After a second meeting to discuss the current budget crisis, members of the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board approved a short-term solution that left the clipping shears on the table at a special meeting Monday.
"I will propose a three-step, three-point plan of action," Bob Huff, a board member said following nearly three hours of discussion. "Point one, I propose that we do not cut services at this time. Point two, we immediately begin working to negotiate a loan from the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation. Point three, we declare tonight our intention to go to the voters in November for a mill increase sufficient to support EMS services."
Subsequently, the last two points were amended into motions and approved unanimously by the board, a shift in direction from the June 29 special meeting when the board seemed determined to make cuts or raise additional revenue with fee increases to stabilize the budget prior to asking for a levy increase.
Dick Babillis, chairman of the district board and interim district manager, said after spending a week studying the impacts of reducing EMS services or personnel on the community, it was obvious to him that the greater danger lay in making the cuts.
"After the last meeting, I decided, we're dead (without making cuts)," he said. "Then I decided we're dead if we do and dead if we don't. Now, we're dead if we do."
Only one staff cut has been made to date. Following a June 29 executive session, the board approved dismissal of Mary Fletcher, Upper San Juan Hospital District office manager and bookkeeper. Babillis said specifics concerning the decision to release Fletcher were unavailable until some personal issues could be settled.
In a presentation to the board, Rod Richardson, EMS operations manager, said even cutting three paramedics, which would eliminate the 24-hour in-quarters service, and reducing salaries 10 percent across the board, would net around $86,000 in savings, $52,000 short of the projected $127,000 shortfall.
On the revenue side, he said, recent increases in the cost of ambulance services have started to pay off. In June of 2000, EMS recorded 50 transports, billing a total of about $28,000. During June this year, the first month of the rate hike, EMS recorded 63 transports, an estimated $48,000 in revenue.
According to estimates presented by Babillis based on population numbers released in the Community Plan, the trend in the number of calls answered by EMS is on the rise. Between 1990 and 2000, the number of calls jumped from 208 to 1,086 while the county's population increased from 5,250 to near 10,000.
Laura Rome, Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center office administrator, reported that the medical center staff continued to work on ways to increase revenue for the year. Options include selling some unused equipment, encouraging doctors to see more patients per day, working to bring in more specialists, streamlining the billing office, and increasing fees for jail services, chiropractic X-rays, drug screenings for businesses and the Urgent Care facility.
The two reports were responses to a June 29 hospital district board request to create scenarios for shaving an estimated $177,000 off their combined 2001 budgets. Based on separated budget shortfalls, Richardson of EMS, was asked to cut $126,095 and Rome was given a goal of $50,000.
The $127,000 figure for EMS was based entirely on expected budget shortfall. The medical center number included $24,576 in shortfall and another $24,424 as partial payback for some tax dollars received from the district when the center was in a financial crunch several years ago. Overspending, budgeting errors and misinformation not caught by the district board were cited as the reasons for the current crisis.
The amount of tax dollars provided to the medical center and the burden of cuts place on the EMS side of the district street was a point of misunderstanding and contention from members of the audience throughout the Monday meeting.
Some audience members questioned why the clinic should be part of the district when patients involved in an emergency can't always be treated there, and everyone in the community doesn't choose to see a physician there.
Others related the feeling of continuous pressure resulting from budget crunches and rumors of cutting personnel.
"Every time something new is found we seem to be playing Russian roulette with the paramedics," Kathy Conway, of EMS, said. "Our jobs have been threatened over and over and we still have to feed our families."
Faced with providing service based on a levy that hasn't increased since about 1986 while calls, transports, staff and equipment needs have grown, Conway said, EMS has existed as long as it can under the pressure.
"We continued in this trend and now we can't fit in the box anymore," she said. "We haven't had the budget raised to meet the population needs, equipment needs. We need more income to provide the patient care that we've been doing."
In response, besides attempting to clarify the facts, members of the board, and others in the audience continued to advocate pulling together as a team over the budget issues.
"The subsidy that went to the clinic is over," Huff said. "That's not an ongoing thing."
Because of its enterprise status, the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center is allowed to receive a maximum of 10 percent of operating expenses in tax revenues with approval of the district board, a support that hasn't been needed recently.
Board member Bill Downey said when the district was formed, creating an urgent care facility was the board's overriding goal. To do that, he said, experts advised the board that some ancillary services to support the urgent care - a potential cash drain - would be needed. That's where the medical center came in to play. It also provides a place where anyone, including those on Medicaid and the indigent, can receive medical care, he said.
A final loan figure, or the amount available to the district from the foundation's endowment fund, was not determined at Monday's meeting. Representatives of the board plan to present the plea for assistance to the foundation board at its regular meeting this evening.
A public hearing on proposed dog legislation in Archuleta County, attracting a standing-room-only crowd of perhaps 75 people, surrounded the county commissioners Tuesday night.
"This document is not set in stone," Gene Crabtree, chairman of the board of county commissioners, said of the proposal. "Some of the provisions are already in effect. Mostly, we just added licensing. We're here tonight to gather information. There will be no vote tonight and we're not here to penalize anyone."
The document referred to by Crabtree is a draft of a proposed county resolution designed for "the vaccination, control, licensing, and impoundment of dogs in Archuleta County."
"We're drafting new dog rules because we get criticized by you," Crabtree told the audience. "You complain about loose dogs, and some of you say they are terrorizing your kids."
Public reaction to the proposed resolution was mixed. Opposition came from ranching interests and from people who appeared to raise dogs for resale. Others opposed on grounds that, if current dog control regulations are enforced new regulations won't be needed, and the proposal "just represents increased bureaucracy."
Many argued that a rabies tag should be sufficient without adding the licensing requirement. No one opposed vaccination requirements.
Arguments from the public for or against the proposal seemed to split depending on where in the county the respondent lives. Ranchers tended to oppose the proposal. Residents from certain subdivisions, especially Aspen Springs, argued for the proposal, as did residents from unincorporated areas not identified with subdivisions.
Speaking for the Archuleta County Cattleman's Association, former county commissioner Bob Formwalt presented a position that seemed to represent many in the audience.
"We strongly oppose this resolution as it is presented here today," Formwalt said. "The resolution, if passed, will be a discriminatory, unnecessary burden upon all Archuleta County agricultural producers. If you are serious about this resolution, it must have major rewording in order to not penalize agricultural producers who have and use dogs in their daily operations."
Formwalt argued that dogs are tools of the agricultural trade and should no more be licensed than the hammers used by carpenters or the books used by teachers.
"Why don't you just declare food and fiber production an undesirable and unneeded profession in this county and go ahead and shut us all down?" Formwalt argued. "You are slowly regulating and taxing us out of existence with these kinds of actions."
Formwalt and others argued for exemption from licensing for all dogs used for agricultural purposes.
"If the subdivisions want this ordinance, make it apply to them," Formwalt said. "It is their dogs that give us the trouble, not ours; and we have legal methods with which to address the problem."
Others arguing against the proposal say a rabies tag should be sufficient, without adding the licensing requirement. Still others say enforcement of the resolution will be costly and ineffective. They say if the problem of loose and nuisance dogs is so large the sheriff cannot handle it now, the addition of one dog catcher will not solve the problem.
Another opposition argument holds that the proposal penalizes the many responsible dog owners who take care of their dogs in order to control a few irresponsible dog owners.
