Pagosa Meadows Unit Three, and by one property owner living on Hersch Avenue whose property is bordered by Wapiti Place on one side. The group totaled eight electors, and the ballot questions asked them to approve the formation of a public improvement district (PID) for the purpose of self taxation to provide funding for a long-term maintenance program on Wapiti Place. If approved, Ballot Issue 1B would have increased their property tax mill levy 10 mills to provide the funding, while Ballot Issue 1C authorized the public improvement district an exemption from the constraints of the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) in order to self tax, and is required by Colorado law.

According to the PID agreement between the district members and the county, the residents would provide the funds while the county would undertake the maintenance, including ditch and drainage work, gravel, grading application of magnesium chloride and snow removal.

Wapiti Place is .19 miles long, is a county secondary road, and under the current road policy adopted in January 2006 by the board of county commissioners, the road would receive little maintenance beyond one yearly grading and snowplowing.

The ballot questions were requested by the proposed PID members in order to supply funding for a higher standard of service, and were the product of a formal request, via petition, to the board of county commissioners. In August, the group asked the commissioners to approve inclusion of the questions on the November ballot with assurances they would support the ballot questions with a unanimous vote.

On November 7, both questions were voted down, seven votes to one. And that has county public works director Alan Zumwalt perplexed.

In spring of 2006, Zumwalt and Archuleta County Special Projects Manager Sheila Berger began discussions with the eight electors regarding the formation of the PID. According to county documents, all the property owners within the PID boundaries did, in fact, agree to the formation of the district and signed their names to the petition. Because all residents in the district agreed to the formation of the PID, they asked the board of commissioners to waive public meeting requirements in order to put the questions on the November ballot.

The commissioners agreed.

Board chair Ronnie Zaday said the intent was to facilitate and support the formation of the Wapiti Place PID with free county staff and legal assistance, such that groups could join in the future with minimal hurdles to surmount. At the time, and based on the adopted secondary road maintenance policy, the county was encouraging the formation of PIDs in order to help solve road maintenance issues.

Zumwalt said, based on conversations with the Wapiti PID members and their assurances they would fund the district with support of the ballot questions, he decided to fast-track maintenance on the road to demonstrate the county was serious about supporting PIDs. Zumwalt acknowledged Wapiti Place had drainage issues.

During the last week of July, a county road and bridge crew completed drainage work, grading and applied new gravel to the tune of $11,628.

Zumwalt said, "It was a good faith measure to show that the county was serious about working with PIDs."

But, in light of the election results, Zumwalt added, "They weren't serious. They double crossed me. We had a deal and they reneged."

County Administrator Bob Campbell echoed Zumwalt's sentiments and said Wapiti place had, in fact, received fast-tracked road maintenance.

"It was a gentleman's agreement. The county moved forward with those people based on their word. They reneged. But what's done is done. I'm disappointed that they didn't follow through," Campbell said.

Robert Rawlings who lives on Wapiti Place disagreed with Campbell's and Zumwalt's assessments.

"The PID was not predicated on the agreement that 'you fix our road and we form a PID,'" Rawlings said.

Rawlings said the road maintenance had no correlation to the PID, and that the road repairs had been scheduled well in advance of PID discussions and that the work was undertaken because of severe drainage issues and the road's deplorable condition.

Rawlings said following adoption of the county's secondary road policy in January 2006, he and Wapiti Place residents began exploring the possibility of forming a PID to solve their maintenance issues. They discussed the prospect with the county.

"We went forward in a good faith move with the county. It was an opportunistic thing for everybody, there was no talk of de-Brucing at the time," Rawlings said.

But as spring turned to summer, August bore the first inklings of a road ballot question, and Rawlings said discussions of the ballot measure, the future of PIDs, the outcome of the District 3 commissioner's race, and a long-term road solution were murky at best.

"The county was going in every direction on how they were going to fix roads. We were totally confused and the crux of our whole thing is the total confusion," Rawlings said.

Rawlings added that he has enjoyed good relations with Zumwalt, Berger and other county staff and said, "The county has been nothing but fair with us."

Rawlings said he is willing to self tax and is willing to revisit the formation of a Wapiti Place PID but would do so once the county charts a clear course for tackling road maintenance issues and clearly defines the role of PIDs in the maintenance strategy. Until then Rawlings said, and with many questions still unanswered, he will remain a reluctant PID participant.


Trout Unlimited appeals Dry Gulch court decree

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Just when the boards of directors for the San Juan Water Conservancy District and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District thought they'd cleared a major hurdle in developing a new reservoir in Pagosa Springs, Trout Unlimited said, not so fast.

In a request filed Dec. 20, 2004, the districts, as co-applicants, applied to District Court, Water Division Seven, State of Colorado for the rights to water storage and two direct-flow appropriations from the San Juan River.

The storage component was for a reservoir named "Dry Gulch," with a total projected capacity of 35,300 acre-feet, including SJWCD's existing right to 6,300 acre-feet. The proposed site is about two miles northeast of town, and includes a dam approximately 3,000 feet long and 160 feet high. As currently designed, the reservoir's total surface area at high water line (elevation, 7,400 feet) would be roughly 621 acres.

Also in the request, the first direct-flow appropriation was for 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) "in combination from all sources," to fill the impoundment. The second was for an additional 80 cfs at the proposed Dry Gulch Pumping Station "for storage in reservoirs owned or controlled by the co-applicants." According to the districts, diversions from the pumping station could be used to fill Dry Gulch, or for tran-basin use and storage.

In July, 2006, Judge Gregory G. Lyman issued a Finding of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Judgement and Decree, and subsequently issued an amended decree (the Final Decree) on Sept. 15, 2006.

In essence, the Final Decree awarded the districts the full storage rights requested, half the requested direct-flow appropriation for filling the reservoir (100 cfs), and the full 80 cfs for the pumping station. The judge's amended decree simply clarified his earlier ruling, and specified that the total combined diversion from all sources "shall never exceed 180 cfs at any given time."

On Oct. 30, Trout Unlimited attorney Andrew Peternell filed an appeal with the Supreme Court, State of Colorado based on Judge Lyman's Final Decree.

In the appeal, Peternell listed the following as an "Advisory Listing of Issues to be Raised on Appeal:

- Whether the trial court made adequate findings of fact and conclusions of law.

- Whether Applicants demonstrated a reasonably anticipated requirement - based on substantiated growth projections - for the decreed water rights in a reasonable period of time.

- Whether, by Applicants' concession, the decreed water rights exceed their requirements.

- Whether the record supports the award of water rights for the specific uses listed in the decree.

According to the appeal, a transcript of evidence taken in the original trial will be necessary in resolving the issues raised on appeal. Therefore, a certified court reporter must transcribe the proceedings, which could total approximately 500 typed pages.

In a recent phone interview, Peternell said the Supreme Court might take a year or more to render a decision, or it could send the matter back to District Court for further review.

When asked what motivated the appeal, Peternell said, "We just want the court to take another look at the project size and scope. We don't have a problem with a new reservoir in Pagosa Springs, we just think this one is too big and takes too much water from the river."

However the state Supreme Court rules, local water districts will have to wait a bit longer, before proceeding with reservoir design.


Inside The Sun

Winner of Reuben R. Marquez Patriotism in Writing contest announced

The seventh annual Reuben R. Marquez Patriotism in Writing contest winner is Anna Ball, sophomore at Pagosa Springs High School. The contest is sponsored by Mrs. Reuben R. Marquez in honor of her late husband and other local veterans. Ball's essay, "One of Life's Greatest Mysteries," was read during the Veterans Day ceremonies at the American Legion Post 108 Saturday, Nov. 11.

"Some think of veterans as being people that stand out in a community and are in general very happy and likable. Some, such as myself, know differently. Don't get me wrong, I love veterans and I'm very thankful for what they have given up for us. I hold them in great respect, but some times everything isn't as it seems. The veteran that I am closest to is my grandfather. He is amazing and everyone loves and respects him, including me. But unlike other people, I know my grandfather from a whole different point of view. I know my grandfather as one of life's great mysteries. A mystery filled with unshared stories, silent respect, and a hidden treasure chest.

"One thing that people love about veterans is their stories. They have amazing stories based on anything from heroism to incredible tragedies. My grandpa has great stories too; it's just that people rarely get the pleasure, or heartache, of hearing them. He tends to keep his memories wrapped up inside of him. I wasn't exactly sure why he did this, but as I've grown older I have begun to realize that he doesn't want to relive the memories. Now I can understand this better, but I still remember when I was younger how I always wondered why he wouldn't share his stories with us. Sometimes, looking back, I feel bad because of how thoughtless I was. I've learned that you have to respect veterans not only by being thankful for what they've done, but also by letting them be. I've learned that sometimes you really don't need to know all of the answers to your questions, especially when it comes to veterans and their memories.

"My grandfather doesn't talk much because he is hard of hearing. As many people know, for veterans this is a result of war. This means that he is quiet a majority of the time. For some reason this makes people respect his words and listen carefully to everything that he says. What is so amazing about it is that whenever my grandfather does decide to grant us the privilege of hearing one of his incredible stories, there is dead silence and everyone pays total and complete attention to my grandfather. I always remember the family dinners when he tells a story, because it is almost eerie how quiet it is when he is talking. What is even stranger is how you don't really notice the silence until he has finished talking and then no one knows what to say next; no one wants to say something and sound stupid after one of his amazing stories.

"As I have said, my grandfather is someone who many people know and respect not only as a result of what he says but also as a result of what he doesn't say. This is why many people who know him, including me, try very hard to get something out of him. I'm not sure what it is, but something about him and his tragic experiences make me want to earn his pride and respect. Most people spent a majority of their life trying to impress someone and for me that someone is my grandfather. I always figure that if I get a compliment from him then I must have done something really amazing. When I was little, I would try to do this in a sneaky way. I wouldn't talk to him very often, I would just do things as best I could and then hope and pray that he would give me a compliment. I remember most of the things that he has said to me because he didn't talk to me much when I was younger, and to tell you the truth, every time he did it always scare the be-gee-bees out of me. I was always scared that he might get mad at me because he always had this look of complete disapproval on his face. He has changed over time and I've learned that I made a lot of mistakes in my judgments when I was younger. I've learned that if you get over trying to give him complete respect and just talk to him he is truly a wonderful person. I believe that somewhere inside him is a hidden treasure chest of unbelievable experiences and unspoken knowledge.

"Some days my grandfather seems to be a very satisfied man and other days he is the exact opposite. When I add that factor into the rest of his personality, the only answer that I can come up with is that he is a bottled up mystery - not necessarily one that needs to be solved. Some of the mysteries that life throws at you aren't meant to be solved. I believe that they are there simply there to urge you to look deeper. Even if I haven't solved the mystery, I know is that my grandfather is a man of great pride and undying love - even if you have to look deep to find it. No matter how hard I try I don't really believe that I will ever truly find that treasure chest inside him that I long to pry open. His experiences have taught him well and have made an enormous impact on his life. Who knows what would have happened if he hadn't gone off to war when he was 17. Maybe things would be different for me now; may be I wouldn't be here, but what is important is that he went and those war experiences, no matter how good or bad they might be, are what have created the outward crust on the loving man I know as my grandfather. Someday, may be I'll break through that crust, but for right now, I'll just have to wait until he is ready to tell us what happened in that war that made him the man he is today."


Intermediate school first-quarter honor roll

Mark DeVoti, principal at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School, has announced the first-quarter honor roll for students receiving all A grades and A/B honors.

Fifth-grade students receiving straight A's (GPA 4.0) are: Lane Chavez, Devyn Doctor, Grant Logan, Anissa Lucero, Lindsay Martinez, Sierra Monteferrante, Devin Mulbery, Aaron Nelson, Tiano Pico, Colton Polczynski, Lorenzo Quezada and Taylor Strohecker.

Sixth-grade students receiving straight A's are: Keith Archuleta, Tristen Bennett, Cody Cox, Dean Hampton, Kain Lucero, Nikolas Monteferrante, Gabrielle Pajak, Jonah Sanchez, Toni Stoll, Brandan Thomas, and Isaiah Thompson.

Fifth-grade students receiving A/B honors are: Alexa Alexander, Kylee Bonnell, Emily Bryant, Tessa Bush, Mason Chronowski, Jesus Dominquez, Jacob Fortney, BaiLee Gallegos, Rose Graveson, Tyler Greenly, Chad Hall, Luke Hansen, Joshua Harwood, Christopher Hogrefe, Shawnee Koster, Allison Kuhns, Julie LeLievre, Benjamin Lewis, Mesa Lynch, Kiva Maxwell, Aidan McGinn, Mariah Mondragon, Maya Novak-Herzog, Amber Onello, Sierra Perdee, Richard Peterson, Jose Ramirez, Cheyan Rice, Jesse Richardson, Cheyenne Rosser, Dean Scott, Taylor Spezze, Kelsey Thompkins, Nicholas Toth, Thane Trumble, Clint Walkup and Creede Wylie.

Sixth-grade students receiving A/B honors are: Satara Arthaud, Montana Bailey, Sable Baxtrom, Danielle Beserra, Heather Brooks, Sierra Bryson, Ashlyn Burch, Matthew Cary, Emma Donharl, Garek Erskine, Sienna Espinosa Kitman Gill, Zachariah Griego, Amber Hanley, Brannon Harbur, Cierra Keating, Alyssa Lee, Sean Lee, Thomas Levonius, Megan Loran, Hannah Matzdorf, Elle McGinn, Mandon Miller, McKenna Putnam, Benjamin Reece, Jason Reece, Shannon Rogers, Clay Ross, Samuel Sarnowski, Kendra Schlom, Elijah Stephens, Dylan Super, Tyler Talbot, Lane Tanner, Taylor Rowan, Lauren Toomey and Coleman Zellner.


United Way in Archuleta County

By Tom and Ming Steen

Special to The SUN

The United States is unique in the world in the amount of philanthropic giving - and it is not just that we are a wealthier country. No other country comes close. It's who we are as a people.

The United States is unique in the world in the amount of volunteer effort contributed for the common good - and it is not that we have more free time. No other country comes close. It's who we are as a people.

Many western European and other developed countries pay a much higher income tax rate than we do in the United States. Their government agencies and government programs are expected to take care of all the needs of their less privileged.

In the United States, nongovernmental organizations - churches and nonprofits - are expected to fill in the gaps where the government falls short. They have become essential to the well being of our country. As less and less governmental funding is provided to human services and as more and more nonprofit organizations form to meet social needs, the competition for funding has increased greatly. Nonprofits need to rely much more heavily on the support of their local communities - the people who know them best and appreciate their contribution to the community's health.

We suppose the growth and competition among nonprofits is almost a logical extension of our capitalistic, entrepreneurial society. "Do-gooder" groups and organizations - if we can use that term - compete with each other to identify and tackle social problems needing fixing. And they also compete for scarce dollars to run their organizations.

Unfortunately, speaking generally across our country:

- Many problems and needs identified may not be ones that all of us would agree call for intervention.

- Many well-meaning organizations spend a lot of effort and money without really accomplishing much good.

- Many organizations are poorly managed, have high rates of staff turnover and have underpaid and ineffective staff.

- Many nonprofits fail - and essentially go bankrupt - each year.

The average, good-hearted, philanthropic American donor really does not have enough information to make educated choices on where societal return-on-investment is highest - where to most effectively allocate his or her financial support.

This is the strongest argument for the existence of United Way. Realize that donations to United Way are not for "United Way Programs." Donations to United Way are passed through to other programs and organizations that are thoroughly vetted by United Way volunteers and staff. Financial and organizational accountability is continually monitored. Each year organizations requesting United Way support have to justify the use of funding, both in writing and through an oral grilling by local volunteers who determine who gets support - and how much support. Most nonprofits view approval for funding from United Way as a "Good Housekeeping Stamp of Approval."

Good management of a nonprofit is not an easy job. Because so many nonprofit organizations fail, when we find the quality of leadership required to make a nonprofit survive financially and deliver programs that really make a difference in the community, we have to stand up and cheer. Believe us, there are many who try and fail. We are fortunate to have some excellent nonprofit organizations serving Archuleta County and southwest Colorado.

You can be sure that the organizations that United Way in Archuleta County has chosen to fund are the backbone of local social support services. They are well managed and accomplish a tremendous amount of good. Collectively - they cover the waterfront of the major social issues faced by our community.

To realize how important they are to the health of the community, you only have to look at the list of United Way agencies and imagine what our community would look like right now if they had not been on the job providing the services they have over the years. If they suddenly disappeared, it would not be a pretty sight.

United Way in Archuleta County hopes to raise $67,500 through donations during its current campaign. This funding will help support the 15 organizations we have presented in the preceding series of articles. Donations may be sent to United Way of Southwest Colorado, P.O. Box 4274, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Holiday help is on the way, from Operation Helping Hand

Operation Helping Hand will join with the Rotary Club to distribute winter clothing at the fairgrounds Extension Building from 3-5 p.m. tomorrow.

For Archuleta County's less fortunate citizens, more help is on the way.

According to Operation Helping Hand organizers, 295 people, including 138 children and 31 senior citizens, have registered for assistance from the program. The deadline for applying for help is 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 4. Application forms are available at the Social Services office at Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard.

Program organizers, who help coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, businesses and organizations, said they are getting numerous requests for used furniture, blankets, pots and pans, dishes, silverware and electric blankets. These items, which organizers say can be "used, but still usable," should be brought to one of the following drop off locations: Coldwell Banker - The Pagosa Group, located on Put Hill; Jann Pitcher Real Estate, located on Put Hill; Bank of the San Juans on Hot Springs Boulevard; or the Movie Gallery in the Country Center Shopping Center by Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Toy Outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program.

Parents may help their children select for donation a toy or toys they no longer use, but which are still in good condition. Used bikes, PlayStations, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. These items should be brought to one of the above drop-off locations by Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers will post requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets on Saturday. These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats. To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from the board in City Market, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family. Take your gift to one of the above drop-off locations by Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Secret Santa Toy Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season. Additional details will be provided in next week's SUN.

Snowflake Program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas Food Boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners. It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be brought to one of the above drop off locations by Wednesday, Dec. 13.

You can also help by purchasing a City Market gift certificate and bringing it to The Pagosa Springs SUN office or mailing it to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. These certificates will be used to purchase turkeys and other perishable items.

Other components of the Operation Helping Hand Program will be outlined in upcoming weeks in the PREVIEW.

Civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible can be accommodated.

Questions about Operation Helping Hand may be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Monetary donations can be made to Operation Helping Hand and deposited to account no. 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or account no. 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans. Donations may also be mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Blood drive at The Den

By Musetta Wollenweber

Special to The SUN

The Den is pleased to host a blood drive 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the community center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

Did you know?

- Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs a blood transfusion.

- Blood donations help kids with cancer feel better and save the lives of car accident victims every day.

A blood donation truly is a "gift of life" that a healthy individual can give to others in their community who are sick or injured. In one hour's time, a person can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives.

Donating blood is a good idea. Call The Den today, 264-2167, to schedule your appointment for Tuesday, Nov. 28.


Allard rep in Pagosa Springs Nov. 21

U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard's area representative, Ann McCoy Harold, will hold Senate office hours 11 a.m.-noon, Nov. 21, at the Archuleta County Courthouse in the commissioners' meeting room - if weather and road conditions permit.

"I invite anyone in Archuleta County who is experiencing a problem with a federal agency or who wants to pass along an opinion on a current issue before the US Senate to stop by and visit with Ann," Allard said. "No appointment is necessary."

If you have questions, call Sen. Allard's office in Durango, 375-6311.


Gonzalez picks Weiss as next undersheriff

James Robinson

Staff Writer

Sheriff-elect Pete Gonzalez has announced the appointment of John Weiss as the next undersheriff of Archuleta County.

Gonzalez went public with his decision on election night at the campaign headquarters of Bob Moomaw, the victorious Republican District 3 candidate for county commissioner.

During the August primary, Gonzalez challenged current undersheriff Bob Grandchamp and fellow Republican Steve Wadley in a three-way Republican race. Gonzalez swept the field, and lacking a Democratic or write-in challenger, became a shoe-in for the post.

Gonzalez said he chose Weiss because of his administrative, management and people skills, and because of Weiss' long connection to the area and knowledge of local issues.

Weiss said between 1977 and 1980, and between 1983 and 1989, he served in the Denver area as the senior ranger and law enforcement supervisor at Cherry Creek State Park .

From 1990 to February 2006, Weiss said he served as park manager at Navajo State Park near Arboles.

