December 14, 2006

Front Page

Town sanitation system:What's the poop?

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Following violations at the town's wastewater treatment plant, and depending on the outcome of discussions between the town and the state health department, the Town of Pagosa Springs could face financial penalties and a moratorium on the issuance of building permits state documents say.

The state Department of Public Health and Environment made its position clear in a letter to Town Manager Mark Garcia dated Oct. 23, 2006.

"The Division is currently evaluating the facts in this matter and if an escalated enforcement response is deemed necessary, the District (Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District) may be issued a Notice of Violation/Cease and Desist Order that may include the assessment of penalties," the letter states.

At issue, the state says, are a string of permit infractions regarding excessive organic loading at the town facility.

Organic loading is a term engineers and waste water treatment managers use to describe sewage intake at a treatment during the course of a day. Organic loading is measured in terms of Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD).

Essentially, the town's waste water treatment system works like a giant compost bin and depends on the right balance of raw material (organic loading), oxygen and micro-organisms that consume, or oxidize, the waste. If raw material intake (organic loading) exceeds the plant's oxygen content, the micro-organisms are choked and unable to do their job. The result can mean an inefficient or perpetually overburdened plant, or worse, outflow violations. Thus, intake, or organic loading, balanced against oxygen content plays a key role in properly treating the waste.

According to the town's state-issued permit, the Pagosa Springs facility has an organic design capacity of 624 pounds BOD-5 per day.

David Akers, an environmental manager with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment explained that every wastewater treatment facility has an organic design capacity as determined by an engineering analysis.

In most cases, Akers said, the sanitation district or municipality hires the engineering firm who conducts the analysis and then makes their design capacity recommendation to the state. Based on the firm's recommendations, the state then issues a permit with the design capacity stipulated.

Akers said the permit also includes guidelines to determine when a plant is approaching capacity in the form of two key performance triggers.

The first trigger is an 80-percent trigger, meaning when a plant exceeds 80 percent of its organic capacity - measured in BOD per day - during a calendar year, the sanitation district or municipality must submit a report to the state outlining a planning schedule for facility expansion.

The second trigger is a 95-percent trigger. According to the permit, when a plant exceeds 95 percent of its organic capacity, the district or municipality must submit a report detailing a construction schedule for facility expansion.

According to the state's letter to the town, "If construction is not commenced when ninety-five percent of the capacity is reached, the District is required to ensure that no further building permits which would result in increased loading to the facility are issued."

In order for the town's plant to exceed the 80-percent trigger, an organic load of 500 BOD-5 would have to be met. The 95-percent trigger is met at 593 BOD-5.

According to state findings, the town plant broached the 95-percent trigger twice in 2005, and three times in 2006 with an organic loading spike in May 2006 at more than double the plant's organic design capacity.

In light of the findings, the state concluded that the town should have submitted a report detailing new plant construction plans by the end of March 2006. The state did not receive such a report.

In the correspondence, Ginny Torrez of the state's Clean Water Compliance Assurance Unit, gave the town a Nov. 13, 2006, deadline to address permit and compliance issues such as ceasing issuance of building permits, and the town's plans to remedy organic design capacity overages.

The town met Torrez's deadline.

In its submission, Garcia said the town is asking the state to review the plant's organic design capacity, and is requesting an increase to the plant's organic design limit.

He said the plant operated for years under a temporary permit, and perhaps when the switch was made recently to the regular operating permit, the organic design capacity might have needed reassessment, but wasn't. Garcia added that if the plant was seriously overloaded, the town would also have a string of BOD discharge violations, something which Garcia said, hasn't yet occurred.

"Discharge has BOD limits, but we haven't been violating BOD effluent limits," Garcia said.

As part of its BOD increase request, Garcia said the town has proposed $7,000 to $12,000 in temporary improvements that will help oxygenate the lagoons and will buy the town time until the new treatment plant is completed.

Garcia said the town acknowledges the limitations of the current plant, and has been planning for a new treatment facility, including submittal of grant applications, for more than a year.

Garcia said he hopes to break ground on the new facility - planned for a site adjacent to the current plant - in late summer or early fall of 2007. Garcia said completion is targeted for May 2008. The new plant is a $2.5 million undertaking.

Akers said the state is reviewing the town's organic loading increase request, and will send a response around the first of January.

"We are in the process of evaluating what the appropriate next step is. Certainly in the next couple of weeks we'll be making a decision," said Akers.

 

'Handshake' agreement on sale of reservoir land

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

The San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors met in regular session Tuesday morning, measuring some progress on several fronts. Issues related to the proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir, however, captured the bulk of board attention.

As proposed, Dry Gulch will provide up to 35,300 acre-feet of storage, meeting projected district water needs to the year 2100. The proposed site is about two miles northeast of Pagosa Springs, and would include a dam approximately 3,000 feet long and 160 feet high. As currently designed, the reservoir's total surface area at high water line (elevation, 7,400 feet) would be roughly 621 acres.

Denise Rue-Pastin, of Southwestern Water Conservation District (SWCD), presented a preliminary grant application to the board Tuesday, asking for review and comments, before submitting a final draft to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB). Rue-Pastin is working to obtain a grant for $1 million for the 2007 funding period, to help offset costs of acquiring land for the new reservoir. The board must submit the application by Jan. 3.

According to Rue-Pastin, the Statewide Water Supply Initiative created a number of roundtables covering several different water basins throughout Colorado, and the grant application will first go to the 1177 Roundtable, before moving on to the CWCB.

Apparently, the roundtable meets every other month and by March Rue-Pastin will submit a second grant request for another $100,000 to help pay for environmental impact studies, land appraisals, various permits and other logistical requirements. A third grant application for an undetermined amount will then be submitted to the SWCD to help cover similar expenses.

Recent voter approval of Ballot Issue 5B, which freed the district from oppressive TABOR constraints, makes it possible for the district to apply for funding grants.

Certainly, before construction of a new reservoir can commence, the SJWCD must first secure agreements to purchase or utilize the real estate necessary to accommodate the impoundment. A number of landowners are involved, but at present, the main focus is directed toward two key entities.

For now, negotiations continue with Don and Kathy Weber, who currently own approximately 600 acres of the proposed reservoir site. To date, the two sides have reached a "handshake" sale agreement at more than $9 million, but the district board is anxious to seal the deal in a written contract, before going too far with additional grant applications.

Meanwhile, talks with the United States Forest Service (USFS) suggest the district may obtain a "Special Use Permit" to utilize adjacent lands it owns, once the mandatory application process is complete. Of course, that time-consuming process will include the procurement of additional requisite permits, and the fulfillment of a long list of other requirements.

In another matter, involving its relationship with Archuleta County government, the district board expressed concern over the county's delay in adopting water- and sewer-related impact fees for new development outside the town of Pagosa Springs. The town government has already adopted similar fees, but lately, district board members say they have received mixed signals from county commissioners and staff.

Apparently, some county officials favor the imposition of such fees to help pay infrastructure costs associated with increasing construction in the county, while others fear it may discourage future development.

District board members, meanwhile, say every county building permit issued today, results in lost revenue that might have gone toward reservoir costs or other water and wastewater system upgrades.

Following a brief discussion, the district board decided now is the time to look into developing its own Web site. At present, the district is only represented as a link on the Southwestern Water Conservation District and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District pages. However, with Dry Gulch and other major projects looming on the horizon, board members now believe an exclusive Web page will be a valuable tool in conveying vital information to the general public.

With that in mind, the board directed Rue-Pastin to solicit bids for site development and maintenance from various providers, and share her findings at its January meeting. Though Rue-Pastin has already obtained one offer from a Durango firm, board members unanimously agreed that additional bids would allow a more informed decision. Rue-Pastin suggested the entire process will take a couple of months.

In other matters, the District board approved its 2007 budget, showing approximately $2.45 million in projected revenue, with an equal amount listed under expenses. Two funding grants totaling $1.1 million will account for the bulk of district income, while various capital projects will result in $1.9 million in expenditures.

The board also discussed the renewal of its general liability insurance policy. At the board's October meeting, Tom Farber, an agent representing T. Charles Wilson Insurance Service, submitted a proposal to provide the district with liability protection through 2007. Due to time constraints, the board tabled the matter until its November meeting, but then failed to seat a quorum. On Tuesday, the board finally reviewed Farber's proposal, before settling on another alternative.

Pagosa Insurance has provided the district with liability coverage for years, but as the present policy neared expiration, the board moved to examine other options and agreed to hear Farber's pitch. But, when Farber offered coverage similar to the board's existing policy, and at the same price, the board chose to obtain insurance through the Colorado Special Districts Property and Liability Pool, and not an agent. The rate for obtaining coverage through the pool is apparently 10 percent lower.

 

Pagosa Springs to spend $7.2 million next year

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Following unanimous council member approval Dec. 5, the Town of Pagosa Springs is poised to spend $7.2 million in 2007.

Approval of next year's budget came with little discussion during the town council session, and the spending plan marks a $1.6 million, or 28.9-percent increase from 2006.

Town Manager Mark Garcia noted the 2007 Budget is not a balanced budget, and said the reason stems from the town "rolling over proceeds and revenues from this year (2006) into next year's budget."

The budget details $2.4 million in reserve balances from 2006 being moved into the 2007 spending plan.

As part of next year's fiscal strategy, Garcia said the town would not build reserves, but would instead funnel reserve funds into a number of projects in need of completion.

"We're not building reserves in 2007," Garcia said. "We're going to spend them (reserve funds) with so many projects pending."

Among those projects, Garcia listed road work on Great West Avenue, resurfacing Cemetery Road, two pedestrian bridges over the San Juan River, completion of the River Walk trail, phase one and phase two of the town's burgeoning sports complex and $500,000, full reconstruction of Lewis street.

"We've got a pretty aggressive project schedule," Garcia said.

In addition, the 2007 budget earmarks funding for two new positions: $55,000 for a public works director, and $25,000 for an affordable housing director.

In light of the demands growth continues to place on town streets, the sanitation district and parks, and as the town moves to construct a new sewage treatment plant, Garcia said a public works director is key to managing projects effectively and ensuring their timely completion.

Garcia said budgeting for an affordable housing director was the product of a joint, town-county discussion on seeking solutions to affordable housing issues, and Garcia said budgeting for the position marks the town's commitment to the task.

Archuleta County Administrator Bob Campbell said the county has not earmarked funding for the position in its 2007 budget. He said staff and the board of commissioners are waiting for the January arrival of commissioner-elect Bob Moomaw before setting a course on affordable housing issues.

Campbell anticipated the coalescence of an affordable housing strategy in February, following planned meetings with the town and regional affordable housing experts. And Campbell added that a decision to fund the affordable housing director's position would probably come from the board of county commissioners at roughly the same time. If the board approves the expenditure, Campbell said it would match the town's.

The county will adopt their 2007 budget today at 1:30 p.m. in the board of county commissioners meeting room at the Archuleta County Courthouse.

 Inside The Sun

Can arts education coexist with No Child Left Behind?

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The qualitative elements of education, such as creativity and the arts, set the tone for the monthly Archuleta School District 50 Joint Board of Education meeting this Tuesday.

Pagosa Springs Intermediate School teacher Mary Kurt-Mason presented a unique teaching method to the board, which attempts to integrate the arts into the standardized curriculum through quilting. Kurt-Mason said she uses her class quilts to provide a common language and frame of reference as students learn about math, language arts and other cultures. Several fifth-grade quilts were honored this November with a special exhibit at International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas.

Kurt-Mason's presentation led into the board's discussion of the Colorado Association of School Boards' (CASB) recent annual conference, in which the importance of arts and creativity in education was emphasized by several presentations.

"We must always ensure that creativity is part of our curriculum," said Superintendent Duane Noggle.

Kurt-Mason expressed concern that federal and state education legislation, such as No Child Left Behind and CSAP, may be detrimental to the teaching of the arts and creativity, with the emphasis they place in math and reading - while thanking the school board and district for encouraging the arts in addition to seeing to the standards.

No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan bill originally passed in 2001 to improve student achievement, is up for reapproval during the next U.S. Congress. The Democratic leadership is planning to investigate the legislation before reapproving it - and will likely suggest revision of some key elements, including the mandate requiring universal proficiency in math and reading by the 2013-2014 school year. Democrats also advocate boosting federal funding to schools, saying that previous congresses have not funded the legislation as it was intended.

New mandates would provide new complications for the district, while eased mandates could give the district greater ability to focus on issues specific to the area, as administrators attempt to improve student achievement.

"The government needs to fund the regulations they write," said Noggle.

Board members Linda Lattin and Sandy Caves commented on presentations at CASB that addressed school nutrition, making the point that districts throughout the state are turning their attention to the growing issue.

A group of concerned citizens in Pagosa Springs recently formed a nutrition group to work with the district on the issue. In a meeting last month, district administrators authorized the group to work with district officials to construct a pilot school lunch program in the elementary school, to provide healthier alternatives to processed foods typically available to schools. The group was also encouraged to promote good nutrition in the schools and work in an advisory role with the district.

During the superintendent's report, Noggle presented recent revisions that have been made to the language of school regulations. He also briefly addressed the Student Accountability reports released earlier this month.

All Archuleta County schools were given average marks, except the junior high school, which received a high ranking. The elementary school and high school showed decline in student achievement, while the intermediate and junior high schools showed improvement.

Noggle did not go into extensive detail on the issue because, he said, the district was aware of the results in advance - results based on standardized test scores.

In an interview regarding the School Accountability Reports, Bill Esterbrook, assistant superintendent for curriculum and development, said that this year's results measure last year's scores. Those scores came before implementation of the district's achievement plan. Esterbrook stressed that the district has been in the process of improving student achievement, proactively, and with the new plan in place this year the district hopes to better the Student Accountability Reports in the future.

The research-based plan ensures, at the district level, a guaranteed curriculum and smooth academic transition between grades levels, and facilitates cooperation between teachers in professional learning communities and through common assessments.

"What we are doing right now is not reflected in last year's scores," said Esterbrook. "We are already holding ourselves accountable."

The school district, with districts across Colorado, has been asked to provide input on Governor-elect Bill Ritter's plan for education. Board members appreciated the focus and ideas expressed in Ritter's plan, but questioned the practicality of some of the proposals, wondering where the money would come from.

Ritter's plan outlines creating a statewide "child care report card," developing "teacher cadet programs," starting a "principal institute," improving recruitment of teachers and implementing "pay for performance," funding a low-interest home loan program for teachers, streamlining accountability programs and doubling the number of degrees earned over the next 10 years.

Though the board questioned the feasibility of some of the ideas, board president Mike Haynes suggested they invite the new Governor to lunch - perhaps to express their thoughts on the reality of the situation.

 

Wreaths Across America ceremony today

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

At noon today, area students and veterans will place a special holiday wreath near the flagpole in Hilltop Cemetery. As part of a national project called Wreaths Across America, today's gesture will be the first of what is planned as an annual event. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Wreaths Across America is an extension of a project that began in the state of Maine 15 years ago. At that time, and every year since, the Worcester Wreath Company has coordinated with the Cemetery Administration and the Maine State Society in making and decorating wreaths to adorn 5,000 headstones of our nation's fallen heroes in Arlington National Cemetery.

This season, Morrill Worcester, president of the wreath company, has enlisted the aid of the Civil Air Patrol and others to help spread the campaign to more than 230 state and national cemeteries and veterans monuments across the country.

"Our goal is to expand the recognition of those who serve our country, both past, present and future, as well as their families who deserve our support," Worcester said. "Without the sacrifices of our veterans, there would be no opportunity to enjoy the freedoms, the life we have today."

According to local veteran Ron Gustafson, a single wreath will be placed at the flagpole this year, because the more than 300 graves of area veterans at Hilltop are spread over the entire cemetery, and identifying them all in time would be difficult.

Anyone interested in attending today's ceremony should meet at the flagpole in Hilltop cemetery at noon.

 

Information sought on wounded horse

On Nov. 15, 2006, Deputy Lezlie Powers and Officer Brian Hagenbuch with the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department responded to a site on North Pagosa Boulevard, following a call concerning a wounded horse. The horse had wandered onto private property from Forest Service land.

Powers and Hagenbuch determined the horse, a 3-year-old chestnut-colored Arabian mix breed, had a large wound on its left hind quarter. How the wound was sustained has not been determined.

The horse is in the custody of LASSO and is being cared for at this time.

If anyone has any information about this case or is missing a horse, they should contact Animal Control at 264-2131.

 

Report casts shadow on local higher ed effort

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The findings of a recently released report exploring the feasibility of expanding post-secondary educational opportunities in southwestern Colorado may put the kibosh on a homegrown effort to establish an institute of higher learning in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

But not if Steve Vaile can help it.

Vaile, chair of the local Task Force for Higher Education, is spearheading an effort to establish a local post-secondary institution, but the much anticipated report, issued in November by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education at the behest of State Sen. Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus) and State Rep. Mark Larson (R-Cortez), says the region can't support another stand-alone college.

"Based on projected population increase, high school matriculation and projected matriculation, and funding constraints, there is not sufficient growth to recommend the creation of a new stand-alone community college in the region," the report states.

As per its charge, the study examined a variety of factors in existing regional, post-secondary educational opportunities, and, in part, points to steadily decreasing enrollment numbers at area institutions as an indicator of interest and demand. Between 2001 and 2005, researchers found that Fort Lewis College, San Juan Basin Technical College, and Pueblo Community College's Southwest Campus all experienced yearly decreases in enrollment, with Pueblo Community College Southwest Campus taking the biggest hit, with a 46-percent drop during the period.

Adding to dwindling enrollment numbers, the study cites accreditation issues and costs associated with a launching a new, stand-alone facility, and suggests that marshaling resources and making changes to the existing network of post-secondary education options would best serve the region's current and future needs.

To that end, the study suggests leveraging the existing program structure of Pueblo Community College branch campuses in Durango and Cortez. According to the recommendations, the school's Southwest Campus in Durango should be the main regional teaching area with full vocational and transfer program course offerings, followed by enhancement of vocational technical programs at the college's second regional campus in Cortez.

The study also recommends shifting the missions of area schools. For example, the report recommends that Fort Lewis College transfer its two-year programs to Pueblo Community College, while San Juan Basin Technical College would transfer its post-secondary vocational technical mission to Pueblo Community College's Cortez branch.

Although the report's findings don't necessarily bolster Vaile's vision, he remains undeterred.

"I feel like the numbers, the data, were as supportive of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County as they were for Cortez and Montezuma County," Vaile said.

Among the data that supports Vaile's assertion, is a solid population base of 18 to 25 year-olds, and he says his conversations with area youth show a "fundamental hunger" for higher education. In addition, Vaile said the area boasts a strong population of retirees, a demographic who Vaile believes "enjoy, and are willing to pay for" continuing education.

Vaile also questioned the integrity of the report and said the study's findings are skewed to support the home turf of Larson and Isgar, the legislators who requested the report.

Vaile and Larson have butted heads over local efforts to establish a Pagosa Springs-area college.

In an open letter to Vaile, Larson described the effort as a "Ready, Fire, Aim approach and one that was not well researched." Further, Larson called the effort "politically contrived," saying the timing of Vaile's community college push was conveniently linked to Archuleta County Commissioner John Egan's election bid.

Vaile went public with the idea Sept. 16, 2006.

Although Larson has questioned the motivations and foresight of the local effort, Vaile said area residents and Archuleta County staff and the board of county commissioners have been extremely supportive.

"There has not been one naysayer in the town or the county," Vaile said.

With the report out for review, Vaile said he and the task force will crunch the numbers for themselves to determine the next step. Vaile said they plan to meet in January.

"We need to take this report, digest it, study it, and pull out of it what we can to form a business case to establish an institute of higher learning in Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County that would serve the Four Corners area," Vaile said.

Vaile suggested that past efforts to broaden local higher education opportunities may have fallen short due to limited course offerings, poor scheduling, or the sponsoring institution not adequately reading the needs of the population they intended to serve.

Vaile acknowledged the area's current population base may not support a stand-alone institution, yet with the right school, and the right programs, it could become a regional or national draw.

In Vaile's vision, he sees three possible routes: two-year programs to prepare students for transfer into four-year programs; vocational career training; and continuing education.

Vaile said a fourth possibility might involve integrating the school with a performing arts or recreation center.

"We need to scope it properly, start small, do it slowly, rationally with sustainable growth." Vaile said.

And in regard to funding, he added, "We need to stay out of the public trough."

For the short term, Vaile said he visualizes being able to offer courses within three years, "Not necessarily a campus but courses. That is my target, but keep in mind, this project is still in the planning stages."

He added that a short term strategy might include joining forces with Pueblo Community College.

Reports and statistics aside, Vaile said he believes there is a "fundamental hunger" for higher education among area youth, and that a local institution could become an economic driver for the area.

"Education is good business, it's clean and non-polluting," Vaile said.

The full report from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education is available online at http://www.state.co.us/cche_dir/hecche.html, go to "Quick Links" click on "What's New" then click on Southwest Feasibility Study, Nov. 15, 2006.

 

Driver in double fatality could face federal manslaughter charge

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

A criminal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Durango Nov. 29 as a result of a fatal automobile accident Nov. 26 on Colo. 151 south of its intersection with U.S. 160. The collision claimed the lives of Loraine Duran, 69, of Ignacio, and her 8-year-old granddaughter, Jacklyn Duran.

Jaime Wood, 21, of Aztec, N.M., who drove a minivan that collided with the Duran's vehicle when he veered over the center line, could face two counts of manslaughter, since he was allegedly driving under the influence of controlled substances.

