March 1, 2007

Front Page

'Moratorium' ... a four letter word?

By James Robinson
Staff Writer
Key county personnel, members of the county planning commission and the board of county commissioners met in a special work session Tuesday at the courthouse to explore the possibility of imposing a six-month moratorium on applications for new major subdivisions and planned unit developments (PUDs).
Archuleta County Commissioner Bob Moomaw facilitated the discussion.
Under the proposal, major subdivisions and PUDs already in the planning process would continue, while new applications for the same would be put on hold until the moratorium expires. During the moratorium, planning staff would continue to process minor subdivision applications.
Moomaw said since adoption and implementation of the code in May 2006, "obvious problems" had developed.
"There are holes in the regulations we need to deal with," Moomaw said.
Moomaw explained the document is difficult to read and understand, and in some cases lacks key definitions, or is vague.
The Archuleta Planning Commission has also been struggling with the regulations and has cited inconsistencies between the new land use code and the Archuleta County Community Plan, documents planners and planning commissioners use in conjunction to make land use decisions.
The frustration drove Planning Commission Chair Larry Garcia and fellow commissioners Lesli Allison and Cary Brown to the Feb. 20 board of county commissioners meeting where they requested that a concerted effort be made to update the community plan.
Since the code's adoption in May, the board of county commissioners has been addressing issues piecemeal as they arise. For example, during the Feb. 20 board of county commissioners meeting, the board adopted a newly-written section dealing with uses-by-right that Moomaw said had been left out of the code.
"We're doing small amendments as we go and it's hit and miss," County Attorney Teresa Williams said.
Moomaw said shortcomings in the new code, coupled with an outdated community plan - adopted in May 2001 - significant and key planning staff turnovers, a lack of a planning director and a number of issues such as oil and gas permitting, big box regulations, adoption of impact fees, and three large and arguably complex PUD proposals were putting tremendous pressures on planning staff and the planning commission.
"There are a number of things in planning that make it very difficult to handle issues that are coming down the pike," Moomaw said.
And planning commissioner Brown concurred.
"Part of the problem is this planning staff is up to their eyeballs right now," Brown said.
The county planning department is currently staffed by three associate planners and lacks a director. Archuleta County Administrator Bob Campbell is serving as the acting director while staff conduct a search to replace former Director of County Development Blair Leist, who resigned May 2006.
Campbell recently took the reins from Williams, who led the department following senior planner and interim planing director David Alvord's departure. Campbell said Alvord resigned in December 2006.
But planning department staffing woes go deeper than 2006. The months between May 2005 and August 2005 marked a period of staffing upheaval, and the embattled department suffered resignations of four key staffers. During that time, interim county administrator Kathy Holthus also resigned and later in the year, the county suffered the departure of their attorneys, Goldman, Robbins, Rogers P.C.
But with development proposals on the rise and a new land use code, it is more than just planning staff that has felt the heat.
On Feb. 14, planning commissioners faced TreeTops' request for preliminary plan approval of its planned unit development on Piedra Road - the first PUD under the new regulations - but the commissioners struggled with reconciling the developer's request against the conflicting guidelines of the land use code and the community plan.
"This (TreeTops) was the first major one we dealt with and we were grappling," Brown said.
For example, section one of the code states that the land use regulations should implement the policies of the 2001 community plan. Furthermore, it states that when a development proposal is in substantial conflict with the community plan, the plan must be amended prior to any zoning or subdivision approvals for the development proposal.
The community plan's future land use map indicates the proposed TreeTops parcel as a medium density residential area with two to five acre lots, and during the Feb. 14 hearing, Garcia struggled with the incongruities of the two documents.
"When I look at the community plan, does this really meet our requirements? Because when I look at our code, it doesn't," Garcia said during the preliminary plan hearing.
TreeTops architect and lead designer Dan Burkhardt countered Garcia and argued that the project is in close compatibility with the community plan.
As proposed, TreeTops is slated for 176 dwelling units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space in a 13-tract mixed use development on two parcels totaling 52.3 acres. The project incorporates a variety of housing types: single-family attached townhomes, single-family detached cottages, single family mixed use condominiums and multi-family apartments. Both parcels are zoned Agricultural Estate, and are bordered on the north and south by property zoned Agricultural Estate, on the east by Piedra Road and U.S. Forest Service land zoned Agriculture Forestry, and on the west by property zoned Agriculture Ranching.
Archuleta County Planner Jason Peasley administratively approved the TreeTops sketch plan July 26, 2006, which meant the sketch plan did not go before the county planning commission nor the duly-noticed public until the preliminary hearing Feb. 14.
Campbell and Peasley said an administrative approval at sketch plan is business as usual. And section two and four of the land use code allow administrative approvals at the sketch plan phase.
However, in retrospect, and after the Feb. 14 hearing, Peasley said he would have done things differently.
"In hindsight, it would have been appropriate to take it before the planning commission," Peasley said.
During the Feb. 14 preliminary plan hearing, commissioners Brown and Allison struggled with density issues and TreeTops omission of technical data that is required by the land use code in a PUD preliminary plan approval application.
On Wednesday, Allison reiterated her frustration and said the code needed density guidelines, and she bemoaned inaccuracies in land use maps found in the community plan.
"When you read that and this (Allison pointed to the land use code then the community plan) we almost can't approve anything. As a commissioner, I can't know how to make decisions. We're just winging it," she said, and she pointed to spot zoning as an example.
"The code says 'no spot zoning,' but approving a zoning change is essentially spot zoning," she said.
Planning commissioner Judith Reilly agreed.
"We're effectively creating this process of master planning on a case-by-case basis," Reilly said.
Rezoning is a mandatory part of the PUD approval process, and a PUD cannot be approved if the rezone request is denied.
Planning commission chair Larry Garcia said, "There's just too many holes in our decision making process." And he listed a number of concerns - no planning director, an outdated community plan, big box issues and three large PUDs already in the planning stages.
"We are reactionary right now. We need to be proactive, and we need to get our ducks in a row. We are a community and I don't want to have a developer dictating what they're going to do in my community without going through a public process," Garcia said.
In addition to TreeTops, planning staff, the planning commission and the board of county commissioners is facing two more large PUD applications - Blue Sky Village, a 187-unit project slated for a 96-acre parcel on south U.S. 84, and Square Top, a 1,700 acre, 300-unit development also in the south U.S. 84 area.
During the work session, planning staff, planning commissioners and the board generally agreed overhauling the community plan would be too much to tackle during a six month moratorium. However, completing a comprehensive revision to the land use code was something the group believed was feasible.
"I've been involved in this for a long time," Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday said, "and six months will not give the county enough time to make the necessary changes."
And Williams agreed.
"I don't think it (the community plan) can be easily fixed in six months. We can fix the land use code with staff, and revise the code so it's readable. They (planning staff) are well versed in what the problems are, in what needs to be attacked," she said.
Archuleta County Planner Cindy Schultz supported Williams assertion.
"Time on a moratorium could be best used on finishing the land use code," Schultz said.
Generally speaking, community or comprehensive planning takes about a year, requires the recruitment of outside consultants and numerous duly-noticed public meetings.
Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro suggested bringing in an outside consultant to do the necessary work rather than imposing a moratorium, but Campbell said the 2007 budget was tight, and that funds weren't available to hire temporary help.
And Williams and Schultz said using the county's current planning staff to revise the code would be far more efficient and effective.
Both Zaday and Schiro remained unenthusiastic and reluctant to impose a moratorium.
Campbell suggested that if the board decides to follow through on imposition of a moratorium, perhaps the best tack would involve shuffling staff to undertake the revision, while charging the remaining staffer with moving minor subdivision applications and the three PUDs through the planning process.
"Defining the scope of what you want to accomplish in the six months is critical," Campbell told the board.
Tim Horning and Steve Potter attended the meeting and expressed concern that a moratorium would adversely affect the building community.
"Don't penalize the market place because of staff turnover. I think it's an economic impact to shut down development. If it's a staffing issue, solve the staffing issue," Horning said.
But Moomaw countered that Archuleta County had plenty of unbuilt lots that could keep builders and other facets of the industry operational throughout the duration of the moratorium.
"In Archuleta County, there are literally thousands of lots that have been platted but haven't been built on," Moomaw said, and he estimated the number at 3,000 to 4,000.
In addition, TreeTops, Blue Sky Village and Square Top when finally approved could add another 700 units and about 300,000 square feet of commercial space to the mix, while town documents indicate another 900 units in the planning cue, with 231 already approved.
Questions remain.
Will a six month moratorium on large subdivisions and PUDs hamper the area's economy? Or, are there enough lots to keep the county's economic engine running until the moratorium expires? Is there a pressing need to bring more lots, subdivisions and PUDs to the fore.
That question was posed to the planning commission during the Feb. 14 TreeTops hearing, and planning commissioner Ron Chacey brushed it aside.
Enter the land use code, section one.
"It shall be the duty of the Planning Commission to discourage the subdividing of lands that are far in advance of the need of the county ..."
"Everyone acknowledges the problem is there, but how do we solve the problem," Moomaw said.
The board of county commissioners, planning commissioners and county staff will explore planning issues and the updating of the community plan at 5 p.m., March 14 in the board of county commissioners meeting room at the courthouse.
"Development is not a four letter word," Brown said. And Potter finished Brown's sentence, "But moratorium is."

Three teens arrested for burglaries

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

Three Pagosa youngsters, ranging in age from 13 to 17, have been arrested and charged in connection with four burglaries and one fire that occurred Jan. 7 on Rainbow Road, in the lower Blanco area.
Two of the suspects were charged with four counts of burglary and one count of arson; the third suspect was charged with one count of burglary.
The Pagosa Fire Protection District responded to a shed fire on Rainbow Road Jan. 7, which was later determined to be the result of arson. Responders noticed that an adjacent house had been broken into, said Detective Sgt. Carl Smith of the sheriff's department.
A week later, a witness connected the juvenile suspects to the incident, and interviews conducted by Detective Richard Valdez produced information that three other houses had been broken into in the same area, on the same day.
One of the break-ins was confirmed immediately, but confirmation of the other two burglaries was delayed because snow prevented entry, said Smith.
According to Smith, the houses sustained structural damage from the break-ins, and two of the houses were severely ransacked. The homes belonged to "snowbirds," who have provided lists of items in the homes to the sheriff's department, in order to aid the investigation.
The stolen items included stereo equipment, clothing and alcohol, and the fire destroyed a motorcycle, as well as the structure, said Smith.
The first two suspects were arrested Feb. 9, and the third was arrested last Friday, Feb. 23.
The juveniles were remanded to house arrest until their first appearances in 6th District Court in Durango.

Hunters, cops consider shooting range

By Chuck McGuire
Staff Writer
As the human populations of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County invariably swell, some are again asking a question often pondered before, "Do we need a sanctioned shooting range where hunters can safely sight in their weapons?"
Until recently the general consensus was, probably not. After all, many believe the community has managed just fine in the past, with gun owners simply wandering into the nearby forest, setting up targets to their liking and firing away.
But Tuesday night at the Extension Building, a group of approximately 30 involved citizens came together to consider the matter again. This time, representatives of the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Wildlife Commission, Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW), state patrol, county sheriff's office, town police department, and five outdoor environmental/hunting groups, unanimously agreed now is finally the time.
Several factors seem to support the assembly's concerted affirmation, all of which came to light in the first few minutes of discussion. Perhaps foremost among them, was the realization that more people living in the area has led to increased year-round recreational use within surrounding forests. This fundamental fact raises fear that dangerous conflicts might arise between casual low-impact users (such as hikers and birdwatchers) and those unwittingly discharging firearms outside specified hunting seasons.
"Dispersed shooting is a problem," said DOW officer Mike Reid, while describing a common scenario in which shooters without access to legitimate facilities will simply "sight in" high-powered rifles anywhere in the woods.
The practice is legal, but safety is a growing concern.
The dilemma appears most prevalent among hunters who wait until the final days before hunting season to determine the accuracy of their weapons. Though a vast majority of hunters are conscientious and well prepared, there are those who tend to shoot anything from road signs to tree limbs, without regard to backdrop or the proximity of others.
According to Reid and others at Tuesday's gathering, the reduced availability of suitable land and rising real estate prices also contribute to the feasibility of developing a range sooner, rather than later.
Talk revolved around recent developments, the many now before various planning commissions, and the concern with shrinking open space to act as a buffer between a developed range and residential subdivisions.
One participant commented, "Land will never get cheaper or more abundant."
At that point, the group switched its focus to finding an appropriate site. A handful of remote possibilities came up, though few solid leads actually materialized. A committee of six volunteers then agreed to contact various landowners, including governmental agencies, tribal leaders and a few ranchers, to see what alternatives might surface.
Meanwhile, various financing options were mentioned, but most attendees thought it premature to pursue grants or other funding opportunities until a site is secured.
Collectively, the crowd agreed that if the range becomes a reality, it should be available year-round, if possible, and always open to the general public. The DOW should assume responsibility for managing and insuring it, and it should be used as an educational tool for young shooters, law enforcement personnel and others needing certifications in the use of firearms.
With enthusiasm running high, another meeting was scheduled at the Extension Building for Tuesday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m. The Extension Building is located just south of Mill Creek Road, on the east side of U.S. 84. Anyone interested in the establishment of a public shooting range may attend.

Inside The Sun

Marketing Pagosa Country's major industry

By Chuck McGuire
Staff Writer

Tourism is a major industry in Pagosa Springs and its importance to the local economy is clear. The question is, how do we keep those tourist dollars rolling in?
The short answer? Marketing.
In April 2006, Pagosa Springs voters approved a ballot issue creating Ordinance 663, which added a 1.9-percent Lodgers' Tax to the existing 3-percent tax approved by voters the previous fall. As a result, visitors now pay a total lodging tax of 4.9 percent on top of the cost of an overnight stay within town limits.
According to the ordinance, short-term lodging facilities within the town, or those managed, contracted or leased by a person engaged in lodging within the town, are subject to the tax. Short-term stays are less than 30 days, and revenues derived shall be used for:
- Tourism and tourism-related marketing and capital improvements.
- Special events sponsored, funded or assisted by the town.
- Such other uses determined reasonable and necessary by the town council.
So, how much money are we talking, and where does it all go?
Based on town projections, its lodgers' tax should generate approximately $400,000 in annual revenue. Of course, actual amounts depend on several factors, including the overall economy and proper application of the tax by the various lodging facilities involved. Nevertheless, as the town collects the tax, the council must decide how best to apply it to marketing, and to accomplish that, it relies on the advice of the Town of Pagosa Springs Tourism Committee (TTC).
According to the town Web site, the TTC is a citizen's advisory committee, which makes specific recommendations to the council, relative to expenditures of the tax.
The TTC insures that all funding requests meet required criteria, and that they are appropriately marketed within the community theme. For TTC validation, they must also contain an inherent tourism element, with tourism defined as, "bringing visitors to our community for the purpose of increasing both lodging and sales tax revenues."
When asked what the 2007 TTC budget looked like, TTC chair Tony Gilbert provided a chart illustrating the "Tourism Tax Revenue/Expense Flow Stream."
In round numbers, the chart indicates how much money the town lodgers' tax will add to a reserve balance left over from 2006, how much the 1.9-percent county lodgers' tax will contribute to area marketing, and where all the money will go.
First, the $400,000 in anticipated 2007 tax revenues will be added to $150,000 in left over revenue from 2006. Another $20,000 in miscellaneous revenues will bring the total to $570,000. Of that amount, $115,000 will go directly to funding the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center. The remaining $455,000 will be divided as follows:
- $110,000 for reserves.
- $258,000 for direct marketing.
- $30,000 for capital improvements.
- $29,000 for special events.
- $25,000 for payroll.
- $3,000 for dues and seminars.
Gilbert's chart also reflects an estimated $50,000 in expected revenues from the county's lodgers' tax, all of which will go to the Visitor's Center. Add to that, the $115,000 from the TTC and another $20,000 in miscellaneous revenues, and the center will have approximately $185,000 in its 2007 budget.
The chart suggests $104,000 of the Visitor's Center's revenues will go toward payroll. Another $55,000 will cover building operations and expenses, and the remaining $26,000 will pay for center marketing materials. All told, after various costs, the TTC and Visitor's Center combined will spend in excess of $310,000 on direct tourism marketing this year.
Tourism is a broad term, but in all its implications, its importance to Pagosa Springs and the surrounding county is clear. In fact, the town of Pagosa Springs Web site says 30 percent of all jobs within town limits are tied to tourism. The Archuleta County Economic Development Association (ACEDA) suggests 63 percent of all direct-based jobs in the county are in tourism, and county statistics indicate that tourism is the area's number one industry.
As a tourist destination, the popularity of Pagosa Springs and its surroundings is not surprising. Of course, the community has established a multitude of events, activities and creature comforts over the years, but according to the ACEDA, "The natural environment, and the amenities it provides, are behind much of the growth and have become the larger region's chief economic asset."
But then, much the same can be said of many Colorado mountain communities. Therefore, the preservation of our natural environment is essential, but so is its use in the bona fide pitch to attract tourist dollars.

Nutrition night at the elementary school

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

Parents in Education (PIE) will sponsor a nutrition night at the elementary school tonight, which will include educational activities and games, and a healthy taco bar - all part of the school's week-long focus on nutrition.
While funded by PIE, the event has been facilitated by members of a group of parents concerned with nutrition in the schools, including Ronda Higby and Rita Harbur, who are co-chairs for the nutrition night. The nutrition group and PIE have cooperated with school and district staff to make the evening possible.
Higby said the goal of the evening "is to raise parents' awareness of easy and simple ways to boost their children's nutrition at home," while establishing a link between good nutrition and academic success.
Activities will include a storytelling corner, featuring a nutrition-focused book, and two active games. Servings at the taco bar will be staggered from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Nutrition night coincides with a larger nutrition week at the school, in which students have been exposed to nutrition-oriented books and projects at the school library, as well as the new FDA food pyramid.
The event is free to students and their families, but the nutrition group will attempt to raise money for a new salad-bar cart at the elementary school with a donation jar.
Superintendent Mark DeVoti, along with district food manager Charlotte Lee, made the decision at the beginning of April to buy the cart and implement the salad bar for fourth-graders.
Though the district committed to paying for the cost of the cart, the nutrition group is attempting to raise funds to reduce the expense. Crista Munro, co-founder of the group, said they have received donations from Pagosa's Junior Rotarians and PIE. Any donations from the nutrition night will add to the sum.
Nutrition night will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the elementary school.

Pradera Pointe gets commission nod

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

After three sketch plan hearings, town planning commissioners unanimously approved Pradera Pointe - a 119-lot proposed subdivision north of downtown Pagosa Springs.
Gazunga LLC, represented by developer Bill Herebic and Guiseppe Margiotta of Trinity Land Consultants, made their sketch plan case before the commission Jan. 9, and again Feb. 13, and both times came under fire from residents in adjacent subdivisions regarding the project's, density and potential road, wildlife, and view corridor impacts and compatibility with adjacent neighborhoods.
Tuesday's presentation showed another scaled back version - down to 119 lots from 122 - and slightly larger lot sizes. Plans also indicate the developer's removal of a series of lots in the southern section of the project area between Pagosa Hills Number Four and Crestview Estates that had previously drawn outcry from nearby residents.
Pradera Pointe is bordered by Crestview Estates, Pagosa Hills No. Three, Pagosa Hills No. Four, Pagosa Development and Pagosa Development No. Two. Cemetery Road marks a portion of the project's eastern boundary and a key access point for the subdivision.
When planning commissioners viewed the thrice-revised sketch plan, they offered little comment.
"I think they really worked hard to accommodate the neighbors as much as they can," planning commissioner Natalie Woodruff said.
And commissioner David Conrad added, "The open space is significantly improved, it's actually more than the adjacent neighborhoods."
Public comment was also markedly scant, aside from a potentially deal-breaking bomb dropped by Archuleta County Engineer Sue Walan.
Speaking for Archuleta County Director of Public Works Alan Zumwalt and County Administrator Bob Campbell, Walan said, "We are adamantly opposed to the access at Crestview and Rainbow Drive."
While Cemetery Road marks the first access point, Rainbow-Crestview marks the second, and town regulations require subdivisions to have two access points for approval.
Walan said, "The big issue is that the surrounding roads, Rainbow, Brookhill and Crestview are in truly deplorable condition at this point and more traffic would degrade them further. They really can't handle much more traffic."
Project Engineer Mike Davis and Margiotta said they were willing to work with the town and county on mitigating road concerns.
The commission unanimously approved the Pradera Pointe sketch plan with six conditions, including confirmation that the developer does, in fact, have access onto Rainbow Drive.
Pradera Pointe will go before the Pagosa Springs Town Council March 6 at 5 p.m. in town council chambers.

