Fire destroys truck, trailer
By Karl Isberg
Yes, Virginia, there are Good Samaritans out there.
Just ask Floyd and Velta Linn, of Yukon, Okla.
Following a month-long stay at an RV site near the Lower Blanco River, the Oklahoma couple set out on Aug. 22 for a campsite near South Fork. They rode in their Ford pickup and pulled their 31-foot trailer home behind them.
As the Linns neared the top of Wolf Creek Pass at approximately 11 a.m. an eastbound vehicle pulled alongside their truck. According to Floyd, the driver of the vehicle, later identified as Tom O'Brian of Durango, gestured for Linn to pull to the side of the road.
Linn kept driving.
"He yelled at me to stop," said Linn. "He said we had a fire and to get off the road and get out of the truck."
Linn said he shouted back at O'Brian, indicating he would drive ahead to a spot further ahead where he could pull of the highway.
"He yelled back that we didn't have time," said Linn. "I looked behind me and saw the flames. I stopped right there and we got out. We got about 25 feet away and the truck's gas tanks blew." The fire soon spread to the trailer.
Fire fighters from the South Fork area responded to the scene, as did Colorado State Patrol Troopers stationed on both sides of Wolf Creek Pass. One of the first questions the trooper from the San Luis Valley asked Linn was whether or not there were any firearms in the burning truck and trailer.
"I told them that there was a pistol in the front part of the trailer in a drawer," said Linn. "The pistol wasn't loaded but there was a magazine with seven shots in it in that drawer. We counted seven shots go off as the trailer burned."
Once the fire was extinguished, it was determined that the truck and trailer were a total loss.
"The fire apparently started on the motor of the truck," said Linn. "I switched gas tanks on the way up the pass and we smelled gas. It was three or four minutes later that Mr. O'Brian saw fire coming from beneath my truck."
So, you're stuck at the top of Wolf Creek Pass with the burned-out shells of your pickup and trailer home. Everything you had with you has been destroyed. What do you do?
If you are Floyd and Velta, you meet more Good Samaritans.
In the person of Pat and Sheril Gordon of Sunrise Beach, Texas - one of two Texas couples traveling together who happened upon the accident.
"Both of the couples were pulling cars behind their motor homes," said Linn. "When they saw that we lost our truck, the Gordons lent us their car. They said they were staying at Fun Valley near South Fork and they said to use the car to do what we had to do, then bring it to them. It was a wonderful thing for them to do, considering we don't know each other."
The Linns said they would probably return the Gordon's vehicle on before the end of the week, following a visit from a representative of an insurance company to Pagosa Springs to assess the damage to the truck and trailer.
"We were heading over the pass to spend another month and then we were going home," said Linn. "Now, we're going home a little early. We lost the truck and the trailer, but we are just glad we got out okay. We'll be going home as soon as we return the car to the Gordons."
Growth, development issues crowd agenda
By John M. Motter
Issues related to growth and development soaked up most of the time during Tuesday's regular meeting of the Archuleta County commissioners.
In addition to purchasing land for courthouse expansion (see related article, this issue of the SUN), the commissioners conditionally approved Phase I of a 1,178-acre residential development, approved a landfill study contract, considered a request from an East Fork developer to assume responsibility for a road, and considered several additional actions related to subdivisions or lots.
Timber Ridge Phase I
Conditional approval was granted Colorado Timber Ridge Phase I allowing acceptance of the final plat and other conditions that will allow the developers to sell lots in the 334.6-acre, 76-lot phase of the development. The condition for final approval rests on acceptance of the final plat and other conditions by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission which met last night. If the planning commission accepts what Timber Ridge presents, county Commissioner Gene Crabtree, as vice-chairman of the board of commissioners, will sign the necessary papers Thursday morning. Crabtree is signing because county Commissioner Ken Fox, chairman of the board of commissioners, will be out of town.
Fox voted against the motion presented by Crabtree setting up Tuesday's action. Fox argued that the information submitted by Timber Ridge should have been sent to the planning commission, then presented next Tuesday during the commissioners next regular meeting.
Crabtree argued that "this has dragged on long enough." The course followed by the commissioners had been recommended by the planning commission.
All issues which had prevented approval of the development during last week's county commissioners meeting were resolved to the satisfaction of the commissioners.
Piano Creek Ranch
Action was postponed concerning a request by Curt Fleming of Piano Creek Ranches that the county assume jurisdiction of a portion of the road connecting U.S. 160 with the proposed Piano Creek development to be located on the East Fork Ranch.
Fleming asked the county to exercise a right defined in a federal law (RS-2477) by taking control of that portion of the road located in Archuleta County. Presumably, Mineral County is being asked to take control of the portion of the road located in Mineral County.
"We don't expect the county to pay the maintenance expenses for the road," Fleming said. "We will post a bond as security for the maintenance expenses and pay all maintenance and liability costs."
The developer proposes to do the road work under the county's jurisdiction.
Some discussion revolved around a possible five-year limit on the bonding. County officials expressed concern over the short duration of the bonding period. Fleming said that a feeling of trust between Piano Creek and the county should have developed by that time.
Continuing discussion revealed that the Piano Creek developers are considering formation of a metropolitan district for road maintenance. With such a district in place, bonding would not be required from the developer.
Piano Creek is proposed as a membership organization to be developed on private land located along the east fork of the San Juan River. At full build out, total development costs have been projected in the neighborhood of $125 million. Being developed are 2,800 acres of private land based on the sale of almost 300 memberships at a cost of $500,000 each.
The commissioners accepted a $63,322 bid by Golder and Associates to conduct a four-month study on the Archuleta County landfill. Required by the state, the study is designed to provide answers concerning the ability of the landfill to meet present and future needs.
Crowley Ranch Reserve Phase III
Approval was given the developers of Crowley Ranch Reserve Phase III, recognizing that a 25-month, $73,500 road improvement bond had expired and allowing substitution of about $12,000 cash to secure completion of the 0.7 of a mile of road work remaining.
Through an intergovernmental agreement between the town and county, final planned unit development requirements for the Talisman Point development will be transferred from the county to the town. The town annexed Talisman Point Tuesday night. Talisman Point is located in the Fairfield Pagosa core area.
Pagosa Springs annexes 10 more tracts to town
By Karl Isberg
More land was added to the town of Pagosa Springs on Tuesday night as town trustees approved the annexations of 10 tracts that are contiguous to the western boundaries of the town.
Resolutions and ordinances establishing the annexations were passed by the trustees following a public hearing at which no objections were voiced. The annexations will take effect 30 days after publication of the ordinances in the SUN.
Two tracts located on the south side of U.S. 160 across from the Pagosa Springs Golf Course were annexed Tuesday. One tract is owned by Fairfield Communities Inc. The sales office for the Timber Ridge development occupies the second tract.
The FCI sales office on the east side of the Piñon Causeway also was annexed as was the property at Village Drive and Piñon Causeway containing the Fairfield Pagosa tennis complex and activities building.
An undeveloped tract on the northeast corner of Village Drive and Talisman Drive was annexed into the town as were two adjacent tracts on the northwest corner of the intersection. The Talisman Point complex, Phases 1 and 2, is located on the tracts.
Annexation of a tract containing the Norwest Banks building at Eaton Drive and Village Drive was approved, as was the annexation of the Village Apartments property adjacent to the bank's tract on Eaton Drive.
The final tract annexed Tuesday is located across Eaton Drive from the Village Apartments complex.
Town Administrator Jay Harrington said Wednesday that the town intends to begin work soon on a process to zone the newly-annexed areas.
"We are required by law to zone the properties," said Harrington. "Our town planning commission will begin a public hearing process in September or October."
Harrington also said that the town and Archuleta County signed an intergovernmental agreement Tuesday to deal with two problems at the Talisman Point property.
"Basically," said Harrington, "this agreement makes the town escrow funds for sidewalk construction at the site and makes the town escrow money to deal with a redesign of the site drainage system at the property."
County purchases 4.87 acres for $750,000
By John M. Motter
County expansion plans took a giant step forward Tuesday, when the commissioners agreed to purchase 4.87 acres of land at a cost of $750,000.
The property is located across Hot Springs Drive from land being developed by the Town of Pagosa Springs as a new municipal center and just north of the new Apache Street bridge. Money for the purchase had been taken from general fund reserves two years ago and placed in a special capital improvements fund.
"The county is growing and the demand for services is expanding," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "This is a wise move that will help us meet the people's needs over the next 20 years. We're overcrowded now and it will only get worse."
"I have to echo what Commissioner Crabtree said," said fellow Commissioner Bill Downey. "And it's only logical to locate near where the town plans on building their offices."
Meanwhile, a space-and-needs study is underway, according to County Manager Dennis Hunt. That study will tell the commissioners how much new space is needed and how the space should be arranged so that complementary functions will be near each other. Building on the new property will largely depend on recommendations developed through the space-and-needs study.
The county is also attempting to acquire 40 acres that is currently owned by the Bureau of Land Management and is located near Stevens Field. Preliminary plans for that site call for a number of recreation facilities, a possible animal shelter, and county buildings of as yet undetermined function.
For several years, pressure has been bearing on the commissioners to provide additional space for district and county court activities. Also, additional office and storage space is needed for the county clerk, treasurer, assessor, and planning and building permit departments.
One of the more perplexing decisions will be to decide which county offices to leave in the existing courthouse and which to move to a new location. The county has already agreed to move functions of the Social Services Department into a building to be erected by the town near the newly-purchased county property. It is presumed that law enforcement, jail, dispatch, and court functions will remain together, whether they move or remain in the existing county courthouse building.
The county space-and-needs study has been contracted to Daniel C. Smith and Associates and is currently under way.
