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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

I am heartened and encouraged to see Allan Bunch and Roy Vega running for the PAWSD Board of Directors. I heartily recommend both of them to my fellow members and taxpayers of the district. Maybe we can finally inject some sanity into the runaway debt and unwillingness to allow the district members to vote on major indebtedness for the district and then when we do vote against more debt, they find away around us and assert to their lender that if we disapprove again in 2018 (wow, that soon), they’ll just raise the user fees again if we vote against them. Plus, it will be refreshing for some willing accountability to the members and BoCC when they (belatedly) try to exercise their statutory rights of oversight. I’m sure Roy and Allan will welcome the chance for transparency, rather than get all defensive and huffy. Let’s stop the arrogant madness and rush toward bankruptcy for our county if we allow the current board policy of pressing toward such massive debt it will make the already scary debt that exceeds $40 million look minuscule. Please vote for Allan Bunch and Roy Vega at the Fire Station on North Pagosa Blvd. on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. It will, at least, be a start in the right direction.

Thank you,

Jerry Driesens

Bus service

Dear Editor:

A letter to Mountain Express riders.

I would like to offer my thanks to you for the patience you showed last week while Mountain Express implemented its long awaited revised bus route. I know the changing times were disruptive to your schedules as we put the modified route into effect. Thanks for your understanding. In appreciation, Mountain Express will be hosting a “Free Ride Day” on Tuesday, May 4, all day long. Everyone rides free that day!

The good news is that Mountain Express’ new schedule is now in place and seems to be working very well for its riders! The route starts out each morning in Turkey Springs at 6:45 Monday thru Friday, bringing passengers into downtown Pagosa Springs with stops at Pagosa Mountain Hospital, the Country Center, Village Drive, Aspen Village, Eagle Drive, downtown Pagosa Springs, San Juan Street, the River Center and taking a break at the Community Center. The route is repeated, making the same stops out to Turkey Springs and then returning once more to downtown Pagosa Springs.

In the afternoon Mountain Express resumes service at 3 p.m., starting from the Pagosa Springs Community Center and revisiting the same stops. The bus returns to Pagosa Springs and repeats the route.

New schedules have been introduced this week and are printed in pink to emphasize that they are “temporary” until we are certain our new bus schedule meets the needs of our ridership. If there are any revisions to the new route, I believe they will be minor and easy for riders to adapt to. Schedules will be available throughout Pagosa Springs and online at the Archuleta County web page,, as well as the Town of Pagosa Springs website.

I hope this will be only the first in new and innovative ideas that will make Mountain Express even more useful to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

Once again, thanks for your patience last week while we put Mountain Express’ new schedule into service. If you have any questions, please call 264-2250.

Yours truly,

John T. Egan

DI funds

Dear Editor:

Both the eighth-grade and high school Destination ImagiNation teams were in the top three at the state competition and qualified for Global Finals. They are now honored to be part of “Team Colorado” where they will represent the state and compete against teams from across the country as well as 30 different nations. More than 16,000 people will attend this international event and will get major exposure for our little town of Pagosa Springs. This experience will make a huge difference in our kids lives and stay with them forever, so getting them to the tournament is vital!

To do so, we need your help. It costs approximately $10,000 to send one team to global finals. We need to raise this money in the next two to three weeks. In years past, the DI project received generous financial support, primarily from the Archuleta County School District. Unfortunately, due to severe and unexpected budget cuts to all schools in Colorado, our district is not able to fund registration for or travel to the Global Finals.

Destination ImagiNation students raised about $4,000 this year to defray their expenses after the state tournament. Since both teams qualified for Globals, our previous fund-raising will offset about $2,000 per team.

Here are the initial ways you can help:

Company Sponsorships/Individual Donations

• $500 and over — Gold Sponsors.

• $100-$400 — Silver Sponsors.

Ten for Tennessee. If 1,000 people donate just $10, we have enough to go. Please call 731-6325 to make a donation. We can come pick up the donation.

Purchase a ticket, baked item, poster or pizza.

• City Market bake sale on Saturday, May 15, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Purchase a delicious homemade treat or bake something.