Police, sheriff departments cooperate on training

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Sheriff's Department and Pagosa Springs Police Department have entered into a memorandum of understanding to ensure effective training of new sheriff's deputies.
Under the agreement, certified training officers from the police department (officers Bill Rockensock and Gilbert Perales) will oversee and instruct new deputies. In addition, Deputy Tim Walter recently completed his own training to become a field training officer and will rotate with the police officers.
According to Undersheriff John Weiss, the training process requires three field training officers. A new deputy well spend a month with each of the three, then return for a fourth and final month with the first training officer.
The cooperation will also benefit the police department by giving its training officers additional experience, said Weiss. The training officers in the police department lack many opportunities to train new officers, since turnover is low at the police department.
"I want folks to know what a great relationship we have with the town police department," said Weiss. "We were in kind of a pinch and the town really came through for us."
Police Chief Don Volger said the agreement will benefit both agencies by building a stronger relationship between individual law enforcement agents and the departments in general.
Under the agreement, new officers and deputies from both departments will receive the same basic training.

Discount prescription drug program for county residents

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

With the help of the National Association of Counties, Archuleta County residents now have access to a discount prescription drug buying program.
Called the Caremark Prescription Drug Card Program, the free plan allows all county residents, regardless of age, income, insurance or financial status, access to discount prescription drugs when they present their Caremark membership card at participating pharmacies. Residents do not have to be Medicare beneficiaries to take advantage of the program. There are no enrollment forms, no membership fees and no limits on frequency of use.
"Any resident of Archuleta County, part-time or full-time, is eligible," said County Administrator Bob Campbell. They simply need to pick up a free membership card.
Campbell said the cards are available at The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center located in the Town of Pagosa Springs Community Center, Archuleta County Social Services offices located in the Pagosa Springs Town Hall, the Archuleta County Clerk and Recorder's office in the courthouse, the Archuleta County Veteran's Affairs office and The Training Advantage at 46 Eaton Dr.
For other locations, call 264-8300.
According to a press release provided by Archuleta County, the cards will be accepted at all area pharmacies, including a network of 57,000 pharmacies across the nation.
The average savings with the card is 20 percent off the retail price of many commonly prescribed drugs.
Campbell explained that individuals can shop the card against their insurance in order to get the best deal on prescription medications. Campbell added that greatest savings may be had on non-generic drugs.
According to Campbell, La Plata and Hinsdale counties have both joined the program, and San Juan County in New Mexico has realized $18,000 in constituent savings in September 2006. Campbell said although Hinsdale and La Plata had not yet reported savings figures, both counties report positive experiences so far. Campbell said Caremark will provide a monthly savings report to participating counties.
Campbell said the program is made possible by virtue of the county's membership in the National Association of Counties (NACO), and although he was aware of the program, Archuleta County Commissioner Robin Schiro brought the information back from a conference and got the ball rolling.
Campbell said that beyond helping county residents, the program will also help trim operating costs at the jail.
Campbell said county staff members have been working for about three months on the project, and are excited to offer the program to residents.
"It's certainly a benefit to the citizens. I think it's going to be a great program for people of the county," Campbell said.

Regional housing authority subject of upcoming forum

By Bill Delany
Special to The SUN

Affordable housing groups, concerned citizens, business owners, developers, Realtors, elected officials and community leaders are urged to attend a timely forum designed to explain what a regional housing authority is and to explore if it would be beneficial for Archuleta County.
The event will be held at the community center 1-4 p.m. Monday, March 12.
Many community members are beginning to realize that quality of life issues, including affordable housing, are pressing and need to be addressed now. As Pagosa Springs moves towards becoming an economically exclusive town, housing costs already exceed the ability of many residents to achieve home ownership. These residents are an integral part of the community, and their numbers include teachers, law enforcement personnel, small business owners and those in service industry jobs critical to the tourism that we depend upon.
A regional housing authority is a multi-jurisdictional organization that can provide advocacy and tools to help governments, non-profit organizations and developers in the creation of affordable housing opportunities.
The panel will include Jenn Lopez, executive director of the La Plata County Regional Housing Authority, who will present the strategic goals of her organization. Attorney Sheryl Rogers will address the process she encountered in setting up the La Plata County Regional Housing Authority.
More panelists from the state may be added and a good turnout from the public is expected. Developers who are interested in being in the vanguard of this pressing issue are especially invited.
For more details, contact Bill Delany, ACHA board member, 731-2175 or 731-5452.

Forest Service seeks comment on proposed projects

By Chuck McGuire
Staff Writer

The Pagosa Ranger District/Field Office (The District) of the San Juan National Forest invites public comment on two pending projects, one a rangeland environmental analysis for the continuation of certain grazing allotments, the other a forest restoration and fuels reduction plan. If possible, comments should be submitted on either, or both, by March 16.
The rangeland environmental analysis will aid forest officials in determining if several existing grazing allotments on National Forest lands around Pagosa Springs have suffered significant ecological impacts. If impacts are apparent, changes in current management policies may result. If not, as The District now suspects, a continuation of current polices is likely.
Generally speaking, grazing allotments are long-term permits the federal government issues to private ranchers, allowing livestock grazing on designated public lands. Permits are typically renewed every 10 years, and monthly rates are based on a formula handed down from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington.
To establish the formula, a variety of things are considered, including the quality and quantity of natural forage within the forest environment, contemporary beef prices and the cost of private-land forage. Based on the present formula, cattle ranchers in 16 western states are now paying $1.35 per head, per month to graze on National Forest lands.
Allotments targeted for the environmental analysis include Chris Mountain/Park Lake, Fourmile, West Fork (currently vacant), Porcupine, Blanco Basin, Blue Mountain, Blanco, Park/Valle Seco, Klutter and South. Most of these allotments were established in the late 1960s or early 1970s and collectively, embody thousands of acres of Forest lands west, north and southeast of Pagosa Springs. None fall within wilderness area boundaries.
Barring unforeseen circumstances, The District now plans on maintaining existing management procedures within the above allotments, including renewal of grazing permits. However, the public is invited to comment on this course of action over the next couple of weeks.
To view a map of these allotments, obtain further information regarding this matter, or to submit comments, contact rangeland management specialist Brian Bachtel at The District office, 180 Pagosa St., Pagosa Springs; or call him at 264-1526.
Public comments are also welcome on a proposed forest restoration and fuels reduction plan in the Chimney Rock Archeological Area, approximately 17 miles southwest of Pagosa Springs. Again, The District asks that remarks be submitted by March 16.
Entitled Stollsteimer Forest Health and Fuels Reduction, the project will modify and reduce the density, continuity and type of wildland fuels within the archeological area, and protect historic sites from the harmful effects of catastrophic wildfire. As a result, the process will also improve public safety, maintain the visual quality of the area and enhance critical wildlife habitat.
Specifically, the project area is located in sections 8U, 9U, 15U, 16U, 17U, 18U, 19U, 20U and 21U, Township 34 North (Ute), Range 4 West of the New Mexico Principal Meridian. This area is just south of U.S. 160 and west of Colo. 151.
A total of 1,763 acres are designated for treatment, including 599 acres of mechanical treatment and 1,164 acres of prescribed burning. All treatment areas contain ponderosa pine and Gambel oak vegetation, with some interspersed Douglas fir, pinon pine and Rocky Mountain juniper.
Mechanical mowing and shredding, or hand thinning and piling, will remove ladder fuels, reduce crown density, raise canopy base heights and enhance natural tree clumping. Larger and older trees will be retained whenever possible, and no equipment will be allowed near historic sites, or on slopes greater than 30 percent. All flammable vegetation will be removed from specific archeological sites, and each site will be treated under its own Preservation Plan.
Proposed treatments will enhance key winter range for elk, mule deer and Merriam's turkeys. Habitat for sensitive species like the peregrine falcon, flammulated owl, Lewis' woodpecker, northern goshawk and olive-sided flycatcher will also improve, as will that of Abert's squirrels, hairy woodpeckers and mountain bluebirds.
The Stollsteimer project will compliment other fuels reduction treatments on adjacent Southern Ute Tribal lands and allow for future prescribed burning across administrative boundaries. The only access to some treatment areas is across tribal lands, so The Forest Service will seek a tribal crossing permit for project implementation.
Meanwhile, if all goes well, hand-thinning and piling could begin as early as next autumn, with mowing and shredding taking place in 2008 and 2009. Prescribed burning will occur between 2008 and 2014.
For more information on, or to obtain a map of the proposed Stollsteimer Forest Health and Fuels Reduction project, contact fuels forester Scott Wagner at The District office, or call him at 264-1511. He will also accept comments through March 16.

Conservation Innovation Grants available

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently announced the availability of up to $800,000 for proposed projects in Colorado through Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) in Fiscal Year 2007. Individual applications will be awarded up to $75,000 through a statewide competitive grants process for improving conservation practices in Colorado.
"These grants provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate new conservation technologies or techniques that will address conservation and resource issues in Colorado," said Randy Randall, CIG program manager, NRCS.
The purpose of CIG, a component of the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, is to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production.
Applications will be accepted from eligible entities, including Federally-recognized Indian tribes, state and local governments, non-governmental organizations, and individuals for competitive consideration of grant awards for single or multi-year projects, not to exceed three years.
Applications should demonstrate the uses of innovative technologies or innovative approaches to address a natural resource concern or concerns in one or more of the six priority natural resource concern areas in Colorado, which are: Water Resources, Soil Resources, Atmospheric Resources, Grazing Land and Forest Health, Energy Conservation and Renewable Energy Sources, and Wildlife Habitat.
Selected applicants may receive grants of up to 50 percent of the total project cost. Applicants must provide non-Federal matching funds for at least 50 percent of the project cost, of which up to 50 percent may be from in-kind contributions. An exception regarding matching funds is made for projects funded that benefit beginning and limited resource farmers and ranchers, and Indian Tribes. Seventy-five (75) percent of the required matching funds for such projects may be derived from in-kind contributions to help these entities meet the statutory requirements for receiving a CIG.
Applications must be received in the Colorado NRCS State Office, Room E200C by 4:30 p.m. Friday, March 30. Written applications should be sent to USDA NRCS c/o Tim Carney, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs, 655 Parfet St., Room E200C, Lakewood, CO 80215.
For additional information on CIG, contact Carney at (720) 544-2805 or via e-mail at You may also visit the Colorado NRCS Web site at

Dates, locations for pesticide applicator testing

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is offering several locations in the region for those interested in testing toward their license as a commercial pesticide applicator.
Testing is one step in becoming a qualified supervisor or certified operator in areas such as agriculture, turf and ornamental, and structural pesticide application.
Regional locations and dates are:
- Montrose. Wednesday, March 14. Montrose-Ouray County CSU Cooperative Extension Office, 1001 North 2nd.
- Cortez. Monday, March 12. Cortez Courthouse, 210 E. Main St.
- San Luis Valley, location and date to be announced. Contact Leo Kazeck (719) 580-5507.
The testing fee is $100 and each site is limited to 10 applicants. Reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Appointments must be made with the Department of Agriculture at least one week prior to the test date.
Dates will be cancelled if there are less than four registrants seven days prior to the testing day. All tests are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. unless otherwise noted. Test administrators will wait for registrants and walk-ins at the site until 10 a.m.
Each exam may be taken twice; however, there is no grading available at the testing facilities. Tests will be graded in Lakewood.
For more information on pesticide applicator testing, log onto; to register for commercial testing, contact Mary Jo Dennis at (303) 239-4148 or; to register for a private pesticide applicator license, contact Carol Barton at (303) 239-4186 or

Cranes return to San Luis Valley

By Joe Lewandowski
Special to The SUN
Nature is once again putting on one of its greatest displays in the San Luis Valley - the annual migration of the greater Sandhill Cranes.
To honor this wildlife wonder, area organizations and wildlife agencies are holding the 24th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, March 9-11.
The cranes start arriving in the San Luis Valley in mid-February as they travel north from their winter homes in Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona to their summer nesting and breeding grounds in Idaho, Montana and Canada. The number of cranes in the valley peaks in mid-March and many linger through the month.
About 25,000 cranes land in the valley to eat and rest before continuing north. For the cranes, the San Luis Valley provides wetland areas and a ready source of food on huge grain fields.
The birds are abundant in areas near the town of Monte Vista and are easy to spot. Wildlife watchers can see the birds most readily at the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, the Rio Grande State Wildlife Area, the Higel State Wildlife Area and the Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area. The big birds - 4 feet tall with wingspans of 6 feet - can also be seen from numerous rural roads.
Many other bird species - including eagles, turkeys and a variety of waterfowl - can also be seen in the area.
Birdwatchers are cautioned to be careful when parking and getting out of vehicles. People are also asked to view birds from a distance with binoculars and spotting scopes and to observe trail signs and closure notices.
Those entering state wildlife areas also are reminded that they need to possess a Colorado Habitat Stamp. The stamps are sold wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold and on the DOW Web site.
The crane festival is organized by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce.
A variety of guided tours and programs are offered during the weekend's event. The headquarters meeting place is at the Ski Hi Park building located near U.S. 160 on County Road 4E on the east side of Monte Vista.
For more information, see


Dangerous falsehoods
Dear Editor:
I was shocked and dismayed to read the Feb. 8 letter to the editor entitled "Reality Check," by Raymond P. Finney. Such misinformation only adds fuel to the Middle Eastern conflict.
Many of the statements in Mr. Finney's letter are simply untrue. First, Israel never occupied "Palestine." The UN partition plan of 1947, which was accepted by Israel, designed to create two-states, one Jewish and one Arab, was rejected by the Palestinians living in what was then called Trans-Jordan and by the neighboring Arab states who declared war on Israel.
Second, Israel does not occupy Gaza. Israel voluntarily withdrew from Gaza well over a year ago in an effort to advance the cause of peace. However, instead of reciprocating Israel's gesture and instead of working to govern themselves and build their own economy and society, the Palestinians elected the terrorist Muslim party Hamas to lead their government and continued to engage in terrorist attacks at Israeli civilians, including firing Qassam rockets at Israeli schools and towns. Various Palestinian groups are now stockpiling weapons while members of Hamas and the PLO engage in sectarian violence against each other. In addition, last summer Palestinian groups kidnapped an Israeli soldier from within Israeli sovereign territory and have yet to release him.
Third, and most disturbing, Mr. Finney blames 9/11 on the Israeli "occupation" of the Palestinians. Such statements are akin to blaming Israel for the genocide in Darfur or the conflict between the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq - it is untrue and unfair.
Beliefs such as Mr. Finney's rest on dangerous falsehoods about the Middle East conflict that cloud the past and confuse the issues. Israel wants peace and has demonstrated its desire for peace by making painful concessions to her neighbors throughout the country's brief history. Unfortunately, Israel has been forced to defend its civilians from brutal attacks from suicide bombers and rockets launched on neighborhoods and schools.
I encourage Mr. Finney and others to learn the facts and not be led astray by the myths about the ongoing conflict and its history.
Shaul Amir
Israel Center Director
Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado

A moderate
Dear Editor:
I don't think of myself as belonging to any political party. Though registered Republican, I consider myself neither Republican, Democrat nor Independent, as I vote for the individual whom I consider to be the best to represent my concerns. If I must, I would classify myself as moderate and perhaps a little left of center. I see good in each of our political parties and also things that concern me in each.
Having spent two decades in the active Army of the United States, now retired, and having participated in two unpopular wars, Korea and Vietnam, I feel an obligation to my country to speak up about what I see and hear happening right now, every day in the Congress of this great nation. I can truthfully say that their actions do have immense effect on the morale of our service personnel all over the world and encourage our enemies.
Sure it's unfortunate that some see back-to-back tours in dangerous theaters or have their units extended. This is not the first time it has happened. In WW II, they never knew when they were coming home. The standing joke was you wanted to be wounded enough to be sent home, not bad enough to really be hurt. In Korea, the plan was for one year, but you went home based on a point system. The most dangerous areas received the most points. This did have a positive effect, as that meant you could go home sooner if you served in high point areas. But then points required to go home were raised. It happened to me twice. In my recollection, during Vietnam, going home was usually at the end of a year. We withdrew from those wars as a result of politics back here, not the failure of our services.
Everyone wants our men and women to come home as soon as possible. We always have, and our service personnel do, too. But it has fallen on them to stop terrorists and we must allow them to complete the job. They are the finest in the world, and are performing exceptionally well and can get the job done if we let them.
Do you think the terrorists aren't aware of what's going on here? It's part of their strategy. They have precedence on their side. It's happened more than once before. They know they can wait us out just as the North Koreans and Vietnamese did, and politically we will give up. They fear our strength but know our weakness. Our Congress is playing right into the hands of the enemy.
I'm not sure of the solution, but I know we must find one and not quit and come home again with our tails between our legs. There is a new strategy and new leaders in the field. I'm with President Bush, a Republican, and Senator Joe Liberman, an Independent. Let's give it a chance. If at first it doesn't work, the strategy will be adjusted. We should let our strategy work before giving up. But it is my great fear that our past weakness will prevail. We are letting the enemy strategy work and it's happening again. Only time will tell what will be the result.
Donald H. Bartlett

Looking forward
Dear Editor:
Change is happening in Pagosa Springs. More people want to experience our special place in the mountains. This is a beautiful place that I am happy to share with others, as long as diligent care is given to our expansion. I implore everyone who takes any step in the growth of this town to, please, let it be created with care and thought for the land, the animals, the trees, the river, the roadways and the synergy of a living community.
The design and intention of "TreeTops of Pagosa" to build a village community where people live with nature, not over it, and people share with each other their human expression, their artistic expression and their healing expression is a masterpiece in living. TreeTops has set an example of looking forward with a solid vision of togetherness, and the detailed, thoughtful planning this really requires. I hope every builder, every commissioner and planning committee will honor this vision and not only support it, but also utilize such a vision for the growth of all of Pagosa Springs, as well.
Change is happening in Pagosa Springs. The question put to Pagosa now is ... how will we choose to create its path?
Oteka Bernard

