Commissioners hammer out decision on Crabtree's gavel
By John M. Motter
Commissioner Gene Crabtree's new $45 gavel attracted considerable notice at this week's regular meeting of county commissioners.
Crabtree is chairman of the board of county commissioners and presides over meetings. He took it upon himself to purchase and use a gavel, an implement and practice not seen recently in commissioner meetings. Fellow Commissioners Gene Fox and Bill Downey made Crabtree aware of their displeasure at his unilateral action.
"Our meetings have historically been non-authoritarian," Fox said. "Is this gavel really needed?"
"I bought it with my own money," Crabtree said. "It is for our use and for planning commission meetings. I don't see why not (it is needed). This subject is open for discussion."
"My understanding of the past philosophy is that we don't use a gavel," said Downey. "We didn't authorize its purchase. If you feel it is necessary, so be it."
"Is this another area we should have talked over beforehand?" said Fox. "This is a change and we should have done it as a board."
"I thought it would serve a useful purpose," Crabtree said. "We're on a higher level than we used to be. I've never served on a board without a gavel. Unless I am voted down I will continue to use the gavel."
No gavel vote was called for.
County Manager Dennis Hunt is still negotiating contract terms with Arapahoe County, where he has been offered a position as county administrator. According to Hunt, he should learn by next week if he has a new job or not. If hired by Arapahoe County, he expects to report for work on the new assignment March 6. He will remain at the helm in Archuleta County during the interim period.
Even as Hunt prepares to leave, the county took steps to replace him. By unanimous vote the commissioners agreed to take steps to find a replacement.
"I don't think we should rush into this real fast," said Crabtree. "Let's take time and evaluate our roles as commissioners. After all, we're paid the big bucks. Times have moved on. We need to involve the department heads and county attorney in this process. It sounds like Dennis (Hunt) had a lot to do. Maybe that's why he went to the hospital (for a pre-existing heart condition). Maybe we need to redefine the county manager's job."
Last week Crabtree suggested that the commissioners should consider running the county themselves in lieu of hiring a new manager.
"I agree we don't have to be in a big hurry," said Downey. "We don't even have a vacancy yet. Still, when the vacancy occurs, starting now gives us a leg up to get started."
There seems to be unanimous agreement among the commissioners that all elected officials and the county attorney should be involved in the replacement process.
PLPOA law enforcement
Under the "old business" agenda heading, the commissioners discussed with members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association the possibility of a contract between the county and the PLPOA for law enforcement provision in the Fairfield Pagosa area.
Agreement was reached to talk about a contract, but no agreement was reached as to the terms of the contract.
Downey said he could find nothing in the Colorado Revised Statutes allowing a government agency to enter a contract with a private agency to provide the private agency with its own law enforcement arm. The formation of a law enforcement authority seems to be the best solution for the problem, according to Downey.
The commissioners said that they regard only the state attorney general as an authority concerning the legality of the proposed contract.
During the past year the PLPOA has operated a five-member Public Safety office under the auspices of the Archuleta County sheriff. The sheriff commissioned the PSO officers as reserve Level 3 deputies and supervised their activity. During December last, the legality of the arrangement was questioned. In response, Undersheriff Russell Hebert suspended PSO authority to undertake criminal law enforcement unless directly supervised by a sheriff's deputy, town policeman, state highway trooper, or other Level I law enforcement officers.
The PLPOA directors subsequently approached the county with a proposed contract they felt would solve the problems. The county has questioned the proposed contract, arguing that certain provisions do not transfer absolute authority of the officers from the PLPOA to the county.
Tuesday's statement by Downey recommending the formation of a law enforcement authority tends to define the latest county position, although no votes have been taken on the matter. The county agreed to continue to talk, but urged the PLPOA to reach tentative terms with the sheriff, then bring their joint proposal back to the county commissioners.
In other business the commissioners:
- Agreed to pay Mark Garcia $20 an hour to review building plans submitted to the county building inspection department, which currently has no building inspector. Garcia's employment by the county is part time, is in addition to his town employment as planner/building inspector, is not intended to interfere with Garcia's ability to perform his town duties and has town approval.
- Granton Bartz and Marti Gallo were appointed to the Archuleta County Fair board. The 15-member board still has three vacancies.
- Judy James was appointed to the Archuleta Housing Authority board of directors. Two openings remain on that board.
- Approval was given to a 3.2 beer license renewal for the Piedra Store.
- Approval was given to pay Mike Branch for certain street improvements in the Greenbriar Drive Local Improvement District. The money is to be taken from Fairfield bankruptcy settlement funds and will pay a portion of the Greenbriar costs.
- A monthly progress report was given by Erlinda Gonzalez, director of Archuleta County Social Services.
PLPOA doors revolving again
By Roy Starling
Changes in the president's and general manager's positions highlighted last Thursday's regular monthly meeting of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors.
Pat Curtis's resignation from the presidency was announced, and the board voted to replace him with Director Rod Preston. Contacted yesterday by the SUN, Curtis declined to cite any reasons for his resignation.
Also at Thursday's meeting, acting General Manager Bill Watts of Colorado Management and Associates Inc. asked the board "whether they'd rather have the general manager be a PLPOA employee," and the directors elected to pursue that possibility.
Watts told the SUN Wednesday that, after the resignation of some key staff members last summer, "the association had a transition to go through. Now that the transition is complete, I wondered if the board would rather have a PLPOA employee as general manager and continue to pay Colorado Management for all services other than what the general manager would provide."
Watts said Colorado Management would "continue to provide consulting for the general manager and the board and we'd decrease our fee substantially. The board members have voted to pursue that direction and they're in the preliminary stages of discussing the requirements and salary of a new general manager."
DOW to release 50 more lynx
By John M. Motter
As many as 50 more lynx will be planted in the Southern Rockies of Colorado this coming April and May, according to a news release from the Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW).
Last winter, 41 lynx were released in the same area. Plans to release additional lynx this winter hinged on a DOW analysis of the success of last year's releases, and approval from the Colorado Wildlife Commission.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission approved DOW plans to release an additional 50 lynx at their Jan. 13 meeting. The commission's decision was based on an analysis of last year's effort prepared by the DOW.
"We've learned a great deal from the first year and we will build on that knowledge as we continue with the recovery effort," said Rick Kahn, a DOW biologist and member of the agency's recovery team. "The lynx team met in December and our unanimous recommendation is to continue with the second year of the releases."
The purpose of the lynx releases is to restore lynx populations in areas DOW experts believe lynx formerly lived.
Several of last year's lynx were pregnant when they were released, according to Todd Malmsbury, a public affairs specialist with the DOW. There is no evidence that any of the females delivered kittens, or that surviving kittens exist.
"They were very active, moved around a great deal," Malmsbury said. "Females who are about to mother litters usually settle down. Those females in the South San Juans are settling down now and we expect they will reproduce this year."
Last year, starting in February, 41 lynx were released at various sites stretching from near Creede on the east to Vallecito Reservoir on the west. Four of the first five lynx released starved to death. Therefore the DOW changed its management pattern by holding the lynx longer before releasing them and by delaying the releases until additional food sources become available later in the spring.
Following the change, 37 of the lynx adapted to the new environment. The DOW is now tracking 19 lynx released last year, according to Kahn. Another seven animals, including six males, may have moved outside of the monitoring area and another with a malfunctioning radio collar hasn't been located in more than two months.
In addition, 15 animals have died; six from starvation, three from gunshot wounds, two struck by vehicles on state highways, and four where the cause is unknown, but starvation is ruled out.
The DOW lynx recovery program is the latest of a century-long effort to restore Colorado's native species. Elk, bighorn sheep, native cutthroat trout, river otters, wild turkeys, Rio Grande suckers and peregrine falcons are among the species the DOW has restored to the state.
Durango center saves locals time, money
By Karl Isberg
If it does nothing else, the opening of a juvenile detention center at Durango will save the taxpayers of Archuleta County money and local detention officers a great deal of time.
Following a grand opening last week, the 28-bed Robert DeNier Youth Services Center was ready for business on Jan. 18. The center is named for former state Senator Bob DeNier, of Durango. Current state Senator Jim Dyer, D-Durango, was a sponsor of legislation that provided funding for construction of the building.
Prior to the opening of the $3.3 million DeNier Center, a youngster sent to a detention facility by courts or other official agencies in Archuleta County was transported to a facility at Grand Junction. Youngsters are remanded to a juvenile detention facility in cases where they are deemed a danger to the community or to themselves.
Youngsters detained at the Grand Junction facility required additional transport to Archuleta County or to district court in Durango, then back to Grand Junction, each time they were scheduled for court appearances.
Young people (ages 12 to 19) in trouble with the law in Archuleta County, can now be sent to the 16,000-square-foot Durango facility for up to 60 days while they await trial. Youthful offenders ages 14 to 19 can be detained at the facility after trial for more than two years.
According to Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards, the proximity of the new juvenile detention center will result in "considerable savings." Richards said he is "pleased this new facility is open," and added "it is long overdue."
Richards referred to figures provided by Capt. Mencor Valdez, who heads jail operations for the sheriff's department. Archuleta County jail personnel are responsible for the transportation of all prisoners, including juveniles, and have, for years, made trips between Pagosa Springs and Grand Junction, and between Durango and Grand Junction with young offenders and suspects. "We've averaged $528 per transfer, round trip," said Richards. "With a facility in Durango, I expect to trim at least $400 from that price tag."
Valdez said his staff can figure on at least 22 trips to and from a juvenile detention facility each year - with the expense for many of the trips shared with the La Plata County Sheriff's Department when one agency or the other provides personnel and equipment for transport of prisoners from both counties.
According to Valdez, transfers of juveniles from Pagosa Springs to Grand Junction by motor vehicle required two jailers to handle the trip. He said as many transfers as possible were made using a plane hired from a Durango flying service. That mode of transport, said Valdez, required only one jailer and was somewhat cheaper than ground transport.
Regardless of the mode of transport, said Richards, the taxpayers of the county will realize a savings figured in the thousands of dollars each year now that the DeNier Center is open.
Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the DeNier Center last week and was impressed with the facility. His department processes an average eight juvenile felony cases each year, requiring detention of most of the suspects and transport by the Archuleta County jailers.
"The new facility at Durango is a much needed facility whose time has come," said the chief. "I'm glad to see it up and running. It will save many hours and many tax dollars given over to transportation in the past. Time will tell what other value it has for us here in Pagosa."
Former resident passes away
Bertha Connelley, 91 of Cañon City passed away Jan. 15, 2000, at the Hildebrand Care Center.
Mrs. Connelley was born Oct. 24, 1908, in Ogala, Neb., to Frank and Ruby Smith.
She came to Colorado with her parents in a covered wagon when she was a very small child. She spent most of her life in southwest Colorado. She met her husband in Bayfield, and they were married Dec. 2, 1925. The Connelleys lived in the Pagosa Springs area for most of their life together where they were very active in the community. Mrs. Connelley was very proud to be an active member of the Rebekah's of Pagosa Springs for many years where she held every office in the club. She was still a member at the time of her death.
In the early 1970s Mrs. Connelley and her husband moved to Zapata, Texas, for Rueben's health. In 1989 she moved to Cañon City where she resided until her death.
She is survived by a sister-in-law, Marge Smith of Pueblo, and many nieces and nephews.
Mrs. Connelley was preceded in death by her husband Reuben Connelley and one son, Donald Connelley. Her parents, three brothers and five sisters also preceded her in death.
She was loved and will be greatly missed by her family and many friends.
Graveside services will be at the Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs, Saturday, Jan. 29, at 1 p.m.
Summer may give way to snow Sunday
By John M. Motter
Summery might be the best description of Pagosa Country weather this past week. The only moisture in town was a trace of rain Monday night. Daytime highs floated between 44 and 54 degrees. Lows dipped to 12 degrees Jan. 12, but then climbed to 35 at 7:40 a.m. Tuesday, possibly the warmest low temperature ever recorded during January in town.
Two snowfall opportunities present themselves this coming week, according to Gina Loss, a weather forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"There is a slight chance, maybe a 30 percent chance, for snow Friday," Loss said, "followed by mostly cloudy skies Saturday, a slight chance of rain or snow Sunday, and a good chance for a real winter storm setting in Monday."
A high-pressure ridge over the western United States and centered just east of the Utah-Colorado border is preventing moisture from reaching Pagosa Country, according to Loss. A slight, western flow disturbance might reach Pagosa Country Friday and Sunday. Most of the Pacific moisture is being shunted north across Montana before it is allowed to drop south into the Plains states.
Meanwhile, disturbances to the north could break down the high pressure ridge allowing a disturbance loaded with moisture to reach Pagosa Country Monday, according to Loss.
"You're still under La Niña conditions," Loss said, "just like last year. There is plenty of winter left for you to receive snow."
So far this month, only 13 and one-half inches of snow have been recorded in town. Average January snowfall amounts to 27.5 inches. During January 1957, 108 inches of snow dropped on the town. During January 1986, only 0.8 inches of snow were measured.
Music Boosters present Ft. Lewis faculty in concert
By Karl Isberg
A special evening of musical entertainment will take place in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium on Saturday, Jan. 22, as the Fort Lewis faculty presents a concert at 7:30 p.m. in conjunction with the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters.
The concert is being held to raise funds to allow the Music Boosters to reimburse members John and Ann Graves for money they advanced to purchase a conservatory grand piano for the school. The Music Boosters will repay the Graves with funds from this and other events planned for the future.
Saturday's concert features performances by seven members of the Fort Lewis College music faculty. They will perform pieces written by Schumann, Brahms, Bach, Mozart, and others.
Included in the program will be pianist Ying Liu, cellist Katherine Tischhauser, clarinetist Mark Walters, trumpeter Tim Farrell, percussionist John Pennington, flutist Rochelle Mann, and soprano vocalist Linda Mack. The concert marks the first-ever use of the new piano in a local performance.
The program performed at the high school auditorium on Jan. 22 will be repeated the next weekend at a conference at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.
Adult tickets for the concert are $10. School district band and choir students can receive free tickets from their instructors. Tickets for all other students are $5. Tickets are available at the door the evening of the concert.
Commissioners explain choice of county attorney
By John M. Motter
On Jan. 3, the county commissioners hired Mary Weiss as county attorney, replacing Larry Holthus. Holthus has been county attorney since 1984. The vote to hire Weiss was unanimous.
Before hiring Weiss, the county invited proposals from any interested attorneys. They received proposals from Weiss, Holthus and Goldman, Robbins and Rogers, L.L.P. of Durango. Weiss and Holthus practice law in Pagosa Springs.
Weiss' proposal appears to ask for significantly more money than that of Holthus, violating the usual practice of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder. In fact, the Weiss proposal may not cost the county more than Holthus, according to two of the three county commissioners.
"It looks as if Weiss' proposal is a lot higher than Holthus' proposal, but the numbers are deceptive," said Commissioner Bill Downey. "We think the numbers on all of the proposals will come out about the same by the end of the year.
Weiss' contract specifies a monthly retainer of $3,500 for general county government and a monthly retainer of $1,500 for Archuleta County Department of Social Services.
Also contained in Weiss' contract are fees billed at an hourly rate. According to the contract, "In addition, services for litigation, preparation of some contracts or documents depending on scope and complexity, or required court proceedings shall be at a rate of $90 per hour for attorney time, and $45 per hour for legal time." Litigation time shall include travel time at $45 per hour plus travel expenses.
The county shall pay for membership meetings including expenses, fees, and dues while attending county-related conferences, and in the Colorado County Attorneys Association, according to provisions in Weiss' contract.
Weiss is paying for a $1 million professional liability insurance policy.
The proposal submitted by Holthus specifies a retainer of $1,500 per month for general services plus $65 per hour for specialized work. Holthus asked for no retainer for Social Services activities, but proposed an hourly rate of $65 for all Social Services work.
Until asked for the new proposal, Holthus had received a retainer of $1,500 per month for general county work, $1,300 per month for Social Services work, $40 an hour for special county work, and $65 per hour for special Social Services work.
A third proposal was received from Goldman, Robbins, and Rogers LLP, a Durango firm. That firm proposed an hourly rate of $100 per hour. No retainer was proposed, but the firm suggested a retainer might be developed after the firm has some experience working with the county. The firm of Goldman, Robbins, and Rogers is the La Plata County attorney.