• Purchase a discounted hot air balloon ride for only $100. Rocky Mountain Hot Air Balloon Company will generously take the first 20 people who purchase a ticket on a beautiful hot air balloon ride in Pagosa on May 15. There will be two groups of 10 on each flight. Transportation from downtown will be available if needed. All proceeds will go to the Pagosa Springs eighth-grade team. To order tickets, stop by Monograms Plus downtown (next to Shear Talk and Subway) and speak to Lori Manzanares or call her at 749-1904.

• Purchase a beautiful watercolor poster of Pagosa Peak or Chimney Rock. Posters are available for $30 at various stores around town or call Susan Kuhns at 264-2218. Half the proceeds will go to help the kids.

• Little Caesars Pizza Kit. Purchase a pizza kit from one of the kids. Call Lori Manzanares at 749-1904.

Your donations can be made to Team Manager Marcy Mitchell or Julia Hampton. However, if you would like a tax deduction, they must be made by check to Archuleta County School District 50-JT. Please put Pagosa DI - Fed ID#6002725 in the memo of the check.

Thanks for supporting Destination ImagiNation and the youth of Pagosa Springs! For more details, please visit

Marcy Mitchell


Dear Editor:

The census is presently being conducted, and it is very important that everyone participate. I urge everyone to cooperate with the efforts to count people through the census. Vital resources for our area are also dependent on an accurate census count. For every person who is not counted, Archuleta County loses $880. It has been estimated that 46 percent of the county was not counted in 2000, and we were only at 37 percent of forms returned for last week. You can see the magnitude of the challenge and what we stand to gain or lose depending on the outcome. For those of you who have not responded, time is running out. Toward the end of April, “Non Response Teams” will be knocking on doors to assist in getting your forms filled out. I ask that you please cooperate with the efforts for all of us to be counted through the census.


Clifford A. Lucero


Dear Editor:

This letter is to endorse the candidacy of Ray Finney for the PAWSD board of directors.

Ray has lived here in Pagosa 15 years; his kids graduated from PS High School, he wants to give back something to our Pagosa community. He will represent the interests of the entire community, not just one segment or another. He does not blame PAWSD for the intense slow down in construction and home sales; in fact there are currently 120 single family building sites ready for construction that have tap fees paid ] The current recession in the U.S. and world economy is hitting Pagosa and everyone else very hard.]

Ray feels that new development needs to pay a fair share to “buy into” the existing system and help fund future needs. He believes that tap fees are not necessarily deal killers — a new 4 bathroom home costing $600,000 (conservatively) might only have $15,000 or so in tap fees, or about 2.5%.

Ray believes in fiscal prudence, managing your resources to service the present and plan for the future. He will work to insure good communication with all segments of the population.


Terry Pickett


Dear Editor:

I just wanted to write to you to let you know that I read through the Visitor’s Guide cover to cover and I am so impressed. As always, it is a beautifully printed piece, but the content was so well done. I love how you intertwined personal stories of various residents into the guide; you communicated not only the assets of Pagosa, but its personality.

Thank you for all of the work you put into it. I have no doubt that it will be a very useful publication.

Warmest regards,

Cindy Plate

Count on it

Dear Editor:

As I removed last week’s Pagosa SUN from my mailbox, I was truly excited to see our Tax Day Tea Party had made the front page. We always appreciate the coverage. However, my exuberance was short-lived as I read the article. It was not so much a news report of an event as it was a platform for the views of the writer. Is this appropriate news reporting? I think not.

We were criticized for “not much discussion given to actual tax issues.” Are there those who do not understand that almost everything this president and congress are doing will result in tax increases, even if not immediately.

A crowd of approximately 180 orderly, intensely concerned citizens who fully understand what is happening to our country attended this event. There seem to be some misconceptions about who we are and what we believe. First, we are not opposed to all taxation. I suspect the people in this audience are the conscientious ones who pay their taxes. What we do not want is our tax money being used for non-essential pet projects of this administration and this congress which is resulting in huge deficits and borrowing from foreign countries that is unsustainable. We do not want to send all or most of our money to Washington in return for cradle to grave care determined by government employees. We are compassionate people who understand there are citizens who need help, but we do not believe in ongoing government handouts for those who are able to work and care for themselves. This country was built on entrepreneurship and individual responsibility, not by control of free enterprise by the federal government. When we talk about not wanting to lose the America we grew up in, obviously, we are not talking about lynching of minorities, women unable to vote or child labor as questioned in this paper’s editorial. We are talking about the America where there was patriotism, where we were proud of our country and where freedoms abounded. Where people immigrated legally, learned our language and became valuable citizens.

