Tie vote sends batch plant plan to commissioners
By John M. Motter
A public hearing Aug. 23 concerning Hard Times Concrete Inc.'s application for a conditional-use permit to operate a concrete batch plant ended in a tie vote by the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission board.
After four hours and 15 minutes of testimony, and more testimony, in front of an audience approximating 125 people, the six members rendered a 3-3 tie vote on a motion to recommend approval of the proposed batch plant along with a stack of mitigating requirements.
Because the planning commission is an advisory board, it does not make legally-binding decisions. Instead, planning commission decisions in the form of recommendations are forwarded to the three-member county commissioner board. Action by the county commissioners is binding.
The county commissioners' public hearing on the batch plant is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at in the Pagosa Lakes Community Center.
Because of the tie vote during the Aug. 23 meeting, the batch plant issue is being forwarded to the county commissioners without a recommendation for approval or denial from the planning commission. A second option at the planning commission's Aug. 23 meeting would have allowed a new motion, but planning commission members did not take advantage of that option.
Setting the stage for the tie vote was planning commission member David Durkee's action excusing himself from the meeting because he lives in San Juan River Village, home to many of the batch plant opponents. Loss of Durkee dropped the commission's membership from seven to six.
At issue is Hard Times Concrete's application to Archuleta County for a conditional-use permit allowing operation of a concrete batch plant on the applicant's property east of U.S. 160 and south of the San Juan River adjacent to the Lauglin Bridge about 5 miles from town.
The proposed batch plant consists of a five-yard, portable, concrete batch plant with a dust collector for the cement silo, a 50-feet by 75-feet mechanic shop with a future addition of 50 feet by 50 feet; a screening/wash plant; two wash ponds; stockpiles of gravel; and parking of commercial equipment including commercial and agricultural. About eight acres is being detached from a 230-acre parcel to house the plant.
Approval of the proposal requires concurrence with the county master plan and more specifically, with requirements for a special-use permit approved by the county commissioners during March of this year.
Prior to the Aug. 23 public hearing, members of the county planning office reviewed the application and obtained comments from a variety of concerned agencies as well as neighbors living within 500 feet of the 230-acre parcel. Opponents of the proposal include many residents of nearby San Juan River Village, and the owners/operators of a recreational vehicle park across the highway from the proposed site.
Upon completion of its review process, the county planning staff recommended planning commission approval of the proposal. As a condition of approval, a number of mitigating actions were recommended by planning staff.
The format of the Aug. 23 meeting chaired by Lynn Constan, chairman of the Planning Commission, was determined by a meeting between County Attorney Mary Weiss, county director of development Mike Mollica, county planning director Kathy Ruth and Constan.
Reports from the county planning staff began at 7:05 p.m. and ended at 7:20. At 7:20, attorney Richard Krause began an explanation of Hard Times Concrete's proposal which ended at 7:57. At that time, planning commission members asked Kraus a series of questions and made comments which lasted until 9:20, when the public comment portion of the hearing began.
Public comments were limited to 2 minutes each, including a presentation by Barbara Green, a Denver attorney hired by San Juan River Valley Friends of the Environment, who spoke against the batch plant. Making public comments were 26 citizens, 15 in opposition to the batch plant, nine favoring the batch plant, and two neutral. Public comments ended at 10:15.
In general, arguments used by opponents of the plant centered on the location being aesthetically bad for the county, the location is too close to the neighboring RV park and San Juan River Village residential areas, noise levels, traffic problems, dust, and potential pollution of the San Juan River.
Following public comments, planning commission members talked until 10:30, two minutes were allowed for county planning staff comments, and Krause was allowed an additional two minutes.
Planning commission vote
Beginning at 10:35, planning commission members basically explained the vote they were to make.
Bryan Lewis said he believed this was the right industry in the wrong place. He added that the Colorado Department of Transportation should have required acceleration and deceleration lanes for vehicles entering the batch plant site. (CDOT has approved the entry way without requiring A-D lanes).
Julia Donoho said the decision was difficult, but under existing county regulations, she had to vote approval if the applicants meet all mitigation requirements.
Bob Lynch said he had problems with the magnitude of differences between facts submitted to the state and those submitted locally.
Constan also expressed uneasiness with the magnitude of differences between facts submitted to the state and those submitted to the county. Of specific concern was a statement in the CDOT application that said 40 vehicles would enter or leave the site daily. A submission by the applicant to the county indicated a daily ingress-egress rate of about 72 vehicles a day.
"If the CDOT application had contained the larger number, their response might have been different," Constan said.
Bobra Schaeper argued that all of the concerns could be mitigated. Under those circumstances she said, the application meets county requirements.
Betty Shahan argued that it is desirable to encourage local business development so that local people can find worthwhile employment.
Schaeper moved that the planning commission recommend approval of the application with certain mitigations required. The vote took place at 11:15 with Schaeper, Shahan and Donoho voting yes; Lewis, Lynch an Constan voting no.
The county planning staff made the following recommendations, or mitigations, as conditions of its recommendation for approval:
- That the site for the truck washout-cleanout area shall be moved a minimum of five feet away from the drainage swale
- That the applicants shall comply with acceptable standards and regulations of the Air Quality Control Commission
- The applicant shall submit a detailed plan for the trash dumpster enclosure
- The applicant shall submit for county engineer approval, a detailed parking layout plan
- The earthen berm providing visual and audio shielding shall be enlarged as to length, shall be a minimum of six-feet high, and shall be planted with evergreen trees a minimum of six-feet high at the time of planting. Landscaping of the berm is required
- The silo, hopper, and adjacent buildings shall be painted a color causing them to blend with the environment and be cleared of dust as necessary
- Engineering drainage plans shall be submitted prior to any development of the site
- The access, driveway, and parking area shall be either asphalt paving or engineered concrete
- The chemical storage building shall have a concrete dike and floor
- Disposal of any waste chemicals shall be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency
- All fuel storage areas shall contain a concrete dike and floor.
- Once the batch plant is operational, sound level readings will be taken. The results could require further mitigation
- County planning staff will review the site 30 days after operation begins with the right to enforce additional changes
- The approved hours of gravel washing, sorting and operating the concrete batch plant shall be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The hours for unloading materials shall be limited to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
- There shall be an annual evaluation of the batch plant by county staff
- The applicant shall submit a copy of the state of Colorado commercial well permit
- The applicant shall submit a copy of the San Juan Basin Health Department sewage permit, once the permit is finalized.
The county planning staff also listed 11 improvements for the applicant to complete before operation of the batch plant can begin.
Foes harass campers at Piano Creek
By John M. Motter
During the black of Sunday night, an undetermined number of protesters surrounded and assaulted with drums and obscenities, a California family sleeping in a tent at a site proposed for development by Piano Creek Ranches as a multi-million dollar, guest-owned, recreation development.
The site is located on the East Fork of the San Juan River in Mineral County about five and one-half miles upstream from the junction of the San Juan River and U.S. 160.
At about 1 a.m. Sunday, the protesters surrounded a tent in which the family was sleeping, then commenced banging drums and shouting obscenities, according to Matt Bachus, ranch manager for Piano Creek. The attack at the Piano Creek site occurred in two waves lasting about 10 minutes each and involved both men and women, according to Bachus.
Bachus said the attackers shouted such things as: "Get out of here," "You're destroying our land," "You're raping our land," "We know where you live and we'll burn your houses," "We will find you," "Get out of town," and much unprintable language.
A Piano Creek employee sleeping in a nearby teepee apparently heard the disturbance and reportedly ran out and talked with some of the attackers before the intruders returned to cars parked some distance away on a public road.
"He learned some first names and heard the names of some environmental organizations," Bachus said. "He thinks he heard the name Earth Watch, but isn't sure," Bachus said.
The employee soon contacted Bachus by radio and, in turn, Bachus called Mineral County Sheriff Phil Legget at the county seat in Creede. Legget visited the scene of the attack and launched an investigation which is still underway.
"We have this incident under investigation," Legget said. "I don't know where it will go, but we're following some leads."
According to Legget, some of the Piano Creek folks believe the attackers may have been camped at a nearby campground owned by Betty Feazel, owner of the At Last Ranch.
Feazel acknowledged talking with Jerry Sanders, CEO of Piano Creek Ranch, and learning of the incident from him. Feazel said she had allowed members of Colorado Wild, an environmental organization, to camp on her property.
"I know many members of that organization and they are fine people," Feazel said Wednesday. "As soon as we learned what happened, we asked them to leave and they did. The organizer of the camp out was Jeff Berman of Colorado Wild. He apologized to me and said the perpetrators had been drinking and slipped away during the night while the main body of Colorado Wild slept. They had no knowledge of what happened and do not condone it. They are all well-known, reputable people and would not condone such activity," Feazel said. "I still support them and their goals as long as they throw those other people out. Those people will never be welcome here again."
According to Feazel, she has a copy of a letter Berman wrote and sent to Sanders, apologizing for the occurrences and absolving Feazel from any knowledge or complicity in the events.
In addition to the Mineral County sheriff, local Forest Service officials have been notified, and through them the FBI, according to Bachus.
Piano Creek proposes construction of a multi-million dollar, guest-owned recreation facility. Construction of the facility has not yet begun. The proposed development has been opposed by a number of environmental organizations.
The SUN was unable to reach Berman shortly prior to deadline Wednesday.
Speed limits cut on 8th and Apache
By Karl Isberg
Local youngsters return to School District 50 Joint classes Sept. 1.
Pagosa Springs officials are alerting drivers to changes in speed limits on key streets and are attempting to educate parents about problems with traffic at the elementary school.
Drivers motoring along South 8th Street or on Apache Street near the high school are subject to a change in speed limits. Where the speed limit on both streets was posted at 30 miles per hour in the past, the speed limit is now 25 mph.
Town police are prepared to enforce the new limits.
The changes followed completion of a speed study conducted on South 8th Street, Apache Street and Hot Springs Boulevard. The study, by Bechtolt Engineering, was the third such study done during the last three years, including a 1998 school traffic study commissioned by the town of Pagosa Springs.
The most recent study utilized automated traffic sensors that determined traffic counts and vehicle speeds at a site on each of the three streets. Engineers also reviewed roadway geometry, signage, recent accident records and development conditions before making recommendations.
A traffic counter placed on South 8th Street Aug. 26 showed 85 percent of the 1,622 vehicles detected by the sensor were traveling 30 mph or below in the 30 mph speed zone. The average speed of vehicles was 25 mph.
There were 1,163 vehicles on Hot Springs Boulevard near Apache Street, with 85 percent traveling at or below the 40 mph limit, at an average speed at 32 mph.
Of the 1,134 vehicles detected on Apache Street near the intersection with South 8th Street, 85 percent were moving at a rate of 30 mph or below, with an average vehicle speed of 23 mph.
In their report, engineers noted six accidents between January 1999 and July 2000 in a study area consisting of a four-block radius around the intersection of South 8th and Apache streets. The main cause of those accidents was failure of a driver to yield to oncoming traffic. Four of the accidents involved property damage greater than $1,000. None of the accidents involved pedestrians.
Recommendations from the engineers were followed by town officials.
The speed limit on the entire length of Apache Street was set at 25 mph.
On South 8th Street, the speed limit from the high school to U.S. 160 was set at 25 mph.
On Hot Springs Boulevard, a 40 mph speed limit will be maintained from the current 25 mph zone near the business district to the south town limit. Once development such as the new Town Hall near Apache Street is complete, the speed limit on the street between U.S. 160 and Apache Street will be reduced to 25 mph.
"We've already posted these speed zones," said Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington. "We plan to be aggressive enforcing the new speed limits at the beginning of the school year. We have added extra police traffic patrols and we are determined that people will drive safely. The officers will issue warnings and citations."
Harrington said he and other town officials were pleased with the results of the traffic study. "What we were very happy about," he said, "is the study showed us most motorists are behaving themselves as they drive on town streets."
One other start-of-school-year problem that concerns town police is the potential traffic crush at the elementary school, with its restricted entry at U.S. 160.
Vehicles waiting to turn into the elementary school entrance create a dangerous situation as they stop traffic traveling both east and west on U.S. 160. The situation is particularly dangerous during the first few days of school and is at its worst on winter and early spring mornings during bad weather.
"We are having more and more trouble getting people in and out of the elementary school parking lot," said Harrington. "The fewer people who drive their children to school, the better. We strongly urge people to use school district buses to transport their kids to school."
Semi rolls on pass, driver hurt
By Karl Isberg
An Olathe truck driver was hospitalized Monday night after his truck overturned near the top of Wolf Creek Pass.
Clarence Pierson, 49, was seriously injured when his westbound truck loaded with wood products went out of control on U.S. 160 and overturned approximately 1 mile west of the Wolf Creek Pass summit. The crash occurred at approximately 9:30 p.m.
According to a Colorado State Patrol report, Pierson was driving a semi tractor-trailer in the inside westbound lane when it crossed over the double-yellow center line, leaving nearly 315 feet of skid marks on the roadway. The unit rolled onto its right side, lost its load, went off the north side of the road and slid on its top until it came to a rest at the edge of the highway.
Emergency Medical Services crews responded to the scene with a Quick Response Vehicle, an ambulance and a rescue truck.
According to Bill Bright of EMS, a call went out for a medical evacuation helicopter when it was determined that Pierson suffered serious head injuries in the crash. Bright said air evacuation service was not available so Pierson was transported by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Durango. The patient was then transported to San Juan Regional Medical Center at Farmington, N.M.
A San Juan Regional spokesperson said Wednesday that Pierson was in critical but stable condition.
Geothermal dispute settled
By Karl Isberg
A costly geothermal water dispute that lasted 11 years was resolved this summer with the issuance of a document by the Colorado District Court, Water Division No. 7.
A "Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decree" issued by the court June 14 ended a dispute concerning a 1989 application by the town of Pagosa Springs seeking diversion of town-owned geothermal water rights to wells used for the town geothermal heating system and the use of that water over and above the levels planned for the system.
Filed March 30, 1989, the town application asked that the point of diversion for water rights granted to the Pagosa Hot Water Well (once used to heat a building at the intersection of San Juan and Pagosa streets and currently used for the small geothermal fountain in the downtown parking lot on Pagosa Street) to "PS 3" and "PS 5", both located behind the Archuleta County Courthouse, supplying water to the town geothermal heating system. Those rights, originally appropriated in 1903, were for 675 gallons per minute.
The town application also asked for a change in the point of diversion for the rights of the Rumbaugh Well (located in the alley between the 400 blocks of Pagosa and Lewis streets) to PS 3 and 5. The Rumbaugh rights were 10 cubic feet per second, appropriated in 1923 and later changed to 6 cfs.
Attendant to the request for changes in points of diversion was the idea that the town then be allowed to use more than the 450 gpm of geothermal water dedicated to the town geothermal system when it was formalized in 1984.
The town application was officially opposed in 1989 by the state of Colorado and by several local users of geothermal water and holders of geothermal water rights.
A statement of opposition was filed in 1989 by the office of the state engineer and the division engineer for Water Division 7.
Statements of opposition were also filed by Giordano Inc. (owner and operator of the Spa Motel); Pagosa Spring Inc. (owner of the Pagosa Hot Spring property and attendant geothermal water rights); Mymern Investment Corp. (owner of a geothermally-heated property adjacent to the west side of the Archuleta County Courthouse); and William and Helen Lynn (owners of property and geothermal water rights in the Hot Springs Boulevard corridor).