"If they don't take care of their dogs now, what makes you think they will buy licenses and obey the law in the future," these people ask.
Another opposition position is held by people who raise dogs commercially. These people say the resolution does not address needs peculiar to their vocations and suggested appropriate changes.
A sizable group of opponents argued that the proposal is unneeded and creates another layer of unneeded bureaucracy at taxpayer expense.
Several people from the audience argued for the proposal. They complained of harassment from loose dogs when they attempt to walk in their neighborhoods and at other times. They argue that answering dog complaints places a heavy burden on the sheriff's department, absorbs time from deputies trained for other purposes, and detracts from other departmental obligations.
They argue that licensing is necessary in order to identify dogs, identify their owners, and to raise funds for enforcement of loose dog regulations, including those regulations already on the county books. They say enforcement of loose dog regulations is a bigger problem than the sheriff's department can currently take care of.
The commissioners took no action at the meeting. Instead, they promised to re-write the proposed resolution incorporating suggestions from the public hearing that they think are necessary additions or changes.
A shortage of available teachers throughout the Southwest has hit in Pagosa Springs as administrators try to fill key gaps in their respective building staffs prior to the opening of school late next month.
Superintendent Duane Noggle, attending his first school board meeting in that capacity, said he "thought I had left that problem behind in Arizona, but it seems to be widespread in the region."
There currently are vacancies for elementary school principal and dean of students; a music teacher for the junior high school, and for an additional full-time counselor and a business teacher at the high school.
Until Tuesday night, there had been two additional vacancies. Acting on administrative recommendations, the board hired Jim Schaffer, now a high school coach in Evanston, Wyo., as the new high school boys' basketball coach and as Intermediate School /Junior High School physical education teacher; and Pam Monteferrante as junior high school language arts teacher.
Schaffer replaces Scott Moore (whose resignation was accepted the same night) at the lower school level and will replace Kyle Canty as the high school coach.
Though they had formally known of Cyndy Secrist's resignation as elementary principal, the board of Archuleta District 50 Joint had not met since receiving the resignation and formally adopted it Tuesday.
The search for a replacement has not been easy, Noggle said. The short time span available before school begins is one of the factors in the shortage. He told the board six applications were filed and that he had intended to submit a list of three finalists that night.
However, he said, one of the candidates withdrew his application Monday. Another candidate was to be interviewed Wednesday and another may come in later in the week. Noggle said he hopes to have a finalist for the position by a special meeting called for 5 p.m. July 19.
At the same special meeting, the board hopes to be able to fill all remaining teacher openings and to receive bids and possibly award contracts for construction of new facilities at Golden Peaks Stadium.
Asked by the board where the current principal candidates are from, Noggle said two are from Pagosa. Two others to be interviewed are from out of town.
Director Clifford Lucero commented, "with the shortage of qualified personnel, we're fortunate to have local people were who are qualified to step in."
The high school staffing problem was detailed by Principal Bill Esterbrook.
He told the board "one thing of great concern to us is the overload on our full time counselor. Mark Thompson is a genius at his job but with growing class sizes and the needs of the kids expanding, we need to add a second full time counselor."
"We had a candidate," he said, "but our first inclination was to make it a half-day job and she was not interested in working half time."
"Now," he said, "we're looking at moving the yearbook consultant and counseling secretarial post into a curricular position and utilizing Sally (Riggs) Capistrant, a PHS graduate, in the counselor position. She lacks minor degree classes, but can make them up on the Internet. In the meantime, we can get her an alternate license."
Directors Russ Lee and Carol Feazel agreed with the move, Lee saying, "With the shortage of teachers it seems the best way to go. We need to be constructive in our hiring plans."
Esterbrook said his school also has a vacancy in the business education department. He said three candidates had turned town the job and another was due to interview Wednesday. "We hope to be able to recommend a candidate at the special meeting July 19."
"We can't wait any longer," he said. "We need to act now. The candidates we're looking at have worked successfully in industry. We would have to grant one of them a 60-day license and time to qualify for an alternative license."
On another personnel issue, the board conducted a 44-minute executive session, calling only John Rose, transportation director, and after returning to open session, directed Noggle to "investigate the allegations which have been made with reference to the transportation director and work toward a speedy resolution of the issue."
There was no specification of what those accusations were nor where they originated. Noggle said he'd attempt to have a report ready by the July 19 meeting.
County commissioners Gene Crabtree and Bill Downey bumped heads Tuesday over a request from the Archuleta Economic Development Association that escrow funds be released up front to pay for utility installation at the Cloman Industrial Park.
Mary Weiss, the county attorney, advised the commissioners that, according to a contract signed by both parties, escrow funds held in this instance serve as security insuring that the work be satisfactorily performed and should not be released until the work is done.
Crabtree argued that, in the past, the county had released escrow funds to pay for utility installation prior to the installation. Based on the prior policy, Crabtree argued, the same policy should be followed now.
"I have a difficult time going against a contract that all parties have signed," said Downey. "The county has given a fair amount of support to this organization in the past. From certain aspects, Archuleta Economic Development Corporation has been favored with an advantage over other developers. I'm not sure that is proper."
Because only Crabtree and Downey attended the regular Tuesday meeting of county commissioners, a one-to-one stalemate ensued and no action was taken.
Archuleta Economic Development Association is responsible for administering and selling property it owns in the industrial development adjacent to Stevens Field. The organization receives income as lots are sold in the industrial park. AEDA is made up of members from the local government and business communities.
AEDA this week asked the county to release escrow funds to be paid to utility companies for installing utilities on industrial park properties. The 1996 Phase 1 improvements agreement between AEDA and the county authorized former county manager Dennis Hunt to release funds before the work was done.
A current improvements agreement written in 2000 and known as Phase 2 specifies that a report certifying that the work is satisfactorily done be received from the county engineer before funds are released.
"We are not working with a little old developer," said Crabtree. "We are working with a sound entity," implying that the county should release the funds.
After some discussion with no resolution because Crabtree and Downey disagreed, and because the third commissioner, Alden Ecker, was not present to break the stalemate, the subject was dropped.
In other business Tuesday the commissioners:
- After listening to Downey say he is a member of the Upper San Juan Hospital District board of directors and might be perceived as having a conflict of interest on an action concerning the district, Crabtree said no conflict exists. Subsequently, he and Downey approved letters from the county endorsing a hospital district grant application and a hospital district proposal to raise funds from trucking company donations
- Appointed Ann Shepherdson of the U.S. Forest Service to the weed control district board of directors replacing Bob Frye, who resigned
- Agreed to waive Archuleta County landfill fees for disposing of tires, as requested by the Pagosa Quarter Midget Association, a non-profit corporation
- Waived county rent charges assessed against the county social services department for space in the new Town Hall. The rent was waived because the social services department is not likely to move into new quarters until January of next year. The delay is said to be caused by telephone problems
- Set a July 19, 10 a.m. time for a workshop concerning county funds received from the U.S. Forest Service
- Approved a hotel/restaurant liquor license renewal for the Hogs Breath Saloon
- At the insistence of Downey, postponed approval of a Conditional Use Permit for the Econolodge Motel until the commissioners can conduct a public hearing. Discussion on this subject included a comment from Weiss that the commissioners could probably act at Tuesday's meeting because the agenda announcement served as public notice. Crabtree said, "What difference does it make if we okay this today? It's just a matter of formality." Two people from the audience supported Downey's contention that the agenda listing is inadequate public notice. In the end, a public hearing was set for next Tuesday's regular commissioner meeting
- A road improvement performance bond for Ridgeview Mall was extended two weeks, or as needed
- A revised plan sheet for the coming Light Plant Road renovation was approved
- Approval was given for intersection lighting changes at Piedra Road and Solomon Drive
- Announced that two men have been invited to visit Pagosa Springs to be interviewed in connection with filling the vacant Director of County Development position
- Said nothing new is being done concerning hiring a county administrator
- Announced certain commissioners are attending the Upper San Juan Builders Association picnic Saturday where Crabtree will discuss county actions connected with a proposed sales tax renewal election.
