November 30, 2006

Front Page

Developer says 'no' to grooming

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Unless Wolf Creek Ski Area and Village at Wolf Creek developers can broker an agreement, cross country skiers accustomed to cruising groomed trails at the adjacent Nordic Track cross country ski area will be slogging through deep powder instead.

According to the ski area's Web site, "Regrettably, after 30 years of continuous public use, Wolf Creek Ski Area has been ordered to cease and desist from grooming the Cross Country Nordic Track System by demand of the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (The Developers of The Proposed Village at Wolf Creek)."

The cross country area, located below the ski area's Alberta Lift in Alberta Park, lies within the 287.5-acre private inholding planned for village development. The property is owned by Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture.

While the ski area's Web content places the onus of the closure solely on the shoulders of village developers, Bob Honts, Village at Wolf Creek point man, denies the charge and says the grooming closure is not without warrant.

According to Honts, the order to cease grooming stems from the ski area's failure to formalize verbal agreements made between them and the developer regarding insurance and liability issues, joint access concerns and use parameters for the property. Honts said until the ski area makes good on their pledge to contractualize the verbal agreements, the cross country area will remain off limits to ski area grooming equipment.

"For 20 years we have gladly allowed them to permit cross country skiers to use our property free of charge. We will gladly do that again as long as they cooperate on a variety of issues," Honts said.

Among the issues Honts said, is the developer's desire to access the Alberta Park area with snowmobiles "as long as it doesn't interfere with their (the ski area's) operation." Honts said he also want insurance and liability issues clarified.

Michele Ames, spokesperson for the ski area said, "The village land that Mr. Honts is concerned about is on our insurance policy. We've worked that out over a year ago, and the village land is still on our policy. The issues that he's raising, frankly, just don't exist."

Ames added, "We respect Mr. Honts' private property rights, but we're really disappointed that we can't continue to provide this free service to the community. It's a real shame," Ames said.

Rosanne Pitcher, vice president of marketing and sales for the ski area, said although ungroomed, cross country skiers can still access the Nordic Track area.

"The area is not closed, it's just not being groomed," Pitcher said.

Pitcher added that despite the grooming closure in Alberta Park, cross country skiers still have options. She suggested parking in the lower parking lot and following the ski road, called the "A-Way" to Alberta lift. From Alberta Lift, she said cross country skiers can either enter the ungroomed meadows area of Alberta Park, or they can ski Forest Service Road 391 down to Alberta Park Reservoir. Depending on conditions, the ungroomed meadows may be more suitable for snowshoers.

Pitcher estimated the round trip route between Alberta Lift and the lake at about three miles and she described the route as a mix of beginner and intermediate terrain. She encouraged cross country skiers using the "A-Way" route to travel safely and to watch for downhill ski traffic.

Honts said he hopes to finalize formal agreements with the ski area this week.

In the meantime, Ames said, the real losers are the cross country skiers who have enjoyed a free, groomed cross country ski area for decades.


Wrath of the wreath

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs obtained temporary notoriety this week after a neighborhood dispute involving a Christmas decoration exploded into a media spectacle and became a rallying cry for peace and First Amendment rights, while prompting Loma Linda Home Owners Association (LLHOA) board members to resign and the town to attempt to repair the damage caused by inaccurate reporting and false assumptions.

Lisa Jensen, a past LLHOA president, and Bill Trimarco, were ordered to remove a Christmas wreath in the form of a peace sign from their property last Tuesday by the LLHOA, which cited the couple in violation of a regulation against signs, billboards and advertising.

It has been reported that some Loma Linda residents found the wreath offensive. Bob Kearns, president of LLHOA, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying, "We've had three or four complaints. Some people have kids in Iraq and they are sensitive."

Kearns was also cited as saying that some think the peace sign is a satanic or pagan symbol - though the two are not synonymous.

Kearns - along with former board members Jeff Heitz and Tammy Spezze - were unwilling to comment or communicate with The SUN on any aspect of the dispute.

The peace sign has been subject to various interpretations since its conception, but it was originally created by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1950s Britain, and the symbol is a combination of the semaphoric symbols for "N" and "D," standing for nuclear disarmament. The peace sign was then taken up by the antiwar and other activist movements of the 1960s in the U.S. and has been popularized since as a symbol of peace.

The letter from the LLHOA board gave the Jensen/Trimarco household until last Friday (three days) to remove the wreath, in order to avoid a $25 per day fine, said Jensen.

Potential violations of covenants, codes and restrictions are typically addressed by an architectural committee. But according to Jack Lilly, who belonged to the committee, the committee's opinion on the issue was disregarded by the board.

According to Lilly, after the board requested the committee to address the issue, based on the complaints from residents, the committee of five unanimously decided that the covenants and restrictions did not apply, because the wreath wasn't a sign, but a decoration with individual meaning.

Displeased with the committee's decision and advice, the board decided to pursue the matter and demand that the Jensen/Trimarco wreath be removed, which Lilly said was their prerogative.

But the board took the issue a step further, said Lilly, demanding the resignations of the architectural committee, since they failed to agree with the board - threatening to dismiss them if they refused to resign.

The architectural committee - including Lilly, Jim Kahrs, Nancy Crouse, Ada McGowan and Jon Mohr - resigned en masse.

"Since we are all volunteers, and don't like to be threatened, we resigned," said Lilly.

The peace wreath was not the first issue to come between the committee and the LLHOA board. About two weeks ago the board asked the committee to rule on another peace sign on the property of Will Dunbar, which was on a white wooden circle about eight inches in diameter, said Dunbar.

In this earlier incident, according to Lilly, the architectural committee unanimously ruled as they did regarding the Jensen/Trimarco wreath, deciding that there was no offense. As with the wreath, the board ignored the committee's advice and gave Dunbar two-days notice to remove the peace sign, and Dunbar complied to avoid the fine.

Lilly said he thought the board's actions in both instances were the result of bad blood between Kearns and Dunbar, which he said included dog disputes, among other conflicts.

Lilly suggested that when Jensen and Trimarco put up their wreath, the board had to act as they had regarding Dunbar's peace display, which had been influenced by the conflict between Kearns and Dunbar, in order to save face.

Referring to Kearns, Lilly said, "He painted himself into a corner with the first one ... he wasn't going to give ground," even though the committee told him that he was making a mistake and overstepping his authority.

Kearns is quoted by the AP as saying, "If you let one go up you have to let them all go up."

As of Monday night, said Lilly, the board rescinded its order to remove the wreath and all three members made the decision to resign.

Dunbar did not confirm Lilly's assessment of the board's motivation, saying he believed they were prompted by complaints, though he acknowledged that he and Kearns had minor conflict over a driveway location. "But I don't think that has anything to do with it," he said.

But shortly after Dunbar removed his sign, his next-door neighbors, Jensen and Trimarco, put up their peace wreath, testing the board's dedication to the issue.

Jensen said she and Trimarco did not put the wreath up as a political statement or as a part of conflict with the LLHOA board.

"We didn't think of it at all as political," she said, though she recognized that it did have a political connotation in the past. She said it has become a universal symbol, "something people instantly recognize."

As quoted by the AP, Jensen said, "I honestly wasn't thinking of the Iraq war. Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing."

Regarding her relationship with the board, Jensen said, "I haven't pushed things in the past."

Sunday's Durango Herald, the first to run the story after receiving a press release from Jensen, paraphrased Jensen as saying that she was informed by Dunbar that Loma Linda residents had been offended, and it quoted her as describing the board as "pretty vitriolic."

When the board ordered the removal of Jensen's peace wreath last Tuesday, Jensen responded that same day by sending out her press release to the Durango Herald and other outlets, though The SUN did not receive a release.

"When I got the fine, I thought it was ridiculous," said Jensen, who also said she thought it was an important local issue.

As a past board president, Jensen said she was aware of the restriction of advertising, and, despite Dunbar's run-in with the board, she expressed surprise that her wreath led to conflict.

Jensen said, "It never occurred to me that it was a sign ... I considered it a decoration." From her experience as board president, Jensen considered the restriction to apply to "garish advertising."

After receiving the notice, Jensen said she was prepared to stand against it as a violation of her freedom of speech rights through the courts, but first decided to hold the board responsible locally through the court of public opinion.

Thus her press releases on the day of the board order.

After the story appeared in the Herald Sunday, it was picked up by the AP and the national news media (television, Internet and print) - which often gave inaccurate information about Pagosa Springs and the story (including the implication that Loma Linda was under the jurisdiction of the Town of Pagosa Springs, that the community was a suburb of Denver and that the architectural board was "fired").

The media attention caused a flood of calls and e-mails to Town Hall and the Chamber of Commerce, many reprimanding the community and/or threatening to never visit the area.

"I didn't have any idea that it would go this huge," said Jensen. "But I didn't do all that ... everybody else did all that."

After the LLHOA board sent Jensen a letter Monday night, which reversed their decision and apologized, Jensen said she sent another press release to the AP and other news organizations, not including The SUN.

In support of Jensen and Trimarco, Doug Large (a friend) arranged a peace march Tuesday morning from Pagosa Springs' Bell Tower Park to Town Park. The 15 participants carried peace signs and stomped a peace sign in the snow at Town Park.

Large said that he asked participants not to use the opportunity as a political protest, but as a display of peace.

Large described the march as an expression of "don't tread on me," like that of the American Revolutionary flag with a snake poised to strike. He went on to say that the LLHOA order and wreath incident was a catalyst, "the perfect event at the perfect time," that united people in crying "enough is enough.

"Our country does not seem to be taking a good leadership role in the world," Large said. He went on to suggest that recent political events had built up to fuel the recent statements in favor of First Amendment rights, that were only set loose by the wreath issue.

Large cited the show of support he witnessed when at the Jensen/Trimarco household, as the pair received validating phone calls from across the country.

The Town of Pagosa Springs has also taken action in support of the Jensen/Trimarco wreath display, putting up a peace wreath of its own Wednesday morning on the bell tower at the corner of San Juan and Lewis streets.

In addition, the town put a statement on its Web site in response to the media attention and criticism, which has primarily come from people outside of Pagosa and Archuleta County: "The Loma Linda Subdivision and Home Owner Association is not located in Town limits. Also, municipalities like the town do not regulate home owner associations' covenants, codes and restrictions (CC&R) ... The town wholly supports their peace sign display and also wishes for peace on earth."

The Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce Web site carries the statement: "The decision of whether to allow a peace wreath on the home of a property owner in Loma Linda subdivision is a decision by the Home Owners Association's board and does not reflect the sentiments of the Town or the Chamber of Commerce of Pagosa Springs."

Town Manager Mark Garcia said that he has done seven phone interviews since the story broke and regretted that "this thing has been blown out of proportion," drawing attention away from what is really important during the holidays.

Garcia said the town has received too many messages to count, many even going to town counsel members. He said that the response was almost universally against the LLHOA, and some directed their ire upon the town itself.

"It could have some negative impact on us ... or it may just be people running at the mouth," Garcia said in regard to those who have threatened to boycott Pagosa Springs.

In contrast to the e-mails and messages that have buried the town, only a few comments were sent to Archuleta County government, despite the fact that Loma Linda is in unincorporated Archuleta County and not Pagosa Springs.

Mary Jo Coulehan, of the Chamber of Commerce, said that she and her staff "have received numerous e-mails and phone calls indicating that people would not visit" and expressed regret that people across the country have taken the actions of one small group to reflect the entire community.

Coulehan also said she wished the matter had been handled internally, through the system, because the media attention reflected poorly on the Pagosa area, taking away from all the good things that the community is doing this season, like Operation Helping Hand.

"I think the community is in shock over the whole thing and how quickly it exploded," said Coulehan.


Secondary roads: plowing, minimum maintenance

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

One blading and snowplowing is what county residents living on secondary roads were assured after the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Nov. 21 to amend the county's divisive road maintenance policy.

Adopted January 2006, the policy divided county roads into two classes - primary and secondary - with a road maintenance regimen linked to each classification. Under the policy, primary roads received the full spectrum of maintenance work, including snow removal, while secondary roads received no snow removal and no maintenance. The policy gave the public works director discretionary authority to maintain secondary roads in emergency situations.

However, following the passage of Ballot Issue 1A and subsequent commissioner approval to amend the maintenance policy, all that has changed.

"Effective immediately and upon the passing of Ballot Issue 1A on Nov. 7, 2006, staff are directed to maintain secondary roads at least at a minimum level of one blading, and snow plowing as needed," county documents state.

Ballot Issue 1A was a voter-approved ballot question designed to stabilize the property tax mill levy to fund road maintenance, new county facilities and a variety of other county projects. According to the language of the ballot question, the measure will last five years, and although it did not earmark funds specifically for road maintenance, a letter of commitment from the board of county commissioners dated September 2006, details a road spending plan and minimum maintenance standards for all county roads regardless of their classification through 2007 and 2008.

With the letter of commitment and voter approval of the ballot question, the commissioners' approval to amend the road maintenance policy keeps the maintenance policy congruent with the intent of the ballot question and their letter of commitment.

But now that the policy has been amended, some in the community want to know if the minimal standard of one blading is enough and what they can do to achieve a more comprehensive level of road maintenance.

During the Nov. 21 meeting John Bozek, an outspoken opponent of Ballot Issue 1A, asked if one blading would allow safe and timely passage of emergency medical services vehicles.

"Is one blading sufficient? How do I get a second blading?" Bozek asked.

Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday responded, "Form a PID (Public Improvement District.)"

County Attorney Teresa Williams quickly added that maintenance beyond the minimal standard described in the amended policy would depend on available funds.

In past discussions, County Administrator Bob Campbell has said PIDs remain part of the county's long term road maintenance strategy until the full effect of 1A funds are realized. Key to the funding equation, Campbell has said, are oil and gas derived property tax revenues.

With the passage of Ballot Issue 1A, and depending on the scope of oil and gas production in the HD Mountains, some estimate the county is poised to capture as much as $203 million in property taxes during the HD Mountains area's projected 40-year life span.

Although Archuleta County Finance Director Bob Burchett said it will take about two years to realize the financial impact of 1A funding, he added that it was difficult to pinpoint when property tax revenues generated from oil and gas development might begin to seriously bolster the county coffers.

Until then, secondary roads will receive minimal maintenance as described in the amended policy, and the commissioners have directed county staff to waive fees and provide assistance to secondary road residents who wish to form a Local Improvement District (LID) or Public Improvement District. Once formed, members of either entity can self tax beyond their property taxes for the purpose of providing a higher standard of maintenance for the roads within the district.

For more information on forming a PID or LID, contact Archuleta County Special Projects Manager Sheila Berger.

A complete list of county secondary roads and the county primary-secondary road map are available for viewing at


Inside The Sun

American Red Cross to offer classes

The American Red Cross will offer health and safety training classes at its Southwest Chapter office, 1911 Main Ave., Suite 282 in Durango during the next few weeks:

- Wilderness First Aid, Dec. 1-3; this extensive 16-hour course will be held Friday evening 6-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Cost is $125 and is valid for three years.

Class size is limited, so call 259-5383 now to register. Classes also can be scheduled for business locations.

Those interested in Emergency Response, or teaching Red Cross classes, should call to ensure that classes will be scheduled this winter. Check out the Web site for future classes:


Court grants preliminary injunction in Village case

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

With U.S. District Court Judge John Kane's Nov. 22 granting of a preliminary injunction against the United States Forest Service and Village at Wolf Creek developers, two area environmental groups are celebrating partial victory and anticipating a quiet winter on Wolf Creek Pass.

"This is a huge victory for our efforts, ensuring that the Village is essentially held at a standstill until our concerns are heard by the court. As a result, we'll all enjoy another winter at Wolf Creek without any Village activities," said Ryan Demmy Bidwell of Colorado Wild.

According to court documents, the injunction follows in the wake of a lawsuit filed jointly in October by Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, and stems from their request for a temporary restraining order that would block the developer - Leavell McCombs Joint Venture, fronted by Billy Joe "Red" McCombs and Bob Honts - from constructing the Tranquility Road extension.

The Tranquility Road extension is authorized in the final village environmental impact statement (EIS) and if completed, would provide one of two necessary access routes from the village property to U.S. 160.

According to Bidwell, the Forest Service issued a permit Nov. 14 allowing commencement of extension road construction, despite the joint lawsuit challenging the narrow scope of the EIS and alleging that Forest Supervisor Peter Clark unlawfully modified the EIS' Record of Decision (ROD) when he wrote a letter Aug. 28, 2006, to village attorney David Ross, clarifying the ROD.

With the Forest Service construction permit approved and construction poised to begin, the environmental groups sought the restraining order Nov. 16. After hearing the request, Magistrate Judge David West recommended granting the temporary restraining order and cessation of all EIS, construction, or permitting related activities.

West's recommendation then went to Kane, who approved the measure. With the temporary restraining order in place, negotiations between attorneys for the plaintiffs, the defendant, the United States Forest Service and the developer began, and the parties agreed on a stipulated agreement resulting in the preliminary injunction.

While the temporary restraining order would have blocked all road construction, construction-related or permitting activities for just 10 days, the preliminary injunction upholds those same tenets until May 1, 2007, or until the court issues a final decision on the plaintiff's claims in the lawsuit, whichever comes first.

According to the injunction, if the district court does not make a ruling before the May 1, 2007 deadline, the Forest Service must give the plaintiffs 10 days notice before any ground disturbing or permitting activity begins. Further, if after May 1, 2007 no ruling has been made, the injunction allows the plaintiffs to seek an additional temporary restraining order.

Geoff Hickcox, attorney for Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, said his clients plan to exercise that right if necessary.

Although Bidwell, Colorado Wild and the San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council have chalked up the preliminary injunction as a victory, Honts has said halting construction activities during the winter is an insignificant concession.

In light of annual winter snowfall on Wolf Creek Pass, which often exceeds 400 inches, Honts said undertaking a winter road construction project is virtually impossible.

"If they are looking for status-quo, no construction in the wintertime, that's not hard to give them," Honts said.


Woman, child die in Sunday collision

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

A two vehicle collision Sunday on Colo. 151 just south of the intersection with U.S. 160 claimed the lives of two Ignacio residents, Loraine Duran, 69, and her unidentified 8-year-old grandchild.

According to Colorado State patrol Trooper Brian Vining, who assisted Southern Ute Tribal police with an investigation, the collision occurred at approximately 1 p.m. at a site on Colo. 151, 1 1/2 miles south of U.S., 160.

Vining said Jack Duran, 71, of Ignacio, was driving northbound on Colo. 151 when his Lincoln Aviator was stuck by a minivan driven by Jamie Wood, 21, of Aztec N.M.

Vining reported Wood's vehicle was traveling southbound, in the oncoming lane. The trooper said both Duran and Wood swerved, but both swerved in the same direction. Wood's van hit the front passenger side corner of Duran's vehicle which then spun and rolled 44 feet off the side of the road where it caught fire.

Vining reported passersby were able to help Duran escape the burning vehicle, but could not save Loraine Duran and the child. They perished in the flames.

Jack Duran was reported to have suffered second-degree burns over 90-percent of his body and was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center.

Wood's van came to rest on its wheels, near the site of the impact. Wood was extricated from the vehicle and taken to the medical center, reportedly suffering lower limb injuries.

Vining said speed was likely not a factor in the collision but said Monday that the continuing investigation is pursuing the question of whether drugs were involved.


CHI provides new homes for local residents

By Joe Davis

Special to The SUN

On Tuesday, Nov. 21, just in time for Thanksgiving, eight families were approved to move into new homes located in the Pagosa Lakes area.

The day was the culmination of many months of self-help work by the eight families, community volunteers and supervisory staff from Colorado Housing, Inc. (CHI).

The eight homeowners are participants in the Mutual Self-Help Housing Program sponsored by the USDA Rural Development in partnership with CHI, based in Pagosa Springs.

Lending their support and approval during the final inspection process on Tuesday were Duane Dale and Tiffany Huff, USDA, Jenny Iguchi, CHI program director, Jamie Blechman, CHI outreach coordinator, and Casey Caves, CHI construction supervisor.

These eight new houses bring the total to 86 homes made available to Pagosa Springs/Archuleta County homeowners in this USDA-funded and CHI-administered mutual self-help homeownership program. It also brings to a total of 186 new homes in the program for the four southwest Colorado counties of Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan, with four new houses currently ready to be inspected and available for occupancy in Silverton.

The program began in September 1995 and has been well received in the four-southwest-county area. CHI receives major financial and grant support from the USDA/Rural Development, The Housing Assistance Council (a department of HUD), Colorado Division of Housing and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka.

CHI's major challenges for the future are to receive program funding from USDA and to be able to procure affordable land on which to build new houses.

New homeowners who take advantage of this program are mainly service-type people, such as waitresses, teachers, policemen, city and county workers, and others needed in the work force of southwest Colorado. Without this type homeowner, businesses and services in these communities would suffer.

For more information, or to learn how you can help this worthwhile program with donations of land, etc., contact CHI at 264-6950. As always, donations are subject to attractive tax benefits.


Operation Helping Hand assistance applications due

Deadlines for Operation Helping Hand are drawing near and many more donations are needed to ensure a Merry Christmas for 141 local families, over 400 people, who have requested assistance for this holiday season.

If you are in need of assistance, or you know of someone who needs a helping hand, forms are available at the Social Services office at Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard. 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 coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, businesses, organizations and individuals. Since 1989 Pagosa Springs' civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible are accommodated.

Program organizers say 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, Allstate Insurance on Talisman Drive 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 have posted over 1,200 requested items on paper stockings at both City Market locations. These requests range from socks and underwear to snowboots, 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.

The library "Giving Tree"

Give a child a world of possibilities this Christmas give them a book! Please sponsor an ornament on the "Giving Tree" located in the lobby of the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library between Dec. 2 and Dec. 15. Each ornament represents a disadvantaged child here in Archuleta County. Your donation of a book or cash gift towards a book will be combined with Christmas packages put together by Operation Helping Hand. For more information please ring the Sisson Library at 264-2208

Secret Santa Toy Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season. Toy requests are posted on a special tree located at the chamber of commerce on Hot Springs Boulevard. To fill one of these requests, remove a request from the tree, 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.