Missing Pagosa man found in Navajo Lake
By Karl Isberg
A missing person case was solved Sunday when the body of a 37-year-old Pagosa Springs man was discovered in the waters of Navajo Lake.
Jeffrey Blair Sutherland was reported as missing to the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department on Aug. 16 by his wife Debbie.
When it was determined that Sutherland was last seen in downtown Pagosa Springs, the case was referred to the Pagosa Springs Police Department. According to a report by officer Tony Kop, Debbie Sutherland said her husband had been missing since Aug. 14.
Sutherland's 1996 Honda was found parked in a parking lot in the 400 block of Lewis Street. In subsequent conversations with witnesses, Kop determined that Sutherland was last seen in the Pagosa Bar on the evening of Aug. 14. A missing person bulletin was released by the police department and other witnesses were interviewed in an attempt to locate the Pagosa resident.
On Aug. 22, unidentified occupants of a boat at Navajo Lake spotted Sutherland's body floating close to the south shore of the lake, near the San Juan Flats area north of Arboles. The boaters notified Colorado State Parks officials who, in turn, called the Archuleta County Sheriff's office and Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht.
Using a barge and a watercraft provided by the State Parks Department, Macht, Capt. Otis May, Sgt. Tim Evans and deputy Brad Denison retrieved the body. Macht said Sutherland's body was recovered from deep water, near the point where the San Juan River enters the lake.
Macht reported he took Sutherland's body to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation facility in Montrose on Aug. 23 where an autopsy was performed.
"All of the finds at the autopsy are consistent with drowning," said Macht. Toxicology tests were performed and Macht said it will be some time before the results of the tests are available.
The coroner said that autopsy findings led him to believe "homicide is not a factor." Macht said he believes Sutherland entered the water "at or near Pagosa Springs. This is consistent with the type of post-mortem injuries we found."
Pagosa Springs Chief of Police Don Volger said Tuesday that his department's investigation has not uncovered "any evidence to indicate this is a suspicious death. There is also no evidence to indicate exactly where Mr. Sutherland might have entered the San Juan River." Volger said the investigation is continuing.
While an official statement concerning cause of death will not be made before results of the toxicology exam are examined, Macht said he will "most likely list the cause as accidental drowning when an official death certificate is completed."
Following the autopsy, Sutherland's body was released to the care of a funeral home in Alamosa.
Upper Piedra Valley resident, Sally Baird, passes away
By M. Carol Izett
La Reta Beryl "Sally" Baird, 91, a long-time resident of the Upper Piedra Valley north of Pagosa Springs, died in the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 15, 1999, after a valiant struggle with old age these past few years. Old age won. She was lovingly attended by the staff at Colonial Manner in Whitefish, Mont., near her family.
Mrs. Baird was born Oct. 12, 1907, in Lovelock, Nev., to LeRoy Eugene Beeson and Sarah Edith Clem Beeson and graduated from Pershing High School there in 1925. She attended the University of Idaho at Moscow where she met the man of her dreams, John Cecil Baird of Chicago, Ill. They were married on June 18, 1929, in Pagosa Springs.
After raising their daughter, Madalyne Carol, keeping the home fires burning in Wickford, R.I., while Johnny (U.S. Navy commander) was away at war in the Pacific, and being a valuable and supportive forest ranger's wife, Mrs. Baird returned to school and earned her bachelor of science degree in education from the University of Arizona at Flagstaff in 1959. To help bankroll her education, she wrote short stories which were published in the classic "True Romance" pulp fiction magazines of the day. She relished spinning a tale.
Mrs. Baird taught elementary school in Pagosa Springs for many years and was appointed to the office of Hinsdale County Superintendent of Schools in 1960. She also taught in the Indian schools of Arizona and New Mexico. She found great joy in teaching and reminisced often, especially with stories of antics on the playground or in gym class.
Mrs. Baird was an accomplished athlete (state champion in basketball as a player in high school and tennis champion in college); an avid sports fan, meticulously recording statistics as she watched both from in the stands and on TV; and a true outdoorswoman. She could hunt, fish, and ride as an equal with any man and took pride in her skills. Her independent spirit and unique humor will be remembered by all who knew her.
She was preceded in death by her parents, and her bother, Clem Beeson. She is survived by her daughter, M. Carol Izett; granddaughter, Christya Carol Izett; grandson Cory Craig Izett; great-grandchildren Jade Piedra Mason, Justin Craig Izett, and Scott Hale Izett, all of Whitefish, as well as her devoted husband Johnny Baird, currently residing at Sunshine Gardens West in Durango. She was "his gal Sal" and will be sorely missed.
Her ashes will be returned to the Baird's cabin on the Piedra River which she loved so well. Remembrances may be made in her name to any charitable organization benefiting children's sports education or the preservation of the American West.
WWII veterans to be honored
World War II veterans will be honored Sunday, Aug. 29, at the American Legion building in Town Park. Call-to-colors will sound at 12:30 p.m. when the American flag will be raised to full staff and World War II veterans will be recognized for their service.
A meal furnished by American Legion Post 108 will be served from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Door prizes will be given out. All veterans, their friends and their family are invited.
Auction benefits students' trip to Yellowstone
By Roy Starling
A public auction this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Wolf Tracks Bookstore and Coffee Company will help send a class of Pagosa Springs students to Yellowstone National Park for a week of on-location learning and fun.
Among the items going at the auction - located on the western end of the Pagosa Country Center - are passes to the hot springs and movie theater, jewelry, pottery, dinners at local restaurants and gift certificates for the golf course and local stores.
Benefiting from this event will be the "Multi-Age Class," comprised of 20 fourth, fifth and sixth graders and taught by Suzette Youngs at the intermediate school building.
"Every September we take a trip together to let everyone get to know each other, and there's usually a curriculum involved," Youngs said. She expects "around 55 to 60" students and family members will make the trip to Yellowstone Sept. 24 through 30.
There will be plenty to study before, during and after the trip. "We'll focus on three areas of study - geology, plant and animal life, and social issues," Youngs said. "Before we leave for Yellowstone, we'll devote a week to each of those areas."
Youngs said her students will also get some lessons in real world math, economics and nutrition as they help plan the trip. Like most travelers, they'll be trying to keep the cost of the trip to a minimum without sacrificing safety, comfort or nutrition.
When the class returns, Youngs said, the Yellowstone experience will form the hub of the curriculum for "as long as it takes" to process it. "The trip will provide so many things to study that the kids can follow the paths that most interest them," she said. "They won't all be working on the same project."
Folks who can't find what they want at the auction can support the Yellowstone trip in other ways. Youngs and her students are selling T-shirts through Common Threads. Five dollars from every sale will go towards the trip, and Common Threads will also contribute 20 percent of its profits to environmental causes. Anyone interested in helping - either through a T-shirt purchase or a cash donation - can call Youngs at 731-3688.
Youngs frequently gets questions about the nature of the Multi-Age Class, formerly known as the "School within a School." She often starts by describing what it is not: "It's not a dumping ground for troubled students, not a special education class, not a gifted class, not an accelerated class, and there is no sacrificing of chickens," she said. "It's just an alternative to the traditional classroom."
On a Multi-Age Class flyer, school board President Randall Davis describes the program as "a unique environment coordinating innovative learning techniques with significant parental involvement and dedicated, enthusiastic teachers. It offers parents and students a choice from the more traditionally structured classroom atmosphere."
For Youngs, parental involvement is the cornerstone of the program. "We find a way to use the talents of every parent," she said. "Parents come in as helpers, mentors and learners, but not as parents or disciplinarians. They make me a better teacher, giving me feedback and suggestions. I'm definitely held accountable."
Now in its fifth year, the program is doing "really well," according to Youngs. "Kids have succeeded in here who haven't succeeded anywhere else. Also, this year the parents understand better what the program is all about. We have open house and orientation meetings to educate parents about the class's goals and their responsibility to the program.
"Basically, we tell them, 'Listen very carefully. If you can't make the commitment, don't put your child in here.' " That commitment includes monthly parent meetings and eight hours per month with their child in the classroom.
The district requires the Multi-Age Class to have 16 students to remain in existence. This fall, the program has enrolled 20 students and has six more on a waiting list.
Youngs thrives in a teaching environment that leaves plenty of room for surprise, for unexpected opportunities for teaching and learning. "I look forward to coming to school every day," she said. "I'm never sure exactly what we're going to do."
Making new habits
A couple of recent phone calls emphasize the changes that have taken place in the past 25 years. Though both calls related to two totally different subjects, they reflected the changes in the thinking and social climate in Pagosa.
Yesterday, some one phoned the SUN to tell a reporter he had overheard two employees of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District tell a store clerk they wanted to buy some pellets in hopes of shooting the marmots who were clogging some of the utility's lines. Twenty-five years ago local residents would have been more concerned about uninterrupted water lines than the welfare of the "yellow belly Marmots."
Last Friday's phone call was of a more serious nature. The caller, who has lived in Pagosa for the past 25 years, called to say she wanted to write a letter to the editor, but did not want to sign it. Her concern was that she did not want to identify her place of residency. But she wanted to warn the public.
Apparently she had left her house last Friday morning to run some errands. Her home is located in a somewhat isolated area, and as has been her habit for the past 25 years, she had left it unlocked when she went to town. But upon returning home some time later, there was an automobile with an out-of-state license plate parked in the driveway.
After writing down the numbers on the license plate, my friend entered her home and was surprised to see a strange woman walking through the house. When asked what she was doing, the stranger named an inspection agency she was supposedly working for. Explaining she had just completed the inspection, the stranger excused herself, went to her car and drove away.