Enforcement of a town ordinance requiring permits for all signs inside town boundaries begins Sunday.
At that time, all temporary signs, including banners and pennants, must be either permitted or removed, Chris Bentley, town planner, said.
The Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees approved an amendment in May adding temporary signs, defined as "any device used for the purpose of advertising, attracting attention, or accenting a business location that is intended to be displayed for a limited period of time ... and for which a permanent sign permit under Ordinance 415 Section II is not required," to the overall sign ordinance.
The move was in response to town staff and board observation as well as citizens' complaints concerning the number of banners popping up around town and staying up for months on end.
Under the revised ordinance, permitted temporary signs can be displayed free for 14 days in each calendar year. After that, a fee of $1 per square foot of sign per month will be charged until it is removed. Ten weeks per calendar year is the maximum any temporary sign can be displayed.
Temporary signs are also now counted in the aggregate square footage allowed for signage at an individual location.
Three incumbent directors on the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint have terms expiring this year and at least one, Jon Forrest, will not be seeking reelection.
The others, Carol Feazel and Clifford Lucero, indicated at Tuesday's board meeting that they will run again.
At the same time, Superintendent Duane Noggle said his office will contact the county to get comparative costs for the county handling the petition process and election as compared to having the school administration run it.
And, he said, "we need to consider putting a term-limit issue on the fall ballot."
Director Russ Lee, while agreeing the public should have the chance to make the decision (on term limits), said "it would be nice not to have it."
Feazel agreed. "The directors with the least tenure need the most time to learn this position. I'm completing my first term and I'm still learning."
Lucero said, though schools can waive the term limits law, "I think we need to put it on the ballot and let the people decide."
Director Randall Davis, board president, said "since it is a time-consuming volunteer position, it makes it very difficult for us to get qualified candidates who have the time to serve."
Feazel said the voters already have a term-limit right. "If they want to limit a term, they just need to vote the person out of office."
In other action, the board:
- Learned from Lee that the district's costs for participation in Board of Cooperative Services will increase for the next year by $5,614, representing the district's share of 6.07 percent pay increases granted to cooperative staff
- Heard a brief report from Lee on status of Archuleta Scholarships in Escrow, indicating the current student earnings figure stands at $328,000. He noted realtor donations have "helped tremendously" and Nancy Schutz, business manager, said "It's a great program. Anyone who gets the grades gets the money."
- Formally adopted an irrigation agreement with the Town of Pagosa Springs and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District for watering of athletic fields in the Sports Complex with river water rather than potable (treated) water. "It makes a lot of sense," said Lee. "We may save a little money, but more importantly, we'll save potable water."
- Adopted revisions to district policy that had been ironed out last month for action at this meeting. Revisions were in the Fair Share Policy, in the specifications for staff fringe benefits, sick/personal leave, classified salary schedule and use of privately owned vehicles
- Learned the staff has been unable to find the original agreement allowing use of school-owned property in Vista for a quarter-midget race track. Each director recalled the agreement specifying that program backers would restore the area to its original status after the use terminated. Lucero told the board the county had waived the dumping fee for the backers to deposit the rubbish from the site at no cost. The board had directed the administration last month to order the site vacated and cleaned up because of numerous complaints about its appearance. "At the very least," said Davis, "we want the slope regraded and seeded - after all the junk is removed."
Pagosa Country's first monsoon of the season should move out early next week leaving "warmer and drier" in its wake, according to Gary Chancy, a National Weather Service forecaster from Grand Junction.
Heavy afternoon and evening showers, winds, and violent lightning raked the area last week bringing welcome relief from temperatures approaching 90 degrees.
At the same time, to the relief of revelers enjoying Pagosa Country's three-day 4th of July celebration, last week's downpours failed to interrupt the parade, rodeo, and other activities.
The chance for afternoon and evening thundershowers remains at the 30 percent level today, then decreases as night approaches, Chancy said. By tomorrow and Saturday the chance for scattered showers decreases to 20 percent. Through Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday of next week, the last vestige of monsoon rains will be gone from the area, leaving warmer and drier conditions.
Controlling local weather will be a low pressure area moving down the West Coast. Counterclockwise winds from the low will change the direction of prevailing winds. During the monsoon onslaught, winds entered Pagosa from the south bearing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. With the new low in place, prevailing winds will come from the west packing little moisture.
High temperatures through Saturday should range between 80 and 85 degrees, according to Chancy, with overnight lows ranging between 50 and 55 degrees. Starting Sunday, highs could drift into the low 90-degree range with lows around 55-60 degrees.
The official high temperature last week was the 88 degrees measured Sunday at the National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field. Temperatures have not reached the 90-degree level this season. High temperatures last week ranged between 84 degrees and 88 degrees with an average high temperature of 86 degrees.
The lowest temperature was 51 degrees on Thursday. Low temperatures ranged between 51 degrees and 54 degrees with an average low reading of 53 degrees.
Precipitation for the week totaled 0.22 inches including 0.20 inches Sunday and 0.02 inches Tuesday. Through July 7, the monthly total is 0.24 inches. July rainfall averages 1.63 inches.
Officials from the Pagosa Ranger District are soliciting public comment concerning a proposed Cimarrona Horse campground and trailhead project.
Cimmarona is located north of Williams Creek Lake. It is a jumping-off point for trails leading into the Weminuche Wilderness Area including the Cimmarona Trail.
"With this particular project we are trying to fill a need while protecting resources," said Rick Jewell, Environmental Coordinator for the Pagosa Ranger District. "When the project is completed, we'll close off that area north of Williams Creek to dispersed camping. Most of the native grasses and fescues are gone, replaced by dandelions.
Dispersed camping is camping on unimproved, unofficial, sites according to Jewell. Dispersed campers merely pull off of the road at a site they like and set up camp.
Public input concerning the proposal is being sought until July 27. Ecosphere of Durango is working on an Environmental Assessment for the site.
A U.S. Forest Service horse campground requires more space than ordinary campgrounds. Space is provided for either corralling or tethering horses, horse feed storage, parking horse trailers, and camping for horse owners.
Horse owners camping at horse campsites are required to bring feed, either pellets or weed-free hay, said Jewell. They are not allowed to graze horses on surrounding grasses.
As justification for the proposed site, a forest service document reads, "Dispersed recreation has been steadily increasing in the upper Williams Creek area over the last ten years. A large percentage of this increased use has been from horse users. Along with this use has come an increase in the amount of dispersed camping. This has resulted in new access roads established across meadows as well as the expansion of dispersed campgrounds."