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 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.

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.


School nutrition group meets with district officials

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Representatives of a school nutrition action group met with Archuleta County School District 50 Jt. officials Monday morning to discuss the district's wellness policy and nutrition plan.

Superintendent Duane Noggle said the district's purpose for arranging the meeting with group representatives was to understand the goals of the group and learn what information they needed the district to provide them.

Crista Munro, who represented the group along with Ronnie Doctor, said she saw room for the administration to reform school nutrition in the district and that the nutrition group was "looking for commitment from the district to open the issue" and work with the group as a resource.

"I believe so strongly that this will benefit the school district," said Munro.

Munro and Doctor suggested a pilot program at the elementary school, in which foods could be prepared on site, rather than reheated after being shipped from a distributor, making it easier to provide healthy food.

The elementary school was suggested for a variety of reasons: it has a working kitchen, younger students may be more receptive to healthy changes, success could carry over into the middle and high schools and (Doctor acknowledged) it is the school the nutrition group is most familiar with.

Charlotte Lee, who runs the food services, was concerned that this would be difficult, since it would require more staff and impact schedules.

Lee suggested that the district was at the mercy of food distributors, concerning the health of the menu. The district requests bids to determine who will provide food, but, Lee said, as far as she knows, none provide a healthier alternative - though they do conform to federal and state guidelines.

In addition, if the district wishes to purchase foods from the distributor that are not on the menu provided with the bid, it is at additional costs, said Lee.

Munro said it may not be necessary to cook on site, but the group simply wanted to get away from hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and other unhealthy additives.

Lee said a difficulty in changing the menu too much was that students may not like the new fare and refuse to eat it.

"That's why the menus are the way they are," said Lee, "you pick the food they'll eat."

To resolve some of the issues posed by the district, Doctor and Munro suggested that they enlist volunteers to help staff lunches, while encouraging students to make healthy choices and buy into healthier school nutrition. Noggle gave the group the go-ahead to discuss the idea of a pilot program with Kate Lister, the principal of the elementary school.

Munro and Doctor met with Lister Tuesday morning, according to an e-mail received from Munro. According to the e-mail, Lister "is excited about the pilot program and we will be scheduling a meeting with her and Charlotte to work out the details as soon as possible. Mrs. Lister is very supportive of any efforts our group wishes to make in the elementary school to teach kids about healthy food and making good food choices."

The nutrition group and district also determined that it would be useful to better advertise school meals, especially breakfast, in order to make parents and students aware of the option. With greater attendance at meals, the school district would bring in more money from meal tickets and (more significantly) the state meal reimbursement program.

This year, the district expects to go in the red with its school meal program, losing somewhere in the vicinity of $50,000. Unlike other districts, the Archuleta County school district has made moderate profits on its school meal program in the past. Now it is in the same boat as other districts, after shortening or changing breakfast schedules to serve students before the start of school, in order to increase instructional time - but reducing the number of students served as a result.

If the publicity could increase the numbers, the district would potentially have more money to spend to improve its food services.

District officials also thought that publicizing improvements that have already been made might encourage parents to send their children with lunch money.

Lee said she has implemented healthy changes to the menu every month, gradually, in order to avoid student dissatisfaction, including more fresh fruit and healthier deserts. Other recent improvements include a salad bar at the junior high and the decision to eliminate soda from school vending machines, after current contracts expire.

When the vending change is made, students will have a choice between water, juices and sports drinks - depending on what principals decide to allow in their schools.

The district is also in the process of applying for the FDA food and vegetables program.

Munro said in her e-mail, "We left the meeting with the feeling that the administration is willing to work toward continuing to make improvements in the food service program."

Now, the new nutrition group will take up the task of creating a healthy foods pilot program with Lister and Lee, while promoting good nutrition throughout the district.


IHM holds "Rock Fest" tomorrow

By Mary Jo Revitte

Special to The SUN

Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish on Lewis Street is launching a capital campaign to expand its spiritual family home to meet needs for the next 50 years.

The theme of the campaign is "Build Upon This Rock," which comes from Jesus' statement to Peter: "You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church."

Parishioners will stage "Rock Fest," an event to kick off the capital campaign, at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 1, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

Seven hundred invitations for a buffet dinner were sent to all parishioners and numerous community and church leaders. The event will feature door prizes and mementoes for all guests who attend.

Guests at "Rock Fest" will learn about Immaculate Heart of Mary's plans to build a $4 million complex on a 14-acre parcel of land that was donated in 2001 by the Grant Family. The parcel is located on South Pagosa Boulevard, south of U.S. 160. Plans call for construction of a church, a religious education facility and a social hall. The parish goal is to break ground at the end of May 2007.

The Rev. Arthur N. Tafoya, Bishop of the Diocese of Pueblo, will address the "Rock Fest" dinner guests. Master of ceremonies Alan Powdermaker, a parish friend and community resident for several decades, will introduce Father Carlos Alvarez, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Parish; Jim Paull, A.I.A., principal of JP Architecture in Denver, complex architect; and Rick Hampton of Black Bear Builders in Pagosa Springs, the project manager for construction of the complex.

Ron and Valerie Halvorson, chairpersons of the fund-raising committee, are helping with the "Rock Fest" to begin the capital campaign. They are part of "Living Stones," the group of parishioners who are working together to achieve the goal and construct the complex.

The parish drew the "Living Stones" name from the biblical reference: "Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ."

The present parish church on Lewis Street will continue to serve the parish with 10 percent of all funds raised in the capital campaign set aside for maintenance.

Currently, more than 400 families are registered members of Immaculate Heart of Mary parish. In 1893, Catholics in Archuleta County built St. Edward's, the first Catholic church in Pagosa Springs. The present church was built in 1948 and consecrated in May, 1949. The parish has four mission churches in the county: St. Frances Church in Frances; St. John the Baptist Church in Pagosa Junction; St. James the Apostle in Trujillo; and the Chromo Mission Station in Chromo.

For further information about the "Rock Fest," visit the parish Web site ( or call the parish office at 264-5702.


Breast cancer support group meets in Pagosa Springs

By Kathi DeClark

Special to The SUN

Sam Conti, a licensed professional counselor with over 20 years experience in the mental health field and with support groups for woman survivors of gender violence, is starting a breast cancer support group in Pagosa Springs.

The group will meet once a month, at 4 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month at Conti's office in the Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard. This group is for the newly diagnosed, and those who have trudged this road before. Everyone has something to share. Anyone interested should plan to attend.

Conti was diagnosed with a stage 2 B Lobar Carcinoma of the left breast almost eight years ago. After she had a complete left mastectomy, she went through a series of chemotherapy, and 47 days of radiation. She did this all the while working in Ignacio as the clinical supervisor at Peaceful Spirit Treatment Center.

"It was quite a struggle. If I hadn't had my friends and others that had gone before me, I couldn't have made it," said Conti. She went on to say, "I am so grateful every day for my life and for the experience I had with cancer, as I came out so far ahead of where I was. I learned so much about myself and I grew spiritually. I have so much to give thanks for today. The opportunity to facilitate this group will be one more opportunity to give back what I have gained. Won't you join us to share your questions, strength and hope with others?"

Call 731-9920 for more information.


CDOT maintenance patrols get busy with winter

Colorado Department of Transportation Maintenance workers have been battling early winter snowstorms on and off since late-September.

Crews switched to winter hours and plow trucks have long since been equipped for this season's snow and ice program.

Crews operate Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during the winter snow and ice season. When inclement weather sets in, however, they switch to storm-weather 24-hour coverage (usually in 12-hour shifts). While winter maintenance activities are in full swing (crews do continue with highway patching as warmer weather permits), CDOT crews who battle the conditions like to remind motorists that "Mother Nature is a tough competitor."

The following information details CDOT's southwest region's (Region 5) two Maintenance Sections, their Area and Patrol locations, and corresponding activities and expenditures for the past snow and ice season. (Note: A "lane-mile," referred to below, measures a mile in a single lane of highway; e.g., if a worker plowed a two-lane highway for a 10-mile stretch, he/she would have plowed 20 lane-miles.)

Durango ("King") Area

The Durango Maintenance Area has six patrols in: Wolf Creek, Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Ignacio, Durango, Durango In-Town, Rockwood and Hesperus. The Durango Area has 31 maintenance workers and 24 pieces of snow and avalanche removal equipment. Eleven trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks will carry sand/salt and for providing traction. Durango maintenance crews take care of 510.36 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region), including five mountain passes. During last winter, Durango maintenance crews plowed more than 127,703 total lane-miles. As well, crews sprayed 605,716 gallons of liquid deicer, spread 8,725 tons of sand/salt and ice slicer and spent 181 hours on avalanche control missions.

Region 5, Section 3, Durango

The Durango Maintenance Section has 100 maintenance workers and 110-plus pieces of snow and avalanche removal equipment. Thirteen trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks will carry sand/salt and ice slicer for providing traction. Durango maintenance crews take care of 1,750 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region), including five mountain passes. During last winter, Durango maintenance crews plowed 332,964 (about 200,000 down from the previous winter) total lane-miles. As well, crews sprayed 1,115,474 gallons of liquid deicers (less than previous year); 21,766 tons of sand/salt (more than 10,000 tons less than previous year); 3 tons of solid de-icer; and spent 1,938 hours on avalanche control missions (about half that of previous year), 455 hours expended on ice control, 2,948 hours on special snow removal. Total dollars spent: $2,748,240.00.

Cortez Area ("John")

The Cortez Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Dove Creek, Cortez, Mancos, Dolores, Rico, *Hesperus, and at the Ute Mountain Rest Area on U.S. 160 east of Cortez. The Cortez Area has 27 maintenance workers and 38 pieces of snow and avalanche removal equipment. Thirteen trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks will carry sand/salt and ice slicer for providing traction. Durango maintenance crews take care of 650.8 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region), including five mountain passes. During last winter, Durango maintenance crews plowed more than 88,661 total lane-miles. As well, crews sprayed 352,816 gallons of liquid deicer, spread 4,581 tons of sand/salt and ice slicer and spent 174 hours on avalanche control missions.

Ridgway Area ("Mary")

The Ridgway Maintenance Area includes patrols in: Silverton, Ouray, Ridgway, Norwood, Nucla, *Telluride and Paradox. The Area has 28 maintenance workers and 42 pieces of snow and avalanche removal equipment. Thirteen trucks are equipped with liquid deicer applicator tanks. Other plow trucks will carry sand/salt and ice slicer for providing traction. Durango maintenance crews take care of 110,984 lane-miles (the combined lengths of each lane on every highway in the region), including five mountain passes. During last winter, Durango maintenance crews plowed 469 total lane-miles. As well, crews sprayed 145,194 gallons of liquid deicer, spread 9,768.76 tons of sand/salt and ice slicer and spent 1,162.8 hours on avalanche control missions.

Changes in Maintenance Patrols starting this winter 2006-07: The winter 2005-06 statistics, above, reflect the work of the patrols listed for each Maintenance Area. Starting this winter, however, several patrols have been transferred: the west-side Wolf Creek Pass patrol has been transferred to the Alamosa Maintenance Area; the Telluride Patrol is now under the Cortez Maintenance Area; and the Hesperus Patrol is now part of the Durango Maintenance Area.)

Winter driving tips

CDOT recommends that if you plan on driving in winter weather, please do the following:

- Please slow down and drive for the conditions. Remember, bridges can be icy, even when the roadway surfaces are not.

- Always keep the top half of your gas tank full. It can give you better traction and gives you a bigger margin of error if you get stuck and have to keep the engine running periodically to keep warm.

- If you are stuck in a serious storm do not leave your car. Run the engine periodically and wait for help.

- Carry blankets, water, a flashlight, a shovel, some nutrition bars or even candy bars for sustenance. Winterize your vehicle's safety kit by including extra blankets, sand to help gain traction in the event you become stuck on ice or snow, jumper cables, an ice scraper and lock deicer.

- Remember that 4-wheel drive does not mean 4-wheel stop. A 4-wheel drive vehicle will not stop any better in icy conditions.

- Be sure of your route. Don't go exploring in the back-country without some local knowledge, especially during a storm or when one is bearing down anywhere near your location.

- Be sure you have good tires. The Colorado State Patrol recommends at least 1/8 of an inch tread depth. All season radials on a front-wheel-drive passenger vehicle are adequate for most situations. Four snow tires on most rear-wheel drive vehicles are usually adequate - test them. Chain restrictions in Colorado are most often put into effect for commercial vehicles (semi-trailer trucks) and do not usually affect passenger vehicles.

- In poor visibility or even whiteout conditions, don't drive faster than you can see ahead. High speeds in poor or no visibility can lead to large chain reaction accidents. Remember you can't see around mountain curves and corners either.

In addition to these winter driving tips, CDOT reminds all motorists to respect winter weather, conduct a pre-trip inspection of your vehicle, leave extra distance between your automobile and others on the road, and never drink and drive. Of course, always buckle up!

Log on to for more winter driving information or winter driving conditions, or call CDOT's 24-hour road condition hotline at (877) 315-ROAD.


Salvation Army bell ringers hard at work

By Jim Haliday

Special to The SUN

It's the time of the year when the Salvation Army seeks kettle donations. The bell ringers are all unpaid volunteers who stand in the cold collecting money to help the needy in Archuleta County. This money is distributed, throughout the year, to help with expenses such as auto fuel and repairs, dentists, doctors, food, insurance, lodging, medicine, rent, travel and utilities.

The Archuleta County Division of the Salvation Army has distributed approximately $35,000 to the needy in Archuleta County. This is 98 percent of donations which means that operating and overhead expenses are only 2 percent. Hopefully, this will encourage more donations because donors realize that their money is being well spent.

If you would like to help ring bells any time between now and Dec. 24, call Jim Haliday at 731-9082.

If you would like to make a mail donation, payable to:

"The Salvation Army," The Salvation Army Archuleta Division, P.O. Box 1567, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147-1567.



Holiday open house at Navajo State Park

Come to Navajo State Park Dec. 3 and enter to win a 2007 annual parks pass.

Navajo State Park will host its annual Holiday Open House Sunday, Dec. 3, at the park's Visitor Center on the Colorado side of Navajo Lake from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend. No parks pass is required to attend this event.

At 1 p.m. a winter nature walk will be led by a winter interpreter.

At 2 p.m. Santa arrives by boat, and will be available for the kids until 3 p.m.

Hot cider, hot chocolate, coffee and holiday cookies will be available in the Visitor Center where all books, maps, puppets, finger puppets, games and other gift items will be discounted at least 15 percent.

And staff has lots of ideas for stocking stuffers, too. The new 2007 annual parks passes will be available and make great holiday gifts.

At 4 p.m., there will be a drawing for a free 2007 Annual Colorado State Parks Pass. You must enter for the drawing at the Visitor Center between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. that day, but need not be present at the time of drawing to win.

For more information, call the park office at 883-2208.


Ski lift chair sales to benefit Southwest Land Alliance

Wolf Creek Ski Area has donated vintage ski lift chairs to the Southwest Land Alliance (SLA) for its growing land conservation work.

Ski lift chairs from the old Dickey lift at Wolf Creek Ski Area were removed to make way for the new Raven Lift at the ski area, and will be distributed by the Southwest Land Alliance.

In exchange for a tax-deductible charitable donation of $300 or more to the nonprofit land trust, a person can own a little piece of skiing history.

The chairs make great porch or garden swings or benches. They will be available Dec. 10, just in time for the ski fanatic on your holiday shopping list.

Each chair also comes with a certificate of authenticity.

People who "pre-donate" to SLA prior to Dec. 10 will also receive a Coupon for a $25 lift ticket. Donations of $500 or more receive a free lift ticket for Wolf Creek Ski Area in addition to their chair.

"Here at Wolf Creek, we understand firsthand the potential benefits of private land conservation for neighbors, local communities, and public land users. That is why we are supporting the Southwest Land Alliance in this way," said Davey Pitcher, of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

"When Davey [Pitcher] told me last summer that they were replacing the Dickey lift with the new detachable-quad Raven Lift, it occurred to me that people would like an opportunity to preserve a little history for themselves and help the Southwest Land Alliance preserve some of our remaining spectacular ranches and rural landscapes," said Michael Whiting, executive director of the Southwest Land Alliance.

"The Pitchers are in many respects like our local ranchers, in that they have built a sustainable, multi-generation family business that relies on the land. They don't believe in expansion for its own sake, but only when it makes sense for the long haul. Replacing this chairlift after 34 years represents that philosophy of thoughtful, sustainable growth, which we applaud," Whiting said.

"Front Range skiers can drive down and ski at Wolf Creek and take the chair home on their ski rack - these older chairs are very light," Pitcher said.

Donations can be made by check and mailed to: Southwest Land Alliance, PO Box 3417, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Additional information is available by calling the Southwest Land Alliance at 264-7779, or by e-mail at


BLM reduces adoption fee for geldings in December

The BLM Colorado State Office will offer geldings from 4 years of age and older for adoption at a reduced fee of $25 each Friday, Dec. 1, and Friday, Dec. 15, at the Wild Horse Inmate Program in Canon City. The standard adoption fee for wild horses and burros is $125.

While providing savings to potential adopters, the reduced adoption fee is aimed at moving more BLM-managed animals currently in holding facilities into good homes of private owners. The cost for maintaining wild horses and burros in short- and long-term holding facilities accounts for more than half of the agency's total wild horse and burro budget, which was $36.8 million in Fiscal Year 2006.

"We hope that anyone who has the interest and means of providing good care for these geldings will come to our facility in December," said Fran Ackley, Wild Horse and Burro specialist for BLM Colorado.

Under the BLM's adoption program, an individual can adopt up to four animals within a one-year period; under certain circumstances, more than four can be adopted, but an adopter can receive titles of ownership to only four animals during that timeframe. Qualified adopters are eligible to receive title after providing one year of humane care.

Adopters will need to have a pre-approved adoption application and must make an appointment for these adoptions by contacting the Royal Gorge Field office at (719) 269-8539.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use mission. The Bureau works to ensure that population levels are in balance with rangeland resources and other uses of the public lands; toward that end, the BLM removes thousands of wild horses and burros from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population about every four years.

The current free-roaming population of wild horses and burros on BLM-managed lands is about 31,000, which exceeds by some 3,500 the number determined by the Bureau to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, there are more than 28,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term (corral) or long-term (pasture) facilities. All animals in holding are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.

The BLM works to place as many of the wild horses and burros that are inholding into private care, and since 1973, the BLM has placed more than 213,000 animals into private ownership through adoption. Under a December 2004 amendment to the 1971 law, the Bureau also seeks good homes through sales of horses and burros that are more than 10 years old or have been passed over for adoption at least three times. (In the case of sales, the title of ownership passes immediately from the Federal government to the buyer.) Since that amendment took effect, the BLM has sold more than 2,100 eligible horses and burros. The BLM encourages those who are interested in providing good homes to wild horses or burros to visit the agency's Web site ( for information about adoptions or sales.


Mesa Verde hosts open house and Centennial Finale

The Dec. 9 Centennial Finale will feature a celebration of Mesa Verde's next century, including a range of activities for guests of all ages.

Kids' activities include lessons on how to be a park ranger and making your own petroglyphs and pottery. The all-day event will also feature live music, Native American storytelling, local choirs and bands.

The Finale will close with an illumination of Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House, two of the largest cliff dwellings in North America (the second and final time the palace will be illuminated for the public).

For more information, visit the park's Centennial Web site,


DOW lynx program receives boost from Heritage Foundation

The Colorado Wildlife Commission received $250,000 from the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation at the November Commission meeting in Colorado Springs. The donation will be used to fund the Colorado Division of Wildlife's (DOW) ongoing lynx reintroduction effort taking place in the state.

"This generous donation will go a long way to ensuring the ongoing success of one of the most popular and important programs the Colorado Division of Wildlife has implemented," said Bruce McCloskey, director of the DOW. "This demonstrates the foundation's continued commitment to the lynx program in a very real and significant way. I am very pleased with their monetary assistance in helping the DOW accomplish our objectives."

The DOW's Lynx Reintroduction Program began in 1999. Since that time, 218 lynx have been reintroduced into Colorado from Alaska and Canada. Prior to the reintroduction program, lynx were thought to be extirpated from Colorado since 1973. To date the DOW has been able to document reproduction and recruitment of Colorado-born lynx into the Colorado breeding population.

"The generous donation will allow the DOW to pursue two endeavors very important to the long-term restoration of lynx in Colorado," said Jeff Ver Steeg, assistant director of Wildlife Programs for the DOW. "First, we will be able to expand our efforts to monitor adult female lynx to determine their survival rates and reproductive success. Monitoring lynx reproduction is necessary to determine whether or not lynx are going to permanently establish a self-sustaining population in Colorado. Second, we intend to use these funds to support an intense analytical effort to help us better understand why lynx are using certain areas of the state and why they have yet to become established in others. We expect to gain insights into how lynx movements and survival rates are influenced by a variety of landscape features."

The Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation was created in 1989 as a result of the Governor's Task Force "Wildlife 21," which recognized that the state's abundant and diverse wildlife makes an immense contribution to the state's economy and the quality of life residents enjoy in Colorado. At the same time, wilderness habitats face the greatest threats from development, state funds for preserving wildlife, which have historically come from hunting and fishing license fees, have declined. The Foundation was formed to raise funds to help fill the gap between available funds and wildlife needs.

"This donation is a great example of people coming together to support wildlife and make a difference for Colorado," said Karin Ballard, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation. "The foundation gives those who wish to donate to wildlife an opportunity to join others in supporting that which they care most about- whether it is projects like the lynx reintroduction, species recovery, education, habitat or research. People who would like more information on contributing to Colorado's wildlife can visit"

"We feel that the contribution that the foundation was able to make to the Lynx Reintroduction Program will help our mission in which furthering wildlife knowledge and research is a critical goal," said Bill Daley, Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation Board president. "The lynx reintroduction has not only added to the body of wildlife research and knowledge in Colorado, it has also proven itself to be an endeavor that Coloradans support. We are pleased to be able to contribute to it."