Naturally, by the time a phone call was made and a deputy arrived, the suspicious visitor and her auto were long gone.
Fortunately my friend had the forethought to not confront the stranger and create a potentially threatening situation. No blows were struck. Apparently no property was stolen.
But almost just as damaging, an irreplaceable part of Pagosa that so many of us have enjoyed for many, many years was destroyed for my friend and for the rest of us.
So my friend wanted to warn others who have lived in Pagosa for a number of years, that times have changed. Longtime habits have to be broken and new habits have to be developed before it is too late.
No longer is it safe to leave our houses unlocked when no one is at home. Nor should keys be left in the ignition switches of our autos or pickup trucks.
I hate to think we should no longer stop to help a stranded motorist or to offer a ride to a stranger who is walking along one of the county roads, but who knows?
I'm not sure if I will be successful, but I hope to start developing some new habits. I will have to start locking all the doors when I am the last one to leave home in the morning. I'll have to start taking the keys out of the ignition of my auto. And though it will be a strange thing for me to do, I'll try to start locking my auto when it is parked.
Yes, Pagosa is still a wonderful place to raise your children. Most of the folks are very friendly and will wave back when you wave at them. But to a lot of us, we are strangers living in a strange land.
David C. Mitchell
The letters are for the readers
I was a reader of the SUN long before I was the editor of the SUN. Like most folks, the letters to the editor are my favorite part of the SUN. So I truly enjoyed Marine recruit Taro Hill's letter last week.
Last week, Nina asked if I wanted her to include Tara's complete return address as she was typesetting the letter. You bet I did. If he is lucky enough to hear his name called, mail call can be the high point of a recruit's day.
It's one of the pluses of a hometown newspaper. Folks you know are going to read your letter, and you might get the response you hope it produces.
The only problem with Taro's letter was that it was hand written. Sometimes this makes a letter difficult to read and folks have to guess on a word. That's how the name "Rosy Nabors" appeared in the letter along with Sonny Davidson's.
Fortunately a recruit's mom phoned to tell us it should have been "Rusty" rather than "Rosy." She also wanted folks to know that Rusty and Sonny have the same mailing address as Taro's.
For friends who might have already trashed last week's SUN, their address is : MCRD 1st Bn. Delta Co. Plt. 1081; 40000 Midway Ave. Unit 1; San Diego CA 92140.
Some one is sure to read the letters to a hometown paper. Even if the hometown newspaper is as large as The Houston Chronicle was in the late 1940s - Harris County was nearing the one million mark. I remember a letter to the editor the Chronicle printed. The Korean War was still going hot and heavy.
Though still in high school, I already was hooked to reading the newspaper . One evening I was suprised to read a letter to the editor from a soldier who was serving in the front lines in Korea. As a squad leader, he took his men out on night patrols on a regular basis. They left their bunkers soon after dark and didn't return back across friendly lines until just after first light.
He was writing the Chronicle's editor in hopes someone would send him a city-limits sign. The reflective-white rectangular signs had a black border and stated: Houston City Limits. He wanted to fix the metal sign to a post inside the barbwire at the perimeter of his company's area.
The sergeant thought the night patrols wouldn't be such bad duty if he knew that as he was sneaking back to his bunker the following morning he would be greeted by the Houston City Limits sign - it would be a touch of home. The letter was signed by Sgt. Wooten Stevenson Hemphill.
About six years earlier I had known him as "Speedy" Hemphill. He had been the counselor of my cabin at a Y.M.C.A. camp on Trinity Bay. His nickname emphasized his slowness. But he was a real positive influence on my life at the time.
He had attended Rice Institute and evidently been inducted into the Army. I'm not sure how he qualified for being admitted to Rice, but I wasn't surprised that he was a squad leader.
I never knew whether Speedy ever received the asked for city limit sign or if he had made it back from all his patrols and to Houston.
But I still remember that someone at The Houston Chronicle saw to it that Speedy's letter was published.
Hopefully Taro, Rusty and Sonny will receive some mail from their friends back home.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
Town discusses annexation issues
Taken from SUN files
of Aug. 29, 1974
The town board met last week and will meet again this week to discuss possible annexation and subdivision ordinances. These proposed regulations would protect the town's taxpayers from having to pay the cost of improvements in annexations and would provide for the proper planning of any subdivision. It was emphasized that the proposals are tentative and that there will be public notices and hearings before any definite final action is taken.
The local saw mill of the San Juan Lumber Company is now partially shut down due to the depressed lumber market. The sawmill portion ceased operations last Friday, but planner crews are still working. Gary Jackson, manager of San Juan Lumber Company in this area, said this week that the planer crews and wood crews would continue work for some time. He said that the sawmill operations were not scheduled for a 60-day shutdown.
Bennie Johnson announced this week that he has secured the Arctic Cat snowmobile dealership for this area. A large shipment of snowmobiles was received this week and more are expected soon.
Congressman Frank Evans was a visitor in Pagosa Springs this week and met with local Democrats and party officials. He discussed various issue that are in the House and told of the feeling of relief when President Richard Nixon resigned.
Program to alleviate effects of Depression
The U.S. Congress enacted the Emergency Conservation Work program in 1933 in an effort to help alleviate some of the effects of the severe depression the country was experiencing. In 1937, Congress voted to continue this program, changing its title to the Civilian Conservation Corp.
Through the CCC program, hundreds of camps were established across the country, including one near Pagosa Springs. Various agencies planned and supervised projects while the CCC men provided the labor. Information from the Colorado State Archives website indicates that the program was primarily for men between the "ages of 17 and 23 whose families were in special need. The enrollees had to agree to allot the majority of their pay to their families. The usual enrollment was for a six-month term while the maximum term of service was two years."
Also available at the state archives website are an enrollment index which gives the enrollee's last name, county of residence, birth date and assigned camp; some CCC photographs; information about accessing the records at the state archives - some records may charge a fee to access; a more extensive description of the CCC program; and links to other CCC sites on the web. I find it is easiest to access the state archives by going to the web page for the state of Colorado at www.state.co.us/gov. From there you can click on the state archives link.
Locally, the CCC camp was the Blanco Camp No. F29. An article in The Pagosa Springs SUN outlined some of the valuable work being done locally by the men at the camp. One of the main projects was erosion control and the construction of small dams in some arroyas and gullies. A second project involved the repair of Forest Service buildings at the Ranger Station. The men also constructed 11 miles of snow drift fence which would help area ranchers.
The same article reported on the personal benefits of the program to the workers which included that they gained 10 to 15 pounds each in weight over the course of the program. Forest Supervisor Andrew Hutton, who was overseeing the camp, reported: "None of the CCC men at Blanco expressed dissatisfaction with conditions. Every one of the young men seemed to thoroughly enjoy the opportunity to get 'back to nature' and took advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as possible about reforestation, erosion control, eradication of poisonous plants, etc."
A Jan. 5, 1934, article stated that the men participating in the program improved in morale and health. And, dependent families of the men participating received monthly payments of $22 to $25.
Next week, a little more about the local CCC program.
Information on Pagosa's 'Antique Row'
We can call it "Antique Row." What better name is there? With all the wonderful antique shops in downtown Pagosa Springs, it's a rare opportunity for the antique buff.
Starting at the east end of town in the River Center, there's "Whispers From the Past." Cindy and Jeff Garmatter are the proprietors. They moved here from Raymond, Washington, three years ago looking for sunshine and not only did they find sunshine in the weather, but sunshine in the people. They are native Ohioans and have been in the antique business for ten years.
The 200 block of Pagosa Street is loaded with antique shops - Leepers Antiques, Inc., being the most recent one to open. It's housed in the former residence of the late Marguerite Wiley.
Will Leeper grew up in the Four Corners area. At the end of World War II, he became interested in antiques, collecting them and selling them at auction. He moved to California and opened an antique shop, met and married Marci Norton from Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. They traveled all over the world collecting antiques. Will wanted to come to Pagosa Springs to retire - to be close to his home grounds. And when Marci saw Pagosa Springs, she said that this was where she wanted to live; the only place she wanted to live. To quote her, "I can stand any place and hold up my hand and touch God."
The Leepers moved here nine years ago, and now their daughter Lisa and her husband Tim Saunders have come to live here.
Two doors down is "Now and Then Antiques and Gifts" that opened a year ago. This shop is owned by Tim Segar, a lawyer from Denver. He is having the house across the street from his shop remodeled, to be used as a showroom and to take care of the overflow from "Now and Then." Tim Segar's grandfather, Elzie Crisler Segar, was the creator of the cartoon, "Popeye."
Next door to this building is "Handcrafted Interiors" owned and operated by Cappy White and his wife Monica Greene. They moved here in May of 1996 from Black Mountain, North Carolina, where Cappy was in the business of custom made furniture. Cappy still makes custom made furniture. The store deals in certain antiques - bigger things such as old quilts, iron work, stained glass and some old furniture. For sure his custom made furniture will be collector's items one of these days.
Back across the street is "Victoria's Reign" (located in the old Mountain Greenery Building, that business having moved to the old post office building). Owned by Pat and Gordon Kahn, the shop features small antiques, but the antique display furniture is for sale. The Gordons are from Plano, Texas. They wanted to retire to Colorado and did a lot of looking and praying about the "right spot" before settling in Pagosa Springs. They have been here four years.
Turning off the end of Pagosa Street onto San Juan Street is Ron Schaffer's "Classic Stoves Emporium." There's much to tell about Ron. His store is the result of a 26- year-old hobby that all began the day he walked into an antique shop in Houston, where he lived, and saw an old stove. He'd never seen anything like it. It was beautiful. It was expensive and he wanted a stove like it. So he bought a less expensive stove, restored it and sold it right away. He discovered that there was a market for such. He found 36 stoves in El Paso, restored them and so convinced his wife there was a market.