Upon sale of the Mymern property to another interest, that statement of opposition was withdrawn in January 1997. Upon sale of the Pagosa Hot Spring property and the Lynn water rights to other interests, those statements of opposition were withdrawn in March 1999.
That left the state of Colorado and Giordano Inc. opposing the town application, with Giordano Inc. asserting use of more than 450 gallons per minute of geothermal water by the town could negatively affect the resource used by the Giordano business.
The matter was headed to court, with depositions taken in 1999.
Instead of taking the issue to the limit, the parties finally negotiated a settlement - in time to stem additional heavy financial bleeding.
Marsha Preuit, of Giordano Inc. said her company spent "quite a lot of money" fighting the town applications. Preuit was a member of the town board of trustees when formalities of the town geothermal system were completed. "I was on the board back then," she said, "when the papers were signed. As part of the agreement signed by my father (the late Mike Giordano) the town was obligated to a 450 gallon-per-minute maximum. We thought it was legal and binding. I got my father to sign the paper and I wish I hadn't."
For its part, the town of Pagosa Springs spent much of the $73,389 used for geothermal legal fees between 1989 and 2000 attempting to change the points of diversion and boost the amount of geothermal water it could use. Most of the town's $21,905 spent on geothermal legal fees in 1999 (the year in which depositions were taken) was spent on the case.
Now, the spending and the conflict is over.
As part of the negotiated settlement, the town of Pagosa Springs agreed to drop its application to divert water from the Pagosa Hot Water Well and the Rumbaugh Ditch and Well to PS 3 and 5. The town requested future use of the rights from the Rumbaugh Well be changed to residential and commercial heating; domestic and commercial heating of hot water and other commercial purposes; to deicing and to recreational and bathing use within the original plat of the town dated 1883. That use is not to exceed 150 gpm during the historic heating season or 35 gpm during the non-heating season.
Further, the town will not seek abandonment of water rights decreed for Giordano Wells 1-3 or object to any increase in the production of those wells up to 200 gpm, as long as that water is used for defined purposes at the Spa Motel property.
"The whole idea was to maximize use of the geothermal aquifer," said town Trustee Darrell Cotton - a board member since the situation developed in 1989. "In a way, I'm sorry we got into it. There was a lot of money spent for no real gain. No one wanted anyone to get hurt; we just wanted to find the best use of our geothermal resource. I still believe we need to form a geothermal water district. I don't know how we can do it at this point, but I think we need to keep working at it."
Elementary School rehab done; no fines expected
By Richard Walter
Apparently no fines will be levied in connection with delays in the summer-long rehabilitation work at Pagosa Springs Elementary School.
Supt. Terry Alley said Monday the general contractor had a representative here two days after the Aug. 8 board meeting when the possibility of fines was raised and that all work was completed by the following Monday (Aug. 14).
Though the final decision on fines would lie with the School District 50 Joint Board of Education, Alley said he doesn't anticipate any such action now.
He said electrical work was completed within the parameters of 15 days from turnover date in a separate contract between Backus Electric and the general contractor, Keers Environmental Services of Albuquerque.
Alley said the administration and therefore the board was not aware of the separate contract involving work by Backus.
At the Aug. 8 meeting, the board had refused payment of the final $47,024 on the Keers contract and ordered fines of $500 a day to begin the following Monday if the work still was incomplete.
That dictum is now apparently unnecessary.
Vietnam Wall replica in Durango
The Wall That Heals - a half-scale traveling replica of the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C. - will be on display in Durango 24 hours a day from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4. at the Durango Visitor's Center in Santa Rita Park.
There is no admission charge.
Sigmoidoscope now in use here
By Karl Isberg
A new medical diagnostic device is available to Pagosa Country physicians and their patients.
Upper San Juan Hospital District executive director Bill Bright reported Wednesday that local physicians now have a sigmoidoscope in their medical arsenal.
The scope is a device used to detect problems in the lower section of the colon and, in particular, used in the timely detection of precancerous polyps.
A move to acquire the machine began more than a year ago.
According to Bright, the process to acquire the scope started when a Durango specialist who keeps office hours each week at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center mentioned the value of the device to several of his patients. The physician noted the device is relatively inexpensive and could, if acquired, save money and travel time for Pagosans in need of flexible sigmoidoscopy.
Local resident Lee Sterling organized a fundraising effort and procured several donations. Bright said Sterling and a group of like-minded residents then approached the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation, and the foundation board agreed to act as a conduit for donations targeted for the purchase of the sigmoidoscope.
"As a result of a number of private donations," said Bright, "$21,000 was raised to purchase the machine. We bought it two weeks ago and it was delivered last week."
The machine is at the Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Center and will be used by Dr. Jim Pruitt as well as by Dr. Mark Weinpahl and Dr. Pam Deberghes of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The three physicians were trained in the use of the scope Aug. 29 by representatives of the machine's manufacturer, the Welch Allen Corporation.
"Thanks to donations made by members of the community," said Bright, "and to the cooperation of the Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Center, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, and the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation, local patients now have easy access to a very important piece of medical equipment."
Commissioners set own batch plant hearing
By John M. Motter
The county commissioners scheduled a public hearing concerning the proposed Hard Times Concrete Inc. batch plant on Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Community Center.
While conducting their regular weekly meeting Tuesday, Commissioners Gene Crabtree, Bill Downey and Ken Fox also discussed the application of red tags to county road signs, took action regarding state funds improving communication lines, and set a public hearing date for considering an application to form a metropolitan district designed for road maintenance.
Batch plant hearing
The batch plant public hearing concerns the application by Hard Times Concrete to operate a concrete batch plant along U.S. 160 about 5 miles north of Pagosa Springs near the San Juan River. As reported on page 1 of this edition, the application went through a public hearing the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission conducted Aug. 23 that resulted in a 3-3 tie. Consequently, the Planning Commission passes the application on to the county commissioners without recommending yes or no.
At next Thursday night's public hearing, the commissioners can approve the request, deny the request, or postpone action while gathering additional information.
Tuesday, the commissioners decided on a format for the Sept. 7 meeting differing from the one the Planning Commission used during its Aug. 23 hearing. Some attending that meeting, mostly those opposed to the batch plant, complained that the applicant had an unfair advantage during the planning commission meeting. As an attorney representing the applicant presented the applicant's proposal, using nearly an hour in the process.
Opponents of the batch plant were considered members of the public. By the rules adopted for conducting the meeting, members of the public were allowed to speak for two minutes each. The opponent's attorney was limited to two minutes, the same as other members of the public, hence the assumption of unfairness.
During the coming meeting, county staff will give a report; attorneys for each side will be allowed an initial 20 minutes for presentations respectively, then another 10 minutes for rebuttals. Public comments will be limited to two-minutes each.
Public hearings are quasi-judicial in nature, according to County Attorney Mary Weiss. The county is required by law to conduct public hearings before taking certain actions. The law does not specify how the meetings are structured. The county's goal is to be reasonably fair while gathering all of the information possible, according to Weiss.
A delegation from the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association led by President Richard Manley read a letter from his board complaining that red tags placed on certain road signs in the various subdivisions west of town are unfair and reduce property values.
The county is using the red tags to designate roads not maintained by county road and bridge crews.
Manley asked the county to either remove existing red tags or, in a timely fashion, to attach the red tags to all applicable road signs throughout the county.
The three commissioners said that they like the idea of the red tags and from the beginning have intended to use them throughout the county, not just in the Fairfield Pagosa subdivisions. The commissioners said it will take time to identify all roads the county maintains or intends to maintain.
From the audience, Tom O'Hare suggested the county use official Highway Users Trust Fund maps to identify the status of local roads. County Manager Dennis Hunt said the HUTF maps are not completely up to date or accurate.
"You should have had a plan in mind before you put up the first red tag," Manley said. "As it is, people living on red-tagged streets are being discriminated against and their property values hurt."
Answering an accusation that the county picked on Fairfield Pagosa by installing the tags there first, the commissioners replied that, because of proximity and density, Fairfield Pagosa was the logical place to start.
"We have to decide what to do next," said Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners. "When we decide what we're going to do, we'll let you know."
The commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding between the county and Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado Inc. Archuleta County is the lead agency for five counties in the region scheduled to receive $1,375,000 in "Beanpole" implementation funds. Ed Morlan, the Region 9 economic director, is responsible administrator to direct Beanpole objectives. Archuleta County will receive up to $5,000 as compensation for administrative expenses. In addition to Archuleta County, Region 9 includes La Plata, Montezuma, Dolores and San Juan counties.
Beanpole funds are intended to improve intercommunication transmission lines in the region with the idea of enabling faster computer communication among communities in the region, and with outside areas. One facet of the improvements could be installation of fiber optic cables.
Initially, a community of government and community service organizations will be enabled to link to the greater system. At some time in the future, private citizens and business entities may be able to benefit from the established governmental network.
Also Tuesday, the commissioners scheduled a public hearing concerning the formation of a Lakeside Hills Metropolitan District at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 26 in the commissioners meeting room.
Chlorine tank regulator fails, leak repaired
By Karl Isberg
Personnel from Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the Pagosa Fire Protection District decided to err on the side of safety Aug. 28 when they responded to a leak of chlorine gas at the Hatcher Lake water treatment facility.
According to the district's assistant manager Gene Tautges, a regulator on a tank containing 150 pounds of chlorine gas malfunctioned and was discovered by plant operator Randy Bishop.
"This happened Monday night," said Tautges. "The regulator blew, and the gas is normally contained in the storage room. That room is built in accord with federal regulations, with fans and other equipment. Gas is normally discharged out a small pipe, outside the building. Randy smelled the gas and shut down the system."
Notified by Bishop, Tautges in turn called the Pagosa Fire Protection District for assistance.
"Even though we probably could have walked inside the building by the time we got there," said Tautges, "we decided to play it safe. We put on SCBAs (self-contained breathing apparatus) and went in. We turned the system back on to determine the origin of the leak and found the faulty regulator. We turned everything off again and waited until morning when we repaired the regulator."
Small leaks in chlorine gas water treatment systems are common, said Tautges. "We have had a fair number of small leaks," he said, "but they've all been contained in the buildings. The Hatcher leak was a small one, and the problem has been fixed."
Fifty years of veterans' memories rekindled
By Richard Walter
The names were out of the past.
Pusan, Inchon, Seoul and Pyongyang.
Korean cities. American battlefields. Soldier burial grounds.
Memories came flooding back Sunday as 16 Archuleta County men who fought in the war that wasn't a war remembered the "police action" for which no formal truce has ever been signed.
They served in all branches of the American armed forces and their service, now 50 years in the past, was saluted by a grateful community at the American Legion Hall. Among those honored was Robert Dobbins, the post chaplain, who has served in three branches of the military - army, navy and air force.
Others in the select group of honorees were Don Bartlett, David Sprowle, Walt Geisen, Bill Miller, Frank Chavez, Jack Thiesen, Bill Lynn, Joe Chipps, Richard Akin, Jerry Brinton, Johnnie Hill, Mark Thomas, Ernie Garcia, Ron Gustafson and Alfred Segobia.
Serving their country was a duty and an honor for these men. Each stood and proudly named his unit and where he served in the Korea many had never even heard of before they were sent there as part of the United Nations Peace Force.
At its greatest strength, that force totaled over 1.1 million and nearly 480,000 of them were Americans. On the other side, China dispatched 780,000 troops to assist the 260,000-man North Korean Army.
This conflict featured battles in strange sounding places like Taejon, Osan, Pohang and Taegu.
The initial North Korean push into the south, from June through September 1950 nearly pushed the South Koreans into the Sea of Japan. Allied forces were pushed into the southeast corner of South Korea where the Pusan Perimeter was formed with the Naktong River the general boundary for the area.
The fighting there is regarded by military historians as a turning point. The North Koreans lost nearly 58,000 men and a huge supply of equipment while advancing to the area. As more American troops were committed to the area the North Koreans mounted a major attack and crossed the Naktong into the perimeter area on Aug. 6. But American Marines and Army infantrymen counterattacked and prevented a breakthrough. Troops from the north advanced to within shelling distance of Taegu but major losses forced them to pull back on Aug. 25.
The North Koreans attacked the perimeter again on Sept. 3 and captured Pohang three days later but the allies halted the advance on Sept. 8.
The Archuleta County veterans were reminded of these battles and of the surprise move by the U.S. 10th Corps, personally directed by Gen. Douglas MacArthur, which put an allied invasion force ashore at Inchon and cut off supplies and escape for the North Korean troops fighting at Pusan.
There were other battles in places like Hungnam, Hamhung, Onsong, the Yalu River, Chongjin Reservoir and the hills, the famous hills, with names like Bloody Ridge, Finger Ridge, Heartbreak Ridge, Old Baldy and maybe the best known, Pork Chop Hill.
The Korean war marked the first battles between jet aircraft with American-built F-86 Sabre jets and Russian-built MIG-15s dueling in repeated dogfights over North Korea.
It was a time of patriotism, of personal sacrifice and of introverted skepticism at home when Gen. MacArthur - considered by many the military icon of the Far East and probable presidential candidate - was relieved of command by President Harry Truman because the general advocated bombing Chinese bases in Manchuria and the president felt such action might trigger a third world war.
The United States reported 54,246 troops killed in Korean battles, 103,284 wounded and 5,178 missing in action.
Sixteen men who witnessed that furor firsthand were presented gifts Sunday by members of Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 and given repeated rounds of applause by Archuleta County citizens who wanted them to know their efforts have not been forgotten.
Dobbins closed the formal ceremony reading a poem, author unknown, which sets the service in perspective. It is entitled, "It has always been the Soldier."
The brief offering states: It is the soldier, not the reporter,/ who has given us freedom of the press./ It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech./ It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has give us freedom to demonstrate./ It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.
August rainfall tops average for month
By John M. Motter
Another 0.36 inches of rain dropped on Pagosa Country this past week, bringing the August total rainfall to 2.78 inches, well above the longtime August average of 2.52 inches.
Even with the abundant moisture, restrictions against water use and open fires remain in effect across the county.
"The rainfall has helped, but we feel it prudent to continue voluntary water rationing for at least one more week," said Carrie Campbell, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District general manager. "We still ask people to water outside only between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. People with automatic sprinkler systems should check the timing and make sure they aren't wasting water by sprinkling during a rain shower."
After consulting with fire Chief Warren Grams, Sheriff Tom Richards reports that fire restrictions across the county remain in effect, including no fires for those camped on Reservoir Hill for the Four Corners Folk Festival.
More rain is in sight for the coming weekend, according to forecaster Gary Chancy of the Grand Junction National Weather Service office.
"Look for more rain Thursday (today) with a 40 percent chance of afternoon thundershowers," Chancy said. "A slight chance for rain continues through Friday and Saturday. Sunday should see some drying out."
Temperatures should range from 75-80 degrees during the day to lows in the upper 40s, according to Chancy.
As to weather patterns and trends, Chancy sees a chance for the monsoon season with its southerly flows of tropical moisture to change to a fall pattern featuring westerly winds from the Pacific Ocean.
"Right now we're seeing the best monsoon flow we've seen this season," Chancy said. Maybe by Sunday or Monday a low-pressure area off of the California coast will move inland. It may move north of us and not have much effect on local weather. Typically, the monsoon season stops by the end of August. The exact timing is never certain."