The Heritage Foundation has developed many popular ways for people to contribute to Colorado's wildlife including the purchase of a Commemorative Habitat Stamp. A contest was held recently to choose the art that will be used on the 2007 edition of the commemorative stamp. A painting titled "Rock Realm," by wildlife artist Dick Benson of White House Court, Ohio, was awarded the honor. The painting depicting regal bighorn sheep in a setting of rocks and snow will adorn the 2007 stamp.

The 2007 stamp is expected to be available for sale to the public Dec. 1 through the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The commemorative stamp will be $10 each and there will also be a limited edition of prints available for $176.

The money raised from the sale of the Commemorative Colorado Habitat Stamp will be used to preserve, protect and purchase wildlife habitat in the state.

Although the Commemorative Colorado Habitat Stamp does not afford the purchaser any rights or privileges on State Wildlife Areas or State Trust Lands, it does afford the purchaser a sense of pride and an involvement in the preservation of Colorado and its wildlife.

A free, full-color brochure or the stamps can be ordered online at or by calling (303) 291-7212. The Wildlife Experience in Parker also carries a limited supply of stamps for sale.


Lane to head Conservation Services Division

Eric Lane has been named director of the Conservation Services Division at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Lane, of Denver, Colo., has been with CDA since 1996.

"I have spent the past decade serving Colorado's agricultural and conservation communities," said Lane. "I am excited to have the opportunity to broaden my professional experience in natural resource management and conservation issues that face Colorado agriculture today."

During his tenure at CDA, Lane, 36, has served as the director of the State Palisade Insectary and as state weed coordinator. As weed coordinator, Lane was instrumental in developing a statewide strategic plan to provide coordination of weed management activities for all public and private landowners with the involvement of federal, state, and local governments, public interest groups and industry associations. To implement the strategic plan, Lane led a diverse coalition of stakeholders to revise the Colorado Noxious Weed Act in 2003.

Before joining CDA, Lane received his master's degree in natural resource policy at University of Michigan. He also served as chairman of the Western Society of Weed Science Legislative Committee, chairman of the Western Weed Coordinating Committee, and was a team leader for the Center of Excellence Network Sustainable Forestry Program.

"I am proud to announce Eric as the new Conservation Services Division director," said Commissioner of Agriculture Don Ament. "His dedication to Colorado agriculture and our natural resources is imperative to the future of agriculture in this state."

The Conservation Services Division administers programs designed to protect Colorado's natural resources and the environment. The division has four programs: the Agricultural Chemicals and Groundwater Protection Program, the Colorado State Conservation Board that serves the state's 77 local conservation districts, the Noxious Weed Management Program, and the Biological Pest Control Program.


Late trout stocking at Vallecito aimed at cutting predation

In a continuing effort to maintain a balanced fishery at Vallecito Reservoir, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is stocking large-size rainbow trout this fall.

About 45,000 13-inch, hatchery-raised trout were stocked starting Nov. 21.

Vallecito Reservoir, located about 30 miles northeast of Durango, is one of Colorado's larger reservoirs and an outstanding fishery, explained Mike Japhet, senior aquatic biologist for the DOW's southwest region. The lake has long been home to rainbow and brown trout, northern pike, smallmouth bass, and kokanee salmon.

The presence of northern pike, however, has presented challenges for DOW fishery managers. Pike are voracious predators and reproduce prolifically. The Vallecito trout and the kokanee salmon fishery have declined in recent years as a result of fire and drought in the area. Also, anglers and biologists agree that pike are feeding heavily on trout, especially the 10-inch trout that are usually stocked in the lake in the spring.

It is hoped that stocking rainbow trout late in the year will reduce predation by the pike, Japhet explained. As water temperatures cool in the fall, pike are not feeding as actively as during spring and summer months. The 13-inch trout should be large enough to avoid predation by northern pike.

"The trout should grow a couple of inches over the winter. So next spring anglers will have a chance to catch some really nice size fish," Japhet said.

Maintaining a variety of species in Vallecito is important for anglers and for the health of the fishery, Japhet explained. The lake is becoming renowned for large pike — several that measure more than 40 inches long were caught last summer. But if the predatory pike become too dominant in the lake they can eliminate other species and eventually its own population will crash.

Anglers are cautioned that the Colorado Department of Health has posted a mercury advisory for the pike and walleye at Vallecito. The health department recommends the that people should not eat more than one meal per month of northern pike or walleye larger than 27 inches caught from Vallecito. Pregnant women and children 6 years or younger are advised not to consume any pike or walleye. Northern pike and walleye under 27 inches are not included in the fish consumption advisory for Vallecito.

The fish consumption advisory should not be misconstrued as a total ban on eating predator fish from Vallecito. "While we want folks to heed the fish consumption advisory, we also encourage anglers to harvest northern pike to make room for other fish," Japhet said. "By catching and keeping pike we have a better opportunity to maintain a balanced fishery and Vallecito's appeal to a variety of anglers."

The DOW is planning a creel survey next summer to determine how many fish are being caught by anglers at the reservoir.


Information sought on dead bighorn sheep

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is seeking information about three bighorn sheep killed illegally in Hinsdale County approximately 22 miles southwest of Creede on Nov. 15 or 16.

The sheep had been shot with high-power rifles near Rio Grande Reservoir just off United States Forest Service Road 520. Two ewes (females) and a lamb were shot and left to rot.

The shooting occurred during the fourth big-game hunting season which was Nov. 15-19. A hunter in the area found the carcasses and made a report to the DOW. The animals were found Nov. 17.

The killing of three is damaging to the bighorn herd, said Brent Woodward, district wildlife manager in the Creede area.

"We do not have large herds of bighorns in Colorado," Woodward said. "Killing three sheep is a significant loss and could have a serious affect on the overall population in this area."

Woodward recovered the bullet casings that were likely used. The bullets were fired from a 7 mm Remington Magnum rifle, and a 300 H&H Magnum rifle.

If you have information about this incident, call Woodward at (719) 850-6366, or Operation Game Thief at (877) 265-6648. Tips can be made anonymously.


Aztec Ruins sets holiday hours

The chill in the air introduces the winter season, and winter hours at Aztec Ruins, in Aztec, N.M.

Aztec Ruins is now open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, except holidays. The site will be closed Christmas Day, Dec. 25, and News Year's Day, Jan. 1.

Gift ideas abound in the WNPA bookstore. New selections of books, posters, mugs, videos/DVDs, CDs and the newly arrived miniature pottery collection are available for purchase. Shipping throughout the U.S. is available. A portion of the profits are returned to the National Park Service to help support educational projects and research.

The entrance fee is $5 per adult 16 years and over. Children 15 and under are free. National Park Pass, Golden Age, Golden Eagle and Golden Access Passports as well as the newly created Aztec Ruins Passport are honored and available for sale. Passport gift ideas continue to give year long. The National Park Passports, Golden Eagle, and the Aztec Ruins Park specific Passports are available to purchase for family members and friends.

For further information contact the staff at Aztec Ruins National Monument, (505) 334-6174, Ext 30. TDD users can phone the same number, and allow ample time for a response.



Road work

Dear Editor:

I want to thank the county for coming out and grading Brook Dr. They pushed some dirt around to fill the holes and watered it down. By the time I went home for lunch the road was a quagmire and the same holes were already reappearing. When I got off work, the mud was still so deep I wouldn't walk my dog. Now it is 5 days later and most of the holes are back, maybe not quite as deep but I'm sure they will be before mid December. Way to go county! It is nice to see our tax dollars being wisely spent.

Joyce Beaudry


Peace sign wreath 1

Dear Editor:

I was very disheartened to read about the actions taken by the Loma Linda HOA concerning the peace sign wreath. The image that this gives to the world of Pagosa Springs is one of an unenlightened, narrow minded group of people. I hope that this is not the case, but I fear that if my travels would normally take me through your town, I would find a detour and go around.


Alice Cobb


Peace sign wreath 2

Dear Editor:

Pagosa Springs made the national news in the article, "Woman Faces Fines For Wreath Peace Sign." The Associated Press article written by Robert Weller reported that a Christmas wreath with a peace sign attached was the subject of conflict between neighbors. The Loma Linda Homeowners Association threatened to fine a resident $25 per day until she removes the Christmas wreath.

Get with it Pagosa!

I'm a member of a homeowners' association and understand how conflicting opinions can become sources of discord, but differences don't have to create dissention. Whether our religious, cultural or world views differ we live here. We are a community of friends. We all savor Pagosa Peak and the San Juan mountains. We bask in the sunny days and slip/slide with the snow storms. We love our families, friends and pets. Friends listen to friends. Friends are kind to their neighbors.

We're all human beings, so let's celebrate our humanity and find a common ground. I suggest: Peace. During this Christmas season let's call for a cease fire in our community. Let's listen, and be kind to our neighbors, even if we just do this in celebration of the holidays.

Constance d'Angelis


Peace sign wreath 3

Dear Editor:

Upon reading the story about Lisa Jensen and her current situation with the "Satan" peace wreath, I had to laugh. Does everyone not realize that even if Jensen wanted to put a Satan symbol up, she has full constitutional rights to do so? She has stated that, "Peace is way bigger than not being at war. This is a spiritual thing." Is it right that Mr. Kearns can tell us all that he is right, that a peace sign in the season of Christmas, the time of our Lord, is wrong and that it represents evil? I think not. This is a foolish and bogus condition that should be looked at from the side of someone who just wants to decorate for Christmas. I feel that Mr. Kearns will be expecting a lot of money from surrounding citizens; I for one, will let my peace sign fly. Sorry, Mr. Kearns, but you won't be receiving a dime from me.

Kaytlin Veronica Ehardt-Aguilar


Peace sign wreath 4

Dear Editor:

Almost two years ago my wife and I along with our two little girls moved away from Pagosa. As you can imagine we miss our friends, we miss the fantastic views and we also miss the great fishing and hunting. But I have never been as glad we moved as I was today when I read our local New England paper! Once again the Christian Taliban of Pagosa has made the entire town look foolish and now you look foolish nationwide. Who in their right mind would say we can't have a peace sign because we are at war? You have relatives in Iraq? Wouldn't peace be the one thing that would get them out of harms way and bring them back? Would a sign saying "Bomb Iraq" or how about "WAR, WAR, WAR!!" be more supporting of the troops?

And never, ever in my entire life has anyone ever said that a peace sign was anti-Jesus. Isn't Jesus known as the "Prince of Peace?" Which really is kind of funny when you realize how many billions of people have been killed in his name. How can peace, the idea of peace or even a peace sign be considered anti Jesus? You must be insane!

Finally, where did the board members get their management training? The Dick Cheney school of management? Disagree with me and your fired!

Glad we moved!

Good luck. You'll need it.

John Eustis

Burlington, Vermont


Peace sign wreath 5

Dear Editor:

As I was on my way home from visiting relatives in California, I heard on the news about a small town in the southwest corner of Colorado by the name of Pagosa Springs. At the time, I did not know it was to become national news. As I listened to the news, I could not believe what I was hearing. How could anybody do such a thing? We have men and women dying at this time to protect our freedom of speech and to be able to express ourselves. I was ashamed to let anybody know where I was traveling to. How could anybody as an American be against someone displaying a symbol of peace in their own yard? If that is the case, then they should be against displaying the crosses on all the churches and flags in the subdivision. They, too, represent peace. I am a veteran; I fought for freedom of speech. I raised my hand and gave the person the "V" symbol for displaying the peace symbol and by the way, thanks to Loma Linda for putting us on the map. This was no mistake or misunderstanding. I think the people of Loma Linda should be looking for new leadership.

Ernie Garcia


Handling dissent

Dear Editor:

All over the world, newspapers, radio and television are reporting intolerance of a peace sign displayed in Pagosa Springs by a homeowner in the Loma Linda residential area.

Item 1: I suggest we do something about that. On the Internet at is a catalog of peace signs of various shapes and sizes. Along with dozens of decal designs is an 18 by 18 inch flag highlighting the familiar peace symbol in many colors on a white background, advertised for $10 each or $8 in quantity.

But nothing beats make-your-own.

There's more.

Item 2: There are many ways of handling those who do not reflect our values, ethics and beliefs. A punch in the nose, for example. Bomb the enemy into submission or extinction. Or empower the president of a homeowners' association to publicly display a dumb idea on an international scale.

But choosing to run an ad in the newspaper that humiliates someone is going an extra mile beyond a dumb idea. The ad I'm referring to appeared on page 36 of the PREVIEW section in last week's SUN newspaper. It announces that a sitting county commissioner, elected as Republican candidate, no longer reflects "the values, ethics and beliefs" represented in the Archuleta County Republican Central Committee.

In my opinion, this way of handling dissent or disagreement is not consistent with either political party's values, ethics and beliefs. For a discussion of ethics, could we start with, "Never kick a man when he's down?"

Or am I missing something?

Michael J. Greene


Peace sign wreath 6

Dear Editor:

Now that the International brouhaha over the Pagosa Peace Wreath is resolved, here is a thought for the future. As our sweet village of Pagosa Springs received coverage worldwide: Was it the kind of news we want?

In the new, globally-connected world, we must all be mindful of our values and how these values are expressed and shared with even our closest neighbors. Trusting that HOA pres Kerns was responding to serious complaints, perhaps the simplest and most direct option would have been to urge the concerned neighbors to speak with each other to respectfully resolve their differences. Instead, we have seen possibly the best intentioned people bring a dubious reputation to our town. This is a serious indication that we have lost the "community" feeling most of us desire.

For the future, may we all seek first to understand, rather than label, administer rules, and penalize others. And in so doing, become understood ourselves for the values we share, which are far greater than the issues which divide us.

Peace to all in Pagosa, and elsewhere.

Cristy Holden


Don't read it

Dear Editor:

Below is a Nov. 15 press release submitted by the National Network to End Domestic Violence concerning the recent release of OJ Simpson's book "If I did it." As a victim advocate, I am beyond appalled. I could not have stated my feelings any better, therefore I'll let the below release speak for me.

"Twelve years ago, the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman brought the issue of domestic violence from out of the shadows and into the public spotlight. The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is extremely outraged to hear that OJ Simpson intends to release a book detailing how he could have murdered his ex-wife and her friend.

"While Simpson was acquitted of their deaths in a criminal trial, he was found liable in a civil trial and ordered to pay restitution to the Brown and Goldman families. To date, Simpson has refused to comply with the court order. NNEDV and domestic violence advocates nationwide are appalled that he is instead attempting to cash in on their gruesome murders.

"Even more disturbing is the impact this selfish, arrogant act will undoubtedly have on Nicole's children - Sydney and Justin. They had to endure the grisly murder of their mother and the controversy of the trial against their father. How will they feel knowing that their father is not only profiting from their mother's murder, but he is also offering a morbid, detailed description of how he could have done it?

"Three women are murdered every day at the hand of their intimate partners. It is unconscionable to think that Simpson, ReganBooks, HarperCollins Publishers, and FOX would promote a how-to guide for killing your wife. Is their intention to teach abusers how to kill their wives?

"This book has no place in our society and only causes more grief for the Brown and Goldman families and for battered women and children across the country. Our hearts go out to the families being retraumatized by this senseless act of greed.

"NNEDV urges the public to take a stand and let FOX, ReganBooks and HarperCollins know that we will not allow them to make abuse and murder acceptable in our communities. We also ask you to contact your local bookstores and FOX advertisers and ask them to remove their support from ReganBooks, HarperCollins and FOX. "

Carmen Hubbs


Peace sign wreath 7

Dear Editor:

I live in Denver. The snafu over the Peace Symbol wreath is all over the news, and the Internet. I understand homeowner associations, and I am also aware that most rules and regulations were written, adopted, and voted on by the homeowners association.

It is clear to me that millions of people either disregard that point, or they have simply jumped on a band wagon of sorts because the wreath has morphed from a wreath to a peace symbol. If this lady truly wanted peace, she would abide by the laws and the rules of her neighborhood. I don't live in an HOA and I am sure she could find many neighborhoods in her town that don't have them. I am worried for Mr. Kearns as there are so many irate people over this and it is also my opinion that these same people don't know that he is just the messenger for the HOA, and doesn't write the rules as he goes.

It strengthens my convictions daily, that the media creates an explosion so exclusionary of the truth, that it makes villains out of law enforcers, and heroes out of villains. It's sad.

Tish Jeffers



Fight against cancer

Dear Editor:

1.5 million Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer this year.

In an age when we have so many effective tools available to detect other potentially lethal cancers at an early stage - PSA blood tests for prostate cancer, mammograms for breast cancer, PAP smears for cervical cancer, x-rays and MRIs for lung cancer - I cannot accept that there are no tools to help physicians diagnose early cancer of the pancreas, the fourth leading cause of cancer death in the U.S.

Without substantial new funding allocated to pancreatic cancer research, it is unlikely that early detection methods will be identified anytime in the foreseen future. Or that more effective drug therapies and treatment protocols will be developed. Those of us whose lives have been turned upside down and forever changed by pancreatic cancer desperately need help to change this dire situation into one where at least we have a fighting chance.

My husband, Tom, died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 58. He fought the battle for two years and 10 months only to lose the battle on Dec. 19, 2005. His family misses him very much. He has a daughter, son and five grandchildren. He died too early and has been missed more than words can say.

He was lucky; the cancer was detected early and he was able to have the Whipple surgery done. Which is very rare with this cancer. That is the only reason he survived for as long as he did. Most pancreatic cancer patients only live no longer than six months and some only a few weeks after diagnosis. This is a very terrible cancer (of course, all cancers are terrible), but this one has no early signs of detection until it is too late. There are no early tests to see if you have pancreatic cancer and some research has shown that it can run in a family. We have had three people die in our community already from pancreatic cancer. Three too many.

Please help in anyway that you can to promote funding for pancreatic cancer. You never really know when you will be stricken with cancer and the research and money is so very important for the cure.

Congress recently declared November as Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month. I am volunteering with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN), and I strongly urge patients and families who are currently battling cancer to write our Congressional representatives and senators and encourage their support for the National Institute of Health's and the National Cancer Institute's research funding they will be voting on this November. You can do this online at by clicking on "Raise Your Voice" and following the simple instructions.

Remember, none of us can win the war against cancer unless we unite to make sure that the necessary funding to find the cure is made available. To do that, we must stand as one and raise our voices. Purple is the color for pancreatic cancer, so wear your purple ribbons in support for this cancer.

Alana Koch


Peace sign wreath 8

Dear Editor:

The week that the flap erupted about the Loma Linda Architectural Control Committee threatening to fine residents who had a wreath shaped into a peace symbol in their front yard, I was working in London, England. While there, I was surprised to learn that the story had made the national and apparently the international news. Some of the people who had seen the article on "the Peace Sign scandal" in the London office where I was working were very curious. The rumor ran around the office as fast as a sneeze in the wind "did you know that guy, Jim, is from that town in Colorado that banned the peace sign?" Finally (and thankfully) one young staffer came right out and asked the obvious: "How can you tolerate living in such an apparently intolerant community?"

I explained that the people of Pagosa could be no more be generalized as intolerant than the English could all be generalized as tea-drinkers. I faithfully defended our beautiful little community with passion and conviction. Yet, the truth is, I wished our community was more tolerant, and less harshly critical in lots of ways. And I wish I could say our lack of tolerance was about everyone else, but I am as guilty as anyone. When we re-elected George Bush after arguably one of the most abysmal performances of any U.S. president, ever, I was intolerant of people who voted for him. When we elected to uphold and even strengthen the ban on gay marriage in the recent election," an issue that I think is both unnecessary and unconstitutional, I found myself blaming the religious right. As much as I would like to condemn others for intolerance, change has to start with me, and you, and all of us and I have no right to point the finger at anyone other than myself.

The bigger and more pressing issue the peace sign controversy stirred up is about the effect that public perception has on our local economy and our property values. Do we want our community to be branded as an enclave of neo-conservative radicals? No. Do we want people to think Pagosa is a place where freedom of expression is no longer a constitutionally guaranteed right or that we don't support our troops with an equal amount of zeal to our desire for peace? Absolutely not. These images and the types of news that hit the international wires about us last week don't embarrass me, personally. However, they do give me cause for concern for my property value. Having Pagosa "branded" inaccurately or unfairly happens because of the same types of narrow minded, intolerant thinking that led to the peace sign controversy in the first place. Let's all work towards being more tolerant. Doing so isn't only "moral," being tolerant makes good business sense.

Jim Morris


Peace sign wreath 9

Dear Editor:

Regarding the "divisive" wreath shaped like a peace sign in Loma Linda Subdivision, it is really creepy that all manner of materialistic, environmentally destructive symbols of the Christmas season are encouraged, but not the universal symbol for Peace. How would the Prince of Peace feel about this? Would He be fined for His views?

While I appreciate that the wreath's owner, Ms. Jensen, was thinking only of the bigger picture of peace, the subdivision president purports to be protecting the sensitivities of the families of soldiers currently fighting in Iraq. Many of these soldiers share the view of the majority of Americans who now object to this war because it was intentionally misrepresented to us, with disastrous results. It is the war that is divisive, not the artistic, spiritual and political expressions about it in a country that historically values free speech.

Vietnam taught us that we must separate the soldier from the questionable decisions of some war makers. Most of us have the highest respect and compassion for those men and women who are losing life, mental health and limb in such traumatizing circumstances. We ache for them, we shudder in horror, even as we are moved by their heroism and their struggle to do their job in an increasingly impossible situation. Many returning Iraq soldiers, often with the support of Vietnam vets, are expressing their anger about Iraq. They appreciate our support of those who would like to be coming home for Christmas - or at least fighting in a war that seems worthy of their sacrifice.

Sharon Porter


Thanks to students

Dear Editor:

I would like to express my appreciation for the great breakfast honoring the veterans.

To all that were involved, but especially the students. They were so nice and respective to us. It felt great to be treated so nice. America can be very proud of our young people who appreciate the price paid for our freedom.

