Ranch Community files to withdraw from PLPOA
By Roy Starling
The Ranch Community Property Owners Association filed an amended declaration of restrictions with the Archuleta County clerk Monday morning that would allow the Ranch Community to withdraw from the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association effective Dec. 31, 1999.
Ranch Community Property Owners Association President Joe Donavan said the main reason for withdrawing from the PLPOA was that "they have nothing to offer the Ranch Community people. We have a homeowners association and we are currently doing everything we need from such an association."
Donavan said 67 of 115 Ranch Community owners signed a document approving withdrawal from PLPOA. Ranch Community Secretary Scott Firth said the document required both a "majority of owners and majority of lots, and we got both."
The fourth amendment on the declaration filed Monday reads, in part, as follows: "Effective December 31, 1999, Paragraph 11 of the Master Declaration shall be deleted in its entirety, the intent being that all lots, parcels and tracts as well as the owners of all lots, parcels and tracts within The Ranch Community Subdivision shall no longer, by virtue of owning a lot in the Ranch Community, be members of or associate members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association."
Newly-elected PLPOA President Pat Curtis doesn't expect the Ranch Community to be going anywhere soon. "Our attorney has advised us that withdrawal from PLPOA requires a change in the master declaration, so from our standpoint, we think it's probably invalid."
Curtis said the master declaration had been adopted by "all subdivisions, as far as I know, except for Meadows II, III and IV. An amendment of the master declaration requires one vote more than 50 percent of all the members in all of the subdivisions that have adopted the master declaration."
At last Saturday's annual Ranch Community Property Owners Association meeting, Donavan said, the board also "received unanimous authorization from association members to pursue vigorously the lawsuit against the PLPOA. The board was already working on the suit, but now we know the membership is behind it 100 percent."
The Ranch Community's legal conflict with the PLPOA stems from the latter's refusal to earmark $135,000 from the Fairfield Communities Inc. bankruptcy settlement for paving roads in the Ranch Community. Donavan has contended that money was being held in trust by the PLPOA for the Ranch Community Property Owners Association.
"Had the PLPOA been looking out for our interests, that would be one thing," Firth said, "but they weren't. They're working against us. We were depending on them to get our money in the settlement fund, and when they got it, they wouldn't give it to us."
Firth said that "there were amenities in the PLPOA, but the problems they have far outweigh the amenities. Actually, not being in the PLPOA is going to drastically increase our property values."
Asked why he believed that to be true, Firth said, "I think it's self-evident."
Firth said that having filed the amended declaration of restrictions, there is still "one unresolved matter. We all have ownership interest in PLPOA facilities - lakes, recreation center, financial assets, Public Safety vehicles and office equipment. We want our share. We think as the PLPOA breaks up, there should be a distribution of assets. We feel we have significant monies due us."
According to Donavan, Ranch Community's withdrawal will deprive the PLPOA of "84 dues-paying property owners and 170 acres in the heart of the association." There may be additional losses later. "I have been approached by (representatives of) two other subdivisions who wanted to know how they could withdraw," Donavan said.
The Ranch Community's amended declaration also revokes an earlier amended declaration which "took horses out of the core area," Donavan said. "Now the horses are back in."
At annual meeting
Members fire away at PLPOA board
By Roy Starling
Members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association grilled their board of directors for almost two hours during an extended "public comments-question and answer" period at Saturday's annual meeting.
With 170 members in attendance, the board fielded questions on staff turnover, the handling of investments and cash transactions, and the hiring of a Denver management firm to manage the association and take over its accounting.
The exchange between directors and members culminated in a motion made by property owner Dallas Johnson to call a special meeting to hold a recall election for the purposes of removing the six appointed board members: Jim Carson, Pat Curtis, Fred Ebeling, Judy Esterly, Dick Hillyer and John Nelson.
Seventy-four members voted in favor of Johnson's motion, 76 against. Proponents of the motion disputed the count, but failed to rally a two-thirds majority to support a recount.
Tom Evans, who seconded Johnson's motion, said the primary reason for wanting the six members removed was that "they were all appointed. We tried to remove them and we failed, and now I think it's time we all started a healing process within the association."
Following the resignation of five administrative staff members, the board had voted 6-1 last Thursday to contract with Colorado Management and Associates Inc. During Saturday's annual meeting, property owners wanted to know why the staff resigned and why it was necessary to hire the out-of-town firm to manage the association.
Director Esterly, as she did at Thursday's board meeting, claimed responsibility for the staff resignations. "You're looking at the reason," she said. "I was very, very stern about certain things people didn't want to do."
Among her "faults," Esterly listed her expectations that financial reports be submitted in a timely fashion, her looking into where the association's money was being spent, and her trying to prevent waste. "Because I was the one who asked questions," she said, "I was the meany."
Director Curtis told the property owners that in an effort to ease tensions between staff and the board, "We held two executive meetings and they were very vocal. We established a procedure for the treasurer (Esterly) to receive information from the accounts manager (Janet Thompson). This procedure worked for a while, but apparently broke down at one point."
Concerning the new management firm, Director Hillyer told the membership that Colorado Management and Associates "currently manages 65 property owners association in the state," and that the organization had received "very high recommendations" from Orten and Hindman, a law firm that had done work for the PLPOA in the past.
"We have a contract for $144,000 a year," Hillyer said. "That includes $6,000 a month for a general manager and $6,000 a month for accounting. An interim general manager will arrive Monday (Aug. 2), and later we'll be able to interview three people for the permanent general manager position." He said that public safety, recreational amenities, lakes and fisheries and the office of covenant compliance would continue to be directed by their current department heads.
While acknowledging that there may be additional costs involved with Colorado Management and Associates, Hillyer contrasted the $144,000 spent on the company with the $153,500 cost, including benefits, of the five departing staff members.
Tuesday, Curtis told the SUN that on Monday morning the "board met with all of the department heads and any staff people who wanted to give them a little reassurance, and then we brought in two representatives of the management company and spent two hours or more brainstorming. Then the interim general manager spent the rest of the day meeting with department heads. I think it's going to be an easy transition, and certainly the board is looking forward to it."
Auditing and accounting
Also during the extended public comments period, the membership acted to keep a closer eye on the association's financial management.
Dallas Johnson's motion to conduct a special audit focusing on cash transactions and investments passed easily. The audit will cover the period between Jan. 1, 1999, and July 31, 1999.
Property owner Jim Sutton then moved that "we get a special ad hoc committee to advise the board on the audit and on selecting an auditor," and that motion, too, passed with overwhelming support from the membership.
Property owner Lee Vorhies moved that "we re-establish a standing committee to advise the treasurer and the association on investments," and that motion sailed through easily.
Western rattlesnake bites 9-year-old boy
By Karl Isberg
Forrest Rackham was goofing around with a grasshopper on July 30 and the next thing he knew, the 9-year-old had a potentially disastrous run-in with a large Western rattlesnake.
Young Rackham was bitten by a 33-inch-long rattler and several hours later was at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque receiving antivenin treatment.
Forrest's mother, Linda Rackham, said the youngster was near a water spigot at the family home on the Lower Blanco Road south of Pagosa Springs when the incident occurred. She said the boy was watching a spider and attempting to place a grasshopper in the spider's web when his 2-year-old sister arrived on the scene. Unknown to either child, a snake was lurking nearby.
"When his sister came up," said Rackham, "she nearly stepped on the snake and that set it off. I heard Forrest saying 'It bit me,' and at first I thought he meant the spider. When I arrived, the snake was coiled and rattling and ready to strike again. I got a shovel and whacked it."
The snake struck Forrest between his fingers and, according to Linda, bit the boy with only one fang. "The doctors said it was a fortunate place for the snake to bite him," she said.
An ambulance was dispatched but went instead to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center when it was learned that Forrest was being transported to the clinic by car. The Air Care medical helicopter was summoned from Farmington, N.M., while Forrest was en route to the clinic.
Once young Rackham arrived at the clinic, Dr. Mark Wienpahl and emergency medical personnel started an IV and marked the swelling on Forrest's hand. According to EMT Mary Fletcher, the boy's fingers and knuckles were swollen by the time he arrived at the clinic. "Twenty minutes later," said Fletcher, "the swelling was to his wrist."
It was the first case of snake bite that Wienpahl has seen since he established his practice at Pagosa. According to Fletcher, the incident on July 30 is the only one she remembers in her 17 years working as an EMT in the area.
A call to Mercy Medical Center at Durango revealed the hospital had no antivenin (used to counter the venom in the bite), but information received from Mercy Medical Center personnel put Wienpahl on track to call a center in Phoenix that specializes in treatment of venomous bites. The decision was then made to transport Forrest to the University of New Mexico Hospital at Albuquerque where the patient would be treated by a toxicologist. He was accompanied in the helicopter by his father, Tony Rackham.
"They gave Forrest 10 vials of antivenin," said Linda Rackham. "The swelling was almost to his elbow when he got to Albuquerque, and he came through really well. Their biggest concern was the loss of tissue but Forrest did so well he spent 24 hours in the hospital and came back on Sunday. He's doing great." Wienpahl said it is common to begin treatment of some snake bites with as many as 20 vials of antivenin and said the number of vials used is no sure indicator of the seriousness of the patient's condition.
Despite the rarity of snake bites in this part of the United States, the Rackham family now knows it is not impossible. Linda urges all local residents to be careful. "It has been years since my husband and I have seen a snake near here," she said. "The last one we saw was when we took a walk in Vallé Seco. But, it (a bite) can happen. You need to be cautious in a country setting. It doesn't occur often, but it can happen."
If a bite does occur, there are steps to take that could result in saving a limb.
Wienpahl said Wednesday that current thinking on the proper reaction to a snake bite depends on proximity to help. The "snake bite kit" approach where the bite is cut and venom suctioned is no longer in favor if a victim is within three hours of medical help; the use of a tourniquet and application of ice are also discouraged.
"You want to elevate the bite area" said Wienpahl. "You don't want to tie off the area of the bite; constriction results in damage to tissue and what we're looking for is to preserve the limb. We don't want to discourage circulation in the affected limb, and ice slows circulation. And, you want to keep the patient as calm as possible. Then, get to help as quickly as you can."
It worked for Forrest Rackham. On Wednesday, he was safe and sound at home, the proud owner of a set of rattles.
Streams swell, river rises, roads turn muddy
By John M. Motter
Heavy rain Wednesday morning drenched hikers and campers near Pagosa and precipitated a rescue on the upper reaches of the Middle Fork of the Piedra River.
At that point a father and son had to be helped back across a raging river that only hours earlier had been a friendly little stream. Normally, the Middle Fork River near the head of the Middle Fork Trail can be waded with water scarcely reaching the knees of an adult. Following heavy rains, however, the stream swells to a forbidding torrent.
Because other streams in the San Juan Mountains follow the same pattern, hikers are warned to be cognizant of how much rain is falling. If the skies really dump, that mild little rivulet easily waded on the way into a favorite campsite can become a threatening barrier. Outdoor experts urge campers and hikers who have crossed streams to return to lower elevations at the appearance of excessive rain and before the streams become swollen.
If trapped by a stream, the experts urge campers to wait for the water level to drop rather than gamble a life in the rushing waters. Normally, the streams recede as quickly as they rise.
Rainfall amounting to 0.4 inches was recorded at the Stevens Field weather monitoring station this past week. Rain has fallen on four of the last seven days and 14 of the last 21 days. And, according to weather forecasters from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, the end is not in sight.
"Look for mostly cloudy skies with a chance for afternoon and evening thunderstorms from now through the coming weekend," said Jeff Colton of the Grand Junction office. "There is a chance for some drying Saturday and early Sunday, but renewed moisture should move in late Sunday."
Daytime temperatures should range from the mid-70s to the low 80s, according to Colton. Lows during the night should range from the mid-50s to the low 60s.
"Rainfall measured in Telluride during July reached an all time high," Colton said. "The former record was about five inches set during 1911. The new record this month is over six inches."
Pagosa Country does not have records dating back to 1911, but old timers remember 1911 as the year of the "Great Flood." According to the newspaper, rain saturated the county during the summer and fall. By Oct. 5, the ground was totally saturated. At that time, a two-day downpour forced the San Juan River over of its banks and created the most devastating flood ever to strike this part of Colorado.