These activities have resulted in a significant impact on area parks and meadows and native vegetation, according to the report. Native forbs and grasses are on the decline as is overall health of parks. Some meadows have lost one-third of their native species, with dandelions becoming the primary vegetative cover.
Temporary horse corrals have resulted in an increase in bare soil. Erosion is increasing as travel routes across meadows are established and corral use expands.
Persons wishing to comment on the proposed site are invited to write: Pagosa Ranger District, Attn: Rick Jewell, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, fax 970-264-1538, Attn: Rick Jewell, or e-mail rjewell @fs.fed.us.
Winners in the 2001 Fourth of July Parade, with the theme "Land That We Love," were announced the following day.
In the commercial division, first place and $100 went to Pine Ridge Extended Care Center, second and $40 to Canyon REO, and third place and $25 was awarded to Buckskin Towing.
In the non-profit division, Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus was first and got the $100 prize, San Juan Outdoor Club was second for $50 and Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce was third.
In the youth division, first place and $100 went to the High School Pirate Cheerleaders, second was a tie with $40 to Archuleta County 4H and Rocky Mountain Riders and to Pagosa Pirate Marching Band.
In the individuals category, Faye Brown was first for $100, Mike Danielson Family second for $50 and Majestick Andalusians third for $25.
Most Patriotic entry and the $100 prize went to Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus.
Judges for the parade were Lela Martinez of Dulce, N.M., Marlene Milton of Walker, La., Mary and Vinnie Burr of Sarasota, Fla., and Norvell Hernandez of Ruidoso Downs, N.M.
Some Archuletans believe that overwhelming challenges in our county are exceeding our capacity to manage them effectively. In our research, we're learning how other communities unite their citizens to meet challenges. A concept we recently introduced to Archuleta's citizens is that of the increasingly popular civic forum.
A civic forum is simply an opportunity and a place for citizens to gather. It is not an organization. It's a tool. It enables us to meet each other, share ideas, and create a meaningful and unified community. It offers each individual various opportunities to find constructive ways to contribute their energy, skills, and knowledge. It offers all of us a place to unearth our community's hidden treasures.
Unlike individual organizations, where people of a more singular interest meet, the great thing about the civic forum is that it can bring everybody together with the broader common interest that we are all citizens who want the best for our community. It can also provide a common thread to pull all our precious resources together in a collaborative way to more realistically and efficiently serve our community's needs. Seventy-five local organizations were invited for this very reason.
Approximately 135 folks showed up for our first forum. Our forum goal was to encourage citizens to turn their frustrations into positive actions and start unifying our entire community, so we can work toward meaningful common-ground solutions that represent our citizens' diversity.
For the purpose of this forum, each participant selected one of three main study groups - community planning issues and implementation; building strong community leadership; or developing citizen information, education, and communication forums and networks. The citizens were amazingly productive in the short time allotted; they have now taken the first step!
Step two is to bring citizens together again, before the next forum, to prioritize their action ideas by importance, immediacy, and achievability and determine which recommendations they wish to focus their energy and resources on. We have many commitments from folks to start moving us forward to the next step - some already met this week to start building a citizen network to keep everyone "connected" between forums.
Participants overwhelmingly approved of the forum concept and agreed to another on Sept. 10, 7 p.m., at the Extension building. All citizens are needed if we can ever really hope to make this a true community - the kind of place it used to be before growth got a stranglehold on us. I express my gratitude to each and every citizen that made this workshop their priority - every opinion counts, so, please, stay involved. Others who want to see this be the kind of place we are all happy to call "home," can call 731-3138.
I read with interest in the 28 June issue that the Commissioners are in disagreement over the issue of a County Manager position. One commissioner states that he feels he is not qualified to take on his share of that role while the other two believe the current arrangement is going "quite well." At the same time, Commissioner Crabtree is quoted as saying "If you believe we [the Commissioners] are hired to work full time, then we don't necessarily need a county manager."
The issue brought out by these discussions is an important one and one that did not get enough airing during the election last fall. I, for one, don't believe the Commissioners were "hired." They were elected to provide leadership and to represent the needs and aspirations of the people who live in Archuleta County. I voted for candidates on the basis of their vision for the future of this County and not on the basis of their managerial experience or skills. Frankly, none of the commissioners are qualified to be managers of county governments. That is not their background nor should it be.
There is a great tendency by some to say "I am busy and therefore I must be doing a good job." The commissioners are certainly busy and I believe hard at work. The question for all of us is whether what they are doing is in the best interest of our collective future. There is a great possibility that the busy-work they are doing prevents them from attending to the future. There is also a great possibility that, if and when they hire a qualified person to properly manage the operations of all county offices, the commissioners will interfere with the day-to-day operations of the departments. This is almost assured given the commissioners current on-the-job-training. No good county manager would stay under those circumstances.
Elected officials are critical elements in any governmental structure. They are there to assure that all points of view (and not just those of a powerful minority) are represented in defining and then assuring a vision for the future. Their big task is to represent our needs and aspirations, to argue over substantive issues, to make tough policy decisions, to honestly solicit our input and our support, to assure a highly effective county administration, to hold a county manager responsible for effectively executing the vision, and to take the heat when their decisions don't meet with universal approval.
I think that is a full-time job. If it isn't then the answer may be to reduce the time the commissioners work, along with their pay. The answer is not for these individuals to create work for themselves by inserting themselves into the role of managers. That is the job for a professional.
No grip on reality
According to the brand new 2001 Archuleta County Condensed Budget tourist booster booklet, the airport brings in $13 million per year, but somehow the two budget wranglers have seen fit to hijack $200,000 from the general fund to fix the taxiway at Stevens Field with an even more expensive "Band Aid."
Add to this the fact that the EMS needs $177,000 to bail itself out. I'd rather see the EMS stay afloat than worry about contributing the public's money to further fatten high-flying land sharks and dismantle what's left of the county intrinsic value quicker. We should not be spending a fortune on the fortunate. The airport gets hundreds of thousands of dollars each year for what? Nothing.
County road and bridge resources should not be spent at the airport, either.
It's an absolute insult for a current commissioner to say that Archuleta County has no savior or nobody who really has the solutions to our problems. I know of at least 10 people who have plenty of solutions to critical issues.
This commissioner doesn't even know what a real issue is let alone see any solutions. He also has no idea of how to build a road and won't fix Stevens Field either. Can he name us one road in Archuleta County that has been built right? Nope, but how many did he participate in building?
In Archuleta County anybody with a loader and a dump truck is a road builder and anybody with a hammer is a carpenter and these are the only standards we seem to live by. It's sort of a blind and crippled way of doing business.
Archuleta County votes to exempt itself from any standards on construction of anything and everything. This commissioner hit the ground running from special interests to banks. It's just a further rip-off of an impoverished, defenseless county.
If two commissioners can conspire on projects, they can make a budget for anything they want because they can over-vote the remaining commissioner and they have just set a bad precedent. Are these two going to do the same for all county departments that they just did for the airport? And another thing, if the airport is such a desperate liability case, they should shut it down until it has enough of its own money to correct itself.
Two commissioners have no grip on reality whatsoever. They have no intentions of solving anything. This leaves us with one commissioner.
No cause for alarm
As I read your editorial today I was very disturbed with a statement you made.
Change is no cause for alarm.
Do you really believe that? Last year when the district laid off two employees a person having a seizure in downtown Pagosa waited 30 minutes for an ambulance.