The Durango firm's proposal was dismissed by Downey, who said, "We want to hire a local firm."
"It's time for a change," Downey said Jan. 3 when the commissioners voted to accept Weiss' proposal. The other commissioners, Gene Crabtree and Ken Fox, echoed Downey's statement.
After reviewing the three proposals, the commissioners negotiated a contract with Weiss in executive session. Terms of the contract were announced at the Jan. 3 meeting. Conditions of Holthus' proposal and of the Durango firm were not announced at the Jan. 3 meeting.
When asked this week about the huge apparent difference between Weiss' proposal and that of Holthus, Commissioner Fox replied, "We analyzed last year's attorney fees as submitted by Holthus. It appears to us that Weiss intends to include activities under her retainer that Holthus charged for at an hourly rate. We think by the end of the year that her proposal won't cost us any more than Holthus' proposal."
Weiss' contract will be reviewed this coming April to see if the billings are working out as hoped for by both parties to the contract.
1999 in review: July through December
A new public bus service went into operation on July 6 in Archuleta County. A 16-passenger bus began making rounds, picking up and leaving local residents at 12 stops. The public transit service was the work of the Archuleta County commission, the Archuleta County Department of Social Services and the Archuleta County Senior Citizens.
After nearly 20 years of speculation and rumors, the Great Pagosa Hot Spring property finally changed owners. The 20-acre tract of land on Hot Springs Boulevard on which the spring is located was sold by an 11-person group and was purchased by Pagosa Springs Inc. and its principals Bill Dawson and Matt Mees, owners of the adjacent Spring Inn property. At the time of the sale, Mees said the new owners would make efforts to clean the spring. They made good on the promise with a project in December designed to remove mud that had collected in the spring over the years.
The rains fell on Pagosa Country in July, nearly doubling the average rainfall for the month. Total rainfall during one week of the month was 1.45 inches, nearly equaling the monthly average of 1.6 inches. By July 20, 2.12 inches of rain had fallen in the area and by month's end, the total rainfall was measured at 3.28 inches. As of the end of July the total yearly rainfall to date was 15.5 inches - far above the yearly average of 9.79 inches.
Bears were back in force during August, as the furry forest fun lovers went in search of food and fat for the upcoming winter. Colorado Division of Wildlife officials noted the number of human-bear contacts were the highest in a decade. Bears roamed residential areas in search of goodies, driven out of the forests by a lack of natural foods. The influx of hungry bears led DOW officials to issue cautions concerning use of bird feeders and outdoor grills as well as advice on proper disposal of trash and garbage.
The town of Pagosa Springs annexed 10 tracts of land on Aug. 24, all of the tracts contiguous to the westerly town boundaries. New to the town were two tracts located on the south side of U.S. 160, across the highway from the Pagosa Springs Golf Club. A tract occupied by the Fairfield Communities Inc. timeshare office on Piñon Causeway was annexed as were the tracts on the northwest corner of Piñon Causeway and Village Drive occupied by tennis courts and the Fairfield Activities Center. Pieces of land at the intersection of Village Drive and Talisman Drive, and on Village Drive and Eaton Drive west of that intersection also became part of the town.
Heavy August rains eclipsed the monthly average of 2.32 inches when a new record 7.48 inches dropped during the month. By the end of August, Pagosa Country had received 20.26 inches of rain, far more than the amount of 12.31 inches falling from January through August in an average year.
Pagosa Springs trustees passed an ordinance designated as a "protective measure" and designed to take Pagosa Springs voters to the polls in the event the town's share of the total 4 percent county-wide sales tax is put in jeopardy by impending court decisions.
According to the ordinance, voters living within town limits would go to the polls in either November 1999, or April 2000, if "the existing county sales tax is repealed, invalidated, readopted or expires in whole or in part greater than 1 percent." The voters would then determine whether or not the town would institute a town sales tax "not to exceed 3 percent."
The action was taken in response to a possible Colorado Supreme Court decision on an appeal relating to a long-standing legal battle that began when the Archuleta County Road Users Association sought to put a ballot issue before county voters seeking approval of a 75-25 split in the total 4 percent county sales tax between county and town respectively. That tax is now divided 50-50 between the two entities.
A controversial Colorado Division of Wildlife program to reintroduce the lynx to Colorado wilderness areas was endorsed by the Colorado Wildlife Commission and given a year's extension. As of the time of the extension, 4 of 10 lynx released the previous year between South Fork and Creede had died.
The U.S. Forest Service gave final approval to plans to construct a new quad-chair ski lift at Wolf Creek Ski Area. The 5,243-foot long Alberta Lift was completed later in the year, with a 1,100-foot vertical rise and a capacity to serve 1,800 skiers per hour.
The Lady Pirate cross country team finished its best season in the 16-year history of the program, with a second-place finish at the Class 3A state meet in Denver. The Ladies won 5 of 10 meets during the season and added a regional championship to the list of their accomplishments.
Local school officials expressed concern about edicts issued by the Colorado Department of Education requiring specified performances on the Colorado State Assessment Test by students in District 50 Joint schools. Those officials were slightly dismayed by the latest test scores recorded by local students but were encouraged by progress in two areas: the number of Hispanic students improving their test scores and the overall reduction in unsatisfactory scores. District administrators and faculty members questioned the ability of the tests to accurately gauge reading and writing skills and whether the state is putting too much emphasis on the testing of students in grades 3 through 11. The state has indicated that school districts have three years to increase the number of students scoring at the proficiency level or above by at least 25 percent. Districts must demonstrate progress until at least 80 percent of the students tested in the district meet the proficiency standard. Failure to meet the requirements, says the state, will entail sanction of a district.
Pagosa Springs High School athletic teams finished successful fall sports seasons.
The Pirate football players won the Intermountain League championship with a 5-0 league record and advanced to the first round of the Class 3A playoffs where they lost to eventual state champ Fort Morgan.
Lady Pirate volleyball players posted a 20-6 record, going undefeated in IML play and winning the district championship before being eliminated at the regional tournament.
On the soccer pitch, the Pirates forged a successful season which ended in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs in Denver.
Pirate golfers finished 16th in team competition at the regional qualifying tournament.
Voters went to the polls in November in Archuleta County and 57.4 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the Archuleta County commission retaining and spending revenues in excess of TABOR limits, for an unlimited number of years.
A library district ballot issue asking for the right to keep and spend excess revenues passed by a vote of 1,854 to 422.
Three incumbent members of School District 50 Joint board of education were returned to the board by local voters. Randall Davis was elected to represent District 1; Russ Lee returned to represent District 2; and Carol Feazel received voter approval in District 3.
A wet summer turned into a dry autumn in Pagosa Country. A prolonged dry spell through September, October and November prompted Archuleta County Sheriff Tom Richards to enact an open fire ban in November. While 1.47 inches of snow fell on downtown Pagosa Springs on Nov. 22, with four inches dropping on Wolf Creek Pass, the average daily temperature of 54 degrees made accumulation of the white stuff an impossibility.
The Year 2000 budget for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District listed a $2.9 million upgrade of the Vista wastewater treatment plant. The planned upgrade will increase the capacity of the plant from 1.35 million gallons per day to 2 million gallons per day, with expected financing generated by revenue bonds (which are not voter approved). The district also announced plans for construction of a new water treatment plant near the Vista site, with major work set to begin in the spring of 2000.
Snow conditions were marginal throughout the region during December. Wolf Creek Ski Area reported a base of 10 inches on Dec. 28, with the last reported accumulation of snow on Dec. 14. Despite the lack of snow, more than 900 skiers traveled to the area on Dec. 28. Forecasters predicted a chance for snow as the year ended, but you will have to read the "Year in Review" for the year 2000 to find out if they were correct.
Local officials finalized plans to deal with possible Y2K problems as the century ended. Town, county and utility employees, as well as numerous officials, were set to man communications centers as of 10 p.m. on Dec. 31. A special County Communications Center was established at the county courthouse, with links to mobile radio and ham radio stations throughout the county in case emergency communications were required.
Sales tax revenues for 1999 set a new yearly record before the final month of the year. It was reported that $3,888,740 in sales tax revenues were collected in Archuleta County through the month of November, 1999. This amount exceeds the previous yearly record of $3,719,235, set in 1998. There was $312,226 in revenue collected in December of 1998 and, using that amount to estimate the December 1999 collections, local officials speculated that the 1999 total could exceed $4 million.
Archuleta County is subject to a 7 percent sales tax, 3 percent of which goes to the State of Colorado. The remaining 4 percent is divided equally between Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs. Archuleta County sales tax revenues go to three funds: the general fund, the road and bridge fund and the road improvement fund. Town proceeds are dedicated to capital improvement projects.
Sales tax income sets new record
By John M. Motter
Sales taxes paid in Archuleta County reached an all-time high in 1999. The 1999 total is $4,193,256, a 12.75 percent increase over the 1998 total of $1,859,479. The year 1998 was also a record year.
Even with the new record, December sales tax collections for 1999 were 2.47 percent lower than sales tax collections for December 1998.
"Remember that the December report is based on November sales," said County Manager Dennis Hunt, "so the lack of snow this year may not be the reason December sales are off. January receipts could be affected by the lack of snow."
Sales tax receipts are directly proportional to retail sales. They are, therefore, regarded as a good device for measuring the health of a local economy. Increased sales tax receipts mean increased sales. Increased sales generally indicate a healthy and growing economy.
This year's growth rate of 12.75 percent is less than last year's growth rate of 15.37 percent.
The best three months for sales tax collections during 1999 were October, August and July. October collections were $469,988, August collections $443,258 and July collections $419,459.
The worst three months were February, May and March. February collections were $199,876, May collections $226,484 and March collections $308,276.
Sales taxes collected in Archuleta county are divided 50-50 between the county and the town. Approximately 90 percent of sales tax collections are made in town because that is where a majority of the retail businesses are located.
The county's portion, $2,096,628, is divided among three funds. For the year, the road improvement fund received $1,048,314, the general fund $838,651 and the road and bridge fund $209,663. All of the town's portion, $2,096,628, is devoted to capital improvement projects.
Colorado law requires that voters within the taxing entity approve sales tax rates before the tax can be levied. In Archuleta County, sales taxes amount to 7 percent on certain retail sales. Of that amount, 4 percent is retained locally and 3 percent goes to the state.
Not long ago, in the San Luis Valley, many newcomers settled into the vast unregulated subdivisions. These modern pioneers found an untamed frontier with freedom to do whatever they pleased. Their Wild West dreams came true because earlier settlers and their descendants had protected that freedom.
What the long-timers didn't anticipate was loss of their own freedom to protect the aspects of life they held dear. Because they waited too long, the tables turned. The newcomers rejected limits to their new-found freedoms. Our neighbors, out numbered, faced a new reality and now live with their regrets.
Think back a year, five, 10, 20 years or longer. What has impacted your quality of life for better or worse?
Imagine the raised eyebrows when expanding and wannabe business owners note our booming growth in Census 2000 data.
Our county, second fastest growing in the U.S., potentially faces a doubled population in 2020 if this growth rate continues.
Two assumptions can be made if this trend continues or escalates. Major development will occur to accommodate growth, and various aspects of rural county life will be irreversibly altered. We must decide if this is desirable.
1. Think about your life today. Picture yourself, family, friends, neighbors, even tourists, in your extended neighborhood - working, commuting, shopping, socializing, recreating, etc. Envision next year, five, 10 , 20 years from now. Note what makes your daydream pleasant/unpleasant.
2. Consider this quote: "With so many people moving here, we stand at a crossroads. If we do not pull together to preserve some of the garden we've been granted, while still valuing each others' differences and respecting property rights, we could go the way of other unplanned, overcrowded communities . . . we need to focus on common values and goals, and to refrain from dividing ourselves into 'pro-development' and 'protectionist' camps . . . it takes a spirit of love, discipline and sacrifice to change direction. If we don't take action now, we and subsequent generations will pay the price later in a diminished quality of life." - Jack W. Ekin, 1996, regarding Colorado's Front Range.
3. We're blessed with an extraordinary opportunity. At our crossroads, we still have choices. Master planners, contracted by the county, will visit with us, listening to every voice that speaks of visions for Archuleta County. Every dreamer is entitled to their dreams, and the planners know every dream is important. Their experience will guide us through foggy areas where one person's dream is another's nightmare. They'll help us explore the common ground where unified dreams can become reality. Our guides will map our probable futures to show us what life could be like on various paths. God willing, we'll make the best choices.
This important vision quest begins in your neighborhood in February. Wake up and participate. Don't sleep through it while special-interest groups map your future. Make your dreams come true.
P.S. I am a member of the Vision Committee and also the Community Plan Steering Committee (northwest county member).
As a native of southwest Colorado, I am often appalled by what poor planning, undirected growth and a lack of vision for what southwest Colorado could have become has done to one of the most scenic regions in the world. Not the least of this is the unsightliness around Pagosa Springs, not that many years ago a town with the wisdom to nestle on the floor of the San Juan River Valley, but now sprawled west half way to Bayfield.
How sad that Pagosa could have grown in a way that would have preserved the region's scenic beauty and saved taxpayers the cost inevitable to providing infrastructure and fire and police protection to poorly planned, strip development.
That said, I would like to close with a word of advice to your local businesses: Please spare those of us living in northern New Mexico of your handiwork.
To the inn with the enormous billboard at the once-scenic junction of N. M. 84-64, to the sandwich shop with a billboard near Chama, to other businesses with these eyesores along N.M. 84, rest assured that ours is one New Mexico family that will never, ever darken your doorways or spend one penny at your businesses.
Los Alamos, N.M.
The 2000 presidential primary in Colorado is Friday, March 10. The last day to register to vote or change party affiliation is Thursday, Feb. 10. Unaffiliated voters may affiliate with a party at the polls.
Since the presidential election is the biggest event in American politics, the League of Women Voters of Archuleta County has put two copies of "Choosing the President: A Citizen's Guide to the 2000 Election" in the Ruby Sisson Library and one with the civics teacher at Pagosa Springs High School.
Here is a thorough, voter friendly and completely nonpartisan guide book to the players and events in this national high-stakes drama, and the lead role in this drama belongs to the American voter.
The book directs you to credible political websites, helps to evaluate media coverage, gives information on campaign funding and tactics (money talks), and how to get the most from the debates, conventions, polls and advertisements.
From the early jockeying and straw polls to the final tally on Election Day 2000, choosing the next president is an exciting, sometimes bewildering, and important process. Take some time to gain a better understanding of what's involved as this is your opportunity to shape this country's future and have a say on important issues that affect your life.
Voter Services Chairman
I just joined the nouveau rich of the new millennium. No, I didn't win the Reader's Digest sweepstakes. Something better - my county tax notice. The tax appraiser informs me that my hovel and scrap-lumber hay sheds are worth almost a quarter of a million dollars, roughly ten times their actual cost.
Now that the surgeons have patched up my tummy, I was planning on motoring up to the thriving metropolis of Pagosa and savoring one of those 10 dollar, 10 second, microwave hamburgers that Isberg raves about in his gourmet food column. But after paying my property taxes, I think I'll forgo the trip to the big city.
Of course, I could sell out, assuming I can find an idiot buyer and judging from what I read in the SUN, they seem to be in ample supply. Then I could quit grubbing in the dirt and move up to Fairfield and lobby the county commissioners to increase the sheriff's budget by a few million in order to hire a dozen more deputies to patrol the area. Thereby assuring that the citizens have no signs, RVs or dogs in their yards.
And now that I'm rich, I think the county should hire a few dozen more wildlife officers to protect the terrified citizens of Pagosa from the wild beasts of the forest.
The more I look into the proposed Jackson Mountain Timber Cut, the worse it looks:
1. It invades old growth forest with new road building, contrary to what I understood to be national forest policy. Forest road building, with which I am familiar, typically results in erosion, land slumps, and siltation of streams.
2. It proposes to cut ponderosa pine. Since a scant 5 percent of our native ponderosa forest remains, not one more tree should be killed.
As a whole, it seems such a massive program of timber removal and road construction, about 15 miles of new and reconstructed roads, will have an enormous effect on the wildlife. In fact, the biological integrity of the area is more valuable as a scientific study area than as a tree farm.
