An Iowa man died April 6 when the pickup truck he was driving plunged over the San Juan Overlook on Wolf Creek Pass, coming to a rest on its wheels more than 300 feet down the side of the mountain.
John H. Nordmann, 59, of Atlantic, was driving a 1980 Chevrolet pickup westbound on U.S. 160 when the vehicle missed the sharp left switchback next to the Overlook, hit a concrete barrier and disappeared over the edge around 6:15 p.m., according to Colorado State Patrol reports.
Nordmann was first reported missing that same night when his wife, Kuba, who followed him over the pass driving a motor home, couldn't find him at their prearranged meeting spot in Pagosa Springs. The couple was in the process of moving to Durango. According to the reports, State Patrol troopers and members of the Mineral County Sheriff Department made an unsuccessful nighttime search of the area.
The first sign of the missing truck came about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when CSP Trooper Doug Wiersma spotted a field of debris, including the pickup's camper shell, in a snow-filled ravine just below the Overlook, but invisible from the highway.
Members of Emergency Medical Services, the Upper San Juan Search and Rescue Team and the Pagosa Fire Protection District continued the search.
Mason Scharp, a paramedic on the scene, said EMS members rappelled about 160 feet down into the ravine in search of the missing man and saw the pickup below.
Fire Chief Warren Grams said at that point rescuers were directed to take snowmobiles in on the West Fork Campground road in an effort to get closer to the truck. The pickup rested about 150 yards above the snow-covered Campground road.
According to state patrol reports, Nordmann, who was ejected from the driver's seat, was found near the wreckage and pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation, Trooper Wiersma said. Early indications point to weather or a preexisting health condition on the part of the driver. A final investigation will have to wait until the pickup can be removed, which may not be until summer when snow have melted enough to pull it out.
A veteran Arizona educator with experience in the classroom, as a middle school principal, a high school principal, a district superintendent, and as a coach is the unanimous choice to become the new superintendent of Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
The board of education agreed unanimously Tuesday night to offer the job to Duane Noggle, currently the personnel director for public schools in Window Rock, Ariz.
Action came after a 52-minute executive session in which school district directors first heard a recommendation from the two student members of the public search committee - seniors Amber Mesker and Daniel Crenshaw - and then hammered out their financial offer.
After the executive session, director Russ Lee made a motion to offer the job to Noggle with a salary of $85,000 per year in a two-year contract. The offer also includes a moving allowance not to exceed $5,000.
Randall Davis, board president, said the board had discussed a possible site visit to the candidate's home community, "but in light of the fact the screening committee's recommendation was unanimous and matched our own choice, and that the personal references we checked were unanimous in their support of his candidacy, I don't feel there would be any point served in us going to Window Rock."
"We are very appreciative of the students and other members of the committee and those in the community who served us in this search," he said. "They made a tough decision a little easier with their effort."
Davis said he feels "it was really a good process to involve the people of the community - as many people as we could. It produced a wide variety of opinions and gave us alternate perspectives from all angles of concern."
Noggle was listed as the number-two contender for the superintendency after the board announced its top three candidates in mid-March.
The lead prospect was Steve Burkholder of Cheney, Kan., and the third was Neil Hollingshead of Downey, Idaho.
After the meeting, retiring superintendent Terry Alley was asked what swayed the board to the middle man in the lineup.
"The interview process," he said. "The board and the search committee all liked his answers to some very pointed local questions. It often works that way. Individual status can switch on the basis of personal contact and conversation."
Noggle, if he accepts the offer, will leave a district with a current K-12 enrollment of about 3,400.
All of his career, prior to joining the Window Rock district, was in Sanders, Ariz., where he began as a teacher, moved up to middle school principal, became a high school assistant principal and coach, and finally served four years as superintendent before taking his current position.
Alley said Noggle is no stranger to Pagosa Springs. He and his family have vacationed and camped in the area a number of times.
There was no board-set time for acceptance of the contract, Alley said, but added "I anticipate it will be handled quickly."
Alley's retirement is effective July 1 but he has told the board he will be available after that date for consultation and to assist the new superintendent in "getting his feet on the ground."
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, R-Ignacio, and wife Linda visited local constituents early Tuesday morning during a two-week break in his Washington law-making schedule.
Campbell reminded the audience of about 25 gathered in the commissioner meeting room in the Archuleta County Courthouse that he launched his political career in this same county some 18 years ago. At that time, he campaigned for and won a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, Campbell's first elected office.
The Senator also reminded local folks that he has deep roots in Archuleta County, reporting that his father had lived here until the age of 10 in 1900 when his grandmother was shot, forcing the family to move to Montana.
Because of the tightness of the recent presidential election and delay in learning the final outcome, legislative activity started slowly in Washington, according to Campbell. Adding to the slow start was the 50-50 split in the number of senators, complicating the process of making committee assignments.
"I'm going to be very busy," Campbell said, "because I am on 12 committees."
In fact, Campbell serves on six full-time committees and eight subcommittees, according to his Denver office. The full-time committees are Appropriations, Energy and Natural Resources, Environment and Public Works, Indian Affairs, Veterans Affairs, and the Helsinki Commission. Of those full-time committees, Campbell chairs the Indian Affairs and Helsinki Commission.
His subcommittee service includes five subcommittees attached to Appropriations and three subcommittees attached to Energy and Natural Resources.
At Tuesday's session in Pagosa, Campbell talked briefly about the national budget, estate taxes, and the proposed McCain legislation concerning campaign finance controls. During the second portion of his visit, Campbell fielded questions from the audience.
Campbell says he favors President George Bush's proposed tax cuts because the revenue is no longer needed. If the government does not need the money, it should be returned to the people, he said.
He greatly favors legislation recently passed and designed to phase out inheritance taxes.
"Everywhere I go, I hear from people who want to leave their land to their children, but can't because of the old inheritance - I call them death - taxes," Campbell said.
The McCain legislation is an effort to limit the amount of contributions a candidate for public office can receive.
"I agree that too much money is involved in campaigns, but I don't agree with what this McCain legislation would do," Campbell said.
The bill would limit the amount of money spent through donations, but not limit the amount a candidate with independent wealth can spend.
"It puts someone like me, who must raise campaign money in order to run, at a disadvantage when competing with people of independent wealth who have no limits on what they spend," Campbell said.
Campbell touted his role in getting federal designation for the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River and the Canyon of the Ancients in Colorado and said designation of the Great Sand Dunes National Monument in the San Luis Valley may be forthcoming.
Members from the audience complaining about implementation of the Endangered Species Act received Campbell"s sympathy.
He reported an incident which occurred while he conducted hearings concerning a mouse listed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife as endangered - a listing greatly affecting building along the Colorado Front Range.
"A Wyoming rancher told me he constructed an irrigation ditch and began irrigating a field," Campbell said. The grass growing in the field attracted this endangered mouse, which had not lived there previously. Like all irrigation ditches, this one needed cleaning out periodically. Because the ditch was now in the endangered mouse's habitat, the rancher was required to get a permit in order to clean the ditch. The permit was denied on the grounds that the cleaning would interfere with the mouse. Consequently, the field dried, the vegetation died, and the mouse moved away.
No remedy was offered by Campbell for what he called "EPA foolishness," but he said changes in the act are long overdue .
Campbell said he opposes U.S. Forest Service efforts during recent years to establish conservation water levels in streams. Campbell noted that, in his opinion, the Federal efforts violate established water law which puts the states at the head of the line when establishing water priorities. He said the Feds should get in line behind established water rights.
Concerning the Animas-La Plata Project which he sponsored, Campbell said he is glad the issue is finally being resolved. He said concerns about funding can be disregarded because his position on the Appropriations Committee makes it possible for him to guarantee the money will be available.
Postal Service officials remind anyone mailing taxes in the afternoon of April 16, to bring items to be mailed to the downtown post office on Hot Springs Boulevard.
Mail will be collected from the Pack N' Mail post office location at approximately 2 p.m. Monday. After that time, mail must be taken to the downtown post office to ensure an April 16 postmark.
All mail that is deposited by midnight Monday will receive an April 16 postmark. This includes mail collected at the indoor collection boxes at the downtown facility, as well as from the drive-up collection boxes located at the front of the downtown building.
The mail remains the most popular way for Americans to send in their tax returns according to the Internal Revenue Service. About 68 percent of Americans still use the mail to file their returns. The IRS expects 130 million federal tax returns nationwide this year, including 2,004,534 from Colorado.
According to the IRS, approximately 40 percent of Americans file their taxes the last week because they owe money, do not have all the correct documentation, or procrastinate.
The Postal Service encourages tax mailers to mail before April 16. It's still one of the busiest mailing days of the year. Below are some important tax mail tips:
- Apply proper postage, especially with extra forms and schedules. It costs 34 cents for the first ounce; 21 cents for each additional ounce. One ounce is about four pages
- Those using a non-IRS labeled envelope, should double-check that the proper address is labeled
- Print return addresses in the upper left-hand corner
- Anyone with questions can contact the IRS toll free hotline at 1-800-829-1040; or access the IRS website at www.irs.gov.
Another facelift is scheduled for the Lower Blanco River, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Backers of the river restoration project anticipate spending about $487,000 on the project. The total includes the EPA grant plus contributions, according to Jerry Curtis, a member of the San Juan Conservation District Board of Directors and a director for the Lower Blanco Property Owner's Association.
"We don't know exactly when we'll have the money in hand," Curtis said, "but it shouldn't be long. The EPA is holding the money until an endangered species study is finished. Then they'll release the money."
Designated as the lead agency in the project, the San Juan Conservation District will handle the money and provide direction, according to Curtis.
"The EPA study is required because federal money is involved. The purpose is to ensure the project won't harm endangered species or endangered species environments," said Lauri Fisher of the Water Quality Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health. "It amounts to a review of existing data by EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service people," Fisher continued. "I expect the study will be completed and the money released within a few days."
A similar project, completed two years ago and restoring a little over a mile of the river, did not require the endangered species study. The current project anticipates restoring another 1.1 miles or so.
The basis for the restoration work is a diminished flow of water in the river caused by the San Juan-Chama Water Diversion Project. That project takes water from the Blanco and Navajo rivers in Colorado and pipes it under the Continental Divide into New Mexico's Chama River. Ultimately, the diverted water is used in the central valley of the Rio Grande in New Mexico to satisfy a part of that state's entitlement under the Colorado River Compact.
Because of less water in the Blanco, river dynamics changed and water temperatures rose creating conditions not conducive to life for native fish and other biological components of the river system.
In essence, the restoration consists of downsizing the river bed to accommodate the present water volume so that water movement down the river bed returns to normal.
Residents living along the river before and since completion of the first stage of Blanco River restoration are pleased with the results, according to Curtis, a riverfront resident.
"It's been over a year now since that project was finished," Curtis said. "Last year we conducted a community picnic and took people on tours so they could see the restoration work. Pools that were maybe 18 inches deep are now 4 or 5 feet deep. One pool is 7 feet deep. Kids began catching fish almost immediately. Before that there weren't many fish to be caught. Fish can live in the river now. It's a wonderful sight to behold."
Curtis doesn't anticipate much work this year. Backers of the river restoration want to restore the entire river from the point on U.S. 84 where it is spanned by a green bridge downstream to its juncture with the San Juan River. The work is being done in phases. When permission for the current proposed project is obtained from landowners and other issues are resolved, a decision will be made as to which stretch of the river will next be restored.
Restoration of the Blanco is based on a study conducted by river hydrologist Dave Rosgen. A local resident, Rosgen has donated his time to the project.
Contributors to the project, in addition to the EPA, are: Lower Blanco Property Owner's Association-$6,000 cash, $4,500 in kind; Archuleta County - $6,500 cash over a two-year period; Southwest Water Conservation District - $30,000 cash, $6,000 in kind; San Juan Water Conservation District - $30,000 cash, $8,000 in kind; Wildlands Hydrology - $28,000 in kind; the Colorado Division of Water Resources - $14,000 in kind; The Colorado Division of Wildlife - $14,000 in kind; the Colorado Water Conservation Board - $20,000 in kind; and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation - $70,000 in kind.
The resignations of two staff members, one a veteran of the staff and one in his first-year, were accepted Tuesday by the Board of Education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
Accepted unanimously were the resignations of Betsy Thompson, an intermediate school teacher, and Scot Vaillancourt, a special education teacher in the high school.
Thompson's action was the more complicated. She is eligible for retirement, but wants to teach one more year after taking the retirement.
Under school law she can do so, if she works no more than 110 days in a calendar year. The work length in this case would be 171 days and it would fall within the 110-day limit per year.
The action, under Public Employee Retirement Association rules, will allow her to receive a lump sum retirement payoff while continuing to teach.
In the long run, the board was told, the district will probably save money because it will no longer be contributing to Thompson's retirement fund.
There was no discussion on the Vaillancourt resignation.
Concepts governing distribution of Colorado water in existence since the original 1922 Colorado River Compact are being challenged, according to Greg Walcher, Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resource.
Walcher was speaking at the 19th Annual Water Seminar put on by the Southwestern Water Conservation District in Durango last Friday. The seminar presented well-known experts who addressed water issues of importance to Colorado.
Sharing emcee duties were Fred Kroeger and Sam Maynes of Durango. Kroeger is president of the SWCD and has long been active in Southwestern Colorado on water issues. Maynes is a leading water law attorney and counselor for SWCD. Both have participated in the seminar since its inception.
Pagosa Springs representatives on the SWCD board of directors are John Taylor and Bill Seielstad.