According to an affidavit for a warrantless arrest, investigators found several items of drug paraphernalia in Wood's minivan, along with marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and traces of methamphetamine.

According to the affidavit, Wood exhibited physical symptoms of being under the influence, admitted to an investigator he had used marijuana that morning and consented to drug testing. The U.S. Attorney's office is currently waiting for the results of a toxicology report.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James Candelaria said Wood is suspected of having had several controlled substances in his system at the time of the accident.

The case is under federal jurisdiction, since the alleged crime occurred on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. The deceased are also federally recognized Native Americans.

Before formal charges are brought, the case will go to a grand jury in Denver, which will decide whether or not to indict Wood. By statute, the grand jury must convene within 30 days of the criminal complaint, said Candelaria, but no date has been set.

If indicted, Wood will be arraigned and face prison, if convicted.

Wood is currently out on $250,000 bail.

 

Local Student Ambassador to host bake sale

A bake and gift sale will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, at the Country Center City Market to assist a local student, Sarah Stuckwish, earn tuition for her People to People Student Ambassador Program in France, Greece and Italy.

People to People was founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to promote world friendship and understanding through individual citizens. Stuckwish was accepted into the People to People program after receiving a nomination from one of her teachers, submitting references and participating in a successful interview with delegation leaders. Students can earn academic credit while exploring the culture and heritage of the places they visit.

Those interested in making a contribution are asked to write checks payable to People To People and forward them to PO Box 5512, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. For more information about the People to People Student Ambassador Programs, log on to the Web site at www.studentambassadors.org.

 

Christmas tree permits on sale

Christmas tree permits, which allow you to cut your own Christmas tree on public lands, are now on sale at National Forest/BLM offices.

A permit, which costs $8, allows you to cut one tree up to 20 feet tall for personal use. This year's permits expire Dec. 31, 2006.

Permits come with a brochure that explains regulations and offers helpful tips. National Forest/BLM offices also sell maps and offer free advice on the best areas for tree harvesting, and the best species of tree to cut.

Permits are on sale at the Pagosa Public Lands Office, 180 Pagosa St.

Call the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874 for up-to-date information on road conditions (National Forest/BLM roads are not snowplowed) or go to: www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/conditions.

 

Outdoors

BLM offers geldings for adoption

The BLM Colorado State Office will offer geldings from 4 years of age and older for adoption at a reduced fee of $25 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.

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 (www.blm.gov) for information about adoptions or sales.

 

Colorado animal identification system hits 5,000 mark

Colorado livestock producers continue to register their premises with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), bringing the total number of premises registered to date to just over 5,000 of the estimated 22,900 premises in the state.

The number of premises registered across the country stands at more than 333,000 and continues to rise each week.

"The voluntary premises registration program is moving forward in Colorado," said Colorado Animal ID Coordinator John Heller. "With cooperative efforts from the Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Cattlemen's Association, and the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, there have been informational mailings and meetings throughout the state, which we intend to continue next year."

The voluntary USDA program has been developing and changing since its inception in the spring of 2004, largely due to producer and industry input through species working groups and public comment.

Producer and industry input is invited on a new draft User Guide unveiled two months ago by USDA. Bruce Knight, Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs, said the guide is "a comprehensive handbook that explains what the system is and how it can help producers protect their operations and communities from the potentially devastating effects of serious animal disease events."

Protecting animal health is the main purpose of NAIS and will remain a voluntary system at the federal level. Some states, due to specific disease concerns, have made premises registration mandatory. "Our goal is to utilize a system in Colorado that will give the State Veterinarian's Office the ability to respond effectively to disease outbreaks," said Colorado State Veterinarian Dr. John Maulsby.

Maulsby said, "We want to protect our livestock industry and help our producers remain profitable and so that we have the capability to raise our own safe food supply."

All Colorado livestock and poultry producers, large or small, are encouraged to educate themselves about NAIS and premises identification. Additional information is available by going to www.coanimalid.org or by calling Colorado's Animal ID toll free line at (877) 842-0102.

 

High Country Reflections

Goodbye my friend, thanks for the memories

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

Everything in life is temporary including life itself. As I grow ever older, I am increasingly aware of this most fundamental fact. There is no escaping it. In due course, all things must end.

Today, with the recent passing of a dear friend, I am again reminded of the fragility of life and how, for each of us, a prolonged subsistence is never assured. Life cannot be taken for granted. At best, we are but short-term tenants here, and the length of our stay, as with all living things, varies by circumstance. Be it of fate or divine authority, some simply live longer than others.

Bruce Keep lived 52 years and was my friend for the past 20. In fact, he was more than a friend. He was kith and kin, my best buddy, a fanatic fishing companion and true ally in life. He was intelligent, articulate, kind and soft-spoken, yet his uncanny wit amused all who knew him, as it spared me the weight of a life led too seriously. I cared deeply for Bruce, and he cared deeply for me.

For more than two decades, Bruce worked with his brother, Rex, in a thriving photography and photo-finishing business in and around Vail, Colo. Rex, as a prominent professional photographer, focused primarily on his work, while Bruce assisted in the day-to-day operations of three photo-processing labs. He specialized in E-6 slide processing, while developing his own aptitude in still photography.

But, beyond a skillful E-6 processor and talented photographer, Bruce was a consummate flyfisher and the best fly-tyer I have ever known. We met and became fast friends in Vail, but even in the days before our first fishing foray together, he had already established himself as the local expert on aquatic entomology. As an on-call commercial fly-tyer, he devoted much of his spare time to creating and producing durable and effective flies for a select list of clients, while further refining his angling expertise in the name of "essential streamside research."

Our first outing led us to the Colorado River below Glenwood Springs, in November 1986. Bruce, at 6 feet 4 inches, picked me up in his enormous old four-door Plymouth and drove to a Glenwood restaurant, where we indulged in biscuits and gravy, before heading to the water. Over coffee, as I described my limited success in previous trips to the Colorado, Bruce discussed flies and tactics and assured me we'd catch fish.

He was half right.

I caught several trout that day, two of which were my largest ever to that point in time, while Bruce failed to hook a fish at all. Of course, he knew that stretch of water well, and made certain that I cast to the most productive pools. He, meanwhile, stood mostly by, camera in hand, and captured my many triumphs for all the world to see.

Certainly, my good fortune that day was the result of Bruce's generosity and knowledge of the river, but he also knew exactly what fly to fish, and how. For him, that was a source of great pride and, it seemed, on every journey from that day forward, he always handed me a few new flies, "just to see how they work."

In the early years of our relationship, Bruce processed slides, tied flies and taught fly-tying classes. I, as a fledgling outdoor writer and photographer, wrote newspaper articles, guided fly-fishermen and held assorted winter jobs to keep up with rent and groceries. We guided together occasionally and fished every opportunity, except on the coldest January days, and the Eagle River became our beloved home water.

As time passed and our friendship matured, interests turned to resource protection and other conservation efforts. We volunteered in support of Trout Unlimited (TU) and the Federation of Fly Fishers. In our community and among clients, we advocated catch-and-release fishing with single barbless hooks, and preached the cessation of littering and stream contamination. In the wake of decades of mining pollution, we toiled in the fight to restore health to a beleaguered Eagle River.

Meanwhile, as part entertainment, part education, we held weekly flyfishing seminars at an area hotel. Featuring slide shows, guest speakers and classroom instruction on equipment needs, knot-tying and proper fly selection, we solicited donations to further benefit our local TU chapter.

As I gradually shifted to freelance magazine work and related slide photography, Bruce began writing fly-tying articles for a local newspaper. When I became a regular columnist for a national flyfishing magazine, we traveled over a five-state area, fishing, studying aquatic insects and shooting photos for bimonthly publication.

Some of our travels took us to Montana's Bighorn River, the San Juan below Navajo Dam and the Green River in Utah. We went to Idaho and the Lochsa, Selway and Clearwater rivers, and we covered all the major rivers in Colorado. To reduce costs, we camped or rented small cabins, and frequently prepared meals over a pack stove or open fire. Whether float-fishing or wading the currents, we visited some beautiful places, fished amazing waters and had tons of fun.

On occasion, the owners of a new and upcoming backcountry lodge would hire me as a consultant to assess the quality of their fishing resources - no doubt, hoping for a little national publicity in return - and I nearly always persuaded them that Bruce's entomological expertise was crucial to a precise evaluation. More often than not, the two of us went, all expenses paid, plus salary.

Of all our angling escapades over the years, certainly too numerous to delve into here, the most enjoyable and enlightening were the many jaunts to remote tributary streams in the higher elevations of the Colorado Rockies. While seldom encountering another soul in such places, we found quiet and unparalleled beauty in all natural surroundings, where time slowed to a crawl. The only things of importance, aside from our close camaraderie, were those which stimulated our senses, bringing peace and fulfillment to our hearts.

At times we fished emphatically for hours on end, while at others, we sat in the shade, joyfully observing, as trout fed unwaveringly in the braded currents of a placid pool. Sometimes, we walked long distances without uttering a word, hearing only the sounds of our footsteps, the singing of birds, or a soft breeze wafting through the trees. Many times though, we laughed and carried on, as if we had all the answers, while the rest of the world simply floundered, seemingly unaware of our great wisdom.

But mostly, we enjoyed being together and doing what we loved. Indeed, we were true blue companions, bosom buddies, birds of a feather. Today, I sorely miss my friend and undoubtedly always will.

I am not a religious man per se, but I am, nonetheless, deeply spiritual. Perhaps similarities between the two are greater than their differences, but in my understanding of the Great Mystery which I call God, there is reason and order, perfection and balance in everyone and everything. Our existence is not simply the product of happenstance. Rather, we are the embodiment of spirit and our souls are the pure result of all our worldly experiences, personal relationships and love.

Perhaps, as we pass from this world to the next, love is all we're able to carry along. I believe it is so. After all, there is purpose, and what could be more important?

"My darlin' friend, my darlin' friend, all we've got goin' is love in the end, it's all that matters, all that matters." -Mark Knopfler.

 

Letters

"Cowboy Up"

Dear Editor:

Congratulations to Forest Bramwell for another great year on the Pro Rodeo Circuit. From January through November of this year, as he has for the past several years, Forest traveled across the U.S. and was a great representative for Pagosa Springs. He won a nice "chunk of change" at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas this year, and wound up with a very respectable ranking of 12th in the world in bareback riding. He ended a tremendous year by winning a share of the final round at the NFR last Saturday, and the smile on his face after posting the 85.5 was as big as the win. Forest, we hope that your "pot of gold at the end of the rainbow" in 2007, comes in the form of a World Champion Belt Buckle! Get some good soaks in the Hot Springs to get rid of 12 months of aches, and "Cowboy Up" in 2007. We'll be following you.

Roy and Jolyn Boutwell

Wichita Falls, Texas

 

Wish list

Dear Editor:

Christmas is coming; it is time to make my Christmas wish list:

I have enough ties, I have enough flannel shirts, I have a lot of stuff.

How about:

- Renewed efforts at diplomacy in the Middle East starting with justice for the Palestinians.

The road to peace in the Middle East starts in Jerusalem not Baghdad.

- Real ethics reform for the Congress and the executive branch.

- An energy-related Manhattan Project that addresses everything from conservation to bio-fuels to an end to a foreign policy dictated by big oil (Exxon-Mobile; British Petroleum-Amoco, etc.)

- Diplomatic support involving China to end the genocide in Darfur. China is a major trading partner with Sudan. We are the major trading partner of China.

- National health insurance, so that all residents of the United States have access to needed medical care.

- Support the troops; bring them home in a timely manner.

- Address all of the issues of immigration: guest worker program, path to citizenship, etc. not just penalties for undocumented workers who we need and want to provide low cost labor and services.

- Put Christ back into Christmas by acting like Christians. For those of us who claim to be Christians, the New Testament has some pretty good advice. "Love your enemy," "Turn away evil with good," "What ever you did for the least of these My brothers and sisters you did for Me."

- If we want peace we must work for justice. Maybe a question we can all ask ourselves is, "How can I contribute to the 'common good' locally and globally?"

My wish for all of us is a safe and peaceful Christmas and a 2007 that brings civilization to a higher level of searching and acting for the local and global "common good."

Peace and joy,

Raymond P. Finney

 

"Blame"

Dear Editor:

According to the article by Phillip Fields in the Nov. 30 issue of PREVIEW TOO, "Why do we get sick?," I have fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome because I am "broken within" and "live a sinful/separate life in opposition to our Maker's design." Whew. That's a relief. I didn't know a clear cause for these disorders had been discovered yet. But now, after reading Mr. Fields' opinions, I'm wondering why some real sorry SOBs I know are still running marathons. I am also wondering about the children living in hospital pediatric wards. Are they, too, "broken within" and living "in opposition to our Maker's design?"

I think maybe in this world things simply go wrong, break down, wear out. Pain, illness and loss visits us all, the holy as well as the heathen. Mr. Fields may find, if he looks a little more closely, that many fine, spiritually devout people are also dealing with chronic illnesses, and his suggestion that the cause of their suffering is then being "broken within" and living in a "sinful/separated condition" is neither true nor helpful nor kind.

Mr. Fields' thinking also implies that the healthy are whole, connected and living according to "our Maker's design." A quick look around disproves his premise. My guess would be that the more sensitive, gentler people might possibly be less resistant to stress, pollution and negativity than the less sensitive and more aggressive people; therefore, they may also be more susceptible to stress-related disorders. Only the good die young, I've heard.

I am tired to my bones of being "blamed" for having a chronic illness by healthy theists who generally offer Mr. Fields' opinions. I am equally worn out by healthy New Agers who tell me I have created this illness to teach myself needed lessons and will not "need" it anymore once I have learned whatever those lessons are - meanwhile, of course, they can sell me a "cure." A lot of people are devalued, hurt and even made to feel guilty for their illness because of this "blame the victim" thinking.

Mr. Field concludes that I must believe in his version of God to "receive healing and peace in place of the pain and suffering cause by worldly stress." I am a merely human mother and, if I could, I would ease any of my child's sufferings whether she believes in me or not. So would any loving parent. Unconditionally.

May kindness and understanding prevail,

Bonnie Runyan

 

Wonderful evening

Dear Editor:

If you missed the first Tree of Lights, you missed a wonderful evening! Great music by John Graves, elegant food by Wildflower Catering, fragrant trees from Terry's Ace Hardware, lovingly decorated trees raising over $6,000 for local charities, and local residents turned out in their glitzy best. Thank you Mercy, Michelle and Becky for transforming the community center, and Bill Nobles for auctioning off every tree (and wreath) in sight.

Janis Moomaw and Nancy Strait

 

   Community News

Big Brothers Big Sisters - Homes with Heart

Big Brothers Big Sisters has kicked off its 2006 Homes with Heart fund-raiser, with Bank of Colorado as the major sponsor for the event.

A spectacular playhouse will be raffled as part of the fund-raiser - a perfect holiday gift for a child.

This year's playhouse is a dream castle. Nolan Reed, a Durango Kidtime student, was the winner of the drawing contest, and Rick and Keegan Feeney of Feeney Architects turned Reed's drawing into something magical. The playhouse was built by Durango High School students in wood shop class.

The castle is on display in Durango at the Town Plaza parking lot, near Kroegers and South City Market.

BBBS volunteers will sell raffle tickets at the site until the drawing at 2 p.m. Dec. 23. Tickets are also available at The Pagosa Springs SUN office at 466 Pagosa St. until noon Dec. 22. Contact BBBS board of directors member Terri House at 946-1642 if you have any questions or would like to make a contribution to the organization.

The money you give - purchasing raffle tickets or as a donation - helps fund a valuable program. Big Brothers Big Sisters matches compassionate, open-minded, responsible mentors one-to-one or two-to-one with a child in need of a caring and safe role model. Big Brothers Big Sisters is a simple, yet powerfully effective way to offer Archuleta County's at-risk youth a safe path to adulthood. A match specialist who lives in Pagosa Springs oversees the matches. Big Brothers Big Sisters served from 17 to 22 families in Archuleta County during each of the past three years

The Big Brothers Big Sisters program serves youth between 6 and 17 years of age.

Approved mentors make a commitment to meet with their "Littles" a few hours each week to see a movie, play sports, or just talk. Often the Little Brother Sister is simply folded into the mentor's normal activities, such as washing the car, going for a walk, running errands, or fixing dinner. A trusting friendship develops that benefits both the Big Brother Sister and the Little Brother Sister.

The Big Brothers Big Sisters Core Program is a simple, yet powerfully effective way to offer Archuleta County's at-risk youth a safe path to adulthood. The national Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring model was examined for effectiveness in a 1995 national study. The study found that youth mentored in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs were 46-percent less likely to initiate drug use than similar non-mentored youth, 27-percent less likely to initiate alcohol use than similar non-mentored youth, and almost one-third less likely than similar non-mentored youth to hit someone. Mentored youth also earned higher grades, skipped fewer classes and fewer days of school, and felt more competent about doing their schoolwork than did similar non-mentored youth. What's more, the quality of the Little Brothers' and Little Sisters' relationships with their parents or guardians and their peers was better at the end of the study period than it was for non-mentored youth.

For more information on applying to become a big brother or big sister, call Michelle Carroll at 264-5077 and leave a message. The Pagosa Springs office is open Wednesdays and Thursdays.

 

Community Choir concerts tonight, Saturday and Sunday

By Matthew Lowell Brunson

Special to The PREVIEW

What the Community Choir has been working so hard for the last three months is finally coming to an end as they perform their 2006 Christmas Concert tonight, Saturday and Sunday.

This year's concert is sure to please, with many songs that we know and love and new songs that will touch the heart. Some of the best soloists and instrumentalists in Pagosa are coming out this year to make this concert memorable.

Concerts will begin at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday night, On Sunday, there will be a matinee at 4 p.m. The concerts will be held in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

A local group, "Arise," will open for the choir, singing a version of "Mary Did You Know." This year, there are 73 volunteers from the community who will light up the stage with their charisma and tell stories with their songs.

Join us for this free concert to help bring in the season.

 

Talented local performers featured in 'A Classic Christmas' Dec. 23

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse will be the scene of musical fun for the entire family when Elation Center for the Arts presents its annual holiday concert, "A Classic Christmas," celebrating the season with beloved carols and a variety of colorful instrumental music. Vitality and energy will abound when some of Pagosa's finest musical talent takes the stage at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23.

John Graves will guest star with fine vocalists and classical instrumentalists to bring in the holiday spirit.

The concert includes performances by Debbie Tucker, Salley Yates, Bob Nordmann (saxophone), D'Ann Artis (French horn), Jeannie Dold, Sue Diffey, Sue Anderson (piano), Natalie and Jarrell Tyson, Jessica Espinosa, Nancy Smith, The Pagosa Peak Woodwind Trio (Joy Redmon, flute; Tim Bristow, clarinet; and Valley Lowrance, bassoon), For the Good Times (Sue Martin, Paula McFaddin, Sharon Porter and Julie Gillentine) and the Santa and His Elves Theatrical Ensemble. The evening's bill is rounded out by The Christmas Cheer Singers, leading the audience in heartwarming sing-alongs.

Debbie Tucker has been raising the spirits of southwest Colorado with her superb music since she moved to Pagosa in 1982. At the tender age of 5, Tucker's musical interests began to flower when she began singing along with the records of Barbara Streisand. Later she toured the world on cruise ships, singing for exclusive parties. In the mid-'90s, Tucker teamed up with Pagosa luminary John Graves, and the duo performed for years at local events. Tucker manages the Riverpoint Coffee Café, a new restaurant in Pagosa where she plans to create a live music venue. Currently, Tucker is working on a CD release of her original music.

The Pagosa Peak Woodwind Trio was a big hit at last year's concert, with the gorgeous blend of Joy Redmon's flute, Tim Bristow's clarinet and Valley Lowrance's bassoon. This year, the group will perform "The Rigaudon & Novelette," by Cecile Chaminade. According to flautist Joy Redmon, "this is a very sweet and playful piece that we thought would be very appropriate for the feeling of the season." In addition, the trio has also chosen two traditional Christmas songs from other lands: "Mizerna Cicha / Only A Manger Bed" from Poland and "El Santo Niño / The Holy Child" from Puerto Rico. Redmon will also perform a solo flute rendition of "Minuet Dance of the Blessed Spirits," by C.W. von Gluck.

Come enjoy a talent-packed cast of local entertainers in "A Classic Christmas," when vocalists will render classic carols and classical musicians will compliment the mood with elegant melodies.

For more details about the program, please check out next week's PREVIEW.

Advance tickets, for $8, are available through elationarts.org and at WolfTracks. Tickets at the door are $10 for adults. Children are admitted free.

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 so that more families will attend. Remember, children are free to this one!

ECA's community concerts have been upgraded with professional sound, stage and lighting.

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. Proceeds from this concert help support these programs. For more information, log on to elationarts.org or call 731-3117.

 

'Hold It!' opens at Shy Rabbit, includes work of Shan Wells

By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

"Hold It!," an exhibition of contemporary containers, opened at Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts Saturday, Dec. 9, to a large and energetic crowd.

This elegant exhibition features seven emerging and mid-career artists working in varying and somewhat unconventional mediums. The exhibition runs through Jan. 20.

"Hold It!" artists were asked to stretch the concept of a typical container or vessel. This exhibition entertains the viewer's imagination with a wide range of materials and forms.

Several of the artists invited to participate in "Hold it!" had existing works that fit the show theme. Others created new work inspired by the show title and the freedom they were allowed in the process.

Artists were provided with as long as four months in which to complete new work, and had no restrictions other than a size range and the number of finished works required. The process was a very organic one that resulted in the creation of work that is natural and unforced.

