David L. Potter, chief executive officer of La Plata Electric Association - electric power provider for Archuleta County - resigned Monday to take a similar job with another electric cooperative in the state.
In a prepared statement, Potter said, "I'd rather not say exactly where" the new job will be, adding, "it pays more and it offers me more security because I have a contract with them."
An association news release announcing Potter's surprise move said his last day with LPEA will be July 15.
The utility's executive committee held an emergency session Monday to begin planning a course to follow after his departure and issued the following statements:
- We regret that CEO Potter will be leaving LPEA, and we appreciate the job he has done
- Greg Munro, currently chief operating officer, will be interim CEO until a replacement for Potter is found
- A search is underway to fill the position
- We are confident the co-op will remain strong and will continue to play a leading role in our communities.
Potter has been LPEA's CEO since 1985 and has been in the electric utility industry since 1973. During his and the board's leadership, a company statement said, the co-op has grown from assets of $43 million to today's level of $164 million. In addition, LPEA has refunded over $15 million in capital credits since 1985.
Potter has also been a major contributor to community organizations, serving as President of DACRA, the Durango Industrial Development Foundation and on the board of the United Way of Southwest Colorado.
Potter has been unsuccessful in several attempts to have the LPEA directors employ him under contract. His most recent salary with the firm was $163,016 annually.
In his letter of resignation to the board of directors, Potter said:
"I believe you can easily deduce what my reasons are. If you measure success in terms of customer satisfaction, rates and reliability we have had 16 winning seasons! In 2000 we had a losing season in terms of margins earned.
"It is time for me to find another team. It is time for you to get a new quarterback. I wish you the best in the future - I hope you wish the same for me. Good employees are the most important commodity for a company to possess in this new millennium. You have great employees! Cherish them! You have fine customers. Serve them!
"The future for LPEA looks bright. It's up to you as the leaders of LPEA to not dwell on the past but guide LPEA into its bright future."
Greg Comstock of Bayfield and James I. Newman of Barstow, Calif., have been named to a "short list" of candidates for the Director of County Development post vacated during March when Mike Mollica resigned.
"The next step is to interview these two by telephone," said Archuleta County Commissioner Bill Downey. "We'll do it by conference call so all members of the steering committee can take part. Following the interviews, we'll decide what to do next."
Downey is liaison between the board of county commissioners and the county planning department. He is also a member of the selection committee chosen by the county commissioners to choose a new planning department director. Members of the steering committee are Downey, Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission President Lynn Constan, USJRPC Vice President Bob Lynch, County Attorney Mary Weiss, and Administrative Assistant Kathy Wendt.
"The committee has the authority to make a selection," Downey said. "Any contracts that may be involved require approval by the board of commissioners."
The Director of County Development is responsible for running the county planning department. The planning department develops and enforces land use regulations.
An earlier county sally through the search and interview process ended in early May when the candidate chosen by the selection committee refused the position.
Members of the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board and staff from both the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Emergency Medical Services spent Friday night by the numbers.
The group discussed the district's current budget problems in a four and a half hour public meeting, paring the generalized deficit trends into some firm figures.
The clarification resulted in two sums - $127,000 and $50,000 - that represent what must be cut from the EMS and clinic expenses, respectively, in order to sidestep a shortfall in the 2001 budget.
Dick Babillis, board chairman and interim district manager, started the meeting by presenting a written breakdown of budget problems and silencing the question of blame.
"Ultimately, the board is responsible," Babillis said. "If we made our decision based on misinformation, shame on us."
In both the EMS and DMFC/Urgent Care budget breakdown based on May 31 figures, it was apparent in several instances that actual and expected expenses were outpacing the budget.
For instance, on the EMS side, $6,000 was originally budgeted for legal services. Babillis said general legal expenses have been averaging out at about $600 a month, a total of $7,200 for the year. Added to that, expenses for a de-Brucing lawsuit currently on appeal were scheduled to come from the same line-item. By May 31, nearly $15,000 had been spent on legal services with an additional $30,000 expected before the completion of the lawsuit.
Telephone services, gas and oil were other places the budget fell short.
A total of $5,200 was budgeted for telephone services in 2001. Through May 31, the district had paid about $4,000 with bills of around $5,800 expected for the rest of the year. Using pro-rated numbers for gas and oil spending, the last seven months of 2001 was expected to cost the district nearly $7,700 based on about 660 expected calls, compared with a $6,200 budget.
The total predicted budget shortfall for EMS if current spending levels are maintained is around $80,000. The additional $47,000 was tacked on to carry the division through to February 2002 when the next major tax income check is due.
Without carrying the budget through until that tax revenue was received, the board agreed, EMS would face another budget crunch early in 2002 and the problems would simply roll over.
Both Rod Richardson, EMS Operations Manager, and Laura Rome, DMFC Medical Director, presented some suggestions for increasing revenue and holding down spending for the rest of the year.
Richardson said work on completing some grant requests continued. Ambulance service increases, including a mileage increase, were in place, and a purchase-order freeze was set to take effect in July. Beyond that, he said, members of EMS had been asked to pay special attention to utility use in an attempt to save some money through conservation.
"All I can say is give us a chance to see what these things can do," he said.
Time, Babillis said, was a luxury the board could ill afford.
"We found this now, and it's big," he said. "The more we wait, the bigger it's going to get."
Wayne Wilson, a board member and CPA, said, in response to a direct question from another board member, the way out in this case is a tough dose to take.
"The only thing I can see is to reduce services," he said. "I know that's the worst thing, but that's the only way to alleviate the bleeding."
In the case of the Mary Fisher Medical Center and Urgent Care facility, the board asked staff to cut $50,000 for the rest of the year. That equals about $24,500 in budget shortfall, and an additional $24,500 slice from the tax income support derived from the district. Unlike EMS which receives its major revenue from tax dollars, most of the Mary Fisher Medical Center budget is funded through patient visits.
Rome said, as a start, staff had been asked to be especially frugal when ordering supplies. An annual across-the-board charge increase is set for October, and the medical care providers have been challenged to see at least three additional patients per day.
The division is also looking for cheaper long distance rates, working to encourage additional specialists to provide services to the center and renegotiating jail visit rates with the county.
A possible ballot issue to increase the mill levy was also discussed. Babillis stressed that straightening out the current problems had to come first.
"If people think we're getting a handle on our budget, they might support it," he said. "If not, they won't."
Rome and Richardson said work on identifying possible cuts had been initiated, but that additional time was necessary.
"In the last two weeks, I've been putting out spot fires," Richardson said, referring to concerns arising from the news of expected budget cuts "so some things I still need to finish."
In response, the board set yet another special meeting for July 9 at 5:30 p.m. At that time, both Richardson and Rome are scheduled to present a variety of scenarios for slicing down the budget on the expense side.
The initial indication that the district was in a budget crunch came on June 19 when Babillis gave the board some crude figures outlining the deficit trend. Friday offered the first chance to flush out the numbers.
Reconstruction of the Stevens Field taxiway started Monday, following a county commissioner split-vote approving the project.
The vote was taken last Thursday during a special meeting of the board of county commissioners. Included in the motion to begin the work was a provision that $200,000 be taken from unbudgeted and unappropriated surplus funds in the county general fund. Voting in favor of starting the work and appropriating the money were commissioners Gene Crabtree and Alden Ecker. Opposed was Commissioner Bill Downey.
Crabtree and Ecker cited county liability as the controlling reason for their start-the-work vote. The county owns the airport and leases land for hangars along the taxiway. The hangars are built by private owners. Crabtree and Ecker argue that, as landlord, the county is obligated to provide the hangar owners safe access.
Downey reported three reasons for opposing the action.
"I think we should have the money first," Downey said. "I also hoped the hangar owners would agree to share some of the cost. Finally, I see this as an action to benefit a few at a cost to many. The money could likely be better spent for other needs, maybe roads."
"We are the landlord and this is a safety factor," said Crabtree. "In the past, the county has repaved the surface, just a bandaid. Those bandaids cost as much as this project. This time it will be done right."
"We need to do it," Ecker said. "The liability of not doing it is too great."
While the county has set aside money from the general fund to finance the project, it has been negotiating with Wells Fargo Bank to obtain a loan under a plan that has been described as a lease-purchase arrangement. To that end, the commissioners met last week with Wells Fargo representative John Self.
Through their loan department, Wells Fargo has financed capital improvement projects for a number of Colorado counties, according to Self. The loans are tailored to avoid TABOR restrictions and other state laws that bear on county revenues and spending, he said.
Wells Fargo normally requires some form of collateral for loans. For example, Archuleta County agreements with Wells Fargo for financing the purchase of equipment are secured by the equipment.
The value of security committed for a loan must have a close relationship to the amount of money being loaned. For example, the commissioners learned that the $750,000 value of property purchased on Hot Springs Blvd. anticipating a new county courthouse is too much collateral.
An appraisal of two buildings at the airport has been ordered to determine if they will satisfy as collateral. Those buildings are Nick's Hangar and the Rover building. When they have the appraisals in hand, the commissioners expect to apply for the loan.
"The loan would be in the 5 to 5-1/2 percent range," Downey said. They (Wells Fargo) are confident they can do it."
A 60-day window immediately prior to the lease exists in which to obtain the loan, according to Downey.
"We have the money," Crabtree said. "It will only cost $46,000 a year if we spread it over five years or $74,000 a year if we spread it over three years. They are 99-percent sure they will be able to make the loan. It's better, if we can, to leave the money in reserve and use the bank's money."
Removing $200,000 from the unappropriated, unbudgeted surplus drops that budget item to about $192,000.
The current taxiway was formerly Stevens Field's principal runaway. Built primarily by volunteers, an inadequate base was provisioned over clay, then overlaid with asphalt. At that time, aircraft were much lighter than they are today and made less of an impact on the runway surface.
Nevertheless, water seeped into the clay beneath the surface, weakening the entire structure. Given the added weight of modern aircraft, the surface has deteriorated into a collage of potholes. Aircraft with propellers risk propeller damage, while turbine craft may absorb rocks or chunks of asphalt. Damage to the turbine craft could be costly to repair or could result in a crash after the craft is airborne. In addition, loose cobbles on the surface pose a threat to people on the ground. An aircraft propeller could launch a piece of asphalt through the air, striking someone with the lethal missile.
An asphalt milling machine leased by the county began work Monday. After the asphalt surface of the taxiway is ground into small pieces, the pieces will be pushed to one side. The underlying clay will be chemically stabilized and a new base built. After a vapor barrier is installed, a new asphalt surface will be constructed. The milled, former surface will be returned as part of the new asphalt surface.
If you think Wednesday's parade or the concert and fireworks last night ended the Pagosa-style Fourth of July celebration, put that holiday thinking cap back on.
And while you're at it, dig out the jeans and chaps and the red and white kerchief, dust off the cowboy hat, and get yourself in the mood for some real country-style entertainment.
You'll find it at the 52nd annual Red Ryder Roundup Rodeo at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.
Competition opened Wednesday afternoon and gets underway again at 6 p.m. today and Friday with rodeo fans watching as contestants from around the country put their skills on the line against some cantankerous broncs and bulls.
Or, maybe you're more interested in seeing ropers try to land a loop, and steer wrestlers take down and tie a single-minded steer. Or, some top-notch riders urging their steeds to victory in match races.
This is the place for action as the holiday celebration continues until the weekend.
You'll also see rodeo clowns who'll make you laugh while risking limbs and life to steer an angry animal away from a fallen contestant.
And don't think the competition is too tough for the little lady. Women's barrel racing is one of the favorite events at the rodeo every year and some of the female competitors are top ropers, too.
In fact, the distaff side is an important part of the rodeo world. Take for example, the royalty.