Among his goals as undersheriff, Weiss said he would work to foster better intra-agency communication, maintain a high level of deputy and staff morale, and would work to maximize the skills of volunteers and volunteer organizations in search and rescue and other operations.

"Volunteers will be the lifeblood of search and rescue, just like any other county in this state," Weiss said.

He said state parks rely heavily on a cadre of volunteers and volunteer organizations, and his experience managing volunteer groups at Navajo State Park should serve the county well.

He added that the emergency operations division should remain under the auspices and responsibility of the sheriff's department.

In addition, Weiss said he will work with Gonzalez toward establishing a jointly-funded, town-county narcotics officer and an investigator who would work closely with the county's human services department.

Weiss said improving 24-hour patrol deputy coverage is one of his top priorities and that he would work to tackle the challenges posed by an overcrowded jail by supporting the alternative sentencing program.

Gonzalez and Weiss take their posts Jan. 9 2007.


County residents check out potential park plans

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

A large crowd appeared at the Stevens Field conference room last Thursday evening, to see what Archuleta County and its architectural consultants are planning for a possible 120-acre regional park at the end of Cloman Boulevard.

With the program in its earliest stages, the county was hoping for a good turnout and viable public input.

Thursday, it got both.

The county has an opportunity to acquire park property from the Bureau of Land Management at no cost to taxpayers, but first must provide the BLM with a conceptual plan as part of the acquisition agreement. Using state Conservation Trust Fund money, which can only be used for recreational purposes, the county hired Winston Associates, a landscape architecture firm in Boulder, to create plans for the property, and another 30 acres the county owns nearby.

As part of the process, the county will first hold several public meetings and gather citizen input on a number of potential park features and designs. Once a final plan is chosen, the county will submit it to the BLM, and use it as a guide for future capital projects planning and grant requests.

At Thursday's meeting, representatives from Winston Associates and the county were on hand to answer questions and take public comments. Several abstract drawings for each of the two parcels were available for review, and a large tablet was used in collecting public remarks and ideas.

Winston Associates Landscape Architect Neil Miner said between 100 and 130 people attended, and enthusiasm ran high.

Archuleta County Associate Planner Cindy Schultz suggested, if all goes well and the land conveyance takes place as planned, it could take a year or so to complete, and subsequent development would happen in phases, as funding is available. Meanwhile, upcoming meetings between the county and Pagosa Springs planning departments will assure continuity, and avoid development redundancy.

The following are potential park elements currently under consideration:

- Youth and adult baseball and softball fields with dugouts and fencing.

- Multi-use sports fields large enough to accommodate adult soccer fields.

- Restroom, concession and storage buildings near the athletic fields.

- A picnic complex and shelter, horseshoes, climbing facilities and sand volleyball.

- Play structures and equipment for different age groups, including a skate park.

- Amphitheater, tennis and basketball courts, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

- A looped path system, cross-country trails, climbing wall and bouldering area.

- Adult and youth motocross tracks with a small pond.

- Art and educational facilities, various site furnishings and ample vehicle parking.

- County facilities and maintenance shop.

When asked what design considerations have been given to prospective park users with limited mobility, planners said a handicapped-accessible nature-trail system was being considered for the 30-acre parcel along Cloman Boulevard. While such trails were not apparent on the conceptual drawings presented Thursday, planners insisted that all "facilities" will be accessible to those physically challenged, according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While pleased with Thursday's turnout and public participation, planners are quick to suggest final park plans could change dramatically, depending on continued community involvement. Schultz recommends anyone interested in helping to shape park development participate in the process by attending meetings, or presenting comments and suggestions to the Archuleta County Building and Planning Department at 731-3877.


School board discusses district self-evaluation

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County School District 50 Joint Board of Education made public and discussed a districtwide self-evaluation of the 2005-2006 school year, presented by Superintendent Duane Noggle.

The "Indicators of Achievement of Board Established Goals" rates the district's effectiveness in addressing three areas - students, staff and assets.

The achievement levels were graded as distinguished, proficient, basic, or not achieved - based on standardized test scores, governmental mandates, questionnaires and administrative evaluation and audits.

The district marked itself as meeting five goals at the distinguished level, six at proficient, seven at basic and three goals not achieved.

In his presentation, Noggle pointed out that the district holds itself to higher standards than the education mandates of state or federal government.

Though the district has met the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards instituted by the federal No Child Left Behind legislation and exceeds the state's 90-percent graduation goal, it still seeks to improve student achievement, as assessed by the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), and academic growth.

Teachers were found to be proficient at adjusting their teaching methods based on CSAP data and distinguished in their use of professional learning communities - in which they work together to improve practices.

The district showed distinguished financial and business management, with stable fund balances and an excellent annual financial audit, while teacher salaries were found to be competitive at the state level.

Though the district met state and federal guidelines, it did not achieve its own goals regarding performance on CSAP. In addition, last school year, the district did not achieve its goal of implementing a review of the employee evaluation system, though one is now in place. Nor did the district revise its facility use policy, as it intended to do, though the existing master facility plan is now in the process of being updated (a contract has been made with Blythe Design to revise the plan).

The directors also considered the results of the general election that could have an impact on local schools. Ballot issue 3A, which would have extended term limits for board members to three terms, was voted down by voters. The board had proposed the measure, since it has had difficulty finding candidates to run, with the imposition of the two-term limit. Board President Mike Haynes has said the term limitation has forced experienced members off the board and limited continuity.

Amendment 38 to the Colorado Constitution on petitions was denied by voters. The amendment would have eased the petitions process and made school districts subject to it, potentially causing a financial burden, since the district would have to pay for voter information regarding applicable petitions.

Amendment 39 and Referendum J were also declined by voters. Both would have required school districts to allocate 65 percent of their budgets for instruction, though the two measures defined instruction in different ways. District officials worried these measures would challenge local control of school districts and questioned them as one-size-fits-all approaches.

The directors heard a request presented by Special Projects Director Julie Jessen from the Town of Pagosa Springs to contribute to the second phase of the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex, which will be located across from Golden Peaks Stadium on 5th Street.

Phase one of the project is nearing completion. After hydro-seeding this fall, the soccer and baseball field will have playable turf by next summer, while trees will be planted next spring and a multi-use picnic shelter is almost finished, said a letter from Jessen to Noggle.

Phase two will address grading, drainage, landscaping, trails, sidewalks and parking improvements with a total estimated cost of just over $360,000.

A third phase is planned to add a concession stand, bathrooms and amphitheater. According to Jessen, the project should be complete in 2008.

Jessen told the board the town was asking for a gesture of support, rather than a substantial share in the costs. That support, Jessen said, would help show that the community is behind the project and improve the town's chances of receiving significant grant funds from Great Outdoors Colorado.

The board was open to the request and decided to keep it under consideration, but did not take action Tuesday night.

The school board rounded out the proceedings with the approval of an easement request from the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, conditional approval of a water easement for the Dakota Springs subdivision and approval of a land access easement for the Catchpole ranch.

The meeting included two closed-door executive sessions addressing personnel issues and the superintendent's evaluation, and the public meeting was brought to an end by discussion of the board's self-evaluation, which rated effectiveness and measured areas in need of improvement - many of which dealt with making board meetings and members more accessible to the public.

The next school board meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 12 in the junior high school library.


Highway project west of town set to end

Colorado Department of Transportation contractor APC Southern will complete the U.S. 160 Yellow Jacket-to-Keyah Grande project west of Pagosa Springs next week, with final work at the bridges over the Piedra River and Devil Creek.

From Monday, Nov. 20, through Saturday, Nov. 25, crews will be upgrading the bridge rail at each site (on separate days), working from 7 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

There will be no work Thursday, Nov. 23.

Travel delays on work days will be a maximum of 15 minutes.


Get HPV and travel vaccinations at San Juan Basin Health

A new vaccine that can prevent cervical cancer in women is available at San Juan Basin Health Department in their Monday Walk-In Clinics, 3-5:30 p.m. in Durango. Minors need to be accompanied by their parents.

This vaccine will be made available at the San Juan Basin Health Pagosa office relatively soon.

HPV - or human papilloma virus - is a virus of multiple variations that is spread from human to human through sexual contact with four strains (types 6, 11, 16, 18) having been identified as causal agents in cervical cancer in women.

The vaccine, manufactured by Merck, is called Gardasil. Approved for females ages 9-26, this three-vaccine series is given at two months after the initial vaccination and then four months after that. Presently the product is privately purchased and costs $155 per dose. Rocky Mountain HMO insurance indicated it would add the vaccine to coverage immediately. All other clients need to investigate whether their insurance will reimburse them for this product. For more information on this new vaccine, visit and type hpv in the search box.

Travel vaccinations

If you're planning to travel during the holiday season or early 2007, you are encouraged to schedule travel vaccinations and consultations now. There will be limited appointments available between Dec. 19 and Jan. 8. Travel vaccinations and consults are available by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 247-5702, Ext. 271 or 154.


Radon outreach workshops scheduled

This January, Radon Awareness Month, communities across the nation will lead activities and host special events to increase awareness of the health effects of radon exposure and to promote radon testing, mitigation and radon-resistant new construction.

During 2006, San Juan Basin Health Department made inroads for radon awareness education. Workshops and a public awareness campaign initiated communitywide interest and the department distributed 500 radon testing kits and has a waiting list of almost 100 individuals.

San Juan Basin Health Department will again partner with CSU Extension in January to conduct four outreach programs for different sectors of the community: hardware retailers and homebuilders on Jan. 8, Archuleta and La Plata county Realtors on Jan. 18, as well as two general community outreach meetings Jan. 24 and 26.

Call Marian at 247-5702, Ext. 223 for more information, or visit


Archuleta County Club 20 caucus held in Pagosa Springs

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County caucus of Club 20 - a political action group established in 1953 to represent the Western Slope - met last Thursday in Pagosa Springs to discuss the organization, solicit new membership and appoint a representative to the board of directors.

According to its Web site, "Club 20 is a coalition of individuals, businesses, tribes and local governments in Colorado's 22 western counties. The group is organized for the purpose of speaking with a single unified voice on issues of mutual concern. Its activities include marketing and advertising, public education, promotion, meetings and events, and political action."

Club 20 focuses on issues including transportation funding, natural resources, health, education, telecommunications and economic development.

Members participate in committee and subcommittees that advise the board of directors, which determines the direction and action of Club 20.

According to Executive Director Reeves Brown, county officials are a strong presence as board members and members of Club 20.

Robin Schiro, a senior Archuleta County member of Club 20 and county commissioner - Bob Egan, Ronnie Zaday, Bob Campbell and Sheila Berger, all county commissioners and administrators, were in attendance to confer with the caucus.

Outgoing board member and local businessman J.R. Ford said he appreciated Club 20's efforts and accomplishments on behalf of the Western Slope, but also expressed concern that the organization has in large part become dominated by county officials, which could detract from the political action group's ability to represent a variety of interests.

"County issues aren't always the same as business issues," he said.

Brown frequently referred to Club 20's broad, representative membership in his discussion at the meeting.

The Archuleta County caucus includes individual and business members, along with representatives of county government, special districts and other organizations.

After discussion of the purposes and procedures of Club 20, a new member of the board of directors was appointed.

Schiro, who wielded a majority of votes, was elected to the board of directors with the three proxy votes that she held on behalf of other members, along with the votes of Frank Schiro and herself.

Schiro expressed her dedication to the organization and her passion for representing Archuleta County before casting the votes.

As a voting member of the board of directors, Schiro will meet with other board members in April and September to vote on proposals made by Club 20 committees and subcommittees and other issues.

As described by Brown, as a Club 20 director, Schiro will also be given the opportunity to meet with state officials and lobby on the behalf of the Western Slope.


PSHS grad to study at Oxford

Kevin Muirhead, a 2004 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, has been accepted into The Scholars' Semester in Oxford through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities for the spring 2007 semester.

The program is designed for students interested in doing intensive scholarship in this historic seat of learning. Working with academic tutors, students hone their skills and delve into the areas that interest them most. As Visiting Students of Oxford University and members of Wycliffe Hall, students have the privilege to study and learn in one of university's historic halls. SSO students enroll in a Primary and Secondary Tutorial, an Integrative Seminar and the course Christianity and Cultures. The SSO is designed for students interested in the fields of classics, English and literature, theology and religious studies, philosophy, and history, though all majors may apply. Applicants are generally honors and other high-achieving students.

Muirhead is currently an English major at Colorado Christian University.



DOW seeks information on bull elk killed in San Miguel County

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is seeking information about a bull elk that was shot in Game Management Unit 61 in mid-October. The elk was left to rot.

The 5x5 bull was found in the flats between McKenzie Creek and North Creek in the southern edge of GMU 61 in San Miguel County.

Anyone offering information about the illegal killing of this elk could be eligible for a cash reward or a Unit 61 big game hunting license. Tips can be made anonymously.

If you have information, please call Mark Caddy, district wildlife manager, at (970) 327-4489; or Operation Game Thief at 1-877-265-6648.


Campaign focuses its binoculars on Keeping Colorado Wild

Colorado's wildlife is the subject of a new statewide public education campaign launched Nov. 13.

The legislatively mandated campaign supports the mission of the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW). The monies for the campaign were financed through a 75 cent surcharge on hunting and fishing licenses.

Built around the theme "Keeping Colorado Wild," the campaign aims to educate outdoor enthusiasts, wildlife watchers and the general public about the importance and scope of the DOW's professional activities in serving the interests of wildlife, wildlife watchers, sportsmen and women and the citizens of Colorado. The campaign also works to educate Coloradans on the role of the DOW in supporting the wildlife management practices for the resource.

Sponsored by the state's Wildlife Management Education Fund, television and billboards will be supplemented by public education on Colorado Public Radio stations and other communication vehicles.

"Colorado has a tremendous wildlife resource. The aim of this campaign is to educate the general public on how this resource is maintained and enhanced," said Bob Radocy, Wildlife Management Public Education Advisory Council chairman.

The public education campaign will run statewide on local and cable television stations. The radio announcements are currently running on Colorado Public Radio and the outdoor public education will debut in January. The first phase of this multi-year campaign will run through May 2007.

"According to a Colorado State University study, almost all Coloradans place importance on viewing wildlife, and more than half of Coloradans participate in wildlife watching," said Radocy. "This campaign will help expand the public's knowledge and understanding of the DOW's activities, its support of wildlife conservation and the principles of wildlife management."

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is the state agency responsible for managing wildlife and its habitat, as well as providing wildlife related recreation. The DOW is funded through hunting and fishing license fees, federal grants and Colorado Lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review status of cutthroat trout

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it is initiating a status review of the Colorado River cutthroat trout to determine whether the species warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Service intends to complete this 12-month review by the court ordered due date of June 7, 2007.

The Service is seeking the latest scientific and commercial information on the status of the cutthroat from the public, government agencies, tribes, industry and the scientific and conservation communities. After gathering and analyzing this information, the Service will determine whether to propose adding the cutthroat to the federal list of threatened and endangered species. Comments will be received until Jan. 8.

"The Service will evaluate all existing and new information to determine whether threats to the species warrant a listing proposal," said Mitch King, director of the Service's Mountain-Prairie Region. "Information from the public or scientific and commercial communities is invaluable in helping the Service determine the cutthroat's status."

In 1999, the Service received a petition from the Center for Biological Diversity and others to list the Colorado River cutthroat trout as threatened or endangered in its occupied habitat within its known historical range. In 2004, the Service determined the petition did not present substantial information indicating that listing may be warranted.

The Center for Biological Diversity filed a complaint and the court ordered the Service to conduct a status review for the Colorado River cutthroat trout by June 7, 2007.

The Colorado River cutthroat trout is the only salmonid native to the upper Colorado River basin. It is distinguished by red/orange slash marks on both sides of its lower jaws and relatively large spots concentrated on the posterior part of the body. The Colorado River cutthroat trout currently occupies portions of the Colorado River drainage in Colorado, southern Wyoming and eastern Utah and may still occur in very limited areas of New Mexico and Arizona.

An informational workshop will be held Dec. 6 from 1 to 5 p.m. and continuing on Dec. 7 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Holiday Inn, 755 Horizon Drive in Grand Junction.

The purpose of the workshop is to provide an opportunity for Service decision makers and other interested parties to discuss and provide information regarding the status of and threats to the Colorado River cutthrout trout. State and federal resource agencies, the petitioners, and any other interested parties are invited to attend. Those interested in presenting at the workshop may request a time slot by sending an e-mail to Please indicate the approximate presentation time desired, the name of the presenter, and the organization represented.

It will also be possible to request a presentation time slot in person at the workshop.

Written comments may be submitted by mail to Colorado River Cutthroat Comments, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 764 Horizon Drive, Building B, Grand Junction, Colorado 81506-3946; or fax to (970) 245-6933; or by e-mail to Please submit electronic comments in an ASCII format or Microsoft Word file and avoid the use of any special characters or any form of encryption. Please include "Attn: Colorado River Cutthroat Trout" and your name and return address in your e-mail.

For more information about the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout, visit the Service's Web site at


San Juan Mountains Association plans holiday bookstore sale

San Juan Mountains Association is preparing to hold its annual 20 percent bookstore sale at the San Juan National Forest Service, Pagosa Ranger District office, located at 180 Pagosa St. (Sale does not include Forest Service or BLM products, OHV Registrations, or Colorado Search and Rescue cards.)

Office hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bookstore items include clothing, books, maps, and assorted Smokey Bear products.

Proceeds support educational programs on public lands.

The sale runs from Nov. 24 through Dec. 22.


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approves DOW Gunnison Sage Grouse plan

The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has approved a program that will enable the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) to work cooperatively with landowners in voluntary efforts to preserve the Gunnison-sage grouse.

The program, called a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA), provides DOW with a legal mechanism to promote conservation work.

CCAAs identify actions that a landowner commits to perform to conserve wildlife habitat. Landowners who participate in this program will receive assurances that no additional conservation measures above and beyond those outlined in the CCAA will be required if the Gunnison-sage grouse is listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act in the future.

In April 2006, the USFWS removed the Gunnison-sage grouse as a candidate species for listing. The agency's decision was based on recent population trend surveys indicating no significant declines in the species throughout its range. However, if future impacts to the Gunnison-sage grouse cause significant population declines, the USFWS will re-examine the listing status of the species.

The DOW started working on the CCAA application to the federal government in early 2005. The DOW also started explaining the program to landowners. Since then, 100 landowners who own a total of 104,000 acres have expressed interest in participating in the conservation effort.

The DOW is the agency charged with implementing the CCAA program in Colorado. The state agency will work with landowners - including private and non-federal government entities - to establish baseline habitat conditions on properties, develop grouse conservation plans for each landowner and set CCAA agreements.

"Through the CCAA program we can work closely with landowners to develop innovative solutions for individual properties," said Gary Skiba, senior wildlife conservation biologist for the DOW's southwest region. "With this agreement in place, the Fish and Wildlife Service is providing DOW and landowners flexibility in how we approach conservation efforts."

The USFWS recognizes the importance of working with the DOW.

"The Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges all the time and money the DOW has dedicated to the conservation of Gunnison-sage grouse," said Al Pfister, Western Colorado supervisor for the USFWS. "Their efforts with private landowners are critical for the conservation of this species, especially considering the amount and location of grouse habitat that is privately owned."

Mapping of important habitat features has been completed on the most important parcels by a DOW contractor. DOW biologists will soon visit with those landowners to develop a specific management plan. After the landowner and the DOW agree on the details of the plan, it will be submitted to the USFWS for approval.

"The majority of endangered and threatened species occur on privately owned lands," Pfister said. "The long-term conservation of imperiled species, such as the Gunnison-sage grouse, cannot be accomplished without the partnerships and continued efforts that have been accomplished by the DOW and landowners to date. This CCAA is a tool we can use to make the Endangered Species Act more effective in achieving conservation while enhancing its flexibility for private landowners. Incentives like this are essential to help turn the decline of a species around in order to make listing unnecessary."

The DOW has been working with the USFWS and other federal, state and local agencies for the last five years on Gunnison-sage grouse conservation efforts. The cooperating agencies developed a "Rangewide Conservation" plan that provides strategies considered important to preserve the bird.

"The cooperating agencies have done a lot of work in the last five years to preserve and improve habitat," Skiba said. "Now we can take the conservation program to the next level by working with more landowners."


High Country Reflections

First snow of the season is now behind us

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

Winter arrived as we slept through the night, and by daybreak the surrounding forests were awash in a mantle of white. Here, in the Dutton Creek basin, and in town, it was the first measurable snowfall of the season.