Pagosa Country received at least a trace of rain four days last week, according to the official National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field. The heaviest rainfall was recorded Tuesday night when 0.22 inches were captured.
High temperatures ranged between 83 degrees on Monday down to 74 degrees Tuesday for an average high temperature of 78 degrees. Low temperatures ranged from a high of 52 degrees Tuesday down to a low of 47 degrees Sunday. The average low temperature was 49 degrees. No freezing temperatures have been recorded this fall.
I recently heard it said, "The world is run by those who show up." Yet many of us readily sacrifice this precious power when it counts most. Are we becoming so apathetic regarding our ability to shape our future that we throw away our best opportunities to use our influence?
Our town/county leaders gave us incredible power by inviting us to help craft the community plan. Frequently a planner, planning commission, or select group develops a plan for leadership's approval and it's a done deal. Yet our leaders chose to seek about 45 hours of public input in a process facilitated by outside professionals, assisted by a local steering committee.
Since people seldom call or visit elected officials, it is quite a challenge to effectively represent them. I applaud their comprehensive planning process to reflect community values and eliminate guess work. Over 10 percent of the community has participated so far. Nationally recognized Gallup polls influence our country's leaders with much smaller percentages. There'll be little justification for the budget expense should leaders disregard the resulting plan. After all, each round of heavily promoted workshops is offered in seven locations. If one is not there, do they really care?
So why the moaning and groaning about growth by those not in attendance? I urge them to get their priorities straight and participate in any one of the upcoming workshops. It's the last round - if you choose not to participate, recognize that your choice could tremendously impact your future and quality of life.
To judge these workshops based on heresay or to resent citizens who make time to do something productive about growth problems is irrational. Attendees are admirably wielding their power to influence and shape the future. You, too, have been begged to contribute your opinions through this process. When you choose to give away this power to others, who is to blame?
Everyone - especially long-time residents - should embrace this opportunity to suggest acceptable solutions they think could serve the greater good. We need full participation and broad perspectives for this challenge.
The clock's ticking . . . further delay to growth management planning is unacceptable and unjustifiable. Our leaders need this tool now. Last-round input will refine the plan. Then it goes to the planning commissions and town/county leaders for adoption. They want a plan that reflects the vision of the people without further time, expense, or public debate on the issues. All three have been generously provided. Public input is likely to be solicited when future regulatory measures are drafted, but remember, this plan will establish the policies and actions that justify the need for regulations.
I believe most of us want the power to influence the people and matters that affect our personal quality of life.
Wait in line
I would like to correct Mr. Randall Mettscher on his remark about "Tax Dollars" in reference to Meadows Drive and South Pagosa Boulevard being two of the best roads in the county. What a laugh.
Undoubtedly, he hasn't traveled on them very often. I have lived off of South Pagosa for 23 years. Just a few years ago they did make it just one street instead of two but there were still plenty of washboards, pot holes, and huge gravel, plus magnesium chloride to help the dust but ruinous to the under carriage of our cars.
I gave up complaining a few years ago.
But now I am so thankful that part of these two roads are finally being paved.
So, I suppose you will just have to wait in line for your turn.
U-turns in the past
Not to be contrary to Richard Walter, but, in 1961 we high schoolers used to drag Main nightly, burning u-turns in front of Billy Lynn's, across from the bank, then return to the Baptist church make another u-turn and go again.
It wasn't illegal in that, Charlie Aragon, chief of police, regularly u-turned all along the main drag . . . Of course, on any given winter evening, after basketball practice, it would take an hour to count 10 cars going any direction, thus it was not a risk, but certainly not illegal . . . How times change.
Former Inmate, Pagosa High,
High gas prices
I thought I would shed some light on the high gas prices that are bothering us all. They did not come as a surprise to those of us who promote ourselves as energy analysts. Unfortunately, the high prices will be around for a long time. The problems are that we can't produce or refine enough oil in the U.S. to meet our needs and we are about at the limit of how much of the stuff we can import. Given that situation, it does not matter a whole lot what OPEC does in the way of increasing production.
This freight train that is bearing down on us was put on the track a long time ago. Domestic oil production started to fall in 1971 and has been going down rather steadily ever since. This was caused by a combination of many years of aggressive production and severe environmental restrictions on new drilling. This did not bother most people because world production was on the increase and we could buy all the oil we wanted. However, two other factors were in the mill that environmentalists cheered, politicians dodged, and most others ignored or just did not know about. One: We stopped building new refineries. Two: We stopped building ports to unload oil tankers. You can see what is coming.
Our refineries are about at the limit of the amount of gasoline, heating oil, petrochemicals, and all the other myriad products that come from oil that they can put out. We are using more than they can provide. Not to worry some people say, we can import refined products from other countries where they have been building new refineries. That's where we run into the other limitation - tanker unloading facilities.
Our tanker unloading ports are working around the clock, meaning we can't bring in more tankers at existing facilities. Environmental restrictions preclude building more ports. As our demand for oil goes up our ability to get our hands on more of it is hitting a stone wall. And, there is no quick fix.
There will come a point, and it is not far off, when we will scream in rage at the oil companies, OPEC, and the politicians about scarcity and higher prices. Their response will be the usual excuses and the passing of blame but the problem will stay with us. There are good solutions available but they take time to get up and running and should have been started years ago.
Robert W. Fisher
As a former resident I have especially enjoyed the history articles and reprints of the 1930's and 1940's front pages.
I compliment your photographer who consistently produces appealing pictures of residents who appear to be sensible and pleased to be recognized.
Mrs. Dean Girard
On Sunday, August 27 over 60 people honored 17 Korean War Veterans with a ceremony and meal at the Legion Hall.
Many veterans talked about their experiences in the forgotten war. It is the first time the Korean War Veterans have been honored in Archuleta County.
Johnnie Hill, a Korean War veteran provided the following poem titled "It Has Always Been the Soldier" that was written by an unknown author:
It is the soldier, not the reporter/ Who has given us freedom of the press./ It is the soldier, not the poet/ Who has given us freedom of speech./ It is the soldier, not the campus organizer/ Who has given us freedom to demonstrate./ It is the soldier who salutes the flag,/ Who serves beneath the flag,/ and whose coffin is draped by the flag./ Who allows the protestor to burn the flag. . . .
The American Legion wants to thank Ernie Garcia (Korean War coordinator) and all the people involved in making this a successful event to honor our great heroes.
The batch plant on U.S. 160 east of Pagosa Springs was discussed at the Planning Commission with a split vote (3-3) last Wednesday.
Once again, I am opposed to this location, not the plant itself, for the following reasons:
1. Pollution concerns for the water, dust, noise, etc.
2. Property rights of home owners and businesses in the area
3. I don't believe that a batch plant will operate from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. five days a week. Most operations like this operate six to seven days a week from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.
4. My major concern is safety. Once again our state government can't do anything right, and didn't require a turn out for both right and left turns. The failure to require this is serious. Cars coming from the east to west moving at 60 mph will have one minute to come to a complete stop, for trucks that are moving from a dead stop.
Twenty-five trucks per day, and I think that will increase in the future, will delay traffic, costing other businesses.
As a former truck driver with a CDL license, I have never observed trucks in compliance with CDL rules. Bad tires, etc. can lead to accidents.
The county commissioners should vote this location down. This is another reason why we need zoning in this county.
In Friday's (Aug. 18) Denver Post, I read that the great "Chameleon" Al Gore stated in his nomination acceptance speech that he wanted us to know who he truly is, or was? Consider this.
Sept. 10, 1980 - Gore letter to National Right to Life News: "I am a firm supporter of the Hyde Amendment. I will continue to support efforts that are designed to prevent the use of federal funds in a manner which violates the relationship between government and the individual protected by our Constitution."
June 26, 1984 - Congressman Al Gore votes for House Amendment 942 which reads: "An Amendment to define 'Person" as including unborn children from the moment of conception."
July 18, 1984 - Gore letter to constituent: "It is my deep personal conviction that abortion is wrong. I hope that some day we will see the current outrageously large number of abortions drop sharply. Let me assure you that I share your belief that innocent human life must be protected."
March 7, 1988 - unnamed Gore aide quoted in US News and World Report: "Since there is a record of that (June 26, 1984) vote, we have only one choice. In effect, what we have to do is deny, deny, deny . . . We've muddled the point, and with luck, attention will turn elsewhere - or else at least we will be lucky enough so the thing doesn't blow into a full fledged problem."
Nov. 19, 1998 - Gore Speech: "Every time Congress has tried to play politics with a woman's right to choose - imposing gag rules and attaching anti-choice language to any bill they can think of - we have fought to stop them. And if they try it again, we'll stop them again."
Talk about arrogance. Duplicity pure and simple and they don't care who knows it. Depending on short memories I assume. Who do you suppose he is?
Leo J. Landon
In the recent letters to the editor there have been some vehement responses to Nan Rowe and her campaign in the primary for county commissioner. What is most disturbing to me is to see intelligent women attack her in a vicious way. Sometimes I wonder whether it is jealously or malice, and not political differences which are the underlying cause of the conflict. For sure this infighting is casting a dark shadow on the possibility of a competent woman every reaching a position of power in this county.
Editor's note: The office of county commissioner is a position of responsibility rather than a position of power. Regardless, Mamie Lynch, a very competent woman, served as county commissioner from 1989 through 1992. None of her successors have matched her level of competency.
I attended the Aug. 23 Planning Commission meeting regarding the concrete batch plant proposal to be located on the banks of the San Juan River and U.S.160.
As a result of the vote, the plan will be submitted to the county commissioners without recommendation.
The arguments presented for the current proposal and the staff review were flawed. No data was presented by the applicant about the noise level to be expected from actual operation. Julia Donoho of the commission did visit a plant, found it very noisy but didn't have any hard data to show how really bad it can be.
The applicant noted that three products containing Level 1 toxic chemicals would be added to the concrete at the plant, but he only provided manufacturers safety data sheets for these products, which gave no safety assurances other than they could be disposed into a sewer treatment plant or land fill. The planning staff had no knowledge of what chemicals were in these products and took no notice, that the plant effluent while impounded, would eventually be released, untreated, into the river less than a quarter of a mile upstream from the drinking water supply intake for the Log Park subdivision.
The concrete washings and the chemicals suitable for sewer discharge would be allowed to enter the drinking water supply without any prior treating requirements. Moreover, the applicant's lawyer could not identify or name the chemicals either. The staff report states that the plant is 900 to 1,000 feet from the Elk Meadow camp ground. In fact it is less than 200 feet from the camper sites which will be greeted each morning at 7 a.m. with the noise of bulldozers, the high whining noise of air blowers transferring cement, the banging on the sides of the silo and truck hoppers to break up the clods and jam-ups which inevitably occur.
Much was made of the economic benefits to be obtained from the plant. Statements were made that, "a man ought to be free to do whatever he wants on his own land." But with freedom, comes responsibility. This is no longer the Wild West. It also doesn't matter that years ago another plant was on the site. It now has neighbors. It was noted the applicant owns a 230-acre parcel. Why then, does he pick out 8 acres on this part of the river front to put an eyesore, noisy, polluting plant. He initiated the activity without prior approval permits and now presents a plan with more adverse effects than benefits.
One member of the commission stated it best. It's a good project, but it's on the wrong site. The applicant already operates a gravel pit out of sight, not on the river, with access to U.S. 160. Surely he can find another site. Even a few thousand feet off the river and the highway would help. The county commissioners should send this proposal back to the drawing board.
One question the county commissioners could ask the Piano Creek developers about their wastewater treatment plant is: "If you're spending this much money on cleaning up your wastewater, why not re-use it instead of running it back into the river."
While on the subject of re-using treated wastewater. I recently drove by the water supply tap by the museum and the water trucks for road work were all in a line waiting for water. If the county wants to get together with the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District to spend money, why don't they put a holding tank and pump at the output of the treatment plant on the river. Then everyone needing water for road work could fill up there free of charge and not use the city treated water. Not only would it cut down on city water usage, it would keep the treated wastewater out of the river.
Reply to the editor's note of last week - You can grade washboard roads during a drought season, you just haul lots of water. We just had road work done in Loma Linda and a major cost was in the hauling and buying of water.
Tore up home
We know what's going through the mind of the ground hog on page 6 (Aug. 17). He's wondering where he's going to live since they tore up his home on Light Plant Road.
As residents of San Juan River Village, we attended the recent Planning Commission meeting concerning the proposed Hard Times Batch Plant. We left this meeting thoroughly convinced that old time Pagosans have lost control of their homeland. It is now in the hands of newcomers. It is reasonable to expect the Planning Commission to make an in-depth inquiry into the economic impact of a proposal to startup a business locally. One might expect interest in the number of locals the business would hire, in its market analysis, and the long-term prospects for growth and the tax base effects and environmental issues. We could detect no interest in the economic benefits of the concrete batch plant. Apparently, the committee members are comfortable with their personal situation, and see no need to consider others. The committee instead focused on nitpicking and tormenting the Webers. It was incredible to hear one gentleman from California say that the Webers should pay for expansion of the road in and out of their operation when all along U.S. 160 from San Juan River Village to Pagosa there are trucks, RV's and cars entering and leaving the road at all hours. There are no right turn or left turn lanes at these sites. So, why that demand of the Webers?
Another committee member suggested that the batch plant's silo could be painted different colors, depending on the season, so as to better blend with the background. Is a committee to determine the color of the Weber's silo?
There was some discussion as to whether there might be a need for the Webers to do extensive paving at the plant. It was noted that their trucks might produce too much dust even though the Webers indicated they planned to alleviate dust by watering the area. The roads in the San Juan River Village probably produce more dust in a week than the Webers operation will make in a year, mainly because so few drive at the posted speed limit.
There was an extensive discussion of the sound levels emanating from the plant. "I looked up decibels in my Encyclopedia Britannica," proclaimed one committee member. "I've researched it, and I know these plants are noisy. Apparently, there was some concern that a four-decibel reading was more than a doubling of sound. A doubling of sound is not an absolute. It is in relation to some arbitrary base level.
Our positron is this: the sound of men working and earning an income off in the distance, i.e. the batch plant, will not be offensive.
Let's quit nitpicking and allow these people to risk their time, their energy, and their resources to make an honest dollar for themselves and their employees. After all, isn't that what we wanted for ourselves before we came to this beautiful place and retired?
Walter H. Rice
Two disturbing incidents last week regarding Piano Creek Ranch prompt me to write to you for the first time.
The more serious occurred early Sunday morning, August 27, at approximately 1 a.m. Members of an "environmental" group camped at Betty Feazel's ranch stormed and surrounded a sleeping tent on Piano Creek Ranch that was occupied by a family including four young children. Beating drums, shining flashlights into the tent and screaming obscenities and threats that they knew who the occupants were and were going "to burn their home down," this despicable group - at least one of whom is a known Pagosa Springs activist - terrorized a wonderful family who had just recently lost a child to ovarian cancer and were seeking a retreat. Although the "environmentalists" quickly scattered when confronted by a Ranch staff member who heard the noise, they had succeeded in irreparably marring this grieving family's vacation.