Featured speakers included Jim Lochhead, an attorney speaking on "Lower Colorado River Basin 4.4 Interim Surplus Criteria," Dan Merriman, an administrator for the Colorado Water Conservation Board speaking on "Instream Flow - the Southwest Connection," Bennett Raley, an attorney speaking on "The Endangered Species Act and the Colorado River," Dennis Montgomery, an attorney speaking on "Kansas versus Colorado," Walcher, Gary Bastrum of the Colorado Springs Water Resources Department speaking on "Water Resource planning for Colorado Spring," Rod Kuharich, Director of the CWCB speaking on "Future Directions of the Colorado Water Conservation Board," Engineer Tipon Peru with a video presentation of "An Inca Historic Irrigation Site," and Pat Schumaker of the Bureau of Reclamation talking on "Animas-La Plata 2000."
All of the talks were relevant to Archuleta County residents. Walcher's talk on the Colorado River Compact, Raley's talk on the endangered silvery minnow in the Rio Grande River, and discussions of instream and water reservation rights might have addressed issues of the most concern to local residents.
Walcher had recently returned from a Phoenix meeting with representatives from the other states involved in the Colorado River Compact.
"The other states want to open talks on the governance of water in the Colorado River in connection with the interstate compact," Walcher said. "We are opposing any changes in that area or even talking about changes."
The Colorado River Compact completed in 1921 and approved by the United States Congress apportioned Colorado River water between the upper and lower basin states, according to Lochhead. The dividing line is Lee's Ferry, Utah. Lower basin states receive 8.5 million acre feet of water, the upper states 7.5 million acre feet of water. California, one of the lower states, was limited to 4.4 million acre feet.
During recent years, California has used 5.2 or 5.3 million acre feet, the excess over the 4.4 million acre feet being a temporary grant from upper basin states not using their entire allotment at the time.
Echoing Walcher's statement, Lochhead said California is now trying to get the other compact states to renegotiate the basic terms of the original agreement, a negotiation Colorado does not want.
Much of the information contained in Raley's talk concerning protection for the endangered silvery minnow in the Rio Grande River is contained in a separate article in this issue of the SUN. Local interest is assumed because of the suggestion that water to sustain the silvery minnow be taken from waters sent to New Mexico via the San Juan-Chama Water Diversion Project.
The Colorado Water Conservation Board is actively engaged in securing water rights known as instream flows. Instream flows are based on the presumption that some minimum amount of water is required in any stream in order to sustain life for plants and animals dependent on the stream. Instream flows quantify the amount of water needed to accomplish that task in the face of other demands on the streams - demands such as domestic, municipal, irrigation, and industrial uses. While most instream rights affect streams above the diversion points for other uses, some do not. Many irrigators and other water users oppose the issuance of in stream flow rights.
Water rights called reserve rights are being claimed by the U.S. Forest Service seeking to establish minimum stream flows and lake levels in order to preserve life in those streams. Opponents of the Forest Service claims say the federal government is attempting to bypass or override the traditional role of states as the top governing entities concerning water rights.
Southwestern and Colorado water law has always been based on the premise that "first in right, is first in might." The first claim on the water takes priority over subsequent claims. Forest Service claims ignore that axiom and threaten to overturn the most fundamental rule of Colorado water law, according to Walcher.
Other issues discussed at the seminar included:
- A growing push by environmental groups that the U.S. be forced to recognize and take certain actions concerning endangered species living in Mexico
- Concern over the increasing number of constitutional changes mandated by citizen initiative, instead of through the standard legislative process.
Old Sol should be grinning wide at the Easter bunny on Easter Sunday following a week during which an abundance of snow and ice proved that winter has not deserted Pagosa Country.
Yet another Pacific storm should plaster Pagosa Country today with rain or snow, according to Joe Ramey, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. The storm should move out tonight and be followed by clear skies through the coming week, Ramey said.
A change from winter to summer conditions seems to be in the air, Ramey said, as the Polar jet stream moves north taking the Pacific storms with it.
"It's an annual event," Ramey said of the jet stream shift. "Because the Polar ice caps begin to warm about this time of year, the jet streams drift north taking with them the Pacific storms spawned in the Gulf of Alaska that provide much of our winter moisture."
Two of those storms hit Pagosa Springs during the last week, dropping two inches of snow Friday and another three inches of snow Tuesday. Total snowfall for April as measured at the official National Weather Service gauging station at Stevens Field is five inches, slightly below the average April snow fall of five and one-half inches in town. This past week's snowfall contained 1.11 inches of moisture, well above the average snow moisture content through the winter.
The added moisture is welcome news for those dependent on the San Juan Mountain snowpack for water later this summer.
According to the latest surveys conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, the snowpack in the San Juan, Animas, Dolores, and San Miguel basins was 90 percent of the long-time average on April 1. At the same time, the snowpack in these Southwest Colorado river basins is 109 percent of last year. Reservoir storage in the area is 75 percent of average and 66 percent of last year.
Water from the San Juan Basin serves a substantial portion of the population of the southwestern United States. Because the San Juan River empties into the Colorado River, portions of the water originating in these mountains is consumed in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Another portion of the Basin river output is funneled under the Continental Divide to supply the needs of people in New Mexico in the Santa Fe and Albuquerque areas.
Traffic light installation at the intersection of Piedra Road and U.S. 160 could begin as early as mid-April and be completed by September, according to Steve Lewis project engineer for Bechtolt Engineering, LLC, the Durango firm responsible for designing the intersection.
Representatives from Bechtolt, Pagosa Springs, and Archuleta County met Thursday to iron out the remaining details of the project and coordinate related efforts of the three entities.
Colorado Department of Transportation is installing the lights as well as acceleration and deceleration lanes connected with the light installation. The county is widening Piedra Road stretching from the end of the state project north to Ace Drive, just past Pepper's Mexican Restaurant. The town is moving Eagle Drive from its present intersection with Piedra Road to a new intersection opposite Solomon Drive. Eagle Drive is the frontage road paralleling U.S. 160 on the north side. Bechtolt is conducting the engineering and design work for CDOT, the county, and the town.
CDOT has already accepted a bid for construction of its portion of the work and should start work April 18. The county and town have yet to request bids, but hope to unite bid requests and advertise them in time for opening during the first week of May.
Hope was expressed Thursday that the town and county will be able to hire the same contractor as the state. Such a move will facilitate coordination of respective job efforts, make traffic control during construction hours easier, and could save taxpayer money.
Bechtolt could be hired to provide construction supervision and performance measurement for the three entities. As long as work on the three projects is being performed at the same time, Bechtolt's activities could be paid for by the state.
At least two problems remain to be ironed out. The first involves a lawsuit by the county against Four Corners Construction Co. Four Corners paved Piedra Road during 1977. The county claims portions of the asphalt applied by Four Corners does not meet specifications. In an attempt to remedy the situation, the county has taken Four Corners to court. That suit remains unsettled. The county does not want to jeopardize its position in the lawsuit by doing additional work on the questionable asphalt. Before taking a position on how the proposed project affects the litigation, the county plans to confer with Mary Weiss, the county attorney.
A second issue centers around the proximity of the right-of-way line on the west side of Piedra Road to gas pumps operated by the Corner Store. Piedra Road is being widened at that point and a right-turn lane from Piedra Road onto U.S. 160 added. The county has a choice between installing a drainage ditch or curb and gutter on that stretch of road.
The proposed highway change could also obstruct access to certain lots in Old West Landing. The county is planning to meet with the owner of Old West Landing, the subdivision containing the Corner Store, in order to decide what to do with that portion of the renovation.
In order to not interfere with business enjoyed by merchants along Eagle Drive, the town plans to complete the alternative route before the state completes work at the U.S. 160-Piedra Road intersection. CDOT has said the existing Eagle Drive connection to Piedra Road must be terminated before the lights can be turned on.
Completion of the alternate route by the time CDOT completes its work will allow access to Eagle Drive from the west end, even if the old access is blocked.
Also remaining is development of a plan for drainage and wetlands mitigation.
The average daily traffic volume on Piedra Road is expected to double from 6,073 vehicles in 2001 to 12,339 vehicles in 2011. Eagle Drive's average daily traffic count of 1,186 for 2001 is expected to reach 3,973 by 2012.
Some folks with environmental leanings are suggesting that Archuleta County water be used in the central portions of New Mexico's Rio Grande River to ensure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for the silvery minnow, a fish placed on the endangered species list by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Water birthed clear and bright in the headwaters of the Blanco and Navajo rivers in Archuleta County currently splashes through a tunnel under the Continental Divide and down the Chama River into the Rio Grande River. Once there, it satisfies various degrees and kinds of thirstiness along the river between Santa Fe and Bosque del Apache near Socorro.
Now, several environmental groups are suggesting the Archuleta County water be dedicated to ensure that enough water flows in the Rio Grande to keep the silvery minnow alive.
Last year federal wildlife enforcers brought suit against various agencies in New Mexico including the New Mexico Interstate Stream Commission seeking an order that a minimum flow be retained in the Rio Grande during the driest of seasons, enough water to sustain the silvery minnow. That need was met last year, but New Mexico officials fear that in a dry year, the need will be hard to meet.
In case the Rio Grande dries up, and historically that has happened, who will provide enough water to float the minnow, asks Bennett Raley, acting as special assistant attorney general for the Interstate Stream Commission. Raley has appeared in federal court litigation relating to implementation of the Endangered Species Act in the Rio Grande and Pecos rivers.
Raley was a speaker at the Southwestern Water Conservation District seminar last Friday in Durango.
Environmental groups have suggested that water be released from Heron Reservoir in northern New Mexico, the holding basin for the San Juan-Chama diversion project, to sustain the suggested minimum levels in the Rio Grande, according to Raley.
New Mexico legislation apportioning water from the San Juan-Chama diversion specified that water be used for municipal, industrial, domestic, and irrigation purposes. The diversion was constructed to meet part of the water commitments due New Mexico under the 1922 Colorado River compact involving Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming.
So far, New Mexico is resisting the suggestion that San Juan-Chama water be used to save the minnow, according to Raley. But, until the litigation is settled, no one knows what the outcome will be.
Attack on laws
In regards to the Mexican Spotted Owls letter by Mr. Smith: the absurdity lies in greed.
This is not about the Mexican Spotted Owl. This is an attack on the laws protecting the last remaining 5 percent of old growth forests in the Southwest by a society not satisfied with 95 percent.
I watched the Ute's forests burn last year. It amazes me that they are cutting what they have at all. What do we stand for; when is enough enough?
'It's a God thing'
Last week David Mitchell told the moving episode of how members of our community lovingly responded to a family whose child went through emergency surgery. This was a truly touching story that thankfully had a happy ending.
However, I feel there was an error of omission in the concluding credits. In the narrative, one woman "felt the impulse" to call the mother of the family at the hospital even though the surgery was in progress and common sense told her that she should wait until a later time. As it turned out, the call was perfectly timed and of great benefit to the family. I feel that credit for such impulses and other "minor miracles" that occurred in this story, and in our lives individually, should not be given to our zip code, i.e.. . . "It's a Pagosa thing." Rather, when our desire to comfort is facilitated with help from divine providence, credit should be given where credit is due: i.e. "It's a God thing."
Lack of applicants
Things are changing. Every year, in November and February, I travel around western Colorado interviewing students who have applied to attend college at Princeton University.
In seven years, I have helped one kid from Salida gain admittance and gotten two kids from Carbondale and Telluride wait-listed. I have encouraged some kids here in Pagosa to apply but to no avail. This year we had an applicant from Durango and I am happy to say she has been offered admission to the Princeton class of 2005. Congratulations to Danielle Brown.
We have some bright kids here and I look forward to interviewing applicants from Pagosa someday soon.
Prevent child abuse
Forty-three percent of American parents report spanking or hitting a child within the last 12 months; 37 percent report insulting or swearing at their child, and two percent report having kicked, bit or punched their child.
More than three million children were reported to child protective services agencies as alleged victims of child abuse or neglect in 1998, and approximately one million of these reports were confirmed, according to statistics released by Prevent Child Abuse America. According to statistics provided by the Colorado Central Registry for Child Protection, in 1999, Colorado had 5,082 confirmed incidents of child abuse and neglect with 6,989 victims and 32 fatalities.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Archuleta County Department of Social Services along with the Colorado Children's Trust Fund are working together to prevent child abuse and neglect in Colorado. Here are a few simple ways each of us can help prevent child abuse and neglect.
Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know they are special and loved. Educate yourself about a child's development process so you can have reasonable expectations about what your child can and cannot do.
Help a friend, neighbor or relative. Someone you know may be struggling with his or her parenting responsibilities. Offer a helping hand.
Help yourself. When big and little problems of everyday life pile up to the point you feel overwhelmed and out of control, take time out. Don't take it out on your child. Take a deep breath, turn on some music, count to ten (or better yet 100). Know where you can turn for help when you need it.
It can be frustrating to hear your baby cry, especially when nothing you do seems to work. Learn what to do if your baby won't stop crying. Never shake a baby.
Advocate for services to help families. Ask community leaders, clergy, library and schools to develop services to meet needs of children and families.
Monitor your child's television and computer use. Watching violent films or playing violent computer games can harm young children. Not only does it scare them, it also teaches children that aggression is a good way to handle frustration and solve problems.
Spend time with your children. Read to them.
Report suspected abuse or neglect. Keeping children safe is the responsibility of every adult in our community. If you have reason to believe a child has been - or may be - harmed, call Social Services at 264-2182.
Child Abuse Prevention Month is an appropriate opportunity to remind ourselves of our collective responsibility to prevent the abuse and neglect that robs so many of our society's children of their childhood, their sense of security and well-being, and their future. Together, we can make a difference.