We are proud of our Tea Party and the many concerned folks who attended. Will “a packed room in April translate into a march to the polls in November?” You can count on it! Our party symbol is an elephant and an elephant never forgets!

Barbara Rawlings


Dear Editor:

Really doesn’t surprise me how naive liberals can be; time ta engage brain and remove head from sand. Believe it or not, conservatives passed civics in grade school and understand the Constitution. But under the Obama regime the Constitution is without merit.

However, I have hope. Those bitten by the Obama bug can be healed. Indeed, many of them are waking up from the mindless allegiance to a Flounder In Chief who promised them the moon but instead mooned them.

Every so often, I read something written by other folks that I wish I had written. For instance, Thomas Paine observed over two centuries ago: “To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, is like administering medicine to the dead.” In 21 words, Paine perfectly summed up the frustration faced by a conservative every time he attempts to debate an issue with a liberal. They do not comprehend that we need to cut the federal government back down to the size of the original piece of Parchment that it was written on. Maybe liberals do not realize that America has come out of the grandstands and are now on the playing field.

America’s Ship of State is currently rudderless. And as long as we are expecting someone in Washington D.C. to fix the problem, we will continue to be lost … adrift in a sea of evil and criminality. To get America’s Ship of State back on course, you and I must get back on course. And it starts by being willing to open our eyes to painful truth.

Like all those on the far left, Obama’s argument is with the truth. And with the nature of America. We have a genuine radical who was raised and taught by people who hated this nation. His mentor was Frank Marshall Davis, a radical communist who hated America’s so-called “imperialism, colonialism, exploitation.”

It’s hard to believe, but we elected a president who despises this country as it is, which is what he means when he says he intends to “transform” it. He apologizes for the U.S. on every foreign trip. His natural allies are anti-American tyrants. He’s alienating our freedom-loving allies. He’s dismantling our nuclear arsenal. “He is saying these are the president’s weapons.” To do with what he pleases. And it pleases him to disarm.

Obama believes this country has been immoral and unjust since its birth. So he will make America just, and moral, and fair. We will give up our free enterprise with its evil profits and will give up our prosperity. We will give up our defenses. We will return ourselves to poverty and vulnerability to be equal with the rest of the world.

So he intends.

To which we say, “It will be a cold day in hell before he socializes my country.” Obama has overlooked one small detail: the love of freedom brimming in millions of American hearts. And Jay Davison more resembles Nancy Pilosi, wildly clapping for her Messiah like a seal at Sea World on crack.

Jim Sawicki

Teen Maze

Dear Editor:

I had to write and share what a great day we had today at the Teen Maze in Mancos! In its eighth year, community organizers have been offering this great opportunity for young teens to play the game of life. The Teen Maze is a life-size game board where teenagers are the pawns and life’s choices are the die. It is designed to help teens understand potential outcomes to life’s decisions concerning substance abuse, sex and vocational issues.

This year’s theme was social media, sexting, texting, Facebook, etc. and the consequences that are possible.

A colleague and I, along with our children and a friend, were able to attend and volunteer as members of the Promoting Prevention Coalition and the Pagosa Springs Youth Center. Our teens consisted of students schooled at home, a private school and our junior high school. The kids said they really enjoyed it and were also able to volunteer after they went through the maze. They, along with the adults agreed we would happily participate again.

I personally received great joy watching so many young people working together with adults, having one-on-one discussion about topics a typical youth may avoid with an adult. It was respectful, insightful and you saw facial expressions from serious pondering to hysterical laughter. As a parent and volunteer, I was reminded of the incredible stress and pressures facing our kids. Being able to speak one on one with many teens gave me a different perspective on young people and their desire to communicate and be accepted for who they are.

It was also a validation on how important it is to be involved with our emerging adults and to add time to play, using every opportunity to model and educate on good choices.

There were many community members involved, from the League of Women Voters to Denier, a residential treatment center. The mood was pleasant and accepting, and these people did a great job keeping the flow going very smoothly.