You'll see a pair of perky young ladies marshaling their talents to rule over the events. Watch for 2001 Red Ryder Roundup Queen Jacqueline Espoy and Princess Lauren Arnold.
If you aren't really into rodeo and things Western, but still need one last event to cap off your celebration of the nation's birthday, you might want to take a look at how some of the real first settlers of the area lived.
A Full Moon program will be presented tonight by the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area.
The program includes hiking up to the Great House Pueblo just before sunset, and a presentation on archaeoastronomy of the site given as the full moon rises over the San Juan mountains. Cost is $7.50 per person. The entry is three miles south of U.S. 160 on Colorado Route 151.
Has it been a great celebration? As the rodeo namesake's little companion would have answered: "You betchum Red Ryder!"
Mineral County has joined Archuleta County with a fire ban enacted at 11 a.m. Tuesday for all portions of the county on the west side of the Continental Divide.
Mineral County Sheriff Phil Leggitt, citing extremely dry conditions in the mountains despite Monday's rains, enacted the ban of all open burning.
Burning is permitted only in designated campground areas.
Leggitt said the ban will remain in effect until further notice in the area from East Fork northward and west to the head of the Piedra.
Archuleta County has a similar ban which went into effect June 26.
The simplicity of the ceremony was overshadowed by the enormity of its meaning to the community.
With 50 citizens basking under a warm Saturday morning sun the Hospice of Mercy Memorial Garden was dedicated, lying above the San Juan River behind the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center.
One thing was easily evident from the beginning.
The planners had a brilliant idea. So brilliant, in fact, that the public quickly utilized all available area and it was agreed the garden needs immediate expansion.
Plaudits were in order and Tina Graham, coordinator for Mercy Hospice events, was quick to note the site was contributed by the Chamber of Commerce, the landscaping by Fred and June Ebeling and the design and basic planting done by Brent Martin Landscaping. A bench alongside the garden was donated by Ponderosa Do It Best in memory of Stan Haynes.
"This will be a place," said Graham, "where the people of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County can come to remember those who have gone before. The plants grown here signify the continuance of our love and affection for those people."
With a crowd comprised of people in all age brackets and ethnic backgrounds, all with a knowledge of what hospice is, how it works, and what it has meant to people throughout the area, planners outlined their plans and hopes for the site.
Leon Simmons, chaplain for the Archuleta County branch of the hospice operation, asked the crowd to join a capella singing "America" and then dwelt briefly on the phrase which says this nation "crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea."
Simmons said brotherhood is the basis of hospice care. There is no delineation according to race, creed, religion or wealth. "It is a service based on love and care of man for man," he said.
His wife, Wanda, was invited to sing "Friends in High Places," Graham called special attention to the efforts of volunteers Carol Martin and her grandchildren and to Kim and Brian Coleman for their efforts in getting the garden from dream to reality.
Mike Darmour, lead chaplain for Mercy Hospice and one of the founders of the care agency in southwest Colorado, traced the 21 years of its existence, first with combined efforts for Archuleta, La Plata and Montezuma County, then the growth of Montezuma to the point it could support its own mission, and finally to extended delivery of hospice services to La Plata and Archuleta.
"When a group of us got together with the splinter of an idea all those years ago, we had hopes and dreams but no firm goal in sight but we took a step in faith."
"It (hospice) is all about helping people in need. We wanted to do that, and operated on the old theory 'Step out and do something, you might succeed.'
"These two counties (Archuleta and La Plata) have stuck together in a beautiful relationship and we've been blessed with great volunteers here in Archuleta County," he said.
Before leading a prayer of dedication for the site, and leading the crowd in the Lord's Prayer, Darmour urged those present to "encourage your friends and neighbors to get involved. This beautiful site and these plants and those to come will be a tribute of love and care to those honored by their planting."
Tiny tots stood by as parents set plants into the soil. Mothers and sons, fathers and daughters worked together to get their offerings into the mix. Stones were moved to make room for more memorial plants, and even as the crowd began to disperse, plans to extend the arc of the planting area were being discussed.
Hospice of Mercy Memorial Garden had ceased being a dream and had become an instant living reality.
The fireworks started a little early for the Pagosa Fire Protection District this week.
A total of 17 firefighters on five pieces of equipment responded to a late night structure fire at 3500 County Road 339 Friday night. Fire Chief Warren Grams said the house on Coyote Park Road was fully involved when members of the district arrived following a 11:19 p.m. page.
Firefighters left the scene at 2:45 a.m. The house was a total loss, Grams said.
Just a few hours later, five firefighters and two pieces of equipment were back on the road responding to a car fire. A Dodge van went up in flames on U.S. 160 at Mile Marker 152.
Grams said the cause of the blaze in unknown, but the van, owned by Arthur Maez, was also a total loss. Grams said the driver noticed smoke, pulled over and got out of the vehicle. Moments later, the entire van went up in flames.
The same afternoon, firefighters were called back to the scene of the house fire to squelch a few hot spots. That fire remains under investigation.
The civil suit filed by San Juan River Friends For the Environment against Hard Times Concrete and Archuleta County moved into the next phase recently when the defendants filed answers to 24 general allegations and a number of claims for relief sought by the plaintiffs.
The complaint has been filed in the District Court, County of Archuleta, Colorado.
At the center of the issue is the plaintiff's contention that the county illegally allowed the concrete batch plant to open for business. The batch plant is located about six miles north of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 160. Most of the plaintiffs live in San Juan River Village, a residential subdivision adjacent to the San Juan River just north of the batch plant.
SJRFFE opposed approval of the batch plant during a series of public hearings conducted through much of 2000 by the county planning commission. They argued that the location of the batch plant near the subdivision and across the highway from a commercial RV park is inappropriate. Finally, on Sept. 12, 2000, the county issued a conditional use permit to Hard Times Concrete allowing the firm to commence business as soon as a number of conditions were met. Those conditions centered around landscaping and paving measures designed to reduce noise, dust, and visual impacts from the operation. Also required was a fuel tank catch basin for on-site fueling.
On April 17 this year, the county commissioners approved an improvements agreement with the owners of Hard Times Concrete secured by a bond and altering conditions approved at the Sept. 12, 2000, meeting. The firm has been allowed until Oct. 17, 2002, to complete the improvements agreement.
In simplified form, the law suit asks the county to return to the Sept. 12, 2000, county approval and conditions as SJRFFE sees them, and stop operation of the batch plant until those conditions are satisfied.
As a defense, the county and Hard Times Concrete deny that the action taken April 17 of this year allowing the batch plant to begin operations is illegal. They also contest SJRFFE's interpretation of the Sept. 12, 2000, agreement and other allegations.
Representing the county is Mary Weiss, the county attorney. Representing Hard Times Concrete, also identified as Weber Ranches LLC, is attorney Fedrick J. Kraus of Pagosa Springs. SJRFFE has retained the Boulder law firm of Sullivan Green LLC.
The next step in the legal process involves the attorneys working together to get a case management order. Until that process is worked out, prediction of the timing of a trial is not possible.
Hard Times Concrete is a concrete batch plant and gravel washing/sorting operation. The plant is located on eight acres and includes a 5-yard portable batch plant with a dust collector for the cement silo; a 50 by 75 feet mechanic shop with a future addition of 50 by 50 feet; a screening/wash plant; two 15 by 132 feet wash ponds; stockpiles of gravel; and parking of construction equipment.
Following a 20-percent chance for afternoon thundershowers Friday, the likelihood of rain increases to 30 or 40 percent Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"We're entering into about 10 days of weather with all of the characteristics typical of the mountain monsoon season," Chancy said. "Then conditions will revert to the westerly flow pattern with little moisture."
Westerly patterns involve winds moving in from the West Coast and containing little moisture.
Monsoon conditions in Pagosa Country are set up by a high pressure ridge located east of the Rocky Mountains, often in Eastern New Mexico or West Texas. Clockwise winds around the high pressure zone pick up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and carry that moisture to the Four Corners area. As the moist air is forced upward into colder temperatures while crossing the Continental Divide, the moisture content condenses and releases in the form of rain.
Often, when monsoon conditions are entrenched, a low pressure zone rests off the Lower California coast. Because a low pressure area is attended by counterclockwise winds, the counterclockwise winds pick up moisture from the Pacific and add it to the moisture picked up by the clockwise winds of the high pressure zone located to the east. The cumulative moisture typically produces the heaviest rainfall experienced by Pagosa Country. Monsoon season normally starts in mid-July in Pagosa Country.
Last week, afternoon thundershowers skipped across the local countryside. A Monday afternoon deluge in town left curb-to-curb water, but the rain gauge at Stevens Field only captured a trace of precipitation. Altogether, 0.02 inches of precipitation was measured last week at the Stevens Field National Weather service site. July rainfall totals 0.02 inches, a slim start on reaching the 1.63-inch average for the month.
High temperatures last week ranged between 85 and 79 degrees with an average high of 83 degrees. The thermometer has not reached 90 degrees so far this season.
Low temperatures ranged between 47 and 52 degrees with an average low of 50 degrees.
Just because you have a patch of rhubarb or some other favored delicacy growing on your property, don't assume that property will be classified as agricultural by the county tax assessor.
Keren Prior, the Archuleta County Assessor, is busy reevaluating property in the county that has, in the past, received agricultural classification. To that end, she has assigned a full-time appraiser to review all applications for agricultural status.
"It's not that I have anything against farming or ranching," Prior said. "I've lived most of my life on a farm; I personally know farming and ranching. I'm very happy to award ag status. It's just that there are state laws setting guidelines for awarding the status. It isn't fair for someone with a vacant land or residential designation to pay taxes supporting a phony agricultural claim."
Prior has given Susan King the job of overseeing ag land designations. King is a veteran, Level 2 real estate appraiser licensed by the state. She is conducting site inspections on all applications for ag designation, as well as reviewing past designations.
"This is the first time we've been able to make on-site inspections," Prior said. "I accompany King much of the time. I want to be sure I know what is going on."
What is going on is, 42 parcels of land were removed from ag classification last year. More are tumbling this year.
Archuleta County contains 1,364 square miles, 872,960 acres. Of this area, 49.2 percent is U.S. Forest Service land, 34 percent is private land, 14.4 percent is Southern Ute land, 0.4 percent is Bureau of Land Management land, and 2 percent is other. Of the 296,806 acres of private land in the county, 234,021 acres are classified as agricultural, 62,785 non-agricultural. The county has 15,720 parcels of appraised land. Of that total, 1,477 are classified as ag land, about 10 percent.
Land owners try for agricultural designation because they believe their property taxes will be lower. Sometimes that is true, other times it isn't, according to Prior. Because agricultural land, including outbuildings, is taxed at 29-percent of property value and residential land is taxed at 9.15-percent of property value, there are instances when a property owner would receive a smaller tax bill by declaring for residential rather than agricultural designation.
"It can be pretty complicated," Prior said. "We invite property owners to come in for a free valuation to see what is best for them."
According to Prior, agricultural designation is intended to be a preferential assessment to encourage preservation of the farm and ranch land community as an amenity necessary for human welfare and to prevent the forced conversion of farm and ranch land to more intensive uses because of the economic pressures caused by the assessment of land at rates or levels incompatible with its practical use for farming and ranching.
"The law states that the primary intent of the farmer or rancher has to be deriving a monetary profit from ag land," Prior said. "The statement that the property owner intends to 'some day' use the property for farming and or ranching is not the intent of the law.
"Where there is no evidence of farming or ranching," Prior continued, "we give the property owner ample time to furnish us with the necessary documentation that supports their claim."
Valuation of agricultural land is a complicated process involving a number of variables. The state provides guidelines, but specific numbers such as the number of acres or animal units involved are not specified. All relevant factors must be weighed, Prior said.