Imagine your terror at having your Pagosa Springs home surrounded in the early morning hours by screaming people threatening that they will burn you out. However absurd and unbelievable such an event might seem in daylight, it would be a truly horrifying and unforgettable experience in the middle of the night. Needless to say, PCR, the U.S. Forest Service, Mineral County's sheriff and other federal and state law enforcement agencies are pursuing the matter. Two of the group involved in the incident are known by the FBI to have participated in other acts of environmental terrorism. To Betty Feazel's credit, she asked the group to leave immediately upon learning of the incident. A Jeff Berman, representing the group, faxed me explaining that "Betty and her family had no prior knowledge of the events."
The second prompt for my letter is the self-serving and revealing letter in your last week's paper from Durango Herald columnist Mark Pearson, a local Sierra Club representative. In the guise of fairness, Pearson indicates that vandalism, while it should stop because it is "counter-productive," is "understandable" given the "frustration" of those opposing Piano Creek Ranch. Is vandalism or theft really "understandable" under any circumstance? If I'm angry with you, is it "understandable" if I spray paint your car in the middle of the night?
Pearson is obviously not in the least concerned about the immorality or illegality of such cowardly actions; he is simply worried that it might negatively and correctly color the public's opinion about his group's irresponsible actions.
I hope your readers will recognize from these two events that all groups are occasionally misled by zealots - some well-meaning, some ill-willed, some for ego and greed - and that they should scrutinize carefully the representations of those purportedly "saving" the environment by opposing Piano Creek Ranch. The true facts about our Ranch project, which are readily available to everyone who is interested, do not support the slyly perpetrated and false "facts" so frequently reported on the "yellow" sheets distributed locally by Friends of the East Fork and San Juan Citizen's Alliance.
Piano Creek Ranch
Drink, drive, litter
If there is anyone who likes to pick up aluminum cans for extra money, I would like to suggest Cat Creek Road. There are lots of them out there, and a constant supply. Evidently it's not only okay to drink and drive, but to litter at the same time.
Fred Antonio Duran, 84, passed away Aug. 25, 2000, at his home in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mr. Duran was born July 18, 1916, in Pagosa Springs, the son of Frank and Petra Espinoza Duran.
Mr. Duran married Mary Estefana Gallegos Nov. 16, 1936, in Pagosa Springs and remained happily married for 60 years. He worked as a coal miner in Horse Canyon, Utah, and lived in East Carbon, Utah, for several years. Members of the family said that, "Fred always talked of his wife Mary. We know he is with her now and that they are reunited together with the Lord."
He is survived by his 10 children; Lucy Trujillo, Angie Vorher, Elva Herrera, Mary Rueda, Diana Gomez, Fred Duran Jr., Wilfred Duran, Randy Duran, Michael Duran, Cheryl Duran; and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Mary Duran; sons, Fred Duran and Joe Duran; sisters, Eva, Emilia; and three grandchildren.
Services were held Wednesday, Aug. 30, at the Miracle Rock Church in Salt Lake City. Interment followed at Redwood Memorial Estates.
Marine Pvt. Benjamin J. Murphy, son of Dr. Norma B. Murphy of Pagosa Springs, recently completed basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, and was promoted to his current rank.
Murphy successfully completed 12 weeks of training designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.
Murphy and fellow recruits began their training at 5 a.m., by running three miles and performing calisthenics. In addition to the physical conditioning program, Murphy spent numerous hours in classroom and field assignments which included learning first aid, uniform regulations, combat water survival, marksmanship, hand-to-hand combat and assorted weapons training. They performed close order drill and operated as a small infantry unit during field training.
Murphy and other recruits also received instruction on the Marine Corps' core values-honor, courage and commitment, and what the words mean in guiding personal and professional conduct.
Murphy and fellow recruits ended the training phase with "The Crucible," a 54-hour team effort, problem solving evolution which culminated with an emotional ceremony in which the recruits were presented the Marine Corps Emblem, and were addressed as "Marines" for the first time since boot camp began.
Pirates swing hot clubs in invitational
By Richard Walter
It was, after all, their home course. And it was the only home appearance they'll make all season.
So the Pagosa Springs Pirates golf team was elated Monday after capturing third place in their own invitational tournament on a beautifully manicured Pagosa Springs Golf Club course.
As was expected, the highly ranked Durango Demons swept to their fifth first-place finish in six tournament appearances this season and the Cortez Panthers pushed their way past Pagosa into second place.
With close to 100 prep golfers on the links for the shotgun start, indications were there would be a number of contenders throughout the day and that expectation was fulfilled.
Durango junior Ross McDermott fired an even par 71 to snare tournament medalist honors to outpace two teammates who also shot under 80.
Josh Postolese kept up his steady play for Pagosa, coming in with a 79. Other Pirate varsity scores included Chris White with an 85 and Luke Boilini at 92. Freshman Ty Faber shot a 96 and senior Blake Harper carded a 98. Combining the top three scores for record put Pagosa third with a 256 total.
Pirates coach Kathy Carter was thrilled by her team's performance in this fifth year of the Pagosa golf program.
She noted golf debuted in Pagosa with eight and sometimes nine players and she has 29 out for the squad this year. In fact, she fielded 18 performers for the invitational, giving the underclassmen an early opportunity to see what live competition is like.
From that field, she got a strong performance from another freshman, Nathan Driver who shot a 92 in his first tournament appearance and as a reward was added to the varsity roster for Tuesday's trip to compete in Cortez. Maintaining a full week of activity, the Pirates played Wednesday and today at separate events in Durango.
Carter said Postolese has become the team leader by his performance both in practice and in competition. "He really came out prepared to play this year," she said. "He holds down a full-time job, is a good student, did a lot of running and weight lifting, and came in prepared to improve on his performance from last year."
Walking the course with Postolese and three visiting competitors one could see confidence building in him as he exhibited remarkable host courtesy that went a long way toward formation of respect.
He pointed out potential and real hazards on his home course for the visitors, complimented their good shots and helped look for errant balls fired by his friendly foes. Initial suspicion of his open camaraderie obviously dissolved into respect and soon all in the foursome were touring the links like old friends.
Teamed with White and Boilini, Carter has three varsity golfers capable of challenging the course on a given day and she's just "waiting for the day when all three do it at the same time."
While neither White nor Boilini has been as consistent as Postolese, both are progressing consistently, Carter said, "and there's no reason they can't shoot in the 70s, too."
Carter thought her team got off to a slow start Monday, perhaps looking at the record Durango and others brought into the tournament.
"But as the day wore on," she said, "they began to realize they all play the same holes and face the same challenges and it's how you deal with those challenges that counts."
She and team members asked that specific thanks be given to the golf club's pro staff and maintenance staff for their handling of the tournament and to the club itself for free use of facilities by the prep visitors.
She said a number of visiting golfers were openly surprised by the quality of the layout and the condition of the course.
The stage was set for the Pagosa Invitational when the team competed Aug. 25 in the Montrose Invitational and finished an initially disappointing 15th of 20 teams entered.
Carter said she was initially chagrined that her players didn't place higher but then realized they competed in that tournament against a number of teams which are able to play golf year round.
With that perspective, she said, and realizing again that Durango was the class of the field, the finish was not as disappointing.
"In fact," she said, "in retrospect it seems to me we played pretty steady, if not spectacular, golf in Montrose. We played good golf Thursday. The others just played much better."
Slump at Cortez
The joy of Monday's finish wore off quickly when the links crew traveled to Cortez Tuesday and finished a disappointing sixth in a 9-team field.
Carter said the key was that Postolese did not play up to his regular level and "as Josh goes, it seems, so goes the team"
The Pirates 257 total for the match allowed league foe Monte Vista to edge them by a stroke. Durango and the host team finished 1-2 just as they had in the Pagosa Invitational.
Carter said the course at Cortez was in excellent condition and that her players had no excuses like hard greens or weedy fairways. "We just had an off day all the way around," she said.
Back at home, however, freshman Garret Forrest had a surprise for his coach, carding a hole-in-one Tuesday, his second for the season, and prompting Carter to add him to the varsity squad for Wednesday's Demon Invitational on Durango's Dalton Ranch Course. That tournament continues today at Durango Hillcrest.
'Offensive maniacs' soccer to 'em
By Richard Walter
Periodic brief breezes offered only momentary relief as heat beat down with a vengeance Saturday on Pagosa's soccer players and their hosts in Kirtland, N.M.
It had all the earmarks of a game but was only a controlled, game-conditions scrimmage on a field that was not in game condition. Long grass and clover kept the ball from rolling truly and as a result players were forced to keep the fancy footwork to a minimum.
With one senior injured and another player who did not make the trip, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason moved 16 players in and out of action like a chess master, providing experience for younger players at one or more positions so he'll have depth to call on when the regular season opens.
The new Dutch-style offense Kurt-Mason introduced should lend some excitement to the game for both players and fans because it features constant attack on the opponents' defense, unending pressure by the Pirates' offense, and a three-striker scoring threat that keeps defenders off balance.
Corners in scoring position draw defenders to them and with the middle defense then short-handed, offensive players race as one goal ward.
"Forward, forward, forward," Kurt-Mason shouted to his troops. "Pass, pass, pass," he exhorted, urging offense from sweat-soaked players showing amazing stamina this early in the season.
The coach explained afterwards, "The idea is to score. We need to think shot. Not just one player's, but whoever has the best shot. When we do it right, we'll know instinctively where the best shot is and will get the ball to that player."
Since the confrontation was merely a scrimmage, no official score was kept. But for the purists out there who want to know, Pagosa scored three times in 32 shots on goal in a scrimmage that extended to five periods as both coaches agreed to get their charges additional work. Kirtland's combination jayvee-varsity squad found the Pirates' net just once.
The Pirates have added an additional scrimmage today in Aztec before opening their regular season at 4 p.m. Friday on a neutral field in Center against league foe LaVeta. The following day the Pagosa squad travels to Cortez for a 1 p.m. contest. The Pirates then play Farmington's Piedra Vista High in Farmington at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Kurt-Mason sees the upcoming season as one of both challenge and opportunity.
"These kids have a desire to learn more technical skills. Each one is not out just to have fun, but to learn to be a better player. That's an ideal situation for a coach. When they have that kind of desire, they'll listen."
He said the players also demonstrate every indication of wanting to be in even better condition. Therefore the first two weeks of practice have been spent about 80 percent on conditioning.
"As time goes on," he said, "we'll get more and more into the technical and tactical awareness of the game."
Saying, "We're going to be offensive maniacs," Kurt-Mason is excited about the season. "It's going to be a lot of fun for me and the kids. When you have this level of talent and ability that is equally distributed, you can rest assured you won't have any holes, you'll have people who can play anywhere on the field if needed."
The coach said he doesn't have to try to motivate the Pirates in practice. "Each one is different," he said, "and even the kids out for the first time are not afraid to ask questions, not afraid to say they don't understand. They won't try to fake understanding."
He was pleased with the new offense in the Kirtland scrimmage, but said "we still need to work on getting into the right spots on the field, particularly when we're on the attack. Our positioning after a shot needs work but it will come.
"We're going to be a team to be reckoned with," this season, Kurt-Mason predicted.
If things work right, he anticipates having two new starters for the opener Friday. The injured Dustin Cooper has been improving daily and could be ready to rejoin the other veterans in the lineup at right wing. And Reuben Cory, a newcomer, may start at the left defender position.
Otherwise, Kurt-Mason said, the lineup he'll open with will have Brian Hart at left striker, Kyle Sanders in the middle striker position and Mike Pierce on the right side; Zeb Gill at outside left wing, Daniel Crenshaw as offensive midfielder, Jordan Kurt-Mason at defensive mid-fielder, Michael Dach as sweeper and and either Ryan Lister or Kyle Fry as defenders. Matt Mesker will be in goal.
Others targeted for playing time are Kevin Muirhead who started and played in much of Saturday's scrimmage,Tyson Peterson, Travis Reid, Drew Mitchell and Cody Stowe.
State-ranked Pirate gridders host Dolores
By John M. Motter
After slugging it out with Alamosa in a scrimmage last Saturday, coach Myron Stretton's Pagosa gridders open the season for real this coming Saturday against the Dolores Bears.
Pagosa is receiving some notice from the metropolitan papers. In a preseason prediction, The Denver Post has rated the Pirates 10th among Class 2A teams in the state. On the downside, Intermountain League opponent Monte Vista is rated fifth. After losing the IML title last year to Pagosa Springs the Monte Vista Pirates reached the 2A state finals before losing to Buena Vista.
Pagosa also competed in the playoffs in 1999, but as a Class 3A team. They lost to the eventual 3A state champion Fort Morgan in the opening round. On their way to the championship, Fort Morgan easily defeated Alamosa in a semi-final game. Pagosa is playing as a 2A school this season.
Alamosa was the Pagosa Pirates' opponent in a game-conditions scrimmage Saturday in Golden Peaks Stadium.
The Alamosa scrimmage was a standoff. Early on, the Mean Moose moved the ball effectively with a short passing attack. In turn, Pagosa retaliated with outside runs and a bomb down the middle thrown from quarterback Ronnie Janowsky to tight end Tyrel Ross.
Pagosa scored first when Clint Shaw bulled over from the 4-yard line, after Nathan Stretton took a pitchout for a long ride around his right end.
After receiving the kickoff, Alamosa marched down the field to tie the scrimmage. Pagosa came back with the 34-yard Janowsky to Ross score, then watched Alamosa reach the end zone again. The scrimmage's final score came when an Alamosa defender picked off a Janowsky pass in the right flat and raced into the end zone.
The interception return ended scoring for the day as both coaches substituted freely throughout the remainder of the scrimmage.
"Overall, I thought we looked pretty good," said Stretton. "Our first group played relatively error-free football.
"We need to improve our blocking," Stretton continued, "both by the backs and by the linemen. They missed quite a few blocking assignments. The backs usually had the right assignment, but didn't block right."
Of the Pagosa defense, Stretton said, "We've got to get used to our individual responsibilities."
Pagosa came out of the scrimmage without injuries, a welcome condition going into the Dolores game Saturday. Game time is 1:30 p.m. in Golden Peaks Stadium.
Dolores is coached by Don Story. Story has recently been broadcasting football on a Cortez radio station while in retirement. Before that, he coached at Dolores in the late 1970s and early 1980s and at Norwood prior to the 1970s.
Story expects to throw a West Coast style offense at the Pirates in a season he describes as a building year. The Bears are a Class 1A team playing in the San Juan Basin 1A league.
Meanwhile, Pagosa Springs is one of the favorites to capture top honors in the 2A IML. Also playing in the IML are Bayfield, Centauri, Ignacio and Monte Vista.
Stretton is in his third year as head coach of the Pirates. He is assisted by Chris Kelly, Sean O'Donnell and Scott White.
Following Saturday's game with Dolores, Pagosa's preseason schedule includes the following games: on the road against Kirtland, N. M., Sept. 8; home against Piedra Vista, N.M., Sept. 15; home against Bloomfield, N.M., Sept. 22; and on the road at Taos, Sept. 29.
IML play begins at home against Ignacio Oct. 6 and continues with Centauri, Oct. 14 in La Jara; Bayfield, Oct. 20 in Pagosa Springs, and Monte Vista, Oct. 27 in Monte Vista.
Hart, Kaiser lead match play
The weekend of Aug. 18-19 featured the Four Corners Match Play Tournament at Pagosa Golf Club. Bobby Hart and Bob Kaiser led the Pagosa team to victory 19 1/2 to 16 1/2. Also, the Hillcrest team defeated the Riverview team 20 to 16.