Dear Editor:
I did not plan to write a follow up to my letter, but I hate to be misquoted, or have someone put words in my mouth. Collectively, Mr. Finney and Mr. Gorzycki did just that.
I didn't say Ahmadinejad was a Hitler, with the military and industrial capabilities of a pre-WW II Germany. My words were, "He's a Hitler wannabe"- big difference. Even the smallest fish in the ocean can aspire to be a shark. He's in a position to make even a bigger mark on history than Hitler did, if he develops nuclear weapons and uses them against Israel, or us. Doesn't seem to me that talking to him about the problem is doing much good, even though he may not have the support of the majority of the Iranians! Here's a side-bar that will make everyone sleep better tonight, if NBC's Nightly News is accurate. One of North Korean Kim Jong Il's passions in life, besides nuclear weapons, is Daffy Duck cartoons. He's purported by NBC to own one of the world's only complete collections of the cartoon series. Can you say, "Scary"?
I love it when someone pays a compliment, like Mr. Finney did, and follows it up in the same sentence with the word "but." Men, try this one on your wife. "Darling, you are the kindest, most loving, beautiful woman on the face of the earth, but ..." Finney says, "There are many good Texans, but" - followed up with the comment about the death penalty and the fact that Texas is the birthplace of both Bush and Johnson. Now that was a very logical, intelligent statement. Quickie about the death penalty, of which I am a big proponent: I don't believe a rapist, murderer, a cop killer, or whatever should be given free room, three "hot squares" a day, free medical and dental care for life, and exercise equipment to work out on so he can be the toughest thug on the cell block, all at the taxpayers' expense. Even our congressmen don't get all of those perks, much less our veterans, who really deserve them. Big argument against the death penalty: It doesn't deter crime, which may be valid, but not definitively provable. Bigger argument for the death penalty, which is 100-percent accurate, and absolutely provable: It eliminates repeat offenders!
And, Mr. Gorzycki, the Georgia Peanut Farmer does raise my blood pressure. Please don't say Carter was elected, "by the collective wisdom of us all," because I didn't vote for him. If you'll remember, Carter was elected as a knee-jerk reaction to the corruption of past political professionals. The voters wanted a fresh, uncorrupted, virgin voice in national politics, and they got exactly what they wanted. That's one of the things that scares me about Obama. We all did however, including me, remove him after four disastrous years through our "collective wisdom."
One of Lincoln's most famous, memorable statements and one of my favorites, which Mr. Gorzycki quoted is, paraphrased, "a house divided shall not stand." That statement is just as valid and poignant today as it was in the 1860s, and that's one of the things that scares me about present-day America. Here is another quote from Lincoln that you can verify in the history books that is also as applicable and poignant today as it was in the 1860s. "Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled, or hanged."
Amen, Abe!
Roy Boutwell
Wichita Falls, Texas

Medical vacations
Dear Editor:
Millions of dollars of our health insurance premiums are going into the insurance industry's political campaign against a national health insurance program for all American citizens. A thought came to me that would eliminate the necessity for such a program and still keep the business sewed up right where it is. Those millions of dollars could then be turned into executive bonuses, stock dividends or, if nothing else, premium reductions.
It all began when a friend told me that he and his wife were flying to India for three weeks where she will have heart surgery. Their insurance carrier refused to cover her condition, calling it a pre-existing condition. (Attention: Pro-Life People; at this company, life is not a pre-existing condition!) If the surgery were to be performed in Denver, the cost would amount to about $250,000. The trip for two for three weeks in India, including hotel, air fare and surgery, he said, will be about $20,000.
Think of the impact an insurance company could have by combining a vacation to an exotic foreign country with treating a medical necessity, and all of it for one-twelfth the cost of the surgery alone! Think of the reduction in the insurance premiums that could result, allowing millions more working Americans to afford health insurance! Why not? We buy everything else overseas. Airline stocks would zoom!
Incidently, the cardiologist who would have performed the surgery in Denver came from India.
Henry Buslepp

Dear Editor:
While I am not in a position to comment on the current school board's thoughts behind any of their decision-making chores, I can provide some illumination in regards to the board that hired the past superintendent. In service to the community through the school board for 24 years, I also participated in hiring not only Mr. Noggle, but Mr. DeVoti, Mr. Alley, and a majority of the current administration and teachers in the district as well.
In all those years of board service I had the pleasure of sharing the responsibility with a number of qualified board members, each of whom brought a unique and diverse perspective to the table. We didn't always agree on everything, which I thought was healthy; we did always reach a consensus with the ultimate benefit of the students uppermost in our minds. I disagree with your inflammatory opinion in last week's editorial that any of those board members were "arrogant and short-sighted." Perhaps the real source of arrogance could be found in other familiar places.
I share your frustration with the amount of time and energy our school district (and most others) spend towards addressing many federal and state-mandated testing and standards put in place by bureaucratic lawmakers seeking political gain without any real knowledge of how education works. Ironically, the "pop theorist" you criticize (I assume you are talking about Alfie Kohn) made a convincing, well-documented case in the several books and lectures I read and attended, that when we as students and educators start focusing on how we are doing, rather than what we are doing, love of learning goes "out the window."
The idea of developing and fostering for our students a lifetime love of learning rather than over-focusing on standardized test scores seemed like a good one to our board at the time. The administration felt bound by governmental dictates to give more attention to test scores than I personally would have liked, but unfortunately, state funding and accreditation are at stake if mandates are not followed. The politicians who are responsible for No Child Left Behind and similar unrealistic misdirectives should be the ones to bear the criticism of the system.
While there were a number of unsatisfactory applicants for Mr. Alley's position, we at the time felt Mr. Noggle had a philosophy that would blend with the district. During the remaining time I was on the board I thought Mr. Noggle made some important strides in progression of the district, while being limited by the aforementioned political parameters.
I commend the current board on their wise choice of Mr. DeVoti as the new superintendent - he is well-qualified in helping people get along, and has what it takes I think, to get the job done. I wish him luck dealing with the group of people in the district who have always needed (and thrived on) something to complain about.
Randall Davis
Editor's note: Illuminating, also, is the fact that an alarming number of district faculty, administration and staff were among those complaining the loudest.

Dear Editor:
I am responding to Patricia Skroch's letter in the Feb. 22 issue of The SUN, "Selfish." My statements are based, in part, on the reporting of the event published by the Valley Courier and the Pueblo Chieftain, and reprinted in the Austin American Statesman.
In Honts' usual attempt to woo the citizens of Mineral and Rio Grande counties, he hired an accounting firm to project the tax revenue for Mineral County. Karla Willschau, CPA, said the project could be worth $237 million in revenue over 20 years.
Honts then stated that if every bed were filled, the Village could house up to 12,000 people. (That's up from the plan of 10,000 people.) Again, Honts is attempting to paint a rosy financial picture. However, in an open letter to Bob Honts, Mr. Sheldrake of Adams State College in Alamosa stated, "They design places where locals can't afford to live, where ski areas are used primarily to sell real estate, and where ski area owners and village developers don't get along. They leave projects half finished. Businesses in the villages compete with small towns nearby. Guest beds are empty 300 days of the year and there is no authentic community."
Environmentalist Rio de la Vista expressed concern for the wetlands and suggested third-party monitoring of the development and asked for a show of hands of those for and against the project. There seemed to be a slight edge of those for it; however, much of the audience did not move.
"Selfish" skiers raised concerns over water, wetlands, the burden of services to counties, the ability of the ski area to support a major increase in skiers on any given day, wastewater treatment and effluent, and altitude sickness. Honts stated that a study he had received showed altitude sickness abated after a few days. Sure, go to a lower altitude! What about the other effects of living at high altitude? Honts has no plan for a medical clinic at the Village. How long will it take an ambulance to reach the Village and transport a heart attack or stoke victim to the nearest hospital?
"Selfish" skiers refrain from going to Wolf Creek during the holidays. Parking below the snow shed, waiting for a shuttle, waiting in lift lines, dodging skiers and boarders on the slopes, and wall-to-wall people in the lodges is not a pleasant experience. I regret that so many visitors know only this as a skiing experience because they have to plan their trip around a school holiday.
Let me remind you, Ms. Skroch, that initially the Forest Service refused the land swap. It was political power and money that changed that decision. Not selfish skiers. The judge's ruling in a lawsuit against Mineral County proved the county commissioners weren't following the law. Did the present employees of the Forest Service require an EIS on the full build-out of (now) 12,000 people? No. Did the citizens of Mineral County jump on the band wagon when they had a chance for revenue from a scenic train? No. NIMBY syndrome.
So those opposed to the Village have trampled on the rights of McCombs and Honts. Huh! Go online to any newspaper in Texas and type in "Honts" and get an education. Again I quote Mr. Sheldrake, "... But the fact is, neither you nor Red McCombs has ever developed a successful ski resort of any size. In fact, together, you developed a very small resort that utterly failed ... The danger of the Village of Wolf Creek isn't that if you will build it, hordes of people will come. The danger of the Village of Wolf Creek is that when you build it, no one will come." Can 880 residents of Mineral County afford to clean up another one of Honts' failures?
Marilyn Hutchins

Work together
Dear Editor:
Well, the bashing, criticizing, and ridiculing of Commissioner Schiro continues. Sadly, to some in our community this has become a sport. I often wonder if the people writing these letters criticizing her have taken the time to give her a call and actually discuss the issues that are bothering them. I doubt they have. If they had, they would not be writing these letters. Unfortunately, this ridiculing, etc., does not stop in the newspaper. I have observed Commissioner Schiro being shamefully disrespected during public commissioner meetings by a fellow commissioner.
Just to set the record straight, I did not vote for Commissioner Schiro, nor am I in her district.
However, since she took office, I have contacted her on many, many occasions on a variety of issues. In each case, she has responded to my phone calls or e-mails quickly, and jumped in with both feet to respond to my need, and please keep in mind, she is NOT the commissioner of my district; she is simply responding to and helping a citizen of Archuleta County.
As an example of the petty bashing and criticisms she receives, some time back she was criticized for not doing all the research herself on subjects coming before the commissioners, and that some staff members were complaining that she was asking too many questions. Unless things have changed since I was a manager, the responsibility of the manager (commissioner) is to review the matter at hand, and to be conversant enough with the issue to ask intelligent questions of the staff.
In addition, she is often criticized for attending meetings outside of the county even though the expenses are paid out of her own pocket (expenses for a few meetings are paid for by the county). As a result of attending one of these meetings, she was able to bring back information and institute the new Caremark prescription drug cards for Archuleta County residents, a program which is now up and operating to the benefit of many of our citizens. In another case, Commissioner Schiro took it upon herself, and at her own expense, to travel to Denver to fight for federal highway funding for the Piedra Road project. Long story short, because of Commissioner Schiro's tenacity and lobbying efforts, she came away with a very real possibility of receiving $100,000 for required studies involved in the Piedra Road project for 2007, and an additional $800,000 for design work in 2008. Bear in mind, these are funds that will now likely be available to our county only because Commissioner Schiro went out to fight for them.
I think it is about time the rancor towards, and nitpicking of Commissioner Schiro stops, and also the bullying and teaming up against her stops on the board. This county is facing some serious problems, and needs a Board of Commissioners that works together in a civil manner, respects the thoughts and opinions of each other (hopefully our new commissioner will be able to influence/promote some civility in this board), and has the respect and support of the citizens of Archuleta County.
Gary Waples

Community News

Two free music programs in March

By Carla Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts announces two new free programs for the month of March.
The programs are "The Joy of Music," a music lecture series each Wednesday evening through the month of March, and "Exploring Music for Toddlers," each Tuesday morning. Both are held at the Community United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Pagosa Springs.
"The Joy of Music" lecture series is one in which professionals in the music arena share their personal stories and musical talents in an intimate setting. The lectures cover jazz, classical, folk and world music.
These lectures help stimulate learning and appreciation of the musical world around us.
John Graves will present "The History of Jazz," the first of four Musical Adventures lecture demonstrations, at 7 p.m. March 7. Other programs in this series will continue on March 14, 21 and 28. These will include programs by Larry Elginer and Paul Roberts. There will also be a special program on wind instruments.
We know that music and movement are so important in the healthy development of young children. "Exploring Music for Toddlers" (and mom or dad) is an action-packed 40-minute session held at 10 a.m. March 6, 13, 20 and 27. This is a wonderful opportunity for your child to get tuned up with Carla and Paul Roberts, who have performed for over 1 million children through their school assembly and residency programs. The Roberts play a fascinating collection of instruments from around the world. Children will get a chance to play many instruments and experience a wide diversity of musical sound.
The Community United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall is located in downtown Pagosa Springs at 434 Lewis St.
For more information on Elation Center for the Arts, go to the Web site or call 731-3117.

Model railroad group to meet Sunday

The Pagosa Springs Model Railroad and Railfan group will host a meeting at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 4, at the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street.
Richard Wholf will present a history of the local railroads. The railroad reached Pagosa Springs in 1900 and was discontinued in 1935. Lumber, cattle and sheep played important roles in the history of Pagosa and the multiple local railroads played their part in our history. There are still quite a few remnants of the old railroad around, if you know where to look. Wholf knows where to look.
There will be a display table at the meeting; bring a work in progress, a model you have finished or a photo of a model or prototype scene. There will also be a swap table for anything railroad related that you want to sell, trade or even give away.
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

Jerry Traylor to speak at Ed Center luncheon

By Janae Ash
Special to The PREVIEW

The theme of the Archuleta County Education Center's annual fund-raising luncheon this year is "Caring Makes a Difference."
Jerry Traylor is this year's keynote speaker at the April 3 event, and he is a man who has lived this theme everyday of his life. Traylor was born with Cerebral Palsy and had to overcome many difficult hardships throughout his life.
Even though Traylor has been faced with physical obstacles, he has persevered with flying colors. For example, he has competed in 35 full-length marathons on his crutches, climbed 14,110-foot Pikes Peak, and jogged 3,528 miles across America to just name a few of his feats. He is truly a miraculous human.
However, what makes Traylor a truly astonishing person is that he realizes what makes a real difference in his life is not his disability or his ability to overcome it, but to care for others. Traylor challenges people to look within themselves to discover the incredible abilities which everyone possesses, and how all people are capable of touching our world in a positive manner.
The luncheon, starting at 11:45 a.m. at Center Point Church on U.S. 160, will be catered by Wildflower Catering. Funds raised will support the many programs at the Education Center such as the successful Archuleta County High School, GED programs, first aid and CPR training, English and Spanish language programs, computer classes, creative activities for elementary students and several tutoring programs.
Tickets are available for a donation of $45 per ticket. For more information, call 264-2835.

Lifelong Learning series starts Saturday

By Biz Greene
Special to The PREVIEW

"Dirt, Water, Stone: A Century of Preserving Mesa Verde," is the topic of the season's first Lifelong Learning lecture at the Sisson Library, 3 p.m. Saturday.
It is also the title of the book authored by Kathleen Fiero, the presenter, who worked for over 30 years as a field archeologist in the southwest, and from 1986 to 2002 supervised the repair and preservation of the archeological sites of Mesa Verde National Park. Her book is one of the Mesa Verde Centennial Series awarded the 2006 Josephine H. Miles History Award by the Colorado Historical Society.
Fiero describes the simple dwellings, small villages, and large complexes in mesa and canyon country standing empty for centuries as the forces of weather and geology took their toll. Then in the late 19th century the remains were explored, excavated, and plundered for the pottery, baskets, tools - and even the human remains. Establishment of Mesa Verde National Park was the only hope for long-term preservation.
"Dirt, Water, Stone" is the story of that challenge, from the earliest preservation projects to the lessons still being revealed by the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde today.
This lecture is sponsored by the Ballantine Family Fund, BYU Charles Redd Center, Colorado Humanities, LaPlata County Historical Society, and in Pagosa Springs it is hosted by the Sisson Library Saturday at 3 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Quilt show exhibit on way to capitol

Normally, the rose onyx marble walls, brass staircases and stained glass windows are more than enough to keep visitors coming to Colorado's state capitol.
Come next week, however, there will be an extra incentive to visit as the capitol's beauty intensifies with the display of more than 200 quilts.
Of varying sizes, shapes and patterns, 210 quilts with a Colorado connection will hang from the Corinthian columns that populate the building.
This year's Capitol Quilt Show is the first one to take place since 2003, and marks the eighth time the exhibit has been held at the capitol during the past 16 years.
In addition, the 2007 Capitol Quilt Show is the only quilt show to take place in its history during a legislative session.
Like all prior Capitol Quilt Shows, the Colorado Quilting Council (CQC) - an organization of more than 1,200 members - is responsible for putting on this year's exhibit.
Also unique to this year's show is a weekend opening. In participation with the Mayor's Doors Open Denver event, the state capitol building will be open to visitors on Saturday, April 14, and Sunday, April 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There will be several other opportunities to see the ornate quilts, however, as they will be on display from Monday, March 5, through Friday, April 27.
The 2007 Capitol Quilt Show can be viewed free of charge and is open to the public.
For more information, contact Karen Hadfield of the CQC at (719) 488-8275 or the Capitol Tour Desk at (303) 866-2604.

Nickel Creek returns for farewell at folk fest

By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW

Sometimes, booking musicians for the Four Corners Folk Festival is, well, trying - to say the least.
Offers go out almost a year in advance to potential performers; counteroffers trickle back in while weeks and sometimes months roll by, often resulting in precious marketing time eaten away by ultimately fruitless negotiations.
This year, however, is not one of those years.
The 2007 Four Corners Folk Festival lineup is practically complete, and in record time. Plus, it's one of the strongest lineups from start to finish in the 12-year history of the show.
From upstart newcomers like Ollabelle, Millish, Bearfoot, Cadillac Sky and The Wilders, to favorites from festivals past including Sweet Sunny South, Casey Driessen, Darrell Scott, the Infamous Stringdusters and Anne and Pete Sibley.
And, of course, one cannot overlook the exciting headline bands: the subdudes, the Jerry Douglas Band and Nickel Creek.
There is no question that this year's show promises to deliver a slew of memorable musical moments; the big mystery is which band will achieve the highest "Wow!" factor.
Nickel Creek is definitely in the running for that honor; they'll be making one of their last appearances before calling it quits, temporarily. From the band's official Web site ( "Dearest Listener, After seven years of extensive touring in support of three records (seventeen years as a band), we've decided to take a break of indefinite length at the end of 2007 to preserve the environment we've sought so hard to create and to pursue other interests. It has been a pleasure to write, record, and perform for you through the years and we'd like to heartily thank you for your invaluable contribution to our musical lives."
Those who follow festival history will remember that Nickel Creek played every Four Corners Folk Festival from 1996-2002. The three talented, pubescent kids who won the hearts of the very first festival audience bear little resemblance to the polished performers of today who are signed with a major record label, a major talent agency and whose music videos are in frequent rotation on CMT. Nickel Creek has won Grammy Awards and Country Music Awards and has appeared on countless national television and radio shows. We are honored that they will make one last stop in Pagosa Springs to say goodbye to their fans here before moving on with other projects.
Nickel Creek will return after a five-year absence to close the festival on Sunday, Sept. 2, on Reservoir Hill.
Discounted Early Bird tickets are currently on sale locally at Moonlight Books, online at or by calling 731-5582 (toll-free at 877-472-4672).

Pagosa dancing duo fares well

By Belinda LaPierre
Special to The Preview

In Step Dance's Charles Jackson and Deb Aspen have returned from two recent competitions once again bearing awards galore. For those of you who are interested and like to follow the progress of Charles' and Deb's dance endeavors, here are the results of their latest dance galas.
Their chosen international competition for this year was in Miami, Fla., at the Flamingo-Rama Jan. 26-28. Entering Full Gold level freestyles as an amateur couple, Charles and Deb placed first in all 10 of their dances of choice. Deb then danced 20 more freestyles with Bob Long, their instructor from Albuquerque, in the Full Silver category in the Professional/Amateur division, placing second in two dances, and first in the remaining 18.
Pagosa's duo once again performed their infamous "death drop" in their Chili Cha Cha routine, then took home the best Full Gold Solo Award for their foxtrot number to "Orange Colored Sky." Deb also waltzed in a solo with Long, receiving some of the highest marks in the competition; then she was given the trophy for best Full Silver Solo performance for her and Long's Argentine Tango arrangement.
The real highlight came, however, when Deb and Bob won both the Latin and Smooth Scholarship Competitions on Saturday. Then, that evening during the formal dinner and awards ceremony, Charles was awarded the plaque for best Top Full Gold Student, and Deb walked away with the best Top Full Silver Student award. To top it all off, they were surprised with the top Full Gold Couple Award.
Some of you may be wondering, why does Deb dance in the gold and silver categories? According to the rules of the IDA (International Dance Association), an amateur couple must enter categories according to the youngest of the two dancers, and the highest of their respective levels. In other words, Charles and Deb have a double whammy in that they must compete in Charles' gold level, but in Deb's age group. Then, since Deb has technically only "checked out" and graduated into the silver levels, she is considered a full silver dancer when dancing with a professional. That is why she dances gold level with Charles and in the silver category with Bob Long, or any other professional.
The capering couple returned to Albuquerque a few days before Arthur Murray's Winter Showcase, in time for Deb and Bob to work up new routines in American Tango and bolero. She earned a trophy for dancing these two new solos with Mr. Long; while she and Charles were awarded a similar trophy for their Chili Cha Cha, and their new hat and cane Soft Shoe Foxtrot routine.
The Albuquerque studio showcase is conducted differently than other showcases and in the International Dance-o-Ramas, and is currently practicing a new scoring system on an experimental basis. The judge scores and critiques each dancer as an individual rather than a couple. So Charles' and Deb's results were different than their usual outcome: five first places, and three second-place ribbons were awarded to Charles for the closed freestyles he entered with Deb and instructors Cindy and Michiko. Deb received 13 first-place, and five second-place ribbons for her efforts dancing with Charles, and instructors Bob, Ben and Rudy.
Another major difference at the New Mexico studio, is that it only lists two "Open" Freestyle dances into the program instead of having the open category the same as the closed; and all couples of any level, any age, any division compete against each other. The two dances pulled out of the hat at this event, were waltz and East Coast Swing.  Charles and Deb entered the swing competition and were scored second; while Deb earned the coveted trophy waltzing with Bob.