For more information about how to prevent child abuse and neglect, call Prevent Child Abuse America at CHILDREN, the Colorado Children's Trust Fund at (303) 692-2941 or the Archuleta County Department of Social Services at 264-2182.
My husband and I were extremely disappointed last Saturday to show up at the Health Fair only to be turned away because we had children. They expected me to leave my six and two year-olds off to the side while we showed interest in our health.
We don't just leave our children with complete strangers. Is it not important for children to learn about health? I have taught my children not to be afraid. My six-year-old holds my hand when I get my blood taken and my two-year-old puts the band aid on. I include my children in important issues like health.
If a child is not behaving, that child and their parents should be asked to leave.
Is the health fair just for people that don't want to be bothered by children? Health starts as a young child.
We lead by example.
Thank you: A mom just trying to keep her family healthy.
Not a problem
Last week On 60 Minutes there was a segment on what the colleges are letting be said and not said on campus. In other words there seems to be a guideline on what is free speech and it seems that the Pagosa Springs Sun has had this for some time now. Has anyone had a letter edited that they have sent in? Well I have several times and last week it was a whole subject that was deleted. Its too bad that the "Sun" doesn't have competition so the public could have their whole opinions printed and maybe even a daily account of the news instead of just once a week. How outdated can a public rag be?
The subject dealt with how businesses treat their customers. We have heard now for some time how we should shop Pagosa and keep the money here. Well that is not going to happen as long as they charge high prices for the same product that can be bought an hour away for a lesser price and as long as the businesses of Pagosa have an attitude toward the people who keep them open.
Its like now that we have more people here they can charge more and have an I don't care if you come back or not attitude because there is someone else that will take your place if you don't want to shop at my store. There was a time when customer satisfaction was a primary concern or we will not be in business anymore. Now that has been replaced with so what there will be other customers.
Well not this one, because I don't find it a problem to go to Durango and get what I need for a more reasonable price and a better customer retailer relationship and maybe I will start sending my letters over to the Durango Herald.
(Editor's note: Letters to the editor are sometimes edited to correct spelling errors and to provide a letter with a measure of coherence. A letter of more than 500 words is shortened to conform with that limit unless the author indicates he or she does not want the letter edited. In such a case, the letter will not be run. A letter will not be run if it is libelous, if it is unsigned, or if a signature cannot be verified.)
I'm writing this letter to prove some of us out there are paying attention and do care.
Shortly after 6 p.m. on April 9 in the new City Market parking lot a couple driving a new, dark green, tan top BMW two-seater pulled into and parked in a handicap space even though there were plenty of other spaces available. When they exited the car it was clear neither were handicapped nor did they have the plate or mirror tag allowing them to park in such a spot. Having relatives who depend on access to such spaces (wheelchair bound) I feel it is my duty to point this out to the inconsiderate people who do such things.
In this instance I was told to mind my own business and if I did not like it to call the cops. I did this once down south and got a gun pulled on me. Did I call the police on that occasion? You bet.
This time I did not call the police, although I have the license plate number if any are interested. I am however, minding my own business, hence the letter.
Let me just say this to that couple: One day it might be you who is counting on access to a handicap space. Life throws many curves, you know.
If you have ever been with someone who needs a handicap space and can't get it due to the likes of you, then tried to help that person into a wheelchair in a regular parking space with cars on either side you would know it is impossible. If that is the last space in the entire lot and you are not handicapped the space doesn't even exist. Is that so hard to understand?
Apparently you think so, but laziness and inconsideration are not what is meant by handicap. They are however, severe disabilities.
From the seat of her wheelchair, my relative would argue that you are more handicapped than she. And you know, she would be right.
Wherever it is you learned such horrible behavior I wish you would go back. You obviously have no compassion for fellow human beings, and this community has no space for your kind. I know this for I have lived in Southwest Colorado for most of the last 20 years.
So here is some advice from someone who is more local than most: We don't do things like that to our neighbors in Pagosa Country and do not welcome those who do. Try to see beyond the tip of your own nose.
And this to the rest of the community: If you see someone doing something like this, speak out. Let them know we will not tolerate it here. We are a small town and have no desire to let such big city arrogance and lack of compassion occur here.
The only reason such abuse happens is because it is allowed to happen. By speaking out you will make the abuser (and believe me it happens all the time) feel as small as they really are. It's been said before, "Your either part of the solution or part of the problem."
James W. Blevins
James William Blevins passed away March 31, 2001 at the Life Care Center in Yuma, Arizona. He was born November 3, 1930 in the Delta and Escalanate Canyon area.
Shortly after high school he joined the United States Navy and was stationed in San Diego, and he saw active duty during the Korean War. He was a lifetime member of both the VFW and Elks organizations.
Jim was an active sportsman and enjoyed hunting and fishing which was why he, and his wife Carolee, decided to move to Pagosa Country after retiring from the Climax Mining Corp. They spent many happy years in the Upper Blanco Basin on their "small ranch."
Jim is preceded in death by his parents Earl and Sarah, and son James Linc Blevins. He is survived by wife Carolee Jane Blevins of Yuma; son Mark Belvins of Albuquerque; sister Earleen Walker of Delta; stepchildren Leeann and Bob Skoglund-Barnett of Pagosa Springs, Dave and Patti Skoglund of Durango, and four grandchildren. No memorial services are scheduled at this time, but the family is planning to gather this summer. In lieu of flowers and cards the family asks that donations be made to the Life Care Center of Yuma, 2450 19th Avenue South, Yuma, Ari. 85364, or to other charities.
Local resident, Elizabeth Coonce, died at Mercy Medical Center Hospital on April 5, 2001. Born April 6, 1931, she was 69 years old.
Elizabeth was born in Okmulgee, Okla. to Benjamin Franklin and Jessie Beulah Harbin. She was a housewife and mother. She enjoyed reading and doing crafts with her daughter. Elizabeth moved from Morro Bay, Calif. to Pagosa Springs in August 2000.
Elizabeth is survived by her daughter and son-in-law, Carla and Jody Jackson of Pagosa Springs; sister and brother-in-law, Betty Jo and Tony Amanno of Morro Bay; sister Dorothy Krieger of Morro Bay; grandsons Chris Coonce, Steven Todd, Matt Todd and Frank Vierille; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will be planned at a later date. Memorial contributions may be made in care of Pagosa Springs Funeral Options.
Feliciano Gomez, 81, a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away April 4, 2001, at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington.
He was born May 17, 1919 in Dulce, the son of Pedro Antonio Gomez and Gregorita Maria (Ulibarri) Gomez.
Feliciano and Phyllis Benita Valdez were married Oct. 8, 1944 in Craig, Colo. She preceded him in death in 1998.
Mr. Gomez was a resident of the Four Corners area for over 75 years.
He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps prior to entering the U.S. Army in World War II where he was a member of the 246th Coast Artillery Battalion and attained the rank of corporal. Among his citations and decorations were the American Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He served as a communications lineman while in the service and was very proud of his country.
He is survived by his sons, Kenneth Gomez of Bloomfield, N.M.; Victor Gomez and wife, Debra of Bloomfield; Lawrence Gomez of Bloomfield, Mike Gomez of Taos, Dale Gomez of Bloomfield, James Gomez and wife, Jeanette, of Pagosa Springs; daughters Rita Whitt of Quebec, Canada and Marietta Blount and husband Mickey of Kirtland, N.M.; and his brothers, Eloy, Gilbert, Max and Atanacio.
He also is survived by 12 grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and numerous friends and many relatives.
Rosary was said April 6 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Bloomfield.
Mass of Christian Burial was April 7 at St. Mary's with Father Dan Daley as celebrant. Burial was in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery where graveside honors were provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2182.
Pallbearers were Robert, Frank, Gilbert and Eloy Anthony Gomez and Ed and Pat Lohman.
He's still looking for consistency, but he's found a secret weapon.
Lady Pirates' soccer coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason saw his kickers lose to Telluride for the second time this season in a "home" game Friday on a neutral field in Cortez then watched them play strong, textbook soccer Saturday with a 5-0 defeat of Bayfield on the real home turf.
The victory Saturday over a first-year Wolverine squad was nonetheless pleasing to Kurt-Mason because of the sparkling defense and the development of scoring opportunities from charted plays.
The secret weapon: senior striker Amber Mesker who ripped in the first three goals for Pagosa and had several other scoring attempts created with her speed.
The coach lamented he's not had her on the field for the past four years. "I had her in juniors in the fifth grade and when I saw how she could run I thought 'I've got a striker now.' But then she disappeared and didn't come out again until this year. It's amazing how fast she's picked up the nuances of the game and she has a knack of being in the right place. She still has things to learn, but will be a great asset to us this season."
The game opened with a feeling out period in which neither team could muster an attack on goal and midfield defensive play was dictating strategy.
Bayfield actually had the first shot on goal, a soft roller from the right side saved easily by first half goal-keeper Carlena Lungstrum at the six-minute mark.
And that seemed to awaken the Pagosa offense. Lungstrum's outlet kick was taken on the left wing by Tricia Lucero who dropped a centering pass to Megan Hilsabeck. There was a streak of white from the right wing and Hilsabeck sent a crossing pass that way.
The streak was Mesker, who ripped the ball past Danielle Salka and into the goal. Just six seconds had elapsed from the Lungstrum save, and Pagosa had a 1-0 lead it would not relinquish.
When the Wolverines failed to get the ball out of midfield on the ensuing possession, the Lady Pirates worked a control game, watching for openings. And then Alysha Ranson saw the white streak, sent a long centering pass from the left and there was Mesker who scored again from 18 yards, just two minutes after her first career marker.
At 13:27, Hilsabeck almost scored the third goal. She looped from the left wing on a corner kick from Tiffany Diller, took the ball in stride for a two-step dribble and then ripped it toward the upper right corner of the net. It sailed just over the goal.
The next scoring attempt came at the 31-minute mark when Lori Whitbred, on a crossing pass from Tricia Lucero, had a right wing breakaway but was stopped by Salka in her best effort of the game.
Seven minutes later the Lady Pirates' attack again took shape. First, Chelsea Mansanz captured a loose ball on an aborted Wolverine outlet play and ripped a 30-footer only to see it, too, go high to the right. Eleven seconds later, Diller fired from the right and was stopped by Salka.
Lungstrum stepped up three minutes later on Bayfield's best scoring chance of the game, a breakaway from the right by Lindsey Martinez. Using a crossover dribble, the attacker feinted to Lungstrum's left and then went right. The junior keeper didn't buy the fake and was in perfect position for the stop.
In the next minute and a half, an intense Pirate attack resulted in stops against Whitbred, Mesker and, just before the halftime whistle, Lucero on a blistering drive from 20 yards that hit the left goal post.
Kurt-Mason switched keepers for the second half, moving Lungstrum to the attack and putting Amber Beye in net.
Two minutes into the half, the Pirates made the score 3-0 on an unassisted goal from right in front of the net by - you guessed it - Mesker.
At the six-minute mark, Bayfield had its best scoring opportunity of the half when Kellie Elz' kick from the right side evaded defenders, but also evaded teammates in front of the net and went all the way through the goal mouth where Pagosa's Cassie Pfeifle dribbled it out.
The fourth Pirate goal, just inside the eight minute mark, came when Cathy Tharpe fought through two defenders for goal mouth position and bodied in a rebound from a left wing shot by Sara Aupperle.
Two minutes later Mesker had another chance, but her kick of a nice cross from Kelli Patterson sailed just outside the left goal post. At the 22-minute mark, Ranson's drive off a lead from Hilsabeck went wide left and five minutes later Lungstrum's shot off a crossing lead from Lucero was tipped by a forward defender but still on goal, where it was stopped.
Then came four minutes of frustration for the home team. Pirates seemed to be swarming the net from every direction as first Mesker, then Pfeifle and Hilsabeck all missed on rebound attempts, two of the shots going off the cross bar. And then Ranson and Hilsabeck each hit a post on successive plays and Mesker, Pfeifle and Diller all were stopped by Salka.
At the 37-minute mark, Ranson and Salka collided on a Ranson breakaway and the Pagosa striker was down for over a minute before getting up and trotting off the field to the applause of an appreciative crowd of about 100.
With just two minutes left, Hilsabeck got the final score of the game, ripping in a left-footer on an assist by Tharpe.
"It was a team effort," Kurt-Mason told the players afterward. "Even though we scored five goals, we depended on others to get the ball to the scorers."
And, he said, "It was a great defensive effort. We stopped any semblance of an attack and we did it with people who showed instant recognition of play situations and reacted appropriately to the gaps we were given. That's what teamwork is all about."
The score is repetitive, but the performance was improved.
That's coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason's evaluation of his Lady Pirates' soccer performance last Friday against Telluride.
For the second time this season, the Pirate ladies fell 5-0 to the defending league champions. And for the second time this season the game was played on a neutral field in Cortez.
Goal-keeping for Pagosa was "tremendous, just tremendous," said Kurt-Mason.
Junior Carlena Lungstrum opened in the nets and turned away 17 shots by the Miners is the first half.
In fact, for the first 30 minutes of the game, both goalies were pitching shutouts.
Working with only one game official who admitted ahead of time that he might not be able to see infractions on the opposite side of the field, Pagosa drew two bad breaks in the last 10 minutes of the half.
Two breakaways by the Miners came on "obvious off-sides infractions that were not seen by the official," Kurt-Mason said. Both resulted in two-on-one attacks which Lungstrum was unable to stop.
The Miners took that 2-0 halftime lead and built on it in the second half with three goals coming with Amber Beye in the nets for Pagosa for the first time. Despite those three scores, Beye turned away 16 shots, giving the Pirates 33 saves on the day.