The seven featured artists are: Chad Haspels, Colo., wood; Sarah Hewitt, N.M., fiber; Clarissa Hudson, Colo., fiber; Terry Inokuma, Ore., ceramics; Mary Ellen Long, Colo., mixed media; Chris Richter, N.M., ceramics; and Shan Wells, Colo., mixed media.

Shan Wells is a North American sculptor and political illustrator. Born in Cortez, he attended Art Center College of Design, and the University of Canterbury in New Zealand.

Wells received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1999, and two successive Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowships for drawing and sculpture, respectively, one of two recipients of the awards to do so in the 35-year history of the program. He was recently selected as one of Colorado's best 75 artists for the exhibition, "Best of Colorado," at the Denver International Airport.

Wells illustrates a political cartoon for the Durango Telegraph, an independent weekly newspaper. His illustrations have also appeared in Truthout.org, Westword, Las Vegas City Life, and the Los Angeles Reader.

Wells has three pieces on display in "Hold It!," two that were existing works, and one that he created specifically for the show.

"A Portable Container for Shadows" is made up of Ponderosa pine, found metal, leather, steel and recycled mahogany. This piece greets the viewer as he/she enters the smaller of the two Shy Rabbit gallery spaces, and sets the tone for the entire show.

"A metaphor for introspection, this piece flows directly from the work of Edmund Husserl, who originated the idea of phenomenology," Wells stated. "The idea of never being able to fully perceive anything was of interest - for example, the inside of a tree limb. We perceive it only one side at a time, and the interior is never fully observable. Containers have a great metaphoric value for this reason - they are potentialities, exposures that become more beautiful to us as they become more transparent and complex, mirroring our own perceived souls."

Wells creates works that are visually pleasing while provocative in nature, and that also inspire a great deal of thought if fully absorbed.

"'A Portable Container for Shadows' reverses this to create an object that simultaneously reveals its core and conceals it - thus illustrating the working contradiction inherent in introspection that I think we all strive to overcome as we peer into our own dark recesses, searching for meaning in our behavior, adding another arrow to the quiver of our self-definition," Wells continued.

Wells' second contribution is entitled "ArcHive." It is skillfully constructed of recycled Douglas fir, wax, ink and leather.

"Bees use a complex dance to communicate with one another", Wells explained. "Called waggle-dance, this behavior results in an incredibly plastic language ability, capable of communicating very specific information about food location, quality, timing, and other things, as well as enabling arguments over competing resources. "'ArcHive' is a metaphor for the library of knowledge the dance represents, the compilation of bee knowing."

Wells' third piece is titled "Spectral." It is constructed of wood, wax, leaves, light and components.

"This work speaks to the common scientific process of dissecting nature in order to understand it. It can be done, but the subject tends to die in the process", Wells said. "The work also references core sampling, and specifically, spectral analysis of celestial bodies- hence the line of color. All of this comes together in the title 'Spectral.'"

Wells lives with his family in Durango.

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

Visit http://shyrabbit.blogspot.com 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 shyrabbit01@aol.com.

 

Danny Oertli and band to perform Sunday

Danny Oertli and his band are in concert at 7 p.m. Dec. 17 at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium, hosted by Grace Evangelical Free Church. Tickets are $3.

Danny Oertli is an accomplished singer, songwriter and author, encouraging audiences worldwide with enriching stories of God's enduring faithfulness. The creator of four independent albums, his most recent is "Everything In Between," featuring the stirring track "Mommy Paints the Sky." The song also titles Danny's current NavPress book, which recounts a love story torn apart by grief and restored in hope.

Oertli has performed throughout the world and has worked with many ministries including Billy Graham, Focus on the Family, and FamilyLife. For the past seven years, he has served as the worship leader for the Dare 2 Share conferences and as a Compassion International spokesperson. Oertli currently lives in Parker, Colo., with his wife, Rayna, and their three children.

 

Music in the Mountains announces 2007 schedule

Music in the Mountains has announced its schedule of concerts for 2007 and anticipates that tickets or gift certificates to any or all of these world-class performances will be well received. In planning to celebrate its sixth season in Pagosa Springs, the Festival has lined up the following outstanding soloists and guest conductors:

- July 18 - The season opens with a Chamber Music concert featuring Vadim Gluzman, violin, accompanied by his wife, Angela Yoffe. Erin Hannigan, oboe, also will be a featured soloist. Gluzman and Yoffe continue to impress audiences around the world, including recognition as "one of the best instrumental duos of all time," by the Sudhessische Post.

- July 25 - In a very special chamber music concert, noted violinist Anne Akiko Meyers will appear in a program that also includes Aviram Reichert. Meyers is recognized as one of today's most inspiring and sought-after violinists for her impassioned performances and mastery of a wide-ranging selection of music.

- July 28 - Anne Akiko Meyers returns for a Festival orchestra concert featuring works by Berlioz, Barber and Dvorak. Guest conductor Guillermo Figueroa, a candidate to succeed Maestro Mischa Semanitzky as principal conductor in 2008, will lead the performance. Figueroa is considered a Berlioz specialist for his creation of the most comprehensive Berlioz Festival in the U.S. to commemorate the composer's 200th anniversary in 2003.

- Aug. 3 - Another candidate for the conductor's post, Leif Bjaland, will lead the Festival orchestra in a performance of works by Chavrier and Brahms, as well as Rachmaninov's "Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini," featuring David Korevaar, piano. Bjaland, who has just celebrated his 10th anniversary as artistic director and conductor of the Florida West Coast Symphony, has been credited for powering the Sarasota orchestra "into high orbit," according to The Miami Herald.

All four concerts will be held at the stunning BootJack Ranch, under the tent at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass. Tickets for chamber concerts are $40. Festival orchestra concert tickets are $50.

Gift certificates

To make holiday gift giving easy, the Chamber of Commerce in downtown Pagosa Springs has gift certificates available for tickets to these concerts. Visit the Chamber office or call them at (800) 252-2204 or (970) 264-2360. Purchases may be made by cash, check or credit card (MasterCard or Visa).

Tickets for Music in the Mountains concerts are priced to make concerts accessible although they cover less than one-third of the cost of presenting the season's programs.

"Given the caliber of the outstanding musicians and soloists who perform in our community, these concerts offer an incredible value to local audiences," said Teresa Huft, Music in the Mountains board member and Pagosa Springs steering committee liaison. "With the help of our strong team of local volunteers and the generous support of area businesses and individuals, we can present incomparable classical music."

Huft is assisted in Pagosa Springs by committee members Mary Jo Coulehan, Crystal Howe, Lisa Scott, Jim Foster, Ed Lowrance and Janis Moomaw.

Further details about the Music in the Mountains schedule, soloists and programs are available at www.musicinthemountains.com.

 

Music and dancing this New Year's Eve

By Siri Schuchardt

Special to The PREVIEW

Plans for the annual New Year's Dance are well underway at the Pagosa Springs Community Center.

The dance will take place from 9 p.m. to 12:12 a.m. at the center. Doors will open at 8:30 , with live music starting promptly at 9 This is your big opportunity to "dress to the nines" or simply "Pagosa style" and have a wonderful night out on the town.

The cost is $20 per person advance and $25 per person at the door, and includes a variety of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, desserts and coffee. Beer, wine and champagne will be available at $3 per glass and soft drinks for $1 (can with cup and ice). Tickets are available at WolfTracks and at the community center. Advance tickets must be purchased by Friday, Dec. 29, at the close of business. Based on the number of tickets sold last year, there could be a very limited number of tickets available at the door, so you are encouraged to purchase tickets by Dec. 29. Complete tables of eight or 10 can be reserved in advance at the community center with presentation of your tickets. Back by popular demand, there will be a singles' table, so please let the center staff know if you wish to be seated at that table.

Music for the evening will be provided by John Graves and Company, who provided our music last year. This band is a quartet of distinguished musicians and will play a wide variety of music. The band includes John Graves, Larry Elginer, Kim Graves, Susanna Ninichuck, and several surprise guest artists. All members not only excel as instrumentalists, but also as singers and entertainers.

Trumpeter Larry Elginer supplemented his career as a high school music teacher, band, orchestra, and choral conductor by playing private parties and events with many of the finest musicians and groups in the Los Angeles area. He is now the co-conductor of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and Jazz Ensemble.

Bassist Susanna Ninichuck has played and sung with bands of all sizes and styles. She also plays a number of other instruments including keyboard, drums, trumpet and tuba. Also on her resume are stints as a Hollywood stunt woman, actress, choreographer, director and teacher of a course on opera history.

Drummer Kim Graves joined the Los Angeles Professional Musicians' Union when he was 11 years old. He played with his dad, John, and other musicians at private parties all through his junior and senior high school years. While attending college, he worked in some big bands which often accompanied celebrity stage shows. He is now an airline pilot living in Phoenix.

Keyboard player John Graves' main career was in television and film industries, but he has always played several nights a week, or between film assignments, as a single pianist, side man, or band leader. He played private parties for Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas, and John Wayne, He has recorded, been a staff pianist at KLAC-TV and on the first Betty White show. He has also accompanied such artists as George Burns, June Christy, Helen O'Connell, Rosemary Clooney, Rudy Vallee, Redd Foxx, Arthur Duncan and Jimmy Durante.

 

Dan Keuning to speak at UU service

On Sunday, Dec. 17, Dan Keuning, local Family Nurse Practitioner, will speak to the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship on Jesus' words: "It is Better to Give Than to Receive." His children's story will also emphasize that the true gift of Christmas is sharing with other children who have nothing.

Kuening has been in Pagosa Springs since 1993 "... where my wife and I honeymooned while we fell in love together as we fell in love with Pagosa." They have no plans to leave except to do short-term missions to help the underserved around the world. Their goal is to encourage support of missions and help to those who are not able to help themselves. Their own mission experiences have taken them to Alaska, Mexico, the inner city of Chicago, and the hills of Kentucky. Currently, their emphasis is on the Mexico Children's Foundation.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall. Child care and/or the Religious Education program for ages 3 years old and up is offered every Sunday, except the second Sunday of the month, which is devoted to meditation. The location is Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

 

Chuck Bob at the Movies

A lot to like in 'Superman Returns'

Charles Streetman

PREVIEW Columnist

In a previous review, I expressed disappointment with Bryan Singer's abandonment of the X-Men franchise to take on the new Superman film, "Superman Returns."

Since Singer's departure, the X-Men have tanked, but with "Superman Returns" on the new release shelf, I decided to take it home to see if it was just one superhero movie that crashed because of Singer's career choice, or two.

Unlike last year's "Batman Begins," which started the franchise all over again, "Superman Returns" is a sequel to the previous films. Five years have passed since Superman (Brandon Routh) left Earth to seek the remains of his home planet, Krypton. When he returns to Earth and reasserts himself as mild-mannered Clark Kent, he finds that much has changed - crime waves have drastically increased while social unrest and wars break out around the world. On a more personal note, Superman discovers the love of his life, Lois Lane, (Kate Bosworth, "Blue Crush") has moved on. She is engaged, has a son, and has won a Pulitzer Prize for an article titled, "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman."

With chaos the order of the day, Superman finds himself in high demand, and despite his personal tribulations, it doesn't take him long to get back into the swing of things, thwarting criminals and rescuing Lois from peril. At the same time, his arch-rival, Lex Luthor (Kevin Spacey, "American Beauty"), continues with his agenda of world domination, including a plan to destroy the Man of Steel with a set of mysterious crystals plundered from Superman's secret hideout during his absence.

Singer, as I was hoping, stays faithful to the original Superman movies. And what could have been a shallow, two-hour mess of intense action sequences instead tells a more human and emotional story of the Man of Steel. Much of the nostalgia in "Superman Returns" is what I enjoyed most - the original film score, the old-fashioned opening credits and the insertion of restored audio and video clips of the late Marlon Brando from the first film, in which Brando played Superman's father, Jor-El.

Routh proves a worthy casting choice, not only in his uncanny resemblance to the late Christopher Reeve, but also with his affectionate performance as Superman. Spacey conveys the flamboyantly campy, yet menacing edge to Luthor's personality nicely, although Bosworth misfires as Lois Lane. Bosworth lacks the pluckier side to her character, and comes off as a little too young for the role. Nevertheless, Bosworth still provides a decent performance.

Where the film falters is in special effects. Although they are spectacular and among the best I've seen all year, some scenes tend toward overkill. For example, when a gang of robbers opens fire on a group of security guards, Superman swoops in to deflect the bullets. So far so good. But then the scene slows down to "bullet-time" and shows a round being deflected off of Superman's naked eye. While some might find this sequence cool, I found it lame.

My complaints are few concerning "Superman Returns." Singer faithfully resurrects the beloved comic book hero for a new generation of movie buffs. Backed with a good script, solid casting choices, and a gorgeous production design, it's a worthy continuation to the story of one of the most timeless comic book heroes of all time.

The single disc edition lacks special features, so if you want any of the bells and whistles, you'll have to shell out an extra $5 for the two-disc special edition.

However, if you really want the most for your money, I suggest saving for the "Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition." The 14-disc set includes all four Superman movies starring the late Christopher Reeve, including: a four disc collector's edition of the first film; a two-disc special edition of the second, plus the Richard Donner Cut version; deluxe editions of the third and fourth films; and the two-disc special edition of "Superman Returns." The set also includes three documentaries, including an extended edition of Singer's video journal from the making of "Superman Returns," the others chronicling the cinematic saga of Superman and the amazing story of Superman.

Finally, to top the set off, there's a reproduction of Superman Comic No. 7, a Superman overview booklet, and a collector's tin case. This incredible boxed set is priced at a very reasonable $75, although manufacturing errors have delayed its release. But, considering the collection, it should be worth the wait.

 

Community Center News

Festival a success - New Year's dance next

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

The Festival of Trees will definitely be an annual tradition in Pagosa!

The party and auction last Friday generated $6,300; all proceeds will go to 14 non-profit organizations. It was a great success.

The 2007 Festival of Trees will be bigger and better, with many interested parties already wanting to be on the list of tree sponsors. Watch this column for early information and planning for the next festival.

Kudos to Janis Moomaw and Nancy Strait for stepping forward as co-chairs to help made this event a reality. The success of the program depended on many people and organizations decorating and purchasing trees and donating during this awesome event.

New Year's Eve dance

Get those dancing shoes out and the party dresses ready.

This year, we'll dance on a bigger dance floor, with 17 new panels donated by Jack and Diana Litt (eight panels), Karen and Harris Bynum (two panels), Gerry and Dick Potticary, Beverly and Ed Chester, Teri and John Hoehn, Elaine and C.D. Lundergan, Peggy and Dick Carrai, and Nancy Grovhoug, all donated one panel each. We greatly appreciate their generosity. A reminder to our dance enthusiasts: Be sure to thank these donors when you see them.

John Graves and Company (Larry Elginer, Susanna Ninichuck and John's son, Kim Graves) will provide live music for this end-of-the-year adult dance, 9 p.m. to 12:12 a.m. Dec. 31. Doors will open at 8:30 p.m. Hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, dessert, hot and cold beverages, as well as a cash bar with wine, beer and champagne will be available. There will be awesome door prizes, too.

As usual, our very talented and creative volunteer, Pam Stoke, will head the decorating of the gym. We all wonder what is in her mind this time. Surely she'll turn the room into a beautiful and elegant space for all to enjoy.

Tickets are $20 per person in advance (until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 29) and $25 at the door. Advance tickets will be available at WolfTracks and at the community center. The center will be closed Saturday and Sunday before the dance. Purchase tickets in advance and reserve your table for eight or 10 people.

Line dancing

Another free activity you will enjoy is line dancing headed, by Gerry Potticary who gets help from Peggy Carrai, Beverly Chester and Teri Hoehn. This is a fun time for all who come and participate. The group is practicing hard to share their new moves at the New Year's Eve dance. Thanks Gerry, Peggy, Bev and Teri for your leadership.

Yoga session

This free program is open to all. Treat yourself to an hour of breathing, stretching and relaxation, especially during this time of the year. With all the stress from the holiday season's activities, yoga is a must.

The group meets every Tuesday morning 10 to 11:30 a.m. with our volunteer leader Addie Greer. Be sure to bring a mat or thick towel if you plan to join in this healthy-body and mind program.

Computer lab news

The end of the year is a perfect time to assess your computing capabilities. Take a close look at how you protect yourself and your computer from external threats. Do you have security plans in place and, more importantly, do you follow them? Stop by the center for a free checklist which will help you to know what you should be doing.

After the beginning of the new year, two new computer classes will be offered. One, which will cover word processing, will focus on copying and pasting, formatting, language and grammar tools. The other class will offer an in-depth look at spreadsheet software - specifically formatting, printing address labels, and automatic number calculations. If you have taken the beginning class or an equivalent and wish to be included, call the center to place your name on the list. Each class will last for two sessions of two hours each. Watch here for class dates and times.

eBay class

Every first and third Wednesday of the month, 5:30-7:00 p.m., Ben Bailey volunteers to teach those interested in selling and buying on the Internet. This is a free program offered to the public by the center.

Winter hours

The community center's winter hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center will be closed Dec. 23 and 30 for the holidays.

Activities this week

Today - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; watercolor club, 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.; PSAAR training, 1-5 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Chimney Rock meeting, 6-8 p.m.

Dec. 15 - Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, noon-1:15 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; C Team basketball practice, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; girls' basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.

Dec. 16 - Elks' Hoop Shoot, 8 a.m.-noon; drawing class with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; Teen Dance-Winter Wonderland, 6-10 p.m.

Dec. 17 - Grace EV Free Church service, 10 a.m.-noon; Church of Christ service, 10 a.m.-noon; High Roads Baptist Church service, 6-8 p.m.; Fairfield Activities meeting, 6-8 p.m.

Dec. 18 - Line dancing, 10-11:30 a.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; baton twirling Class, 3:45-4:45 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; open Gym with Tom, 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 19 - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; yoga, 10:30-11:30 a.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; open gym with Tom, 4-8 p.m.

Dec. 20 - Aikido class, 1-3 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; open gym with Tom, 4-8 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.; e-Bay class, 5:30-7 p.m.; photo club meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Dec. 21 - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Town of Pagosa Springs Christmas party, 7-10 p.m.

All community center-sponsored programs and classes are free; call 264-4152 for more information. Also, call the center for your space needs - we have small, medium and large rooms available for meetings, parties and any other kind of gathering.

 

Senior News

Help others have a happy holiday season - volunteer

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

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 at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14, at the Extension Building located at the fairgrounds on U.S. 84 by the fairgrounds. Operation Helping Hand distributes food, clothing and other items to those in need in our community over the holidays. The Den will be helping to sort our clothing and other donations into "something old, something new" piles so the items can then be organized into gift packages. Participate in volunteering and lending a helping hand to those who are less fortunate this holiday season.

Holiday party at The Den

Happy holidays and ho ho ho! Egg nog and the mistle toe.

Join us to celebrate this holiday season, for fun and friendship, which are the best reasons. The Den and Archuleta Seniors Inc. will celebrate the holidays with a holiday party on at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 15.

Festivities begin before lunch, with a spread of appetizers such as cheese balls, crackers and other finger foods graciously provided by Archuleta Seniors Inc. After lunch, we will have a "bring a gift, get a gift" holiday gift exchange. If you would like to participate in the gift exchange, all you have to do is buy a gift, wrap it, label it with the appropriate "male", "female" or "both" so everyone knows if your gift is gender specific, then place it under the tree. After all of our bellies are full, we will take turns visiting our lovely decorated tree and choosing a gift. (Remember, you have to bring a gift and place it under the tree in order to receive one).

Santa Claus is also coming to town and making a stop at The Den to bring a little cheer to our holiday party. And if that's not enough, we are honored to have John Graves join us following lunch playing the piano for sing-alongs to some of our favorite holiday songs.

So, whether you are interested in the appetizers, the gifts, Santa Claus, the holiday sing-along with John Graves or just hanging out with your friends, The Den's holiday party is guaranteed to be fun for all! It's also "Red and Green Day" on Dec. 15, so wear your holiday colors to add to the festivity of the party. (The Den and Archuleta Seniors Inc. will host a similar holiday party in Arboles at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 21.)

Community Choir Christmas concert

The Community Choir holiday concert will be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 16, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 17, at the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium. The choir was formed by folks in our community who love to sing and want to share their love of music with others.

The concert is free, so everyone can join in and celebrate the holiday season with festive musical favorites

Get the most from Medicare

Medicare's Part D (drug plan) open enrollment has begun and it's 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.

To help you prepare for open enrollment, call The Den at 264-2167 to make an appointment with one of the counselors who can help you re-evaluate your plan. Appointments are available Mondays and Tuesdays in December in Pagosa. Remember, the Medicare counselors here at The Den are not only available to help you with your drug plan options, but are also available to help you with your questions about Medicare in general.

Mountain Harmony music

A few ladies from the Pagosa Springs ladies' barber shop group, better known as Mountain Harmony, will be visiting us at The Den at 12:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18. They are going to do what they do best - entertain us with their lovely voices and lift our spirits with the sounds of the holiday season.

Sky Ute Casino

Step into the action and play to have fun during our monthly trip to Sky Ute Casino on Tuesday, Dec. 19. Free transportation (with limited seating) provided by Sky Ute leaves The Den at 1 p.m. returning approximately 6. Play the slots, hang out with friends and win (or lose), you are sure to have a great time! Please sign-up with The Den to participate.

VIPS support group

The monthly meeting for folks with low vision and their supporters, will be oat 11 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20. Susan Kimbler from the SW Center for Independence (259-1672) leads this informative support group.