A full E.I.S. (environmental impact statement) should be required for such a large alteration of the landscape under Forest Service stewardship. The days of putting commodity production first in forest planning must stop.
At Last Ranch
We live in the PLPOA area. The work that was done on the roads in the area was long overdue, but is appreciated. It opened up many areas that were heretofore almost completely unavailable. That was a job well done. However, we take issue with what has happened to Vista Boulevard. It was paved, in poor condition I admit, but now since it was torn up and resurfaced if you will, it is in worse condition now and becomes increasingly more of an abomination than it was when paved. Why it was left in this condition we do not know, but surely someone should have the answer to those of us who use Vista all the time.
While on the subject of the PLPOA, the recent (Jan. 16) letter to the editor from David E. Bohl was very informative and to the point. Why must we pay twice for something we are being taxed for already? The county and the sheriff's office are gaining and we are paying them twice for services that the sheriff's office must provide. We are in the county, and are on many county roads. Our equipment will be used at the sheriff's discretion and will be used wherever he wishes. Five free vehicles and equipment and we'll probably end up doing the maintenance for them. The (PLPOA) board does not want any input by the property owners. Either way it will cost us $250 Gs, talk about double taxation. Maybe keep the $250 Gs and get rid of the board.
Pay the piper
On Dec. 31, 1999, a self-appointed majority of a board of directors of Ranch Community Property Owners' Association advised Ranch Community lot owners that dues and assessments in year 2000 would total more than $500 per lot. This is in addition to PLPOA dues of $150 per lot (Ranch Community POA is a sub-association of PLPOA, with approximately 85 lots in the subdivision).
Most of the $500 assessment is for expected legal fees. A majority of the Ranch Community board had planned to sue the PLPOA over Fairfield settlement funds recovered by PLPOA. The board majority had also promoted a vote for Ranch Community to secede from PLPOA. The Ranch Community board's proposed lawsuit over settlement funds was to cost $30,000. The attempted secession from PLPOA would have resulted in numerous lien foreclosure suits by PLPOA, during year 2000, against any Ranch Community owners adhering to the secession plan. The secession plan, in the opinion of experienced attorneys, is invalid and could only lead to mass confusion and expense for all involved.
To straighten out this mess, we, as Ranch Community property owners, filed a declaratory judgment legal case in court, asking the court to rule on the settlement fund question and the secession plan, all in one case. This avoided multiple legal cases by getting both PLPOA and RCPOA in one court case where the issues could be settled.
Having created their legal quagmire, which may last for years in the district court and in appellate courts, the Ranch Community board majority's Dec. 31 letter advises property owners that our lawsuit is the reason for these immense future legal costs. The real reasons, however are: No. 1: The majority's attempt to prevent a major portion of Fairfield settlement funds (obtained by PLPOA for the benefit of Ranch Community owners) to be used for paving, even though 80 percent of Ranch Community owners wanted the funds for paving Ranch Community roads, originally promised by Fairfield. No. 2: The plan to secede from PLPOA which would illegally deprive Ranch Community owners of vested property rights in PLPOA recreational amenities including lakes, clubhouses and recreation center facilities.
To those Ranch Community owners who deplore the prospect of being assessed (illegally?) thousands of dollars each for years of litigation, we can only summarize the truth of the old folk tale: "Play with Pied Pipers, and you will pay the price."
Wilma and Gerald Sawatzky
As a past resident of Pagosa Springs for 20 years and a member for eight years as a volunteer fireman and a volunteer bus driver for the Senior Citizen center, I just wanted to say hi to all our friends and wish them a happy and prosperous New Year.
I bring up the SUN each week on my computer to see what's happening there. Sorry to read about Stan Haynes, I knew him, Beverly and Mike quite well.
Mel Pliner firstname.lastname@example.org
Website SUN good
I just discovered your web site, good work. Also mailed a check for subscription. We are snow birds, Florida in the winter, Pagosa for the summer.
Satellite Beach, Fla.
Oscar W. Hazen
Oscar Willet Hazen passed away on Jan. 13, 2000, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango.
Mr. Hazen began his life in St. Helena, Calif., on April 26, 1903, the son of Jessie and Willet Hazen.
He lived in St. Helena with his parents on a small ranch until 1920 when, at the encouragement of his older brother John, he joined the Merchant Marine. He had the opportunity to sail in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans accumulating many stories and memories which he loved to share throughout his later years. Mr. Hazen was also given the opportunity to attend officer's schooling and became commissioned in 1922. Although he truly enjoyed his work and seeing the world, he realized it was not to be his career, so in 1924 he resigned and went to work for Texaco where he remained until 1945 in various sales and administrative positions. During that period, in 1932 he married Vera Howard in Sacramento, Calif. After World War II, the family moved to Monterey Park, Calif., where he began a career in real estate and construction which he continued for over 25 years. In addition to his business activities, Mr. Hazen held many volunteer positions in city government, was president of the chamber of commerce and active in several civic organizations. In 1970, he and his wife moved to Hemet, Calif., where they lived together until Mrs. Hazen's death in 1995. At that time, Mr. Hazen came to Pagosa Springs to live with his son Olin. About six months ago he suffered a stroke and soon after became a resident of Pine Ridge Assisted Living Facility.
Mr. Hazen is survived by his son, Olin Hazen of Pagosa Springs; his grandchildren Chris, Larry, Stephanie and Brad Hazen, all living in California, and Darcy Houghton of Carson City, Nev.; and two great-grandchildren, Angela and Seth Houghton of Carson City. He was preceded in death by his wife Mrs. Vera Hazen and their son Lawrence Hazen.
There will be a memorial service open to the public on Thursday, Jan. 20, at 4 p.m. at Pine Ridge at 119 Bastille Drive, just west of North Pagosa Boulevard.
Tiffany Wiggers' academic performance at Western State College at Gunnison earned her a place on the Dean's List for the fall semester, Jay W. Helman, vice-president for academic affairs announced recently.
A 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, Wiggers served as co-president of the student body her senior year. She is currently a sociology major with an intent to teach children with learning style differences. Wiggers said she attributes her college academic success to her "many wonderful teachers in Pagosa Springs with special thanks to Mr. Mark Thompson, Mrs. (Nancy) Esterbrook and Mr. (Jack) Ellis."
3-0 in IML
Pirates face tough tests in Monte Vista, Del Norte
By John M. Motter
Cushioned by wins over Ignacio, Centauri and Bayfield, the Pagosa Pirates hit the road this weekend for two games that could give them undisputed possession of first place in the Intermountain League.
Going into the weekend the Pirates are 3-0 in IML play and tied with Monte Vista for the league lead. Not given serious consideration to challenge for the league title when the season began, by now Pagosa has to be rated a sleeper to win it all after finishing 6-2 in preseason play and sweeping their first three IML opponents.
Friday night at 5 p.m. Pagosa invades the Tiger's lair at Del Norte where they will try to de-fang all-everything Jake Evig and his companions. Saturday at 2 p.m., Pagosa's Pirates cross swords with the Monte Vista Pirates in a winner-take-all free for all in the Monte Vista gym.
Pagosa coach Kyle Canty has high regard for both opponents. Monte Vista is everybody's favorite to recapture the IML title they won without a loss last year. If Monte stumbles, almost everybody believes Del Norte will move into the winner's circle. Since two teams from the IML advance into the state playoffs, Monte and Del Norte were the preseason choices.
So far, Monte hasn't stumbled in league play, although Ignacio almost pulled off an upset last Saturday. Monte dumped Del Norte Friday, then trailed Ignacio through three quarters Saturday before salvaging a 79-73 win.
"At Del Norte, you have to consider Evig and Richardson," Canty said. "Evig is going to get his 25 or 30 points, so you try to deny the ball to Richardson and shut down the rest of the team."
Evig is the 6-foot-8 senior who has been IML most valuable player for the past two seasons. He roams the high post, low post, can shoot from outside, and is an excellent ball handler. Michael Richardson is a 6-foot-2 junior with a good jumper from the baseline.
Last year, Pagosa split with Del Norte during the regular season, winning 61-56 and losing 69-50. The Tigers beat Pagosa a second time in the IML tournament championship game, this time 53-44. The loss ended Pagosa's bid to reach the state playoffs.
Monte Vista topped Pagosa twice during the regular season, then lost a 61-59 thriller to Pagosa in the IML tournament in the upset of the season. The San Luis Valley Pirates will, no doubt, be wary of Canty's cagers this season.
"You have to handle Monte's defensive pressure and get them into a ball possession game," Canty said. "They score most effectively off of turnovers forced by the defense. They have 12 guys of almost equal ability and they substitute a lot. Trevor Stewart is their go-to guy. We'll have to deny him the ball."
Stewart is a 6-foot-2 senior who was all IML first team last season. Also returning from the all IML first team for Monte is 5-10 Phil Sanchez. Senior Brandon Carlucci, 6-2, was named to the all IML second team last year. Monte lost one player from last season's 12-man squad.
Pagosa 61, Ignacio 54
The Pirates took charge early against Ignacio on their home floor last Thursday. By quarters the Pirates were on top 13-7, 36-25, 47-44 and the 61-54 final score. Charles Rand with 19 points and David Goodenberger with 18 points topped Pagosa scoring. Micah Maberry added five field goals in the second stanza for another 10 points. Increasing the Pirates total were Daniel Crenshaw with 8 points and Lonnie Lucero, Darin Lister, and Carlos Martinez with 2 points each.
Pagosa connected on 19 of 48 field goal attempts for 40 percent shooting, 5 of 16 on 3-point attempts for 31 percent shooting, and 8 of 13 from the charity stripe for 62 percent free throw accuracy.
Goodenberger pulled down 14 boards to top the Pirates in that department, followed by Maberry with seven rebounds. Goodenberger and Maberry each added a blocked shot. Lonnie Lucero and Rand each contributed four assists. Goodenberger made three thefts. Pagosa committed 14 turnovers.
Pagosa 70, Centauri 61
In the Centauri gym Saturday, an opening Falcon scoring blitz almost buried Pagosa before the game got started. By the end of the first period Centauri was on top 23-13. Everything Centauri tossed up tickled the twine. Pagosa couldn't seem to buy a bucket.
What turned the game around?
"I made some defensive adjustments," Canty said. "They were getting too many easy baskets."
The adjustments must have worked because Pagosa outscored their hosts 29-13 in the second period. Maberry's 14 second quarter points helped Pagosa go to the locker room at halftime with a 42-36 lead. Also during the second period, Rand swished 6 of 6 from the free throw line. The Pirates were a perfect 14 for 14 from the charity stripe during the second stanza.
Scoring slowed from a first half torrent to a drip during the third period and almost stopped in the final quarter when the officials dominated the game. Centauri squeaked to a 13-12 third period margin and managed a 16-16 final period tie. During the final period, Pagosa tallied 12 points from the free throw line plus two field goals. Centauri hit nine free throws, one field goal, and a 3-pointer during the final period.
"We got balanced scoring against Centauri and that pleases me," Canty said. "When they made an adjustment to shut one of our guys down, someone else picked up the scoring slack. I was also pleased with Lucero's defensive work. He is always assigned the other team's best, non-post-up guy and against Centauri he did a bangup job. David (Goodenberger) did a good job of passing to the open man and Micah (Maberry) had his best game ever."
Rand was high man for the second night in a row. He connected on a 3-pointer, a field goal, and 12 of 12 from the free throw line. Maberry was next in the scoring column with 16 points including 3 of 3 from the free throw line. Goodenberger was only one-half a step back with 15 points, Crenshaw added 8 points, Tyrel Ross 7 points, Clinton Lister 3 points, and Lucero and Darin Lister 2 points.
Pagosa hit an astounding 25 of 28 from the free throw line for 89 percent. The Pirates connected on 16 of 29 2-point attempts for a 55 percent shooting percentage. Outside of the 3-point arc Pagosa converted four of 16 for a 25 percent shooting rate.
Goodenberger paced Pagosa in rebounds with 12 defensive and four offensive snags for 16 total. Ross and Maberry were next with five boards each. Lucero and Ross each contributed three assists. Lucero's three steals were tops in that department. The Pirates committed 19 turnovers.
Pagosa 59, Bayfield 49
Against the Wolverines, Pagosa started slow and trailed by 13-12 at the end of the first period. Just as they did against Centauri, the Pirates came out sizzling in the second period when they outscored the Wolverines 19-9. And again, Maberry stepped to the front. The 6-foot-3 junior sweetened the Pirates pot with three turn-around jumpers, then capped his performance by swishing a trey. By halftime, Maberry had 15 points.
Pagosa continued to dominate during the third period when the Pirates outscored the Wolverines 18-9 and stretched their lead to 49-35. The final period belonged to Bayfield 14-10, but the Pirates lead was too much to overcome.
Maberry tallied 19 points to lead Pagosa in the scoring column. Next were Rand with 13 points, Crenshaw with 8 points, Carlos Martinez with 5 points, Clinton Lister and Ross with 4 points each, and Lucero with 2 points. Pagosa converted 20 of 40 2-point tries, a 50 percent effort; six of 17 3-point attempts, a 35 percent effort; and 4 of 8 free throws for a 50 percent effort.
Goodenberger pulled down nine rebounds to lead in that department, followed by Crenshaw with seven, Maberry with six, and Ross with five. No Pirate had more than one assist. Rand had three steals and Maberry two steals. Maberry blocked three shots, Rand two shots, and Goodenberger one shot. Pagosa committed six turnovers.
Wrestlers finish 8th, but still in good company
By Karl Isberg
Ordinarily, your wrestling team finishes eighth in a field of nine teams at a tournament and the verdict is clear: you are not pleased with your performance.
However, if you are Pirates wrestling coach Dan Janowsky, and your team has just placed eighth at the Alamosa tournament, you take into account the high quality of the other teams, the fact that most of the teams are from much larger schools, and you assess the formidable skill of individual opponents. At the end of your evaluation, you find numerous things to appreciate.
In Janowksy's case, his team's 58 points put it ahead of the only other Class 3A team at the tournament - Rocky Ford, a perennial top-10 team at season's end.
Ahead of the Pirates in the final standings were Colorado 5A teams from Centaurus and Douglas County, and 4A teams from Montrose, Adams City, Pueblo East and Alamosa. Perched at the top of the standings was Aztec, N.M., one of the most successful prep wrestling programs in the country.
Not bad company to keep.
To help him along, Janowsky had the pleasure to see several of his athletes earn medals at the tournament. Heavyweight Shane Prunty and Josh Richardson (171 pounds) took second place in their weight classes and George Kyriacou finished fourth at 215 pounds.
Several Pirates won single matches at the tournament, and every Pirate in the lineup was able to work against top-level opponents.
Prunty demolished his first two opponents at Alamosa, taking less than a minute to defeat his man in each match.
Against an Adams City wrestler, Prunty came out strong and pinned the visitor from the Front Range just 51 seconds into the action.
In his second match, against an opponent from Montrose, Prunty was a bit slower: He took a full 58 seconds to win with a fall.
The victory in the semi-final against Montrose put Prunty in a familiar spot: facing the Aztec heavyweight, Tim Wagoner - a wrestler he had lost to twice this season.
Where Wagoner was able to pin the Pirate at a tournament in Pagosa on Jan. 8, he found the road tougher at Alamosa. Prunty scored with the initial takedown in the match to lead 2-0. An escape by Wagoner cut the Pirate's lead to 2-1 at the end of the first period. Following a scoreless second period, Wagoner went ahead 3-2 with a reversal. Prunty tied the match with an escape and each wrestler was penalized a point for stalling. The match ended in overtime when the referee called Prunty for stalling and awarded a 5-4 victory to Wagoner.
"Shane's performance really improved this tournament," said Janowsky of his senior heavyweight. "He didn't make mistakes to put himself on his back and I think he is ready for big things. I want to see what happens when he realizes he can put the pressure on a guy for six minutes. There is nobody who can stand up to him once he does this."
Richardson, a junior, seems to be coming into his own. He dropped to 171 pounds from 189 for the Alamosa tournament and his physical talent is complemented by an increasing ability to control his performances.
Richardson began action by pinning an Adams City wrestler 56 seconds into the second period.
In his second match, Richardson made a meaningful statement, pinning the Rocky Ford wrestler at the 48-second mark of the third period.
Second place was awarded to the Pirate after he was pinned near the end of the championship match by Skylar Randall of Aztec.