Unofficially, precipitation measured at the Pagosa Springs weather station for July this year totaled 3.28 inches, about double the historic average, but far below the record of 5.78 inches established in July 1957. In fact, more rain was measured during July 1998 when 3.64 inches fell. The average rainfall for July dating back to 1938 when official record keep started is 1.63 inches.
Through Tuesday, 5.9 inches of precipitation have been measured at Stevens Field. The long-time average precipitation for this area is 9.79 inches through July, and 12.31 inches through August. The annual average precipitation is 19.54 inches.
Meanwhile, the heavy rains are causing problems for motorists using certain Forest Service roads. Many Forest Service roads are not graveled and should not be traveled during rainy days. An example is Toner Road which provides access to the Piedra Falls on the East Fork of the Piedra River.
"Towing services have brought in 13 vehicles from Toner Road during the past few days," said Peggy Jacobson, a spokesperson for the Pagosa Ranger District. "We are closing that road until the weather gets dryer."
Other Forest Service roads may be closed until the rains let up. Persons wanting to learn about the current conditions of the Forest Service roads in the Pagosa District should phone 264-2268.
County tries again to retain excess revenues
By John M. Motter
Archuleta County voters get another chance this fall to allow the county to retain excess revenues.
Tuesday the county commissioners voted unanimously to place before voters the following question: "Shall Archuleta County, without increasing its property tax mill levy or sales tax rates, be authorized to collect and spend, or reserve for growth related issues, all excess revenues and other funds collected during 1999 and each subsequent year from any source other than that generated by the Archuleta County mill levy, not withstanding any restriction contained in Article X, Section 20 (the TABOR amendment) of the Colorado Constitution effective Jan. 1, 1993, provided no local taxes shall be increased thereby."
The Nov. 2 election will be by mail ballot only, according to County Clerk June Madrid. That means the county clerk's office will mail ballots to active voters who voted in 1998. Anyone who did not vote in 1998, or who suspects for any reason they do not qualify as an active local voter, should visit the clerk's office in the county courthouse to learn how to become eligible to vote.
Also on the November ballot according to Madrid, will be three school board candidates, as yet undesignated statewide initiatives and referendums, and three additional local boards seeking approval to retain revenues in excess of TABOR limits. Those local boards represent the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library District, the Pagosa Fire Protection District, and the Pagosa Springs Sanitation District.
This is the second consecutive year the county has asked voter permission to retain revenues in excess of TABOR limits. This year's question on the ballot differs significantly from the two-part question posed last year.
The first part of last year's question asked permission to increase the road and bridge fund mill levy by 6.5 mills for a period of five years. Voters rejected this request by a 2-1 margin. The second part asked permission to retain all excess revenues indefinitely providing that no local tax or mill levy be increased without voter approval. This request was turned down by a 1,708 to 1,386 margin.
During the same election, voters allowed the school district to retain excess revenues by a vote of 1,942 for, 994 against. Voters in Pagosa Springs had previously allowed the town government to retain excess revenues.
This year's county proposal contains none of the references to road and bridge issues contained in last year's proposal.
"This is all about growth," said County Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "We're asking voters to allow us to retain money generated by new growth in order to help cover expenses created by that growth."
Each county office is experiencing an increase in revenues derived from fees, fines, and other assessments. Revenue from property taxes and sales taxes are also increasing. Two state laws limit the amount of excess revenues a governmental body may retain. A vote of affirmation in November will override the state-law limitations and allow the county to retain all excess revenues except those generated by property taxes.
Adopted in 1982, the Gallagher Amendment, the oldest of the two laws, basically limits year-to-year revenue increases to 5.5 percent. A recent Colorado Supreme Court decision based on a case in Durango found that government entities can, with voter approval, retain revenue in excess of the 5.5 percent limit. The county is not attempting to take advantage of this decision at this time.
The Gallagher Amendment also attempts to stabilize the share of residential assessed value in the statewide property tax base at 45 percent of the total. This portion of Gallagher is under increasing attack because, in order to hold the residential assessed value constant at 45 percent, the business portion of revenue from property taxes has consistently increased and the residential portion consistently decreased. Consequently, the residential property tax assessment has dropped to less than 10 percent of fair market value. In some instances, 75 percent of the taxable value is paying only 45 percent of property taxes.
The second state law limiting revenue increases by government entities was adopted in 1992 and is known as the Taxpayers Bill of Rights or the TABOR Amendment. It is also called the Bruce Amendment, named for its sponsor, Douglas Bruce of Colorado Springs. Therefore, when voters give government entities permission to retain excess revenues, the act is referred to as de-Brucing.
TABOR limits the maximum annual percentage increase of a taxing entity's fiscal year spending and property tax revenues to "inflation in the prior calendar year plus annual local growth, adjusted for revenue changes approved by voters after 1991" and other minor adjustments.
Inflation calculations for TABOR applications are based on the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for the Denver-Boulder area. The inflation rate for this year's TABOR calculations will be about 2.5 percent, approximately the same as last year, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt. The state has not provided local taxing entities with the exact number for year 2000 budgets. TABOR requires that excess revenues collected be refunded or rebated the following year.
Entities frequently complaining about TABOR are those with falling property values. Before TABOR, when property values decreased, local taxing entities increased tax rates in order to maintain a constant revenue stream. Since TABOR requires voter approval before property tax rates can be increased, increasing the tax rate to maintain revenue levels is not automatic.
"The county is faced with a number of growth issues," said Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "We're receiving more revenue in each department, but we're also faced with more expenses. In fact, expenses are going up faster than revenues. If voters want to see the county keep up with these increased demands created by growth, they'll allow us to keep the revenue increases."
State law prohibits the commissioners, or the board of any taxing entity, from actively campaigning for de-Brucing as a body. They can campaign as individuals when not on county or entity business.
The Archuleta County property tax rate is 21.135 mills. During the past two years, that rate has been temporarily lowered to 18.756 mills. Taxpayers have received the difference in the form of a credit on their tax statements. The county could go back to the 21.135 mill levy without voter approval, but the commissioners have promised not to do that. Even if they did, without voter approval they could not retain the increased revenues generated by the higher mill levy.
The 2.5 percent TABOR inflation rate means that local taxing entities can only retain revenue increases of 2.5 percent a year, or increase expenditures by 2.5 percent for the year, unless voters approve the proposal on the November ballot.
County fair opens today with Taste of Pagosa
By Karl Isberg
"Honor the Past, Imagine the Future," is the theme of the 1999 Archuleta County Fair.
Activities begin in earnest at the county fairgrounds on U.S. 84 today, Aug. 5, though several horse events were held July 31 and Aug. 1 and quilt entries were accepted on Aug. 1. A multitude of events and shows will take place in a variety of buildings and tents at the fairgrounds.
Fair activity starts today at 8 a.m. as the gates open and 4-H and Open Class entries are accepted. The day is highlighted by the Taste of Pagosa which begins at 3 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. This year, there are 16 restaurants offering tastes of Pagosa's favorite foods.
A full schedule of events takes place Friday, Aug. 6, starting at 8 a.m. Check this week's Preview for a detailed schedule.
Friday features excellent entertainment, including the Kuzins Band which performs at the Fair Dance at 8:30 p.m.
Shows, contests and entertainment continue throughout the day on Saturday. The annual 4-H Chuckwagon Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and is followed by the popular 4-H Livestock Auction at 7 p.m.
Exhibits are available for viewing on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. A pancake breakfast runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the Chili Cookoff and Kids' Rodeo start at 1 p.m.
The 1999 Archuleta County Fair ends on Aug. 8 with the release of exhibits at 4 p.m. and the closing of the Exhibit Hall at 6 p.m.
All fair events are free.
Noisy group prompts policy change
By Karl Isberg
With no major public decisions to make on Tuesday, Pagosa Springs trustees sat through a "nuts and bolts" session at their regular monthly meeting.
Trustees were told that changes in town policy regarding use of Reservoir Hill will be made following difficulties with a youth group event at the hilltop site last weekend.
Harrington reported that a Colorado Springs organization reserved the Reservoir Hill site for camping, as part of a youth group retreat.
On July 31, complaints were forwarded to the Pagosa Springs Police Department when noise from the site disturbed citizens in town, in particular in the Mesa Heights area, Harrington said. A police officer was dispatched to the top of Reservoir Hill and the music was halted after 1 a.m.
On the morning of Aug. 1, said Harrington, the music started again and required a second police response.
"The group reserved the site for 300 people, for camping," said Harrington. "It turned out to be a much bigger event than we anticipated when we granted the permit. We contacted the group on Saturday about the noise, then had to return to shut down the music again on Sunday. Once the group left, we had to do restoration work on the meadow and we will bill them for that work. The fact we had to do the restoration work is not a surprise; with the wet weather, that problem might have occurred with any group. But the noise problem showed a disregard for the community and we are asking that an apology be extended to the residents who were disturbed by the noise. We have also asked our parks and recreation advisory committee to look at possible changes in our policies for Reservoir Hill. We apparently need some more formal policies in place and this event brought this need into focus."
A letter was drafted on Aug. 4 by Doug Call of the town parks and recreation department and was sent to John Bolin, the group's organizer. The letter noted the two instances in which noise from the campsite prompted a police response. It pointed out that town crews had to fill several tent trenches at a cost of $80 and that reseeding materials and labor cost $344. An electricity bill for $50 was forwarded to the group and Call said an additional trash removal bill will be sent to the group by Waste Management.
Call asked that a letter of apology be written to the residents of Mesa Heights and that $374 (a bill for $474 minus a $100 deposit) be sent to the town. Call wrote: "Future contracts on Reservoir Hill will be closely monitored with a more pertinent pay and deposit schedule used."
Complaints have been the order of the day recently for staff at Town Hall, said Harrington, as he updated trustees on progress on two capital improvement projects in the downtown area.
A project to construct sidewalks, curbs and gutters along South 8th Street, on a section of Durango Street and on a short section of South 7th Street began on May 3. It was bid as a 60-day project and the job was secured by a local company, U-Can-Afford Landscaping. The company was later granted an extension to July 15.
According to Harrington, officials at Town Hall have received numerous complaints from residents of South Pagosa about the project. Town officials have also communicated with the contractor about problems with the delinquent contract period, with adherence to plans, with the quality and sequencing of work, and with traffic control.
The project requires a $200-per-day penalty by the contractor for every day work extends past the completion deadline.
Harrington said Tuesday that "good progress was made on the project last week before the bad weather hit, and we've seen some good flat work done on the project. Some of the curb and gutter will have to be torn out, however, at the request of the town."
Other citizen complaints were heard regarding the reconstruction project on South 6th Street, said the town administrator.
After a lengthy delay forced by weather and a Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District project to replace water lines, a gravel surface is in place on the section of the street directly south of U.S. 160.
"This situation has involved a significant inconvenience," said Harrington, "especially for the Pack Rack Thrift Store on South 6th Street." The administrator said additional curb and gutter has been added to the project and will be constructed from the highway down the west side of South 6th Street to a point opposite the west entrance to the River Walk. A crosswalk will be installed to access the River Walk.
"We hope to have the work on South 6th Street finished by the time school starts after Labor Day," said Harrington.
In a final item related to capital improvements, Harrington told trustees about progress in the proposed reconstruction of the intersection of U.S. 160 with Lewis and 5th Streets.
The project will be completed on a cost-share basis with the Colorado Department of Transportation with the town administrating the process. Work will involve a realignment of 5th Street where it meets Lewis Street and the installation of a traffic signal at U.S. 160.
Harrington said owners of properties adjacent to the project were provided with copies of the proposed intersection layout and he said a bid for the project should go out by the end of August.
"We are getting the bid package together," said Harrington. "But we are not necessarily optimistic we can find a contractor to do the job this fall. There are very few contractors in the state who can do this type of work."
Harrington reminded trustees that a public hearing will be held at Town Hall on Aug. 24 at 5 p.m. to consider petitions for annexation of properties to the town of Pagosa Springs.
Eleven annexation petitions were found to be in substantial compliance with Colorado law at the July 6 meeting of the trustees and the date for the hearing was set. Following the hearing, the trustees will vote on whether or not to approve the annexations.