"Ask the Doc"

Dr. Bricca has offered to give a monthly presentation at The Den covering a wide variety of topics. He has practiced family medicine for 22 years with a special interest in depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder and headaches. Dr. Bricca's first presentation at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 20, is on the topic of mental health. Dr. Bricca moved to Pagosa one year ago from Jackson Hole, Wyo. He has provided presentations to seniors for the last 20 years and we look forward to having his expertise and friendship here at The Den.

Dance For Health

Dance For Health classes will be available at The Den at 10 a.m. Wednesdays. 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 has offered to do your nails at The Den on Wednesdays, from 9:30 to 11 a.m. 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.

Free monthly movie

Our movie at The Den at 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 22, is "Scrooged," rated PG-13.

A coldhearted TV exec (Bill Murray) is about to discover the true meaning of Christmas - the hard way. This wild, woolly spin on Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" sees Murray visited by three high-spirited spirits and while there are laughs aplenty, Murray's reformation and redemption are immensely powerful. Join us for free popcorn in the lounge and enjoy the hilarious supporting and loving cast of this modern Christmas classic.

Luncheon At JJ's

The Den will visit JJ's Upstream Restaurant for lunch at noon Thursday, Dec. 28, to celebrate the closing of the year 2006. The cost is $10 per person for a fabulous lunch including dessert. Carpooling will be our mode of transportation. Please sign up with The Den office by Friday, Dec. 22, to enjoy this luncheon outing.

Depression in older adults

Depression affects more than 19 million Americans every year, regardless of age, race, or gender. While depression is not a normal part of the aging process, there is a strong likelihood of it occurring when other physical health conditions are present. For example, nearly a quarter of the 600,000 people who experience a stroke in a given year will experience clinical depression. Unfortunately, symptoms of depression are often overlooked and untreated when they coincide with other medical illnesses or life events that commonly occur as people age (e.g., loss of loved ones). However, clinical depression is never a "normal" response; it is a serious medical illness that should be treated at any age.

More than 2 million of the 34 million Americans age 65 and older suffer from some form of depression. Symptoms of clinical depression can be triggered by other chronic illnesses common in later life, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, cancer and arthritis.

One-third of widows/widowers meet criteria for depression in the first month after the death of their spouse, and half of these individuals remain clinically depressed after one year.

Older patients with symptoms of depression have roughly 50 percent higher healthcare costs than non-depressed seniors.

Depression is a significant predictor of suicide in elderly Americans. Comprising only 13 percent of the U.S. population, individuals aged 65 and older account for 20 percent of all suicide deaths, with white males being particularly vulnerable. Suicide among white males aged 85 and older (65.3 deaths per 100,000 persons) is nearly six times the suicide rate (10.8 per 100,000) in the U.S.

More than 55 percent of older persons treated for mental health services received care from primary care physicians. Less than 3 percent aged 65 and older received treatment from mental health professionals. Primary care physicians accurately recognize less than one half of patients with depression, resulting in potentially decreased function and increased length of hospitalization. Fortunately, clinical depression is a very treatable illness. More than 80 percent of all people with depression can be successfully treated with medication, psychotherapy or a combination of both.

Susan Stoffer, registered nurse and counselor, is available at The Den on Mondays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. if you need a friend or someone to talk to, don't be afraid to seek help!

Older adult suicide fact sheet

- While the elderly make up only 13 percent of the population, they account for almost 19 percent of the suicides.

- There is one elderly suicide every one hour thirty minutes.

- The suicide rate for the elderly rose 9 percent between 1980 and 1992. During that rime, there were 74,675 completed suicides of persons over 65. Rates have declined since that time.

- In 1997, suicide rates ranged from 13 per 100,000 among persons aged 65 to 69, to 21 per 100,000 persons aged 80 to 84, which is nearly double the overall U. S. rate.

- White men over the age of 85 are at the greatest risk of all age- gender-race groups. In 1997, the suicide rate for these men was 65 per 100,000. That is nearly six times the current overall rate.

- 83 percent of elderly suicides are men; the number of men's suicides in late life is 5 times that for women (men's rates are seven times those of women).

- The rate of suicide for women declines after age 60 (after peaking in middle adulthood, age 40-54).

- Although older adults attempt suicide less often than those in other age groups, they have a higher completion rate. The elderly are more lethal in their attempts and complete suicide more often.

- Over the age of 65, there is one suicide for every four attempts.

- Firearms are the most common means of completing suicide among the elderly. Men (77 percent) use firearms more than twice as often as women (35 percent).

- Alcohol or substance abuse play a diminishing role in later life suicides.

- Contrary to popular opinion, only a fraction (2-4 percent) of suicide victims have been diagnosed with a terminal illness at the time of their death. Two-thirds of older adults in their late 60s, 70s and 80s were in relatively good physical health when they died by suicide.

- 20 percent of elderly suicides over 75 have been seen by a physician within 24 hours of completing suicide; 35 percent have been seen by a physician within a week; 75 percent have seen a primary care physician within a month of their suicide; and 80 percent have seen a primary care physician within 6 months of their suicide.

- 66-90 percent of elderly suicides have at least one psychiatric diagnosis. Two-thirds of these diagnoses are for late-onset, single episode clinical depression.

- As many as 75 percent of depressed older Americans are not receiving the treatment they need, placing them at an increased risk of suicide.

- Elderly persons are less likely to reach out by calling a crisis line than their younger counterparts.

- Suicide rates are highest in the mountain states of the United States for the nation as a whole and the elderly.

Myths

- Depression among the elderly is a normal consequence of aging and associated problems.

- Depression among the elderly cannot be treated.

- Most completed suicides are terminally ill.

- Elders who complete suicide do not have close family members.

- Only elderly persons who live alone are at risk for suicide.

- Suicide and suicidal behavior are normal responses to stresses experienced by most people.

- There is nothing that can be done to stop an elderly suicide.

- Most suicidal elders wilt self-refer to obtain mental health care.

- Suicidal elderly do not exhibit warning signs of their suicidal ideation or intent.

- Adverse living conditions are not significant risk factors in elderly suicide.

(The content of this fact sheet was taken from material produced by the American Association of Suicidology.)

Waterpiks are here

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center received the waterpiks you have all been waiting for. The waterpiks are offered at a discounted price of $22 each. Remember, there are limited supplies at this great price, so don't delay.

Thank you

The Silver Foxes Den would like to thank the Mountain View Homemakers for their generous donation to the home delivered meals program. Dot Kirkham, from the Homemakers, presented the Den director Musetta Wollenweber with a donation during lunch Wednesday, Dec. 6. We appreciate the help and support of our home delivered meal program.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Dec. 14 - Volunteer at Operation Helping Hand, 10 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 15 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; Archuleta Seniors Inc. and the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center holiday party with appetizers, a visit from Santa Claus, a gift exchange and music with John Graves on piano, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 18 - 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.; Mountain Harmony music, 12:30 p.m.; Medicare counseling and enrollments by appointment.

Tuesday, Dec. 19 - Yoga, 10:30 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino, 1 p.m.; Medicare counseling and enrollments by appointment.

Wednesday, Dec. 20 - Nails with Dru, 9:30-11 a.m.; Dance For Health class, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Visually Impaired Persons support group, 11 a.m.; "Ask the Doc," with Dr. Bricca, 12:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 21 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required.) Archuleta Seniors Inc. and the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center holiday party with appetizers, a visit from Santa Claus, a gift exchange and music with John Graves on piano, 11:30 a.m.

Friday, Dec. 22 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; The Den's holiday meal, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; free monthly movie, "Scrooged," rated PG-13, 12:45 p.m.

Menu

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. 15 - Chili con carne, broccoli cuts, pineapple and mandarin oranges, and corn muffin.

Monday, Dec. 18 - Chicken a la king with vegetables, whipped potatoes, apricots, and biscuit.

Tuesday, Dec. 19 - Hamburger on bun with lettuce, tomato, pickles and onion, split pea soup, cole slaw, and tropical fruit.

Wednesday, Dec. 20 - Sweet and sour pork, steamed rice, spring blend vegetables, pineapple, and whole wheat bread.

Thursday, Dec. 21 - Holiday lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). Baked chicken with mushroom sauce, steamed rice, parslied carrots, apples and pears, and biscuit.

Friday, Dec. 22 - Holiday lunch in Pagosa. Roast turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, broccoli blend, plums, and whole wheat bread.

 

Veteran's Corner

Who is a veteran, and eligible for benefits?

By Andy Fautheree

My subject this week is "Who is a veteran?"

I repeat this information in this column at least twice a year because time and again I visit with former members of the U.S. military who think they are not veterans because they didn't go off to war in some far corner of the world.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, very few VA benefits are limited to veterans who served during wartime. Membership in most veterans' organizations such as American Legion and VFW, as examples, do require wartime military service.

Many VA benefits, including the popular VA Health Care program, are available to veterans who have been discharged or released from active military service under other than dishonorable conditions - in some cases, for as little as one day of active duty service, if the veteran served before Sept. 7, 1980. And, that one-day active duty service may have nothing to do with wartime service.

Active service

Most VA benefits do relate to active duty service. For instance, six months of military service for military reserve training purposes does not count towards active duty service in most cases. However, veterans may qualify for benefits while in the military reserves if they were called up to active duty, completed the term for which they were called, and were granted an other than dishonorable discharge. Veterans discharged early for a service-connected disability would also be exempt from active duty eligibility.

After Sept. 7, 1980 a veteran must have served for 24 continuous months of active military service, or have been released under special circumstances (under special VA or military policies and regulations).

VA eligibilities differ

An exception to the wartime military service requirement would be for a veteran's pension claim based on limited income. VA pensions are granted only to those veterans who served during wartime. However, the veteran did not have to actually be in combat - the requirement is that they served during a period of wartime. For instance, many veterans served in Europe or here in the United States during a wartime period. They would still be eligible for most wartime VA benefits.

For these purposes, wartime periods are as follows:

- Persian Gulf War: Aug. 2, 1990, through a date to be set by law or Presidential Proclamation.

- Vietnam Era: Aug. 5, 1964 (Feb. 28, 1961, for veterans who served "in country" before Aug. 5, 1964) and ending May 7, 1975.

- Korean Conflict: June 27, 1950 through Jan. 31, 1955.

- World War II: Dec. 7, 1941, through Dec. 31, 1946. If the veteran was in service on Dec. 31, 1946, continuous service before July 26, 1947, is considered World War II service.

Earlier periods are also considered wartime such as World War I, Mexican Border War, Spanish-American War and Indian Wars, but have very limited application to veterans or survivors living today.

Reliable information

Certainly VA benefits for any veteran may be based on individual circumstances of military service, or the specific rules for the VA benefit, which vary from benefit to benefit. Often, well-meaning fellow veterans, friends and family members offer advice on VA benefits about which they may not be fully informed. I would urge all veterans to check with this office for the latest and correct information.

Fuel money

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

Durango VA Clinic

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

Further information

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

 

Library News

Did you know? What the numbers reveal about your library

By Carole Howard

SUN columnist, and the library staff

Grants from foundations and corporations are a major source of operating funds for our library. These organizations require lots of figures to prove that any library requesting donated funds is an integral and valued part of its community. Here are some the numbers that we provide grant donors and thought you'd find interesting - a look behind the scenes at what makes your library run. So far this year, through the end of November 2006:

- 67,532 patrons have visited the library.

- 32,029 items are in the library's collection, including books, magazines, CDs, audio tapes, DVDs and videos.

- There have been 117 special programs at the library that have been attended by 1,615 children and 1.088 adults.

- Volunteers worked 2,957 hours for the library, the equivalent of almost one and a half full-time employees.

- Generous people made 10,530 donations of books and other materials (not including magazines). 1,028 were added to our collection, and the others sold at the ongoing in-house book sale or at the annual Friends of the Library book sale to raise much needed funds for the library.

- We have borrowed 664 books for our patrons through Interlibrary Loans and loaned out 328 of our materials to other Colorado libraries.

- On an average day 75 people use our 13 computers.

Fuel economy for 2007 vehicles

The U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have provided our library four copies of their 2007 Fuel Economy Guide to give you information on fuel economy and the benefits of using more fuel-efficient vehicles. One copy is catalogued and the other three are available in the library to take on a first-come-first-served basis. You also can get this information on www.fueleconomy.gov.

Junior fiction

"The Garbage King," by Elizabeth Laird, is a powerful new novel for young readers about children facing challenges in an Ethiopian city by the author of "Jake's Tower." Two new books by Paul Jennings - "Unseen!" and "Undone!" - offer more weird and wonderful stories for his many fans.

Christmas stories

"Finding Noel," by Richard Paul Evans, is another inspiring story of the power of love and the wonder of Christmas by the author of "The Christmas Box." Debbie Macomber's "Christmas Letters" is a romantic comedy about a lady who writes Christmas letters for other people and a child psychologist with unusual theories on child rearing.

Non-fiction: Baboons, Greeks and food

"The Primate's Memoir," by science writer Robert M. Sapolsky, is an exhilarating account of the author's 21-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya. "Sailing the Wine-dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter," by Thomas Cahill, is an excellent introduction to classical Greek culture that takes readers through the landmarks of art and bloodshed that defined Greek culture nearly three millennia ago. "Barefoot Contessa at Home," by Ina Garten, is a new cookbook that offers everyday recipes the author makes for friends and family.

New novels by best-selling authors

"For One More Day," the story of a mother and child after the father disappears, is the latest by Mitch Albom, author of "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "Tuesdays with Morrie." Nora Roberts has released "Dance of the Gods," book two of the Circle trilogy, and Fern Michaels' latest is "Sweet Revenge," the fifth in the Revenge of the Sisterhood series. Janet Evanovich's newest is "Motor Mouth," another of her books featuring Barney Barnaby and NASCAR driver Sam Hooker. Stephen King's "Lisey's Story" tells of a widow sorting through papers after her husband's death, an effort that leads her into the darkness he inhabited.

Thanks to our donors

Our thanks this week for books and materials go to Susan Baker, Barbara Blackburn, David Bright, Michael and Rachael Bright, Pat Buckley, Molly and Connor and Dylan Burkesmith, Kathleen Cangialosi, Donna Hallford, Philomena Hogrefe, DeAnna Hoyle, Fran Jenkins, Susan Joy, Susan Kehret, Barbara Lindley, Chuck Martino, Mr. and Mrs. John Meyer, Dave Nasralla, Jill Oswald, Steve Perea, Julie Reardon, Barbara Redd, Jerry Sadler, Anita Sherman, Walter Snyder, Studio 160, Bill Wetzel and Margaret Wilson.

Honoring Kate Terry

Thanks also to William and Marjorie Hallett and Bonnie Nyre for their donations in memory of Kate Terry.

Arts Line

Watercolor and photo clubs hold meetings this month

By Linda Strathdee

PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is now on winter hours. Although the gallery will not be staffed on a regular basis, voice mail and e-mail will be checked regularly, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Remember, it is not too early to sign up for the January workshops and this can be done over the phone or through the mail.

The Artist Spirit

Artsline is proud to provide The Artist Spirit, to address your heartfelt questions about the arts. It is geared to enlighten and inform, be sincere, humorous or just have fun. This is an opportunity to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling and a place to speak out in the art community

If you have any questions for Liz Rae, please e-mail psac@centurytel.net 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.

Dear Liz Rae:

I love to give and especially at this time of year I want to share what I have done. I have painted some paintings and thought they would be great gifts for Christmas. I'm not sure if my friends and family would like them. They would be very polite even if they didn't and might put them in the closest. Am I burdening my friends with more stuff that will eventually go into a garage sale and setting myself up for hurt feelings?

Full of love and little talent

Dear Full of Love:

There is the "art of giving." It is different than giving to be giving. To give the perfect gift is to give what others need or want and being in tune with the person you are giving to.

Know your friends. Are you aware of their lifestyles and what they would like and what space they have in their home to hang a painting? Have they indicated they are fond of a particular painting?

Some friends would love a painting just because you did it and they would cherish it for that reason. Others care more about what fits best for them. For those, a fruit cake would do fine.

Learning the art of giving,

Liz Rae

Watercolor club

Watercolor club will meet today at 10 a.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room at the community center. Watercolorists of all levels are provided the opportunity to use the room for the day. Attending members contribute $5 for use of the space. Attendees should bring a bag lunch, their supplies, and a willingness to have a fun creative day. New participants are always welcome.

PSAC members' gift shop

The PSAC board of directors would like to offer a special thanks to all members who participated in this year's gallery gift shop. While sales were limited, the gallery looked festive and the community got to see creations from a number of our members. Hats off to all who participated.

2007 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, fabric art, watercolor and mixed media.

Calendars are available at the Tow Park gallery for $9.95 plus tax for nonmembers and $8.95 plus tax for PSAC members. These calendars make wonderful Christmas gifts; call and leave a message and staff will make sure you get calendars in time for Christmas.

Photography club

Two club field trips are planned this month to give members an opportunity to practice low-light techniques. We will meet Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16 and 17, from 4:15 to 6:45 p.m. at the downtown parking lot to photograph Christmas lights along the river as well as other decorations in the downtown area. Since weather and light conditions will vary, members may wish to attend both events.

Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend at no charge the first meeting. Any and all are invited to join for $20 annual dues. For more information, contact club president Sharon Comeaux at 731-4511 (daytime), 731-5328 (evenings) or e-mail at m_mcomo@yahoo.com.

PSAC workshops

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

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

If you are interested in teaching a workshop or class, call the gallery at Town Park for a workshop application form (264-5020) or download the form from our Web site, www.pagosa-arts.com. 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 psac@centurytel.net.

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.

Arts Council open house

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

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 .

Today - Watercolor club, 10 a.m. at the community center.

Dec. 16-17 - Photography club field trips.

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 (psac@centurytel.net). 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, CO 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

Beat, broke, buzzed and happy ... in search of Paso Robles Pinot

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

In the late 1960s, Dr. Stanley Hoffman planted some of the first Pinot Noir in the Adelaida hills just west of Paso Robles. He called his vineyard Hoffman Mountain Ranch.

By 1979, under the tutelage of legendary winemaker André Tchelistcheff, Hoffman's estate grown Pinot Noir had taken Europe by storm and put Paso Robles on the world wine map. But much has changed in Paso Robles since then. In the four decades that have passed, Cabernet Sauvignon has supplanted Zinfandel as the dominant grape, wines blended from Rhône varietals have won critical acclaim, Rhône and Bordeaux-style blends are fast becoming the focal point of Paso Robles viniculture - the area is now known informally as the "Rhône Zone" - and Pinot Noir has become almost a footnote in Paso Robles oenological history.

But Hoffman had a vision. And although wines made from Pinot Noir now make up a tiny fraction of Paso Robles' overall production, there are contemporary winemakers who share Hoffman's belief that Paso Robles can still produce great Pinot Noir. It was our task to find them.

The Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located along California's Central Coast, about midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in northern San Luis Obispo County. Its location makes it a reasonable destination for day-trippers from either city, although serious wine geeks will want to spend more time to take in all the area has to offer. And this may be the best approach. With nearly 100 wineries producing everything from old vine Zinfandel to Viognier and Roussanne, and tasting rooms open roughly from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., visiting Paso Robles either becomes an exercise in drunken, drive-by wine tasting, or an act of carefully measured restraint. We chose the latter, and narrowed our tasting criteria.

First, we were seeking small, family owned and operated wineries with limited production that offered 100 percent estate grown wines. Secondly, we chose to taste exclusively in the west side of the AVA - the east and west sides are divided by U.S. 101 and the Salinas River — in the Santa Lucia highlands, home to Hoffman's vineyard and sinuous canyons, steep hillsides, gnarled oaks, cooling ocean breezes and soil rich in limestone and calcium. Our goal was to attempt nailing down a distinct Paso Robles goût de terroir. And of course, tasting Pinot Noir placed foremost on our list. Ultimately, and with only one day to spend, we narrowed our winery choices down to five, and set off early on a November Saturday morning.

In my brother's family, early is a relative term, and in this case, our early departure was relative to how many Coronas and tamales we'd consumed the night before. And after counting the beer bottles and cornhusks in the trashcan, our 9:30 departure from Oxnard seemed appropriate and we rolled into the Windward Vineyard just two hours later. We were some of the first tasters on the scene.

Windward Vineyard is owned and operated by Marc Goldberg and Maggie D'Ambrosia, and together they share Dr. Hoffman's vision, and are dedicated solely to growing and producing 100 percent estate grown, Burgundy-styled Pinot Noir. Planted in 1990, and located about a mile west of U.S. Highway 101 and just off 46 West, the Windward Vineyard spans 15 acres where Goldberg and D'Ambrosia say limestone soil and a cool microclimate provide ideal conditions for Pinot Noir - one of the most temperamental of all varietals. Windward produces 1,500 cases per year.

Like most Paso Robles vineyards, Windward charges a modest tasting fee, but the price includes a Riedel glass etched with the vineyard's logo. And although the glass alone is worth a visit, what they pour in it is simply stunning.

During our visit in mid-November, we sampled a vertical of their Monopole Pinot Noir from 2002, 2003 and 2004, and each exhibited classic Burgundian traits: tight fruit up front with nuances of cranberries and Bing cherry wound around a distinct, complex core of rich, gamy earth, tight tannins, and good acidity. Clearly, they were all drinkable at the time of tasting, but would show their true potential after a few years in the cellar. If Goldberg and D'Ambrosia were aiming for Burgundy, then they had hit their mark, and I purchased the vertical without hesitation. Also available, but not formally listed on the tasting menu, was a rosé, also made from Pinot Noir, which Goldberg was making at that moment for his personal consumption.