The storm itself came as no real surprise. Meteorologists predicted it, and for those who noticed, clear signs of its steady approach were evident the day before. The true wonder of the snow was not in its timing or accumulation, but in its particular splendor, as it so delicately adorned the natural environment. Apparently, as it seems every year, the many months of relative warmth and sunshine had clouded my memory of the marvelous intricacies found in even the slightest tufts of pure driven snow.

Here in the south San Juans, the weekend began with sunny skies and brisk morning temperatures, as another in a series of Pacific cold fronts battered the West Coast with heavy rain. Inland, forecasters called for a winter storm in the mountains of Washington and Oregon and, depending on how far south the jet stream carried it, the disturbance could bring a chance of snow to the Colorado high-country by Saturday night.

Saturday morning, meanwhile, afforded cool but pleasant conditions, certainly suitable for a community celebration of Veterans Day. In spite of the sun, however, a distinct chill remained, partially accounting for newly formed ice bands lining the opposing banks of the river through town.

Later in the day, as the sun slipped in and out of increasing clouds on its unwavering descent toward the western horizon, swirling breezes severed many of the remaining leaves from their fragile holds on the deciduous trees and shrubs that once nurtured them. Small flocks of dark-eyed juncos, having only recently returned from their higher summer haunts, busily flittered about in tireless, seemingly frenetic quests for seed. All the while, as the mercury held steady, the evening air grew heavy with moisture.

By nightfall, as the sky filled with dense clouds, one could feel the impending shift. The local forecast called for a chance of several inches up high, with lighter amounts in the foothills and lower valleys. According to news reports, snow was already falling in the northern and central mountains.

At bedtime, the storm had not yet arrived. By 1:30 a.m., as I awakened briefly and peered through the window at a still dark and unassuming landscape, thoughts of the many missed storms of a year ago emerged, and an air of trepidation settled in.

By 5 a.m. though, as I again crawled from the comfort of my bed, all had changed. The enveloping darkness that prevailed just a few hours earlier, had been replaced by the natural aura of a virgin layer of snow. Outside my window, in a hushed and pristine world of white, the primitive yard and adjoining forest beyond, appeared cleansed and pure.

In an hour, the sky brightened a bit with the coming of dawn, and I could see that tiny flakes were still falling from a gray moisture-laden sky. A few inches now covered the layer of duff, short grasses and low-growing shrubs of the woodland floor. The larger bushes, scattered stumps, rocks and logs, though obviously exposed, each held clumps of crystalline flakes on every viable surface able to support them.

The biggest trees, including the white firs and ponderosa pines, stood stately and tall, their rich green boughs drooping under the weight of the fall. On their windward sides, countless powdery tufts clung tentatively to their blackened and deeply furrowed trunks.

The rigid oaks twisting beneath them appeared defiant in the face of the cold. Their trunks too, donned broad patchworks of white, as every limb, even the slimmest of twigs, bore snow to its very extremity. A few stubborn branches held on to their leaves, now dried, brittle and brown, but most were bare traceries against a pure white background.

The stunning display, while nearly beyond description, sparked a sense of reverence within me, and I stood at the window quite a long time. Throughout, I beheld much more than just light, trees and shadow. I saw beauty and sublimity, and an intricate order unmatched anywhere in our feigned civilization. Though gazing into an icy chill, a feeling of warmth passed over me and at once, I was grateful to be alive.

As darkness gave way to daylight, I grabbed a jacket and gloves, and carefully stepped out the front door. For a long and tranquil moment, an imposing hush gripped the land, and I feared even my thoughts would disrupt the calm. I held my breath and listened, and in an instant, there came the slightest rustling, as icy flakes tumbled upon the few oak leaves left hanging.

I watched in awe, when flakes that first appeared as black spots in a solid gray sky, drifted casually downward, then turned white and ultimately disappeared in the drifts that cloaked the ground. Try as I might, I could not follow a one to its final destination.

Just then, a sudden movement on the trunk of the nearest pine caught my eye, and a quick glance revealed a plump, white-breasted nuthatch descending the tree, head first, in search of subsurface beetles. As the tiny bird scoured the bark, its soft, high-pitched notes seemed barely audible in the muffled snow-covered surroundings.

Meanwhile, in the woods there came a raucous chatter, as a pine squirrel suddenly scolded an unknown intruder. Perhaps a predator had threatened him, or another of his kind encroached upon his asserted claim. With the arrival of cold and snow, a heightened resolve might just determine his winter survival.

In another moment, quiet returned to my softened surroundings, its great silence only faintly disrupted by the gentle cascade of increasing snowfall. For half a day, the flakes came down in waves, heavy at times, then hardly discernible, as the squall gradually moved eastward and over the divide.

By mid-afternoon, it was over. The snow eventually diminished to flurries, then faded away altogether. Large patches of blue opened in the sky and spread among the billowy gray clouds that drifted east, seemingly in a rush to catch up with the departing storm. The air gradually warmed under bright sunshine, and the melt was on.

Of course, the first snow seldom lasts, as fall and winter weather patterns battle back and forth for control over the landscape. The dry warmth of autumn struggles to hold on, as the earth's tilt slowly places the sun further to the south. While the jet stream shifts with it, Arctic air moves in and Pacific fronts roll over the Rockies more often, with greater intensity. Finally, the cold wins out and the snow piles up.

The first snow is now behind us, and the second has settled in at this writing. Certainly, there will be more warm sunny days as the conflict continues, but with winter still officially a month away, it is the next snow that now grips my imagination.

When will it come?




Dear Editor:

Friday morning, November 10, 2006, I attended the Veterans Day breakfast provided by Mr. Scott White's eighth-grade history students of Pagosa Springs Junior High School. It was much more than breakfast which was a feast in variety, quality, quantity and service.

I arrived about 8:30 and left about 11:30 when the students were being prepared to return to the school building. Students were interviewing me right up to the time they were assembled for closing comments by Mr. White.

His words were very complimentary of their activities during the morning. He praised them on their attention to us, including interviewing. They were urged to write good reports of their experiences which he was anxious to read. He gave them credit for the success of the event.

My experience there was very uplifting and enjoyable. All of the many students I met were polite, courteous, attentive, friendly and obviously interested in my responses to their excellent questions. If there were any misbehavior problems I was not aware of them. The event was a fine example of what I believe is the many worthwhile academic activities in our schools for which the community should be pleased. We need to hear more about them. I have been to these Veterans Day breakfasts in other years. They have always been excellent.

Your short notice about the Veterans Day breakfast on page 17 of the Nov. 9 edition was adequate, but should have been more prominently located. I had received a call from a student inviting me to the breakfast, but many veterans may not have been so fortunate. More information about what to expect at the event would be appropriate in the future. I think that many of your readers would like to see you do more stories on our local school academic events, such as the annual Veterans Day breakfasts. Incidentally, it is great that you placed the excellent Big Brothers Big Sisters story on page 1 of last week's Focus section.

Earle Beasley


Be proud

Dear Editor:

Thank you all the fine people of Archuleta County who supported my attempt to serve as your representative in the Colorado House of Representatives, District 59. Running for a partisan public office is a long and arduous process and the wide variety of support - financial, letters, volunteering, and personal encouragement - from the people one hopes to represent sustains a candidate in the quest for office. To those who voted for me, I'm sorry to disappoint you. However, be proud that you supported a campaign that focused on the issues that would have promoted the common good of all citizens of southwest Colorado and one that never once engaged in negative political advertising. I have of course congratulated Ellen Roberts, and we should all support her now as she goes forward to represent us in the Colorado Legislature. Again Mary and I really appreciate your support and friendship. Together we can make Colorado better.

Joe Colgan



Dear Editor:

Thank you, John Egan!

During the past five months as a commissioner and during the campaign, your integrity, thoughtfulness, hard work and ability to listen and pull together with others in the courthouse and community has been very positive and refreshing.

Phyl Daleske



Dear Editor:

We are sure we speak for many veterans and spouses who thoroughly enjoyed the thoughtfulness and courtesy of the junior high students, volunteers and faculty who hosted the annual Veterans Day breakfast. The food, entertainment and decorations were excellent. Also, the wall décor was outstanding because of mini-posters the students made on the computer. Their choice of graphic design, pictures and words was very creative and heart warming. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Jim and Joanne Haliday


About you

Dear Editor:

Yesterday evening I received a call from Mark Hillman, graciously conceding the election.

We did it!

This was a campaign about protecting the priorities of the people of Colorado; about making sure our government is open, transparent and accountable, and about making sure education is Colorado's first and top priority.

But this election was not about me. It was about you. From the start you supported and encouraged and worked for this victory. You know what it takes to win and friends - you have done it.

I owe many thanks, more than I can express here.

To my opponent Mark Hillman - thank you for your service to the people of Colorado and for the dedication and hard work you gave to your campaign.

Next, to my family: my parents, my siblings, my mother-in-law and my children who made every day of this campaign a joy; and to my husband Saurabh who earns the MVP award. No one worked harder to win this election - thank you!

I want to extend thanks to my brilliant campaign team. This campaign started with one close friend working in my basement and quickly grew to include many, many volunteers, some who gave weeks and months to this campaign, thank you to you all!

Thank you to Gail Schoettler for her leadership and vision for me and for women candidates everywhere.

And finally to the next Governor and Lt. Governor of Colorado who I will be so proud to serve with, Bill Ritter and Barbara O'Brien. Congratulations.

Cary Kennedy



Dear Editor:

To the eighth-graders: Friday morning, it was my pleasure to attend the breakfast that was served for the veterans of the armed forces in Archuleta County. This was a very well-done event with veterans from all the services represented. The overall atmosphere was one of caring, honoring and remembering for those of us in attendance. All the youngsters were there to serve us in any and every way possible.

To those of you who it was my pleasure to have around me at my table, listening and talking to me gave me something that will remain with me for the rest of my days. The pleasure that you all in your being there with me is immeasurable and overwhelming. This old man was very honored by your presence and interest. I remember some of your names - Sienna, Natalie, Mariah, Cheyenne, Joseph and so many others that I cannot remember all the names and for this I apologize. If perchance I misspelled your names, I am very sorry.

There were three girls who were there, Nicole, Justine and Sierra. Nicole and Justine assisted me with my chow and after arriving at the table stated that they would sit with me. A few moments later Sierra came and also sat with us. These three young ladies were there with me for an hour and a half. Thank you. It was a happy time for this disfigured old man who was totally surprised and tickled to death for all of you to be there.

Many thanks to the people who helped prepare this breakfast and for the pleasure being there with the many veterans in attendance and a wonderful group of eighth-graders.


Joseph Marion


Fact finder

Dear Editor:

Since my last letter on Coyote Cove, many people have thanked me for following through and questioning what was going on at this site.

The real thank you goes to Robin Schiro, our county commissioner. She was at the site with myself and county planner after I expressed my concerns of this development in wetlands and just above Hatcher Lake, a main drinking water supply. Robin directed me to the state Public Health - Storm Drain Department in Denver.

The community has not given Robin the recognition and praise she deserves. Robin is a fact finder; she asks questions, she will research and get back to you with answers. This may require her to be out in the field. Robin is there for you if you ask her to be there. Rethink and think positive about Robin.

The way I view it, many folks in command in our county do not like to be asked questions, Robin will ask the questions until she gets the answers.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow


No plans

Dear Editor:

The election results are in and the results are clear - the media finally won one!

As it is said in politics, the votes have spoken and now we will need to be prepared to face the consequences. The media and democrats had one platform and that was complaints and negative publicity on the war. Here is a news flash - war never is pleasant. However, the media flexed its muscles and never reported on the positive developments such as new hospitals being built, schools, infrastructure, voting, women's rights, and the list goes on. Just last week, I received an e-mail that showed one of our brave soldiers rocking a baby to sleep. They took two-hour shifts as this 4-month-old had been shot in the head and was the only survivor from an insurgent raid that killed the remaining family members. We need to refocus on who the bad guys really are.

As is normal, the Democrats never have suggested a strategy to win the war on terror. They have consistently criticized Homeland Security, the CIA and other intelligence agencies. It is nothing short of a miracle that we have not had any follow-up attacks within the U.S. since 9/11. Thanks should go to all of the hard-working military, intelligence agencies and the Bush Administration for this fact.

My guess is that the only agenda that the Democrats have put forth in this campaign will be enacted and that is a tax increase. Excuse me, they say that it is not a tax increase and that it will only affect the wealthy. I have news for you that their description of wealthy is anyone who holds a full-time job. There will be no plan for Social Security as they claim that is not a problem, no plan for prescription drugs and definitely no plan on the "war on terror." For the record (again the press will never report this), we are in a very strong economy, record home ownership levels, highest levels on the DJIA and record low unemployment, thanks to Bush's economic policies.

Unlike our new majority, my view of our military and our government leaders is one of admiration, and I am thankful that this great country always stands on the side of freedom. So button up the hatches and hold on to your wallets, and remember, 2008 is not far off. Remember the wise old saying, "Be careful of what you ask for, because you might just get it."

John Ranson


Seeking information

Dear Editor:

The San Juan Historical Society each year over the past 11 years has published a volume of our Remembrances book series. Through these books, we strive to preserve the history of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding area - the people and places that make us what we are today.

We are currently working on volume 12 of this series. The theme of the current volume is "Military Matters." We are in particular looking for family stories relating to military service up to and including World War II. We are also looking for anyone who may have records or information about the Grand Army of Republic post that was active in Pagosa Springs.

If you have information, or are interested in having your family's story included in a future volume of Remembrances, please contact Shari Pierce evenings or weekends at 264-4862.

Thank you,

Shari Pierce

Secretary, San Juan Historical Society


   Community News

High school drama club performance Monday

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

Since 2001, the student actors and directors of the Pagosa Springs High School Drama Club have not only received top honors for their one-act entries in IML competitions, but have also made choices about their play selections that are demanding and provocative.

Our directors set aside typical "stage directions" as suggested and described in scripts, think "outside of the box" and create environments and settings for imaginations to flourish and hearts to be touched.

"Crying Out" (2002) explored the depths and anguish of teens struggling through tough decisions; in 2003, "Cry of Crows" made us all uncomfortable as we watched the local preacher seduce and abuse one of the town girls; 2004 brought the heartbreaking "... Blue" and its exploration of teen suicide; 2005 brought a light renaissance comedy with "A Canterbury Tale"; 2006 explored the horrors of World War II, the Holocaust and freedom fighters in "The Strength of Our Spirit."

This year's one-act, "Pressure," by Lindsay Price, explores more of the subtle pressures and influences experienced by most young people in high school, and the devastating consequences that sometimes occur.

The student ensemble is finishing rehearsals this week before their public performance that will be held in the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20.

A $5 Donation is appreciated, with proceeds going to the PSHS Drama Club.

These young performers - some seasoned actors, some who have never been on stage before - have been in rehearsal for eight weeks. Come out and support their work and performing arts in the public schools.


Go to Hoboken for the holidays with 'Nuncrackers'

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

After Pagosa Springs Music Boosters brought Dan Goggin's "Nunsense" to Pagosa, director Michael DeWinter knew it wouldn't be too long before he reprised his cast in "Nunsense II" (in 2002 ) and in this year's holiday version, "Nuncrackers," which plays at 7 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 1 and 2 at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, with a 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 2.

A hilarious play for theatergoers of all ages, "Nuncrackers," takes a peek into the Hoboken nuns' lives and antics during the holiday season.

This version is keeping our actors and performers busy, with more than 25 songs in the score, managed by musical director Sue Anderson and choreographer Dale Morris. Our bigger-than-life set design is being handled by DeWinter and Rick Artis, with costuming designed by DeWinter.

Tickets are now available at the Plaid Pony (731 5262 ) or at the door.


Jazz in Pagosa with Teresa Ross and The Actual Proof Quartet

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts presents an extraordinary jazz vocalist, Teresa Ross, performing in concert with The Actual Proof Quartet, an exciting jazz ensemble with Lee Bartley, piano; Bob Newnam, trumpet and flugelhorn; Bob Cordalis, bass; and Brad Tarpley, drums. The concert takes place at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

A good place to get acquainted with Ross' music is on the Web at Immediately appealing music pops out all over the place. Ross' powerful style and authenticity shine through clearly, even on a tiny computer speaker.

On her Web site, Ross' current CD, "Better Than Anything," is perusable through play samples. This superb CD was recorded with some of the top jazz players in the business. Ross said, "The sessions were magical and a clear validation of what I am doing with my life and career." Many jazz aficionados, such as jazz virtuoso John Graves, think that Ross is on her way to becoming an important name in the jazz world.

Born in the Midwest, Teresa Ross enjoyed the gift of family music that spanned four generations. At the young age of 13, she became a professional singer. In high school she was performing regularly with the Johnny McCoy Orchestra at the Tropics nightclub in Dayton, Ohio. Teresa recalled her early exposure to jazz at the age of 18, about to leave home for her first gig: "My mother taught me about thirty jazz standards and I thought I was pretty hot stuff." Her mother warned, "You're okay, but you'll sound better when you know what you're singing about."

"I graduated from high school on a Saturday afternoon", Teresa explained, "and the next morning we loaded my things into a van and I moved to Cincinnati. There I performed at the Emanon Jazz Club with the Ed Moss Trio. The musicians were deadly serious and the culture was intense Bebop. I was in over my head but I held my own and learned to trust my ears."

John Graves will emcee the concert. According to Graves, "Teresa has an innate sense of showmanship and a style which is exciting and distinctive. And when four outstanding musicians back her," Graves continued, "it's a combination rarely found these days. From an artistic standpoint, I think Teresa Ross has everything that any of the great jazz singers of the past have had - along with something new that she's adding."

Come enjoy Jazz in Pagosa with Teresa Ross and The Actual Proof Quartet, at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Advance tickets, for $12, are available through and at WolfTracks Coffee House. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $5 for young people, 18 and under.

Desserts and coffee will be provided at intermission. Please bring a dessert to share if you wish.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard Take Vista north and turn left on Port.

Elation Center for the Arts serves the people of the Southwest region of the USA and beyond by cultivating an appreciation for the arts. ECA offers life enrichment programs focused on preserving our cultural heritage. These programs include community concerts; music assemblies and performance residencies for schools; performance opportunities for accomplished and aspiring artists; and classes in the arts for students of all ages and backgrounds. Proceeds from this concert will help support these programs. For more information, log on to or call 731-3117.


Thursday gathering brings writers together at Shy Rabbit

Sitting alone, staring at a blank computer screen, an empty page, the writer crafts poetry about fishing the San Juan.

Another writer drafts an op-ed piece on drilling in the HD Mountains.

A third writer captures her 7-year-old self buried in cool clay for a telling memoir.

A fourth writer imagines a character uncovering an ancient artifact that halts the new development that will change her town forever.

"Brown Bag Writers" provides an opportunity for the writers of these stories to interact.

Writers of all levels meet every Thursday between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at Shy Rabbit. New writers come to learn about the craft; experienced writers come to stir up the creative soup and take a break from their regular writing projects.

In this relaxed and casual environment, writers are provided creative prompts and given the opportunity to share their work aloud with others. The group is diverse and fun. Freelance writer, Leanne Goebel facilitates, providing writing prompts.

Bring your writing tools (pens, paper, notebooks, laptop), and a sack lunch if you would like. The cost if $5 per session and drop-ins are welcome.

Shy Rabbit is located at 333 Bastille Drive, Units B-1, B-4, west of downtown. Take U.S. 160 to North Pagosa Boulevard, stay on North Pagosa to Bastille Drive (at UBC), turn left and stay on Bastille past Hopi. Shy Rabbit is located directly next to Pine Valley Rental. (GPS coordinates are latitude N37 degrees, 15.193 minutes and longitude W107, 5.074 minutes).

For more information: log onto or call (970) 731-2766.


Hopi Connection prepares for annual holiday program

Volunteers with the Hopi Connection are preparing for the annual holiday program which will deliver holiday gift packages to more than 300 members of the Hopi Nation on the Second Mesa in Northern Arizona. In 2005, more than 250 individuals, men and women, children and elders, received a holiday package.

Established by Pagosa resident Wilma Sawatzky in 2003, Hopi Connection is devoted to helping individuals and families from the Hopi Reservation meet financial, educational and health needs that have been identified by the Hopi Nation. The goal of Hopi Connection, a non-profit staffed entirely by volunteers, is to become a partner with the Hopi Nation in its efforts to improve the quality of daily life.

In addition to the personal, school and household, Hopi Connection raises funds to address urgent housing, health or, starting this year, funds to purchase wood and coal for the small stoves in their homes. Peabody Coal has provided heating materials, but now the company charges.