Anyone who has played much golf at Pagosa Springs Golf Club has noticed the beautiful gardens that dress up the course. These are planted and maintained by Kathy Carter who does a lot of work for the golfers enjoyment during a short growing season. Therefore, the week of Sept. 4 is being declared Kathy Carter Appreciation Week. When golfers see Carter they should be sure to tell her how much they appreciate the work she does.
Runners from four states in Pagosa Invitational
By Karl Isberg
Cross country runners from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah will gather at Pagosa Sept. 2 for the Pagosa Invitational - the first meet of the high school season.
Pirate and Lady Pirate runners will host junior high school and high school teams at a meet favored by programs throughout the region. The Pagosa Invitational successfully mixes a blend of excellent competition, high-altitude, good hospitality and one of the most scenic courses anywhere on the circuit.
This year, several teams from New Mexico are certain to be at the Invitational, including Farmington, Shiprock and Aztec. Other teams from New Mexico are expected to attend, among them Whitehorse, Tohatchi, Crownpoint, Grants and Newcomb. A team from Red Mesa, Ariz., will join runners from Monticello, Utah, in the lineup. Bayfield and Centauri, from the Intermountain League, will compete at the meet, along with Del Norte and Mancos.
Competition at the Invitational is always high quality, with many of the region's finest runners on the course. Pagosa and Centauri are traditional IML contenders, and the Lady Pirates return as the second-place team at last year's Colorado Class 3A meet. Bayfield returns three runners on each of its teams from squads that qualified for the 1999 state meet.
Pirates coach Scott Anderson says he considers the Invitational "a training race." Anderson's strategy this season is to pace his athletes throughout the early part of the season, targeting their peak performances for qualifying and championship meets later in the year.
With that, Anderson believes the Lady Pirates "can do as well as they want," considering the talent on the team.
All seven Ladies out for the high school team this season will run the varsity event at the Invitational, with the top five finishers contributing to the team score. The team Saturday will consist of Amber Mesker, Makina Gill, Aubrey Volger, Joetta Martinez, Tiffany Thompson, Genevieve Gilbert and Lauren Caves.
"The girls will do well," said Anderson. "It's strictly up to them. They'll do what they do and they'll take a step toward meeting a team goal. The trick with the girls is to get them to want it enough. If they want it enough, they'll do it. And right now, I'm pleased that they are motivating each other."
The Pirates' chances might depend on which runners show up for the Saturday meet. Two Pirate harriers - Ryan Beavers and Nick Tothe - will not have the requisite nine practices on the books to allow them to compete at the Invitational. Dominic Lucero was a question mark on the Invitational roster as of Tuesday.
There is no doubt four Pirates are ready to take on the competition at the Invitational: Travis Laverty, Patrick Riley, Todd Mees and Trevor Peterson.
"These four guys are running and making consistent improvements," said their coach. "I'm happy with them so far. If we get a fifth runner, we'll have a pretty good team as the season progresses."
The Pagosa Invitational takes place on a 3.1 mile course with a start line on Piñon Causeway, near the northwest corner of the Pagosa Lodge property. The finish line is on the street at the west side of the Lodge.
Junior high school runners leave the start line at 10 a.m., followed by high school junior varsity boys at 10:30. The varsity girls leave the start line for the race at 11 a.m. and the varsity boys begin their competition at 11:30.
Tough opponents fill the regular season schedule for the Pagosa runners.
A Sept. 9 trip to Leadville for the Lake County Invitational is one the team has taken for a decade. There is no high school meet held at a higher altitude, and runners come to the event from many of the top Colorado programs.
The Shiprock Invitational Sept. 16 will feature many of the best New Mexico programs, including nationally-ranked Gallup.
A meet at Centauri Sept. 23 gives the Pagosans a look at most of the teams they face at the district qualifying meet at the end of the season.
Bayfield holds a meet Sept. 30, featuring Intermountain League teams as well as teams from New Mexico and Utah.
Pirate and Lady Pirate runners take to a difficult course at Bloomfield, N.M., Oct. 6.
Season-ending meets begin at Sargent Oct. 14. The Sargent meet includes the Intermountain League and district championship.
Regional competition, where teams and runners qualify for the state meet, is Oct. 21 at Monte Vista.
The Colorado Class 3A meet is at Denver, Oct. 28.
Top-ranked teams lined up for Lady Pirates
By Karl Isberg
To say the upcoming Lady Pirates' volleyball schedule is formidable is an understatement.
With only five regular season matches scheduled on their home court, the Ladies spend most of their time on the road, and much of that time will be spent battling high-quality opponents.
Pagosa plays each of its Intermountain League opponents - Ignacio, Bayfield, Monte Vista and Centauri - twice this year. Home court matches against each IML team, plus a season-opener Saturday against Cortez, complete Pagosa's home schedule.
With Del Norte out of the IML this season and Bloomfield, N.M., dropped from the schedule, there were three slots in the schedule left open. Athletic director Kahle Charles filled the holes with difficult matches. Add to this some traditional, tough opponents, and Pagosa's plate is full.
Before they dream of winning a league title this year, IML competitors must first find a way to win a match against the Lady Pirates. Pagosa has not lost an IML match since October 1995. Teams have come close, but no IML squad has found a way to defeat a Lady Pirates program that is working on its seventh consecutive IML and district championship.
Centauri must be ranked as a prime contender for the league title this year. The team returns a nucleus of veteran players, and the Falcons hope to capitalize on a regional tournament appearance in 1999. The Falcons have height along the net with Cindy and Erin McCarroll at the middle hitter positions. Coach Brian Loch has eight seniors on his team, including setters Nicole Espinoza and Ginger McGinnis. The Falcons are hungry and they are ready now. "We're tired of hearing 'wait till next year,' " said Loch.
Ignacio could be the IML sleeper this season. Last year, the Bobcats barely missed a trip to the regional tournament and this year's team has worked hard on the club circuit during the spring and summer. Rocky Cundiff takes the helm as head coach at Ignacio and he has two starters back from last year's team - middle hitter Samantha Kenner and outside hitter Sage Swink. Crystal Young has hit the ball well during club and preseason tournament action and figures to be an offensive threat. The Bobcats lack serious height at the net, with Kenner at 5-foot-8 as their tallest player, but the team has always played a tenacious game on both sides of the ball. Cundiff, like his predecessor Melanie Taylor, knows how to get the most from his players and the Bobcats will be feisty.
Bayfield has a new coach this season and, despite losing four of six starters from the 1999 unit that went 7-3 in the IML, Denise Close has material for a solid squad. Senior Andrea Cusick returns at the middle hitter/blocker position and outside hitter Andrea Zink, a starter last year, is back as well. Five seniors return with some varsity experience, but the team lacks overall height. The Wolverines have always played a tough defense, and there is no reason to think the team will be different this year.
Monte Vista could have trouble moving out of the league cellar this season, continuing a series of tough IML campaigns. Second-year coach Rebecca Harrison has a young team, with only one returning senior - Jennifer Wolf - a back-row specialist. Monte brings some fair height to the court, featuring four hitters 5-foot-9 or taller. The problem for the team from the San Luis Valley is experience. Harrison's probable starters include four juniors with minimal varsity playing time, and two sophomores. Harrison said she believes her team is going to be ahead of last year's squad by the time the schedule begins, but she is aware that the IML is "a tough league. We'll just wait and see," she said.
Pagosa plays Centauri at home Sept. 16 and goes to the Centauri gym at La Jara Oct. 20. The Ladies take on Bayfield at home Sept. 21 and makes the trip to Bayfield Oct. 13. Ignacio entertains the Lady Pirates Sept. 28 and the Bobcats are at Pagosa Oct. 17. A Sept. 30 match at Monte Vista is followed by a visit from Monte Vista Oct. 21 to end the regular season.
The IML and district tournament will be held Oct. 28 at Monte Vista.
The overall muscle in the 2000 schedule is provided by non-league opponents.
Pagosa has played Class 5A Durango since 1996 and has yet to beat the Demons. Durango entertains the Ladies Sept. 7 with a junior-laden, tall team that lost all six starters from last season.
The Lady Pirates make a trip to Montrose Sept. 23 for a match against 4A Montrose and a match that same day against 3A Olathe. Montrose has not finished at the top of the Southwestern League standing for several years, but invariably puts a strong team on the court. Olathe is a perennial 3A power. Pagosa and Olathe clashed at the 1999 regional tournament, with Pagosa emerging the victor. Olathe returns most of its players from last year's team.
A trip to the Eastern Plains, to Colorado Springs and then to the Fowler tournament, has become a yearly event for the Lady Pirates.
This year, Pagosa plays 4A Rampart Oct. 6 in Colorado Springs. The Rams are a member of the 4A/5A Colorado Springs Metro League and are generally in contention for their league championship. The Ladies travel the next day to compete at the Fowler tournament, hosted by the Grizzlies - the reigning Class 2A state champs and the most successful high school volleyball program in the state during the '90s.
Fowler coach Vin Mizer says his current team is "rebuilding" which means the Grizzlies are replacing one set of excellent players with another set of excellent players. Mizer noted he looks forward to Pagosa appearing at the tournament. "They provide great competition," he said of the Ladies. Also on the tourney roster this year are 2A La Veta, 3A Lamar (coming off a 1999 state tourney appearance), and 4A Pueblo East.
After an absence of five years, Farmington High School is back on the Lady Pirates schedule. The Scorpions entertain Pagosa Oct. 14.
Cortez won the Southwestern League championship, went to the 1999 Class 4A state tournament, but suffered a bruising loss to the Lady Pirates at Cortez at the beginning of the year. Six players from that squad form the core of the 2000 team and the unit is hungry for revenge.
Coach Lindy Mortensen brings the Panthers to the Pagosa Springs High School gym Saturday to get the season underway.
Lady Pirates coach Penné Hamilton said her players are anxious to begin the season, and she is happy the year begins with a team like Cortez. Despite the abbreviated home schedule, Hamilton is also pleased with the series of difficult opponents her team will face during September and October.
The Ladies enter the fray with seven regular members of the varsity: Tiffanie Hamilton, Meigan Canty, Andrea Ash, Katie Lancing, Nicole Buckley, Ashley Gronewoller and Amy Young
"We aren't going to suit up any swing players on a permanent basis until the end of the season," said Hamilton of the athletes who play with the junior varsity, then fill out the varsity roster. "Whoever we use as a swing player will earn the right during the week."
Regarding IML competition, Hamilton said she thinks "the teams to beat are Centauri and Ignacio. We've seen both teams during scrimmages and at other times during the off season. Ignacio is very scrappy."
Concerning Pagosa's overall schedule, Hamilton is ready to dive in and fight it out. "I like it," she said of the tougher schedule. "Without Del Norte and Bloomfield on the schedule it gives us chances to play tougher teams. We had to sacrifice home dates this year to sign up some of the teams, but next year most of them will travel here. It's worth it. I'm glad the teams from bigger schools are on our schedule, and I'm glad we start the year with Cortez and Durango. You start with teams like these, they show you your weaknesses, and it gives you time to work out the wrinkles. They also show us our strengths so we can get better at what we do well."
Hamilton and her players know something about Cortez, having seen the Panthers at an Aug. 26 scrimmage at Alamosa.
"Cortez has two very good outside hitters," said the coach, "and they have a decent setter. They are not real strong in the middle. We'll need to get our blocks up against their outsides, especially Casey Bauer (a 6-foot junior). I think we'll more than match them in the middle and it should be a very tough match."
Matches against Cortez begin Saturday with 1 p.m. with C-team competition.
Van Landingham has shot at top five goal
By David C. Mitchell
With its final race of the 2000 season set for Mammoth Mountain, Calif., it's only natural that the 2000 North American Off-Road Bicycle Association Championship Series will end on a high note.
Rather than a high note, Pagosa's Shonny Van Landingham hopes to end her third season on the women's professional mountain bike circuit with a high standing after she finishes competing in the cross country and short-track races at Mammoth Sept. 8 and 9.
Van Landingham set her sights on finishing the year with a top-five ranking among U.S. women riders when the NORBA 2000 season started in May at Big Bear Lake, Calif. It was a lofty goal for a relatively inexperienced professional rider, but now it's almost within her grasp.
Though only in her third season, Van Landingham goes into the series' finale ranked No. 3 among short-track racers and No. 4 in cross country competition among women riders from the United States in the point standings of NORBA national series.
Between the NORBA National Championship Series' opener at Big Bear Lake, Calif., in May and next month's season-ending races at Mammoth Mountain, Van Landingham has reached or exceeded her top-five expectations during races at Mount Snow, Vt., in June; Deer Valley Resort, Utah, in July; and Crystal Mountain, Wash., in August.
Asked about her expectations for the Mammoth Mountain races, Van Landingham shyly gave her patented Cheshire grin as she said, "My goal is to finish the season in the top five."
Her demanding summer schedule has included some races in the elite professional Women's World Cup circuit in Canada, Mexico as well as the U.S.; including races at Mount St. Anne's in Quebec, Matzalan and Napa Valley. Van Landingham said she finished 14th overall among the women professional cross country riders in the World Cup races in Quebec. But she "was fourth among the U.S. women riders."
While the success of her summer season is easily attributed to countless hours of physical conditioning, miles of high-altitude rides and faithfully adhering to a demanding dietary regimen, Van Landingham credits her sponsors, teammates and coaches for much of her success this season.
"This is my first year with SOBE-Headshok, and they have been great sponsors. I owe a lot to them because they are the ones who have helped me get to the next level. I could not have had the year I've had without SOBE's coaches, mechanics and a strong team of riders," Van Landingham said while explaining her hopes of competing more extensively on the Women's World Cup circuit next year. Such a venture would include adding South America, South Africa and Europe to her travel agenda.
"Pete Swenson of Boulder and Eric Jones of Salt Lake City and Amber Neuben of San Diego are my teammates, and they have been a tremendous help and encouragement all season," Van Landingham said. "I feel the same way about my mechanic Matt Bottomly. He's from Lake Tahoe, and just like the others on the team, he knows mountain biking and what it takes to win."
Asked again if she hopes to win at Mammoth Mountain,Van Landing- ham smiled and said, "I hope to finish the season among the top five U.S. women."
However, though the Mammoth Mountain race concludes this year's NORBA series, it is not Van Landingham's final race for 2000.
"I plan to ride the '24-Hours at Moab'," she said of the endurance race that starts on Oct. 14 and runs through the night before concluding on Oct. 15. She has convinced Swenson, Jones and Neuben to ride as her teammates in the round-the-clock race.
"It's always a fun race," Van Landingham said, "it's a fun way to end the season."
It will be even more fun if she reaches her lofty goal at Mammoth Mountain. The races start at around 8,900-foot elevations and climb to the 9,500-foot mark during the course of the cross country race.
It is the last hurdle Van Landingham has too clear successfully in order to finish her season among the top five U.S. women riders in the NORBA series.
Balloon rally surprises promised
We have the shirts ordered, we're working on the invitations, the brochures and rack cards are being printed as I write. Jody and Rick at Copper Coin are working feverishly on the wine list, Suellen has ordered the cheese from hither and yon, Emily and Charlie have promised the huge tent, Lyn and Jack DeLange have kindly delivered our beautiful glasses. Board Directors are warming up their pouring arms and Morna is making lists and checking them twice gearing up for the big Colorfest/Balloon Rally weekend. Liz Marchand is just a hair away from a nervous breakdown, so you know the time is drawing nigh for the big ascensions. You will be hearing much, much more about this event, but for the time being, mark your calendars for Sept. 22, 23 and 24. We have some dandy surprises for you this year, so you will want to be there for each and every event, I promise you. Stay tuned.
