Front Page

January 4, 2001

 

Burglars haul away school district safe

By Karl Isberg

The Grinch messed with School District 50 Joint at the end of the Christmas holiday making off with a safe during a burglary of the district administration office.

According to Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger, the administration building at 309 Lewis Street was entered "some time between December 28 and the morning of January 2."

The chief said the building was entered through a window at the north end of the structure. The window is approximately 7 feet from the ground, said Volger, but a retaining wall near the structure would allow a burglar to reach the window.

"We think there is more than one suspect involved in this burglary," said the chief. He indicated the burglars walked to the south end of the building and took a safe from the business manager's office.

The safe contained an undisclosed amount of cash, two certificates of deposit owned by the school district, and a card used by the business manager for check cashing purposes.

"The certificates are useless to anyone but the district," said Volger, "and the card cannot be used by unauthorized persons."

The chief said Wednesday that he and officer Chuck Allen investigated the burglary and believe it is tied to an attempted break-in at the junior high building located immediately west of the administration office.

Volger said a school custodian called Central Dispatch the night of Jan. 1 to report the attempted break-in at the junior high. Allen responded to the building the next morning and was shown a door where an entry was attempted. Evidence led the officer to the roof of the building where other entries to the building were attempted and abandoned. Volger said footprints in snow on the roof of the junior high seemed to match footprints found near the point of entry to the administration building.

The chief said an investigation of the administration building burglary is continuing.

 

Tow truck driver hurt; rammed by car he freed

By Karl Isberg

A local tow truck driver was seriously injured Dec. 29 when he was struck by a vehicle he had pulled from an embankment next to Mill Creek Road, approximately 3 miles east of Pagosa Springs.

Colorado State Patrol Corporal Randy Talbot said Freddie Rivas Jr., 32, of Pagosa Springs, an employee of Buckskin Towing, pulled a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup from an embankment next to the road. The pickup was operated by Troy Allen Stewart, of Pagosa Springs.

As Rivas unhooked the towing device from the truck, reported Talbot, Stewart backed his vehicle and crushed Rivas between the Dodge and the tow truck.

A passenger in the Stewart vehicle used the radio in the tow truck to call for assistance.

An Emergency Medical Services ambulance responded and Rivas was taken to an Air Care helicopter that flew him to Mercy Medical Center of Durango.

Rivas was later airlifted to St. Anthony's Central Hospital at Denver. Talbot said Rivas suffered injuries to his pelvis, spine and hip, and underwent surgeries Sunday and Tuesday.

A St. Anthony's Central spokesperson said Wednesday that Rivas was in the hospital's orthopedic unit and was listed in "fair and stabilized condition."

Stewart was arrested and booked on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol. Talbot said an investigation of the incident is continuing.

 

Teen found dead; carbon monoxide suspected

By Karl Isberg

Archuleta County Coroner Carl Macht believes carbon monoxide from a faulty gas heater or heater venting system caused the Dec. 31 death of a 17-year-old Texas resident visiting the area on a ski vacation.

Macht said Steven Marston, of Midland, Texas, was found dead the morning of Dec. 31 by fellow members of a ski vacation group. The group was staying at a rental property located approximately 7 miles north of Pagosa Springs on Fourmile Road.

Macht reported the high school senior went to bed Dec. 30 at 11:30 p.m. in a room containing a gas heater. When other members of the vacation group could not wake the youngster the next morning, they called 9-1-1 for assistance at 7:05 a.m.

Emergency Medical Services Director Bill Bright said the dispatcher who received the call from the residence informed the reporting party to begin CPR on the victim. Bright said a member of the group at the rental house was a firefighter and he initiated CPR.

"When we arrived on scene," said Bright, "it was obvious the victim was dead. We estimated the young man had been dead for three to four hours prior to the 9-1-1 emergency call."

The coroner said Marston had fallen and hit his head while skiing Dec. 30, but said he believes the incident had no relation to the young man's death.

"The boy died of carbon monoxide poisoning," said Macht, "and we are focusing on a heating element in the room or the venting for that heater as the source of the gas. I have placed a call for a certified technician to check the heater and its vents."

 

Postal rates increase takes effect Sunday

Pagosa Springs Post Master Richard Love reminded local postal patrons Wednesday that a one-cent rate increase on first-class postage goes into effect starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. Therefore, first-class postage not postmarked prior to Jan. 7 will need to carry 34 cent postage.

Love said the new 34-cent stamps are now on sale at the Pagosa Springs Post Office. He said one-cent stamps that can be used to bring 33-cent stamps into compliance with the new rate regulations are also on sale.

Should a letter exceed the one-ounce standard for a 34-cent first-class mailing, postal customers will be required to pay 21 cents per ounce for each addition ounce the mailing might weigh.

Postage rates on post cards will continue at 20 cents.

According to U.S. Postal Service officials in Washington, D.C., nationwide increases in postal costs related to transportation, gas and fuel, equipment and facilities, and or wages and labor brought about the need to initiate the latest one-cent increase in first-class postage rates.

 

Oath of office opens new year for commission

By John M. Motter

The 2001 work year begins Tuesday for the Archuleta County commissioners. They meet for the first time this year at 9 a.m. in the commissioner meeting room in the county courthouse.

Before rolling up their sleeves and plunging into work, two of the three commissioners will raise their right hands while taking the oath of office.

Alden Ecker, the new man on the block, and William Downey, who already has his chair warm, will be sworn in for four-year terms by County Judge Jim Denvir. The swearing-in ceremony takes place before the commissioners meeting gets official.

Ecker and Downey, both Republicans, are the survivors of last year's election race which started with 10 Republican candidates and one Democrat candidate seeking two openings on the three-member board of county commissioners.

Ecker fought off five candidates from Commissioner District 2 to win the Republican primary election, then overcame Democrat J.B. Smith in the November general election to win the right to raise his hand Tuesday. He replaces Ken Fox, a Republican who served one term from District 2.

Downey worked his way to the swearing in ceremony by winning the Commissioner District 1 Republican primary election over five opponents, then running unopposed in the November general election. Downey already has some experience in the office, having been chosen by the Republican Party Central Committee to finish the unexpired term of former commissioner Bill Tallon. Tallon resigned as commissioner and moved to Arizona.

The third commissioner is Gene Crabtree representing Commissioner District 3. Crabtree was elected in the general election two years ago and has two years left on his term in office. He replaced Bob Formwalt, who chose not to seek re-election. This past year, Crabtree has served, gavel and all, as chairman of the board of county commissioners.

Facing the new board are a number of problems, many of them propagated by the unprecedented growth and prosperity the county has enjoyed over the past few years.

Among the coming year's priorities, adoption of a plan to direct the pattern of growth and settlement appears to top the list. Paramount to the growth-control issue are the seemingly conflicting goals of preserving private property rights while at the same time protecting the aesthetic qualities which attract increasing numbers of people to the area.

Another major issue swirls around county roads, their maintenance, and who will cough up the money for maintenance.

Finally, the commissioners will need to find money to construct new facilities to house county offices and services. A new building could cost in excess of $10 million. The county has already purchased land for the proposed facility on Hot Springs Boulevard opposite the new town hall now under construction.

The commissioners meet each Tuesday at 9 a.m. in the courthouse. A full agenda is dealt with each week. Periodic meetings are also conducted in Arboles and Chromo.

 

Upper Piedra planning hearing slated Monday

By John M. Motter

Land use and development of the Upper Piedra country and what to do about it is the subject of a public hearing Monday at 10 a.m. in the Archuleta County commissioners meeting room. The hearing is being conducted by the Hinsdale County Planning Commission.

On the table and being discussed is the Hinsdale Upper Piedra Area Comprehensive Plan. The proposal is the result of almost two years of planning by citizens of the area concerned with "what is taking place in Archuleta County to the south."

Consequently, a major goal of the plan is to protect the views, agricultural nature, wildlife, and wide open spaces indigenous to the area. Included is the area in Hinsdale County south of the southern ridge of the Continental Divide. Drainages involved include the Los Piños River, Flint Creek, Lake Creek on the east side of the area, and the Piedra River, East Fork River, Middle Fork River, Williams Creek, and Weminuche Creek.

The vision statement adopted after a series of public workshops describes the goals of the people living in the area. It reads:

"The Hinsdale Upper Piedra community planning area possesses a distinctly rural sense of place, which is derived from historic and on-going ranching operations, minimal development, significant wildlife resources, and its important outdoor recreation opportunities and cultural resources. The area is indeed special, with large open spaces and vast public lands. Residents aspire to protect these resources through land use planning."

A community survey conducted in November of 1999 received 47 responses. A survey of the key responses reveals:

- 75 percent of the respondents have lived in the area at least six years.

- 45 percent said they moved or stayed there because they like the small, rural atmosphere.

- 95 percent rated the Upper Piedra as an excellent place to live.

- More than 67 percent said that open space was a very important reason they live here.

- A majority of the respondents felt that the community was very open, friendly, and they felt free to express their views.

- 97 percent feel that it is important that they know what is happening and have a chance to be involved.

- 69 percent said they found out what is happening by word of mouth.

- Most people felt the services in the area were adequate with recreation rated highest; however, police and fire protection rated low.

- A majority rated outdoor activity such as fishing, hunting, camping, and horseback riding as most important. Facilities for a community center, arts and crafts, and dances are relatively unimportant.

- Of the services marked as important as to which three services taxpayer money should be spent on, responses were evenly split among none, road maintenance, and outdoor activities such as fishing, horseback riding, and camping.

- Maintaining open space, scenic views, and preserving agricultural land while protecting private property rights were rated as very important by a majority of respondents.

- Irrigation, wildlife habitat, livestock, and recreation are identified as important uses of the area's rivers.

- 65 percent of respondents said they were not in favor of growth.

- 84 percent said of the year-around population of the Upper Piedra should be 100 or less and 80 percent said the seasonal population should be 500 or less.

- 90 percent feel the developer should pay for costs such as administration, roads and utility extensions for that development.

- 47 percent identified agriculture/ranching as the land use which should be encouraged, and 24 percent preferred single-family dwelling.

- 24 percent identify ranches being subdivided, 15 percent identify increased use of public lands, and 14 percent identify commercial use of land and water as major concerns.

- 45 percent said that growth has been too fast and 53 percent said it is about right.

- 48 percent identified ranchettes - 35-acre lots with a single-family dwelling - as appropriate housing for the area. Twenty-four percent said low-density, single family dwellings are appropriate.

- 74 percent of the respondents own property, 23 percent lease property.

- 53 percent described their property size as between 5 and 35 acres, 45 percent as 35 to 640 acres or more.

- 82 percent said they spend less than nine months here, while 17 percent are here 9-12 months.

- 31 respondents voiced primary concerns. Of those, 27 identified development and over-development issues. Four were concerned with loss of personal property rights.

Hinsdale County is the least populated county in the state with only 368 year-around residents and a peak population estimated at 747 persons. The county's approximately 684,160 acres are about 97 percent public lands. A wilderness designation covers 46 percent of the public land.