The challenges of living on the Second Mesa, the Hopi's sacred place, include small homes with more than one family or multiple generations of family members living together in two bedrooms, often sleeping on the floor, and a number of families living in trailers in crowded conditions. There is no electricity or running water in many homes. Meals are cooked on propane stoves. Homes are heated by small wood or coal-burning stoves. Travel to school, work or to shop involves long distances on muddy or dusty roads. The conditions are startling, but the spirit, warmth and commitment to their culture make the Hopi people truly inspiring.

Through generous in-kind donations, Hopi Connection has taken many truck loads of clothes, coats, shoes, boots, blankets, bedding, towels, kitchen supplies, furniture, mattresses, school supplies, food, bikes, basketballs and toys to the people over the past three years.

Today the greatest need is for cash donations, to purchase wood and coal, for building supplies and bathroom fixtures, to bring plumbing and electricity into the individual homes, to replace roofs, to help pay for gas for a trip to see a sick relative, and to purchase school supplies.

Our volunteers go to great lengths to collect gently used items, regularly checking thrift stores and garage sales, but there are increasing numbers of situations where only cash will do.

If you would like to make a donation, your contribution will be tax deductible, and should be mailed to Hopi Connection, 124 Hackamore, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147

Volunteers are being recruited to help wrap packages Dec. 1 and 2, at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church on South Pagosa. Call 731-9459 for specific details.


A new tradition is born

By Mercy Korsgren

Special to The PREVIEW

A new tradition is about to begin in Pagosa Springs.

The Pagosa Springs Community Center is set to host the first-ever edition of a festive and fun event - the Festival of Trees.

Decorated trees will be on display for people to see, enjoy and purchase.

Have you thought of buying your holiday tree to benefit a local non-profit organization or to give to a family that would love to have one but cannot afford it? In addition, the cost of the purchased tree will be a tax-deductible donation.

We invite artists, those with great talents in decorating, sponsors and organizations to participate. We now have 10 sponsors and organizations to sponsor/decorate a tree. Let's fill the room with decorated holiday trees and make this program an annual holiday tradition. The more the merrier.

Decorated holiday trees will be on display in the multi-purpose room for the public to view and enjoy 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 6-8.

The holiday party takes place 6-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, and the auction of the trees commences at 8:08. It will be a live auction. Proceeds go to the non-profit organization designated by the sponsor/creator.

The auction night will feature holiday music by the Flying Elmos. Guests can sip a drink, nibble on delicious hors d'oeuvres and make hard decisions about which tree to take home or donate. This is a dress-up event, so get your sequins out of storage!

The way the program works is simple.

- The artist and/or sponsor will provide the tree, the decorations and decorate the tree. The non-profit organization that is the recipient of the money from the auction will be encouraged to participate.

- Sign up at the center by Wednesday, Nov. 29. Purchase your tree (strictly 6- to 8-feet tall) and decorate it here at the center. Real trees are preferred, but not mandatory. Decoration of trees will take place 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 4 and 5.

- Trees will be on public display 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 6-8. On Friday, Dec. 8, we'll have the party and trees will be auctioned off at 8:08.

There are more details to come in next week's PREVIEW.

For more information, call me at the center, 264-4152, Ext. 22 , Janis Moomaw, 264-3010, or Nancy Strait, 731-3427. Thanks to Paula Bain and Stacia Kemp for their input. Festival of Trees - it's going to happen!


Remembering family at Christmas

By Matthew Lowell Brunson

Special to The PREVIEW

As the Community Choir is gearing up for our Christmas Concert in December, some of us are reminded of the loved ones we have lost over the years.

The choir is placing a special section in our program this year to remember those we have lost. We would like to invite members of the community who would like to give a $25 gift in honor or memory of friends, family members or events, to support the Pagosa Springs Community Choir. These honorariums will be printed in our Christmas Concert program.

If you are interested, contact Valley Lowrance at 731-9184 for details. All gifts need to be received by Nov. 24.


Centerpoint free Thanksgiving dinner Nov. 19

Centerpoint Church (formerly First Baptist Church) of Pagosa Springs will host the fifth annual Thanksgiving Celebration Dinner for the community beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19.

This event is sponsored by the Missions Committee, the "First Fruits" outreach of the deacons, and by a number of members of the church.

Each year, the church invites those who will not have the opportunity to celebrate the Thanksgiving season with family members, those who are in assisted living homes, those who may not be able to provide a meal on Thanksgiving Day and those who wish to have a wonderful meal with friends and neighbors of the community.

A delicious meal is prepared by members of the church and is free to those who attend. Any person or family who desires to come may call the church office at 731-2205 and make reservations for the dinner.

This outreach program is a way in which the church can help the community celebrate the blessings the Lord has provided in the past year.

Special music will be provided by the Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale.


A Thanksgiving Sunday at UU Fellowship service

By John Graves

Special to the PREVIEW

On Sunday, Nov. 19, the theme for the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service will be "Gratitude: A Thanksgiving Sunday for All Ages!"

All are invited join with our Fellowship for a joyous autumn time full of meaningful sharings, readings, frivolity, and food!

Following the service, a Thanksgiving potluck will include turkey and stuffing and we invite you to bring the rest of the trimmings.

Child care and/or the Religious Education program for 3 years old and up is offered every Sunday, except the second Sunday of the month, which is devoted to meditation.

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


November-December at Congregation Har Shalom

The schedule of congregational activities for Durango's Congregation Har Shalom for November-December is as follows:

- Friday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. - Mitzvah Weekend Shabbaton with Rabbi Baskin begins with a service at the new hospital chapel and dedication of mezzezah. Come learn about the mitzvah of Bikkur Holim (visitation of the sick) from Denver's Jewish Community Chaplain.

- Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m. - Shabbat Torah Service with a Gerim Gala celebrating our new Jews by Choice. Following services we will be donating our time to help our community in a Congregational Mitzvah Day. Please watch for details to follow. If you have ideas about projects, leave a message at 375-0613.

Evening - Kickoff of Har Shalom Reads. Historical context for the Life of King David, with Rabbi Baskin.

- Sunday, Nov. 19, 9:30 a.m. - Join the new incarnation of our adult education program, Judaism 360. Topic: "Introduction - Jewish Approaches to Making Ethical Decisions."

- Wednesday, Nov. 29, 7 p.m. - Jewish Meditation Group at Har Shalom. Call Judith at 247-3292 or

- Friday, Dec. 1, 6 p.m. - Shabbat Potluck at Liberman home, 551 Oak Drive, DW2. Call 375-0955 for more information and to R.S.V.P.

- Friday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. - Torah study led by Harold Shure at Har Shalom.

- Wednesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. - Jewish Meditation Group at Har Shalom. Call Judith at 247-3292 or

- Friday, Dec. 15, 5:30 p.m. - Chanukah Party at Har Shalom. Potluck dinner and group menorah lighting.


Precept Upon Precept Bible study scheduled

By Laura Manley

Special to The PREVIEW

The next session of Precept Upon Precept, the inductive Bible study pioneered by Kay Arthur, will begin Nov. 20 and will continue until Feb. 1.

The study this session will be on Numbers, the fourth book of the Five Books of Moses.

When the Israelites cried out to God, he raised up Moses to bring them out of slavery and into the Promised Land. The people rebelled and suffered the terrible consequence of wandering in the wilderness. Are you following the Lord to the place where He wants you to be?

Join us for this study of Numbers. The study leader and teacher will be Jerri Anderson, of Grace Evangelical Free Church. Classes will be held at Restoration Fellowship, 264 Village Drive, in the Berean Room and will being at 9 a.m. each meeting day.

The workbook costs $14.50, and you can register to attend by calling the church office at Restoration Fellowship, 731-2937, Ext. 21, by Nov. 14.


Mark Gilbert to speak at Four Corners Center

By Tina Rector

Special to the PREVIEW

Don't miss an opportunity to hear an exciting speaker and experienced spiritual teacher, Nov. 26 at the Four Corners Center for Spiritual Living.

Mark Gilbert is currently a Practitioner with Mile Hi Church in Denver. He is also in his fourth and final year of ministerial studies with the Holmes Institute. Gilbert's message will provide you with the opportunity to reflect, make conscious changes and move forward in the flow of life. His message will take you into the holiday season with renewed hope and a plan for a brighter future.

Gilbert is a longtime spiritual seeker who found his way to Religious Science in the late 1980s. He started taking Science of Mind classes in the mid-1990s and became a licensed practitioner in 2003.

Gilbert has facilitated numerous spiritual workshops, classes, and retreats and conducted services for a number of Colorado-based churches. He has been heavily involved with the leadership of men's work at Mile Hi Church, including serving as their lead recently for a year. This time included coordinating monthly men's meetings, leading a highly successful one-day conference attended by 120 men focusing on the concepts of quantum physics and spirituality and coordinating an extremely well received three-day retreat in Estes Park entitled "Journey of the Fool" (focusing on archetypes) which was attended by nearly 100 men. Gilbert has developed (with another individual) a highly successful workshop entitled "Inner Cinema" that utilizes movie clips as a means of gaining spiritual insights. He also served a year as core chair for the Denver student body of Holmes Institute during which time he was instrumental in beginning a monthly Spiritual Cinema Night program at Mile Hi as a service project for students.

Gilbert is a graduate of the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a degree in psychology and education. When he completes his studies with Holmes Institute in 2007, he will hold a master's degree in consciousness studies. He has been a longtime federal government manager and leader, has taught college computer classes, and worked as a high school teacher and social worker.

Mark is the father of five grown children, including a set of triplet sons. His hobbies and interests include camping, hiking, jeeping, snowshoeing, reading, movies and playing ball with his chocolate lab, Harmony. He recently remarried at sunrise on the beach in Kauai. He and his wife, Mary, (who is also a Practitioner), live in Lakewood.

Mark your calendar for Nov. 26 and share Mark's message during this holiday season, the perfect time for us as individuals to renew and recommit to our personal spiritual growth.

All are welcome at our Center. Sunday services are at 11 a.m. at Heartlight Wholistic Center, corner of North and Pine Streets in Bayfield (south side of U.S. 160). Services held the second and fourth Sunday of the Month.

For more information contact us at (970) 884-4889.


How does that work? Lifelong Learning lecture has some answers

By Biz Greene

Special to The PREVIEW

Dr. Chuck Carson brings a lighthearted approach to how things work for the next Lifelong Learning lecture at the Sisson Library at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18.

Be prepared for the unexpected as Carson explains why you always end up in a line at the City Market checkout ("the behavior of queues"), why the moon rises at sunset, what makes our cell phones and microwaves and CT scans work, and even such topics from probability as the "let's make a deal" quandary.

Carson brings 32 years of experience in systems research at Sandia Labs figuring out how things work and how to make them work better. He'll be offering an inside look at the workings of everyday things as well as some from antiquity that we wonder about (the Cliff Palace), and the "learning curve" involved in how we know what we know (or never learn).

This lecture promises to be one of the most unusual and perhaps the most entertaining in the Lifelong Learning series of lectures by the Fort Lewis College Professional Associates. It is their last lecture this fall.

The lecture is free and open to the public .


Four Corners Center presents 'The Secret'

By Tina Rector

Special to The PREVIEW

Are you one of those people who keep doing what you're doing and are continually frustrated that you keep getting what you're getting?

Looking for something different in your life?

Here's your opportunity to do something new.

A showing of "The Secret" will be presented at 7 p.m. tonight at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, sponsored by the Four Corners Center for Spiritual Living.

"The Secret" is released to the world. This groundbreaking feature-length movie presentation reveals The Great Secret of the universe. It has been passed throughout the ages, traveling through centuries ... to reach you, mankind and humankind. This is The Secret to everything - the secret to unlimited joy, health, money, relationships, love, youth: everything you have ever wanted. In this astonishing program are all the resources you will ever need to understand and live The Secret. For the first time in history, the world's leading scientists, authors, and philosophers will reveal The Secret that utterly transformed the lives of every person who ever knew it ... Plato, Newton, Carnegie, Beethoven, Shakespeare, Einstein.

Now you will know The Secret. And it could change your life forever.

A number of exceptional men and women discovered The Secret, and went on to become known as the greatest people who ever lived. Among them: Plato, Leonardo, Galileo, Napoleon, Hugo, Beethoven, Lincoln, Edison, Einstein and Carnegie, to name but a few. Some of today's greatest teachers will be presented in "The Secret" and will impart this special wisdom that has been known by so few. They include some of the world's leaders in the fields of business, economics, medicine, psychology, history, theology and science. Each of these teachers is living proof of The Secret - each of them a walking marvel of achievement and success.

"The Secret" reveals amazing real-life stories and testimonials of regular people who have changed their lives in profound ways. By applying The Secret, they present instances of eradicating disease, acquiring massive wealth, overcoming obstacles and achieving what many would regard as impossible.

The Secret reveals how to apply this powerful knowledge to your life in every area from health to wealth, to success and relationships.

The Secret is everything you have dreamed of ... and is beyond your wildest dreams.

For more information contact (970) 884-4889.


November is national home care and hospice month

Mercy Home Health and Hospice of Mercy joins the National Association for Home Care & Hospice in celebrating home health professionals during the month of November.

This year's theme "When You Are Well, and Especially When You Are Sick, There Is No Place Like Home," embodies the spirit of home care and hospice.

Skilled caregivers, volunteers and modern medicine make it possible for patients to remain comfortable in their homes, regardless of their condition. More than four million Americans receive home-delivered health care daily from nearly one million caregivers. National Home Care and Hospice Month honors these caregivers and the compassionate service they provide.

Mercy Home Health and Hospice of Mercy have a rich legacy of care, providing service in Archuleta and La Plata counties for 26 years.

For more information, call 382-2000.


Community Center News

Take one of the many classes at the center

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

All of us at the community center wish you and your family and friends a joyous Thanksgiving holiday. The center will be closed Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-25.

Choosing a Digital Camera

This community center-sponsored program will be held 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 20, in the south conference room. It is free to anyone who wishes to attend.

Bruce Andersen will host the workshop, which will teach you what to look for when buying a digital camera: image quality and file size, camera features, storage media, battery options and more. The holiday season is the perfect time to launch yourself into this new type of photography.

Bruce has offered other Photoshop classes at the Center, and more will be offered in 2007. We are pleased to place him on our list of volunteer teachers and presenters.

Festival of Trees

Have you heard?

A new tradition is about to begin. Mercy is collecting names of those who agree to purchase a 6- to 8-foot tree and decorate it here at the center for public viewing Dec. 6-8.

After the trees have been on display for several days, they will be auctioned off on Friday, Dec. 8. The center will offer hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar at the event.

Plan to come see all the trees, pick one out to purchase, have a drink and some finger food, and enjoy the music provided by the Flying Elmos. Karma Raley promises a variety of music with a festive, holiday flair. The money from the auction will go to local non-profits - to be chosen by each tree's creator.

This promises to be the beginning of a wonderful holiday tradition in our community.

Yoga class

A connection to Being.

If you have had experiences where you are totally focused on your body and breathing, you know the tranquility and peace which come with yoga practice, mindfulness meditation, tai chi or, perhaps, walking in nature.

You are centered and balanced, and you resolve not to let this feeling slip away during the day. But halfway through the day, the e-mails and deadlines encroach, and you lose some of the composure with which you began your day.

Our lives are becoming more and more complex; we are pulled from one urgent matter to another. Attending the yoga group can help with this imbalance, by drawing your focus back to being rather than doing.

Thanks to Addi Greer who has agreed to lead the class while Diana Baird takes some time off from teaching. The yoga class is held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays, and lasts for an hour. Bring a yoga mat and dress in comfortable clothing. Call the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Line dancing

Line Dancing will continue through Dec. 4, break for the holidays, and resume Jan. 8.

If the couples' group votes to continue an extra week, it will meet at 9:10, as agreed upon by the group. Gerry wishes everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and hopes to see all of you in January.

The beginning dance group meets at 9 before line dancing. This is a very basic class: the object here is to encourage men just to get up and move around the dance floor using some very simple steps - the two-step and waltz. Call Gerry for a free private introduction if you're interested.

Line dancing rocks on at 10 for beginners and at 10:30 there is dancing for those who are more advanced. Call the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Managing diabetes

The next diabetes group meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16. The discussion topic will be Tips for Coping with the Holidays.

Bring some of your own ideas to share, especially how you have successfully navigated through difficult holiday situations. This group is designed for diagnosed diabetics, those at risk for diabetes, and a those who care for or live with diabetics.

Call the center at 264-4152 to let us know what types of programs could help you.

Community potluck canceled

The potluck has been canceled.

It came to Mercy's attention that the Community Choir will have its Christmas concert on the same date as the potluck was to take place. And so, in order not to be in competition with that event, we will move the free concert by the Flying Elmos to Dec. 8, when the Festival of Trees auction will take place.

eBay Club

Join Ben Bailey the first and third Wednesdays of each month if you are interested in being a part of the eBay Club. Meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and end at 7:30. Call Ben at 264-0293 or the center at 264-4152 for more information.

Computer lab news

We resumed the regular class schedule this week, with beginning classes on Tuesday and yesterday. The main topics under discussion were keyboard shortcuts and windows: moving, resizing, opening and closing. We have several handouts available at the reception desk which cover those subjects. Stop by if you would like to have copies of any of the handouts.

Call the center at 264-4152 for information about these classes or any of the community center-sponsored programs which are offered free of charge as a service to the Pagosa Springs community.

Center hours

The community center's fall and winter hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday from 10 to 4

Activities this week

Today - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; watercolor club, 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; Computer Q&A session with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; C team basketball, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Managing Diabetes, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; Four Corners Center for Spiritual Learning movie, 7-9 p.m.

Nov. 17 - Colorado Department of Education, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; TAP Enterprises tool sale, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun and duplicate bridge, 12:30-4 p.m.; Cloverbuds, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 2-8 p.m.

Nov. 18 - Chimney Rock volunteers' workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; drawing class with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Echo Canyon Ranch annual meeting, 2-5 p.m.; retirement dinner, 5-9 p.m.; Teen center open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Nov. 19 - Grace Evangelical Church service, 10 a.m.-noon; Church of Christ Sunday service, 10 a.m.-noon; High Roads Baptist Church, 6-9 p.m.; Fairfield Activities information meeting for time-share visitors, 6-8 p.m.

Nov. 20 - Line dancing, 10-11:30 a.m.; senior walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Children's Chorale practice, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; baton twirling lessons, 3:45-4:45 p.m.; C team basketball, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Choosing a Digital Camera with Bruce Andersen, 6:30-8 p.m.

Nov. 21 - Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; beginning computing class, 10 a.m.-noon; yoga, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; senior walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; C team Basketball, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Nov. 22 - Beginning computing class for seniors, 10 a.m.-noon; Aikido, 1-3 p.m.; C team basketball, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.

Nov. 23 - Thanksgiving holiday.

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

Colorado Family Caregiver Appreciation Month

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

The National Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to assist persons who struggle each day to provide for their chronically ill and/or disabled loved ones. Your local Area Agency on Aging in Durango, 259-1967, is the first resource a caregiver should contact when assistance is needed.

The Colorado Department of Human Services, through the Area Agencies on Aging, provide five basic services for family caregivers.

1. Information to caregivers about available services.

2. Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to supportive services.

3. Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training to assist the caregivers in making decisions and solving problems relating to their caregiving roles.

4. Respite care to enable caregivers to be temporarily relieved from their caregiving responsibilities, including: in-home respite care; and adult day services.

5. Supplemental services, on a limited basis, to complement the assistance provided by caregivers, including: home modifications; assistive technologies; emergency response systems; and equipment/supplies.

Family members and other informal caregivers are the backbone of our long-term care system, providing largely unpaid assistance to seniors with chronic illness or disabilities. The National Family Caregiver Support Program is designed to assist the millions of caregivers who struggle each day to provide for their chronically ill and/or disabled loved ones.

More than 22.4 million U.S. households are serving in family caregiving roles for persons over the age of 50, and that number will increase rapidly as the population ages, and as medical science continues to extend life. In Colorado, the population of persons over sixty years old will increase by 47.3% in the next decade. Of these nearly 900,000 persons, 38.6% will be moderately disabled and need some form of assistance.

The contribution of America's caregivers to the nation's health care system is valued at $257 billion annually, compared to $32 billion for home care and $92 billion on nursing home care. Caregiver services significantly reduce costs to Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers.