Currently there are two paramedics on duty most days. When one must accompany a patient to Durango, the other is here to cover the next call. We do run multiple calls on occasion and yes people who call 911 will not get a QRV or ambulance in timely manner. It happens now.
I agree with the fact that EMS has grown too fast and we cannot support the current service level. I don't believe it is scare tactics if you be truthful and tell the citizens of Archuleta County that the current level of service they have enjoyed the past few years will be cut. Please let them know that if they do have a medical emergency we will "try" to be there.
Wednesday morning we drove into town about 8:20 a.m. At that time nearly all the street parking was taken and hundreds of chairs where lined up in anticipation of our county's 4th of July Parade.
The American Legion led the parade with their color guard, one member for each of the services - Army, Army Air Corps., Air Force, Navy and Marines. The American Legion appreciates all the people who stood at attention, saluted or placed their hand over their heart as the American flag passed by.
Many of the spectator's voices called out "Thank You Veterans" and "God Bless America." It makes us feel good that we served our country.
After the parade it was on to a potluck and ice cream social sponsored by a local organization, and fun visiting with old and new friends. At 2 p.m. the Red Ryder Rodeo started to a full house of spectators. It was nice sitting in the stands with a 270 degree panorama view of our beautiful mountains to the north, east and the south. Early in the evening we heard our own Pagosa Hot Strings entertain us at the Sports Complex. The Hot Strings get better and better all the time. At dusk we were treated to some beautiful fireworks that lasted quite a long time. I would like to personally thank the hundreds of people in our area who made this past Wednesday a perfect 4th of July.
Proud to be an American and proud to be a permanent resident of beautiful Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
Get on with it
Just when are the "three con-artists" going to get their operation together? If the commissioners are intent on hiring a county administrator/manager or whatever other irrelevant title they wish to bicker over - that's fine. Just get on with it. If you have no plan, then you plan to fail.
But should you maneuver to make a commitment to fund the position, then fund same from your combined 135K salaries. Do not take any more money from the taxpayer to ease the elected responsibilities and provide for your folly; 135K a year to attend meetings and pass paperwork through each other from a county administrator and department heads, so you can agree that they do the job, is a monumental immoral scam of the community taxes.
Small work effort equates to small pay when I have to open my wallet. But I will agree to rightly compensate and recognize the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.
The San Juan Outdoor Club is hoping that someone in the community videotaped last year's Fourth of July Parade. We need a copy for our archives.
If you can help us, please call David Overley at 731-4991 or Lynda Van Patter at 731-4795. Thank you.
Lynda Van Patter
This letter is inspired by two recent events. The first was the headlines in the SUN about the current financial condition of the Upper San Juan Hospital District and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. The second came about when a lady rolled into the medical center in her wheelchair. She was a paraplegic from a spinal disorder that had a host of related medical needs. She was aghast when told that she would have to go to Durango or beyond for her care. She had been told during her property buying process that her needs could be met in Pagosa Springs. This relates to a common question asked by newcomers, perspective newcomers, and some locals, when will Pagosa get a hospital?
The opinion expressed in this letter is mine alone, but comes from the perspective of a professional medical background, having set on the medical center development committee from inception to opening party, and as an interested citizen.
On that committee we talked with many people in the rural medical business. One of these, having heard our plans to develop a medical center and perhaps a small hospital said, "May the force be with you, you will need it." Information in a Denver Post article showed 30-plus clinics and small hospitals closing or in danger of closing in Colorado towns at that time. Many of the towns are now without local medical care.
In this age of HMOs, higher medical supply and technology costs, insurance and governmental bureaucracy that require a staff to deal with paperwork, and medical insurance costs pushed higher by lawsuits it is a near miracle that any small medical facility is open.
The trend is for larger cities to have a hospital that serves as the hub for a network of smaller communities with clinics for less complicated and emergency medical needs. This is the situation we designed for Archuleta County. It is unrealistic to promote the idea that people can receive specialized care or that a hospital is even in the distant future of Pagosa Springs. We need to promote the doctors, staff, and facility at the medical center and our Emergency Medical Service. Close ties with Durango and Farmington hospitals and ground and air transport is our medical "ace in the hole."
With the hard work of our local medical staff and volunteer work, including the work of the USJHD board, we have the high standard of rural medical care that we experience. In particular the medical center has operated efficiently with comparatively little outside support while growing and increasing service.
If we want to improve or even maintain our current standard we need to immediately increase support by increased taxes. If we can pay for libraries, roads, parks, plowing, etc. surely we can pay for medical care. Ask yourself, if you or your family needs medical attention do you want to be serviced by facilities trimmed to a bare minimum? Lets all get behind and support our medical community.
Warren E. "Meaux" Johann departed this life on July 7 at San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M. He would have been 64 years old on July 10.
Born in Wichita, Kan., July 10, 1937, his career allowed him to live in many areas of the United States. After completing a job in Dillon, Meaux knew he would retire to the beautiful state of Colorado. He and his wife moved to Pagosa Springs in July 1993.
Meaux is survived by his wife, Betty; his step-children Jim Carmack of Shreveport, La., Colin Mangham of Los Angeles, Calif., and Debbie Thomas of Aztec, N.M.; step-grandson, Elliot Thomas; step-granddaughter, Melissa Thomas; and step-sister, Janie Swearingin of Olathe, Kan. A host of friends also mourn his passing.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers memorial contributions be made to: The Meaux Johann Memorial Fund for Youth Fly Fishing, c/o The Fund, Wells Fargo Bank, PO Box 660, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Contributions to this fund will be used to assist middle school and high school programs in Pagosa Springs by supplying financial assistance for fly fishing classes and/or equipment for the students.
The family invites you to join in a celebration of the life of this special man to be held at Community United Methodist Church on Saturday, July 14, 2001 at 9:30 a.m.
Allen and Kim Thompson are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Morgan Jade Thompson, who was born June 28, 2001, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. Morgan weighed 8 pounds 5.6 ounces and was 18.5 inches. She was welcomed home by her brother Hunter Thompson. Grandparents are Donna Boyer of Gunnison; Charles Boyer of Rye, Texas; and Jim and Irene Thompson, of La Junta.
It was a hole-in-one - times three - for a trio of competitors at the Pagosa Springs Golf Course Tuesday.
Barbara Boggess, of Pagosa Springs, Lisa Pierce, of Cortez, and Sue Branson, of Farmington, all made elusive single shot holes during the Pine Cone Classic ladies golf tournament.
"This has never happened," Sally Bish, of Cruise Planners, said. Cruise Planners sponsored prizes for hole-in-one shots, never expecting to have the opportunity to give away a pair of seven-day cruises and two plane tickets to Germany.
Boggess and Pierce both fired off hole-in-ones at Ponderosa No. 8 to win cruises, while Branson scored hers on Meadows No. 4 to take home plane tickets. The Pagosa Springs resident was the only one to claim a second career single-shot hole.
"But it's the only one that had a prize attached," she said in an interview Wednesday morning. For the other two, the day's shots were a first.
All three women said their spectacular drives felt good coming off the tee, but the results were far better than expected.
"I didn't know until I got up there to the pin," Boggess said. "I thought it was close, but I never thought it was in." In true golfing etiquette, she paused before celebrating her shot.
"I waited for my teammates to play out and then I jumped up and down," she said with a big smile.