Four property owners appealed the loss of ag land designation this year to the County Board of Equalization. The county commissioners form the CBOE. The CBOE supported Prior in each instance. One property owner went the next step, appealing to the State Board of Equalization. A decision has not been announced.
"This is a 35-acre parcel mostly located on a hillside and covered with scrub oak," Prior said of the appeal to the state." The county agricultural agent said it will support 1.5 animal units. We saw two deer and no other evidence of agricultural activity."
The proliferation of 35-acre parcels is a growing problem for the county assessor's office. This form of land division is the preferred form for those who do not want or need to comply with county subdivision regulations. County subdivision regulations apply only to land divided into parcels containing less than 35 acres.
Ranches or farms being divided into 35-acre parcels were often classified as agricultural land before they were divided. Purchasers of the 35-acre parcels often continue to claim ag land status.
"There is a decided difference," Prior said. "Hobby farming or keeping pleasure horses is not an agricultural pursuit. I had one man show me a clump of asparagus to justify his claim. I repeat: There has to be evidence of farming with the intent of making a profit to support a claim for ag status."
In an oversimplified statement, agricultural land is valued by capitalizing the landlord's net income into an indication of value using the capitalization rate established by law. Currently, that rate is 13 percent.
Tasks connected with implementation of the Archuleta County Community Plan have been apportioned among various county departments. Task dispersal followed a joint June 27 work session involving the county commissioners, Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, and county planning staff.
At the same time, efforts are being made to obtain the services of Mike Preston, a member of the Fort Lewis College staff who helped Montezuma County develop a land use plan. The Montezuma County plan has been characterized as landowner initiated zoning. Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, is the commissioner designated to contact Preston.
"We picked out areas (from the Community Plan) that we could assign to county departments," said Crabtree. "We plan to meet again, talk some more. We're also trying to get in touch with Mike Preston. He isn't free until after the Fourth. We'll see if he and his group are the way we want to go. Of course, we can't hire him outright; we'll have to go out for bids."
The county planning department 2001 budget has a $60,000 line item intended for developing Community Plan implementation strategies and practices.
"The board agreed by consensus to talk with Preston," said Commissioner Alden Ecker. "We want somebody to interview the agricultural interests in the county. There are ranching concerns. We want to see if the Community Plan can be made to help in this area."
The Community Plan defines county land use goals. It also contains action items, recommended targets for implementation. After more than a year of public meetings and with the help of professional consultants, the Community Plan was adopted by the USJRPC earlier this year, then endorsed by the county commissioners.
Next is implementation of the action items contained within the plan. Implementation means adoption of laws requiring commissioner approval. Last Wednesday's joint meeting was the first step in developing implementation techniques.
As a first step at the joint meeting, action items were listed in two categories: long-term high priority items and short-term high priority items.
Listed under long-term high priority items are road and development impact fees, affordable housing, environmental design standards, cluster development, land use classification, airport compatibility, purchase/transfer of development rights, long range transportation plan, county trail system, economic development, and extension of public utilities.
Listed under short-term high priority items are nuisance regulations, a right-to-farm policy, noise standards, sign regulation, lighting regulation, landscaping regulation, an energy code, recycling, and noxious weeds.
In the long-term high priority classification schemata, road and development impact fees were assigned to the county commissioners; affordable housing, environmental design standards, and cluster development were assigned to the planning department; land use classification, airport compatibility, and the purchase/transfer of development rights were assigned to a consultant/dedicated staff. Not yet assigned are long-range transportation plan, county trail system, economic development, and extension of public utilities.
In the short-term high priority classification schemata, nuisance regulations, a right-to-farm policy, and noise standards were relegated to the county commissioners; sign, lighting, and landscaping regulations were relegated to the planning department; and an energy code, recycling, and noxious weeds were not assigned.
The definition of a dog's life may soon change in Archuleta County. The free roaming ways of many dogs in the county will soon be forever ended if the Archuleta County commissioners get their way.
A resolution governing "vaccination, control, licensing, and impoundment of dogs in Archuleta County" will be discussed at a public hearing scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the commissioners' meeting room at the county courthouse.
The proposed resolution is the result of a long effort by county commissioners with cooperation from the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs and other local entities. If serious opposition does not surface at the public hearing, adoption of the resolution is likely to occur within a few weeks.
A county animal control office will be created and staffed by a county animal control enforcement officer in order to carry out provisions of the proposed resolution.
Contained within the ordinance is language describing licensing procedures, the definition of stray, nuisance, and vicious dogs, penalties for violations, and other provisions relating to dogs:
- Any dog over the age of six months must be licensed as evidenced by a metal tag issued by the animal control office. Proof of rabies vaccination must be presented before a license will be issued. The proposed annual fee for licensing a neutered male or spayed female is $15. The proposed fee for an unneutered male or unspayed female is $25
- Dogs shall be kept under control by their owners at all times
- Any dog found running at large may be impounded
- If no owner claims an impounded dog after notification procedures are carried out and five days have passed, the dog will be placed for adoption or destroyed. Owners who reclaim impounded dogs must pay all costs incurred in connection with impoundment
- The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs is designated to operate impoundment facilities in connection with the proposed resolution
- The resolution also contains language defining nuisance and vicious dogs. Possible penalties for violations under these categories range between $25 and $300 with jail time up to 90 days.
Among the definitions contained in the resolution are the following:
- Control shall mean a dog on an adequate leash; confined by a building, fence, or other enclosure; is confined to the owner's property; is within sight of the owner and returns to within four feet of the owner in response to voice command. A dog is not under control when the dog inflicts injury by biting, jumping upon, or harasses, attacks, persons, vehicles, cyclists, equestrians, livestock, domestic animals, or wildlife
- Nuisance dog means loud, habitual, and persistent barking, howling, yelping, or whining by a dog. Nuisance dogs are deemed to be dogs not under control of their owner
- Vicious dog means a dog that bites or attacks a person or other animal without provocation or a dog that approaches a person in a terrorizing manner. Dogs are allowed to defend their homes and masters.
The 2001 annual meeting and election of directors for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will be held, beginning with a welcoming hour, at 9 a.m. Saturday, July 28.
Members will be asked to vote on seven proposed bylaws amendments and to elect four members to the board (only three candidates have filed for the four vacancies).
Ballots have been mailed to all property owners and can be returned by mail or votes may be cast at the meeting.
Candidates include - for an "irregular vacancy" - Ken Bailey, a resident of North Village Lake and a veteran educator who moved here from Colorado Springs after 31 years as a teacher, assistant principal and principal.
He has served as president of a homeowners association in Westcliff and has been a credit union director. He and his wife, Patty, an elementary school learning specialist, have three children including one in college and two who will be attending high school here.
He said his platform or position statement would be simply, "reasonable restrictions for maximum property values."
The lone incumbent seeking to return to the board is Gerald G. Smith who was appointed to the board last year and is seeking election to a full three-year term.
Smith said he hopes to "help restore positive focus and help achieve results in our collective best interest."
He said it is important for the board to adhere to its established Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws as a "common foundation for initiation and support of actions designed to maintain or increase property values and insure the safeties and satisfactions of the membership at large. This should not just be the main focus of the board; it should be its only focus."
He said, "I will take any reasonable action to persuade others to act only with the representation of property owners, forgoing individual or private opinion. The PLPOA board exists only to serve property owners to the collective interest of all members, and individual bias has no place on the board."
Smith had a 30-year career in executive and international management which, he said, "taught me that disparate ideas and opinions can be successfully combined for the benefit of all."
The third candidate is Jerry Medford who has served on three separate community boards of directors, most recently on the board of Sun City West in the Phoenix area.
A retired special agent with assignments to both the Justice and Treasury departments, his last post was Regional Director, Gulf Coast Narcotic Interdiction Program.
Medford, who already has volunteered for special PLPOA committees, notes his Sun City experience involved dealing with 30,000 residents, a $14 million budget, and over 400 employees and amenities including seven golf courses, numerous recreation centers, a bowling alley, library and others.
The proposed bylaws amendments include:
- Amendment 1 to Article 1, Preamble, paragraph 2 - Eliminates words "health," "safety," " prosperity" and "security" to say: "Promote the general welfare of the members of the Association and inhabitants of the community"; (paragraph 2) eliminates the words "quasi-governmental structure" for the paragraph to say: "Provide efficient administration and management of the affairs of the Association and delivery of essential community services"; rewords paragraph 4 to say "Acquire, own, operate, maintain or dispose of property of all kinds or classifications in the best interests of the Association and its members;" and adds a paragraph 5 saying: "Exercise the powers set forth in its articles of Incorporation and granted it by law to do whatever is necessary, appropriate or incidental to the accomplishment of its stated purposes, goals and objections."
Amendment 2, to Article 5, Board of Directors, Section 5 - Special meetings; adds at the end: "Notice of such meetings must be posted 24 hours in advance."
Amendment 3 to Article 5, Section 8 - Vacancies - Changes the word "may" to "must" in requiring petitions to be submitted signed by at least 25 members in good standing.
Amendment 4 to Article 6 -Budget - Adds the following subparagraph: "Any proposed special assessment in an amount greater than the current annual assessment must be placed on a ballot and sent to all PLPOA members in good standing for a vote at the annual or special meeting. The reason for the special assessment and amounts shall be clearly set forth in the call for the meeting. A majority of votes cast shall constitute approval of the issue."
Amendment 5 to Article 6 - Budget, Section 2 (c) Insurance - Proposes the following substitute paragraph: "Public liability in the minimum amount of $3,000,000; directors and officers, error and omissions liability in the minimum amount of $3,000,000; professional and auto liability in the minimum amount of $1,000,000. The Board of Directors shall have the authority to obtain additional insurance as deemed necessary."
Amendment 6, to Article 7, section 1 - Proposes this substitute wording: "Limitation on Capital Expenditure - Unless a majority of the members in good standing voting in an official election vote to approve, no capital improvement or purchase of real property in excess of $100,000 or three percent of the membership equity, whichever is less, as determined by the most recent financial audit, shall be undertaken by the Association. This limitation does not apply to reserve expenditures."
Amendment 7, to Section 8, 2(a) dealing with purchase of association properties by staff or employees - adds these words: "until public notice of intent to sell or accept bids for purchase of said asset(s) has been published. At that time, such parties may submit a bid for purchase."
Recently I visited beautiful Pagosa Springs, after moving away from it over two years ago, and was surprised to see how it has grown.
I noticed so many changes; fast food, new businesses, new construction ... but the one new addition to the community (which isn't really new, just vastly improved) was the new Upper San Juan Humane Society's Pack Rack. The new location is incredible.
I had the pleasure of serving on the board of directors for the Humane Society when I was a resident of Pagosa Springs and volunteered at the previous location of the Pack Rack. I was so surprised and awed by what the good people of the Upper San Juan Humane Society have achieved in establishing such an amazing retail store in their new location.
I now reside in a suburb outside of Chicago and we have our own Humane Society, But - I'm sorry to say, we have in no uncertain manner, nowhere near the caliber of participation, cooperation and support that Pagosa's Humane Society has. What Robbie, the board of directors, members, staff and supporters of the Humane Society have accomplished is nothing short of a miracle, considering the population size of Pagosa Springs. The new Pack Rack rocks.
As a side note, I was also in town for Pet Pride Day and, as usual, it was a blast. It was wonderful to see familiar faces, talk with old friends and meet new friends! I wish to ask the good folks of Pagosa Springs to continue to support your Upper San Juan Humane Society because it truly is special and one of a kind! Keep up the good work guys - I miss you all!
This letter is in reference to Upper San Juan Hospital District-EMS Division. I as a citizen of this county, patient and as an EMT with the District, am very proud of the work that we do and of everyone in our service. These people that serve this community 24-7. Who give up personal time to be there when needed, which without much compensation for the job we do, give from the heart. The feeling that we can help when called is the greatest feeling in the world. Now here is the question. Is this service important to you?