The eligible populations of caregivers are as follows: family caregivers of adults (age 60 years and older); and grandparents raising grandchildren, who are not more than 18 years of age. Priority consideration is given to: persons in greatest social and economic need (with particular attention to low-income, minority individuals); and older individuals providing care and support to persons with mental retardation and related developmental disabilities

The local Area Agency on Aging is the first resource a caregiver should contact when assistance is needed. For more information on the implementation of the NFCSP in Colorado, contact the Aging Services Unit with the Department of Human Services at (303) 866-2800.

Caregiver stress

Who is a caregiver?

You're a caregiver if you give basic care to a person who has a chronic medical condition. A chronic condition is an illness that lasts for a long period of time or doesn't go away. Examples of chronic conditions are cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer's disease. If you're a caregiver, you might be doing the following things for another person: lifting; turning him or her in bed; bathing; dressing; feeding; cooking; shopping; paying bills; running errands; giving medicine; keeping him or her company; providing emotional support.

Why is caring for someone with dementia so hard? The person you're caring for may not know you anymore. He or she may be too ill to talk or follow simple plans. This may make it hard for you to think of that person in the same way that you did before he or she became ill. The person you're caring for may also have behavior problems, like yelling, hitting or wandering away from home. This behavior may make you feel angry and frustrated.

How can I tell if caregiving is putting too much stress on me? Common signs of caregiver stress include the following: feeling sad or moody; crying more often than you used to; having low energy level; feeling like you don't have any time to yourself; having trouble sleeping, or not wanting to get out of bed in the morning; having trouble eating, or eating too much; seeing friends or relatives less often than you used to; losing interest in your hobbies or the things you used to do with friends or family; or feeling angry at the person you are caring for or at other people or situations. In addition, you may not get any thanks from the person you are caring for. This may add to your feelings of stress and frustration.

What should I do if I'm feeling overwhelmed and stressed? These feelings are not wrong or strange. Caregiving can be very stressful. Because being a caregiver is so hard, some doctors think of caregivers as "hidden patients." If you don't take care of yourself and stay well, you won't be able to help anyone else. Talk with your family doctor about your feelings. Stay in touch with your friends and family members. Ask them for help in giving care. Asking for help doesn't make you a failure. Your local Area Agency on Aging located in Durango (259-1967) is the first resource a caregiver should contact when assistance is needed. A toll free call to ElderCare Locator at 1-800-677-1116 will also direct caregivers to Area Agencies on Aging who may assist them.

Flu shots in Arboles

Annual flu shots will be provided by San Juan Basin Health Department from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Catholic Church in Arboles (which is the lunch site for The Den's meals in Arboles.)

The flu shots are for priority groups who are most likely to get serious complications from the flu . They include: the elderly, 65 years or over; residents of long-term care facilities; persons between 2 and 64 years old with underlying chronic medical conditions; people with diabetes; babies and toddlers between 6 and 23 months; pregnant women; health care personnel who provide direct patient care; and household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children less than 6 months.

Medicare and Rocky Mountain HMO are accepted and will cover the cost of the flu shot, but you must bring your card with you. For all others, the cost for the flu shots is $25 per person, either cash or check.

For more information, call San Juan Basin Health Department in Pagosa Springs at 264-2409.

Thanksgiving in Arboles

Thanksgiving Day is a time to offer thanks, a time of family gatherings and holiday meals. The Den will celebrate Thanksgiving in Arboles Thursday, Nov. 16, with a Thanksgiving feast at lunch. (Reservations are required by Tuesday, Nov. 14.) So come one, come all, and help us be thankful and celebrate the friendship, the bountiful food, and the pleasure of being a part of our extended family here in Arboles!

Pajama Day

It is Pajama Day at The Den Friday, Nov. 17, so jump out of bed and don't change those clothes and come on down to The Den for lunch. Keep those PJs on so you can win a prize for the most authentic sleepwear display. Hair rollers, slippers and bath robes look great and will win lots of prizes for those who participate. Remember the sleepier and more comfortable you dress, the better your chance of getting your photo in the paper. On Friday, Nov. 17, pajamas are the style, because here at The Den we are really wild!

Viola and guitar

Kate Kelly, our very own Ginger Kelly's daughter-in-law, is a talented musician. Kate has been playing the viola for over 20 years and is a music instructor here in Pagosa.

Kate, accompanied by Truett Forest on guitar, will join us at The Den at 12:45 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, to entertain and share the lovely music of stringed instruments.

Birthday celebrations

If you are aged 60 or older and your birthday is in November, come on down to The Den tomorrow, Nov. 17, for lunch and celebrate your birthday. Seniors, Inc. has graciously agreed to pay for a portion of your birthday meal, so it will only cost $1 for a great lunch and lots of fun. Remember to let us know it is your birthday when you check in at the desk.

Dance For Your Health

The Wednesday, Nov. 22, Dance For Your Health class is cancelled ]due to the holidays. Class will resume Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 10 a.m.

Aikido classes

Aikido is a relatively modern martial art, although its roots go back nearly a thousand years to secret techniques of samurai warriors. The Den offers Aikido classes every Wednesday at 1 p.m. with instructors Bill Trimarco and Lisa Jensen. Aikido students learn how to redirect an attacker's energy with hand techniques, and train with the wooden sword and short staff. Aikido is beneficial for health, coordination, stress relief and character with the goal of bettering oneself rather than trying to be better than an opponent. Please sign up with The Den if you would like to participate in the November classes.

Den fund drive

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has experienced consistent growth over the last couple of years. Our meals and transportation services, our activities and ASI membership have increased tremendously. As of September 2006, we had served 7,661 meals, delivered 1,593 meals to those in need, and had provided 3,977 rides.

And this does not take into account all of the activities that are now available at The Den, like the Mystery Trips. As you can see, we are a great support to you and our community. You can help us continue our excellent service while continually improving our programs to meet the needs in our ever-growing community by donating tax deductible monies to the Silver Foxes Den. Any amount is greatly appreciated. We thank you for your contributions, your support and your patronage here at The Den.

Calling All bridge players

Bridge-4-Fun and duplicate bridge players are welcome at The Den =Mondays and Fridays beginning at 12:30 p.m. Come = to The Den to meet great people, play some cards and have some fun.

Living old

As Americans live longer and caregivers dwindle, FRONTLINE explores the complex issues around the care of our aging population.

For the first time in American history, "the old old" - those over 85 - are now the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. While medical advances have enabled an unprecedented number of Americans to live longer, healthier lives, for millions of elderly, living longer can also mean a debilitating physical decline that often requires an immense amount of care. And just as more care is needed, fewer caregivers are available to provide it.

FRONTLINE producers Miri Navasky and Karen O'Connor investigate this national crisis and explore the new realities of aging in America in "Living Old."

With families smaller and more dispersed than ever before, and more doctors choosing medical specialties over family medicine, many fear that the country is on the brink of a national crisis in care. "One out of five people are going to be older adults," said Dr. Jeffrey Farber, a geriatrician at Mount Sinai, "and there's not really anyone trained to care for them."

For the elderly and their families, the emotional toll is often severe and vast numbers of our elderly are living lives that neither they nor their families ever prepared for or imagined. Through the perspectives of the elderly, their families and the doctors and nurses who care for them,

"Living Old" explores the modern realities of aging in both urban and rural America. The hour-long documentary takes viewers on an intimate and powerful journey that raises new and troubling concerns about what it really means to grow old.

Watch on-air and online Nov. 21. "Living Old" is a FRONTLINE co-production with Mead Street Films. The film is produced, directed and written by Miri Navasky and Karen O'Connor. FRONTLINE is produced by WGBH Boston and is broadcast nationwide on PBS.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Nov. 16 - Arboles Day. Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required.) flu vaccine in Arboles, 10 a.m.-noon; $1 birthday lunches and the Thanksgiving celebration meal, noon. The Den is closed.

Friday, Nov. 17 - Pajama Day. Gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; $1 birthday lunch celebrations, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; music with Kate Kelly and Truett Forrest, 12:45 p.m.; Seniors Inc. board Meeting, 1 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 20 - Susan Stoffer, nurse and counselor, available 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 21 - Yoga, 10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino, 1 p.m.; Medicare counseling by appointment only, 1-3 p.m.; Thanksgiving meal at Francisco's Restaurant in Durango, 2-4 p.m. (meet at The Den at 12:30 p.m. if you have a reserved seat on the Senior bus.)

Wednesday, Nov. 22 - Basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Thanksgiving luncheon at The Den, noon; Aikido class, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Nov. 23 - Happy Thanksgiving, The Den is closed for the holiday.

Friday, Nov. 24 - The Den is closed..


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

Salad bar available every day at The Den beginning at 11:30 a.m. Menu subject to change.

Thursday, Nov. 16 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). Roast turkey with gravy, corn bread dressing, cauliflower and broccoli with cheese, cranberry, whole wheat roll and pumpkin nut birthday cake.

Friday, Nov. 17 - Roast pork with gravy, mashed potatoes, oriental vegetables, apricots and peaches, dinner roll and birthday cake.

Monday, Nov. 20 - Chicken fried steak, garlic potatoes with gravy, broccoli cuts, apple slices and whole wheat biscuit.

Tuesday, Nov. 21 - Spaghetti and meatballs with sauce, seasoned green beans, orange wedges and garlic roll.

Wednesday, Nov. 22 - Thanksgiving meal at The Den. Roast turkey with gravy, corn bread stuffing, cauliflower and broccoli mix, cranberry, whole wheat roll and pumpkin bar.

Thursday, Nov. 23 - Happy Thanksgiving, The Den is closed for the holiday.

Friday, Nov. 24 - The Den is closed.


Veteran's Corner

Veteran's Day breakfast a huge success

By Andy Fautheree

Scott White's eighth-graders' annual breakfast for veterans last Friday was a huge success, judging from the hundreds of vets and family members attending the affair.

The breakfast is part of the eighth-grade's American history studies and the students escorted veterans, served them breakfast and interviewed them to learn about their military experiences.

A number of vets attended in their uniforms; all of the branches of services were represented.

The local American Legion Post 108 members coordinated a "posting of the colors" flag ceremony. The junior high school choir and band followed the flag ceremony with several patriotic selections for the veterans.

New vehicle

Speaking of the American Legion, our latest Colorado Veterans Trust Fund Grant veteran's transportation vehicle was received last week. It is a brand new 2007 Chevrolet four-door sedan. Purchase of the vehicle was coordinated with Archuleta County Fleet Services, American Legion and the state VTF program.

Archuleta County offered to make the purchase through its fleet purchase program for the American Legion, thereby saving thousands of dollars in VTF money as opposed to purchasing the same vehicle as an American Legion non-profit consumer purchase. The saved money will now be added to available revenues to reimburse local veterans for travel to VA health care appointments for fuel and accommodations expenses.

Archuleta County will be reimbursed for the full amount of the purchase of the vehicle by the VTF Grant so there is no cost to taxpayers for the assistance. Archuleta County is also advancing money as needed for the veteran's travel reimbursement under the same arrangement.

Thank you

We veterans extend a big thank you to Archuleta County commissioners and county personnel for their valuable assistance to make this program work, and for the county's continued support of veterans' interests.

Archuleta County is often seen as a role model by state agencies and other Colorado counties for its vision in assisting its veterans through various cooperative programs working with the Veterans Trust Fund, local veteran's organizations and this county Veteran Service Office.

Fuel money

Don't forget to stop by my office for reimbursement of your fuel and overnight accommodation receipts to VA health care appointments. We are currently reimbursing 100 percent of your VA Health Care travel expenses. Also, help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility and give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

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

Further information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7 (behind City Market). The office number is 731-3837, the fax number is 731-3879, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is 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

Thanks to our volunteers - lifeblood of the library

By Carole Howard

PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

British author Gladys B. Stern once wrote, "Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone."

So we want to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers who make our library run.

Of course, we must start with the Woman's Civic Club. From the day in February of 1910 when the Civic Club was formed, its members - all volunteers - have made the library their mission. They ran the library until Lenore Bright was named its first full-time director in l983. They raised money for its various temporary homes before we got our own building. Indeed, there are very few major community efforts that could have been accomplished without the work and support of these ladies throughout the years. Today their annual Christmas bazaar each November remains a major source of funds for the library.

Meanwhile, in 1963 the Friends of the Library organization was formed - another group of caring, energetic and talented people who raise money for the library. Their most significant annual event is the book sale each fall.

Then there are the volunteers who come in to the library to help the staff with the ongoing tasks that must be done on a regular basis - shelving books, helping out at the circulation desk, cataloguing and processing materials, aiding in summer reading and other children's programs, decorating and providing food for special events, and handling myriad other assignments that need doing.

Please know how much we appreciate all your time and energy. We could not operate the library without you. If any of you want to join one or more of these volunteer groups, please come by the library and let us know. You will be warmly welcomed.

New non-fiction

Merrily Weisbord and Kim Kachanoff, creators of the upcoming 13-part TV series "Dogs with Jobs," have written this beautifully illustrated book by the same name to honor the world's working dogs, who accomplish incredible tasks in ways humans never could.

Francis S. Collins, one of the world's leading geneticists, writes of his faith in both God and science in a powerful work called "The Language of God," showing that physics, chemistry and biology can all fit together with belief in God and the Bible.

More non-fiction

Journalist Norah Vincent has written "Self-made Man: One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back Again" about her 18 months as a man after transporting herself into Ned with the help of a makeup artist, a trainer and a voice coach to learn what life is really like for men.

In "Insight: Case Files from the Psychic World," Sylvia Browne shares intimate stories about her 50-year career giving psychic readings. In "The Glass Castle," contributor Jeannette Walls writes of her childhood in a dysfunctional family that is a story of triumph and also amazing tenderness.

Books for young people

"Sabriel" and "Lirael" are two books in a wonderful young adult fantasy series by Garth Nix. "Flyte," by Angie Sage, is the second book in a junior fiction series about wizards.

Fiction: Thriller and fantasy

Brad Meltzer's latest thriller is "The Book of Fate," about a Fourth of July assassination that was not at all what it appeared to be.

Terry Brooks' "Armageddon's Children" is a new creation by this popular modern fantasy fiction writer which tells of an extraordinary few struggling to salvage hope in the face of terrifying chaos.

Nora Roberts' "Morrigan's Cross" is the first book of a new "Circle" trilogy that is available at the library is both paperback and large print editions.

Lifelong learning

Dr. Chuck Carson will present a light and informative look at gadgets and systems this Saturday, November 18 at 3 p.m. as part of the free Lifelong Learning program at the library. This is the last Lifelong Learning event of 2006, but they have been so popular that organizer Biz Greene promises a new series in 2007, probably in March and April.

Thanks to our donors

For donations of books and materials, our thanks this week go to Maureen Balog, Stan Church, Phyl Daleske, Addi Greer, Christy Holden, Jon Jenkins, Usa Jensen, Mary Khoury, Julie Kurz, Rain Lamoreaux, Marie Layton, Bonnita Lynn, Jessie Maez, Bonnie Martin, Joan Mason, April and Sam Matthews, Crista Munro, Joseph Rohrict, Siri Schuchardt, John and Sonya Scott, Annette Uehling, Lynda Van Patter, Ellen Wadley, Dick Warring and Lynne Wooldridge.

We greatly appreciate your generosity.


Arts Line

Start the new year with an art class

By Linda Strathdee

PREVIEW Columnist

Pagosa Springs Arts Council has started developing its 2007 workshop schedule with the first classes to be offered in January.

Brighten up your winter by signing up for one of the earliest classes.

- Jan. 15-17: Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach Beginners I, the Basics of Watercolor. This workshop is for individuals who have always wanted to try their hand at watercolor - or who are not ready to take other workshops. It offers a chance to learn to paint with others who are uncertain of their talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own, with limited success. At the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., or so, each day: $175 for three full days, $150 for PSAC members. Bring your lunch.

- Jan. 22-24: Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach Beginners II, Building Blocks of Watercolor. This workshop builds on Beginners I and uses everything students learned in those classes. In Beginners II, you will continue to work together to make it easy for you to create independently. You use all the materials from before, and just a few more things. Remember, watercolor is magic and fun!

Mornings there will be lessons and exercises about shapes, composition and design, choosing subjects, further study about value and color, and advanced techniques such as lifting, scraping, masking, glazing, working with sponges, salt, saran wrap, and waxed paper. Afternoons will be spent painting, using the morning's lessons. Sessions are held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m., or so, each day: $175 for three full days, $150 for PSAC members. Bring your lunch

- Jan. 29-31: Pierre Mion will teach his winter watercolor workshop. An internationally-known artist and illustrator who worked with Norman Rockwell for 12 years, Pierre will offer his winter watercolor workshop beginning Monday, Jan. 29.

For more information about any of these workshops, call the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, 264-5020.

Members Gift Shop

The PSAC Members Gift Shop, featuring original, handcrafted pieces done by members of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, will remain open through Nov. 22 at the Town Park gallery, 315 Hermosa St. You will find original artwork, photographs, woodworking, jewelry, hand-painted silk articles and more. Plan to stop by and get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Pagosa Pretenders

Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater, a division of PSAC, offers the "Pretending Books and Stories" program the second Saturday of each month at the Sisson Library. The goal is to promote reading and creativity.

"Pretending Books and Stories" is free to the public and appropriate for all ages.

Photography club

The Pagosa Springs Photography Club meets the second Wednesday of each month during the club year, from September through May.

Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend at no charge for the first meeting. Any and all are invited to join for $20 annual dues.

For more information, contact club president Larry Walton at 731-2706 or


The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters' production of "Nuncrackers" will play at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 2, with a 2 p.m. matinee Dec. 2.

Tickets will be available at the Plaid Pony (970-731-5262) or at the door. Tickets for "Nuncrackers" are: adults, $15; seniors, $12; and students/children 18 and under, $6.

PSAC open house

PSAC will hold an open house Jan. 18 in the South Conference Room at the community center. Mark your calendars now and plan to drop by and learn more about the Arts Council, its mission and goals and what it hopes to accomplish in 2007 and beyond.

Arts Council workshops

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council sponsors and manages workshops in the arts and crafts space at the community center. From the outset, the Arts Council has been a partner and supporter of the community center.

We started the workshops in 2002 and they have grown substantially since that time. Workshops provide those who want to teach a venue to do so and, at the same time, give our residents a place to learn something new whether it is watercolor, acrylic, oil, drawing, photography or the like. The space also provides a home for the photo club, watercolor club and a meeting location for various other groups.

If you are interested in teaching a workshop or class, call the gallery at Town Park for a workshop application form (264-5020) or download the form from our Web site, If you are a resident and have ideas and suggestions for a class or workshop we haven't offered, let us hear from you. The Arts Council's mailing address is: P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or e-mail

To date, all our workshops have been held during the day. Would evenings work better for you? Would you prefer a series of classes? If you would like to see the Arts Council offer workshops in either of these formats, call PSAC at 264-5020 and leave your name and number and we'll touch base with you.

New members

Started in 1988, The Pagosa Springs Arts Council, a non-profit organization, was conceived and developed to, in part, promote the awareness of the vast array of local artistic talent, provide educational and cultural activities in the community, sponsor exhibits and workshops by local and regional artists, and encourage and support continued appreciation and preservation of the aesthetic beauty of Pagosa Springs.

If becoming involved with such a dynamic organization excites you, we hope you will consider becoming a member, or perhaps volunteer. If you have question or would like more information on joining, call the PSAC office, 264-5020.

PSAC Calendar

All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft space at the community center, unless otherwise noted. All exhibits are shown at the PSAC Town Park Gallery, unless otherwise noted. For more information contact PSAC at 264-5020

Through Nov. 22 - PSAC Members Gift Shop.

Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, Music Boosters production of "Nuncrackers," high school auditorium.

Jan. 15-17 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett workshop, Beginners I - The Basics of Watercolor.

Jan. 18 - PSAC open house, community center, 4-7 p.m.

Jan. 22-24 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett workshop, Beginners II - Building Blocks of Watercolor.

Jan. 29-31 - Pierre Mion watercolor workshop.

Feb. 12-14 - Soledad Estrada-Leo's, Big Little Angelos Workshop.

Feb. 19-21 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett workshop, Intermediate - Using Photos, People and More.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, courtesy of The Pagosa Springs Sun. For inclusion in Artsline, send information to PSAC e-mail ( In the subject area of your e-mail, please write "Artsline." Your attachment should be in a Microsoft Word file document format. Images should be limited to 2 (300dpi, 5x7 inches in size) and sent as a separate (individual attachments) e-mail. You can also mail a CD of images and information to PSAC, P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147. Deadline is at least two weeks prior to event. 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.