"I saw it (the ball) land short of the hole, and bent over to pick up my tee, and all three other girls saw it go in the hole," Branson said.
What to do with the golf ball following the shots was a toss-up.
"I think it found the water after it found the hole," Boggess said.
Pierce, however, is keeping hers.
Seeking a name for Visitor Center bear
Once again Pagosa Springs was the place to be on July 4 with activities aplenty and something for everyone in the family. We have many folks to thank, as always, for we get by only with the help of our friends, and the Fourth is no exception.
Doug Trowbridge successfully survived organizing and implementing his first five-day Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival and has a firm grip on what to expect the next time around. He did a great job and "bonded" with our 90-plus vendors during the process. Truly, if you can make it through an event that long and complicated, you can do just about anything. Thanks for a terrific job, Doug.
We are also indebted to Doug Call, Jim and Lisa with Parks and Recreation for all the extra hours they contributed to this long weekend. I don't know that many people are aware of the "behind the scenes" labor that goes into events and activities that take place in the parks and sports complex, but know that these folks are in perpetual motion for the duration of the event. They have to keep things spic-and-span throughout, and that is no easy feat.
Special thanks to our friend and diplomat, Phyllis Alspach, for her help once again this year. Phyllis was originally recruited by Suellen to help mark the booth spaces in both parks prior to the vendors' arrival, and Doug asked her to give him a hand this year with the same task. Thanks so much, Phyllis.
A special note of gratitude to our new friends, Tom and Jan Carnley, who were ever so helpful and responsive when we needed them with a "water disaster" that required immediate attention, and Tom was there for us. We are also ever-so grateful to Joel Justice with Justice Water Works for working with Tom to handle the water situation.
Terry Smith of Ace Lumber and Hardware was again our Knight in Shining Armor (even though he is no longer a board director) by providing us with a truck for our float. It was his newest fleet addition and driven by seasoned driver, Jack Willshire. Jack has driven our Chamber float now for many parades and truly seems to enjoy all the madness and nonsense that comes with that job.
The Pagosa Hot Strings were magnificent with their "Window of Opportunity" concert and played for over two hours to a most appreciative crowd. I have already asked for them to come back next year and am hopeful that they will acquiesce. Thanks, too, to Charles Martinez and his magic flute for providing a beautiful mini-concert in Centennial Park on very short notice.
The Colorado Mounted Rangers-Troop F provided our night security once again for the booths in both parks, and we sure do appreciate the peace of mind provided along with the security. Thanks to Spud with Rocky Mountain Sanitation, the good folks at Pizza Hut and to Charlie and Emily Rogers with Aquila and Pricilla Tentmakers.
Last but not least, we owe a special debt of gratitude to "Casper," our own Robert Soniat, who looked very much like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz when he completed painting our facade for the parade. Speaking of the silver facade, Mark Mesker of Paint Connection Plus, the one and only "Mr. Smokin' Deal," donated the silver paint and the paint thinner for our float. What a guy. Thanks, Mark - we owe you, bud.
I also want to congratulate my wacky board of directors on winning a prize for the very first time ever in a parade. We actually took third place in the non-profit division of the fabulous Rotary Parade. I think it might have been the guys dressed in skirts that did the trick.
We have acquired the most amazing "greeting bear" in the Visitor Center, and we would like to invite you to visit us, check out the bear and then name him (her?).
Our Monday afternoon Diplomat ladies simply fell in love when he was delivered and decided that he did indeed need a name. We thank the folks at Happy Camper RV Park for this wonderful addition to our lobby which is not only ornamental but entirely functional. The bear (carved, of course) is about five feet tall and holds a pad in his paws with our guest register upon it. Visitors won't be able to resist signing in with this irresistible guy inviting them to do so. Similar and smaller or larger versions of this bear are available to you at the Happy Camper.
We invite you to name our bear and win one of our beautiful new Chamber of Commerce polo shirts and a Chamber hat as well. The deadline for the Name the Bear Contest is July 28, and we hope you will all enter. Just come on down and fill out a contest form.
One of my very favorite events of the year is tomorrow night, and I encourage all of you to be there with bells on. It's the Friends of the Library Annual Meeting at the Extension Building, beginning at 6 p.m.
To take advantage of all the amazing bargains, you do need to be a Friend of the Library, and you can accomplish that right at the door. A family membership is $10, an individual membership is $5, a student is $2, and a lifetime membership is $100. There will be a brief meeting and refreshments will be served before the book sale of book sales.
Believe me, folks, you won't believe the book bargains you will find. Every year I buy a box or two of wonderful books to sustain me throughout the winter, as do lots of Pagosans. Don't forget to RSVP for this event at 264-2209. Hope to see you all there on Friday night.
The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will hold auditions for their upcoming production of "Fiddler on the Roof" tomorrow from 5-8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs High School Music Room. All interested future stars should bring sheet music for an accompanist or provide their own accompaniment if auditioning for a singing role.
This popular and familiar musical offers 12 lead roles and a chorus of 30 as well as opportunities to play in the orchestra or be a part of one of the crews. If you have questions, call Joan Hageman at 264-4863
Don't forget to contact John Graves (731-9863) or John Porter (731-3671) to let them know you would like to participate in the upcoming Music Boosters' Vaudeville Show at the Archuleta County Fair. Bring your song and dance routine or comedy act to these gentlemen to be a part of this Aug. 4 recreation of vaudeville at the Fairgrounds. We have so much amazing talent in this community, and this is our chance to share it and have a grand time doing so.
We have two new members to share with you this week and four renewals. We are grateful that these people somehow found time to join us during the hectic July 4 week. Thanks to all.
We welcome Farrell and Barbara Trask who bring us The Lighting Center located at 301 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite 3. The Lighting Center offers builders and homeowners on-site and in-house design consultation for all lighting needs including indoor, outdoor, decorative, fluorescent, track and recessed fixtures; fans; lamps and shades. Please call 731-5633 for more information about The Lighting Center. We thank Kathryn Heilhecker once again for her recruitment of the Trasks and will send off her free SunDowner pass with our sincere gratitude.
Our next new member is Jeffrey H. Hunts who brings us TUFCO, INC. located at MSC No. 4413, 63 North Pagosa Boulevard, Suite B3. TUFCO offers all phases of excavation and trucking to include total site preparation and roads and pads cut. Stump removal is also available as well as full trucking services. No job is too small for Jeffrey, and he invites you to give him a call at 731-1146 for more information.
Our renewals this week include Russ Wilstead, General Manager, Red Lion Inn and Suites; Jim Downing with Hydro-Force, LLC, Pressure Washing; Cy Scarborough with Bar D Chuckwagon in Durango; and Associate Members Lee and Patti Sterling. I just met Lee and Patti's daughter, Sally, and we spent a lot of time admiring each other's names.
Our hearts go out to my little sis, Betty Johann, and her family with the recent loss of her husband, Meaux. We have all lost a funny, gentle, private friend, and he will always be with us in memory. I know that my little pal is appreciative of the love and support that has been forthcoming from this wonderful community and is grateful to each and every one for the outpouring of love. Please check the SUN for further information about Meaux's memorial service Saturday morning.