I feel that this service is one of the most valuable in our community. So I am donating the EMS Division of USJHD $5 for each member of my family. And challenge each and all residents and visitors to the area to do the same. If we each donated just a small amount we can help so many. Please give from your heart.
Kimberly J. Cox
Although I am not a hangar owner, I think it is time to set the record straight about the urgently needed taxiway repair. There have been too many specious comments concerning the desirability of hangar owners contributing to the cost of repairs either directly or by means of increased lease payments as well as comments about the resulting diversion from county road maintenance.
The taxiway has been essentially without maintenance for over ten years, yet the county freely invited airplane owners to enter into lease agreements, make payments and expend significant sums for hangar construction resulting in substantial property tax revenue. These funds have gone into the general fund. The notion that these funds should offset the costs of snow removal or the airport manager's salary are blatantly unfair. The airport is a public asset, owned by the county and is intended to be maintained by a the county. To hold hangar owners in any way responsible for funding this effort can only be characterized as grand larceny. The airport manager (who is a county employee) and the Airport Board (who are only representatives of the county) have exerted substantial efforts to apprise the county commissioners of the accelerating deterioration of the taxiway and at the work session which I attended several years ago, their please were summarily rejected.
The urgent need for this project is properly being funded from uncommitted budgeted reserves until the county obtains available financing. To suggest, as commissioner Downey did, that the hangar owners should bear this burden can only be characterized as political grandstanding or an unwillingness to recognize the county's responsibility for the proper utilization of the many years of funds provided by the hangar owners.
Real thanks must go to Mr. Ecker's acceptance of the need for immediate repairs as well as his recognition of the county's moral responsibility and his willingness to enlist Mr. Crabtree's support.
Wade Roland Woolsey, 69, died July 3, 2001 in Pagosa Springs.
A rosary will be held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church Friday, July 6, at 7 p.m.
A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, July 7, at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father John Bowe will officiate.
Mr. Woolsey was cremated and burial of remains at Hilltop Cemetery will follow the Saturday service.
Mr. Woolsey was born in the Blanco Basin in Archuleta County. He was a lifelong resident of Pagosa Springs, worked for the Town of Pagosa Springs for many years and was well known by many. Mr. Woolsey was an active outdoor sportsman; he loved his beautiful Colorado and his main interests were fishing and hunting. Mr. Woolsey loved the woods and being in them; each fall he enjoyed cutting and gathering wood for the winter and used any excuse to be outdoors.
He was a good husband, father and grandfather. Mr. Woolsey and his wife, Cora, recently celebrated their 50th anniversary and his two grandchildren were treated as though they were his son and daughter. Mr. Woolsey was preceded by his daughter, Darlene Wanda Woolsey, who died in 1972. Those he left behind will always love him.
Mr. Woolsey is survived by his wife Cora Woolsey of Pagosa Springs; Margie and George Gurule (daughter and son-in-law) of Pagosa Springs; grandson Jeremy Gurule and granddaughter Julie Gurule, both of Pagosa Springs; Cleta and Bill Snow (sister and brother-in-law) of Bayfield; Loren and Lillian Woolsey (brother and sister-in-law) of Silt; Harold and June Woolsey (brother and sister-in-law) of Snohomish, Wash.; Bessie and Justus Vollmer (sister and brother-in-law) of Colorado Springs; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Pete and Valerie Bailey are happy to announce the engagement and upcoming wedding of their daughter, Christa Liane, to Thomas Chadd Carnley, son of Tom and Jan Carnley, all of Pagosa Springs.
The July 14 wedding will be held at Pagosa First Assembly of God Church. Guests will arrive by invitation and a ranch reception will follow.
Mercy Physical Therapy Group, Archuleta County employees, Pagosa area bankers, local quilting and bridge groups, a group from a local Baptist church, and the Girl Scouts are the latest teams to join the effort to raise money to fight cancer July 27-28 during the annual Relay for Life.
This will be the third year the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life has been held in Pagosa Springs. As in past years, it will take place at Town Park.
So far, 12 teams are signed up.
Are you signed up on a team yet? Why not? Hey, Boy Scouts, are you going to be outdone by a bunch of girls?
By participating in the Relay for Life you will help fight for a great cause and you will enjoy 18 hours of fun and excitement. You will take your turns walking running, or rocking in a chair, and there will be lots of food and activities to keep the night young.
For more information about the Relay for Life, contact Cheryl Nelson at 731-2277, or Joe Donovan at 731-9296.
In order to legally hunt or purchase a hunting license, anyone born on or after January 1, 1949, must complete a hunter education class. Hunter education is mandatory in Colorado. Nationwide, data proves that hunter education courses increase hunter safety and create more responsible hunters. Luckily, hunter education courses are easy to find and available all over the state.Call the Division of Wildlife office at 247-0855 for information about classes near you. Another place to look for hunter education classes is on the division Website, www.wildlife.state.co.us.
Hopi Dancers cancel appearances here
Lucky you - due to the holiday schedule, the column will be especially short this week giving you a break from all the words usually found here. Don't get terribly attached to the brevity, however, because I'm normally of the wordy sort as you might have noticed.
As I write this on June 30, we have just received word the Hopi dancers will not be here for the four performances they had committed to in Town Park. After several attempts to dissuade them, I realized that it just wasn't going to happen. We offer our sincere apologies to the entire community for this disappointment. I know we were all looking forward to this truly unique event. The folks at the arts council who arranged for their appearance were equally disappointed.
Our pal, Bruce Andersen, will conduct a nature photography workshop July 7 from 3 p.m. until dark. It will be presented in conjunction with the Chimney Rock Archeological Site. It's a combination of an indoor presentation and on-the-ground personal instruction at the site. This is an introduction to photographing the great outdoors, suitable for people with point-and-shoot or fancier cameras. Even videographers will benefit. Cost is $50 ($45 for PSAC members). To register, contact Bruce at 731-4645 or Tom Ferrell (US Forest Service) at 264-1523.
We want to make sure everyone knows that the Candy Shoppe located right on Pagosa Street downtown has new owners, so you need to stop by and say hello. Dan and Donna Loper have taken over the sweetest place in town and would love the opportunity to meet you and share their products with you. You can give them a call at 264-3033.
Yep, vaudeville is coming soon, right here in River City.
The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters are proud to announce they will present a vaudeville revue at this year's county fair and invite you to become involved. If you would like to participate in this fun endeavor featuring song, dance and comedy skits, call John Porter at 731-3671 or John Graves at 731-9863. We can all look forward to this presentation on the afternoon of Aug. 4 at the Archuleta County Fair. "The Best Country Fair in the County."
The Music Boosters are such busy bees and always have been working hard to bring us wonderful things in the performing arts area. July 27-29 are the dates scheduled as "Celebrated Jazz Weekend" in Pagosa Springs. This special weekend will feature Colorado's premiere Dixieland band, the Queen City Jazz Band, in concert at the Pagosa Springs High School Performing Arts Theater at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available at the Chamber of Commerce.
We are delighted to welcome Bryan Anderson with Fast Q Communications located in Phoenix, at 4131 North 24 Street, Suite A-110. Fast Q Communications was the first company in Arizona to have a Web site. They would welcome the opportunity to help you get your site on the 'net. You can give them a call at (877) 983-2787. It's always nice to have our neighboring states join us here in Pagosa Springs.
Summer folks arriving, newcomers make impact
This has been a great week.
Several of our "summer folks" have arrived, including Martha and Ray Trowbridge and Hoppy Hopson. We were happy to have them back as well as to welcome Harriett Durkin and Pauline and Ismael Costilla (guests of Ester and Max Peralta). We hope they will return soon.
Glen Kinum returned but will just be here briefly before returning to California. We are so sad to have Glen leave our community and wish him the best.
John and Shirley Finn are fairly new to our group but have surely made an impact.
John has offered to give free 30-minute instruction classes for folks interested in learning to use our new computer (which is for all our members to use), so contact Cindy or Musetta at the center if you would like to make arrangements for this instruction.
There are many benefits of using a computer, including assessing the Colorado No-Call List (www. coloradonocall.org) to have your name entered so telemarketers will no longer disturb you with their solicitations.
There are programs available for assisting the elderly that everyone needs to be aware of: home chore assistance, offering cleaning, minor home repairs, and the like; Meals on Wheels, which delivers lunches Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday for those in need of this service; and transportation for medical appointments. Please contact the folks at the senior center for more information regarding these programs.
Our new Video Library is started - currently we have 3 tapes on Yoga. We would welcome donations of other videos. These may be checked out by members.
Canyon REO Rafting Company is offering us a tremendous opportunity to go whitewater rafting July 12 - two hours for $20 plus transportation (if needed). Deadline to sign up is tomorrow.
On July 26 at 9:30 a.m., there will be a Chimney Rock tour. Cost is $5 for the full tour and $3 for a short tour plus transportation. Deadline for sign-up is July 24 at the senior center.
There is a great musical weekend coming up in July: the event features performances on July 27, 28 and 29, including the famous Queen City Jazz Band on July 28, the Moonyah Orchestra (with Pan-American music) on July 27 and Rio Jazz with numerous friends on July 29. Call 264-2167 for more information regarding fees and bus transportation.
Tomorrow, there will be a Pagosa Historic Walking Tour. Meet at the courthouse at 9 a.m.
On July 9, you can take a wildflower hike at 9 a.m. at the Teal Boat Ramp at Williams Reservoir.
On July 13, there will be a geology tour. Meet in Town Park parking lot at 10 a.m.
For a full calendar of these events, there are flyers available at the senior center.
Please keep all these events on your calendars.
Second swim lesson session will start Monday
All the excitement of Independence Day is over . . . all the panicking is done and we've had enough watermelons to last the rest of this summer. Did you have a good Fourth of July?
The second swim lesson session beings July 9. Haven't registered your child yet? Catch the third session scheduled for July 23 to Aug. 2. These lessons are popular and the kids love them. The tadpoles and the minnows are learning quickly to frolic with the big boys - the shrimp, the perch and the trout. When we start swim lessons for adults, perhaps we'll call them sharks, or carp, or catfish. For swim lesson information, call the recreation center at 731-2051.
Like any organ, the brain needs constant attention. Keep exercising your mental muscle by learning a new skill, doing a crossword puzzle or, like Pagosan Bob Bigelow, by tutoring school children. Games like bridge, mahjong and cribbage are also great mental flexors.
A doubles bridge group meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse. This is a group of about 28 folks who not only play bridge together but also are friends who keep each other's spirits up.
They even have dinner together before their weekly bridge games, feeding their bodies as well as their minds. If you wish to become a part of the doubles bridge club, even if it's for the summer, call Dan Cox at 731-0607 or Jack Rudd, 731-2579, for more information. They welcome newcomers and are keen to have you.
Charles and Doris West of Lake Forest Estates are selling their house which has been their summer retreat for the last 10 years. From their winter home in Sedona, Ariz., Doris and Charles will spend their summers traveling. They are also celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary on the same day they turn over their house to Charles' niece, Sue, and her husband Clem Werth.
Sue and Clem Werth are newly retired from Smithville, Mo. Welcome Sue and Clem and farewell to Doris and Charles. Congratulations on the celebration of 55 years of happy marital union
Speaking of marital union, Pagosans will also be celebrating two weddings Saturday. Chris Pitcher and Jennifer Lister will get married this weekend. Also tying the marital knot are Gene Gramzow and Patty May. I love weddings but will be missing both due to a family obligation in Grand Junction. You all have lots of fun as you witness these two beautiful unions.
Copyright concerns cause 'digital dilemma'
Since this article has to go in early because of the holiday, Summer Reading winners will be listed next week. We continue to display the crafts of our contestants and invite you all to enjoy the artwork.