Tasting Notes

Ah, raw meat and champagne ... that's the thing

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The elk carcass lay across a wooden table in a covered outdoor patio. A man hovered over the animal, deftly wielding a knife, trimming away tendons and what little fat there was.

He turned and spoke with a gleam in his eye, "I am just now trimming the shanks for osso bucco."

As the man worked, he explained the process - the hunting, the aging, the days spent carefully and methodically butchering, and the culinary possibilities once the butchering was complete.

My mind raced, I imagined plates piled high with savory elk osso bucco, steaming risotto, hints of tomato, thyme and aged parmesan wafting through the air, bone marrow spread on crusty bread, and washing it all down amongst friends with a powerful Super Tuscan or Barolo.

"I am a carnivore," he said with a smile and I nodded - kindred spirits.

As the conversation gained momentum, we spoke of elk tartare, various organs, the merits of cheek versus tongue, the potential of paté.

As I watched him carefully trim the meat, I crafted pairing menus in my head. My thoughts drifted to other regional delicacies - duck, grouse, wild turkey, venison - the possibilities seemed limitless for the skilled and creative carnivore, the pairing challenges formidable and exciting for the wine geek.

A willingness to experiment and a thirst for adventure are as fundamental to life as they are to enjoying food and wine and there is a world beyond elk burgers and elk chili.

For example, elk or venison tartare - either meat finely chopped or ground and served raw and seasoned with capers, onion, black pepper and raw egg. Either would be lovely with a full bodied white Burgundy.

And how about a variation on the theme? Elk or venison carpaccio? Slice the raw flesh paper thin, drizzle with olive oil, perhaps truffle oil if you're feeling extravagant, and season with coarse ground black pepper, lemon juice and aged pecorino or parmesan. For adventuresome drinkers, a lush, lightly oaked white Burgundy might prove a perfect match, although for those less willing to gamble, a soft, medium bodied Italian red, would prove ideal.

Elk Steak au Poivre with pomme frites? Absolutely. The preparation is simple and similar to that of fresh tuna. Have your side dishes ready to serve and turn a stove burner to medium high heat. Place the steak on plate and crust both sides with freshly crushed black pepper. Take the plate in hand, walk through the kitchen, passing, and pausing briefly near the stove, then continue on to the dining room table. Sit and enjoy. Powerful reds capable of tackling the pepper would be the ideal compliment. Try Argentine malbec, Vacqueryas, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Cahors, aged Pauillac, Saint-Emilion California cabernet, or old vine zinfandel. For steaks with less pepper, try Côte Rôtie or Hermitage.

Elk or Venison red chilé enchiladas? It sounds simple, and it is, although the dish requires care to keep the meat from drying during preparation.

Marinate the meat for 24 hours in olive oil and beef or chicken stock seasoned with garlic, cumin, oregano, onion and ground red chile. Sauté the mixture with a quarter stick of butter, and add in fresh roasted green and red chilé near the finish. When finished with the sauté, layer the meat with tortillas, grated asadero, cheddar and jack cheeses and your own enchilada sauce and bake. A Paso Robles red made from Rhône varietals would work well, or a simple, southern Rhône vin de pays, or vin de table would do the trick - nothing fancy is required for enchiladas.

Grouse prepared coq au vin style with mushrooms and hunks of smokey bacon? The dish would be lovely with an earthy, unfiltered Oregon pinot noir or barnyardy red Burgundy. Roasted duck with madeira wine and wild mushrooms? Again, an earthy pinot noir would be dynamite.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and a well prepared wild turkey would be vastly superior to one of the hormone and water injected store bought beasts. And although I've heard it said wild turkey is dry, the key lies in the preparation and the preparer. Butter, stuffing and careful basting are your allies. Think Gewürztraminer.

I admit, I'm a carnivore, and the prospect of cooking with locally found game is exciting. In fact, my next project is a venison carpaccio appetizer. I'm thinking carefully selected and hand processed venison from a reputable local source (think man on patio, if he's game), aged parmesan, luxurious olive oil and a full bodied white Burgundy or a vintage Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame with its firm backbone of pinot noir as a compliment.

And for those with different tastes ... while searching for venison carpaccio recipes I discovered a restaurant offering a vegetable tartare.

Sounds lovely, but I don't think I'll be preparing vegetable tartare anytime soon. I'm not too keen on pureéd raw carrots and smoothies. Raw meat and champagne is more my thing.


Food for Thought

Indulge ... and get rid of the goofy hat

By Karl Isberg


The place: the produce section at the local supermarket.

I am examining an eggplant, when she appears. She's wearing a plaid shirt, hiking boots and an incredibly goofy hat.

We inhabit different universes. She knows me; I have no idea who she is.

Something approaching a dialogue ensues.

"This thing you have with food, and cooking. You're obsessed."

"Nope. I'm merely attentive." I turn the eggplant in the icky supermarket light. Supermarket light does serious injury to hues in the blue-violet to purple part of the spectrum. Too much yellow in the light. Complements, you know; mix them and you've got icky.

"Attentive? That's selling yourself short. You're always writing about food, and wine. You brag that you're thinking about food and cooking all the time. Attentive?"

"OK, real attentive. Granted, I wake in the morning and I'm focused on breakfast because I read a recipe or two before going night-night a few hours before. And, true, throughout the day I'm mulling over options for dinner. I think about food and cooking a lot. And I read about it too - about what to make and how to make it. I study recipes, poring over them like a Viking-crazed Irish monk analyzing the Book of Kells for answers to his existential dilemma. But, obsessed? No. Intense? Perhaps. So what? Do you think this eggplant looks feeble? Come on, hold it. Don't be afraid caress it."

"But, there's so many, more important things in life other than food and drink."

"I can think of only two other important things in life, and I am not sure if either of them is more important than food. Depends on the situation, and the company"

"But, gluttony is so wrong."

"Yep, couldn't agree more. C'mon, prod my eggplant. I don't advocate or appreciate gluttony. I'm Epicurean by inclination. Always seek pleasure, but never to the point it becomes pain. There is a wide gulf between gluttony and a refined appreciation that propels measured and informed consumption."

"Phooey. That's a load of crud designed to divert you from the fact that constant attention to food and eating is an earmark of decadent and conspicuous consumption and, as such, is a weakness encouraged by a persistent unwillingness to confront the troubles and deprivation faced by other members of the species."

"Whew. That's an earful. Were you a sociology major in college?"

"OK, let's put it simply: In a global and historical context, your obsession and your indulgence is wrong. A sin, if you will. To pay so much attention to food, to cooking, to eating, to drinking "

"Excuse me - to outstanding food, creative cooking, careful eating and drinking . . ."

"It's a slap in the face to all those who go without."

"I see it much differently. Here, hold this acorn squash for a moment - like you hold a baby. It would be an offense not to deal with food and cooking the way I do. It is an offense to stuff your face with fast food. It's a crime to eat mindlessly - and it's criminal to surrender to misguided, self-satisfied and pseudo-saintly urges and go on a macrobiotic diet, beat a retreat to gruel and brown rice and weak tea. How grotesquely Ghandiesque."


"Look around; what do you see?"

"Well, food, of course."

"Not just food. Plenty of food, sister. An embarrassment of food, as a matter of fact."

"So we're pigs. We have too much; we are induced every day to buy what we don't need by clever advertising, convenience and brightly-colored packaging."

"I disagree. I think we are the often ungrateful recipients of unimaginable good fortune. Think about it: the majority of the humans alive on this globe have no idea of the amount of food we can purchase - even here in Siberia with a View - nor of the incredible variety of foods. And, despite what the nitpickers and the organic freaks say, the vast majority of it - given it is eaten in reasonable fashion - is safe."

"It's immoral to have so much."

"What? We should be ashamed of abundance? Because it's there? On the contrary: It is an extraordinary occurrence, and the result of marvelous collective efforts. Immoral? I think not. It is not wrong to be able to produce and be subject to plenty. The question is how the resource is used. It's wrong if we take enormous resources for granted and we don't share them when we can. It is dicey if we regularly overindulge or take abundance for granted. And here is where we will part ways clearly, aside from our opinions about that crappy shirt you're wearing: I think it is unethical if we don't take advantage of abundance. It's not going to last, you know; nothing does. I believe it's immoral to be blessed and not indulge the blessing in a graceful way. There is a mindless way of indulging; there is a mindful way of indulging. I choose to attempt to be mindful. Cooking and eating is a meditation, a headlong dive into the bright side of one of the primary aspects of what it is to be human.

"In that meditation, we discriminate when it comes to what we eat, and how we prepare it. The mere fact we prepare what we eat has great meaning. Not many of the organisms on this planet that eat other things (and there's a lot of ways that's done, you know) prepare what is eaten. In fact, not many of our fellow earthly travelers care a whole lot about what is put into the mouth, or wherever else it goes. We humans do care, if circumstance allows. And we should pay close attention to what we choose to ingest. Consider its origin and treat it with respect."

"So, you're saying it's unethical not to indulge?"

"Yep. But, with qualifications. Don't you listen? Is that hat restricting your hearing? The key is attention and respect and thankfulness. All tempered with a bit of charity, backlit by the understanding that, but for fortune, it could be you having to forgo your luxury and shovel moldy grubs down your maw in order to simply survive."

"You know, this is a pretty weird conversation to be having in the produce section of the grocery store."

"Yeah, it is. But not as weird as that shirt and hat you've got on. Whaddya makin' for dinner?"

"Manicotti. No meat; I'm off meat."

" Pity. Bit of goat cheese mixed in with the ricotta and parmesan?"

"Oooh, no. Goat cheese?"

"Absolutely, Try it and fresh herbs, no? Fresh basil, oregano?"

"Well, I've never used them, but "

"How do you make your sauce."

"Oh, I don't have time to make it. I buy it."

"In a jar?"


"Dear lord. OK, I can't hear any more of this. I admit it: I'm obsessed - at least compared to you I am. Please, I beg of you: first, give me back my squash; second, mix some goat cheese into the ricotta and parmesan. And, give yourself a treat: try the manicotti baked with a romanesco sauce. Stretch yourself. Take some time and meditate."

"Roma-whatco sauce?"

"Romanesco. It's easy. Well no, I lie: It's not easy - but it's not so difficult that, well, even you, can't make it. Though you'll need to take off that goofy hat and shirt before you go to the kitchen.

"There's plenty of versions but all of them include some of the same ingredients: roasted red Bell pepper, almonds, roasted tomato, garlic, herbs (rosemary, oregano, basil), a little red wine vinegar, olive oil, sometimes breadcrumbs.

"Try this: roast your own red peppers over an open flame - two will do - and toss on a red jalapeno if you like some zip. Bag 'em, stem 'em, peel 'em. Get rid of the veins and seeds from the red jalapeno.

"Roast several Roma tomatoes - do it in the oven so they get all sweet and caramelized. Put a handful of unsalted raw almonds in a food processor and grind the daylights out of them. Peel a couple cloves of garlic and toss them in; throw in the herbs, a tiny bit of salt, some black pepper and pulse for a moment. Throw in the peppers, the tomatoes, a mess of breadcrumbs and a teeny bit of vinegar and pulse again, until everything is messed up. With the motor running, drizzle in extra-virgin olive oil until the sauce is emulsified. Taste, adjust, maybe add a wisp of sugar. Refrigerate for half a day or so to allow the flavors to meld. Then use it on your goat-cheesy good manicotti like you'd use that muddy industrial glop you buy in a jar. Throw some mozzarella, some hunks of goat cheese and shaved parmesan on top and bake it"

What are you havin?"

"A sinner's dinner."


"Remember, I said a true transgression is to waste food? Well, forgive me, but I have sinned. Too many times to remember. I throw away too much food."

"Who doesn't?"

"I'm afraid there's some truth to that. Too many of us waste too much. And I am making my best effort to consume leftovers. I'm here to get some tomatoes, an avocado - even though they're out of season - and some cheese. I'm going to make mole enchiladas, using the last of a pack of white corn tortillas and some leftover turkey burgers as my base.

"I'll make a sauce with paste, chicken broth, a hit or two of Espanola red and tons of mushed garlic

"I'll crumble the leftover burgers into the sauce and simmer for a while, adding a bit of broth if I need to, enough to keep the consistency just this side of sludge.

"I'll dip the tortillas into hot oil ever so briefly and drain them on a paper towel, then grease a casserole and put a couple big spoon's full of sauce in the pan. I'll use a slotted spoon to remove meat from the sauce and roll up some enchiladas, adding crumbled cotilla cheese to the meat. Once all the rolled enchiladas are nestled next to the other in the pan, I'll coat them with the sauce and put down some chunks of quesadilla and a bit more of the cotilla, maybe splash a bit of crema over all. Into a 350 oven the dish will go and, 30-45 minutes later, I've got a dandy on my hands.

"I have green leaf lettuce left in the fridge and I'll slice the avocado and tomatoes, add them to the greens and prepare a lemon vinaigrette with stuff I find in the kitchen. I've got some pinto beans in a dish in the fridge. They'll warm up just fine."


Fine fare for the sinner who is making a change.

"Enjoy your romanesco.

"Get obsessed.

"And get rid of that stupid hat."


Extension Viewpoints

Sign up now for Colorado Master Gardener program

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Nov. 20 - 6 p.m., new 4-H family orientation.

Nov. 23 - Office closed.

Nov. 24 - Office closed.

Master Gardener Breeze Training

The Colorado State University Cooperative Extension will offer the Colorado Master Gardener Program in Pagosa Springs via Breeze Technology, starting Jan. 30.

The Colorado Master Gardener Program is an 11-week training program designed to provide the public with information about fostering a successful home garden in Colorado.

People interested in participating in the Master Gardener Program need to contact the Cooperative Extension Office at 264-5931 for an application. Applications will be taken until Dec. 1.

4-H is fun

Archuleta County 4-H is now ready for 2006-2007 enrollment.

4-H is a community of young people, spread across America, the youngsters learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Here in Archuleta County, we are very excited to have dedicated club and project leaders year after year.

A few of the projects being offered this year include: Archery, Ranch Horse, Scrapbooking, Knitting and Quilting, Vet Science, Foods and Nutrition, Coin Collecting and more.

If you are interested in learning more about 4-H, drop by the office at 344 U.S. 84 at the fairgrounds, or call us at 264-5931. There are programs available for local youth age 5-18.


Pagosa Lakes News

Try some turmeric for good health

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

I enjoy curry and eat a lot of it.

It's a good thing I do, because the turmeric, one of the anchor ingredients in this type of fare, possesses potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

So, a diet containing curry may help protect the aging brain, according to a study of elderly Asians in which increased curry consumption was associated with better cognitive performance on standardized tests.

Some years ago, I was advised by a wise old woman in India to include turmeric in my diet for my arthritis. Since I was already fond of curry, it was an attachment easily consummated. I love the spices, digest it well, and it provides endless options for creativity in the kitchen.

If you have no fondness for curry, turmeric can be used in many other ways: sprinkle turmeric into your scrambled eggs, add color and some pizzazz to steamed rice with turmeric and, because it has so discreet of a flavor, you can add it to soups, sauces and dips. But, be prepared to have a jaundiced dish. So powerful is the yellow in turmeric that a friend once told me that the carpenter of his remodeled kitchen with its new "stain-proof" granite countertops told him they could even be tested with turmeric. It is the hardest test to prove any object's resistance to staining.

Whether it does or doesn't stain granite, turmeric will stain your teeth. If you like that stuff, better be ready to bleach your pearly whites on a regular basis or your smile may work to your detriment (even while you impress others with your superior cognitive skills).

Animal pests

PLPOA has received some phone calls from property owners receiving unwelcome visits from skunks and porcupines.

We are not talking about just a stray skunk wandering across your yard, they are moving in. I guess more than one family has had skunks set up housekeeping in their crawl spaces - to hang out in some place warm - by entering through unscreened air vents.

Proper winterization of your dwelling is necessary otherwise be prepared to have an intruder or two.

Go forth and flourish

Another political season is over, and I'm again reminded of something Tocqueville noted over 170 years ago: "America has flourished not because of geniuses in Washington, but due to its Constitution, fertile land mass, egalitarianism, entrepreneurship, unique spiritual vitality and attachment to local community and family."

In spite of what goes on during a campaign season, at the end of the day, we're still a community of family and friends, and are able to help and look after our own. We don't need to find fault with "Big Daddy" government if we see the world as less than perfect. We have the "unique spiritual vitality" and ability to do something about it. So, let's do what's necessary to go forth and flourish!




An angel named Hailey Nicole Salinas was sent from above on Nov. 4, 2006, at 3:35 p.m. She arrived at Mercy Medical Center where she was greeted by her proud parents, Allan and Trista Salinas. She weighed 6 pounds and 4 ounces, and was 18 1/2 inches long.



Jim Ferry

Jim Ferry passed away on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2006. He was the son of a preacher and a teacher from Yukon, Oklahoma. He was 60 years old, born Sept. 12, 1946.

Jim served in the Navy in the Viet Nam conflict aboard the USS Constitution and the USS Long Beach. He drove tractor-trailers for 13 years and worked as a computer specialist for 20 years, living in Texas and California before "retiring" in 1992 to a mountain top between Chama and Pagosa Springs to be near the narrow gauge Cumbres & Toltec and Durango & Silverton railways.

Jim was a prolific modeler of the D&RGW, scratch-building most of the MOW equipment in 1.20.3. He also loved to take stock LGB and Bachmann locomotives and turn them into creations of his own or models of sometimes obscure logging and mining steam locos.

He was the "father" of the G-scale "Feather River Canyon Railroad" and the "Claim Jumper Mining Railway." Jim also created, produced and sold the Bear Whiz Brewing line of 1.22.5 refrigerator cars.

Jim was interred with honors at the VA cemetery in Santa Fe on Nov. 15, 2006. Jim is survived by Ester, his wife of 18 years, and stepson Craig Keller.

There are many of us who will miss this "grizzly bear" greatly but who will remember him each time we work on our large-scale narrow gauge railroads.

"If he liked you, there wasn't anything he wouldn't do for you. If he didn't like you, there wasn't anything he wouldn't do to you."


Edna Kamm

Edna I. Stewart Kamm, born July 17, 1914, walked into the arms of Jesus on Nov. 10, 2006.

She was preceded in death by her husband of more than 50 years, Henry Kamm; her eldest daughter, Nancy Kamm Boggus; parents Nancy and Frank Stewart; brothers Raymond (Corinne), AL ( Lena), Bascome; great-grandchildren Tommy and Heather Dobbs; and her nephew, Delbert Stewart. Those left to mourn her death and celebrate her life are her daughter, Mary Helen Scott; her two adopted daughters, Kamma Covington (Dan) and Tamma Kamm; her grandchildren, Maravon Huback (Alan), Hollie Boggus, Jimmy Scott, Nicole Newton (William), Scott and Michael Covington; and great-grandchildren DJ , Nicholas, and Stetson, as well as innumerable family and friends.

Mrs. Kamm spent her life caring for others as a registered nurse. She began her career as a surgical nurse during World War II and the Korean War, helping those returned to the Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque, N.M. She also worked at the Belen General Hospital, the Los Lunas Hospital and Training School and in Farmington where, later in her career, she pioneered new treatments for infants and children with physical and mental disabilities, advocating keeping patients in their homes rather than institutionalizing them, and working within their abilities while challenging them to reach for their ultimate potential.

After retiring to Colorado with her husband and adopted daughters, she nursed her husband during his long fight with emphysema. Mrs. Kamm was an avid gardener and lover of coffee, and those who had the opportunity to know her will truly miss her conversations at the kitchen table and her willingness to help those around her.

Graveside services will be held on Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. at Restland in Boswell, Oklahoma, where she will be laid to rest with her parents and brother. Viewing will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at the Funeral Home in Hugo. A celebration of her life will be held at the Sunnyvale Baptist Church in the Lighthouse on Saturday, Nov. 18, at 2 p.m. in Sunnyvale, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either The Retina Foundation of SW Texas, 9900 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75231, (214) 363-3911, Retina, or to local gardening clubs in her name.


William "Bill" O'Brien

A memorial service for William "Bill" O'Brien will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17, at LaQuey Funeral Home, 421 Lewis St. For information, call 264-2386.


 Business News

Chamber News

Time to gear up for the holiday season

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

The shopping bug hit Pagosa last Saturday as the Immaculate Heart of Mary Fashion Show whet the appetites of many a Pagosan.

Congratulations to all the hard workers at the fashion show who helped make it the 10th successful year of demonstrations of what great fashion, clothing and accessories we have in this community. From jeans to evening attire, the clothing worn by the models represented the merchants well. There were sales galore as the shoppers hit the streets following the show..