Gathered behind the tasting room, Goldberg and a crew of fellow Paso Robles winemakers and friends, were in the final stages of production, bottling the juice in nondescript, label-less brown bottles. Goldberg poured us a taste, and it bordered on effervescence - it was like walking through a field of fresh strawberries, munching fruit as you went. By the time we were finished, one of Goldberg's personal rosés was in my shopping bag. And as we strolled back to the car, arms full of wine bottles, we agreed that our Paso Robles wine mission was accomplished, but the day was still young and we sped off to our next destination - L'Aventure.

L'Aventure is the brainchild of Stephan Asseo. Asseo is a Frenchman hailing from Bordeaux, who established his Paso Robles venture in 1998 with the intent to make limited production'- about 6,000 cases per year - artisanal wines from Bordeaux and Rhône varietals that reflect western Paso Robles' distinct, New World terroir. To that end, Asseo's plantings include Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Roussanne and Viognier.

In L'Aventure's slick tasting room, a younger crowd sampled Asseo's muscular reds in stylish, Riedel O-series glassware, and if purchases are any indication, they were enthusiastic about the juice. As we sampled the six or seven selections on the tasting menu - a couple whites and a number of reds - we found wines of uneven color, some slightly murky, and most lacking dynamism or distinction. We were disappointed, and after gauging Asseo's pedigree as a winemaker in Entre-Deux-Mers, we had expected much more. Perhaps it was on off day in the tasting room. Nevertheless, we found one stunner on the list. Although we were largely after reds, we left L'Aventure with a lovely Roussanne, and I spent the rest of the afternoon dreaming of gorging on mussels and seared rare scallops while sipping Asseo's creation.

After L'Aventure, we traveled northbound on U.S. 101, eventually turning left, and winding through the Santa Lucia foothills toward Adelaida Cellars. From Paso Robles, the road climbs steadily through shady canyons, gradually gaining in elevation until topping out at the tasting room at nearly 2,000 feet. The winery specializes in two key varietals, estate-grown Pinot Noir from the original, 1960s Hoffman Mountain Ranch plantings and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Viking Estate Vineyard. Hoffman Mountain Ranch and the Viking Estate are the crown jewels of the Adelaida property. The success of the two vineyards and Adelaida as a whole, lies in a number of factors: higher than average elevations, cool ocean breezes that help moderate the Adelaida microclimates and vines that struggle in chalky mountain soils, thus producing low yields and intensely flavored fruit. Adelaida Cellars, like much of the AVA's west side, also experiences huge, diurnal temperature swings - sometimes up to 50 degrees - which is the most of any California wine growing region.

After tasting a number of wines, including a pretty, Meursault-like, estate grown Chardonnay, a simple, fruit forward, daily drinking Pinot Noir, and a Zinfandel, we seized upon on a stellar sample from the Viking Estate Vineyard - Adelaida Viking Estate Reserve Syrah 2003. Polished and satiny with supple tannins, black fruits and subtle undertones of chocolate, it was like taking a liquid journey to the northern Rhône, to the great châteaus of Saint Joseph and Côte-Rôtie. Robert Parker gave the wine a 91 in the August 2006 issue of "The Wine Advocate," and tasting notes from Adelaida say the wine demonstrates the harmonious fusion of varietal and terroir, such that the 2003 Syrah "epitomizes the sense" of place philosophy." I couldn't have agreed more; and after the Syrah, Adelaida, perched high in the Santa Lucia's, had become indelibly etched in our minds, its place established, its philosophy crystalline.

We left Adelaida in the fading afternoon light in a Syrah-induced stupor, and as we rolled past gnarled oaks dotting the hillsides, and twisted and turned down the mountain, we contemplated our next move. Duty or pleasure? Five o'clock was drawing near and we had two wineries yet to go - one of our own choosing, Tablas Creek Vineyard, the other, a courtesy stop for a friend who wanted us to pick up a case of her favorite Zinfandel at Dover Canyon Winery. In a flash of Syrah-fueled bravado, we decided we could tackle both, and made a beeline for Tablas Creek.

The venerable Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel fame established Tablas Creek Vineyard in a joint venture with American importer Robert Haas. The 120-acre vineyard is certified organic, largely dryland farmed and specializes in Rhône varietals - including Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Roussanne, Marsanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc - and Châteauneuf-style blends. Since the Perrin-Haas venture took root in 1989, the vineyard has become a leader in establishing Rhône varietals as the backbone of Paso Robles viticulture, and the vineyard plays a critical role in supplying high quality Rhône rootstock both for Tablas Creek and to scores of producers throughout California and the West Coast.

Our intentions at Tablas Creek were simple - get a dose of winemaking history by rubbing shoulders with the Perrins, and, taste what Old World rootstock and knowledge coupled with New World terroir might land in the glass. In the end, and in light of the Perrin roots, our pick of the tasting menu was fitting. After a quick but focused round of tasting, we opted for two bottles of the 2005 Tablas Creek Vineyard Estate Grown Rosé. Made from 60 percent Mourvèdre, 30 percent Grenache and 10 percent Counoise, it was complex, aromatic, thirst quenching and reminiscent of a rosé from Bandol. In short, it was spot on, and stole the show.

We made our purchases without delay and left Tablas Creek Vineyard in a whirlwind, with barely fifteen minutes before Dover Canyon Winery closed. When we arrived, after passing deer and wild turkey on the road, one of the tasting room staff had just turned the "Open" sign leaning against an oak tree in the parking lot to "Closed." We stared, looking incredulous and desperate, and when she saw the pathetic looks on our faces she told us to go on in. We promised to buy at least a case of wine, plus we anted up for two tastings.

Winemaker Dan Panico's specialty is Zinfandel and Rhône-style wines from distinct Paso Robles microclimates. We had already committed to a case of his daily drinking Zinfandel, and I pushed my palate to the limit as I charged through the tasting menu in earnest. While scratching a resident Brittany Spaniel's belly and sniffing and swishing and swirling, I opted for a bottle of a Rhône blend from a Paso Robles microclimate called Alto Pomar - 36 percent Mourvèdre, 33 percent Grenache and 31 percent Syrah. Panico's vineyard is organic, dryland farmed and the grapes are the product of vines grown in stony calcareous soil. But at that point in the day, the statistics, varietals specifics, and endless bits of oenological data had run together into a viscous, cabernet-colored cerebral sludge. To make things worse, my palate was blown - it could have been Zinfandel or Lucky Strikes, the result was the same. I needed mega doses of protein and water, and the prospect of the two-hour drive back to Oxnard looked grim.

From Dover Canyon, the road tumbled down out of the hills toward the sea, and our silver Jetta bounced along, eventually spilling out onto the coast like an errant pinball shot free from the confines of the machine. From the back seat, I stared through the windshield at low undulating hills silhouetted against the rapidly fading sky and the blue-black Pacific. I was beat, broke, buzzed and happy. Note to self: Next time spend the night. And as I dozed off, I muttered gibberish about Hoffman, calcareous soil and of finding Paso Robles Pinot.

 

Food for Thought

Rethinking food and music

By Karl Isberg

How often do we read tomes dealing with the relationship of wine and food, or of food and visual art - especially when the act of cooking and, say, of painting or sculpting are compared?

Frequently, eh?

And how seldom we read about the relationship of food to music.

I'm pondering this particular relationship as I sit at the dining room table. I have no option but to think of it: A meal is on the table before me, I have poured a glass of Syrah, the interplay of wine and food is established. I am ready.

But, I cannot eat.

Not with all the racket.

Kathy is sitting next to me, strumming a three-string, ceegar-box git-tar a friend made for her out of a discarded French tin cookie box.

"Sounds a lot like Koto music, doesn't it?" she says, flailing away at the devilish device as the chicken with tomato, thyme and olives cools.

Ah yes, I think: much like a Koto being pulverized by an Abrams battle tank.

Fortunately, I am old enough I have learned to not vocalize most of my thoughts when I'm with my spouse, and this is one of them; I have no desire to be clobbered with a cee-gar box git-tar.

What a great way to ruin a good meal - a quasi-demento-Koto din.

But, as I suffer, I realize that, in other circumstances, the mix of music and food is a proven way to enhance the dining experience

Music and food.

A fairly constant conjunction in my life, from the get-go.

One of the first things I remember with regard to food and music occurred regularly when I was a tyke. I'm at the table at my grandmother Minnie's house in Central City, or at her home in Denver. Aunt Hazel has whipped up another snazzy repast - something gleaned during one of the pair's many trips abroad. As the food is put on the table, the music begins: Strauss, Puccini, et al. A kid can't get enough of Bernstein or Beverly Sills, can he?

Then, too, there were many nights spent as a kid at the old Mount Vernon Country Club, located in the foothills west of Denver, loading up on superb food and pounding down Shirley Temples, accompanied by sultry tunes delivered by an accomplished musician seated at a Hammond B3.

I'm at my grandmother Mabel's house in Denver. There's roast goose to eat and a radio provides the music - tunes issuing forth from a monstrous, tube-filled wooden cabinet set in the corner of the living room, a warm orange light emanating from behind the Isinglass dial. Big Band music. Later, when TV came on the scene, Mabel liked to listen to the music on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, broadcast from Philadelphia. She knew the names of all the dances and dancers, and who was going steady. She knew the hits and the hitmakers. Loved that rascal Bobby Rydell. Wild about The Stroll.

At home: Liszt, Beethoven. The old man went through phases and the choice of music was directly related to his income tax situation; so, every once in a while, we listened to John Philip Souza. Mom she couldn't get enough of "West Side Story" and the prelude to the third act of "La Traviata." She loved to cry; for her, weeping was exercise - similar to aerobics class for many folks today. Life, after all, was a distressful cake best frosted with heart-wrenching tunes, a torture remediated by unrestrained shopping and a frequent purchase of a load of takeout: huge, butterflied tempura shrimp from Granada Fish Market or massive sandwiches - corned beef, pastrami on dark rye, with plenty o'mustard - from the Chuck o'Luck Deli. Eat, eat; who cares about the conflict.

"There's a place for us, A time and place for us "

Me, as I grew, I preferred things a bit rougher around the edges, musicwise. When I was a lad seeking fame and fortune in the music biz (or, most of the time, enough money to pay the hotel bill and procure an atom of nourishment), I often ate jerky and pickled eggs on stage while playing at a dingy night club in this city or that. Take a bite, smoke a cigarette, play the drums, have a drink, smoke a cigarette, take a bite, etc. I chowed down on junk food with my pals while motoring cross country in a beat-up Cadillac hearse and in a Volkswagon van (otherwise known as a "lightbulb", referring to its tendency to break into a thousand tiny pieces when struck by a hard object - like a speeding Buick). Nothing topped eating a veal parmigian sandwich at Home Base - Room 402 of the Hotel Albert in lower Manhattan - while listening to a long-haired blond, Canadian folksinger trying out her newest song on the captive crowd. Ahh, who cares about the song she's not going anywhere. After all, hey, this here is veal with tomato sauce and mozzarella!

Once I was a little older, married and semi-domesticated, the music accompanying the food changed. Under duress. To hear tell, Jimi Hendrix and Howlin' Wolf no longer meshed well with dinner. But there was music nonetheless.

And now, we've got satellite radio! Beamed right into the dining room. And I have my iPod, crammed with my faves!

Time to reconsider the relationship of music to food. After all, I have only so many days left to combine the right tunes with certain meals.

What is appropriate? What fits with what?

Finding the answer will be difficult. My bride and I have somewhat different tastes.

Kathy is a musician, and a very good one - a pianist and a singer. I am forced to admit she brings a certain amount of clout to the discussion. I remind her I once played drums for money. She reminds me, in no uncertain terms, that drummers are not musicians; they are drummers.

Hmmm. Let the games begin.

What to listen to when dining, especially in the rare event there are guests present?

OK, here are the extremes, the opposite poles, if you will. They set the boundaries for the competition.

Kathy: Mozart's "Concerto No. 1 in B Flat Major."

Karl: the Blackeyed Peas' "Let's Get Retarded."

There's considerable distance between the two. Somewhere in that vast, tuneful plain exists a middle ground on which we can light together. Don't you think?

If you do, you are wrong.

Kathy and I will not reach an accord; there is absolutely no way we will each be satisfied with a single music source and style for an entire dinner. So, I propose breaking the meal into component segments - drinks and hors d'ouevres, starters, entrée, salad, dessert, cheese and fruit, coffee, etc. - and drawing straws to see which of us picks the music for each particular segment. Next time we have guests (and who knows when that will be?), I will put the system into place.

Here is how it is likely to go.

Karl - drinks and nibbles: assorted selections from Thelonius Monk's "The London Session." Tunes like "Trinkle, Trinkle (Take 3)," and "Little Rootie Tootie." Perfect with cocktails and bruschetta. The bruschetta will be simple: baguette sliced on the diagonal and toasted to golden brown in a hot oven. The slices are rubbed with a cut clove of garlic then slathered with a processer pulverized mix of oil-cured sun-dried tomato, mayo and bleu cheese, with a touch of Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. On to that goes a dice of drained plum tomato and some chopped fresh basil.

Kathy cringes, takes a deep breath and makes her selection for starters: Sondheim's "Into the Woods," featuring the magical voice of Bernadette Peters.

Hah!

To accompany the entree, Karl picks a medley of early Stones, tunes from "Between the Buttons ," "Their Satanic Majesties" and "Exile on Main Street." This will go perfectly with braised veal shanks with polenta. Served up with an excellent southern Rhone red in the glass. The entree is complete with the last note of Freddy Fender's classic, "Before the Last Teardrop Falls."

Speaking of tears, Kathy turns an ashen gray color, puts her head down for a moment, then picks Vivaldi's: "Concerto No. 3 in F Major" to accompany the salad course.

Weak, don't you think?

To go with the cheese course, Karl seeks new heights and doesn't think long before pushing out "Hammerin' In My Head," by Garbage. Ahhh a muscular tete de moine and Shirley Manson. What a combo! Can you beat it? The mood is then tempered with a dose of the haunting "Polegnala E Toudor," by the Bulgarian Women's Chorus

Kathy chokes back a sob and, fighting off her pain, returning to her roots and trying for some kind of victory, however faint, she singles out "If You Ever Needed the Lord Before" by The Barrett Sisters for the dessert course. Inspirational. One of the great bass parts in gospel music.

Nice try, but no cigar.

Karl responds with more muscle yet and sends the guests packing by jacking up vintage Arthur Lee and Love to the highest volume setting on the amp, in particular "She Comes in Colors," blending it seamlessly into Chaka Khan's "Ain't Nobody," and polishing everything off with a long and loud version of Curtis Mayfield's "Move on Up" (something positive to propel wine- and sound-saturated motorists on to the dark and winding roads home - or jail, if they are stopped and arrested for DUI).

A perfect method, for a perfect evening.

There's nothing like the right music with a meal.

Now, if I can just arrange a way for Kathy to run over that ceegar-box git-tar as she pulls her car into the garage

 

Extension Viewpoints

Keep deer from becoming a nuisance

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Dec. 15 - Office closes at noon.

Preventing deer damage

Although browsing deer are charming to watch, they can cause extensive damage by feeding on plants and rubbing antlers against trees. In urban areas, home landscapes may become the major source of food. Deer can pose a serious aesthetic and economic threat. Damage is most commonly noticed in spring on new, succulent growth. Because deer lack upper incisors, browsed twigs and stems show a rough, shredded surface. Damage caused by rabbits, on the other hand, has a neat, sharp 45-degree cut. Rodents leave narrow teeth marks when feeding on branches. Deer strip the bark and leave no teeth marks.

It is difficult to move deer out of areas where they are not wanted. Not all strategies are practical for every homeowner. Frightening deer with gas exploders, strobe lights, pyrotechnics or tethered dogs typically provides only temporary relief. More practical management strategies include selecting plants unattractive to deer, treating plants with deer repellents, netting and tubing, and fencing.

Placement and selection of plants

The placement of plants in part determines the extent of damage. Plant more susceptible species near the home, in a fenced area, or inside a protective ring of less-preferred species. Table 1 lists plants and their susceptibility to deer damage. A hungry deer will find almost any plant palatable, so no plant is "deer proof." Also, a plant species may be damaged rarely in one area but damaged severely in another.

Repellents

Contact repellents are applied directly to plants, causing them to taste bad. Area repellents are placed in a problem area and repel by their foul odor. Repellents are generally more effective on less preferred plants. Apply repellents on a dry day with temperatures above freezing. Treat young trees completely. Older trees may be treated only on their new growth. Treat to a height 6 feet above the maximum expected snow depth. Deer browse from the top down. Hang or apply repellents at the bud or new growth level of the plants you wish to protect. A spray of 20 percent whole eggs and 80 percent water is one of the most effective repellents. To prevent the sprayer from clogging, remove the white membrane attached to the yolk before mixing the eggs. The egg mixture is weather resistant but must be reapplied in about 30 days. Home-remedy repellents are questionable at best. These include small, fine-mesh bags of human hair (about two handfuls) and bar soap hung from branches of trees. Replace both soap and hair bags monthly. Deer have been reported to eat the soap bars. Materials that work in one area or for one person may not work at all in an area more highly frequented by deer.

Netting and tubing

Tubes of Vexar netting around individual seedlings are an effective method to reduce deer damage to small trees. The material degrades in sunlight and breaks down in three to five years. These tubes can protect just the growing terminals or can completely enclose small trees. Attach tubes to a support stake to keep them upright. Another option is flexible, sunlight-degradable netting that expands to slip over seedlings. Both products are available from Colorado State Forest Service offices. Paper or Reemay budcaps form a protective cylinder around the terminal leader and bud. They may help reduce browse damage. Budcaps are rectangular pieces of material folded lengthwise and stapled around the terminal leader. Tubes placed around the trunks of larger trees will help prevent trunk damage. Tubes may not, however, protect trunks from damage when bucks use the trees to scrape the velvet off their antlers. Fencing may be required.

Fencing

Adequate fencing to exclude deer is the only sure way to control deer damage. The conventional deer-proof fence is 8 feet high and made of woven wire. Electric fences also can be used. Electric fences should be of triple-galvanized, high-tensile, 13.5-gauge wire carrying a current of 35 milliamps and 3,000 to 4,500 volts. Several configurations of electric fences are used: vertical five-, seven-, or nine-wire; slanted seven-wire; single strand; and others. When using a single strand electric fence it helps the deer to 'notice' that the wire is there if it is marked with cloth strips, reflective tape or something similar. Otherwise, the deer may not see it in time and go right through it.

Invisible mesh barriers are polypropylene fences of various mesh sizes, typically 8 feet high with a high tensile strength, that blend in with the surroundings.

Baited fences attract deer to the fence instead of what's inside the fence. They administer a safe correction that trains the deer to stay away. They are effective for small Gardens, nurseries and orchards (up to 3 to 4 acres) that are subject to moderate deer pressure. Deer are attracted by the peanut butter and encouraged to make nose-to-fence contact. Deer, like many wild animals, seem to respect and respond better to electric fencing after they become familiar with the fenced area.

Pagosa Lakes News

Take care when ice fishing on area lakes

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

The cold temperatures we are experiencing have put a layer of ice on portions of our four Pagosa lakes.

Early winter weather conditions and newly-formed ice can create an appearance of solid ice, but looks can be deceiving.

Both the association and the Archuleta County Sheriff's office receive phone calls from concerned homeowners when they see people out on the lakes this time of the year.

We also have the issue of the open water areas created by the aerators. These areas are certainly not safe to be around, even when the rest of the lake is covered with a thick layer of ice.

All four of the lakes in Pagosa are now posted with signs stating, "Danger, Thin Ice," at all general access locations. As long as you are a property owner in Pagosa Lakes, you have the right to use the lakes and enjoy them. But, when you venture out on the ice, you are using the lakes at your own risk and you have been informed of the possibility of thin ice conditions via the posted signs, in the newsletter and in media notifications such as this. Be aware of conditions on the lakes before you venture out onto the frozen surfaces. Never assume that it is safe; check ice conditions by drilling test holes near the area you are planning to use. Ice augers can be purchased fairly inexpensively at most sporting goods stores and your safety and that of your family is certainly worth the modest expense and extra effort. A good rule of thumb is that there needs to be at least 6 inches of solid clear ice beneath you.

If you see a situation where you feel there is a safety issue on the lakes, such as unattended children, people too close to one of the open water aerator holes (within 75 feet), free-running dogs or with any other safety-related concern, call dispatch at 264-2131 and someone will be sent to investigate.

If someone has fallen through the ice, call 911 immediately - do not attempt a rescue yourself. The fire department is equipped with an inflatable ice rescue boat, and the department can respond within minutes with properly equipped and trained personnel.

Be safe. When in doubt, do not go out on the ice.

The 2007 recreation center memberships and fishing permits for all four lakes in Pagosa Lakes will go on sale Monday. There have been some persistent requests for No. 1 - for both membership and fishing permit. No special favors will be extended. The first person through the door of the recreation center on Monday morning gets that coveted number. Staff has considered auctioning off No 1. What do you think?

The PLPOA monthly board meeting will be held at 7 p.m. today in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting. The directors will approve the 2007 budget for the various PLPOA departments. Currently, there are no plans to increase the association annual assessment ($160) - unless something with huge fiscal impact occurs before tonight's meeting.

Obituaries

Nell Clark

Nell Marie Clark, 86, passed away December 7, 2006, in Pagosa Springs.