Summer Reading continues with story time on Tuesday and Friday at 11a.m., and we'll have two more weeks of contests. The final day is July 21. The party will be June 25.
Meeting and sale
Our big extravaganza is our wonderful Friends Annual Meeting July 13 at the Extension Building. Join the Friends, enjoy food and drink, and get first chance at the books for sale.
Saturday, July 14 is the public sale. Doors will be open from 7 a.m.-2 p.m.
Here we are celebrating our country's birthday, and we librarians are once again caught in a conflict over a constitutional issue. Access to the Internet continues to create more problematic issues. Now concerns over copyright have caused a "digital dilemma."
The library has a copy machine available to the public. The sign above the copier warns users to obey copyright laws. How many of you abide by the law when it comes to making copies of book pages, or magazine articles?
Have you ever copied an article and mailed it to several people? Now consider how easy it is to send an article as an attachment to e-mail?
Suddenly each of us has the ability to take information from many sources and send it on to an infinite number of recipients. We can not only send it; we can actually change it to our satisfaction.
This ease of copying and manipulating digitized material is threatening the protection of intellectual property provided by the U.S. Constitution. Who pays for using the material so easily plucked from the Internet?
The copyright law as we know it is dead according to an article in our latest Library Journal. It is not enforceable in this digital age. The law was meant to seek a balance between the author and the public. The law protected the "fair use" right of the public, and the right of the creator and the publisher to receive just compensation.
The National Research Council recently reported that the "Information infrastructure has the potential to demolish a careful balancing of public good and private interest that has emerged from the evolution of U.S. intellectual property law over the past 200 years."
Some publishers are worried that their revenues will disappear if the works are free on the Internet. Other small publishers think that such access actually will increase sales of print materials.
Libraries have always played a vital role in protecting the public's access to information. We expect to continue to find and provide resources from many different avenues - both digital and in print. The intellectual capital of our society cannot be allowed to be locked up, to disappear, or to be sold only to the highest bidder.
Copyright law must change and librarians must continue to fight for your rights to that intellectual property promised to you in your Constitution.
The parade is over, and we're back in our routine. I would urge you all to think about your freedoms this week. Don't be in a hurry to give them up so easily.
Fire season reminder of how Smokey started
This time last year we were watching reports from the Los Alamos fire and the winds were so unpredictable that an alert was out in the Pagosa Springs area.
The weather report for this summer is that the Southwest will again be very dry, and in some parts of New Mexico, at least, there is a $500 fine for anyone smoking a cigarette outside a building.
And in Pagosa Springs, there are "no burn" directives out. The bulletin board in the yard of the Pagosa Ranger District office at the corner of San Juan and 2nd streets posts burn conditions.
In 1954, New Mexico had a terrible fire on Capitan Mountain in Lincoln National Forest and 17,000 acres burned. Everyone was needed. Joe Phillips, a high school student, went on the radio asking for help. When the radio went dead, a man by the name of Fred Pinkston delivered messages on foot.
Fort Bliss, Texas, sent 500 firefighters. When a 24-man team was trapped in a fire ring, they used their picks to dig holes in the rocks so that they could lie prone and bury their faces in the cool of the rocks to keep from choking. When the smoke was gone and the men checked, they were amazed to find that everyone was accounted for. The fire had raged for almost an hour.
After they cleared the fire path, they heard a little bear squalling, and one of the men, Harlow Yeager, climbed the tree and brought the scared bear down. Then, Ray Bell, the game and fish warden who had an airplane, flew him to Santa Fe to Dr. Edwin Smith. They called him Hot Foot Teddy.
When he was well, he was flown to Washington, D.C., and given the national publicity that all celebrities get. He had a name. He was Smokey Bear. He represented a sort of miracle.
Since 1944, the U.S. Forest Service has had a fire prevention program. The fire chief was called "Smokey," so the name came easy. Smokey Bear lived in the Washington Zoo, pleasing many visitors over the years, until he died and was brought back to Capitan, New Mexico, to be buried Nov. 10, 1976, by the side of the Smokey Bear Museum. Smokey was back where it all began.
Fun on the run
A judge tells the story about the state trooper who came across an illegally parked vehicle at the state capital.
On the windshield was a note saying: "State official working inside."
The trooper ticketed the vehicle and left this note: "State official working outside."
Two confirmed bachelors were sitting and talking. Their conversation drifted. "I got a cookbook once," said the first, "but I could never do anything with it."
"Too much fancy cooking in it, eh?" asked the second.
"You said it. Everyone of the recipes began the same way. "Take a clean dish and ..."
Pounding away at weight loss regimens
Okay campers, if you weren't paying attention last spring, you still have time to enter the annual "Take off the pounds contest" before summer runs out. Remember, it's never too late.
I know this column should have run last May, which seems to be the month for the annual reminder that we want to look good in those shorts and swimming suits. That's the month when women's magazines bring up the subject. The magazines, of course, print the latest diet on page 72, and the recipes for chocolate cake start on page 75.
A friend of ours has a bet going with his 12-year-old daughter that he can slim down. I don't know how much he wants to lose; he looks fine to me. But this is a serious commitment. They have a whole dollar bill riding on the outcome.
There are some Draconian ways to lose weight. Another friend recently tried one of them. He doesn't recommend it. He got mugged walking down the street in the large city where he lives. Hit in the face. The doctors had to wire his broken jaw shut.
For 6 weeks he was on a liquid diet. Everything had to be sucked up through a straw. He wore out the blender. He laced his "meals" with protein powder.
He looked for ways to get some spice into the bland preparations. He dreamed of crunchy foods, especially salads.
But, he lost about 25 pounds. Now comes the real challenge - can he maintain it?
Ah, maintenance, ah, there's the rub. The diet experts tell us that's the hard part. As if we didn't know. As if we hadn't already figured that out for ourselves.
Recently, I read an article about a radical new diet: the Eat Yourself Out of House and Home Diet. The premise is that you don't go to the grocery store. You don't shop. You just keep browsing through the refrigerator, the freezer, the pantry, searching for something you can make a meal out of.
It starts out easy, but in a few days the milk and the ice cream and the cheese disappear. Likewise the bread. You still hang in there, though, with tuna fish on crackers. You finish the celery and those other iffy vegetables lurking in the bins, topping them with the last of the salad dressing. You cook up the final noodles and pour the last of the jar spaghetti sauce over them. Now what?
Pickle relish on crackers? Oatmeal and ketchup? The can of spinach that you bought for some obscure recipe and never used?
Remember, you can't stop until you've emptied yourself out of house and home. As the combinations get less appealing, you eat less of them, and that's when the weight loss starts.
Myself, I go on a major diet about once every 7 or 10 years. When I was pushing 40, I started jogging. Four and a half miles every morning. Farther on the weekends. Plus backpacking.
A woman of the '80s; that was me. Remember the '80s, when we wanted to be fit? When half the people you knew had a personal trainer? All that exercise made me lean and mean. And thin.
I took my work skirts to be altered. The woman at the counter gave me The Look, when I said how much I wanted the waistband reduced. "Are you sure, honey?" But I was confident. "Oh, yes," I said, "I'm never gaining this weight back. I'm going to stay this size forever."
Seven years later, new town, new friends, new diet. My knees didn't work so well now, so I walked. And I ate grapefruit. Lots of grapefruit. And I lost weight. And I said - you can see this coming, can't you? - "I'm never going to gain this weight back again."
Trouble with getting to be a woman of a certain age, whatever that age may be, is that it gets harder to keep the pounds off. The exercise was definitely harder. Especially in the summer. In Nashville, there's a narrow window of exercise opportunity in the morning, before the day is so hot and humid that you're in danger of being reduced to a puddle on the sidewalk.
In the winter it's cold, and gray, and wet, and the ground is icy. Forget exercise. Go meet your friend for a mocha instead.
So by the time we moved here my weight was back up there again. I tried dieting, sort of. That was good for about two days. I tried exercise. Hit the weight room three times a week. Rode the stationary bike. Swam laps. Nada.
I was resigned to staying in that range. But in the last five months I've happened to lose over 25 pounds.
It's indirectly due to cancer. We don't have much choice concerning this disease. But we can eat a healthy diet.
Friends ask me, "What's your secret?" I tell them what I don't eat, and their faces fall.
Here's the secret.
No alcohol - studies indicate a relationship between alcohol and breast cancer. No dairy - other studies show there may be some connection between a product full of growth hormones, designed by Mother Nature to feed growing animals, and breast cancer. That means no cheese, no butter, no butterfat.
No partially hydrogenated oils, which are implicated in the production of free radicals and can cause changes in your cell's DNA. This means you cut out crackers, a lot of bread, all processed foods. Instead you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables.
With this kind of regimen, your fat and calorie intake drop drastically. And so do the pounds.
Granted, it's not easy. I couldn't do this diet if my goal were only to lose weight. But it's not difficult to say, "I can't eat that," when you think of those foods as a kind of poison for your body.
Of course, as an alternative, you can always get your jaw wired shut.
Uncle Sam, lights, grass skirts and boat parade
With bombs bursting in air and boats shining with lights on the water, the first day of a week of Fourth of July activities ended with a bang.
The day started with the Arboles Land Parade, where grass-skirted Hawaiians with coconuts marched alongside Uncle Sam, the Statue of Liberty and Smokey Bear. All enjoyed a delicious barbecue put on by the TARA Historical Society despite the mounting temperature. As storm clouds gathered, Krafty Kids learned about and made those flags that will get you out of harm's way on the water. The "Parade of Lights" sailed off away from the sunset with Doug Windolph's boat pulling an easy first with bunting, flashing colored lights and decorated dogs, Shottzie and Lucy making a colorful float. Kevin Mauzy, of Bloomfield, N.M., sailed into second. Many thanks to JJ's Upstream, Ski and Bow Rack, Montego Bay, Bayou Doc's and Susan Snyder, manager of the park bookstore, for generously contributing prizes to this second annual Boat Parade. Let's hope next year's is bigger and better yet. The finale to the day was courtesy of the Friends of Navajo State Park, local merchants and residents who gave of their time and money to produce a very nice fireworks display. All in all, a good start to the weekend.
As we move toward the dog days of summer, visitation to the park is increasing. This past Saturday, the lake was awash with sail and motor boats, skiers and fisherpersons, all enjoying the beautiful, if hot, weather.
As the lake and park become busy, let us try to remember some basic safety procedures. Be aware of those around you. When carrying fishing poles along the docks, try not to point them at people walking toward you. Carry the pole either straight up or pointing down toward the ground. When casting from the shore, be sure no one is behind you before you swing back. When using your personal watercraft, be aware of fishing boats and slow down. The fish scare easily and don't return quickly. Even though personal watercraft are small, they can still create quite a wake, so be careful of boats at rest or who are just trolling quietly along. Observing the rules of common courtesy and safety can make your visit fun and enjoyable for all. Thank you.
Stars in your eyes
Our Visitor Center Bookstore has been enjoying a modest success with our wonderful selection of books, maps and puppets. If you haven't visited lately, you should come on over. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 a.m.-11 p.m.
The puppets are a zoo of bobcats, hawks, eagles, skunks, raccoons and more that can double as lovable, huggable companions for any age.
For stargazers, let me recommend an easy-to-read, informative book for the beginning astronomer, "Exploring the Night Sky" by Terence Dickenson. This book is for adults as well as children and will give you an excellent introduction to reading our night skies. Once you feel you have mastered the basics, you should then purchase the planisphere which can be adjusted to mimic the night sky you are looking at from any point on the planet. Considering the wonderful viewing we have out here at Navajo, far from city lights and glare, these two items will entertain you as you loll in your campsite after the park programs are over and you can't get to sleep.
