January 4, 2007

Front Page

Redevelopment rules pass first muster

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Following town council approval of a new ordinance, the days of demolitions where the property is scraped and left vacant may soon come to an end in Pagosa Springs.

Ordinance Number 685, approved unanimously on first reading Dec. 28, mandates that all applications for demolition, partial demolition or building relocation permits in non-residential zoning districts must accompany site redevelopment plans.

"The ordinance assures that when a building is demolished another building will be built as a replacement," Town Planner Tamra Allen said.

Allen explained, in general terms, how the ordinance works.

First, a property owner or developer with demolition plans must submit a document package detailing the project, including a full set of site plans and building elevations, to the town's design review board. Once the board reviews the plans and the applicant receives approval, the developer or property owner must submit a bond for improvements or building relocation. In addition to the bond, the applicant must demonstrate they have requested a building permit for the replacement structure, along with proof that all fees, including impact fees, have been paid. Once fee payment and the application for a building permit have been verified, the applicant will receive a building permit for the new structure and a demolition permit for the old. With the permit obtained, the applicant, per the tenets of the building permit, has 180 days to commence work.

Full text of the procedure is described in the ordinance.

If the applicant fails to begin within the 180-day window, or violates other provisions of the ordinance, the legislation incorporates penalties, including sanctions, court action or fines.

Allen said posting the bond and paying impact fees is a strong incentive for developers to begin their redevelopment projects in a timely manner.

The ordinance, as drafted for the Dec. 28 meeting, marks a significant change from a previous draft presented Nov. 15.

The Nov. 15 draft drew criticism from town council members Darrel Cotton and Bill Whitbred, who described the document as too broad, overly complicated and confusing with murky, unnecessary overtures toward historic preservation.

Article 14 of the town's land use code addresses historic preservation issues, including the demolition and alteration of historically landmarked structures.

During the Nov. 15 meeting, the council requested sending the ordinance back to Allen and town attorney Bob Cole for further wordsmithing.

Allen said most of the so-called historic preservation language has been removed from the document and references to the structure slated for demolition are scant. Thus, the ordinance focuses largely on what is to come, not on what is proposed for demolition, although the ordinance asks that the redevelopment not substantially compromise the historic and architectural character of other buildings on the site or in the neighborhood.

In addition, the ordinance provides exemptions in two cases. First, submittal of a redevelopment plan can be waived for buildings deemed structurally unsound and an imminent threat to public health safety and welfare. And second, the ordinance allows for an exemption if the applicant agrees to restrict the property to open space uses.

Allen said although the re-crafted ordinance lacks much of the historic preservation punch found in the previous draft, the town has tools within the land use code, including Article 14, to address historic preservation issues. In addition, a moratorium governing demolitions, alterations and relocations of buildings 50 years old and older remains in effect until April 1, 2007.

In the meantime, the town's historic preservation board is working to fine tune Article 14, although none of the regulations, aside from the moratorium, fully address demolition issues related to older structures not designated as historic landmarks. Under Article 14, designated historic landmarks are well protected.

As part of the preservation board's Article 14 retooling process, board chair Shari Pierce said the preservation board is exploring the incorporation of a variety of incentives that might entice property owners to preserve and even landmark older structures.

Ordinance 685 will go before the town council for second reading and final approval either in mid-January or early February.


State, town continue to negotiate

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

A string of proposed, short-term improvements at the town's sewage treatment plant may keep Pagosa Springs in the state's good graces until a new sewage treatment plant comes on line in May 2008.

According to Patrick O'Brien of Pagosa Springs-based Briliam Engineering, the improvements include mechanical surface aerators and fine bubble diffusers that will alleviate biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) overloading issues and keep the town in compliance with its state-issued operating permit.

Appropriate oxygen levels are necessary in maintaining a balance between raw sewage intake and micro-organisms in the plant being able to process the waste.

In December, the town faced the possibility of fines or a moratorium on the issuance of building permits when state water quality engineers learned the Pagosa Springs treatment plant exceeded its daily organic loading capacity on a number of occasions during 2005 and 2006, and as specified in the town's operating permit.

"Organic loading" is a term engineers and waste water treatment professionals use to describe sewage intake at a treatment plant during the course of the day. Organic loading is measured in BODs.

Since learning the town plant had broached its permitted capacity, O'Brien, Town Manager Mark Garcia and state water quality officials began a dialogue to address the state's concerns - namely the schedule for construction of a new plant and remediation measures the town would take in the interim. In the discussions, the town asked the state to approve increasing its permitted organic loading capacity from 624 pounds BOD-5 per day to 1,030 pounds BOD-5 per day. Coupled with the request was a plan for improvements that would enable the plant to handle the increased waste and a schedule for installation and start-up of the improvements.

Both O'Brien and Garcia said conversations with the state since the compliance issues were brought to light have remained positive.

"We're working with the state to expand BOD limits and the state seems supportive in our request. The state's been fairly receptive with our response and I don't foresee the need to put a moratorium on building permits," Garcia said.

And O'Brien concurred.

Although state documents dated Dec. 29, don't unequivocally state there is clear sailing ahead, O'Brien said subsequent telephone conversations with Greg Brand of the state's water quality division didn't indicate any insurmountable obstacles and whatever issues remained could be resolved.

"I think we've got everything pretty well taken care of. I think we're on the way," O'Brien said.

According to Garcia and O'Brien, acquisition and installation of the aeration equipment will cost between $10,000 and $50,000, although O'Brien called the $50,000 price tag, a "worst case scenario" estimate. He and Garcia both said $10,000 is a more realistic figure.

During Tuesday's meeting of the Town of Pagosa Springs Sanitation General Improvement District, council member John Middendorf asked if the organic loading issues were affecting the plant's discharge into the San Juan River.

Garcia said the town has been able to meet BOD removal rates."We're not exceeding discharge limits into the river," Garcia said. "We don't have any discharge issues per se. All in all, we're running that plant as good as we can."

With full installation and implementation of the improvement measures scheduled for April, the town will focus on meeting grant application and other financing deadlines to keep the new, $2.5 million plant on the 2008 timetable.


Health district receives bond money

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Sometime tomorrow, the Upper San Juan Health Service District should really be rolling in dough ... at least for awhile.

By then, another $2.11 million will be added to district coffers for the construction of a new Critical Access Hospital in Pagosa Springs. The money represents the remaining balance from the November sale of $12 million in limited tax bonds approved by district voters last May.

At last Tuesday's regular USJHSD board of directors meeting, Bond and Finance Committee member J.R. Ford announced that the district's lender, UMB Financial Corporation of Kansas City, Mo., would fund the balance of the bond sale sometime later this week. State statutes governing special districts prohibited the district from accepting the full amount in 2006, resulting in an initial payment of $9.89 million at the time the sale closed.

Once the remaining balance is granted, the district will spend 95 percent of the full loan amount ($12 million) to construct the hospital, while holding on to 5 percent as an emergency contingency fund. Meanwhile, additional grants and contributions totaling $2 million or more, will purchase equipment and cover operating costs until the new facility becomes solvent.

Located at 95 South Pagosa Blvd., the hospital as planned will incorporate the former 8,500 square-foot Mary Fisher Medical Center and encompass approximately 36,500 square feet total, including 11 patient beds. Though architects reduced the original plan by approximately 1,850 square feet as a cost-saving measure, they also shifted the original footprint 50 feet to the east, again saving considerable costs in excavation and site work. According to planners and the district, the current design does not sacrifice function or amenities, and will allow ample future expansion as needed.

To date, following the first phases of construction, earth work and compaction are largely complete, and concrete is in place for interior foundation footings. Forms are being set for the perimeter stemwall foundation, and once the steel arrives in February, workers will erect the framing, roof and exterior walls, then focus on pouring the main concrete slab. In the meantime, detailed electrical, plumbing, heating and communications design is reaching finality.

Also at Tuesday's meeting, district board members announced steady progress in the hiring of a hospital Chief Executive Officer. While no contract has been signed thus far, Ronald A. Ommen of Jackson, Wyo. became the district's first choice for the position, after an in-depth evaluation and interview process narrowed the field of 13 or 14 prospective candidates.

Until recently, Ommen was the administrator and CEO at St. John's Medical Center in Jackson. He holds advanced degrees in business, hospital and health care administration, and has worked in the medical field since 1972.

The current St. John's facility, built in 1991 and renovated last year, has 108 total beds, with 48 in acute and primary care, and 60 in long-term care. The center offers a full range of medical services, including emergency, surgery, obstetrics, intensive care, home-based care, hospice, oncology, chemotherapy and radiology, respiratory care, rehabilitation and social services.

While final contract details must still be worked out, Ommen is aware of the total compensation package offered by the district, and has appeared in town for a public open house and personal interviews. He and his wife intend to leave Jackson soon and will visit Pagosa Springs for a few days next week.

Apparently, Mrs. Ommen has never been to Archuleta County. Although, depending on her impression of the area, the two could move here next month, enabling Ommen to assume CEO duties sometime in March. If Ommen ultimately declines the position, the district will begin a new search from square one.


Inside The Sun

'Urgent appeal' made for blood donations

Due to recent snow storms and a reduction in donations during the holidays, United Blood Services is issuing an urgent appeal for donors and blood donations.

United Blood Services is the sole provider of blood and blood products for hospitals and clinics in New Mexico and the Four Corners areas. In times such as these, when several centers were closed due to weather and donors were not able to make their appointments, the supply is in a critical shortage. There is no substitute for human blood and United Blood Services N.M. estimates a daily need of 320 units to serve the hospitals, clinics and commitments for blood and blood products. Without additional donors, there is a risk of not being able to provide the life saving components for those undergoing surgery, in trauma and recuperating from cancer treatments.

A unit of blood lasts 42 days once it is donated. A unit of platelets lasts seven days before it expires. Due to the short "shelf life" of blood and blood products, an ample supply is always necessary, therefore donors are always needed.

Donors must be 17 years of age or older, weigh at least 110 pounds and are encouraged to eat a hearty meal following donation. Donations take anywhere from one to two hours, including the health history depending on the blood product donated.

Donors are encouraged to call 385-4601 or (800) 863-4524 to schedule an appointment to avoid long wait times. Mobile blood drives are scheduled throughout the state and can be located by logging onto www.unitedbloodservices.org All blood types are welcome and needed with a focus on O blood, both positive and negative.

The regional office is located at 146 Sawyer, in Durango.

Durango Center hours are: Mondays, 2-6 p.m.; Tuesdays, 1-5 p.m.; Thursdays, 2-7 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. ; and every first and third Saturday of the month, 8 a.m.-noon.

Schedule your appointment now; be a hero and help save a life.


ACHS students to sponsor nonprofit grants

The Education Center and Archuleta County High School will sponsor grants for the nonprofit sector again this year, with the assistance of the El Pomar Youth in Community Services (EPYCS) program.

Last year, ACHS students awarded over $8,000 in amounts ranging from $800 to $2,500 to the Pagosa Springs Arts Alliance, Seeds of Learning, Music in the Mountains, Pagosa Springs Music Boosters, Tri County Head Start/Early Childhood Programs, and Special Olympics of Colorado.

Archuleta County High School students again award more than $8,000 to local non-profits. Non-profits that received grants last year will not be eligible to apply this year.

Grant applications must be submitted by Jan. 25.

Applications are currently available for non-profits that have 501(c)(3) status. They are available on the El Pomar Web site at www.elpomar.org by clicking on EPYCS and Non Profits.

Drop applications off at the Archuleta County Education Center at the corner of 4th and Lewis streets.

Non-profit directors can contact Doug Bowen or Danielle Sullivan at the Archuleta County Education Center for assistance with the grant application process.


Four Pagosans graduate from Fort Lewis College

On December 16, 2006, over 200 Fort Lewis College students culminated their undergraduate academic careers at winter commencement 2006.

Among those from Pagosa Springs receiving their bachelor's degrees were:

- Ryan Beavers - business administration.

- Damien Fatur - international studies (Latin American).

- Michael Martinez - environmental biology.

- Sandra Smith-Miller - early childhood education.


Headline highlights from the first half of 2006

Following is a review of some of the top news stories in Pagosa Country, as reported in The Pagosa Springs SUN, January to June 2006.

January 2006

- It was determined that for the first time, in the upcoming spring election, voters in the Town of Pagosa Springs, rather than electing council members from a pool of "at large" candidates, would choose three of the six candidates by district.

The change came following council approval of an ordinance establishing voting districts. Town Special Projects Director Julie Jessen said the move to establish voting districts in the town began two years before, with the drafting of the town's Home Rule Charter.

- The Upper San Juan Health Services District board set a May 2 election in which voters would decide whether or not to give the district permission to incur debt to build a Critical Access Hospital and to both "de-Bruce" the district, and exempt the district from a 5.5 percent statutory property tax revenue limit (Colorado Revised Statutes 29-1-301).

- State Sen. Jim Isgar picked the Archuleta County Courthouse in downtown Pagosa Springs as the first stop on a whirlwind, districtwide tour to announce his plans to seek re-election to the District 6 Senate seat.

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners established a major mile marker on the road to dealing with some of the county's most pressing road issues, with approval of a county road map indicating the primary and secondary road system and a plan to maintain that system.

February 2006

- Officials at Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) expressed doubt as to whether or not enlargement of Stevens Reservoir would begin during the year, as planned. In the fall of 2005, PAWSD drained the reservoir to begin the drying out process, so construction could take place in spring 2006. The plan was to increase the capacity of the reservoir from 635 acre-feet to 1,844 acre-feet. Once completed, the usable water storage of the entire district, including Lake Hatcher, Lake Pagosa and Lake Forest, would increase from approximately 3,000 acre-feet to 4,200 acre-feet of water (average per-person water consumption is about 1/4 acre foot per year).

- A revised airport fee schedule was unveiled and ultimately approved by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.

The approval of the revised schedule came following a joint work session with the board, county staff and local pilots, and passed without incident or comment.

March 2006

- The Upper San Juan Health Services District received a "very strong" financial assessment for a future Critical Access Hospital (CAH) in Pagosa Springs at a special board meeting Feb. 23. Phil Brummel, of BKD, LLP, an independent certified public accounting firm, presented a 30-page forecasted financial statement to the district, in which he stated, "In the scheme of things, you really have a project that's very strong."

- Following a push by Rep. Mark Larson, state lawmakers were reviewing a resolution cosponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar, that, if passed, would open the dialogue on the controversial Village at Wolf Creek, and perhaps move the project to a greater level of legislative scrutiny. Key to the resolution were concerns related to the scope and scale of the project and its potential impact on the adjacent Wolf Creek Ski Area, U.S. 160, the natural environment, water resources and neighboring communities.

- Region 9 Economic Development District released Phase 1 of a study exploring the impact of second home owners in southwest Colorado. The data compiled in Phase I shows that between 1990 and 2000, the population of Archuleta County grew by 8.5 percent annually. Those growth figures ranked Archuleta County as the fifth fastest growing county in Colorado, and the 14th fastest growing county in the nation. Since 2000, the study states the growth rate has slowed to about 3.2 percent annually with much of the growth occurring in the unincorporated areas of the county.

Current population numbers listed in the report indicate the county population will nearly double to roughly 20,000 by 2020 and will broach 27,000 by 2030. According to the report, the second home industry accounted for about $11.8 million in wages and proprietor's income in the county during 2003.

In addition, the study reported that 59 percent of private lands in Archuleta County are owned by non-locals. Non-locals, as defined by the study, are property owners whose mailing address is outside the county.

April 2006

- Incumbent Mayor Ross Aragon was elected to serve another four-year term in office with a 200-72 victory over challenger Paul Nobles. Aragon has served the town of Pagosa Springs for 30 years, 28 of them as mayor.

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners announced a settlement of litigation between the county and several aircraft hanger owners at Stevens Field.

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

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

- Following passage of an emergency town ordinance, buildings 50 years and older would be spared from the bulldozer's blade - at least temporarily. As written, the ordinance temporarily suspended "authorizations and permits for demolition, alteration, removal or construction of modifications to buildings 50 years old or older."

Although the ordinance was firm in its mandate, it did allow room for exemptions from the moratorium on a case-by-case basis.

- A water rights application for a $145 million, 35,000 acre-foot reservoir project, planned jointly by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the San Juan Conservancy District, had the local chapter of a national conservation group and an area environmental group irked, and the entities were set to face off in water court in early May.

The proposed project, known as the Dry Gulch Reservoir, came under fire from the Five Rivers Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the San Juan Citizens Alliance who viewed the water district's move to secure the 35,000 acre-foot water right, plus the right to divert 200 cubic feet per second from the San Juan River east of Pagosa Springs to continually refill the reservoir, as essentially a water grab.

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

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

- After nearly eight years serving the citizens of Archuleta County, Archuleta County Commissioner Mamie Lynch announced she would not complete her term in office and officially filed her resignation.