Humane Society holds annual essay contest

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs will hold its annual essay contest for all Archuleta County students in grades seven and eight, or between the ages of 12 and 14 for those who are homeschooled or attend a school that does not include grade levels.
A $100 cash prize will be awarded for the winning essay, with two $25 honorable mentions.
The contest will run through March. Deadline for submission of entries is March 31. Forms may be picked up at the Humane Society Shelter, the Thrift Store or the Sisson Library.
The winner will be notified on or before April 14.

Ribbon cutting ceremony launches health and wellness network

By Linda LoCastro
Special to The PREVIEW

In just six short months, the Pagosa Health and Wellness Network, Inc. has gone from an idea of socially bringing together the holistic and allopathic practitioners of Pagosa to formally organizing and becoming a Colorado nonprofit.
During that time, the group was also successful in bringing forth a first-ever directory that includes 48 local holistic and allopathic practitioners, plus 18 businesses. The directory is available at the Chamber of Commerce and various other locations in town.
On Saturday, Feb. 24, the Chamber of Commerce officially celebrated the network with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the County Extension Building.
From noon to 5 p.m., various practitioners were on hand to meet the public and share their modalities, services and products. At 5 p.m., Alex Tarbet and his band, together with John Graves as those present shared in a potluck dinner.
The network would like to thank all who participated to make Saturday a day of celebration.
We invite everyone in Pagosa to pick up a copy of our directory. We believe you will be pleasantly surprised to learn of all the various healing modalities and gifted practitioners, both holistic and allopathic, who are available to you. Our mission is to create and foster a cooperative network of wellness practitioners committed to health, healing, education, assistance, love, truth and honor.

Writing as healing and prayer at UU service

On Sunday, March 4, the service topic for the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will be Writing for Healing, Writing as Prayer, presented by Leanne Goebel. She points out that, since the mid-1980s, studies have found that people who write about their most upsetting experiences not only feel better, but also visit doctors less often and have stronger immune responses. She adds that, "Journal writing can provide clarity and guidance. In many ways it is a meditation and a form of prayer."
Goebel is founding editor of Arts Perspective magazine and her work has been widely featured in many Colorado publications. She will discuss current research and her own personal experience with the healing power of writing and how writing can be used for spiritual exploration.
The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Child care and/or the Religious Education program for those three years old and up is offered every Sunday, except the second Sunday of the month, which is devoted to a meditation service. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

World Day of Prayer service tomorrow

By Pamela Bomkamp
Special to The PREVIEW

Women and men in more than 170 countries and regions will celebrate World Day of Prayer, Friday, March 2.
"United under God's Tent" is the theme used by women of Paraguay for the prayer service. The theme is a way of imagining how God acts. For Abraham and Sarah, God was like a tent, protecting them in their call. "United under God's Tent" is also God's promise to us, and a call to work and to pray together for people in need all over the world.
The service will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Community United Methodist Church.
Three young females will open the service with the presentation of tent. There will also be a power point presentation on Paraguay for the pleasure of those attending.
Invite your friends, family and communities of faith to join the women of Paraguay in prayer and song to support women's ecumenical ministries toward justice, peace, healing and wholeness. The annual offering will support the work of World Day of Prayer and help meet the needs of families in regions of turmoil worldwide.
For material or more information, contact Robin Ball at 946-1581.

Ed Center offers Basic Life Support class

The Archuleta County Education Center, in partnership with the National Safety Council, is offering a Basic Life Support Class (BLS) for professional rescuers 5:30-9:30 p.m. March 8.
What is a professional rescuer? A professional rescuer is a trained person who, in either an employment or a volunteer situation, has the responsibility to provide emergency care when needed. Professional rescuers include physicians, nurses, firefighters, park rangers, ski patrollers, lifeguards and others who have a higher level of training than lay rescuers and perform more BLS skills.
This class will cover:
- The role of the professional rescuer in emergencies;
- How to prevent transmission of infectious diseases;
- Assessing the victim's condition;
- Basic life support, including rescue breathing and cardiac emergencies and CPR, airway obstruction and AED;
- Special resuscitation situations and advanced resuscitation.
For more information on this class or other first aid/CPR classes, please contact the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835.

AARP driver safety class March 13-14

By Don Hurt
Special to The PREVIEW

Would you like to sharpen your driving skills and reduce your auto insurance premium?
You can do this by taking the AARP Driver Safety Program, a motor vehicle accident prevention course for persons age 50 and older.
Students will learn defensive driving techniques, how to compensate for normal age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction time, how to deal with aggressive drivers and much more.
The course consists of eight hours of classroom instruction conducted in two half-day sessions. There is a $10 fee.
The class will be taught at the Community United Methodist Church March 13 and 14. Class hours will be 1-5 p.m. both days.
Contact Don Hurt, AARP volunteer instructor, at 264-2337 for additional information and to make your reservations. Class size will be limited to 24 students.

Community Center News

Soup for the Soul at the center

By Kathy Zilhaver
PREVIEW Columnist

The Soup for Soul fund-raising luncheon for Hospice of Mercy is set for tomorrow at the community center. It will begin at noon. The Kiwanis Club cancelled their weekly meeting at Boss Hogs and the group will meet at this event instead. How's that for support!
Hospice of Mercy provides compassionate hospice care in the Four Corners area, so please come and support this event. You will enjoy samples of soups from these Pagosa caterers: Christine's Cuisine, Eddie B Cookin' and WildFlower Catering.
A $20 donation is requested and tickets are available at Moonlight Books and Gallery, at WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee, and at the door.
We encourage attendees to carpool since parking will be limited due to seniors coming for lunch at the same time.
Movie night
On Monday, March 5, from 7-9 p.m. ww will hold our first movie night. You don't have to be a cowboy or dress like one to come to this free event. Just come if you enjoy cowboy movies and meet new friends. Dan Senjem, our new volunteer, is hosting this program at the center.
The title of the movies are "Come on Rangers," with Roy Rogers, and "Spring Time in the Rockies," with Gene Autry. Each movie runs for an hour.
Bring your favorite dessert to share and the center will provide hot and cold beverages. For more information, call 264-4152.
Masquerade Gala
The Pagosa Teen Center is holding this fund-raising event 6-11 p.m. Saturday March 17. Music will be provided by DJ Bobby Hart.
This is an adult, 21-and-over dance that promises an evening of elegance, intrigue, mystery and fun.
Have you purchased your tickets? How about your mask-do you have one? If you don't, you can order it though Rhonda LaQuey, Teen Center coordinator, or Michelle, our community center administrative assistant, at 264-4152, Ext. 31 and 21.
Tickets are $20 per person or $25 at the door and the admission price includes sumptuous, mouth-watering appetizers. A cash bar will be available. You can purchase tickets at WolfTracks, the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center, the Teen Center office and community center.
Spring rummage sale
Have you reserved your space for the annual spring rummage sale? The Archuleta Seniors, Inc., Chimney Rock Interpretive Program and Mercedes Leist have theirs reserved, so call the center to reserve your spot. Do not wait too long before you make that decision.
Each space will be 10x10, for $20, and can be reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The sale will be held 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 14, inside the multipurpose room. This is a one-day event and we invite those interested to call 264-4152, and make the reservation.
The community center is still looking for a non-profit organization to sell refreshment during the sale. Free coffee will be available to all, courtesy of the center. Tables and chairs will be provided to give the public an opportunity to visit with friends, hopefully after they're done shopping. Mercy is trying to make this event a special way to be a "community" while having fun buying other people's treasure.
Proceeds from the event will benefit the center's free programs.
Line dancing
The group had the pleasure of meeting Christa's husband, Eric, who is home on leave from the Middle East. Christa is one of our line dancers.
Gerry thanked everyone for their generous help with the party they had to welcome Eric home. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Eric for the rest of his deployment. Come back safely and soon," Gerry said.
The line dancers enjoyed the Mardi Gras party given by the Durango dance group last week. Groups from Farmington, Durango, Silver City and Pagosa Springs shared a variety of dance steps and lots of laughs. Gerry was pleased to say Pagosa held its own, very well!
Couples meet in the gym at 9 a.m. Mondays for two-step, waltz and night club two-step. Line dancing begins at 10 a.m. Newcomers are always welcome. Its fun and it's free!
Yoga session
Susan Winter Ward, an internationally recognized yoga instructor who lives in Pagosa writes this in her book, "Yoga for the Young at Heart."
"In caring for our bodies, it's important to be aware that they need nutritious and health-giving foods. Much of what is presented to us as food convenient, nicely packaged, and/or highly processed. It is filled with additives, preservatives, and mostly devoid of nutritional value. The cumulative effects of chemicals, toxins, stress, and environmental hazards in our bodies cannot be measured and exist in different combinations unique to each of us. Awareness of the importance of nutritious eating, relaxation, and bringing our bodies into balance can help to cleanse us of these toxins.
"Traditionally, yogis are vegetarians. Over the centuries they have found a vegetarian diet to be healthy, and many people practicing yoga find that eventually their taste for meat diminishes. Since there is now a body of evidence showing that many diseases commonly associated with aging can be prevented, alleviated, and possibly cured by eating a diet free of animal products and fats, this dietary alteration can have beneficial long-term effects. In the bibliography at the back of this book, you will find listed some of the many books on the subject. I encourage you to explore them. The consensus is that adding lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and seeds, along with plenty of water, could be extremely valuable alteration to your diet".
Our yoga group meets every Tuesday from 10-11:30 a.m. with Diana Baird and Addie Greer, who volunteer their time to run this free program. Just a reminder to all our readers - Diana and Addie are not yoga instructors; they just love to practice and encourage others to join them.
Toddler's play group
Every Thursday, 10 a.m. to noon, the pre-schoolers playgroup meets in the gym. This is a free program sponsored by the community center. A parent or guardian must stay with the child (no drop-offs). Bring toys, balls, clean bikes, snacks and a spare clean pair of shoes if street shoes are dirty. Come join the group; this is a great chance to run around without coats on a winter morning. For more information, call Gwen Taylor, 731-0305.
Jewelry making program
The orientation session last Thursday went well and classes will proceed as scheduled, March 1, 8 and 15, from 10 a.m. to noon, with each class different from the others. Rebekah Sabia will teach the first class.
Anyone interested must call first; pre-registration is a must, since classes are limited to six or eight students. Call Rebekah at 731-2270 or Treva Wheeless at 264-0644.
This is another free program offered by the community center. However, students must pay the cost of the materials and, in return, will take home the fruits of their labor - jewelry of their own making.
Pagosa Scrapbook Club
Learn new ideas and techniques with fellow scrapbook enthusiasts. The next meeting is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 10, in the community center's North Conference Room. The cost is free. If interested, call the community center at 264-4152 or the volunteer in charge, Melissa Bailey at 731-1574.
Computer class
Classes are still on hold due to Becky's medical issues. Becky has decided to seek further medical checkups in Denver. Again, she assured me that she will keep us posted of any information about her medical conditions.
Please continue to pray for her and let us all hope that she will be back to her classes soon. We miss you, Becky.
AARP tax help
You can still get help preparing your taxes. Sign up at the desk located inside the senior dining room. Help is available every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. AARP Tax Aide volunteers will be available to assist you during these hours. No phone reservation will be accepted.
The AARP Tax Aide program provides free tax preparation service for anyone age 60 and older, especially low- and middle-income individuals.
Basic digital photo class
This program has been cancelled because Bruce Andersen, who was set to teach this class, hurt his back. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Watch for the new schedule in this column.
Open gym
Sessions are available every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9 a.m. with Larry Page as the contact person. Larry can be reached at 264-1024.
Another group meets every Friday from noon to 1:15 p.m. Call Dan Aupperle if you wish to join this group, 264-2235.
Center hours
The community center is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 to 4.
A place to gather
The community center has several rooms for rent for all kinds of gatherings: meetings, seminars, parties and fund-raising events, at reasonable prices. We have space available for different size groups and we also offer most of the furniture and equipment you will need. Call 264-4152 to reserve a room for your next gathering.
Activities this week
Today - Hoopsters basketball, 8-9 a.m.; PSAAR class, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; TOPS/Archuleta County CCOERA meeting, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; AARP tax help, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; jewelry making class, 10 a.m.-noon; toddler's play group, 10 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Sky High volleyball practice, 3:30-5 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; SJOC meeting, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
March 2 - Senior walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Soup for the Soul fund-raising luncheon, 12 noon-2 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Miller birthday party, 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m.
March 3 - No meetings.
March 4 - Grace Evangelical Free Church and Church of Christ services, 10 a.m.-12 noon; High Roads Baptist Church service, 6-8 p.m.; Fairfield Activities meeting, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.
March 5 - Connections Academy testing, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; line dancing, 9-11:30 a.m.; senior walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; movie night, 7-9 p.m.
March 6 - Hoopsters basketball, 8-9 a.m.; Connections Academy testing, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; yoga session, 10-11:30 a.m.; senior walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
March 7 - Connections Academy, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.; senior walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; senior's aikido class, 1-2 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 5-6 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
March 8 - PSAAR member training, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Colorado Dept. of Education meeting, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; AARP Tax Help, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; jewelry making class, 10 a.m.-noon; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Senior News

All for a healthier you

By Jeni Middendorf
SUN Columnist

If you're an older adult, or perhaps playing a vital role in taking care of aging parents or grandparents, there are some nutrition and physical activity considerations to keep in mind.
Getting older doesn't mean that our quality of life or desire to be our best is any different. In fact, we usually become more aware of our health as we age. Healthful habits can help older adults enjoy daily activities, stay mobile, and be independent. Anytime is a good time to start healthy habits, no matter how old we are.
So, if you are a little older - you can still be healthier. Eating a balanced diet of nutrient-packed foods applies to all of us, but for older adults, a healthy eating plan may require a little more planning. If you have health problems or take medication regularly, it may be important to check with your health care provider for advice about changing your diet or physical activity level.
Getting older doesn't mean that our quality of life or desire to be our best is any different. In fact, we usually become more aware of our health as we age. Healthful habits can help older adults enjoy daily activities, stay mobile, and be independent. Anytime is a good time to start healthy habits, no matter how old we are!
Fiber is important
We've talked about how a healthy diet includes fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, that offer many health benefits including protection against heart disease. Another benefit is that fiber promotes regularity. Constipation may affect older adults for many reasons - from taking certain medications to drinking less fluid.
How much fiber do you need? The recommended dietary fiber intake is 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. So, the more calories you eat, the more fiber your body needs.
Good sources of dietary fiber include: cooked dry beans and ready-to-eat bran cereal or shredded wheat; pears and berries; dried prunes, figs, and dates; and cooked green peas, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, and spinach. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 1/2 cups of vegetables (a source of fiber and other nutrients) each day. Consuming at least 3 or more ounces of whole grains can reduce the risk of several chronic diseases and may help with weight maintenance.
Older adults should pay special attention to certain nutrient needs. For example:
- Many people over 50 years old have reduced absorption of vitamin B12. Therefore, they should consume vitamin B12 from fortified foods or a dietary supplement.
- Older adults tend to need more vitamin D to help maintain bone health. Drinking vitamin D-fortified fat-free or low-fat milk, or fortified orange juice, is a good way to get your vitamin D.
- Since constipation may affect up to 20 percent of people over age 65, older adults should consume foods rich in dietary fiber and drink plenty of water.
- Lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of high blood pressure and can lower elevated blood pressure. These changes include increasing potassium intake, reducing salt intake, eating an overall healthful diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and achieving a healthy weight.
Fats and your heart
Many of us, especially if we are older, have been told to eat less fat. Fat can impact the health of our heart and arteries in positive and negative ways, depending on the type of fat. All the more reason to stay away from saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Eating too much saturated and trans fats, the type of fats that are solid at room temperature, may increase the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats can be found in animal-based products such as milk and milk products, butter, meat, and poultry. And eating too much cholesterol, a fatty substance found only in animal-based products, may also increase the risk of heart disease. It's important to eat less than 10 percent of your calories from saturated fats.
For example, if you aim to eat 2,000 calories per day, your daily allowance of saturated fat would be less than 200 calories or 20 grams - which equals 100% Daily Value (DV) for saturated fat. And, remember, this is a limit, not a goal, meaning you do not need to achieve your DV for saturated fat! Furthermore, you should keep trans fats (often found in cakes, cookies, crackers, pies, and breads) as low as possible, and eat less than 300 milligrams per day (mg/day) of cholesterol.
Maybe you are someone who has an elevated LDL (bad) cholesterol level. Definitely, you should follow your health care provider's advice. Those of us with elevated cholesterol may be advised to decrease our calories from saturated fat to less than 7 percent of total calories - which is about 16 grams or about 80 percent DV - and less than 200 mg/day of cholesterol. It's critical to find out what's right for a Healthier You.
Now, a few words about making wise fat choices: an immediate change you can make is to eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in fish, nuts, and vegetable oils to reduce saturated fat calories in your diet. In fact, to help reduce the risk of heart disease, some evidence suggests eating approximately two servings of fish per week (a total of about 8 ounces) for people who have already had a heart attack. It may reduce their risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
Botswana 4-H program
Archuleta County is hosting Lindsey Drennen, a 24-year-old member of 4-H who was privileged to visit Botswana. Lindsey lived in Botswana through the IFYE (International Four-H Youth Exchange program).
This is an educational program for developing peace and understanding throughout the word. It increases international awareness, assists in improving leadership and communication skills and helps young people to learn about youth programs abroad. In addition to her cultural experiences, Lindsey will also be sharing some of her the artifacts she found on location. Her presentation will take place in our lounge at 1 p.m. Friday, March 2. See you there.
Soup cooking classes
Bored with routine home menus? Looking for something new for that home cooked meal? Want to learn from the professional chefs? Sign up for a soup cooking class at The Den. You'll learn some great new soup recipes from some of the best chefs in town. Boss Hogs', Isabel's, Victoria's Parlor and Dionigi's restaurants are participating. These classes will be held Mondays in the community center kitchen during the month of March. Each class is limited to 10 participants. Cost for each class is $5, which must be paid at the time of sign up. Bring your appetite as you enjoy your new creation at the end of each class.
Walk and talk
Susan Stoffer is a wonderful woman who shares her knowledge and expertise with us Mondays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Susan's background as a registered nurse, counselor and coach come wrapped in caring for you. Whether you have health-related questions, are having a hard day, or perhaps your loved one is having a difficult time, Susan is here to help you help yourself. You'll find Susan either in our dining room sharing her smile or walking in the gym; you could even get in some exercise while you walk and talk with Susan.
Candace Newman will give a presentation on aromatherapy and the importance of pure essential oils March 6 at 12:45 p.m. in the lounge. You will learn why they work and how to use them. The class will be very experiential, as you will smell the oils as you learn about them. Candace will give you some simple techniques for using the appropriate oils for better sleep, stress relief, aches and pains, bites and bruises, and colds and flu. Only therapeutic grade essential oils are used to avoid allergic responses from perfume-fragrance type products. With pure oils one receives their natural aromas and their natural properties of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and more. Join us to learn about whiffing your way to better health, and how to feel better with essential oils.
Dance for health
Dance For Health classes are available at The Den Wednesdays at 10 a.m., free of charge. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet, modern jazz, and jazz dance with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to work out to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. Join us at The Den and learn great dance techniques while having a fun time exercising.
Seniors Inc.
Seniors Inc. annual memberships for folks 55 and older are being sold at The Den for $5 Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10 a.m.-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 Seniors Inc. members. As you can see, the benefits of a membership are endless, so stop on in at The Den during the scheduled hours to renew or purchase your first annual membership. Please remember that 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.
Tax-Aide program
The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program is back this year. This program provides free personal income tax assistance to low- and moderate -income taxpayers, with special attention to those age 60 and older.
This program maintains strict confidentiality and protects the security of all taxpayers' information and records at all times. Free electronic filing (e-filing) of tax returns prepared by Tax-Aide counselors is also available.
New this year: Taxpayers can claim a refund on their 2006 tax returns, for excise tax they paid on long-distance telephone service. Individuals not required to file a federal income tax return can file a new form (form 1040EZ-T) to claim their refund. Preparation assistance for Colorado Property Tax/Heat/Rent Rebate Application (PTC) will be provided even if the individual is not required to file a federal tax return.
The tax counseling and preparation is done by IRS/AARP-trained volunteers who reside in the Pagosa Springs area. This program will be offered every Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., through April 12 in the Art Council Room of the community center. It is requested that you make an appointment for this help. There will be sign-up sheets for appointments on the bulletin board in the Senior Center dining room. Appointments will not be accepted by telephone. Walk-ins will be assisted on an as available basis. Individuals with appointments have preference.
Sandhill Crane migration field trip
The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge is a major stopover for migrating greater Sandhill Cranes moving between their wintering area around Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico and breeding grounds in the northern United States and southern Canada.
Up to 20,000 cranes pass through in the spring and again in the fall. Three remaining endangered Whooping Cranes from a failed attempt to establish a wild migratory population in the 1980s can be seen migrating with their foster species, the Sandhill Crane. Several hundred elk may also be seen on the refuge seeking winter food.
On Thursday, March 15, you'll climb aboard our comfy bus and settle in for the ride over to Monte Vista. The cost of the trip is $20 including a delicious lunch (beverage, tax and tip included) at the Mountain View Restaurant in Monte Vista. Dress for cool weather and bring along your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the views from various pulloffs and the interpretative displays located along and within the Monte Vista Refuge. Meet at The Den at 8:45 a.m. and return approximately 5 p.m. Sign up for this great experience no later than Thursday, March 9; maximum participation is 18, so sign up early.
Meal delivery volunteers
The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center is looking for substitute volunteers for the home-delivered meal program. If you can spare an hour a week on a flexible basis and want to contribute to your community, then this is the volunteer position for you. You can make a difference in many lives just by volunteering as a substitute to deliver meals without taking too much time out of your busy schedule. Call Musetta at 264-2167 if you are interested in helping out. Deliver a meal and a smile and make someone's day!
Thursday, March 1 - Tax-Aide in Pagosa by appointment only. Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). The Den is closed.
Friday, March 2 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veteran's services available, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; 4-H presentation on Botswana, 1 p.m.
Monday, March 5 - Soup class, 10 a.m.-noon; Susan Stoffer, nurse and counselor, available 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30; canasta, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, March 6 - Yoga, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; Seeds of learning kids visit, noon; aromatherapy presentation, 12:45 p.m.
Wednesday, March 7 - Dance For Health class, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Aikido class, 1 p.m.
Thursday, March 8 - Tax-Aide in Pagosa by appointment only. The Den is closed.
Friday, March 9 - 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.; final day to sign up for crane field trip.
Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus and kids 12 and under; all others $5.
Our meal program is partially funded through the Older Americans Act, United Way, other contributions and grants.
Salad bar available every day at The Den beginning at 11:30 a.m. Menu subject to change.
Thursday, March 1 - Meal served in Arboles, reservations required, Stuffed Bell Peppers, corn cobbettes, spinach, applesauce with raisins and whole wheat roll.
Friday, March 2 - Pasta Primavera with sausage and marinara sauce over spaghetti noodles, apple/pear salad and garlic roll.
Monday, March 5 - Roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, apricots and peaches, and whole wheat bread.
Tuesday, March 6 - Oven fried chicken, potato salad, Oriental vegetables, sliced pears with strawberries, and whole wheat roll.
Wednesday, March 7 - Bratwurst on a bun with sauerkraut, mustard, and onion, Harvard beets, and peaches.
Friday, March 9 - Crunchy baked fish, whipped potatoes, mixed vegetables, pineapple and mandarin oranges, and a muffin.