Hungry after viewing those stars? Then this week's special should be of interest. "Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes" will introduce you to trails around the state that have the best displays of wildflowers. Once you've found them, you can use the book, "Best Tasting Wild Plants of Colorado and the Rockies" to make a tasty snack. Buy both of these to receive a 10-percent discount. Come to our bookstore and check us out.
On Saturday, we will offer another Boating Safety Class for teenagers age 14 and older. The class will start at 9 a.m. Registration takes place up to the end of the day tomorrow, when you must pick up the book, "Boating Safety in Colorado." Call 883-2208 for more information.
Healthcare service is not income based
I continue to hear, almost daily, from veterans who are unaware of, or just recently became aware of the health benefits available to them through the VA.
I would like to offer special thanks to the friends and neighbors of all Archuleta County veterans who are helping me spread the word.
Rising insurance and prescription drug costs and the lack of a pharmacy program for many seniors have made the VA healthcare program a real Godsend for some. I am signing up a veteran for this program almost every day.
The key word is "healthcare." The service offered is health maintenance.
This is not an emergency service. All VA healthcare needs must be met at a VA facility. Private doctors and private hospitals are not part of the program. The VA clinic in Farmington, presently our nearest health care facility, schedules regular checkups and appointments for their veteran clients. Typical appointments are for outpatient needs. If higher level needs are required such as tests or surgery, appointments are made with the VA Hospital in Albuquerque.
The biggest myth I want to dispel is that the current VA Healthcare program is not income based. It is offered to all eligible wartime and peacetime veterans. Your income makes no difference for the co-pay program. However, if your income is below a certain threshold you may qualify for free VA health care. This is best explained in person, if you care to drop by and visit with me.
In October 1996, Congress passed Public Law 104-262, the Veterans' Health Care Eligibility Reform Act. The law was enacted to simplify the rules for providing health care to veterans and to introduce improvements in the quality and timeliness of the care they receive.
Like other standard healthcare plans, the Uniform Benefits Package emphasizes preventive and primary care, offering a full range of outpatient and inpatient services. There are over 1,100 VA clinics and hospitals nationwide providing primary care to Veterans. Archuleta County veterans receive routine care from the VA Community Clinic in Farmington with expectations that a new clinic will open in Durango this summer. Hospital and specialty care are offered at the VA regional hospital in Albuquerque.
Who is eligible? Any person who has served active military service, other than just for training, and who was discharged under other than dishonorable conditions is eligible for VA health care. Wartime service and a VA disability rating will qualify veterans for specialized care and support beyond the basic level.
All veterans are placed in one of seven priority groups and current year VA healthcare funding determines what groups receives continuing care. Since the law was passed in 1996, all groups have been funded.
Priority group one includes veterans with at least a 50 percent service connected disability, where he/she receives free pharmacy and medical care and mileage to and from appointments.
Priority group seven is veterans with a 0 percent service connected disability or with no disability, where he/she receives pharmacy support for $2 per prescription per month and medical care at $50.80 per visit.
Priority groups two through six cover all categories in between.
Waiver of medical and pharmacy co-payments are available to veterans in all priority groups living below specified income levels. All veterans receive free accommodations in Albuquerque for early morning and late afternoon appointments.
For information on these and other benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service 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 your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Bambino League tournament will open Monday
The youth baseball regular season schedule is complete except for remaining Bambino League action.
Our Bambino all-star team plays Dulce tomorrow night ; all other players start the season-ending tournament Monday.
Tournament brackets are posted at Town Hall and the Sports Complex. The league all-star team has been invited to the Monte Vista Invitational scheduled July 19-21.
A baseball instructional league will begin July 13 and run through Aug. 10. The league, for players 8-12, will be held at the Sports Complex Friday mornings from 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Questions about the clinic can be directed to the recreation department, 264-4151, ext. 232. Registration forms are available at Town Hall.
Participants must register for the clinic by July 11. The price of a T-shirt is included in the $25 registration fee. Registration is limited to 40 participants.
The two girls' fast pitch teams - Red Sox and Astros- ended their seasons this week. The Red Sox finished with a 10-6 win over Durango. The Astros lost a close 23-22 game to Bayfield June 23, and closed the season with a 21-16 loss to Bayfield Thursday night in the latter's home tournament.
The Pirates won their first tournament game in Durango June 23 setting up a game against the No. 1 seeded team June 25. The Pirates lost but, as coach Dave Spitler said, "they (the team) are coming together real nice."
The A's lost to Ignacio 18-16 June 23. The team ends the schedule hosting Alamosa and Durango on Sunday.
No games are scheduled this week because of the Fourth of July celebration being held at the Sports Complex.
Games will resume Monday night with contests played Monday and Tuesday evenings.
The Men's League will soon be divided into recreational and competitive divisions. Schedules for the second half of the season will be available when games resume July 9.
The Town's Park Fun program is not operating this week.
Park Fun is limited to 21 participants. To retain their child's place in the program, parents need to pay for a week's registration the Friday before activities begin. Participants are taken on a first-come, first served basis and the payment for a week of Park Fun will hold the child's spot in the program.
Last week the Park and Recreation Commission held its first meeting at the new Town Hall. The major discussion centered on the possibility of running the youth baseball league with official Little League affiliation. Recreation department staff, with the help of Dave Snyder, will decide what program to put in place for youth baseball next year.
29 youngsters made art camp a success
Our Summer Arts Camp was a big success. Students at the camp were exposed to a variety of art techniques and methods. At the same time, they were encouraged to explore their own creativity.
Teachers, Tessie Garcia and Lisa Brown, had students ranging in age from 5 to 13 years old.
Those attending were: Riley Aiello, Mattie Aiello, Erika Pitcher, Sierra Riggs, Rachel Wilson, Sierra Monteferrante, Nikolas Monteferrante, Teale Kitson, McKenzie Kitson, Katie Thomas, Zac Bentley, Sarah Sanna, Tanner Vrazel, Courtney Spears, Sydney Aragon, Kyle Aragon, Andrea Fautheree, Amber Adkerson, Austin Robinson, Julie Nell, Aliya Haykus, Kelsea Anderson, Seth Blackley, Cody Popovich, Althea Beasley, Lucas Chavez, Jade Garcia, and Katie Blue. Most of these talented children will exhibit the artworks they produced at the camp. Their exhibit will be July 12-July 18 at the PSAC Art Gallery in Town Park.
If you have not been to the gallery in Town Park lately, you are missing out. Every two weeks, the gallery features local artists working in different media.
This week, Shaun Martin is displaying his acrylic paintings.
Shaun's collection is titled "Horses and Sunsets." He has been a resident of Pagosa Springs since 1995. As an artist, Shaun enjoys "using a contrast of techniques and styles to interpret a moment in time or a particular light pattern." This exhibit runs through July 11.
Any local artists who would like to show their talents, need to notify us now. We have an opening Aug. 9. Applications can be picked up at Moonlight Bookstore, WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, or at the gallery in Town Park. If you have questions, call Joanne at 264-5020.
PSAC recently qualified for the City Market Cares Electronic Fundraising Program.
This program is for nonprofit organizations or other charitable organizations. When you shop at City Market, the arts council earns money, which is distributed quarterly. All you have to do is stop by the gallery in Town Park and sign up. Don't forget to bring your City Market Value Card. Help support the arts in our community.
For more information, call 264-5020.
The arts council would like to thank all the people who generously donated items for our silent auction.
The auction was held at the PSAC SunDowner last week in Town Park.
We would also like to thank Barbara and Richard Husbands, the Pie Shoppe, Piano Creek Ranch, and the many volunteers who contributed their time and talents to make the auction a big success, and lots of fun too.
Remember the gallery in Town Park is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
That 6-pack of beer could cost you $9,868
A habitual issue around the country is driving while under the influence of alcohol.
We need to inform members of our community and our children of the consequences that drinking brings us. We need to educate them to the fact they are responsible for their own actions no matter what the situation may entail.
A scenario that can enlighten us involves Bonnie Cool-Beans who drinks a six pack of beer over a period of three hours. Through no fault of her own, she loses control of her vehicle on Piedra Road on the way back from Williams Lake.
Several deer run out in front of her and Bonnie swerves right into Mr. Jones' barbed wire fence. The cops forget to read her "Miranda" rights and she, because she knows she is not drunk, decides to take a Breathalyzer test. The test says she has a .11 BAC (Blood Alcohol content).
Bonnie gets ticketed for driving under the influence, driving with excessive alcohol content, and careless driving. She thought she was "safe" to drive home. Now she is paying for the tow truck, bail - which includes the title to her car - and time away from work. Adding this up she is already out over $250.
She hires a local attorney to represent her in a motion to suppress evidence since she wasn't advised of her right to remain silent. She loses and decides to take it to a jury. She hires an attorney, files a motion to suppress, pays more money out to the attorney for a trial and again, there is time away from work. Now we're talking an additional $2,716.
The good news is the jury finds her not guilty of careless driving. The bad news is that she is found guilty of DUI and DUI per se. If she had been drinking malt liquor or had three more beers, she'd be at .18 BAC and the judge automatically sentences a two-night jail stay.
Just when Bonnie thinks her expenses couldn't get any worse, she has to pay for alcohol evaluation, the sentencing hearing costs, restitution on the damage of Mr. Jones' fence, an insurance increase, alcohol education and therapy and perform useful public service. We're talking another $6,826. Her license was suspended for one year and the cost of her six pack at the lake is now $9,868.
This scenario could happen to any of us. Many men, women and teens go through experiences like Bonnie's before they realize that drinking and driving don't mix. It took a well-deserved ticket and its consequences to make Bonnie change her behavior. Don't let this happen to you.
We all need to be a little more conscious of what our responsibilities are - to ourselves and to our community.
A tough job, done right
A June 29 meeting of the board of directors of the Upper San Juan Hospital District confirmed two things: there are significant financial problems at the district, and the board, to its great credit, is working in the full light of day to correct the difficulties.
Growth in both divisions of the hospital district - Emergency Medical Services and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center (with the recently opened Urgent Care Center) - mirrors recent growth in Archuleta County: it has been dramatic, at times uncontrolled, and reflects an ever-more complex web of influences and expectations. Staff and services were increased quickly to meet perceived demands and, as is the case in so much of the county, growth outstripped the ability of persons, methods and budgets to keep pace.
The situation is distressing, but not unmanageable.
At this point in time, following at least one major bookkeeping error and an infusion of donated money during the last year, EMS will run at least $78,000 in the red by February of 2002, with scant if any funds in reserves.
The opening of a new Urgent Care Center, fee collection problems and several bookkeeping mistakes will help the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center run at least $24,000 in the hole by the same time.
Unless something is done. Now.
The directors, as they should, take ultimate responsibility for allowing this situation to develop and for rectifying the dilemma. Nothing is being hidden, no excuses are being made.
Administrators of each district division were asked to come up with scenarios in which costs are cut and departments returned to a sound fiscal footing. They were told to present options at a July 9 meeting of the directors.
EMS was asked to find ways to cut $127,000 from its budget between now and February, 2002, when tax money becomes available for operations. If accomplished, the cut will allow the division to enter the next budget cycle in front of the proverbial eight-ball, with some money in reserves. It should enter the cycle with a trimmed operation - one that can be sustained in the immediate future.
The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center was asked to reduce operating expenses by $50,000 by February of 2002. If the reduction is made, the clinic enters the new budget cycle clean, and the move will take some of the cost-cutting burden off EMS.
Hopefully, measures taken in each division will produce only minor changes in services. But make no mistake, there will be changes.
Change is no cause for alarm: ambulances and Quick Response Vehicles will make emergency runs, respond when called. There are, among EMS staff members, some skilled and dedicated persons who can shoulder the task of providing services if cuts in personnel occur or changes are made in current programs.