Properties being considered for annexation include two tracts located on the south side of U.S. 160, between Alpha Drive and South Pagosa Boulevard, south of U.S. 160 across from the Pagosa Lodge and the Pagosa Springs Golf Club course.
The remainder of the properties are located on the north side of U.S. 160 and include the Fairfield Pagosa sales office and its activities center, tennis courts and miniature golf course on the northwest corner of Piñon Causeway and Village Drive.
Also under consideration are properties on the north corners of the intersection of Village Drive with Talisman and the property on Village Drive north of the Pagosa Country Center now occupied by Norwest Bank. Rounding out the proposed annexations are the Village Apartment complex north of Norwest Bank and three tracts located between Village Drive and Park Avenue, adjacent to Eaton Drive.
PLPOA board names Curtis president
By Roy Starling
The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association's annual election resulted in one new director, an appointed director being elected, and the adoption of five bylaws amendments.
Pat Curtis, who was appointed last summer to complete former Director Don Costa's term, was elected, as was Rod Preston, who was running for the seat left vacant by outgoing Director Nan Rowe.
In an organizational meeting following Saturday's annual meeting, Curtis was elected president by his fellow board members. Director John Nelson will continue to serve as vice-president, while Preston will take over secretary duties from Fred Ebeling. Director Judy Esterly retained her position as the association's treasurer.
Curtis said the new board's "first concern is getting the Colorado Management Association in place, getting things running smoothly, and creating some harmony in the PLPOA."
Seven bylaw amendments were on the ballot, and five of those "passed handily" according to outgoing secretary Ebeling:
- Bylaw change No. 1 added to Article III, "Membership," under "Privileges and Duties of Members," the responsibility of the property owner to keep the association informed of mailing address changes.
- Bylaw change No. 3 replaces the requirement in Article V, "Board of Directors," Section 7, that standing committee chairpersons be members of the board of directors. The amendment requires only that chairpersons of committees be members in good standing and be appointed by the board of directors. The amendment adds that "it is desirable that a Director be on each standing committee."
- Bylaw change No. 4 does away with the requirement in Article V, "Board of Directors," Section 9 (f), that the board must appoint a nominating committee chairman who then appoints two other members. The rationale for the change was that "this gives the existing Board undue influence over the selection of candidates."
- Bylaw change No. 5 amends Article VII, "Amendments," Section 1, to make it easier for property owners to get a proposed amendment on the ballot to be voted on by the membership.
- Bylaw change No. 6 adds the following to Article VIII, "Common Interest Community Property," Section 2: "PLPOA assets of any kind, including owned real estate or real estate that is in the process of, or under threat of, acquisition by PLPOA for delinquent dues or other reasons, may not be purchased by PLPOA Directors or other volunteers or their immediate families and/or agents."
Bylaw changes No. 2 and No. 7 did not pass. No. 2 would have clarified the definition of "quorum" in Article IV, "Annual Meeting or Designated Meetings of Members," Section 4. Change No. 7 defined and prohibited sexual harassment.
County plans for Sept. clean-up days
By John M. Motter
Sept. 10, 11, and 12 have been designated clean-up day by the Archuleta County commissioners.
On those dates, 10 dumpsters will be distributed at various locations around the county. Citizens will be encouraged to use the dumpsters for free. In addition, the county will waive fees at the landfill.
"I want this to work the same as the town cleanup," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree who proposed the county cleanup. "If we put containers around the county it will give people a chance to clean up their yards. Waste Management will haul the dumpsters for about $2,000 on the day following clean up. We can waive the dumping fee at the landfill."
"I'm for anything that encourages cleanup," said Commissioner Bill Downey.
After some discussion as to whether the cleanup should be before or after Memorial Day, the September dates were chosen.
In another matter suggested by Crabtree, the commissioners approved a representative plan for development of 40 acres near Stevens Field the county is trying to acquire from the Bureau of Land Management. The plan anticipates 10 acres to be used by the Humane Society, recreation facilities, park and picnic facilities, and county buildings.
The plan will be submitted to the BLM as part of the justification process required by that government agency when negotiating with other governmental bodies, such as the county government, for the transfer of land.
Still to be negotiated is the process for transferring title. The local BLM representative wants to lease the property to the county for a number of years before transferring title. During that time, the BLM will monitor progress to ensure that county development corresponds with the submitted plan.
The county thinks it can obtain title to the property immediately, and is negotiating toward that end.
Crabtree withdrew a third proposal. Because of the time required for the building inspector to review building plans, Crabtree planned to suggest that building plans be endorsed by a registered engineer or architect before they are submitted to the building inspection department. He thought such a requirement would eliminate the need for the building inspector to review the plans, thereby shortening the time between submission of plans and construction startup.
"I changed my mind when I learned that the building inspector finds mistakes made by architects and engineers," Crabtree said. "Also, three local architects or engineers have told me they don't want the responsibility and liability of certifying building plans. They prefer that the county accept that liability. So I'm withdrawing my request."
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- Reappointed Marsha Preuit and Vicki Buck to the Archuleta County Tourism Council
- Set Aug. 24 at 1:30 p.m. for a review of the Colorado Works Program by the Berkley Group
- Conditionally approved fair board contracts for juggling and bungee run attractions at the county fair
- Approved a $1,500 contract for 9-1-1 maintenance.
Pagosa Springs Historical Preservation Board holds meeting
By John M. Motter
The Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board held an organizational meeting Friday at noon in Town Hall.
Appointed by the town board, the historic preservation board is charged with developing criteria for recognizing and protecting areas and properties of significance to the history of Pagosa Springs.
Chairman of the five-member board is Shari Pierce. Vice chairman is Mary Weiss and secretary/treasurer is John M. Motter. Other members are Glenn Raby and Julia Anne Donoho.
Board members will serve three-year terms. In order that all members' terms do not expire at the same time, Motter and Pierce were assigned three-year terms, Weiss and Donoho two-year terms, and Raby a one-year term.
Pierce is a historian and newspaper advertising account executive; Weiss an attorney with a degree in history; Motter a historian, author and newspaper reporter; Raby an archaeologist for the Forest Service; and Donoho an architect.
After Town Administrator Jay Harrington explained the legislation creating the board and defining its responsibilities, Jill Seyfarth, a planner for Durango, explained that city's historic preservation program and how it was developed.
Initially, the local board will develop criteria for recognizing historically significant buildings, districts and natural features within Pagosa Springs. Guidelines will be established for obtaining national, state and local historic designations.
Local businesses that obtain historic designations often qualify for financial help when enhancing historic features, according to Seyfarth.
The Durango program involves a preservation plan, preservation ordinance, a register of historic properties, development of a historic building inventory, state tax credit reviews, a variety of public information programs, advice to the city council on historic properties issues, and grant applications and administration.
At least during its formative stages, the Pagosa Springs Historic Preservation Board will meet in Town Hall at noon on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.
County commissioners agree to public meeting
By John M. Motter
A request for a public meeting explaining the results of a recent, county-wide telephone survey conducted by Tosch and Associates was given a green light Tuesday by the Archuleta County commissioners.
Making the request was Tim Horning on behalf of the Vision Committee, a group appointed by the commissioners during 1998 to help develop a community vision for use in growth and planning decisions.
One recommendation of the Vision Committee was that the county authorize a community survey to measure community attitudes concerning zoning and other growth-related issues. In response to the recommendation, the county hired the survey team of Tosch and Associates of Durango.
Tosch conducted a telephone survey, calling 400 county residents chosen at random from a county-wide, voter registration list. The Tosch poll was completed and a written summary provided the commissioners.
Tuesday, the commissioners authorized the Vision Committee to work with Tosch and the county planning department in preparing a public interpretation of the survey, along with committee recommendations.
"We'd like an additional public meeting concerning the Tosch survey," Horning said. "We feel the survey responses correspond with 95 percent of the Vision Committee's concerns. The committee wants to know how the commissioners feel about the results."
"I was surprised, yet not so surprised," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "I haven't arrived at any conclusions yet. My biggest surprise, given the political demographics of the county, was the public support for regulatory measures."
"That surprised me, also," said Ken Fox, chairman of the board of county commissioners, "given the preponderance of Republican voters in the county. The report contains some good information and involved the public. What will we do with the report? There are a couple of issues. I'm not a social scientist so I'm probably not qualified to judge, but people are questioning whether the results of telephoning 400 people really represents county opinion. I'm not jumping to any conclusions. We need a lot more information. A good test of how people in the county feel will be how they vote in November on the county's request to retain excess, growth-related revenues. A lot depends on the November response."
"I'm not surprised at the results," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "I was probably more in touch with how the people feel because I was out campaigning last fall. Our biggest focus should be to get the word out so the public will vote to allow us to retain excess revenues. If that passes, we will be able to address some of these concerns."
A date was not set for the proposed public meeting.
Questions produce answers
Some might agree that if an editor is not a member of an organization, he has no right to criticize the leadership of the organization. Well, besides never being a member of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, I've never been a member of the Democratic Party, Right to Life movement, San Juan Citizens Alliance or countless other groups of differing mind sets. But my lack of membership hasn't stifled my development of an opinion.
I question any organization that takes money derived from membership assessments in order to file law suits against its members. I also question the leadership of an organization that uses funds derived from membership assessments in order to defend the organization in law suits that have been filed against it by the members themselves.
Granted, it will be interesting to watch the development of the efforts by property owners in the Ranch Community to disengage their subdivision from the PLPOA. It is an obvious case in which the property owners are paying the costs for both sides of a lawsuit.
Regardless of the outcome the status quo's ongoing saga , it should cause some property owners in the Pines 1 Subdivision to ask the questions: "What would it cost to petition for annexation into the town of Pagosa Springs?" and "What would our benefits be to be annexed into the town of Pagosa Springs?"
After all, that's the reason editors express opinions . . . they hope folks will stop and think and will ask questions.
David C. Mitchell
Forget the letters, go to the fair
I love getting mail.
During two summers in the oil fields, two years in the army and five years at college, my mother was about the only person who wrote to me.
The number of letter in this week's mail equalled more than a third of letters in the alphabet.
It's encouraging that folks want to share their opinions with one another.
As I've said before, opinions are somewhat like noses, everyone has one but some are less conspicuous than others.
Of course the more letters that are published the less space there is for printing news. Some letter writers contend we should print more news. But if we printed more news there wouldn't be enough space left for the letter writers to complain about the lack of news.
A letter "from Colorado Teens" went unpublished this week.
The letter apparently was written by 16-year-old Desirae Davis of Hotchkiss, with the assistance of her friends and family. It included the names of over 100 teenagers from across the state. The only one I recognized was Adam Jelinek's.
The letter stated the teenagers "believe the right to bear arms is fundamental to our form of government and to the safety of our communities."
In essence the letter took exception to the nationwide publicity recently afforded the SAFE (Sane Alternatives for Firearms Epidemic) Colorado group.
Once you have had your fill of letters to the editor, take an antacid and get ready for tonight's Taste of Pagosa. It's hard to believe that it's already time for the Archuleta County Fair.
Everyone in the county should be able to attend this year. It's hard to believe any one will have to stay home to put up their hay this weekend.
It looks like the folks who didn't get their hay mowed, baled and stacked before the Red Ryder Roundup this season, will have to wait until after Labor Day or later before their pastures are dry enough for haying.
It's a shame that the summers that are wet enough to provide ample irrigation water - and to even grow hay in the unirrigated fields - make the pasturess too wet when it's time for haying.
For those of you who are wondering why Lee Sterling didn't have a letter in this week's SUN, relax, Lee and Patty are spending some time in England.
But before he left Lee, turned the annual Chili Cook Off and Tortilla Masters to Darrel Cotton and Gene Cortright.
So folks can rest assured the Chili Cook Off will some mouth-watering, palate pleasing entries of hot, mild, vegetarian or meat varieties of red and green chili. The same is true of the flavorful flour tortillas.
Being active participants in the local Republican political activities, Gene and Darrel probably broke ranks and recruited a bunch of Democrats to act as impartial judges.
For folks who operate on "Pagosa time," entry blanks are still available at the Archuleta County Extension office, Moonlight Books, Pagosa Springs Visitors Center and The Pagosa Springs SUN. All entries must be presented no later than 12:30 p.m. Sunday.