Lynch made the announcement to the leadership of the Archuleta County Democratic Party.

In a letter to party chair Ben Douglas, Lynch stated that after much soul searching, she would vacate her seat May 31.

May 2006

- It had been a year in the making, and following town council approval, the Pagosa Springs Comprehensive Plan was on the books and there to guide the town's planning decisions 20 years into the future.

Acting in front of a capacity crowd packed into the council chambers, the Pagosa Springs Town Council passed the plan virtually without incident.

- By a wide margin, registered voters from the Upper San Juan Health Service District of Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties approved Ballot Issue A, in what election officials described as a surprising turnout. By the time the Vista Clubhouse polling place closed at 7 p.m., more than 1,400 ballots were cast, with less than 8 percent of the voters opposing the issue.

The vote approved $12 million in debt (without an increase in taxes) with a maximum payback of $33.5 million.

Electors also confirmed four members of the USJHSD board of directors nominated to serve four-year terms. They are Bob Scott, Kitzel Farrah, Neal Townsend and Michelle Visel.

- With a unanimous board of county commissioners' approval, Archuleta County had a new land use code and zoning plan that divides the county into eight zoning districts.

The approval of the resolution instituting the code came without opposition during a public hearing, and many in the audience celebrated the county's efforts with a standing ovation, calling adoption of the new code an historic achievement.

June 2006

- The request by Colorado legislators to open an investigation into the U.S. Forest Service's evaluation and approval process for access to the proposed Village at Wolf Creek reached the top echelon of United States Department of Agriculture personnel.

In correspondence to state Rep. Mark Larson (R-Cortez), U.S. Rep John Salazar and U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong said her office was reviewing information concerning improprieties in the Forest Service evaluation of the project and whether undue political influence was wielded by village developer, Billy Joe "Red" McCombs.

- In former Archuleta County Commissioner Mamie Lynch's resignation submitted in late April, Lynch stated she would not complete her term in office and would vacate her District 3 seat May 31. That announcement left a void on the three-seat board, and sent local Democrats rallying to fill the vacancy.

According to state statute, the Democrats had 15 days from Lynch's last day in office to appoint a successor, and during a party central committee meeting, Archuleta County Democrats elected John Egan to take the post.

Egan would complete Lynch's term in office.

- Archuleta County announced it would cease maintenance of all county secondary roads on June 15, as adopted by resolution of the Board of County Commissioners on Jan. 17. Alternate funding methods to remedy this issue were being considered.


Complete the survey, speak your mind

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to tell the county what is really on your mind but were afraid to step into the limelight during a public meeting?

If so, you may soon get your chance as one of 1,200 randomly-selected citizens asked to complete an anonymous, mail-in survey rating the quality and usefulness of Archuleta County services.

Scheduled for launch within the next two weeks, the survey will ask respondents to assess quality-of-life issues, the quality of county services, and will ask respondents to identify concerns and to rate problem areas.

The project marks Archuleta County's participation in the National Citizen Survey and is sponsored by the International City-County Management Association in cooperation with the Boulder-based National Research Center, Inc.

The survey will cost $8,000.

Bob Campbell, Archuleta County administrator, said the survey project has been on his "to-do" list since taking the administrator's post early in 2006, and the results will provide the foundation for developing and implementing a long-range strategic plan.

"Our role is to provide services and represent the public," Campbell said. "And (with the survey) we hope to get to those that we generally don't hear from."

And county special projects manager Sheila Berger added, "The survey results will give us direction as we begin to develop a long term strategic plan for Archuleta County. It will give us an idea of how our constituents feel about quality of services and what they perceive as potential problem areas."

Berger explained survey participants will be randomly selected and will remain anonymous. In fact, Berger said, county staff and elected officials will not see individual responses. Instead, National Research Center Inc. will collect the surveys, crunch the data, and provide Archuleta County with a preliminary and final report.

Campbell anticipated the final document arriving in late March.

Berger explained although the survey tackles a variety of general topics and is developed from a standard template used for counties and municipalities across the country, it includes a number of questions custom tailored for Archuleta County.

"That's the beauty of the survey; it's broad in scope and covers all aspects of the county," Berger said.

The survey includes 16 multi-point questions, and Berger estimated it would take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. She urged survey recipients to take the time to respond.

"We really hope for a high response rate. This is a very important tool to gauge the sentiment of the public," Berger said.

According to Berger, Boulder County, Larimer County and Denver have participated in the National Citizen Survey.


Ed Center announces new schedule

By Renee Haywood

Special to The SUN

The Archuleta County Education Center is starting off the new year with some exciting after-school activities for elementary students.

During January, enrichment activities will be offered to K-4 students from 3 to 5 p.m. at the elementary school, including art projects with Tessie Garcia, Happy Hands Crafts, and a new activity called "Move Like the Animals." In this class, instructor Margaret Burkesmith will help students create movements, play show and tell, use their imaginations to create ponds and forests and imitate the animals that live in them. Students will be using animal breathing, sounds and stretches and finish with stories, pictures and drawings of their favorite animals.

And, don't forget our Fun Friday Activities starting Jan. 5, from 1:15-5 p.m.

The Education Center will also offer a QuickBooks class beginning Jan. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

If you would like to register for classes or need more information, contact the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835.


Local man, reported missing, arrested in New Mexico

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

An Archuleta County man, Joshuae (Josh) Ryan Postolese, reported missing on Dec. 19, was found in Tierra Amarilla, N.M., after being arrested for stealing a car and driving without a license the same day he went missing, said Detective Wayne Alexander of the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department.

Postolese was reportedly last seen in Archuleta County in the Meadows subdivision west of Pagosa Springs in the early morning of Dec. 19. After a verbal domestic altercation, said Alexander, Postolese hitchhiked to the junction of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84, where he got another ride to Chama, N.M. Near Chama, Postolese allegedly stole a vehicle, and was later arrested in Tierra Amarilla.

The sheriff's department issued a missing person bulletin Dec. 20 to agencies in the Four Corners region and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which disperses bulletins to a wider area, in an attempt to find Postolese after he went missing.

Despite the bulletin, the sheriff's department was notified only last Friday of Postolese's whereabouts in New Mexico, after a detention official in Tierra Amarilla recognized Postolese's photograph on a posted missing-persons flyer - though Postolese had been detained in Tierra Amarilla since the day he went missing, said Alexander.

Postolese is reportedly in good condition and remains in custody.


Pagosan arrested on identity theft charge

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs resident, Cody William Nelson, 19, was arrested Dec. 16 by Durango police and charged in district court with identity theft for allegedly using stolen checks in Durango.

According to a Durango Police Department press release, Nelson reportedly stole a box of checks from a rural mail box in Archuleta County, then forged the account holder's signature to use the checks in the Durango Wal-Mart, City Market and other businesses.

The Durango police worked with the Pagosa Springs Police Department to question a witness and executed a search warrant in Pagosa Springs on Dec. 22, according to Pagosa Springs detective Scott Maxwell.

As a result of the search at 622 San Juan St., the departments seized thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, allegedly obtained by use of the stolen and forged checks, according to the press release.

Nelson is currently being held in Archuleta County jail in lieu of posting a $25,000 bail bond. Identity theft is a class four felony, made effective under the Colorado Revised Statutes July 1, 2006. Nelson could face a minimum of two years in prison and $1,000 in fines, if convicted.


FSA provides farm operating loans

Low prices, tight markets and reduced yields due to extreme climatic conditions will squeeze profit margins for some producers to the point where funding needed to produce this year's crop will be difficult to obtain.

As a result, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced the availability of operating loans for eligible farmers to secure spring's planting needs.

FSA provides low interest loans to qualified farmers unable to obtain credit from commercial sources. An operating loan my be issued directly from FSA or in the form of a guaranteed loan secured by the government but funded by a conventional agriculture lender.

"The basis of our loan program is to provide temporary credit to those who can demonstrate both need and repayment ability," said Rick Cervenka, farm loan manager. "Our goal is to help farmers so that they will be able to obtain credit from private lenders when they are financially able."

Operating loans are used to purchase supplies and inputs for farming enterprises. Input items may include seed, fertilizer, livestock, feed and equipment. Financing may also be used to pay for minor improvements to buildings and to refinance debt under certain conditions.

"Credit is usually extended to established farmers who have suffered financial setbacks because of economic downturns or natural disasters," said Cervenka. "Farmers who do not qualify for conventional loans because of insufficient net worth are also eligible for the program."

U.S. citizens operating a family farm are eligible for a loan if they are unable to obtain credit from a financial institution, have the ability to incur debt, can demonstrate ability to repay the loan, and are not delinquent on any federal debt.

"FSA doesn't just disburse loans," added Cervenka. "We help our customers manage their finances by providing credit counseling and supervision through required farm and financial training courses."

Direct operating loans can be made for up to $200,000, and FSA can guarantee loans up to $852,000. The interest rate for January is 5.125 percent for direct operating loans. The lender sets the interest rate for guaranteed loans. The repayment terms may vary, but typically will not exceed seven years for livestock and equipment. Crop funds are generally repaid within 12 months or when the commodities are sold.

Producers needing additional information about operating loans should contact their local FSA Farm Loan Office in Cortez, Colo., at (970) 565-8879, Ext. 107.


County and town receive joint parks and recreation planning grant

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) has awarded Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs a $40,000 grant to create a Regional Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan.

The application for this grant was submitted jointly by the agencies in August 2006. The notice of the award was made Dec. 12.

The need for this project was indicated in several ways. A town-sponsored parks and recreation survey revealed a strong desire of residents throughout the county for more park and recreational opportunities. Also, in order to be competitive for limited park and trail capital improvement grants, an agency must demonstrate the large-scale context of an individual project. Finally, in order to reduce competition among local organizations for limited grants, while becoming more competitive statewide, local parks and recreation user groups felt it was necessary to come together and prioritize projects in order to present a strong united front to granting agencies, and to create a long-range vision for the region.

The GOCO grant will partially fund this project. An additional $20,000 technical assistance grant from the National Park Service will also be used for this project. Using state funds restricted to parks and recreation uses, other monetary and in-kind support will come from the school district, the town and the county. The total project cost is estimated to be $85,000.

Project work will begin in March. There will be an extensive period of information gathering, involving many public meetings, focus groups and individual interviews with stakeholders, as well as consolidation of several existing planning efforts. The final document should be complete by next autumn.

After adoption by the elected boards of the school district, town and county, it will be used by all agencies as a guiding document for all aspects of future planning and development.


Get your computer fixed for free, Jan. 6

Computer on the blink?

The mission of the Computer Fix-It-Free Day is to provide free technical assistance to members of the community who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

The event is to benefit those who have a computer by means of hand-me-down or charity that is not functioning correctly. Local computer technicians are donating their time to this event.

Used parts will be provided at no charge for the purpose of repair by The Humane Society and the volunteering computer technicians. If new parts are needed, they will be provided at a discount.

If you would like to donate parts and/or used computers, label the items "Fix-It-Free" and drop them at the Humane Society Thrift Store.

The session will be 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 6 - by appointment only.

Only one computer per household will be repaired. Interested individuals can reserve a one-hour time slot by calling 731-6373.



Ranchlands placed under permanent protection

By Marty Zeller

Special to The SUN

The Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) and Bob Lindner, Sr. announced the signing of a conservation easement Dec. 14 that will permanently protect the Lower Weminuche Valley Ranch (located in Hinsdale County near Pagosa Springs) from development.

The signing of the agreement completes the protection of the 2,211-acre Weminuche Valley Ranch that began last year. In addition, Lindner and CCALT announced that two other ranch properties owned by Lindner, the 213-acre Singing Pines Ranch also in Hinsdale County and the 822-acre El Rancho Pinoso in Archuleta County, were placed under conservation easement earlier this year.

Lindner, a successful businessman from Cincinnati Ohio, and his wife Betty first visited the area with their family in the late 1960s. During that visit, they asked the Pagosa Springs district Forest Service ranger about a primitive campground they might visit. The ranger's recommendation to stay at Cimarrona campground next to Williams Creek Reservoir proved pivotal and allowed the Lindner's to view the nearby Weminuche Valley for the first time. On that trip, Lindner said, "We were simply overwhelmed by the beauty, and I fell in love with that valley immediately." Several years later when the Jewell-Carrol Ranch came up for sale, Lindner acquired it and adjoining parcels to create the Weminuche Valley Ranch as it exists today. Over the years, Lindner acquired other spectacular ranches stretching into five Colorado counties.

Chris West, executive director of CCALT, said that, "the Lindner Ranches represent probably the finest collection of ranch properties in Colorado. The care, stewardship and respect for the ranching heritage that the Lindners have exercised in managing their properties is truly breathtaking." Lindner still refers to each of the ranch properties by the names of the previous owners or the original homesteaders. Many of the barns, cabins and historic structures, also referred to by the names of the original builders or inhabitants, have been restored to retain their original western character and function.

On the Weminuche Valley Ranch, over five miles of Weminuche Creek flow through an open valley framed by the peaks of the San Juan Mountains and surrounded on three sides by the Weminuche Wilderness and San Juan National Forest lands. The land is home to a wide variety of wildlife including elk, deer, moose, bear, mountain lion, brown and rainbow trout, bald and golden eagles and other raptors. With the help of fisheries biologists, the Lindners have worked hard to improve the quality of the native fisheries on the Weminuche and other properties. The Lindners are longtime members of the Colorado Cattlemen's Association and each of the properties is a working cattle ranch run by local ranch managers who have worked with Lindner for years. The quality of the cattle raised on these properties is attested to by the fact that over the years they are frequent award winners at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

The conservation easements that have been placed on each of the three properties will protect the significant natural resources and agricultural heritage of each property. A conservation easement is a permanent deed restriction that limits future development of lands that have high conservation values. Future development will be limited to a few carefully selected building areas on each property.

Lindner's intent is clear. "I believe I am not only preserving God's beautiful land but also the way of life of generations of people - honest, hard-working people who helped forge the West into what it is today," he said. "My dream is to preserve these lands and maintain their integrity for decades to come." Lindner, who is now in his 80s, is in the process of transferring the ownership and management of the ranches to his four sons, successful businessmen in their own right, who share the same desire to carry on the legacy of these fine properties.

Bob Lindner, Jr. recently stated that the ranches formed a key part of growing up and a key legacy that he and his brothers plan to continue. "We can't imagine not having these ranches - they've become so much a part of who I am and the life our family leads. Two of my children now call Colorado home, largely as a result of spending time here. While maintaining these properties can be challenging, they are very special. From the perspective of spending most of one's life in a Midwest city, the awesome beauty, nature and history associated with these lands can be overwhelming. My brothers and I hope to carry on the fine tradition of stewardship that my parents have exercised for over fifty years."

Mike Matheson of Plateau Environmental Services in Durango has spent considerable time conducting baseline ecological inventories of the ranches for the conservation easements. "These properties are absolutely unique as private land holdings. They have enormous ecological value as subalpine woodland, meadowland and riparian areas that have been extremely well managed as active working ranches. The Lindners have carried out their agricultural operations hand in hand with improvement of the natural ecologic conditions."

The conservation easements will be held by the Colorado Cattlemen's Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) who will work in partnership with the Lindners to permanently protect the ranches. Formed in 1995 by the Colorado Cattlemen's Association (CCA), CCALT has a mission to help Colorado's ranchers and farmers protect their agricultural lands and stay in agricultural production. CCA was the first state livestock association in the nation to form a land trust and CCALT is the only Colorado land trust founded to exclusively serve the needs of the agricultural community.

CCALT works with ranchers and farmers to protect lands with high agricultural qualities throughout Colorado in a voluntary and cooperative manner. CCALT's primary emphasis is to increase awareness among farmers and ranchers about the use of conservation easements. Responding to requests by local livestock associations, landowners and community groups, CCALT provides information in a variety of settings on options to protect land and keep ranches productive. To date CCALT has helped more than 140 landowners statewide protect over 240,000 acres.

For more information on this project, call Marty Zeller of Conservation Partners, (303) 831-9378, or Chris West at CCALT, (303) 225-8677.


Winter poaching a big problem in Colorado

Colorado's deer and elk struggle to make it through the winter. Unfortunately, the animals face more than deep snow and cold temperatures. Poachers take cruel advantage of winter conditions to illegally kill big game animals.

Throughout the state, the Colorado Division of Wildlife steps up its efforts at this time of year to catch poachers. The DOW asks for help from the public to report suspicious activity that might be related to wildlife.

"Poachers are criminals who are maliciously damaging Colorado's wildlife resource," said J. Wenum, area wildlife manager in the Gunnison area. "Wildlife officers patrol large areas, so we need people to call to tell us about possible criminal activity."

At this time of year, deer and elk gather in herds in winter range areas where food sources are available throughout the winter. Consequently, the animals are often highly visible to humans and are vulnerable to poachers.