Approximately 20 of Hinsdale County's year-around residents live in the Upper Piedra area. During the summer, the area's population grows to approximately 200 people.

 

Ordinance establishes zoning for Hot Springs District

By Karl Isberg

Pagosa Springs trustees approved an ordinance Tuesday establishing and zoning the downtown Hot Springs Boulevard District and establishing design guidelines and a review process for development and construction within the district.

The Hot Springs Boulevard District includes properties along both sides of Hot Springs Boulevard, from Hermosa Street south to the intersection with Apache Street.

The stated purpose of the district and its zoning is to create a "Hot Springs Boulevard Neighborhood," that will "expand the town center to include new opportunities for commercial and residential development, anchored by a government district."

In the ordinance the authors state that development of the neighborhood "will strengthen the vitality of downtown Pagosa Springs as a place to live, work, and shop by allowing a variety of land uses to be developed in a manner harmonious with the traditional small-urban atmosphere of the town center."

Wording in the ordinance paints a picture in which, "Smoothly functioning and attractive streets and parking will accommodate autos, but a pedestrian focus will prevail. Strong visual connections to scenic mountain and river vistas and development that highlights the unique relationship of Pagosa Springs to these elements will be emphasized in the neighborhood. Seamless connections with other parts of town will encourage a lively and walkable community during both the day and night. The Hot Springs Boulevard Neighborhood, consisting of three overlay districts, will support a diversity in types of housing, shopping, civic facilities, recreation, and employment."

Districts established in the ordinance include a "Lodging, Healing Arts and Bathing District", a "Mixed Use District", and a "Government District". An "Open Space District" is also set out adjacent to the neighborhood.

The Lodging, Healing Arts and Bathing District incorporates properties at the north end of the Hot Springs Boulevard corridor. Most of the property in the district is now occupied by the Spring Inn and associated businesses, the Spa Motel, and the Best Western Motel. This district, states the ordinance, "is established to accommodate land uses that focus on the natural resources of the hot mineral springs. This district will provide hot springs-associated land uses such as bathing, health practitioners, healing arts, lodging, food services, conferences, and other uses which can demonstrate a direct association with lodging, healing arts and bathing uses."

A Mixed Use District is created "to establish development opportunities for a variety of residential, commercial, and office uses. The residential component will ensure activity in the Hot Springs Boulevard neighborhood at all times of the day, and the proximity of community, recreational, governmental and commercial land uses will invite pedestrian use . . . Pedestrian circulation will have precedence over automobiles, and human-scaled streetscapes will incorporate design features that promote an interesting, varied, and walkable neighborhood."

The Mixed Use District consists of three overlay zones: commercial, retail and office; single-family detached units; and attached townhouses and apartment buildings.

The commercial overlay zone will allow for "a variety of retail, office, and commercial uses in compact, pedestrian-oriented storefronts. Street and block patterns will establish convenient driving, biking and walking routes linking this area to the historic downtown, the residential area, adjacent natural areas, and the government district."

A zone for single-family detached units is designed "to accommodate a residential area comprised of detached homes in a compact arrangement. A pedestrian street-focused atmosphere will predominate, with a traditional block and alley pattern and improved public open space." This zone will be screened from the commercial area by a vegetative barrier containing a pedestrian and bike trail linking to the rest of the downtown area's trail system.

In the third overlay zone, with attached townhomes and apartment buildings, a more dense residential development is permitted, "while retaining the look and feel of a traditional residential neighborhood."

The Mixed Use District, with its three overlay zones, lies immediately south of the hot springs district, and incorporates land on both sides of Hot Springs Boulevard south to the boundary of the site of the proposed Pagosa Springs Community Center next to the new town hall near Apache Street.

A Government District incorporates the sites of the proposed community center and the new town hall on the west side of Hot Springs Boulevard, and land within town boundaries across Hot Springs Boulevard from those sites. The district is established "to provide a central location for the government and community functions that serve the Town of Pagosa Springs."

Several small tracts of land between the Town Hall site and Apache Street are designated as part of the Mixed Use District.

Wetlands along the San Juan River behind the Government District and a portion of the central Mixed Use District are designated in the ordinance as Open Space.

The ordinance includes elements and requirements common to all districts and overlay zones, including requirements concerning streets and their dimensional standards and the need for a pedestrian network. Parking requirements are addressed in the ordinance as are issues dealing with drainage and landscaping, lighting, signs and view corridors.

Among ordinance elements are requirements relating to building character, building orientation and architectural style. Included in the considerations of architectural style is the statement that designs "that imitate older styles and 'themes' are discouraged because this type of architecture produces a 'theme park' appearance with an artificial sense of time and place." The ordinance also urges compatibility among buildings in a development, prohibiting metal buildings and the use of plastic in anything but signs.

Specific permitted uses are established for each district as are overall site considerations and building considerations.

There is a design review process set out in the ordinance providing a prospective developer with information that maintains "open and clear communication throughout the process," and facilitates cooperation between the developer and town staff.

A pre-design conference with town staff is mandated by the ordinance and the developer must review a project with staff during a preliminary development plan conference.

Preliminary development plans will be reviewed by town staff for compliance and a review will be sent to the developer indicating either approval of the preliminary plan or specifying items requiring change prior to approval.

A final development plan will be reviewed by the town planning and building department and, upon approval, building permits will be issued.

Any project proposing subdivision or a planned unit review requires steps involving town planning commission input and review as well as public hearings and approval by the town trustees.

The ordinance approved Tuesday by the trustees was in the works for more than a year.

Town Planning Administrator Chris Bentley contacted owners of properties in the Hot Springs Boulevard corridor and collected information and ideas from the owners - some leading to adjustments in the original plans for the area.

"We incorporated the feelings and ideas of the property owners," Bentley told the trustees. "Everyone is supportive of the ordinance the way it stands now. Anything we think is important for the area is useless without the teeth provided by this ordinance."

Town Administrator Jay Harrington supported this contention Tuesday when he said, "Timing-wise, this ordinance is ideal. We're starting to see plans for development in the area roll in and it's good to be able to tell people that we now have guidelines they need to follow."

Inside The Sun

Warm air stays; slight chance for weekend storm

By John M. Motter

"There is a slight chance for snow or rain showers Saturday and Sunday," said Chris Jones, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. "Look for high temperatures between 40 and 50 degrees and lows in the low teens."

A high-pressure ridge across the Southwest is controlling current weather conditions in Pagosa Country, according to Jones. The result has been glittering, sunshiny days with cool nights. Snow in and around town has been melting fast.

The high-pressure ridge will continue to dominate today and tomorrow, Jones said. Saturday there is a slight chance for snow or rain showers with clearing again Sunday evening and Monday. By Tuesday a westerly flow may set in as the high-pressure ridge crumbles. Snow showers may accompany the westerly flow Tuesday.

Meanwhile, folks in Pagosa Country enjoyed a white Christmas with 0.25 inches of snow on Christmas Day. The Yule snowfall brought December's total to 11.5 inches, well below the long-time December average of 22.2 inches.

The coldest thermometer reading during December was the minus 6 degrees Dec. 17. The highest reading was 49 degrees Dec. 3.

Last week's high temperatures ranged between 39 and 42 degrees with an average high reading of 41 degrees. Last week's low temperatures ranged between 4 and 10 degrees with an average low reading of 7 degrees.

 

Holiday skier turnout steady but it wasn't record-setting

By Richard Walter

The numbers were up for the week after Christmas but not at the record levels from the 1998-99 ski season at Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Dec. 28, 29 and 30 were the biggest three days of the season so far, according to Rosanne Haidorfer-Pitcher, Wolf Creek marketing director, with totals well over 3,000 for each day.

She said the storms across New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas during the holiday period are sure to have had some effect on total turnout, "but we're pleased with how steady it's been over an extended period."

She said some of those who missed the holiday will probably come up later in the season, especially the really dedicated skiers.

For the week following Christmas, attendance was 2,078 on the 26th, 2,555 on the 27th, 3,625 on the 28th, 3,793 on the 29th, 3,397 of the 30th, 2,677 on New Year's Eve, 1,966 on New Year's Day and 1,746 Tuesday. She said the attendance appeared to be about the same yesterday, but final figures were not yet in at 2 p.m.

Forecasters are calling for a chance of weekend storms in the high country, a period of warmer days, and more likelihood of snow by midweek next week.

 

Building up 19.6 percent in town

By Karl Isberg

The past year saw a 19.6 percent increase in the number of building permits issued by the town of Pagosa Springs and even greater increases in building permit fees and building costs generated by construction within town limits.

A report released Tuesday by Pagosa Springs Building Administrator Mark Garcia shows 55 building permits issued in Pagosa Springs during the year 2000.

There were nine permits issued in 2000 for new commercial construction; 17 permits for commercial remodels and additions; 12 permits for new residential construction; and 17 permits for residential remodels and additions.

Permits fees collected in 2000 totaled $30,615, up 71 percent from 1999.

There was a total $16,910 in fees collected for new commercial construction in 2000; $5,260 collected for commercial remodels and additions; $6,495 for new residential construction; and $1,950 for residential remodels and additions.

Estimated cost of all construction permitted in Pagosa Springs during 2000 was $7,371,000, reflecting a 111-percent increase over the total cost of construction in 1999.

New commercial construction in 1999 accounted for $4,749,835 of total estimated costs; commercial remodels and additions added up to an estimated $1,055,785; new residential construction costs were estimated at $1,359,100; and residential remodels and additions were permitted at an estimated cost of $206,300.

The 12 permits issued in 1999 for new residential construction included permits for five conventionally-constructed homes and seven manufactured homes.

The most significant of the nine permits for new commercial construction permits were for the First Baptist Church project at 2900 West U.S. 160, at a cost of $1,400,000; a commercial office and store building between Village Drive and U.S. 160 at Piñon Causeway, with an estimated cost of $855,600; a 14-unit addition to the Spring Inn on Hot Springs Boulevard, with an estimated price tag of $648,235; and the ALCO store building in the Pagosa Country Center, with an estimated cost of $585,000.

Commercial remodel permits issued in 2000 included a project at 475 Lewis Street, involving interior remodeling and an exterior addition at a project cost of $650,000.

 

County, assessor dispute tax district assessments

By John M. Motter

The Archuleta County commissioners certified the levies and revenues of all taxing entities in the county Dec. 19, apparently filling a requirement of state law.

According to County Assessor Keren Prior, five of the assessed values used by the county were wrong.

Enter disagreement.

Dennis Hunt, the county budget officer says when the county commissioners certify the levies and revenues of the various taxing entities, they are certifying that those entities have submitted a certification of their own concerning assessed values, mill levies, and revenues within the respective entities.

The commissioners are not certifying that the numbers and math used by each of the entities are correct, Hunt said. The commissioners are certifying that the entities have submitted their certifications.