Despite in Lee's absence, this year's Chili Cook Off should again provide a sterling end to another fantastic Archuleta County Fair.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
Local team to play in Dallas
A local baseball team has won the area championship in the Stan Musial League and is now eligible to participate in the national tournament at Dallas, Texas on Aug. 23. Ron Trujillo is the plater coach for the team. Other team members are Larry Lister, Mike Peters, Robert Gallegos, Joe Lujan, Gabe Hendricks, Hank Rivas, George Kelly, Richard Chavez, Junior Lister, Tom Hyde, Cordell Perkins and Mark Houser.
Spectators saw many of the best tennis players of the Four Corners area last weekend. Kurt Laverty, a Pagosa Springs entry, reached the finals in the men's singles, men's doubles and junior singles in the single-elimination tournament.
The perennial dog problem, the continuing dump problem, and police reports were discussed at the town board meeting this week. The board indicated it was pleased with operations of the police department and its reorganization. It was noted, however, that there was a need for a heavier crack down on traffic violators and motorists speeding through town on the highway.
Another traffic fatality was chalked up against Archuleta County this week when a Fort Carson man died from injuries he received in an auto accident 23 miles west of town. He was taken by ambulance to Durango and by helicopter to Denver where he died.
Born a scholar on trout culture
With the area surrounding our town being home to many lakes and streams, it is natural that a favorite activity over the years has been fishing. One of the area's most knowledgeable fisherman resided here about the turn of the century. That man was Henry Born.
In 1911, Born contributed an article to the Methodist Church Ladies Aid Society's "Pagosa Springs Souvenir." In the article, he wrote about trout culture, as it was in 1911.
"Trout culture is only in its infancy. There are lakes in this part where it has been started, and succeeded admirably. Palisades Lake, on a branch of the Piedra river, 26 miles from town, owned by Huebler & Cresswell; Born's lake on West Fork of San Juan river, 18 miles above Pagosa Springs. Both lakes have about the same acreage under water - 20 to 25 acres. Both ship trout to market."
Born goes on to say that a number of years before the market price for trout was 35 cents per pound. By 1911 market price had increased to 50 cents per pound with one to four pound fish bringing a higher price.
According to Born, his lake was an ideal place to raise fish because it has "pure, cold running water the year round, the natural food supply, and the accessibility to market to make it pay. If one has such, one acre of trout lake is worth more than 10 acres of agricultural ground; and requires about one-tenth the work."
Born's Lake was stocked with native, rainbow and eastern brook trout. According to this article, the eastern brook trout was transplanted from the eastern U.S.
Raising trout requires some advance planning in order to provide "natural food" for the trout. According to Born, fish raised on artificial food taste more like "pork with fishy flavor."
Born's advice for anyone planning to raise trout in an artificial lake was to "plant food supplies at least two years before stocking the lake with fish. The natural food supply consists of fresh water shrimps, helgemites, frogs, leeches; and all other bugs and insects that grow in fresh water."
Even though trout raising requires advance planning, Born wrote that may ranchers or farmers could make a small pond and raise their own fish. "He does not need to have a hatchery or know anything of that part of the business, as he can buy the trout fry for $2.50 or $3 per thousand from private hatchery and stock his pond or lake, as the case may be." Of course Born was in the business of selling fry (young fish) and he concluded his article with an invitation for people to come to his lake, see his hatchery and get all the information they needed, free of charge.
Saturday wedding for Baird, Love
Saturday will be a wonderful day for Debbie Baird and Richard Love, for they are getting married. Both the wedding at 2 p.m. in the afternoon and the reception at 7 p.m. in the evening will be at the Sports Page.
Debbie, a sign language interpreter, is on the staff at Pagosa Springs Elementary School, as the educational interpreter. Previously she worked as a freelance interpreter, at Sandia National Labs, Bureau of Land Management and Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Richard is the local postmaster.
After they met here in Pagosa, Debbie saw to it that Richard would learn to dance. The good student he became led to their winning a first class trophy at the Colorado Star Ball held in Denver this past June. Their dance selection was special - a choreographed wedding waltz, and they plan to repeat it at the reception.
Their dance instructor, Robert Nardozza, who is also an ice skating instructor, plans to come down from Denver for the festivities.
Robert is a former ice skating student of Gerry Potticary. Gerry and her husband, now residents of Pagosa, are very well known ice skating coaches. Olympic Silver Medalist Paul Wylie was Dick's student.
Robert is in business with Joseph Santos of "Santos Designs in Denver" and it was he who designed Debbie's wedding dress, a cross between a traditional wedding dress and a ballroom gown covered in almost 5,000 rhinestones. Joseph specializes in ballroom gowns and ice skating costumes.
The wedding and reception and all related events will be interpreted in ASL (American Sign Language). The wedding will be professionally videotaped to be shown on the big TV screen (and smaller TVs) at the reception.
In conjunction with the wedding there will be an EIP (Education Interpreter Program) reunion. EIP graduates will do the signing at the wedding and the reception. The reunion starts Wednesday at 2 a.m. in Town Park, includes the wedding and will end with a luncheon at the Sports Page on Sunday. Many Deaf Instructors and their spouses will be attending.
A note about this very important organization, the EIP: It was the first-ever long-distance interpreter program that resulted in an AAS degree. Graduates and instructors are from Colorado, Montana, New York and Alaska. The program was headed by Leilani Johnson of Front Range Community College in Denver.
Back to the wedding, Debbie and Richard want people to know that their reception is open to all. Their only request is that one's attire match the theme color of black and white. This will be a fun event.
Fun on the run
Signs spotted across the country.
On a front door: "Everyone on the premises is a vegetarian, except the dog."
At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
On a taxidermist's window: "We really know our stuff."
On a butcher's window: "Let me meat your needs."
On a fence: "Salesmen welcome. Dog food is expensive."
At a car dealership: "The best way to get back on your feet - miss a car payment."
Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We'll hear you coming."
In a Veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in five minutes. Sit! Stay!
Computer helps with mileage questions
We have one new member to introduce to you this week and one of the nicest men you will ever meet. Lynn Albers joins us with Lynn's Heating and Refrigeration. Lynn runs this business from his home and can help you with your heating and refrigeration concerns as well as duct work, hot water heat and ventilation. We're happy to welcome Lynn to the Chamber family and invite you to give him a call at 731-5252 for more information. It's hard to imagine, but we will all soon be addressing heating concerns and preparation for winter. Have you noticed it became August over the weekend? Yikes.
Heads up - we will soon be sending our renewals for Chamber of Commerce Membership for the year 1999-2000. I will be addressing the minny, minny benefits of membership in our September newsletter but just wanted to let you know that you can expect your renewal some time in August. We, of course, encourage you to jump on that baby and get that check back to us in record time. September is one of our favorite months for a number of reasons, but we do love those membership renewals.
Sometime during the first week of September, we will be sending our quarterly newsletter, the Chamber Communique, so it's time for you to think inserts. For those of you who might be new to the insert game, this is about the most economical vehicle you can use to get the word out about your new business, your new location or a special you might be offering. It's very simple: you bring us 650 flyers announcing whatever it is you want to share and a check for $25 and we'll take it from there. We'll collate, label, stamp and mail. You are assured that every Chamber member will receive your information. Please bring us your insert and check by the end of the day on August 27, and we'll do the rest. If you have questions, please give us a call at 264-2360.
Thanks to Pat Curtis, we now have a cool, new computer at the Diplomat station in the Visitor Center that will help folks with mileage questions. Pat, a longtime Diplomat, came up with the idea and was able to sweet-talk Dan Aupperle out of a computer and program "Going Where?" This little jewel allows our Diplomats to call up mileage information when one of our visitors asks how long it will take them to get to any city in the United States and the exact mileage. Pretty slick, huh? Thanks to Pat and his partner in crime, Ron Hunkin, for making it all happen and, of course, thanks to Dan Aupperle for his generous donation. It's just one more way we can be more customer service oriented and visitor friendly at the Visitor Center.
I was excited to learn that the ladies of Mountain Harmony will be presenting one of their fabulous programs this month and I already have my tickets. Connie Glover, fearless leader of this talented group, was kind enough to bring tickets to the Visitor Center and I must warn you that many are already gone. "Get Aboard That Gospel Train" is the name of the program and one can only imagine the energy going into this one. This group can always be counted upon to present first-class, high-energy, professional productions and I'm sure this one will be no different. You would do well to pick up your tickets pronto before they disappear from the Visitor Center. Connie has tickets as well and you can reach her by calling 264-2850. "Get Aboard That Gospel Train" will be presented Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church. Seating will be limited to only 200, so buy your ticket to this train as soon as possible.
Chamber member, Habitat for Humanity, announces a groundbreaking ceremony to be held Aug. 7, at 9 a.m. at 103 Sam Houston in Pagosa Trails and invites one and all to join them for this momentous occasion. This will be the seventh home built for one of our local families and Annie Ryder of St. Patrick's Church will officiate. Habitat has purchased two lots in the Trails subdivision near the corner of Gila and Sam Houston and this latest home will be built on one, the next on the other. Volunteers are invited to join this group of builders whether you're a skilled construction worker or someone who has never built anything in your life - all are welcome. You can donate either a day of your time or work every day of construction until the house is completed. If you have questions or if you would like to volunteer for this commendable project, please call 264-6960.
Congratulations to Yale Espoy, Mare and the whole gang at Isabel's on their recent opening after completing extensive, lovely renovations on the building and grounds. They did a nice, soft opening - always a smart move for a restaurant - before they began their advertising campaign. They hosted a fundraiser for the Humane Society on Friday, aptly named "Dress to the Nines for Canines and Felines" and there were those who did, indeed, dress to the nines. One learns to never, ever tell party animal Betty Johann to "costume up" unless they are deadly serious and Jenny Schoenborn sported a headpiece to die for. A great time was had by all who attended and, hopefully, all those four-legged critters at the Humane Society Shelter will benefit from the generosity of Isabel's and those who attended that evening. Thanks to all.
For those of you who keep score, our numbers here at the Visitor Center are on the rise for the summer. As of the end of July, we were 3,417 visitors over YTD in 1998 and 694 ahead just for the month of July. Our 1999 YTD number is 22,637 over the 1998 figure of 19,220. The top five spots have become rather predictable with Texas visitors 'way out front with 4,043. Neighboring Colorado folks love us too with 3,696 and New Mexicans continue to seek out the cooler mountain air with 1,795. More and more Oklahoma visitors are heading our way with 1,026 already this year and Arizona takes fifth place with 923. Of interest is that California (who at one time was 'way up there) dropped to sixth place with 596 and numbers are up for Missouri, Kansas, Florida, Arkansas and Illinois. We've had 99 Brits, 55 Canadians and 114 Germans visit us and 369 who fall into the "other" category, which means just about any place in the world. Once again, methinks the Pagosa secret is out. Suellen is also doing a breakdown on how our visitors heard about us with some interesting results. By far, the word of mouth takes the cake with the "Friends/family" category at 1,631. 578 folks were just "Driving through" and 470 are Fairfield timeshare folks. 43 people saw us in the AAA CO/UT Tour Guide and the remainder was brought here by Pat Parelli, the Mobile Guide, the Four Corners Folk Festival, the Bicycle Tour of Colorado and Colorado Getaways.
It's that time of year again and it kicks off with Taste of Pagosa at 3 p.m. today at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds. I will be there selling tickets for the umpteenth year and hope to see all of you for this tasty affair. Taste will be followed by three days of the fun and frolic we have always been provided by the best-ever county fair. There is something for every member of the family during the fair and it certainly is one of the few things left that is geared totally for the whole family. There is always something magic about a fair and this year will be no exception. Plan to bring all the friends and family available to enjoy this once-a-year offering. See you there.
Rec Center offers swimming lessons this month
Adult lap swimming will now be available at the Recreation Center from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pool is closed to open swimming until noon on Monday through Friday.
Swimming lessons will be offered in August for children five and older. The first session will begin Aug. 9. Classes for beginner swimmers will be conducted from 10:30 a.m. to 11:15 a.m. Intermediate/advance swimmers will meet from 11:15 a.m. to noon. The sessions are only two weeks long with classes taught from Monday through Thursday. Please come by the Recreation Center to register for classes and for additional information.