Veteran's Corner

Archuleta County launches drug discount card program

By Andy Fautheree

Archuleta County has launched a discount card program to help our residents cope with the high price of prescription drugs.
The county is making free prescription drug discount cards available under a program sponsored by the National Association of Counties (NACo) that offers average savings of 20 percent off the retail price of commonly prescribed drugs.
Drug savings
This could be good news for many of our veterans and local citizens in need of lower prices on their prescription drug needs. There is no charge for the discount card. There is no enrollment form, no membership fee and no restrictions or limits on frequency of use. Cardholders and their family members may use the card any time their prescriptions are not covered by insurance.
The cards may be used by all county residents, regardless of age, income, or existing health coverage, and are accepted at all pharmacies in the county. A national network of more than 57,000 participating retail pharmacies will also honor the NACo prescription discount card.
Pick up cards
Cards are available at this office and most of the main county department locations.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Fuel money
Don't forget to stop by my office with your "proof of appointment" information, fuel and overnight accommodation receipts to VA health care appointments for reimbursement of expenses. We are currently reimbursing nearly 100 percent of your VA Health Care travel expenses.
Also, help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility and give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.
Durango VA Clinic
The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G, (next to Big 5 Sports). Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.
Further information
For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7 (behind City Market). The office number is 731-3837, the fax number is 731-3879, cell number is 946-6648, and e-mail is The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Library News

New books for young people added to library collection

By Carole Howard
SUN columnist, and the library staff

An extraordinary new Junior Non-fiction series from Eyewitness Books is now available at your library, thanks to an anonymous donor.
The vast array of titles is amazing, the easy-to-read format is extremely attractive, and the color illustrations are remarkable.
Among the 26 topics addressed in this series, which is aimed at fourth graders and up, are hurricanes and tornadoes, cats, the Vietnam War, arms and armor, the Wild West, mythology, invention, NASCAR, dance, North American Indians, electronics. archeology, digital photos, film, robots and building.
By the way, this series is so informative and entertaining that adults will love it as well.
We also have a nice group of new books in the Junior Fiction category. They include "The Last Dragon," by Silvana De Mari, about the adventures of an elf, and "Peter and the Show Thieves," by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, a magical adventure-packed follow-up to "Peter and the Starcatchers." Junior Fiction is written for kids in grades three through six or seven.
New additions in the Young Adults section include "An Abundance of Katherines," by John Green, about a young man who reinvents himself after being dumped by 19 different Katherines, plus two thrillers with a supernatural spin by Stephenie Meyer called "Twilight" and "New Moon." Young Adults books are written for youth in junior high and up.
Speaking of teen readers
If you think that today's teens spend all their time on computers and cell phones, we hope you are reading the current series of book reports in the Pagosa Reads! column in The PREVIEW.
These excellent reviews of books for teens remind us all that many of our young people are not only great readers but also great writers.
Today's book reports elsewhere in this PREVIEW were written by sixth-grader Kitman Gill. Earlier ones came from sixth-grader Kendra Lynnea Schlom and seventh-grader Kyle Anderson, as well as Kitman.
All are on the student adviser committee for Meagan's Place at the Sisson Library, Meagan's Place being a special section of the library devoted entirely to books and games of interest to early teens in the sixth through ninth grades. The teen reviewers hope their book reports inspire their fellow students to read and discuss their favorite books with friends and family. They certainly inspire us!
Lifelong Learning
This Saturday, March 3, at 3 p.m. the spring Lifelong Learning lecture series opens with "Dirt, Water, Stone: A century of preserving Mesa Verde," by Kathy Fiero, a 30-year field archeologist in the southwest who supervised the repair and preservation of the archeological sites of Mesa Verde. She now lives in Santa Fe.
Sadly, the "Icons and Iconoclasts: A Short History of Political Cartooning," by Judith Reynolds on April 21 has been cancelled because of the unexpected death of her husband. "Reading the Trees: Arborglyphs" by Peggy Bergon, originally scheduled for April 28, has been moved up to April 21.
Please visit the library's Web site at and click on the Lifelong Learning Program page for details of the full Spring 2007 lecture series. All are free to the public. They take place in the library at 3 p.m. on Saturdays. These events help keep your mind agile and your life interesting. We hope to see you there.
New Christian fiction
Beverly Lewis has two new books out in the Christian fiction category. "The Brethren" tells of how a town deals with the ramifications of a man's arrest. "The Englisher" explores a young artist's love for a man and trials to her faith.
New novels from best-selling authors
Some of the country's most popular fiction, thriller and mystery writers have new books out that are now on our shelves. They include "The Hunters," by W.E.B. Griffin, another Stephanie Plum novel called "Plum Lovin'" by Janet Evanovich, legal mystery "Limitations," by Scott Turow, "Shadow Dance," by Julie Garwood, "Stalemate," by Iris Johansen, "Exile," by Richard North Patterson, another Dirk Pitt thriller called "Black Wind," by Clive Cussler, and "Nature Girl," by Carl Hiaasen.
Jimmy Carter's latest
We now have former President Jimmy Carter's latest non-fiction offering, called "Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid." This book has been making headlines around the world.
Thanks to our donors
Our thanks this week for gifts of books and materials from Scottie Gibson, Bob Howard, Evelyn Kantas, Sam Lane, Janet Rohrer, Anna Royer, Shirley Snider, Bev Warburton, Dick Warring and Margaret Wilson.

Arts Line

Two days left to submit calendar images

By Linda Strathdee
PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will accept images for the 2008 Calendar the rest of this week, noon-5 p.m. at the PSAC gallery.
Submissions can be of any art work that makes one think of the charm and beauty of the country around Pagosa Springs. The Council is looking not only for drawings, paintings and photographs but will also consider other types of artwork such as sculptures, stained glass, quilts, etc.
Acceptable artwork is not limited to identifiable scenes; it may be abstract. Criteria for acceptance will be the appeal to the judges and appropriateness for a particular season.
For an art work in the calendar, it will need to be presented in a photograph, in landscape format.
We urge those whose artwork was not accepted for previous calendars to consider entering again. Your art may be just what the judges would like for a particular month this year.
Full details and an application form may be downloaded from PSAC's Web site,
Gallery hours
Hours for the PSAC Gallery in Town Park are changing.
There will be someone in the office this week from noon to 4 p.m. daily. Beginning the week of March 5 and for the remainder of March, the gallery will be staffed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays. Additionally, voice mail and e-mail will be checked regularly, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you.
The Artist Spirit
The Artist Spirit addresses your heartfelt questions about the arts. It is geared to enlighten and inform, be sincere, humorous or just have fun. This is an opportunity to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling and a place to speak out in the art community
If you have any questions for Dear Liz Rae, please e-mail attention: The Artist Spirit, or mail your questions to The Artist Spirit, PSAC, PO Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Your name is not necessary.
Dear Liz Rae:
Hey - I like your column and I have two questions for you.
1: What do you tell well-meaning friends who, knowing you've been taking art classes for quite some time, want to see your work? Several of my co-workers really want me to have a "showing." I'm a little insecure about the whole idea as I don't think my work is that good! But, it might be fun anyway. What do you recommend? How do you do a "showing" at your house, anyway?
2: I love ordering art supplies. When the catalogs come, I keep finding things I'm sure I must have. I can't seem to stop myself, it's so much fun accumulating this stuff, even if I don't need it. Is this common with budding artists?
Thanks, Liz
A Reader (or shall I sign myself "Well-Stocked?")
Dear Well-stocked and Budding:
Thank you for reading The Artist Spirit. Your questions relate to every artist.
Welcome to the artist's world. Whether you're budding or have already bloomed you'll find that you can't get enough of all the new fangle-dangles that you think you need. After painting a while, you realize that you have probably two brushes you use all the time and an oleo container will do just fine. Good brushes, paints and good paper or canvases are essential, everything else is just feel-good stuff.
You should take a risk and have a showing. There is a point that the risk of staying in the bud is more painful than blooming. Your well-meaning friends are safe and a perfect place to start. They want to enter into your joy and your excitement. These are some guidelines to a success showing.
- Presentation is important. Matting even without frames shows better than just loose watercolor paper. Have them arranged in order that they can be viewed easily.
- Refreshments are always nice; nothing too elaborate, but maybe wine, punch, nuts, cheese and crackers, or finger desserts and coffee and tea.
- Pricing is good. In case one of your friends wants to support your new-found joy, have a price in mind.
- Find a date that will work for everyone. Make sure they have directions to your house.
Happy blooming
Liz Rae
Photography club
Consider joining the Pagosa Springs Photography Club. Field trips and workshops occur throughout the year.
Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend at no charge for the first meeting. Any and all are invited to join for $20 annual dues. For more information, contact club president Sharan Comeaux at 731-4511 (daytime), 731-5328 (evening) or e-mail at
Watercolor club
Watercolor club meets the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room of the community center.
Watercolorists of all levels are provided the opportunity to use the room for the day. Attending members contribute $5 for use of the space.
Attendees should bring a bag lunch, their supplies, and a willingness to have a fun, creative day. New participants are always welcome.
Winter workshops
Brighten up your winter by signing up for one PSAC's winter classes. Call 264-5020 to reserve a space in any workshop. Remember space may be limited; call early.
- Drawing with Davis.
Local artist Randall Davis will hold a one-day drawing workshop 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 10, at the community center. This workshop will focus on drawing the face. This session is appropriate for beginners as well as advanced students. If you have never attended one of his classes, it's wonderful to see what you can produce in a day under Randall's guidance. Everyone leaves with a completed drawing.
Supplies needed for this class include sketch pad (preferably 11x14), 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.
- Bruce Andersen will offer his Intro to Photoshop class from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. March 5, 8 and 12 in the computer lab at the community center. This class is for people who are comfortable using their camera and a computer, but not necessarily the two together! The goal of Intro to Photoshop is to improve the quality of your pictures and get the desired results. The course outline includes a tour of Photoshop Elements, enhancing images by boosting color and contrast, removing undesirable objects, cropping and preparing photo files for e-mail and print, file management and a refresher on working with the camera. This is a hands-on course where participants each sit at a computer and actually "work" image files following the lead of the instructor. Cost is $120 for the course that includes three classes.
- Intermediate watercolor workshop with Betty Slade.
On March 29 and 30, artist Betty Slade will show you techniques and skills that will draw out the garden of your soul. You will learn how to reflect your thoughts and moods when you touch your paint brush to paper. The most important discovery will be your own growth as you learn how to push colors and direct the viewer's eye by creating a path of light to the focal point. You will begin to paint art, not subjects. Cost of this class is $100 for PSAC members and $125 for nonmembers.
Learn photography with Wen Saunders
Local photojournalist Wen Saunders will present a series of evening and Saturday sessions in March to include instruction and actual location photography shoots. The series meets at the Pagosa Springs Community Center and is a special opportunity for individuals to learn from a working professional and gain better knowledge about photography and their camera. Fees include all printed materials, film, and image processing. Participants should bring all their photographic equipment (including owner's manuals, tripods, etc.) Sessions are $65 each or $259 for the entire five-session series.
March 26: Get to Know Your 35mm Camera. Learn and understand the parts of a camera and how they function. Camera maintenance will be discussed. We will evaluate f-stop basics. You'll not only have a keen understanding of f-stop characteristics, but also discover the best f-stop decisions for the image you photograph. Meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
March 27: F-Stops and Shutter Speed. Learn how to select the best shutter to help create better images. Advantages of slow and fast shutter speeds will be discussed. Participants will shoot an assignment during this session with provided film (black and white or color). Meets from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
March 29: Natural Lighting (+/- exposure). This segment is dedicated to help you understand why f-stops are important for you to control. Explore the advantages and disadvantages of film speeds from ISO 400-3200. Color and black and white films will be discussed and demonstrated. Experiment with ISO 3200 black & white film, or color ISO 800 exposure without a flash. This session includes a location shoot. Meets 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
March 31: Electronic Flash. Does the electronic flash have you puzzled? Are you interested in obtaining better images using your flash? This session will give you confidence to easily use your flash. For those who don't have a flash - you can rent one for $20 and discover the right flash to purchase. Meets from 9:30 to noon.
March 31: 35mm B/W Infrared and Film Processing. Infrared film can provide a very artistic rending of life's boring situations. If Infrared photography may interest you, but you're afraid to shoot it or have had unsuccessful results, then you will gain a better understanding of the principles of infrared in this session. Meets from 1-4 p.m.
Watch this column for upcoming workshops.
PSAC Calendar
All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the Arts and Craft Room at the community center, unless otherwise noted. All exhibits are shown at the PSAC Gallery at Town Park, unless otherwise noted. For more information contact PSAC at 264-5020
March 5, 8 and 12 - Bruce Andersen, Intro to Photoshop.
March 10 - Randall Davis, One day drawing workshop.
March 26 - Wen Saunders, Get to now Your 35mm Camera.
March 27 - Wen Saunders, F-Stops and Shutter Speeds.
March 29 - Wen Saunders, Natural Lighting (+/- exposure).
March 29-30 - Betty Slade, Intermediate Watercolor.
March 31 - Wen Saunders, Electronic Flash.
March 31 - Wen Saunders, 35mm B/W Infrared & Film Processing.
April 26-27 - Betty Slade, Beginning/Intermediate Oil Painting Workshop.