They moved to Pagosa Springs four years later, the only spot to be with all its incredible beauty and being a small town for their three children to grow up in. Ron got a job teaching sixth-grade science. He opened a restaurant that he called "Rocky Mountain Mining Company," famous for steaks, oysters and shrimp. Trying to cook at the restaurant, teach school and do his stoves was a bit much, so he sold the restaurant to Paul Aldridge and it became "The Ole Miner's Steak House."
There are only a few stove restoration stores around. The success at Classic Stoves Emporium stems from the fact that it is easily accessible to people who come to Pagosa and "everybody" comes to Pagosa. His stoves have gone to Costa Rica, Germany, Switzerland, Hawaii and Great Britain. The oldest stove restored was made in 1837. Will Leeper says that Ron's stoves are the best he's ever seen and he ought to know.
Ron Schaffer retired from teaching this year, after 24 years. The store housing the business is for sale, but not his business. He's going to limit his hours so that he has more uninterrupted time to work on stoves.
Up U.S.160, next door to Century 21, is "Treasures From The Past," owned by Jamie Miller who has combined her antiques with an upholstery business. But now, she's selling the antiques (her sale ends this Saturday) and moving the upholstery business up to the Frontier Building where she will add upholstery classes to the business.
It's just as we said at the beginning of this article, Pagosa Springs offers a rare opportunity for the antique buff and now we can all take in "Antique Row."
Fun on the run
From the "Anglican Digest" is this notice in an English country church paper: "Due to the high cost of maintaining the church yard, it would be appreciated if parishioners would cut the grass around their own graves."
Web site was a very good idea
Yahoo and hip-hip hooray, we have four new members to introduce to you this week so I no longer feel like the lonely Maytag repairman. I'm so glad these kind people came forward because heaven only knows what kind of desperate measures I would have resorted to if I had to face two weeks of no new members. Thanks to the following treasures for maintaining my mental health.
Welcome to the new owners of The Emporium, Blair and Lee Anne Timmerman, located at 450 Lewis Street. The Emporium has been a Pagosa tradition for many years, and we're delighted that the Timmermans have joined us. The Emporium is your hometown office supply store, with more. They offer copy/fax services, art, sewing, knitting, spinning and camping supplies along with their Christian Praise Center. You can give the Timmermans a call at 264-2344.
The following three businesses are spearheaded by two really, really industrious people who, like many other Pagosa folks, will be incredibly busy bees. Mountain Homes Classics, Inc. with Connie Giffin at the helm is the first business featuring innovative design concepts inspired by nature. They offer handcrafted round- or square-hewn logs, natural adobe or Reward Wall System accents to build your dream home. Sixty-eight years experience comes with this business and financing is available. Please call 731-0700 to learn more.
Connie Giffin (soon to be Yokie) also brings us The Serenity Trail located at 190 Talisman Court, C-6. The Serenity Trail offers holistic retreats, llama hikes, natural health and gift products to enhance the quality and serenity of life. We'll be watching for the retreat center, which will be coming to Pagosa Springs in 2000. If you would like to chat with Connie about The Serenity Trail, just give a call to 731-0700.
John Yokie is the other half of the Connie-John combo and brings us Yokie Mortgage Corporation located at 190 Talisman Court, C-6. John is a mortgage broker with 27 years experience, 25 lenders, many programs, competitive rates and quick approvals. He also offers one close const/perm, 125 percent equity and A-C credit, $1M. (Actually, I called John for clarification on the mortgage-speak, and he assured me that most of the folks involved in building and lending would understand that last line.) Refinances are also available.
For more information on Yokie Mortgage Corporation, please call 731-0500. Again, our warm welcome goes out to Blair and Lee Anne Timmerman, Connie Giffin and John Yokie.
Join us in wishing the folks at Pagosa Nursery Company a happy third anniversary on Saturday, Aug. 28, from 9 a.m. until closing. They invite you to stop by for big bargains and information from bona fide gardening experts. The following is the speaking schedule so you can be there for the subject(s) of choice: 9 a.m., David Durkee will talk about trees for Pagosa Springs; 10 a.m., arborist Chris Pierce will address tree pruning; turfgrasses will be discussed at 11 a.m.; Sheila Salazar will tell you all about bulbs at noon; Darbi Cox tells all about herbs at 1 p.m.; houseplants is the subject by Chris Martin at 2 p.m. and Heather Damewood will share secrets about perennial garden design at 3 p.m. Sale items, giveaways, refreshments and information will all be included in this celebration at the Pagosa Nursery Company located at 166 Bastille. Bargains and information are yours for the asking this Saturday at Pagosa Nursery Company, and the Durkees hope to see you there.
As of Monday, Aug. 23, we are proud to announce the opening of member Mountain Landing Guest Quarters located at 345 Piedra Road. I pass the Mountain Landing "runway" every day on my way to and from work and have watched their progress with great interest - the airplane at the entrance has always intrigued me. Mountain Landing Guest Quarters offers two-bedroom, one-bath units replete with kitchen, living room and cable TV. Each unit will comfortably sleep three to six persons. Nightly, weekly or longer rates are available, as well as ski, fish or golf packages. Congratulations to the folks at Mountain Landing Guest Quarters and please call them at 731-5345 for more information.
I took my fair share of heat about three years ago when I initiated plans for a Chamber of Commerce Web site from those who accused me of "pushing the envelope."
I must admit that at the time it was a relatively bold move considering that our larger neighbor, Durango, hadn't even considered it, but I bit the bullet and moved on. As I was recently going through the Web site file, I came up with some interesting numbers that should justify that dive into (then) uncharted waters and allay the doubting Thomases forevermore.
In the interest of brevity (uncharacteristic of me) I will start with the total number of hits our site received in the month of November 1998, which was 8,249. This year, in the months of May, June and July we received, respectively, 15,532, 18,449 and 22,339. Lodging hits totaled 3,363, real estate inquiries totaled 1,990 and attractions, calendar of events and recreation hits combined totaled 4,183. 1,218 folks inquired about our hot springs, and 2,459 checked out our business directory for businesses and services offered by Chamber of Commerce members. If you were ever to question the efficacy of your Chamber dollars, here is the answer: the numbers don't lie - it's a great investment. All of you real estate members need to know that of the 1,990 hits, many of those translate into inquiries that are answered through e-mails, faxes or regular mail with a list of members companies and associates. Were I in real estate here, I would quickly sign on as an Associate Realtor with the Chamber to receive a separate listing on all the real estate information sent, but then I'm a wacko zealot as you all well know. I hope you are as pleased as we are with these numbers and with the investment. Your Chamber dollars are working for you, and you can take that to the bank, kids.
Those Mountain Harmony Ladies were so doggoned great at their recent performance at Community United Methodist Church, they have been asked to do an encore performance at the First Baptist Church located at 269 Pagosa Street. On Sunday, Sept. 5, at 6 p.m. you will have another opportunity to see "Get Aboard That Gospel Train" just in case you had the misfortune to miss their first presentation. Since I was there for that performance, I can tell you that it was terrific and so, so entertaining. Don't miss it the second time - you'll never forgive yourself. There will be no tickets distributed for this second time around, so I would be early for the First Baptist show to ensure a seat. You'll be glad you did, I promise.
Tomorrow is the deadline for your newsletter inserts to arrive in Morna's hands, so you'd best move along and get them done. Remember, just bring us 650 flyers and a check for $25, and we'll do the rest. It's the easiest, cheapest way I know of to reach 650 Chamber members with news of your business, a new location, a new product or anything at all newsworthy. This is just one of those valued-added Chamber benefits of which many take advantage. Call Morna with questions at 264-2360.
Time for Gray Wolves to pay dues
All Gray Wolf Ski Club members are asked to pay their 1999-2000 dues by Aug. 31. As of September, members who fail to pay their dues will be dropped from the mailing list and club activities. Delinquent members will also no longer be eligible for the Wolf Creek Ski Area pre-season ski pass discount. Dues for the Gray Wolf Ski and Hiking Club are $13 for couples and $8 for singles. The dues may be mailed to Shields Daltroff, club treasurer, at Box 4427, Pagosa Springs 81147. They must arrive by Aug. 31.
Gray Wolf Ski Club now has over 400 members from Pagosa and the San Luis Valley. Most of the members wear name tags to the club's activities. If you need a Gray Wolf name tag, you should order them from Shields Daltroff before Aug. 31 as it will be the final chance for doing so this year. Shields will place the order for new name tags on that date. The bulk order enables the club to buy the name tags at a discounted rate of $8 each.
The Gray Wolf Ski Club is an organization made up of people 50 years of age or older who are interested in year-round outdoor recreational activities and fellowship. The seed for the formation of the club germinated in the winter of 1983-84 in the mind of Betty Lou Reed of Pagosa Springs. Betty Lou was a ski instructor at Wolf Creek Ski Area at the time. She and another ski instructor, Bill Farley, got about 12 downhill skiers from both sides of Wolf Creek Pass, the San Luis Valley and Pagosa area, to meet at the ski area for lunch one day in March 1984. At that meeting, the group decided to meet again the next month. By the time of the April meeting, 32 individuals had indicated an interest in the concept of forming a club. They agreed to meet again for a potluck in June 1984 and the actual organization of the club took place at that meeting. The Gray Wolf Ski Club name was adopted. Officers for that first year included: Harry Young of Pagosa Springs, president; A.G. "Red" Hoffman of South Fork, vice-president; Maggie Jones of Alamosa, secretary-treasurer; and Bill Laverty of Pagosa Springs, program chairman.