The clinic will not close; medical attention will still be available; appointments will be made, patients will be treated.
Whatever is proposed, it must work within parameters set by available tax revenues. Tax-supported institutions should not, must not, operate with donated money. It is incumbent on elected officials to ensure operation of a statutory entity, and to design its services, in light of predictable, untainted revenues.
If the district cuts services, the public must learn to do without or go to the polls and approve a tax increase to fund reinstatement of services.
It would be unwise for the hospital district to ask for more tax money without rectifying the current fiscal dilemma, and inappropriate for directors or staff to engage in scare tactics that take advantage of the health fears of certain residents in order to make a case. The district will sell a tax increase only by proving it is financially competent and operationally sound. Such a decision should be made on the basis of verifiable fact, not fright.
Directors and division administrators are taking their tasks seriously. There is no reason to assume they will not be successful and every reason to wish them well as they do this difficult work.
No one does it better than Pagosa
There's nothing like the annual Fourth of July parade and Red Ryder Roundup in Pagosa Springs. The 52nd annual Red Ryder Roundup and yesterday morning's parade were no exceptions.
Folks in Pagosa owe a tremendous thank you to the board members of Pagosa Springs Enterprises, who are the unpaid, unsung organizers and tireless volunteer force behind the annual rodeo. The rodeo committee totally replacing the announcer's booth for the arena was noticeable to the spectators. The extensive renovation of the rodeo arena and stock pens was certainly appreciated by the cowboy and cowgirl contestants.
The overall upgrading enables the Red Ryder Roundup to maintain its status as being one of the more popular events on the southern Colorado-northern New Mexico rodeo circuit.
The Pagosa Rotary Club sponsored another entertaining Fourth of July parade. Thanks to digital cameras and the SUN being closed Wednesday, its normal day for running the presses, I didn't try to take any photos at this year's parade. The digital cameras let us bypass the darkroom and go straight to the laser printer so that the parade photos could be included in this morning's press run.
It was fun standing along the parade route as an appreciative spectator rather than trying to take photos. Due to a recent experience in the parking lot of the City Market in Moab, Utah, I decided I'd act my age and not battle the children as they scrambled for the Tootsie Roll candies being thrown along the parade route.
My age came into play about a week ago when we stopped at the City Market in Moab while returning home from our northern California vacation. I started to pull into a convenient spot near the entrance when I noticed a sign stating that the space was for "Senior Citizens Parking Only." It took me a moment before I remembered "I am one." Figuring that a 1934 birthday and forgetfulness qualified me for senior citizen status, I went ahead and parked. It reminded me that you might not like the way things are, but it helps if you can get a laugh out of them.
Such was the case while visiting the Monterey Aquarium during our vacation. As we were entering the building Dan, one of Drew's older brothers, noticed a pair of porcelain beads that, thanks to some in-vogue body piercing, adorned either side of the ticket-taker's tongue. After complimenting the young man's interest in individuality, Dan asked Drew to "show him how it's done in Pagosa." Responding on cue, Drew looked intently at the young man before smiling widely and exposing the toothless portion of his upper gum and the stainless steel, hexagon shaft protruding from it. After a moment of stunned, wide-eyed silence, the awed ticket-taker slowly whispered, "Whoa dude. Unbelievable. That's outta sight."
Declining to explain his unsought ornamentation resulted from a skiing mishap and the work of an oral surgeon rather than a "body shop," Drew quietly nodded and walked inside.
Yes, things are done in an "unbelievable" manner in Pagosa. Especially during the Red Ryder Roundup and the accompanying Fourth of July activities.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of July 4, 1901
District court commenced Tuesday. The first case on the docket was that of George Smith. Two days were used in selecting a jury. Friday at 9:00 began the examination of witnesses which lasted until 8:30 p.m. Friday. At 9 a.m. Saturday court convened, the judge gave the jury its instruction. The jury at 4:30 p.m. went to the jury room and was out until 3 p.m. Sunday, returning a verdict of voluntary manslaughter.
The Cattle and Horse Association held a meeting and organized Saturday. They hope to make a good strong organization.
The park never looked nicer and never was there a more healthful place to camp. The river is by no means low, but the water is clear and pure.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 2, 1926
Summitville, which at one time was the most famous mining camp in the world, but for a number of years has been closed down, will again be operated on a larger scale than ever before. This report comes to us from a reliable source, the informant being none other than Judge J.C. Wiley, who has recently obtained leases of every mining property in the Summitville camp that has ever been a producer.
Get the Dogs! Archuleta County is going ahead again with its prairie dog campaign with Clark Speelman in charge. From results already secured this month the campaign is going to be a success. To make it a complete success it is now up to you folks to help Mr. Speelman get the dogs.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 6, 1951
The past week has seen several forest fires in the county, with the largest being on Indian lands. This blaze started last Saturday and has burned over more than 4,000 acres since that time. Most of the land has been on the Apache and Ute Indian lands in New Mexico. The fire spread across the state line into this county the fore part of the week and destroyed several hundred acres here. As we go to press it is reported under control.
Sheriff Norman Ottaway reported three fires this past week on private and state lands. Two of these fires are in the Cumbres area and the third was on Archuleta Mountain. All of these are now under control, but not completely extinguished. It has been many years since the woods and the hills were so dry at this time of the year.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 1, 1976
The 28th annual Red Ryder Roundup is scheduled for this Sunday and Monday, July 4 and 5. There will be a parade each morning at 10 a.m., a rodeo each afternoon at 1:30 p.m. and there will be rodeo dances the nights of July 3 and 4.
Fire danger is high in this area, according to Forest Service reports. There have been scattered showers but the rains have not been general enough to alleviate the dryness of the area.
Town police report that approximately $170 in coins was taken from the Pagosa Bar just after midnight Monday of this week. The money was stolen from the back room of the bar and several leads are being investigated by the police.
Lifesyles change and we call it progress
Where in the annals of historic guidance is the rule that we must be subservient to machines?
The Industrial Revolution was intended to let the human race put machines to use for them, to ease a way of life, to make manufacturing easier, to put wheels of progress into motion for our benefit.
Then, a few hundred years later, came the computer and again it was purported to be man's way of speeding up his abilities, of reaching out to others in all parts of the world for commerce and competition.
Nowhere was it believed the machine would take over our lives.
But, it has.
Can you name one thing you do every day which is not influenced by machinery in one way or another.
There was a time when living on a farm in Archuleta County could get you close to that status.
I can recall visiting friends who lived in log houses with no running water, no electricity, no telephones and having to walk to their abode from the highway several hundred yards away.
That was about as rustic as it got. We got there by automobile, albeit a far cry from the computerized road behemoths we see clogging our highways today.
The computer was still a gleam in some researcher's eye. Farmers still tilled the soil with horse-drawn harrows and sowed their seed by hand.
Groceries had full butcher shops where fresh meat was cut to order and wrapped in freezer paper for the customer to take home. You want a six-pound round steak cut thick for Swiss steak? Coming right up. A porterhouse, trimmed to your exacting preference was expensive but available.
Ice boxes (the forerunner of your manual defrost-automatic defrost-frostless-water dispensing refrigerators of today) were large, insulated wooden boxes with shelves for perishables and a small cubicle for a block of ice to keep them cool.
Even the ice wasn't machine-made like that we see today. It was cut in winter from Cotton's Hole in the San Juan River, stored in a large barn on the Cotton property on Hermosa Street, and delivered on order by horse and sawdust insulated trailer to customers all over town.
Popcorn was made over an open flame (campfire or kerosene induced) in a wire basket with a handle. And what great popcorn it was, with freshly home-churned butter melted over it and salt sprinkled lightly. The closest thing to a machine here was the arm which had to keep the popper moving at the proper speed and distance from the flame to keep the popped corn from burning.
Even the building materials were produced at home. Trees were cut by axe or double saw, their bark peeled and teams of horses used to drag them to building sites. Stone was plentiful and people watched for those that could be loaded by hand into a wagon and towed to the yard.
Brown sandstone, golden and red hued stones were all used in wall and foundation construction. There was a brickyard where one could purchase the red or white 2 by 4 by 8 bricks for chimney construction . . . or, for the very wealthy the materials to produce carefully plumbed walls providing additional protection from the ravages of Mother Nature.
Windows had to be ordered from out of town and often took weeks to arrive. In the meantime, the holes where the window would some day be installed were covered with whatever material was available - perhaps cardboard, a grain sack, or just left open to allow the fresh air (and itinerant insects) in.
Sometimes, too, the window hole provided a means of quick escape from the threat of a fire. Or, a pleasant place for a curious cow to hang her head inside to see what strange things these humans were doing in their domiciles.
Machines changed most of that.
Today they'll take you up a machine-produced and maintained roadway in minutes to a remote mountain lake, one early Pagosa Country residents once had to walk five to 10 miles to reach so they could fish for two or three hours and start the long trek back.
Today man can fly around the globe or into outer space faster than folks who settled this country were able to travel from one side of the mountain ranges to another.
We have called it progress.
Drugs have been invented to cure diseases people didn't even know about in the days before machines took over.
There were outbreaks of killer diseases in Pagosa Country and they claimed dozens of lives here just as they did around the world. Many will tell you the machine - the respected iron horse which finally connected Archuleta County with the outside world - was the culprit. Had it not been for the infernal machines riding narrow rails of steel, those who carried the diseases probably would not have found our little Mountain Eden.
The automobile was a luxury, not a necessity. Then it became a demand item, one that everyone from 10 on up wants to have. And each one has to be bigger, stronger, more road hogging, louder, more dangerous and more gas consuming than the one before it.
We call this progress.
Newspapers have been here the whole time in one form or another. And they, too, have become a product of machines.
Gone are the days when men or women carefully handset type, formed words, sentences, paragraphs and full pages of news in chases on a stone and they hand fed sheets of paper to a hand-cranked press to produce the printed page.
Their's was a labor of love. The true newspaper employee was said to have printers ink in his or her veins. The process of producing a few hundred of these broadsheet foldovers by hand was laborious and time consuming.
Today, whirling presses linking seemingly unending rolls of newsprint through page combinations defined and programmed in advance, produce thousands of multi-page copies in less time than the old printers needed to do a single page.
We call this progress.
Merchants often kept their day's cash in a drawer below the counter. As each customer passed the checkout area, the purchases were totaled by hand and a hand-written receipt was given out after the purchase.
Change was carefully counted out or, in some instances, the total of the purchase was added to the client's tab, to be paid at the end of the month.
The proprietor or store clerk knew the exact price of every item to be sold and each was practiced at making change and adding fees carefully.
Today we have machines that will tell you the exact price of each item by reading a code printed on the label, will automatically add the exact tax required for the total purchase, eliminating the possibility of error by preprogrammed computer data bases that are updated for every sale period.
The checker doesn't have to add the purchase or determine the exact change due. The machine tells them the exact total cost, records the customer's payment, and tells the checker exactly how much change to return. Surprisingly, most of them have little trouble making the right change from the drawer that opens only when the cash or credit card extended for payment has been entered into the calculating system.
We call this progress.
The whole point is that change has come and will continue to come to Pagosa Country. We've learned to live with it, adapt to it and use it for our own benefit.
We are a polyglot of nationalities, inspirations, educational and professional experience, religious preferences, personal ideals, endless charity, caring and - a friendly group dependent upon machines.
We have used those machines, our guile, our tenacity and our desires to build this community of friends.
We call this progress.
Huge stands of ponderosa lured railroads
Denver and the Front Range cities of Colorado boomed through the 1890s and early 1900s. People flocked to these almost legendary mountain cities looking for a home. Homes, naturally required lumber. Where to find lumber?
One of the nearest sources of lumber was Pagosa Country and Southwestern Colorado, a fairyland of mature Ponderosa pines stretching as far as the eye could see. Pagosa Country might have been the closest source of lumber, but a formidable barrier intervened, the Continental Divide. Shipping costs would be prohibitive.