That might indicate a breakdown in the defense, but Kurt-Mason said it was more a failure at midfield "where we were making our drops too late and not getting back on time."
Pagosa had only 10 shots on goal, four by Amber Mesker and two by Sara Aupperle.
"We were simply outplayed in the second half," said Kurt-Mason. "They went to the ball more than we did. They reacted better to strategic situations. They dominated the midfield in the second half."
Despite the loss, the coach saw things which made him happy.
"Particularly pleasing," he said, "is the continuing development of Chelsea Mansanz. She's really coming on, understanding the game plan and positioning. Just real solid improvement from game to game."
Also garnering his praise was constant offensive threat Megan Hilsabeck.
"She's like the wind-up rabbit . . . she just keeps going, and going and going. She's always a threat to score and we have to give her a little more support when on attack."
Pagosa is scheduled to face Ignacio at home tomorrow, with a 3 p.m. game time.
It wasn't easy, but the Pagosa Springs Pirates have their first win of the year.
And, if it weren't for errors, they'd have swept a doubleheader Saturday against Centauri on a neutral field in Alamosa.
Errors, 11 in the first game and seven in the second, were the Pirates' downfall, though they captured the first game 13-12, mainly on the strength of their hitting and speed on the bases.
Pagosa's 13 runs came on seven hits, five walks and with two batters hit by pitches. "The key," said coach Tony Scarpa, "was that we got hits when they counted."
The saddest part, he said, was that "our pitchers gave up only one earned run in each game. All the rest were the result of our errors. I felt all along that this team would hit when they were able to get some practice, but I was worried about our defense because we haven't been able to practice outside until last week."
The Centauri doubleheader was supposed to be a home game, but the rain and subsequent snow turned the field, which had been prepped and was ready before the storm, into a small lake.
The decision to play in Alamosa was made on the basis of the fact it was the only dry field school officials could locate in the area which was not being used that day.
Ross Wagle went the distance on the mound for Pagosa in the first game, giving up the 12 runs on 10 hits, walked two, and hit one batter.
On the offensive side, Darin Lister went 1-for-4 at the plate with a sacrifice and two stolen bases. Justin Kerns went hitless in four trips but walked once and had two stolen bases. Ben Marshall was 1-for-3, was hit by a pitch, and had one stolen base.
Ron Janowsky was 1-for-3 with one walk and a stolen base. Lawren Lopez was hitless in four trips but aboard twice on errors on long drives to the outfield. "He's got great power and we were hitting into the teeth of a strong wind," Scarpa said. "Two of those drives would have been out of the park on a normal day."
Nate Stretton went 1-for-3 and drew a walk. Wagle was 1-for-2 with a walk and was hit by a pitch. So far this season he's the team's on-base leader with a .538 percentage. Brandon Charles was 2-for-4 including a double and had one stolen base while Jaret Frank was 0-for-2 with a walk and a sacrifice.
"I've been telling them all year that strikeouts and pop flies don't advance runners," Scarpa said, "and they seemed to get the lesson in this game. We had 11 errors and Centauri had only four but we won because of our hitting."
Unfortunately for the Pirates, the seven second-game errors spelled defeat because six came in one inning, the third, when Centauri scored six times.
Frank started for Pagosa and was trailing 5-4 after two innings. When he got into trouble in the third, Scarpa called on Brandon Charles to stem the tide. The fact he didn't was no reflection on his effort.
Charles faced eight batters, teasing ground balls from seven of them. "We should have been out of the inning without any more runs scoring," Scarpa said. "But infielders muffed six of those ground balls and Centauri scored six times."
The Pirates got seven runs back in the sixth after Centauri had scored three in the top of the frame, but it was too little, too late.
For the game, Lister was 3-for-5. Kerns walked three times and had two stolen bases. Dustin Spencer was on on an error. Marshall was 1-for-3 with a walk and Janowsky was 3-for-4 with two doubles. Lopez also went 2-for-4, Stretton was 0-for-4, Wagle 1-for-3 with a walk, Charles 1-for-4 and Frank 0-for-4.
Scarpa had high praise for Janowsky both at the plate and on the mound. He pitched the final four innings of the game and held Centauri to the three runs in the sixth. He struck out five and walked only one. "He had a great game," Scarpa said, "the kind that can become an incentive to other players."
Despite the scores, the coach said, "I think we played really well considering the factors we've been fighting just to find a place to practice. If we can take care of our errors we'll be OK against anyone in the league."
The Pagosa Springs Pirates took an early 4-0 lead on Bayfield's Wolverines in the opener of a scheduled doubleheader in Bayfield Tuesday, but the home team came back with a vengeance.
The result? A 14-4 loss for Pagosa's diamond contingent.
The second game was snowed out and rescheduled for a 4 p.m. Wednesday start, weather permitting.
Three of the Pirates runs were unearned and resulted from a pair of Bayfield errors and a wild pitch by eventual winner Devon Catron.
Thwarted by Pagosa double plays in each of the first three innings, the Wolverines scored four in the third for the tie, then added three in the fifth and five in the sixth to boost their record to 7-1 on the season and 1-0 in the league.
Pagosa falls to 2-5 on the season, 1-2 in the Intermountain League.
Pagosa Pirates' tracksters captured a fifth-place team trophy, the first in decades, with a strong showing across the board at the Shiprock invitational last Saturday.
Some tough individual efforts, including those by sophomore Jason Schutz and senior Meigan Canty, had a ripple effect on the rest of the team, assistant coach Connie O'Donnell said.
"If you have one person dig deep and do well, then everyone wants to be in that same situation," she said. Both Canty and Schutz placed in every event they entered. Schutz added to the day's momentum by stealing fourth in the 400 meters in 53.56 seconds, a time six or seven seconds better than his efforts last year.
"His goal was to get under 55 seconds on the season," O'Donnell said.
The sophomore teamed up with sophomore Ryan Wendt, senior Josh Postolese, and senior Travis Laverty for a third place, 3:51.76, finish in the 4X400 relay. He rounded out the day with a 5-foot 6-inch high jump good enough for another fourth.
Canty finished in the top three in five events, landing the girls only first-place award in the high jump with a 4-10 leap. She added two more individual third place finishes with a 28-11 triple jump and, a 53.88 time in the 300 hurdles. The senior joined Andrea Ash, Audrey Volger and Annah Rolig, to take third in the 4X400 relay with a time of 4:44.89, and helped the 4x100 relay team along with junior Katie Lancing, Rolig, and senior Tiffanie Hamilton, in yet another third place finish, this time in 55.71.
Those efforts helped lead both the girls and boys squads to individual fifth-place finishes in addition to the team trophy. Competing against 15 other teams from the Four Corners area, the boys captured 59 points with the help of a pair of firsts, and the Lady Pirates collected 64 points.
Junior Caleb Mellette's 18-10-long jump gave the team one top spot, and the 47.27 performance of the 4X100 relay team - junior Tyler Kirtley, Wendt, senior Tyrel Ross, and Postolese - commanded the other.
Mellette added a second place finish to his collection with a 15.40 run in the 110 high hurdles. His eighth-place 47.97 effort in the 300 hurdles, added to point totals.
With a 24.20 run in the 200 meters, Ross earned the Pirates other second-place award. Postolese piled on an 11.60 seventh-place finish in the 100, and Wendt landed a 35-10 triple jump to put himself in fifth.
In her first attempt at the triple jump, Volger attained one of the Lady Pirates six third-place awards with a 14-6 leap. Lancing added one more, finishing third in the high jump at 4-8, and stole eighth place in the long jump with a 13-5-inch performance.
The 4X800 relay team of Volger, sophomore Amanda McCain, Rolig and Ash came in fourth in 11:23.96. Rolig added a fifth with a 66.60 finish in the 400 meters.
Teammate Ashley Gronewoller, a junior, captured her own fifth with a 29-1 throw in shot put. Ash finished seventh in the 800 meters in 2:47.4 to round out the Lady Pirate scoring.
Head coach Kyle Canty said he was also pleased with the overall results.
"Our times still aren't good, but we're gaining," he said.
The Pirates travel to Bayfield tomorrow for the Pine River meet.
On April 7, Pagosa Springs hosted a peewee wrestling tournament, thanks to a great deal of help from a wonderfully supportive community. Many thanks go out to all of the people who helped work tables, referee, work the concession stand, and helped in so many other ways.
In the 40-pound bracket for Division 1, Christopher Rivas placed second, and Chase Purcell took fourth at 45 lbs.
Division 2 wrestlers started at 40 lbs. with Isaiah Rivas placing second and Zachary Brinkmann placing third. Moving up to 50 lbs. E.J. Romero took first place. In the 55 lb. bracket, Cody Snow took first, Austin Miller placed second, Alex Theys placed second, and Levi Wilkins was fourth. Michael Rivas placed fourth at 55.
In Division 3, Waylon Lucero was second at 65. At 70, Jordan Valdez took second and Shelby Chavez placed second. Thayne Sanford took second at 80, and Justin Johnson placed fourth at 85. Jacob Lucero competed in his first tournament and placed third at 120.
Local Division 4 wrestlers also did well at the Pagosa tournament. In the 60 lb. bracket, Steven Smith took third; and Victoria Espinosa placed second. Andy Abresch placed first at 65. Spencer Sharp wrestled at 95, and took fourth. Robert Rader was second at 165, and Gabe Gallegos ruled his bracket once again, with a first place at 105.
In the Divion 5 bracket at 75 lbs., Tony Poma placed third. Joe Stoddard took second at 80, and Shane Martinez placed third at 115.
Preliminary design plans for the first portion of Sports Complex expansion at Golden Peaks Stadium were approved Tuesday and architect Julia Donoho was given the go-ahead to seek bids for the initial phase of construction.
Donoho presented schematic drawings of her concept for a new combination concession stand-restroom facility, a dressing room for both local and visiting teams, the location of a new ticket booth, and long-range plans for development of full track facilities and a standard soccer field.
Members of the Board of Education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint had a number of questions for Donoho before unanimously accepting her preliminary plan.
Most dealt with availability of sewer and water to the site, the face-block construction proposed, and the estimated $125 per square foot cost for the concession-restroom building.
As conceived, the structure will be at the southwest corner of the track area surrounding the football field. Donoho's plan calls for straight cement block construction with varied shades of facing material in approximate school colors - light gold and black.
Included in the initial phase would be installation of a handicap access ramp on the west side of the complex and a chute-ramp, also handicap accessible, at the northwest end of the area just off the high school parking lot where a driveway exists now.
A new ticket booth would sit at the bottom of the ramp and allow access directly to the bleachers. The current concession stand would be removed, but the storage facility between the football and soccer fields would remain.
Donoho told board members she had discussed the plans with four local contractors and all expressed interest in bidding the project.
Board approval given Tuesday allows Donoho to advertise for bids immediately, with a two-week deadline, and she said she hopes to be able to recommend a contract by June 1.
Timing is critical to the project because school officials want it completed in time for the fall sports season, beginning in late August.
The long-range plan, in addition to the soccer field reconstruction to remove a 4-foot end-to-end drop off, will add stations for track events like discus, shot put, high jump, long jump, triple jump, pole vault and sprints.
The professional track surface area would be surrounded by a 42-inch fence to keep people in street shoes off the track. Adjacent to the soccer field on the north end would be public tennis courts and basketball facilities.
Placement of the concession-restroom building was dictated by existing sewer and water line locations and the accessibility of sufficient electrical power from the field light installation project completed last year.
When director Russ Lee asked Donoho if total cost for the project could go over her estimated $250,000, she admitted it was possible. He then asked school district business manager Nancy Schutz if "that much is available."
When she said it is, with a lot to spare, Lee seemed satisfied.
The motion to accept the plans and authorize advertisement for bids was made by director Carol Feazel and seconded by Jon Forrest.
After Donoho departed, Forrest said he thinks the $125 per square foot figure is a little high but that competitive bidding might produce a lower figure.
In another sports-related action Tuesday, the school board accepted an administrative recommendation to add Jason Plantiko as an assistant junior high track coach and Carolyn Feller and Cindy Feinauer as volunteer assistant high school girls soccer coaches.
Great service events have social impact
I hit two events last weekend that were so well organized and nicely presented that it was no wonder that they were both well attended.
The 9Health Fair held at the high school and the USJBA Home Show at the Extension Center deserve many kudos for jobs well done. Congratulations to both groups, and if you didn't attend either or both events this year, I'm sure you will have many opportunities in the future.
What you may not know is that both events provide the additional benefit of seeing just about everyone you might not have seen over the long winter hibernation. They were both great social events as well as providing a terrific service to the community.
I was gently admonished this weekend for giving preferential treatment to one business over another, and I would like to apologize for that. It was certainly not intentional because I work very hard to be equitable, but every now and then I experience senior moments and make some remarkable mistakes.
What I would like for everyone to know is that we have three wonderful thrift stores in town, all of which use proceeds to help both two-legged and four-legged creatures. In alphabetical order, you will find dandy bargains at the Community United Methodist Church Thrift Shop, owned and operated by the Community United Methodist Church, located at 433 Lewis Street; the Pack Rack Thrift Shop, owned and operated by the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, located at 269 Pagosa Street; and the United People Help Ministry Thrift Store, owned and operated by UPHM, located at 136 E. Pagosa Street in the River Center.
All three stores would be delighted to accept your gently used donations for resale and all three use those proceeds to do good things for our community.
Speaking of good deeds, beginning April 21 Habitat for Humanity will hold a mini re-store/garage sale from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday at 398 Bastille Drive, Unit B1 in Summit Commercial Park.