Dues were set at $5 per person. Fourteen members from the east side and seven from the west paid their dues at the April 1984 meeting.
Kelley Boyce from the Sargent community in the San Luis Valley was voted in as an honorary member. At that time Kelley was a public relations representative for Wolf Creek Ski Area. It was also decided that the club should have a monthly newsletter. The first newsletter was distributed in July 1984. Harry Young served as editor from that date until the November 1992 newsletter. Mary Miller of Pagosa Springs then took over the responsibilities of the newsletter and only just recently passed the pen, or should I say keyboard, over to Carole Howard of Pagosa Springs.
With the recommendation of then local attorney Sam Cassidy, the club became a non-profit corporation in its early days. The charter membership was closed at 70 paid members - 30 members form the San Luis Valley, 38 members from the Pagosa side and two members from Oklahoma. Each week, one day was designated as the club's "ski day" with the members meeting to ski together. Only alpine downhill skiing was the club's activity at that time.
Over the years, the Gray Wolf Ski Club has expanded its recreational activities to include Nordic cross country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, four-wheeling in the mountains, golfing and camping. With its huge and growing membership, the Gray Wolf Ski Club will have to limit participation in club-sponsored activities to members and their families.
A quick look at the Gray Wolf Ski Club's 1999-2000 calendar shows some interesting combinations of blending the great out doors with culinary art. Every fourth Saturday of each month during the summer, Dennis Shepherd organizes what he calls "Cowboy Breakfast" at 8 a.m. at the Cathedral Campground (refer to your Forest Service map). Gray Wolf members participating in this breakfast bring whatever food items make for a great breakfast - eggs, bacon, rolls, potatoes, etc. The food is then cooked outside in large skillets over a campfire and served with coffee. The next two Cowboy Breakfasts will be Aug. 28 and Sept. 25. To join in this culinary adventure, contact Dennis at (719) 873-5977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dennis is also organizing a weekend camp-out Sept. 10-12 near Clear Creek Falls. Contact him if you want more information.
Education Center announces PCC fall classes
The Education Center partners with Pueblo Community College (PCC) to provide post-secondary course opportunities for Pagosa Springs teens and adults.
PCC is a two-year college serving southwestern Colorado. PCC Southwest Center, which directs the program in this area of the state, is headquartered in Cortez and also maintains a full-time office in Durango. The Education Center is the local PCC administrative site for Archuleta County.
Local college classes are offered in the evenings for area residents and during daytime hours for juniors and seniors at Pagosa Springs High School. Some high school students are able to enroll in specific courses for both high school and college credit. Typically these dual-credit courses are standard college courses transferable to another two-year or four-year college in Colorado.
Evening classroom courses are typically held in high school classrooms. Evening college courses to be offered in Pagosa during the 1999 Fall Semester include the following:
"Introduction to Early Childhood" and "Into to Early Childhood Lab Techniques" will be offered Monday evenings from 6 to 8:50 p.m. and 9 to 9:50 p.m., respectively. Pat Hauschild is teaching these classes which are designed to help provide course requirements for local child care providers pursuing their certification and licensing.
"English Composition I" will be offered Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Jack Ellis, a long-time and highly respected teacher in our local high school, will again be teaching this class.
Russ Boosted will be teaching "U.S. History I" on Thursday evenings this semester. This class is also held from 6 to 9 p.m.
"Masterpieces of Literature" is another class scheduled for Tuesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m. Teacher and class location will be announced.
Rob Beck will be teaching an "Applied Math" class. The schedule and location of this four-credit-hour course will be announced.
An interesting new elective being offered this semester is "Development of Theatre I." This three-credit-hour course will be taught by Carol Feazel on Wednesday evenings from 6 to 9 p.m.
Registration for these classes will be at the Education Center between Aug. 30 and Sept. 3 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. until 6 p.m. The Education Center also offers students the option of registering for PCC classes by phone or on-line. The Education Center will be the site of PCC Bookstore for purchase of required texts on Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. The Education Center is downtown on the corner of Fourth and Lewis Streets. Please stop by our office to pick up a PCC Fall Schedule of Classes or call 264-2835 and ask for Cynde or Hilary for additional information.
Tele-learning at PCC offers students the opportunity to complete most course work outside of the traditional classroom setting. Telecourses and College by Cassette courses are unique delivery methods that allow students the flexibility to take classes that suitably meet individual scheduling needs. Tele-learning students should enroll using the regular college registration procedures.
Telecourses are telecast on KRMA Channel 6 and other PBS stations. Students need PBS access and a VCR for taping broadcasts. Courses being offered this fall include Film Appreciation, Astronomy I, Principles of Macroeconomics, English Comp I, College Algebra, General Psychology I and II, Intro to Sociology I and II and Spanish I.
Survey helps library plan for future
Tomorrow will be our last story time, at 11 a.m. Another season ending is a bittersweet time. Many of our part-time patrons are leaving and the hummingbird population has also diminished.
We encourage all summer reading participants to come by and pick up their prizes and artwork. We are so proud of the children who took part in this year's program.
It was an exceptionally busy summer with all of the newcomers. We're pleased to know that so many of them have already signed up for library cards. We're also pleased to see that they understand the importance of reading for their families and we welcome them all.
We are currently doing our long-range planning and we're looking for your thoughts on a variety of services we offer now and what we think we can do in the future. We need your input. Some issues need to be addressed concerning patrons using the Internet and the materials we will be able to purchase with limited funds.
If you have not filled out one of our surveys, please ask for one at the desk. Even if you do not currently use the library, we'd like to know what we could do to fill your particular needs.
Register to vote
For all newcomers and those of you who didn't vote in the last general election, you can pick up a registration form here at the desk. If you did not vote last November, you were sent a small white continuation form in the mail. Many people just threw that white card away. If you did not send it back in, you are no longer registered to vote. Better be safe than sorry - fill out a new registration card from here or the county clerk's Office.
Please remember that the Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library is also the Upper San Juan Library District. Fourteen years ago, we changed from being a county library to a library district with a 1.5 mill levy from property tax.
Because of the TABOR amendment that started in 1992, we've lost revenue each year. We are limited in what we can receive and spend from property tax and many other revenue sources.
The Library is planning a ballot question this year to ask voters to keep and spend our revenue without raising the 1.5 mill levy.
A copy of our budget and information about the ballot issue is available at the desk.
The Woman's Civic Club and Friends of the Library have started a "Library Yes" campaign and will be answering questions about the library's needs. Lois Gibson is heading this campaign.
Several new books are here thanks to donations from patrons. Patricia Cornwell's new "Black Notice" is for mystery fans. Get on the list for this one that takes Kay Scarpetta to Europe.
Have you heard about the Harry Potter books? These popular fantasy books are for young people, but adults will love them too. USA Today says, "You don't have to be a wizard or a kid to appreciate the spell cast by Harry Potter." Our Mary Stahl calls them "fantastic!" So does our state librarian, Nancy Bolt. I have my name on the waiting list. The three books in the series are from England. We have two of them so far. The first book is "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."
We're looking forward to seeing George Reeves, one of our dear patrons and supporters who is here visiting from Dallas.
The new head of the Denver Public Library's Western History Collection stopped by to see our library last week. They like us so much it looks like we can participate in some more grants to get many of our history photographs and documents digitized to preserve them without any cost to us. Exciting things are happening in the field of technology and it is sure nice to be asked to participate.
We are open on Thursday evening until 7:30. We are also open on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All other days, the hours are from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Financial help came from John Graves and his new film society. John donated to the Friends of the Library's book endowment from the monthly viewing of classic movies. The third session will be coming up soon. Remember, we have the film he helped produce - "Picnic at Hanging Rock" - here at the library. It may be checked out.
Thanks for materials from Willie Hammer, Ralph Wiley, Anita Hinger, Heidi Nobles, Barbara Lindley, Kim Coleman, Sepp Ramsperger, Peter Marritt, Donald Mowen, Edith Roye, Joanne Snavely, Eugenia Hinger, Dwight Wilson and David Bright. Mell Cassidy donated a subscription to "Air and Space Magazine" from the Smithsonian.
'Nature of Seasons' closes this week
"Nature of the Seasons," a two-man show by Bruce Andersen and Don Craigen, will continue for another week at the Pagosa Springs Arts Center and Gallery in Town Park.
Bruce's photographs, especially the wildlife images, are stunning. Don's metal sculptures are incredible. Both of his pieces in the show have sold, but I bet he would be willing to take special orders.
On tap for the next exhibit, beginning Sept. 2, are the works of local Pagosan, Kathleen Wolfe. "Vibrant Colors and Dancing Light" will feature not only Kathleen's work, but also jewelry, clay and marionettes by daughters Angela, Katrina and Jessica, and handcrafted frames by husband Shane Carlson.
Kathleen's love of nature began when she was growing up in Washington state. Surrounded by nature and creative people, she was encouraged to create during her formative years. She studied composition and gained awareness of light, color and form as she photographed nature. Her understanding of texture, color and design developed while making intricate tapestries. Sketching trained her eye.
She says, "It all came together and I discovered my true passion: painting in oils. We moved to the rugged San Juan Mountains. Colorado's rivers, hot springs, mountains and dramatic weather changes and vivid colors inspired me to paint. Oil painting became my full-time work. I sold work to private collections, at showings and hundreds of prints through retail locations."
Carlson has created many of Kathleen's frames from rough cut wood, shaped and finished with care. He has designed a variety of unique frames especially for her work. Indeed, this whole show could be dubbed "a family affair."