"This is also the mating season for deer, and during the rut bucks have just one thing on their minds," explained Rod Ruybalid, district wildlife manager in the San Luis Valley. "They are easy to see and, unfortunately, easy to shoot."

Most of the animals that are poached are bucks and bulls that are killed only for their heads and antlers. Wildlife officers often find headless carcasses, or carcasses from which only the antlers have been removed.

"It's rare that anyone poaches for meat, they are just going for the trophies," Ruybalid said.

During the last month in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado, several poachers have been caught. Fines will likely range from $3,000 to nearly $40,000 for the violations. More than 10 deer were killed in various incidents.

"The deer population in the San Luis Valley has been down for several years but is now starting to recover," Ruybalid said. "People are starting to see some big bucks. When these animals are killed it causes significant impact to the overall health of the herd. These bucks are strong and it is important that they continue to mate."

The actions of poachers also steal the future from hunters and communities. Healthy herds draw hunters and wildlife watchers who help support the local economy in rural areas.

Poachers often work back roads, looking for areas where deer and elk gather. If you see vehicles traveling slowly along roads, or unusual activity at night, please call the nearest DOW office or any law enforcement organization such as local police, the sheriff's office or the Colorado State Patrol. Calling local law enforcement offices can help to bring a fast response.

If you see suspicious activity, gather as much information as possible: vehicle description, location details, descriptions of people and time of the incident. Do not attempt to intervene or confront anyone.

If you find a headless carcass, inform the DOW office in Durango, 247-0855, as soon as possible.

You can also call DOW's Operation Game Thief at (8770 265-6648.

"Wildlife belongs to everyone in Colorado," Ruybalid said. "And everyone can help protect this valuable resource."


Comments sought on Big Game Access Program

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is looking for comments regarding a big game hunter access pilot program in southeast Colorado. Input is requested prior to the Commission meeting on Jan. 11-12 in Denver.

The pilot, dubbed BGAP (Big Game Access Program), would run for a three year evaluation period and would operate in a manner similar to the upland game Walk-In Access program for pheasants and quail.

BGAP, as proposed, would lease private land in several southeastern Colorado game management units. Leased land would be open to pronghorn and deer hunters who purchase a special access stamp. The proposed cost of the stamp would be $40.

BGAP will concentrate on quality upland grass or prairie habitat with a focus on antelope, and river bottom or riparian land with a focus on deer. The amount paid to landowners will be based on the size of the property, habitat quality, and the number of pronghorn or deer on the property.

Additional information regarding the program and proposed regulations are posted on the Wildlife Commission's Web page at http://wildlife.state.co.us/WildlifeCommission/Archives/2007/January112007.htm.

Comments can be submitted using the Wildlife Commission's e-mail address at wildlife.comm@state.co.us.

Comments will be compiled and summarized for presentation to the Wildlife Commission at their January meeting.


 Catch and Release

The angler's careful focus and dogged intent

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The table is littered with maps, guidebooks, strands of tippet and scraps of paper scrawled with Dave Whitlock formulas for tying the perfect leader. The Colorado Gazetteer dominates much of the tabletop real estate, and the large topographic road and forest atlas is splayed wide, maps 88 and 89 spread like the wings of some massive wounded moth, and tattooed, in a fit of entomological cruelty, with penciled-in circles and arrows. The markings point to high country lakes, tiny streams, key trailheads and forest roads. The markings point to trout.

I am planning the 2007 fly fishing season, and although it may seem counterintuitive to plan an activity that relies heavily on dumb luck, serendipity, barometric pressure and other whims of nature, it's a habit I cannot break. Every season there are many stones left un-turned, bends of river left unexplored, and recent discoveries in need of revisiting. And in the high country, the season passes quickly. Therefore, an angler must begin with a careful focus and dogged intent.

But as I tie leaders, research routes and prepare lines and reels for another season on the water, I cannot shake memories of 2006. The year, or more properly, the fishing season, ran like water through my fingers, but nevertheless, and although few, there are images that remain etched in my memory. They stand like gaudy punctuation against the backdrop of a poorly written paragraph; they tower like cumulonimbus over Albuquerque's Westside on a July afternoon.

Image number one finds me fishing on my lunch hour in early spring. The river is running high and brown, moving fast like a room temperature chocolate milkshake after being knocked over on a red Formica table at some nameless burger joint. I've gone home for lunch, and instead of a proper meal, I grab two energy bars and a bottle of water and jog across the yard toward the river. I realize the chance of taking a trout on a fly in these conditions is slim, but my shoulder craves a cast.

In light of the river conditions and contrary to any sort of angling sense, I decide to go dry and tie on a cotton-ball sized elk hair caddis. I launch the fly into the main current, letting it ride downstream along a seam between a stretch of fast and slow water and finally into an eddy where it skitters for a yard or two. On the second cast, a trout makes a ferocious strike; and on cast three, unbelievably, the fish takes. But something is wrong. It's like I'm snagged on a sunken, gravel filled coffee can, and slowly, steadily I drag the thing toward shore. When I examine my catch, I realize what I am looking at was once a magnificent 19-inch brown, but not any longer.

At the base and on both sides of its dorsal fin, the trout's flesh is black and rotten. Its flanks harbor what appear to be deep scratches. The fish seems bloated and swollen, its scales have lost their sheen, its back marked by lesions. And when I look closer, it appears as though the damage might have been caused when a bird with large talons hooked the brown in its claws. It's hard to tell for sure.

As I work to unhook the fish, I consider killing it in an act of mercy, but instead, I cradle its belly, support its tail fin and move the fish gently in the current, pumping water back across its gills. If it had the strength to come this far, maybe it will make it.

Gradually the fish revives, and then, with a lethargic flick of its tail, scoots off down stream. Later in the summer, I learn most of the brown trout in a neighbor's river-fed pond turned up dead. I ponder the possible connections. And then I think of my other neighbor, who kills everything he catches, and I wonder when the day will come when the river will yield nothing at all. Throughout the summer the fish count is way down. I wonder if disease, or the habits of a shortsighted fisherman are the culprit.

Image two takes me deep into June, and I'm packing with a float tube into a high country lake. I go there on a whim, and with no idea whether the lake holds trout. They say it's the journey, not the destination, and a walk in high alpine country is just what I need to clear the head.

When I arrive lakeside, I ditch my pack and crouch in the shadows of a stand of spruce. On the far shore, I watch a fisherman play a flashy silver trout. It looks like a rainbow. I think if he doesn't kill the fish, there's at least one in the lake, and I line my rod, pump the tube, and push off from shore.

I kick my fin-clad feet slowly and let the wind push me downlake. As I drift, I cast a Royal Coachman on a slow sinking line into the deadfall along the shore, count to five, and retrieve. The technique yields a number of small trout, but then my fortune changes.

About an hour into my float I've nearly reached the far, deep end of the lake, and aside from the submerged logs protruding from the shore, nothing is visible below the float tube; the water is black and seemingly bottomless. I cast, count to 10, and bring back the pattern back in a series of jerky strips. One, two, and crash! Something profound clobbers the Coachman, and soon, I am cruising around the lake at the behest of a very large and powerful trout. I keep the drag loose, but use my fin-clad feet to back pedal and to keep the trout from running for the deadfall. The trick succeeds, and gradually we work each other away from the shore and out to deeper water where I eventually land the fish - an 18-inch brook trout.

The thing, head to tail, barely fits across the stripping apron marked with one-inch increments that spans the front of the float tube. The colors are kaleidoscopic. It's girth hefty, like the fat end of a baseball bat. I release the fish then paddle back to shore and sit on the beach watching clouds race over the Continental Divide. I am profoundly happy.

Image three takes me into the first week of August and deep into cutthroat country. I have a three o'clock engagement, and leave the house far too late if I expect to get back on time. When I arrive at the trailhead, I know I should stay near the truck, but instead, head off up the trail. I'll hike for an hour, fish for an hour then head out &emdash;no problem. Right.

As my predetermined departure time draws near, a mayfly hatch of biblical proportions explodes over the river. As I watch cutthroats rise with careless abandon, I too throw prudence to the wind, accept I will arrive at my appointment late, tie on a size 20 Parachute Adams and crawl through waist high grass and down an embankment toward a deep pool. The pool. The honey hole, the epicenter of the feeding frenzy.

A number of well-placed casts tempt one particular trout, and the beast finally plows up from its lie under a massive boulder and collides with my fly. The take is sure and we grapple like sumo wrestlers hip deep in the pool. In the end, my four-weight Winston prevails, and for a moment, I use both hands and most of my arm to gently cradle a monster cutthroat before returning it to the river.

Soon after Labor Day the rain comes. Streams run high, the San Juan undergoes dramatic daily fluctuations. The temperature drops. I break my new Winston.

Four weeks pass, and in that time, hunting season arrives and the high country is wet, snowy and dismal. My repaired rod finally arrives home after surgery in Montana, and I head out in a downpour, covered in fluttering strands of blaze orange surveyor's tape. The fishing is phenomenal.

I spend the afternoon deep in a canyon launching dry flies to rainbows and brown trout amidst pounding rain and postage stamp-sized snowflakes. And there is no place I'd rather be, but then, as soon as the day begins, it vanishes, and with it the 2006 fishing season.

As the fire burns low, I stare at the Gazetteer. I trace topographic lines and mark trailheads. I ponder the strengths of blood knots versus double surgeons' and my fingers finish the turns in a final knot on another leader. I read stream names on the map and try to decode the language like a fortune-teller reading ancient runes. I search for clues that will lead me to cutthroat and brook trout.

I toss a last piece of oak on the fire, then flop on the floor in front of the woodstove and throw an arm over the dog. Soon we are sedated by the heat. Outside the world is frozen, hard as grey iron, but inside we doze, and dream of lush forests, free flowing streams, and of cutthroats in 2007.


Counting blessings

Dear Editor:

It is the season for me to contemplate why our Creator has allowed me to wander over the Earth for so many years. I reckon it must be so that I can cut firewood for the old folks, look after the greenhorns, and vote against the Republicans.

Bob Dungan



Enforce covenants

Dear Editor:

Last August, I wrote a letter to The SUN, pointing out that the PLPOA board and its minions often do not consistently enforce the covenants that govern our association. The Letters of Incorporation for PLPOA require that the board protect property values. Failure to enforce the covenants is inconsistent with this requirement.

In a veiled effort to stifle dissent, PLPOA Board President Gary Gray used the recent property owners' newsletter to attack my premise and divert attention from my complaint to a problem my husband and I have recently had with the association.

Gray asserted that the board "uses the Covenants and Declarations as the basis and guideline in all actions, decisions and policies." As a former member of the rules committee, PLPOA board member, treasurer and co-author of covenant changes in Lake Forest, I am fully conversant with our covenants. They are not guidelines. They are legal rules that pass with the title to the property. Any changes must be made by the property owners via signed legal documents. We have long asked the association to take the lead in updating our covenants. To date, only individual subdivisions like ours have taken the time and effort to do so.

However, the board has found a way to disenfranchise you of your legal rights. Don't enforce the covenants. Webster's New World College Dictionary defines covenant as a "formal sealed contract." We property owners expect those rules to be followed. By not following the existing covenants, the association is in breach of that contract.

Here are just a few of the covenants that are not being enforced: screening of LP tanks and garbage containers; no trailers or tents or overnight camping; all signs, billboards or advertising structures are prohibited except upon written permission; no stripped down, partially wrecked or junk motor vehicles are permitted; clothes lines must be fully screened; all lots must be maintained and no accumulation of rubbish; no change in ground level may be made in excess of one foot without written approval; and no businesses in the subdivisions.

In the 11 years we've owned property here, this is the first time a homeowner has been attacked in the property owners' newsletter. Perhaps I hit a nerve. Apathy will only harm us. Speak up and speak out to the board, the newspaper or contact me with comments and complaints at P.O. Box 5944, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Judith S. Esterly


Praise for Mary

Dear Editor:

When Dad passed on several years ago, Senora Mary Martinez paid her respects with a plateful of bizcochitos in hand. Dad and she maintained a friendly rivalry over who made the perfect bizcochito or sopaipilla. Now that she, too, is gone, one wonders whom to turn to for such gastronomical delights.

With each encounter, I praised her for her culinary skill; she humbly asserted that cooking and baking evoked joy. To underscore her point, I had to follow her home for a jar of homemade jelly or a covered dish of cottage potatoes. The woman had Grama's hands.

Mary's local renown did not rest on her gustatory cuisine. Her unassailable goodness and constant appreciation of my father are what I shall miss.

Arlene Marcus


Always there

Dear Editor:

Wolf Creek Ski Patrol is there for you, if ever you need them. Whether close in or out there, when one is unable to ski back due to an injury, it may require a sleigh ride with snowmobile.

I thank the ski patrol for a job well done.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow


A privilege

Dear Editor:

Here we are, at the beginning of another year and a time to reflect, right? Well, for me, I begin with giving thanks for the privilege of living in this beautiful, peaceful part of the world and for the beautiful people who live here. Images projected from "other places" over the holidays showed hordes of people, shoving, crowding and snarling in an effort to "purchase" a little bit of happiness in that season of joy.

Here in our little village, folks were smiling, singing to themselves as they shopped for a few little things. There is kindness shown from one to another, total strangers perhaps, but in recognition that all are children of God and deserve a kind uplifting - perhaps just a smile, a loving touch on the shoulder, or helping another in some small way.

God's love and security is present in the beauty He has provided all around us. I recently read the series of books, "Thunder Moon" - a white man captured by the Indians as a baby, raised by them. He calls on the "Sky People" for guidance and states that the stars are the faces of the Sky People. So, go outside on a clear winter night, look up at those stars and believe that they are the faces of God's angels "from on high," watching over us throughout the night. Awesome!

Happy New Year to all and know you are loved!

Patty P. Tillerson


   Community News

Artist-in-Residence Program

The San Juan National Forest will be accepting applications until March 1 for the Aspen Guard Station Artist-in-Residence Program.

The residency program, now in its 13th year, is open to painters, writers, poets, musicians, photographers, sculptors, performers and other artists. Those selected for residencies will have the opportunity to stay at the historic Aspen Guard Station for one to two weeks during the summer or fall of 2007.

The Aspen Guard Station is a rustic log cabin set in an aspen grove 12 miles north of Mancos. It served as a ranger station for the U.S. Forest Service after being built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Today, it houses the Artist-in-Residence Program from June to September each year.

In return for residencies, artists make a donation to the program and share their talents with the public through exhibits, performances, open houses or workshops.

Representatives of area art associations will choose six finalists and two alternates by no later than May 1. Selection will be made solely on the basis of merit, without regard to sex, race, creed, religion, national origin or physical ability. However, because of its historical nature, the Aspen Guard Station does not meet American Disability Act standards.

The Aspen Guard Station Artist-in-Residence Program is sponsored by the San Juan National Forest, Cortez Cultural Center and other area arts associations.

Information on the program, instructions on how to apply, and a virtual reality tour of the cabin are available on the San Juan National Forest Web site at: www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan/about/.

For more information, contact Ann Bond, (970) 385-1219.


Percussion to the front, Woodwork in concert

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts presents renowned orchestral percussionist, Dr. John Pennington, with the Woodwork Percussion Ensemble, 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

The Woodwork Ensemble consists of Pennington, professor of music at Fort Lewis College, and five music performance majors from the college: Kevin Martin, Michael Pratt, Sean Statser, Chance Harrison and Grayson Andrews. The ensemble performs lush arrangements of classical, jazz, ragtime and traditional music from around the world.

Instrumentation includes marimbas, xylophones, glockenspiel, vibraphone, croatales and cajon. "Percussion tends to be in the back of the orchestra or band," according to Pennington. "The Woodwork Ensemble shows the soloistic and expressive possibilities of these instruments."

A composer, conductor, performer, author and educator, Pennington has performed concerts throughout the world. He has made numerous recordings, including the soundtrack to "Dinosaur," a feature film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. He has performed with the Arizona Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Arizona Ballet, Phoenix, Ann Arbor, Saginaw, and Tucson symphonies.

Locally, Pennington performs with the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra and the San Juan Symphony. He is artistic director of the Animas Music Festival. The Woodwork Percussion Ensemble is the fulfillment of his dream to perform and record with his most advanced students.

Advance discount tickets, for $12, are available through elationarts.org and at WolfTracks Coffee House. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults. Children with parents attend for free.

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

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision. Take 160 to Vista Boulevard, turn north on Vista and left on Port.

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


'Hold It!' at Shy Rabbit through Jan. 20

By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

"Hold It!", an exhibition of contemporary containers, continues at Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts through the holidays with regular gallery hours.

This elegant and highly creative exhibition features six emerging and mid-career artists from Colorado and New Mexico working in various and, in some cases, unconventional mediums.