Perfect weather, picnic, fireworks, a great treat for all
Do we live in the best town around or what? The July 4th celebrations were absolutely wonderful and we thank those folks who put in so much time and effort to produce such a great parade and fireworks demonstration. Our seniors (about 40 of us) enjoyed the perfect weather and the picnic the evening of July 4. Many thanks to Susan Stouffer and the folks at Casa de los Arcos for allowing us to use their front lawn and tables/chairs, and to the folks who brought potluck dishes, which made for a delicious meal.
We also owe a big thanks to the Rotary Club, who went to all the trouble of setting up chairs in the shady area for our seniors to observe the parade. Unfortunately the folks here at the Senior Center who needed to know about it didn't get the word so our folks didn't get to take advantage of their efforts. We really appreciate it, anyway.
Bruce and Mary Muirhead and Pat and Hannah Foster do so many nice things for our group. We thank them for the video tapes they donated to our library. Hannah and Pat Foster also donated a cassette player for our seniors to use. If anyone else would care to donate videos, we are trying to build our library for our seniors' use.
Charley Martinez was our Senior of the Week last week. We so enjoy having Charley join us at the center and congratulate him for being selected. Sy Kohlman is our Senior of the Week this week. We are glad to have Sy and Donna back with us and happy to honor Sy.
Friday we had a huge crowd. It was wonderful to have our dining room filled up. Mary Archuleta's daughter, Sadie Hunter, and sister, Rose Archuleta joined us. We are happy to meet them. Also, we were happy to have Gary and Ruth Driesens back with us for the summer, and to have Linda Muirhead, Ellie Wilkins and John Montoya visit with us. We hope all you folks will join us again soon.
Donna Pina at Social Services still needs help with cutting, splitting, loading and delivering fire wood which was donated by the folks at Elk Park to help those folks who need it. If you would like to donate some time and effort, or earn some money helping out, please contact Donna at 264-2182.
We just like to remind everyone of the advantages of membership in our group, and remind our returning and new folks to purchase their membership cards for $3 each. Numerous businesses offer discounts on purchases and use of their services or on admission when members present their cards.
Vista Wildlife Trail great for whole family outings
With such beautiful weather, it is sure lovely to be outside.
Mornings and evenings make for good walking. A friend once said "a family that exercises together stays together." What do you think? I believe there are many benefits to spending time doing activities that the whole family (including the dog), can enjoy together.
Not far from our own backyard are hiking and biking trails. One that I particularly like is the Vista Lake Wildlife Trail. This wildlife viewing trail was constructed around Vista Lake last fall. The trail was part of a GOCO (Great Outdoors Colorado) funded youth corps project.
PLPOA's Larry Lynch is working with the Division of Wildlife to construct three wildlife interpretive signs including a waterfowl I.D. sign, a wetland educational sign, and a map orientation sign. Please take the time to come check it out. The trail goes all the way around the lake and then down into Martinez Canyon through Trails Boulevard. Vista Lake is a unique area, loaded with watchable wildlife.
It's important for the trail to be used, otherwise the weeds will take over. Access is off of Vista Boulevard to Port Avenue. You'll see the access road/parking area and picnic pavilion next to the lake. The trail is open to any non-motorized use. Call Larry Lynch at the PLPOA office for more information, 731-5635.
Members of the Trails Council have planned a trails construction day for Saturday. Can you help? Meet at 9 a.m. at the first cattle guard on Piedra Road, right next to the dirt parking area.
Anyone can help; no Amazonian strength needed. If you have gardening level qualities, you can be a big helper. Focus will be on trailheads and trail markers in the area.
Volunteers will be fed a yummy lunch and given a free T-shirt. My thanks to you if you volunteer. Trail builders are special people. They create opportunities for all to access the beautiful forests. They help give us a chance to stand in groves of trees, amidst meadows of wildflowers. They help us feel and smell nature. Looking at nature through the windows of a vehicle is a poor second. I thank you again and again.
Lake Pagosa has been stocked with rainbow and cut bow trout. Last week, over 2,000 pounds of trout were stocked into the lake. Anglers have enjoyed excellent fishing over the weekend and that trend should continue throughout the summer. Larry Lynch, with the help of his able crew, will be stocking more trout in September in Hatcher Lake, Lake Pagosa and Lake Forest. This coming weekend should still be good fishing. Bring the family out for a day on the lake. Fishing permits are available at the Recreation Center.
PLPOA directors will hold their monthly meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 230 Port Avenue. Members and observers are encouraged to attend. Public comments will be heard at the beginning of the meeting.
Friends annual meeting, sale Friday
Tomorrow and Saturday are the big days for the annual booksale. Tomorrow evening we host the Friends Annual Meeting and private booksale. You're all invited to join the Friends and get first chance at the wide variety of books we'll have for sale.
Activities start at 6 p.m. at the Extension Building. Annual dues can be paid at the door. Refreshments are available, and after a very short meeting, the sale begins. Annual dues are $10 for a family, $5 for an individual, and $2 for a student under 18. Please RSVP at 264-2209 so we know how much food to have.
Saturday is the big public book sale. So much is going on in town, we trust you will get to the book sale early, then go and enjoy all of the other events. Doors will open at 7 a.m. We will only be open until 2 p.m., so be early and get the bargains.
We appreciate donations of books that are in good shape and saleable. We can't use old textbooks, novels without their book jackets, or materials that are old and moldy. We know it is hard to part with your books, but if you need more room now is the time to give them up for a good cause.
The Friends of the Library support various projects including the Summer Reading Program. This year is a banner one as we have 291 children signed up now, with only two more weeks to go. Friends help buy books and prizes for this important program. Your support of the booksale helps with this.
We continue to be avant-garde when it comes to new ways to better serve our patrons.
Cathy Dodt-Ellis from our library was chosen as a beta tester for another statewide Interlibrary Loan test called SWIFT. Pilot libraries around the state are training to be part of this web-based browser.
What does this mean? Lending libraries may look at online requests and send the interlibrary loans directly. Eventually you may be able to order Interlibrary books right from home. SWIFT was supported with federal funds. Cathy reports we have already sent 75 requests and SWIFT is working well.
For those of you interested in beginning and intermediate genealogy, there will be a workshop July 14 from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Methodist Church. The cost is $20. You are asked to park in back of the church. Kerri Montagriff, Shirley Snider and members of the Genealogy Society will put on various classes.
For more information, call Shirley at 264-6402.
Our dragon mascot has a new name: "Miss Lotta-Scales Readabilia."
This fun name came from Eli Stephens and Julia Nell. Congratulations for their imaginative suggestions.
There were other winners for the week of July 3. Julia LeLievre picked the closest number of jellybeans. Readers of the Week were Johannah Laverty, Waylon Lucero, Matthew McFarland, Rose Quintana, Ashley Iverson, Sara Sanna, Jessie Bir, Clint Walkup, Tate Hinger and Conner Aragon.
Princess Slipper winners were Breezy Bryant, Mele LeLievre, Sienna Stretton, Emily Bryant, Maegan McFarland, Jaime Kirkland, Megan Bryant, Trey Spears, Niki Monteferrante, Julia Adams, Kelsey Lyle, Jaclyn Harms and Elizabeth Bliss.
Patriotic Windsock winners were Jordan Neuleib, Emily Bryant, Megan Bryant, Maegan McFarland, Katrina Bliss, Michelle Bliss, Eric Chavez, Barrie Bliss, Traci Bliss, Anne Townsend, Elizabeth Bliss, Magan Kraetsch, Briana Bryant, Jamilyn Harms, Emilie Schur, Betsy Schur, Eli Stephens, Becca Stephens, Kelli Florek, Ashley Moya, Hayden Sharp, Lydia Gallegos, Katie Smith and Danielle Beserra.