Food for Thought
Stinky sports, and braised kimchi

By Karl Isberg

I admit it.
During my years in the journalism trade, one of my favorite assignments has been high school sports.
I enjoy nearly everything about it - the two things absent from my list being the behavior of certain parents, and my infrequent exposure to "professional" sportswriters.
I grow tired of the parents' demands, their delusions, their smothering expertise, and the thought of the ruinous effect of all this and more on their children. This type of parent soils what should be a fairly innocent activity. Many of them are just plain nuts - sad characters attempting to cleanse their inadequacies with the transient and generally imaginary glory crafted by a child on field or court.
The writers who make their livings (or part of their livings if they are stringers) covering athletic events are, for the most part, an equally sad crew. Many are ex-athletes and their personal exploits expand with their waistlines. With each year, and each beer, they and their achievements swell. In this, I suppose I am one of them, but their company is something I don't seek or enjoy. When I am around them, I get existential and dwell on the meaninglessness of life.
Otherwise ... I like covering high school sports.
I like it so much that I guard a couple sports beats, refusing to turn them over to staff writers: girls' volleyball in the fall, wrestling in the winter.
Over the years, I've been asked questions by readers. First is, "Why do you pay so much attention to sports?" This is usually asked by a parent (every bit as annoying as a sport parent) with a kid in band or drama or on the cheerleading squad.
The answer: I like sports - once stripped of false fronts, sports illumine some very real things about our species - plus, the copy and photos fill space in the newspaper.
The second question: "Which sport smells the worst?"
Good question.
And easy to answer.
Girls' volleyball smells not a bit. The gals perspire, yes, but they are fresh as daisies from the respectable distance I am required to maintain. In my experience, high school girls' volleyball is the most odor-free sport this side of swimming (if one discounts the tang of chlorine).
Football does not smell bad. This will surprise many of you and I need to qualify the statement: Football does not smell bad when you are on the field with the players. It takes place out of doors, with fresh air and breezes abounding.
The same with track; it too occurs in an outdoor venue. The sport is minty fresh, until the runners take off their shoes. Try to miss this.
I wouldn't know. I don't watch basketball; it's played by tall, thin people and my one bias in life is directed against tall, thin people. It was always the tall thin guys who got the prom dates back in high school, while we shorter, wider guys spent the gala evening at a bowling alley.
I don't forget, or forgive.
I just finished covering the high school season and, after prowling the crowded arena floor at the state tournament at Denver's Pepsi Center, I can say the sport, in the public venue, is not stinky at all. It is another story altogether in the wrestling room, in particular after a long, warm practice session, as many as thirty of the lads crammed into a humid, closed space.
That gets pretty nasty at times. Especially when the school cafeteria serves burritos at lunch.
Yep, wrestling qualifies as one of the smellier athletic adventures.
But it can't hold a candle to hockey.
When I was a kid, I was a hockey player. Give me a couple drinks and I will become one of the better hockey players in the history of the sport. I've got plenty of colorful hockey stories to tell, all of which become more colorful the older I get.
One thing I do not need to exaggerate - that I can't exaggerate - is the odor.
As with football and wrestling, the stench is not experienced during the contest proper. No, it is a locker-room phenomenon.
And, hoo boy, it is nasty.
I take you back to the University of Denver hockey locker room, circa 1964. The locker room sits in the arena basement beneath the west stands, past the room housing the cooling compressors, the lair of Carl, the cooling system mechanic. Carl wears a greasy cap, a pair of stiff, oil-slicked coveralls, has one tooth in his head and is never seen without the butt of a long-dead Camel jammed in his mug. He cannot spell "deodorant;" he has never encountered the stuff. As you can imagine, Carl's space isn't exactly pristine, odorwise, but things get worse.
A path of rubber mats leads past Carl's place, and past the equipment room where the sticks are kept and the skates sharpened. Next is the trainer's room, complete with all the smells attendant to the enterprise - in particular the sharp scent of a liniment brewed special by Max, the trainer. He calls it "panther piss." The name is fitting, especially when some wag puts it in your socks or, worse yet, in your jock.
But, the stuff smells like a rare flower compared to what awaits behind Door No. 4. The locker room.
The space behind the door at the end of the rubber path is maybe forty-by-forty. The concrete walls are lined with cubicles furnished with hooks and wire baskets. A chair sits in front of each space. There are several huge posters on the walls, each featuring a cartoonish rendering of a burly, red-clad Pioneer hockey player shouting things like "Yell when you're open" and "Keep your head up!"
Good advice. No one knows you're there if you don't shout, and bad things happen in hockey, and in life, when you put your head down.
In each cubicle are the tools of the trade.
And every darned tool smells like ...
It's hard to describe.
Ever been in a charnel house?
Worse than that.
Every smelled a bloated animal carcass?
Worse than that.
Stuck your nose near rotting chicken parts, or sniffed your way around a landfill? Are you old enough to remember the smell of an outhouse on an extremely hot summer day?
No comparison.
You open the door to the University of Denver hockey locker room, circa 1964, and you are enveloped in an atmosphere that is more than mere odor; it is a beast that creeps from a windowless, airless space to swallow all that is decent and good, a mutant being, created by a malevolent madman in a basement laboratory.
Or, by Canadians.
If smells were colors, this one would be a muddy brown.
You see, those darned Canadians had odd ideas - some would call them superstitions - the most startling of which was an aversion to washing key pieces of equipment and apparel.
Back then, hockey players wore a pair of long underwear beneath equipment and uniforms. The sleeves were cut short, as was the lower portion of the legs. The remaining garment absorbed sweat, in a very sweaty sport. The same with the socks.
The lads from Regina and Winnipeg, from Milk River, Brandon and Flin Flon believed washing any of these items during the season would bring terrible luck - as would mixing the order in which players exited the locker room, forgetting to tap the goalie's pads a certain way at a certain time and place, having less than three tablespoons of powdered dextrose in your cup of hot tea and honey between periods, etc.
The long underwear, snowy white in September, looked like a Helen Frankenthaler painting by February, bearing nearly every color in the rainbow, hues produced by rust and who-knows-what type of microorganisms. Socks? Egad!
Let's put the odor that emanated from that space after four months of practice and play in food terms: Imagine, if you will, a tightly closed auto full of Tete de Moines, parked June through August in the parking garage at the Phoenix airport. Open the door. What do you smell?
You smell something akin to a hockey locker room, the stinky home base of the world's greatest sport. A metaphor, perhaps, of greater import.
And you thought there was nothing to be learned from sports? It's a short jump from that locker room to food, where some of the worst smells are produced by some of the tastiest items.
Are there ingredients and dishes that send you reeling with their odor, but set you swooning when they hit the mouth?
Yep, there are.
The above-mentioned Tete de Moines, for example.
The Durian fruit. I smelled it once in a shop just off Bleeker Street in lower Manhattan. I don't need to smell it again.
There are all manner of mold-riddled cheeses that stink to high heaven.
Ever taken a whiff of shrimp paste? Ah, but it goes so well in all manner of Thai dishes, doesn't it?
Anchovy paste? Fish sauce, made from fermented anchovies?
They say there is a particularly nasty fermented tofu, enjoyed by the Chinese.
Apparantly marmot doesn't come off all that well when cooked, and mutton, if old enough, can be truly rank.
Kimchi, anyone?
Ever notice how the foods that are nastiest on the nose are also among the ugliest? Just like the long underwear in that hockey locker room.
Fermented items (not counting our fave fermented beverages) are all pretty vile looking. Natto, for instance (which I tasted only once) is a fermented soy, covered with a gelatinous, icky-looking slime. Anchovy paste is as ugly as it gets, as is shrimp paste. The Durian fruit looks, well, just plain thorny and nasty.
The exception: kimchi (or kimchee) - the staple Korean cabbage pickle, sometimes fermented in crocks buried in the back yard. It's easy to make, and potent as all get-out: Napa cabbage, tons of garlic, chile, onion, salt, sugar, water, ginger, the occasional dribble of fish sauce. Did I mention lots of garlic? There's so much garlic in kimchi, the diner needs to be quarantined.
So, in a tribute to smelly foods, and in honor of my memory of my favorite hockey locker room, I intend to make braised kimchi
When Kathy is not at home. In fact, when Kathy will be gone for several days. It'll take that long for the odor to dissipate.
It's a simple recipe, mimicking a dish I enjoyed about seven years ago at a high-end Korean joint in Pasadena, in Old Town.
I'll take some beef tenderloin, marinated at least a day in soy, rice wine vinegar, garlic and red chile paste, and sauté it in a pot in vegetable oil and a smidge of sesame oil, just until the beef begins to change color. In will go several cups of drained kimchi and about a cup of the kimchi liquid. I'll add some red chile powder, about four cups of beef stock, a ton of mushed garlic, a bit of minced ginger and, after simmering the lot for about five minutes, I'll pop in some cubes of firm tofu and bring the mess to a simmer again.
Garnish with sliced serrano peppers, toasted sesame seeds and sliced spring onions and you have a smelly treat with few peers. The same dish can be prepared with thinly-sliced and marinated pork loin or chicken breast, substituting chicken broth for the beef stock.
I'll be eating this one alone, so I might break out my old hockey jersey, drink a bit, amplify my fantasies about how good I was when I was young, and savor a very smelly world.
Who knows, it may be inspirational.
Anyone know where I can get a marmot?

Extension Viewpoints
Programs on schedule at Extension Office

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today - 5:30 p.m., Vet Science project meeting, San Juan Vet Hospital.
Toady - 6:30 p.m., Shady Pine Club meeting with IFYE presentation
March 2 - 1:45 p.m., 4-H Fridays at Community United Methodist Church.
March 2 - 2:15 p.m., Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting.
March 3 - 10 a.m., Mandatory Steer Weigh-in.
March 5 - 4 p.m., Advanced Entomology project meeting.
March 5 - 4 p.m., Shooting Sports project meeting.
March 5 - 6:30 p.m., Livestock Committee meeting .
March 6 - 6-9 p.m., Small Acreage meeting by NRCS.
March 6 - 6:30 p.m., Colorado Kids club meeting.
March 7 - 4 p.m., Sportsfishing project meeting.
March 8 - 5:30 p.m., Vet Science project meeting, San Juan Vet Hospital.
4-H international exchange
Archuleta County 4-H will host Lindsey Drennen, a member of 4-H who was privileged to visit Botswana this past year. She will share some photos, stories and artifacts with the public at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, at the Extension Office. Everyone is invited to attend.
Lindsey lived in Botswana in conjunction with IFYE, an educational program for developing peace and understanding throughout the world. IFYE increases international awareness, assists in improving leadership and communication skills and helps young people to learn about youth programs abroad. For further information, contact Pamela at 264-5931 at the Extension Office.
CSU vice provost visits Pagosa
The Colorado State University Vice Provost of Outreach and Strategic Partnerships Dr. Lou Swanson has made it one of his missions to visit all of the CSU Extension offices throughout the State. While visiting Pagosa Springs, he would like to meet and discuss a variety of issues with key county and community leaders.
CSU invites you to attend a morning gathering 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Archuleta County Extension Office to meet and talk with Dr. Swanson. This is a great opportunity to ask questions and hear what direction and vision Extension has for the future. We will provide refreshments and would appreciate an R.S.V.P. to our office at 264-5931 as soon as possible.
REALTOR Radon Program
The Archuleta County Extension Office will be hosting an in-depth seminar dealing with radon for real estate professionals 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 14. The cost is $25 and includes four CEU credits by the REALTOR Association.
In the real estate market, there are numerous issues one must deal with in order to ethically and successfully complete transactions. More and more, radon is an issue that is and will be showing up in property transactions. It is also an element of the Property Disclosure Statement. This program is designed to assist professionals in handling these issues and in finding solutions to satisfy both buyers and sellers.
To register for the program, contact the Extension Office at 264-5931.

Pagosa Lakes News
Pagosa Duathlon debuts this summer

By Ming Steen
SUN Columnist

This past summer, the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon celebrated its 14th and final year with a record number of participants.
While it was exciting to have so many competitors, it was daunting to watch the mass of humanity trying to swim forward in a 25-yard, four-lane pool.
A new event, the Pagosa Duathlon, will premier this summer, on Saturday, July 21. This event will be replacing the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon that had been organized through the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center for the past 14 years.
The new Pagosa Duathlon is being organized under the auspices of the Archuleta County Victims Assistance Program (ACVAP) as a fund-raiser. ACVAP is a locally-organized nonprofit corporation that provides emergency and other necessary services to victims (and their dependents) of domestic violence and sexual assault.
One of the major reasons the recreation center will no longer be doing the triathlon is because the growth and development of the neighborhood and subdivision roads around the recreation center has made the route less safe for a race.
Among past triathlon competitors and among those who secretly harbored the hope that "some day" they will compete, there have been many who have expressed a high level of disappointment. However, these racers can now look forward to having another family-oriented outdoor athletic event that is totally away from major subdivision traffic and on picturesque San Juan National Forest Service land (Turkey Springs).
The race will be made up of a six-mile run (twice around a three-mile loop so spectators in the transition area can see and cheer on the participants multiple times) and an 11.4 mile mountain bike ride. The run is all on trails and the bike leg of the race is partly on single-track trails and partly on forest service roads. For more information on this race, go online at
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club recently held its annual "Oldie Weds" game and the following is some wisdom to pass on:
Whether a man winds up with a nest egg or a goose egg depends a lot on the kind of chick he marries.
Trouble in marriage often starts when a man gets so busy earnin' his salt that he forgets his sugar.
If a man has enough horse sense to treat his wife like a thoroughbred, she will never turn into an old nag.


Hosanna Selah Collins

Austin and Kate Collins are delighted to announce the birth of their fourth daughter, Hosanna Selah Collins. Annie was born Dec. 21, 2006, weighing in at 6 pounds, 1.4 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. She is joyfully adored by big sisters Elizabeth, Emmanuel and Jubilee.
Grandparents are Bill and Sheri Collins of Durango, and Randy and Nancy Schauwecker of Iron River, Mich. Great-grandmothers are Doris Grundahl of Lakewood, and Lee Schauwecker of Iron River.

Peyton West Jackson

Peyton West Jackson was born on Feb. 10, 2007, at 4:12 a.m. He was 9 pounds, 7 1/2 ounces and 20 3/8 inches long.
His proud parents are Staff Sergeant West and Sarah Jackson, currently of Las Vegas, Nev. His maternal grandparents are Murray and Jackie Wilson of Las Vegas, and Richard and Kelly Denny of Las Vegas. His paternal grandparents are Carolyn Clark of Pagosa Springs and Jerry and Kathy Jackson of Pagosa Springs.
He is also welcomed by his great-grandparents, Dr. and Mrs. William Paschal of Pagosa Springs.

 Business News

Chamber News

Reflections of Pagosa's people

By Mary Jo Coulehan
SUN Columnist

Two incidents occurred last week that prompted me to make this week's article more of a commentary about the people of Pagosa and what continues to make this a special community, than my usual update of upcoming events.
The first incident is related to the Visitor Center and one of our diplomats.
About a year ago a young lady, Christa Casler, came to the Chamber to volunteer because her husband, Eric, was going to Iraq for a year and she needed something to do. She and her husband had purchased a home in Pagosa with the intent to move here permanently when he retired. I was a little concerned because Christa was new to the area and she had a limited range of community knowledge, but who is going to turn down an enthusiastic volunteer!
Needless to say, she put me to shame with a vast knowledge of activities, businesses and the community, acquired in the short period of time since she had moved to Pagosa.
I make this introduction because we now jump to this past week when we were enthusiastically introduced to Eric, who was home on leave. During our conversation about how things really are in the Middle East, and as we expressed our concern about his and his unit's safety, Eric presented our organization with a "Thank You Certificate." He presented this certificate as a thanks to us for taking care of Christa so he didn't have to worry about her and could do his job. He then also "coined" us with a special coin from his unit and told us the history of issuing a unit's coin.
It's a good thing that nobody walked into the Visitor Center at that moment - it was a bit of an emotional scene. What overwhelmed us was that here was a wonderful new citizen of Pagosa who had chosen to volunteer at our Visitor Center and for many other organizations. We should be kissing her feet for helping us. And here comes her husband, who puts his life on the line so we can continue to live the wonderful lives that we have, and he is thanking us!
What an overwhelming moment for us.
The next incident happened when I was at the Phoenix Sportsman and RV Show last week. Once again, I was lucky enough to have two great volunteers help me out over several days of the show. One of the volunteers, Ann Rasich, is a diplomat at our Visitor Center during the summer. She dragged along her husband, John, to help out at the show. John was speaking to a woman when he called me over to talk to this lady who had graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 1931. She looked at me and said, "I know who you are, you're Mary Jo Coulehan and I read about you in the paper!" This ex-Pagosan continued to tell me she had just sold some land that she and her husband owned just off of Light Plant Road and U.S. 84. Her husband had passed away and they sold some of their property while still retaining a piece. Hearing her comments about Light Plant Road and U.S. 84, I wondered if I could be talking to the person whose name graced a road just a few miles south of this landmark piece of property. I asked her name and she said, "Catchpole, Evangeline Catchpole." She said she thought that a road was named after her family and I confirmed it, letting her know where the road was.
Mrs. Catchpole has fond memories of Pagosa and was generous in her compliments of our booth at the show. It was a pleasure to speak to her and get some insight into Pagosa's past. She passes on her greetings to those who remember her and says she still takes The SUN.
I write about both of these incidents because they made me focus on the old and the new in our community and on one common thread - the people.
People come to Pagosa for so many different reasons, but they are drawn there because of who we are and what we have to offer. I have said for years that what joins us is our sense of community. As we grow - and we are growing and we will continue to do so - we cannot lose sight of this common thread. A week later, I am still moved every time I think of Eric's gift to us and his comments. He was so grateful that this community embraced his wife and he felt that she was safe. We should be so grateful to him for the job that he performs on behalf of our whole country. If you know Christa, she is a person easy to embrace and one of Pagosa's best advocates and representatives. I also had the chance to speak to a person influential in Pagosa's history. This job continues to afford me so many fun and interesting opportunities. You just never know who you'll meet, and where.
Wearing of the Green
Saint Patrick's Day falls on March 17, but this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held Friday, March 16.
This fun and very green parade will start at 4 p.m. and proceed on a route on San Juan and Pagosa streets, between South 6th Street and 2nd Street.
Entries should start lining up around 3:30 p.m.
To participate in the parade, just fill out a parade application located on the back of the last Chamber newsletter or pick up a parade form, or have one faxed to you. Entries must be received by the close of business Thursday, March 15. The entry fee is $3.17 yet the rewards could be much more. Cash prizes will be given for the most green, the most bizarre, and the best overall entry. St. Patrick's Episcopal Church will once again lead us in the march..
Come tout your business or celebrate the green by walking in, or watching, this enjoyable community event. Are we going to have any green ice cream this year?
Masquerade Ball
If you don't have a mask or haven't ordered one from the Teen Center, you still have time.
Don't miss out on all the fun and intrigue at the Teen Center Masquerade Ball, to be held March 17. Starting at 6 p.m., the community center will come alive with masks, gowns (if you want) and lots of music and fun. Your $20 admission ticket brings you the music of DJ Bobby Hart, tasty hors d'oeuvres, and a cash bar. The dance will continue until 11 p.m.
Although this is an over-21 event, the proceeds from the event will benefit the Teen Center and their efforts to provide a safe and fun place for our teens. Tickets are available at the Chamber, the community center and WolfTracks Bookstore. For more information or to order a mask, please call the community center at 264-4152.
To begin this week's new members, we introduce you to Teri Garcia of Magic Hands Massage. Teri has an office above Liberty Theater at 422 Pagosa St. in Suite 12. Teri works with different massage therapies such as Swedish, Therapeutic, Deep Tissue, and Raindrop as well as Hot Stone therapies. She also offers classes on native culture and will also host tours to sacred sites. Some arts and crafts classes she will be teaching include making moccasins, basket weaving, drum making, pipe making and jewelry making. Teri can be reached by calling 264-2637.
Welcomed back as a new member, but not new to Pagosa or the Chamber, is Jim Standifer with Jim's Lock & Key. Jim has been gone for a little while and we are happy for his return. Jim offers a full-service locksmith business for home, commercial and automotive, as well as safe sales. Jim has been serving the Pagosa Springs area since 1987 and also has a complete mobile service. Give Jim a call for all your lock and key needs at 264-2747 or 946-7129.
New to the Chamber is Diane Bigley of Chromo Adventures, Inc. - a luxury bed and breakfast and horse facility located south of Pagosa in beautiful Chromo. Diane offers customized vacations in southwest Colorado, at a site located halfway between Chama, N.M., and Pagosa Springs. Take a peak at the Web site at Choose from a variety of activities customized for those requiring a restful vacation to an action-packed adventure (and anything in between). Diane can be reached by calling 264-0560 or (970) 749-4465.
Our renewals this week include Fred Harman with Harman Art Museum; Roger Behr of Behr Enterprises; Jim Askins of Fairway Mortgage; Archuleta County; Sunetha Property Management; Tom Nayman of Tom's Design & Fine Woodworking; and Homes & Land of Southwest Colorado.
We have two associate members renewing this week. Steve and Dee Butler, and Dot Jones. Thank you all for your support of the business community. 
My thanks again to all our volunteers, especially Ann and John who helped me out in Phoenix. It was kind of them to again give of their time and effort to promote our area with such grace and enthusiasm. It's all about the people of Pagosa.