Enter Prior, who says the assessed values certified by the commissioners are not the same as the assessed values she submitted to the entities.

Three certifications are involved. Prior certifies the taxable value of property in each district to the district. The district, in turn, certifies its assessed value, mill levy, and revenue to the county commissioners. The commissioners then certify that the entities have submitted their certifications to the commissioners. The commissioner certification is forwarded to the Colorado Division of Property Taxation, Department of Local Affairs.

The assessed values by five of the entities on the certification signed by the county commissioners differed from the assessed values sent to those entities by Prior. The reasons for differing vary.

Three entities used a preliminary assessed value report prepared by Prior Aug. 31. The purpose of the early report is to give the entities information needed for budget preparation at an earlier date, allowing more time for budget preparation.

"According to state statute, I don't have to make a final certification until Dec. 10," Prior said. "I try to do it earlier so they will have more time to work on their budgets."

This year's final certification by Prior is dated Nov. 9 and the assessed valuations in the final report differ from those in the Aug. 31 report by a slight amount. According to Prior, the taxing entities are required to use the last certification. The three entities which used the Aug. 31 data will have to correct to the Nov. 9 data, Prior said.

For one taxing entity, two numbers on the report certified by the commissioners were juxtaposed, that is, $134,261,940 was typed as $143,261,940. This error was detected at the commissioner's meeting and corrected before the certification was forwarded to the state.

The final difference between Prior and the commissioners concerns the hospital district budget. The hospital district taxes property in Hinsdale, Mineral and Archuleta counties. The commissioners certified a hospital district assessed value, mill levy, and revenues based on the total for the three counties.

Prior says they can't do that. She submitted the assessed value of the hospital district property in Archuleta County to the hospital district. The numbers for the other counties were submitted to the district by treasurers in those counties.

According to Prior, the commissioners can't certify taxes levied in another county.

Prior also questioned an addition correction apparently made by Hunt on the hospital district certification. According to Bill Bright, general manager of the hospital district, Hunt called and said the numbers for the three districts didn't add up. Bright said he and Hunt worked on the problem over the phone and agreed to the final answer.

Prior points out that Hunt did not initial the changes he penciled in on the hospital district's certification.

Bright says the method used by Hunt and the commissioners this year is the same method that has been used for many years. Bright said the state required a new form this year, but he didn't have the new form so he used an old one.

"I am going to do it Prior's way next year," Bright said.

"I asked to be allowed to look at the numbers before the commissioners completed their certification," Prior said. "They didn't allow me to do it. I wish they had."

 

Letters
Accessible to all

Dear David,

In year 2001 I would like to say that the majority of Pagosa Springs businesses were accessible to all people, but this is not the case. Accessibility for the disabled has never been a goal in this town, although being a tourist town you would think so. All building codes are enforced except those pertaining to the disabled. This is blatant discrimination.

Accessibility has never even been encouraged by organizations supporting tourism and business even when it is advantageous to the community. Most business owners have never heard of ADA, or Americans With Disabilities Act of 1991. This constitutional law passed by Congress says that federal, state, county and local governments shall not discriminate, through architecture, communications or transportation, against the disabled. This law also applies to commercial business because they deal with the public. Amazingly, similar laws have been in effect in Colorado since 1972 yet have never been enforced by the building inspectors.

This all comes down to discrimination created through greed, fear and ignorance of a good law that benefits all in the end. An accessible Pagosa Springs has been my goal since 1980. There has been monumental change in the past 20 years. It has been an uphill battle all the way and it continues to be so. We desperately need a county handicapped coordinator that does something. There actually used to be such a title but it was only a political pacifier for the time. . . Would you believe, the county building is still not up to code? We still don't have accessible hot springs for the disabled. This is a black eye to this community, for who needs Pagosa more than the disabled? Wouldn't it be nice to see a town slogan below the town sign saying, "Accessible to all?"

I would like to thank all the businesses in our community that have made their buildings accessible. This produces a more harmonious community and an atmosphere where I wouldn't have to write letters like this. Happy New Year to all.

Ron Alexander

More input needed

Dear David,

The Archuleta County Community Plan is still in the process of being developed, and more input from the community is needed. As has been said before, "the price of democracy is eternal vigilance." Although a lot of time and hard work has gone into the process of discovering how the people of Archuleta County would like land use management to be handled, the Planning Commission is still working on and changing the Community Plan.

The Jan. 24 meeting of the planning commission will start at 7 p.m. and will take place at the Pagosa Lakes Club House (230 Port Avenue, off Vista Boulevard), which is not the usual meeting place for the planning commission. Please note that this is a different location than the one that was mistakenly mentioned in last week's SUN.

Even if you have given your input before at previous community planning meetings, which took place during last year throughout the county, it may mean very little if you do not attend the planning commission meeting on Jan. 24. Chapter 5 of the Community Plan, which covers land use management (including what has been called scenic corridors and critical wildlife habitat) will be revisited at that meeting. Chapter 5 has undergone considerable change from what was originally presented to the planning commission. I hope that everyone will join together in making sure that the planning commission has written what the people of Archuleta County envision for their com- munity's future.

You may pick up a copy of the current Community Plan at the county planning department. The document will have indications as to what has been deleted and what has been added. Please call the planning department at 264-5851 for further information on the meeting and the Community Plan.

If you want to make a difference, you cannot assume that your voice has been heard. You have to continue to attend the meetings. In the public or political realm, the last people to speak tend to be those who are heard.

Sincerely,

Ron Chacey

Road important

Dear Editor,

I was reading the SUN of Dec. 21, 2000, and came up to the Valle Seco Road and I just wanted to let (county attorney) Mary Weiss know that the road has been used for more than 20 years, as a matter of fact, Mr. Modesto Montoya lived there and it was used since 1931. He used to live in a place there right after you cross the forest boundary. It's a place called La Gloria, there's Forest Service in the middle of those private ranches, on the other side through the Montezuma side, the ranch was owned by Tony Large and family, that road is important.

It brings lots of hunters and money to the county, town and state. I had a lot of friends from Texas who came and camped there and that Forest Service land is in the middle, and it needs a road to get to it.

If it's because the county doesn't maintain it, then it didn't maintain the Snowball Road from the Hershey's gate on up. It's the same deal.

Thank you.

Tony Gallegos

Nucla

Grow Pagosa later

Dear Editor,

As the twig grows, so does the child. As the town grows, so will your city be born. Control the crime and political corruption first. Grow the city later.

You're fighting against the odds. Greed is what will ruin Pagosa Springs, the American way.

For hundreds of years we have been taught to leave what we can't have. And destroy what we can.

Pagosa Springs is defensible, but will it be livable in the end?

Jody Ray Morris

Local kindness

Dear Editor,

With the holiday rush now behind us I am pleased to take a few minutes and publicly thank the people at the post office who showed such kindness by working Sunday, Christmas Eve, so people could get their packages for Christmas. This was far and above the ordinary duty of their job.

Every time I enter the post office now I am touched by the remembrance of this sacrifice on their parts. Thanks to each of you who were involved in this gift of kindness. May your new year be abundantly blessed.

Sincerely,

Debra Nobles

 

Obituaries
 

Ted Marley

Friends and family of Ted Marley were saddened by his death on Christmas Day.

Mr. Marley, 56, was born and raised in Stringtown, Okla. He graduated from high school in Stringtown before attending college in Wulberton, Okla. He married Pam Sanders Marley on Feb. 17, 1963.

Mr. Marley moved to Pagosa Springs with his family in 1988, coming to the mountains of Colorado from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area. He worked in Pagosa Springs as a detention officer for the sheriff's department, as a rural route postal carrier, and as a carpenter. He enjoyed fishing, wood working and having long conversations with friends.

Mr. Marley is survived by his wife, Pam Marley of Pagosa Springs; his sons, Timothy Marley and Eric Marley; his daughter, Donna Moore and two grandchildren, Pamela Moore and Lindsey Marley, all of Pagosa Springs. He also is survived by his mother, Lillian Holstein Marley of Stringtown, and his two brothers, J.D. Marley of Irving, Texas and Jim Marley of Stringtown. He is preceded in death by his father, Grandvil Eugene Marley.

Mr. Marley loved Pagosa Springs and had many friends who adored him. He loved his family and made many friends wherever he went. There was a special place in his heart for his family and friends. He will be missed greatly. All that knew him can smile having known such a good and warm hearted man.

Funeral services were held Saturday, Dec. 30, 2000, in Atoka, Okla., with burial taking place in the family cemetery in Stringtown.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made at Wells Fargo Bank in Pagosa Springs to account No. 0850941311.

 


		
Sports Page

Pirate grapplers host field of 16 in 'Rocky'

By Karl Isberg

The second half of the wrestling season is set to begin and a young Pirates wrestling team hosts the Rocky Mountain Invitational Saturday at the high school gym.

Competition at the Rocky should be formidable, with a field of 16 teams including several squads that should vie for team championships in their respective states.

Two perennial powerhouses top the list of competitors at the Rocky: Alamosa and Aztec, N.M. The New Mexico team won every state championship in its division during the '90s and Alamosa is invariably at the top of the Colorado Class 4A ranks.

"You've got to expect these two teams to be the front-runners at our tournament," said Pirates coach Dan Janowsky. "Aztec is probably in the mix for the title in New Mexico again this year and they ran away with the Bloomfield (N.M.) tournament before the Christmas break."

Alamosa finished fifth at the Warrior Invitational at Grand Junction just before the holiday vacation. The Warrior is arguably the most difficult tournament of the year in Colorado, bringing together top teams from five states.

"I haven't seen Durango this year," Janowsky said, "but I know they've got several excellent individuals and probably have a good team. Bloomfield, Centauri and Monte Vista come in with good teams. I expect Bloomfield and Centauri to be right in the thick of things. Bayfield has a full squad and Ignacio has a nearly full roster, so they will be factors."

The Rocky lineup also includes Dolores, Dove Creek, Center, Del Norte, Antonito, West Las Vegas, N.M., and Monticello, Utah.

"It's a good lineup," said the coach. "With the exception of the New Mexico schools, every team at the tournament will be in the same situation as us, regarding the time we've been off for vacation. It's strictly a matter of who can get the rust off quickest. Experienced teams don't have as much trouble getting back at it, but there's something to be said for the energy of younger kids. Our younger guys should be aggressive and in pretty good shape. They'll be able, if they're willing to work hard, to push the pace and stay in their matches."

Janowsky thinks his athletes have decent chances at their home tournament.

"We wrestle to sixth place at our tournament," he said, "and we hope to place a lot of our kids. It's tough to get to the semifinals, but we have a number of guys who might get to the semis and to the finals."

Many of the Pirates could finally wrestle at the weights projected for them at the beginning of the season. "This year," said the coach, "they've added a two-pound growth allowance to each class and (with the regular one-pound allowance) that will give a kid the scratch weight plus three pounds. This means there's a chance for some of our guys to get to a weight they've been close to during the first part of the year."