Tom Reynolds


Library a jewel

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library staff and the Upper San Juan Library District board of trustees, we thank all who supported the mill levy effort. We appreciate the tireless efforts of our campaign committee who diligently pursued increased funding for the library's operation and growth. We thank each staff member for responding to questions and concerns from the public during the campaign. We commend all voters for their participation in the democratic process and are especially grateful to those who honored the value of the library with their affirmative vote.

We believe the public library is a pillar of any community. We are proud of ours in great part because the enlarged facility was constructed last year almost entirely with donations and grants. Library patrons are graced with a warm, professional staff ably assisted by scores of volunteers. Our library has grown not only in size; we have expanded our collections of print materials and audio books and tripled the number of public-use computers. Donations of new and lightly-used materials continue to be a source of pride and value. We have increased our educational outreach programs to young and old and everyone in between with "Pagosa Reads," "Survivor!-Pagosa," "Caught in the Act of Reading," the Lifelong Learning lecture series and many other special children's and family programs.

The failure of the mill levy proposal is a setback, but be assured that in spite of budget constraints, we are committed to doing everything possible to enhance library services and programs to meet the growing needs of our burgeoning community. If you have not visited our expanded facility or attended one of our programs, we extend this special invitation to you; please come in, discover what a jewel the library can be in your own life, and witness the many ways it promotes the thriving success of our entire community.

Thank you,

Trustees Betsy Chavez, Cate Smock, Dave Krueger, Gail Shepherd, Glenn Raby, Kerry Dermody and Scottie Gibson, and Library Director Jackie Welch


Truth without bias

Dear Editor:

I just spoke to a friend in Denver who said the headline in the Denver Post was "Wrath Wrought by Peace Wreath," with a story about our local situation at Loma Linda with Lisa Jensen's Xmas peace wreath decoration. I am moved to write this letter because syncronistically last night, my husband and I watched "Why We Fight," a very informative DVD video documentary by Eugene Jarecki ... which left me in awe of how many things I didn't know about our military history, spending, motivation and investment. The art of this film is not only its content and education, but the amazing ability of the director to keep his intention of opening dialogue, and exploring the truth of our situation without bias. He helps us to examine our assumptions about the war in Iraq whatever side we align with and gives a brilliant history of American military history since World War I.

I awoke this morning marvelling at the way he handled interviews (seen in the Special Features) by refusing to lower the conversation into defending a side or a position, but keeping the questions alive that develop our discriminating skills, with the help of a broad exploration of the facts, experience and intention of every class of American, since 9/11.

Although I sometimes surprise myself with my own feelings of "wrath," I found myself inspired to see the common ground in all of us, as our values are either represented or challenged by our attitudes about the war. Because of the skillful dialogue and facts in this film, I find myself respecting both sides and the common ground we have as Americans who should examine our assumptions, opinions and positions to be open enough to allow the truth to reveal itself. I am humbled and alarmed by what I didn't know.

See it! Discuss it! It's here, in New Releases in the video stores.


Puja Parsons


Peace sign wreath 10

Dear Editor:

As a former resident of Pagosa Springs, I had to take a moment to comment on the recent media focus on the Peace Sign wreath. During the years we lived in Pagosa Springs (1980-1983), we experienced the changeover from the "old established residents" to the new "Texas migration." Along with the new generations that were moving into the area, came many with their "ultra-conservative" leaning thinking that began to infect this cozy and established community. It is certainly obvious today that those "ultra conservative" minds were once again out of touch with reality.

For over 40 years, the simple Peace Symbol became a dream and hope of millions of people world wide. It saddens me to think that there are individuals and groups, such as the homeowners association protesting this simple wreath, that are so insecure that they felt that peace was no longer a part of the Christmas season. Perhaps this recent negative attention given to the community provides a perfect opportunity for those who are so frozen in their "traditional" symbolisms of Christmas to open their jaded minds and ears to the words of the traditional song sung by carolers everywhere that says ... "peace on earth, good will toward men".

Dave Tewksbury



Pollution solution

Dear Editor:

Having a bit of relaxation time over Thanksgiving, I reflected on what I was grateful for living in this beautiful part of Colorado was on my list. However, with an increasing population, I've been noticing that the quality of air is suffering - which means we are affected by this increasing car and truck and diesel pollution.

A few things came to mind. Are we adding to the global warming pollution? Does the lack of snow have anything to do with this pollution and can I/we do something to make a positive change?

This reminded me of living in Massachusetts in my 20s, where once a year we had to have an emission test and pass it in order to drive. Recently, I was at the San Diego airport with hundreds of cars driving by and the smell of the air was better than driving down our U.S. 160 because California has emissions control. We all know that diesel fumes are carcinogenic so we're not talking only global warming, but about our own present health.

My hope is that some knowledgable people who could provide us with emissions equipment for our vehicles will come forward. Then, those of us who are interested in making Pagosa a healthier place for ourselves, and others, will voluntarily step forward to be part of the solution. I am really hoping that the truck companies here in town will step forward with pride. Our children, grandchildren, neighbors and atmosphere, in my opinion, deserve to breathe clean air. Although we might want to ride bicycles and drive hybrids, we can't all do that yet. But we can each contribute to stopping - our part of pollution and global warming.

If you can or want to help make a positive change, please call me at 731-5098, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.



   Community News

Hoboken for the holidays! 'Nuncrackers' opens tonight

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

The habits have been donned.

Sets are complete.

Ballet costumes have been fitted, for the "Nutcracker Suite - Hoboken version."

The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters' production of Dan Goggins' "Nuncrackers" is set to open tonight and run Friday and Saturday as well, each evening at 7:30 p.m., with an additional matinee Saturday at 2 p.m.

More than 25 musical numbers in this show range in style from jazz to blues to Broadway, from rock to gospel and beyond.

And our nuns in this production - Kathy Isberg, Mary McKeehan, Candy Flaming, Amber Farnham and Lisa Hartley - are itching to fill the auditorium and perform for their Pagosa audiences. Father Virgil, played by Jarret Heber, has several surprises up his robed sleeves, including a specialized "cooking class" and a performance that includes ballet slippers!

Be prepared to be involved from the moment you walk through the door at the PSHS auditorium. Talented schoolkids in the production are Ricky Peterson, Ami Harbison, Brooke Hampton and Colin Oliver. Band members include Musical Director Sue Anderson, Conductor Shawna Carosello, and Dan and Venita Burch.

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


Children's Chorale sings in the season

By Michelle Oliver

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Children's Chorale was greeted by a grateful audience of 200 people, at the community Thanksgiving feast hosted by Centerpoint Church.

This was the first in a series of concerts that will entertain and delight audiences throughout the upcoming holidays.

Now in its fourth year, the Chorale is directed by Sue Anderson who, after a 20-plus-year teaching career (six years at Pagosa Springs' middle and intermediate schools), continues to bring the blessing of music to the community through her choral work and her musical direction with the Music Boosters.

In 2005, singers were assigned to one of two choirs based on their ability to read music and vocal maturity. The introductory choir, Bel Canto, is open to all beginning singers, while the Dolce Cantare is an auditioned choir. Choir members range in age from 7 to 17 and are also combined for activities and performances.

The Children's Chorale will sing prior to each performance of Music Boosters' "Nuncrackers" in the lobby at the high school. Please arrive at 7 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, and at 1:30 Saturday for the matinee to enjoy the children's musical offering.

The Children's Chorale also invites you to celebrate the holidays by attending their concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Community United Methodist Church. Please join us for this stellar performance. This is community choir at its best!

Watch The SUN for registration dates for our spring 2007 season. Pagosa Springs Children's Chorale "exists inspire in children a life-long love of singing through distinctive musical performance for our parents, our peers and our community."


In Step Dance Club to hold workshop and hoedown

By Deb Aspen

Special to The PREVIEW

The In Step Dance Club is sponsoring an Intermediate country western two-step workshop, potluck dinner and hoedown Sunday, Dec. 3, at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. in Pagosa Springs.

There is no pre-registration required, but please come 15 minutes early to sign in. The workshop will begin promptly at 3 p.m. The cost is only $10 per person, payable at the door, with all the proceeds going to the visiting clinician, Ben Snell. There will be a 30-minute intermission with refreshments provided by In Step midway to 6 p.m. followed by the potluck dinner and country hoedown. There will be a suggested $5 donation for the dance. Attendees must be at least 16 years of age, and have had some experience with the CW two-step prior to the workshop, as this one is not designed for the beginner. You do not have to have a partner or be a member to attend.

The potluck and hoedown is for anyone who likes to dance all kinds of country even if you don't join us for the workshop. There is a full kitchen at the facility, equipped with stove and refrigerator for your potluck dishes. Bring whatever you like, as there is no particular theme this time. All plates, glasses, utensils, and beverages will be provided

Snell is currently an instructor and the manager at the Arthur Murray Studio in Albuquerque, N.M. He has been dancing with the studio for more than seven years, studying ballroom, Latin, swing and country western, and says he enjoys working with beginning as well as advanced students. He is one of our favorite people in the world, with his very contagious laugh and witty way of teaching. It will be a day of side-splittin', boot-scootin' fun to be sure.

Ben is more specifically known as the "Swing King," and has choreographed many a hot swing number. One in particular became rather infamous last February at the Winter Showcase in Albuquerque. Seems Ben and I had practiced a Lindy Hop routine 6-percent slower than an original recording, because we felt Lindy is fast enough as it is without getting carried away. However, when the attending sound person got the instructions to alter the music 6 percent, he took it up instead of down. Ben successfully led me through the award-winning number; but as you can imagine, our feet were flying and our laughs were loud. The judge liked it enough to give us a 96 percent, the highest score awarded a pro-am team, for a solo performance. Ben and I will dance their Lindy Hop here immediately following the workshop, but only if the speed is right!

In Step Dance Club's December schedule will be as follows: Classes will be held 7-9 p.m. Dec. 7, 13, 21 and 28, with practice sessions from 3-5 p.m. Dec. 10, 17 and 31. Check-out Sunday will be at 3 p.m. Jan. 7, and the Snowflake Awards Banquet and Ball will held at the clubhouse Saturday, Jan. 13. Stay tuned for more details.

As usual, all sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave. Please wear comfortable clothing and shoes that have smooth or split leather soles. (Something that does not leave back marks or mud). I will be teaching all of the same CW two-step patterns that will be introduced at the workshop.

For more information call me or Charles Jackson at 731-3338.


Centerpoint Church presents Christmas musical

By Donna Sanders

Special to The PREVIEW

What happens when two city kids get stranded in the country on Christmas Eve and find themselves adopted by the "Clampitts?"

These two kids find out the true meaning of Christmas - country style.

Come join us for an evening of country fun, while these kids share the Christmas message.

The performance of the children's Christmas musical "It All Happened in the Country" is at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, at Centerpoint Church.

Call 731-2205 for more information.


'Hold It!' opens Dec. 9 at Shy Rabbit

By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts is pleased to announce "Hold It!," an exhibition of contemporary containers. Exhibition dates are Dec. 9 through Jan. 20. Artists' reception is 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

Featured artists are Chad Haspels, wood; Sarah Hewitt, fiber; Clarissa Hudson, fiber; Terry Inokuma, ceramics; Mary Ellen Long, mixed media; Chris Richter, ceramics; and Shan Wells, mixed media.

Regular gallery hours are 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, after the opening. Shy Rabbit also welcomes visitors during non-posted hours. Call (970) 731-2766 to confirm the gallery is open.

Visit for more information on Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts shows, events and programs.

Shy Rabbit is located at 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 through B-4, one block north of U.S. 160 off of North Pagosa Boulevard.

For additional information on Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts, e-mail


'Messiah' sing-along set for Dec. 10

The Messiah Christmas Sing-along will be held again this year at the Pagosa Springs Community United Methodist Church on at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10.

The public is invited to come and sing along on the traditional carols and the choruses from the Christmas section of Handel's "Messiah."

The program is free, but an opportunity will be provided for contributions to Franklin Graham's Christmas Children Shoebox fund.

Call Carroll Carruth at 731-5016 for more information.


'A Classic Christmas' with ECA

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts presents a concert entitled "A Classic Christmas," 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

The gala, second annual, family event features the musical talents of John Graves, Debbie Tucker, The Other Side of the Mountain Singers, Bob Nordmann, Joy Redmon, The Tuller Family Band, Salley Yates, June Marquez, Jessica Espinosa, D'Ann Artis, Sue Diffey and the Santa and His Elves' Theatrical Ensemble.

John Graves will inaugurate this year's "A Classic Christmas," performing on an acoustic piano donated by Shoffner's Piano Service. Vocalists will render classic carols and classical musicians will compliment the mood with elegant melodies. Rumor has it that the audience will also be performing on some of the songs. The story of this special holiday program unfolds in upcoming issues of this publication. Please keep tuned.

ECA's community concerts have been upgraded with professional sound, stage and lighting. Donated by the Pagosa Community Choir, the elevated stage provides concertgoers with a much better view. Professional lighting, made possible by contributions from ECA supporters, artistically lights the stage.

Desserts and coffee will be provided at intermission. Please bring a dessert to share if you wish. Please note this concert begins an hour earlier than usual.

Advance tickets, for $8, are available through and at WolfTracks Coffee House. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults and $3 for young people, 18 and under.

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

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 help support these programs.

For more information, log on to or call 731-3117.


Christmas favorites and more at upcoming Community Choir concerts

By Matthew Lowell Brunson

Special to The PREVIEW

Reserve the date!

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir will present a musical celebration of Christmas entitled "Joy," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, and Saturday, Dec. 16, with a special matinee performance at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17. The concerts will take place at the high school auditorium.

A 72-member choir of local singers, under the direction of Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer, will present a beautiful, uplifting program with a wide variety of music celebrating Christmas. The concert will consist of about 18 of the classics you love and some that will be sure to become your new favorites.

Some of the selections that will be heard at this year's performance are "Breathe of Heaven," "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman," "Silent Night" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas," as well as upbeat medleys and more.

Many of Pagosa's finest soloists and instrumentalists will accompany the choir this year.

This dedicated group of singers has been hard at work practicing since early September to bring you this glorious Christmas program. You won't want to miss it!

The Community Choir is pleased to provide free admission for this program as our gift to you. Donations are gratefully accepted.


The Festival of Trees - a new tradition

By Mercy Korsgren

Special to The PREVIEW

Welcome to the wonderful Festival of Trees in Pagosa Country.

What makes the festival so exciting is its association with the holiday season. It is the time of the year when people are into decorations, lights and celebrations. Everyone is in a festive mood and i looking for ways to celebrate the season with family and friends. It's a time for traditions, and we want to make this festival an annual holiday tradition in our community.

The most exciting part of this event is yet to come - the party and auction from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 8. Admission is $15 per person and the cost includes food and dessert from WildFlower Catering. Amy Dunmyre and Joanne Irons always prepare a superb menu. We intend to have a cash bar with beer and wine.

John Graves has volunteered to provide holiday music.

We challenge everyone to dress up, too ... in the spirit of the holiday. Decorated trees will be waiting for you to purchase at our live auction. Bill Nobles will be our auctioneer. All trees will be auctioned off and the lucky buyer of each tree may take the tree home, donate it to a family or display it at a business.

If you can't attend, designate someone to purchase a tree for you; give the person a dollar limit you're willing to spend for a great cause.

All proceeds from the auction of the trees will benefit non-profit organizations in our community. Delivery of trees to the final destination may be available, with tree covers provided to protect the decorations and ornaments.

Based on our goal for this year, we still have a few openings for tree sponsors. Anybody is welcome to sponsor a tree. Decoration of trees will take place 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5. Tree stands will be provided. Tree sponsor entries on hand include Stan and Lorrie Church (proceeds to Archuleta Seniors Inc.), Mountain High Garden Club, Mercy Home Health and Hospice, Century 21 and Humane Society (proceeds to local Red Cross), Loaves and Fishes, Kiwanis Club, Pagosa Women's Club and Home Again (proceeds beneficiary undecided ). Others interested are the Porpoises swim team and Special Olympics. Most of these sponsors intend to keep the proceeds from the auction for their non-profit organizations.

Prior to the auction, judges will select first-, second- and third-place winners and one tree will get the Judges Special Award. Buy your admission ticket now at the Chamber of Commerce, Goodman's or the community center.

The public is also invited to view the decorated trees free of charge on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Dec, 6-8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The highlight of the festival is the party and auction 6-9 p.m. Friday. The auction will start at 8:08. If anyone has questions, call Mercy at 264-4152, Nancy Strait at 731-3427, or Janis Moomaw at 264-3010.


Sudoku at Lifelong Learning

By Biz Greene

Special to The PREVIEW

Sudoku is a fun way to activate your mind.

A puzzle is printed every week in The SUN, and can be worked on while a passenger on a trip, during the TV commercials, or a few minutes at a time during a break from routine.

The basics will be taught and puzzles will be worked as a group at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the Senior Center. Katy Deshler, instructor, has been doing these puzzles for about a year, and wants to assist others in getting started so that they, too, can enjoy this brain-stimulating form of recreation.

This is a free program and everyone is welcome to attend.


Teresa Ross, Actual Proof performance

'a world class concert'

By Carla Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

On Saturday, Nov. 25, Elation Center for the Arts presented extraordinary jazz vocalist Teresa Ross in concert with The Actual Proof Quartet, an exciting jazz ensemble with Lee Bartley on piano, Bob Newnam on trumpet and flugelhorn, Bob Cordalis on bass, and Brad Tarpley on drums.

At the conclusion of the program, jazz aficionado John Graves exclaimed, "That was a world-class concert!"

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse was transformed into a charming concert hall and the concert drew a crowd of 150 from around the region. Many visitors from out of state were also in attendance.

The audience was able to see the performance all the way to the back of the clubhouse with an elevated stage, generously donated by the Pagosa Springs Community Choir. Professional lighting, made possible by contributions from supporters of ECA, artistically lighted the stage and performers.


UU service to feature Charlotte Rotterdam

On Sunday, Dec. 3, The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service will explore "Developing Compassion in Everyday Life: A Buddhist Perspective." The speaker will be Charlotte Rotterdam, co-director of Tara Mandala Buddhist Retreat Center, located outside Pagosa Springs.

Rotterdam asks, "How can we bring mindfulness into our daily activities and loving kindness into our interactions with others? How might we bring the openheartedness of spiritual practice into our everyday working lives?" She points out that the Buddhist teachings offer some simple yet profound insights into these perennial questions. Drawing on the lojong (or mindtraining) teachings, she will look at some helpful insights into weaving compassion as a spiritual practice into everyday interactions. She adds, "As the borders of our 'self' become more porous, we are able to embody and share the joy and open heart that are our basic nature."

After receiving her master's degree in theological studies from Harvard Divinity School, Rotterdam worked for nearly 10 years as program director at the School of Extended Studies at Naropa University in Boulder, where she also taught in the graduate religion department.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Child care and/or the religious education program for ages 3 and up is offered every Sunday, except the second Sunday of the month, which is devoted to a meditation service.

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.


December at Congregation Har Shalom

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

- 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.


Shabbat services at Congregation Kadima Yisrael

The Jewish community of Pagosa Springs Congregation Kadima Yisrael will hold Shabbat services at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. All members of the Jewish community of Pagosa and surrounding areas, relatives and friends are invited to attend.

Dr. Jon Zissman will conduct services. An Oneg Shabbat will follow.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall is located in suite B15 in the Greenbriar shopping center. Go north on North Pagosa Boulevard, past the fire station and turn right onto Greenbriar and left into the shopping center. The meeting hall is located around the back. Going south on North Pagosa, turn left on Park and a quick right into the shopping center.

If you have questions, call 731-9610 or 731-2012.


New Warriors meet Tuesdays

By John Gwin

Special to The PREVIEW

New Warriors (members of ManKind Project, in Archuleta County meet weekly to stay connected to their own feelings and shadows (those things we hide, repress and deny).

New Warriors (men who have taken their "Heroes Journey" during the New Warrior Training Adventure weekend) take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions and hold themselves accountable to others.

New Warrior core values are:

1. I create my own perception of reality.

2. My outer reality exists as a reflection of my inner world.

3. Higher states of consciousness exist and reflect greater abilities to manifest my inner reality.

4. Higher states of consciousness embody a life of service, compassion and unconditional love.

5. My work towards higher consciousness starts within.

6. My inner work begins with awareness of feelings that become the doorway for discovering and owning my shadows and wounds. (Emotional literacy.)

7. Healing of my wounds comes from releasing my judgments and forgiving from my heart.

8. My personal life mission becomes my guiding force that transcends my wounds and moves me beyond healing into joyous service.

9. I take personal responsibility and am accountable for living in integrity with my mission.

An open men's circle meets each Tuesday evening in Pagosa Springs. Any man interested in taking a closer look at himself and improving his relationship with others is welcome.

For more information about New Warriors call Steve Sewell, 264-4816 or John Gwin, 731-9666.


Hospice of Mercy sets annual Gathering of Remembrance

Hospice of Mercy is holding its annual Gathering of Remembrance Memorial Service at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 13 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

The Gathering of Remembrance is a service of celebration in memory of loved ones who are no longer with us. The service offers a time of reflection and features music and inspirational words.

Those attending will be invited to write a personal tribute on a paper ornament supplied by Hospice. These ornaments will be displayed on the Tree of Lights, a Hospice memorial tree located in the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Donations are appreciated, but not required in order to participate in the service.

Contact the Hospice of Mercy office for additional information or to make a donation (970) 382-2000.


Community Center News

Community center ready for holiday events

By Becky Herman

PREVIEW Columnist

Holiday decorations are going up all around the center; we're stringing lights, and Mercy is working on the plans for the Festival of Trees.

There are still a few openings for anyone who would like to sponsor a tree. Your decorated tree will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to any non-profit organization of your choice. Call Mercy at 264-4152 if you are interested in being a sponsor.

After the trees have been on public display for several days (Dec. 6-8 from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.), they will be auctioned off on Friday, Dec. 8. The party that evening costs $15 per person and begins at 6 p.m.; it will feature John Graves providing holiday music, Wildflower Catering with Amy Dunmyre and Joanne Irons doing the food and dessert, and Bill Nobles acting as tree auctioneer. The auction, by the way, starts at 8:08 p.m. There will also be a cash bar with beer and wine. The money from the auction will go to local non-profits, and the non-profit organizations will be chosen by the trees' sponsors.