Benny Lohman, who recently turned 80, is delighted to have been invited by Wolf Creek Ski Area to ski free-of-charge from this ski season on. Wolf Creek Ski Area extends this generous courtesy to skiers 80 and over. Now Benny, you'll have to stay fit so you can take advantage of the ski area's generosity.
Here's a warm-up race before the Aug. 14 "High Tri" Triathlon. The Fair Fun Run, an annual 5K run that is a part of our Archuleta County Fair, will be held this Saturday. The short but grueling, fast and beautiful course up to Reservoir Hill and back to Town Park is not an easy one. But the pain, like the course, is short. Runners will start at 8:30 a.m., after the walkers take off at 8 a.m. Registration is $6 and includes a T-shirt, awards and door prizes. Show up before 8 a.m. to register and to be adequately warmed-up for the event. If you have questions, please contact race director Jack Ellis at 731-2307.
The Pagosa Lakes "High-Tri" Triathlon scheduled for Aug. 14, is just around the corner. It includes a 7-mile run, 14-mile mountain bike ride and a half-mile swim. The run will start at 8 a.m. from the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and the final leg, the half-mile swim, will be in the recreation center pool. Both the run and the bike segments of the triathlon will cover some gorgeous trails along Martinez Canyon. This is a fun event and I encourage you to challenge yourself, either competing as an individual or as a team.
Triathlon makes its Olympics debut in 2000 and will open the Sydney Games. But the Olympic distance, a 1.5-kilometer swim (0.9 miles), 15K bike ride (24.8 miles) and 10K run (6.2 miles), is done in less than two hours. That's vastly different than the "Ironman," a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and marathon (26.2 miles) run, which depending on conditions, takes eight to nine hours.
The Pagosa Lakes Triathlon's best individual time was set in 1997 by Dr. Scott Anderson at one hour, 49 minutes and 43 seconds. Scott Anderson, Mark Frings and Natalie Koch topped the team field with a 1:50.13. The mere mortals take a little bit longer to finish. There are few greater emotional feelings than finishing a triathlon. And there are few worse physical feelings than finishing a triathlon. And so I have my goal for this year. I'm aiming not for a time better than my last three years' attempts but a feeling. Come join me and the rest of Pagosa's runners, bikers and swimmers.
If you need help in filling out a team for the triathlon, please call the Recreation Center at 731-2051. We have names of athletes looking for other athletes to form teams.
Not easily deterred by rainy weather, Pagosans continue to hike up into higher country to enjoy the wildflowers and the scenery. If you are not yet a part of the Gray Wolf Ski Club or the San Juan Outdoor Club, get connected with either or both. They are active hikers and organize numerous trips into the high country throughout the summer. For more information, please call Gray Wolf hike coordinators Bob Tillerson at 731-5160 or Jerry Sager at 731-2302. For more information about the San Juan Outdoor Club's summer hiking, please contact John and Cheryl Nelson at 731-2277.
Yoga will be offered free to Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center members on Saturday morning from 9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., beginning on Aug. 14. Richard Harris will be teaching the classes. Thank you Richard for sharing your wonderful yoga skills with us.
Seniors get visit from Pine Ridge residents
Our local "early birds" have reported that the bears are out and about, so protect your pets by feeding them inside and don't leave kitchen scraps around because bears will invite themselves to lunch and they don't clean up afterwards.
Johnny Martinez is this week's "Senior of the Week." Johnny is one of our faithful volunteers and helps us very often. Thank you Mr. Martinez.
It was nice to see Lidia Martinez and Wanda Aeschlimay volunteer on Friday. A new face, Betty Thomas, and our regulars Mae Nelson and Lilly Gurule were there on Monday. Many thanks and hugs to our wonderful volunteers. They make our town so pleasant to live in.
Thelma is doing better and we all can hardly wait to see her. We're praying for her speedy recovery and safe trip home soon.
Mrs. Risinger's neighbor, Tuffy George, also is doing better this week as she recovers from pneumonia.
Lou Frank is recovering from knee surgery in Denver. He will be home soon.
Pine Ridge Extended Care Facility residents visited us on Monday. Their new activities director, Misty Talbot, brought some residents that we were so excited to see again. They included Frances Bramwell, Glen Coen, Alex Cairns, Martita Carreou, Fidel Herrera, Babe Shahan, Iola Shahan and Helen Mackensen. They will be visiting us again for our Picnic in the Park on Aug. 20 along with some senior citizen centers from out of town.
The Senior Citizens Center's kitchen is serving lunch three days a week and if you plan on bringing a guest, just pop on in. But if you plan on bringing more than four, we request that you call the kitchen at 264-4212 beforehand.
Have you hugged a senior lately? If not, call someone you care for and tell them you love them.
Enjoy safe journeys and breathtaking sunsets.
Friends of LKibrary sale raises $3,908
Mary did the final tally for the summer reading program and 130 children finished their contracts. They kept track of 2,882 books read. There were many more read but not counted.
Lauren and Michelle Parker read 100 books each. Our other good readers who read 60 or more books were Tasha Rayburn with 98, Kade Eckhardt with 92, Austin Miller at 77, Audrey Miller with 76, Aaron Miller at 64 and Mattaia Weerstra with 60. Aliya Haykus read more than her contract and was the most prolific arts and crafts queen. We shall watch her career with great interest.
Children who finished their contracts but didn't come to the party are urged to come in and pick up their packets and prizes. We will continue our story time on Fridays until August 27.
Once again we'd like to thank the sponsors of the summer reading program. They make it possible for our children to keep up their reading and writing skills by providing books and prizes.
Final book count
Mo Covell, the new Friends treasurer, brought by her report. The booksale brought in $3,908 that included booksales, memberships and donations. Thanks to Brian Gronewoller for lining up helpers from the Power House; Frank Martinez and his crew; Terry French, Gil Bright, Dick Hillyer, Lu Larson, Gale Tuggle, and Gary Rowe. Our thanks to Rotary for taking the remainders away.
Thanks to all of the Friends who worked and/or brought delicious food. The annual meeting is always fun thanks to all that help. We're already looking forward to next year. The booksale is the Friend's major fundraiser.
We'll miss Pat Riggenbach and Margaret Gallegos. Maureen Covell and Cynthia Mitchell will take their place on the Board of Directors.
The next Friends event will be the Turkey Trot coming up in November.
Civic Club raffle
Margaret Wilson would appreciate any gifts or donations to be used for raffle prizes. Each year artists and crafters donate lovely items. Please contact Margaret at 264-2645, or call the Library at 264-2209 if you have something you could give. This year's bazaar will be one day only - Nov. 6.
The Friends of the Library and the Civic Club are co-sponsoring a booth at the fair to help us plan library services into the next millennium. Please come and fill out a survey and let them tell you what the future holds. We have some nice prizes for those who stop by and help us with the plan.
Shirley tells me that we've given out more than 115 new library cards during the month of July and we checked out 7,270 books in the same period. These are pretty heady statistics and you can see why we need to be planning for the future.
Financial help came from Jim and Margaret Wilson in memory of Leda Hubert, Bay Chambers and Margaret Samples. Betty Feazel donated in memory of Elizabeth Feazel Skelton.
Materials came from Chris Powe, Ann VanFossen, Donald Mowen, Ken Brookshier, Danine Martinez, Liz Akins, Bob Howard, Sepp Ramsperger, Jessie Formwalt, Virginia McGffee and Mrs. Lechner.
Arts Council holds quarterly meeting
Pagosa Springs Arts Council members and interested parties are encouraged and invited to attend the PSAC quarterly meeting on Aug. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street.
In addition to PSAC business, the meeting will feature the Colorado Council on the Arts State Folklorist Kathleen Figgen. Figgen will present "Folklore of Southern Colorado."
With a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Indiana University, Figgen has been a State Folklorist for Southern Colorado since 1992. Her goal to incorporate folklore and folk arts into the K-12 curriculum has led to a collaborative development by all four state folklorists to provide folk art kits for teachers which she hopes to introduce throughout Southern Colorado during the 1999-2000 school year. Using folklore in the classroom, Dr. Figgen believes, is an excellent way to get students engaged in the learning process because folklore is familiar to students and close enough to their own lives to be meaningful to them.
The PSAC meeting will also include folksingers David Snyder and Sharman Alto. Their clever, witty musical talents represent Pagosa from a unique perspective. The meeting is open to members and nonmembers of any age and interest. Refreshments will be served. The arts are for everyone, so get involved!
The opening of the "Art of the Hopi" exhibit is Aug. 5 at the Arts Council gallery in Town Park. Refreshments will be provided. The exhibit will feature traditional Hopi artwork including jewelry, baskets, kachinas, paintings and drawings created by artisans from the Hopi Reservation in Second Mesa, Ariz. The exhibit will be on display from Aug. 5 through 18.
Mark your calendars for Aug. 14, which is the day the Pagosa Springs Arts Council will give the community a unique chance to see local artisans in their workplace. The PSAC Studio Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and during the day, the public can visit each gallery participating and witness demonstrations from each artist. The PSAC Gallery will be open in Town Park throughout the day with refreshments for tour participants.
Tickets are available at the PSAC Gallery, the Chamber of Commerce office and the Sisson Library. Tickets are $8 if purchased in advance and $10 the day of the tour.
The tour is a fundraiser for the Pagosa Springs Arts Council with the goal of promoting Pagosa Springs as a community of artists, emphasizing quality and diversity and providing an opportunity for the public to see the artists in their workplace. Artists participating in the tour include Cappy White and Monica Green. The couple specializes in woodworking, furniture, painted furniture and spectacular entry doors. Virginia Bartlett will be demonstrating her techniques in oils and watercolors and Soledad Estrada-Leo, whose work can be seen in the current issue of the Petroglyph, will execute portraits in pastel, charcoal and pencil. Sandy Applegate will do demonstrations in colored pencil, watercolor and semi-abstracts and John Applegate offers photography works. For a complete list of artists participating in the Gallery Tour, please contact the PSAC Gallery at 264-5020.
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council extends warm thanks to Betty Thompson for the generous donation to the PSAC in memory of artist Sue Weaver who passed away earlier this year. Thank you for your remembrance.
Is East Fork Valley up the creek?
Last weekend I was watching "Cross Creek," a film based on the writer Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' memoirs. You may remember that Rawlings penned the fine novel "The Yearling," which later became the equally fine movie starring Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman.
In "Cross Creek," Rawlings, played by Mary Steenburgen, buys a piece of lush, swampy property in north central Florida, somewhere between Ocala and Gainesville. At one point, she reflects on the whole notion of land ownership.
"Who owns Cross Creek?" she asks. "The earth may be borrowed, not bought; may be used, not owned. It gives itself in response to love and tenderness, offers its seasonal flowering and fruiting. Cross Creek belongs to the wind and the rain, to the sun and seasons; to the cosmic secrecy of seed and, beyond all, to time."
Rawlings' statement got me thinking about another creek, an imaginary one by the name of Piano. Most of you know by now that developers are planning to turn 2,800 acres of private property in the East Fork Valley into a kind of resort area, a place where people just like you and me who are willing and able to pay a $500,000 membership fee can come and enjoy some of the last vestiges of the wild, wild west: a golf course, for instance, and perhaps some private ski slopes.
Since the East Fork Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Colorado and perhaps in the entire United States, news of the Piano Creek Ranch development has inspired many of us nature lovers into setting aside a little bit of our pay check each week so that we, too, may someday be able to afford the modest half-million dollars to enjoy a pristine area only slightly marred by the intrusion of bulldozers and chain saws.
I expect more students in the area will double their resolve to stay in school, stay away from drugs, graduate and find well-paying jobs so that they might also partake in the pleasures of Piano Creek Ranch.
Anyway, we all owe an immense debt of gratitude to that person who first stood gazing out over the breathtaking beauty of East Fork, with perhaps the early morning sun causing the dew in the vast meadows to glisten, the East Fork itself to sparkle, with the click and hum of the hummingbird mingling with the squawk of the jay and the chattering of the ground squirrel - yes, we owe an immense debt of gratitude to the person who stood there among all that splendor and said to him or herself, "Man, I could make a lot of money off this place!"