I don't mind telling you that I'm just a tad miffed at Joanie and the Plaid Boys.
There I sat on Saturday evening after attending my third performance of "Forever Plaid," refusing to leave my seat and the auditorium. Was it too much to ask that they run through the whole thing a few more times so that I could get my fill?
Obviously, the answer was a resounding yes - musicians Dave Kreuger, John Graves and Joe Gilbert continued their wrap-up despite my pitiful pleas to stay just a few more hours, and the Plaid Guys were nowhere to be seen. Turns out they were in the lobby bidding adieu to their faithful admirers. It became more than crystal clear that no matter what machinations I might employ, it was over, and I needed to get on with my life and my "Plaid withdrawal" therapy. Last night I was able to sleep without the program under my pillow for the first time, so I feel I've made a modicum of progress.
"Forever Plaid" was pure entertainment, and such a joy to behold. Thank you to our Music Boosters and Arts Council for this delightful collaboration. Thanks too to director Joan Hageman for a magnificent job and, of course, to Mark DeVoti, Bill Nobles, Denis O'Hare and Steve Ruduski for stealing our hearts forever (Plaid) more with their marvelous harmony and pure, unadulterated charm. We're grateful as well to John Graves, Lisa Hartley, Herman Hageman, Kathy Isberg, JoAnn Laird, Ray Laird, Carla Kruger and Corri Lee Patterson for all the blood, sweat and tears expended in the name of entertainment. Your efforts did not go unnoticed and are forever (Plaid) appreciated. I understand that some of these folks will be heading for Crested Butte in October for a statewide conference, but JoAnn Laird has promised to give me more information in the near future. Until then, wish me well in my "Plaid" withdrawal therapy.
High school hires
We are interested to know how many local high school kids were hired over the summer and ask your cooperation. Would you be good enough to call the Chamber if you hired a high school student over the summer and give us the number? We would greatly appreciate it - just call 264-2360. Many thanks.
Stephanie Jones was good enough to share her moving news with us, and we are pleased to pass it along to you. The San Juan Dance Academy has moved to 188 South Eighth Street right next to Pagosa Spring Gymnastics. Fall registration for classes at the San Juan Dance Academy will be held at the new location 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 8. For more information, please call Stephanie at 264-5068.
Our phones are ringing off the hook with folks from all over creation interested in being a part of the Four Corners Folk Festival this weekend, and I'm sure you'll want to join them. The lineup is phenomenal as always and sure to provide two days of heaven for those who love folk music - or, actually, just good music. Of course, our own Pagosa Hot Strings will open the festivities on Saturday morning followed by familiar favorites throughout the day to include the Judith Edelman Band, Nickel Creek and Eddie From Ohio ending the day with their performance at 7 p.m. Sunday presents another stellar lineup with some repeats from Saturday and new blood, Blue Highway, Ryan Shupe and the Rubber Band, ending with blockbusters Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
For more information about the Acoustic Stage schedule, activities for kids, free workshops and general camping info, call 731-5582. See you all this weekend up on the Hill.
Don't forget that in conjunction with the Folk Festival we will hold our fourth annual Sidewalk Saturday Sale, with many opportunities to score some big savings. All Chamber member merchants have been invited to take part in this sale, and, in years past, they have not only taken part but also offered some fabulous savings to locals and guests alike. Many local residents have shared with me that they have put a big hole in their Christmas lists and saved a lotta dough while doing so - the best of all worlds. We always encourage you to "Shop Pagosa First" and this is your chance to do just that and save moolah at the same time. Let's get out there and support our local merchants.
We have four new members to introduce to you this week and 20 renewals - life is good. The official end of our membership year is today, and it will be interesting to see what our end-of-year membership figure. It's around 735 right now, an absolute miracle for which we are eternally grateful.
Our first new member this week is Matt Gantner with The Journal North located at 328 Galisteo in Santa Fe, NM. The Journal North is a northern New Mexico regional zoned newspaper, which means that it is a section of the Albuquerque Journal serving Espanola, Taos, Angel Fire, Las Vegas, Chama and Santa Fe. You can reach Matt at 505-992-6285.
Calvin Cooke joins us next with Brainstorm Industries, Inc. located at 640 Main Avenue No. 201 in Durango. Brainstorm Industries, Inc. offers Internet access, web and database development, multimedia and graphic design, web hosting and e-commerce solutions. Watch for high-speed Internet access coming soon!
For more information about Brainstorm Industries, call 247-1442 in Durango.
Gary VanDenBerg joins us with myPagosa.com located at 4683 Ingram Court in Boulder and on the Internet at, no surprise, www.my Pagosa.com. This is an Internet marketing, dev elopment and hosting firm dedicated to providing eye-opening work at a price that won't make you blink. They invite you to visit www.myPagosa.com today. You can also reach them on the phone at 970-382-0517.
Our last new member this week is our friend, Peggy Ralston, who joins us as a Real Estate Associate Member. We're happy to have you with us, Peggy.
Renewals this week include: Terri Andersen with Discovery Toys; Jim Smith with Jim Smith Realty located at 445 Pagosa Street; Connie Prunty with CenturyTel of Colorado, Inc. located locally at 421 Lewis Street; John Weiss with Navajo State Park, in Arboles; Grace H. Simons with Snowbird Cabin, at 78 Red Ryder Circle; Bernard R. Martinez with Pine Valley Rental and Sales, Inc. located at 305 Bastille Drive; Sandra Million with Sports Emporium, 535 San Juan; Susan Durkee with Pagosa Nursery Company, at 166 Bastille; Teddy Finney with Seeds of Learning, 366 San Juan Street; James Hallock with Earth Block, Inc. located at 1000 County Road 917; Joyce Hopkins with Log Park Trading Company, at 63 North Pagosa Blvd. next to Radio Shack; Dan Aupperle with Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs, 703 San Juan Street and 27 Talisman; Susan Neder with Colorado Land Title Company, Inc. located at 456 Lewis Street and 56 Talisman, Suite 5; John Porter with Clean As A Whistle; R.L. Bigelow with Southwest Land Alliance, Inc.; Steve Lackey with The Computer Wizard; Dennis Hunt with Archuleta County and Jack Nightingale with Pagosa Lodge, 3505 West U.S.160. Our Associate Member renewals include Doug and Judy Galles and Dalas and Carrie Weisz. Our thanks to one and all for your continued support.
Open house dance party on tap tonight
The Simply Ballroom Dance Club meets weekly at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse for ballroom, swing and Latin dance classes. Tonight, from 6 to 10, an open house dance party will be presented to all Simply Ballroom Dance Club members and their invited guests. If you are interested but are neither a club member nor guest of a member, please call Richard and Debbie Love at 731-4917 to RSVP. Richard and Debbie will be demonstrating and reviewing dances learned since the club started in January. The Loves will take each dance in turn, going over the basic steps, reviewing moves previously learned and playing practice music. All present will have the choice of joining in any of the mini-lessons or sitting back to spectate. The hot salsa and the even hotter "West Coast Swing" will be included in the series of mini-lessons. Wear your dancing shoes and join the fun.
The Simply Ballroom Dance Club is designed for beginners who would like to learn how to dance. For this next month, the club will be working on salsa, mambo and merengue. Salsa is a direct descendent of Mambo, therefore the two dances are very similar. First came mambo, then the salsa. In the 1930s the mambo found its way from its origin in Europe and Africa, to Puerto Rico and Cuba, and finally, to the United States mainland. According to the Loves, there are more similarities in mambo and salsa than there are differences. So, it's very logical to learn both dances at the same time. However, more focus will be placed on salsa since that is the craze. Now, as for the merengue, it is a great dance for beginners because the basics can be picked up quickly with little or no instruction. Hah. I bet you I can prove the Loves wrong on that. What I do know is that the merengue is a fabulous way to practice "Cuban motion", that fluid hip action that characterizes Latin dancing and if done in gigantic blocks of time that can help build a washboard tummy.
Richard and Debbie competed in the Arthur Murray Showcase in Albuquerque on Aug. 20. They won a first-place trophy for their solo chacha routine danced to a very lively and entertaining version of "Hound Dog." Additionally, they also won first-place ribbons in the freestyle competition where they competed in chacha and foxtrot. The Loves' purpose for competing is to enhance their social dancing skills through the concentrated process that learning and practicing a routine requires. "Plus it's just lots of fun to dress up and show others what we can do," said Debbie.
Today is the last day for GrayWolf Ski Club members and hope-to-be members to pay up the club dues if they wish to obtain the Gray Wolf discount on Wolf Creek Ski Area pre-season ski passes. Delay and you'll kick yourself when your realize how much you could have saved. If you are under 50 years of age, the Gray Wolf Ski Club is not for you. If your spouse is 50 and over, that's cool. Otherwise, take a number and wait for those birthdays to click over.
Gray Wolf Ski Club is hosting a second summer potluck and business meeting on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Here's a chance for newcomers to the area to find out more about the club and to sign-up for membership. The picnic will start at 12:30 p.m., translated to mean they'll eat at 12:30 p.m. The club will not furnish hamburgers and hot dogs this time. You bring a potluck dish and hope that someone will provide hearty casseroles that include protein. As always, bring your own table service. The Club will provide coffee and tea.
San Juan Outdoor Club will hold its annual meeting on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 6 p.m. at Sportman's Lodge on Piedra Road (towards William's Reservoir). Bring a salad or dessert, chair and warm clothes and the club will provide hot dogs, drinks, table setting, etc. Bring a guest to join the club. There will be live entertainment for your enjoyment.
Donated cake a hit at seniors' party
We want to extend a big thank you to Mary Hanna, who donated the beautiful birthday cake for the seniors birthday party on Friday. We hope all our August birthday folks - Rose Perea, Dorothy Million, Frank Carter, Helen Schoonover, James Dunavant, Jerry Sager, Charlotte Archuleta, Eleanor Jones, George Ziegler, Jack Adams, Iris Clark, William Clark, Clyde Bagby and Lupita Garcia - had extra nice birthdays.
Our guests on Monday were Helen and Bill Tarver (from Texas), and Matt and Chris Carruth (grandsons of Bobbie and Carroll Carruth). Welcome folks. We were happy to have Bud Albright (from AAA in Durango) and Shawna Off (dietitian), and to have Eva Darmopray back on Monday, too.
June Nelson has offered to collect and deliver to Curves (the Fairfield pickup point) school supplies for needy children - Crayons, pens, and pencils, notebook paper, etc. If you can help out, just leave the items at the Senior Center designated for June and she will make sure the items get to the right place.
Dawnie's mother-in-law, Rebecca Silva, is very ill. Also, Lilly Gurule tells us that Lee Roy Lucero had a heart attack. Also, Dorothy Million's daughter-in-law, was released from the hospital but is still quite ill. Please keep these families in your prayers.
Irene Dunavant is our Senior of the Week. Congratulations Irene.
I think there was a conspiracy. Just joking, her husband, Jim, was last week's Senior of the Week. Irene and Jim are wonderful folks and we love having them with us when they are in town.
Reminder - There will be a potluck dinner-dance at the Senior Center, beginning at 5 p.m. on Aug. 31. Bring a dish (something that can be eaten from paper plates) and your favorite records/tapes/CDs and enjoy the evening with us. For those who don't care to dance, you can play cards or just visit with folks. Sounds like fun.
We are happy to announce that the Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. has purchased a group membership in the Colorado Senior Lobby, which will enable us to keep up to date on political issues affecting seniors.
Ash lived through the perfect storm
Like a lot of other people, I recently saw that movie, "A Perfect Storm."
Probably you did too. Or maybe you read the book?
Relax, this column is not going to be a review of either one.
However, I'll briefly pass on the question someone posed to me: "How do they know that's what happened on the fishing boat?" If you haven't seen either the book or the movie, I'm not going to reveal anything. You can figure out why we don't know exactly what happened.
But I'll tell you, I left the theater utterly exhausted. When Murph got pulled into the water, I held my breath as long as he did. I almost needed mouth to mouth by the end of that scene.
It happened again during the rescue scenes. And again when the fishermen were fighting the storm. I had to keep reminding myself: "Breathe, breathe."
And this was only a movie. True, it depicted a real event, as much as we could know about it.
It turns out there's someone in Pagosa who once lived through something like the perfect storm.
In 1962 Glyn Ash, retired 2nd Class Petty Officer, was serving on a Navy icebreaker, the U.S.S. Edisto, in the Antarctic. (The Navy doesn't have icebreakers any more; they all belong to the Coast Guard now.)
Glyn's ship got caught in a storm in the Ross Sea, somewhere between McMurdo Base and New Zealand.
"We had 90-foot waves," he said. "The boat didn't go just up and over and down. That old ship would start climbing a wave, then near the top it would sort of turn" - here Glyn used his hands to simulate the boat and the wave - "and slide down the side of the wave. Sometimes the instruments were registering 70 degree rolls, which are almost impossible."
I could almost see the boat, especially since I had sat through the movie just a week before.
"The storm lasted five days," Glyn said. "We didn't sleep."
If you saw the movie, you must have wondered how the fishermen could take their foul weather gear off and stretch out in their bunks. Maybe they weren't as relaxed as they looked.
"We had a gun mount on the front of the bow," Glyn went on. "Solid steel. About the diameter of your truck there." He indicated Old Paint. "The storm bent it."
There's a scene in the movie where one of the fishermen climbs out on the end of a crane to cut a chain loose. The crane is thrashing back and forth. I wondered then how the guy managed to hang on. Now I wonder why the crane didn't break. Just snap right off at the end of one of its wild swings.
An icebreaker is a heckuva strong ship. It weighs about 7,000 tons when it's full of fuel. Lots of steel reinforcement.
The inside is like a submarine. Doorways are just little openings in the bulkheads. You step over high sills from one section to another.
"All that reinforcement, and all that weight," he said, "and still, when it rammed into some of those waves, that old boat just shuddered to a stop."
Since these boats took such a tremendous amount of stress, the Navy sent them into dry dock every two years for a complete overhaul. The Edisto had just come from such an overhaul when she encountered this storm. Afterwards, she went right back into dry dock. "That boat was all torn up," Glyn said.
He told me he was on duty on the bridge, in that room with the steering and navigation equipment and the big windows.
"The glass was that thick," he said, indicating maybe three inches with his fingers. "A wave hit us and broke two of those windows. Just broke them right out.
At some point during the storm, maybe after three days (although how they could keep track, I don't know. I'd think the days and nights would all blend together), the engineer measured the thickness of the ice building up on the front of the ship. He estimated the weight of the ice to be close to 800 tons.
Another 50 tons of ice," the engineer said, "and this ship's going to be too heavy." In other words, she'd probably keep sailing - straight to the bottom.
To remove the ice, they turned the ship around so she was blowing before the storm. The crew went out onto the forecastle with axes and steam lines. They chopped and steamed and melted ice for over 20 hours. They worked until the engineer determined that enough of the heavy ice had been removed and the boat could turn and sail into the wind again. I believe the literary phrase is "into the teeth of the storm."
For a landlubber like me, it's hard to imagine such a scene. One of the elements of being in a raging storm, which you don't get if you just read about it in a book, is the noise. The movie did a good job of letting us know how such a storm sounds. How you have to shout to be heard, even by people just a few feet away. How exhausting the noise is, just by itself. How frightening.