While there is still time left to prepare for the Feb. 10 regional qualifying tournament, Pirate wrestlers must work hard to continue the progress they made before the Christmas break.

The key, said Janowsky, is maximum mat time.

"At our tournament this weekend," he said, "I'd like to see our guys get a lot of wrestling in during the day. Our primary goal Saturday, and at any tournament this season, will be to get each kid in three to four matches. We do that and I'm happy, regardless of final results. Three to four matches means a guy advances pretty deep into the tournament and that's a good sign."

With only seven weeks left before the state tournament at Denver, every bit of experience counts for a young wrestler.

"It's a short season now," said Janowsky, "and it will go by fast. The Christmas break gives a coach and a team time to breathe. It gives me time to analyze things and determine what we'll do. We started back to practice Jan. 2, and I'm looking forward to getting started."

The Rocky Mountain Invitational will be the only chance local wrestling fans have this year to see the Pirates at their home gym.

Action takes place throughout the day, with first-round matches beginning at 10 a.m. Wrestling is continuous through the semifinal matches.

There will be a 45-minute break between the semifinal round and the final round. The championship round, which includes matches for first, third and fifth places, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. but will be held earlier if time permits.

 

Ladies brace for second match against Bloomfield

By Richard Walter

Hoping the long holiday layoff hasn't dulled her team's court sense, coach Karen Wells sends the Lady Pirates basketball team into their first action of the new year with a 5:30 p.m. tilt today against Bloomfield on the Pagosa home court.

It will be a return match for the teams, Pagosa having defeated Bloomfield 55-43 in the Wolf Creek Classic last month.

That victory was built on the 15 for 28 shooting from the floor of twin posts Ashley Gronewoller and Katie Lancing who recorded 22 and 16 points respectively.

In that game the hometown Ladies on the road built a 43-27 lead at the end of three quarters and then hung on as the Lady Bobcats turned on a furious 17-point fourth-quarter rally paced by 5-foot-9 sophomore forward Kaycie Jackson with six of her eight game points in the period.

Wells had emptied the bench for the period as several Pagosa players experienced their first varsity playing time. It was also the worst period of the year for the hometown Ladies in terms of turnovers, with 11.

The Lady Pirates will conclude preseason action with an 11 a.m. contest Saturday in Aztec and then open their Intermountain League season Jan. 12 with a 4 p.m. game against their bitter rival, Bayfield, and then entertain Monte Vista at home at 1 p.m. the following day.

Pagosa, defending IML champion and 6-2 in preseason tournament play, is expected to challenge for the title again with stoutest opposition anticipated from Centauri and Bayfield.

Coach Wells said she hopes the holiday layoff has helped heal the ankle sprains which have hampered starting guard Andrea Ash all season and slowed sophomore guard Shannon Walkup in the Black Canyon Invitational at Montrose prior to the holiday break.

Wells was pleased with the way her team cut down on turnovers as the Black Canyon tournament progressed and hopes that possession trait, along with the regularly improving shooting and floor play of Meigan Canty, will be catalysts for "a take charge effort" every game.

She has been consistently happy with the rebounding of senior starting forward Tiffanie Hamilton consistently crashing to the boards from both corners (57 rebounds to date); with the defensive tenacity (second in steals with 15) and offensive spark provided by Walkup off the bench; and the quality relief efforts provided by juniors Carlena Lungstrum and Nicole Buckley and senior Amber Mesker.

 

Pirates host Bloomfield, face Eagle Valley on Road

By John M. Motter

Coach Kyle Canty's Pirate hoopsters host Bloomfield, N.M., tonight at 7 p.m. in the first game of the year 2001.

Tonight's game is a non-league preseason encounter. Saturday, the Pirates travel to Buena Vista where they will play Eagle Valley High School in their last preseason game before taking on Bayfield in an Intermountain League contest Jan. 12 in Bayfield.

Pagosa, the defending IML champions, tips off tonight with five wins and three losses for the season. The losses are to Cortez, Rifle and Gunnison. The wins are over Monticello, Utah, Dove Creek, Montrose, Aztec and Olathe.

The Pirates are averaging 52.75 points a game through their first eight contests, while holding the opposition to 48.25 points a game.

Because they are defending IML champions and because they boast four returning starters, Pagosa is favored to retain its IML title.

The returning starters are seniors Daniel Crenshaw averaging 6.6 points a game, David Goodenberger averaging 10.7 points a game, Micah Maberry averaging 18.3 points a game, and Tyrel Ross averaging 6.7 points a game.

Canty is getting 10.2 points a game from the four guards he has been rotating in that position. They are Darin Lister, Charles Brandon, Chris Rivas and Dominique Lucero.

Goodenberger tops the squad in rebounds with 37 and assists with 26. Ross is tops in steals with 12. Maberry is tops in blocked shots with seven.

Pagosa's opponents in the Class 3A Intermountain League are Bayfield, Centauri, Ignacio and Monte Vista.

Two teams from the IML qualify for the state championship playoffs. The regular season league champion qualifies, as does the team finishing highest in the post season league tournament next to the regular season league champion.

 

Community News
Chamber News

By Suellen Loher

Membership Mardi Gras Jan. 20

Its time for the annual Membership Mardi Gras.

I know you've been waiting for this grand event. Mark your calendars and look in your mailbox for your invitation and reservation info. Space is limited so get your RSVP in early.

Mardi Gras will take place Jan. 20. Costumes are encouraged; prizes will be awarded for Best Female and Male Costume there will be an awards ceremony honoring our Citizen of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, and including this year's Pagosa Pride awards. Reservation deadline is Jan. 17. We will discuss this event in future issues of the SUN as well as on KWUF.

Special events

Any organization planning to host special events in 2001 should get information to us as soon as possible for the inclusion on the chamber's 2001 calendar of events.

Membership

We are pleased to introduce two new members to you this week and announce 11 renewals.

Welcome to Kerry Dermody-Management of Fine Properties. Kerry offers attentive management of select homeowners, associations and long-term homes and condominiums. You can reach her at 731-5217, or dermody@Pagosa.net.

Welcome to Sam Morris with Mountain Spirit Lodge. Nestled between Navajo Peak and Banded Peaks, Mountain Spirit is a world-class flyfishing and elk hunting lodge. Mountain Spirit is only 24 miles from Pagosa Springs and features four private bedrooms with baths, a 6,000 square-foot lodge, an art gallery, fine dining, horseback riding, snow- mobiling, and skiing a mere 45 minutes away, You can reach Sam at 264-6766, or at www.mountainspirit.com.

Renewals this week include James and Betty Pechin with Pechin Construction; Mary Marugg with Sonlight Christian Camp; Joy Downing with Joy's Natural Foods; Monika Astara Murphy with Astara Boutique; Emily Deitz with Deitz and Associates; Jim Laydon with Peppers Mexican Restaurant; Lori Madsen with Loredana's Italian Restaurant; Jean Bruscia with American Cancer Society; Delia Fusco with Consumer Credit Counseling Service; Fairfield Pagosa, Inc.; T.L. Shumaker with Junction Restaurant. Thank you all for your continued support; we look forward to serving all our members in 2001.

Thanks

Big thanks to diplomat Barbara Cole who helped me out Wednesday - I really appreciated the break for lunch. And thanks to Mr. Lee Sterling for the help on Thursday. Just remember, Lee, if you want to use the phone you have to pay the price.

Thanks to all who help make our community a great place to live and work. Happy New Year.

 

Pagosa Lakes

By Ming Steen

Belief in ability to reach goal makes it attainable

I know many of you are busy writing out your New Year's resolutions, so I'll help by being brief.

Within the next few days, many will make New Year's resolutions, but very few of these will get acted on. Why is it so hard for even the most intelligent and motivated person to unlearn bad habits and form good ones? According to one theory, the key is "self-efficiency" - your perception of your own ability to do a specific job, such as quitting smoking, spending more time with the children, losing weight or exercising regularly. If you believe in your ability to reach a goal, you're more likely to reach it.

If you think your self-efficiency needs boosting, try the following: think about similar things you've succeeded in doing. Past performances can encourage you. Find a role model. If someone you admire, for instance, is shedding pounds, you may gain confidence in your own ability to do the same. Make a list of steps you must take to achieve your goals. Recruit your family and friends as a support group. And most importantly, don't undertake too much at a time. Use a one-day-at-a-time goal oriented philosophy. Instead of saying "I'm going to lose weight," say, "I'm going to lose one pound this week." Additionally, don't eat something simply because it's offered to you. Don't eliminate the food you love. Depreciation is not a desirable lifestyle change. Habits aren't broken so much as replaced. It takes 25 to 35 repetitions to create a new habit. Good luck as you act upon your 2001 resolutions with a resolute quality of mind and a realistic plan for doing it.

For Recreation Center members wishing to continue use of the facility, membership renewal is available. Prices remain the same as last year. A new treadmill ordered for 2001 will arrive by mid-January.

Pagosa Lakes Swim Club will hold an orientation meeting on Monday, Jan. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Recreation Center. Returning swimmers, new swimmers and their parents are asked to be present. For more information, please contact Steve or Ming at 731-2051.

 

Senior News

By Janet Copeland

Volunteers saluted as holiday attendance declines

Year 2001 is off and running. I hope everyone will enjoy good health and good times this year.

We are so grateful for folks who donate their time/effort to entertain us at the Senior Center. Phil Janowsky played and sang beautiful Christmas songs at our party on Dec. 22 - we thank him profusely.

Where is everyone? Our attendance has been sparse recently.

Tina White, our director, as well as some of our kitchen crew, have been on vacation - we miss them when they are gone. We appreciate Helen Schoonover volunteering to help in the kitchen when they were short-handed on Tuesday.

Mary Lucero has had health problems. We miss her and everyone should keep her in their prayers.

I hope the other folks who haven't been present lately are enjoying the holidays with family and friends and will return to the Center soon.

Charlotte Archuleta, Brenda Waldbauer, Susan Stoffer, Desi Montoya, Lynnie and Jim Sutton were with us on Friday for the Christmas Party. We hope all you folks can come again soon.

Friday, Dec. 29, was our last Senior Board meeting for the current board members. We welcome the incoming board members and wish them well as they undertake the responsibilities of representing the seniors and endeavoring to improve the services provided for them.

Sy Kolman has generously volunteered to assist the Center by writing grant applications to help support various needs. A huge thank you to Sy.

Membership cards for 2001 are on sale now for $3 each. Eva Darmopray is Membership Chairman so please contact her for your new card.

Lena Bowden is our Senior of the Week. Lena is a mainstay among our volunteers - always helping with coordinating the bus transportation, among other things - and we appreciate her so much.

 

Cruising with Cruse

By Katherine Cruse

Thingey: Antidote for complicated devices

Here is a great new word: thingey.

An alternate spelling is thingy. Or thingie.

Here are some ways to use it.

Hotshot asks, "Honey, where's the rolling pin (or the checkbook, or today's paper)?"