But the owners of one of God's beautiful valleys can do whatever they want to with it. Do we really believe that? There are places in this county where you're not allowed to build a house smaller than, say, 1,500 square feet on your private property, where you're not free to choose the color or the exact placement of your house or the material it's made out of, where you're not free to have goats in the front yard or chickens in the back.
If we really didn't care what people did with their private land, there'd be no such thing as an office of covenant compliance.
What about our covenant with the land, the earth as a whole? To some of us, it's a pretty special place, the only world we have. "We were bred of the earth before we were born of our mothers," Rawlings says in "Cross Creek." "Once born, we can live without our mothers, our fathers or any other kin or any friend or human love. We cannot live without the earth or apart from it, and something is shriveled in man's heart when he turns away from it and concerns himself only with the affairs of men."
In a way, we're all owners of the earth whether we can afford to buy any of it or not. We are certainly its stewards. We report to that great Office of Covenant Compliance in the sky, or in our hearts.
"The highest treason, the meanest treason," Edward Abbey said, "is to deny the holiness of this little blue planet on which we journey through the cold void of space. Though men now possess the power to dominate and exploit every corner of the natural world, nothing in that fact implies that they have the right or the need to do so."
According to an article in the Denver Post, construction is set to begin on Piano Creek Ranch in the spring, even though all the hurdles haven't been cleared through the Mineral County commissioners and other offices.
My money is on the developers meeting their deadline. I think they'll fight their way through the paper trail, and I don't even think it'll be a difficult fight. I predict only a few people will seriously oppose the development, and I further predict that most of them will be dismissed as a tree-hugging fringe element, outside agitators and wild-eyed, radical environmentalists.
I think all the issuing of permits and such will be above board, and that both the developers and the public officials on whom we depend to help with the planet's stewardship will act honorably and play by the rules.
Still, I can't help but recall the words from an old Bob Dylan song: "Money doesn't talk, it swears." And one more thing from the crotchety Mr. Abbey, never one for diplomacy or mincing words: "One thing more dangerous than getting between a grizzly sow and her cub," he said, "is getting between a businessman and a dollar bill."
In my heart, I think it's over, so I've been making frequent trips out to East Fork to say good-bye. If you haven't seen it, I urge you to see it now and to take pictures before mankind gets busy improving on God's work again. It is truly beautiful beyond words.
Archuletas named a county
By John M. Motter
No one disputes the fact that Archuleta County is named for the Archuleta family. The question is, which Archuleta was it named for, Jose Manual Archuleta or Jose Antonio Donaciano Archuleta or Jose Marcellino Archuleta? According to Margaret Daugaard, a direct descendant, some sources credit Uncle Don, others credit Jose Manuel or Jose Marcellino.
Jose Manuel Archuleta was married to Ruperta Gomez. When Americans started moving into New Mexico in 1845 during the Mexican/American War, Jose Manuel and his esposa moved to the Taos area. There the couple had four sons: Jose Marcelino, known as J.M.; Jose Antonio Donaciano, known as Don; Jose Delfido; Jose Presciliano; and a daughter Maria Ruben who married Gasper Ortiz.
Jose Donaciano served as a Colorado senator from Conejos County and introduced the legislation leading to the creation of Archuleta County from Conejos County in 1885.
"Uncle Don wanted to name it Pagosa or Pine county," Margaret says. "I remember grandmother saying J.M. paid a $5,000 gratuity to have the county named Archuleta."
Jose Manual Archuleta raised sheep and cattle, a vocation which led him north from New Mexico into the San Luis Valley in the 1840s and 1850s. In those days, the Utes and Jicarilla expressed their displeasure at the trespass by burning cabins and entire villages. Ultimately, with the help of troops from Fort Garland, homes and villages were established.
The sons also raised sheep and cattle in the San Luis Valley. When J.M. won the contract to supply meat to the Jicarilla Indians at the Amargo Agency, the family moved into Pagosa Country. Already living in the area that was to become Dulce were the Gomez', a family intermarried with the Archuletas.
The other Archuleta brothers also moved into the area, and soon Archuletas operated business houses, first at Amargo, then Lumberton, Edith, and finally Pagosa Springs. Those businesses included hotels, general stores, saloons, and the first flour mill in the county. Cattle and sheep production continued to be a family mainstay.
An Archuleta Hotel and business house occupied the lot where the Pagosa Hotel sits today in Pagosa Springs. The Archuletas owned property throughout the county. In about 1900, the two-story brick house still standing on the north side of Pagosa Street between 2nd and 3rd streets was built by J.M. Archuleta. The house slipped out of family hands, but was finally restored to the family by Lionel and Ruby, Margaret's parents.
La Cantina, now operated by Margaret, was built in 1937, more than 60 years ago, by Angelo DeVabetta. Margaret's father, Lionel, purchased La Cantina in 1941.
"Dad had been bootlegging to the Indians and the Feds were closing in," Margaret said. "He quit bootlegging and bought La Cantina."
Lionel had operated a bar in Lumberton, N.M., where the family lived, since 1934.
In the early days of Archuleta County, Archuletas were among the most powerful families, well known throughout the state. J.M. Archuleta joined H.A.W. Tabor to form a $500,000 business corporation with multiple interests. When the county first formed, the governor appointed J.P. Archuleta as one of the first three county commissioners. During the first election of county officers in 1886, J.M. Archuleta was elected county commissioner. During subsequent years, Archuletas served as county judge, county treasurer, and when New Mexico became a state, in the New Mexico legislature.
The family had its share of tragedy. J.M. developed extensive silver mining interests in Arizona and Old Mexico. A.D. helped look after those interests. With seven companions, A.D. died in a hail of bullets in Sonora, Mexico, when bandits attempted to hold up a wagon they thought carried the mine payroll. Ironically, the payroll was late in arriving and the wagon was empty except for the soon-to-be murdered occupants.
J.M. died of gunshot wounds received in a shootout near his Edith home, the result of a dispute over ownership of a hayfield.
Archuleta/Gomez family history reads like a television saga. The Gomez' were among the first settlers in the Dulce area. In fact they were already present when the Jicarilla nation arrived.
"During the first year, the Gomez' and other settlers saved the Jicarilla," Margaret said. "The government put them on that reservation to die, but the Gomez' and neighboring settlers fed them. Grandmother Gomez didn't feed them outside. She brought them into the house and fed them at the dining room table, the one that always had a table cloth."
Even though several generations of Archuletas and Gomez' intermarried, the two families were very different, according to Margaret. The Gomez' were very democratic and fed hired help at the table with the rest of the family. The Archuletas, on the other hand, maintained a separate building where they fed hired help. And the Archuletas were staunch Republicans.
Both families were better off than the average Pagosa Country pioneer. Both families sent their children away to be educated. Both families intermingled with Anglos so that Margaret could say, "I don't remember being the target of prejudice."
The Archuletas have been named "An American Bicentennial Family," a Colorado Centennial Family," an "Archuleta County Centennial Family," and a "Centennial Rancher" for having continuously operated a Colorado ranch since 1876.
The Archuleta family, an Archuleta County dynasty.
'Just Jennifer' makes world hard to figure out
Just when you think you have everything figured out, something new happens.
A few years ago the wife and I were buzzing down the highway toward War Eagle, Arkansas, a few miles south of Eureka Springs, almost drooling as we neared our destination. For years we'd heard of the quality craftsmanship of the natives living in this isolated retreat. We'd learned that War Eagle arts and crafts festivals attracted artisans from all over the Ozark Mountains.
In addition to a huge outdoor arts and crafts display, we'd be able to visit the old, still operating grist mill, any gift shops in the vicinity, and sample backwoods lifestyles in the legendary Ozarks.
It was hard not to gloat as we approached the old mill, the road twisting and turning through exquisite mountain landscapes, each turn revealing a new and spectacular vista. When we dropped into the War Eagle River Valley, our eyes widened another notch, feasting on the verdant meadows and tree-lined fence rows. Even the name of the valley intrigued us, but that is another story, its roots buried in the Indian folklore of the region.
Wrapped in grandeur earned through years of faithful service, the mill stood proudly on the bank of the river, ivy covering the stone walls like campaign ribbons on the chest of a veteran. Faithfully, the huge wooden water wheel creaked and groaned dipping 'round and round' into the green waters of the river, the mill stones crushing grain berries into life-giving flour.
Just before we entered the mill parking lot, a smaller building caught our eye. Across the road from the mill rested a smallish stone house, also overgrown with ivy. On the hand-carved door a sign teased, "Just Jennifer," it read. We decided to delay our visit to the mill for a few minutes. "Just Jennifer" beckoned. Surely here was our opportunity to observe first hand, real Ozark handiwork, craftsmanship handed down from generation to generation. We might even meet Jennifer and learn about her upbringing in this remote valley.
We climbed the moss-covered, limestone steps to the door two at a time, scarcely able to contain our anticipation. Three or four young ladies greeted us as we burst through the door.
"Are you Jennifer?" I asked the young lady who appeared to be in charge.
"Yes, I am," came the answer.
I was pleased to guess right, but suspicious of the accent. What I was hearing was not what I expected from a native of the Ozarks. I decided to get to the bottom of things.
"Where are you from?" I pried.
"I live here," she said.
"Have you always lived here?" I continued to pry.
"No, I'm from England," she said.
Her answer explained the accent, but now the mystery deepened. What was this young English lass doing here in War Eagle River Valley?
"You mean you came to the middle of the Ozarks from England? I hope I'm not being too nosy, but why?" I asked.
"Actually, I was born in Kenya, Africa, but I moved here from Guadalcanal," she said, the smile on her face telling me she enjoyed adding to my confusion.
I really was confused. Guadalcanal is in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in the Solomon Islands. The only reason Americans know about Guadalcanal is because of a pivotal battle fought there during World War II.
Jennifer's story was simple enough once she began explaining. Kenya and Guadalcanal were British protectorates. Career civil service employees of the British government, her parents had been assigned to first Kenya, then Guadalcanal and of course their children traveled with them to each new assignment. While blossoming into womanhood on Guadalcanal, Jennifer met an American GI from the Ozarks. When his enlistment ended, she returned with him to his home, the War Eagle Valley. Here she opened the gift shop.
Contradiction unfolded. Here, deep in the Ozark Mountains on a winding country road in a stone house opposite a century-old grist mill, is a gift shop full of items normally found only in an English country home. Jennifer's shelves are lined with things she learned to make at her English mother's knee: wonderfully crafted smocking; lacy, decorative doilies; baby clothes and a host of other items associated with sewing. Here we purchased an etui, the first time we had seen a manifestation of the word outside of crossword puzzles. It really is a clever little needle case.
Perhaps more important was the lesson we learned. Just when you think you have the world figured out, along comes a Jennifer.
After visiting Jennifer, we toured the grist mill where we sorted through the kinds of souvenirs and hand-crafted items we'd expected. But, as we continued to tour northern Arkansas, our pleasure was much enhanced, enlightened by the reality that we had not yet seen everything.
Welcome to monkey house
I want to do something for the community.
I thought long and hard about a contribution, and I reached a decision.
I'm going to build a monkey house.
Not just any monkey house, but the biggest and best darned monkey house ever constructed in the Four Corners region, if not in the entire state of Colorado.
I worked on my idea day and night for weeks, for months. I completed exhaustive research, took copious notes and drew plans in a sketchbook I carry with me, filling it with architectural sketches, detailing my concept of a glorious edifice that will someday rise west of town on a parcel of bare turf located on a small knoll near a weed-choked lake - a glorious monument to science and entertainment.
I am exhausted. I am excited.
I am not a stranger to monkeys. My work as a crack reporter brings me into contact with monkeys on a regular basis, but I am no expert. Therefore, I used the Internet to contact Dr. Helga Memling, Director of the Institute of Primate Studies at the University of Heidelberg, and I asked for assistance.
Dr. Memling - an acknowledged authority on monkey behavior, and monkey house construction - has been more than generous sharing cutting-edge information with me. With her help, my project is a guaranteed success.