This is a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays; bring the whole family to see the trees when they are being displayed. Then, get out your dressy duds and come to the party and auction for a sparkly evening of wonderful music and food - the beginning of a Pagosa holiday tradition.

Christmas show

Pick up your tickets now at the center for the Bar D Wranglers' annual Christmas Show. This is always a fun evening for both adults and kids. Adult tickets are $12 per person and tickets for children 10 and under are $5. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show will start at 7.


Yoga was developed and perfected over the centuries by philosophers and mystics in India. It is basically a method by which we increase the body's supply of energy and remove any interference to the transmission of energy throughout the body. Yoga has specialized in this subject for thousands of years, and streamlined the methods to attain this aim.

Thanks to Addie Greer who has agreed to lead the yoga class while Diana Baird takes some time off from teaching. The yoga class is held Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. 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, take a break for the holidays, and will resume Jan. 8. If the couples' group votes to continue an extra week, it will meet at 9:10 as agreed upon by members. Gerry hopes to see all of you again in January.

The beginning dance group meets at 9 before line dancing; this is a very basic class. Call Gerry for a free private introduction if 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 managing diabetes group has its regular meeting on the third Thursday of the month; the next meeting will be Jan. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The program for that evening is being planned and will be announced in the next issue of the paper.

eBay Club

Please 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

The next two Q&A sessions scheduled for this afternoon and the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 7 have been cancelled due to holiday activities at the center. Call 264-4152 if you wish to schedule an appointment with me when the Q&A sessions resume on Dec. 14.

The community center will offer two computer classes after the start of the new year. One, which will cover word processing, will use both Microsoft Word and also the open source software Openoffice Writer; cutting/copying and pasting, formatting, language and grammar tools will be covered. The other class will offer an in-depth look at spreadsheet software, specifically Microsoft Excel and Openoffice Calc. Formatting, printing address labels, and automatic calculations will be highlighted.

If you have taken the beginning class or an equivalent and wish to explore these software programs, call the center to place your name on the list. Each class will last for two sessions of two hours each. Watch this column for class dates and times.

Center hours

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

Activities this week

Today - San Juan Basin Health meeting, 7:30-9 a.m.; Over-the-Hill Hoopsters, 8-9 a.m.; C Team basketball, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; TOPS Tourism Board meeting, 4-6 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Dec. 1 - Men's open basketball, noon-1:15 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.; IHM dinner and dancing, 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Dec. 2 - TOPS Drug and Alcohol Education Program, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.; scrapbook club, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; Teen Center open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Bar D Wranglers' Christmas Show, 7-9 p.m.

Dec. 3 - 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.

Dec. 4 - Festival of Trees decorating, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 5 - Beginning computing class, 10 a.m.-noon; Festival of Trees decorating, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; yoga, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 6 - Beginning computing class for seniors, 10 a.m.-noon; Festival of Trees open for public viewing, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.; eBay Club, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Dec. 7 - Festival of Trees open for public viewing, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Teen Center open, 4-8 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club Christmas party, 6-9 p.m.

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


Senior News

Memory: Use it or lose it

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

What is memory?

Memory, the ability to retain information or to recover information about previous experiences, is a function of the brain. When we remember something, a process takes place in which our brains recover and reconstruct information about things we've done or learned.

Many studies of brain aging look at a range of cognitive abilities, beyond memory alone. Cognition includes not only remembering and forgetting, but also abstract thinking, reasoning, attention, imagination, insight, and even appreciation of beauty.

You may hear people refer to two types of memory: short-term and long-term. Short term is memory of recent knowledge and happenings, while long-term memory helps us recall events and knowledge from our pasts. Our brains also seem to have different, overlapping systems for the two primary types of memories:

- Explicit memories (also called declarative memories) are those you can recall consciously and describe verbally, such as facts, people, and places you encounter daily.

- Implicit memory (also called non-declarative memory) describes our capacity for learning skills and procedures, including those used when playing golf or dancing.

Have you ever walked into a room and forgotten what you went in for? Searched for keys that mysteriously disappeared? Or been unable to recall the name of someone you know? These moments of forgetfulness happen to everyone. After all, remembering and forgetting are perfectly normal parts of everyday life. But as we grow older, they can make us feel like we're losing our edge or even cause us to worry about Alzheimer's disease - the progressive dementia that affects four million Americans. Memory consists of a series of processes that begin when we are exposed to new information. Our brains register, encode, and - in the right conditions - store this information for later use.

Many people experience changes in cognitive abilities (memory and other intellectual functions) as they age. But research shows that how big a change varies from person to person. Scientists have also found that we can take actions to help prevent memory loss and keep our brains healthy as we age.

"Use it or lose it" is the motto to follow. Remember to keep your mind active with reading, puzzles and other stimulating activities. Come to The Den and participate in social events, conversation, and informative presentations to help keep your mind sharp!

Holiday food drive

Operation Helping Hand receives donations from the community and distributes them to families, children, and senior citizens in need during the holiday season. The Den is going to sponsor a food drive from Dec. 1-11 in support of Operation Helping Hand and a way to give back to our community. We will be accepting canned goods and non-perishable food items throughout the beginning of December. The food donation boxes will be located in the office. Please bring in a can or box of food and help those in need this holiday season.

Archuleta Roots Day

Were you born or raised in Pagosa Springs? Do you feel that your roots are here in Archuleta County?

Well, it's time to acknowledge those people with long life ties to the place that we all come home! The Den would like to recognize folks 60 and older who have lived most of their lives in Archuleta County on Archuleta Roots Day, Thursday, Nov. 30. There will be health screenings, informative presentations and materials available, and a delicious, free lunch with dessert and prizes.

To kick off the festivities for our homegrown seniors, the San Juan Health Department will conduct a blood draw clinic beginning at The Den at 10 a.m. The blood health screening will be for cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, Body Mass Index, pulseoximetry, and spirometer. Participants are asked to fast at least 12 hours for accurate results and a $15 donation is suggested.

At 11:00 a.m., join us for a Medicare presentation including information on the Medicare D program. There will be tables with helpful information on a variety of topics from diabetes to the senior center activities. At 11:30 a.m., we will be entertained with music by the talented John Graves on piano. Then, at noon, we will sit down to a lunch including roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner roll, salad bar and apple crisp for dessert, compliments of The Den, to honor those folks with Archuleta Roots (donations accepted).

We will have first, second and third prizes for those who have lived in Archuleta County the longest. Reservations were needed to join in the celebration of Archuleta Roots Day. We look forward to seeing you at The Den!

Pagosa SUN tour

Are you interested in how your local newspaper is written, printed and distributed? Are you curious about the undertakings of print media? Have you ever wondered what really happens behind the doors at The Pagosa Springs SUN? Well, for those with inquisitive minds, The Den will be taking a tour of The SUN Friday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m. Please sign up with The Den for this informative tour to learn more about our local newspaper.


The Den will attend the enjoyable and hilarious play, "Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical," by the Pagosa Music Boosters Saturday, Dec. 2, at 2 p.m. at the high school. Mother Superior and her musical sisters are hitting the stage in this holiday spinoff of the musical "Nunsense." The singing sisters work feverishly in the convent basement, preparing a Christmas special to be televised on cable. Songs include "Twelve Days Prior to Christmas," "Santa Ain't Comin' to Our House" and "We Three Kings of Orient Are Us." Sign up for tickets at The Den office by 11 a.m. tomorrow, Dec. 1, if you would like to go to this holiday musical. We have 20 tickets reserved and they are $10 each. Join us for this family favorite and spend the afternoon laughing with friends, enjoying the talent and the music, and celebrating the holiday season.

Lifelong Learning Sudoku 

Forgot to take your vitamins? Can't remember someone's last name? Or phone number? Sharpen your brain with Sudoku - a fun way to activate your mind! Learn the basics at The Den at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5. The basic instructions will be taught and then puzzles will be done as a group. Sudoku puzzles are now available everywhere - books, newspapers, Internet. Various sources of puzzles and how to select the ones you want will be discussed. Instructor Katy Deshler has been doing Sudoku puzzles for about a year. She has found that the instructions are simple, but actually completing the puzzles can be challenging. Assistance from people who do them regularly has helped her improve her ability and enjoyment of the puzzles. And she wants to assist others to get started learning Sudoku so they can also enjoy this brain-stimulating form of recreation.


Join The Den 10:30-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5 ,in the dining room for a Medicare Part D (drug plan) presentation.

Medicare's Part D (drug plan) open enrollment has begun. Now is the time to re-evaluate your current plan. Has it met your needs this year?

Medicare recommends taking this quick Rx enrollment checkup. If you are satisfied with your plan, you do not have to do anything to re-enroll. Take a few minutes now and ask yourself these three questions: 1) Cost: Will your premium and costs change in 2007? 2) Coverage: Do you need more coverage in 2007? Will the prescription drugs you take be covered by your plan in 2007? 3) Customer service: Are you satisfied with your plan's service?

Open enrollment ends Dec. 31 and coverage begins Jan 1, so any changes need to be made in December. Remember to enroll by Dec. 8 to make sure you can get the prescriptions you need Jan. 1. To help prepare for open enrollment, call The Den to make an appointment with one of the counselors to help you re-evaluate your plan. Appointments are available Mondays and Tuesdays in December. Remember, the Medicare counselors here at The Den are not only available to help you with your drug plan options, but they are also available to help you with your questions about Medicare in general.

Dance For Your Health

Dance For Your Health classes will be available at The Den Wednesdays at 10 a.m. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet, modern jazz, and jazz dance with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to work out to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. Join us at The Den and learn great dance techniques while having a fun time exercising!

Nails with Dru

Do you want to feel pampered this holiday season? Or how about some fun conversation while doing something nice for yourself? Dru Sewell, our beloved volunteer, has offered to do your nails at The Den 9:30-11 a.m. Wednesdays. You may either make an appointment or drop in for your nail treatment. Dru will trim, file and paint your nails while entertaining you with her bubbly personality!

Help others - volunteer

The December holiday season is gearing up and with it comes many charitable projects filled with the spirit of giving.

It is a wonderful time to support your neighbors and your community with volunteer service. The Den is going to give back to our community by helping Operation Helping Hand Thursday, Dec. 14, at 10 a.m. at the Extension Building located on U.S. 84 at the fairgrounds.

Operation Helping Hand distributes food, clothing and other items to those in need in our community over the holidays. The Den will help sort clothing and other donations into "something old, something new" piles so the items can then be organized into gift packages. Please sign up in The Den office by Monday, Dec. 11, to participate in volunteering and lending a helping hand to those who are less fortunate this holiday season. Carpooling is available if needed.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Nov. 30 - Archuleta Roots Day (reservations needed): health screening at 10 a.m.; Medicare presentation, 11 a.m.; music with John Graves, 11:30 a.m.; lunch served at noon.

Friday, Dec. 1 - Food drive begins at The Den. The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; tour of The Pagosa Springs SUN newspaper facility, 1 p.m.; final day to sign up to go to "Nuncrackers."

Saturday, Dec. 2 - "Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical," 2 p.m. at the high school auditorium.

Monday, Dec. 4 - 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.; Medicare counseling and enrollments by appointment.

Tuesday, Dec. 5 - Lifelong Learning Suduko class, 10 a.m.; Medicare Part D presentation, 10:30; yoga, 10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; Seeds of Learning kids visit, noon; canasta, 1 p.m.; Medicare counseling and enrollments by appointment.

Wednesday, Dec. 6 - Nails with Dru, 9:30-11 a.m.; Dance for Your Health class, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 7 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required) and $1 birthday lunch celebrations, noon.

Friday, Dec. 8 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; Seniors Inc. meeting, 1 p.m.


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.

Friday, Dec. 1 - Pasta primavera with vegetables, spaghetti noodles with meat sauce, apple and pear salad with almonds, and garlic roll.

Monday, Dec. 4 - Beef and broccoli stir-fry, steamed rice, steamed carrots, pineapple tidbits, and whole wheat bread.

Tuesday, Dec. 5 - Lemon baked fish fillet, scalloped potatoes, spinach, strawberry applesauce, and muffin.

Wednesday, Dec. 6 - Taco salad with salsa, lettuce and tomato, Spanish rice, fruit with bananas, and corn chips.

Thursday, Dec. 7 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). Lasagna, green beans, tossed salad, mixed fruit with bananas, garlic roll, and birthday cake.

Friday, Dec. 8 - Chicken and noodles, seasoned asparagus, apricots and pineapple compote, and whole wheat bread.


Veteran's Corner

Flu shots available at Durango VA clinic

By Andy Fautheree

I have been advised the Durango VA Clinic now has flu shots available for all veterans enrolled in VA Health Care. You do not need an appointment to receive a flu shot.

There is no charge or copay for this valuable benefit, and all eligible veterans are urged to participate in this program.

You can call the Durango VA Clinic at 247-2214 if you have any questions or concerns.

Emergency VAHC issues, part 1

Many veterans or their spouses ask the question, "What about emergency medical services? Will the VA pay for emergency services at a non-VA facility if I am a veteran enrolled in VAHC"?

The VA has a very strict set of guidelines for health care services outside of VA facilities. Essentially, as one VA official put it, "The VA is not a health care insurer."

It provides health care through its own facilities. In general, it does not pay for services in non-VA health care facilities except in special circumstances.

As those of us in this part of rural America know, this means we are far from the nearest full-service VA Medical Center. The local VA Clinic in Durango is outpatient services only.

Official VA information says the following:

VA provides urgent and limited emergency care in VA facilities. Emergency services also include ambulance services when deemed medically necessary. Some veterans may be eligible for reimbursement for emergency service provided by non-VA medical facilities. However, VA's ability to pay for emergency care in non-VA facilities is limited to:

Service-connected veteran

- Emergency treatment to a veteran for a service-connected condition.

Non service-connected condition

- You are enrolled in the VA Health Care System.

- You have been provided care by a VA clinician or provider within the last 24 months.

- You were provided care in a hospital emergency department or similar facility.

- You have no other form of health insurance (including Medicare, Medicaid, other state program, or other VA program.

- A VA facility is not feasibly available at the time of the emergency.

- A reasonable lay person would judge that any delay in medical attention would endanger your health or life.

- You are financially liable to the provider.

- You have no recourse against a third party.

Stabilized condition

If you are an eligible veteran, the VA will only pay for your emergency care services in a private facility until your condition is stabilized for transfer to VA. If you choose to stay beyond that point, you will be held responsible for the payment of all costs associated with your treatment.

If you are subject to VA co-payments, emergency room treatment is considered specialty care and the co-payment is $50.

Reference: 38 USC 1725, CFR 38 Chapter 1, Part 17.

Call fee service

You should contact the fee service or the admitting staff at the nearest VA facility for reimbursement or to arrange for transfer. Albuquerque VAMC Fee Service Phone number is (800) 465-8262, Ext. 4708, or contact the transfer coordinator at Ext. 5739.

Of course, you can stop by and see me with all of your emergency documents and I will be happy to assist you. Usually the emergency provider will make this contact for you. I have heard that notification is required in 48 hours, 72 hours, or in some cases 15 days. Needless to say, it should take place immediately to insure the VA requirements are met.

Medicare eligible

I think one of the key components in the above information that many VAHC enrolled veterans should be aware of, providing they meet all of the other requirements, is the provision that you cannot have any other form of health insurance. For those veterans over 65, this includes Medicare. The VA will not pay the Part B deductible for Medicare. You will most likely be responsible for those additional costs that Medicare does not pay, or any other insurer co-pay, according to VAHC officials.

Next week, we will look into more information about emergency or urgent care at non-VA facilities.

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 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

Music CDs available for checkout at the library

By Carole Howard

PREVIEW Columnist, and the library staff

When you think of CDs at the library, you probably think of books. We want to be sure you know that the library has a very fine collection of music CDs as well - all thanks to donations from generous patrons, as we have no money for music CDs in the budget.

In fact, there are more than 200 music CDs available for checkout, featuring almost every type of music you can imagine, every one of them contributed by generous people like you.

Virtually all the famous classical composers are represented. You'll find symphonies, solo pieces and chamber music by Beethoven, Berlioz, Chopin, Dvorak, Gershwin, Grieg, Hayden, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Schubert, Vivaldi and more. The collection includes some rare gems like a CD of Horowitz' 1965 Carnegie Hall concert, and opera arias by Maria Callas.

There's a nice selection of country music CDs by stars like Garth Brooks, Chris DeDoux, Waylon Jennings and Reba McEntire. There are soundtracks from movies, including "Pure Country" with George Strait and "Beaches" with Bette Midler, plus musical themes from the Miami Vice TV show.

There are pop stars like the Carpenters, Whitney Houston and Tina Turner. There are rock stars like Phil Collins, Dire Straits, Kansas and Bruce Springsteen. You'll also find Christian rock, gospel and rap - plus a 4-CD Reader's Digest Mexican music collection called "Mi Mexico Lindo."

We hope you'll take a few minutes to come by the library to see which of the music CDs appeal to you. You'll find the music collection on the side wall near the videos and DVDs.

Environmental materials: lynx and wetlands

The library has received a summary of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Southern Rockies Canada Lynx Amendment for your review. It also is available at Public comments will be accepted through a 90-day comment period starting Nov. 17.

We also have the Colorado Natural Heritage Program's final report Survey of Critical Wetlands and Riparian Areas in Archuleta County. Results confirm that our county contains areas with high biological significance and a diverse array of wetlands supporting plants, animals and plant associations. This is a valuable resource for wise land use planning on both public and private lands.

Juvenile fiction

Now available are both of Joanne DuPrau's best-selling fantasy books for young people - "The City of Ember" and its sequel, "The People of Sparks."

New fiction from best-selling authors

Charles Frazier's first novel "Cold Mountain" was a great hit that became a great movie. Now he has published "Thirteen Moons," which takes his lead character from the uncharted wilderness across the South, up and down the Mississippi, and to the urban clamor of 19th century Washington City. Richard Powers' "The Echo Maker" is a mystery set against the Platte River's massive spring migrations. Fern Michaels' latest is "Fool Me Once," about the complicated bonds of family, the things we do to preserve the ones we love, and all the unexpected love that life can bring.

Non-fiction: Genes, muscles and Roosevelt's travels

Richard Dawkins has published a 30th anniversary edition of "The Selfish Gene," a science book which caused a wave of excitement among biologists and the general public when it first was published in 1979 and still is admired today. "Strength Training: Anatomy," by Frederic Delavier, contains full-color, detailed anatomical drawings of exercises that target every major muscle group, along with full descriptions of how to perform them. ""The River of Doubt," by Candice Millard, is a fascinating account of Theodore Roosevelt's trip on the Amazon after his humiliating defeat in 1912, a terrifying adventure during which three men died and the president considered suicide.

Three knitting books

Kath Dalmeny's "World of Knitted Toys" contains a range of superb gift ideas for children and 50 delightful designs. Lise Kolstad and Tone Takle have written "Small Sweaters," containing instructions for a wide selection of knitted garments for children of all sizes, from newborn to 14 years old. "Knitting on the Road: Sock Patterns for the Traveling Knitter," by Nancy Bush, is the perfect companion for knitters on the move, as you follow the author through coastal towns and painted deserts, knitting socks she has designed with inspiration from vineyards, dances, people and places.

Thanks to our donors

Our thanks for books and materials this week go to Earle and Betty Beasley, Adelaide Greer, Bob Hogrefe, Marie Layton, Nancy Metcalf, Debbie Orechwa, Bill Pongratz, Steve and Connie Prunty, Ladonna Ramon and Patty Stoppleman. We greatly appreciate your generosity.

Honoring Robert Wilson and Kate Terry

Additional donations have been received in honor of Robert Wilson, son of long-time library volunteers Margaret and Jim Wilson, from Rodney and James Patrick Wilson, Mrs. LaVerne (Julie) Scolt and Nicki Weaver-Wilson. As well, David and Lili Pearson made a donation in memory of Kate Terry.


Arts Line

Send your questions, comments to The Artist Spirit

By Linda Strathdee

PREVIEW Columnist

We are proud to introduce a new weekly column section called "The Artist Spirit."

This segment will address your heartfelt questions about the arts. It is geared to enlighten and inform, to be sincere, and to be humorous and fun as well. This is an opportunity to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling and is a forum in which to speak out to the local art community

If you have any questions for Dear Liz Rae, e-mail attention: The Artist Spirit, or mail your questions to The Artist Spirit, PSAC, PO Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Your name is not necessary.

The Artist Spirit

Dear Liz Rae:

I paint to get a message out and make a difference. I feel like I have something to say through my art. Why aren't they getting it? Maybe I need to paint with bolder colors or a louder message in order to be understood. If only people had ears to hear then I'd feel like my art was understood. Am I expecting too much?

Ears to Hear

Dear Ears to hear:

Artists want their art to be understood. It's the nature of the creative passion in them that wants to be understood and to make a difference. However, this is a nebulous pursuit because artists do not know what others see or hear.

If your art is screaming loudly, it is not necessarily the way you want to be heard. There are too many loud noises that are piercing ears today. I don't think you really want to add to the noise. It is usually a quiet voice that will pierce the heart.

It is more important to be true to yourself than to your audience. Paint what you feel in your art. Allow the Artist Spirit in you to speak and prick the souls of others as they discover your art.

Painting boldly with confidence is not always painting with bold colors or having an obvious message. Listen to yourself! Have ears to hear your own heart, then you will be bold to paint what you feel.

Painting with a listening heart,

Liz Rae

PSAC Members Gift Shop

Two days left! The Gallery Gift Shop has many wonderful gifts crafted by local artists and artisans and will be open daily through Saturday, Dec. 2. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. As part of the Parade of Stores on Dec. 2, the gift shop will offer a warm beverage, cookies and a chance to win a door prize. We hope you will visit often and support our local talent.