Participating artists were asked to think "outside of the box" by creating their own personal interpretations of containers or vessels. A wide range of forms and materials are on display as a result.

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

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

Artists were provided with three to 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.

Shy Rabbit will remain open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 1-4 p.m. through show closing on Jan. 20. Private viewings are also available. Please call 731-2766 to schedule an appointment.

Visit http://shyrabbit.blogspot.com or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.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.


Deeksha comes to Pagosa Springs

By Nicole Yates

Special to The PREVIEW

Deeksha is a transfer of energy that brings about neurobiological changes to the brain, and thus creates a shift into higher states of consciousness.

It quiets the part of the brain that knows separation (the parietal lobes), and activates the frontal lobes that know "oneness", bringing us fully into the moment where there is only peace and joy. Words cannot convey the power of this process; it is an experience, not a concept.

Some of the benefits of receiving Deeksha are the de-clutching of the mind (ending the mind's constant chatter), activating the body's natural healing ability, opening of the chakras, and experiencing Oneness. Over time, this gift of Divine Energy is designed to bring about lasting states of full awakening or enlightenment.

The gift of Deeksha is being given to everyone, regardless of religion, belief, race, culture, faith, or nationality. Thousands have been able to cross over into the state of permanent oneness, joy, peace, freedom, and bliss, while still remaining functional. The intention is to uplift humanity's consciousness from a state of chronic separation and suffering into a state of enlightenment. It truly has the possibility of creating a new generation of human beings, transforming this earth, and elevating this planet to harmony, love and oneness by 2012.

The phenomenon of Deeksha is spreading rapidly. Thousands of people worldwide and nationwide are receiving Deeksha. In March 2006, on the "What the Bleep" Web site (www.whatthebleep.com), appeared an article titled "The Oneness Movement" that describes the phenomenon in detail.

The receiving of Deeksha is experiential, and usually happens through the laying of hands on the recipients' head for up to one minute. The effects of Deeksha are cumulative, and the energy of Deeksha is exponentially magnified with more Deeksha givers being present.

Last October we, Nicole and Hasyo Yates, were trained and initiated to give Deeksha, through a "21 day process" at the Oneness University in India. We are now bringing this healing and awakening energy to Pagosa Springs.

We invite you to join us for future Deeksha events. We would like to share this powerful gift with you, and for you to experience the transformative effects of Deeksha for yourself. It is a very lovely, unique, and sublime experience, and different for everyone. The beauty of it is that you don't have to do anything to "Get it."

We will meet at the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, on the second and foiurth Thursday of each month, from 7 to 9 p.m., starting Jan. 11. The address is Greenbriar Plaza, Unit B-15 (southeast corner of North Pagosa Boulevard and Park Avenue).

On Jan. 11, there will be at least three Deeksha givers present, and the meeting will include a discussion, and at least two Deeksha transmissions.

An open donation of a minimum of $5 is suggested. However, nobody will be turned away for lack of funds. If you have any questions, call Hasyo or Nicole at (970) 731-5658.


UU program topic: 'Hypocrisy and Hype'

On Sunday, Jan. 7, John Graves will lead a program for the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship entitled "Hypocrisy and Hype. At both political and personal levels, our culture and society seem prone to advocate one thing and do the opposite. Graves will expound upon the idea that George Orwell's "Doublespeak" can no longer be regarded as fiction. He questions, "Can anything be done about this?"

Following the service, the annual meeting will be held, wherein new steering committee members will be elected and any necessary official business will be conducted. Anyone may attend, but only members of record may vote.

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.


Congregation Kadima Yisrael to hold Shabbat services

The Jewish community of Pagosa Springs Congregation Kadima Yisrael will be holding Shabbat services at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall.

All members of the Jewish community of Pagosa and surrounding areas, relatives and friends are invited to attend.

Jeff Deitch will be conducting services. An Oneg Shabbat will follow.

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

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


Model railroaders to meet Sunday

By Joe Lemmo

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Model Railroad and Railfan group will hosta meeting at 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 7, at the United Methodist Church on Lewis Street.

We will have a display table. Bring a work in progress, a model you have finished or a photo of a model or prototype scene. We'll have a swap table for anything railroad related that you want to sell, trade or even give away.

Andy Fautheree will present a clinic on building LaBelle cars. LaBelle cars are craftsman level kits that can produce some wonderful models. Andy has a high level of skill with these kits demonstrated by one of his models shown on the LaBelle Web page. Take a look at www.labellemodels.com/photo3.htm for a view of Andy's work. We're sure any model builder will benefit from Andy's clinic.

Anyone with an interest in model railroading of any scale or gauge or any interest in trains is welcome to attend.

For more information, contact Joe Lemmo at 731-1590 or jlmailbox@skywerx.com.


Community Center News

Bring us your ideas for 2007 programs

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

Happy New Year!

We are looking forward to a busy year with new programs and more community events. We invite anyone who has ideas concerning the center and its programs to come forward and tell us about them. The community center is your center and we need your input.

With this in mind, I want to remind you about the mission statement of the community center: To provide services and space for all ages and diverse groups to gather for social, sports, civic, art and cultures, educational, business and faith-based activities; and to create and coordinate activities for the benefit of the whole community.

Volunteers' dinner

The staff at the community center is hosting a dinner and dance Jan. 27 for all the volunteers who have helped during the past year. This is our way of saying, "thank you for all the help and support. We would not have survived the year without your volunteer time and talents."

Michelle and I have great plans for this celebration. Invitations will be sent to all volunteers; however, if we missed your name, please let us know by calling 264-4152. So, mark your calendar for 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, for the Volunteers' Appreciation Dinner and Dance.

Line dancing

Couples line dancing resumes Monday, Jan. 15.

The group welcomes all beginners and the more experienced as well. Gerry will introduce you ito basic steps, while Peggy and Beverly have new and exciting dances for dancers of all abilities. If you are a beginning couple and would like a private preview to see if this is for you, call Gerry at 731-9734.

This is a community center-sponsored program, so there is no charge other than a big smile. Gerry hopes to see you in 2007. Schedules are: couples at 9 a.m., beginners at 10 and intermediates at 10:15.


Welcome back, Diana Baird.

Addie and Diana will continue to lead this active group which meets every Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Start the new year right, be responsible for your own health and do your stretching and breathing exercises. Everyone is welcome.

Weight Watchers

The group meets from 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. every Wednesday at the center. Now the holidays are over, all will agree that we need to get back on track with good, healthy eating as well as with lots of exercise. Come join this group.

Open gym

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. the Hoopsters meet for an hour of "exercise basketball."

For now, it's an all-guy activity, and a fun way to exercise. Larry Page leads the group and invites all to join. This is open to all, including those who go to work. Remember, the center has shower and locker facilities that anybody may use. So, there should be no excuses.

Another open gym schedule is held noon to 1:15 p.m. every Friday Dan Aupperle is the contact person for this activity. Call Dan at the downtown Citizens Bank if you're interested in participating.

San Juan Outdoor Club

The club meets today at 6:30 p.m. This very active, fun group meets at the center the first Thursday of the month. Leo Milner, activities chairperson, does a superb job lining up different winter outdoor activities for members. The club just elected a new set of officers for 2007 with Bob Arrington as president. Come join the club and have fun.

Computer Fix-It Free Day

A bunch of computer nerds in our community is conducting this free service Saturday, Jan. 6, under the leadership of Kurt Raymond. Anyone having problems with their computer can have their unit checked and possibly fixed free on charge. The hours are 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thank you, Kurt for this awesome service to our community.

ManKind Project

The ManKind Project (mkp.org) of Southwest Colorado invites all adults to a free open house, 6-8 p.m. Jan. 9, at the community center to discover the following: how to free your deepest gifts; develop communication skills between others and the inner self; how to increase your life's passion and personal responsibility; how to be more authentic and congruent in your life as a co-worker, partner, mother/father, sister/brother and friend.

An interactive drama regarding one's emotional development, will be presented. If you are looking for "more" out of your life or want to change the things that sabotage you, this program is a gift for you. Women and men are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Wolf Creek Backcountry

This group is conducting avalanche training Friday, Jan. 12. This class will help make those who take to the backcountry - novices and experienced trekkers alike - make better decisions in avalanche situations. For more information log on to www.wolfcreekbackcountry.com.

 New programs in 2007

I am waiting to hear from our new volunteers, Jody Conwell and Treva Wheeless, concerning details about their talents. Jody is interested in conducting jewelry making class and Treva wants to provide a quilting class - both to start in January. Watch for further details.

I invite those who wish to share their talents and experiences in new programs to contact us. Also, we are looking for volunteers to be in charge of various other groups: board game groups, coffee mornings, book discussion group, conversation groups, and cooking classes to name a few. Call 264-4152.

Center's hours

The community center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 to 4.

Activities this week

Today - Hoopsters basketball, 8-9 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club meeting, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 5 - Legal deposition, 9 a.m.-noon; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, noon-1:15 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.;

Jan. 6 - Computer Fix-It Day, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.;

Jan. 7 - Grace Evangelical Free Church and Church of Christ services, 10 a.m.- noon; High Roads Baptist Church service, 6-8 p.m.;

Jan. 8 - Loma Linda Property Owner's meeting, 7-9 p.m.; line dancing, 9-11:30 a.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.;

Jan. 9 - Yoga, 10-11:30 a.m.; legal deposition, 9 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; ManKind Project open house, 6-8 p.m.; Creeper Jeepers meeting, 7-8 p.m.;

Jan. 10 - Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.; photo club meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m.;

Jan. 11 - Hoopsters basketball, 8-9 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.


Senior News

Get smart - get the facts on food labels

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

Become a smart shopper by reading food labels to find out more about the foods you eat!

Here's why it's smart to check out the nutrition facts found on most food labels: Find out which foods are good sources of fiber, calcium, iron and vitamin C. Compare similar goods to find out which one is lower in fat and calories. Search for low sodium foods. Look for foods that are low in saturated fat and trans fats. Use this quick guide to help you make healthy food choices that meet your nutritional needs.

Start with the serving size. Look for both the serving size (the amount for one serving), and the number of servings in the package. Remember to check your portion size to the serving size listed on the label. If the serving size is one cup, and you eat two cups, you are getting twice the calories, fat and other nutrients listed on the label.

Check out the total calories and fat. Find out how many calories are in a single serving and the number of calories from fat.

Use percent Daily Values (DV) to help you evaluate how a particular food fits into your daily meal plan. Daily Values are average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day. A food item with a 5-percent DV means 5 percent of the amount of fat that a person consuming 2,000 calories a day would eat. Remember percent DV are for the entire day not just for one meal. You may need more or less than 2,000 calories per day. For some nutrients you may need more or less than 100-percent DV. Five percent or less of DV is low - try to aim low in total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Twenty percent or more of DV is high - try to aim high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Limit fat, cholesterol and sodium. Eating less of these nutrients may help reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Total fat includes saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. Limit to 100-percent DV or less per day. Saturated fat and trans fat are lined to an increased risk of heart disease. Sodium - high levels can add up to high blood pressure. Remember to aim low for percent of DV of these nutrients.

Eat more fiber, vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron to maintain good health and help reduce your risk of certain health problems such as osteoporosis and anemia. Choose more fruits and vegetables to get more of these nutrients. Remember to also aim high for percent of DV of these nutrients.

Most Americans get more protein than they need, so a percent of DV is not required on the label. Choose moderate portions of lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese, plus beans, peanut butter and nuts.

There are three types of carbohydrates - sugars, starches and fiber. Select whole-grain breads, cereals, rice and pasta plus fruits and vegetables. Simple carbohydrates or sugars occur naturally in foods such as fruit juice (fructose) or come from refined sources such as table sugar (sucrose) or corn syrup.

Foods with more than one ingredient must have an ingredient list on the label. Ingredients are listed in descending order by weight. Those in the largest amounts are listed first. Effective January 2006, manufacturers are required to clearly state if food products contain any ingredients that contain protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods. These foods are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat and soybeans.

For food and nutrition information or for a referral to a nutrition professional in your area call 1-800-366-1655 or visit www.eatright.org.

Thyroid Awareness and Blood Donors Month

Thyroid disease is more common than diabetes or heart disease.

Thyroid disease is a fact of life for 27 million Americans - and more than half of these people remain undiagnosed. Aging is just one risk factor that can contribute to hypothyroidism, a disease in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Women are five times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism. Learn more online at www.aace.com or call (904) 353-7878.

Why donate blood? A blood donation truly is a "gift of life" that a healthy individual can give to others in their community who are sick or injured. In one hour's time, a person can donate one unit of blood that can be separated into four individual components that could help save multiple lives. The Den will hosta blood drive from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, so mark your calendars now. Learn more online at www.aabb.org or call (301) 907-6977.

"Tuesdays At Four"

John Graves and Friends is a small jazz ensemble. The Professor on piano (Graves) is joined by bassist Dan Fitzpatrick, drummer Gerry Riggs, and Joe Gilbert on guitar. In their other lives, Dan is a mountain man and builder, Gerry is a retired curator of contemporary art, Joe is a builder and John continues to be a distinguished musician.

They have been gathering at The Professor's house for the past several months for informal jam sessions, and thought it would be fun to share their experience with other folks who might actually know some of the vintage songs they enjoy playing. So The Den is honored to welcome the "Tuesdays at Four" quartet at 12:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 5, in the dining room for top-notch musical entertainment. Join us to celebrate the beginning of 2007 with some extremely talented musicians.

Free movie

Mark Monaco, the new owner of the Liberty Theater, has declared the second Wednesday of every month "Seniors' Day" That means a free flick at the big-screen movies for folks who are 55 and older, and their families!

Not only will the Liberty Theater provide a free movie, but they also have a $2snack deal which includes a small popcorn and small soda. The movie this month for Seniors' Day is the classic "High Society." It will show at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10. In this musical reworking of "The Philadelphia Story," Newport blueblood (Bing Crosby) tries to win back his ex-wife, "ice goddess" (Grace Kelly), while Frank Sinatra and Celeste Holm (reporters for Snoop Magazine) gum up the works. Cole Porter wrote the score (which includes the Oscar-winning song "True Love"), and Louis Armstrong and his band are on hand to syncopate all the shenanigans. Transportation provided by the senior bus for a suggested donation of $2 is available. Join The Den and Liberty Theater for this great movie offer.

Lifelong Learning

Sharpen your brain with Sudoku - a fun way to activate your mind!

Sudoku puzzles are now available everywhere - including The PREVIEW. The Sudoku class in December was so much fun, everyone wanted another Sudoku session.

On Friday, Jan. 12, a Sudoku class will be held at The Den at 1 p.m. in the lounge. The basic instructions will be taught, then puzzles will be done as a group. Various sources of puzzles and how to select the ones you want will be discussed.

Instructor Katy Deshler has been doing Sudoku puzzles for about a year. She has found that the instructions are simple, but actually completing the puzzles can be challenging. Assistance from people who do them regularly has helped her improve her ability and enjoyment of the puzzles. And she wants to assist others to get started learning Sudoku, so they can also enjoy this brain-stimulating form of recreation.

Needs assessment survey

The Silver Foxes Den is currently conducting a survey of the local 60-plus age group. The Den has mailed out 1,000 random surveys to Archuleta County residents over 60. years of age. If you receive one of these surveys, your participation in completing the survey is extremely valuable to the future needs of your age group. Please take the few minutes needed to complete the survey and help identify your needs in our community. If you want assistance or have any questions, call The Den at 264-2167. Your time and help is greatly appreciated.

2007 Seniors Inc. memberships

In January 2007 Seniors Inc. memberships for folks 55 and older will be sold at The Den. The 2007 memberships can be purchased for $5 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Memberships will not be sold Thursdays.

Your Seniors Inc. membership entitles you to a variety of discounts from participating merchants. For qualifying members, it provides scholarships to assist with the costs for eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental expenses, and prescription and medical equipment. Your Seniors Inc. membership will also cover $20 of the $30 transportation fee for medical shuttles to Durango. The Den's Monthly Mystery trips to fascinating destinations are sponsored by Seniors Inc. so these cool trips in the warmer months are open to all members.

As you can see, the benefits of a Seniors Inc. membership are endless, so stop in at The Den during the scheduled hours to renew or purchase your annual membership. Remember, you do not need to be a Seniors Inc. member to join us at The Den. Everyone is welcome to be a part of our extended family.

Nails with Dru

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

Dance For Health

Dance For Health classes are available at The Den at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, free of charge. Dance instructor Karma Raley 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.


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

An afternoon of culture

You don't need a big city for fine dining and culture; we have it all right here in our lovely mountain town of Pagosa Springs.