Born Oct. 23, 1920, in Wetmore, Colo., to Eleanor Wright and Arthur Briar, she moved from Rye, Colo., where she attended Rye High School, to Pagosa Springs in 1934. She married Lloyd Clark Jr. July 10, 1943, in Aztec, N.M.

Nell and her husband maintained, serviced and owned video games, juke boxes and other electronic equipment, and also maintained television translators.

Nell enjoyed her grandchildren, cooking, snowmobiling, four-wheeling and watching the Denver Broncos play.

She was preceded in death by her husband and her brothers, Ralph Briar and George Briar. She is survived by sons Ron Clark (Virginia) of Farmington, N.M., and Don Clark (Mary) of Arboles; brother Kenneth Briar of Medford, Ore.; sister Eleanor Medill, of Pueblo, Colo.; grandaughters Ronette Clark, Rhonna Baystrom and Cherron Adair; grandsons Lee Clark, Mike Clark and Ronnie Clark; and 15 great-grandchildren.

A service was held Monday, Dec. 11, 2006, at Community United Methodist Church in Pagosa Springs. Burial was at Hilltop Cemetery.

 

George Golightly

George H. Golightly passed away November 26, 2006, at Pine Ridge Extended Care in Pagosa Springs, after a short illness.

He was born May 10, 1913, in Golden, Colo. His early jobs included rural postal carrier and owner of a small mountain grocery store. He started in the ice house of the Adolph Coors Co. and worked his way to merchandising director. After 24 years at Coors, he retired to Sedona, Ariz. Following the death of his beloved wife, Vivian, he moved to Pagosa Springs to live with his daughter in the splendor of his precious Rocky Mountains.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Delbert and Kenneth, and their wives Agnes and Mildred; his wife, Vivian, and son George E. He is survived by his daughter, Dee McPeek, and son-in-law, Steve McPeek, of Pagosa Springs; daughter-in-law Shirley Golightly; three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, four great-great -grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

He requested no formal service, but his ashes will be scattered with his wife's, close to his cabin in the woods where he spent many wonderful days fishing for trout.

 

Eloisa Maez

Eloisa Maez, at the age of 80, passed away peacefully in her home on December 9, 2006. Eloisa was the daughter of Pedro and Severa Trujillo.

She was born on Sept. 23, 1926, in Borns Canyon, N.M. She resided in Hernandez, New Mexico, until 1969, when she moved to Pagosa Springs. She loved her grandchildren, gardening, bird watching and crocheting.

She is survived by her children, Manuel, Theresa, Josh and Jesse Trujillo; Rae Alaine, Steve and Missy Ruegger, Lou and Wes Fay, Ann and Joel Anderson, Terri, Brad, Tyler and Darrin Mael. She was preceded in death by her son, Leroy Maez.

Rosary was held Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006, at 5 p.m. and the Mass of Christian Burial was held Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006, at 9 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Burial was at Hilltop Cemetery.

 

John R. Martinez

Funeral Mass for John R. Martinez, a resident of Cortez, will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 14 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs. Father Carlos Alvarez will officiate. Interment and Military Honors will follow at Frances Cemetery at Arboles, Colo.

Rosary services were held Wednesday, Dec. 13, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

John R. was born October 30, 1917, at Dyke, Colo., the son of Florencio and Candelaria (Abeyta) Martinez. He passed away at Southwest Memorial Hospital on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006, at the age of 89.

John R. served his country proudly and honorably in the U.S. Army. On Dec. 26, 1946, he married Ernestine Mary Gurule in Durango at Sacred Heart Catholic Church. They shared 55 years of marriage before her death in 2002. John R. was a member of Knights of Columbus and enjoyed fishing, camping and livestock.

Surviving John R. are his children, Barbara Ramirez and husband, Felix of Houston, Texas, Greg Martinez of Cortez, Margie Martinez and husband Bill of Cortez, and Lisa Montoya and husband Manual of Pagosa Springs.; nine grandchildren - Michael, Laura, John, Victor, Daniel, Derrick, Charles, Audrey and Jessica; 10 great-grandchildren - Stephanie, Victoria, Mikie, Amy, Marcus, Matthew, Zepphra, Alex, Duece and Trinity; and one great-great-grandchild, Ayden. John R. was preceded in death by his wife; sisters Sarah Gallegos, Lola Montoya, and Rebecca Martinez; and his grandchildren, Tina and Ricky.

To send condolences, log on to www.ertelfuneralhome.com and click on the obituary section.

 

Sally McCleery

Sally "Kay" McCleery made her transition after her struggle with breast cancer Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006, at age 57. Sally was once a resident of Pagosa Springs. Beloved sister of Beth McCleery, she is survived by cousins, Tina Hoffman and family, Chris Walker and family, and Robin Walker and family. She was also loved by other relatives, dear friends and pets. She was preceded in death by her parents and her sister, Chris.

Kay raised the vibration of the planet one person at a time.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Defenders of Wildlife-Adopt a Wolf Program.

 

Martha Phillips

Martha Lourdes Phillips, a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs, passed away at Mercy Medical Center in Durango on November 29, 2006, surrounded by her immediate family.

Martha was born Jan. 24, 1938, in Pagosa Junction. She married Harold Don Phillips from Oklahoma in Pagosa Springs, and had four children: Barry, Brenda, Bonnie and Maryann.

After the death of her husband, Harold, Martha remained in Pagosa with her children and continued to work locally. Martha was a strong woman and lived life to the fullest, even after the death of her only son, Barry Phillips, in July 1991.

A rosary was held on December 3 and a Funeral Mass was held on December 4 by Rev. Carlos Alvarez at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.

She is survived by her three daughters and their spouses: Brenda and Dusty Wood, Bonnie and Shaun Martin, and Maryann and Jorge Robles; by her grandchildren Lee Ann, Doss, Devin, Barry and Asia. She is also survived by her three sisters, Neoma, Carmen and Rose; and by numerous nephews and nieces.

Her family would like to thank all the friends and relatives who came and helped us during this time. We would also like to give a special thanks to Dr. Sadler, Dr. Bivens, Dr. Pruitt and Dan Keuning for helping our mother during the hardest points in her life.

Mom, we will miss you so very much. We wish you peace at last.

 

Gerda Witkamp

Gerda Postma born in The Hague in 1925. During World War II, when the Netherlands was occupied, she gave shelter to Jewish and political anti-Nazis. After the war she studied biology and met her husband, Martin Witkamp. They married in 1947 and had a daughter (Els) and a son (Falco). In 1960, they moved to Tennessee where she ran a ships chandlery and Martin did research at the Oak Ridge National Lab. They retired in 1977 for a 12-year circumnavigation on their sailboat. Afterwards, they lived in Perdido Beach, Alabama, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, and finally in Green Valley, Arizona. Gerda died peacefully on December 4, 2006, of complications from her third heart valve replacement.

 

 Business News

Chamber News

Enter the business holiday lighting contest today

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

This weekend, local businesses will be decked out in their holiday best for the Colorado Dream Homes-sponsored business lighting contest.

Judges will be out evaluating businesses that entered the contest. Entry forms are due by close of business today, Dec. 14. There will be numerous cash prizes awarded including $750 for first place, $500 for second place, $300 for third place and numerous $50 honorable mentions.

Driving around town, we see some great decorations but, remember, you must enter in order to be part of the contest.

Stop by the Chamber and pick up a registration form. We can fax you a copy, or you can e-mail us your business name, physical address, contact person, and phone number. The entry forms have been rolling in, but we can always use more contestants.

Judging will be based not only on the quantity of lights, but also on creativity, lighting combinations and final display. In-home businesses are also eligible.

If you have questions, contact the Chamber at 264-2360. Let us help you pay your business electric bill this month while you join other local business owners as they give the residents of Pagosa Country some beautiful sights this holiday season.

Christmas information

As the holidays fast approach, it is important we have correct information regarding our businesses, especially lodging and restaurant facilities.

We have contacted most of the lodging facilities and eateries to learn about their hours of operation and to see if there is space available. If there has been a change in your business, contact us so we can pass on correct information to our visitors.

Since the Chamber will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day , as well as New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, we want to make sure we have posted current and correct information for our tourists. Giving us the information helps you fill your rooms or serve more meals. Also, if you are offering dinner specials or specifying serving times for either holiday, (or special events for New Year's Eve) let us know, so we can post that information as well. We're here to help maximize your business. Please utilize this service we work to provide to all Chamber members.

Community Choir

The auditorium at the high school will come alive with the beautiful voices that make up our Community Choir. "JOY" will be performed at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday, and at 4 p.m Sunday. This annual concert is offered free to the community. Enjoy some of your favorite holiday tunes and some twists on the classics that only the Community Choir can perform.

"A Classic Christmas"

The Elation Center for the Arts is presenting "A Classic Christmas," with numerous talented performers collaborating to create this special family celebration.

The event will be held at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 23.

Entertainers such as John Graves, Valley Lowrance, Sally Yates, Debbie Tucker, Sue Anderson and Jeannie Dold, just to name a few, will combine their talents to celebrate the music of the season in voice and with instrument. Tickets for the musical celebration are $8 advance and $10 at the door and they can be purchased at WolfTracks and through the ECA Web site, www.elationarts.org. This event is timed perfectly for all those family and friends who will arrive for the holidays.

Toys for Tots

The Toys for Tots drive, for which the U.S. Marine Corps is famous, has come to Pagosa Country.

Members of the Pagosa Marine Corps Detachment are collecting toys for needy children and will distribute them Christmas Eve. Collection boxes are located at the following locations: Ace Hardware, Alco, the community center, City Market, Paint Connection Plus, Ponderosa and Jackisch Drug, and are clearly marked "Toys for Tots."

Perhaps you missed the opportunity to donate to Operation Helping Hand and would still like to give to a worthy cause. Now is your chance. If you have questions concerning the Toys for Tots drive, or would like to put a collection box at your business, contact Ernie Garcia at 264-6481 or Robert Dobbins at 731-2482.

Music in the Mountains gifts

Music in the Mountains gift certificates are now available at the Chamber Visitor Center, just in time for the holidays. Gift certificates are available in two denominations: $40 for the chamber concerts and $50 for the orchestra concerts. You will not be able to select a gift certificate for a specific concert at this time, only a generic certificate for a chamber or an orchestra concert.

After April 1, certificates can be redeemed for tickets to the chamber or orchestra concert of your choice.

Chamber concert dates for 2007 are July 18 and 25; orchestra concerts dates are July 28 and Aug. 3. These certificates are perfect gifts for the music lover in your life, with the concerts held at BootJack Ranch offering world-class music in a stunning setting. For more information, contact the Chamber at 264-2360.

Special holiday activities

Looking for something for the kids to do once they get out of school for the holidays? Liberty Theatre has the answer: Starting Saturday, Dec. 16, and running until Thursday, Dec. 21, the theater will host a free Christmas movie every day at 1 p.m. You've probably seen "It's a Wonderful Life" on television, but have you ever seen it on the big screen? Now is your chance to see classics as well as Disney movies. The schedule is available at the Library, the Visitor Center and the theater.

Also for the children, Pagosa Baking Company will host its "Kids Holiday Cookie Decorating" event Saturday, Dec. 16, and Wednesday, Dec. 20, at 1 and 2 p.m. each day. Only eight children will be able to participate per session, therefore reservations are required. Pagosa Baking Company will provide the shortbread cookie cutouts, icing and decorations and the children will need to provide the creativity. The cost of the session is only $6 and a parent or guardian must accompany a child.

Enjoy these special events over the holidays, brought to you by some involved Chamber businesses!

Member businesses

It's nice to know there are people out there making lemonade from lemons over the recent Peace Wreath issue. Elaine Nash is now offering an "official" Pagosa Peace Wreath through her company, The Pagosa Springs Peace Wreath Co. This company designs, creates, markets and ships a full line of Peace Wreaths to customers worldwide. You can order a wreath by calling 731-2428 or visit their Web site, www.pagosaspringspeacewreathco.com. A nice way to spread the real concept of the message behind the symbol.

They joined as a member and are already sold out for the holidays! We welcome AAV rentals, with Eric Matzdorf. AAV rental is a two-bedroom, 1 1/2 bath facility that is fully furnished and includes WIFI, satellite TV, a private hot tub and sauna and a large deck with huge views of the Continental Divide. Located on South Pagosa Boulevard, this home is close to shopping and dining. For more information, contact Eric at 749-4857. We welcome yet another Matzdorf business associated with TAO Enterprizes.

We will host at least one seminar next year on this topic and, in the meantime, we welcome Paula Maroney and All American Wellness. All American Wellness provides assistance in protecting companies and employees from identity theft, which is America's fastest growing crime. All American Wellness also provides affordable access to the legal system for small businesses and employees. Although based out of Rye, Colo., Paula works in Pagosa frequently and can meet all your business needs. For more information on the services offered, you can view her Web site at www.p.maroney.com or call her toll free at (866) 702-3003.

Businesses renewing this week include Touch of the Tropics, The Plaza Grille, Moonlight Books, Jim and Marlanna Amato with Clarion Mortgage, Derek Farrah with Plantax, Inc., All About You Day Spa, and Heather VanLaningham with InJoy lighting design and fixtures.

It looks like more snow is on the way and we are getting set up for a great ski season - just in time for all our tourists and visiting family members. Please let the Chamber know of any activities for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, as our visitors are always looking for things to do. Thanks for your participation and help.

 

Dept. of Revenue offers PTC rebates

The Colorado Department of Revenue offers a Property Tax/Rent/Heat PTC Rebate for low-income seniors and disabled individuals.

The PTC rebate is available only to those who have lived in Colorado for the full year and who have paid property taxes, rent or heating bills. Effective Aug. 1, 2006, Colorado law requires individuals age 18 years or older to be lawfully present in the United States to receive the PTC rebate. Part-year residents are not eligible for the credit.

To be eligible for the rebate applicants must meet the following criteria:

- Lawfully present;

- A full-year resident;

- At least 65 years old or a surviving spouse at least 58 years old, or

- Disabled for all of 2006 regardless of age;

- Single person with income less than $11,000, or

- Married couple with income less than $14,700.

Applicants age 18 years or older applying for the PTC rebate must fill out and submit the affidavit, form DR 4679, located on the back of the 2006 PTC form. If the PTC application is received without a completed affidavit, the PTC form will be sent back with a request that the affidavit be completed. Also, the address applicants provide on the 2006 PTC application must match the address on record for their Colorado driver's license, Colorado identification card or other identification documents submitted. If the address does not match, the PTC application will be denied.

In addition to the signed affidavit, individuals age 18 years or older must provide proof of any one of the following types of valid identification and the expiration date:

- Colorado driver's license number, or

- Colorado ID number. If the Colorado ID does not have an expiration date (issued before 1996), a new ID must be obtained prior to applying for the rebate.

If the applicant does not have a Colorado driver's license or ID card, a photocopy of one of the following forms of identification must be provided. Copies of documents that are business card size must be enlarged to index card size (3 x 5).

- Native American Tribal Document;

- U.S. Military Card or Dependent's ID Card;

- U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Mariner Card.

For further information about required documents to prove eligibility, view our Web site at www.taxcolorado.com http://www.taxcolorado.com/ under "Evidence of Lawful Presence: HB06S-1023."

 

Region 9 completes economic development strategy

The Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado has completed its Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), which is a comprehensive planning document that guides the economic growth of the region.

It is developed in corporation with the communities that make up the Region 9 Economic Development District; the counties of Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan, plus the Southern Ute and Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribes.

The CEDS includes demographic and economic data detailed for every county and employment sector. Every five years the entire CEDS document is reviewed and updated with participation from elected officials, community leaders and citizens.

The purpose of the CEDS is to create a plan for retaining and creating better paying jobs, fostering stable and more diversified economies, as well as maintaining and improving the quality of life in southwest Colorado.

Economic regions throughout the country develop CEDS documents for their area to encourage local goal setting and action, public engagement and participation, and a commitment to local and regional cooperation. The entire document is now on Region 9's Web site and can be downloaded at www.scan.org.

 

People

Cards of Thanks

McPeek

On Sunday, Nov. 26, my Dad, George Golightly, passed away at Pine Ridge Extended Care after a short illness. My husband Steve and I would like to thank Ernie, September, Georgia, Dana and Liz who helped Dad and us through that difficult day. Thanks to all of the aides, nurses and staff who showered Dad with love through his months there - he couldn't have been cared for any better. We feel privileged to have spent time with all of you. You have difficult and challenging jobs, but your efforts on our behalf did not go unnoticed. Pagosa Springs is very fortunate to have this facility that can help eliminate the fear and worry of having aging parents. To everyone at Pine Ridge, thank you for your professional love and care.

Dee and Steve McPeek

Festival of Trees

The Festival of Trees committee members would like to thank the following for a great, successful event. Tree Sponsors: Mercy Home Health and Hospice, Jody Cromwell, Joanne Irons, Kiwanis Club, Humane Society, Century 21 and Spectrum Construction, Stan and Lorrie Church, Rhonda LaQuey, Pagosa Glass, Southwest Colorado Mental Health Center, Pagosa Springs Arts Alliance, Home Again, Pagosa Women's Club, Mountain High Garden Club and Terry's Ace Hardware, which donated eight live trees for the nonprofit sponsors.

Those who bought trees with proceeds all going to nonprofit organizations: Harris and Karen Bynum, Tim Brown, Unger Realty, Dave and Janet Richardson, Rodney Pepper, Robin and Frank Schiro, Archuleta County, J.R. Ford, Bill and Fran Smith, WildFlower Catering, Jane Allen, Jann Pitcher Realty, Stacia Kemp, Barry and Treva Wheeless, Elk Meadows Campground and Mary Riethmiller. Six of the 15 trees auctioned off were donated back and delivered to the homes of lucky families.

Kudos to the following who donated money for add-ons toward specific nonprofit organizations: Jim Knoll, Jackie McGuirre, Bob and Janis Moomaw, David Brooks, Mark and Claudine McCanelly.

Thanks to all our volunteers: John Graves, Ann Graves, Marina Solis, Robin Nay, Kevin and Rhonda LaQuey, Harris Bynum, Bill Nobles, J.P. Rappenecker, Bill Korsgren, Don Strait, Paula Bain, Syl Lobato, Jackie Schick and Ronnie Zaday and company for delivering the trees to their final homes. Our apology if we missed someone.

Football team

The 2006 championship junior high football team, the coaches, Mr. Hinger and all the parents would like to thank Bill and Lori Manzanares from The Shirt Cellar for the great work on the championship jackets they did for the team.

Michael Valdez family

We would like to thank the community for all their support during this grievous time. The outpouring of love and sympathy has been a great comfort to us and we want you all to know how much this has meant. You have all been blessings to us.

A scholarship fund has been set up in Michael's name at the Wells Fargo Bank, 50 Harman Park Drive, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, Attention Diane Pollard or Christina Lucero.

 

Sports Page

Pirates beat Cowboys to open Classic

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Pirate boys' basketball opened the Wolf Creek Classic tournament with a strong statement last Friday, defeating the Gunnison Cowboys 82-52 with play that foreshadowed the rest of the tournament.

From the opening tipoff, the Pirates hustled on offense and defense, pushing the ball down the court and pressing the Cowboys when the visitors had possession.

Though Gunnison tried to slow the game down, and was moderately successful in the second quarter. The Pirates were able to maintain a breakneck pace, especially in the first and third periods, giving them nearly 80 scoring opportunities - most of which were high-percentage shots.

The first three minutes of the game exhibited the Pirates' success. Adam Trujillo gave Pagosa a high-percentage start with a fast layup 30 seconds in, followed shortly thereafter by a layup by Jordan Shaffer, which drew the foul and conversion. With the high-percentage shots and layups and shots in the paint, came more fouls - giving the Pirates several opportunities to make three-point plays during the game.

Pagosa's aggressive play drew fouls, without the basket, as well, giving the team more scoring opportunities. Two minutes into the game, James Martinez went to the line and sank two free throws. He would shoot five-for-six from the line during the game.

The three-minute foreground to the rest of the game culminated when Trujillo stole a pass and made an easy two, as he seemed to do over and over again during the tournament, bringing the margin to 10-2. Along with his 10 points, Trujillo had five steals against Gunnison.

The Pirates continued to dominate throughout the game. In the fourth minute, Caleb Ormonde scored three Pirate baskets from the paint. He would go on to lead the team in scoring, with 17 points during the game (seven-for-11 from the floor, including a fast-break dunk), followed closely by Jordan Shaffer with 16 (shooting seven-for-nine).

The Pirates continued to add to the point margin through the first three quarters, until starters were brought out of the game in the beginning of the fourth. Pagosa led 29-17 at the end of one, 50-27 at half and 71-36 after the third.

Though Pagosa relied on high-percentage shots, the game was not simply a layup fest. Shaffer ended first and third quarters with successful jump shots; Kerry Joe Hilsabeck converted on a three-point play in the second, started by a Shaffer steal on the inbound pass, then scored the Pirates' next four points - with two trips to the foul line - completing a seven-point run.

Hilsabeck had an iconic game at point guard, with 14 points (shooting four-for-six from the floor, five-for-five from the line), seven assists, two steals and six hustling rebounds (three on offense).

During the fast-paced third quarter, the Pirates made good, methodical plays, as well as quick layups. Spur Ross scored on a post-and-turn in the middle of the quarter, and Casey Hart scored from the paint after a pass from Hilsabeck on a following possession.

The Pirate starters closed the game with a running offense that put many points on the board - a Trujillo steal that led to a Hilsabeck layup, followed by a Hilsabeck fast-break feed to Trujillo for another.