"Josh got Randall's attention with a takedown," said Janowsky. It took the Aztec athlete most of the match before he could beat Richardson with 34 seconds elapsed in the third period.
"Josh was the most clearly improved wrestler we took to Alamosa," said the coach. "He's starting to execute good technique on his feet, and he's working pretty well on the mat."
Kyriacou drew a bye in the first round of the tourney then pinned an Adams City opponent to advance to the semifinals. A loss by a fall in the third period put Kyriacou in the consolation bracket where he beat Alamosa's 215-pounder, pinning the man midway through the second period.
The Pirate took fourth place at 215 pounds when he lost by a pin to a Montrose wrestler in the first period.
The first three Pirates in the lineup moved to the weights Janowsky projected for them at the start of the season, and each saw solid action at Alamosa.
Jesse Trujillo fought at 103 pounds, losing his first match to an Aztec wrestler and dropping an 8-3 decision to the Rocky Ford entrant. The Meloneer got his eight points in the first period of the match and Trujillo more than held his own in the remaining periods.
Michael Maestas competed at 112 pounds and lost his first match to a Pueblo East athlete. Following a bye in his first consolation round match, Maestas lost a close 5-4 decision to an Adams City opponent, after leading 4-3 in the late going.
Veteran Anthony Maestas took the mat at 119 pounds. He drew a bye in the first round then lost matches to a wrestler from Montrose and a state-placer from Alamosa.
At 125 pounds, Conner Backus lost to tough opponents from Alamosa and Douglas County.
Freshman Zeb Gill got an opportunity to see some quality opponents at 130 pounds. Gill lost his first match to the eventual tournament champion from Adams City, then lost in the first round of consolation to an athlete from Pueblo East.
The Pirates failed to field a wrestler at 135 pounds.
Senior Daniel Martinez fought three matches in the 140-pound bracket at the tournament. A first-round bye was followed with a loss by decision to Chris Keating of Aztec, the eventual champ. Martinez dropped to the consolation round, received a bye, then pinned a Montrose opponent 24 seconds into the third period. Martinez had a Douglas County wrestler in trouble in his last match of the tournament when the referee broke the hold fearing the Front Range athlete was injured. Following a miraculous recovery, the Douglas County grappler then went on to win the match by decision.
At 145 pounds, Josh Trujillo won his first match with a 6-0 decision over an Alamosa athlete. Losses to wrestlers from Pueblo East and Douglas County put Trujillo out of the medal race.
Jacques Sarnow competed for Pagosa at 152 pounds. Sarnow dropped to the consolation round following a loss to Alamosa, then lost a 4-0 decision to a wrestler from Centaurus.
In the 160-pound weight class, Kraig Candelaria wrestled three matches. The senior took on the tourney's second-seed from Adams City and lost a 17-11 decision, wrestling what Janowsky called "a good match." Candelaria came back strong, pinning a Centaurus athlete in the second period. The tournament ended for Candelaria with a loss to the Alamosa competitor.
The Pirates had a void at 189 pounds. The team also sent two of its varsity wrestlers to a tournament at San Luis. Clint Shaw took second place at that tourney at 171 pounds, while Keith Candelaria captured third at 152 pounds.
The week ahead
With the fierce tests at the Rocky Mountain Invitational and Alamosa complete, Janowsky is anxious to see what happens in a series of dual meets this week.
"There were times at Alamosa when our guys were making progress in areas we worked on at practice," said Janowsky. "But, by the end of the day, partly due to the level of competition we were going against, we hadn't made enough progress. I was optimistic we would get further in the tournament than we did, but the wrestling at that tournament is exceptional. We were testing things out at Alamosa, and we're clearly on the right track. What is really encouraging right now is that our guys are trying to make the improvements in the practice room we want them to make. We're not giving up on making those adjustments, and I know we're very close in many respects. We need to finish those adjustments and put them to work in competition."
That might happen at Del Norte tonight (Jan. 20) as the Pirates travel for dual matches against the host team and Buena Vista. While the Del Norte program is not as strong as in previous years, Buena Vista, under coach Scott Cope (son of Pirates cross country coach Glen Cope) has made steady improvements the last three seasons. Buena Vista returns competitors from last year's state tournament and, with a very successful football program, promises to put excellent athletes on the mat. Matches at Del Norte begin at 6 p.m.
On Friday night, one of the best wrestling rivalries in southwest Colorado opens a new chapter. Monte Vista comes to the Pagosa Springs High School gym and, as always when the two teams clash in a dual meet, sparks are sure to fly. The meet begins at 6 p.m.
Lady Pirates mow down Ignacio in IML opener
By Roy Starling
Thursday night the Lady Pirates opened their Intermountain League season against the Ignacio Ladycats, a team that always makes the Ladies work for their victories.
Last week's game in Pagosa was no exception. In the game's opening minutes, the hesitant Ladies shot blanks and turned the ball over with alarming frequency. But they got their ship on an even keel by halftime, going into the locker room with a 21-19 lead. In the second half, the girls pulled away for a convincing 52-39 win, handing Ignacio its second straight IML loss.
Pagosa was down 9-6 at the end of an unsightly first quarter, then trailed 16-11 with 5 minutes and 8 seconds remaining in the second. Shortly after that, however, the girls began to come to life. With about three minutes remaining, Ladycat post Teresa Cox fouled Janae Esterbrook in the act of shooting, and Esterbrook hit both free throws to chip into the lead. At 2:34, Esterbrook hit a jumper to bring the Ladies to within one, 16-15.
Twenty seconds later, sophomore Ashley Gronewoller got in on the act, scoring from underneath to put Pagosa up 17-16. Cox then tied it back up with a free throw, but senior post Mandy Forrest answered quickly with a quick first step that led to a reverse layup. After an Ignacio miss, the Ladies went to Gronewoller in the post and she delivered a deuce to put her team up 21-17 with :38 showing on the clock.
A Pagosa turnover with six seconds remaining led to a Cox basket, and Ignacio was only a bucket away, 21-19, at intermission.
The 'Cats' capable Cox continued to cut into the Ladies' lead as the second half began, connecting in the lane to tie the score at 21-21. But that action was followed by first an Esterbrook free throw and then a Katie Lancing field goal, and the Ladies had a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
Over the next two and a half minutes, the Lady Pirates gave themselves some breathing room - always a good idea against Ignacio - with baskets from Esterbrook and Bonnie O'Brien, three Forrest free throws and a Forrest jumper, and they led 33-23 with about three minutes remaining in the third period.
In the quarter's final minute, the Ladies' 6-foot-and-over club proved too much for the smaller Ladycats. The 6-foot Lancing made the passes and the 6-foot Forrest and 6-foot-3 Gronewoller made the baskets as Pagosa built up a 37-25 lead. Before the buzzer could sound, however, Ignacio ate into that lead, getting a short jumper from Cox and a long-distance three from sharp-shooting junior Julia Valdez. The Ladies went into the fourth with a 37-30 lead.
The Lady Pirates continued their inside attack to open the final period, going quickly to first Gronewoller, then Forrest to swell the lead to 41-30. At that point, the Ladycats made their final charge, the one you always know is coming.
Valdez hit another 3-pointer, then Cox got hacked and dropped in two from the charity stripe. Ignacio was within five points with still way too much time - 5:10 - remaining.
The Ladies turned to two sophomores to hold off the Ignacio run. Lancing, who is developing into Pagosa's Duchess of Dish, dished off to Gronewoller for one basket, then executed a quick turnaround jumper for another, and the Ladies were back in control at 45-36 with 2:27 remaining.
From that point on, the game deteriorated into something no one enjoys, a battle of free throws. This monotonous parade was finally interrupted with 29 seconds remaining when Lancing picked a Ladycat pocket, took the ball down court for a score, was fouled and made the shot from the line.
The Lady Pirates were able to pull away from Ignacio, according to coach Karen Wells, because "we made fewer mistakes and out rebounded them like crazy (40-29), even though there's still room for improvement in that department. Ashley had a big game for us, getting six offensive rebounds and leading us in scoring. For me, the keys to winning are always turnovers and rebounds. Whoever has the fewer turnovers and the most rebounds is going to win it."
Leading the Ladies' 52-39 victory was Gronewoller with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Forrest with 15 points, 12 rebounds and five steals. Esterbrook added nine points and three steals, Lancing eight points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
O'Brien also got in on the thievery, picking up four steals. Along with Canty, she also saddled Ladycat senior point guard and team leader Kira Ross with a rare shutout from the floor.
The Ladies shot a respectable 19 for 44 (43 percent) from the floor and 15 of 23 (65 percent) from the line.
Cox and Valdez led the Ignacio effort with 14 points each.
La Jara heartbreak proves Ladies are for real
By Roy Starling
Friday night in La Jara, the Lady Pirates proved that sometimes you can have your heart broken and get good news at the same time. Maybe that's what is meant by the expression "good grief."
The Ladies lost to the highly touted Centauri Lady Falcons 54-53 in overtime, and that really hurt. But now the girls and their fans who saw the game know the following:
This season's Lady Pirates have character and respond remarkably well in the face of adversity. They can play with composure in an extremely loud and hostile environment. They can come from behind on the road against their toughest opponent. They can beat their toughest Intermountain League opponent.
Yes, this new cast of Lady Pirates, decimated by graduations, transfers and injuries, can play with the big girls. They're for real.
Against Centauri, a case of early game jitters put them in a quick 9-0 hole three and a half minutes into the game. But in the next eight minutes, they would score 15 points while holding the Lady Falcons' explosive offense to a single field goal, tying the game at 15-all halfway through the second period. By halftime, Pagosa would have a slim 23-20 lead.
So from that early deficit until intermission, the Ladies went on an impressive 23-11 run.
They suffered a similar lapse in the third quarter, but again regrouped with a big run. A 15-foot jumper by Janae Esterbrook from a Meigan Canty feed, followed by a Canty putback, gave the Ladies a 29-28 lead with 3 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the period.
Then, much to the delight of their raucous hometown fans, the Lady Falcons threatened to turn the game into a blowout. After a Pagosa foul, Centauri senior shooting guard Holly McCarroll broke open underneath for an easy bucket, and her team led 30-29.
The Ladies turned it over in their next possession, and Lady Falcon point guard Nicole Espinoza hurt them with a runner in the lane: 32-29, Centauri.
After another Pagosa turnover, McCarroll drained a 3-pointer from the corner: 35-29, Centauri.
The Ladies then turned the ball over twice in succession, and after the second one Centauri senior Jennifer Bond drove the lane for a deuce: 37-29, Centauri, and their red-clad fans began to celebrate in earnest.
But it got worse. After yet another Lady Pirate turnover and a technical on the bench, McCarroll sank two free throws, then, when the Lady Falcons retained possession, she scooted over to her favorite spot on the floor, only inches away from her adoring fans, and launched a successful 3-pointer to give her team its largest lead of the game, 42-29, with 44 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Clearly, it was time for a young team like the Lady Pirates to pack it in, head back over the Pass and start thinking of ways to beat Centauri when the two teams meet again in Pagosa on Jan. 29. But they didn't do that. In fact, the Centauri faithful had to sit down and shut up for the next 6 minutes and 44 seconds while the Ladies held the visitors scoreless and fought back to a 43-42 lead.
Here's how they did it:
At :31 in the third, McCarroll roughs up Esterbrook in the act of shooting, and the Pagosa guard drops in both attempts from the stripe: 42-31, Centauri.
On Centauri's next possession, sophomore Ashley Gronewoller rebounds a miss, then hustles down the court where Mandy Forrest finds her open in the lane. Gronewoller rises above the crowd, banks in a shot and is fouled on the elbow when Melissa Rogers attempts to block the shot. Gronewoller makes the free throw seconds before the third quarter ends: 42-34, Centauri.
The final period opens with a Katie Lancing steal. Back on the offensive end, Lancing feeds Gronewoller for a bucket: 42-36, Centauri.
On Centauri's next possession, a scrum on the floor results in a jump-ball call with the possession arrow pointing towards Pagosa. The Ladies don't waste it. Canty looks towards the post, but for a moment can't see Forrest for Centauri's trees. Then she spots her, delivers a beautiful pass, and Forrest kisses it in: 42-38, Centauri.
With 6:25 left in the game, Esterbrook steals an inbound pass, and after a Pagosa miss, Forrest scores on a putback: 42-40, Centauri. The red-clad fans begin to slump in their seats. The Black and Gold believe: It could happen.
Then ensues a minute-and-a-half lull in scoring during which the Lady Falcons' efforts to break their offensive drought are hampered significantly by senior Bonnie O'Brien's harassing Centauri point guard Espinoza to distraction. O'Brien gives the speedy Espinoza no rest at all and even coaxes her into a charging foul at 5:29.
At 4:30, Lancing intercepts a pass on Centauri's end then outruns a flock of Falcons to the Lady Pirates' basket where she scores, is fouled and connects from the line, finally putting the Ladies back on top, 43-42.
Sophomore Erin McCarroll finally popped the seal off the Centauri basket with a jumper in the lane to put her team back up 44-43 at 3:00.
At 1:53 Forrest took a pass from Esterbrook and dropped in a 6-footer to tip the seesaw once more in Pagosa's direction. With 25 seconds remaining, O'Brien added a free throw to that lead. Canty would make it 47-44 with a free throw with only 6.5 seconds left. What could happen in that amount of time?
Centauri's Espinoza could race down the court, pull up just before she reached the 3-point arc, let go a high arcing shot with perfect rotation, and get nothing but net as the buzzer sounds and the Falcon fans raise such a ruckus that the Great Sand Dunes to the west slightly alter their configuration. And that's what she did.
In overtime, the stunned Lady Pirates fell behind 54-49 after another 3-point bomb from the tireless Espinoza. Two quick buckets by Forrest in the final 25 seconds cut the lead to 54-53, and a final Pagosa attempt rolled cruelly off the rim as time expired.
This bizarrely exciting game with its thunderclap ending was enough to give Lady Pirate fans a bad case of déjà vu. Last year in La Jara, the Ladies were clinging to a 54-53 lead when Centauri point guard Elisha Meza drove the length of court for a buzzer beater in the lane. But last year, the Ladies led 41-29 going into the fourth; this year they trailed 42-29.
About this year's game, Lady Pirates coach Karen Wells focused on the positive. "We had fewer turnovers against Centauri than we've had against any other team," she said. "And we didn't get anyone in foul trouble. This game showed the girls they can play with anybody."
Wells said she has changed the Ladies' press defense and it has "really helped out." One feature of the new look seems to be that O'Brien and Canty spend considerable time pressuring the ball, making it difficult for opposing point guards to set up an offense.
Forrest and Lancing led the Ladies in scoring with 16 each. Esterbrook had eight, Canty seven and Gronewoller five. As a team, the girls shot 35 percent from the floor (17 of 48) but really hurt themselves with a woeful 46.6 percent accuracy (14 of 30) from the line. Lancing and Forrest each had 10 rebounds, but Centauri won the battle of the boards, grabbing 43 to Pagosa's 32.
Holly McCarroll led the Lady Falcons with 17 points, followed by Espinoza with 14. Junior post Cindy McCarroll, who gave the Ladies so much trouble last season, was held to six points, fouling out - along with Holly and Bond - in the fourth quarter.
Lady Pirates waste little time with Bayfield
By Roy Starling
Having dispatched archrival Ignacio on Thursday night, then coming within a cat's whisker of knocking off Centauri on Friday, the Lady Pirates were in no mood to play games with Bayfield Tuesday night in the friendly confines of the high school gym.
Coming into Tuesday night's contest, Lady Pirate coach Karen Wells had expressed concern about her girls playing "on the other team's level," "playing down" against weaker teams. That wasn't a problem against the Wolverines as the Ladies jumped out to an 18-4 lead and never looked back, coasting to a 50-22 win.
In a game that practically invited the girls to suffer a letdown, the Lady Pirates enjoyed strong, focused performances from everyone. Mandy Forrest and Ashley Gronewoller dominated in the post with Forrest getting career-highs in points with 18 and rebounds with 16 (nine on the offensive end) and Gronewoller adding 11 points and 12 boards.
Shooting guard Janae Esterbrook led the Ladies' perimeter attack, scoring 13 points, most of those from the 10- to 15-foot range. Backcourt sidekick Meigan Canty also stretched the Bayfield "D" with a rain-making 3-pointer.