Fortunately, a solution was at hand. Coloradans of the late 1800s and early 1900s were accustomed to prosperity triggered by treasures of the mountains - gold, silver, lead, and other ores. It so happened at that time that tremendous riches were discovered in the San Juan Mountains precipitating rushes to Silverton, Lake City, Summitville, Rico, Ophir, Telluride, and others. Shipping costs for the mountain treasures were also prohibitive.
General Palmer, guru of Colorado Springs, supplied the answer for the twin problems of getting lumber and mineral ores to market. Palmer organized the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, a narrow gauge line adapted for the mountains. One goal of the D. & R. G. was to build a line connecting Denver with Pueblo, the San Luis Valley, and eventually with Animas City and the San Juan gold fields. By 1881, Palmer's goal was reached when the D. & R. G. reached Durango, a city created by Palmer to replace Animas City.
And so, with a railroad in place, lumber moguls had the means to get Pagosa Country's timber to Front Range markets. Finally, by the mid-1890s, railroads and the logging industry moved into Archuleta County. The first entrance was made at Edith and Chromo, two communities on the border between Archuleta County and the Territory of New Mexico. Initially, two outfits were involved: E.M. Biggs and the New Mexico Lumber Co. Both had been logging in Northern New Mexico for a number of years.
There had been some logging in Pagosa Country from the beginning of settlement during the 1870s. Construction of Fort Lewis began in 1878. The Fort buildings were constructed of logs. It's safe to guess that the Pagosa Springs townsite and much of the vacant land immediately east of town was logged during the first two decades of settlement. Still, early logging was on a small scale, just enough to supply local needs.
Starting in the mid-1890s, the scale shifted dramatically upward. The market was no longer local, but became the Front Range cities of the Rocky Mountains. The next few "Old Timer" articles will document the entry of "big lumber" into Archuleta County.
Newspaper item, April 26, 1895: It is reported that the Biggs Lumber Company is putting in a mill at Chromo, and the following from the Chama New Mexican verifies the report: "The Biggs Lumber Co. is putting in a mill at Chromo. It will have a capacity from twenty-five to thirty-thousand feet a day. The lumber will be hauled to Azotea, some eight miles, at which place it will be loaded on cars. There is any amount of fine timber in that country. The mill will be ready for business in thirty days. S.M. Biggs of Durango will take charge of the business.
Motter's comment: Biggs' proposed mill at Chromo has the honor of being the first of the large mills in Archuleta County. So far, no logging railroads had been built into the county. Biggs' plan is to haul lumber from the Chromo mill by horse, mules, and oxen to Azotea. Azotea was located along the D. & R. G. route approximately where Highway 64 leaves Highway 84 at the Dulce turnoff. The route from Chromo to Azotea would have approximated today's U.S. 84 between those same sites. The mystery is, that road wasn't opened until the 1930s. Before the 1930s, folks reached Chama by turning at Chromo and going east up the Navajo River to the first bridge, then crossing Chama Hill and following down the Chama River to Chama. I have a theory I can't prove: that the old military road south from Fort Lewis followed the proposed Chromo-Azotea route. If not, the military went south through Edith.
Newspaper item, April 26,1895: Quite a number of the Utes have notified the agent of their desire for land in severalty. Talian and his band will locate on Cat and Stollsteimer creeks while quite a number of Moaches and Capotes will establish a colony sufficient in number to utilize the Piedra lands. The Utes can take their lands in severalty without fracturing tribal relations.
Motter's comment: Local Anglos wanted the Utes to take land in severalty, or better yet move to Utah. Land in severalty meant individual Indians took 160-acre homesteads. After all of the Indians who wanted homesteads exercised their options, land remaining within reservation boundaries would be opened to Anglo settlement. Naturally, Anglos yearned for severalty. They got it. As a result, little reservation land remains around Ignacio. Talian settled near the intersection of Cat Creek and Vega Redonda. That location was named Talian in his honor, but the name is disappearing.
Newspaper item, April 26, 1895: Perry & West have 700 head of cattle in O'Neal Park. Mr. O'Neal will hold the cattle there during the season.
Motter's comment. The early settlement of the O'Neal Park area remains shrouded in mystery. O'Neal was a Texan who worked cattle in Pagosa Country at an early date. West was also an early cattleman, presumably ranging cows in the Dolores-Mancos areas before coming to Pagosa Country. He later became a partner of R.P. Hott when that oldtimer shifted his cattle operations from San Juan County, Utah, to Pagosa Country.
Newspaper item, April 26, 1895: The Lumberton correspondent of the Durango Herald says: "The new mill of the New Mexico lumber company, five miles up the Navajo, is being pushed as vigorously as possible under the energetic management of E.M. Biggs and will be completed in about a month. It will have a capacity of about 40,000 feet a day."
Motter's comment: This mill was to be erected at Edith, a name derived from Biggs' daughter. It would be connected with the D. & R. G. at Lumberton by railroad, the first railroad specifically directed into Archuleta County for logging purposes.
Newspaper item, April 26, 1895: With two large mills on the Navajo, a hole will soon be made in the standing timber of this county.
Motter's comment: Daniel Egger, editor of the Pagosa Springs News, is already revealing remarkable foresight. Despite all of the promised riches of the logging giants, trouble was also coming.
Newspaper item, May 3, 1895: Shortly after the noon hour on Tuesday smoke was seen to issue from the county courthouse; and on the arrival of citizens it was found that the building was so full of smoke it was impossible to enter. After both doors were opened the smoke soon cleared sufficient to permit of entrance, and nearly everything of value was removed. A large supply of blanks were already ruined and were lost. The doors to the vault were closed in due time and all records and valuable papers were saved.
The fire burned fiercely for nearly an hour, and although there was considerable wind the fire was prevented from spreading to any adjoining buildings. This is remarkable, as one building on the east was only twelve feet away and two others not more than twenty feet. The bucket brigade did good work.
The loss to the county is between $1500 and $2000, and no insurance. The last policy expired six months ago and no insurance company has done business in this county for at least a year.
There was no brick flue in the building but instead the pipe passed through the ceiling or roof. Treasurer Freeman started a fire in the stove at about 11 o'clock and shortly after came to the west side, there going to the residence of surveyor Howe to eat a lunch and while thus engaged, and which is not more than 200 feet from the court house, the cry of fire was raised.
A hole was made into the vault yesterday morning and after an hour's work the doors were unfastened from the inside. Nothing in the vault sustained any damage with the exception of stains from the smoke that filled the vault before the doors were closed.
Newspaper item: May 3, 1895: The county commissioners were in town yesterday. They have made arrangements for the use of Schaad's Hall for a temporary courthouse.
Newspaper item, May 24, 1895: The county commissioners on Monday awarded the contract for the building of the courthouse to C.S. Triplett, who was the lowest bidder for the work. The building will be a small one, but large enough to accommodate the work of county officials. When district court convenes it will be necessary to rent a hall. The building will cost about $240. It was thought best to erect a temporary building and perhaps in the near future the county could erect a more substantial building.
Motter's comment: This courthouse was probably located on the lot next to the Bob Cooper place on the south side of San Juan Street. It was probably the first courthouse erected by the county in 1885-1886. I believe the Rose Bud Saloon owned by C.D. Scase occupied this lot before the county took over. Scace's Saloon was burned by an angry mob as a threatening measure against the first elected board of county commissioners. The early commissioners appeared to have no compunction against conducting business in a saloon. Schaad's Hall was a saloon located approximately across the street from the burned courthouse and adjacent to the San Juan Hotel. The school board had met at Schaad's the previous month.
Triplett restored the original building and it was probably used until about 1900 when county business was moved to Pagosa Street in a building still standing next to the Pagosa Hotel. The rock portion of the old courthouse still stands and serves as a residence.
Values taught, shortened day help keep youngster's attention span
Cindy Carothers' son needed a change.
In school, he was disrupting class, acting out and pulling poor grades. On the drug Ritalin, the behavior problems were more controllable, but the drug's affects left the 9-year-old listless and his appearance bothered his mother.
"I felt like I had to do something now," she said. Responding to the success stories of others, in October 2000 Carothers sent Dalton to the Pagosa Springs Education Center, a half-day K-12 facility located in Greenbriar Plaza.
"We took him off the Ritalin when we took him over there. I don't think I've gotten a call once about his behavior," she said.
With the added one-on-one attention and small class size, Dalton has turned both attitude and grades around.
"Dalton used to walk around with his head down all the time," she said. "He was at such a low. Now he is proud to look good. He's a wonderful student. I don't know how many people have told me 'We can tell such a difference in Dalton's personality.'"
Nelsen DelBianco, director of the center, a three-year-old non-profit private school, said the curriculum, individual attention and a clear set of expectations help build confidence and prepare students for college.
"Over time, people have seen an increase in confidence," DelBianco said. "A lot of parents tell me they're not having to drag kids out of bed. Obviously that's not 100 percent. We refuse nobody and we kick nobody out. You have to choose. About six of them walked out. Of the rest, we've seen good results," he said. Last year, of the 34 full-time students, 29 ended the year on the honor roll.
A day in the life
Classes at the Pagosa Springs Education Center begin at 8 a.m. At that time, announcements, including praise for positive test scores and area sports scores, are followed by a generic prayer.
Work begins with math and English. Students work quietly for an hour and then take a 10 minute break. That schedule continues until dismissal at 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"Imagine the old school house with all age groups side-by-side," DelBianco said.
During the morning, students work individually to complete a series of booklets, 12 per course plus tests, to move on to the next grade. When a question arises, DelBianco said, one of the adults in the room will sit down with the students for as long as it takes, sometimes between 20 and 30 minutes, to work through the problem. With a 10 to 1 student-teacher ratio, that kind of attention is possible.
"We get them through that wall before they get frustrated," he said. Helping the students are DelBianco, Tom Lokey and their wives. "When they hit a concept they don't understand, we go slow until they really get it." The one-on-one work, plus the repetition built in to the faith-based School of Tomorrow curriculum means the fundamentals of each subject are constantly reinforced.
Although elements of religion are part of the school, academics are the focus, DelBianco said.
"We're not proselytizing or trying to draw anybody into that."
Carothers said the values taught at the Pagosa Springs Education Center, and the shortened school day worked well for both Dalton and Ryan, 14.
Because school lasts just 4 and a half hours, Dalton has an easier time sitting still. The abbreviated schedule allows Ryan to work two days a week and help out at home. Ryan, a one-time honor roll student, started at the school during the 2001 spring semester because of falling grades.
"I want him to go to college," Carothers said. "His GPA had dropped to 0.34. Here we had to back him up and start all over again because he wasn't getting the basics."
He is part of a growing population.
Nine students attended the first year the Pagosa Springs Education Center opened. Now, the population is pushing capacity at 33. "My guess is if I had room we'd have 50 or 60 students," DelBianco said. "There are a lot of kids that are hurting in this town, falling through the cracks. There's a need."
When students enroll, they take a series of diagnostic tests to determine placement. Usually, he said, students have to spend some time catching up to the appropriate grade level with the curriculum. Once that is accomplished, they are encouraged to work at their age-based grade level. Those that complete the required classes ahead of schedule, take electives. The California Achievement Test is given annually as a way of checking the student's progress.
During the regular school year, the Pagosa Springs Education Center's schedule follows the public school calendar almost day by day, DelBianco said. A six-week summer session is also offered. This year, about 25 students are enrolled in the summer program, including Pagosa Springs Education Center first-year students looking to catch up, public school students needing to make up some hours and homeschool students picking up some extra courses.
Parents and guardians of the students pay $200 per month in tuition plus the cost of the course booklets, and a $100 registration fee.