I asked Glyn if anyone was hurt - I didn't want to say "lost" - during that operation.
"No," he told me. "But there were lots of injuries: bones broken, teeth knocked out, that sort of thing."
Glyn, a native of Virginia, retired to Pagosa Springs, about as far from the sea as you can get. He volunteers time at Chimney Rock, an arid hill. No chance of "perfect storms" there. He says he still has nightmares about the storm, every two or three years. Yet he read the book, and he wanted to see the movie.
After hearing his story, I'm thinking solid ground feels pretty good.
Wishbone series in children's room
Last week, while on vacation, my grandchildren introduced me to Wishbone, the Jack Russell terrier, who stars in his own PBS TV series. Imagine my surprise to come back to work and find Wishbone himself perched on my desk. It turns out that Jill Snider, daughter of library volunteer Shirley Snider, sent Wishbone and copies of his books, bookmarks and autographed pictures to our library. Jill works for Lyrick Studios, which also produces "Barney", the famous purple dinosaur.
The PBS Wishbone series has received an awesome collection of honors and awards. Wishbone is usually the main character in a literary classic. He's played Tom Sawyer, Ichabod Crane, and many other parts, and with each role goes a costume. Wishbone has almost 200 costumes in his wardrobe. According to Wishbone, "You are what your read!" He's our type of guy.
We also have a press kit and an official Wishbone International Fan Club newsletter if anyone would like to see it. Our Wishbone will reside in the children's room next to Clifford. Many thanks to Jill and Shirley for thinking of us. I know Mary will make good use of the bookmarks and pictures. The nine new books will be processed soon and on the shelves.
Another gift came from Carole Howard who donated a Reader's Digest Pathfinder book on Dinosaurs for the children's section. Dinosaurs continue to be a popular subject with the younger set. We appreciate all of the books Carole gives us. It is quite nice to have this connection to the venerable Reader's Digest.
Ron Alexander brought in his latest work, "Ancient Man in Pagosa." A copy may be checked out. Ron donated his collection of artifacts discussed in the book. They are available to be checked out for class study. Congratulations to Ron on his long awaited publication.
This issue discusses John Otto, the person most responsible for the establishment of the Colorado National Monument. This is most timely because of the controversy over the naming of more wilderness and national monuments. John Otto recognized the need to preserve wilderness back in the 1890s. His life reads like a dimestore novel complete with arrests, incarcerations, and fights with many government agencies.
Mesa State College in Grand Junction produces this journal. The issues cover Western Slope interests and are found in our Hershey Collection.
Our sister library in Aztec, N.M. is sponsoring a bike-a-thon Sept. 23. What makes this so special is the trail circles the "alleged" UFO crash site in Hart Canyon. Supposedly the UFO crashed in 1948. (According to the information sent to us by Librarian Leanne Hathcock, Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer was brought to Aztec to look at the site.)
From the publicity packet Leanne sent, this ride could rival Moab for scenery. We have entry forms and more information for anyone interested in joining in this "Alien Run." The proceeds go toward building a new library in Aztec.
Financial help came from Ethel and Don Rasnic, the Civic Club and Kris and Doug Bowen in memory of Hazle Neill; from Gil and Lenore Bright in memory of Elizabeth Fogerson, aunt of Kris Bowen.
The library will be closed Monday for Labor Day. We bid a fond adieu to the humming and snow birds that will be leaving us soon.
The Plaids were a howl! Video urged
Once again the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters has given us an excellent show. "Forever Plaid" was a hit. Extraordinary good entertainment. Overheard were, "dynamite," "I could see it again, " incredibly wonderful," and "we're going back!"
The show brought tears to the eyes of some people: the memories loomed!
The Plaids: Mark DeVoti, Bill Nobles, Denis O'Hare and Stephen Ruduski blended. Their harmony was rich, beautifully timed and right on key.
And I'll challenge any group to come up with something funnier than "The Lady of Spain" number. The Plaids were a howl!
The multi-gifted John Graves, who plays the piano so well, provided comedy. He has what my long-ago speech teacher called, "comedian's timing," that can steal the show.
Dave Krueger was on bass. People still remember when, during the 1980s, he played with the Left Hand Band and kept the show going with his ad-libbing.
On the Board of Directors for Music Boosters are Joan Hageman, President; Kathleen Isberg, Secretary; JoAnn Laird, Treasurer; Lisa Hartley, Scholarship Chairman; Steve Rogan, John Graves, Lee Bartley and Carla Krueger. Others who helped put "Forever Plaid" together were Corrie Lee Patterson, Herman Hageman and Ray Laird. Joe Gilbert was on guitar.
We can say "thank you" to the Music Boosters, and tell them that people would like a video of the show.
The Creede Repertory Theater will be coming to Pagosa Springs Sept. 28 and 29. They will give a performance for the schools Sept. 28. On Friday, they will present "Love Letters" at the Pagosa Lakes Club House. This is a dinner theater performance. Please call Pagosa Springs Art Council, 264-5020, for ticket information.
Margaret Wilson needs large baby jars for jellies. Please leave them at Sisson Library.
The last set of Community Plan meetings are scheduled for this month. (See Kate's Calendar for dates and places.)
These last meetings are important. The public has been asked to voice ideas for a better Pagosa Springs. The draft of this Community Plan will be presented for final comments at these meetings before the final document is written and sent to the County Commissioners. Your say is important.
Fun on the run
What to say to phone solicitors who call to sell you credit cards, vacation packages, and other similar offerings.
- The police photographer is still here, and the county medical examiner hasn't released the body to the coroner yet. Can you call back a little later?
- What's that you say? Speak up, please, will you? The battery has run down on my hearing aid. Louder, please, louder. Is that the best you can do? I'm afraid we're just not communicating.
- I'm gonna have to put you on hold. The baby is due any minute now. Quick someone, get some hot water. Lots of it. Sorry, gotta hurry now, don't go away.
- Oh, it's you again. I was hoping you'd call back. The better business people said I need more positive identification to file my complaint. Now first let me have your name and telephone number.
Dual-credit classes are a good investment
"You can earn $15,000 while attending high school!" Does that sound like a typical scam enticement?
It is actually very real and being done by thousands of students across the United States every year. It is all related to enrolling in dual-credit classes. Parents, if your son or daughter hopes to go on to college, this is something you should sit up and pay attention to. Nearly 70 percent of American high school graduates now enroll in college or trade school the next fall, compared to 60 percent in 1990.
A year of college particularly if it includes going away, paying for a dorm or an apartment, food, tuition, fees, books, etc. can easily cost $15,000. A lot of Pagosa parents would say you're getting off easy if that's all it costs.
Dual-credit classes (post-secondary enrollment options) allow Colorado secondary school students to earn college credit and high school credit simultaneously. With a little advanced planning your son or daughter can graduate from Pagosa Springs High School with one or more semesters of college credit already under his or her belt. Ergo, they have saved not only that money, but the time it would have taken to complete those classes.
Dual-credit classes offered this fall semester at Pagosa Springs High School include Fundamentals of Accounting I, Drawing I, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, Records Management, Touch Keyboarding, Introduction to Business, English Composition I, Mechanical Drawing, World Regional Geography, Ethnic Literature (Hispanic), College Trigonometry, and Principles of Speech Communication. If space is available, other communities may also register for these classes.
These dual-credit classes are provided through Pueblo Community College (PCC) Southwest Center. The Pueblo Community College Southwest Center is a fully accredited two-year college.
Dual-credit classes have recently become even more meaningful because of an alliance between PCC and Franklin University. This education alliance can help you earn a bachelor's degree online. First you take many of a degree program's required courses through PCC, then you will plug into the Internet to complete your degree from Franklin University by taking completion courses online. Current degrees available through this alliance include Business Administration, Technical Management, Computer Science, Management Information Systems, Health Care Management, and Public Safety Management.
For additional information on dual-credit courses you can contact Livia Lynch at the Education Center at 264-0445 or contact Pagosa Springs High School.
For additional information on the Bachelor's Degree program offered through Franklin University, you can contact Pueblo Community College (main campus) at (719) 549-3200 or write them at 900 West Orman Avenue, Pueblo, CO 81004. Student Services at Franklin University is (888) 341-6237, ext. 6256 (e-mail: email@example.com). Good information is also available on Franklin University's WEB site: http://www.alliance.franklin.edu.
Exhibits link spirituality with Mother Earth
Our three current exhibitors at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery bring to their works a spirituality born from a deep relationship with Mother Earth.
Using clay, pigment or fiber to express this relationship, each artist draws from her own inner being the emotions and creativity which are uniquely expressed in the joining of artist and her medium.
Upon first entering the gallery, one perceives a unity of expression among the three exhibits. There is no stark contrast but a gradual flowing from one form to another as if this same relationship is being communicated and repeated for the viewer's awareness and understanding. The art is saying, "I am the creation of this artist's bond with Mother Earth. In me are revealed the secrets which have been discovered."
Don't miss this one, it runs through Sept. 6.
Exhibiting primarily in watercolor and ink, Bev's work has an air of simplicity which gives it great drama. Her beautiful renditions of flowers have a distinctive oriental quality which imparts an elegance and tranquility only found in the natural world. Even her more abstract pieces have an energy which also reflects an affinity with nature. Her weavings have an intensity of color which seems to complement the woven patterns and each piece becomes an integration of color and design.
Immersed in art for 50 years, Bev also works in oil, colored pencil, pastel and fiber. Her first lessons were in portraiture using pastels and later she began using oils and watercolor. Twenty years ago, weaving was added to her skills and she has done many commissioned weavings for both residential and commercial application. She has instructed classes in drawing, design, watercolor, oil and weaving.
Alana describes her work as "earth-oriented with Native American spiritual influences." Into her ceramic pieces are incorporated natural elements, such as stones and feathers alluding to her spiritual beliefs and relationship with Mother Earth. From dreams and through her kinship with nature, she receives inspiration for her pieces. Believing each piece sacred, alive and meaningful, Alana will not destroy any of her work as each piece contains spirit within it. Alana has a personal relationship with the clay, using the natural element in a positive way to depict nature. The clay is a means of bonding with nature in the same way as the Native American culture strives to be in balance and harmony with nature.
After four years at Riverside Community College in California majoring in ceramics and sculpture, Alana has exhibited in various galleries in Southern California and Colorado. Now a resident of Pagosa Springs, she feels it is time to give back the gift which she has been given by teaching her art to others. One of those benefiting from her knowledge is our third exhibitor, Verna Lucas.
Being born into a military family and making frequent moves gave Verna endless opportunities to nurture her interest in art museums and galleries. The work of Rembrandt, and the way he used light and detail was of particular interest to her. Later, Verna learned oil painting from her friend, Carol Kimsey, and now chooses to paint only pueblo dwellings.
Verna is mostly self taught in pottery, reading every book she could find on the subject and learning it well. In the 80s, 20 years after starting in pottery, she made a deeper commitment to this art form. Verna was exhibiting her oil paintings at the PSAC Gallery where she met Alana Koch. Verna loved the light and airy quality of Alana's pieces and Alana became her mentor, helping her to correct mistakes she was making while throwing and teaching her other techniques helpful to her creative process. In the past year, Verna has realized her dream of opening her own store and gallery, Touchstone. The name signifies peace and stability and represents a tangible quality expressed in her pottery.
Verna no longer works with casts and molds; now everything she creates is done on the wheel, one at a time. Mugs, bowls or hummingbird feeders, no two are alike. There is a mysterious quality to the color of each piece which seems to draw the viewer into the piece itself. "Their function and beauty become their life," explains Verna," and a part of me goes with them wherever they journey as a gift from my heart to yours."
Opening in October
A two-week time slot for an artist's exhibit in the PSAC gallery has just opened up in October due to a cancellation. Please call Joanne at the gallery at 264-5020 if you would like to exhibit.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Labor Day. Winter hours will be 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, through Memorial Day weekend.
If you can volunteer some time at the gallery at Town Park or for other Arts Council functions, call Joanne at 264-5020. Even an hour or two would help.
Clare Burns exhibit
Clare will exhibit her abstract portraits, black and white photography, alternative process and oil paint beginning Sept. 7 at the PSAC gallery. Come to the Sept. 7 reception 5 to 7 p.m. to discover how Clare's life experiences have brought forth a new appreciation of the female experience in her tribute to women.
"To look into the soul of a woman is to look into the soul of humanity." Clare has done so and now shares her experience with you.
PSAC recently qualified for the City Market Cares Electronic fundraising program which is for non-profit and charitable organizations. When you shop at City Market the Arts Council earns money which is distributed quarterly. Stop by the gallery at Town Park and sign up. Bring your Value Card. Help support the arts in your community. Questions? Call the gallery, 264-5020.
Zach Nelson is seeking volunteers to work in all aspects of Pagosa Players and King's Men productions. Whatever your talent, they can use you in some area. On Tuesday nights, 7 to 9:30 p.m. the group holds an acting workshop. On Friday nights during the same hours a Shakespeare training class is preparing for the group's Family Dessert Concert Reading Series. New members are welcome at any time. For more information, call Zach at 731-3300 or page him at 902-2300.
Playing to well-deserved standing ovations, the cast and crew of "Forever Plaid" set a standard of excellence which will be hard to beat. A gentleman at one performance stated he had attended a performance of another play with a cast of 150 and it couldn't compare to the quality of "Forever Plaid." He asked if these were professional actors. I don't think we realize the caliber of the talent we have here in Pagosa. I, for one, believe that Pagosa is The Town of Tremendous Talent. You can help by supporting our community talent pool.
A very special "Thank You" to all involved and especially to the PSAC Snack booth volunteers who did such a great job last week: Nettie and Bruce Trenk, Mary Ann Limmer, Jennifer and Nick Galesic, Jim and Joanne Haliday, Christy Marinos and Marlene Taylor.
Chile Mountain Cafe, at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard is seeking art on consignment for their walls. Ask for Carolyn at 731-6550.
Let the process work
Pagosa owes a lot to David Durkee. Durkee is one of
the seven members of the Upper San Juan Regional
Planning Commission. He also is a resident property owner in San Juan River Village. He also refuses to disrupt a dully established regulatory process when confronted with a conflict of interest regardless of personal preferences.
Because Durkee responsibly excused himself from discussing, or voting on, Hard Time Concrete's application for a conditional-use permit, the process worked at the Planning Commission's Aug. 23 meeting. The ensuing 3-3 tie vote by Durkee's fellow commission members advances the application to the county commissioners with neither a recommendation for approval or denial.
Now, as part of the established regulatory process, it's the county commissioners and their attorney's turn to conduct a public hearing on the conditional-use application.
Next Thursday night the regulatory process will continue when the county commissioners host a formal public hearing on Hard Time Concrete's application for a conditional-use permit. This offers the proponents of the concrete batch plant and their opponents another opportunity to strengthen and further substantiate their differing positions.
By the middle of next month the matter should rest exactly where it should be - in the laps of the county commissioners. It will be interesting to see how our elected representatives handle their responsibility of making the county's current land-use regulatory process work.
David C. Mitchell
Glad my closet has some plaids
Pleasant memories have been running rampant thanks to Forever Plaid. The mid-50s might not have been the best of times. But for many of us who ended our teenage years during that era, those years were no where close to being the worst of times.