The Den invites you to join us Thursday, Jan. 18, for an afternoon of fun as we explore the finer things in our quaint town. Our day will begin with a luncheon at Dionigi's Restaurant at noon, as we enjoy a taste of Italy right here in Pagosa. You will have a choice of four classic Italian entrees including eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, fettuccini alfredo, or spaghetti and meatballs, along with a salad, bread and a drink for the all-inclusive price of only $10. After our delicious dining experience, we will attend a tour of the Shy Rabbit Art Gallery and view their latest showcase of art - "Hold It!," an exhibition of contemporary containers, which opened at Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts in December and runs through Jan. 20. This elegant exhibition features seven emerging and mid-career artists working in varying and somewhat unconventional mediums. "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. The process was a very organic one that resulted in the creation of work that is natural and unforced.

Make your reservation with The Den by Tuesday, Jan. 16, for this afternoon excursion. Transportation will be provided by The Den for $2. We look forward to sharing a slice of culture with you, Pagosa style.


The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has waterpiks available at a discounted price of $22 each. Remember, there are only limited supplies at this great price, so don't delay.

Volunteers appreciated

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center could not operate without our dedicated volunteers.

We did a bulk mailing of 1,000 surveys which could not have been accomplished without volunteer help. I would like to thank Kathy Zilhaver, Mae Boughman, Tom Brown, Ruth Bankhead, Curtis Killion, Mercy Leist, Tricia Sierpiejko, Lyman Allen, Dave Wilson, Jackie Schick, Dru Sewell and Mary Pietrocarlo for all of their hard work and help with the mailing. Thank you so much to all of you who put in the time and effort to stuff, stamp, and mail the surveys. You are greatly appreciated!

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Jan. 4 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required), noon; blood pressure checks in Arboles during lunch. The Den is closed.

Friday, Jan. 5 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; entertainment by "Tuesdays at Four," 12:45 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 8 &emdash;Susan Stoffer, nurse and counselor, available 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 9 - Yoga, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; Seeds of Learning kids visit, noon; canasta, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan. 10 - Nails with Dru, 9:30 -11 a.m.; Dance For Health 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Aikido, 1 p.m.; free movie at Liberty Theater, "High Society," 1 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 11 - The Den is closed.

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


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

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

Thursday, Jan. 4 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations needed.) Baked ham with raisin sauce, yams, peas with onions, almond peaches, and whole wheat roll.

Friday, Jan. 5 - Scalloped potatoes with cheese and ham, vegetable medley, peaches, and whole wheat bread.

Monday, Jan. 8 - Roasted chicken breast, oven potatoes, Harvard beets, cinnamon apples, and whole wheat bread.

Tuesday, Jan. 9 - Spaghetti with Italian sausage, Italian vegetables, and plums.

Wednesday, Jan. 10 - Salmon patties with cream gravy, steamed rice, mixed vegetables, apricots, and whole wheat bread.

Friday, Jan. 12 - Chili con carne, broccoli cuts, pineapple and mandarin oranges, and corn bread.


Veteran's Corner

Fake military medal claims carry penalty

By Andy Fautheree

Legislation first proposed by U.S. Rep. John Salazar making it a crime to falsely claim the right to carry any military decoration or medal became law last Wednesday with President Bush's signature.

"This day has been a long time in coming," said Salazar. "The brave men and women who have earned awards for service to our country should not have those honors tarnished by frauds."

Veteran Salazar

Salazar, a Vietnam War veteran, authored a bill he called the Stolen Valor Act at the urging of Colorado State University at Pueblo student Pam Sterner. She wrote a school paper about the lack of a law prohibiting anything other than the false wearing of a war medal.

Under the new law, anyone who falsely claims to be a decorated military veteran can be punished with up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The penalties are double for a claim involving the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Silver Star or Purple Heart.

Movie charges

Salazar also changed the marketing of a movie. In the comedy "Wedding Crashers," characters played by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn talk about using fake Purple Heart medals to get attention from women. Marketing for the movie included a fake, cutout Purple Heart. After Salazar complained, the film's producer, New Line Cinema, ended the promotional gimmick.

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 in order 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.


Library News

New year starts with library staff changes

By Carole Howard,

SUN columnist, and the library staff

Jackie Welch has been named director of the library, having previously assumed the acting role in July 2006. Jackie is a former project manager and quality assurance analyst for Siemens Communications in California. She worked for the library for four years and was head of technical services before being named to the temporary top position six months ago.

Meanwhile, Stephanie Graveson is leaving our staff to work in the office and library at the high school. She had extensive library experience in New Zealand, where she worked in a library and managed a children's bookstore, and we will miss her knowledge and creativity.

More self-help books

Self-help books are always very popular with our patrons - especially at the beginning of the year when so many people implement New Year's resolutions. Last week's column listed several new ones, and here we highlight six more:

- "Zen and the Art of Well-being," by Eric Chaline, offers practical suggestions, self-evaluation tests and exercises to help you increase physical strength and energy levels.

- "The Path of the Human Being," by Dennis Genpo Merzel, is another book about Zen, this one focusing on how to become more self-aware and enlightened through meditation.

- "The Book of Pilates," by Joyce Gavin, is a guide to improving body tone, flexibility and strength through this unique method of exercise.

- The fifth edition of "Start Up," by William J. Stolze, is a revised and updated entrepreneur's guide to launching and managing a new business.

- "Buy, Keep, Sell" is a book with tips on identifying tomorrow's red-hot collectibles, holding them for highest value and then selling them at the best time to maximize your profit.

- "Cure for the Common Life," by Max Lucado, offers practical tools for identifying your own uniqueness, motivation to put your strengths to work, and the prescription for what the author calls "your sweet spot" - a zone in life where you were meant to dwell.

New for children

"A Celebration of Steiff: Timeless Toys for Today" features 200 beautiful color photos of toys created by one of the premiere toy companies in the world. "The Essential 55," by Ron Clark, is an award-winning educator's rulebook for discovering the successful student in every child.

Colorado writers and nearby sites

"Selected Colorado Writings," by Helen Hunt Jackson, introduces modern readers to this talented writer of the 1870s and 1880s via a collection of some of her travel descriptions, fiction and poetry.

"Colorado Treasure Tales," by veteran treasure hunter W.C. Jameson, presents 27 stories of lost gold and silver mines, hidden strongboxes, missing Army payrolls and other lost treasures. "Colorado: Off the Beaten Path," by Curtis Casewit and Alli Rainey, offers hidden attractions, unique finds and unusual locales to appeal to visitors or locals looking for something different. "Colorado Ice: Volume 1" offers maps, photos and route descriptions for ice climbing near Rifle, Parachute, Redstone, Gunnison, Lake City, Ouray, Telluride, Silverton, Durango, Wolf Creek and Grand Junction. "New Mexico's Sanctuaries, Retreats and Sacred Places," by Taos-based writer and photographer Christina Nealson, provides detailed descriptions of spiritual sites and events as well as 111 full-color photographs and six maps.

Novels: Mystery, chick lit and adventure

"Summer of the Big Bachi," a debut novel about social change by Naomi Hirahara, is a mystery played out from worn-torn Japan to the rich tidewaters of L.A.'s multicultural landscape. "In Her Shoes" is the second funny chick-lit novel by Jennifer Weiner about two sisters trying to adapt to the stresses and opportunities of modern life. "Moonlight Hotel," by veteran war reporter and novelist Scott Anderson, is a geopolitical adventure set in a Middle Eastern kingdom.

Insights into men and women here and afar

"Burning Fence: A Western Memoir of Fatherhood," by Craig Lesley, is a real-life memoir about the author's life in Eastern Oregon that demonstrates the exceptional writing skills most readers know through his novels. "The Healing Quilt," by Lauraine Snelling, is a novel about four women raising money for a new mammogram unit by creating a magnificent king-size quilt. "Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women," by Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent Geraldine Brooks, is a non-fiction account of Muslim women and the often contradictory political, religious and cultural forces that shape their lives.

Thanks to our donors

For books and materials, our thanks this week go to Mike Church, Jim Downing, Dan Semjem, Kath Mueller, Rice Reavis, Jim Walton and Margaret Wilson.


Arts Line

Get entries ready for annual photo show

By Linda Strathdee

PREVIEW Columnist

Have you taken an outstanding photograph and wondered if it might be worthy of public display?

Have people admired one of your photos hanging in your home?

If so, plan to submit one or more of your photographs to this year's annual photography contest at Moonlight Books.

This fun event is open to all amateur and professional photographers. Each exhibitor may submit up to three entries either in black and white or color - but only two entries in any one category.

There is a $4 entry fee per photograph; entries will be accepted at Moonlight Books until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Feb. 3 and if you attend, you can vote for the People's Choice Award. Photographs will be on display Feb. 3-24.

Rules and application forms canbe picked up at Moonlight Books or downloaded off the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Web site at www.pagosa-arts.com.

PSAC gallery hours

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

The Artsline recently introduced this weekly column section, called "The Artist Spirit." It addresses your heartfelt questions about the arts, and is geared to enlighten and inform, be sincere, humorous or just 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 Dear Liz Rae, 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 have worked hard all my life. Work! Work! Work!

I'm old now but I have the desire and energy to do something. How do I determine what I should pursue? I believe I was born to create.

Still Growing

Dear Growing One:

What did you enjoy as a child? Did you like crayons? Did you like mud? Did you like making things?

So, maybe its painting, maybe pottery, maybe photography, maybe carpentry (wood carving).

What was in you then is in you now. A tree comes of its roots; go back to your roots, continue to grow.

Liz Rae

Photography club

Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend their first Pagosa Springs Photography Club meeting at no charge. 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 (evening) or e-mail m_mcomo@yahoo.com.

Start new year with an art class

PSAC has started 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.

- Local artist Randall Davis will hold a one-day drawing workshop, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the community center. This workshop will focus on drawing the face. The session is appropriate for beginners as well as advanced students. If you have never attended one of Randall's classes, it's wonderful to see what you can produce in a day under his guidance. Everyone leaves with a completed drawing.

Supplies needed for this class include Sketch pad (preferably 11 x 14), assorted drawing pencils, including a 3H or 4H, a No. 2, and a 3B or 4B, eraser, ruler, pencil sharpener. Plan to bring a bag lunch. Cost for the day is $35. Call PSAC to register, 264-5020.

- Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach Beginners I, the Basics of Watercolor Jan. 15-17. 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 sure they have no talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own with limited success. Cost of this class is $150 for PSAC members and $175 for nonmembers.

- Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach Beginners II, Building Blocks of Watercolor 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 25-27 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Cost is $175 for three full days, $150 for PSAC members. Bring your lunch.

This workshop builds on The Basics of Watercolor-Beginners I, and uses everything students learned in those classes. In Beginners II, students continue to work together to make it easy to create independently. They use all the materials from the first class, 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, plastic wrap, and waxed paper. Afternoons will be spent painting, using the morning's lessons.

- Pierre Mion will teach his winter watercolor workshop (snow scenes) Jan. 29-31, with an optional fourth day, Thursday, Feb. 1. The group will spend a day prior to classes photographing outdoor subjects - this date yet to be determined. These classes are fun, relaxed and open to all levels, including beginners. Pierre's classes are always great fun.

Pierre is an internationally-known artist and illustrator who worked with Norman Rockwell for 12 years. Cost for this class is $240 for PSAC members, $265 for nonmembers - who will automatically get a one-year membership.

Watercolor club

Watercolor club meets the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room at the Pagosa Springs 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 open house

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


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 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 clubs.

If you are interested in teaching a workshop or class, call the gallery in 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, please 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.

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

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

Jan. 13 - One-day drawing workshop with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., community center.

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

Jan. 18 - Watercolor club, 10 a.m., community center.

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. 10 - One-day drawing workshop with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

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

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


Food for Thought

Machiavelli is inflamed

By Karl Isberg

I am ready to turn in.

I brush my teeth and teeter to the bedroom.

There it is, on my pillow. I can't miss it.

It's yet another of Kathy's books, all of them subtitled "You, too, can live to be 100 years old, be free of chest pain and osteoporosis, and be utterly miserable."

As with all the books she puts on my pillow, it looks like a traffic warning sign; there are fire-engine red sticky labels attached to pages throughout the book, each indicating a page on which paragraphs have been highlighted.

There is a sticky note plastered on the book's cover.

"This a must reading for anyone ('anyone' is underlined, twice) of a certain age (I wonder what age that might be?) who has the slightest concern about living a healthy life - for himself or his loved ones ('loved ones' is underlined three times)."

It begins the next evening. I return home from work and, before I set to work preparing dinner - perhaps using turkey left over from Christmas dinner - I whip out a wedge of herbed, double-cream Brie and tear some hunks off an olive batard.

And, of course, I find some wine. There's half a bottle of a lovely Pigeoulet de Provence resting in the fridge, next to a half bottle of Clos le Coutale Cahors.

I have options. And I intend to exhaust both of them.

Finally, I figure I can relax.

Fat chance. I fail to recognize we are near the new year: time for resolutions, and change.

I heft a slab o'Brie and place it on a sturdy hunk of the bread.

"Hey, what's that you're eatin'?"

Geez. Just when I thought I was turning a corner and heading to Comfortville.

"Is that cheese? Are you wolfing down high-fat Brie, my brawny friend? Huh, are you?"

Kathy swoops down on me and my appetizer.

"Well, that should more than undo that bowl of healthy oatmeal, compete with chunks of apple and chopped nuts, I made for you this morning. Way to go, Chunky; one bite of that milky melange and you've completely negated all my help. You're headed for a serious case of congestion, aren't you? Milk? Mucous? Respiratory problems? Any connection there?"


I eat the bread and cheese anyway. Then, I open the bottle of Pigeoulet.

"What on earth are you doing?"

"Well, I'm uh getting some wine?"

"You've got to be kidding. After that wad of super-fatty cheese and bread you just wolfed down? You're going to drink wine?"

"I drink wine every night. A glass or two. It's part of my regimen."

"You're a goner, aren't you? The cardiac-arrest cheese, the DUI beverages? A goner. You are king in a twisted realm. Wine and cheese hah!"

I work to divert my attention; I am sensitive to criticism - especially when I'm drinking. I take a sip of the wine, trying to ignore Kathy, who has placed her lovely head next to mine. Right next to mine.

The Pigeoulet is three days old, but it has held up. As it warms, it opens, inviting me in. I begin to think about dinner.

I remember there's a hunk of grilled pork loin in the fridge. Rather than the tried-and-true molé, I could finely chop the pig, then warm it in a bath of incendiary liquid, courtesy my dwindling batch of Espanola red. (I make a mental note to check with friends who regularly make the drive to Santa Fe or Albuquerque. I will convince one of them to stop at my favorite shack/store next to the highway on the west side of Espanola and risk a trip into the establishment to procure another two-pound bag of this magical elixir - a culinary philosopher's stone).

I make the mistake of telling Kathy about my plan for the pork.

"What? And, I suppose Doctor Rocket Science wants to add cheese to that pork, perhaps wrapping the killer in a white flour tortilla. Am I right. Fess up am I right?"

"Well uh I well, yes, you're right. I gave that some thought. Indeed I did."

"Don't make any of that toxic concoction for me. I want the turkey. According to Dr. Zimmer, turkey is bad enough. But, the pork, the cheese, the white flour. No way."

"Doctor Zimmer?"

"Yep, Doctor Zimmer. He has it all figured out. You eat the wrong thing, you get inflamed. Inflammation is a killer: Public Enemy Number One. Arteries, key internal organs - when they get inflamed, you are on the way out. Of course, in the kingdom of wine and cheese, that doesn't really matter, does it, your highness?"

"I gotta tell ya, I don't feel inflamed."

"I'll skip this chance to note the size of your head and just tell you that, if Doc Zimmer could examine you, he would blanch and get woozy. Every cell in your body has to be inflamed. Code Blue. Everything you like to eat and drink is literal poison. And, incidentally, are you growing another chin? Is that a baby chin I see tucked underneath chin number three? We need to give it a name. You've read the book I put on the pillow, haven't you?"

"Well I uh "

"Oh, for crying out loud - I put florescent red arrows on important pages and underlined key ideas for you. It's not difficult."

"I looked at the graphs and the lists. I was able to scan them quickly, so I could get to my copy of the latest Wine Spectator."

"And, did we learn anything?"

"You mean, other than I can live a very long time without enjoying anything?" I sense from the expression on her face that my wry answer has failed to elicit the desired response.

"Well, yes," I continue, "I learned that, in order to not be inflamed, to live without crushing chest pain and to have supple, elastic arteries and a system absent nasty things like

"Like arachidonic acid?"

"Yep, like arachidonic acid."

"And leukotreines?"

"Yes, like leukotrienes we need to change our dietary habits."

"And what changes do we need to make, Hunkster?"

"Well, this madman Zimmer suggests a two-phase plan. The first phase is reminiscent of a concentration camp diet, with enough vegetables to feed all of Somalia. The second, purportedly better phase is reminiscent of a prison menu, without meat or fat, or cheap white bread and gravy. This guy is insane: He wants a person to eat twelve servings of green vegetables a day! Twelve! And no flesh. More importantly, no cheese and

"Go ahead, Chunky, say it."