Playing a big role in the offense was sophomore Katie Lancing, who treated Bayfield to a free passing clinic, dishing out a remarkable eight assists on the evening. She also led the team with seven steals and grabbed seven rebounds.
Senior Bonnie O'Brien continued to step up her ball-hawking game and helped lend stability to a Pagosa offense whose starters turned the ball over only 10 times, their stingiest effort of the season. The Ladies also got spirited play from subs Andrea Ash, Tasha Andrews, Amber Mesker and Carlena Lungstrum.
A play-by-play description of this one would bore even the most die hard of Lady Pirate fans, so let's just take a look at the highlight reel.
The contest opened with Pagosa demonstrating some of its nifty passing in the post when Gronewoller found Forrest open for a short bank shot. About a minute later, Gronewoller scored off an offensive rebound and was fouled. When she missed the free throw, Forrest wormed her way in for the putback, and the Ladies were up 6-0.
The rout got underway in earnest with 4 minutes and 38 seconds remaining in the first when Gronewoller put in yet another bucket off the offensive glass.
Bayfield hit a field goal, but Gronewoller answered with an 8-foot banker courtesy a perfect Lancing pass. After the Wolverines solved the Pagosa press for a deuce, Canty sank a three from the top of the key to put the Ladies up 13-4.
At :57, Esterbrook took a skip pass from Lancing and buried a 16-footer. Twenty seconds later, the senior guard struck again, slicing through the lane for a floater, drawing the foul and converting the free throw to give the Ladies an 18-4 lead as time ran out in the first period.
In the second period, Gronewoller became more aggressive underneath, posting up just a step or two away from the basket. This put her in the position to score twice from close range, once from a Lancing dish and once from a looping pass by Forrest.
Forrest did more damage by scoring off a rebound and then with a lightning quick spin move to the basket. She also added two free throws in the quarter, helping the Ladies to a 32-10 halftime advantage.
In the third quarter, the Wolverines must have grown weary of the Lancing-Forrest connection. Three times Lancing found her teammate open under the bucket, and three times Forrest cashed in. When the buzzer sounded ending the period, the Ladies were up 43-16, and coach Wells began to empty her bench.
The Ladies' field-goal percentage could be a little misleading as their discipline began to wane late in the game and their offensive machine began to sputter. They wound up hitting only 20 of 58 (34.5 percent) from the floor. Free-throw shooting, their Achilles heel against Centauri, continued to be a problem as they hit only 7 of 20 (35 percent).
The Lady Pirates resume action tomorrow night when they travel to Del Norte to take on the lightly regarded Lady Tigers. The junior varsity will play at 5 p.m., the varsity at approximately 6:30 p.m.
They'll play a matinee the following day, going back over the Pass for a roughly 2:30 p.m. contest with Monte Vista's Lady Pirates, a team that began the season by reeling off a few wins but that has recently fallen back to earth with losses to Ignacio and Sanford.
The Ladies head into the weekend with a 2-1 record in the IML, 8-4 overall.
Blades return to ice, this time on their own rink
Sports fans are always on the move in Pagosa Springs. Now hockey fans have put together a program. The name of the team is The Pagosa Blades. Back in the early 1980s, and maybe as far back as the '70s, there was a hockey team here called The Pagosa Blades, so naming the new team wasn't hard to do.
The Pagosa Blades is a member of USA Hockey, the official organization for all hockey in the country, including the Olympics. The Pagosa Blades is the Pagosa Amateur Hockey Club, Inc., a non-profit organization.
The rink is located on South Fifth Street, across the street from the football field on land that presently belongs to the Pagosa Sanitation District but will eventually transfer to the town to become a part of the Sports Complex.
Kurt Johnson Construction cleared the land and, with the help of volunteers, put down the liner and dug the water line. Volunteers set up the boards for the wall and installed the ten lights. Warren Grams and volunteer firemen gave time and effort to feed the rink with water. They got the water from the river.
The club has now purchased a used Zamboni (named for the man who designed it) from Telluride. This machine cleans the ice and lays down water.
The Kansas City Blades donated 10 boxes of used hockey equipment - thanks to Doug Soetaert, the team's General Manager and Vice President. Ron and Cindy Gustafson, avid hockey fans who moved here from Kansas City, are responsible for this connection.
The first Pagosa Blades played Pueblo, Los Alamos, Creede and Durango. Home games were played on Lake Pagosa. Team members included Jack Ellis, Tom Lokey, and Harold Kelly who still live in the area and are active in the present program.
Now the Blades play each other. Tuesdays and Thursdays the kids play 6 to 7:30 p.m. and the adults 8 to 9 p.m. Saturdays: Adults 8 to 10 a.m. and kids 10 a.m. to noon. Sundays: Adults 8 to 10 a.m. and kids (maybe) 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Fridays are reserved for public skating. Monies raised are used to pay expenses and to pay money already owed. The hours are 5:30 to 8 p.m. with fees set at $1 for kids and $3 for adults. A GoCo Grant (a lottery grant) has been applied for to expand the program. If one would like to make a contribution, please contact Bill Anderson at his work 264-6044, or at home 884-5280.
Officers for the present Pagosa Blades board of directors are Bill Anderson, Jack Ellis, Kurt Johnson and Rick Jewell. Other board members are Cindy and Ron Gustafson, Val Valentine, Jeff Greer, Tim Decker, Harold Carrizo, Linda Delyria and Lisa Flaugh.
This is the third year for the Blades. At first they played on a pond behind the Rodeo grounds. Last year the weather was very warm. Now, this year, they have their own rink. Many hours have been donated for this fast-growing sport in Pagosa Springs. The long range plan is to involve the high school. The kids are looked after - taught and coached. They are a joy to watch. This is a wonderful program for Pagosa Springs.
Fun on the run
A woman was at work when she received a phone call that her daughter was very sick with a fever. She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication. She got back to her car and found that she had locked her keys in the car.
She didn't know what to do, so she called home and told the babysitter what had happened. The babysitter told her that her daughter's fever was getting worse. She also said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door."
The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger that had been thrown down on the ground, possibly by someone else who at some time or other also had locked their keys in their car. Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this." So she bowed her head and asked God to send her some help.
Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head. The woman thought, "This is what you sent to help me?" But, she was desperate, so she was also very thankful.
The man got out of his car and asked her if he could help.
She said, "Yes, my daughter is very sick. I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car. I must get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"
He said, "Sure." He walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "Thank you so much! You are a very nice man."
The man replied, "I'm not a nice man. I just got out of prison last week. I was in prison for car theft."
The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out loud, "Oh, Thank you God! You even sent me a professional!"
Chamber plans Mardi Gras blast
We bring you three new members this Mardi Gras week as well as seven renewals and hope that brightens your week as much as it brightens ours. The Business Directory will be headed Ronnie's way this week, so you are all clever people indeed to have been included. Welcome to the following new members:
Alden Ecker joins us with Ecker Construction, LLC, located at 128 Bastille Drive. Alden offers many services in addition to construction to include excavation, trucking including foundations, utilities, driveways, roads, ponds, snow removal, road maintenance and hauling dirt and gravel. His equipment includes dozers, backhoes, trucks, trackloader and motor grader. If you would like to discuss any of these services with Alden, please give him a call at 731-4231.
Tim Smedes joins us next with The Magic Touch, a tree trimming service, located at 857 North Pagosa Boulevard, #A3. Tim will trim your trees, remove them and prune your shrubs. He will be happy to come to your home, look things over and give you a free estimate on the desired job. Please call Tim at 731-1004 to learn more about The Magic Touch.
Dr. Jeff Schmidt is our next new member with Smith Chiropractic located at 728 Park Avenue in Pagosa West. Dr. Schmidt is a chiropractor specializing as a full-service holistic physician caring for all your family's health care needs. He would be happy to discuss his services if you give him a call at 731-5930. We are delighted to welcome these new members to the Chamber of Commerce family and look forward to a long and productive relationship.
I want to make special note of our first renewal this week because evidently we have goofed in the past (I know you find that hard to believe) and not mentioned the renewal in the column. My apology to Medray Carpenter with Romar Realty who has been a faithful member of the Chamber for a number of years. We're very happy to have you and Romar Realty, Medray.
Other renewals this week include Bridget Allen with Pagosa Springs Super 8 Motel; Steve and Connie Prunty with the Seafood Cafe; Mary Jo with Poma's Pit Stop; Dr. Norma Murphy with Wolf Creek Health Center, PC; Richard and Darlene Hodgson with Bad Moon Rodeo (Pagosa Night Rodeos) and Associate Members, our good friends, Lenore and Gil Bright.
We certainly hope you plan to come party with us on Saturday night, Jan. 22, at our first big Mardi Gras celebration at Pagosa Lodge. Morna and Suellen have some wildly colorful costumes to sport that night, and I know for certain that my Evil Twin will blind us all with her splendor. My costume is in transit, so heaven only knows what I'll be wearing, but it really isn't important what you wear - it's just important that you show up. I know that many folks have very strong feelings about costumes, and you don't need to wear one if you're not comfortable, but you do need to come. Everyone who attends will receive beads, a mask and a souvenir cup when they register that night, so plan to remain rather incognito if you like.
The fun starts at 6 p.m. when you will begin your sojourn through the four stations of Mardi Gras before we retire to the Ponderosa Room for the awards ceremony. We will honor our Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and present the Pagosa Pride Awards along with introductions of board of directors candidates and current board members. As always, we will have some surprises and unusual awards along with prizes for the Best Male Costume and Best Female Costume of the evening. Those of you who know me also know that brevity is not one of my long suits, but I have pledged to make the program as "short and sweet" as possible. ("Sure, sure, Sally, I know you mean well, but I'll have to see it to believe it.")
The four stations are sure to be fun for all with food and decorations at each. You may want to hit Bourbon Street (the bar) first and order a Mardi Gras Hurricane or the libation of choice and munch on some peanuts and pretzels. You can then head for The Bayou (South Face) to enjoy shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, seafood stuffed mushrooms and yet another cash bar. Next stop, the Red Hot Jazz Room (Pinon) which will be all decked out in red, black and white with a ceiling of red balloons. New Orleans music will accompany the Cajun spiced chicken strips and the jambalaya served in bread boats. Two bars will be set up for your convenience. To top off the cuisine portion of the evening, you can hit the French Quarter (Library) for eclairs, beignets and the famous King Cake. If you are lucky enough to receive the piece with the baby in it, your Chamber membership for the year 2001 will be absolutely free. Whatta deal.
At any rate, kids, you can see that the evening should be tons o' fun for all who attend with plenty of food and drink for all. Don't miss what looks like a great party and an opportunity to see some surprising people in some surprising costumes.
Once again I remind you to vote for the three new board directors who will be your voice as part of the governing body of the Chamber of Commerce. You will be able to read up on all six candidates in this week's edition of the Preview to help you make the very best choice. It's a tough one, kids, but we all must select three candidates from the slate of six. Please read up on all the candidates and make a thoughtful choice. If you can't make it to the Mardi Gras, please stop by the Visitor Center and cast your vote. Morna has a ballot box on hand in the office, and the votes will be counted after the awards ceremony on Saturday night. The candidates will be notified first thing Monday morning and after they have all been contacted, I will call KWUF with the results. Once again, in alphabetical order, the candidates are Mark DeVoti, Kathey Fitz, Liz Marchand, Bonnie Masters, Curtis Miller and Susie Terrell. Good luck to all.
Six candidates are vying for three spots on the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Chamber members can vote at the Chamber Visitors Center or at the Chamber's Mardi Gras celebration on Jan. 22. The three new directors will be notified of their election on Jan. 24.
Bonnie and her husband, Dick Babillis, have lived in Pagosa since the spring of 1994. Bonnie was a veterinarian in the greater Cincinnati area prior to moving here. She started her first small animal practice in 1974 and sold that business after it was established. In 1985, she and Dick tackled another start-up venture, the Cincinnati area's first feline-only hospital. (Dick still likes to mention owning a legal cathouse!) The sale of that practice in 1994 and Dick's retirement from GE set them up for the big move west to enchanting Pagosa Country. Bonnie has become a realtor and is currently the broker and entire staff at Lone Eagle-Pagosa. She is a member of the local Rotary Club and has served on a number of boards in the past to include the Veterinary Medical Association of Cincinnati, the Clermont County Humane Society and the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors. Bonnie would welcome an opportunity to serve on the chamber board working to keep our area a wonderful place to live and improving Pagosa as a place in which to do business.
Curtis and his wife Carmen - who is employed at Citizens Utilities - have been residents of Pagosa Springs since 1986. He has been a Senior Vice President and Business Banker with Norwest Banks, formerly Bank of the Southwest, for over 13 years. Curtis is currently a director of the Archuleta County Housing Authority, Casa De Los Arcos Senior Center. He has been an active member of our local Rotary Club since 1990. Experiencing the growth in Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs during the past 13 years has made Curtis aware of the importance of a strong and active chamber of commerce. Proper community planning and development is a necessity in this very special place. Promoting Pagosa Springs as an exceptional place to live, work and play is a must for our chamber, and Curtis welcomes the opportunity to serve as a board director.
Susie is relatively new to Pagosa Springs - having moved here with her family in August, 1997. Her husband Alan is with the United States Department of Agriculture, assigned to New Mexico as the area veterinarian in charge. Susie's granddaughter Maggie is a second grader at Pagosa Springs Elementary School. During the past two years, Susie has been busy getting Maggie settled in as well as establishing and operating The Wild Hare, a home and garden gifts, accessories and collectibles shop on North Pagosa Boulevard. She has a banking background with a few years service as a contractor for the U.S. State Department and DEA. Susie would be happy to serve as a chamber board director in the hope that she can give something back to a community that has been so receptive and helpful to her family and business.
Mark is the director of Archuleta County High School housed at the Archuleta County Education Center. Now in its third year, the alternative school has grown from 18 to 50 students. In addition to education, Mark and his wife Erica, own and operate Pony Express Brochure Delivery, a brochure display and distribution service which promotes businesses in Southwest Colorado. A former entertainer, Mark donated his singing/guitar abilities to the Community Center's wine and cheese function as well as various other benefits. He entertained chamber members at this summer's Spring Inn SunDowner. Mark is also involved in community theatre with a recent performance in Music Boosters' Gershwin review, "S'Wonderful," and is a member of Kiwanis International. With his sense of humor and gregarious nature, Mark has jumped into the Pagosa scene with both feet, and would value an opportunity to further enhance the vitality of Pagosa. Mark, Erica, and their boys Ben and Josh, have called Pagosa Springs home since 1997.
Kathey and her husband Dick began putting roots down in Pagosa Springs on Feb. 27, 1998. They purchased High Country Lodge east of Pagosa, committing themselves to a lifestyle change from corporate America. Kathey has been active in four chambers of commerce in the East Bay area of San Francisco while working as an outside sales representative for an office supply firm. She was very active in the foreign community while living in Egypt, speaking at embassies, women's clubs and presenting seminars to the English-speaking community. On her return to the United States, she worked in the accounting department of Morrison Knudsen, Environmental Division, in Boise, Idaho. Most recently, she was secretary of the West Woods Ranch Women's Club and President of the High Gate in West Woods Ranch Home Owners Association in Arvada. She is currently a member of the Colorado Quilting Counsel. Kathey and Dick are excited to be making their permanent home here in Pagosa.
Liz originally came to Pagosa Springs in 1987 to help her parents establish and operate the Spanish Inn Restaurant. Now, almost 13 years later, she is enjoying her own business pursuits with her husband Mike. Since 1993, they have owned and operated Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures, and in 1997 opened Allstate Insurance-The Marchand Agency. Liz is an active chamber member, and beginning in 1993 has worked with the chamber to create what has become a major Pagosa event - the Colorfest Balloon Rally. Liz feels that Pagosa is now in full bloom and is enjoying the diversity of old and new residents alike. The fast growth taking place in our community calls for a strong chamber to keep pace in promoting our area businesses and give each of us more opportunity to flourish while still preserving our beautiful area for the future. With the future in mind, Liz and her husband, Mike, have four children: an eleven-year-old daughter, three-year-old twin girls and a two-year-old son - all of whom are enjoying what our community has to offer.