And I say, "It's in (or under, or behind) the thingey."

Usually I say thingey as a language shortcut when there are at least two steps to finding whatever the object is. Two (or more) prepositional phrases. In the drawer beside the sink. On the desk by the front door. In the basket under the table behind the sofa. Well, you get the idea.

Or I say, "Please hand me that thingey," as I point at the screwdriver, or the diskette, or the TV remote zapper.

This has the added benefit of letting you be irritated when your spouse doesn't get it, doesn't immediately interpret which thingey you mean. Score points for you.

It seems that I'm saying thingey a lot more often than I used to. I used to be able to name objects more precisely. The cup holder in the car was the cup holder, and there might or might not be a coffee cup in it. Now the mailbox keys are in the car thingey, should someone be looking for them.

Thingey is a perfect noun, an antidote for some increasingly complicated devices. I blame the computer.

I took this little laptop computer to California, so that I could stay in touch with friends by email, and also keep sending a column to the SUN. I plugged a cord into the wall socket and a smaller cable connected that with the computer. I plugged a phone cord into another designated slot.

Fortunately there was only one slot, or card slot along the side of the computer that the power cable seemed to fit. At least the computer designers understand that folks like me are a little challenged. Every different computer cable apparently has a plug, a gozinta, if you like, that only fits into one specific slot.

Gozinta - now there's a great word. I comes from "Goes into." It was coined by my mother-in-law for seat belts.

"Having trouble with your seat belt, Mom?"

"I can't get the gozinta lined up." It didn't matter which was the gozinta - the part of the buckle that went in, or the part it went into. Gozinta fit either one.

Before thingey, we had thinga- majig. Or whatchamacallit. But those words are too long for this hurry-up age. We want quick results. We want fast words, and we want 'em now.

Thingey fits the bill. It sort of slides right off your tongue. No complicated twisting around an assortment of consonants. It ends in the diminutive -ey sound, perfect for little things, for things that really don't have a lot of importance. Surgeons don't say thingey when they're poking around among your various internal organs. At least I hope they don't. I hope they use very precise words, with no confusion and no ambiguity.

Thingey is good for the small stuff, the little things that clutter up our spaces and our minds.

My mother could use thingey. I figured this out when I was staying with her after her recent hip surgery. Since she was recuperating, she naturally spent a lot of time lying down. Mom is a little person - after all, she's 85 years old. I don't think many people reach that age without shrinking, and she never was very tall anyway. She takes up a tiny corner of the king-sized bed.

The rest of the bed functions as her desk, strewn with newspapers, mail, bills to pay, Kleenex, the mechanical grabber to reach things, the phone, the flashlight. You name it. The bedside stand serves as pharmacy and extended desk.

Periodically she'd say, "Will you find my - oh, what's it called?" She'd flounder around for the word, until I'd say, "Describe it." Of course, if she finally said, "my pills" my heart sank. There were about 20 different kinds, and about 40 places to look. She's kept every prescription and vitamin container, full or empty, and she's also decanted a lot of the contents into plastic bags. But that's a whole other problem, one that goes way beyond terminology.

My point is that it sometimes took a lot of searching to find whatever it was that she wanted. If she'd said thingey, we could have eliminated the discussion time. Cut right to the chase. I mean the search.

Well, now I'm back home. It's pretty cold here for someone who spent most of the fall in sunny California. I'm looking for my winter thingeys, especially the ones that keep my ears warm.

My computer is all hooked up, with all these little cable thingeys to give it power and connect it to the internet. I bought a great little scaled down mouse thingey for it. It's called a Mini Mouse. (Does that mean the full-sized one is called a Mickey Mouse?)

I'm gradually getting re-acquainted with where everything is located. I'm remembering which kitchen cabinet we keep the thingey in, the one I use for pancake batter. Hotshot hired someone to clean the place while I was gone. Some thingeys have been moved, but I'm finding them.

Hotshot thinks I overuse thingey. He also wishes he'd thought to copyright the word, so that every time I or anyone else says "Thingey," he'd get paid a royalty.

Then he could retire.

And spend more time working on that thingey.

 

Library News

By Lenore Bright

Center at Fort Lewis opens Jan. 27

Mark your calendars now to attend the grand opening of the new Center at Fort Lewis College Jan. 27. The ribbon cutting and reception begins at 3 p.m.

From 4 to 7 p.m. there will be tours and entertainment. A performance by the world-renowned American Indian Dance Theatre will be held at 7:30. Tickets are needed for the performance. Call 247-7657.

The Center is a great resource for anyone interested in the history of our area. We are fortunate to have it close by.

On-line searches

Our System Tech person, Judith Murray Griffiths, just sent over two great hints for searching AltaVista.

First, limit a search by designating a specific domain like .org, .com, etc. Here is how you could search only .gov domains for curriculum on Native Americans: +domain:gov +"native american" +curriculum There must be a space between the word "gov" and the + sign, and a space between "american" and the + sign. It's hard for me to try to explain this here, if you want to try this and have trouble, come by and we'll show you. It really is a good search tool. Judith likes Alta Vista most of all for library research. I like Google. I just like to say "google."

Second, if the topic you want is popular, there may be hundreds of thousands of web pages that mention it. You can focus your search that has the words you want right in the title of the web page. Example: alzheimer's disease - just type: title: alzheimers.

Good luck searching: there are so many exciting new sites to explore. Cathy is hard-pressed to keep track of the usable ones. She just received seven on health-related issues that also have some Spanish language sections. Ask for a copy at the desk.

Ruth Marie Colville

Many of you have had the honor of meeting this charming San Luis Valley historian. We have her book, "LaVereda: A Trail Through Time," that retraces the 1694 trip of Don Diego de Vargas from Santa Fe through Colorado. This issue of the "San Luis Valley Historian" reprints an interview with Colville. It can be found in the Hershey Collection.

Lost and found

By mistake, a Rotarian left a beautiful metal bookmark with us. It has a Japanese symbol on it. I hope we can find the owner, as it is certainly a treasure. Ask to identify it at the desk

Oprah's latest

"House Of Sand And Fog," by Andre Dubus is another classical tragedy about a clash of cultures that got great reviews from a number of sources including James Lee Burke. Dubus is a finalist for the National Book Award. We thank Oprah Winfrey and the American Library Association for these gifts.

Donations

We are most thankful to all of you who donated money to us this year for our various projects. This week we thank Donald Logan and Patricia Howard for their donation in honor of Bob and Carole Howard; thanks also to Sylvia Murray, Walter and Doris Green, Lee and Patty Sterling, Ralph and Lois Gibson.

Thanks for materials from Dr. Dohner, Robyn Bennett, Barbara Collins, Carol Mestas, Judy Lynch, Julie Gates and Dan McCarthy. Thanks to Ron Green who is donating a subscription to Field and Stream magazine.

New addition

Our Mary Loudermilk gave birth Dec. 20 to a little girl, Eva Louise. Eva was 7 pounds and 19 inches. Mary, Eva and Joel are doing well.

 

Local Chatter

By Kate Terry

A spiritual experience to be shared

Back in May of last year, I underwent heart surgery at the Heart Hospital in Albuquerque. After the surgery I had a spiritual experience that I am now going to write about, because I have finally and fully accepted the message it conveyed.

Although friends urged me to do so before, this beautiful experience was too private to write about. It was hard enough talking about it. But, now the story.

A dome covered me from my head to my knees. My pillow was a block of white foam and the dome was lined with white foam. A brilliant light shone behind the foam. All of a sudden, a foot-wide white strip moved from the knees up to my head. On each side of this strip were piles of broken and wooden pieces (sort of grayish in color). The word Love appeared on the white strip, and I said, aloud, "That is what life is about - love."

The clutter on each side of the strip stood for the irritations in life - the negative things.

I could feel the warmth around me and the message was very clear.

When I got back to Pagosa Springs, the road to recovery was time-consuming and as the pressure from activities reared its ugly head. I let the "clutter" take over - nearly forgetting the experience and the message. But one day all cleared and I realized that I was getting the best Christmas present ever - to fully accept the spiritual experience I had in Albuquerque.

When I came out of surgery, I was so overwhelmed with the love and attention from people in Pagosa that all I wanted to do was to get back and say "thank you." I don't remember being thankful for being alive, I only wanted to get back to Pagosa and thank people.

I'm an Episcopalian. We recite from the Book of Common Prayer, "Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all Thy heart, and with all Thy soul, and with all Thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love Thy neighbor as Thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

For many years, I've repeated this, using it like a mantra at night to lull me to sleep. If expressing my faith by doing this had anything to do with my spiritual experience, I'm thankful, for my faith is stronger.

To my friends who have urged me to write this, I say thank you. It has taken a lot of rewriting to get it together. Sharing it with you, the reader, is my New Year's gift.

Fun on the run

Brain Teasers

1. When asked how old she was, Suzie replied, "In two years I will be twice as old as I was five years ago." How old is she?

2. Which common four-letter English word, when printed in capital letters, reads the same both upside-down and the right way up?

3. What is so fragile that when you say its name you break it?

4. How many four pence stamps are there in a dozen?

Answers to brain teasers:

1. She's 12.

2. Noon.

3. Silence.

4. Twelve of course (a lot of people say three).

 

 

Editorials
 

The right to know

This editorial by intent is admittedly three Thursdays late. It should have appeared in the Dec. 21 edition of The Pagosa Springs SUN. Because of its nature, this editorial is applicable every week but was especially so the Thursday immediately prior to Christmas.

Last summer the Associated Press and the Colorado Press Association conducted a statewide survey to determine how local governmental agencies adhered to Colorado's open-records law. The Colorado Freedom of Information Project involved reporters posing information requests ranging from permission to see the mayor's travel and entertainment expenses for the past year, to police incident reports on apparent burglaries, the names of all the persons being held in the county jail at that moment , to see the records on all salary, benefits, allowances or other compensation paid or provided to the school superintendent. The intent was to determine whether the public entities would in a timely manner provide information that according to the state's open-records law is the public's right to know.

(For a number of years the SUN has experienced exceptional access to public records such as those addressed in the Colorado Freedom of Information Project, therefore it did not participate in the survey.)

Colorado's open-records law is as important to the public's right to know as is the state's open meetings law. Newspapers refer to the open meetings law as the "sunshine" law. The law is applied differently at different levels of state government.

The major concern of The Pagosa Springs SUN relates to how the Sunshine Law is applied by local public bodies - specifically the meetings and business conducted by the elected boards of the county, town, school district, hospital district, water and sanitation district, fire protection district, library district, or metropolitan district.

Briefly, as it applies to local public bodies such as the county commissioners, the Sunshine Law requires that all meetings of a quorum or three or more members, whichever is fewer, during which public business is discussed or formal action might be taken are to be open to the public. In essence, the public has a right to know what decisions are made in the conducting of public business and has a right to know what discussions might have led to the making of these decisions.