"No "

"Say it."

"I I can't."

"OK, I'll say it for you: No wine."

It is like a dagger plunged into my heart.

"Well?" She is staring at me, her face mere inches from mine. She does not blink.

Twelve servings of green vegetables. Every day! Fourteen servings of fruit! No flesh! No dairy products! No olive oil!

I scramble. I have to find a way out of this fix - devise a plan that allows me to cheat. After all, I have read Machiavelli many times.

"What say we compromise?" I remind my bride we have not eaten beef in a very long time. I remind her our flesh consumption is now limited to free-range fowl, to "wild-caught" finny things, and to the occasional hit of pork tenderloin - hormone free, as per USDA regs.

She softens.

I promise to continue to eat oatmeal in the morning. I promise to cut back on the butter and cream. I swear I will keep the cheese consumption to a minimum. I lie very well.

"And the wine?"

I find myself unable to speak.


"But, I just got a case in from my dealer. I mean, for heaven's sake, there's several bottles of the Pigeoulet and there's a couple more bottles of Cahors. Do you realize I have a bottle of Vieux Telegraph and a bottle of Pahlmeyer to drink? There's a 2001 Chateau Lascaux resting in the cool dark of the basement."

"Only on special occasions. Think of the money it will save."

Yeah, I think: Money we can spend on truckloads of kale and mustard greens. Whoopeee!

"Only on special occasions. Agreed?"

I'm not getting away from her until I say what she wants to hear. I am not beyond telling another lie. "Agreed. Only on special occasions."

So, to work. I have a new pan, and I intend to use it - a French copper-clad stainless steel saute, heavy as a battle tank and able to evenly conduct the heat given off by the breath of a newborn child.

Vegetables? You bet, Zimmer. I've got a couple butternut squash (plenty of anti-inflammation properties in those!) and a bunch of broccoli. Plus, there's greens and a red Bell pepper. Onions and garlic are darned good inflammation fighters according to the inimitable Zimmer. I cheat a bit by using extra-virgin olive oil. Just a bit. (The doctor calls it "liquid fat." I call it "necessary.")

I peel and steam the squash and, despite Zimmer's scientifically precise advice, I moisten the chunks with a teensy bit of butter prior to seasoning with kosher salt and pepper. Who'll know? What's a smidge of arachidonic acid?

Likewise, I steam the broccoli and season it. (A tiny bit of butter here can't hurt, can it?)

I suppose I have to give up those swell bottled creamy dressings for use on the greens, olives and red peppers I'll put in a salad. So, instead, I make a citrus vinaigrette and, hey, what kind of vinaigrette can a guy make without a dash, or so, of extra-virgin olive oil? Who'll know?

There's a couple skinless chicken breasts in the fridge. According to Zimmer, if free range, these will not lead to a serious case of inflammation.

So, here's where my plan flowers.

I find a piece of pancetta in the drawer of the fridge. Pancetta can't possibly be bad for you. There is, after all, no incidence of heart disease in Italy. Not that I know of, anyway.

I dice the pancetta and crisp it in my new pan. I remove the pancetta to a paper towel and add a bit of finely minced white onion to the fat in the pan, turning the heat to low, sweating the onion along with a teensy bit of finely minced celery. When the veggies are soft, I toss in a bit of garlic and, after a minute or two, I remove the mix to a small bowl.

I clean and season the breasts, then sear them a couple minutes on each side over high heat until I get some decent brown and fond developed. I top each breast with half the crisp pancetta and a pinch or two (or five) of shaved parmesan. Into a 425 oven the breasts go for 8 minutes.

I take the meat out and put it on a warm plate. Then, I splash some dry white wine and organic chicken broth into the pan along with the veggies, add a bit of thyme and some rough-chopped flat-leaf parsley, and I reduce the liquid to a syrupy state. I turn off the heat and swirl in a wad of butter (don't say a word to Kathy or Zimmer!) and the chicken goes back into the sauce.

I figure I can hide some rounds of prosciutto-laced mozzarella directly under my piece of chicken if the topping is not enough to please me, and Kathy will be none the wiser for it. After all, the inflammation will be confined to things like my liver and not visible on my surface. She can chew her mountain of veggies with a closed-eye, contented look on her face, innocently indulging the glorious mouth-feel of butter and extra-virgin olive oil.

And I'll make several trips to the basement to check some "special documents I'm downloading off the Internet."

Actually, I'll adjourn to the room in the basement, where I keep the wine. After all, every meal's a "special occasion," isn't it?

I don't mind drinking in a cool, dark spot.

The cold keeps the inflammation down.


Extension Viewpoints

New pesticide applicator program in effect

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Jan. 4 - 7 p.m., Shady Pine Club meeting.

Jan. 5 - 2 p.m., 4-H Fridays, Community United Methodist Church.

Jan. 5 - 2:15 p.m., Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting.

Jan. 9 - 6 p.m., Rocky Mountain Riders Club meeting.

Jan. 9 - 6 p.m., Junior Stockman Club meeting.

Jan. 10 - 6 p.m., Pagosa Peaks Club meeting.

Pesticide applicators

Changes to the private pesticide applicator program are now in effect.

Effective Jan. 1, 2007, anyone who wants to become licensed or renew their private pesticide applicator's license must contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

CDA will begin conducting all phases of the private pesticide applicator program which include: private pesticide applicator licensing, compliance assistance and education, pesticide misuse investigations, worker protection standard inspections, and continuing education for licensure.

Under CDA, the private pesticide applicator test will continue to be an open-book test and will be very similar to one used by EPA. A score of 70 percent will be required to pass. A license issued by the CDA will be good for three years. There will be a $20 testing fee payable at the time the booklet and test are requested and a $75 license fee due after passing the test.

It is important to note that any current private pesticide applicator licenses issued by EPA are valid until the expiration date printed on the license.

Also, along with the administration of the private pesticide applicator licensure program, CDA is assuming the responsibilities of pesticide use enforcement from EPA. In 1985, Colorado accepted delegation of the authority for commercial pesticide applicators and has been conducting this program ever since. The 2006 Colorado General Assembly provided authority for CDA to conduct the private pesticide applicator certification and enforcement program.

CDA is committed to working closely with the agricultural industry as it undertakes this program. The Colorado State University Colorado Environmental Pesticide Education Program will be heavily involved with education for private pesticide applicators as they have been for the commercial pesticide applicators. For more information, forms and educational material, log on to www.ag.state.co.us/DPI/PesticideApplicator/Home.html

Protect animals during cold temperatures

If animals have prolonged exposure to cold conditions, despite having fur, they are still susceptible to hypothermia.

Hypothermia is most likely to occur when an animal is wet. The signs of hypothermia are violent shivering followed by listlessness, apathy, a temperature below 97 degrees and, finally, collapse and coma. If you believe your pet is suffering from hypothermia, consult your veterinarian. Prevention is the best choice.

A few simple steps can help protect your animals during cold temperatures:

- Keep pets inside. If animals can't be inside, provide a warm, comfortable place. Face shelter away from wind and provide a flap or door to help keep the animal's body heat inside.

- Bedding is essential. It insulates the animal from the snow and ice underneath the body and allows the animal to retain heat within the bedding.

- Cats may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. If you have outdoor felines in your neighborhood, check under the hood before starting your car.

- When walking your pet, keep them on leashes; they can't rely on their sense of smell in the snow and may become lost.

- Wipe off your dog's legs and stomach to remove any ice, salt or chemicals.

- Outdoor pets need more calories to produce body head so extra food and water must be provided. Devices are now available to keep water dishes from freezing; if one is not available, fill and replace water frequently.


Pagosa Lakes News

A growing number of cheerful geezers

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

A very happy new year to each and every one. May you be blessed with health and peace.

The Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center is a busy hub these days, selling 2007 recreation center memberships and fishing permits.

A current membership is necessary to continue use of the facility. Otherwise, a daily fee or punchcard applies.

Members of PLPOA will be receiving their 2007 assessment statements within the next week or so. Payment is due upon receipt.

PLPOA administration offices will be recarpeted starting this next week. Since most of the paper files will be boxed up and stored, and computer stations moved around, a state of disorganization is to be expected. If you have any business to take care of, may I suggest you do so today or tomorrow. Otherwise, non-urgent matters may best be left for after January when all the remodeling is completed.

Mark your calendar for PLPOA's next perch tournament, which will be held Saturday, Jan. 27, at Lake Pagosa. Details of the tournament will follow in this column next week. These perch tournaments are a big deal for area anglers.

Working at the recreation center puts me in contact with many older people and I've noticed among the users of the silver-haired (sometimes it's blue) generation, crabbiness is in decline. There are tons of papers supporting studies that say people who take a positive view of aging actually live longer than those who grouse and grumble. I'm taking notes and paying close attention to the members - those who exhibit cheerfulness and those who are always cranky. I'm pushing 55 and it's no picnic (maybe this doesn't sound life-affirming to you - sorry). I need as many role models for gracious behavior as I can find.

Getting old in this country is darned awkward. We glorify carefree youth and feel sheepish if our abdomen is not hard enough to crack walnuts on and our heart is not warm and smiley. Some geezers, in trying too hard, go around in juvenile clothes and jokey T-shirts. Embarrassing.

I still have a lot to learn. To the 82-year-old who likes to say, "Even when I have pains, I don't have to be one," I say "thanks" for being one of a growing number of spunky and cheerful geezers.



Makenzie Lynn Wallace


Molly and Barry Wallace are proud to announce the arrival of Makenzie Lynn Wallace on Nov. 24, 2006. She weighed 6 lbs., 7 ounces.

Her maternal grandparents are Joan and Jerry Driesens of Pagosa Springs, and her paternal grandparents are Bill and the late Mary Lynn Wallace of Page, Ariz.



Alfonso F. Archuleta

The Archuleta Family is deeply saddened to announce that Alfonso F. Archuleta, 71, passed away on Monday, Jan. 1, 2007. Alfonso was born Aug. 23, 1935, in Dulce, N.M., to the late Lionel M. and Ruby G. Archuleta. He is survived by one brother, Manuel Archuleta of Pagosa Springs; and one sister, Paulette Archuleta, of Denver.

He was a beloved uncle to numerous nieces and nephews including his Godson, Joseph Dennis Archuleta. He was preceded in death by three brothers: Charlie Archuleta, Lionel Archuleta and Joseph D. Archuleta, and one sister, Margaret A. Daugaard. He was a member of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs.

Alfonso served in the United States Marine Corps during the Korean War and was honorably discharged.

He was dedicated to the well being of his family and cared for his Mother, Ruby G. Archuleta, until the time of her death in December 1993. In his spare time, he enjoyed driving his favorite "John Elway" Toyota truck, being at the Archuleta Ranch, and rooting for the only team that he felt really existed in the NFL the Denver Broncos.

He will be remembered for his ability to share the gift of himself with his family and friends as he always took time to share a story, a bit of wisdom or words of encouragement. If the measure of a life well spent was to be gauged by the knowledge that you were truly loved, adored and respected by your family and friends, then by all accounts Alfonso's life was a remarkable success.

A Rosary will be held Thursday, Jan. 4, 2007, at 7 p.m., and the funeral service will be held Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, at 10 a.m., at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.


Maria I. Martinez

Pagosa Springs resident Maria (Mary) I. Martinez passed away peacefully in her home with her family by her side, Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006. She was 90 years of age.

Maria was born in El Vado, N.M., to Rosenaldo and Josefa Chacon on Aug. 5, 1916. She married Thomas Martinez on April 2, 1936, in Pagosa Springs. Mary was a lifelong resident of Pagosa Springs. She worked as a cook in numerous restaurants, at City Market, and at the Job Corps. Mary was well known for her good Mexican food. People followed her to all the restaurants that she worked at. Mary worked until the age of 85, when she was forced to retire because of her health. Mary loved to cook and dance. The thing she loved most was being with her family and many friends. Mary was always there to lend an ear. She was a very kind and giving person.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Rosenaldo and Josepha Chacon; her husband, Thomas Martinez; son Leonard Martinez; grandchildren Dino Martinez, Nichole Dean, Willie Martinez and April Martinez; her sister, Salome Myers; brothers Christobal and Joe Chacon.

She is survived by her sister, Jean C. Moore; her children, Tommy and Juanita Martinez, of Pagosa Springs, Tessie and Henry (Mac) McCarley of Aurora, Gilbert and Frances Martinez, Loretta and Alfredo Campuzano, Jeanette and James Gomez, and Janice Martinez, all of Pagosa Springs. She had 13 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, numerous nephews, nieces, extended family, and friends. She will be missed by her family and all who knew her.

Services were held at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Jan. 1, 2007. Burial services were held at Hill Top Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.


Sophie O'Caña

Sophie O'Caña, 55, died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at her home in Pagosa Springs.

A Recitation of the Rosary will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007, at 6 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father Carlos A. Alvarez of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church will officiate. Burial will occur at Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs at 6 p.m.

Mrs. O'Caña was born Aug. 15, 1951, in Pueblo, Colo., the daughter of Manuel and Jane Lucero. She was raised in Pagosa Junction. She married Darrell O'Caña on Nov. 15, 1969, in Pagosa Springs. Her life ambition was reached and surpassed as a daughter, wife and mother. She enjoyed listening to music, reading, crocheting, preparing meals, taking walks and praying.

She is survived by her husband, Darrell; her father, Manuel Lucero, of Pueblo; her stepfather, Baltazar Gallegos, Sr., of Arboles; her mother, Jane Martinez Lucero, of Pagosa Springs; and her children Frank O'Caña of Boulder, Darrell O'Caña of Peoria, Ill., Vanessa Miller of Parker, and September O'Caña of Pagosa Springs. She is also survived by brothers Joseph Lucero and Louie Lucero both of Durango, Baltazar Gallegos and Mae Jaramillo both of Pagosa Springs, Jose Gallegos, Jr. of Arboles, David Lucero of Colorado Springs, and eight grandchildren.

Mrs. O'Caña passed away peacefully in her home with her husband, children and loved ones.


Herman Voelker

Herman Voelker, after a long four years of struggling with liver disease, finally succumbed Dec. 28, 2006, at 8:03 p.m. He was born Aug. 20, 1964, and passed away at the age of 42.

Herman's last days were spent at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center. He was surrounded by family and friends when he took his last breath and went to be with our heavenly father.

Herman loved to fish, ride his horse "Blaze," and do things with his family. He was very friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand. He loved to joke around and was always fun to be with. His joyful eyes and wonderful smile always brightened up the room.

Herman loved his heavenly father and his heart was always turned toward God. Herman will be terribly missed by all his family and friends. But their consolation is that they will one day see him again when Jesus comes again and resurrects all those who have fallen asleep and have trusted in His promise of eternal life.

Herman has left behind his wife, Michele "Shelly," daughter Melissa, sons David and Nicholas, all from Pagosa Springs; his mother, Josfina, sisters Doris Serna, Mina Cortez, Elsa De La Torre; brothers Adolf and Alex, and numerous nieces and nephews, all from southern California.

A memorial service was held at the First Assembly of God Church Sunday, Dec. 31, at 4 p.m. In lieu of flowers, there is a bank account for donations at the Bank of Colorado to help the family in this hard time.


 Business News

Chamber News

We'll practice what we preach

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

I'm sure no one who has been in my office thinks I have cleaned out papers or files lately.

Not true!

While cleaning out a file, I found a copy of an old newsletter article Sally Hameister wrote. Not surprisingly, it was about customer service and a "Customer Service Pledge to Chamber Members."

The gist of the article was that we at the Chamber need to practice what we preach. We need to be the example of quality service and hospitality for our Chamber members and our visiting customers.

So, this being the beginning of the new year with resolutions and all, I took the article to our staff members and presented the prospect of re-releasing this pledge to the Chamber members. Of course, we could not release this statement if all of us weren't committed to the specifics of the pledge.

After reading the article we concluded that, while there is always room for improvement, we already strive every day to meet and deliver on these expectations. In light of many new year's resolutions, we decided that we would not be an exception, so here is our resolution, in the form of a re-release of the "Customer Service Pledge to Chamber Members."

- You will get a friendly greeting when you contact the Chamber by phone, or when you walk through the door.

- With over 700 members, the Chamber staff will strive to get to know you as an individual, become very knowledgeable about your business, and seek ways to help you succeed.

- When dealing with customers who have a complaint or inquiry about your business, and when referring customers to Chamber member businesses, the Chamber will follow a strict policy of integrity, confidentiality and fairness.

- The Chamber staff will respond to any requests you may have, using all resources available, and exhibit a professional knowledge of business issues which may affect Chamber members.

- The Chamber will work to provide the best possible services to benefit your business, whether it be through networking meetings, publications, retail promotions, business seminars, festivals, trade shows, town-wide celebrations or other projects or special events.