Arts Council calendars

There are still 2007 Arts Council calendars available. The calendar features works from local artists Claire Goldrick, Betty Slade, Jan Brookshier, Art Franz, Diana Baird, Al Olson, Jeff Laydon, David Hunter, Barbara Rosner, Jeanine Malaney and Emily Tholberg.

Artwork exhibited includes photography, oil paintings, fabric art, watercolors and mixed media works. Calendars are available at the gallery for $9.95 plus tax for non-members and $8.95 plus tax for PSAC members. These calendars make wonderful Christmas gifts; you can pick up one (or many) when you visit the gallery gift shop.

Photography club

The photography club meets the second Wednesday of each month during the club year, from September through May. Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend at no charge for the first meeting. Any and all are invited to join for $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 the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. tonight through Saturday (with a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday). Tickets are available at the Plaid Pony (731-5262) and at the door. Tickets for "Nuncrackers" are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $6 for students and children 18 and under.

Start the new year with an art class

PSAC has begun to develop its 2007 workshop schedule with the first classes being 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.

PSAC open house

On Jan. 18, PSAC will hold an open house 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 members to accomplish in 2007 and beyond.


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 Dec. 2 - PSAC Members Gift Shop.

Tonight -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

Pay heed: temperature, darkness, stillness, humidity

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The holidays are upon us. There are parties to attend, meals to prepare and informal gatherings with friends and family.

For wine lovers, the holidays mark a time to splurge, a time to uncork those gems stashed in the cellar years ago for some future Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's Eve celebration.

Unfortunately, and perhaps contrary to our expectations, not everything stashed will have aged gracefully. And in some cases, we've actually done ourselves a disservice by laying down a bottle that should have been drunk in the prime of its youth and at the peak of its powers. A recent, early-Thanksgiving visit with my brother became a case in point.

Until a recent move to California, my brother and his family have lived most of the last decade in Spain. During their time there and while traveling throughout Western Europe he amassed a solid wine collection - much of it, he would later learn, daily drinking material from Mediterranean countries with a few collectibles thrown in the mix. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to him when he purchased the wines, most were not meant for aging. They were meant to be drunk immediately or soon after bottling. But in his mind, when you buy wine, you lay it down, but this is not always the case.

On a visit last year, he asked me to assess and organize his collection. I gladly agreed, and after a quick study, organized the cabinet, placing and at the top, and within easy reach, those wines that were in desperate need of drinking - mostly simple white and red table wines from Spain and Greece - that I was sure were already well past their prime. The next tier down included a collection of reserve Riojas from various vintages, and at the bottom sherries, Madeiras and Ports.

When I arrived this year, it was clear he hadn't made much headway into drinking those facing imminent doom, and I was further dismayed when I saw he had moved his open-sided, wrought iron Andalucian wine rack into the center of the kitchen. Although eye-catching and a conversation piece, the rack's placement in the middle of the room made its precious contents bear the full brunt of the afternoon sun, the heat of cooking - it was just a few feet from the oven - and a plethora of cooking related odors. In short, a risky location for one's prized stash. Nevertheless, we dove in.

Our first stop was a 1997 reserve Rioja - a good vintage by Spanish Denominación de Origen standards - and a wine with enough guts, due to a solid tempranillo backbone, that it should have survived its nine-year journey with relative ease. Reserve Rioja from good vintages should age comfortably for five to eight years, perhaps 10 if stored properly, but proper storage is the key. We paired the wine with heavily peppered steaks and roasted potatoes and trimmed the foil with anticipation. With the cork pulled, I poured two tastes, and watched as juice the color of rusty rainwater dribbled into our glasses. At nine years, the Rioja should have shown its age, but this wine, with its murky brown hues, looked beat. It looked like it had been microwaved, The words "Damaged Goods" should have been scrawled across the bottle. I smelled, and despite my better judgement, tasted. It filled the mouth with a flavor like chewing a handful of raisins soaked in water and isopropyl rubbing alcohol combined with odd hints of oak. It was clearly past its prime. We poured a bit more in each glass and let the wine sit. I was curious how it might change through the course of the evening. In the end, it never improved.

Our next stop was a 2004 wine perched near the top of the cabinet from Spain's Penedès region. Penedès is located southwest of Barcelona in Catalonia, an area famous for bone dry, sparkling Cava. Although whites, particularly sparklers, are generally the region's showpieces, Penedès, particularly the Alt Penedès, or Penedès Superior area, has established itself as a competent producer of quality red wines crafted from garnacha tinta (grenache), carinena (carignane), tempranillo and cabernet sauvignon. Typically the wines are well-muscled and robust, and although not typically strong candidates for extended bottle aging, the bottle in question should have made it easily beyond the two-year mark. Sadly, it didn't. Like the Rioja, the Penedès looked weary for the road, aged far beyond a reasonable expectation of its years and abused. Murky, washed out, brown and uneven in color and with an acrid nose and incredible alcohol heat, the wine was undrinkable. We poured it down the sink.

With two strikes tallied, and uncanny similarities in the problems found common between the two bottles, I wanted to open others on the rack to check their condition. In the end, we limited ourselves to the two, and drove to Paso Robles for some fresh juice instead. Yet, despite a trunk packed with ice and full of wine bottles, I couldn't let the issue of the wine cabinet in the kitchen lie. Something had gone terribly wrong. I queried my brother. When did they move from Spain? Summer or winter? How and where did they store their wines when they lived overseas? Who packed his wine collection? How was it shipped between Spain and California? How long had the cabinet been sitting in the middle of the kitchen?

After hearing the answers, and in light of what I had observed with the two Spanish reds, heat appeared to have killed both, and quite possibly most of his collection, prematurely. And heat is the most critical factor those intent on keeping wine for any length of time must learn to control. And secondly, wine buyers must know what wines can tolerate aging, what a particular wine's aging potential might be. And foremost, they must be able to differentiate between the collectibles and the daily drinkers.

While a discussion of aging, a wine's potential to do so, and basic bottle assessment techniques could consume an entire column, a discussion of temperature and basic wine storage can be tackled in brief.

First, temperature is a killer. Thus, wines must be stored somewhere between 41 and 64 degrees, with an ideal median range of 50 to 55 degrees. Secondly, the temperature of the storage area, whether it be an underground cellar, bedroom closet, mini-refrigerator or old armoire, must not fluctuate greatly. In fact, more important than actual temperature is the range through which the temperature fluctuates. And more important still is the frequency of the fluctuation. For example, daily, or even weekly, 10 degree temperature fluctuations don't bode well for a wine's future, while 10 degree fluctuations over the long term, such as between seasons, are much less of a problem. Therefore, you're better off storing wines in a location where the temperature remains fairly constant, even if the average temperature seems too high or too low.

After temperature, three key factors remain: darkness, stillness and humidity. Bright light, both artificial and natural will ultimately harm those bottles stashed away for that special occasion in the future. In addition, keeping wines still and in a location free of vibration and jostling will help them age gracefully. And lastly humidity. Ideally, cellars or storage areas should be kept at 75 to 80 percent relative humidity.

Keeping wines still, in a dark location and at a constant temperature within the proper ranges will help keep both the daily drinkers and the collectibles at their best until it's time to pull the cork. And while proper storage may simply be a matter of common sense, learning what to drink upon purchase and what to cellar takes time and study. For now, let it suffice to say that I am moving my 2003 Cahors to the top of the rack, and will enjoy them over the holidays with friends and family.


Food for Thought

Holiday entertaining in Siberia With a View - keep it simple

By Karl Isberg

Bitsy and Chad are throwing a party, at the second home, in Aspen. Or is it Stowe? Or, maybe Tahoe?

Everybody's there: Maguy and Kip, Muffy and Tad, Emmanuelle and Denis. They're driving up from the city in the Bentley. It's the first big bash of the winter and no one wants to be left out.

Look, over there, in the spacious hotel-size kitchen: Bitsy and Chad are posed next to their kitchen island. They look great! Take a glance through the gigantic, two-story window. It's snowing! Really big flakes!

The kitchen island is the size of a basketball court. Emmanuelle, Muffy and Maguy are on one side of the island, next to one of six sinks, gently ripping rocket and arugula, squeezing blood oranges for a spectacular dressing Maguy first sampled as a child at the country home in Provence. Kip and Tad are on the other side of the island, sipping Chateau Routas, Rouviere, Coteaux Varois and everybody is smiling like they've tripled their doses of Zoloft and popped a couple Benzedrine, producing the smoothest speedball of the century. The scene is perfect; the people are flawless, Type-A, ultra-successful, competent, never damp.

What's on the menu?

Oh heck, nothing special: spinach and ricotta turnovers with several dipping sauces, a choice of herbed, roasted chicken or pork tenderloin with roasted red peppers, a ratatouille incorporating esoteric vegetables delivered overnight from Croatia, two berry clafoutis, homemade pistachio ice cream - all chased with a Saint Jean de Minervois, muscat, Languedoc.


Remind you of some of your get-togethers?

Of course not.

This is a cooking magazine party.

I know these occasions well. I read about them in the cooking magazines at the grocery store, poring over every word, every photo - until Rusty, the manager, tells me to either purchase the magazine or put it back on the rack and move along.

Turn to page 124. There's Sidney and George hosting a group of 14 friends from the club. Hurry, everyone's gathered down the hill from the main house; they're waxing their cross country skis and getting ready for a post-dinner, full moon ski tour. With water crackers and three cheeses.

What fun!

Back in the house, Fordyce and Celeste are relaxing on a settee, wetting their whistles before diving into a massive platter loaded with crisp-fried fruits de mer, with aioli. Fordyce is grinning like a man with a hamster in his trousers. Jacques and Euphrasia and Georg and Magda have kicked off their snow boots, rolled up their pantlegs and are starting a fire (with logs from the few cedars left in Lebanon) in the huge, stone fireplace. They're thrilled by the prospect of tying into crostini with sun-dried tomato and a shrimp phylo purse with chermoula sauce. What better intro to Sidney's fabulous sauteed veal with shrimp, mushroom and brandy cream sauce?


It's ideal.

That's why everyone is so darned happy.

Turn the pages, read the captions:

"Sue serves her bouillabaisse to guests, while Steve and Earnest arrive bearing bouquets of roses, fresh cut, from the greenhouse."

Ah, yes, the greenhouse.

"Service with a smile: Claudette offers up a second helping of pear and walnut galette while Simon entertains with some Gershwin standards on the baby grand."

"When dinner is served, everyone moves to one of three tables at the corner of kitchen area where ornate Turkish dinnerware and an elaborate centerpiece add to the festive mood of the occasion."

Sound familiar?

Not in a million years.

Cooking magazines and these insidious, engineered photo spreads showing a bloated leisure class overindulging an inflated sense of sophistication are totally out of tune with our rural party reality here in Siberia With a View - here in the comfy, though sometimes crusty crook of the southern arm of the San Juans. Come to think of it, it's out of touch with just about anyone's party reality, unless they spend most of their waking hours with imaginary friends.

It's not bad enough these goofballs are foisted on a magazine's wage-slave readers as being typical, but the scam is a lie on several other levels as well.

First, the hosts, hostesses and guests we see in the magazines ARE NOT REAL.

Fordyce and Celeste, Jacques and Euphrasia, Muffy and Maguy - they're rentals. That's right, they are rented at a shop that stocks rack after rack of simpering geeks with perfect teeth, available for food magazine photo shoots. All the kids frolicking in the photos of family food fests - little Chad III, Mercedes, Cyrus, Clark and Hyacinth - are rented by the hour then returned to the shop to be placed in cold storage. They are kept at a temperature that prevents them from maturing.

Second, the food IS NOT REAL. All the foods held oh-so-daintily by the rented partygoers is fake. The cassoulet, the gratin, the leg of lamb, the galette, the cheeses and fruits - all fake, all facsimiles carved from blocks of space-age polymers and hand-painted by underage and poorly-paid craftsmen in Bangladesh. It's trompe d'oeil, museum quality stuff. There's some mighty good work done in Indian subcontinent sweatshops.

Third, there is no indication in the magazines of the profound potential for pathos in a situation where host and hostess overreach their ability. In the magazines, no one craps out. But these phony spreads certainly urge the gullible reader to do so. Follow the party road map set out in these articles, and a trip to Disaster City is certain.

Few things are as gut-wrenchingly poignant as a bomb of a party, (ecce homo), but you never see this in a cooking magazine. It's awful when no one accepts the invitation; but in the magazine universe, everyone replies, everyone attends. It is terrible when plenty of people arrive and the affair falls flat on its face under the weight of overarching aspirations left unfulfilled in a pot full of burned goo.

Not at Bitsy's place, no sir. And Bitsy's triumph is the siren's call.

Finally there is no hint that, in order to have a food frolic with a group, you must lessen the ordeal by simplifying preparation, trimming the menu, cutting labor. The more complex the enterprise, the greater the potential for disaster. Work should be spread over the course of a couple of sessions, on different days, to allow for a leisurely approach to the party port. The menu should be somewhat austere, liquid refreshment plentiful.

Remember this as the holiday season approaches and the urge to throw a party grows like mold in a flooded basement.

Anything more than the simple approach masks a deficit of good sense, maybe something worse. The desire to be Bitsy and Chad is a sickness, born of the illusions engendered by a life of untrammeled plenty. Please, dear reader, remember Bitsy and Chad do not exist outside the pages of these infernal cooking magazines and, if they did, they should be delivered to a mob of frenzied Pashtuns and pulled around a dusty field behind a battered Toyota pickup truck as a lesson to others who might be inclined to adopt the lifestyle.

This is not to say a party or a small holiday dinner is out of the question.

Nosiree. Not even here in Siberia with a View.

Winter is here, and it is a fine time to consider a social occasion, inviting some friends to the house for food and camaraderie - something to fight the chill, something to fill the long dark hours that otherwise propel those with Nordic genes into a deep depression.

Just play it tight to the vest. Never forget: Few of us are working with a Wolf six-burner with grill and two ovens; we're doing the job on a rusting Kenmore, with four burners max, and an oven that does not heat evenly. We're using nonstick pans that look like the surface of an NHL ice rink at the end of two overtime periods.

In terms of guests, you can opt for comfort and invite old friends whose stories you've memorized, whose habits you know as well as your own; there is comfort in this approach that is unequaled - as well as an entropy that is stultifying. Instead, you can invite a covey of folks who otherwise would not meet and socialize. Consider it a science fair project. Keep the numbers down, mix the elements; form a hypothesis, observe, take notes.

And make the food simple; save the special, ornate goodies for you and the dog. And never try anything new.

With cold weather at hand, you'll need something hefty. A major dose of protein - long-cooked, one of all manner of braises, perhaps - and a serious wad o'starch. How about a carbonnade all beefy good and doused with hoppy beer? Or coq au vin, or pork tenderloins braised with onions, garlic and chiles? There's a ton of options, all blessed by long cooking in a slow oven, all filling the abode with neato aromas. And all of them go great with wine.

For starters, whip up a tapenade for munching with crudités and crusty bread.

Tapenade is easy. Oil-cured olives, anchovies, brined capers with some of the brine, garlic and olive oil all mushed together in the processor the day before (unless, like Bitsy, you have a Salvadoran cook who does the work with mortar and pestle) and left in the fridge so the flavors have time to marry. Use black or green olives. Or try a version using each. Goes great with wine.

Don't skimp on salads, or saladlike starters, but put some muscle on 'em. How about roasted beets, nested on some simply-dressed, teeny greens and topped with a round of warm goat cheese? A dose of chopped pecans on top, eh? Goes great with wine

Did I mention wine? Steer clear of the flimsy whites. I'm convinced most whites were created for weak-minded people or, at the very best, produced for extra-hot weather conditions wherein some folks might be prone to a case of the vapors. It's winter, so crack some muscular reds before the guests arrive and let the wines open up; you want them snarling by the time you drink them.

Provide things to nibble while the guests partake of the vino. Keep pouring, get the conversation lubed and up to speed. If you've done your prep work sufficiently ahead of time, you can keep as many burners on the Kenmore as cool as possible; there's less chance to destroy something that way, especially after the third or fourth bottle of wine.

Adopt the same approach with the geegaws that gussy up the old homestead. If you need to radically transform your living space in order to entertain without leaving guests aghast, do as I do - don't entertain. Otherwise, keep the cleaning and festive decorations to a minimum. This too will preserve your energy.

If you simplify your preparations this holiday season, when Dex and Vibrata arrive in the Lamborghini, you'll have plenty of time to wax their skis before you eat.


Extension Viewpoints

4-H holiday party tomorrow

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Dec. 1 - 2:15 p.m., Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting.

Dec. 1 - 6-9 p.m., 4-H holiday party.

Red Books are here

The 2007 Integrated Resource Management Red Books are now available at the Extension Office for $5.

These books contain gestation tables, death loss code, salving ease score, pasture usage, breeding & herd management information, tables and places to record information along with a yearly calendar and place for address or phone numbers.

4-H holiday party

Archuleta County 4-H will have its Cowboy Country Holiday party 6-9 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 1. 4-Hers planning to attend are encourage to bring a side dish to go with the barbecue.

There will be some games, a DJ with loads of country music, even a cake walk. Make sure to wear your cowboy boots and learn some great country line dances. We will be wrapping boxes for Operation Helping Hand and enrolling latecomers in 4-H. Come out and enjoy the fun of 4-H.

Minimize holiday frazzles

Although we look forward to the holidays, many of us wonder how we can fit holiday decorating, sending cards, baking and preparing special dishes, shopping for just-the-right gifts, attending parties and entertaining into our already busy lives.

We often find ourselves exhausted, grouchy and sometimes with a few extra pounds because we get frazzled at this time of year. Consider these ideas to help you stay on track.

Try to keep your everyday routine on track as much as possible and you'll be less likely to gain weight during the holidays. A study done by the National Institute of Health found that American adults gain an average of 0.4 to 1.8 pounds each year between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. If you can't fit in your usual exercise routine, modify it and just do ... something. Exercise is a stress reducer all by itself as well as an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Whether or not you currently have an exercise routine, walking is always a good choice and doesn't require special gear other than good shoes. Go to the mall early and start your shopping trip with a brisk walk before you're weighed down with packages. Twenty minutes of walking can burn 100 calories for a 150-pound person. That translates into an hour of brisk walking to burn the calories in a slice of pumpkin pie.

All those festive get-togethers that include food - and typically lots of it - can contribute unwanted pounds. Set a few ground rules for yourself. Don't skip meals or go to a party hungry. Have a healthy snack before you leave. If you drink alcohol, try a wine spritzer, which dilutes the alcohol calories with club soda. When the hostess asks you to bring something to share, choose a healthy dish. You can count on plenty of other fun food already there. Eat away from the buffet table to avoid refilling your plate. Remember that it's the first few bites that taste the best.

Plan ahead whenever you can. Look to see how many days or hours are required for your turkey to thaw completely. A friend shared her disappointment with me when she discovered she had served a beautiful golden roasted turkey that was still frozen on the inside. To ensure this doesn't happen to you, check out tips from the National Turkey Federation at If you've been asked to donate cookies, select a favorite holiday recipe, double it, and pop the extras in the freezer to share with friends and family. Put your dinner in the crock pot to cook all day while you're shopping.

Since we spend more time in the grocery store over the holiday season shopping for ingredients for special recipes, take the opportunity to stock up on fresh fruits and veggies to keep on hand for snacking instead of reaching in the cookie jar or snack cupboard. If you're off to the mall, take along a fresh pear or apple for snacking to avoid the food court's higher calorie choices.

Add the word "simplify" to your holiday vocabulary. Look in your phone book for companies that provide menus and ingredients for you to assemble make-ahead meals to keep in your freezer. The process usually only requires a few hours of your time, is reasonably priced compared to eating out, and saves lots of time when you factor in menu planning, grocery shopping, food preparation and clean up.

When you just can't figure out how to fit in that last task on your to-do list, consider eliminating it. Striving for perfection often is the root of stress. It's okay not to make all the varieties of holiday cookies you usually do. Purchased yeast rolls can substitute for homemade rolls and save you time. Ask those coming to your party or holiday dinner to bring a favorite dish.

Finally, consider planning a little extra in your holiday budget to pamper yourself to minimize the frazzle factor. Have your groceries delivered or hire a personal trainer for a few exercise sessions to help keep you on track. The important thing is to keep everything in perspective. Make camaraderie more important than the perfect menu, gift or decoration.


Pagosa Lakes News

Nude yoga? Not in the foreseeable future

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Jogging and walking are catching on in India, but few places can match the zeal and camaraderie found in Indian parks.

In other parts of the world, fitness is a grueling, lonely experience, with iPods or perhaps a dog for company. But in India, there's little that's personal about personal fitness. And here I speak from personal experience. While visiting India, working out was quite a family outing - with my Rotarian host, his wife, their five children, grandmother, brothers, cousins, and family relations only Indians could invent. The servants too came along to provide chilled refreshments.

Shutting myself off with an iPod would have been unthinkable. The older family relations came to watch and to support from their perch on the park bench. A personal trainer would have been redundant when everybody is interested in the pace of my exercise. "Why are you going so slowly?" the cousin asks. Grandmother comes to by defense: "It's her eighth round, that's why."

Some women wear salwar kameezes, knee-length Indian tunics with loose pants. Other sport track pants and tees. One or two can't leave their burqas behind for religious reasons. Some wear saris. They don't jog; they just walk briskly. But in one group, the women, clad in the six yards of flowing cloth that define a sari, bravely execute jumping jacks. Wardrobe malfunctions seem imminent. But the ladies transcend their sartorial limitations, their tennis shoes flashing as they leap.

The concern for modesty rubs off on men as well. They're attired mostly in baggy shorts and tees, though some wear slacks. One or two are wrapped in an Indian white dhoti, the costume favored by Gandhi.

These people have come to a wooded haven in the heart of a congested city to walk and jog - minus any contour-hugging lycra or spandex.

Now let's travel to a different country, different culture.

The "One Taste Urban Retreat Center" in San Francisco, for more than a year now, has been offering 90-minute coed yoga classes on Sundays that are open to the public and generally attract 30-60 students. But, in this case, practicing yoga at One Taste goes well beyond calming one's mind and centering one's body. The ancient discipline has become even more liberating - from, for example, clothes.