I worship Memling. We have corresponded for two years and I consider myself her most devoted student. The good doctor is a somewhat weathered but stunning Teutonic specimen, sparse hair still defiantly gold, aging but lithe, nattily attired in severe suits and corrective shoes, and exhibiting - for a Germanic primatologist - an eccentric and spirited sense of humor. Memling is also acknowledged to possess one of the three or four best spaetzle recipes in the Heidelberg area.
Memling analyzed my plans, made corrections and suggestions, shared her wisdom. With her approval, I am prepared to move forward.
Once my monkey house is complete, I will invite Helga to Pagosa. We will spend an afternoon observing our local monkeys then adjourn to my kitchen where I'll prepare a snack of bockwurst and a delightful caraway-scented goat cheese.
I am devoted to Memling's ideas. I memorized most of her groundbreaking work "A Verification of the Behaviorist Structural Thesis: Psycho-sociological Arguments for the Development of the Ideal Monkey Environment." It is one of my favorite books. I reread portions of the classic every night before I go to sleep. Memling is perched on the quivering tip of a small but significant research trend- revered by social planners and circus managers alike. She is a giant and she is emphatic about several things when it comes to design of the perfect monkey house. I will take her emphases seriously as I move ahead with my project.
First, to succeed in the monkey house business, she says, you must select your stock from the local monkey population. Monkeys must be acclimated. You can ship in monkeys from elsewhere - and, to insure the reliable development of a healthy pool, this is necessary - but the immigrants must be given time to adjust to conditions. The minimum time for adequate adjustment is six months. The perfect time is two to three years. Monkeys who have been in the local population more than three years tend to be averse to entering the monkey house or they develop odd behavioral characteristics and urges that "contaminate" the situation.
Second, says Memling, it is wise to select older monkeys for use in the monkey house. The severely constricted circumstances imposed on the denizens of the structure have a less deleterious effect on older monkeys. The older monkeys adapt quicker, says the doctor. In fact, they thrive in conditions of severe sensory deprivation. According to Memling, once older monkeys are no longer dominated by the reproductive imperative, those who cannot be taught to indulge in simple pursuits such as card games, watching television or playing golf, are particularly sensitive to conditions in the monkey house.
Younger monkeys, on the other hand, once confined to the monkey house, often organize desperate escape attempts or become physically ill, severely depressed, even suicidal.
This is good to know. Older monkeys compose a sizable segment of our local monkey population.
Aside from a hearty belly laugh enjoyed while witnessing the goofy antics of the residents, what can we expect to take from our experience at the monkey house?
Put another way: Why build it, Karl? Does your proposed monkey house offer anything but temporary and superficial entertainment?
Yes, it does.
Memling advised me that while the monkey house entails some of the purest entertainment possible, there is an educational dimension packed with startling examples of fundamental social behavior. The good doctor is very wise.
And what is the central psycho-social principal illuminated by the Memling monkey house?
"Simple," wrote the princess of primatology in a recent e-mail. "Memling's Maxim: Structure determines behavior. Behavior does not influence structure."
"Ah," I replied. "Allow me to rephrase your statement. 'Same cage, different monkeys. . . identical behavior.'"
"Precisely, liebchen, precisely. You are a very good boy."
According to Memling, the ideal monkey house is structured physically and socially to encourage behavioral dynamics that prompt the full flowering of what the doctor calls "terminal monkeyness."
And in the observation of terminal monkeyness, is the potential for enlightenment.
In other words, when you pay your admission and walk into the observation gallery of the new, gleaming building, you will witness a profound lesson in behavioral law - you will perceive something far greater than a few scruffy simians scratching themselves and sucking on browned hunks of turnip donated by the local supermarket.
There is an added bonus: The monkeys believe their behavior is the engine that drives and shapes their little world while, in reality, it is the monkey house that makes the monkeys what they are! As spectators, we are aware of this delicious irony and we observe the machinations of the primate population with a clear understanding of the utter hopelessness of their condition. Existential, don't you think?
How is this situation engineered?
Memling's monkey house design involves a special configuration, and the monkey house I will build (once I get a variance from the subdivision's covenants and restrictions) will follow Memling's plan.
One chamber, the "primary space," is large and well lit. The floor is slightly higher than the floor of the second section of the complex. Perches in the first section are spacious and very comfortable. There are mirrors placed on the walls of the primary space so monkeys in the room can admire themselves as they have nits picked from their backsides by a select group of subservient monkeys (Memling calls them "serfs"). The number of serf monkeys is increased at regular intervals in accord with a time table calculated by Memling. The increase in serfs, notes Memling, is invariably followed by an acceleration of preening behavior of the residents of the primary space.
The second group of monkeys, confined to a cold, dark, wet room - the "secondary space" - has a clear view of the first room and these monkeys are forced to provide a regular "tribute" of vegetable matter to the group in the primary space - again, as per Memling's schedule: one payment per year, or four equal quarterly payments. One of the serf monkeys closely monitors the payments, and monkeys in the secondary space who fail to pay are shunned and treated harshly.
There is a partially open door leading from the primary space to the secondary space. There is an ongoing attempt on the part of the monkeys in the secondary space to make their way through the door and displace the set of monkeys on the higher platform.
While the essence of revolution ferments in the secondary space, the monkeys in the first room become complacent and arrogant, and spend their time squatting on their haunches, engaging in haughty dominance behavior, oblivious to their kin gathered in the darkness. When a single monkey from the secondary space attempts to curry favor and enter the more desirable room, the group drives it away. This is nasty stuff.
With no diplomatic way to gain entry to the primary space, monkeys in the secondary space are forced by sense deprivation and increasing despair (as far as they know, there is no reality, no life, no hope outside the monkey house) to combine forces to invade the first room.
The rebels huddle in dark corners of the secondary space and work each other into a frenzy, screeching, pounding on each other, leaping up and down with their rumps changing color, until they are ready to do battle. They yell and chatter noisily, thrashing in a chaotic cluster, producing an ominous din and finally break through to the primary space en masse, overthrowing the dominant group and triumphantly taking their places on the higher platform next to the mirrors. They then proceed to act the same way the displaced set of monkeys acted, refining some of the techniques and social operations until the exiled group of monkeys observes, organizes, and forces its way back. This goes on ad infinitum, on an approximate two-day schedule.
Same cage, different monkeys.
The fun, of course, comes in observing the inflated pomp and glory of the victors, all the time realizing there is a law in operation. An inviolable law: Memling's Maxim.
Same cage, different monkeys. The cage is in control. The minute a monkey enters the monkey house, the beast's fate is sealed. The triumph of the supposed victors is pasted to a core of pathos and as observers, we are at once amused and chastened by what we see. It is a Skinnerian opera wherein one pompous aria is repeated over and over and over.
What a treat!
But it gets better.
Memling's plan requires that the size of the monkey house be increased periodically, thus reinforcing the inhabitants' illusion that the monkey house is at the center of the universe and that their activity has stunning teleological import. If the cage gets bigger, obviously, they think, they must be important. Their empty bombast is touching.
I intend to organize a series of benefits and auctions to raise the funds necessary to construct the monkey house. Hopefully, there will be grant money available once the first phase of the structure is complete, allowing me to fully realize Memling's design. I envision a car wash or two at a local bank parking lot before winter sets in, and a free- throw contest on a date to be set in the near future. Every dime counts.
Ticket prices for entry to the monkey house will be reasonable, with special rates available for local school tours. Children should visit the monkey house often, observing the spectacle of fundamental natural law at an early age, absorbing the lessons embodied by our simian friends.
A Chamber of Commerce SunDowner at the grand opening of the facility will be a nice touch. A plush lobby area will be a perfect setting for a wine and cheese tasting party.
For dessert at the opening of the new monkey house, what could be more appropriate than one of my favorite banana recipes (with a tip of the hat to Craig Claiborne - said to be an intimate friend of Helga Memling).
We're going to have glazed bananas that, prior to serving, are set on fire! The fruit arson has two aspects: first, we can dim the lights in the lobby and the presentation will be aesthetically delightful and, second, monkeys are deathly afraid of fire. They will stay where they belong.
I'll use firm bananas. If the skins are speckled with brown spots, they are too soft. By the same token, the bananas should not be green.
I'll slice the bananas in half, lengthwise, then saute them in butter in a heavy pan, sprinkling them with lemon juice and sugar. When one side is browned, I'll turn and lightly brown the second side. The sugar should glaze the bananas quite nicely.
Claiborne recommends adding canned Bing cherries at this point. Why not? If Helga likes the guy, can he be wrong?
Once the fruit is glazed and hot, we'll turn off the lights and I'll add cognac to the pan and set the whole mess ablaze. Perhaps I'll down a slug of the cognac before I lead the first tour of the newly-opened monkey house. It will be a festive evening.
If you can't attend the grand opening, be sure to visit the facility once it is open.
Come watch the monkeys.
See Memling's Maxim displayed in a splendid environment. After a few visits you'll be ready to ponder Memling's corollary: "The world is a zoo; there is a house in the zoo for every monkey."
Buy a ticket, bring the family, spend the day.
Regarding your editorial in last week's (July 29) SUN, it must be nice to be able to insult and ridicule your customers and still keep your business alive. Not many business people can do that.
The records show that you are not a member of the PLPOA. So why do you think that it is any of your business what we do with our money?
It ought to be clear to anyone at all familiar with the current situation in the PLPOA, that there have been drastic changes during the past year.
If living in Pagosa Lakes and being a member of the Association is such a bad thing, as you seem to think it is, why in the world have so many of us moved here and stayed? There is no shortage of lots and acreage in other subdivisions around the county. Surely you don't think we were too stupid to know that owning property here would make us members of the PLPOA.
The truth is that you don't approve of property owners associations and never miss an opportunity to criticize the idea. You jumped all over Holiday Acres when they found it desirable to form such an association. Apparently you don't approve of the right of citizens to freely associate in an attempt to create and maintain the kind of community in which they want to live. It appears that even with those things you like about what we do voluntarily, you would like it much better if the government made us do it.
The SUN is your paper and you can do with it what you please, but you owe it to your public to become better informed about the subjects you choose before you publish your opinions.
In my opinion the primary purpose of a newspaper is to publish the news. Apparently you got so excited about the opening for another blast at the PLPOA that you forgot to publish the news of the PLPOA's annual meeting. The only place in the paper we could find that even mentioned the annual meeting was our ad.
Earle A. Beasley
More than sad
I've considered myself fortunate to live in this beautiful Pagosa country. Like so many people I know, I hadn't planned to live here, just vacation. But three summers later I haven't looked back. My husband and I met and married here, bought a house and are proud to be committed to our community in the ways we are.
Pagosa is very dependent upon summer tourism, there is no doubt. Thousands of people from all walks of life and geographies make their way through our town to cool off, or just to get out of the city. Thanks to all that make it a point to consider Pagosa a haven for their vacations.
It is more than sad, however, to see so many people disrespect our community's traffic laws. It is downright frightening. Virtually every fellow local that I speak with has a horror story about their ride into or out of town. A very common experience with my neighbors and my household has been out-of-state drivers passing on a curve, on a double line, speeding over the limit of 60. This is not a good idea. I can't believe that anyone is in such a hurry as to jeopardize themselves, their children and everyone in a quarter-mile stretch on either side. It is this kind of recklessness that has caused accidents that didn't have to happen. I think the law labels it vehicular manslaughter in the case of a death.
Most of us that live in Pagosa Springs have made it an intentional decision to be a part of a slower, richer, healthier community than that of which we came. Generally, we live on "Pagosa time," not by the rush factor. Maybe that's what attracts more and more people here every summer and ski season.
My family, friends and all of us that come here for the beauty and Pagosa charm, implore travelers and locals alike to consider the consequences of disregarding our standards of safety, if not for your sake and enjoyment of not being in a rush, then for ours. Thank you.
Lisa J. Black
Freedom and truth
When we talk of our Founding Fathers forging a Christian nation we only look from the Constitution era through the modern day. I believe we neglect the reality that those men, and many of their influential wives, had only the 150 or so years to see how religion was effecting early colonial governments and the expression of faith. They had a handful of generations with which to gauge the bold and exuberant experiment that started with "a shining city upon a hill." No, President Reagan did not coin the phrase. Just what did those 150 odd years teach them as they penned our Constitution?