Evidently Commissioner Gene Crabtree was unaware his comments at the commissioners Dec. 19 meeting were an editorial in the making when he said, "I think we don't talk enough among ourselves. We could have found out this information by talking to each other. We have neglected as a board to communicate. A lot of this could have been cleared up . . . Next year I hope we talk among ourselves, not wait until the public meeting. (A reporter) is back there taking notes and having a field day. I'm going to do all I can to make sure we talk together next year."

The clear implication is that the talking together among themselves that Commissioner Crabtree advocates the commissioners conducting private discussions prior to the commissioners holding supposed public discussions during their open meetings.

As was Crabtree when he took office two years ago, two county commissioners will be sworn into office Tuesday. In part they will promise to abide by and uphold the laws of the state of Colorado. This includes the Sunshine Law that says all meetings of a quorum of a local public body at which public business - such as road closures or any other business - is to be discussed will be open to the public. The reasoning behind the law is simple - the public has a right to know what is being said.

David C. Mitchell

 

Dear Folks

By David C. Mitchell

A catalog produces memories

Dear Folks,

I was delivering the papers to the post office last Thursday morning when a catalog on the floor of the post office helped me start 2001 on a positive note.

After months of seeing nothing but catalogs advertising the "must have to make your life complete" items that will be in next summer's garage sale or in the over-stuffed storage unit; I finally saw a catalog worth having. With the mercury sitting closer to zero than to the freezing mark last Thursday morning, the catalog's colorful cover stopped me cold. Whereas the pre-Christmas catalogs that flooded the post office were of the "wish for" variety; this post-Christmas catalog fit the "hoped for" category. It was a vegetable seed catalog.

It was like a trip back in time when Dad would come home from work with one of the few catalogs he ever used. Sixty years ago, sometime around March, the neighbors looked for robins as the first sign of spring.

Not Dad. Sometime around the first of the year, Dad would bring home a seed catalog as the first sign of spring. He would say that some seeds were worth more per ounce than an ounce of gold or silver. It would be years before I understood his claim that a farmer could turn an ounce of reproducing seeds into a ton of vegetables.

Dad turned part of the backyard into a garden every year long before December 7, 1941, produced its first "victory garden."

Mom never complained about shortages, rationing or other restrictions that accompanied World War II. But the summer Dad dug up part of the front yard so as to expand his garden between the sidewalk and curb, she threatened to go to the Draft Board and enlist him. Of course she never did. Like the rest of us, she loved fresh squash, tomatoes, beans, peas, okra, lettuce and carrots.

By the early '50s, with the advent of plastics and styrofoam, Mom quietly surrendered to Dad's gardening habits. By then he was planting seeds in carefully sifted soil he put into some styrofoam cups he had collected after the coffee breaks at work. Then, by placing the seed-bearing cups on the windowsills on the west side of the house, he was able to get a head start on his gardens.

Maybe it was the weeding, or hoeing, or picking and stringing "Kentucky Wonder" beans or shelling black-eyed peas for hours on end; but I never contracted the "got to plant a garden" disease. But I continue to be attracted to seed catalogs.

Seed catalogs stimulate hope and offer promises. The seeds offer an opportunity to satisfy a real need, to provide a sense of accomplishment, to help develop personal responsibility, to produce self satisfaction. The dormant, dry, tiny seed can become a living, growing plant that brings forth beauty, that meets a personal need, that can reproduce itself and provide a reason for eagerly anticipating tomorrow.

However, despite the skill, care, expertise and personal sacrifice of the one who plants the seed; this entire process - whether the seed lives or dies, whether it is productive or is sterile - comes with the realization, that the ultimate outcome is beyond the control of the human who plants the seed.

Once, before the advent of worldwide commercialization and the conglomeration of catalogs, the celebration of Christmas could have been a season based on faith.

That's what was so special about last Thursday morning, despite the advent of worldwide commercialization and the conglomeration of catalogs, insignificant seed catalogs continue to offer a message of hope that's based on a personal demonstration of faith. Though simple in nature, the message of the seed catalog continues to offer its universal promise of a seed being planted, dying, sprouting, bursting through the soil and producing new life. Regardless of the season, it's a message based on unexplainable faith.

Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.

David

 

25 years ago

Wolf Creek sets new record

Taken from SUN files

of Jan. 1, 1976

A new record for skier attendance was set at Wolf Creek Ski Area last Saturday, according to Bud Brown, manager. He said a total of 1,137 skiers enjoyed the fine snow at the area on that day. Total number of skiers at Wolf Creek since opening on Thanksgiving Day through last Sunday is 9,138 skiers. This has been the first winter for the ski area to have a noticeable impact on local businesses.

Four persons were killed in an airplane accident about noon Sunday just west of Stevens field airport. Apparently the crash was caused when the right motor failed on the twin engine airplane, according to Sheriff John Evans.

Jerry Driesens received a $100 check as the prize in a contest to name the upcoming winter carnival in Pagosa Springs. The name selected was the Frosty Frolics.

Two men who were arrested last month near Chimney Rock in connection with transporting 200 pounds of marijuana have been arraigned and one has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of possession of a narcotic. The driver of the vehicle is facing felony charges of possession of a narcotic with intent to sell.

 

Legacies

By Shari Pierce

Power restored after 18 days of darkness

We rejoin last week's story about the fire at The New Light and Power Company in January of 1929. That fire affected many townspeople in many ways as described in this story related to me by the late Bob Matthews.

"Now, back to the fire; I was again back in school part time. It was January 1929. Suddenly, one day my appendix took over. As before, it was decided that I couldn't be taken to Durango.

"Once more the dining room became the operating table. In the meantime the light plant had burned down so gasoline lanterns had to be used for light. Ether is very explosive when near open flame so chloroform had to be used as the anesthesia. Dad again held the flashlight. Mother kept the water and coffee hot. The appendix had again ruptured but it was finally located and removed.

"Days later, when I was able to talk and move a little, Dr. Jackson promised that if I wouldn't die he would give me a present. Several weeks later he gave me a genuine Eastwing hunting knife complete with genuine leather case.

"I still have the knife and every time I look at it I think about the time the light plant burned and the doctor used gas lanterns to light the operation on the dining room table."

On Friday, Jan. 11, the SUN reported that a 40-horsepower gasoline engine had been loaned to the town and put in use the previous Sunday, providing water for household use. Perhaps more important was that water pressure was restored to the fire mains giving citizens fire protection once again.

A new steam plant arrived in town on Wednesday, Jan. 9, from Alamosa, with installation beginning immediately. Manager of the plant, J.L. Giger, estimated that power would be available to residents by the first of the coming week.

An unforeseen problem in the form of a broken piston delayed the reopening of the plant yet another week. As soon as the problem was discovered, Giger, accompanied by John Lattin, headed to Durango to have a new piston manufactured.

After 18 days without the convenience of electricity, residents of Pagosa Springs were thankful to have power restored about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Charles Day of The Journal congratulated those involved on the "miracle they have wrought."

During the power outage, the New Light and Power Company continued to run their advertisement in both the SUN and The Journal, "Do It The Better Way - Electrify."

Features
Pacing Pagosa

By Richard Walter

What will they find here in 50 years?

The first year of the new millennium or, if you prefer, the last year of the old millennium, passed into the history books Monday and we've now embarked on the task of providing the 2001 entry for those tomes.

It is not an easy job that lies before us.

We citizens of Pagosa Country are at an obvious crossroads as we blaze new trails into the histories of the future. The questions facing us are myriad.

What will our descendants find here 50 years from now? How will they perceive what we accomplished or failed to accomplish as we attempted to set out a course for the area that would provide them at least a semblance of the beauty we've been able to enjoy.

Will the movers and shakers turn our valley into a series of strip malls stretching in every direction? Will we find a way to control the destruction of open space? Will we be emboldened to challenge developers to weigh the impact of their projects against the welfare of their neighbors?

Down the line those who follow us will want to know how and why we acted - or failed to act.

Will we have adequate water supply for a growing population? Will transportation problems ostensibly continue to keep the cost of living higher here than in more approachable areas? Is that such a bad idea?

No one ever promised life here would be a bed of roses nurtured by unending surpluses. No one, however motivated, can really believe the descriptive word pristine has any relevance to our land today. By true definition, the pristine aspect disappeared when man first left a footprint, chopped a tree and built a modest structure to protect himself from the elements.

Throughout its developmental phase, Pagosa Country has provided outsiders a look at sylvan beauty, a chance to recreate at little or no expense, an opportunity to meld into a lifestyle as much our own as is that of the most dedicated urban dweller.

Since the land has been allowed - or forced in many cases - to go fallow, it does not provide for us as it once did for our ancestors. The timber stands which fed the mills that provided a lifeline for the community have been cut and recut. The mills are no longer present and lumber is shipped in from other states.

Even the venerable South Fork mill was recently closed, ending a mainstay of that community's economic base. It joined all those which once spawned financial stability here, forced out by the high cost of operation as a small independent.

Where once great herds of cattle and sheep roamed the county as ranchers dealt their meat to local merchants and often had enough left to ship out, we now see vast fields used only as pastureland - in season - for the giant herds trucked in to be fattened and then returned to be marketed in other states.

In the upper Midwest, Colorado corn fed beef is a featured staple in many super market butcher departments. The consumer doesn't know these cattle were born in some other state, fattened here, and returned to the native state for processing.

The cattle have become as much tourists as have the continual flow of humans into the area from other climes.

With these key means of sustenance effectively removed from the area's economic base, history will show that Pagosans decided that to survive they needed to become a service community, one based on tourism and attracting new investors to build here.

To become a self-sufficient, viable economic entity, Pagosa Country had to turn to pleasing the tastes of its guests and, consequently, develop a reputation as a friendly community which maintains a rural quality of life while endeavoring to transcend the imported thought processes and meld all the varying ideas into acceptable community pleasing goals.

It is not a one-man or one-clique operation. Pagosa Country is just that, a community of thought and purpose dedicated to maintaining a land our descendants will want to see.

There will be momentous changes in all portions of the county in the next 50 years. To deal with that change we need to have visionary leadership dedicated to keeping change manageable and not a deterrent from the common good of this land we call home.

The continuing development of the Internet and its ongoing economic influence will have as much effect here as anywhere because the ethernet has no geographic boundaries. But even it will be controlled by the availability of access lines provided on the ground.

Power source development may be an integral part of our future as demands on existing deliveries increase. Electric and natural gas prices have risen and are sure to keep rising as the demand for energy increases.

The explosion in scientific knowledge with the decoding and mapping of the human genome is expected to increase life expectancy by huge amounts and thus, it is conceivable the average human age will be somewhere near the once rare century mark.

If science can isolate specific genes which control specific diseases and devise treatments applicable to that gene only, as is expected, the extension of life will be incrementally advanced.

All that comes as those of us who want to keep a healthy physical pace to our life feel the drive beginning to wane with age as we know it now. Take away that deterioration of bone, muscle and stamina and you'll have 90-year-olds routinely running in the Senior Olympics.