As a special treat, Kathleen will be at the gallery for you to visit with during the following times: Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Sept. 4, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sept. 7, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sept. 10, from 11a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and Sept. 14, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
The opening reception for this exhibit will be held Sept. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Arts Center and Gallery in Town Park. Come enjoy refreshments and meet this entire family.
Cimarrona Gallery, located one block east of the stoplight, will be closing its doors after Sept. 1. Local artists Randall Davis, Gail Hershey and I are holding a "moving sale." This is an opportunity to obtain some of our works at a good price. After that date we will be showing from our homes.
PSAC is very much in need of volunteers for two important posts. "Petroglyph," the quarterly newsletter, needs an editor. This would be a great job for someone who enjoys computer work. Also, PSAC needs a membership chairperson. Call Joanne at the center for more information at 264-5020.
Kudos and thanks
Kudos to all those who made the Gourmet Colorado wine, cheese and salmon tasting, benefiting the Community Center, such a huge success. Thanks go to artists who displayed at the event: John Taylor, Sam Snyder and Randall Davis. A huge thanks to artists Ginny Bartlett and Carol Fulenwider, aka Denny Rose, for sharing their lovely works and hanging the exhibit. It added an extra touch of class to the event.
Where winning is the only thing
Like many of you, I'm eagerly awaiting this Saturday when Florida State finally opens its football season.
To help fill up the dead air before the first kickoff, I watched "Varsity Blues" this weekend, an MTV production recently released on video. Sure, the movie's only about high school football, but that beats the heck out of watching NFL preseason games.
"Varsity Blues" is a high school movie made for high school students, so we know from the get-go several things will be true: the students will be cool, the parents will be loutish and clueless, the coach will be a tyrant, and one of the teachers will supplement her meager salary by moonlighting as an "exotic" dancer.
Director Brian Robbins apparently had little faith in his target audience's ability to cope with complex characters or even with characters who have more than one side to them. Hence, he presents us with a gallery of cardboard cut-out figures.
The film's story takes place in little West Canaan, Texas - a town about the size of Pagosa Springs minus the growth on the other side of Put Hill. West Canaan is completely gaga over its high school football team, the Mighty Coyotes, and the team's legendary coach, Bud Kilmer. The town supports the Coyotes so well, that the boys feel like pond scum any time they lose.
Coach Kilmer (Jon Voight) is a petulant bully, a kind of my-way-or-the-highway despot, a combination of the worst traits of Mike Ditka and Bear Bryant with none of their good. He's about as likable as a stomach virus. He's been the Coyotes' coach for 30 years and won 22 district titles and two state championships and has consequently become a god in West Canaan.
So it's a real honor to have Kilmer yank your face mask, and as long as you play as hard as you can, even if you're injured, and do exactly what he tells you to do, and never lose, he'll love you like a son.
Voight, by the way, has come a long, long way since he played Joe Buck in "Midnight Cowboy," and he does as well with Kilmer's role as the material allows. About all he's required to do is squint his eyes, chomp his gum and chew out his players.
Once all the film's characters have been introduced, the plot takes a sudden twist when the Coyotes' star quarterback, Lance Harbor (Paul Walker), gets his knee turned into so much coleslaw. The stage is then set for the team's bookwormish backup, Mox Moxson (James Van Der Beek), to take over and try to lead them to Kilmer's 23rd district championship. Harbor's injury, incidentally, dashes his plans to attend Florida State on a full scholarship.
With Harbor out of the picture, the Coyote fur begins to fly, not only because Mox is smart, but because he wants to implement a wide open, run and gun, Kentucky Derby, FSU-style offense, while Kilmer has all the offensive imagination of Woody Hayes on Quaaludes. Kilmer likes to start a series by running it up the gut, then regroup and run it up the gut.
Of course, it all comes down to a must-win game and a big showdown - not so much between the Coyotes and their opponent as between the players and Kilmer, who's trying to inject his wounded star players with some substance that will allow them to play through their pain, i. e., risk permanently crippling themselves.
Can Mox lead the Coyotes to victory? Will it be Kilmer's way or the highway? Rent the video and find out for your own self.
At times "Varsity Blues" is sloppy, thin, predictable, but it still somehow manages to be entertaining. For one thing, the football scenes are much better than they are in most movies: the "slobber-knockers" are especially convincing.
The acting of the attractive young cast is passable. They work diligently at maintaining their Texas accents, and I think I've been in Colorado long enough to recognize a good Texas accent when I hear one. I can't say the same about the performances of the older actors playing parents and townies. They come out sounding like rejects from "Hee Haw."
Young people will enjoy the soundtrack, which features, among others, Green Day, Collective Soul, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Southern Culture on the Skids, Third Eye Blind, Van Halen, Foo Fighters, Offspring, Fastball and Shawn Camp. They'll also enjoy a couple of somewhat risqué scenes that they're not quite old enough to watch.
Finally, even though the film was produced by MTV, it throws a few thought-provoking scenes at us.
Billy Bob (Ron Lester), the Coyotes' gargantuan offensive tackle, becomes suicidal after coach Kilmer makes him feel like 300 pounds of rancid lard (either Lester was wearing some flabby makeup, or he is one big fellow). He drives his pickup onto the football field and begins to blow apart his childhood trophies with a shotgun.
We learn that he's been groomed from the time he was 9 to anchor the Coyotes' offensive line, to help them win another district title, to add to Kilmer's glory and to feed the pathetic West Canaanites' insatiable hunger for victory. "We were just kids," a sobbing Billy Bob says.
Later, in the locker room before the critical game, Kilmer tells his young athletes that "this game is 48 minutes for the next 48 years of your life. If you don't win, everything before this means nothing."
At halftime, Mox disagrees: "Let's go play the next 24 minutes for the next 24 minutes. We have the rest of our lives to be mediocre. Let's go out there and play like heroes. Let's give it absolutely everything. That's heroic."
You can see that both Billy Bob and Mox are responding to a lifetime spent in a football camp (West Canaan) and to the mediocrity that gives birth to the "win at all costs" philosophy. It's clear to Mox, at least, that the townies have no lives of their own and that their only shot at glory comes from a winning high school football team.
Almost lost in this film is young Joe Pichler as Mox's kid brother Kyle. Each time we see Kyle, he's assumed the role of a different religious leader. At one point, his mother, who tends to hit the sauce a bit, says, "Oh, Kyle, you've started a cult! Isn't that nice."
My money is on this budding little eccentric. It's hard to blame the kid for looking for something, anything, that transcends West Canaan's fanatical worship of a pigskin-covered spheroid.
What will become of healing waters?
The Great Pagosa Hot Springs recently changed ownership, causing locals who regard the Springs almost as "personal property" to ask "What will become of them?"
The Great Pagosa Hot Spring has been the center piece of human activity in Pagosa Country from the beginning of recorded history.
As long ago as January of 1878, the President Rutherford B. Hayes ordered one square mile set aside as public land in order to protect the Pagosa Hot Springs "because of the grandeur of the Great Hot Springs and the medicinal qualities of its waters." By presidential proclamation, the Great Spring was to be the center of the town site.
On April 7 of the same year, President Hayes modified his order by excluding 80 acres from the townsite. As a result, on July 5, 1883, title to 80 acres surrounding the Great Pagosa Hot Spring passed into private hands in exchange for Valentine scrip worth about $5.09.
In November of 1883, the Pagosa Springs Company organized. Its owners operated the Springs until they were purchased in 1910 by Owen F. Boyle of Durango in a trustee's sale. John P. Lynn of Pawhuskie, Okla., purchased the Springs property in 1924. Lynn owned the Springs until the early 1980s when a group of investors purchased the property. Only this year did those investors sell to current owners.
The Pagosa Springs Co., in 1883, declared its intent to "acquire land and own and operate hotels."
Throughout its history and despite private ownership, local folks have maintained a proprietary attitude concerning the Great Hot Springs. They speak with pride about the "World's Largest and Hottest" mineral spring and the supposed fact that "Pagosa" is a Ute word meaning "Healing Waters." That definition of the word "Pagosa" is attributed to an article written by Army engineer Lt. C. A. H. McCauley who visited the Springs in 1878. A dictionary of the Ute language did not exist during McCauley's time. The first Ute dictionary written during the 1970s defines "Pagosa" as meaning "stinking water."
Regardless of the meaning of "Pagosa," local folks have watched over the Great Pagosa Hot Spring as if it was their own.
One of those Springs watchers is Jack Morgan, who first visited the Springs in 1935 when he was a boy of but 9 years. Jack's home in those early years was Guymon, Okla.
"Dad came to Pagosa Springs to fly fish," Jack recalls. "He and mom both were big fans of the mineral baths."
"We'd spend every July in Pagosa Springs," Jack said. "I was a great friend of Billy Lynn. In fact, he was my idol. I'd never been around horses. I helped Billy shoe horses and train and ride. Sometimes I helped him at the bath houses."
During those years, many people suffering from a variety of ailments bathed in the waters of the Great Pagosa for health reasons.
"Often, people who couldn't walk would come," Jack said. "I'd help Billy put one of them on a stretcher and we'd carry him into the bath house. More than once, after a series of baths they'd throw away their crutches."
The healing of a lady with "milk leg" remains in the memories of Jack and Nonne, his wife of 51 years.
"It was something the doctors couldn't cure," Nonne said. "The Pagosa waters and moss packs cured it."
On another occasion, a couple traveling through town with their sister just happened to stop.
"They were on their way home back east because the sister was in such pain with arthritis," Nonne said. "They talked her sister into taking a bath. The next morning she said it was 'the first night's sleep I've had in years.' The couple continued traveling on their vacation route, leaving the sister to bathe for a month. When they returned she remarked, "This is the first relief I've ever had."