Businesses warned of counterfeit bill scam

The Better Business Bureau of the Southwest is urging businesses across the region to take a closer look at the $100 bills they're handed.
Two businesses in Kentucky report receiving fake $100 bills. The businesses didn't know the bills were fake until their banks told them.
On the surface the bills look real, but when you hold them up to a bright light, you see a watermark of Abe Lincoln, not Ben Franklin. These are $5 bills.
The counterfeiters took $5 bills, bleached them, and printed $100 bills over them. So, the markers some businesses use to determine if money is real or fake won't work on these counterfeits.
The bills are not getting caught until they reach a bank, so the retailer is being stuck for the money.
How can businesses protect themselves? Some things to check are:
- Color-shifting ink - If you hold the new series bill (except the $5 note) and tilt it back and forth, please observe the numeral in the lower right hand corner as its color shifts from green to black and back.
- Watermark - Hold the bill up to a light to view the watermark in an unprinted space to the right of the portrait. The watermark can be seen from both sides of the bill since it is not printed on the bill but is imbedded in the paper.
- Security thread - Hold the bill up to a light to view the security thread. You will see a thin imbedded strip running from top to bottom on the face of a banknote. In the $10 and $50, the security strip is located to the right of the portrait, and in the $5, $20, and $100, it is located just to the left of the portrait.
For additional way to spot counterfeit bills, visit the Secret Service Web site at If you suspect a counterfeit note or have information about counterfeiting activity, please report it immediately to the U.S. Secret Service, or to your local police.
For your personal safety:
1. Do not put yourself in danger.
2. Do not return the bill to the passer.
3. Delay the passer with some excuse, if possible.
4. Observe the passer's description - and their companions' descriptions - and write down their vehicle license plate numbers if you can.
5. Contact your local police department or call your local U.S. Secret Service Office. Contact the U.S. Secret Service through your local Field Office found in the U.S. Secret Service Locator.
6. Write your initials and date in the white border area of the suspected counterfeit note.
7. Do not handle the counterfeit note. Place it inside a protective cover, a plastic bag, or envelope to protect it until you place it in the hands of an identified Secret Service Agent.
8. Surrender the note or coin only to a properly identified police officer or a Secret Service Special Agent, or mail it to your nearest U.S. Secret Service field office.
For additional information, contact the BBB office at (505) 346-0110.

Biz Beat

At a Feb. 14 shareholders' meetings, Citizen's Bank announced that Lisa Scott, left, had been elected to its board of directors. Scott will fill the seat on the board previously held by Robert Huff, who served on the board for seven years and has been named a director emeritus. Scott has an extensive background in community involvement, in fund-raising and volunteer work for civic and non-profit causes. Prior to moving to Pagosa Springs, she was a vice president with the investment banking firm of Alex Brown and Sons.
Citizen's Bank simultaneously announced the promotion of Patricia Tackett, right, to the post of vice president. Tackett joined the bank in 1997 and has managed the bank's Fairfield Branch for six years.

Cards of Thanks

Youth football
Pagosa Springs Youth Football would like to thank all the people who helped make our season a successful one. Thank you to all of the supportive parents. Without you, we would not have been able to make all the games or practices. Thank you to all the coaches for their hard work and time spent with our children. Without you, who would have taken the time to teach our children? Thank you to all of the wonderful people of the community with their donations: Paint Connection Plus, Southwest Custom Homes, Doors and More, Colorado Dream Homes, Hunan Restaurant, Pagosa Peak Realty, Custom Homes by Kurt Johnson, O'Neal Park Cattle Co., Knights of Columbus, Kiwanis Club, Waggin Tails, IHM Catholic Church, Rita Johnson and Airport Storage.

Rea family
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to thank each and every one of you who touched the life of Cecelia L. Rea. Thank you Dr. Mark Wienpahl, Bridgett Hewitt, and everyone at Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Center; Musetta Wollenweber and the Archuleta Senior Center; the wonderful Meals on Wheels team; Susie Kleckner at San Juan Basin Health; Guiseppe Margiotta; Ross Aragon, Nancy Shepard, Guch, Vern and all of Cecelia's neighbors at Archuleta Housing for the Elderly, and most recently, the administration, staff, nurses, aides, caregivers and volunteers at Pine Ridge for eight months of outstanding care. Cecelia was a lady and each of you treated her with respect, dignity and compassion. We thank you.
Rod and Nancy Rea and family



Tim Brown and his wife, Stephanie Hill, wish to announce the engagement of Tim's daughter, Jessica Brown, to Cabe Tully, son of Mark Tully and the late Jan Tully.
Jessica attended Pagosa Springs High School, graduating in 1999. She earned her animal science degree from Abilene Christian University in 2005.
Jessica is currently employed by Tim Brown Construction.
Cabe attended Pagosa Springs High School, graduating in 1998, and is currently employed by Westcon Mfg., Inc., headquartered in Maine, and Tully Woodworks, Inc., in Pagosa Springs.


Mercedes Haider

Mercedes Haider has graduated from Naval boot camp in Great Lakes, Ill. Mercedes graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in 2006. She's now enrolled in medical school as a Navy corpsman.

Lance Corporal Samuel Lomasney, U.S.M.C., son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Lomasney of Pagosa Springs, presently stationed in Iraq, has received an award for outstanding leadership in his platoon resulting in a five-day R and R in Qtar, and has been recommended for meritorious promotion. He is scheduled for return to the United States in late April.

Sports Page

Pirates beat Monte Vista in first-round tourney action

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' varsity clinched a place in the state Class 3A playoffs when they beat Monte Vista in their first match at the Intermountain League district basketball tournament Friday at Fort Lewis College, winning 65-40.
In the game, Pagosa combined its fast-pace offense with good ball movement, while highlighting Jordan Shaffer as a scoring threat.
Both teams were slow out of the blocks, as they worked out the kinks of their early-tournament play, including turn-overs, walks and missed shots. The Pirates took a relatively long time to put points on the board, scoring only after nearly two minutes had passed, when Kerry Joe Hilsabeck put in two from the line.
Monte Vista kept pace with Pagosa into the fourth minute, with a 4-4 tie, until Adam Trujillo assisted James Martinez in a quick and easy two after a Trujillo steal. A Caleb Ormonde block then gave the Pirates another defensive stop that led to a Shaffer three-pointer, making the score 9-5.
Monte Vista briefly rallied with a three of its own, but Shaffer hit another, long sideline three to put the Pirates up 12-7, with a little less than three minutes left in the quarter. Another scoring drought threatened to end the period, until Spur Ross hit a two from the post before the buzzer, giving the Pirates a seven-point lead.
Pagosa continued to steadily build its margin in the second quarter. The Pirates took their time in the first minute, scoring on a two-point Shaffer jumper only after methodical ball movement. The Pirates changed pace shortly thereafter with a quickly converted Hilsabeck-to-Shaffer slicing layup.
The Pirate defense held Monte Vista scoreless for nearly the first seven minutes in the quarter, helping to build a 20-point lead by the end of the period, with a score of 31-11. After drawing a foul with less than a second remaining in the half, Shaffer hit two from the line to give him 10 points in the quarter and 16 in the half.
The Pirates displayed excellent ball movement in the third quarter. A minute in, Pagosa scored on a relay of passes - Trujillo to Shaffer to Ormonde to Martinez for a layup, with barely a dribble in between. Thirty seconds later, the fast passing put Monte Vista on its heels again, with a Martinez-to-Ormonde-to-Shaffer layup, to bring the Pirate lead to 37-11.
Monte Vista was held scoreless into the fourth minute of the quarter, and Pagosa held a 49-18 advantage at the buzzer.
With the substantial lead, the Pirate starters made only a brief appearance in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Monte Vista gained some ground in the quarter, outscoring the Pirates by six, but the Pagosa lead was not threatened.
Shaffer led the Pirates with 22 points, shooting 62 percent from the floor and four-for-four from the line. Hilsabeck led with five assists, Trujillo with four steals and Martinez and Ross each with five rebounds.
Pagosa was heavily favored to defeat Monte Vista and move on to the IML district championship game. But it was a necessary stepping stone on the way to a best two-out-of-three rematch with the Ignacio Bobcats Saturday night.

Pirates overwhelm Ignacio in district title game

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

The Pirates boys' basketball team overpowered rival Ignacio in the Intermountain League District Tournament championship game Saturday night at Fort Lewis College, defeating the Bobcats 72-39 and clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the state playoffs.
The Pirates outscored Ignacio in every quarter, while holding the Bobcats to nine points in the first half, with a shut-out second quarter.
In the first quarter Pagosa jumped in the lead in the first minute and never gave it up. The Pirates countered Ignacio's fast, pressing defense with a methodical, strategic game. In the first quarter, seven of the Pirates 15 points came from their half-court offense, compared to four from quick layups and four from free throws.
Ignacio was still in the game at the beginning of the second quarter, only down by six points, but the Pirate defense thwarted any hope of a turnaround by holding the Bobcats to nil.
"We came out really focused ... and played really well defensively," said Coach Jim Shaffer - who noted the individual defensive efforts of Kerry Joe Hilsabeck, Adam Trujillo and Travis Richie. Hilsabeck has consistently held Ignacio's star guard, Derek Rodriguez, in check this season. And in the district championship, Trujillo and Richie stepped up to control Skyler Mirabal, who was a thorn in the Pirates' side in the last matchup, which Ignacio won.
Again, in the second quarter, the Pirates continued a strategic offense, which showcased good passing and patience. Only four of the Pirates' 18 points came from fast-break layups.
The Pirates went into the half with a 33-9 point lead.
In the locker room, Shaffer said he talked with his team about their last game against Ignacio, when the Bobcats came back to win despite a 14-point Pirate lead at the half. To prevent a similar comeback, the Pirates would only have to thwart Ignacio for the first four minutes of the second half, he said.
As it turned out, the Pirates could have held on to any lead. The Bobcats picked up the pace in the third quarter, but they still scored only 17 points to the Pirates' 25.
The Bobcats came out of the half with the full-court press, but the Pirates maintained their composure and settled into a productive offense. The Pirates again were able to get the ball into the paint, allowing forwards to contribute. James Martinez had eight points in the third quarter alone.
The Pirates played the clock in the fourth quarter until the starters came out with two minutes remaining, with a lead of 66-39. John Jewell and Jaylen Mendoza came off the bench to hit a two- and three-pointer to help the Pirates outscore the Bobcats in the quarter 14-13.
In the decisive game, the Bobcats did not come out to play with the home-court intensity that put them ahead of the Pirates in the last game of the regular season. Shots fell for Ignacio only infrequently and once the Pirates got ahead, said Shaffer, "the team concept went out the window for them."
The Pirates were led in scoring by point guard Hilsabeck, who finished with 16, shooting seven-for-10 from the floor.
Jordan Shaffer claimed a double-double in the game, scoring 10 points with 10 assists. Martinez had a double-double of his own, leading with 11 rebounds, along with 10 points. Trujillo finished with three steals (while scoring seven) and Travis Richie connected on two threes (finishing with eight points).
Caleb Ormonde, a front-line threat for the Pirates, was relatively silent in the game, with five points, due to foul trouble - which has been an issue in recent games. According to Shaffer, "they were fouls when he was being aggressive and trying to do things." But it would be nice to keep the big man in the game, said Shaffer.
Especially when facing competitive teams from the north during the state playoffs.
By virtue of their district championship, the Pirates earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. This weekend they will host teams from Trinidad, Lamar and Denver Christian.
The Pirates (18-3) will face Trinidad (9-13) tomorrow at 7 p.m. to begin this weekend's tournament. Trinidad has lost seven of its last eight games, but made the playoffs by virtue of beating Florence in their district tournament.
Shaffer said Trinidad is a small, but athletic, team that plays a lot like Ignacio.
If the Pirates beat Trinidad, they will play the winner of Friday's Lamar/Denver Christian game Saturday at 1 p.m.
Lamar (10-13) is a big, aggressive team that could upset Denver Christian (11-11), said Shaffer, but Denver Christian is the two-time defending state champion with the all-time winningest coach in Colorado. Denver Christian beat Pagosa two years ago in the state semifinals. Their losses this year have come at the hands of tough schools.
If the two favorites meet on Saturday, Pagosa will face a challenging opponent in Denver Christian, despite their .500 record.
But until then, "We'll take it one at a time," said Shaffer.

Pirate girls defeat Monte to open district play

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

The Pirate girls' varsity basketball team clinched a place in the state playoffs Friday by beating Monte Vista, 63-36, in the first round of the Intermountain League District Tournament.
The Pirates came to the court with a tough defense and well-tuned offense. Pagosa held Monte Vista to two points in the first quarter, which came on a quick conversion after Monte Vista won the tip-off. Monte Vista did not score again until the middle of the second quarter, over 11 minutes later, due to the Pirates' converging half-court defense and full-court press.
On offense, the Pirates spread the court with quick perimeter passing that opened up scoring opportunities and enabled offensive rebounds. Pagosa finished with 22 in the period, spread among the starters.
Monte Vista's woes continued in the second quarter, the team converting on only one basket from the floor, while being shut out into the fourth minute. The Pirates continued to move the ball well for the most part, though at the end of the quarter, they showed signs of tiring and made some bad passes. All of the Pirates' points came from the floor in the quarter, and the teams went into the half at 35-11.
The Pirates expanded their lead to 51-23 in the third quarter. The team spread its shots and scoring around to multiple players, but center Tamara Gayhart made a strong individual contribution for her overall play.
Gayhart got in on blocks, assists and rebounds in the quarter, while scoring four points. Beyond the stats, Gayhart showed that she has developed into a strong, potentially physical player in the paint. In the second quarter, Gayhart thwarted a two-on-one fast break after Monte Vista broke through Pagosa's full-court press. In the third quarter, Gayhart fought for rebounds with a new level of intensity.
Monte Vista outscored the Pirates in the fourth quarter, 13-11, with Pirate starters resting for much of the period, but the Pirates coasted to the victory and the chance at the IML championship.
Camille Rand led the Pirates with 16 points, while both Kristen DuCharme and Jessica Lynch finished in the double digits, with 12 and 10 points respectively. Gayhart closed the game with eight points.
With the win the first seed Pirates moved on to face second-seeded Centauri in the championship match Saturday. Pagosa and Centauri swapped victories in the regular season, each winning on the opponent's home court. The winner of the tie-breaker would be guaranteed home-court advantage during the first round of the state playoffs.

Pirate comeback falls short, girls travel for playoffs

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

Despite a comeback in the last minutes of the game, the Pirate girls' varsity fell to league rival Centauri in the Intermountain League district championship game Saturday, by the score of 59-54.
With the loss, the Pirates will have to travel to Cedaredge for the first round of the state playoffs, rather than host.
Pagosa played solidly during the middle two periods, outscoring Centauri in both. But the Pirates could not overcome a slow first quarter, which put them 10 points back.
Centauri jumped to a 15-5 lead in the first, but the Pirates narrowed the margin to 27-20 at the half. The Pirates came out strong for the third quarter as well, cutting Centauri's lead down to two (37-35) by the end of the period, but the Falcons surged again in the fourth quarter, with 22 points compared to 19 for the Pirates.
The beginning of the first quarter was not pretty for either team, but Centauri adjusted to the game, while the Pirates continued to struggle. Centauri opened the door for the Pirates to take an early lead with a turnover and four missed shots, but the Pirates responded by succumbing to Centauri steals and getting into early foul trouble as a team.
Centauri drew first blood when Marcie Cooley hit a three-pointer in the third minute of play. The shot started an eight-point run (all from the floor) for the Falcons, until Jessica Lynch got the Pirates on the board with a three-pointer, over halfway through the quarter.
But the Falcon defense continued to produce Pirate turnovers and forced shots, with a Coolie steal resulting in two, followed by a Lindy Norton three, which forced Coach Bob Lynch to use a second Pirate timeout to regroup. After the adjustments, Centauri would slow at the end of the period, but another two would put the Falcons up 15-3, until Lindsey Mackey made the margin an even 10 in the last minute of the period.
The Pirates made a game of it in the second quarter, alternating baskets with the Falcons early and beginning to close the gap when Lynch hit a rim-bouncing three at the five-minute mark, which was followed by a three-point play by Kristen DuCharme 30 seconds later, making the score 19-13.
Centauri threatened with another run, but the Falcons were limited to four points when Lynch hit another three. Following the three, Tamara Gayhart matched four Centauri points with a successful trip to the line and a two-point putback after an offensive rebound, bringing the teams to 27-20 at the half.
The Pirates got a boost in the third when key Centauri starters, Norton and Krystina George, had to spend time on the bench with foul trouble, but not before George put the first points on the board in the period. After a Centauri steal and two-point conversion, Lynch got the Pirates back into the game with another three, after an inbound pass, making the score 31-23 two minutes into the quarter. The Pirates matched the Falcons in the middle of the quarter, scoring four on a Camille Rand putback and a DuCharme two, after a Mackey steal. To close the quarter, Pagosa went on an 8-2 run, on the strength of successful trips to the line by Mackey and Gayhart and two baskets by Rand, bringing the Pirates within two points of the Falcons.
The teams played evenly for much of the fourth quarter, Centauri pulling ahead with four points, the surge answered by twos from Samantha Harris and Lynch. The Pirates continued to alternate points with Centauri with buckets from Rand and Gayhart.
Midway through the quarter, Centauri started going to the line, once after a technical foul called on Coach Lynch. In the quarter, the Falcons would go 14 for 16 from the line - most off free throws by Venessa Jaramillo, who ended up leading the Falcons with 20 points in the game. George finished on her heels with 18 points.
Despite Centauri's success from the line, the Pirates nearly pulled off some last minute heroics to force overtime. At one minute, 18 seconds, Lynch hit her fifth three-pointer to close the margin to seven points, followed by another with 40 seconds remaining to cut the Falcon lead to four. Rand then grabbed a steal and took the ball down the court for two with 13 seconds remaining - cutting the Falcon advantage to two points. Jaramillo was sent to the line once more, but the steady shooter missed one of the shots, keeping the Pirates in the game.
With the score 57-54 and less than 20 seconds remaining, the Pirates returned to play after a timeout, looking for a three. Lynch took the ball after the inbound, but was quickly double-teamed by the Falcons to neutralize her as a three-point threat. From the double-coverage, Lynch threw up an off-balance shot from behind the arc at the top of the key, which didn't find the net.
After the stop, Jaramillo put the game out of reach with less than one second remaining, when she went to the line again (making both shots) to put the final at 59-54.
Lynch led the Pirates with 20 points on six threes and a two-pointer. Rand was the only other Pirate to reach double-figures (with 11 points), while Gayhart and DuCharme neared the mark with eight and seven points, respectively.
With the win, Centauri (15-6) will host a tough bracket this weekend, including Colorado Academy (16-5), Holy Family (19-3) and Manitou Springs (17-6).
The loss in the championship game (and lower seeding) will make the Pirates travel this weekend. The fourth seed Pirates (13-8) will face fifth seed Platte Valley (14-9) in their first game of the state playoffs tomorrow at 5 p.m. at Cedaredge. If the Pirates win, they will likely have to face top-ranked Cedaredge (20-1) in a decisive match Saturday at 1 p.m. (Cedaredge will play Friday against Pinnacle, which is 13-8.)
The Pirates are faced with single elimination. If they lose, their season will be over. If they win both games this weekend, they will go on to the "Elite Eight."

Pee-wee wrestling program to hold meeting

Children between the ages of 5-14 and their parents interested in pee-wee wrestling are invited to a registration and informational meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 6, in the junior high school cafeteria.
The meeting will cover general information and changes regarding the program, and give parents interested in enrolling their child an opportunity to register early.