Forever Plaid was the only thing that made last week a period of nostalgia.
While folks celebrated Goodman's 100th year of doing business in Pagosa, I remembered my years as a satisfied Goodman's customer. My closet holds a dark green and red plaid wool Pendleton shirt that occupied a rack at Goodman's 25 years ago. A year-younger pair of highly-experienced Red Wing boots likewise still get use. Though the boots were resoled in the mid-80s, the shirt shows a lot less wear that its wearer. Like the local real estate, such items sold at half of today's prices back then.
It was great visiting with Mr. and Mrs. Goodman Thursday afternoon. Somewhat like a proud grandfather, Dave showed me photos of some of the extra-large fish he and Dorothy have been catching from the Sea of Cortez. The visit brought a lot of pleasant memories to the surface.
So did a sign I spied on the rear window of a well-work Chevy' pickup Friday. Had it been on the bumper it would have been a bumper sticker, but I'm not sure what folks stick on the rear window of a pickup. Though I'm in the dark sticker-wise the message, "This truck bought with timber dollars," caused me to smile.
Much like a Pendleton shirt that cost $12.95 new or a new pair of Red Wing boots selling for $28.95, a Forest Service timber sale in Pagosa is a thing of the past. While some folks might admire the pickup's longevity, many of them couldn't define "timber dollars."
Last week's "Legacies" column titled "Mrs. Ruby Sisson - teacher and legend" likewise produced some enjoyable memories. During my seven years on the PSHS faculty, I spent many lunch breaks in the teachers' lounge learning all I could from Mrs. Ruby.
Even in the teachers' lounge Mrs. Sisson taught housekeeping and proper manners. It mattered not if the P.E. fields were muddy, I knew to be certain my shoes were clean before entering the lounge.
No one who taught with or studied under Mrs. Sisson would question Shari's recollections that "she taught us about life . . . to respect our teachers, get our work done on time, sit still in class, pay attention, care about others and do our best." It goes without saying that she also did an excellent job of teaching math. Mrs. Ruby was revered for her competence, her discipline, her compassion, her convictions and her toughness. Her students knew from experience that, when called for she would use a ruler for more than taking measurements.
Due to her consistent strictness, her no-nonsense requirements, her demands that students do their best and her longevity in the classroom, Mrs. Sisson had a library named in her honor.
I can't help but wonder how Mrs. Ruby would have reacted if someone had suggested that her methods of teaching in the classroom should promote "active learning for understanding." Or how would she have responded to the concept that "less is more" in a classroom environment. Or what she would have thought if someone suggested she survey her students' parents to determine whether they wanted their children to have homework assignments.
At times I wish I was younger. But when I hear today's popular music, read about the decline in learning, observe the evaporation of good manners and behavior and watch parents refuse to accept the responsibility of the their children's shortcomings; I'd rather be out of style and wear my out-dated plaids.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
8th Street paving requested
Taken from SUN files
of Sept. 4, 1975
Residents of the south section of town presented a petition to the town board Tuesday night asking that water lines be extended to serve the area along the west side of the San Juan River. A similar petition asking for the paving of Eighth Street also was presented to the town board.
Members of the U.S. Olympic Boxing Team will fight some exhibition matches in Pagosa Springs Sept. 20. The matches will be part of the team's preparation for the upcoming Pan American Games that are to be held in Mexico.
Town board members Tuesday night discussed appointing a street superintendent for the town. The trustees decided to advertise for a street superintendent to be in charge of maintaining the town's streets and to be responsible for all street work. The salary for the new position was set at $750 a month.
The first freeze of the season for Pagosa Springs was reported on Aug. 29. Freezing temperatures of 32 degrees were recorded on the mornings of Aug. 29 and and again on the morning of Aug. 31. It was the first time this fall that the mercury has dropped to a freezing level.
Wolf Creek Pass opened in 1916
Wolf Creek Pass first opened for motor vehicles in 1916. This was a momentous occasion for Pagosa Springs and the San Juan Basin as it provided a better route over the mountains than the previously used Elwood Pass. To celebrate the opening on Aug. 21, 1916, "free elk meat and coffee" were served to the estimated 1,000 people who attended the ceremony.
Another important event in the history of Wolf Creek Pass was the decision to maintain the road during the winter months and keep it open for traffic as much as possible. This advancement occurred in the mid-1930s.
In 1950 another dedication and celebration for the Pass was held. Governor Walter Johnson traveled from Denver to perform the honor of cutting the ribbon and "officially opening the oiled pass to travel." The completion of 17 miles of highway during the summer of 1950 marked the first time Pagosa Springs residents could make the trip from here to Denver entirely on a paved road.
Other than being a convenience, locals were excited for what was anticipated this improvement could bring. Editor Glen Edmonds of the SUN summed up the hopes of the community, "This event will mark a high point in the history of the San Juan Basin. For the first time in history, the residents of the area may travel to Denver on a highway surfaced all the way. This will remove the unsurfaced indication on highway maps and should result in much more tourist travel."
On Oct. 15, 1950, a dedication was held at the top of Wolf Creek Pass. Archuleta County Commissioner Dailey Hott was master of ceremonies. Several dignitaries from throughout the state attended the ceremony. At least four speeches were given to mark the occasion.
Following the ceremonies, the group adjourned to the Wolf Creek Campground for a picnic. The picnic was paid for by the Archuleta County Commissioners, the town of Pagosa Springs and the local chamber of commerce. The SUN reported these entities had worked hard on ensuring the completion of this project with hopes of giving "this area a real opportunity to develop its tourist and industrial assets."
In attendance at the ceremony was Pagosa Springs contractor Hugh Kyle who was the first contractor on the Wolf Creek Pass project back in 1906. His contract allowed for him to be paid $350 per mile of highway constructed.
Time to call cemetery centurions
It must take a different mindset to become a professional litterer.
Sure, we've all felt the urge on occasion to dispose of an empty candy wrapper or soft drink container by just tossing it out the window of a moving vehicle.
It isn't the correct way to dispose of trash, but sometimes temptation overcomes common sense.
It makes you a litterer. Even if you didn't intend to be part of the cluttering of our landscape, you have contributed. Consider your own reaction if you saw every other driver deposit just one candy wrapper on the roadway like you did.
Soon the roadway and its shoulders would be covered with candy wrappers. The same is true of soda containers and beer, wine and liquor bottles and cans.
I doubt any reader would consider himself or herself to be a professional litterer on the basis of a lone candy wrapper tossed innocently from the car. But if we don't set the example, who will?
No matter how many organizations pick up litter from area roadways, there aren't enough to ever get it all.
And that leads to a situation I have more trouble understanding than I do roadway litterers.
Cemetery litter has become a continuing Pagosa Springs problem. Pick a morning, almost any morning, and visit the far west end of Hilltop Cemetery. You'll find the leftovers from a party the night before.
Sometimes the cans and bottles are strewn on nearby graves. Sometimes just tossed alongside the roadway. Occasionally, they've been thrown over the fence onto the private property west of the cemetery. They're often accompanied by empty fast food bags and cardboard containers.
It is not an occasional event. I found and removed bags full of bottles and cans from the area on four mornings last week. It has become almost a habit now, to do whatever else I need to do in the cemetery and then check out the party spot for accumulated litter.
I don't object to picking up the debris, but it shouldn't have to be done. Anyone who would desecrate a grave by lining empty beer bottles up on it should be subject to arrest and public flogging.
Oops! Forgot. That form of punishment is not a legal means of meting out punishment for foul deeds.
Police can't be there all the time. They have things to do other than watch for cemetery litterers.
Maybe what we need is a staff of cemetery centurions to roust the imbibers from the cemetery at night. I'd suggest closing the cemetery to nighttime visits, but the road leading into it is also access to private residential property.
Something needs to be done to discourage those regular overnight partiers in a spot that should be reserved for quiet remembrances and somber moments.
Those who litter regularly are professionals at the effort, as disgusting as it might be, and would not wish to give up the accumulated expertise. If halted here, they'd probably just move to another location.
Could it be they are the same ones who still regularly deposit alcoholic beverage containers on the high school grounds? Are they merely trying to spread their trash around to cover more areas? Is that a form of professional litterer largesse?
Feel good news
And now, some happier items, the kind often overlooked in the impact news of the day.
Linda Miller of Pagosa Springs has proof that television call-in prize offers are not faked. There are real winners and she just happens to be one of them.
She became a fan of the Live! Regis & Kathy Lee show earlier this year and finally got up the courage to call in on their prize segment which involved a member of the live audience playing along with a viewer at home.
Both contestants received the same prizes if questions were answered correctly by either person.
Miller and her audience compatriot won sewing machines and cameras and she was one of five finalists for an all-expense paid vacation trip (one prize she didn't win).
* * *
Although they ran a classified advertisement announcing it, many residents were unaware that San Juan Basin Health Department's operation has moved back into its original home on South 8th Street.
The facility was vacated last winter after personnel became ill and health authorities were unable to trace the cause.
A spokesperson said the problem was finally traced to a mold growing under the flooring and the problem has been resolved.
That means the nurses and other health professionals who serve the community have their regular workplace back and are no longer moving from building to building in the area.
Their clients, too, are relieved to know where to go for care when they need it without having to call and find out if the center's operations have moved again.
Treasure Mountain tales took research
By John M. Motter
The Frenchmen's fabulous fortune in gold. Is it still hidden in a forgotten fold of Treasure Mountain? Or is some secretive treasure hunter languishing in luxury after unlocking the secrets of the mysterious mountain's fabled past?
Many are the stories told about buried gold on Treasure Mountain, a flat-topped peak and neighbor of Wolf Creek Pass. The Treasure Mountain story is a classic, laced with all of the traditional features found in western lost gold mine stories.
The treasure story lived on and lives today, remembered by oldtimers clasping cups of cafe coffee while reminiscing one more time about days of yore.
From the beginning, it seems, desperate men with one eye peeled for Indians or grizzlies and the other searching for sign, probed the San Juan Mountains for the lost treasure. One of the searchers was Leon Montroy, a French Canadian working the mines of Summitville after 1870. Helping keep the story alive was Montroy's daughter, Ila, who recorded facets of Montroy's treasure searches in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country." The Montroys settled in Pagosa Country. Family members remain here today. Some oldtimers believe Montroy found the treasure and quietly appropriated it for his own use.
Temple Cornelius further memorialized the lost fortune of Treasure Mountain in his "Golden Treasures of the San Juan." Cornelius recounts many San Juan Mountain lost treasure stories, but the most important of his collection of tales focuses on Treasure Mountain.
Adding to the legend, is a fresh look at Treasure Mountain's lost treasure dilemma available in two books self-published in recent years by Maynard Cornett Adams. Adams' books are titled "Citadel Mountain" and "Citadel Mountain II."
The books are about Treasure Mountain, but Adams chooses to use the name Citadel Mountain in order to avoid "copyright issues."
"My books are based on facts, but there isn't any money in writing history books," Adams said, "so I have written them as fiction."
Writing as fiction enables Adams to smooth over a few things from the past that he considers obvious, but that are not necessarily supported by documents. The scope of Adams' research is, nevertheless, impressive. That search has turned up information from France, Spain, Canada, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico.
"This book is intended to portray a reliable story of the Expedition of Lebreau." With this sentence in the introduction, Adams sets the stage for "Citadel Mountain." The introduction continues, "After years of research and contact with the people whose families actually had contact with Lebreau's documents, or were knowledgeable of the contents, the author and his associates were able to piece together the truth. This is a factual story presented as it happened, with as much accuracy as possible. The Lebreau expedition existed and the story speaks for itself."
Prior to the time civilization roped and tied Pagosa Country, so the stories go, a wandering band of Frenchman led by Pierre Lebreau braved the perils of an untamed West, searching for gold. On Treasure Mountain the search ended, fulfilled by the discovery of more wealth than any of the adventurers ever dreamed possible. All through the summer they dug into the mountain, extracting gold and refining their product.
Finding gold and keeping it proved to be two different things. Before the gold could be loaded onto pack animals for the journey home, the inevitable happened: Indians attacked. Fortunately, after surviving a perilous journey a lone survivor staggered back to civilization, babbling about unmeasurable wealth buried in the heart of a western mountain.
"Citadel Mountain" describe's Lebreau's 1799-1804 expedition which left Louisiana, traversed much of the largely unknown west between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains, and led to the discovery of gold on Treasure Mountain. Adams moves his party of Louisianians step by step across the West in a succession of perilous encounters. As they move, a knowledgeable reader will detect names and places from early western history, including Pagosa Country, and a time before the emergence of the fur trapping era, a time when France still owned the Louisiana Territory and suspicious envoys of the Spanish king patrolled the southern border. Adding to the suspense was the ever-present threat posed by fierce bands of untamed Indians.
Gold they found. What happened to it? You'll have to read "Citadel Mountain" to find out
If you enjoy "Citadel Mountain," you'll enjoy the sequel, "Citadel Mountain II." In this continuation of the Treasure Mountain adventure, Adams has relatives of the first expedition returning to Treasure Mountain, led by Pierre Lebreau, the grandson of the leader of the first expedition.
The second expedition is timed between 1844 and 1848. Already the age of the fur trapper in the Far West has come and gone. Mexico has defeated Spain and is now in control of her own destiny. The United States has purchased the Louisiana Territory. Oxen-powered freight caravans trudge between Missouri and Santa Fe.
The younger Lebreau enters a very different West, but his goal and destination are not new. He wants to find and return home with the Treasure Mountain gold, or what is left of it. The value of that gold would have purchased the Louisiana Territory twice over, according to Adams. Does this new pack of adventurers succeed? Again, you'll have to read "Citadel Mountain II (1844-1848)" to find out.
Both books are paperbacks available at Moonlight Books in Pagosa Springs. Adams is preparing a third book on the same topic. Although the books are represented as fiction, tables of reference detailing information sources supporting each chapter are included in the back of the books.
Sierra Dawn Montoya
Dillon and Dustin Montoya would like to announce the birth of their new baby sister, Sierra Dawn Montoya, born on Aug. 11, 2000, to Dominic and Amber Montoya. Sierra weighed 6 pounds 8.4 ounces, and was 18 and 1/4-inches long.
Proud maternal grandparents are, Philip and Montie Dietrich and paternal grandparents are Levi and Ruthie Montoya, all of Pagosa Springs.
Cassidy Dylin DeYapp is proud to announce the arrival of his baby sister McKenna Bailley on Aug. 2, 2000. She weighed 6 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19-inches long.
Proud parents are Larkin and Dawn DeYapp of Pagosa Springs. Maternal grandparents are Eddie and Darlene Archuleta of Pagosa Springs. Her paternal grandparents are Larkin and Betty DeYapp of Chama, N.M.
Great-grandparents are Senovia Sanner and Jim and Charlotte Archuleta of Pagosa Springs and Lucillo and Cleo DeYapp and Teodoro Martinez of Chama.
Building Blocks Preschool
Teresa Firestone opens her Building Blocks Preschool, Sept. 5. Building blocks provides instruction and fun for children ages 3 to 5 years at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite B-13 in the Greenbriar Plaza.
Firestone has 10 years experience teaching youngsters and will offer instruction in educational basics such as ABCs, shapes, numbers, phonics, colors and music, as well as attention to social interaction skills.
Registration at Building Blocks is today, 1 to 4 p.m. Or call 731-0449.
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