One of the most famous hot springs visitors was John Wayne, in town for the filming of "The Cowboys." Wayne stayed at the Morgan house and took a hot bath with Jack. Jack even prepared a green moss pack for Wayne's sore shoulder, which was hurting as the result of an operation.
"Wayne felt so much better as a result of the hot baths, he even sent his masseur home," Jack said.
Packing a wound or sore spot with green moss was a wonderfully therapeutic treatment, according to Jack. When he first started coming to the hot springs, there was a special, green moss spring, according to Jack. The green moss is not available any more, gone since a geological convulsion of undetermined origin.
In those days, there was a men's bath house, ladies' bath house and a main bath house. The main bath house contained the entrance and apartments. The Morgan family stayed in those apartments. The Lynn's lived next door in an office/home. South of the office was a garage and in front of the garage and adjacent to the street was the moss spring. South of the moss spring and garage were a series of log cabins. Behind the cabins was the Great Pagosa Hot Spring.
Fourth of July was a great time to be in Pagosa Springs, according to Jack. Native Americans from the Southern Ute, Navajo, and Jicarilla tribes came to bathe in the hot water, gamble, and race horses. They set up teepees and tents all around the Great Pagosa Hot Springs and along the Reservoir Hill hillside.
"The Indians packed themselves in mud from the lower outlet," Jack said.
The lower outlet no longer exists, but was a channel from the Great Pagosa Hot Spring reaching south for a considerable distance.
Water for the bathhouses was gravity-fed from the main hot springs through a ditch. Two of the 1930s bath houses were probably relics constructed by the Pagosa Springs Company circa 1888-1890.
Water temperatures in the baths were controlled by regulating the flow of geothermal water through the ditches. The water temperature in the Great Pagosa Hot Springs is in excess of 140 degrees, too hot for human touch.
"Dad and I were in the bath when the great shakeup came," Jack said. "We had been thinking about buying the Spring property until then. Gray water started flowing into the pool. We got out and put our clothes on. As we prepared to leave sarsaparilla bottles started floating to the top. It took about two and one-half years for the water to settle down. I hope those people who own the Spring now are careful. I think the Spring has a delicate balance."
Jack and Nonne swear by the medicinal values of the Springs' water, bathed in or swallowed.
"This Spring is equal to or better than Spiedel Springs in Czechoslovakia," Jack said. "People here are missing a bet if they don't develop the Spring for their medicinal values. Pagosa Springs needs a medical clinic with treatments based on the Hot Springs."
The therapeutic waters heal any kind of skin disease, arthritis, blood disorders, foot disorders, sore muscles, ulcers.
"I've eaten the green moss for ulcers," Jack said. "I can personally attest that it cured them."
The Great Pagosa Hot Springs. What's next?
Plymouth Rock, the Boston monolith which served as a welcome mat for Pilgrims invading the New World in 1620, is remembered with reverence by all Americans, even those who hate history.
What is not so well remembered is the conversation between John Carver, CEO for the Plymouth settlers, and Massasoit, CEO for the North American Alliance of Native Americans Devoted to Stopping Development in My Back Yard, otherwise known as NAANADSDMBY.
As Carver stepped onto the New England boulder, his path was blocked by Massasoit.
"Hello," Massasoit said in his native tongue. "It is my duty to inform you that before you developers can land, you must present an official landing and occupation permit, along with plat maps, an environmental impact statement and an improvements agreement, all in triplicate."
"Gladly," said Carver. "We anticipated a confrontation with you environmentalists. Here is my permit in triplicate, approved by the Greater Iberian Planning Commission and signed by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. And, here are the plat maps and other documents. The plans were developed by a man named Cervantes who works for Don Quixote Windmill Restorations, Inc., one of our finest development firms. You'll find everything in perfect order, every 'i' dotted, every 't' crossed. This is the India Columbus talked about, isn't it?"
"India? India? Never heard of it, but we're not nitpicky about names," Massasoit said, glancing up from the thirty-seven pounds of documents Carver had handed him.
"It says here there are 102 of you and you just want a little freedom," Massasoit said. "It says here you will have no impact on the environment and that those of us already living here will scarcely notice your presence."
"That's right," Carver said. "How could only 102 of us have any impact on an entire continent? We haven't come to change the place. We just want to build our homes and raise a few things - say, could you show us how to grow corn? - and have freedom to worship as we choose."
"I can understand your desire to find a place where you have freedom to worship," Massasoit said. "That's something we value highly here. Who is it you worship?"
"Well, you know, we worship the God who gives us things," Carver said. "In our language, we spell God G-R-E-E-D, you know, because he helps us have nice homes and three horses for every family and fine food and clothing and all of the things we want in order to live the good life. That's what we're looking for, the good life."
"Sounds like a fun God," Massasoit said. "Are you sure that isn't spelled S-A-N-T-A C-L-A-U-S?"
"I don't think Santa Claus has been invented yet, but I am sure God wants us to have all of the things our hearts yearn for," Carver said. "It was getting a little crowded back there in Europe, and the shortage of things was making it hard to worship properly."
"You say all of your plans are in order," Massasoit said. "Forgive my seeming impertinence, but if you are following Columbus' advice, you can see how we'd be a little suspicious. After all, he missed his destination by about 12,000 miles. How can I be sure you haven't messed up on other things? How do I know you won't spread out, build a bunch of cities, invent cars and airplanes and trash up the countryside? And what about those blunderbusses you are carrying? You know we have ordinances protecting buffalo and other native wildlife. Couldn't those guns be dangerous? I mean, weapons that explode, couldn't they change everything?"
"Trust me," Carver said. "We have only the best of intentions. We wouldn't harm a fly or change anything. As to this gun, forget it. We'll just do a little hunting, just a little meat for the table. Your buffalo are safe. You don't have to worry about a thing. You and your native animals will be safe forever. Trust me."
"Well, all right," Massasoit said. "You can land. I worry a little bit about people who missed India by a couple of continents but, after all, how much damage can 102 people do?"
"Thanks," Carver said as he and the other Pilgrims stepped ashore. "You won't be sorry. Say, we're a little short on grub. Could you help us out?"
"Ever heard of turkey?" Massasoit asked.
I am curious about the photograph and caption on page 11 of the Aug. 12 Pagosa SUN. Are you encouraging tubing in the river at this time?
I am concerned because the river has been very high, fast and potentially dangerous due to the large amount of rain we've had this summer. Also, Wednesday I heard frantic screams from two young girls wearing no life jackets who were tubing in town and struggling to get to the bank. Please let me know if I misunderstood the intent of your message.
Editor's note: No, nor is it advocating father-son ladder crawling (SUN, Aug. 5) across the Piedra River.
Being a victim
I just received my Aug. 12 edition of the SUN. This gives me the excuse to stop working, put on some coffee and see what's happening in a place where I wish I was. Wet Texans, cliff divers, PLPOA wars and of course Levitan vs. Sawicki. Ah, Pagosa. Then a letter to the editor gets my attention. Another victim of crime tells his story. Folks hate to hear about it because they could be next. Once you've been a victim, you get a little wiser, don't you?
Mr. Harry Bowman has now been a victim three times. Mr. Bowman left $10,000 worth of tools sitting overnight at a job site. I wonder if maybe they could have been put in a steel locker or taken home. Giving the officer a list of the tools is good, especially if that included the serial numbers of the equipment or perhaps the name or Social Security numbers that had been engraved on them so they could be identified at some future date. Knowing their value is interesting, but doesn't help much.
Pinning down the time of theft; 6 to 6:30 p.m. is useful, if in fact that is when it occurred. What (the neighbor) Mr. Carl Smith saw may have been anything, according to the letter. Thieves usually wait until most folks go to bed. Was a tag number given? Doubtful. How about any physical descriptions? Nope, guess not according to the letter. There's those unique identifiers again. Judges require them for court, search warrants, etc.
Being a victim hurts all of us. We all have to pay a price. But we all have to do our part to make a thief's work more difficult. Bashing local law enforcement is not the answer. And a little hint on human nature Mr. Bowman. Telling people what their job is and how to do it may be welcomed by "your crew," but most folks don't need your instructions.
Tomorrow, I'll probably wish I hadn't written this, but É
Oklahoma City, Okla.
I have to respond to Cappy White's (Aug. 19) letter to you regarding Pagosa Funeral Options new location. It seems that Mr. White has forgotten that this town is a community first and a tourist trap second. We are all very fortunate to have a funeral home in town and a funeral director who takes on the difficult job each day of dealing with death and grieving loved ones. He is a professional who treats people with respect and sensitivity.
We as a society do not deal with death well. It is uncomfortable and tends to check us out of the reality we enjoy living in. Death can be tragic, but it can also be beautiful and peaceful. Regardless, death will come to each of us at some point and we need people like Louis Day to be there for us and our families.
Pagosa Springs is a community. We should be more concerned with taking care of each other than our aesthetic appearance. What's next? The business next to the nursing home petitioning because their customers might see an old person or how about businesses around a day care petitioning because the kids might be loud and disrupt their shoppers?
If you are walking down the street and see people outside the funeral home, think it not weird or inappropriate to just say, "I'm sorry for your loss" and continue on knowing you made human contact with another person, which is what makes this town a community of caring people.
What a wonderful community we live in. This past Archuleta County Fair I had the pleasure of helping organize our 10th annual Taste of Pagosa.
We felt it was a wonderful success thanks to the wonderful and hard working committee that put in so much time to help make it a wonderful success. I want to thank Susan Hampton, Carrie Toth, Kathy Keys and Stephanie Jones who were always enthusiastic and ready to do whatever it took to make our Taste of Pagosa the great community event that it was.
Thanks so much.