It would be great to see something like this created right here in Pagosa Springs and I hope that many will support this idea in the near future by donating, volunteering or encouraging your children to attend. We have so much talent and concern for youth in our community; I am sure by next spring you will be reading and hearing about our own Teen Maze in Pagosa.


Lily Mondragon Tarbet


Dear Editor:

Thank you for having the intelligence and courage to add facts to the obviously uninformed statements reported in the article about the tax day tea party.


Bruce Trenk


Dear Editor:

To the Town of Pagosa Springs:

Please accept my sincerest apologies for my conduct on Jan 7. There is no excuse for my behavior, and I am very sorry that under the duress of a very stressful situation I reacted poorly. My hope and prayer is that you all might be able to accept my heartfelt apology for any inconvenience or unpleasantness resulting from my actions.

I am extremely ashamed and remorseful that I caused undo worry and concern for the dear people of Pagosa Springs. I realize how wrong I was and that false reporting is a serious crime. I hope you all can understand I had no intentions of ill will on that day, but finding myself in a fearful and threatening situation, I overreacted in my initial call for help. I deeply regret that I didn’t rectify my error as soon as possible to avoid causing the public to also feel afraid and threatened.

I realize that it may be difficult to fully accept my apology, but I hope that over time my remorse will be evident not only through my willing service to the community, but also in light of my genuine spirit of repentance.


Kailey Wiggers


Dear Editor:

Permit me to challenge some of your editorial of 4/22/10. No traditionalist or conservative advocates a return to the ills of the past listed by you or to the 50s, 80s or five years ago. They advocate a return to 1776 and the values of the Constitution. For example, slavery was abolished because our founders acknowledged that all men are created equal.

The Constitution was not an invention of values by government officials, but an acknowledgment by them that rights are endowed by our creating God. Thus, they are inalienable, not progressive, evolving, or leading to inevitable change.

Another example is the right to life. From the first moment of conception, a human has all the DNA he or she will ever need, so is a living person as much as it will be at age 50. The unborn baby has as much a right to live, as has its mother. That life comes from God who said: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I consecrated you” (Jer. 1:5). The Constitution grants no right of choice (to kill an unborn child). As the Apostles taught (Didache, c. 90 A.D., 2.2:SCh 248): “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion.” No one can kill a God-created life.

Also, taking back our country means restoring the right to liberty, which does not mean freedom to do anything one wants (anarchy), but preventing tyranny and being responsible. It means restoring the 10th Amendment (states rights), which gives the government limited powers and only those granted to it by the states.

Furthermore, it means abiding by the constitutional separation of powers for checks and balances. The Judiciary should not legislate, the Legislature should not ignore the will of the populace whom they are elected to represent, and the executive should not dictate, but execute (direct or implement) the decisions of the Legislature (law of the land).

The Constitution also does not advocate separation of church and state. The first Amendment prohibits a state church and guarantees freedom of religion. Jefferson wrote a private letter to a group of Baptists assuring them that separation guaranteed their freedom. Anti-religionist Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black first used the term officially. The Constitutional Congress’ first act was to purchase a distribute 20,000 Bibles. After it was built, the Capitol rotunda was used for religious services until crowds got too big.

The Democratic Party is now in the minority because, unique in the history of our country, increasing numbers of people are saying, “Enough is enough” and joining the popular grassroots movement to take back our country. They intend to reverse the trend of government to run every aspect of their lives, abandon the Constitution and saddle posterity with inextricable debt. They intend to acknowledge what our founders did, that God, not government, grants inalienable right to equality, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that all must live according to His laws.

Eugene Witkowski


Dear Editor:

Thank you, Pauline Benetti, for your letter on civil discourse. I am much more likely to read a well-thought-out, substantive commentary, even if I don’t agree with the view of the writer, than rants, wisecracks, and personal insults.

We can debate ideas, not personalities. We can express why we don’t agree with another view without attacking their intelligence. We can support a cause with reasoning, not by vilifying others and calling them unpatriotic.

Hostile tirades will not persuade me. Fear mongering will not make me listen. It seems to me all political parties are prone to this — it’s easy, quick, and gets emotional reactions — but it’s a cheap trick that lacks considered thought. Let’s make the effort to debate in a courteous, objective manner — I’ll listen to that.

Joan Ward