Pagosa Lakes Swim Club begins weekly training
Porpoises, members of the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club, will begin training next Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The weekly training sessions will be conducted at those times on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The pool will be closed to all other bathers during the above mentioned swim-team training times. There will be no swim-team training during spring break, other school holidays and snow days.
Started in 1988, Pagosa Lakes Swim Club has developed into one of the best competitive swimming clubs in Colorado. The club is open to youth and adults who enjoy swimming and who like to compete. The Porpoises' swim meet schedule begins at the end of May and continues through the first week in August. This includes possible travel to Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, Durango, Grand Junction, Delta and Cortez. Following the regular season, swimmers who have achieved qualifying times are eligible to participate in the Western Slope Championship and the Division I, II and III Championship meets.
Swimmers on the Pagosa Lakes swim club are expected to compete in at least four meets. Every swimmer is required to have a current Recreation Center membership, U.S. Swimming Association membership (about $17), and pay $150 per season swim fee. Swimmers are also required to purchase their own team suits. Mandatory participation in the annual fund raising swim-a-thon is expected. The money from the swim-a-thon covers the cost of training, training aids and travel expenses for the swim coach.
When the competition gets going in the summer, registration fees at the meet run about $2 per event entered plus the cost of travel and lodging. At most swim meets, camping areas are available and you can keep your lodging cost to a minimum by camping out.
The continued success of this swim program as it begins its 13th year will depend on the hard work of the swimmers, the dedication of their parents and the quality of training provided by coach Natalie Koch. Although this is clearly a major family commitment, the rewards justify the efforts.
Competitive swimming is a marvelous sport. It encourages self discipline and builds self confidence. Supported by the camaraderie of the team, swimming brings out the best in every individual. Interested parents and swimmers may call Coach Natalie Koch at 731-2912 for more information.
United Way Ski Day is made available to everyone on Wednesday, Jan. 26. Adult lift tickets at Wolf Creek Ski Area will be reduced to only $29, child and senior lift tickets will be reduced to $22. In addition to saving money on skiing and snow boarding, United Way will hold a silent auction. The grand prize, sponsored by Carefree Adventures, is a weekend getaway at Tucson, Ariz.'s exclusive Westward Look Resort. Bidding for the auction will be held at Vectra Bank in Pagosa Springs, Jan. 17 to 25. On Wednesday, Jan. 26, the silent auction will conclude at Wolf Creek Ski Area. All money raised will support United Way approved health and human service programs in Archuleta County. For more information, contact Caroline Brown at 731-4248.
Pagosa Springs Health Partnership annual meeting will be held tonight at 6 in the Parish Hall. The public is invited to attend this educational evening. Following the 6 p.m. business meeting, B.J. Stewart will speak on "Mystical Experiences and Your Mental Health."
The Pagosa Players and The King's Men, a resident theatre company of local actors, actresses, musicians and technical people, founded in March 1999, is planning its season for the new year. Last year, this group presented "Taming of the Shrew." This year, its repertoire will include a Valentine's Day Dinner Theatre. Permission has already been received to present two evenings of Jack Sharkey's "A Gentleman and a Scoundrel." Casting for this play is complete and rehearsals have already begun.
Don't despair. Other acting opportunities exist. The Pagosa Players and The King's Men have other plays scheduled for the rest of the year. Because of a profusion of news for this week's column, I've set aside some of the information for next Thursday. However, if you are interested in being a part of PPKM, there will be a general casting call this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and again on Friday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. Both auditions will take place at Pagosa Lodge. All questions can be directed to Zach Nelson at 731-3300 or reach him by pager at 902-2300.
Tomorrow night, North Carolina Dance Theatre will be presented at Fort Lewis College Community Center Hall. I understand this is a high-energy, versatile and talented dance group. Tickets, available by phone (247-7657) range from $22 to $34 per person. On Saturday, Andrew Daniel, classical guitarist, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Andrew Daniel has been recognized as one of America's premiere young artist. Tickets for his performance are $15 general admission and $10 students/seniors.
Public education debate continues
Thank you to the following individuals who have become sustaining members of the "Friends of the Education Center" since the earlybirds list was published two weeks ago: Rolly and Pat Jackson, Sally Hameister, Smitty and Norma Walker, Peter Adams, St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, Don and Patsy Braune, Mell Cassidy, Grace and David Simons, Harold and Wilma Morrison, Curlis and Carmen Miller, William and Joan Seielstad, Jim and Pam Martin, Martin and Gerda Witkamp, Harry and Joan Young, Victoria Appenzeller, Dick and Ann Ban Fossen, Roger and Sandy Wickham, Barbara and Richard Sandor, Becky and Roger Struve, Mamie R. Lynch, Larry and Rhonda Ash, Mary and Don McKeehan, and Vickie, Thelma and Ken Ceradsky.
Special thanks to the following bronze level of sustaining members: Lee and Kristin Vorhies, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Wilson, Michael Ally and Russ Lee of LPEA, Carol, Justin, and Blake Harper, and Brian and Elaine Lewis.
If you would like to financially support the various community education efforts of the Education Center, please consider becoming a "Friend of The Education Center." Single memberships are $25, family memberships are $35, and business memberships are $50 (or $75 for a combined family and business membership). Bronze supporters contribute $100 to $999. Silver members donate $1,000 to $4,999. Gold members donate $5,000 and above. Please mail a check or credit card information (Visa and Mastercard) to the Education Center, P.O. Box 1079, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147.
In the 19th century, much public support for a system of publicly funded schools rested on the assumption that a public system of education would "Americanize" America's diverse, multicultural population. The impact of the American invention of a universal, publicly funded school system was to provide a growing labor force with the skills required to drive economic expansion. Today the need for a literate and educated population is even more critical to sustain economic expansion and financial security as the information age propels a new transformation in the economy. Yet the limelight on education has stirred a growing debate over how to improve public education. The long-lived consensus on the importance of publicly funded education appears to be weakening, even as public opinion polls indicate a growing political demand for improved public schools.
Debates over public education cover a wide range, from those who want to improve public education by reducing class sizes and improving teacher training to those who want to target funding for vouchers for private schooling. The public continues to be divided about the impact of higher standards for improving schools or improving students' performance; how to address the growing gap between rich and poor school districts; the importance of the basic "three R's" versus the need for schools to nurture teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving; or how best to teach children with limited English proficiency or even how to teach young children to read.
This past year's Congressional debate over the federal education appropriations bill previewed an increasing conflict over the control of public education. Calls for shifting greater power to states, local districts, and parents vied with proposals for an increased national role in funding disadvantaged schools, setting national standards for school and student performance, providing more funding to repair or build needed new schools, or efforts to address the "digital divide" by enabling schools to access online communications and information.
This year's electoral candidates are drawing ever sharper lines in these debates in order to garner greater public support for their campaigns. The good news is the campaigns will bring more attention to the needs of public education and to the role governments can play in helping address these needs. The bad news is that an election year can further divide us, hardening the battle lines over how to improve public schools and endangering the public consensus on the importance of educating all kids, rich or poor, well-prepared or ill, proficient or challenged, eager or apathetic.
Regardless where we stand individually on many of these issues, there is compelling need and evidence that all of us need to be involved in supporting Pagosa kids. Each of us should find ways of standing behind our local educational and youth developments efforts. It requires the ongoing commitment of everyone to successfully launch our young people out into the world of work and post-secondary education.
Keeping library books is stealing
"Glitz and Glam. . . Fur n' Fun" That's what we have to show you for the rest of this month.
Elaine Heitkamp and Catherine Frye have set up a display of their collections of jewelry and other collectibles. It took them more than four hours to set up the display and it will take you quite a while to appreciate all of the items. These two classy ladies have been "antiquing" together for more than 20 years. Come by and enjoy their window dressing.
No laughing matter
Thursday morning, the NBC Today show had a segment on a Florida man who was arrested for having overdue library books. There was a lot of laughing and joking about the supposed triviality of the matter. After the joking, they ended up revealing that the particular library was paying about $800,000 a year just to replace books that were not returned.
We're talking about taxpayers' money. Each year our library loses many books because of patrons who don't bother to return the materials. That is stealing, pure and simple. We've tried a number of methods to encourage people to return items, all without success.
It isn't very good public relations to send the sheriff or the police after the delinquents. But it sure makes us angry when supposed "model" citizens choose to ignore the law and keep material purchased with your money. How do you feel about this? Let us know as we prepare to set policy for the next few years.
We are the only place in town to have tax forms. The state tells us their forms won't be here until after Feb.1. The federal forms are dribbling in. We do not have the regular ones yet. If you come now, you will have to pay to copy everything. It would be best if you wait awhile. I have a feeling that the government is moving toward arbitrary filing on-line, and the printed forms as we know them will not be available.
Last week, I mentioned the opportunity for part-time employment working for the census project. This week I have more information: The job as census taker will pay $13.50 an hour with mileage reimbursement. The number to call is 1-800-325-7733.
We were very fortunate to receive several grants in the past month that will go toward several projects. Thanks to La Plata Electric for an education grant that will go toward our digitization project. The Hershey Foundation gave a grant to buy both books and computer equipment. The state granted us money to buy our periodicals for the year.
Lost and found
Someone lost a lovely little heart-shaped angel pin. Ask for it at the desk.
Thanks for materials from Wayne Crosby, Henry Rice, Stephanie Harville, Carole Howard, Bob Bledsoe, Jane Fraser and Dick Hillyer. Special thanks to Sally Hameister for the lovely new globe.
News on liquidation, photo contest
Pagosa Springs Arts Council's annual Artists Liquidation Sale continues at the Art Center and Gallery in Town Park through Jan. 29.
I scoped out the offerings and was truly amazed at both the quality of items and the reasonable prices. Over 14 artists are represented.
Many neat Christmas decorations remain, so this would be a good time to pick up some things for next year &emdash; for yourself or as gifts. Gorgeous decorated mirrors caught my eye, as well as darling birdhouses that look like pueblos.
As always, Jeff Laydon's photography is stunning, as are the watercolors by Greg Coffey. Several craftspersons have jewelry to offer, and Bill Trepas has some interesting assemblages. Pamela Bomkamp is showing photographs and beautiful fire starter baskets; these, especially, would make wonderful gifts. So if you haven't been yet, do stop in.
This is your penultimate notice about the 12th Annual PSAC Photography Contest.
Deadline for entries is Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 5 p.m. Entries must be in at Moonlight Books and Gallery at that time, ready to hang.
Eleven competition categories include: Animals, Architecture, Autumn Scenic, General Landscape, Patterns/Textures, People, Up Close, Winter Scenic, Black and White, Open, and Special Techniques. The complete rules are rather extensive to print here, but the entry blanks and rules can be picked up at Moonlight Books, Mountain Snapshots, Focus and Sound, or the PSAC Center and Gallery in Town Park. There is still time to get your entries ready, but you mustn't dally!
Whistle Pig had another successful evening on Saturday, Jan. 15. I couldn't reach Kent Greentree to get the names of all the entertainers, so let's just give kudos to all who attended and all who performed. Word is, this monthly event is lots of fun for all.
Well, this is my last column for Artsline.
I have done this for many (how many?) years, and have truly enjoyed the experience. The exigencies of a 45-hour per week job, plus my photography and framing business require that I move on.
Many thanks to those of you who read this column and who have given me such wonderful feedback.
PSAC needs someone to take my place. It's not a difficult job, and Joanne Halliday is great about suppling you with information to write about. So if you're interested, give her a call or leave a message at 264-5020.
Thanks again and adios!
'Senior Choice' meal draws big crowd
Wow! It was great to have a big crowd at the Senior Center on Monday to enjoy the "Seniors Choice" meal. Dawnie and the kitchen crew treated us with slaw, black-eyed peas, ham, biscuits, and homemade cinnamon rolls. It was delicious. For Dawnie's first time to ever prepare black-eyed peas, she came through like the pro that she is (she says she didn't grow up as a "southern girl" where black-eyed peas are a staple).
Unfortunately, seniors are very susceptible to illnesses and we are concerned for some of our most faithful attendees who are missing because of illness. We wish speedy recoveries to Betty Lou Reed and Nita Heitz. We are happy to see Myrtle Hopper has recovered and was back at the Center on Monday.
We were honored to have Kathy Wendt and Ray and Lelia Martinez back on Wednesday, and John and Marilyn Dahm visiting on Monday. Hope to see you folks again soon.
Cynthia Mitchell (who coordinates activities for the Seniors) is looking for someone to teach western dancing to our seniors. Please contact Cynthia if you would be willing to help out.
Also, there is a sign-up sheet at the front desk which lists various concerts coming up at Fort Lewis College. Cynthia would appreciate it if interested parties would designate which concerts they would like to attend so she can arrange bus transportation to those events for which there is sufficient interest.
Congratulations, Mary Archuleta &emdash; this week's Senior of the Week.
We send a special "thank you" to Mary Jaramillo for remembering our shut-in seniors, and to Dr. Forbert for donating the protein drinks for the seniors.
Coughing with Cruse
Call me Snow Bunny. Last week Hotshot and I hit the slopes at Wolf Creek Pass. I have to tell you, it was a great experience. Totally positive. First, we had to get ready for the big adventure. Skis and boots we would rent, of course. But clothes were a different matter. I had nothing to wear skiing. I know, I know, that's a typical "female" complaint. But in this case, it was true, for both of us. We've read all the tips on winter activities - stay dry, stay warm, stay hydrated. Actually the same advice applies to backpacking. But my backpacking outer gear is designed for summer rainstorms, not winter snows. I usually hike in shorts. Somehow, I don't think that they're quite the thing for snow-packed slopes.
No problem, said our new friends. Check out the thrift shops; you can get everything you need there.
Well, yes, you can, if you can find your size. I haven't done much hiking or even jogging for a couple of years, and the old muscles have gotten kind of flabby. And we won't even mention the pounds I've put on.
I eventually found a jacket. And a pair of quilted pants that looked like they were designed for snow, even though they didn't have the zippers and loops that some of the others did. They were red, not a trendy color at all, but the price was pretty terrific.
Tom struck out at the thrift shops, so we headed to the ski and sports clothing stores, where he bought a pair of pants and we both got gloves and mittens and goggles. We didn't look quite like the experts in the ski videos, nor like models in the expensive ads, with snow in the background, but at least we wouldn't freeze.
We also signed up for a set of private lessons. "Too much money," I said. "Worth every penny," countered Hotshot. "Maybe he can spend the first half-hour advising us on clothing," I said.
On the first Tuesday of the new year, we headed up the pass. Getting started was a little ragged. When we walked into the rental shop and said we were total novices, I don't think they understood exactly how out of our element we were. But the people working there are friendly and helpful, and fitted us carefully with boots and skis. Then we got into a conversation about how long we had been in Pagosa, and that so distracted all of us so much that we walked out without poles. Back for the poles.
"I don't know how people walk in these ski boots," I said to the friend who came with us. "Well, no wonder you're having trouble," she said. "You have to unfasten the clamp at the back. Nobody can walk in them otherwise."
We carried our skis and poles over to the area where the instructors hang around and found Lou, our teacher. And the fun began.
The last time I was on skis about 100 years ago, I was a teenager. "In your teens? Yup, things have changed since then," said my neighbor, Buck. "Now they have lifts, you don't have to make your own skis from whiskey barrels, and you wear ski boots instead of engineer boots!"
I put on the short skis. My body remembered the clumsy, awkward feeling of long ago, when skis seemed about 20 feet long. The difference was striking. This time I could do what the instructor said. I could plant the poles downhill and turn around with little steps. I could snowplow and I could even stop. At no time did the front tips cross over each other. Plus, skis now have these little prongs that jut down into the snow when you release the bindings. If you lose a ski, you might slide down the hill before your ski will.
Pretty soon Lou said, "Let's head for the lift."
Holy cow, the lift! I thought, I'm not ready for this. Forget about skiing down the hill. I've never been on a chair lift. How do I get on? More important, how do I get off?
"Slow it down," our instructor told those wonderful friendly people at the top and bottom of the lift. "Got a beginner here." They smiled. They slowed the lift. My exit down the little slope at the top wasn't graceful. The little kids, the Wolf Pups, did a better job. But I made it. Actually, Lou grabbed my arm and kept me from falling.