You will find all kinds of lumber, new and used building materials, carpets, lighting, electrical, plumbing, sinks, doors, window, etc. All proceeds go toward building homes, by Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County.
If you have any questions about your tax-deductible donations, please call 264-6960 for more information.
Ellen King, Pagosa physical therapist, will give a free lecture on "Bringing Body, Mind and Spirit into Medicine," April 19 at 6:45 p.m. at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Ellen has over 18 years experience as a manual orthopedic therapist. In addition to being Clinical Director for Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy, Ellen also teaches an ongoing Pilates class at the clinic and continues to lecture on a national level.
This evening is sponsored by The Pagosa Springs Health Partnership, which offers a free educational program the third Thursday of each month at the Parish Hall. Please call Sharon Porter with questions at 731-4553.
Please join the San Juan Mountains Association and Chimney Rock Interpretive Program April 21 for an open house, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Vista Club House at 230 Port Avenue.
The purpose of this event is to acquaint the public with the varied projects and volunteer opportunities with the San Juan National Forest, Chimney Rock Interpretive Program, San Juan Mountains Association and Friends of Native Cultures. There will be a variety of great volunteer opportunities at this open house, many of which will take you outdoors.
For more information contact the Chimney Rock Program Coordinator at the Pagosa Ranger District Office, 264-2268.
Please join us for this wonderful annual event April 28, at the Senior Center at 8th and Zuni streets, 4:30-7:30 p.m. You will have a choice of delicious chili or barbecue served with coffee and tea and, of course, some divine desserts.
A silent auction will begin at 4:30 and end at 7:30 when successful bidders will be announced. I confess that your auctioneer (or is it auctioness?) for the evening will be yours truly and what I lack in skill I make up in pure, unadulterated enthusiasm. I must say that I particularly enjoy auctioning off the exceptional, mouth-watering homemade desserts made by time-honored, experienced hands. These Pagosa ladies really know how to bake, let me tell you.
If you would like to contribute something to the auction - an item, a service, a car, whatever - please call Phil Heitz at 731-2558 or the Senior Center at 264-2167, and they will arrange to pick up your item. Please join us April 28 for a down-home, delicious meal and fun with friends and family.
Special thanks to Mike Ferrell with Rocky Mountain Maintenance who was good enough to come into the Visitor Center and replace light bulbs for us. We sure do appreciate the help of our friends who are willing to risk life and limb to go into the high places we aren't real comfortable with. Thanks Mike, we appreciate it.
Because of space constraints last week, our renewals didn't quite make it in our column, but I will put them first in this week's membership all-star list.
Renewals for last week include Stephanie Jones with the San Juan Dance Academy; Pete Woods and Lanette Wright with the Durango Mountain Resort; Tony Morse with Paradise Brew Pub; Thomas Leotti with Conoco East, Conoco West, and Midtown Sunoco.
We have two new members to introduce this week and five renewals to welcome back into the fold. Is this a cool job or what?
We welcome Keith Madelski who brings us the Rodeway Inn-Durango located at 2701 Main Avenue. The Rodeway Inn is a family-owned and family-run property offering a free continental breakfast, a year-round indoor swimming pool and a hot tub. You can call these folks for more information at 259-2540. We are grateful to Irec at the Holiday Inn Express here in Pagosa for recruiting Keith and will be delighted to send Irec a free SunDowner pass for his efforts.
Deborah Howard joins us with Jim Barna Log Systems of Southwest Colorado located at 476 San Juan Street. These folks are the leading log home manufacturers in the United States providing over 25 years experience to their customers. You will find a complete selection of log species and profiles available in their log home package. You can learn more about Jim Barna Log Systems of Southwest Colorado by calling 264-1132.
Renewals this week include Kristi Nelson Cohen with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum; Margie Hollingsworth, M. Ed., Licensed Professional Counselor in Lubbock, TX; Laura Rome with the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center; Clinton Scruggs with Certified Folder Display Service in Durango; and Associate Members and Chamber Diplomats, Ray and Sharon Pack. We thank you all for your renewed support and membership.
Mark April 28 on calendar for our chili supper
Payge Ferreira has joined the kitchen crew. We haven't lost her but will miss having her planning our social functions, etc.
Carlo Carrannante is back in the hospital. Our prayers are with you, Carlo, and we hope you will soon be well and able to join us. Prayers are also requested for Brian Feldts, son of our driver Richard, and grandson of Doty Smith (one of our seniors). Brian was seriously injured in a construction accident.
We were happy to have Jill Landes, guest of Bob and Doris Kamrath, and Carol Riley, guest of Norma Richardson, join us on Tuesday. Also we welcomed Fidel Perea and Loretta and Windell Hildebrandt (our returning snowbirds) on Friday. Welcome all!
Our Senior of the Week is Elizabeth Belmear. Congratulations, Elizabeth.
Even though it is a few weeks away, our big "once-a-year fundraiser" (the chili supper) will take place April 28. In addition to the delicious meal, we conduct a silent auction, as well as an auction of pies, cakes, and other baked goods to help raise funds to support activities, building maintenance, eyeglasses for the needy, etc.
Please notify Phil Heitz 731-2558 or Musetta at the Center 264-2167 if you are willing to donate items for the auction. The Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. is a non-profit organization so donations are tax deductible.
Thanks to Leslie Davis and Susie Kleckner, from the San Juan Basin Health Department, for speaking to our group and answering questions about benefits available for seniors. We also appreciate our new Veterans Service Officer, Andy Fautheree, joining us on Friday and offering help to our veterans and widows of veterans.
Swim-a-thon Wednesday; Olympics program starts
Pagosa Lakes Swim Club, the Porpoises, will hold its annual fund-raising Swim-a-thon April 19 from 4-6 p.m. This event will take place at the recreation center pool. You can give these youngsters a good reason to swim many laps by pledging a certain amount of money per length. Each swimmer can swim up to a maximum of 200 lengths, approximately three miles.
Give them your support. It's a special kind of youngster to watch the black line at the bottom of each lane, length after length, hour after hour and day after day. It takes a huge amount of self-motivation and a high threshold for boredom.
The Special Olympics swim program has started. Held at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center 5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays, Special Olympians and their coaches are preparing the swimmers for a local dual-team meet to be held at the recreation center May 19, with registration at 10 a.m. Following the local dual-team meet, our Olympians will participate in out-of-town Special Olympic swim events in June.
Good news about duplicate bridge. Here's a game that keeps your neural pathways open and encourages those synapses to keep firing. The mind, like the rest of the body, follows the use-it-or-lose-it rule. Games, along with reading, learning a new language or learning new dance steps, all help to keep the mind working. Here's your chance. A PLPOA-sponsored open, duplicate bridge group meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Bridge players or aspiring bridge-players are invited to join the group. There's no charge. Call Dan Cox, 731-0607, or Jack Rudd, 731-2579, for more information.
The PLPOA monthly board meeting will be held tonight at 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting.
Storytimes define value of reading
Someone donated some books a few weeks ago and in among the books was a wrist band electronic snore-control silent alarm. I'm sure the donor didn't mean to send along the alarm. If this is yours, please claim it at the desk.
Week that was
Last Thursday we hosted a story time for children put on by Amy Hill and Juanita Payne in honor of the "Week of the Young Child."
Storytellers delighted the audiences from 9 a.m. until after noon. Bill Esterbrook, Bill Nobles, Isabel Willits, Wendy Daugaard, Ann Grad, Heidi Martinez, Amy Hill, Teddy Finney and Margie Martinez provided the stories. We applaud everyone willing to bring attention to the importance of reading to children.
We look forward to hosting more story times in the future. If you'd like to help, let us know.
Another first for us was hosting a booth at the Health Fair.
We brought examples of the many free resources we have on health and nutrition. We are exploring hosting some discussions on health issues. We'll keep you informed of what we might be able to do. If you're interested in something like this and have some subjects you'd like to know more about, come by and give us your ideas.
We thank all of the people involved in putting on this important community health fair. We understand that this may be the last health fair unless something can be worked out to cover the costs. We trust that all of the interested parties will realize the importance of working together. Don't let this die from lack of cooperation.
Two books, " Vaccines: What Every Parent Should Know," and "Vaccinating Your Child," are now in our collection on the advice of the Colorado Children's Immunization Coalition. They also brought over a list of good web sites on the subject. There are strict laws about what shots children need to enter school. For more information, look at our new books and contact the San Juan Basin Health Department.
The Town of Pagosa Springs is doing a survey in order to determine the childcare needs in our community. We have copies of the survey at the library. Please pick up one and fill it out.
More free information from your federal government. Get up a catalog today. The Federal Information Center was established to help develop, promote, and distribute useful consumer information to the public. Their catalog is published four times a year. The pamphlets that are available are free or very inexpensive. This is information that can help you in many areas. This issue covers buying homes, establishing trust funds, and getting a good deal on buying a new car. Take advantage of this free publication.
Kay Grams donated " The Times of Their Lives: Life, Love, and Death in Plymouth Colony," by James and Patricia Deetz.
Who were the Pilgrims? Far from the somberly clad, stern, and righteous figures children learn about in school, many of the early settlers actually dressed in bright colors, drank heavily, and often got into trouble. This is a realistic account of the Plymouth colony based on archaeology, and cultural research.
It begins with the account of the first Thanksgiving and shakes up our view of one of the most cherished myths of American History.
Financial help came from: Robert and Livia Lynch and Gil and Lenore Bright in memory of Virginia Ralston. Material came from Bob and Carole Howard, Wes Huckins, Kent Schafer, Frank and Rita Slowen, Paul Matlock, Cynthia Sharp, Celeste Nolan and Ann Van Fossen.
Pagosan to build greenhouses in Russia
It could be a working vacation for Ian Vance, the son of Ruth and Norman Vance, who left a week ago for Russia to spend the summer building dome greenhouses on the island of Tulon on Lake Ladoga, one of two fresh water seas in Russia.
Just where to begin with this story of how it all came about will take a bit of doing.
To start, Ian graduated from Pagosa Springs High School in May 1994. He attended college, did some traveling, and has written two science fiction books, yet to be published, and has started on a third one. His intermittent jobs have included working for Udgar Parsons who has a business in Pagosa Springs building dome greenhouses.
Ian's plan was to go to India. His grandparents were missionaries there and his mother graduated from Woodstock, the well-known international boarding school located in northern India along the Himalayan Mountain Range. And then he heard about the Light of Ladoga Project.
This project is sponsored by the Light of Ladoga Foundation, a Kerilian regional management organization. Donald B. Galston who lives in Buena Vista is the president. His daughter-in-law Natasha, who now lives in Bayfield, is from Russia.
The project came about when the Russian Government gave the foundation a portion of Tulon Island located on Lake Ladoga. The project will show Russian villagers and farmers small-scale and self-sufficient methods of farming and will include domes and other buildings.
Many Russian farmers have lost the ability to do small-scale farming because of several generations of communist large-scale farming techniques.
The project is a spin-off from the Center for Citizen Initiatives, a program that aids Russian citizens in many ways: for example, establishing Alcoholics Anonymous in Russia, and teaching American capitalist techniques to Russian businesses through an exchange program.
CCI has worked with Russian agriculture sending tons of surplus seeds via U.S military planes to that country, and in other ways. Basically, CCI is "citizen to citizen" and its motto is "When the People Lead, the Leaders Will Eventually Follow."
Ian's fraternal aunt, Sharon Tennyson, is the founder and president of this San Francisco non-profit organization dedicated to aiding Russia with hands-on treatment and low-cost foreign assistance programs.
When Ian left Pagosa Springs, he flew from Denver to Amsterdam and then from Amsterdam to Helsinki. From there he went by car to his destination. Lake Ladoga is a large fresh water sea near the Russia-Finland border.
Fun on the run
Mrs. Lonefold's dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman.
He couldn't accommodate her with an evening appointment, and, since she had to go to the work the next day, she told him, "I'll leave the key under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I'll mail you the check. By the way, don't worry about my Rottweiler. He won't bother you. But, whatever you do, do not under any circumstances talk to my parrot!"
When the repairman arrived at Mrs. Lonefold's apartment the next day, he discovered the biggest and meanest looking Rottweiler he had ever seen. But, just like she said, the dog just lay there on the carpet watching the repairman go about his business. However, the whole time he was there, the parrot drove him nuts with his incessant yelling and name-calling.
Finally the repairman couldn't contain himself any longer and yelled, "Shut up, you stupid ugly bird!"
To which the parrot replied, "Get him, Brutus!"
Health care promise was broken: court ruling
A class-action group is claiming victory after a court ruled the federal government broke a promise of free lifetime health care to elderly military retirees.
The federal ruling paves the way for a class-action lawsuit that could end up costing the government billions of dollars.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Washington D.C. that two retired Air Force officers from Fort Walton Beach - Sam Schism and Robert Reinlie - are entitled to damages because of the broken promise. A three-judge panel of the appellate court unanimously reversed a 1998 decision by U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson and sent the case back to determine damages owed to Schism and Reinlie.
The appellate court ruled the government breached an "implied in-fact contract," for free lifetime care when it required the retirees to join the Medicare program. The appeals court reversed Vinson's ruling that retirees failed to prove they had such a contract in return for serving at least 20 years.
"The military has used promises of free, lifetime health care to recruit and retain personnel to perform hazardous duties, often for less pay than they could have received in the civilian sector," wrote Chief Judge Haldane Mayer in the appellate opinion. "In fact, the record shows that the Army made these promises in its recruiting brochures as recently as the 1990s."
The appeals court rejected a government argument that the promise is unenforceable because Congress never authorized it. The judges held that military regulations were sufficient. They cited a 1995 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in holding agreements made by the Federal Home Loan Bank Board with savings and loan institutions.