I would like to offer my congratulations to the Archuleta County Fair board and special "kudos" to Sandy Caves and Addie Greer. Our 1999 fair was, as always, a roaring success.
Special thanks to all the fair superintendents who honored me this year with "Super Superintendent." It is a great honor to serve as a volunteer during the county fair. It is also a great pleasure to serve with such a stellar group of willing and cheerful volunteers.
As always, I look forward to next year's county fair.
Several years ago I took up gold prospecting as a hobby. One bit of advice given beginning prospectors is to go where gold has been found before. While I was researching where gold has been found in Colorado, I couldn't help but come across stories about where gold has been lost.
Most of the stories follow similar patterns . . . a hiking or fishing trip, an old cabin or interesting outcropping, bad weather moves in, can never quite locate the same site again. One particular story seriously caught my fancy. In 1968 Henry Gestefield wrote a short work that summarized his research into a 50 year search for a treasure of gold allegedly abandoned by a French expedition in the Weminuche valley. According to the story, the treasure was buried near a flat rock where the shadow of a nearby peak was cast by the morning sun. Rumor has it that the treasure was discovered by a local shepherd in 1914.
I have pondered the story's descriptions for several years and made five hikes into the valley to check my calculations. I don't know if the story is real or if the treasure, if it even ever existed, is still there, but I believe I can accurately locate the site described in the story.
My current plan (best laid plans, you know) is to leave the Poison Park trail head about 8 a.m. Aug. 28. It's about a three to four-hour hike to the site, 900-feet drop in elevation. You and yours are cordially invited. Bring water, snacks, good hiking boots, two or three changes of socks.
This is an open letter to the woman in the dark late 70s model Jeep Wagoneer with the faded paint on the hood, who abducted our dog last Wednesday evening.
You were with a child, maybe 10-12 years old. You found our 10-year-old rottweiler, Tasha, on Rainbow Drive in Pagosa Hills, frightened out of her wits because of a thunderstorm. The child with you, threw her collar with her tags attached out the window of your Jeep after you took Tasha.
A witness saw you and gave a good description of your vehicle, of you and the child in your truck. Tasha is like our child, we don't have any kids, she is our child. She is 10 years old, she is not in the best health, on medication and a special diet. You ripped our family apart by taking what does not belong to you. How would you feel if someone took the child you were with and threw her into a vehicle down the street from your house and drove off, maybe throwing her shoes or jacket out the window?
We are not interested in retribution - just getting our dog back. If you can somehow, somewhere find a conscience and we hope that you can, please . . . take her to the Humane Society or to the San Juan Veterinary Clinic right near where you took Tasha to begin with, and drop her off. No questions asked. We just want our beloved family member back. Do the right thing, before the police find you first.
Tim and Vicky White
Mr. and Mrs. Paul Dean of Pagosa Springs are happy to announce the approaching marriage of their daughter, Crystal Ann, to Mr. Travis Stahr, son of Mr. and Mrs. Tom Stahr, also of Pagosa Springs.
The couple plan to be wed in late August and will reside in Pagosa.
Lisa D. Mitchum
Lisa D. Mitchum of Pagosa Springs was named to the Dean's List at West Texas A&M University for the 1999 spring semester. To be named to the list, Mitchum achieved a grade point average between 3.25 and 3.85 while taking a minimum of 12 undergraduate hours.
Pagosa Springs grad is Santa Fe County 4-H agent
By Sandra Avant
Pagosa Springs High School graduate Christy Lee Bramwell is currently working as a Santa Fe County 4-H agent through New Mexico State University's Cooperative Extension Service.
Bramwell, the daughter of Jim and Sandy Bramwell of Chromo, will provide leadership and guidance to county extension educational programs for 4-H youth, adults and special interest groups and work with community leaders and volunteers in Santa Fe County.
Bramwell attended Northeastern Junior College in Sterling from 1994 to 1996. She earned her bachelor's degree in agricultural and extension education from New Mexico State in 1999.
In 1998, Bramwell served as a communications intern for the New Mexico Beef Council in Albuquerque. She worked in video production and wrote news releases.
"This experience convinced me that I wanted to stay in New Mexico," Bramwell said. "The council is a small agricultural business, and I enjoyed working there."
A fifth generation rancher, Bramwell is no stranger to hard work. "On a ranch, you don't have time to get bored," she said. "We raised mostly cattle and some horses, so there's always something to do."
Bramwell said her new job has the right combination. She gets to work with youth and agriculture. "I want to give as many kids as possible the opportunities I had through 4-H, while expanding and maintaining agriculture projects."
Bramwell's mother was born and raised in Farmington, N.M. Christy's twin brother, Chris, now runs her grandfather's farm there. But it was her father who encouraged her to go to New Mexico State University.
"Dad had heard about NMSU's college of agriculture and home economics and asked me to come down and take a look," she said. "The people were nice. I had warm feelings, and I knew it was where I wanted to attend school."
Bramwell plans to start working on her master's degree this fall. In the meantime, she spends her spare time perfecting her new hobby - team roping. "It's in my blood," she said.
See Front Page.
Memorial services for Dorothy Mae Dutton will be held Saturday, Aug. 28, at the Ertel Memorial Chapel in Cortez at 2 p.m.
Mrs. Dutton, 66, passed away at the family's former summer home east of Pagosa Springs on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 1999. The daughter of Ben and Lola Leavell Caylor, Mrs. Dutton was born May 7, 1933, in Encinitas, Calif. She was a member of the La Plata County Chapter No. 83 of the Order of Eastern Star.
Mrs. Dutton is survived by her husband, Carl R. Dutton of Tucson, Ariz.; four daughters, Sharon McMeen and Cindy Egger and her husband, Don, all of the Virgin Islands, Mickey Dutton of Arizona, and Nanette Chadwick and her husband, Kyle of Cortez; grandchildren, Kim McMeen, Ray Egger and his wife Tiffany, Dawna Cunningham and her husband, Raymond, Heather Chadwick and Kole Chadwick; three great-grandchildren, Kendra McMeen, Dettrick Egger and Barron Cunningham; and a brother and his wife, Kenny and Barbara Caylor of Washington state.
Russell and Vindred Martinez wish to announce the birth of their son, Tristan Dino Martinez, born July 12, 1999, in Durango. He is also welcomed by his big sister Mallorie Godbold.
Tristan Dino's paternal grandparents are Tommy and Juana Martinez and Dan and Josie Brinks, and great-grandmother Mary Martinez, all of Pagosa Springs. His maternal grandparents are Randy and Eva Martinez of Pagosa Springs.
Samantha Free Reed
Morgan and Shea Reed are proud to announce the birth of their daughter Samantha Free Reed who was born Tuesday, Aug. 3, 1999, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She weighed 6 pounds, 9.9 ounces and was 20-inches long.
Samantha Free's maternal grandparents are Margaret and Bill Rouke of Pagosa Springs.
August already has rainfall record
By John M. Motter
A new August record for rainfall in Pagosa Country was established this past week when 1.26 inches of rain fell. From Aug. 1 through Aug. 24, 5.59 inches of rain have fallen. The old record was 5.36 inches set in 1993. The new record is unofficial.
The new compilation was made by comparing current precipitation measurements with records maintained since 1939 by the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The official local measurement station is located at Stevens Field.
A few August days remain during which the record could stretch, but the monsoon season might be winding down, according to Jim Pringle, a U.S. Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.
"Don't expect much change through the coming weekend," Pringle said. "Look for a 20 percent chance of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms."
High temperatures could range from the upper 70s to the low 80s through Friday, according to Pringle. By Saturday and Sunday, temperatures could drop a few degrees, influenced by a low pressure trough expected to move in from the Pacific Northwest.
"The trough should move across northern California, northern Nevada and Utah, and then swing north across Wyoming," Pringle said. "By the middle of next week, it could push the monsoon air flows east of the Rocky Mountains. The trough contains cooler air and if it dips low enough, it could bring moisture to the area, so it might look like the monsoon pattern, even if it isn't."
In Pagosa Country, the monsoon weather has brought a total of 8.87 inches of precipitation from July 1 through August 24. That is the second highest reading of record for those two months during any one year. The highest reading occurred during 1957 when 5.78 inches of precipitation were measured during July and 3.59 inches measured during August for a combined total of 9.37 inches.
During 1957, the annual precipitation was 33.86 inches, compared with a long time annual average precipitation of 19.37 inches. Precipitation for 1957 is the most recorded in Pagosa Springs for one year since record keeping started in 1938. During 1958, the following year, only 16.75 inches of precipitation were recorded. The total precipitation for 1999 through Aug. 24 is 18.37 inches.
The average August precipitation measurement in Pagosa Country is 2.52 inches, the highest average for any month of the year. The most precipitation ever measured during one month, however, was in October of 1972 when 7.8 inches of precipitation was recorded. Six inches of snow fell during that October. This pushed the record month of January 1957 when 7.79 inches of precipitation were recorded. Snowfall measured that January totaled 108.9 inches.
Snow is melted in order to measure its precipitation equivalent. The ratio is normally about 10 or 12 inches of snow to one inch of precipitation.
Meanwhile, rain fell on five of seven days last week from Aug. 18 through Aug. 24. The heaviest rainfall came Friday when 0.63 inches were measured.
Temperatures ranged from a high of 79 degrees measured Aug. 18 to a low of 48 degrees measured Aug. 24. Daytime highs were remarkably constant, moving from 74 degrees through 79 degrees every day except Aug. 20, when the thermometer dropped to 64 degrees. Nighttime lows were also very uniform, ranging from 51 degrees Friday to 47 degrees on Saturday. The difference between the average high of 75 degrees and the average low of 49 degrees was 26 degrees.