That morning we did two trips on the short run and then a longer run off the second lift, named Dickey. We had been on skis for 2 hours and were getting tired and dehydrated. I desperately needed to rest. We called it a morning and clumped into the ski hut to join our friends over cocoa and lunch. And water. Lots and lots of water. Surreptitiously, I studied everyone's clothing. No one paid any attention to my red pants. I think they're really meant for snowmobiling.
"You should make another run off the Dickey lift before you quit," Lou had told us. "Build your confidence." Our friends agreed. "I'm too tired," I told them. "I'm just going on the bunny slope."
"I'll go with you," said Mary, who is a part-time instructor. Together we headed for the lift. And you know what? I did fine getting off the lift and getting down the hill. I stopped looking at the snow right in front of my skis and started looking where I wanted to go, and my feet and skis just seemed to follow of their own accord. Amazing. That little run felt so good that when Mary suggested we head over to the longer lift, I didn't hesitate.
I fell twice toward the end. But I got back up by myself. That was another new experience. And I finished with a smile on my face.
I'm still a snow bunny. I've only come down the green dot trails. But in spite of my obsessing about clothes and skis and falls, the whole day was a positive experience. The people were friendly. We met other novices who, poor things, live in places like east Texas and only have a few days here. We can go again and again.
I told Buck about our day. He invited us to run moguls with him on Alberta face. Maybe next year, Buck.
(Sorry, the Editorial for this week is not available)
A beneficial 8 years
The Denver Post scooped the SUN Tuesday morning
when it reported that County Manager Dennis Hunt
had been chosen for the "controversial new county administrator position" in Arapahoe County. Until the details of a contract are agreed on, and proper signatures affixed, it's not a done deal.
Whereas Arapahoe County has about 500,000 citizens and five commissioners, it appears Dennis will be right at home - the article in The Denver Post used controversial or controversy three times to describe the new position that awaits him. No one from Jefferson County asked, but if they had, I would have given Dennis a favorable recommendation.
Being familiar with the problems facing the county and knowing the condition of the county's roads, bridges, facilities, finances, staffing and regulations in 1991; I know that during the past eight years Dennis made many sound decisions that benefited Archuleta County.
By no way was Dennis a one-man show, but many of the decisions he made in the day-to-operation of the county and the advice he offered to the commissioners he served under have helped the county.
Dennis never shied away from controversy and readily accepted the fact that he served at the will of the county commissioners he worked under. He accepted the fact that prudent decisions are not always popular, pleasant or painless.
With statistics showing that the average county manager experiences a "life expectancy" of serving two and a half years in the same position, the folks in Arapahoe County can rest assured that Dennis is an effective administrator.
David C. Mitchell
Y2K brings end to 'used to' time
It's not every year that you have three zeros in the year's date.
It's not every January that four folks file with the county clerk's as candidate hopefuls for the two county commissioner seats to be filled in November. Used to, it wasn't done that way.
It's no longer "used to" time in Archuleta County. Most of the folks in Pagosa used to live somewhere else. So it's natural to expect new trends.
Hopefully, Commissioners Ken Fox and Bill Downing will seek another term in office.
Experience is in short supply in the courthouse.
If the county officials start developing a one term is enough mentality, it will open the doors for candidates who are more interested in the salaries the elected positions offer rather than the challenges and responsibilities that go with the territory.
It would be a surprise if any of the current or past elected officials didn't meet some frustrations, disappointments and discouragement during the first part of their first term in office. Negative encounters and bothersome situations should be expected.
Used to, the good ones accepted disagreements, disputes and heated differences as learning experiences. They simply considered controversy as part of the territory.
Maybe it was a mistake to add the annex to the earlier annex on the courthouse and to remodel the old offices and courtrooms.
Used to, no one ever worried about the color of the linoleum tiles on the floor. Budget hearings were for folks who were hard of hearing. I can remember one county official shouting out the reasoning behind his budget requests. I can't remember if the commissioners heeded his request, but there was no doubt they heard it.
The best thing to be said about some of the old meetings in the courthouse is that they weren't as bad or long as some the town board used to hold.
To his credit, Mayor Ross Aragon stayed the course. Thanks to his perseverance, Pagosa enjoys an effective town government today. Ross lost some blood and earned some scars along the way, but he stuck with it. He made some mistakes and at times followed some wrong advice, but he learned from them. His tough tenacity played a major role in Pagosa being what it is today.
Today's county officials should count their blessings. They have been able to learn from past successes and problems.
Surely anyone who helps appoint folks to serve on the Archuleta County Community Plan Steering Committee would want to stay in office long enough to help implement the eventual plan.
It's easy to sympathize with today's elected officials. The continually changing composition of the county's population makes it impossible to recognize all the faces much less know all the names. Campaigning has become a real chore. Eating breakfast at the Elkhorn, lunch at Jan's Cafe and supper at the Town House, no longer puts elected officials in contact with most of their constituents.
You don't need to read the SUN to know Pagosa has changed. It doesn't matter if the changes are good or bad - they're a reality. Most folks deal with them.
Things - power struggles, personalities, pressures, back stabbing, grand standing, favoritism, deception, etc. - in the courthouse really haven't changed that much in the past 15 years. It would be a shame if a trend towards giving up or being chased away after one term in office becomes one of the changes.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
Marquez named as commissioner
Taken from SUN files
of Jan. 9, 1975
Governor Vanderhoof last Thursday appointed Dr. E. Leonard Marquez to fill the vacancy on the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners. This is the second appointment to that board since the last election. Dr. Marquez fills the vacancy left by the resignation of Lewis Luchini, which was effective Jan. 1.
Drugs were reportedly stolen from the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center last weekend when the center was broken into. The value of the drugs was not large and only a small amount was taken. There is not normally any noticeable amount of narcotics kept at the medical center.
Approximately 16,000 skiers have used the slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area thus far this season. This number is well ahead of last year's attendance. A new chair lift at the ski area has been a big drawing card and has eliminated long lift lines. There was a 55-inch base before new snow started falling this week.
Location certificates were filed with the county clerk and recorder last month for 1004 mineral claims. The claims are in the San Juan National Forest in the area of Turkey Springs Road and on west to Devil Creek. State and federal laws require that certain amount of so-called "assessment" or development work must be done on such claims every year to keep the claims valid.
Bits and pieces make a whole community
Did you know . . .
The first European visited the San Juan Basin in the mid 1500s? It is reported that an expedition of 350 Europeans and 800 Indians under the leadership of Vasquez Coronado visited the San Juan Basin on their quest for gold.
It was over 200 years later before we have a record of another visit by white men to this area? It was 1776 when two Spanish fathers, Dominguez and Escalante passed through the southern portion of Archuleta County. These men and their party were searching for a route from Santa Fe to California.
A legend tells us that there is millions of dollars in gold buried on Treasure Mountain? Reportedly a 1790s French expedition comprised of 300 men camped near Treasure Mountain and spent a summer mining. They hid their gold until they were ready to leave. Their luck changed. Disease killed many, supplies ran low and the Indians attacked. Only 17 men left the mountain with their lives. Sixteen of these perished before making it back to civilization. The surviving Frenchman, Lebreau, returned to France with a packet of papers marking the locations of the treasure. Though many have reportedly looked for the landmarks leading to the gold over the years, it remains hidden.
Initial research of the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area was carried out in 1921? The investigation was jointly sponsored by the State Historical and Natural History Society of Colorado and the University of Denver. Further studies were carried out each summer over the 1920s. Renewed interest in the site led to more extensive studies and preservation beginning in the early 1970s. It is thought the inhabitants were religious people "given to ceremonial dances on the plazas, and in the dark subterranean temples called Kivas the men practiced a ritual of worship of the heavens and the earth, heat, light, and water." The people largely survived on game, fish, fresh vegetables, corn meal, wild fruit and berries.
"Sunetha" is derived from a combination of the names of Sullenberger, Newton and Thatcher? Alexander Sullenberger was the president of the Pagosa Lumber Company, Whitney Newton a company vice president and M.D. Thatcher was the company secretary. Sullenberger came up with this to be the name of his ranch west of Pagosa Springs which eventually contained 3,597 acres. In addition to running sawmills, building railroads and operating logging camps, Sullenberger raised Hereford cattle on his ranch.
We putt up Put Hill? So named for the Putnam family who resided at the base of the hill a number of years ago.
'Haunting' is one good movie
What with Halloween being just around the corner (or Valentine's Day - I get the two mixed up), I thought it would be a good idea to compare the two film versions of Shirley Jackson's novel "The Haunting of Hill House." Both films are entitled "The Haunting," but the similarities end there.
The original was directed by Robert Wise back in 1963. Wise had already made a name for himself by editing Orson Welles's "Citizen Kane" (1941), then directing the hot little horror flick "The Curse of the Cat People" (1944), followed by the sci-fi classic "The Day the Earth Stood Still" (1951), the Susan Hayward death-row laugh riot "I Want to Live" (1958), the "Romeo and Juliet" remake "West Side Story" (1961), and the endless tear-jerking romantic songfest "The Sound of Music" (1965).
Jan De Bont, who directed the 1999 version of "The Haunting," has a totally different kind of resumé, and just a quick look at it will give you a good idea of what his version is like. He made the big time with the thrill-a-second "Speed," starring Keanu Reeves. He followed that up with the loud but hollow "Twister." He then etched his name among Hollywood's great flops by directing the disastrous "Speed 2."
So now that I've given you a little background, any guesses as to which of these two movies is worth seeing? Think carefully.
Wise's 1963 version is a chilling and subtle study in dementia, phobias, terror, atmosphere, loneliness and the power of suggestion on a fragile psyche. De Bont's remake is a loud, ugly, special-effects driven pile of poppycock. Consequently, De Bont's debacle earns my favorite moniker for blockbuster dog meat: His film is a bloated wart hog.
The original opens in classic horror-movie fashion: We see a dimly back-lit Hill House, in beautiful black and white, and we hear a creepy voice-over and sinister, cacophonous music, shrill and jagged. The disembodied voice - one that would unnerve Mr. Edgar Allan Poe himself - gives us a century's worth of history of Hill House in a matter of minutes, a history that is illustrated through a series of dissolves reminiscent of the beginning of "Citizen Kane."
The house was built by one Hugh Crane, and his first wife died seconds before she entered it. His second wife didn't fare much better. His daughter Abigail grew old in the house, then died when her nurse/companion was busy making out with some guy while Abigail futilely called for her by beating on the wall with her cane.
Apparently, Abigail's spirit didn't get too far after she quit breathing. "The dead are not quiet in Hill House," we're told.
Hill House, incidentally, is in "remote New England," which, along with the Old South, is where all good American Gothic stories take place.
Years after Abigail's death, Professor John Marquay (Richard Johnson) decides to recruit six volunteers to help him conduct an experiment on the supernatural in Hill House. He hopes his work will eventually help him "find the keys to another world."
Three of his guinea pigs chicken out. The three who show up are Eleanor (Julie Harris), Theodora (Claire Bloom) and Luke (Russ Tamblyn).
Eleanor is a pathologically lonely, unstable and disenfranchised young spinster who has enough abandonment issues to keep a convention of psychologists busy for a few years. No one has ever liked her and no one has ever wanted her. The call to Hill House is the best thing that's ever happened to her. "Finally, I'm going somewhere where I'm expected. I have a place. I belong. I'm a new person," she says, by way of a voice-over that seems to be emanating from either an echo chamber or an empty brain pan.
Theodora is a kind of '50s beatnik, all in black, a precursor to today's Goths, those moody, introspective and generally highly intelligent young folks who are wafted by unseen spirits across college and high school campuses across this great nation of ours. Dr. Marquay has chosen Theodora for his experiment because she has "remarkable powers of ESP." Of course, Theodora already knew that when he told her.
Luke is there because he's in line to inherit the place when the last remaining branch of the Crane family tree rots and falls to the earth. A myopic capitalist, Luke sees Hill House only as "desirable property," and he worries that Marquay's ghoulish theories will "downgrade property values."
One other character deserves mention. Marquay and his entourage are greeted at Hill House by Mrs. Dudley, a spooky housekeeper who resembles an anorexic Joan Baez. On more than one occasion, she warns the apprehensive guests that "Once it's dark, once it's night, I'll be in town. No one will come any nearer than that in the night, in the dark."
For the rest of the film, Wise and his cameraman give us a good case of the heeby-jeebies, not by showing us ghosts and gore or animated demons and angels, but by making excellent use of camera movement, camera angles and lighting to create a downright uncomfortable atmosphere, a setting seething with potential evil. And unlike De Bont, Wise understands this classic bit of creep-show wisdom: the greatest terror is unseen.
Here's an example of how Wise does it. Eleanor and Theodora are talking on a bed (more about this later). They hear an awful racket coming from outside the bedroom door. The camera looks at the door and we see the source of the noise, but not what's causing it. Then, in what we in the film criticism profession call a "reverse angle shot" or "reaction shot," the camera shows us a tight close-up of the two women trembling in fear. Then, back to the door, back to the women, etc., etc.
We're frightened enough without the door turning into an ugly face or growing fingers; in fact, like Eleanor and Theodora, we're more frightened because we can't see what's causing the ruckus
Through voice-overs, Wise also lets us spend an uncomfortable amount of time inside poor Eleanor's haunted head. We know she's coming unraveled, so all of her perceptions become suspect: Are these things really happening or is Eleanor merely projecting her mental illness onto the house?
Whatever's "really" happening, we know that, in some sense, Hill House is calling out to Eleanor. It is trying to become both the home she's never had and her destroyer at the same time. Now that's unsettling.
Wise's technique clearly makes for an effective thriller, but the film is made even better by Harris's and Bloom's excellent acting. These women are so good at their craft that they make the most of every scene they're in. Harris, especially, is brilliant as the tormented Eleanor, suffering from terminal estrangement from the human race, fighting off a strong crush for Marquay and oddly attracted to Theodora - there's definitely a subtle tension between these two.
De Bont's remake, on the other hand, pulls out all the high-tech stops, giving the house eyes, animating statues, creating a band of smoky angel babies, inventing a stupid human-smashing device that springs from, I think, an oversized fireplace. Like most blockbuster directors, he has no appreciation for or understanding of metaphor. Hill House can't just be like an oversized ogre, it has to actually become one, taking on all sorts of garish human characteristics.
Nor does De Bont's film have any fine acting to admire. Lili Taylor plays Eleanor, and Taylor is no Julie Harris. The supposedly beautiful Catherine Zeta Jones does nothing special as Theodora, and young Owen Wilson, who co-wrote the wonderful "Rushmore," is an uninteresting Luke. Liam Neeson, who really is a pretty good actor, gets stuck playing a Marquay (except he's called Marrow) who's just a feckless prankster, conducting his experiment on Hill House as some sort of cruel joke.
Watching this film is like being trapped inside a video arcade or, better yet, inside one of the actual games. It's an all out assault on the senses, geared towards an audience with a short attention span, an audience drawn towards pulsating lights, wall-to-wall sound and elaborate magic tricks.
Some film critics believe the incredible success of last year's "Blair Witch Project" (which might very well be indebted to the original "Haunting") has made it next to impossible for film audiences to ever again fall for another bloated wart hog like "The Haunting" remake. I hope they're right. I hope people will eventually choose masterful technique over computer generated glitz and gore. Our senses, after all, need not be overwhelmed in order for us to feel fear or, for that matter, love, hope, compassion or joy.
Both versions of "The Haunting" are available on video somewhere in Pagosa. Choose Wisely.
Karl's shed unsightly, unapproved
Beware the bull that gores the haystack.
I feel dirty, but relieved.
And in my relief, I have found enthusiasm.
Finally, someone took a step, grabbed me by the collar and yanked me out of a precipitous downward spiral.
It was my property owners association. Specifically, the Phantasm Ponds Property Owners Association, out here in Phantasm Ponds - "the little community that really isn't, but acts like it is."
My deliverance arrived Friday in the form of a letter from the Environmental Covenant Control Inspector, and it was not a moment too late.
The Inspector informed me that my property in Phantasm Ponds harbors an "unapproved storage shed." Furthermore, The Inspector determined the "unapproved storage shed" is "unsightly." Action is necessary, wrote the Inspector, or a fine will be forthcoming.
I don't recall asking to be inspected, but my relief was palpable. This situation has hung around my neck like a millstone and the inspection will save me.