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Tee-ball registration begins March 5

By Tom Carosello
SUN Columnist

The Town of Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will accept registrations for this year's tee-ball season beginning March 5.
Registration deadline for this year's season is March 19. Any child who will be 5 or 6 years old as of April 1 is eligible to participate.
Registrations will be available Monday afternoon at the recreation office upstairs in Town Hall and will be dispersed at local schools next week.
Registrations will also be available for download in Adobe format through the recreation department link at
Cost is $25 per player and $15 for each additional child in the same, immediate family who participates. The season is tentatively scheduled to begin in early April.
Coaches and sponsorships for this year's tee-ball teams are also needed and appreciated. Cost for sponsorship is $150, which includes sponsor's name on team uniforms, commemorative plaque with team picture, and designation on season banners and in media articles.
For more information, call the recreation office 264-4151 Ext. 232.
Adult basketball
Schedules for the men's competitive, men's recreational and women's recreational leagues have been finalized and are available at the recreation office and through the recreation department link at
Nightly schedules can also be obtained by calling the sports hotline at 264-6658. The hotline is updated regularly throughout the season.
Games in all divisions began this week. Team managers can call Andy Rice, league director, at 264-4151, Ext. 231 or 232, with any questions regarding this year's leagues.
Officials needed
The recreation department is in need of game officials for this year's adult basketball leagues and would like to hear from anyone interested in officiating in this year's leagues. Pay scale ranges from $15-$20 per game depending on experience.
If interested, contact Andy Rice at 264-4151, Ext. 231, or Tom Carosello at 264-4151 Ext. 232.
Youth basketball
The schedule for this year's 11-12 youth basketball tournament can be downloaded in Adobe format through the link on the recreation department Web page,
Schedules can also be obtained by calling the sports hotline at 264-6658.
The tournament championship will be played at 6 p.m. March 7 in the community center.
Skate pond closed
Due to warmer weather and degrading conditions, the skate pond is closed for the season.
Please observe the posted signs at the ponds warning of the danger of venturing onto the fragile ice that remains.
Sports hotline
General information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be obtained by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to and going to the parks and recreation link.
All schedules and upcoming events are updated on a weekly basis.
If you have questions or concerns, or need additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, call 264-4151, Ext. 232.


An owner's rights

Legislation concerning surface owner rights, co-sponsored in the Colorado House by Rep. Ellen Roberts, and sponsored in the Senate by Jim Isgar, squeaked by on a 7-6 vote in the Ag Committee last week and passed after second reading Tuesday in the House (pending arguments concerning technicalities). This provides an opportunity to remark on the bill and related matters.
Those related matters are misconceptions concerning rights to locate and extract resources such as oil, gas and minerals. The reality: property owners often do not own resources beneath the surface of their properties, nor the rights to extract them - those rights belong to someone else.
Many people, similarly, do not understand water rights. Because water runs freely on the surface, and the people of Colorado are granted ownership in the constitution, does not mean it is there to be captured and used by anyone at any time. Rights to use it are appropriated - by individuals with agricultural or other commercial interests, by entities such as municipalities and water districts. If the appropriated right is put to defined, beneficial use, it remains intact. Rights to use the water flowing in and through Pagosa Country are exercised by a diverse group of people and organizations, here and at a great distance. If conditions grow dire (which is rare) the available water is allotted on a priority basis, with unappropriated use curtailed. The right to use much, if not most of the water is not "ours" all the time.
In a place like Pagosa Country, the fact that someone has the right to extract what lies beneath the surface of otherwise private property is worthy of notice. As is what they do in order to get it. It becomes critical as the oil and gas industry presses ahead with extraction and county government stands to benefit, at least in the short run, from tax revenues and fees.
Roberts' proposal seeks to give surface owners some clout, to require oil and gas companies to pay heed to the rights of landowners, and "employ practices that minimize adverse effects to the use and value of the surface" when it is economically and technologically viable. That could involve selection of "alternative locations for wells, roads, pipelines, or production facilities" when feasible.
The legislation, if passed, would not prohibit operators from entering and using the amount of surface as is reasonable to extract oil and gas; it would establish a "standard of conduct" for the operators. To not heed that standard, could result in a charge of trespass - with the burden of proof a violation has not occurred put on the shoulders of the operator.
The proposed legislation does not seek to prevent the county from enacting further land use regulation related to oil and gas development.
Until we are smart enough to move away from our current pattern of fossil fuel use, there is going to be increasing demand for oil and gas. There is gas beneath a portion of Pagosa Country; someone has the right to find it and take it.
Effective local government will ensure we collectively benefit from that extraction. Wise state government, as in Roberts' proposed legislation (given that it remains relatively intact and safe from undue modification by other interests - the fate of a proposal made last year by Isgar), will require that operators who come for the resource do the least amount of damage to the properties under which that resource is found.
As long as we continue to live lifestyles that demand large amounts of oil and gas, we will have to pay more than one kind of price for it.
Roberts and Isgar, to their credit, are intent on keeping part of the price as low as possible.
Karl Isberg

Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 2, 1917
Still no marriage license issued in Archuleta County this year! County Clerk Eleanor Todd, feeling this sudden slump in one of her most important official duties offers ONE - just one - big spud to any willing to break the ice.
An important business change took place last Saturday when the stock of goods of the Cash Drug Store, owned by A.J. Hollebrands, was purchased by Dr. P.F. Greene. The Post office newsstand, owned by Mrs. Hollebrands, was also purchased by Dr. Greene, and both will be moved to Greene's Drug Store.
D.D. Archuleta has closed out his store at Lone Tree and moved back to his ranch on the San Juan.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 4, 1932
Two local youths were taken before Police Magistrate Sol Thayer Monday morning to answer charges for too heavily imbibing Saturday night. A fine of $10 and costs was given to each, who have elected to serve a few days in jail instead of enriching the city's treasury.
The railroad plow and crew reached Pagosa Springs Monday night after a week's strenuous labor in opening the branch line between Pagosa Junction and Pagosa Springs, the heavy ice considerably retarding the work. The local train made its first run on Tuesday, after three weeks' blockade, and has since maintained a daily regular schedule.
You can help several ex-servicemen by leaving your orders for wood with Ralph Marsh at Variety Store.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of February 28, 1957
Television came to Pagosa Springs on Wednesday of this week after FCC approval of the permit for a translator station last Thursday morning. The engineer who installed the system was here Monday and with the aid of REA crews completed the installation of the equipment. On Wednesday he returned and the station went on the air for the first time. First transmission from the translator started about 3:45 p.m. Wednesday and many set owners reported reasonably good reception at that time. The engineers had not, however completed all necessary adjustments and the storm made it hard for them to work. It is though likely that final adjustments can be completed today and that all set owners will have a chance to see the quality of the transmission.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 4, 1982
TV dues for 1982 are now due. The Lion's Club TV Committee is asking a $20 payment for the maintenance of local TV translators. Without this money there will be no local TV. TV Committee Chairman Harvey Catchpole said that donations last year covered less than half of the cost of operating the translators. "We have to collect more money," Catchpole emphasized. "We purchased some of these translators used over 20 years ago and they're wearing out. We'd like to get enough money to overhaul them."
Students attending Pagosa schools have been instructed not to drink water at the school until the town does something about the Giardia problem, according to information received from School Superindent Terry Alley.


An evening of sacred and secular music

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer
Pagosa Springs will be the setting for a unique cultural experience Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m., when renowned cantor Scott Buckner will perform a selection of Jewish sacred music, as well as some secular classics, at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church.
Joining Buckner for the concert at St. Patrick's will be local performers, including pianists Sue Anderson and John Graves and 16 members of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir under the direction of Larry Elginer. The event is an ecumenical project made possible by Pagosa's Congregation Kadima Yisrael, with the help of St. Patrick's and the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Graves, who will accompany Buckner on a few standards, said the event is a "very nice ecumenical step" which "promises to be a very gratifying and exciting evening."
Elginer said the choir is really looking forward to working with Buckner, one of the top cantors in the country. "He is bringing prestige to the community," he said, since high-quality cantorial performances are generally reserved for large cities.
Buckner has brought his skill to the Four Corners before, serving as a visiting cantor at Congregation Har Shalom in Durango. Through Har Shalom, Buckner came into association with Jeff Deitch - now the lay clergyman for Kadima Yisrael. When Buckner was not scheduled to visit Har Shalom this spring, Deitch took the opportunity to make arrangements for Buckner to sing in Pagosa.
"I know how good he is," said Deitch, "and he's just perfect for Pagosa Springs ... cantoring is his calling, it's his art."
Deitch helped found Har Shalom in 1994 with Buckner's sister, Lisa Smith, who introduced Deitch to Buckner's musical talent. Deitch said he learned to serve as a cantor for his own congregation by listening to tapes of Buckner singing the liturgy.
In addition to the performance on Saturday, March 10, Buckner will lead the congregation of Kadima Yisrael in the sabbath liturgy Friday, March 9. The Kadima Yisrael service will begin at 7 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist suite in Greenbrier Plaza off North Pagosa Boulevard. Buckner said that he would use the opportunity to provide some instruction in singing the liturgy to those in attendance. Visitors, whether Jewish or not, are invited to attend.
A cantor (called a "chazzan" in transliterated Hebrew) is not simply a soloist or leader of music during worship, but is actually a member of the Jewish clergy, along with rabbis.
Cantors have been a part of Jewish worship for centuries, though their importance has increased during modern times, as literacy in Hebrew has diminished. In this atmosphere, a cantor's knowledge of Hebrew (the language of the liturgy) has become essential in many Jewish traditions. Many congregations in the United States (especially those with a large body of members) now employ full-time cantors.
The golden age of cantorial performance flowered in the last century, between the two world wars. Buckner said he became inspired to become a cantor after learning of and listening to the greats from this period.
According to Buckner, the cantors are "involved in all the life-cycle events of congregations and families from birth to death." They lead the congregation in the liturgy and music of the service, while providing instruction in the traditions.
The cantor must know the different liturgical modes and traditions by heart in order to "inspire the congregation to deepen their own prayer."
Buckner has served at the Adath Jeshurun Congregation (Conservative) in Minnetonka, Minn. (in the Twin Cities area) for the past 13 years. In all, Buckner has been a cantor for 20 years. For his current congregation of about 1,250 family units, Buckner also directs a cultural arts committee that brings "top-notch artists" to Adath Jeshurun for concerts and benefits. Through the program, Buckner has had the opportunity to work and perform with Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel, Mandy Patinkin and Marvin Hamlisch.
The cultural arts committee also facilitated a performance that combined Buckner with two other esteemed Jewish tenors (Alberto Mizrahi and Jacob Mendelson) in a 2002 concert at Adath Jeshurun called "The Three Jewish Tenors."
Buckner received a bachelor of arts degree in music performance from Tufts University, specializing in voice and classical guitar. He is also a graduate of H. L. Miller Cantorial School at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, where he received training in Jewish traditions as a whole, and Jewish musical traditions in particular, "and the places where those overlap," he said.
"Part of my role," said Buckner, "is bridging the traditions and teaching and learning and growing together with the congregation ... it's very fulfilling, very exciting."
The program Buckner has prepared, with members of the Pagosa community, includes a variety of secular and religious traditions. "Jewish history has brought us many lenses," he said, "with music influenced by various countries."
True to this diversity, Buckner will sing in a variety of different languages and styles. Buckner will perform traditional music of the Sephardi and Ashkenazi Jews (the two main groups of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula and eastern Europe, respectively) in the Judaeo-Spanish Ladino and Judaeo-Germanic Yiddish languages. Buckner will also sing liturgical music in Hebrew and modern Israeli songs, as well as pieces in English and Italian. Some of the pieces will be secular and not specific to Jewish culture.
Buckner said that cantors love music in general and expressed excitement about the diverse program, during which he plans to engage the audience with explanations of the selections.
Tickets to the event will be available at the door or in advance at Moonlight Books, WolfTracks and the Chamber of Commerce for $10. Seating is limited. All proceeds will go to Pagosa's young Jewish congregation, Kadima Yisrael, and community members are welcome to donate more.

Pagosa's Past

Clans clash on the new reservation

By John M. Motter
PREVIEW Columnist

Financial opportunity seemed more available to some Jicarilla than to others, as the people struggled to make a living on their new reservation in the early 1890s.
More specifically, members of the Red Clan accused government officials with favoring the White Clan.
Unproductive lands plus the inability to acquire livestock discouraged and alienated a substantial number of the followers of Largo and Pesata. Underlying their dissatisfaction was their past opposition to leaving their beloved Cimarron country. They still blamed the Ollero, or White Clan, leaders for this move, since the latter in contrast to the average Apache, seemed to be fairly well off.
The Largoites expressed their discontent by filing a petition with the commissioner on April 29, 1892, listing their grievances. The petition pointed out that the Jicarilla could not produce crops, rely on the irregular and insufficient rations, or cope with the favoritism toward the Olleros shown by the agent.
Upon receiving the petition, the acting commissioner sent an inspector to investigate conditions in the field. Coincidentally, a letter from Jicarilla agent John H. Robertson to the Indian Office reinforced the need for an investigation. Robertson accused Largo of murdering an Indian woman and labeled him a desperate renegade, claiming that Largo had fled the reservation for fear of revenge and had persuaded his people to leave with him.
Largo and other aggrieved Jicarilla had in fact left the reservation by May. Robertson also wanted the ringleaders Julian, Pesata and Elote arrested and imprisoned. A letter from the superintendent of education at Fort Lewis College (at Hesperus) claimed that Robertson was an ineffectual leader and had lost control.
By June 3, Inspector James H. Cisney was on his way to Dulce. In one of his reports he verified that a deplorable state of affairs did exist at the Jicarilla Agency due to the dishonesty and peculation of the employees.
Cisney found that the Jicarilla were credited with having received 27,338 pounds of beef, which had not been distributed to them. Unknowingly, they had signed vouchers acknowledging receipt. The employees had also conspired to defraud the Jicarilla of annuity goods, which were on sale at the Archuleta store. Numerous Jicarilla had seen the agency team hauling a loaded wagon to Amargo during the night on several occasions. Robertson was alerted to this suspicious activity but he ignored it. Cisney tried to obtain testimony from J.M. Archuleta Jr., but he managed to avoid the inspector.
Cisney cleared Largo of the false murder charges levied against him by Robertson.
While the Cisney probe was being conducted and a search for a new agent was pending, the two disgruntled bands lived off the reservation. Largo's band had gone to its old haunts near Mora. Pesata and his followers had returned to Taos country. Wanting as little publicity as possible, the Indian Office made cursory efforts to compel their return, once by delegating the responsibility to Garfield Velarde. Velarde was not in the habit of telling other bands what they should or should not do, nor did he have the power to make them comply.
More next week on how the situation involving the two dissatisfied bands of Jicarilla turned out. The information for this series of articles is taken from "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970," by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller.

Pagosa Sky Watch

You'll have to travel to see total lunar eclipse

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.
Sunrise: 6:39 a.m.
Sunset: 6:02 p.m.
Moonrise: 4:02 p.m.
Moonset: 6:08 a.m. March 2.
Moon phase: The moon is waxing gibbous with 95 percent of the visible disk illuminated - full moon March 3, at 4:17 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.
Saturday marks the first of two total lunar eclipses for 2007, however, Pagosa Country skywatchers will only catch a hint of the event while those in Europe and Africa will enjoy the eclipse from start to finish during the mid- to late-evening hours.
Skywatchers in the Rocky Mountain states should fare much better during the next total lunar eclipse Aug. 28, 2007.
A total lunar eclipse occurs when the moon is directly in the path of Earth's shadow - called the umbra - and Earth's position, relative to the sun and moon, blocks direct sunlight from hitting the moon's surface.
To visualize the alignment required to cause an eclipse, imagine the three objects - the moon, Earth and the sun - arranged horizontally, with the moon on the far left, Earth in the center, and the sun on the far right. Interestingly enough, the same general alignment occurs every month during the full moon, however, a total lunar eclipse does not occur every time. This is due to the fact that the moon's orbit is tilted about five degrees relative to the plane of ecliptic, so during most full moons, the moon is either above or below the ecliptic and thus, remains fully illuminated. For a total lunar eclipse to occur, the sun, Earth and moon must achieve a perfect alignment - something that happens only a few times a year.
Unlike a total solar eclipse, which generally lasts just a few minutes and is visible only to those directly in line with the moon's umbra, lunar eclipses can last for hours and are visible to anyone able to see the moon. For example, totality during Saturday's eclipse - when the moon is completely within Earth's shadow - will last one hour and 14 minutes.
Another difference between a total solar eclipse and total lunar eclipse is that the sun, during a total solar eclipse, is completely darkened. Whereas during a total lunar eclipse, the moon's surface remains visible, although in a slightly different hue than we are accustomed to - burnt orange.
As light rays travel from the sun, Earth blocks their passage and our planet casts a shadow over the moon. The core, or darkest portion of the shadow found directly opposite Earth is called the umbra. Above and below the umbra is a less shadowed area called the penumbra. During a total eclipse, the moon fully enters the dark umbral area. Partial eclipses occur when the moon only partially enters the umbra. And a penumbral eclipse happens when the moon passes only through the lightly-shadowed penumbral zone.
During a total lunar eclipse, and if viewed from space, light rays from the sun wrap around the curvature of the Earth creating a blazing red ring of fire. The red ring occurs because long wavelength light is less scattered by the Earth's atmosphere. And although the ring is invisible to Earth-bound skywatchers, the red light continues on, casting the moon in a coppery, burnt orange glow. Depending on atmospheric conditions, or following events such as a forest fire or volcanic eruption, the moon may appear from burnt orange to deep red.
Watching the moon undergo its slow transformation from blue-white, to charcoal grey to orange as it travels through the penumbra, the umbra, and then through the far penumbra and out again, is one of the delights of observing a lunar eclipse. Unfortunately, during Saturday's eclipse, North American viewers will find the moon already partially or totally eclipsed when it rises Saturday and thus, won't be privy to the entire show. Here's a regional breakdown on what to expect.
Eastern States: The moon will rise during totality and depending on atmospheric conditions, skywatchers should enjoy a full, burnt orange moon.
Midwest: Totality will have ended by moonrise, although the moon will remain partially eclipsed as it passes through the final penumbral stage. The moon will appear darker than usual.
Rocky Mountain States: Only a vague hint of the eclipse may be visible. Look for faint, charcoal grey smudging on the moon's disk as it leaves Earth's penumbra.
West Coast: No eclipse will be visible to skywatchers in this region.
The good news is that while the West Coast and Rocky Mountain States are out of luck on this go round, both regions will fare much better during the next total eclipse Aug. 28, 2007.
Viewing a total lunar eclipse requires no special equipment or eye protection. Simply find a site with unobstructed eastern views, and watch as the eclipsed moon rises.




















































Snowiest month of year ahead

By Chuck McGuire
Staff Writer

It's March, typically the snowiest month of the year in Pagosa Country.
According to the National Weather Service (NWS), snow showers should continue through tomorrow, before mostly cloudy conditions give way to partly cloudy, moonlit skies tomorrow night.
Of course, the service also promised a big storm Tuesday night and yesterday.
Nevertheless, by yesterday morning, another 4.5 inches had fallen on Pagosa Lakes since last week's edition of The SUN hit newsstands. Friday's storm brought three inches, or .26 inches of moisture, another half-an-inch (.02 inches of precipitation) arrived Monday, and another inch (.1 inch of moisture) had accumulated yesterday morning, by 9:00 a.m. Monday's mere dusting was just enough to cause a few minor traffic accidents across the community.
Temperatures over the past week were notably cooler than the week before, with highs ranging from the low 30s to mid-40s. Lows ranged from just one degree above zero Sunday, to a balmy 26 degrees yesterday morning.
The NWS is calling for mostly cloudy skies today, with snow showers continuing. High temperatures should be in the low 30s, and tonight's low should drop to around 10 degrees. Southwest winds will be between 10 and 15 miles per hour.
Tomorrow, snow showers will linger amid partly sunny skies, and the high will only reach the mid-30s. Tomorrow's low will again fall to around 10.
Saturday, however, the warm-up begins. By then, and continuing to the end of next week, skies will be fair to partly cloudy, with daytime highs climbing each day. Saturday will reach the mid-40s, and Sunday, temperatures will top out in the low 50s. Saturday's low will fall to the mid-teens under a full Worm Moon, with lows each subsequent day hovering in the 20s.
By the end of next week, the mid-50s should prevail each day through the first half of the month. Evening lows will fall only to around the freezing mark ... say goodbye to our low-level snowpack.
By 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the ski area up Wolf Creek Pass claimed 96 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit, with 88 inches midway. After receiving 15 inches of new snow in the previous seven days, Wolf Creek had accumulated 330 total inches of snow, thus far.