Yep, 50 years down the line Pagosa Country will still be here. It's visible qualities will have changed, but the history we create now for that generation will have a direct effect on how it perceives what it has inherited.

Let's hope our vision and planning are sufficient to leave them a land they can love as much as the one we enjoy today. Let it be one bereft of community divisiveness and blessed with cooperative understanding of mutual problems and their logical solution.

  

Old Timers

By John Motter
 

Altura a top stop of first rail line

The Year 1900 was more than the beginning of a new century in Pagosa Country. It was a year of new beginnings, many of them predicated on the arrival of the railroad in town.

Pagosa Springs had been incorporated in 1891. It was, and still is, the only incorporated town in Archuleta County. Archuleta County was legally organized in 1885 and named for a member of the Archuleta family. The county's first settlers unlimbered axes and shovels and built homes circa 1876. And so, Pagosa Country was not new and was not old when the first train chugged into town Oct. 5, 1900.

Some things, of course, never change. One hundred years later we all recognize the irony in The Pagosa Springs News editor Daniel Egger's frontier humor. Egger reported: "Not long ago an Arizona rancher posted the following notice on a cottonwood tree, not far from his place of abode. 'My wife, Sarah, has left my ranch when I didn't Do a Thing Too her, and I want it distinkly understood that any Man as takes her in and keers for her on my account will get himself Pumped so Full of Led that some tenderfoot will locate him for a mineral claim. A word to the wise is sufficient and orter work on fools.'"

Most of us would be less than comfortable living in a town without water, electricity, and other niceties we take for granted today, such as cleanliness. In 1900, Pagosa Springs had none of those amenities. Egger admonished his friends and neighbors to "get your drinking water from the river above Slaughter House Creek." We know that rivulet today as McCabe Creek.

Water and electricity would soon come. Meanwhile, the town was almost giddy over the arrival of the railroad. The Rio Grande, Pagosa & Northern, as it was called, traversed 30.9 rail miles between Pagosa Junction and Pagosa Springs. Along the way were a number of stops, household names to oldtimers, but unknown to today's Pagosa Country settlers.

After leaving Pagosa Junction the narrow gauge tracks covered some five miles in a northerly direction before stopping at Talian. Talian was located where Vega Redonda Road intersects Cat Creek Road today. It is named for a Southern Ute who took his allotment there. We don't know what happened to the Ute named Talian, but we know there was a coal mine at Talian that supplied fuel for the iron horses and some households. Later, the Matsumoto lumber mill was built at Talian. Some folks who lived in Talian at the time of the Matsumoto mill still live in this area.

After leaving Talian, the train scattered sparks through Cat Creek Gap and on about seven and a half more miles to Altura. You'll have to button-hole a lot of folks before you find anyone who remembers or knows anything about Altura. Between Talian and Altura were the communities of Kearns and Lone Tree, but they came later. Altura stood alone at the head of Hall's Canyon, the place where today's Cat Creek Road dives through a canyon down to U.S. 160. A few tumble-down log cabins remain at the site. Just remember, the railroad followed the same canyon. If you look down and to the west as you drive through Hall's Canyon, you can still see portions of the rail bed.

Today's article is about Altura as it was in December of 1900.

"Altura is the coming metropolis of Archuleta county," wrote a correspondent to The News. "It is located on top of a range between the Junction and Pagosa Springs, on the Rio Grande, Pagosa & Northern railroad. 'Log Camp No. 2' of the Pagosa Lumber company has its headquarters here, giving employment to a large number of men.

"Dr. Cox thinks seriously of sending to North Carolina for his family," the correspondent continued. "The cook says he can already smell the orange blossoms."

Cooks were a big deal in the lumber camps where a large number of the employed were single men. The lumber company usually provided an eating building with family-style meals prepared by a cook hired by the company. Consumed were lots of biscuits and gravy and whatever meat was available. In the early days when game was plentiful, hired hunters supplied meat for the table. By 1900 wild game was already scarce in Pagosa Country. In place of the wild meat, local ranchers supplied beef.

Concerning cattle we read: "Log engine No. 66 made several trips to Pagosa recently assisting engine No. 82 with large shipments of cattle. On each occasion we were pleased to see the smiling face of Ward and the benevolent eyes of Yates beaming from the window."

The single men lived in company-provided bunkhouses. Married men often lived in shanty towns containing small, roughly built shacks. When the mill moved, so did the shanty town. What was life like in a bunkhouse? We learn a little from the following comment. "The 'bunkhouse debating society' has had under consideration every night this week the great interrogatory, 'What is a louse?'''

Going to town meant going to Pagosa Springs. We learn from the correspondent that "Herbert, popularly known as 'Bert' Hughes, had important private business which took him and kept him in Pagosa all week." There is undoubtedly a hidden meaning in this comment known to everyone in the mining camp, but which does not transcend the years into our understanding today.

We learn something of the duties apportioned to workmen from the following item: "Tom Bourke has resigned his position as section foreman here. Tom gives up the business of raising low joints, and instead of swinging the spike maul, will in the future be found on the lecture platform delivering sledge hammer licks in the cause of temperance. His last words on leaving here were, 'Oh, that man would put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains.'"

Recreation in the camp is described in the following disclosure.

"John Kyle came here from Pagosa for the two-fold purpose of learning how to 'Log' and to initiate those already here into the intracacies of a game he calls 'Poker.' At the present writing John finds a balance of forty dollars on the wrong side of his ledger, but we will give him a chance so soon as his 'Exchequer' is replenished with a check for this month's work, as we all gamble here except Dave McLane, who stands out resplendent in all the effulgence of his incomparable virtue."

Everybody in Altura had turkey galore on Thanksgiving day. The Pagosa Lumber Company provided more than an 'ample sufficiency' in the number of turkeys, while the 'chef de cusine' prepared and served this dinner in such a manner as to sustain the reputation cook house No 2 has always had of being the boarding house 'par excellence.'

Thanksgiving dinner may have taken its toll. We learn that, "Mrs. Gleason, who has conducted the business at cook house No. 1 for the last six months, retired on December 1. Mrs. Wentz, assisted by Miss Phillips, took charge."

We learn from the next item that Mr. Gleason also worked at Camp 2.

"Gleason, Bois, Courtney, and Cox, which constitute the loading team, are four steady hard-working men, each with an aim in view. Gleason is working hard to acquire the capital to go into the sheep business; Bois will invest his money in cattle; Courtney intends starting a rabbitry, being fully imbued with the idea that the Belgian hare route will bring him fame and fortune. He spends his idle moments reading everything appertaining to the Belgian hare, from its birth to the dinner table. He is preparing and will shortly send to press a treatise on 'How to raise, cook, and eat a hare.' Cox, in order to avoid competition with his compatriots, will preside over the destinies of a chicken ranch. Meanwhile, they are all working, waiting, and singing the same song:

"To win dame fortune's golden smiles,

Assiduously wait upon her;

And gather gear by every wile,

That's justified by honor.

Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Or for a train attendant;

But for the glorious privilege

Of being independent."

In the last line of the preceding poem, we glimpse the hopes and dreams that drove men and women to settle Pagosa Country. Are we any different today? More coming on early days in Pagosa Country.

 

The Year 1900 was more than the beginning of a new century in Pagosa Country. It was a year of new beginnings, many of them predicated on the arrival of the railroad in town.

Pagosa Springs had been incorporated in 1891. It was, and still is, the only incorporated town in Archuleta County. Archuleta County was legally organized in 1885 and named for a member of the Archuleta family. The county's first settlers unlimbered axes and shovels and built homes circa 1876. And so, Pagosa Country was not new and was not old when the first train chugged into town Oct. 5, 1900.

Some things, of course, never change. One hundred years later we all recognize the irony in The Pagosa Springs News editor Daniel Egger's frontier humor. Egger reported: "Not long ago an Arizona rancher posted the following notice on a cottonwood tree, not far from his place of abode. 'My wife, Sarah, has left my ranch when I didn't Do a Thing Too her, and I want it distinkly understood that any Man as takes her in and keers for her on my account will get himself Pumped so Full of Led that some tenderfoot will locate him for a mineral claim. A word to the wise is sufficient and orter work on fools.'"

Most of us would be less than comfortable living in a town without water, electricity, and other niceties we take for granted today, such as cleanliness. In 1900, Pagosa Springs had none of those amenities. Egger admonished his friends and neighbors to "get your drinking water from the river above Slaughter House Creek." We know that rivulet today as McCabe Creek.

Water and electricity would soon come. Meanwhile, the town was almost giddy over the arrival of the railroad. The Rio Grande, Pagosa & Northern, as it was called, traversed 30.9 rail miles between Pagosa Junction and Pagosa Springs. Along the way were a number of stops, household names to oldtimers, but unknown to today's Pagosa Country settlers.

After leaving Pagosa Junction the narrow gauge tracks covered some five miles in a northerly direction before stopping at Talian. Talian was located where Vega Redonda Road intersects Cat Creek Road today. It is named for a Southern Ute who took his allotment there. We don't know what happened to the Ute named Talian, but we know there was a coal mine at Talian that supplied fuel for the iron horses and some households. Later, the Matsumoto lumber mill was built at Talian. Some folks who lived in Talian at the time of the Matsumoto mill still live in this area.

After leaving Talian, the train scattered sparks through Cat Creek Gap and on about seven and a half more miles to Altura. You'll have to button-hole a lot of folks before you find anyone who remembers or knows anything about Altura. Between Talian and Altura were the communities of Kearns and Lone Tree, but they came later. Altura stood alone at the head of Hall's Canyon, the place where today's Cat Creek Road dives through a canyon down to U.S. 160. A few tumble-down log cabins remain at the site. Just remember, the railroad followed the same canyon. If you look down and to the west as you drive through Hall's Canyon, you can still see portions of the rail bed.

Today's article is about Altura as it was in December of 1900.

"Altura is the coming metropolis of Archuleta county," wrote a correspondent to The News. "It is located on top of a range between the Junction and Pagosa Springs, on the Rio Grande, Pagosa & Northern railroad. 'Log Camp No. 2' of the Pagosa Lumber company has its headquarters here, giving employment to a large number of men.

"Dr. Cox thinks seriously of sending to North Carolina for his family," the correspondent continued. "The cook says he can already smell the orange blossoms."

Cooks were a big deal in the lumber camps where a large number of the employed were single men. The lumber company usually provided an eating building with family-style meals prepared by a cook hired by the company. Consumed were lots of biscuits and gravy and whatever meat was available. In the early days when game was plentiful, hired hunters supplied meat for the table. By 1900 wild game was already scarce in Pagosa Country. In place of the wild meat, local ranchers supplied beef.

Concerning cattle we read: "Log engine No. 66 made several trips to Pagosa recently assisting engine No. 82 with large shipments of cattle. On each occasion we were pleased to see the smiling face of Ward and the benevolent eyes of Yates beaming from the window."