- The Chamber will strive to encourage your positive participation and support of Chamber programs, committees and events.

We think we have the best job in Pagosa, working with all the businesses and helping locals and visitors in our community. I hope this sentiment reflects in our work and please keep us on task!

Last call for nominations

Monday, Jan. 8, is the last day nominations will be accepted for Volunteer and Citizen of the Year.

Nomination forms were included in your last Chamber newsletter; we have blank forms at the Visitor Center, or we can fax you a copy.

It is so important to recognize the many volunteers and contributors to this community. Without them, we would not tick! Awards will be given out at the annual meeting Jan. 20. Nominees will be judged on their qualities and community involvement, not on the number of nominations received. Please take the few minutes necessary to fill out the form to thank those who give innumerable hours to the betterment of our community.

Annual meeting

Another year has rolled around and it is time for the Chamber of Commerce annual meeting.

While the theme this year will again be a western motif, be prepared for some wild and crazy festivities.

I'm not sure there is one highlight for the night. After a sumptuous dinner, we'll enjoy the music of The High Rollers. Everyone can dance and have a good time, but only after we announce the Citizen and Volunteer of the Year, the Pagosa Pride winners, and have the "Office Olympics." This is the perfect opportunity for you to gather with businesses around you, similar businesses, or just your business friends, and compete in some wild and zany contests. We will be giving away great prizes such as yearly memberships, trips, and theater and Chamber event tickets.

I know there are some competitive people out there, so we will let you in on some of the Olympic events, so you can start practicing. You will have to sharpen pencils, toss paper while seated, go through an office obstacle course, and hook up a chain of paper clips. Easy enough, isn't it? Well, we'll see.

You can compete in a team with two to eight people. We will take the names of teams in advance, or you can gather a team the night of the meeting. The contest will be short, fast and lots of fun. For more information or to register your team for free, contact us at the Chamber at 264-2360. Tickets are available for the annual meeting at $30 per person in advance and $35 at the door.

Remember, this is also the time for you to vote for three of the six nominees for the Chamber Board of Directors. You can cast your vote in advance or at the meeting. There is only one vote per membership. The six candidates are: Jim Stacy, Frank Schiro, Janis Moomaw, Shawn Lacey, Robin Carpenter-Hubbard, and Mark Horn. Biographies of the candidates are available at the Chamber, and they were listed in The SUN on Dec. 28. Please stop by the Visitor Center to vote if you will not be able to attend the annual meeting.

This is going to be a fun and informative event. We hope to see you there.

Year-end renewals

These members were the last to renew in 2006. We thank everyone for another year of great membership participation. We know that you have a choice of where to spend your hard-earned business dollars, and we will continue to work diligently to form a strong business coalition for the benefit of our community.

Just a quick note about one of our members, Dan MacVeigh of Fire Ready: Dan is now a certified arborist; along with providing fire mitigation services, Dan also offers tree care services. Fire Ready is the nation's leading fire mitigation and professional forestry company. Dan can help you create defensible space, improve the health of your forest and reduce overall risk from wildfire, which is critical here in Pagosa. Plan now for the summer project by calling 759-9380. Congratulations Dan, on adding another feather in your full cap of accomplishments.

Not a new member, but with a new product, we welcome Tom Nayman aboard. If you have concerns about your drinking water, you might want to call Tom with Microlite Water Machines. Microlite produces water alkalizers, energizers, ionizers and pure water filtration machines manufactured by Jupiter Science. The machines can be installed under the sink and they have full electronic LED panels. For more information or a consultation, please call 264-0883.

Our renewals include Mr. Smokin' Deals himself, Mark Mesker, his lovely wife Michele,and Paint Connection Plus; P.S. Just for Fun! bounce house rentals; Ski & Bow Rack; Mountain West Insurance with Larry Page; McCabe Repair Service; Pagosa Ski & Snowboard Rentals; Crystal Coughlin and SAFER Living; and Durango Credit and Collection Co.

Associate members renewing this week are Mary J. Hannney with Jim Smith Real Estate; and John Smith. We appreciate John's support of the business community.

There's a few business owners out there trying to catch their breath after a busy holiday season. I hope 2007 is good to everyone and we at the Chamber are here to help you all throughout the year. Happy 2007!


Colorado's premier conference for women business owners

Colorado's premier conference for women business owners, In Good Company, will take place Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Denver Adam's Mark Hotel. The Denver District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Denver Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) will host the event, aiming to attract women business owners, aspiring business owners, and female entrepreneurs from across the state.

The full-day conference will feature a luncheon keynote address by Maria de Lourdes Sobrino, nationally-honored Hispanic business woman, and Founder and CEO of Lulu's Dessert corporation. A morning panel presentation will include Beatriz Bonnet, president and CEO, Syntes Language Group, Inc.; Denise Burgess, president and CEO, Burgess Mechanical;Sharon Hwang, owner, The Wellness Center, Inc.; Diana Nelson, president and CEO, Kazoo and Company, Inc.; and Cyd Szymanski, founder, Nest Fresh Eggs. The panel will address the path each entrepreneur followed in building her successful business enterprise.

"NWBO is firmly committed to supporting the entrepreneurial spirit of Colorado women business owners. This conference is designed to be a resource-intense opportunity for business owners to sharpen their business skills and focus on ways to grow their own business," said Aloah Dill, president of NAWBO Denver, and principal with Aloah Kincaid Dill, CPA. "In Good Company is unique because it is the only business conference in Colorado designed specifically for women business owners."

The conference will include breakout workshops for business owners in all industries and in all phases of business, from start-ups to multi-million dollar firms. Topics of interest include presentations on business strategy and planning, leadership and management, marketing, sales and public relations, business financing, procurement, and human resources management. Presenters include some of Colorado's most experienced speakers, as well as knowledge experts from commerce, and from state, local and federal agencies.

A highlight of this year's In Good Company conference will be "Matchmaker Madness," a unique opportunity to bring women business owners face-to-face with corporate buyers to facilitate buyer-supplier relationships. The matchmaker event is sponsored by WBEC-West, the regional partner of the Women's Business Enterprise National Council. The goal of the activity is to establish connections between qualified women business owners and buyers from corporations and government agencies seeking diverse suppliers through a series of one-to-one meetings.

Also available to conference attendees will be individual counseling by SCORE counselors. SCORE is a resource partner with the SBA, and is dedicated to helping individuals start, and operate a successful small business. Working and retired executives plus small business owners will offer advice in one-on-one counseling sessions to interested women business owners at the conference.

"We're very excited about co-hosting the 2007 In Good Company Conference," said Patricia Barela Rivera, SBA Colorado District director. "Our goal is to foster a robust business environment for female entrepreneurs and, in turn, to promote a stronger Colorado economy for all businesses. This conference is an excellent way for women business owners to both enhance their own business skills and get access to resources that can help them grow their businesses."

The 2007 conference, fully titled "In Good Company - Strategies and Tactics for Entrepreneurial Women," is the second conference co-sponsored by the SBA and NAWBO. The two organizations have a long history of collaboration on both the local and national level.

For more information about the conference, phone (888) 483-0171, or visit www.NawboDenver.com/InGoodCompany.



Cards of Thanks

1st Platoon

Unit 314, 1st Platoon of the United States Marine Corps, wishes to thank the people of Pagosa Springs, whose Christmas remembrances and letters made this season away from home and family less lonely for them.

Your kind gestures will be forever remembered and appreciated.

A special thank you to Jann Pitcher, Joanne Irons, Jeff Fortney, the Rotarians and The Edge for their unique contributions.

Your continued prayers for the 1st Platoon's safe return home is requested.

The Lomasney Family on behalf of Lance Corporal Samuel Lomasney


Sports Page

Pirate girls' basketball resumes play tonight

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate varsity girls' basketball team will come back from the Christmas break to face Alamosa tonight, after getting off to a 5-3 start in non-league play.

The Pirates started their season at the beginning of December with a win against Buena Vista, followed the next day by a loss to Salida. But they were undefeated the next weekend as they beat Gunnison, Cortez and Buena Vista to convincingly win the Wolf Creek Classic tournament in Pagosa Springs - after which seniors Jessica Lynch and Kristen DuCharme were honored by being selected to the all-tournament team.

The team competed in a 4A tournament the next week in Montrose, against larger schools, losing two of three games - though Lynch was a significant scoring threat (with 51 points in the three games) and was selected to the all-tournament team, despite the size of the competition.

Lynch leads the Pirates in scoring this season with 125 points, averaging 15.6 points per game.

After the Montrose losses, the Pirates dropped out of the Class 3A Top-10 ranking, as reported by Colorado Preps.

But it is league play that will count toward the Pirates' playoff hopes, and the team will warm up to the start of league play, beginning with Centauri Jan. 19 at home, with games against Alamosa tonight and Kirtland Central Friday, Jan. 12, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, the latter at home.

Both Alamosa and Kirtland Central are larger schools.

Senior Samantha Harris will return for the league season this month, after her recovery from a torn ligament in her knee, to join seniors Lynch, DuCharme and Lyndsey Mackey, along with junior Camille Rand.

The Pirates can clinch a playoff birth by winning the regular-season Intermountain League title outright, with games against Centauri, Monte Vista, Bayfield and Ignacio, or by advancing through the district tournament. Non-league games (such as the one against Alamosa tonight) could impact the playoff seeding if teams finish league play tied. Non-league wins could also help the Pirates claim a higher seed in post-district playoffs, which would give them easier opponents in the first rounds.

The Pirates tip off against Alamosa at 7 p.m. tonight in the high school gymnasium.


Unbeaten Pirates prepare for second half of season

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Boys' varsity basketball came back from the winter holiday this week, after beginning the season with an eight-game winning streak, only to face two weeks of practice before its first 2007 game against Kirtland, next Friday.

After an overtime win against Buena Vista, the first game of the season, the Pirates have won a string of games by significant margins - leading to a tournament championship at the Wolf Creek Classic and victories over larger schools like Farmington, Aztec and Alamosa.

With their 8-0 record, the Pirates will enter January play ranked No. 2 in the state, as rated by Colorado Preps, one step behind Faith Christian (also undefeated).

After warming up with games against Kirtland and Farmington, the Pirates will begin league competition Jan. 19 against Centauri, in a doubleheader with the girls' team. They will then go on to play Monte Vista, Bayfield and Ignacio - meeting each league rival twice to determine the Intermountain League championship.

The regular season will be followed by the district tournament and state playoffs (for the league champion and the other top-finisher at the district tournament). Though a playoff birth will be determined by league or district tournament play, the Pirates' non-league wins could help them claim a higher seed during the playoffs. To begin the playoffs, the stronger, high-seeded teams are slated to face weaker, low-seeded teams in the bracket.

The Pirates have been successful so far this season because of a balanced attack of eight seniors. Repeatedly, during early-season games, multiple players have reached or neared double digits in scoring.

So far this season, forward Caleb Ormonde has led the Pirates with 106 points this season, averaging 13.3 per game - followed closely by guard Jordan Shaffer with 97 points (12.1 per game).

The Pirates have also been carried by Adam Trujillo's intense all-around athleticism, Kerry Joe Hilsabeck's iconic point guard play and James Martinez' steady shooting.

Pagosa will go for nine straight wins next Friday against Kirtland, in an away game, beginning at 7 p.m. They will return home the next day for a rematch against Farmington, which will also start at 7 p.m.


Pirate wrestlers at home tomorrow, Saturday

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Pirate wrestlers take to the mats tomorrow night to begin the post-holiday portion of this year's schedule.

Action tomorrow follows a short week of practice, coming on the heels of a lengthy holiday break.

This year's team is young and many of those athletes who are upper classmen are relatively inexperienced. This weekend's action should provide members of the team with a formidable array of tests that help them continue with the progress they showed prior to their vacations.

Tomorrow night, the Pirates host the Rocky Mountain Duals, with three New Mexico teams participating at the PSHS gym.

None of the three New Mexico squads is a stranger to Pagosa. Espanola Valley, Taos and Bloomfield have each traveled here in the past to battle in duals and at the Rocky Mountain Invitational.

"From what I've heard," said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky, "Bloomfield will have a full team, or close to it." The Pirates could be a lot closer to fielding a full team than they were in a dual meet against Centauri just before the holiday break - perhaps lacking a 189-pounder or a fighter at 215 this weekend.

Janowsky said he expects his team to dual each of the visiting teams Friday night. The event begins at 6 p.m. The Pirates were 4-2 in duals prior to the recent holiday layoff.

Saturday, the annual Rocky Mountain Invitational will feature 16 teams.

Last season, Pagosa took third place in the field at the Rocky. In 2005, Pagosa placed second.

"What I'm really looking for this year," said the coach, "is for some good individual performances to provide us with momentum."

Another thing Janowsky is looking for from his youngsters is endurance. Since the tourney features wrestling down to eighth place, athletes will get their fair share of matches. "I want to see them get a lot of six-minute matches," said the coach. "One of the markers for success is guys staying in the match. The longer you hang in there, the more opportunities you have to work. This is something our guys need to do to take the step up to being legitimate varsity wrestlers."

Pagosa will remain without the services of Steven Smith, who broke his thumb at the Warrior Invitational prior to Christmas vacation. Janowsky said the sophomore's hand is in a cast and added "worst-case scenario, we expect him back by the end of January."

Action at the Rocky Mountain Invitational, in the PSHS gym, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.


Pagosa Springs Recreation

Youth basketball season approaching

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

Registration for the upcoming 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball seasons has ended and the assessments for these age brackets were held this week.

Players will be drafted on to teams by early next week, and schedules for both leagues will be finalized by the end of next week.

Games in the 9-10 division are tentatively scheduled to be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, while it is hoped games in the 11-12 division can be slated for Mondays and Wednesdays.

However, in order to facilitate the busy schedule resulting from the record number of participants this year, game days will ultimately be determined according to the amount of gym time available at the Pagosa Springs Community Center in the coming months.

The recreation department is in need of game officials for the 11-12 division and would like to hear from anyone with a general knowledge of basketball rules who is interested in officiating in this year's league. Pay scale ranges from $12-$15 per game depending on experience.

If interested, contact Andy Rice at 264-4151, Ext. 231, or Tom Carosello at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Christmas tree recycling

The town will once again conduct a Christmas tree recycling program.

Trees can be dropped off at the designated site at South Pagosa Park any time between now and the middle of February. Look for the snow fencing surrounding the drop-off area and the signs posted just off of South Eighth Street.

Please remove all ornaments and trimmings before leaving your tree. Trees will be mulched, and the mulch will be distributed to planting areas in the town's parks.

Youth basketball photos

Parents and coaches who ordered youth basketball photos for the 7-8 season can contact Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography at 264-3686 to check the status of orders.

The recreation department will provide plaques to sponsors who have not yet received them as soon as the remainder of team photos becomes available.

Skate pond open

The skate pond at the River Center is open.

Resurfacing efforts will 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 evenings, the lights will be on, and skating will be available from dawn until 10 p.m. Please observe any posted changes to this schedule on the signboard 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.

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.



Our empty s(h)elves

A recent situation leads us to consider how tenuous our existence is in this "most beautiful part of the world." The incident is best conveyed by the image of empty grocery store cases. The problem: A blizzard on the Front Range, one that prevented food delivery trucks from making appointed rounds.

We are, quite clearly, dependent on others for our food; a breakdown elsewhere means a breakdown here. The local environment does not have the carrying capacity to support our population, much less one that will swell with anticipated growth - perhaps only a tenth of the current population, with a hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

We then ponder our situation (and that of nearly every other American) with regard to the electricity that flows to our homes and businesses, in order to further illuminate our situation. We reflect on our sources of fuels and the sources of the money that fertilizes our local economy. And we more clearly understand our interdependence, and recognize the imperative that we adopt behaviors that reflect that understanding and strengthen our cooperation.

Unfortunately, our social and political discourse is stained by a lack of civility, by hypocrisy and a willingness to ignore fact in favor of fantasy that confirms prejudices. Too many of us prefer that which excites passions and impatiently renders that which is complex and ambiguous simple. Despite altered political currents flowing from the last election, we see little reason to expect the discourse will change much in the new year.

Why? Because of the cartoonish "conservative versus liberal" dialogue that clutters airways, letters sections of newspapers, political party meetings and coffeeshop conversation? Because of talk show hosts, columnists and pundits of all stripes, at all levels, who continue to polarize the populace, to demonize the "opponent?" Divisions engendered by this dialogue are distressing, and ultimately destructive to our common interests. We have to change our tone. Disagreement and discussion are one thing - mean spirited interplay is another.

It's time for those who puff out their chests and issue righteous condemnations of political and personal opponents to tend their own gardens first. It's time for those who find joy in the downfall and disgrace of others, and who condemn those whose mistakes could easily have been their own, to reflect on their own behaviors. We are all of us at times weak, at times lacking in judgment. And, yet, we must depend on one another.