Their lawyer, retired Air Force Col. George "Bud" Day, plans to seek a class action status that would apply the decision to about three million retirees who joined the military before June 7, 1956. The group formed when Day filed the lawsuit in 1996 to permanently restore military medical care to all retired veterans and their dependents.
A Congressional act in 1956 ended military health-care benefits for retired veterans when they reached age 65. Congress last year extended the military health care program called Tricare to include retirees who had been on Medicare. That will give them much of the relief sought in the suit, but still falls short of the free care promised, Day said. Retirees are finding it harder to obtain free care in military hospitals and clinics due to spending reductions and base closures. The military has been forcing retirees into the Medicare program when they turn 65. The group is seeking reimbursement for Medicare fees deducted from pension checks and the expense of supplemental insurance. Those yearly costs for a retiree and spouse typically run in excess of $4,000. It is expected the federal government will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Veterans Service Office will be closed April 16-20 while the VSO attends the semiannual state VSO training conference in Denver. The office will be open for business again at 8 a.m., April 23.
For information on these and other veteran's benefits please call or stop by the office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is email@example.com. The office is open from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, or Friday by appointment. Bring a DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Town enters team in La Plata Sandy Koufax Leauge
Indoor soccer games for youth and adults continue for two more weeks.
Registration forms are available at Town Hall and at the junior high gym. Games are played Tuesday and Thursday evenings with youth playing at 6 p.m. and adults (18 and over) playing at 7:30 p.m. Registration fees are $10 for youth and $15 for adults.
Please call the recreation office for more information at 264-4151.
Youth baseball registration is going on now through April 20 with forms available at Town Hall or at local schools.
This year's senior league, with players age 13 and 14, has formed a team to play in the La Plata Sandy Koufax league. Practices are held Sunday nights at 6 p.m. at the high school field.
The recreation department is also forming a second team, for players not selected for the La Plata Youth Baseball team. Registration forms are available at Town Hall. Registration deadline is April 20.
Bambino league players, ages 11-12, are encouraged to attend group practices April 23-24 at the Sports Complex, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Bambino coaches will choose teams at an April 25 meeting, 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Uniforms and equipment will also be distributed at that time.
Practices will start the first of May and games will take place Tuesday and Thursday evenings through June 28.
Anyone interested in helping coach or umpire during this year's season should contact Summer at Town Hall, 264-4151.
Clinic and challenge
This year's baseball clinic will be held in conjunction with the Colorado Rockies Skills Challenge. The clinic will take place June 1-2. The Rockies Skills Challenge will be held Saturday afternoon following the baseball clinic. Both events are free.
Fast-pitch softball teams are being formed for girls ages 13-14 and 15-16 years of age. Teams will participate in a Durango league with games starting as early as mid-May.
Registration forms are available at Town Hall. Registration fee is $50 and a copy of the player's birth certificate must accompany the registration form.
Four Corners Cup
The next race in the series will be in Farmington, at Pinion Mesa, April 21. This is the second mountain bike race in the point series and the course is a single tract route. Information or registration forms can be obtained by calling (505) 599-1140.
The next Park and Recreation Commission meeting at Town Hall is scheduled Monday at 6 p.m. The public is welcome and pizza is served.
Protect children from abuse, neglect
Child Abuse Prevention month kicked off April 7 with the Kids Fair at Our Savior Lutheran Church.
The Child Welfare Department of Social Services joins in the celebration of this event every year with an information booth and activities for the children, because prevention of child abuse begins with community support of families with young children.
Many people and local agencies in the community serve children and families, but Social Services is legally mandated to ensure that children are protected from abuse or neglect. Of course, without community support, Social Services could not do its job, so partnership with the community is essential.
The exact picture of abuse and neglect to children in Archuleta County is impossible to ascertain because child abuse often goes unreported. According to Shelley Pajak, Child Welfare Program Supervisor, from June 1999 to June 2000, 78 cases of child abuse were reported.
Shelley and co-workers Kathy Kulyk and Heidi Martinez respond to calls and conduct safety assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The question Shelley is most often asked is, "At what age can a child be left alone?" Colorado does not have a specific law or policy to address this question. However, caseworkers are thoroughly trained by the Colorado Department of Human Services to assess safety concerns to determine if an investigation should be conducted on a case-by-case basis.
If anyone has a concern about the safety and welfare of a child, a report needs to be made to the Department of Social Services 24-hour line at 264-2182. Reporting source names are kept confidential.
What many people do not know about Child Welfare Services is that most of the families served are those who contact the agency themselves. From June 1999 to June 2000, the department provided support services to 96 children and their families.
The most common request for services involves a parent asking for help to better manage a child's behavioral problem - problems such as anger and acting out, depression, school truancy, poor school performance, substance use, delinquency, and non-compliance with parents and others in authority.
None of the three caseworkers for the agency handle these complex situations alone, but contract out for assistance concerning home-based therapy, life skills, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, school day treatment and youth behavior coaching.
These services are conducted not just in the counselor's office, but in the home, school and other places in the community the family prefers. Social Services is privileged to work with a number of outstanding professionals including Barbara Jetley, Kathy Allen, Angelika Kalem, Greg Winsell, Karol Novak, Julie Greenly, Nancy Miquelon, Michael Wray, Mary Baldwin, Dan Stephanus and Bev Sondag.
Archuleta County Child Welfare services is accountable to a community advisory council called the Child Protection Team. The team meets monthly, but can be convened whenever necessary since, by law, all investigated cases of child abuse must be reviewed within seven days.
Social Services thanks the following team members for their dedication to service: Kathy Allen, Father John Bowe, Dr. Robert Brown, Karyn Brughelli, Candace Dzielak, Carmen Hubbs, Susie Kleckner, Margie Lucero, Nancy Miquelon, Manuel Trujillo, Police Chief Don Volger, and Wayne Walls. Special thanks go to Karyn Brughelli, Susie Kleckner and Margie Lucero, the team members who review cases every week.
Another vital program in Child Welfare is the Family Foster Home Program. May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month, and I will do a special feature then.
For more information about Child Welfare Services call 264-2182. To make a donation to families, disabled adults or the elderly call me at 264-2182 ext. 212 and your donation will be accepted. A tax receipt will be prepared for you.
New artist plans adventure of lifetime
You still have another week to see the amazing work of Rusty Gibbs, young artist extraordinaire.
It is most unusual for obvious talent to be evident at such an early age - 22 - but his creations certainly attest to that fact. He has already developed an unique and colorful style which sets his work apart from the mainstream.
With a background of abstract color, the detailed subject of the painting is brought into acute focus in a way which rivets the attention of the viewer on the subject. It cannot be properly explained, it is something one must experience to understand.
If you haven't purchased one of these delightful paintings, do so as your opportunity is limited. It is with regret that I must inform you that Rusty may not be making Pagosa his permanent home as we had all hoped. He has plans to spend the summer in Europe, traveling extensively and, no doubt, seeing all the marvelous works of art and nature which abound there. It is an adventure of a lifetime and we share his excitement, knowing that this will influence his future works in a hundred subtle ways. The future for Rusty beyond this trip is still unknown but we want him to know that he will always be welcome in Pagosa.
Images from Russia
April 19 marks the opening of an exhibit by eminent world traveler and scientist, Dr. William Sokolenko.
In his second exhibit here, Dr. Sokolenko brings the beauty of Russia to life in his exquisite photographs of Krasnoyarsk City, Stolby National Park, Lake Baikal, the Sayan Mountains and many Orthodox churches. The exhibit also includes views of Arizona, Colorado and Utah.
Employed by the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dr. Sokolenko has turned a lifelong hobby into a part-time profession. He has held ten personal exhibitions in Russia and done work for publishers, Russian magazines and marketing agencies. Fifty of his photos of Karsnoyarsk Stolby National Park were selected for the UNESCO educational project.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, the 1970 Nobel Prize winner for literature who was exiled from the Soviet Union in 1974, is his most famous sitter for a portrait.
The vastness of the Soviet Union, encompassing eleven time zones, is difficult for the western mind to comprehend. The U.S. and half of Canada would fit into Siberia alone. The journey from Los Angeles to New York is only half the distance across the Soviet Union. Most Americans have a very limited knowledge of the Soviet Union and Dr. Sokolenko has greatly enhanced the viewers' appreciation of the subject by providing a brochure containing historical information about the places where the pictures were taken.
If you enjoy the suspense of a mystery thriller, you will want to purchase a copy of the booklet, "How I Escaped From the Soviet Union" by Dimitri Sokolenko, Dr. Sokolenko's son. It relates the events from his first thoughts of escape through the many steps necessary to reach freedom in the U.S. Also available is a CD of Russian music composed by Alexander Feht, Dr. Sokolenko's son-in-law. It is a brilliant collection of the works of Poe, Shelley and Michelangelo, as well as Russian poets, set to original music which inspires the soul. This is definitely an item for your CD collection.
Be sure to attend the April 19 reception, 5-7 p.m. at the PSAC Gallery at Town Park. Welcome this brilliant and talented man whose photos speak the universal language of nature and beauty. The exhibit runs through May 16.
Just a reminder that this month's Whistle Pig House Concert will be Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Hudson home. No one could make you feel more welcome than Bill and Clarissa. It's more like a gathering of good friends than a formal concert.
Our own local flute quartet will be featured Saturday with a wide range of musical styles. We often don't realize how fortunate we are to have such talent in our midst, so don't miss this opportunity to enjoy an evening of beautiful music, delicious dessert and good company for only a $7 donation. Call 264-2491 for reservations.
Angel Box painters
This group of tole painters creates small boxes which are sent to hospitals to be given to parents who have lost an infant. Parents can keep mementos of their child in these memory boxes. The group meets every Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.
Call Rosie Hatchett at 264-6987 for more information and meeting location
If you would like to take advantage of the PSAC membership discount, just stop by the gallery at Town Park and fill out a membership form. Membership is $20 a year for individuals and $30 for a family. Start enjoying membership benefits today.
Flowers as Art
A special thank you to Marguerite at Mountain Greenery for providing the complimentary floral arrangements for each of our exhibit open house receptions. These beautiful arrangements draw many complements from our visitors. Each is really a work of art in itself.
Aid the arts
PSAC is a part of the City Market Cares electronic fundraising program for not-for-profit organizations. When you shop at City Market, the Arts Council earns money which is distributed quarterly. Bring your Value Card to the gallery to sign up. There is no cost to you, but you are still supporting the arts in your community.
For more information call the gallery at 264-5020.
Winter hours at the gallery are 11 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. Exhibit openings, always on a Thursday, are 5 - 7 p.m.
Personality I.Q. workshop highlights color as key
Today - Oil painting, Extension Office, 4:30 p.m.
Today - Mandatory livestock meeting for steer, swine and lamb, Extension Office, 6:30 p.m.
Tomorrow - Cloverbuds, Extension Office, 2 p.m.
Tomorrow - Entomology, junior high science lab, 2 p.m.
Saturday - Dog obedience, Exhibit Hall, 10 a.m.
Saturday - District fine arts, Durango, 1 p.m.
April 17 - Leaders appreciation dinner committee meeting, Extension Office, 5:15 p.m.
April 18 - Small engines, Exhibit Hall, 5 p.m.
April 19 -Oil painting, Extension Office, 4:30 p.m.
Personality I.Q. helps you acquire a deeper understanding of yourself and others. You will discover valuable insights that have innumerable applications in work, family and personal relationships. These insights lead to clearer perceptions and greater appreciation of the gifts we offer each other on the journey of life.
This has also been known as Colours I.Q. Find out what your predominant color, supporting color and your lowest colors are. Your top score-color is something that stays predominant throughout your life. Your score total may change and your supporting color may become closer to the number one color.
Your supporting color may change based on life's circumstances. As you age, you may find this color slipping down into another position. Divorce, a death in the family, a new career, parenting, often alters the secondary and lower colors. You may be forced into a different role in life and as a result, skills will be developed and possibly interests will change. You may find that you need to operate out of your lower color at work or when parenting. Of course, just recognizing our lower color is beneficial. This starts the journey of being aware and strengthening an area that before we perceived as a weakness.
This fun and interesting program is available free to the public. Please contact the Extension office to RSVP at 264-5931. This workshop will be held April 25 at 7 p.m.
What simple practice seems to have one of the greatest effects on how well children do in school? Eating breakfast.
Study after study has shown that children and adult students who eat breakfast do more and better work in school that those who don't. By contrast, those who don't eat breakfast tend to tire more quickly, be more irritable and react less quickly than those who do eat breakfast.
The suggested reasons are many. One is that children who eat breakfast are generally better nourished. In a recent study, children who ate breakfast at school or at home scored higher in overall diet quality than those who did not eat breakfast. Even marginal iron deficiency can affect children's behavior and cognition. Iron-enriched cereals and breads are an important source of iron for most children.
Another possible reason children fed breakfast do better in school is simply relief from hunger. When children are hungry, they have more difficulty concentrating on such tasks as arithmetic and reading retention. In both short- and long-term studies conducted in Jamaica, students fed breakfast at school consistently did better on cognitive tests than those not fed breakfast. This was especially true among children who were short or underweight for their height. An added bonus in the long-term studies was better attendance among the students in the groups fed breakfast than in the control groups not receiving breakfast at school.
If breakfast is so important, why is it often skipped? The most frequently heard reasons include: "There isn't time," "Food that early makes me sick," "I don't like breakfast foods," and "I'm skipping breakfast for weight control."
In many cases, reframing your concept about breakfast makes it easier to fit into your day. Breakfast can be simple or elaborate, cooked or uncooked, sit-down or eaten on-the-run, low or high in calories, mundane or varied. The main thing to remember is to include it in your morning routine.