Nude yoga is one of the latest permutations in mind/body programs. I like to think of it as stripped-down yoga program - currently still not available at the recreation center. In truth, nude yoga, in my humble opinion, would create so much distraction that it would be most difficult to stay centered. I don't believe nude yoga will be offered at the recreation center any time soon.



Ernest Jones

Ernest O. "Curly" Jones, 83, of Pagosa Springs, Colo., died Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006, at Mercy Regional Medical Center in Durango, Colo. He was born Feb. 1, 1923, in Atlanta, Ga.

After graduating from Emory University, he began a career in the U.S. Army that ended with his retirement in 1968 at the rank of Lt. Colonel. He began a second career as a radiation physicist, taught at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., and retired for a second time in 1990. He moved to Pagosa Springs to enjoy his retirement.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Dorothy (Berg) Jones, of Pagosa Springs; his son Michael Jones, wife Judy, of Bloomington, Minn.; his daughter, Jacquelyn Hanks, husband Robert, of Fairfield, Ohio; his sister, Laura Allgood, husband Charles, of Dalton, Ga.; his granddaughters, Heather Allen, Jennifer Lewis, Kathryn Dahlen, Stacy Caton, Ann E. Hanks and Melissa Jones; and his six great-grandchildren.

A memorial service was held Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, at the Community United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Community United Methodist Church Building Fund, P.O. Box 300, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, or to Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs, P.O. Box 385, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.


Bruce Keep

Bruce Delbert Keep, age 52, of Pagosa Springs, Colo., passed away on Nov. 16, 2006, at his home. He was born May 21, 1954, in Albion, Nebraska, the son of William F. and Wilma Jean (Simmerman) Keep.

Bruce graduated from the Ogallala High School in 1972. He had lived in Wayzata, Minn., prior to moving to Vail, Colo., where he was engaged in photography, fly fishing and guiding. Bruce also worked in many of the finest restaurants in the Vail area.

Bruce was a cofounder of a Trout Unlimited chapter in Eagle, Colorado, and was a vigorous supporter of the catch and release program in order to ensure future generations would be able to enjoy the sport of fly fishing. Bruce also loved children and as a teenager, taught swimming lessons to disabled kids. One of his greatest joys was teaching his nieces and nephews to appreciate the wonder and beautify of nature. He was most at peace fishing on the Eagle River in Colorado.

Survivors include his mother, Wilma Jean Keep of Ogallala; three sisters, Leah (Dean) Schow of Paxton, Michelle (Mark) Lautenschlager of Longmont, and Lisa (Tad) Gray of Corona, Calif.; one brother, Rex (Carolyn) Keep of Edwards, Colo.; nieces and nephews, Kyle (Cheryl) Schow and family, Kevin (Kim) Schow and family, Korey (Roxy) Schow and family, Chase Keep, Taylor Keep, Megan Lautenschlager, Spenser Gray, Caitlin Gray and Hunter Gray; a host of aunts, uncles and cousins, and his closest friends, Chuck and Jackie McGuire of Pagosa Springs.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Delbert and Lora Simmerman and William and Vera Keep; his father, William F. Keep; and a niece, Mathison Page Knox-Keep.

Cremation was chosen and a memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.


Michael Valdez

Michael Joseph Valdez, 22, died Nov. 22 at the Valdez Ranch in Coyote Park, south of Pagosa Springs.

Michael, the son of Arthur A. and Dorothy A. Valdez, was born in Durango Feb. 8, 1985, and lived in Pagosa until he moved to Glenwood Springs in July 2006. He graduated from Pagosa Springs High School and from Mesa State College, in Grand Junction. He worked for Holy Cross Energy, in Glenwood Springs.

Michael loved the outdoors, sports, hunting, rodeoing, snowmobiling and spending time with friends and family. He was a member of the Catholic Church.

Michael is survived by his parents; grandfather Joe Mave Valdez of Pagosa Springs; brother Lawrence Valdez and sister-in-law Mary Valdez, of Lindale, Texas; brother Leon Valdez, of Allison, Colo.; sister Shanda House and brother-in-law Mike House, of Allison; brother Troy Valdez, of Coyote Park; brother Daniel Valdez and sister-in-law Hanna, of Pagosa Springs; sister Beatrice Quintana, of Alamosa. He is also survived by his girlfriend, Brittany Turley, and by aunts, uncles and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Bill and Ida Lindsey, fraternal grandmother Josey Valdez, and brother Adam Jimmy Valdez.

A funeral service was held in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium Tuesday, Nov. 28. 2006, with burial at Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.


Robert A. Wilson

Bob Wilson passed away at his home in Pagosa Springs Saturday, Nov. 25. Bob had been suffering health problems for the past 2 1/2 years, first with kidney stones, Type 2 diabetes, and then with spinal stenosis and more terrible pain. He then had a heart attack the last of October and was hospitalized. Because he started doing better and had stabilized, he was released to come home on Nov. 3. He continued to improve and appeared to be on the road to recovery. But then, Saturday morning, he came down with a "stomach flu," and that seemed to be the last straw for his weakened heart. That afternoon, he was able to go to sleep but never awakened. God had decided to take him to heaven and end his suffering.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Omar and Ollie, by his first wife, LaVina, and by his youngest brother, Jerry. Bob is survived by his caregiver and loving wife, Betty. He is also survived by his daughter, Lisa Fitzgerald, of Bakersfield, Calif; a brother, Don, of Tampa, Fla.; a brother, Bill, of Apache Junction, Ariz.; and a sister, Joyce Rousch, of Cincinnati, Ohio.

He was born Dec. 28, 1932, in Williamstown, Ky. The Wilson family then moved to a farm north of Cincinnati. After graduating from high school, Bob served in the Air Force and then attended universities in Florida and California to earn degrees in engineering.

He then went to work for the Department of Defense and was assigned to work for the Navy at China Lake, a Naval Aeronautics and Weapons Center in California, as a mechanical and aeronautical engineer. He worked there for 24 years before taking early retirement because of heart problems. Bob looked at various locations throughout the West for a good place to live during his retirement years. It just so happened that he decided on Las Cruces, N.M., and bought a home across the street from a widow named Betty Hoffman, who worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center White Sands Test Facility. They became good friends, and after Betty retired, they decided to get married. After four years of fun traveling, they decided to move to beautiful Pagosa Springs where they lived for the next 6 1/2 years in their home on one of the lakes with a beautiful view of the lake and mountains.

At Bob's request, there will be no funeral or formal services for him. He will be cremated and his ashes scattered over a special area near Ridgecrest, Calif., where he lived for so many years. Betty and some of his relatives and former co-workers will meet there to scatter those ashes sometime during the Christmas holiday.


Harold Elmer Schutz

Harold Elmer Schutz, 86, died Sunday, November 26, 2006, at his home in Chromo, Colo. A memorial service will be held Saturday, December 2, 2006, at 1 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs, and Rev. Don Strait will be officiating. Cremation will occur at Hood Mortuary Crematory in Durango.

Mr. Schutz was born May 9, 1920, in Aztec, New Mexico, the son of Don and Lena Schutz. He married Ruth Ellen Schutz on August 16, 1942, at Long Beach, California. Harold was a rancher in Chromo. He was an avid golfer and fisherman. As a matter of fact, he is on record as having made the very first hole-in-one ever scored on a hole at the Pagosa Golf Club, in Pagosa Springs, on July 1, 1979.

Mr. Schutz was well-known for raising quality foundation bred quarterhorses and he was a member of the American Quarterhorse Association for 55 years. In addition, He received the American Quarterhorse Association Legacy Award in 2005 for registering colts every year for 50 years. He was president of the American Quarterhorse Association in Durango and was an AQHA judge. Harold was an Archuleta County Commissioner for 16 years and Colorado County Commissioner of the Year in 1982. He was President of the Western interstate County Commissioners Region for the National Association of Counties. Mr. Schutz received the Western Heritage Service Award presented by Durango Pro Rodeo Series of Colorado on July 12, 2000. He was a Veteran of WW II and past member of the Rotary Club.

He is survived by Ruth Schutz (spouse) of Chromo; Dick and Sherry Schutz (nephew and spouse) of Chromo; Don and Mary Schutz (nephew and spouse) of Wagon Mound, N.M.: Dennis Schutz and Michelle Tate (nephew and spouse) of Chromo; Steve and Lyn Hubbs (nephew and spouse) of Fallbrook, Calif.; and Randy and Sharon Hubbs (nephew and spouse) of Durango, Colo.

Contributions may be made to Upper San Juan Health Service District, Account for Chromo QRV, 189 N. Pagosa Blvd., Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. On memo of check, please write in: "For Chromo QRV."


O'Mickia Wainwright

O'Mickia Loventrice "Micki" Wainwright, 50, died Tuesday, November 14, 2006, at her home in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Services took place Wednesday, Nov. 22, at 10:30 a.m. at Miles Mortuary Services, 4001 E. 9th Ave., Winfield, Kan., and burial followed at Highland Cemetery in Winfield.

Mrs. Wainwright was born July 10, 1956 in Hoisington, Kans. the daughter of Wilber and Lela Bright. Mrs. Wainwright grew up in McPherson, Kan., and graduated from Hutchinson High School in Kansas, and she attended two years of junior college also in Kansas before entering the working world.

She was married to James W. Wainwright on June 8, 1993, in Dallas, Texas. She worked for Southland Corporation (home office of 7-11 Convenience Stores) for 17 years in management. She traveled to diverse and exotic store locations around the world and excelled at her position in managing systems information. Her family relocated to Pagosa Springs, Colo., from Dallas on Aug. 10, 2002, after 23 years in Texas.

Mrs. Wainwright fought cancer for 3 1/2 years and was actively living until the last week when her illness overtook her health.

She was involved in arts and crafts projects and she was an avid crotchetier. In high school she participated in singing events at the state level. She was musically gifted and performed in a ladies musical group in Pagosa and was involved in church choirs where she was living.

She was a very disciplined person.

She is survived by her husband: Jim Wainwright, of Pagosa Springs; a daughter, Stephanie Hoyer and husband John, Fayetteville, Ga.; a stepson, Scott Wainwright and significant other Jennifer Lake, Highlands Ranch, Colo.; her parents Wilbur and Lela Bright, of Winfield; a sister, Melinda Olive and family, Dallas; her grandmother: Meda Wolfe, Grenola, Kans; one grandson, Dylan Wainwright, of Denver; and numerous other aunts, uncles and cousins.


 Business News

Chamber News

Start the holidays with Christmas in Pagosa

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

Let's go shopping!

Not that we can't or don't want to do that all year long, but there are just those "special" shopping days. One of those shopping extravaganza days comes Saturday, when over 50 stores across town join together to host the Parade of Stores.

The town will be arranged into three shopping districts: the west side from Vista Drive down Put Hill to Pike and Gold Mine drives.; the downtown district from 8th to 4th streets; and the east side/River Center area from 3rd Street to the River Center.

While shopping, you can get a merchant card in any of the districts and, once you have a certain number of stamps on your card, you are eligible to enter a drawing with gifts from each of the participating stores.

Look for the bright poster in store windows indicating a merchant is a Parade of Stores participant. Some of the stores are offering more than one prize, so with over 50 stores participating, you have many chances to win great gifts or gift certificates.

The stores are also going all out to offer great deals, specials, open houses, and snacks and beverages for the shoppers. This is a great time to start your holiday shopping and rediscover the wonderful stores Pagosa has to offer. Even big items such as electronics, sewing machines, furniture, spas, snowmobiles, skate boards, bicycles and ski equipment will be available at our many shops. The west side of town will stamp cards from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The downtown and east-side districts will stamp cards from 2 to 6.

During the day on Dec. 2, there will be a matinee performance of "Nuncrackers" at 2 p.m. at the high school. Then, at 3 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will make their annual stop at the Visitor Center, the visit lasting until 5:30 p.m. Cookies, punch, hot drinks and giveaways will be available for children of all ages. Pagosa Photography will be on hand, as usual, to produce that magical photo for a great Christmas card stuffer.

At around 5:30 p.m., thanks to Mike Alley with La Plata Electric and Jim Backus with Backus Electric, the star on Reservoir Hill and the cross on the east end of town will kick off the community lighting. This will also be the signal for the fire truck provided by the Pagosa Fire Protection District to move from 6th Street on to San Juan Street and drive slowly through town with lights and intermittent siren alerting businesses and homes to turn on their holiday lights. This procession will continue all the way to the River Center. More major lighting displays such as those at The Springs Resort, various town lights and, of course, at the Visitor Center will follow the sequence. We hope that shoppers and restaurant patrons will enjoy and participate in this first community lighting. Let's see if we can make the lighting wave happen and have some fun!

But wait ... the festivities are not over yet. Saturday evening will see performances of "Nuncrackers" at 7:30 p.m. at the high school and by the Bar D Wranglers at the Christmas Jubilee at the community center at 7 p.m. I'm sure there will also be many holiday parties in the works as well.

We encourage everyone to make this first Saturday in December a fun-filled Christmas in Pagosa. We have so much to offer in our community, and this day highlights all the involvement and activities that make us a community, not just someplace to live! For more information about the Parade of Stores or community lighting, call us at the Chamber at 264-2360.

Business lighting contest

Here's a "heads-up" to our local businesses: there will be a holiday business/commercial lighting contest this year.

Thanks to the generosity and sponsorship of Colorado Dream Homes, we will have an outdoor business decorating contest. Details will be revealed in next week's SUN.

Judging will take place Dec. 15-16 and the prizes will range from $750 for first place to numerous $50 honorable mentions awards.

Businesses will need to enter the contest, and forms will be available at the Chamber starting Dec. 1, you can e-mail your entry. We appreciate the involvement of Colorado Dream Homes and thank them for their generous sponsorship. We look forward to all the businesses "lighting up." Don't wait until Dec. 15; if your business is located downtown and or on the east end of town, you could be ready for the Community Lighting on Dec. 2.

Russ Hill

Memorial Bazaar

You had to order your fresh wreath or table arrangement from the Community United Methodist Church by Nov. 29, but you can pick up your wreaths and centerpieces until Wednesday Dec. 6. I cannot imagine this holiday season without all these wonderful volunteers making these gorgeous arrangements. Thanks to all who are involved in giving your time and talent to such a worthwhile cause.

Festival of Trees

On Friday, Dec. 8, starting at 6 p.m. at the community center, the multi-purpose room will come alive with the smell of fresh pine, the sight of beautifully decorated trees, the taste of scrumptious food, and the sounds of holiday music by John Graves.

This is the year for firsts; the festival of trees, like the community lighting, will be a first-time event and will benefit numerous non-profit organizations. Individuals and groups will decorate their trees Dec. 4 and 5. Public viewing will take place 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 6, 7 and 8.

The auction will take place Dec. 8. Admission for this lively event is $15, which includes fabulous desserts and hors d'oeuvres from Wildflower Catering, entertainment, and all the fun. With the talent in this community, I can't wait to see the lavishly decorated trees. For more information, contact the community center at 264-4152.

Kids cookie decorating

Pagosa Baking Co. will offer several Holiday Cookie Decorating Classes this season. At 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, and Wednesday, Dec. 20, Pagosa Baking will provide the shortbread cookies, icing and decorations and the children will provide the creativity. Classes are limited to eight participants per session, so reserve your space now. Cost is only $6 and a parent or guardian must also be present. To reserve you child's spot, call 264-9348.

New members

Custom Creations with Kim Hamilton join the Chamber this week. Sometimes, only a small change can make a big difference in the living space of your home. Kim specializes in redecorating using existing furnishings, furniture rearranging, and color choice assistance. She can offer you money-saving ideas and show you how you can update the outdated, from kitchen cabinets to fabrics, and reupholster furniture. Sometimes we can't see the forest for the trees, and Custom Creations can help you make small to significant changes. Give Kim a call at 731-2722 to start the New Year off with a few home improvements. Thank you to Liquid Graphics web design and maintenance for the referral.

Staying with decorating, we welcome Sew What? Custom Sewing and Embroidery with Judy Cole. Sew What offers window treatments, duvet covers, dust ruffles, pillow shams, throw pillows, upholstery alterations and clothing upon special order. For about the price of a store-bought neck roll, you can have one custom made to fit your room décor! Give Judy a call at 264-9181. We thank the Coles for their second business in addition to Cole Consultants, which provides security consultation, both domestic and internationally.


We welcome back the Elk Horn Cafe; the Corner Store; Liquid Graphics Web design and Internet marketing services; United Country Premier Brokers; Christopher Smith; Jody Cromwell and Sharon Crump with Clarion Mortgage; HTI or Hessman Trades Builders; The Durango Herald; the American Cancer Society; Durango-based Community Connections; associate members Dawn and Chris Truax; and associate member Judy James.

We look forward to seeing you at all the activities Dec. 2 and Christmas in Pagosa. We can't thank the businesses enough for hosting this great shopping day and working with us to create the community lighting/lighting wave.

Keep your dollars in the community where you live, get some great deals, and have fun all day and all night long. We'll see you at the stores, on the streets and at the Visitor Center. Don't miss the fun!


Biz Beat

Tanya Nikolskaya and Jill Phillips invite you to tea Saturday mornings at the Russia House Collection, 472 Pagosa St., at the Wild Rose T-shirt outlet.

The Russia House Collection features exclusive designs in Russian linen, including ladies' sleepwear, children's dresses and rompers, tabletop, curtain and altar linens - all made in Russia and 100-percent linen.

A portion of the proceeds go back to the cottage workrooms that produce the products.

Trunk shows are available in your home.

Call 264-2283.






Judy and Dick Clare

Judy and Dick Clare will celebrate 50 years of marriage on Dec. 8, 2006.

High school sweethearts who grew up in Southern California, Dick and Judy have retired to Pagosa Springs. They will celebrate this exciting time with their daughters, Debbie and husband John, Jody and husband Jay, and Lori. Their six grandchildren will also be with them: Kristin, Holly, Jamie, Erin, Emily and Jimmy. A trip back to their honeymoon spot, San Francisco, will be enjoyed by the whole family.


Sports Page

Pirates return to basketball action after third-place finish last season

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' basketball team worked through a post-Thanksgiving lethargy this week, in preparation for the first contests of the season, away games against Buena Vista and Salida, which will begin at 8 p.m. Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday, respectively.

During practices Monday and Tuesday, team members were not at their best, though moments of cohesion and continued effort hopefully prefigure a turnaround by Friday.

Coach Jim Shaffer said he was sure about three starters - point guard Kerry Joe Hilsabeck, big-man Caleb Ormonde and forward/guard Jordan Shaffer (all seniors). Hilsabeck and Shaffer started on varsity last year as juniors, while Ormonde saw significant playing time.

Coach Shaffer couldn't commit to naming the players who would fill out the roster, though he has several seniors to choose from, including Casey Hart, Adam Trujillo, Spur Ross, James Martinez and Travis Richey.

After this week's games, the Pirates will return for a home tournament next weekend, the Wolf Creek Classic, followed by a home game against Alamosa and two away games, against Farmington and Aztec, before Christmas break.

Like the girls' team, the boys will begin league play in mid-January against Centauri, at home.

The boys finished with an 18-7 record last season, going undefeated in league play, won district and finished third in the Class 3A state tournament (for the second year in a row).


Pirate girls' return to Great Eight starts this week

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Pirate girls' basketball heads into the first games of the season this weekend in Buena Vista and Salida, after three weeks of practice and the pleasant interruption of Thanksgiving break.

The Buena Vista contest will tip off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and the Salida game will take place Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

After canceling scrimmage over the Thanksgiving holiday, Coach Bob Lynch said his team had to regain some ground this week, but added he was committed to readying his team by Friday.

Three seniors will start in the games, including Kristen DuCharme, Jessica Lynch and Lindsey Mackey. A fourth senior, Samantha Harris, will be sidelined until January, while she recovers from ligament surgery in her knee. Two juniors, Tamara Gayhart and Camille Rand, will round out the starting squad.

Lynch said that other talented juniors and sophomores will likely see significant playing time off the bench this season, citing Leslie Horning and Alexie Johnson (both juniors) and Allison Hart and Shelby Stretton (both sophomores).

Next weekend, the Pirates will return home for the Wolf Creek Classic, followed the next weekend by another tournament in Montrose to finish off the stretch of the season before the Christmas break. After the break, the team will play two more weeks of non-league play, before matching up against Centauri at home Jan. 19.

The Pirates won the district tournament last season and made it into the Great Eight of the Class 3A state playoffs, with a 19-7 record. They look for similar success this year, and it starts Friday and Saturday in Chaffee County.


Fastpitch winter softball clinic

Girls 8-18 years of age are invited to the fastpitch winter softball clinic to be held Dec. 9-11 at the PowerHouse gym in Pagosa Springs.

Participants can practice from 3:30-5:30 p.m., learn the basics, try out new skills in pitching, catching and fielding, and hear all those fun dugout cheers.

This is a chance for players to jump-start their season at an ASA Softball clinic. Organizers urge athletes to bring a mitt, friends and a just-do-it attitude.

To sign up, or for more information, call 903-8878.



Pagosa Springs Recreation

Dec. 5 youth basketball games canceled

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

Due to a scheduling conflict, all 7-8 youth basketball games slated for Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the community center have been canceled.

Since the gymnasium has now been reserved for the entire week of Dec. 5 to accommodate The Festival of Trees, no make-up games will be scheduled.

The season will resume, as scheduled, Tuesday, Dec. 12, at the community center.

Schedules for the 7-8 division 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 postgame snacks in the lobby or in the parking lot.

Also, the community center staff would like to remind parents that children are not permitted to roam unattended through the halls or restrooms of the community center at any time.

Please ensure that children are accompanied by an adult at all times if they must leave the gymnasium during games or practices. Thank you for your cooperation.

Registration ends

Due to tight constraints on the amount of available gym time at the community center and junior high school this winter, the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department staff has decided that the 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball leagues will remain coed this year.

The department will accept registrations for the 9-10 and 11-12 divisions through Dec. 15. Any child who will be 9, 10, 11 or 12 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2007, is eligible to register. The seasons for these divisions will not begin until January.