With this shopping thought in mind, mark down another important day on your calendar: Saturday, Dec. 2. On this day, over 50 stores will participate in the Parade of Stores, from the west side of town to the River Center.

Many stores will hold special sales, provide goodies for the shoppers and roll out the red carpet for local and area gift hunters. A highlight for the day will be the opportunity to win a gift or gift certificate from any of the establishments participating in the Parade of Stores. This means there will be over 50 chances to win a gift, in addition to all the great sales going on around town.

Here's how the day will work. The merchants will be separated into three groups: those on the west side, from Vista to Great West Avenue; those in the downtown area from 7th to 4th streets; and those on the east side from 3rd Street to the River Center.

Each group will have a special card you can get stamped when you go into a participating store in that area. Each group will also have a certain number of stamps you can collect from participating stores. You then turn the card in at a store in that area for chances to win great prizes. Stamps can be collected from the west side of town from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and from the downtown and east end areas from 2 to 6. Participating stores will have a poster in the window and you can check out the full page ad coming out in The SUN over the Thanksgiving Day holiday, listing the stores and all the other events taking place on Dec. 2.

Santa comes to the Visitor Center Dec. 2 and we light the downtown area; it is a day to stay in the community, shop locally and enjoy the festivities.

Lots of other activities will take place on this special Saturday. The Music Boosters' production of "Nuncrackers" will have two performances - one at 2 p.m. and one at 7:30, in the high school auditorium. Tickets are available at the Plaid Pony or at the door. "Nuncrackers " will also play at 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

Ducks Unlimited will host its annual banquet Dec. 2 at the Pagosa Lodge starting at 5:30 p.m., with a silent auction and cocktails followed by a live auction and dinner at 7:30 . Tickets for this event are available at Ski & Bow Rack, Citizens Bank, High Country Title and Pagosa Power Sports. For more information, contact Tracy Bunning at 264-2128.

As he always does, Santa will make an appearance at the Visitor Center starting at 3 p.m. He has a busy schedule, so we expect him here until about 5:30. Of course ,there will be cookies, punch and hot drinks for the visitors, old and young alike. There will also be photo opportunities provided by Pagosa Photography, just in time for that Christmas card! While waiting for your children to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoy the entertainment that will be provided throughout the afternoon.

You can continue shopping in the downtown area until about 5:30 when the community will be treated to the first Community Lighting.

In the past, a big deal was made when the Chamber Visitors Center was lit. This year, we are going to attempt a lighting "wave." Starting around 5:30 p.m. the star on Reservoir Hill and the Cross on the east end of town will be lit. At this time, we will also start the lighting process around 6th or 7th streets, with municipal and business lights coming on through the downtown and east side districts. I mean, why just light up one building when you can light up a bunch and really show off the town! If you're not in the downtown area, perhaps you can view the lighting from another strategic spot in the community.

We have so much to offer here. We have great merchants, a beautiful community and lots of community participation. Take some time to rediscover Pagosa. Whether you're looking for electronics, furniture, clothing, jewelry, music, sporting goods or any other kind of gift, Dec. 2 is the day to find that item in Pagosa. Watch the magic come alive as we light up our town and remember the reasons why we chose to live in this community.


The upcoming publication of The Chamber Communiqué newsletter is the perfect time for you to promote your business or special holiday event.

The newsletter will be coming out the beginning of December. Included in this newsletter will be the Chamber and Visitor Center year in review (a little earlier than usual) and some super important inserts. One insert will be the new criteria for the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year awards. Another insert will be a description of the Chamber board candidates for the 2007 year who you will be voting on until Jan. 20 when we host the annual Chamber membership meeting. The newsletter provides a perfect opportunity to thank the community or let us know what special activity is going on with your group or in your business.

Deadline for inserts is Monday, Nov. 27. We need 700 copies of your insert and the cost to place your insert is $50. This method of communicating with the community is an inexpensive and far-reaching avenue to promote your business. Let us help.

Saturday, Nov. 18, will be the last program in the Lifelong Learning series at the Ruby Sisson Library. Dr. Chuck Carson will talk about "How does That Work?," a light and informative look at the engineering and physics underlying gadgets and systems that we see every day. This would be a great family outing, especially for those youngsters who show talents in the engineering aspects of life. The talk starts at 3 p.m. and is expected to be very entertaining.

Registration for the START program, (Skills, Tasks and Results Training) will end Monday, Nov. 27. Classes begin Tuesday, Nov. 28. These free hospitality classes will be offered at the high school Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Taking these classes gives a participant a leg up on the average hotel or restaurant applicant. The classes provide students with the real-world knowledge and skills needed to begin a hospitality career. Of course, all of us would like to be like J. Willard Marriott and start at the top of the hotel ladder, or just go out and own a restaurant. But, there is so much more to the business and even Mr. Marriott Sr. made his son work the various aspects of the businesses, as did Mr. Marriott Jr. and his sons. The more you understand, the higher and potentially faster you can climb on the hospitality ladder. Classes are free, and your only investment is your time For more information, contact Connie Eckerman at 385-4354. This is a great opportunity for our community and I hope we have candidates who can take advantage of this experience.

Hopefully you are reading this paper today or tomorrow, because the annual Operation Winter Coat Program, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs, will be held from 3-5 p.m. tomorrow, Nov. 17. The winter items will be distributed at the Extension Building at the fairgrounds. All items are free, so come by and get what you need. Once again, we thank the Rotary Club for hosting this great event.

Russ Hill Bazaar

I love this event, and each year gain more respect for all the volunteers who work to make the bazaar such a success. Order your wreath or table arrangements from Community United Methodist Church until Wednesday, Dec. 6. Volunteers give their hands a rest over the Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 23-26. You can order an arrangement by calling 264-4538, or stop by the church at 434 Lewis St.

This project involves 40-50 volunteers a day making the wreaths, making the bows, taking orders, cutting greens and doing anything else that is required in this massive undertaking. Wreaths or table arrangements make beautiful gifts and they can be shipped. Send a little bit of Pagosa Springs to family and friends this Christmas, or buy some items at the bazaar to spruce up your home.

Festival of Trees

Another new holiday event comes to Pagosa: The Festival of Trees, sponsored by the community center. Over the years, I have seen some awesome trees decorated by some very talented people. Who would have thought that dinner tables could look so spectacular, until Seeds of Learning hosted its special event! It is the same concept with the trees.

Here are the details as we know them. Each tree should have a sponsor and sponsorship provides the tree, the decorations and the decorating. They also get to choose the non-profit agency or activity of their choice, to which proceeds from the sale of the tree will be directed.

Sign up for this event by Wednesday, Nov. 29. The tree must be 6- to 8-feet tall, live or fake. The trees need to be decorated at the community center on Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. These works of art will be on public display Dec. 6 and 7 and auctioned off the evening of Dec. 8. Food and beverages will be available at the event. What a fun occasion - and a chance to be creative while helping the organization of your choice.

For more information, contact the community center at 264-4152.

Business Builder

The last of the fall Business Builder series will be held 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the community center. This seminar is another must for small business owners who are looking at health insurance benefits for themselves, or ways they may be able to offer benefits to employees.

We will have three guest speakers talking about a wide range of options: health reimbursement arrangements, flexible spending accounts, Section 125 tax account, Aflac accounts, HMOs versus major medical and major deductible plans, and much more. What better place to get so much information all at one time. Then you can digest the information, be more knowledgeable and make some decisions on behalf of your business. Seating is limited, so call the Chamber at 264-2360 to reserve your space. Admission is $20 for Chamber members and $25 for nonmembers. With health insurance a major employee and business owner concern, this is a seminar you do not want to miss. Call the Chamber for more information. In addition, if you have any suggestions on talks or seminars you think the chamber should offer, drop us an e-mail or give us a call.


This is a record for me, in that I have only two businesses to mention this week.

First we welcome new members Danny and Venita Burch with Rocky Mountain School of Music. Danny and Venita provide quality music education for students of all ages specializing in piano, guitar, brass and woodwind instruments. I know there are adults who may have a little spare time on their hands and are looking for instruction. You can give them a call at 903-1872.

The other new member this week is Congregation Kadima Yisrael. Kadima Yisrael is a group of Jewish congregants whose purpose it is to celebrate, learn and teach Judaism and its traditions. Visitors and all Jewish practitioners are welcome to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall the first Friday of the month at 7 p.m. You can call 731-2012 to confirm the monthly celebration time or special holiday services.

Pull out those calendars and start marking down your commitments, and put a mark on Saturday, Dec. 2. We expect this town to be jumping!



Cards of Thanks

Community center

Here are some more of the community-spirited Pagosans who helped the community center put on that wonderful Halloween party: Dahrl Henley, Grace Evangelical Church, Genelle Macht, Wolf Creek Back Country, David and Edith Blake, Marsha Hill, and Herb and Betty Nason donated money; The Kiwanis Club, Dionigi's, McDonald's, Subway, Chato's, Lisa Scott, Addi Greer, Eileen Anderson, Cathy Bonn, Carol Young, Cathy Ruth, Braxton Ponder, Siri Schuchardt, Stan and Laurie Church, the Community United Methodist Church, and both City Markets donated prizes, candy, food or baked goods.

Thanks from all of us at the center.



Partners in Education at the elementary school would like to thank everyone involved with Rainforests and Rhythms Family Night. Thank you to Josiah and Jared Payne for playing music, and to Mrs. Lister, Ms. Holt, Ms. Tessie, Debbie Ray, Tasha Murphy, Margaret Burkesmith, Felicia Meyer, Alicia O'Brien, Lisa Raymond, Blue Lindner, Miss Patterson, Jennifer Lindberg, Julie Greenly, Lori Manzanaras, Sabra Miller, Terri Smith, Andrew Jones and everyone else who contributed to making this such a fun event.


Boy Scouts

Members of Troop 807 wish to thank the local ALCO store for its donation to the recent Operation Christmas Child collection.



Jerod Lopez

Jerod Lopez was involved in an auto accident Nov. 7 in Vernal, Utah. He suffered two breaks in his jaw and extensive facial damage. Jerod is the son of Marcella (Lujan) and the late Marvin Lopez. Siblings are Joshua Sanchez and Andrea Lopez.

Jerod's family is seeking donations to help with his medical expenses. Donations can be made to the Jerod Lopez medical expense account at Citizens Bank.


Sports Page

Pirate volleyball finishes year in tie for ninth in Class 3A

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

With the Colorado high school volleyball season complete, a reflection on the Pirates performance shows an improvement in a program in its second season under the guidance of Coach Andy Rice.

Pagosa went 15-10 during the 2006 season, with a district championship, a trip to regional Class 3A action and a tie for ninth-place in the class as highlights.

It was not a smooth trip for the Pirates, but it ended successfully due to the tenacity of the players on a team with a solid core of seniors: Kim Canty, Erin Gabel, Jennifer Haynes, Mariah Howell, Iris Frye, Danielle Spencer, Kim Fulmer and Alaina Garman.

The Pirates were basically a .500 team through the first half of the season - but the record came in the midst of a schedule that featured a number of difficult opponents, from larger programs.

Pagosa lost the opener to traditional rival 4A Cortez, a team that took second in the Southwest League and went on to 4A regional action.

A win against 5A Farmington evened the score but a tough tournament at Adams State College led to three losses - including losses to 4A Alamosa and Pueblo South - and a victory over league foe Centauri, the first of four during the year over the 2005 Intermountain League champs.

Pagosa got back on track when Intermountain League play began, beating Ignacio, Monte Vista and Centauri in consecutive matches.

That was followed by a tough loss in five games to 4A Kirtland Central, a New Mexico team that finished second in that state in 2005 and that went to regional play in 2006.

Then, came the first of two losses to Bayfield, the eventual Intermountain League champion.

Coming off the loss to the Wolverines, Pagosa faced a trip to Durango, to meet the 5A Demons. The Pirates played one of their most impressive matches of the season in a 3-0 loss to Durango (20-25, 21-25, 24-26). Durango had one of its finest teams in years and went on to the state tournament semifinals in Class 5A.

The second half of the regular schedule began with a successful trip to the Fowler tournament, where the Pirates beat defending 2005 2A champs Fowler, as well as 2005 state tourney team Sierra Grande (third place), and the 2005 1A second-place finisher, McClave. The only tournament loss was a close one - to 2006 regional 3A competitor Lamar.

All that was left was the remainder of the IML schedule and the Pirates beat Centauri, Ignacio and Monte Vista, but lost again to their IML nemesis, a very good Bayfield team.

Pagosa was 11-8 heading into the district tournament. Everything was on the line since, this year, only the district tourney winner would advance to the regional level (next year, two teams will move on).

The team was 14-8 leaving the tournament with the championship in hand. To capture the crown, the Pirates beat Centauri and Monte Vista then, in the most exciting match of the season, defeated Bayfield 3-2 to end the Wolverines' season and qualify for 3A regional action.

The Pirates traveled to Valley High School, in Gilcrest, for regionals. Pagosa defeated Holy Family, of the Metropolitan league, (a team which won a regional match with Pagosa in 2005) but lost to state qualifier St. Mary's of Colorado Springs, 3-2, and to the eventual Class 3A second-place finisher, Valley, 3-0.

"As a coach," said Rice, "I have to look at the big picture. Did we learn lessons about sacrifice and roles? Yes. Did our players buy into it? Yes - this team always fought, never gave up. Are we on the right track? Yes. We were closer this year, winning a match at regionals, being one match away from state. We made progress."

Rice highlighted the play of all his varsity players. "In a six-two offense, we had contributions from everyone. We played Durango tough. That is a good rivalry, tough competition where we like each other, and we want to beat each other. At the Fowler tournament, we beat Fowler, Sierra Grande and McClave. Clearly, the pinnacle of the season was the win over Bayfield in the district title match. We got the victory when it mattered. We showed character, composure, confidence. It was the best IML match I've seen in a long while. Our players should be proud."

And, next year?

"Our younger teams (junior varsity, C1 and C2) did tremendous this season. They had good coaching and got what they needed. We have some fine younger players moving up in our system and we got some of them into playoff games, so they have that experience to build on. Next year, we need that league championship, and more."


Pirate girls start practice, basketball season opens Dec. 1

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate girls' basketball team started its season with practices this week, coming off of a run last season into the elite eight of state Class 3A teams that included winning regional and district championships and a record of 19-7.

The Pirates lost four seniors from their starting lineup but will return with their all-conference point guard, senior Jessica Lynch, and three other promising seniors - Kristen DuCharme, Lindsey Mackey and Samantha Harris (who will be out of play until January while she recovers from ACL surgery). The roster will be filled out with juniors Camille Rand and Tamara Gayhart.

Coach Bob Lynch described the new starters as players who "are ready to step in and take their turn ... who can step up and be as good or even better" than last year's team.

To accomplish this, the team will have to work hard, said Lynch, through practices in November and non-league play in December.

League play will begin Jan. 19 against state-champion Centauri, which also lost four starters. Lynch said the Falcons will likely not be quite as good as they were last year, though they should still be strong competition with their "pressing, running style."

The Pirates upset the eventual state champs last season for the league championship.

Look for similar successes this season.

Non-league play will start with a road-stint Dec. 1 with a game against Buena Vista, followed the next day by play against Salida.


Porpoises plan Turkey Trot

By Natalie Carpenter

Special to The SUN

What do turkeys and porpoises have in common?

The Pagosa Lakes Porpoises swim team will host the 2006 Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center. Eat your Thanksgiving feast guilt-free by burning off calories early in the 5-mile run or 2-mile walk.

After the trot, pick up your Thanksgiving goodies at the bake sale hosted by the Porpoises. All proceeds from the run, walk and bake sale benefit the Pagosa Lakes swim team.

The trot and bake sale start at 10 a.m. and early registration is available by visiting the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center located on the corner of Park Avenue and Eagles Loft Circle. Entry fees for early registration are $20 for individuals and a special family rate of $50. (Family rate is available to family members of a single household only, maximum of five.) Race day registration fees are $25 individual and $60 family rate. The entry fee includes a commemorative T-Shirt.

For more information, contact the recreation center at 731-2051, or visit the Pagosa Lakes Porpoises Web site at


Pirates could be contenders ... again

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' basketball team heads into another season with a strong varsity squad of eight seniors, after finishing third in state last season (for the second season in a row).

The Pirates won the Intermountain league title last year, after going undefeated (8-0) in league play and compiled an 18-7 record overall. Pagosa had not lost a league game in three years. The team also won the first two rounds of the playoffs last year, earning the right to claim the title of regional champs.

Though the Pirates lost three starting seniors from last year - all-state Craig Schutz, all-conference Casey Schutz and all-conference Paul Przybylski - they will return with their starting point guard Kerry Joe Hilsabeck and wing/post Jordan Shaffer, along with Caleb Ormonde (who saw significant playing time last season) - all seniors.

The three will be joined by five other seniors, who will either start or see substantial time, including Adam Trujillo, Travis Richey, Casey Hart, James Martinez and Spur Ross. The team also has four juniors who Coach Jim Shaffer will try to work in to play.

With the strong returning team, Shaffer said, "We have great tradition and success, and we expect to continue to do that ... I'd expect us to be in the middle of things again ... and be a factor at state."

Bayfield finished second in the IML last year, but graduated 11 seniors. Shaffer expects Ignacio to step into the void as strong competition in league action this year.

The Pirates will begin non-league play in the Arkansas River Valley with games against Buena Vista and Salida Dec. 1 and 2. League play will start on Jan. 19 with a game against Centauri.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Register for youth basketball starting Monday

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will accept youth basketball registrations for the 9-10 and 11-12 divisions beginning Monday, Nov. 20.

Registration deadline for these divisions is Dec. 15.

Any child who will be 9, 10, 11 or 12 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2007, is eligible to register.

Due to gym availability constraints during the holidays, the seasons for these divisions will not begin until January.

Registrations will be available at the recreation office and will also be available online in Adobe format at (click on the town departments link, then the parks and recreation link). Registrations will also be disbursed at local schools.

Cost is $25 per player and $15 for each additional child in the same, immediate family who participates.

Coaches and team sponsors for these divisions are needed and appreciated. Cost for sponsorship is $150, which includes sponsor's name on team uniforms, commemorative plaque with team picture and recognition in media articles.

For more information call 264-4151, Ext. 231 or 232.

Last chance to comment

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department staff is currently exploring the feasibility of forming separate leagues for boys and girls in the 9- and 10-year-old and 11- and 12-year-old age divisions this year.

The deadline to comment on this proposal is Nov. 17. Anyone interested in commenting can call the department office at 264-4151, Ext. 231 or 232. Comments by e-mail may be sent to or

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter; the decision on whether or not to separate this year's 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball leagues according to gender will depend heavily on public comment.

7-8 youth basketball

Game times and pairings for the 7-8 youth basketball games for Nov. 21 at the community center are as follows: Royal vs. Black at 5:30 p.m., Red vs. Forest at 6:20 p.m. and Purple vs. Orange at 7:10 p.m.

Complete schedules for the 7-8 season are available at the recreation office in Town Hall and are posted online in Adobe format at (click on the town departments link, then the parks and recreation department link and scroll down to "7-8 Youth Basketball.")

Coaches and parents are reminded that water is permitted on the sidelines during games, however all other snacks and drinks are prohibited in the Community Center gymnasium. Please distribute all post-game snacks in the lobby or in the parking lot.

Youth soccer photos

Coaches and parents who ordered youth soccer photos can contact Jeff Laydon at Pagosa Photography, 264-3686, to check the status of their orders. The recreation office will provide sponsors with team plaques and pictures as soon as they are available.

Adult volleyball

Adult volleyball (open gym) is being held Mondays from 6:30-8:15 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Junior High School.

There are two courts set up to accommodate varying levels of play, and instruction will be provided if desired.

A goal of having a coed "4s" league playing once a week in November will be discussed at the open gyms.

Contact Andy Rice, sports coordinator for the Town of Pagosa Springs, at 264-4151, Ext. 231, for more information.

Sports hotline

General information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be obtained by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to and going to the parks and recreation link.

All schedules and upcoming events are updated on a weekly basis. 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.



Motorized mayhem

First, an apology. A column in our PREVIEW several weeks ago made fun of New Mexico drivers, making exaggerated asser-tions about the skill level of drivers in our favorite state to the south. A number of New Mexico readers objected, their emotional reactions obscuring the humorous intent of the commentary. To them we tender the apology.

The apology is made necessary by the experience of driving to the downtown area Tuesday morning, during what was, for most Colorado natives, a mere skiff of snow. We learned the worst drivers in the world do not live in New Mexico - at least not all of them.