Breakfast also can be just about anything, from last night's leftover pizza to a peanut butter sandwich to cereal and milk. For the person on the run, an instant blended breakfast made with milk and a commercial formula or your own concoction of dry milk, ice cream and fruit or juice might hit the spot. If this doesn't appeal to you, there's always peanut butter, granola or oatmeal cookies. When served with milk, these provide early morning energy for kids on the go. Grapes, apples, bananas, hunks of cheese, cartons of yogurt and hard-cooked eggs are all other quick and easy on-the-go breakfast ideas.
Besides lack of time, saving calories is the most common reason given for skipping breakfast. If your typical breakfast is a couple of donuts and coffee with two teaspoons of sugar, you've reason to be concerned about the value of the calories you're taking for breakfast. The answer, however, is not to skip breakfast, but to select a breakfast that provides you with the nutrients you need to get you going for the fewest calories. For example, a breakfast of eight ounces of skim milk with once ounce of dry cereal or toast and six ounces of fruit juice provides less than 250 calories but enough energy, protein, vitamins and minerals to help you avoid mid-morning fatigue and the subsequent urge to eat anything in sight.
Hands off the schools
Against the background of talk about problems with education, one thing becomes clear: elected officials should stay out of the day-to-day operation of our public schools.
Elected officials at all levels - federal, state and local - have for years saddled educators with tangential duties: with the roles of police officer, social worker, daycare provider, therapist, surrogate parent.
Educators are buffeted by demands levied on them by elected officials: laws and edicts are issued demanding reductionist solutions to complex problems; asking that learning be gauged by simpleminded tests; pushing half-baked educational theories on teachers, schools and districts. Government holds school districts and employees economic hostage until demands are met, until it is clear the edicts have failed and new ones are issued.
Typical of this trend is Colorado's proposed Senate Bill 45, the "Child Mental Health Act." The bill rests on the premise the safety of residents of the state depends on linking schools to mental health clinics and training teachers and administrators to refer children to mental health professionals.
This is proposed in light of growing suspicion by many that we've been duped by a mental health and counseling industry reliant on the identification of "disorders" among our youth. This bill is proposed over and against the reality that parents and children have ready access to help if it is needed, and can take responsibility to seek it out.
In schools, there is no reason teachers and administrators can't use proven academic and disciplinary measures to deal with problems, if elected officials - and a growing number of dysfunctional parents - will let them.
Senate Bill 45 and any like it should be disposed of in quick order.
Elected officials, at all levels, need to redefine their roles regarding education. It is time they communicate with teachers and allow them to identify techniques needed to produce the best performances at the highest levels in each situation. And concentrate on teaching.
Once this happens, let leaders in business and higher education help determine basic goals for K-12 education; it is in the work world and universities that education is put to the test. Let teachers - not officials and administrators - determine the best way to reach those goals with each student.
Politicians - most of whom, once they cease exaggerating their abilities and accomplishments, would have a hard time meeting realistic standards - should work to facilitate the needs of teachers rather than to determine what those needs might be.
If they want to influence behavior, public servants should pass resolutions concerning parenting. Redefine child abuse to include allowing children to dominate the household, permitting children to dictate the content of entertainment in the home, rationalizing dishonesty and an absence of moral resolve, excusing a lack of discipline and poor work habits. If we need a law, direct it at the behavior of parents who attack educators and administrators for asking children to strive for excellence, to control behavior, to practice respect. Pass a law that makes it a misdemeanor for parents to ask a school to do what they cannot do, or to display bumper stickers hooting about a child's performance in a school corrupt with low standards and inflated grades. Pass a law to ensure parents ask for more, not less, from educational institutions - and act in support of the effort. Make it a crime to have a child used as a buffer for a parent's shortcomings and insecurities.
Otherwise, wise leaders, leave the schools alone.
Semi-retirement can be puzzling
Our two oldest grandchildren flew into Durango Friday morning and brought their mom and dad along for a spring break vacation.
The only drawback is that the rain followed them here from Southern California. When their rain reached Wolf Creek we had some blizzard-condition skiing. The fresh snow made for great skiing. The cold winds made for a frozen Granddad and a hacking cough.
Trying to act semi-retired, I took my camera along to Wolf Creek, but due to the swirling snow, the lens cover remained in place all day. At least it did until we were on our return trip down the mountain.
Flashing emergency warning lights atop Sheriff Phil Leggit's Mineral County patrol car caught our attention as we neared the San Juan Overlook. Then we saw two Colorado State Patrol cruisers and an Emergency Medical Services ambulance. Naturally Trey and Taige wanted to know what was happening and why I was stopping.
It offered an opportunity to explain the difference between retired and semi-retired. Had I been retired I would have slowed down, followed the hand signals of an EMT and driven slowly around the hairpin curve and continued on home.
Being semi-retired, I pulled off the highway, turned on the van's flasher lights and grabbed my camera. I explained that hopefully a rescue operation was underway. That I'd be right back as soon as I tried to shoot some photos for the SUN. Unfortunately it was a recovery operation.
I had climbed onto the berm and was aiming a telephoto lens down the canyon's chute when an EMT radioed Phil that he had spotted a boot protruding from a snow bank above him. A minute or so later he called into say that he had found the driver's body.
I'm retired in the sense that I'll dodge the office for four or five days while Trey and Taige are visiting. But I'm semi-retired in the sense that I'll try to help out if the need arises. I'm thankful Tess is on board to help with the reporting. I'm looking forward to reading her article and to learning if the photos were usable.
That's one of the interesting things about the newspaper business, you never know when you will come across a news story, a photo or ideas for a weekly column.
Such was the case Monday afternoon while driving back from Durango. Tom was working on The New York Times crossword puzzle in The Denver Post and asked for help on 11 down - a four-letter word for "Easter entree." Having never considered New York Times crossword puzzles as a proponent of the gospel, I hesitated before suggesting L-A-M-B. It was the correct word. John the Baptist had provided the answer in the New Testament when one day he saw Jesus of Nazareth and proclaimed, "Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
This in turn got me to thinking about the recent situation with local members of The Gideons International organization handing out New Testaments on the sidewalk behind the middle school.
Obviously there were differing opinions on the part of parents as to whether the Gideons had the right to conduct such activities on public sidewalks.
Teachers probably wish that teaching, understanding, learning and incorporating a concept into daily practice was that simple. Hand a student a math text book; and if he takes it home, or throws it in his locker, keeps it on his book shelf or reads it from time to time, then he automatically becomes a mathematician.
It's the sort of thing that makes it difficult being a parent or grandparent these days. There are pro-choice folks out there who say that youngsters should make their own decisions when they unexpectedly find themselves in life-changing situations. Still, you've got to protect your little loved ones from reading the New Testament or The New York Times crossword puzzles.
Happy Easter, give some consideration to what entree you serve.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of April 11, 1901
Mr. Sullenberger informs us that it is his intention to change the time schedule on the Pagosa & Northern Railroad about May 1st to 15th, providing the citizens of our town don't continue their kicking about the rate on express and freight shipments. We must remember that the expense has been heavy and the road is new.
The services at the M.E. Church Sunday evening in honor of the observance of Children's Day were appreciated by a large audience. The children did nobly and received much commendation.
J.A. Russell is up from the Navajo today. He is having some trouble with his ranch. It seems to have been taken as placer claims, he having not properly filed on said land.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 9, 1926
Alice Peterson of the Bayles school, southwest of Pagosa Springs, will represent Archuleta County in the state spelling contest to be held in Denver on Tuesday of next week, having obtained the highest grade, 94, in the county contest held at the courthouse Saturday afternoon.
At a depth of slightly over 150 feet the G.S. Hatcher hot water well on Wednesday morning encountered a heavy flow of hot water of 135 degrees, which corresponds to the similar flow and depth struck in the Montroy well nearby some time ago. The same evening, owing to the rise and fall of the pressure caused by the Hatcher well, the top casing of the Arlington well burst. As a result, the Arlington well will be re-cased as early as possible, the present casing now being in place for twenty years.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 13, 1951
At their meeting on Thursday night of last week, the Lions Club named Lion George Alley as the outstanding Lion of the year and made him an honorary, dues-free member for the coming year. This action was taken in recognition of Mr. Alley's efforts in the building line over the past year of two. He has constructed three new business places and has rid the town of some old buildings that were more or less eye sores.
As a result of recent legislation by the state legislature School District 50 Joint will find itself again electing a complete school board in less than two years. This time five members of the board must be elected with one coming from each of five new voting districts. All members now on the board will be eligible for reelection.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of April 8, 1976
Town voters indicated their approval of a proposal to donate some town land for a hospital site, in the event that a hospital is constructed here. They also returned two incumbents, Butch Madrid and Ross Maestas, to the town board while electing one new member, Ross Aragon.
Weather this past week has been typical April weather and wasn't too pleasant at times. A little rain fell in town, and about four inches of new snow was reported on Wolf Creek Pass.
The Pagosa Water and Sanitation District this week let a contract for approximately $724,000 for the construction of additional water and sewer lines at Pagosa.
The New Mexico State Junior Olympics Boxing Tournament will be held in Pagosa Springs this weekend.
Oil the lanes, we need a bowling house
What's missing in Pagosa Country?
I've quietly been asking this question for several weeks wherever two or more persons were gathered. And there seems to be a consensus.
But let me build to that.
There have been a wide-ranging number of responses, from a 24-hour restaurant to a good shoe store, from a bowling house to a convention center, from a domed stadium to better marked high country trails.
All are desirable in some communities, some out of the question for Pagosa Country. The domed stadium falls in the latter category. A convention center would have limited usage and probably would not have been mentioned if the planned community center and its crowd service facilities already were reality.
The 24-hour restaurant, like several other ideas, is something which has been suggested before. However, there is some question that there is enough nighttime traffic to warrant such an endeavor.
It would probably be utilized most by passing tourists. And while a number of respondents favored the idea, most felt it would be more logical to have a good family restaurant open from 6 a.m. to midnight.
While there are several local firms which sell shoes, some of them for specialized uses, readers point out, there is no general shoe store which offers all forms of footwear at reasonable prices.
And so, in this self-conducted, unscientific survey, the ideas boiled down to a choice between the shoe store and a bowling facility, with the latter the convincing winner.
It seems those favoring such an operation believe the many retirees who have made this their home generally come from city-suburban areas where bowling is a recreational mainstay. Most have participated in leagues, have shelves of trophies looking for a place to go, and are unwilling to drive 60 miles to the closest bowling alley to keep up their skill level.
The primary concern with such an endeavor would, of course, be the initial investment. Some say $250,000 would be needed to seed a professional installation supported by one of the major manufacturers. Overall, initial cost with manufacturer subsidy, would probably near $1 million.
That's a sizable sum for a small mountain community, and is based on industry averages of 24-lane operations as a minimum. A smaller house, 12 lanes, for example, might be more affordable but probably would not qualify as a manufacturer-supported operation.
Another concern is adequate space for parking and future expansion. Most who discussed the issue feel a five-acre site would be the minimum and that 10 acres would be more logical. Add the land cost to the total investment and you have a huge chunk of change involved.
But there are mitigating factors if the business is well-managed. Once the initial investment in house shoes (for rental), balls (various weights from six through 16 pounds for those who do not own their own), and a pro shop where bowling gear can be sold, has been made, the flow will generally be incoming.
Rental fees for lanes and shoes help pay for utilities and employees. Such an operation demands a snack area, probably with hot sandwiches, soft drinks and coffee as attractions. Most also have a lounge serving at least beer for adult customers. And many have a meeting room as an added attraction.
Good management requires strict crowd control, including enforcement of laws against smoking and drinking by minors, a well-trained technician who can deal with breakdowns in automatic pinsetters and automatic scoring systems, and is adept at applying a nightly bowling association approved oiled lane surface.
It was the consensus that a bowling facility would be a money-making enterprise in Pagosa Country and that it would most likely be one needing expansion in as little as five years.
Respondents noted the probability of senior citizen leagues, realtor leagues, tavern leagues, junior leagues by age level, family leagues, mixed leagues, men's leagues, women's leagues, ad infinitum.
Each league pays a house fee, a league fee and bowling association fees. Most also add a fee for the end of season prize fund. Summer leagues are normally 12 weeks, fall and winter leagues much longer (often 35 weeks). Total fees are normally $15 or less per week.
If you assume 24 lanes will be constructed and at peak time there would be four teams bowling on each lane, you have a need for parking for at least 100 vehicles. The industry norm in metro areas is two parking spaces per team bowling (assuming teams often will ride together). However, some leagues have five-member teams and others as few as three, depending on state standards.
Thus, it is safe to assume parking for at least 150 vehicles would be needed for a successful bowling operation.
It is, admittedly, a stiff price to pay to provide a place for someone else to recreate. But with substantially more than 10,000 people in the area during peak tourist seasons, it is probably an enterprise which would be a profit-maker within five years and most likely sooner.
The shoe store idea drew nine fewer than the 22 favoring bowling. Eight liked the idea of a 24-hour restaurant, two saw the need for a domed stadium and one each favored a convention center, an improved trail marking system, fewer things to attract tourists, having every road in the county paved to eliminate the summer dust and particulate accumulations in the air we breathe and finally, one opted for a nuclear powered generating station to provide electricity for eternity here.
I'm a longtime bowler but one without the investment funds such an operation would take. If there's anyone interested out there, I'd be your first customer when the Pagosa Pines opens.
And I suspect there'd be a long line behind me.
Myths of the Great Pagosa Hot Springs
Many legends are attached to the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. The following story, fortunately is not part of the lore of the Great Pagosa, but it did appear in the San Francisco Weekly Examiner July 9, 1891.