The information provided by The Inspector is nothing new: In the seven years since the decrepit storage shed was put behind my house, I'm the only person who has approved of it. And, whooeee, is it unsightly, or what?
My wife has been on my case for three years to get rid of the shed and I confess, for that reason, I used my delay as a potent domestic irritant.
I was wrong.
My neighbors in Phantasm Ponds have not said anything about my shed, but I'm sure Jerry and Barbara, Pete and Julie, Ian, Vicki, and Lorraine have wanted to put pressure on me. It is only their gracious natures (and the fact none are ancient enough to be obsessed with the myth of "property value") that have prevented them from taking action.
I was wrong to treat them so poorly.
Thank goodness The Inspector and the Phantasm Ponds Property Owners Association were not similarly constrained. They recognized my shed as more than merely unapproved and unsightly.
They recognized it as a cry for help.
Because of them, I am going to do what my wife wants and remove the tragic personal statement from my yard this spring.
In the meantime, with a huge weight lifted from my shoulders, I am on the road to recovery and as part of my reformation, I have changed my mind about the Phantasm Ponds POA and its covenant control efforts.
I want to help.
The new me senses enormous value in tending to the affairs of others and, for several days and nights, I've worked feverishly on a plan to improve the operation of the PPPOA covenant control operation - making it more efficient as it usurps the rights and responsibilities of the association's feeble constituents.
I've assembled a variety of visual aids - transparencies, graphs, charts loaded with statistical evidence, the results of polls taken of befuddled property owners at public meetings, as well as a portfolio of architectural drawings - and I will make a presentation to the PPPOA Grand Directorate in the near future. In the meantime, I've composed the following letter to the Inspector; I hope he will pass it on to his superiors in the PPPOA hierarchy.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful covenant violation warning. Due to your intervention, the quality of my life, the life of my family members and the life of my all-suffering neighbors, will improve rapidly. You are to be commended for the upstanding manner in which you perform a task essential to the well being of the residents of our community which really doesn't exist. On behalf of all residents of Phantasm Ponds, I offer you my profound gratitude. Keep up the good work; our property values would collapse without your worthy labor.
When I informed my acquaintances of my new attitude toward the association and my admiration of your activities, their response was uniform: they perceived you as an errand boy for fools - people in whom a relative ease of existence produces a vacuum that can be filled only by the minding of other people's business.
I find this a bit harsh, don't you?
I'm on your side. I say, "You get 'em boy!"
To assist you in your noble duties, I've worked out an extensive overhaul of your department, its policies and procedures. I anxiously await a meeting at which time I will provide you with details. Until then, allow me to summarize.
As I see it, we must step up efforts to condemn those poor wretches among us who are unable to manage their personal or social affairs. The sooner we correct the situation, the better. Rather than hoping residents will take it on themselves to correct problems on their properties and in the vicinity of their properties, we must step in and do it for them. Our national government has proven time and time again that action from above provides the most expedient and economical solutions to human problems. Our national government can't be wrong. We can't be wrong.
As I see it, our activity must focus on three elements: Image, Enforcement and Reeducation. Let's consider my ideas in that order. When I meet with you and your infinitely wise overseers, I will have a plethora of audio and visual aids at hand to illustrate my points, making it easier for those members of the organization who cannot read to understand our mission.
An examination of the history of the royal families of Europe shows us the need for precise trappings; the mantle of power must reflect the ability of the wearer to exact immediate and horrible consequences. This notion was streamlined by several nasty social giants of the mid-20th century - Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, et al. What use is it to wield absolute power if you don't dress the part, if you don't possess the proper symbols? When appearance and reality coincide, you are in the driver's seat. Make a note of this.
First, consider your need for a proper insignia.
My friend Milton Lewis ceased all profit-making artistic activity this week at his downtown gallery and devoted hour after hour to the task of developing the right insignia, the right logo, an image to make manifest the nature of your calling. Milton succeeded brilliantly! He designed a shield-shaped field on which is emblazoned a highly-stylized dual lightning bolt crashing down from the sky to destroy an unapproved storage shed. Let anyone whose eyes regard this symbol tremble and obey! A simple graphic image speaks volumes, don't you agree?
Next, the uniform.
I've executed watercolor sketches of potential uniforms, each in harmony with a season of the year. Inspectors require a veneer of authority and I believe my designs will help you project a paternalistic but less than patient presence.
For the winter months, picture this: a one-piece black jumpsuit with epaulets. Paired with knee-high jack boots and black leather gloves with winged cuffs, this outfit screams dominance. An ascot is mandatory. I worried over the proper color for an ascot and decided on two - claret and Prussian blue - the color choice to be made by the Inspector as he assesses his mood prior to going out on his rounds.
When it comes to a cap, I am positively giddy about the Central American General look, aren't you? The peak of the hat stretches skyward in an exaggerated arc, its tip seeking the heavens and contact with divine resources. On the bill of the cap, a swirl of ornate golden boughs and intertwining tendrils represent the complex duties performed by its wearer.
In the more temperate months, the uniform is a fawn brown in color. The hat . . . a jaunty kepi with bold concentric circles of color - claret and Prussian blue - on its flat top (the better to be seen from the covenant control helicopter). Our Inspector will wear shorts so he won't overheat while in pursuit of his prey, as well as knee socks replete with a zippy fringed sock garter tab in a color to match his ascot. As with the winter outfit, the summer/spring ensemble features dramatic epaulets graced with a silver shoulder cord.
Add the right vehicle, and the image of power is complete!
Imagine the spectacle confronting an offender. Imagine you are an unruly resident of Phantasm Ponds. You sit on an inverted plastic pail on your dilapidated and unapproved deck, dressed in a pair of boxer shorts and a wife-beater T-shirt, sipping a Grapette. Into your driveway pulls a black Humvee. There is a bar of emergency lights on the roof of the vehicle, numerous spotlights bedeck the side panels at the front of the massive doors. A loudspeaker is mounted on the Humvee's front bumper and from it blares:"Put down your Grapette. Do not place the bottle on the railing of your deck as this violates article 7, section D of the Phantasm Ponds restrictive covenants. Put your hands on top of your head, walk three steps past your front porch, then drop to your knees."
You do as you are told.
Out of the car steps The Inspector.
You struggle to catch your breath. The black-clad specter unrolls a scroll and he reads: "On behalf of the Grand Directorate of the association and my immediate superiors on the Environmental Covenant Control Supreme Tribunal, I hereby deem your structure unsightly and not in harmony with your dwelling. You are a bad, bad person and you must be punished. If you fail to report to the ECC bunker by 0100 hours on 14 March, you will be summarily denied all association benefits and members of the Grand Directorate will shun you when they pass you in the grocery store."
(Actually, it is best if summonses, warrants and notices of covenant violations are delivered at approximately 3 a.m. Roused from a deep sleep, the recipient is confused, defenseless. File this suggestion for future use.)
With your new image, you will transcend confrontation, you will occupy an Olympian throne. Birds will drop from the skies. Magma will pour from cracks that open in the earth.
I propose a reorganization of our covenant enforcement process to ensure that residents of Phantasm Ponds understand their places in the social pecking order. Heretofore, we have the group of sages on our ECC Tribunal and our noble Inspector holding the fort against social disorder. This is not enough.
We need a complex organization of informants. I propose neighborhood "cells" as the foundation of this organization.
Each neighborhood in Phantasm Ponds will hold a mandatory meeting of property owners. At the meeting, a dictate from the Grand Directorate will be issued, requiring every property owner to spy on adjacent neighbors and report weekly to a neighborhood cell leader - preferably someone without a real life who is willing to sacrifice soap opera time to snooping and snitching. There are plenty of candidates in Phantasm Ponds.
Cell leaders report to a subdivision commandant who analyzes information and passes it on to the ECC Tribunal. At the same time, the subdivision commandant has the discretion to engineer a campaign of public humiliation against an alleged offender. Nothing beats a dose of peer pressure, eh?
During the summer months, when local school children are on vacation, I propose an ECC Youth Corps be mustered, with Phantasm Ponds youngsters between the ages of 8 and 18 drafted for service. Each neighborhood will have its own "Youth Cadre" under the guidance of an adult cell member in need of a sense of self-importance and control. The cadre will hold "maneuvers" three days each week, with cadets marching in formation through the neighborhood, seeking out covenant violations and spray-painting derogatory phrases on "unsightly" structures and "unapproved" fences.
Once word of an offense makes its way to the newly-constructed ECC Bunker and the Tribunal, the Inspector will serve a warrant and a hasty trial will be scheduled.
Interrogation of suspects will take place in the Tribunal Chamber with the suspect lashed to a stool and bathed in bright halogen light while members of the Tribunal, clad in silver mylar robes (I have drawings!), render judgment from a dais raised six feet above floor level. Regardless of the answers proffered by the slacker, conviction occurs quickly and sentence is passed: a hefty fine, a trip to the reeducation center, and public service consisting of gardening duties at the home of a member of the Phantasm Ponds Grand Directorate.
Once convicted by the Tribunal, the offender will have a placard hung around his or her neck bearing a handwritten confession and apology, and he or she will be paraded through a gauntlet of mocking Phantasm Ponds residents gathered in the courtyard at the front of the ECC Bunker. Members of the Phantasm Ponds Grand Directorate will be seated on elaborately decorated chairs on a balcony above the courtyard. Following the public spectacle, they will throw recreation center passes to the happy throng.
The big question, of course, is what to feed the mob? What good is a property owners association if it cannot feed a mob?
Members of the Grand Directorate and the ECC Tribunal will adjourn inside the bunker following the weekly humiliation of offenders, where they will dine on roast squab, joints of mutton and beef, and spices from the Near East. For dessert, a palate cleanser of blood orange sorbet with basil.
Members of the mob will be given Lorna Doones and bottled water. They will be allowed ten minutes to enjoy their cookies and liquids then dispersed with blasts from the PPPOA water cannon.
What is the value of social humiliation if there is no follow-up - no effort by the community to reorient its strays?
The Phantasm Ponds Reeducation Center will be located at the end of North Pagosa Boulevard. Surrounded by an ECC-approved electric fence, the center will contain color-coordinated barracks and work centers. In the work centers, under claret and Prussian blue flags bearing the Phantasm Ponds motto - "Possunt, quia posse videntur" - convicted covenant offenders will manufacture hand-stitched muskrat moccasins and a variety of curios bearing the likenesses of members of the Grand Directorate to be sold at a shop located just outside the entrance to the center. Proceeds from curio sales will be used to purchase Lorna Doones to feed the mob.
Inmates at the reeducation center will be monitored by gangs of armed teens who chant sections of the covenants and restrictions en masse, reading their selections from small red books. If association geneticists are successful in their attempts to create a strain of cold-weather rice, inmates at the reeducation center will be put to work in a system of paddies located in the wetlands adjacent to Lake Hatcher.
Inmates will also be subjected to a horror beyond description: They will be forced to sit through monthly meetings of the Grand Directorate and to take notes at numerous Directorate "work sessions." They will be required to memorize select comments made by members of the Grand Directorate and to repeat the phrases on demand. It is a fate worse than death!
With punishment like this in store for offenders, dare I say there will be little civil disobedience in the little community that really isn't. Smart-alecky intellectuals and libertarians will soon learn to hold their peace and to fall into step.
What do you think?
Do any of my ideas stoke the fire of your zeal?
I know I can be of some help to you. Our joint effort will be the coup de grace delivered to doubters, the cap stone of a great venture.
Incidentally, as a favor while you wait for me to make an appointment to meet you at your office, would you mind doing some research on the following topics?
1. Are there any PPPOA restrictions limiting the burning of effigies at the summer solstice?
2. If a cock-fighting pit is stuccoed and tinted the same color as the adjoining residence, is it in compliance?
3. Do our covenants give the association a cut of proceeds earned by backyard smelters?
4. Am I allowed to keep critters down by the ceeement pond? Do the restrictions recognize reptiles as critters?
5. Can moats contain gasoline or similarly volatile substances such as jet fuel?
Looking forward to your response, to our meeting and to a productive partnership.
Your faithful servant, fellow PPPOA member and new champion of the ECC,
History of Tierra Amarilla continues
By John M. Motter
Editor's note: This is the second of a short series on the history of Tierra Amarilla, Pagosa Country's neighbor to the south. Tierra Amarilla's history is intimately interwoven with Pagosa Country history.
Last week we talked about the very early years of Tierra Amarilla history, ending with the major settlement event in 1860 and the establishment of Fort Lowell to help maintain peace between the settlers and the Indians. An attempt to enlist local Hispanics in a militia to fight the Utes failed, even though T.D. Burns was named captain of the militia.
Books could probably be written about the activities of Burns. He subsequently established a general store in Tierra Amarilla and supplied goods to the miners working their way into the San Juan gold fields above Durango. When Fort Lewis was built in Pagosa Springs in 1878, Burns obtained a contract to supply wheat and corn to the fort. Burns later had a store in Rosa. The name lingers today in Burns National Bank located in Durango with a branch in Pagosa Springs. Burns, along with a man named Ed Sargent, was also one of the largest sheep ranchers in the area. His flocks may have numbered in the hundreds of thousands. He is said to have helped Thomas Catron obtain title to the huge Tierra Amarilla Land Grant. Catron was leader of the Santa Fe Ring, a notorious band of gringos who, by fair means or foul, ended up owning millions of acres of land contained in old Spanish and Mexican land grants. The Hughes property at the headwaters of the Navajo River is the remnant of the Tierra Amarilla land grant. At one time, the TA grant stretched from the Navajo River on the north to the Nutria River south of Tierra Amarilla on the south. It stretched from the peaks of the southern San Juans on the east to the boundaries of the Jicarilla Reservation (established later than the TA grant) on the west. The story of the TA grant is also the subject of many books.
An uneasy peace between the white invaders and the Indian natives existed in the TA area after Fort Lowell shut down. No serious depredations occurred until the spring of 1872. At that time, according to a Santa Fe newspaper, "that irrepressible cuss, 'Lo, the poor Indian,' whose blood is bad in the spring, caused by eating the fat beef of Tierra Amarilla, has had to take something, so he took the horses of Antonio and Juan Martin. . .and it evidently done him good for he repeated and increased the dose."
Shortly after, 24 men and two officers of Companies "E" and "K" of the 8th Cavalry from Fort Wingate arrived at Tierra Amarilla April 20. The commanding officer arranged a May 6 meeting with Sobita, a Capote chief, probably in Las Nutritas. Sobita was accompanied by about 30 well-armed warriors and another group was about three miles away. Thomas Chacon was the Ute interpreter and T.D. Burns the Spanish interpreter.
The meeting went badly when the Army commander demanded hostages as security for return of the accused thieves. The Utes broke away and joined their comrades. Thomas Chacon was sent to bring them back, but he was horse whipped and sent back with a message that the Utes wanted to fight. A battle ensued on the slopes of a small bluff on the banks of the Chama River within sight of Los Ojos. When they retreated to the west, the Utes came upon Agapito Lucero with 100 sheep. They killed him.
One eyewitness described the battle as an "immense amount of shooting done to little effect." One Indian was killed, one white soldier shot in the leg, and each side lost a horse.
Subsequent to the battle, the U.S. government agency for providing annuity goods to the Weminuche and Capote Utes was moved from Abiquiu to Las Nutritas. The agency was located in a large building rented from T.D. Burns and located across the street from the present day county courthouse and a few yards from the now demolished Burns store and residence.
Both Ute tribes received their annuity goods at TA until 1878. After that they were removed to their agency at Los Pinos near Cochetopa Pass. About 600 Jicarilla Apache, after being assigned to Tierra Amarilla, received their agency goods at Tierra Amarilla until 1881. At that time they were transferred to Amargo.
Next week, we will learn that outlaws became so rambunctious in Northern New Mexico that Lew "Bigfoot" Wallace, the territorial governor, had to send in militia to restore law and order.
Daylight Donuts & Cafe
Linda Lee and Tom Hayes own and operate Daylight Donuts and Cafe at 2151 West U.S. 160, at the top of Put Hill.
Daylight Donuts offers donuts, baked goods and drinks, as well as a breakfast menu with numerous affordable selections and a daily breakfast special. A lunch menu is planned for the future. Wholesale is available on donuts and baked goods.
The shop is open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. The phone is 731-4050.
Summer may give way to snow Sunday
(See front page)