Cars traveled east on U.S. 160, bumper to bumper, at speeds slow enough to not register on a speedometer; cars off the road on arterials clogged traffic. It was obvious there are a lot of people here who do not know how to drive in even marginal winter conditions, and weather Tuesday was nothing compared to a genuine winter storm.

Things will only get worse if drivers do not adjust.

The problem?

First, the legion of parents who insist on driving their kids to school. Many of these parents are clearly unacquainted with winter driving. There are too many cars on the highway leading downtown, and a significant number of them are piloted by parents. When vehicles begin to line up at the entrance of the elementary school, they are a genuine hazard. Here is a possible solution: There are big, extremely safe, yellow vehicles out there, the purpose of which is to transport children to local schools. Use them.

Second, those folks who are not properly equipped to drive in winter - those driving rear-wheel vehicles, driving vehicles with bald tires (studded tires were invented for a reason). We live in the mountains; four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive vehicles are also made for a reason. If you don't have one, if you can, stay off the roads except during the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. - when the plows have done their work. At any other time you could be a danger to yourself and to others.

Third: many of the owners of hefty SUVs and pick-ups. What could be safer than a big SUV or pickup? Lot of things. Especially if drivers believe that, because they are in a monster of a vehicle, with four-wheel drive, they can exceed speeds safe for conditions. Watch for said vehicles in ditches next to the road. Often on their tops.

Fourth: motorists who do not understand that, when driving uphill on a wintry roadway, you should maintain a steady speed. You do not drive extra-slow when going uphill. Above all, you do not stop while motoring uphill.

Fifth: drivers who do not maintain a safe distance between vehicles. Believe it or not, it takes a greater distance to slow and stop on a snowy or icy road surface.

Last: those who, despite the fact they do not work downtown, insist on driving downtown during peak hours. If you don't need to drive on wintry roadways, don't do it. There is no geegaw or canned good important enough to require you to drive during peak hours - 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. - during a snowstorm or immediately after.

If there are serious drawbacks to living here in Pagosa Country, one is the growth of traffic problems and, in particular, of the traffic problems that occur during winter months. Be thoughtful, be careful, learn to drive in winter conditions. And, if you are not familiar with winter driving hazards and techniques, and do not own a winter-worthy vehicle, please stay home.

Karl Isberg



Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 24, 1916

L.E. Land, superintendent of state hatcheries, is at Born's Lake this week taking fish eggs.

All successful, as well as defeated, candidates must according to law file their campaign expense account with the county clerk.

Fred Confar last week trapped a huge grey wolf near his Chromo ranch. The brute measured over five feet in length.

The Dowell sale held Wednesday was attended by a large crowd. The stock sold well, some of the cows with calves bringing $240. Pet Crowley bought a bunch of weaning calves for $85 per head. Altogether the sale demonstrated that our ranchmen know the value of thoroughbred stock and are willing to pay for it.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 20, 1931

The local train, while making the return trip from Pagosa Junction Tuesday evening, was derailed at the Shields spur, near Pagosa Springs, and it was necessary that a wrecker come from Durango to replace the engine, coach and one car on the track.

L.V. DeWitt, the gentleman who was here some time ago with the aeroplane, was in town today, meeting the people of this city. Mr. DeWitt has in mind an air route which extends from Albuquerque to Farmington, Aztec, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Del Norte, Monte Vista, Alamosa, Pueblo and on to Denver. The proposed line will carry passengers and express and anticipates getting a mail contract. A round trip will be made each day.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 22, 1956

There is more building and construction in Pagosa Springs this fall than there has been for several years. In the business block downtown there are two new building going up and another business, the Gamble Store, is practically completed. The large building being built by the Tishners for their Hi-Way Cafe is about ready to be roofed as all walls are up. The new building being built by Mrs. Marguerite Wiley, which will be occupied by the Mullins Barber Shop and Thunderbird Room, is also coming along very fast and should be ready for occupancy within the next few weeks. There are also several new houses being put up by the new housing development, Mesa Heights Subdivision, upon the mesa north of town.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 19, 1981

Archuleta County Commissioners are looking for about $73,000 more. That's how much their projected 1982 revenues fall short of projected 1982 income. "We're waiting for congress to act on PILT funds," Commissioner Diestelkamp said. "We could receive from $45,000 to $95,000 in revenue from PILT. When we find out exactly how much that will be we'll have to make the budget balance."

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission approved several subdivision requests. Eaton's North Village Lake Subdivision preliminary plan was approved. Approval was given to Eaton's Pinon Condominium Supplement II after the developer increased parking to two spaces per living unit.



Give the gift of life

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

As temperatures fall and Pagosa progresses toward the holidays, casual strollers and hurried commuters will begin to notice the marks of the season - lights, decorations and snow. They will likely stroll through main street shops or hurry out to find festive delicacies or that perfect gift.

But apparently, some can't wait to be thankful or indulge in joyful gift-giving.

Judging from a collection of community members who showed up at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse to donate blood on Monday afternoon, despite snow and wet roads, there are already many in the community who have found a way to express their altruism.

Now is the perfect time to give, since "Shortages of all blood types usually occur during the summer and winter holidays," says the American Red Cross blood donation Web site.

If potential donors need more convincing, the American Red Cross can provide a list of other reasons to donate, including:

- More than 38,000 donations are needed every day, 4.9 million patients receive transfusions every year, the volume of blood needed is increasing every year and the demand for transfusions is growing faster than donations.

- Every donation can save up to three lives, and if you donate regularly throughout your life, you could help save hundreds of lives, if not over a thousand.

- Though someone needs blood every two seconds, only five percent of the population donate, says the Red Cross.

United Blood Services, which collects and supplies blood to 18 states (including Colorado), is the second largest blood service in the U.S., behind the American Red Cross.

In the New Mexico and Four Corners region, including Pagosa Springs and Durango, United Blood Services needs to collect at least 280 donations per day to meet the needs of area medical facilities.

In southwestern Colorado, there is a shortage of B- and O- blood types currently, said officials at United Blood Services.

But according to Sam Hobson, who oversees the blood drives in Pagosa, the situation could change within a week, and other blood types could become high priority as well. In other words, all blood types are needed all the time - especially since a pint of donated blood will likely be used by a patient in need within three or four days.

Because there is "no cushion," as Hobson said of the blood supply, United Blood Services is intent on increasing the amount of donors and encouraging donors to give regularly.

"If we just do a one-percent increase of the amount of donors in the community, it would have a huge impact on the blood supply," said Hobson.

People are good about coming out in times of emergency or catastrophe, like Hurricane Katrina, or when a troublesome accident or illness shakes the community, said Hobson - but a stable blood supply needs a "day to day, steady turnout."

A donor who gives a pint of whole blood can return for another phlebotomy, or blood letting, every two months. A donor who gives two units of red blood cells, while having plasma and fluids replenished intravenously, can give every four months.

But, first, blood collection services need to get donors through the door.

According to Hobson, the biggest hurdle to overcome is fear, especially of blood-borne diseases. United Blood Services attempts to educate the public about donating blood through its staff, donors, print media and online at

Hobson stressed that it is "impossible" to contract HIV or other blood-borne diseases by giving blood, since only sterile, new and disposable materials are used.

Even the double red cell apheresis (or 2RBC) process, when twice the red blood cells are extracted, uses all-new and disposable plastic components. With the help of a pricey machine and centrifuge, 2RBC separates red blood cells from plasma and platelets, pumping the latter two back into the donor. The blood is transferred by disposable plastic tubes and is contained in a disposable plastic cylinder within the centrifuge.

United Blood Services and other blood providers are overseen and regulated by the FDA. Just as donors are protected from the spread of disease, so are potential recipients. Donors are screened for risk-factors before they can give blood and samples of every donation are extensively tested.

And more visibly, technicians change gloves between different stages of the process or whenever they move between donors.

As far as another common fear goes, of needles and pain, United Blood Services has guidelines to make the experience as pleasant as possible, including a limit of two attempts to find a vein for every person.

According to Nancy Pepper, who skillfully drew donors' blood Monday, every person's veins are of different sizes and in different locations. Phlebotomists receive extensive training but also approach the technique as an art, as well as a science, said Pepper, taking into account the individuality of every donor.

To donate whole blood through United Blood Services, one needs to be 17 years old or older and weigh at least 110 pounds. For 2RBC, a man must be 5-foot, 1 inch and 130 pounds, while a woman must be 5-foot five inch and 150 pounds. All donors must have a sufficient iron level and be healthy. Donors will be found ineligible if there is a significant risk that they have been exposed to a blood-borne disease.

Specifics on eligibility can be obtained by calling 385-4601 or on the United Blood Services Web site at

After a brief interview to determine eligibility, it takes about 10 minutes to withdraw a pint of blood; 2RBC takes a while longer. Donors are then asked to wait for 15 minutes before leaving, to give them time to adjust to their new blood level, while beginning to replenish their system with the provided juice and snacks.

The human body generally contains 10-12 pints of blood, so giving a pint is not detrimental to the donor's health. The body also produces a pint of blood, to replace the amount lost, in about a week, while fluid levels are adjusted more quickly.

United Blood Services encourages donors to drink a lot of fluids before and after donating (not including caffeinated or alcoholic beverages). Good hydration makes it easier to extract the blood, reduces physical side effects and encourages recovery. Donors are also advised to eat a good meal before their phlebotomy to prevent nausea and weakness.

Every pint that a Pagosa donor gives goes to Albuquerque to be separated into components - red blood cells for surgical patients, plasma for shock and burn patients, platelets for leukemia and cancer patients, and cryoprecipitate for patients with clotting disorders. Occasionally whole blood is used for open-heart surgery patients or victims of accidents who suffer severe loss of blood.

After processing in the Albuquerque laboratory, the blood components are sent to area hospitals, like Mercy Regional Medical Center, to treat patients.

According to United Blood Services, every pint can help several different patients, who need different blood components. Since it provides twice the red blood cells, 2RBC can help more surgical patients or prevent a single patient from needing blood from two different donors.

Giving blood can also benefit the donor. A significant body of scientific literature suggests that regular phlebotomy can reduce the risk of heart attack in men and postmenopausal women, by eliminating excess iron from the blood. Phlebotomy is already used to treat hemochromatosis, a genetic blood disorder that elevates iron levels in the blood and can damage the heart and other organs.

The most likely health benefit of donating blood is the free mini-physical that proceeds every donation, in which the donor's blood pressure, pulse and iron levels are checked.

But the benefits for the donor are minor compared to the lives that are saved by blood donation. "Thanks come from knowing you've done something good," said Hobson.

Potential donors may find it hard to fit giving blood into their schedule, but "drives are happening all over ... all they have to do is contact us," said Hobson.

There will be five blood drives in Pagosa Springs between now and Christmas - from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, at the senior center; 1-6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 30, at Mountain Heights Baptist Church; 1-5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 6, at Pagosa Fire Protection District Station 1; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the high school; and 1-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21, at the Methodist church.

You can make an appointment online at or by calling United Blood Services at 385-4601. Walk-ins will also be accepted, though scheduled donors will be given priority.

United Blood Services estimates that 80 percent of the population will need blood or blood components at some time in their lives. Regular donations ensure the health of a safety net that we could all potentially use in the future.


Pagosa's Past

Jicarilla flee the Mescalero Reservation

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

By 1886 the Jicarilla Apache were tired of empty government promises, tired of being moved from one barren, unproductive landscape to another, tired of wormy government rations, tired of waiting for the government to provide them with a home they could call their own.

They decided to homestead, a privilege enjoyed by other U.S. citizens. There was a problem: Indians weren't U.S. citizens. They did not become citizens for another 40 years or so. It would have been easy enough for them to cross over; to say they were Hispanic and claim a homestead. That privilege was granted Hispanic New Mexicans, who were granted U.S. citizenship almost immediately after the Mexican-American War settlement circa 1848.

When the Jicarilla asked for homestead privileges, the privilege was promised only to four headmen, not the majority of the tribe.

Indian Agent Fletcher J. Cowart at Mescalero disagreed with the government. Cowart wrote; "It has been the wish of the government to civilize them and now when they want to homestead they are restrained. The Mexicans can do it. Why not these Indians," Cowart asked. The government's response was an all-too-typical silence.

Although there were no immediate results from the Jicarilla plan for acquiring homesteads it did serve, for the Jicarilla, as a stepping stone toward returning to their rightful reservation. Several Jicarilla actually homesteaded in the Española area, posing as Hispanics. Meanwhile, Jicarilla leaders appealed directly to Gov. Ross for assistance in getting back their reservation, whereupon Ross ordered an investigation.

Before applying to Ross for help, however, about 200 Jicarilla began their own return, or escape, back to northern New Mexico. Along the way they enjoyed the hospitality of various Indian friends at the San Juan and San Ildefonso Pueblos near Española.

Ross took an active interest in helping the Jicarilla fight the special interest groups around Amargo. They also enlisted the support of Gen. Nelson A. Miles, who placed Col. Benjamin H. Grierson in charge of looking into their case. Other influential national leaders supported their cause.

Even with influential help the task of regaining their promised reservation was daunting.

When the Jicarilla left the Mescalero Reservation in October of 1886, Agent Cowart immediately informed the military about the "runaways' in an attempt to force their return.

Miles did not buy the agent's story and arranged a meeting with the Jicarilla near Santa Fe Nov. 13, 1886.

At this meeting, the Jicarilla explained their reasons for leaving Mescalero. Most importantly, they had never willingly given up their old reservation. Furthermore, their leaders explained, they had understood that they could return in a few years if Mescalero proved unsatisfactory. Miles learned that all of the arable agricultural land at Mescalero had been assigned to the Mescalero Apaches, leaving the Jicarilla with land unfit for farming.

Moreover, they had been poorly provided with food and clothing. Consequently, they wanted to homestead.

Miles promised the Jicarilla he would bring their grievances before the proper authorities and had them temporarily attached to the Pueblo Agency. He also sent a detachment of soldiers to examine the availability of land.

In November of 1886, a second group of Jicarilla numbering about 100 left the Mescalero Reservation. Fearing those left behind would be imprisoned, Velarde and Vigil attempted a rescue. Many parents were unwilling to leave without their children, because they feared that the children might be punished for their parent's actions. During a violent snowstorm, just after dark, they stole their children from the agency school. After the Jicarilla pupils were sneaked away, the telegraph lines connecting the agency with Fort Stanton were cut as a precautionary measure.

More next week on Jicarilla Apache efforts to obtain a home. Material for these articles concerning the Jicarilla is taken from "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970" by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, a direct descendent of the Jicarilla leaders involved in the reported history.


Pagosa Sky Watch

The 'Autumn Star' rises, the meteors fall

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 6:48 a.m.

Sunset: 4:57 p.m.

Moonrise: 2:46 a.m.

Moonset: 2:42 p.m.

Moon phase: The moon is waning crescent with 15 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

Scant moonlight and dark skies tonight and through the weekend will help Pagosa Country skywatchers enjoy views of two seasonal, celestial sights - Fomalhaut, the "Autumn Star," and the annual Leonid meteor shower.

During October and November, Fomalhaut, the alpha star in the southern constellation Piscus Austrinus, soars at its highest in the night sky. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean Fomalhaut appears high overhead. Rather, the star inches just a few degrees higher from its typically low trajectory just above the southern horizon. Although hovering low, Fomalhaut inhabits a relatively empty section of the sky and should prove an easy target for naked eye stargazers.

To locate Fomalhaut, follow the stars on the left, or western side, of the Great Square of Pegasus southward to the brightest, blue-white star just above the southern horizon.

Astronomical observations indicate Fomalhaut bears remarkable similarities to Vega, the alpha star in the constellation Lyra. For example, both stars lie about 25 light years from Earth, are blue-white main sequence stars, and both are orbited by a disc of cool dust from which a planetary system may be forming. The primary difference between the two stars are magnitude. Fomalhaut burns at magnitude 1.2, while Vega, burning at magnitude 0.03, is the fifth brightest star in the sky.

Although it is not uncommon for stars to share traits such as mass and luminosity, the possibility of a planetary system forming around the stars, and the implications of such on the possibility of the system being a source of intelligent extraterrestrial life are of great interest to astronomers. In fact, noted astronomer Carl Sagan found the idea worth exploring in his 1997 novel, "Contact," where extraterrestrial messages are beamed to Earth from the vicinity of Vega.

Although the possibility of a planetary system forming around either star is clearly fine fodder for fiction, researchers at SETI - the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence - take the possibility seriously and have focused their observations, in part, on Fomalhaut.

Weather permitting, Fomalhaut will remain clear and prominent throughout the weekend, and skywatchers searching for the star should remain watchful for Leonid meteors streaking across the sky.

Those intent on viewing the shower at its most active will want to undertake their observations during the shower's peak - Friday - about two hours before dawn.

Predictions for this year's event indicate rates of between 10 to 20 meteors per hour - a disappointing figure considering that between 1998 and 2002, Leonids rocketed through Earth's atmosphere at rates broaching thousands per hour.

Meteor showers are produced when Earth passes through the debris trail left behind a comet as it travels through the solar system and past the sun. When bits of cometary debris slam into Earth's atmosphere, they burn bold and bright and create meteor showers. In the case of the Leonids, the source comet is Temple-Tuttle, which makes a 33-year journey around our solar system. Because the meteors appear to emanate from the constellation Leo, they are called the Leonids.

Astronomers say the difference between the intense Leonid showers of 1998 to 2002 and the scant showers of today is due to comet Temple-Tuttle's orbital path. When the comet travels nearer the sun and through the inner solar system, the comet sheds more debris and the debris trail is thicker. Thus in the years following, the meteor showers are heavier. When the comet travels farther from the sun, it travels in a cooler region of space and sheds less debris. This is the case with comet Temple-Tuttle's trajectory since 2003.

Those living on the east coast of the United States or in Western Europe may catch a brief glimpse of the Leonids' former glory November 20 when the debris trail will produce a brief, but intense second peak. Unfortunately, the event will not be visible to Pagosa Country skywatchers.

For our own Leonid show, local stargazers should begin observations about 3 a.m. November 17. Start by finding a dark sky location, face east and scan the skies with the best meteor viewing tool you have - your eyes. As dawn approaches, the shower will gain in intensity, peaking about an hour before sunrise. An hours's worth of observing should yield views of about 20 Leonids burning across the night sky.



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Some unsettled weather ahead

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

In the past week, Pagosa Country moved from balmy autumn weather to a real taste of winter. Sunday morning brought three inches of light fluffy snow to the Pagosa Lakes area, with another four inches arriving early on Tuesday. Both storms left the surrounding landscape looking like a winter wonderland, but Tuesday's icy conditions caused serious havoc on local roads.

Obviously, now is the time to prepare trucks and automobiles (not to mention drivers) for adverse winter driving conditions. And, for crying out loud, slow down when it's snowing.

Cooler temperatures prevailed over the past week, with highs ranging from the upper 20s to low 50s. Saturday topped out at 51 degrees, while Monday's high only managed 29 degrees. Overall, the low 40s predominated.

Yesterday's frigid low temperature was just six degrees, while last Friday bottomed out at a comparably balmy 23 degrees. Most of the week, recorded low readings hovered in the teens. Most of the week showed relatively sunny skies.

By 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, the Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 40 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit, with 33 inches midway. Four inches of new snow had fallen in the previous 24 hours, with 23 inches arriving over the past seven days. The season total stood at 94 inches.

Under early-season conditions, with possible obstacles present, 73 of 77 trails were open, serving 1,520 acres of skiable terrain. Four lifts were in operation, and Tranquility was Wednesday's "pick of the hill."

The Alberta Peak Area, Horseshoe Bowl Area, Water Fall Area and Knife Ridge are now open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (4 p.m. in the Water Fall Area), but only expert skiers are recommended. The gated portion of the Water Fall Area remains closed.

Lift tickets are $46 for adults and $25 for children and seniors. Tomorrow is College Day, with $25 lift tickets for those showing a valid college photo identification. With recent heavy snow, pleasant daytime temperatures and bright sunny skies, conditions will remain favorable for the next several days.

According to the National Weather Service and, skies will be partly cloudy to mostly sunny through Tuesday, with a remote chance of a shower on Saturday. Tuesday will bring another slight chance of rain or snow showers, with unsettled weather lingering through the end of the week.

A slight warming trend will increase daytime highs to the mid-50s until Tuesday, when daytime temperatures will drop back to the mid-40s for a few days. Low temperatures will stay between 10 and 20 degrees.

For the following week, predicts variable weather patterns, with highs mainly in the 40s, and lows mostly in the teens.