"Pagosa Springs, (Col.), July 2-One of the most horrible incidents that has ever occurred in the West happened here at the great hot spring last Sunday. This spring is about thirty yards in diameter, being a large pool of boiling sulpho-alkaline water. In the center of the pool no bottom has ever been found, although a line has been let down for 300 feet, weighted with a cannon ball. One of the peculiarities of the spring is that whatever is thrown into the center gradually disappears and never comes to the top again.
"Last Sunday a lot of freighters, prospectors and cowboys had assembled at the springs and were well filled with whiskey. Charles Johnson, a freighter who came here from Missouri, offered to bet that he could swim across the pool. The party was too full to realize the awful danger and the bet was quickly covered. Twenty dollars on each side was put up and Johnson stripped preparatory for the attempt. A boat was procured and Johnson stood up in the stern ready to jump, when he lost his balance and fell into the boiling water. He rose to the surface and was grasped by his companions, but the hot alkaline solution caused his skin to peel and he slipped from their hands. The second time he came up he was caught by the hair and arms. The hair came out, but he was drawn to the shore in a most horrible condition. The flesh literally dropped from his legs and lower portion of his body, exposing his bones and intestines. He died within five minutes of the time that he struck water.
"The corrosive action of the water was so great that it was almost impossible to handle the body, and within two hours after death the flesh had fallen from the bones from the shoulders down, leaving the upper part of the body, the arms and the head in a most horrible condition.
"This is the second human being who is known to have been in the pool. The first is a negro soldier, who jumped in for a swim in 1878. He immediately disappeared and was never seen again."
After running the above article in the Pagosa Springs News, editor Daniel Egger made the following comments: "It is not known here who the author of the above fake may be, but it is presumed to be some penny-a-liner who had viewed our great hot spring and set his flighty imagination to work.
"Barring part of the description of the spring, there is not a single word of truth in the whole article. There is a story afloat that a government mule got into the pool in 1878 and his hair came off and he died."
Tongue in cheek, Egger continued: "Anglers fish in the great pool and yank out trout already cooked and ready for the table, but if any human being was ever boiled in this nature's greatest curiosity, there is no known record of it."
On a different topic, The SUN received the following letter from Jim Matthews of Albuquerque. The letter speaks for itself, but I want to say how much I appreciate receiving information from readers that adds to our knowledge of local history. I encourage questions, comments, and any kind of discussion.
"Dear Editor, I've been delighted by the recent photographs and writings by Mr. Motter in the Sun.
"In particular the photograph of Mr. Fil Byrne and Mr. Henry Gordon on their horse and mule took me back to my childhood.
"Mr. Byrne had owned the property west of ours (Rockridge) and was friend to my parents, but more enduring was the memory of Mr. Gordon, who was the embodiment of my new young awareness of pioneers, adventure, history makers, and best of all, real cowboy.
"In those days, many years after the time of the photograph, I would stop my playing to watch Mr. Gordon ride in to town on his tall grey mule. He was as comfortable and in place there as if the mule was what another man's sofa would be in another time. He rode alone among the cars with his friends all around him. His old mule walked slowly, dignified, aware of his position and responsibility as companion to a living legend. I'm sure now that he was only aware of his burden's frailty and acted properly, as familiars do, but I couldn't help but want him to be a horse. Tom Mix and Ken Maynard would have had a horse. Even singing cowboys would have a horse.
"One of Mr. Gordon's favorite places in town when he needed to rest and visit was my father's barber shop. There he could talk to his friends and if the thought came to him he could get a free haircut, and it wasn't very far back from there to where his mule was waiting.
"That gave me my chance to get close enough to see the important details - the stiff wide rimmed hat, the white bushy mustache, the fancy belt buckle and wide suspenders - all very proper for a hero in his day and in my eyes.
"My dad asked, 'Why don't you talk to him?' He asked it more than once. So at last I did and I asked him to tell me about his ranch. His face was happy and his eyes were kind and he was pleased with me and he talked quite a bit. I was sitting right beside him but his voice was thready and very, very old so I couldn't understand what he said but I didn't care. I was completely overjoyed.
"Without our knowing it he spoke across generations and his message has taken on clarity and substance with the passing of time. Sometimes you don't need words. Respectfully, Jim Matthews."
Motter's comment: Henry Gordon died in Pagosa Springs during May of 1934 at the age of 101. Matthews' comment that "he spoke across generations" is certainly appropriate. According to his obituary, Gordon was born near St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 30, 1832. He would have been an adult teenager when the Civil War started. As a teenager he worked on the railroad between St. Louis and Kansas City. He later lived in Indian territory (Oklahoma) and still later drifted to Texas where he worked as a cowboy and associated with the O'Neals and Keiths. In 1873 or 1874 with the O'Neals and Keiths he drove a herd of longhorns from central Texas to Cimarron, N.M. The Mescalero Apache attacked the herd, killed at least one of the cowboys, and stole an estimated 1,000 head of cattle. Many years later, the U.S. government reimbursed the cowboys for the lost cattle. In 1877, the group moved to Cedar Hill, N. M., and then to the Pine River near Bayfield. In 1886 he moved with the O'Neals to what is known today as O'Neal Park north of Pagosa Springs. Gordon homesteaded there on Gordon Creek, a perpetual monument to his name. Henry Gordon never married. I welcome comment from other readers who may have known Henry Gordon, or other Pagosa Country pioneers.
Vacation: Circuit trap twixt heaven, hell
Vacation, n. act of vacating, to cause to be empty or unoccupied.
I'm driving the worst possible vehicle to have on the streets of Los Angeles - a Chevy pickup with a manual transmission - and I'm stuck in a traffic jam, northbound near the intersection of La Cienega and Airdrome.
A motel sign advertises "Color TV" and a banner at a car lot promises I can "Re-establish credit, instantly." This is a land of golden dreams, endless opportunities.
The Hollywood Hills loom ahead, barely visible through a curtain of crud. A young goofball wearing his hat backward pulls up next to me in a battered Saturn, playing his Best of Public Enemy CD at 7,000 decibels. I am assaulted by a cacophonous barrage of cartoonish bravado as I watch a guy with long matted hair, clad in newspapers and four overcoats, push a shopping cart full of cans over the curb, scattering the contents of the cart beneath the wheels of an idling bus.
I am in hell.
Most of my vacations trap me on a circuit between heaven and hell.
Suddenly, the light changes, traffic begins to move, I swing off La Cienega to 3rd Street, drive a couple of blocks to Orlando and I am at my hotel - the Beverly Plaza. It is a snazzy "boutique hotel," I have no idea what a boutique hotel is, but I know the moniker portends great expense. I pull to a stop beneath the front portico of the building, my Chevy truck wedged in a phalanx of Mercedes, BMWs, Jaguars.
A valet dashes to the truck, no doubt thinking he will have to shoo Kathy and me away to protect paying customers. I leap from the cab, careful not to slam the door and lengthen any of the cracks in the windshield, greeting my new friend with a smile and a five dollar bill.
"Our bags are in the trash sacks in the back of the truck, my man. Take them to the lobby." It is a moment of pure, transcendent joy.
I'm in Beverly Hills, just like Jed, Granny, Jethro and Ellie May.
I am on vacation, and I take the word literally. I vacate my normal environment, my accustomed income level and, most importantly, I vacate what little mind I have left.
I vacate and I am tabula rasa, my consciousness a soft, blank clay tablet, ready to be inscribed with information from another world.
Beverly Hills and parts of West Hollywood are another world - more interesting than Mars. What do I learn in Beverly Hills?
First, people are taller than in Pagosa Springs. And thinner. They dress in expensive clothing that makes them appear taller and thinner yet.
Second, this is a land of odd shoes: big shoes, high shoes, costly shoes.
Next, there is no such thing as an old car. Everyone drives new and very expensive automobiles; there is not another Chevy pickup within three miles, unless it is driven by a gardener. Cars are clean. There is no mud here.
There is a legion of youngsters on the streets and in the malls wearing pants hung halfway down their hips. Older people wear exercise suits during daylight hours. Occasionally, the elastic on the waistband of an exercise suit weakens and the pants fall halfway down the hips. Oh, my.
Fifth, there is an abundance of paintings of whales here. The whale painting is the west coast equivalent of the atrocious southwestern art that infests my homeland - the equal of clumsy, intellectually bankrupt, sentimental renderings of cowboys gathered around campfires, of grizzled frontiersmen, noble Indian warriors and Indian maidens, howling coyotes, mesas and mountain vistas. Bad art knows no boundaries.
Denizens of Beverly Hills seem locked in a solipsistic universe, but for connections via cell phones. Folks in la (I prefer lower case) now have cell phones with headsets. There are people walking around la - on sidewalks, at shopping malls, in restaurants - looking like they are blabbering to themselves. In a way, they are.
You have to make a long distance call to reach someone in the same city.
Not all is dismal, though. There is an upside to a big city, even this one - something to offset the legion of self-absorbed geeks and their churlish pursuits. There is culture here. It is stored away in secure facilities, and does not include paintings of whales.
I am stunned at an exhibition of self-portraits by the elderly Kathe Kollwitz. She compensates for a million pieces of sappy southwestern art.
There is an exhibition of rare Japanese woodblock prints and scrolls at LACMA, including Katsushika Hokusai's waterfall series, with the wonderful "Yono Falls in Mono province." I see Hokusai's "36 Views of Mt. Fuji." In one print, couriers ride from a village, all round hats and air-ripped robes, stylized garments and horses embodying motion, speed. No crusty cowpokes here.
Back at my boutique hotel, I have a revelation: the first person to invent a hotel room door that closes quietly will be a millionaire. I am growing mentally weak in hell.
Ah, but paradise is near.
There is food: the other positive gift of the massive urban megaplex.
For four consecutive mornings Kathy and I eat breakfast with daughter Ivy at a joint called Hugo's, on Santa Monica Boulevard.
At first, Kathy is outraged by the expense, but she calms when she realizes she is in the same room as Sandra Bullock. She calms further when she spots Paul Sorvino at an outdoor table. She can return home and tell everyone she had breakfast with Sandy and Paul.
Lunch at the Farmer's Market. A stop at Moishe's for felafel and chicken shawerma sandwiches. The "Tuna Explosion" sashimi plate is on special at a nearby sushi outlet.
Two dinners are notable.
One night, Ivy insists we go to Le Colonial, a French/Vietnamese fusion joint, supposedly a favorite of the smart set. If price, darkly paneled walls and fawning waiters in zippy black outfits are requisites of popularity, we are at the epicenter of chic.
I have a chicken dish, the meat marinated in sweetened fish sauce, sauteed with onion and hot peppers. Ivy orders filet in satay spices, cubes of beef melt-in-your-mouth tender, buoyed by a wonderfully-crafted, multi-layered mix of flavors. Kathy enjoys vegetables stir-fried crisp in a mysterious Vietnamese brew. She is unable to finish her entree because we are eating with Darryl Hannah. The actress appears and walks up the flight of stairs next to our table, on her way to a private party. She is extremely tall. I realize money makes a person tall in la. Tall people in la are wealthy; short people are poor. Money is fertilizer.
Our next night's dinner is taken at The Little Door - one of the nicest restaurants I have visited, anywhere.
The restaurant is located on 3rd Street, several blocks east of the Beverly Center. It sits in the middle of a block of nondescript cafes, furniture stores and nail salons. There is no sign; there are no windows visible from the street. There is nothing else to indicate a vendor of bliss does business beyond a heavy wood door but a flock of valet parking attendants hovering like carrion at the curb, and a large fellow dressed in black who sits on a stool next to the door, fixes you with a heavy gaze and inquires gruffly about your reason for appearing before him.
If reservations were made, paradise awaits.
For me, ecstasy involves a version of moussaka, made with lamb, artichoke hearts and a cinnamon-flicked bechamel graced with a dose of nutty, creamy goat cheese.
Kathy eats broiled mahi, done to a precious medium rare.
Ivy opts again for tenderloin, the massive filet covered with a gorgonzola sauce.
For starters, crab fritters with aioli and a beet salad with goat cheese. Breads are indescribably good - reminding me how spectacular the staff of life can be - rendered transcendent with a dribble of salted, fruity olive oil.
Ivy and I share a dessert and it is a revelation. I've eaten creme brulé in many places, in several countries. Never have I tasted anything like this - the caramelized sugar atop the custard micron-thin, brittle as glass, the interior rich and flowing.
The meal is mind-boggling. No, wait, the tab is mind-boggling.
That's the last thing carved in the tabula rasa: the price tag attached to pleasure when vacating in a major city. I've lived in big cities, I should remember - yet each time the reality hits me, I am stunned.
What starts as a minor economic abrasion at the beginning of the week becomes an uncontrollable hemorrhage. We spend money at a frightening pace - money we don't have and will never make. We are short and getting shorter by the moment. I hear the cackling of collection department employees at my credit card company . . . all the way from Boston!
It is time to beat it. Flee. Get back in the truck, motor through the crummy smaze to the 15 then up and over the hill to Barstow; take the 40 to Flag, hole up for the night. Cruise north, then east, past Tuba City, Kayenta, Teec Nos Pos, Cortez, up up in altitude. Hemorrhage at the gas pumps, hurtle through Durango and, finally, we're home.
Monday morning, after a night in my own bed, back in Pagosa - that simple, sweet land - I drive to work.
I stop at one of our two traffic lights, stuck in a line of cars.
A goofball wearing his hat backward pulls up next to me in a battered Saturn. He is playing his Best of Puff Daddy CD at 7,000 decibels . . .
There is no business news this week.