With the win, the Pirates earned the right to play in the tournament final, Saturday night, against Buena Vista, who beat Battle Mountain in the first round of play.

 

Pirates crush 4A Battle Mountain 87-47 in second round of tourney

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys convincingly defeated 4A Battle Mountain in the second round of the Wolf Creek Classic Saturday, 87-47, successfully pushing the ball and spreading scoring opportunities to every player on the court.

The Pirates won each quarter of the game and six players scored eight points or more. Pagosa opened the game with a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, pushed the margin to 42-16 at the half and ended the third with a score of 67-31.

Caleb Ormonde led the team with 14 points (shooting 78 percent), along with four steals; followed by James Martinez with 12 points (with two threes), who led the team with seven rebounds; Spur Ross came off the bench with 10 points and six rebounds; Kerry Joe Hilsabeck contributed 10 points and four steals; and Jordan Shaffer and Casey Hart (off the bench) each scored eight points. Guards Shaffer and Hilsabeck each had six assists in the game.

The game against Battle Mountain did not count toward tournament standings. In order for Battle Mountain to be eligible to play in the tournament, without exceeding the number of games allowed in a season by the Colorado High School Activities Association, the tournament was organized with a semifinal bracket - the first-round (semifinal) winners facing each other in the third round (final) to determine final standings. Though the second round did not count toward tournament standings, the game did count toward the teams' records, putting Pagosa at 5-0 in the young season.

Coach Jim Shaffer ascribed the Pirates' dominance during the tournament to their success at the full court press and transition game, which allowed the Pirates to make high-percentage shots before the opposing defense was set.

Shaffer challenged his team to take high-percentage shots, and when the game slowed and settled into half court offenses (which encouraged the Pirates to take lower-percentage, perimeter shots), Shaffer pressed his team to push the ball down the court and under the basket. As Shaffer said, the transition game "makes life a lot simpler."

According to Shaffer, perimeter shots should only come after moving the ball within the three-point arc. The movement pulls the defense out of the paint, perhaps providing an opening for a pass under the basket, while giving the offense a better chance at a rebound if a perimeter shot is missed.

Pagosa shot 39-for-64 against Battle Mountain, and went on to shoot 60 percent for the tournament.

After handily defeating Battle Mountain, the Pirates prepared to face Buena Vista, who beat the Huskies in the first round. The final would be a rematch - Pagosa beating Buena Vista in overtime the first game of the season.

 

Pirates demolish Demons to take tourney title

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

After squeaking by Buena Vista in overtime the first game of the season, the Pirates outran the Demons to win the final round of the Wolf Creek Classic Saturday, 74-58, finishing the tourney undefeated and going to 6-0 on the season.

On Friday, the Pirates defeated Gunnison to move to the championship match, then beat Battle Mountain Saturday afternoon in a second-round game that did not count toward Classic standings.

The Pirates faced the Demons in the first game of the season in Buena Vista, Dec. 1, and won 58-51 in overtime. In that first match, the Demons slowed the game's pace, limiting Pagosa's transition game. But on Saturday, the Demons were not so successful and the Pirates pushed the ball throughout the game, while challenging the Buena Vista offense with a full-court press.

The championship game got off to a fast start, the Pirates scoring 18 points in the first four minutes. Defensive pressure produced steals, which turned quickly into fast breaks and easy layups. The same was true for defensive rebounds: with quick thinking and action the Pirates turned the changes in possession into immediate scoring opportunities.

Pagosa won every quarter but the fourth (when the starters were eventually taken out of the game) and dominated the first half. The Pirates took the lead in the first quarter, 25-15, and expanded it in the second, going into the half ahead 45-27.

Jordan Shaffer was an offensive force, scoring 25 points, while shooting eight for 12 from the floor and eight for 11 from the foul line.

Point guard Kerry Joe Hilsabeck put in eight points, while leading the team with 11 assists, five defensive rebounds and three steals. The team as a whole had an impressive 14 steals, but this was their lowest total in a tournament where they snagged as many as 18 steals in a game.

Adam Trujillo and Caleb Ormonde also had strong scoring games, with 12 and 10 points respectively - Trujillo leading the team with eight rebounds and Ormonde leading with four blocks.

Shaffer and Ormonde were named to the all-tournament team, no doubt, in part, due to their point totals. Shaffer ended the tournament with 49 points and Ormonde finished with 41.

Coach Jim Shaffer said Hilsabeck and Trujillo should have made the team as well, with their impressive all-around play. Shaffer went on to credit his team with all-tournament play. Chances to score come from teammates spreading the floor, he said.

After claiming the Wolf Creek Classic title, the Pirates did not have time to rest on their laurels, having to face tough 3A Alamosa Friday, at home at 7 p.m.

Alamosa beat Pagosa in the San Luis Valley last season 46-44, and the Mean Moose return all of their key players - many of the same athletes, incidentally, who led Alamosa to the 3A state championship in football (quarterback Clay Garcia, receiver and runner Jason Espinoza and receiver Dustin Bolt).

To beat Alamosa, Shaffer said his team will need to stay committed to aggressive defensive play and the transition game. During this week of practice, the Pirates will focus on continuing to improve, said Shaffer.

If they play as they did in the Wolf Creek Classic, the match against Alamosa should be an entertaining game to watch.

"For three games we consistently did what we were trying to do," said Shaffer, "playing good defense and pushing the ball offensively."

 

Pirate girls beat Gunnison, advance in Classic

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate girls never fell behind after the first few minutes in their Wolf Creek Classic tournament opener against Gunnison, last Friday, winning 43-34, but their opponents kept sneaking back into the game, with the help of Pirate fouls and inconsistent shooting.

Pagosa started the game with three personal fouls and several missed shots - issues that would continue throughout the game.

In an attempt to change the game's early momentum, point guard Jessica Lynch shot a three-pointer immediately out of transition, bringing the Pirates into the game, and out of a one-point deficit. Lynch would make five threes during the game to lead the Pirates with 15 points, on nine three-point attempts and four attempted twos.

But the Pirates' shooting woes would continue throughout the quarter, as they shot two-for-16 from the floor, with three free throws. Still, at the end of the period, the Pirates led 8-5.

After Gunnison tied it 12-12, the momentum again turned in the Pirates' favor - this time with a driving two-pointer by Camille Rand, which drew a foul. Rand made the three-point play.

Behind Lynch's six points in the quarter, sophomore Allison Hart helped expand the Pirates' lead with two layups, one a three-point play after the foul, for five points.

Pagosa's shooting improved in the second quarter, as the team shot six-for-15 from the floor, but Gunnison threatened, tying the game at 12 two minutes into the quarter. The Cowboys stayed within striking distance at the end of the half, 25-18.

The Pirates lost the third quarter, 6-12, the quarter putting the overall margin slightly in Pagosa's favor, 31-30.

The third quarter brought another shooting slump, the Pirates going 2-for-10 from the floor and 1-for-4 from the free-throw line. Gunnison tied the game again five minutes into the quarter.

But the Pirates pulled away in the fourth, shooting 57 percent from the floor, and outscoring Gunnison 12-4.

The final and decisive quarter got off to a quick start when Kristen DuCharme stole a Gunnison pass on the inbound, then made an easy two-pointer. DuCharme drew a foul on the shot and converted the free throw.

The final nine points came from a variety of perimeter shots, drives to the basket, post plays and free throws. Rand led the way in the quarter with four points, going two-for-four from the line.

As the game wound to a close, the Pirates controlled the ball, avoiding fouls and preventing Gunnison possessions.

Along with her 15 points, Lynch had five assists and two steals in the game. DuCharme finished with eight points (three-for-10 from the floor), four rebounds and three steals. Rand also finished with eight points (two-for-seven from the floor), while pulling down six rebounds. And Hart led the team with seven rebounds, along with six points (two-for-seven from the floor).

In a round-robin tournament, where every game counts, the win put the Pirates one step closer to claiming the tournament title.

 

Pirate girls trap Panthers for second Classic win

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate girls improved on a first round victory Friday against Gunnison, with a 58-49 win over Cortez Saturday, in Pagosa's second game at the Wolf Creek Classic.

The Pirates came out to play in the first quarter, scoring 22 points - many on quick layups. The baskets were fewer in the second quarter, but the Pirates still went into the half ahead, 34-23.

The Pirates put down 17 more points in the third quarter but pulled back in the fourth with seven, while continuing to hold off the Panthers.

The Pirates were largely carried by Camille Rand, who led the team with 24 points, seven rebounds and four steals. Rand shot seven-for-11 from the floor and nine-for-12 from the free-throw line. Rand showed strong movement to the basket, with and without the ball, and was a physical presence on the court.

Jessica Lynch was second in scoring with 12 points, shooting four-for-18 on the court and three-for-six from the line.

Kristen DuCharme led the team with three assists, along with eight points, and senior guard Lyndsey Mackey scored a respectable nine points, while shooting 50 percent.

Coach Bob Lynch said his team improved in all phases of the game during the tournament, especially showing capability as a pressing, running team.

A weakness revealed by the tournament was shooting percentage, which was at about 29 percent overall. Lynch said in the past teams have averaged around 40 percent. He ascribed some of the shooting inconsistency on this year's squad to players getting used to new positions and working into a new season. Percentages could increase as players learn to take their high-percentage shots.

After tournament performances such as the Cortez game, Coach Lynch felt he had a lot of positives to work with and said his team would work to improve this week.

 

Pirate girls beat Demons again, win Classic

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

After going 2-0 in the first games of the Wolf Creek Classic, the Pirate girls' basketball team clinched the title in the round-robin tournament by defeating Buena Vista in the final match, 50-35, bringing the local team to a 4-1 record for the season.

The game was a rematch of the first game of the season, when the Pirates beat Buena Vista by a 14-point margin. Pagosa nearly replicated the feat Saturday night.

The Pirates got off to a moderate start in the first quarter, putting down nine points, but for the rest of the game they upped the intensity and precision, while remaining consistent - scoring 13 points in the second, 15 in the third and 13 in the fourth.

Buena Vista was never in the game, trailing 9-3 at the first break, 22-16 at the second, 37-23 after the third and 50-35 at the final buzzer.

The Pirates were led by Jessica Lynch and Camille Rand. Lynch had 15 points and three steals, while Rand had eight rebounds and five assists, along with 11 points. Lynch shot six-for-18 from the floor, while Rand shot four-for-nine.

After claiming the title, two Pirates were named to the all-tournament team: Jessica Lynch and Kristen DuCharme.

In the tournament, Rand led the team with 43 points (24 against Cortez) and 22 rebounds, though she was not selected for the all-tournament team. Lynch finished the tournament with 42 points, DuCharme with 22.

Coach Bob Lynch said Rand contributes to the team with her strong driving ability, taking some of the burden off of Jessica Lynch who accounts for many of the Pirates' points with strong three-point shooting.

The all-tournament team was selected by the coaches, who could not vote for their own players. Coaches may have been less familiar with Rand, since she is a junior.

With the Wolf Creek Classic title under their belts, the Pirates will head into another tournament this weekend in Montrose, Friday and Saturday.

In their final game against Buena Vista, the Pirates shot 15-for-56 from the floor, a mere 26 percent. For the tournament, the team shot about 29 percent from the floor. Shooting percentage will be a key element of the game to work on in the Montrose tournament.

 

Pirate wrestlers 3-2 at Buena Vista duals

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pirate wrestlers opened the 2006-2007 season fighting five duals at the Buena Vista Invitational Saturday and coming home with a 3-2 record.

Not bad for a team that starts four freshmen and five sophomores, and whose upperclassmen have a minimum of varsity experience.

The day began with a dual match against St. Mary's of Colorado Springs. The Pirates lost the match 36-41, missing the win by a one-match difference.

"They have some studs in the lower weights," said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky of St. Mary's.

Steven Smith proved the better fighter at 112 pounds, however. The sophomore began what would be a very productive day, pinning his opponent at the 4-minute mark. Pat Ford was bumped up to 189 from his accustomed 160 and pinned the St. Mary's wrestler at that weight just 54 seconds into the bout.

Several Pirates received points by forfeit: Cole Mastin at 119; Andrew Carroll at 145; Joe DuCharme at 152; and Mike Smith at 160.

Class 4A Glenwood Springs was next up for the Pirates, and Pagosa notched a 45-33 victory.

Waylon Lucero got his first pin of the season at 135, scoring the fall at 2:44.

DuCharme moved down to 145 and earned a 12-5 win by decision.

Carroll went up to 152 against the Demons and pinned his man at 1:46.

Mike Smith fought his first match of the day at 160 and scored with a pin at 2:21.

Heavyweight Joe Hausotter got a win when his opponent was disqualified for an illegal hold.

Ford received points on a forfeit. Steven Smith earned max points again, pinning his opponent at 1:25 of the match.

Mastin got a win at 119 with a pin at 1:25.

Pagosa then lost a dual to the host, Buena Vista, 35-45.

Mike Smith fashioned an impressive 16-0 technical fall at 160, getting the win 19 seconds into the second round of the fight.

Ford scored big points with a pin at 171, getting the fall at 1:37.

Hausotter continued what would be a parade of pins by the Pirates, putting his opponent's shoulders down at 2:48.

Steven Smith got another win by fall, scoring with the pin at 1:19.

Mastin pinned his Buena Vista foe just 36 seconds into the fray. Freshman Tino Lister got his first win as a Pirate at 125. Lister scored the fall at 3:48.

Pagosa got back on the winning track, defeating a woefully undermanned Del Norte team, 58-18. The only Pirate points scored in a battle against an opponent came when Lucero took a 13-4 decision at 135.

The final match of the day pitted the Pirates against Lake County and Pagosa eked out a 42-40 victory to end the tournament.

DuCharme made short work of his man at 145, pinning him 25 seconds into the battle.

Mike Smith finished off his opponent in similar fashion, in 26 seconds. Hausotter got points on a forfeit at heavyweight. Andrew Clark scored his first win of the season at 103, getting the pin at 1:19.

Steven Smith topped his day with a pin at 2:32 and Mastin went 57 seconds into the second round of his match before scoring with the fall.

"I was pretty pleased with our freshmen," said Janowsky. "They won some big matches for us at times. In the two duals we lost, we were one match away from a win. It speaks well for us that we were competitive, starting as many underclassmen as we do. We have a ways to go. Florence was probably head and shoulders above everyone else at the Buena Vista tournament, but the rest of us were neck and neck.

"You know, there are a lot of teams out there who are anxious to beat us, and they tend to wrestle harder against us. Our freshmen need to know they're wrestling in a tradition. We have a good reputation, and it follows us. I think our young guys will prove themselves this season, and extend that reputation."

The members of the team will have a chance to bolster the Pirate tradition this weekend at one of Colorado high school wrestling's great tournaments - the Warrior Classic, at Grand Junction.

"Our guys will see some tough matches at the Warrior," said the coach. "If they're up to it, they'll get matches at the Warrior. If they get knocked out early, they'll still see some great Western Slope wrestling at a very tough junior varsity tournament at Fruita on Saturday. Either way, it will be a good weekend."

Following their return from Grand Junction, the Pirates have three days of practice before ending the pre-holiday portion of the season with a dual match against Centauri, Dec. 21 in the PSHS gym.

 

Pagosa Springs Recreation

River Center skate pond open

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

The skate pond at the River Center is now open for the season. Recent cold nights have given us ice with the four inches of thickness necessary for safe public use.

Our resurfacing efforts will begin today and continue Monday and Thursday evenings through the season.

On the nights we resurface the pond, skating will be suspended at 6 p.m. The rest of the time the lights will be on, and skating will be available from dawn to 10 p.m. Please observe any posted changes to this schedule on the signboard located by the tables at the pond.

The parks crew will do its best to provide the level of services, as well as the level surfaces, to make the skating experience as enjoyable and safe as possible. The public can assist in this effort by refraining from leaving foreign objects on the ice, and by accommodating the wide array of skill levels and skating styles of their fellow gliders.

See you at the pond.

Register for youth leagues

Tomorrow is the last day to register children in the upcoming 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball leagues.

Any child who will be 9, 10, 11 or 12 years of age as of Jan. 1, 2007, is eligible to register. The assessments and seasons for these divisions will not begin until January.

Registrations are available at the recreation office and are also be available online in Adobe format at www.townofpagosasprings.com (click on the town departments link, then the parks and recreation link). Registrations have also been 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.

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 for this year.

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

Hoop Shoot Saturday

The 2006 Elks Club Hoop Shoot will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Pagosa Springs Community Center gymnasium.

The event is a free-throw shooting contest sponsored by the Durango Elks Club and is free for boys and girls ages 8-13. All participants may sign up at the community center the day of the event.

More than 3,000,000 of America's youth participate in the Hoop Shoot each year, with winners in local contests earning the right to advance to district, state, regional and national contests. National winners' names are inscribed on a plaque at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Boys and girls compete separately in the following age categories: 8/9, (age 7 is fine if the youngster will be 8 before April 1, 2007); 10/11, and 12/13. Youngsters are too old to participate if they will be 14 before April 1, 2007.

Qualification and category assignment are determined by a participant's age as of April 1, 2007. All age groups will shoot free throws on regulation, 10-foot rims.

For more information, call the recreation office at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

7-8 youth basketball ends

The 7-8 youth basketball season ends tonight at the community center, with Black facing Royal at 5:30 p.m., Forest taking on Red at 6:20, and Orange going against Purple at 7:10.

We will recognize each of this year's coaches and sponsors for their contributions to this year's season in next week's column.

Open gym

The recreation department is offering open gym for youths and adults at the community center at the following times next week:

- Monday, Dec. 18 - Open gym for children under 16 from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. and open gym for adult women only from 6 to 8.

- Tuesday, Dec. 19 - Open gym for children under 16 from 4 p.m.-6p.m. and open gym for adult men from 6 to 8.

- Wednesday, Dec. 20 - Open gym for children under 16 from 4 p.m.-6p.m. and open gym for adult women only from 6 to 8.

Adult volleyball canceled

Adult volleyball (open gym), formerly held Mondays from 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 townofpagosasprings.com and going to the parks and recreation link.

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

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

 

Editorial

Paint another picture

Figures to consider. Some of the figures here were released as part of Region 9 Economic Development District's update of its Com-prehensive Economic Development Strategy, some by the Archuleta Economic Development Association. They are each an element in a greater picture. What do we see?

According to the Region 9 report, in 2005, 1,545 jobs in the county were related to tourism - 35 percent of the total jobs in the county. AEDA has reported 63 percent of local "direct-based jobs" relate to tourism.

A "Households" category in the Region 9 document, related to expenditures by retirees, households with public assistance, and households with dividends, interest and rent, accounts for 1,368 jobs, a sizable percent of the total jobs in the county.

The two broad Region 9 sectors include 47 percent of the jobs and produce nearly 69 percent of the total income in the county.

Here's more: In 2005, 53 percent of private land in the county was owned by nonlocals. A substantial number of construction sector jobs (258) were identified as directly related to second-home construction.

In 2005, the report estimates there were 2,271 jobs in the broad Services sector; 966 jobs in the broad Construction sector; 901 jobs in Retail Trade; 650 jobs in Government; 638 jobs in Finance, Insurance and Real Estate; and 259 jobs in all areas comprising the Agricultural sector.

The largest employers in the county in 2005 were: School District 50 Jt. (238); Archuleta County (171); Wolf Creek Ski Area (105); City Market (92); Fairfield Pagosa (90); Pine Ridge Extended Care Center (51); Parelli Natural Horsemanship (48); Pagosa Resort (47); T2 Marketing (47); and Master Care Inc. (39).

The highest average salary, in the Mining and Utilities sector, was $53,934 (with only 76 jobs in oil and gas extraction, and nine more in oil and gas extraction support services); average salary in Government in 2005 was $41,312; in the Real Estate sector, it was $39,066; in Construction, $30,052; in Retail Trade, $23,941; in Accommodations, Food and Entertainment Services, $21,435; in Manufacturing, $18,217. The local per capita income in 2004, $ 21,639, trailed Colorado and national per capita incomes, $36,113 and $33,050. In 2003, 42 percent of families in the county could not afford to buy a median priced home at $181,000.

A flurry of figures, eh? There are more where these came from.

What kind of picture emerges from reports such as these? Is it comforting?

To what market is most local employment directed? Take away the educators and government employees and what do we have? Certainly not many jobs for a mid-tier work force. The lumber mills are long gone; the days of a healthy ranching economy are, likewise, over. There is little true "manufacturing" here.

The local economic edifice rests in the main on but a few pillars: tourism, construction and real estate activities aligned with a strong second home market, and business that tends to older citizens of the community who move to their "dream home" in the Rockies. The "manufacturer" that could emerge as a force is an environmentally suspect, extractive industry - oil and gas. It has hardly met with overwhelming support in the community. Many, if not most, of those who moved here in what Region 9 calls the "Amenity Migration" of the '90s are not fans of extractive industry, or of any industry which does not fit their vision of the ideal place to live.

Bottom line: our economy is not diversified. Good things do not often happen to a too-tightly-focused economy - especially when, without substantial exports, it depends on forces and factors in a world beyond its control.

What is the picture? What lies ahead? And how can we paint a larger picture?

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

Shari Pierce

90 years ago

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 15, 1916

Every parent who has a child or children in school ought to take an afternoon or morning off and spend it at the school, visiting the different rooms and noticing the sanitary improvements accomplished for this year. The new heating plant keeps every room and the halls at an even, proper temperature, and the new toilet rooms are absolutely sanitary and built and installed in a way that makes it easy to keep them so. The laboratory for the chemistry in the high school is well equipped, and the pupils are carrying on practical experiments that are of inestimable value to them, under the direction of Prof. Knowlton. Some of the high school boys are turning out some surprising mechanical drawings, a study that may be put to a practical use later.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 18, 1931

After being without any mail since Thursday night of last week, and also without eastern mail since the Wednesday night previous, the arrival of the train with mail on Monday night was indeed welcome. A fair schedule has since been maintained, notwithstanding the many difficulties created by the storm.