This puts us in mind of a recent phone call that captures the problem. The caller was irate, angry her anonymous letter was not published in The SUN. While a lack of signature guarantees a letter will not be printed in this paper, the letter also exceeded the 500-word limit, and contained statements of alleged "fact" that, when investigated (and responsible publications must investigate claims before conveying them), turned out to be false. The letter did not include a phone number for use in verification of authorship and details. It was noted the law defines libel as the printing of knowingly false statements, designed to harm the reputation of another, but the writer was undeterred. Her letter, had, after all, been distributed by other sources. When it was pointed out that a newspaper, or any vehicle that conveys libelous material, is equally liable for the offense and, if found guilty, is subject to payment for damages, the writer protested that her freedom of speech was being destroyed.

We do not have the freedom to libel or slander others, but the tendency has been reinforced by the base and irresponsible discourse that swirls around us. It has to stop.

The desire to do damage is too often greater than hunger for truth. The will to libel another is too often greater than the need to enter into factual and productive discourse, to cooperate.

Our shelves are emptying fast. We need to change.

Karl Isberg



Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 5, 1917

Last Friday morning when Wm. Dykes came out from town, where they had been two days, they built a fire in the kitchen range and repaired to the dining room to warm by the fireplace. Presently Mrs. Dyke signified her intention of going to the kitchen to prepare dinner when there was a regular Mt. Pelee explosion in the kitchen caused by compressed steam as a result of water frozen in the pipes. The range stove was blown to atoms and all the large kitchen windows reduced to small fragments. The "what might have been" part of the episode is not pleasant to contemplate.

For the fourth consecutive time Marie E. Egger has been appointed senate reporter of a Colorado legislature.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 8, 1932

An overheated stovepipe caused a small blaze in the ceiling of the Chromo school house yesterday morning. It was quickly discovered and extinguished at once, the damage being only nominal.

The board of county commissioners met in regular session Monday for the transaction of routine business, at which time they also set the scale of wages for county road work as follows: graderman, $4.00; cab driver, $3.50; team, $2.50; common laborer, $3.50; truck driver, $3.00.

Dr. Miskowiec has moved his office for the winter to the Hersch building, in the offices formerly occupied by the late Dr. A.J. Nossaman. He plans to move his family to the Armstrong cottage on upper Pagosa Street.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 3, 1957

The past year is sure to go down as one of the driest in the history of the county with a total precipitation of less than 14 inches of moisture. The Colorado year book gives the annual average precipitation for Pagosa Springs as approximately 23 inches. This past year there was only 13.30 inches of moisture for the entire year. One third of this, 4.49 inches, fell in January. The Colorado year book also gives as the average annual snowfall here in town, 73.2 inches. This past year did not approach.

Members of The American Legion post met Sunday at the pond belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Kelly Dickerson, owners of the San Juan Motel, and cleaned and flooded the pond for skating.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 7, 1982

28.3 inches of snow have fallen in town since December 31. National Weather Service is forecasting clear and warmer through Sunday with a possible storm front entering this area after Sunday.

Wolf Creek Ski Area hosted a record 16,000 people between December 20 and January 1. The influx of people kept local motels, restaurants and ski rental shops busy. The snow depth at midway was 98 inches on Wednesday of this week.

The Pagosa Springs Town Board opened 1982 with a 4-hour session Monday night. They adopted a change in the water ordinance, reviewed several proposed traffic changes, accepted a bid for geothermal retrofitting of Town Hall, and other business.



More than an Outdoor Club

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Every year health-oriented New Year's resolutions fall beneath the burdens of modern life - time constraints, easy temptations and apparent conveniences.

But for Pagosans who are resolute in a desire to get out and exercise their muscular and skeletal systems, there is a local group of over 300 members - the San Juan Outdoor Club - which can provide opportunities to be active in the great outdoors, along with encouraging friendships and the fulfillment found in doing good for the community.

David and Shirley Hunter are in charge of the San Juan Outdoor Club's activities calendar, which they will present to current and potential members this evening at the community center. David Hunter said this year's calendar is the "most aggressive schedule we've had" - aggressive in the sense that it provides more offerings, with a variety of activities (of varying levels of difficulty) and fun getaways.

Though the San Juan Outdoor Club's calendar will be added to throughout the year, the current schedule includes weekly cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trips, which will become walks and hikes when the snow melts; trips to Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, the Green River, Devil's Tower, and a Shakespeare Festival in Utah - all before summer's end; and perennial Pagosa outdoor events like climbing the prominent area peaks. The schedule also includes the club's monthly meeting, on the first Thursday of every month, and quarterly pot-lucks.

Hunter said he hopes the new calendar will make participation even stronger by helping members plan for the new year and drumming up excitement.

There is a minimal membership fee of $20 per year for a couple and $15 per year for an individual to take part in club outings and get-togethers.

According to longtime member and past president Dalas Weisz, the San Juan Outdoor Club was founded as a cross-country skiing club and evolved to incorporate its wide variety of outdoor activities, along with educational programs, a newsletter and philanthropic work.

Now, according to 2007 president Bob Harrington, a goal of the club is to "try to get more people involved in activities."

Once made up primarily of seniors interested in weekday activities, the club has diversified its offerings to include weekend activities for a growing membership that cannot always get away during the work week.

According to two-time president Sue Passant, the club's diversification of activities and scheduling has resulted in its substantial membership, of over 300, despite its humble beginnings as a Nordic skiing club.

Whether you enjoy the outdoors at a leisurely pace or press unyieldingly to the tops of peaks, any outdoor activity could potentially be a part of the San Juan Outdoor Club's calendar, depending on the leadership of members. "We look for members to be involved and lead activities," said Weisz.

Fred Reese, president of the club in 2006, listed an eclectic selection of activities members have enjoyed in past years - including a houseboat getaway on Lake Powell, annual December sleigh rides and scenic train rides, along with iconic hikes and ski-trips.

The San Juan Outdoor Club is not solely about physical exertion. In the tradition of conservationists like Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopald and John Muir, the club balances physical activity with intellectual excursions.

According to Passant, members learn to appreciate the natural environment in "a different way," not as conquerors but as conservationists. Many of the programs at the monthly meetings educate members about the environment and their relationship to it.

Reese said the educational programs last year included presentations on the lynx reintroduction, fly fishing, survival tips and preparedness, avalanche safety and Colorado Wild.

As an example of responsible use of our natural resources, members are encouraged to purchase a Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue (CORSAR) Card, formerly known as the Colorado Hiking certificate, which costs a mere $3 annually or $12 for five years. The revenue from the cards goes to reimburse the costs of search and rescue missions.

With its activities and meetings, Passant said the club is an excellent opportunity for newcomers to become acquainted with the area and people in the community.

Since the club draws people with similar interests, "there is never a lack of conversation" said Passant. "The camaraderie and friendships that are made in the club are wonderful," she said.

Passant said she feels she could contact anyone in the club, which she called an "extended family," and they would help her if she needed it.

Harrington described the club as having a similar social impact on him - making it possible for him to know many people throughout the community, though he moved to Pagosa in 2001 knowing no one.

To encourage new members, the San Juan Outdoor Club may begin to hold quarterly lunches for newcomers, in order to help them meet other participants and get involved, said Harrington.

The club prints a monthly newsletter to keep members informed and involved. Each edition, prepared by Paula Bain, includes narratives of excursions, biographies of members, calendars and numerous color photos of events. Pagosans can also hear Weisz or Passant discuss upcoming activities on KWUF on the Tuesday before every monthly meeting.

Weisz said the club is successful at providing a social outlet for members of the community through various outdoor activities, while supporting the community through donations to a variety of charities and college scholarships.

According to Reese, the group donated $1,500 to search and rescue agencies in Archuleta County, split equally between the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue and the Mounted Search and Rescue. The club hopes to continue to support the volunteer organizations in years to come.

Harrington organizes the San Juan Outdoor Club's participation in Relay for Life, an annual Pagosa walk-a-thon in support of the American Cancer Society. About 20 members of the club participated in the 2006 Relay for Life, raising nearly $5,500 - which was almost double the funds raised in 2005.

In addition, last year the club funded five $1,000 college scholarships to graduating high school seniors - much of the money coming from the club's annual ski and sports swap in October, according to Weisz.

Because of the club's growth, it has been able to increase the number of scholarships awarded, from three to five.

Raffles are held at every monthly meeting, said Harrington, raising between $100 to $300 per meeting to fund the scholarship fund, in addition to the ski and sport swap.

Harrington said the club hopes to raise more money for organizations and scholarships in future years.

The club also does targeted community projects. For example, it helped fund the construction of a climbing wall in the elementary school, said Passant.

Because of their community service, the San Juan Outdoor Club has "a lot of plaques but no place to put them up," Harrington joked, since the club does not have its own building. There is no building project in the future, since the club is an institution that relies on numerous staging grounds, while keeping costs down and using revenues to fund its primary purposes - outdoor activities and community service.

The San Juan Outdoor Club is joining with five other Nordic clubs, including groups in Creede, Monte Vista, Durango, Bayfield and Pagosa's own Grey Wolves, to award a plaque of its own later this month - honoring Wolf Creek Ski Area for grooming a cross-country ski trail.

The developers of the proposed village at Wolf Creek had allowed Wolf Creek Ski Area to groom a trail on village property, until this year, when they decided to end the grooming, citing liability concerns.

It is quite possible that the San Juan Club has the ability to aid members of the Pagosa Springs community in a variety of New Year's resolutions, involving personal health and growth or community development and enrichment.

The San Juan Outdoor Club will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the community center. A social hour will begin the evening, followed by the meeting and program, in which the new calendar will be supplied and presented to attendees. Newcomers are encouraged to attend.


Pagosa's Past

Jicarilla Apache begin to develop an economy

By John M. Motter

Sun Columnist

Finally, after a bitter struggle, the Jicarilla Apache ridded themselves of agent Christian F. Stollsteimer. Through other government agents who helped them, the Jicarilla were able to show that Stollsteimer was robbing and cheating them.

Indian agents who stole from and cheated their wards was an all too common occurrence during the early days of reservation development. Unfortunately for the Jicarilla, Stollsteimer was well-connected politically and managed to obtain, in 1889, the position of clerk for the Jicarilla Agency.

Information for this series of articles is taken from a book titled "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970," written by Dr. Veronica E. Velarde Tiller, the first Jicarilla to earn a Ph.D. and herself descended from a long line of Jicarilla leaders. Many books have been written about the Jicarilla. I have chosen Tiller's book because I think examining history from the Indian viewpoint might give us all something to think about. It at least moves us away from the Manifest Destiny (WASP) viewpoints common to other histories written during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Tiller attempts to be fair. From her history we read the following: "Not all government officials were corrupt. There were actually a number of agents and inspectors who recognized at an early date that the Jicarilla land was not fit for agriculture. One such person was Special Agent S.L. Taggart, who proposed an alternative to farming that would start the Jicarilla on the road to economic independence. There were two resources in abundance on the reservation: pine timber and excellent grazing lands. On the basis of conversations with Jicarilla leaders, Taggart was certain that all the Jicarilla would be willing to waive their rights to timber, on both allotted and unallotted lands, which could be cut and sold, with proceeds going into a common fund. This would give the Jicarilla the necessary funds to purchase livestock, and thus to use their grazing lands to good advantage."

Another agent by the name of W.J. McDonnell agreed with Taggart, but came up with an additional proposal.

McDonnell felt that, because of the harsh winters and the inability to raise food, a southern range was necessary to insure success for the livestock plan. Like the requests to buy out settlers squatting on arable reservation lands, these suggestions received little attention from the Indian office.

Meanwhile, the Jicarilla subsisted on meager rations because they experienced crop failures. Some even left the reservation because they feared starvation.

Finally, on Aug. 15, 1894, Congress passed an Act enabling the Jicarilla to sell $20,000 worth of timber to raise money for the purchase of livestock. Agent John L. Bullis of the Jicarilla Sub Agency was authorized to sell that amount of timber from unallotted lands.

Advertisements for bids went out, but received no response. Bullis discovered that the best timber grew on allotted lands. Timber on unallotted lands was so sparse and scattered that it would not be profitable for anyone to harvest it. Another problem was the 12-month limit set by the Indian Office for cutting and removing the timber. When no bids were received the time was extended to 18 months, another failure. The time required to make roads and other preparations made fulfillment of any contracts impossible.

Concerned tribal leaders presented a petition to the Indian Office noting that the tribe was willing to cut timber from allotted lands without regard to who owned the allotment. The proceeds would be placed in a common fund. Livestock would be purchased and distributed for everyone on a common basis. While this solution was being discussed, high winds, lightning, and fire destroyed some of the timber making the project less attractive to contractors.

More next week on Jicarilla Apache efforts to develop an economy to support themselves on their northern New Mexico reservation.


Pagosa Sky Watch

Orion reigns supreme in winter sky

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

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

Sunrise: 7:22 a.m.

Sunset: 5:04 p.m.

Moonrise: 6:17 p.m.

Moonset: 9:09 a.m. Jan. 5

Moon phase: The moon is waning gibbous with 98 percent of the visible disk illuminated.

Navigating the night sky is like route finding anywhere. First, you learn to identify a few basic landmarks and then use those landmarks to extend your explorations farther and farther afield.

Last week we looked at Polaris and it's parent constellation Ursa Minor as two such landmarks, and there's no denying their value both for terrestrial and celestial navigation. However, during the winter months, one constellation reigns supreme and its easily recognizable shape provides a perfect springboard from which to leap off to other celestial destinations. That constellation is Orion, and this week we'll use the great hunter to locate a seasonal asterism - the Winter Triangle - and two of its three parent constellations.

Throughout the winter, Orion creeps from below the eastern horizon just after sunset, and as the evening progresses, the hunter, brandishing his club and shield, makes a steady march high across the dome of the night sky. Tonight, the hunter will clear the eastern horizon by 6 p.m. With its vast size and bright stars, including Betelgeuse, Rigel and the three telltale stars marking the hunter's belt, Orion is one of the most widely recognized and easily identifiable constellations. To locate the constellation this evening, look for the three, vertically oriented belt stars, due east in the sky and just after sunset.

With Orion located, stargazers can tour the constellation, noting the belt stars, and just below them and slightly to the left, the Orion Nebula, marking the hunter's sword. (The Orion Nebula is a fantastic destination for those viewing with binoculars or a telescope.) Moving upward from the sword, past the belt and to a point roughly marking the hunter's left shoulder, stargazers will find one of the night sky's brightest stars and the first point in the Winter Triangle asterism - the bold, burnt-orange Betelgeuse.

Astronomers estimate Betelgeuse is about 500 times the size of our own sun. Because of it's tremendous mass, the star is unstable and is prone to erratic fluctuations in size and variations in magnitude ranging from 0.0 to 1.3. Despite the fluctuations, the star's average magnitude hovers around 0.5, making Betelgeuse the twelfth brightest star in the sky.

Although Betelgeuse and Orion are both visible by early evening, skywatchers will need to wait for the other points of the asterism - Procyon in Canis Minor, and Sirius in Canis Major - to climb above the horizon. By 9 p.m. both stars will be clearly visible and stargazers can trace the Winter Triangle in its entirety.

Beginning at the now familiar Betelgeuse, visualize a nearly equilateral triangle extending eastward (left) and slightly downward, with one arm of the triangle extending toward the nearly full moon, the other down toward the horizon.

Moving in a clockwise fashion around the asterism, the next destination after Betelgeuse is the brilliant white star Sirius.

Sirius is the alpha star of the constellation Canis Major and, at magnitude -1.44, is the brightest star in the sky. Although contemporary skywatchers informally call it the Dog Star, prominent Sirius has played a significant role throughout much of human history - the star is included inclusion in countless myths and legends, and the Egyptians based their calendar on its yearly motion around the sky.

Moving clockwise to the final star in the asterism and at a distance roughly equal to the distance between Betelgeuse and Sirius, skywatchers will find Procyon, the alpha star of the constellation Canis Minor. Although not as bright as its companion star Sirius, Procyon, burning a yellowish-white, still ranks among the sky's top ten brightest stars. And at magnitude 0.40, Procyon is the eighth brightest star in the sky.

Together, the constellations Canis Major and Canis Minor represent Orion's two hunting dogs.

From Procyon, stargazers can complete the tour of the Winter Triangle by shifting their gaze back to Betelgeuse and its parent constellation Orion.

Despite the nearly full moon, Sirius, Procyon and Betelgeuse should remain visible throughout the evening. However, tracing the outlines of Canis Major and Canis Minor may prove problematic through much of the week due to moonlight. Nevertheless, as the moon gradually wanes, stargazers can revisit Orion and the Winter Triangle, using the asterism as a launchpad for further dark sky explorations of Orion and his two hunting dogs, Canis Major and Canis Minor.







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