The true founding fathers did come to these shores to fulfill the dream that John Winthrop beautifully phrased. They came to escape religious intolerance in their own homeland and in their civil and ecclesiastical government. They had no problem with government infused with religion. But the Church of England was not tolerant of these new Puritans. Having fled to this land in search of religious freedom these forbears denied this freedom to others - often to the pain of death. Laws were enacted for such desecrations as idolatry, witchcraft, blasphemy, violation of the sabbath, and malicious speech against God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. Laws against other religious persuasions were also written against Catholics, Quakers and Protestants. What saved us then saves us now. Denominations multiplied and flourished, then in a vast and sparsely settled country, now in an environment of freedom that is guaranteed.
For freedom and truth to be embraced it must never be coerced. We may think it noble to say we have the freedom to post/sponsor the Ten Commandments in our public schools and government buildings but this is contrary to the teaching of Christ as well as other religious prophets. I assume God is capable of taking care of himself. Religion is not authentic without freedom. Can salvation itself be coerced either personally or as a nation? Is our religion so weak we must demand the support of our government to enhance its status over other beliefs and ensure its survival?
Since first coming ashore those pioneers had put their mark on this fledgling country. Madison and Jefferson erected a wall to protect government from religion and all minority religion from a government responsive to the religious demands of those in the majority. I believe they were forward-thinking men who looked back.
The Bill of Rights harbors no hostility toward religion. More importantly it does not separate religious values from legal ones. These men only sought a government that could not impose a single code of religious teaching on citizens of a pluralistic society.
American church historian Robert Handy asked, "can a nation retain both full religious freedom and a particular religious character?" Yes, only when our character is founded on religious freedom. There lies the balance.
Thanks to Forrest Church and his book "God and Other Famous Liberals," of which I blatantly plagiarized. Read the book for yourself.
I would like to address three issues. The first being the PLPOA. I totally agree with David Mitchell's editorial "An Association at Risk." However, instead of being concerned about their survival, we as property owners should do away with them altogether. That would take care of our over-paid, over-equipped Public Safety that serves the sheriff's department at our expense. Even the tickets they write go to the county, not the PLPOA. The Public Safety's protection consists of writing tickets on Piedra Road and North Pagosa Boulevard instead of patrolling the residential sections where homes are being broken into during the day when no one is home.
The second issue is regarding something called "price fixing." Price fixing is the practice of setting a price for a particular commodity. The government sets prices to eliminate price fluctuations for commodities but if private businesses engage in the practice to obtain artificially high prices, it's illegal. The commodity I'm referring to in this case is day care in our area. One lady here has been charging less than the others, so they convinced her they all need to charge the same price so they raised their rates another $15 per week. That is where I had to draw the line, my daughter no longer attends day care.
This brings me to the third issue, gas prices. It looks like the gas suppliers are taking full advantage of the last month of summer by raising prices another 5 cents per gallon. Wouldn't it be nice if our wages went up every time the price of goods did? "Shop Pagosa First" - why should I when businesses have gotten greedy, and targeted the tourists and the residents with deep pockets all year and forgetting those of us who live on Pagosa wages. If I were rich, I would work at putting them out of business in order to help the ones less fortunate. With all the new businesses coming to Pagosa business owners will now be forced into competition or out of business.
I would like to thank Ampride for their coupons at the grocery store for 5 cents off a gallon. Every little bit helps in this town.
You made a good point about the Mineral County commissioners not opposing the Piano Creek development and its subsequent property tax revenues. Of course they will welcome it. They, however, do not live downstream from this development and do not have to concern themselves with the effect of this development on the water and the fish population.
There is always much to say when it comes to "private property" and the "rights" inherent in property ownership. While I don't appreciate being told what to do with my own property, I do not believe that ownership is an automatic license to do what ever one pleases with Mother Earth. She is the ultimate "owner" of all property and she is to be answered to. What we really need is more responsible ownership of land.
It is an arrogant mistake we humans make when we do not understand that we are not separate from nature, we are nature. When we destroy a part of nature, we destroy a part of ourselves. Is that really so hard to understand? Would we allow a private property owner to dump toxic waste in the center of town, or would we speak our minds and have our voices heard? There is more at stake with this Piano Creek development than meets the eye. Oh, I am not accusing them of dumping toxic waste out there. But I do believe they need to be reminded that this is not southern California, where the damage is already pretty well done. This is our Colorado, our East Fork. Can we afford to allow it to become another Aspen or Vail? Like it or not, there is a middle class here, made up of people who have lived here all their lives and all the lives of their ancestors. Should these people be forced to sacrifice their way of life in order to satisfy the excesses of the wealthy? This is more than a private property issue. This is the future of our town, the legacy for our children. I, for one, will not shrink quietly into the background while this beloved, sacred ground, becomes the playground for the wealthy and only a memory for the people who were instrumental in the very making of our town.
Private property be dammed. God owns this land first, and I don't think she would like a golf course and helicopter pad plunked down in her living room.
Friends of East Fork Valley
We were recently in your fair city and an elderly lady with us developed a significant infection in her arm late one evening. After some problem of finding a physician, Dr. Mark Wienpahl agreed to see us in his office at midnight and was a fantastic physician. He went way and above in taking care of this lovely lady and saw her again on Saturday on two separate occasions to give her IV antibiotics.
Your community needs to be aware of the wonderful care that he does give. In the same breath, your community needs to be severely chastised because there is no emergency facility, let alone a hospital, to care for people who are from out of town. I note a huge building boom and can guarantee there will be a disaster one of these days, if it has not already happened, forcing people to go to Durango for any significant emergency care, etc.
Harold W. Calhoon, M.D.
The front page of the June 10 issue of the SUN had an article on police recruitment, written by Karl Isberg.
The story focused on a new program that allows the town of Pagosa Springs to fund police academy attendance, in lieu of a commitment to work for the Pagosa Springs police. The impetus for the program was explained as a plan to "find a way to hire officers who will remain with the department. Second is the program of finding and employing Hispanic officers."
It would appear from the comments of Chief Don Volger, that the gist of the matter is . . . they cannot find qualified Hispanic applicants and have a problem retaining all officers. "Traditionally, said Volger, "It has been difficult to find suitable cross-cultural applicants." "A fairly high turnover rate for department officers has led Volger to the conclusion that an effort must be made to secure personnel who have a meaningful link to Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County."
That last statement should come as a surprise to at least six former Pagosa Springs police officers still living in the area, two of which are Hispanic and working in law enforcement. It would appear that someone missed some "meaningful links."
I strongly urge those men and women, who administrate the affairs of this developing community, to look underneath the rhetoric of this new program and discover more logical reasons for employee turnover. As always, if progress is behind the door, then the key is constructive dialogue with the right people.
As always, thank you for your publication.
I am writing to help people who may not know the impact of their actions or the meaning of the symbols they publicly display.
I am referring to the on-going "fish war" that is occurring on the streets of Pagosa and nationwide. The outline of a fish often marks the cars of Christians, appears in advertising and shows up in various venues in a society that has the freedom to express personal religious sentiment. Then came "Darwin fish" with little legs and the name Darwin inscribed inside the fish. Now there are bigger "Christian fish" displayed, gobbling up the "Darwin fish."
I have decided to put the best possible construction on the "Darwin fish" crowd and simply assume they are unaware they are desecrating an ancient symbol of Christianity. Perhaps they just thought it was humorous without understanding that such desecration of similar Muslim or Jewish symbols of the faith would bring society's outrage.
Let me explain the meaning of the fish. During the first two centuries of the Christian faith those who were believers came under severe persecution from several factions, most notable, the Roman government. Nearly everyone knows that the followers of Christ became scapegoats for blood-thirsty emperors like Nero and others who needed someone to blame for their own failures. Christians were thrown to the lions for the entertainment of the crowds, gladiators hacked Christians apart and others were burned alive for their faith.
Therefore, caution prevailed among Christians. It simply wasn't healthy to advertise that a person was a follower of Jesus Christ. To provide some safeguard the outline fish became the equivalent of a secret "password" between Christians.
In the Greek language the word "fish" is spelled "IXTHUS." The "I" was the first letter of the name "Jesus," the "X" was the first letter in the title "Christ," the "TH" was the first letter for "God," the "U" stood for "Son" and the "S" stood for "Savior." In this way the word "IXTHUS" or the picture of the a fish was a kind of secret confession of the faith, "Jesus Christ, God's Son, Our Savior."
Therefore, the figure of the outline fish is an ancient confession of the heart of the Christian faith. When others take such a sacred symbol and use it to promote an evolutionary philosophy, they do so by taking the very name of Christ and desecrating it.
The only thing worse than unintentional religious desecration is intentional desecration or barefaced anti-religious bigotry.
This letter is to inform rather than to condemn. Americans have the right to visually support those things which they choose to honor. However, just because there is a right to say whatever we please, doesn't mean that such behavior is helpful. We are a pluralistic nation with many religious convictions. It does no one any good to misuse the sacred symbols of anyone's faith and abuse them to deride that faith. Let us learn to respect one another, even if we disagree with one another.
Rev. Richard A. Bolland
Thank you for printing my letter last week regarding the very important need to spay and neuter our dogs and cats.
The main reason for this letter is to thank the many volunteers who showed up at the shelter last Saturday. I was so thrilled at the turnout and all the dogs that actually got walked twice and for at least 20 minutes each time. They were so happy and content by the time we left, I knew they would have a peaceful sleep for the rest of the afternoon. Some volunteers asked if they could come out during the week instead, especially as it appeared that enough people would be coming out on Saturdays. Yes, you can go out there anytime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. But I hope at least a handful of you will continue to come out on Saturday mornings so that they can all get walked and have a more calming weekend. Your help greatly contributes to their adoptability.
I also wanted to mention that I got a call from Julie Paige. She said she had been working with dogs for several weeks or so. Julie is an animal behaviorist who is relatively new to this area. Thank you, Julie, for your services in helping to train and socialize the dogs. We have such a great group of animal lovers in this area. Having lived in small areas where there were hardly any, I realize how important this is. There are so many people here who give greatly of their time to the Humane Society in general. These people make sure that we continue to have a shelter to take the unwanted animals to, as well as working towards getting a larger shelter built, as it is desperately needed. One of our biggest fund raisers is coming up on Aug. 31, "The Auction for the Animals" at the Sports Page. Please come. You will have a great time. Also, if you feel you might have something appropriate to contribute, please call Barbara Rosner at 264-2564.
Pagosa rancher Wayne Farrow, 75, received the Durango Pro Rodeo's "Western Heritage Service Award" yesterday at the La Plata County fair grounds.
Farrow was born in 1923 on the same ranch and in the same house that he still calls home, the same ranch and the same house his father was born in and his grandparents spent their lifetimes running cattle and growing hay since 1879.
The Farrow ranch lies at the eastern base of Yellow Jacket Pass along the Piedra River outside Pagosa Springs. Wayne's father, Rocky Farrow, was a cowboy rancher of legendary fame. Wayne Farrow began his cowboying when he was 5 years old, excused from ranch duties only to attend grade school in a one-room school house a 3-mile walk from home. He later attended Pagosa Springs High School.
Wayne Farrow married Betty Denton 53 years ago this month. Together they raised a boy and a girl. Wayne officially retired from ranching nine years ago.
Mark Thompson graduated with distinction last weekend at Adams State College in Alamosa. Thompson, who is the counselor at Pagosa Springs High School, was one of only three graduates among 81 candidates who received master of arts degrees to graduate with distinction.
To graduate with distinction, a student must maintain at least a 3.75 grade point average, perform in an outstanding way on comprehensive examinations and receive enough faculty votes.
The summer commencement program was organized especially to honor master's degree candidates of Adams State College's School of Education and Graduate Studies.
Jordyn Lynn Webster
Scott and Loretta Webster of Pagosa Springs are happy to announce the birth of their youngest daughter, Jordyn Lynn Webster. Jordyn Lynn was born on July 7, 1999, in Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She weighed 7 pounds, 3.6 ounces and was 18-inches long.
Jordyn Lynn was welcomed home by her older sister, Wendy, and big brother, Dustin Webster.
Maternal grandparents are Joe and Ruby Jaramillo of Pagosa Springs. Paternal grandparents are John and Douane Webster of El Paso, Texas.