As a result of the second heavy snow storm within a short period, a part of the roof of the building on Lewis Street, the former Parr feed store and now owned by the Colorado Natural Remedy Association of Denver, distributors of Kolorok, an Archuleta County product, caved in last Saturday night. However, the portion destroyed did not house their grinding and other valuable machinery.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 20, 1956

The town board met with representatives of the San Juan Basin Health Unit and the State Health Department to discuss a rabies control program and the sewer disposal problem here. The board was agreeable to the rabies program, but have made no definite commitments at this time. They were told by the representatives that the sewage disposal problem here is receiving more attention from those bodies all the time and it is "only a matter of time" until some action would be necessary. As the years go by and more of the homes here have become modern, the cesspool situation has been growing worse. In not too many years some of the areas of the town will be so saturated that it will be practically impossible to have a cesspool that will work.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 17, 1981

Children under 12 will be treated to a free Cartoon Festival Saturday at the Mesa Theater. Each child is asked to bring a donation of canned goods. The food will be distributed by the Rotary Club to needy families for Christmas.

Meeting in a lengthy session Tuesday night the school board authorized hookup with the town geothermal system.

Word has it that phone calls will be coming in from the North Pole Thursday, December 17, 1981. Santa Claus will be calling area youngsters during the evening on December 17. Santa tells us that he will be calling Kindergarten youngsters between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. and grades 1 and 2 between 7:30 and 9 p.m.

 

Features

Be prepared in the high country

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Few citizens of the Rockies could watch the tragedy of the Kim family unfold in the Oregon coastal mountains, without asking questions that sought the ways the emergency could have been avoided or brought to a happier end.

Undoubtedly, after viewing the family disaster turned media spectacle, many of us wondered if we would have been better prepared or made better decisions. Some may have even been prompted by the moment in popular consciousness to prepare themselves and their families for similar moments of catastrophe.

Preparedness is all the more important here in the Colorado mountains, where we are confronted with treacherous conditions on a regular basis - whether whiteout driving and icy roads, back-country avalanches, sudden thunderstorms on a continental-divide hike, or even the lapse in judgment that strands a driver on a dusty logging road in the middle of summer, with an empty tank.

Survival situations are not uncommon to the San Juans. Archuleta County Emergency Operations has had 37 search and rescue incidents so far in 2006, according to Deputy Director David Vega.

And though it is cliché to give the credit to visiting hunters, skiers and tourists for the number of rescues, even experienced locals can come to trouble in this untamed environment.

During the Thanksgiving holiday, four trained search and rescue volunteers - Les Shepard, Terry Baker, John Sanders and Tim Hewett - found themselves in a survival situation, when Shepard fell hundreds of yards down an avalanche chute, after climbing snowy Toner Mountain, which is about six miles east of Williams Creek Reservoir and five miles northwest of Pagosa Peak.

The four climbers, in teams of two, made the snow ascent up the northeast ridge of the mountain. According to Hewett who, along with Sanders, summited the peak, Toner is a "tough endurance climb" - ascending 5,000 feet in five miles.

Hewett reached the peak at about 1 p.m., shortly after Sanders, then re-traversed Toner's long ridgeline to a bowl filled with a snowfield, which would be his path of descent. Before Hewett began the down-climb, he noticed Shepard and Baker begin the descent down the same bowl - having chosen not to summit, in order to make it down before dark.

From the rear position in the descent, Hewett witnessed Shepard's fall. After a simple slip on the snow, Shepard began a full tumble that took him 1,000 feet down the mountain. Hewett saw Shepard hit his head on rocks as he fell down the bowl, without a helmet.

After backtracking to avoid a crevice made by Shepard's fall, Hewett was eventually able to descend to the point where Shepard came to a stop. When Hewett arrived he was surprised to find Shepard standing and receiving treatment from Sanders, a doctor, who had been in the lead - since he feared Shepard dead after the accident.

The climbers had a radio to call dispatch and notify officials of the emergency. And along with supplies the four had in their packs, Hewett had an emergency kit in his car. Hewett hiked to the parking area, while Sanders and Baker cared for Shepard, and he retrieved a sleeping bag and warming packs. After Hewett returned with the supplies, the climbers decided they needed to get Shepard off the mountain, to avoid a cold overnight stay and seek treatment for a head injury (and potential internal injuries). While Baker and Sanders carried Shepard down, Hewett decided to trek down the mountain again, to the point where the four left the trail, to meet up with search and rescue team members and direct them to the injured man.

Archuleta County Emergency Operations received the climbers' radio transmission at about 3 p.m. and arrived at the trail at 4:30 p.m., where they met Hewett. The rescue teams made visual contact with Shepard, Sanders and Baker at about 7:30 p.m. and packed the injured man down to a waiting ambulance by 11:50 p.m. From there, Shepard was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center, according to a report prepared by incident commander Ian Vowles.

Shepard is now recovering at home, said Hewett.

"It is without any doubt that he would not have survived without the extreme determination and skill of his climbing friends who got him down to the trail and without the dedication and professional skills of the rescue teams," wrote Vowles.

Vowles and Hewett each noted how preparedness helped Shepard in the emergency. With a transceiver radio and GPS, noted Vowles, the climbers were able to tell rescuers their exact location - and with emergency supplies, Shepard was kept warm and stable, until the group could meet up with search and rescue, said Hewett.

While the Toner Mountain mission highlighted the characteristics of a successful response to an emergency, Greg Oertel, director of emergency operations, explained some of the common mistakes made during emergency situations. Along with being unprepared, people often show "reluctance to call us as soon as possible" because of embarrassment, said Oertel, who encouraged those who might need help: "Don't wait till midnight."

Oertel also said people are afraid they will be charged for a search and rescue, which is not the case, since the county funds the operations and recovers some of the costs from the state.

Aside from finding some way to contact authorities in an emergency - whether by radio, cell phone or informed relatives who call in a missing person - Oertel said one should focus on getting through the night, giving time for rescuers to do their job.

"If you can get through the night - with survival skills to provide shelter, warmth, and water - your chances of survival are very high."

According to Oertel, 94 percent of searches are resolved in the first 18 hours.

Pete Peterson, who teaches biology and anatomy at the high school and wilderness first aid through the adult education center, incorporates wilderness and survival education into his lessons. According to Peterson, an understanding of basic biology leads to an understanding of what is necessary to survive. Knowledge of human physiology allows the student to know what the human body is capable of.

Peterson said that survival often boils down to attitude, as much as experience. If one is determined to survive, they are much more likely to find a way, even if he or she does not have all the supplies one would like.

But part of a determined attitude is making the effort to prepare in the first place

Peterson described three basic necessities of life - warmth, water and food. Warmth may be supplied by packing extra, insulating clothing or emergency blankets. But in more extreme situations, it may be essential to start a fire - which could also provide light and a signal to rescuers. Ideally, water would come from sufficient stores in bottles, but filters or iodine tablets are a necessary backup. High-calorie meals are easily packed in the form of MREs or even protein bars, but Peterson also makes his students aware of the safe provisions of nature - including cattails, acorns, grasses, pine needles and cactuses (not including mushrooms or unidentifiable berries, which can be toxic).

Peterson emphasized the importance of taking the initiative to inform one's self. First, plan well: know where you are going, what you will be doing (and what you will need to do it) and how you will come home. Know your route and be sure others know it too.

And in case an emergency does occur, know how to use all the equipment you have been smart enough to gather. Matches will do no good if you don't know how to ignite kindling. A compass (or GPS) will be useless, if you can't find north.

From there, Peterson said, be prepared to improvise, to make decisions based on the specifics of your situation.

But if you do get lost or stranded, get warm, keep hydrated and stay in place. You will likely be found in a few days.

Steve Hartvigsen, of the U.S. Forest Service, echoed many of Peterson's suggestions. According to the back-country enthusiast, the biggest mistake people make is wearing the wrong clothing. Cotton loses much of its ability to insulate when wet, so Hartvigsen suggested wearing layers of synthetic fibers - including thermal long underwear, a fleece jacket and wind and waterproof shell, remembering to cover the head and neck.

In addition to insulating clothing, Hartvigsen advocated emergency blankets and insulite pads to protect from the cold ground, as well as air.

Hartvigsen further warned against putting too much trust in a GPS, since they generally do not include topographic reference, preferring instead detailed topographic maps and compasses.

Like Peterson, Hartvigsen encouraged people to inform others of where they intend to go, while checking weather conditions online, before departure.

Safety concerns are not limited to the hiker or skier. In a press release, available on its Web site, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) outlined a series of safety precautions for winter driving:

In the release, CDOT encourages drivers to keep their vehicle's gas tank at least half full, giving the vehicle better traction (because of the extra weight) and making it possible to periodically run the engine to keep warm, in case they get stuck. To avoid roadside accidents, drivers are warned not to leave their vehicles during serious storms. The press release says that emergency supplies should be kept in the car, including blankets, water and food. CDOT notes that four-wheel-drive vehicles may provide better traction, but do not aid in stopping more quickly. Finally, the press release advises drivers to know their route and use common sense.

Whether driving during the Christmas holidays, cross-country skiing or snow camping, everyone (whether rural Coloradan or West Coast urbanite) should take the time to put together emergency kits - paying close attention to means of warmth and shelter, water and food and necessary tools. Customize your kit depending on your activity - one kit for back country and one for the car. Both kits should include the 10 survival essentials: matches, fire starters, maps, compass, lights, extra food and water, extra clothing, sunglasses, first aid kit and pocket knife. Following is a more extensive list:

Warmth and shelter

- Waterproof matches.

- Frenzel lens - a powerful magnifying glass to ignite tinder.

- Flint and steel.

- Additional fire starters - many types are to be found in outdoor shops, hardware stores or online. Always have a backup.

- Kindling - cotton balls coated in wax, waxed cardboard, etc.

- Emergency candles.

- Chemical heaters.

- Emergency space blankets.

- Bivy sac.

- Extra synthetic clothing - from head to toe.

- Waterproof, windproof outerwear - including hood, balaclava and gloves.

- Waterproof boots and gaiters.

- Several pairs of socks (wool or synthetic).

- Glove liners.

- Tarps.

Water and food

- Canteens, with plenty of water.

- Water purifier.

- Iodine tablets.

- Dehydrated caloric food.

- Protein bars.

- Gatorade powder.

Tools

- First Aid Kit - with splints, wraps and small sewing kit.

- Multiple forms of light.

- Head lamp.

- Flashlight.

- Glow sticks.

- Signal flares.

- Whistle.

- Mirrors - for signaling.

- Surveyors tape.

- Utility tool.

- Knife.

- Hatchet.

- Saw.

- Duct tape.

- Bailing wire.

- Rope.

- Fishing line.

- Avalanche beacons and probe polls, if in back-country snow.

- Shovel.

- Sunglasses.

- Sunscreen.

- Insect repellant.

- Transceiver radio.

- Cellular phone.

- Maps.

- Compass.

- GPS.

Additional car tools

- Tire jack.

- Tire wrench.

- Spare tire.

- Wheel block.

- Jumper cables.

- Fix-a-flat.

- Sand or cat liter.

- Pliers.

- Penetrating oil.

- Work gloves.

- Fluorescent vest.

- Hazards or flares.

 Pagosa's Past

A difficult transition for the Jicarilla Apache

By John M. Motter

Sun Columnist

The challenge of adapting from a hunting/gathering economy to the complex economy of the United States faced the Jicarilla Apache as they settled onto their new reservation in New Mexico just south of Pagosa Springs.

Complicating the process from the outside were a series of silly U.S. government polices, especially the Dawes Act, which envisioned the Jicarilla economy as being agricultural despite the high elevation, short growing season, and often severe winter weather. The Dawes Act contemplated each Jicarilla family as homesteading acreage on the reservation and earning a living from that homesteaded property.

In many parts of the United States 160 acres with a relatively long growing season and abundant rainfall would be more than enough to support a family. Not so in the arid northern Rockies of New Mexico, or just across the border in Colorado, for that matter.

Another complication for the Jicarilla was built into their culture. Before moving onto the reservation they had been a loosely knit band of family groups. On the reservation, they were antagonists, each group anxious to protect the interest of their own group. Consequently, when they settled on the reservation, family groups settled next to each other and away from other groups they had not been close to.

Special Allotting Agent John Rankin was given the task of implementing the allotment. Rankin's first task was to ensure the reservation boundary survey was reasonably reliable. That done, the allotment process began, then went through an alteration in 1891 that allowed an allotment of one-eighth section of agricultural land or one-fourth section of grazing land for each member of the tribe.

Rankin finally completed his task in November of 1891. Eight hundred and forty-five Jicarilla received land patents still subject to the Indian Office's approval. The total allotted acreage was 129,313 acres, leaving about 286,000 surplus acres. Southern Ute and Jicarilla Agent Charles Batholomew proposed the remaining lands be sold for the benefit of the Jicarilla rather than returned to the public domain as the government intended. As it eventually turned out, the lands were neither sold nor reclaimed by the federal government.

The government was in no hurry to approve the Jicarilla allotments and that did not take place until 1898.

When the patents were given to Rankin for distribution another problem surfaced. It seemed no one could match and identify the names on the patents with the rightful owners. Also, as time had passed, many corner landmarks had been obliterated. By 1899, only 154 Jicarilla had received their patents. Six hundred and ninety-one remained unidentified. The allotment process continued in this manner until 1909, when the reservation was once more surveyed and reallotted.

An additional complication was presented by a group of squatters who occupied most of the arable land on the reservation.

According to an involved government agent named Henry S. Welton, serious trouble loomed between settlers and the Jicarilla. Welton noted that a ring of wealthy Mexican ranchmen controlling most of the land led the opposition to Jicarilla occupation.

Cowboys employed by the ranchmen were evidently instructed to build log shanties to fix claims on the government in the event they were not successful in discouraging the return of the Jicarilla. Because Welton anticipated conflict, he recommended that troops be stationed there to prevent further settlement by the ranchers.

Welton recorded 10,000 head of cattle on the reservation, which overgrazed the lands. Settlers were daily encroaching upon the lands of the Indians, cutting their hay, and taking possession of their stock if it happened to stray upon the settler's unfenced pastures.

More next week on the conflicts between Jicarilla and squatting settlers as the Jicarilla tried to claim their reservation.

Information for this series of articles about the Jicarilla is taken from a book titled "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970," by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller.

 

Pagosa Sky Watch

New evidence hints at water on Mars

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

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

Sunrise: 7:14 a.m.

Sunset: 4:51 p.m.

Moonrise: 1:33 a.m.

Moonset: 1:06 p.m.

Moon phase: The moon is waning crescent with 30 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

The presence of liquid water on Mars remains an astronomical enigma, but recently released photographs of the martian surface may bring NASA scientists one step closer to unlocking one of the cosmos' most vexing mysteries.

Shown in a Dec. 6 NASA news release, four photographs, taken by the Mars Global Surveyor, reveal bright new deposits in two martian gullies that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years.

"These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program.

One set of images depicts a section of the crater wall in Centauri Montes first in August 1999, then the same wall section again in September 2005.

The second set of images shows a portion of the crater wall in Terra Sirenum in 2001, then the same portion again in 2005.

In both cases, the images show lightly-colored fresh gully deposits as though liquid water carrying sediment and debris rushed down the hillside.

"The shapes of these deposits are what you would expect to see if the material were carried by flowing water," said Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego. "They have finger-like branches at the downhill end and easily diverted around small obstacles."

Malin is the principal investigator for the Mars Global Surveyor's onboard Mars Orbiter Camera, the instrument used to photograph the gullies, and is the lead author of a report about the finding published in the journal "Science."

But NASA researchers say, although the images are promising, the possibility of liquid water running across the martian surface is something that needs further exploration.

For example, scientists know that because the martian atmosphere is thin and the planet governed by temperature extremes, liquid water cannot persist on the planet's surface - water on Mars either evaporates or freezes. Thus, liquid water would have to come from an underground source, or from the melting of ice in the martian subsurface - these are the two dominant hypotheses. And in either case, gully formation would require that liquid water remains in liquid form long enough to carry debris downslope before freezing.

In the images, the two gully deposits appear in lighter tones, which researchers say could indicate recently-frozen water or surface frost, or perhaps mineral deposits such as a salty crust, which would indicate surface water had concentrated the salt in the martian soil.

Meanwhile, past arguments have been made that perhaps the gully deposits are simply the products of dry soil sliding down the sheer crater wall. However, scientists say the color of the gully deposits, as depicted in the images, refute this theory. If the deposits were made by shifting soil, the deposits would probably match the surrounding soil, or, would appear in dark tones as has been observed in fresh Mars Rover tracks, after the passage of martian dust devils or in new martian craters.

Malin and his team reported the discovery of gullies in 2000, and since then his camera team has repeatedly photographed hundreds of sites in order to capture water-induced changes in the martian terrain.

One such effort chronicled gully formation on a sand dune, but that process was interpreted as a dry flow of sand. Therefore, what makes these images, and the argument for liquid water so compelling, is that they depict gully formation in drastically different terrain, thus opening a whole new realm of possibility for the presence of liquid water on the red planet. And although researchers have long known frozen water and water vapor exist on Mars, liquid water is considered fundamental to supporting life.

With the recent discoveries, scientists are keen to explore the potential for microbial life on Mars, but unfortunately, as scientists dig deeper into the martian enigma, the Mars Global Surveyor will probably not play an active role.

The craft began orbiting Mars in 1997, and after surpassing its projected life-span by seven years, NASA lost contact with the orbiter in early November. And although NASA continues attempts to regain contact with the errant craft, those efforts, to date, have proven unsuccessful.

In the meantime, with the orbiter appearing at mission's end, mining data and photographs collected by the craft over its 10-year tenure, continues to reap big dividends.

"These fresh deposits suggest that at some places and times on present-day Mars, liquid water is emerging from beneath the ground and briefly flowing down the slopes. This possibility raises questions about how the water would stay melted below ground, how widespread it might be, and whether there's a below-ground wet habitat conducive to life. Future missions may provide answers," Malin said.

To view Mars in this weekend's sky, stargazers will have to venture outdoors about a half hour before sunrise. On Friday, look for Mars clustered with Jupiter low in the southeast. Skywatchers can find Mars about two degrees lower, and slightly to the left of Jupiter. The planets should be above the horizon by 6:45 a.m.

Saturday morning presents skywatchers with an opportunity to view three naked-eye planets - Saturn, high in the southwest about five degrees to the right and slightly above Regulus. From Saturn, follow the path of the ecliptic past the crescent moon to Jupiter, found just above the southeastern horizon clustered with Mars just below.

On Sunday, again in the southeast, use the thin crescent moon as a marker, and scan for Jupiter about 16 degrees below and to the left of the moon. From Jupiter, stargazers will find Mars about three degrees below, and slightly to the left of the jovian giant.

 

Weather

Date High Low PrecipitationType Depth Moisture

12/6

47

10

12/7

48

13

-

-

-

12/8

51

12

-

-

-

12/9

47

13

12/10

40

13

S

3"

2"

12/11

31

20

S

2.5"

.15"

12/12

34

3

Winter storm possible next week

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

With winter still a week off, winter weather patterns are showing promise of more precipitation ... at least over the next week, or so.

Over the past five days, the Pagosa Lakes area received 5 1/2 inches of snow, with 3 inches falling Sunday night and the rest coming on Monday. The ski area outside of town received 15 inches in the past seven days, for a season total of 149 inches, thus far. Pagosa Lakes has received 24 inches of snow so far this season, compared with last winter's total of only 76 inches.

Daytime temperatures have kind of been on a roller coaster ride this week, with Friday and Saturday readings climbing to 51 and 47 degrees, respectively. Sunday, however, only made it to 40 degrees, while Monday and Tuesday hovered around the freezing mark. Yesterday, the mercury climbed back into the 40s, and today's high is expected to reach the upper 40s to near 50.

Until Tuesday, weekly lows ranged from the mid-teens to a balmy 20 degrees on Monday, but yesterday and the day before, morning temperatures bottomed out just above zero.

According to the National Weather Service forecast over the next seven days, high temperatures will creep above 50 tomorrow, before sliding back into the 30s for the remainder of the period. Highs Monday and Tuesday may only reach 30, as the next weather system rolls into Pagosa Country. Morning lows should stay in the teens.

Tomorrow looks downright pleasant. With ample sunshine and a predicted high of 51 degrees, it'll certainly be the warmest day of the upcoming week, but tomorrow night a few clouds roll in and on Saturday, things change. Under partly cloudy skies, Saturday's high will make it to the mid-40s, before falling to just the upper 30s by Sunday. Lows will fall to the teens.

By press time, it appeared Sunday and Monday might bring a significant winter storm to the region. Some doubt still remains on which way an approaching low pressure might track, but winter storm advisories may be posted for Pagosa Springs by Saturday night. The system could bring heavy snow to the area between Saturday night and Tuesday afternoon, with another smaller storm arriving on Wednesday.

By 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 57 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit, with 51 inches midway. No new snow fell over the previous 24 hours, but 15 inches was recorded in the prior six days. The season total stood at 149 inches. Under early-season conditions, 100 percent of the area was open, serving 1,600 acres of skiable terrain.