Registrations are available at the recreation office and are also 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.

Youth soccer photos, plaques

Coaches and parents who ordered youth soccer photos can contact Jeff Laydon at Pagosa Photography, 264-3686, to check the status of their orders. This year's sponsors' plaques are now available at the recreation office in Town Hall.

Adult volleyball canceled

Adult volleyball (open gym) that was being held Mondays 6:30-8:15 p.m. at Pagosa Springs Junior High School has been canceled due to lack of interest.

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.



Too much about too little

The Great Pagosa Peace Symbol Battle. What is, in essence, a neighborhood conflict fueled by an inability to come to reasonable compromise - and one both parties involved agree was unlikely to produce enforceable consequences - becomes a national media event that, at least in part inaccurately reported, produces responses from all across this great land.

The circus is in town.

Now the dust has cleared, we ask if there wasn't a better, less ego-driven way to handle this? A pine-bough peace symbol is hardly cause to wield covenants and restrictions like a hammer; this is petty. We also believe victims of a petty slight have well-established ways to settle the matter - appeals to homeowner association directors or, if that fails, to a court. To go to the court of public opinion, to a jury ignorant of the circumstances and surrounding, is misguided. And damaging to a charitable community that is not connected to the problem and that does not deserve the negative attention.

Then there are the reactions to a poorly reported story, one in which some reporters do not check key facts, in which they do not make it clear that a subdivision in an unincorporated part of the county is not connected politically, or in many other ways, to the town of Pagosa Springs. Why is it that individuals, never hired, are reported "fired" from committees on which they volunteer and from which they resign? Why the need to inflate a mundane situation? Is the thirst for controversy so great?

And, oh, those reactions, in particular from people outside the area - most of whom have never been here - those who wrote letters to us, to our Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Pagosa Springs. Many letters castigated residents of the town and county who had absolutely nothing to do with this spat between neighbors with no ability to find reasonable solutions to their tiffs. We received many letters to the editor, so many we cannot print them all; we print examples this week, alongside those received from residents.

Some people wrote to tell us they had visited here or were thinking of visiting, adding that, given the gross intolerance of the people in the area (how many was that, again?), they would rethink their plans to spend their money here.

Our response comes easy: I-40 runs south of Pagosa; I-70 is quite a distance north.

They should have no trouble avoiding us. If they so effortlessly jump from the foolish actions of a few to a wholesale condemnation of many, they should stay away. We have enough folks here who cannot think clearly; we do not need more.

To those who wrote to fervently defend free speech and, after, tell us how to respond to this situation: We thank you for the ironic interlude. To those who know how a newspaper should handle a situation like this, we urge you to check our classifieds for job openings here at the paper. We can use you.

To those who expressed a desire to send the aggrieved party money to assist with payment of fines, we urge you to do so, even though the situation is now resolved. We ask that the funds be donated to Operation Helping Hand — a group of individuals and businesses that, for 17 years, has assisted the less fortunate members of the community. Surely you have heard about the group on the national news.

Better yet, send the money, with condolences, to the gentleman who barely escaped a burning car following a collision Sunday, only to witness his wife and 8-year-old granddaughter die in the flames. It happened just about the same distance from Pagosa Springs as the wreath incident. Surely, you heard about it on the national news.


Karl Isberg



Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 1, 1916

The A.M. Emigh dwelling, the finest in Pagosa Springs, was purchased by John E. Colton last week. Mr. Emigh and family have moved into the Mrs. Joe Braun dwelling on Pagosa Street, and Ed Colton and wife will occupy the newly purchased residence.

Dec. 1st and Pagosa still enjoying summer weather, with dust two inches deep on the streets and the rugged San Juan range, white with snow, towering in the background. "The greatest hot springs on earth" is surely the place for the health-seeking tourist or the scenery-loving artist.

The Dowell ranch has been leased by R.E. McKnee, from Kansas. He is a breeder of thoroughbred stock, with one of the finest stock ranches, his success is assured.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 4, 1931

We are informed that Homer Smith and Earl Lattin, who last week had a narrow escape from freezing or starving to death on Wolf Creek highway, are now doing very nicely in a Durango hospital and will return shortly to their homes in Pagosa Springs.

Sheriff John H. Lattin recently appointed Wm. C. McComas as undersheriff, succeeding Harry R. Sharp, who resigned.

Mrs. Mary Dunn wishes to announce that she is now ready to provide meals and rooms to country people at her home in the park. If possible, phone her in advance.

Joe Wilson of the upper Navajo was a Chromo visitor last week, and reports about four feet of snow, but cattle are doing well.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 6, 1956

The town board met on Monday night for their regular meeting at which time they discussed the need for a sewer system, passed an ordinance officially annexing Mesa Heights subdivision and also discussed the lack of a franchise for electrical service. The sewer problem came in for a great deal of discussion at the meeting and various aspects of the picture were talked over. The board is aware that this is a serious problem that faces the town in the very near future and is making an effort to discover just how much federal aid may be obtained. The widening of Main Street in the business section has aggravated the problem there and inasmuch as that section would pay more than 50 percent of the cost of any sewage system the problem is to be talked over with them.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 3, 1981

After almost two months of negotiations between contractors and architects the board of School District 50 Joint is ready to award the contract for the high school remodeling and expansion project. Negotiations on construction costs led to deletions and alterations in site work, landscaping and asphalt work but did not reduce square footage of the proposed building.

Over 3,000 skiers cavorted on the 53 inch snow base at Wolf Creek Ski Area over the holiday weekend. The parking lots were full and parkers spilled out onto Highway 160.

Postmaster Dick DeVore gives tips on getting your mail through safe and sound during the holiday rush. DeVore says the first rule is "Mail early."



Quilting Not just for art's sake, but as a learning skill

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Third- and fifth- graders in Pagosa Springs have taken math, science, reading and social studies to a new level - incorporating a traditional American art form into their lessons, while receiving state, national and even international attention.

No, they are not putting brush to canvas in a picturesque, western style. Rather, student after student has hefted bolts of fabric, made measured cuts and deftly sewn vibrant colors and shapes together into beautiful, tangible, and even practical interpretations of their collective knowledge and imagination - in the form of quilts.

Mary Kurt-Mason, a 20-year teaching veteran, began employing quilting as a teaching method during the 1991-1992 school year. Since then, her classes' quilt projects have been exhibited at the Colorado State Capitol, the American Quilter's Society Show and Contest, in Paducah, Ky., and the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas - where from Nov. 1-5, Kurt-Mason displayed eight fifth-grade quilts in a special exhibit. (In 1996, five other third- and fifth-grade classes were honored with a shared exhibit.)

But honors have not been the primary goal of the educator or her students. Instead, Kurt-Mason has wanted to enrich the educational experience by encouraging and drawing on students' creative faculties.

Students have pointed out that this is not an easy art or an escape from "real" school work. In Kurt-Mason's class, quilting is part of the learning process.

As high school junior Chance Adams, once a Kurt-Mason fifth-grader, put it: "She's not an easy teacher, but she's definitely the coolest I've ever had."

Senior Iris Frye appreciated Kurt-Mason's teaching so much that she has been the educator's aide for two years and said she feels "very honored to have had her as my teacher." The quilting projects "opened my mind to my imagination and the desire to learn, because we did so much hands-on stuff ... it was intriguing. I imagined myself being there," she said.

And freshman Julia Adams recognized that the projects "opened our eyes to a whole different way of learning."

With the facts, figures and knowledge that every teacher hopes to convey, Kurt-Mason emphasized that schools and teachers should focus on "what is important for the education of the whole child ... it's our job to support the talents of children." Thus Kurt-Mason's emphasis on hands-on learning, which allows students to experience, learn and practice skills as they acquire knowledge. Thus the emphasis on art, not simply for art's sake, but as a learning skill.

Kurt-Mason suggested that imagination is an aptitude that is essential to human potential, achievement and enjoyment of life; and it is important to nourish the faculty (and its related skills) along with teaching mathematics, literacy and science - though it is difficult to measure or test the imagination.

According to Kurt-Mason, the purpose of the quilting projects is not to teach students the techniques of quilting, but to "show kids how to be creative ... and support their creativity."

The first five classroom quilts were integrated into math units and used quilted patterns and designs to better understand geometry, with hands-on mathematics. Those five quilts appeared in the first shared exhibit at Houston in 1996.

Similarly, in the school years of 1996-1997, 1997-1998 and 2001-2002, fifth-graders engaged the morphology and habits of fish, reptiles and insects through quilting, while in 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 Kurt-Mason's classes pointed their needles toward architecture and botany. All five pieces of observant art appeared in Houston this November.

Along with the colorful patterns and original use of design and texture, the youngsters' quilts were made complete by creative names - including the geometry-focused quilt "Triple Flip" and "An Inordinate Fondness for Insects," both of which were titled in reference to literature the classes had studied.

But Kurt-Mason's quilting projects are not simply utilized to understand the varied parts or utility of species under the microscope or shapes from the protractor angle; instead, the classes discovered the quilts could be used to represent and encourage understanding of different cultures.

From 1998 to 2001, students endeavored to symbolize in their quilts key themes that came out of studying Africa, Australia and the Caribbean. These three quilts would eventually complete the dedicated exhibit at the 2006 International Quilt Festival.

Inspired by traditional central and southern African motifs, students designed the bright and bold "African Stories," which won the Colorado Quilting Council's Award for Excellence at the Archuleta County Fair.

"No Worries" is an homage to the kangaroo, a fitting touchstone for Australia's history, people and environment, which the students chose to quilt with earthy colors to represent the culture.

"Hot! Hot! Hot!" reflected the climate and culture of El Caribe with a bright explosion of lines, squiggles and swirls in the form of the sun.

Kurt-Mason said the quilts were a medium for "immersion into another culture." And students suggested that the projects helped them go deeper into the cultures than they would have otherwise, unearthing the tone of Caribbean Carnival or Aboriginal ceremonies (along with the facts).

In an article from the winter 2005 issue of "American Quilter," Kurt-Mason wrote: "Without tickets, passports, or suitcases, my students and I have been able to observe kangaroos in Australia, bask in the hot sun of the Caribbean, and study the beautiful patterns of Ndebele homes in Africa. We have walked a crooked mile full of wonderful crooked houses, caught wildly colored tropical fish, and watched reptiles skittering across burning sands. We have blasted off to the stars and then returned to earth to study the beauty of insects and the art of geometry. All of these wonderful adventures resulted from our yearly class quilt project."

Each quilt made class themes tangible, stitching the artistic object to the studies of the class. "The whole thing is about the curriculum," said Kurt-Mason.

According to Kurt-Mason, "The theme provides a framework on which to hang our curriculum, giving shape and meaning to what we are learning." With the theme, the curriculum can climb to a larger meaning, a common quest that all students participate in.

For example, Kurt-Mason explained, the quilt "No Worries" (with its representation of Australia) drew the students' attention to aboriginal social issues. In the class, this focus was connected to civil rights literature and that period of American history.

Through quilting, students experienced civil rights as a human ideal, and in a more practical way, through the actual process of quilting, they learned about civil responsibility.

Julia Adams' 2002-2003 fifth-grade class created several quilts for children in need, through Project Linus, in addition to their larger, curriculum-based quilt. The quilting "helped bring everyone together to work on a common cause," she said, giving students more time to discuss, plan and come to consensus than typical school work.

According to Frye, Kurt-Mason "trusted us to do it ... we had never had anyone treat us like adults before ... and the project showed us how to treat other people, how to trust other people."

Kurt-Mason seeks to give her students the knowledge that they are accepted members of the classroom community, important parts of the larger community, and that "learning is an exciting adventure that has meaning and purpose," according to a written description of the quilting projects, prepared by Kurt-Mason. The final goal is addressed by giving students a chance to experience a new art form, a new way of thinking and doing, while focusing on an interesting place, species or subject and overriding themes. The other goals are accomplished by giving students and teacher "a common language of experience that bonds (them) into a cohesive group." This builds a sense of community among students at the same time as providing connection to other communities and peoples.

In the community, students work with each other to design quilts by consensus. "Every voice gets heard," said Kurt-Mason.

After constructing sections of the quilt, they work with Kurt-Mason and other volunteers who provide their technical skill and time to piece and quilt the final product.

Julia Adams described her class's process in making "Spunky Street" - a representation of numerous houses, which coincided with an architectural unit. First students designed and sketched their house, which would each take up a square of the quilt. Then they traced the designs that would make up their house onto fabric, and they cut out the pieces. Finally, they hand-stitched the different pieces of fabric together, in the form of their house and square, and turned it over to Kurt-Mason to be attached to the other squares and quilted. Though the technical process may seem simple enough, it required extensive planning and collaboration with other students to create the whole quilt.

Jennifer Alley, a former music and art teacher who has helped on some of the quilts, pointed out that there is "more to the art process than actually doing." It includes the work of the imagination, as well as cooperation.

The significance of the art has not been relegated to the moment of creation. Nor has it been lost and forgotten like so many other school assignments. Kurt-Mason still cares for and displays the class quilts, along with an album of photos, and students continue to remember and appreciate their experience.


Pagosa's Past

A victory proves to be hollow

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

The Jicarilla Apache celebrate Feb. 11, 1887, just the same as other Americans (and Jicarilla) celebrate July 4, 1776. On Feb. 11, 1887, an executive order by President Grover Cleveland created the reservation the Jicarilla occupy to this day.

Reservation boundaries have been extended since 1887, but the basic act of creation has withstood the test of time and determined attempts by many people, some holding influential positions, to sidetrack the presidential proclamation and return the land to the private sector. The threat was serious. Remember, the first presidential proclamation creating this same reservation had been stalled since the president signed it in 1880.

With that in mind, the Jicarilla and some government officials charged with helping them occupy their new homeland moved as quickly as they could, even after their opponents succeeded in stopping government funding appropriated for the move.

The Jicarilla were scattered in many places. Some lived on the Mescalero Reservation where the government had sent them. Others lived with the San Ildefonso and San Juan bands of Pueblo Indians, A few had remained in the back country of their reservation, some hid out in the Cimarron area, and others might have been scattered in other areas. A small number had claimed to be Hispanic and filed on homesteads in the general vicinity of today's Española and El Rito.

In any case, the move to the reservation began officially April 25, 1887, when Agent Welton left Mescalero with 500 Jicarilla and approximately 2,000 head of livestock.

According to tribal historian Veronica Tiller, "The journey was slow." Welton rode ahead to double check the situation on the reservation. He found that more settlers had poured in as soon as it was known that the lands had been withdrawn from the public domain for Indian purposes. Excessive grazing had nearly stripped the land of vegetation. More improvements had been made, more land broken, more fruit trees planted, and more irrigation ditches dug. All of the arable land and all of the water holes had been claimed. The settlers obviously intended to keep the Indians out, or failing that, to establish fictitious claims for damages.

The settlers were neither investigated nor dealt with firmly. They remained a problem for the Jicarilla for decades, perhaps until today, Nevertheless the Jicarilla were home at last.

An era of Jicarilla history was at an end. They at last possessed a permanent home where the government could reasonably assure them of non-interference from whites. The government role had shifted from enforcer to protector. The struggle to maintain control over their once vast homeland ended with them living on a small portion just outside of their traditional homelands. The experiences associated with their displacement had given them a sense of insecurity and distrust of the government. It also sharpened the division between the Red and White clans, but both had learned valuable lessons in dealing with the government.

Their 1887 victory soon appeared to be hollow. During the next half-century they endured some of the worst suffering they had ever known. Once again, their prime antagonist was their supposed guardian, the U.S. government. At one point, the number of living Jicarilla dwindled to about 300 persons, the dwindling the result of tuberculosis and other diseases. To some it seemed the government was punishing them for their victory. Eventually they overcame the hardships and succeeded in developing a decent way of life although the long, slow process continues to this day.

Information for this series of articles is taken from "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970" by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller. Many books have been written concerning Apache and particularly Jicarilla Apache history. I am using Dr. Tiller's book because she is an enrolled member of the Jicarilla Apache tribe. Her ancestry traces but a few generations back to Huero Mundo, one of the principle Jicarilla leaders involved in the reported events.


Pagosa Sky Watch

Mission's end for Mars Global Surveyor

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

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

Sunrise: 7:02 a.m.

Sunset: 4:51 p.m.

Moonrise: 1:54 p.m.

Moonset: 3:12 a.m Dec. 1

Moon phase: The moon is waxing gibbous with 77 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

After 10 years in service, one of NASA's most productive and long-lived spacecraft, the Mars Global Surveyor, appears at mission's end.

On Nov. 21, NASA scientists announced the orbiter had not communicated with Earth since Nov. 2 and the prognosis does not bode well for the aging craft.

Preliminary mission status assessments indicate that a solar panel on the craft may have become difficult to pivot. And with the panel unable to rotate and effectively gather solar energy, scientists surmise the craft may no longer be able to generate enough power to communicate.

"Realistically, we have run through the most likely possibilities for re-establishing communication, and we are facing the likelihood that the amazing flow of scientific observations from Mars Global Surveyor is over," said Fuk Li, Mars Exploration Program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. "We're not giving up hope though."

And justifiably so.

During its decade-long mission, the craft has proved dependable, intrepid and stalwart, relaying back 240,000 images and gigabyte upon gigabyte of data, even under the punishing conditions of space.

"It is an extraordinary machine that has done things the designers never envisioned despite a broken wing, a failed gyro and a worn out reaction wheel. The builders and operating staff can be proud of their legacy of scientific discoveries and key support for subsequent missions," said Tom Thorpe, project manager for the Mars Global Surveyor at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA launched the craft Nov. 7, 1996 and the surveyor began orbiting Mars on Sept. 11 1997, with a mission objective of mapping the planet for one Mars year - nearly two Earth years. But following lift-off, even some of the experts were skeptical.

"When we watched the launch 10 years ago, we wondered if we would make the specified mission length," said retired NASA Jet Propulsion Lab manager Glenn Cunningham. Cunningham oversaw the Mars Global Surveyor project through its development and launch. "We were certainly not thinking of a 10-year operating life."

In the end, based on the value of the science produced by the spacecraft, NASA extended the surveyor's mission four times. But even with such a stellar track record and an unprecedented life span, project managers think the three-week communications lapse may finally signal the craft's demise and they will utilize other Mars-based mission craft to determine the condition of the errant orbiter.

At the top of the surveyor searcher list is NASA's newest Mars craft, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. According to Doug McCuistion, Mars Exploration Program director at NASA headquarters, the reconnaissance orbiter has its cameras trained on the Mars Global Surveyor.

"We have looked for Mars Global Surveyor with the star tracker, the context camera and the high-resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter," McCuistion said. "Preliminary analysis of the images did not show any definitive sightings of a spacecraft."

The second tactic for learning the status of the surveyor will involve sending a signal to the surveyor telling the craft to activate a transmitter that could be heard by one of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers.

NASA scientists intended to undertake such a test last week, and results of the transmission have not yet been released.

Despite the recent turn of events, NASA chalks up the spacecraft's mission as a resounding success.

Among its accomplishments: The surveyor pioneered the technique of aerobraking, using careful dips into Mars' atmosphere for friction to shrink a long elliptical orbit into a nearly circular one. The same technique was used to great effect on NASA's most-recent Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission.

In addition, the surveyor evaluated landing sites for the twin NASA rovers that landed in 2004 and sites for future landings of the Phoenix and Mars Science Laboratory missions. It has also provided an information relay link to the rovers, supplying important mapping information about the rovers' surroundings.

Among the mission's important discoveries: gullies that show few if any impact craters which scientists interpret as evidence of relatively recent action by liquid water; hematite-rich regions, a mineral that often forms under wet conditions; localized remnants of a magnetic field and remnants of an ancient river delta. The craft also produced an unprecedented global topographic map showing highly eroded or buried craters and successfully mapped canyons within the planet's polar ice caps.

"Mars Global Surveyor has surpassed all expectations," said Michael Meyer, NASA's lead scientist for Mars exploration at NASA headquarters. "It has already been the most productive science mission to Mars, and it will yield more discoveries as the treasury of observations it has made continues to be analyzed for years to come."




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Finally, the snow falls in Pagosa Country

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

While the calendar suggests Old Man Winter's arrival is still three weeks away, no one has apparently told him. In fact, he made a strong showing over the past couple of days.

Pagosa Springs and the surrounding high-country received ample snowfall between Tuesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. In about 24 hours, 8 inches fell on the Pagosa Lakes area, with 34 inches reported at the ski area atop Wolf Creek Pass. By press time yesterday, the skies opened up, revealing patches of blue and some sunshine, while snow showers lingered over the higher terrain.

This week's welcome precipitation put us closer to the monthly average, with a total of 1.05 inches recorded thus far. The long-term average for November is 1.39 inches. July through October brought well-above-average moisture to the region.

Temperatures over the past few days confirmed the arrival of a cold front out of the north. Through the weekend, daytime highs hovered in the 40s and low 50s, but since Sunday, high readings only reached the 30s. Lows dipped into the 20s and mid-teens.

Over the next seven days, the National Weather Service forecast calls for sunny to partly cloudy skies, with cold temperatures gradually giving way to a slight warming trend. Today's high should only manage about freezing, while tomorrow through Wednesday should top out around 40. Lows will remain chilly, starting with tonight's predicted 7 degrees above, and the next several nights dropping into the single digits and teens.

By 6:24 a.m. yesterday, the Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 61 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit, with 57 inches midway. This week's storm brought 38 inches of new snow to the area in the previous seven days, and the season total stood at 132 inches.

Under early-season conditions, 100 percent of the area was open, serving 1,600 acres of skiable terrain. Five lifts were in operation, including Magic Carpet for the Wolf Pup Program, and Shazam 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), and are recommended for expert skiers. The gated portion of the Water Fall Area remains closed. Lift tickets are $46 for adults and $25 for children and seniors.

With cold daytime temperatures, partly-sunny skies and tons of new snow, Colorado ski conditions are excellent. Bundle up and don't forget sunscreen, goggles and sunglasses.