The single men lived in company-provided bunkhouses. Married men often lived in shanty towns containing small, roughly built shacks. When the mill moved, so did the shanty town. What was life like in a bunkhouse? We learn a little from the following comment. "The 'bunkhouse debating society' has had under consideration every night this week the great interrogatory, 'What is a louse?'''

Going to town meant going to Pagosa Springs. We learn from the correspondent that "Herbert, popularly known as 'Bert' Hughes, had important private business which took him and kept him in Pagosa all week." There is undoubtedly a hidden meaning in this comment known to everyone in the mining camp, but which does not transcend the years into our understanding today.

We learn something of the duties apportioned to workmen from the following item: "Tom Bourke has resigned his position as section foreman here. Tom gives up the business of raising low joints, and instead of swinging the spike maul, will in the future be found on the lecture platform delivering sledge hammer licks in the cause of temperance. His last words on leaving here were, 'Oh, that man would put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains.'"

Recreation in the camp is described in the following disclosure.

"John Kyle came here from Pagosa for the two-fold purpose of learning how to 'Log' and to initiate those already here into the intracacies of a game he calls 'Poker.' At the present writing John finds a balance of forty dollars on the wrong side of his ledger, but we will give him a chance so soon as his 'Exchequer' is replenished with a check for this month's work, as we all gamble here except Dave McLane, who stands out resplendent in all the effulgence of his incomparable virtue."

Everybody in Altura had turkey galore on Thanksgiving day. The Pagosa Lumber Company provided more than an 'ample sufficiency' in the number of turkeys, while the 'chef de cusine' prepared and served this dinner in such a manner as to sustain the reputation cook house No 2 has always had of being the boarding house 'par excellence.'

Thanksgiving dinner may have taken its toll. We learn that, "Mrs. Gleason, who has conducted the business at cook house No. 1 for the last six months, retired on December 1. Mrs. Wentz, assisted by Miss Phillips, took charge."

We learn from the next item that Mr. Gleason also worked at Camp 2.

"Gleason, Bois, Courtney, and Cox, which constitute the loading team, are four steady hard-working men, each with an aim in view. Gleason is working hard to acquire the capital to go into the sheep business; Bois will invest his money in cattle; Courtney intends starting a rabbitry, being fully imbued with the idea that the Belgian hare route will bring him fame and fortune. He spends his idle moments reading everything appertaining to the Belgian hare, from its birth to the dinner table. He is preparing and will shortly send to press a treatise on 'How to raise, cook, and eat a hare.' Cox, in order to avoid competition with his compatriots, will preside over the destinies of a chicken ranch. Meanwhile, they are all working, waiting, and singing the same song:

"To win dame fortune's golden smiles,

Assiduously wait upon her;

And gather gear by every wile,

That's justified by honor.

Not for to hide it in a hedge,

Or for a train attendant;

But for the glorious privilege

Of being independent."

In the last line of the preceding poem, we glimpse the hopes and dreams that drove men and women to settle Pagosa Country. Are we any different today? More coming on early days in Pagosa Country.

 

Food for Thought

By Karl Isberg

What's best? Ask me, I read a book

"Hello, my name is Karl, and I'm a dilettante."

I like to stay in sync with the latest local trends; so, I'm starting a local chapter of Dilettantes 'R Us.

I don't think I'll have trouble finding other dilettantes to join the organization: we have a ton of them around here, in private and public life.

To be considered for membership in Dilettantes 'R Us, you have to possess an absolute minimum amount of skill and knowledge about a given subject, then be willing to act as if you are an expert. The more compelled you are to share your expertise, the wider you spread the virus of your delusion, the more valued you'll be as a member of the organization.

I, for example, am a dilettante when it comes to cooking. I've never attended a school to learn skills; I've never worked as a professional to hone skills. All I've done is eat a lot, patronize innumerable restaurants, read some books and magazines, and piddle around in the kitchen for 25 years.

With this background, I have the audacity to act like Escoffier or Brillat-Savarin.

I'm a dilettante. Just not the best.

A true dilettante is someone who has read only one book or heard only one exposition of a theory, then acts as if he or she has enough expertise to give advice or to establish policy. A genuine dilettante is totally oblivious to the fact that the greatest damage is done in service to an idea that sounds good to the novice ear. Dilettantes are slavish ideologues; its part of their charm.

Me, I'm branching out, expanding my territory beyond the kitchen, trying to get better at this dilettante business.

My niece Kelsey and my nephew Carter gave me a humdinger of a Christmas present last week: a "medical school quality" collection of human anatomy charts.

The book is the perfect size for bathroom reading and, since Christmas, I've had plenty of time to scan the charts, study every system of the body, analyze the body's structures and organs, and contemplate the spectrum of illness and injury.

At 9:30 a.m., Jan. 1, 2001, I became an expert.

I can't wait to get to the weight room and show Wally and Tony how much I know. These guys have been lifting heavy objects and putting them back down for decades but, as a dilettante, I need to set them straight, to reeducate them about the body, to get them to change their ways. After all, I read a book that I understand! Kind of.

There's no need to prove the efficacy of what I tout. There's certainly no need to discuss the matter with persons better informed than I. I'm ready to get on with it and change peoples' lives.

I'll wait till the guys are doing deadlifts and I'll hit them with my stuff.

Any fool has heard of the rectus femoris but how many are aware of its proximity to the pectineus?

Working that adductor magnus, are you? Don't you think you should pay some attention to the gracilus while you're at it?

Boy, I am going to be popular.

If they're doing lateral raises, I'll launch into a discussion of acromioclavicular separation or expound on the benefits of acriomoplasty in cases of severe trauma and impingement.

The guys at the gym will love me. Everybody loves an expert!

I think I'll reorganize weight room protocol. Why be an expert if you can't initiate major change?

Advice? You want advice?

I'll pay special attention to the young people who come into the room. If you're going to screw up anybody with your goofy ideas, make it kids! They've got lifetimes ahead of them during which to suffer the consequences of your actions as an expert.

I'll stand near the Smith machine and wait for a young person to attempt some squats. I can enlighten the strapping tyke with a lecture about worrisome pressures on the nucleus pulposis in the L1 to L5 region. I'll toss in a couple of bon mots regarding danger of C2 to C7 damage when hyperflexion occurs under significant weight. This, of course, will open the door for my discourse on whiplash— a must for any young person.

With my new and extraordinary knowledge of the lymphatic system, I'll be able to tell the kids all about the lymph vessels and nodes of the stomach, pancreas, spleen and biliary tract.

I'll preview my endocrine system lecture on Wally and Tony, but I'll probably keep my unique perspective on the reproductive system under wraps. I know Wally feels edgy about things reproductive, and I'm nothing if not considerate in the way I dispense my wisdom. I will, however, tell the guys all about the branches of the abdominal aorta and portal vein.

Do you have any nodules? Ask me about nodules. I know everything about them.

I'll linger around the weight room, ready to impose my superior knowledge on everyone who enters. I'll keep an eye peeled for those in particular need, given my optic chiasm is free and clear, and my inferior rectus muscle is functioning properly.

Though the role carries an enormous responsibility, I love being an expert. As a dilettante, I'm proud of the fact I've read my one book and know everything about a subject. I even understand some of it!

With mindboggling change following in the wake of my authority I need to make sure I have the stamina to dispense wise guidance to my community. Being a dilettante means you're in it for the long haul; the ultimate goal for a dilettante is to run for elective office where all that know-how can have consequences that reverberate for generations.

My choice of nutrient is specifically targeted.

When I was in the fifth grade, I received a ferocious blow to the pterion during a softball game, smack dab at the junction of the coronal and squamous sutures. As a result, I need to take extra care to properly feed the brain, ensuring my longitudinal cerebral fissure remains in serviceable form and my ascending frontal artery is elastic and fully open.

I'll cook some brain food. Or, rather, I'll mix some brain food.

I call my concoction "The Dilettante Smoothie."

I'll start with a base of orange juice into which I'll break a hormone-free egg. After I whip these ingredients together, I'll pulverize a bundle of wheat grass in a blender with a dram of filtered water. To this I'll add copious amounts of CoQ10, N-Acetyl Carnitine, L-Glutamine, L-Taurine and L-Taurosine. (When dealing with amino acids, its always best to err on the side of excess.) As soon as the blend is frothy, I'll top it off with a half cup or so of Ginkgo Biloba and teaspoon or two of Arginine.

Bottoms' up!

A tray of Dilettante Smoothies is in order for the first meeting of the Pagosa chapter of Dilettantes 'R Us. We'll gather at the Extension Building if the local 4-H club isn't using the place.

We'll ingest our brain food, processing it first with saliva then with stomach enzymes and hydrochloric acid. Our chyme will move to the jejunum and ileum where nutrients are absorbed into the bloodstream. From that point, undigested materials will enter our colons where water and electrolytes will be absorbed and the remaining waste stored before it is sent back to the clear light of day.

The rest of the meeting will involve exercise of our respective vestibular folds, cuneiform tubercles, cornuculate tubercles and interary- tenoid notchs as we tell each other how we are going to grace our fellow man with our neato ideas.

Try to make the meeting if you're one of the growing number of authorities in the community, if you've understood an idea recently or you've read one book and feel a need to change society. Drink a smoothie, foist your authority on the world. The more experts, the better. There's a future to screw up.

 

Births
 

Eva Louise Loudermilk

Besides helping Friends of the Library volunteers inventory books at the Ruby Sisson Memorial Library Saturday morning, proud parents Mary and Joel Loudermilk showed off their infant daughter. Eva Louise Loudermilk arrived at 1:57 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2000, at Mercy Medical Center of Durango. She weighed 7 pounds and was 19 inches long. Her maternal grandparents are Gail Stuckenschneider of Beaverton, Ore., and Paul Stuckenschneider of La Center, Wash. Her paternal grandparents are Val Loudermilk of Greenview, Calif., and Jan Loudermilk of Picton, New Zealand.

 

Business News

Biz Beat

John DiMuccio owns and operates Cool Water Plumbing and opened a new business location at 2045 U.S. 160 on Put Hill in November.

The new Cool Water headquarters includes a showroom with an extensive display of kitchen and bathroom plumbing fixtures as well as a plumbing supply store. The company also stocks boiler parts and accessories.

Cool Water provides full mobile repair service with free estimates on new construction, gas pipe cutting and threading.

The Cool Water facility is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. There is 24-hour plumbing service available by calling 731-0988.

Weather Stats

Date

High

Low

Precipitation

Type

Depth

Moisture

12/20

41

5

-

-

-

12/21

40

6

-

-

-

12/22

42

10

-

-

-

12/23

43

9

-

-

-

12/24

39

9

-

-

-

12/25

34

5

S

.25

.01

12/26

32

1

-

-

-

12/27

35

7

-

-

-

12/28

39

8

-

-

-

12/29

41

6

-

-

-

12/30

41

4

-

-

-

12/31

42

8

-

-

-

1/01

43

9

-

-

-

1/02

45

10

-

-

-