Our winners in the Raccoon Coloring Contest were Amanda Kerr, Chris Mueller, Emilie Schur, Betsy Schur, Amber Lark, Tarah McKeever, Desiree Pastin, Reyes McInnis, Harvest Krogh, Ryan McInnis, Sierra Monteferrante, Nolan Stretton, Kaden Ray and Samuel Bliss.
Winners for last week
Readers of the Week: Forrest Rackham, Sarah Vining, Kayla Walker, Jacqueline Garcia, Kaily New, Kyle Garcia, Michael Henderson, Ben Miller, Waylon Lucero and Cody Walker.
Troll Contest winners were Katie Smith, Brooke Spears, Courtney Spears, Trey Spears, Misha Garcia, Jaden Hinger, Tate Hinger, Anne Townsend, Maegan McFarland, Mathew McFarland, Danielle Beserra, Hayden Sharp.
Winners in the Coloring Contest were Desiree Pastin, Cheyann Walker, Katie Bliss, Tarah McKeever, Misha Garcia, Andie Miller, Sarah Vining, Colby Anderson Andresen, Justin Boyd, Amanda Oertel, Dylan Boyd, Julia LeLievre, Brooke Spears, Courtney Spears and Jennifer Mueller.
Forrest Rackham guessed 650 and there were 664 beans - the number of books the children have read so far.
Our Fourth of July Poem contest was won by Becca Stephens, Traci Bliss, Casy Crow and Kyle Anderson Andresen. Kyle is seven.
We especially liked Kyle's poem: "The 4th of July when we celebrate our freedom. We love our country. We have what we need."
Financial help came from Elizabeth Anderson and Gil and Lenore Bright in memory of Hazle Neill, Friends of the Libraries Upper San Juan and Pagosa Woman's Civic Club.
Materials came from Diane Bower, Annie Ryder, Sue Angelo, Michael Caldwell, Kate Lister, Addie Greer, Carol Mestas, Brenda Waldbouer, Joan Cortright, Grandma May, Margaret Jones, Eric and Cindy Maedgen, Anita Schwendeman and Carol Young.
Tracing snow white hair, double little toes
When the local genealogical society holds its annual workshop July 14 at the Methodist Church, there's a chance to learn how to put together a family history.
If you are already familiar with this hobby, there's a chance you might learn something else. It will be held at the Community United Methodist Church 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. and cover three parts: Beginning Genealogy, Intermediate Computer, and Genealogy and Origins of our American Ancestors. Cost is $20.
There are organizations devoted to descendants from certain times in history. Pagosa Springs doesn't have any chapters but there are residents who belong to some of them - such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, the National Society Colonial Dames XVII Century, the Huguenot Society of South Carolina, the National Society Magna Carta Dames, The Mayflower Society, United Sons of the Confederacy, Washington Family Descendants, and the Orphan Brigade Kinfolk. This does not include family associations of which there are many.
These organizations - and there are many more than those I listed - are a wonderful way to find distant cousins. And, too, they are a way to learn where you got certain physical characteristics.
For example, Saturday, a cousin called me from Virginia. She'd gone to a family association reunion in Richmond (her first time) and was delighted to know where she'd got her nose. She'd inherited it through the DuVal line. Now I didn't get there this time, but when I was there two years ago, I kept counting the high cheek bones. (Both of us have the nose and the bones.)
Snow-white hair runs in my mother's family. It used to be that whenever a funeral parlor was full of people with beautiful, thick white hair, people knew that a Cunningham had died. My mother was a Cunningham from Caldwell County, Kentucky. Next door was Trigg County where William and Nancy (Carr) Cunningham settled in the early 1800s. He left many descendants. My grandfather left Trigg for Caldwell because cousins were marrying cousins.
One of the characteristics of "cousins marrying cousins" was that some of them had double little toes - and this may sound funny, but the ones I knew with this deformity were very smart.
All of William and Nancy's children had family names, and their children had the same family names, so nicknames became the way to keep an identity.
There were 10 children and 89 grandchildren. The first family lived near the river and were called "Duck" Cunninghams - Bill Duck, etc. The third family was called "Buck" Cunninghams - Buck Cunningham, etc. The sixth family was known as "Dab" Cunninghams - the Dab for Dabney. The seventh family had one son, Robert, nicknamed "Tank." He was so named because he would not sit still for a hair cut and reminded his father of the trash disposals (called tanks) in Scotland.
The tenth family boys liked to fish and swim and had the nicknamed "Rat" Cunningham. The story is told that a man rode up to one of the Cunningham houses and asked for the father. A son answered with, "He has gone across the river to Wash Rats."
After getting the same answer the third time, the stranger rode away to inquire of the first person he saw, "Why would any man wash rats?"
The "Wash" was for Washington Cunningham.
It's stories like this that make family history fun and give one a feeling of belonging. Even if you never attend a genealogical workshop, there are things you can do - for there's a chance that someone just might care one of these days - and that is to write the name on the back of pictures, date them, and save family documents. Store them all together and you might even draw up a rough family tree.
Now, you may already be a good genealogist and that's a good thing. In the meantime, think of attending the workshop. There is so much new to learn with all the technology, even if you have been doing genealogy for ages.
It seems Pagosans gave the United Blood Services a good showing this week. On Monday, a total of 24 people signed up to give blood, and 23 people came - a very good turnout for a town this size it seems. Of course, blood remains in short supply, so consider donating if you can, the next time a donation center comes to town.
Fun on the Run
"What's your father's occupation?" asked the school secretary on the first day of the new academic year.
"He's a magician ma'am," said Little Johnny.
"How interesting. What's his favorite trick?"
"He saws people in half."
"Gosh! Now next question. Any brothers or sisters?"
"One half brother and two half sisters."
There's nothing like a friendly audience
July 4th was a hot time on Main Street. Boy, was it hot.
Last year I marched in the parade, part of the San Juan Outdoor Club's award-winning entry, a precision drill team. One of the team members carried a super soaker and engaged in regular water fights along the route. Collateral water kept all of us cool.
This year I sat sedately by the sidewalk and watched. And roasted. I would have welcomed some good water fights coming my way, but they were few and far between.
Hotshot and I applied sunscreen before we left home. We put on more at the beginning of the parade, when the Rotary Club runners and walkers came along.
We put on more during the parade, increasing coverage on our knees, our feet (don't wear sandals unless you want hot pink toes) and on our arms.
Friends in the nearby seats said, "We think this is the best parade in the country."
"Why?" I asked. "Because it's long," laughed Cate.
"Because half the people in Pagosa are in the parade and the other half are watching," said John.
"Right," agreed Cate. "Nobody's at home. If you were a burglar, you could clean up this morning."
The first few entries went by - including the Senior Center and Pine Ridge Nursing Home, followed by the San Juan Basin Health Center ambulance. Was this intentional?
Then there was a long gap, I mean long, before the band appeared. No wonder the parade takes a couple of hours. But people didn't care. We were with friends, the day was beautiful, and nobody had any place else to be.
There's nothing like a friendly audience. People around us called out to people in the parade - their neighbors, their children, their neighbors' children.
We all clapped for the fair and rodeo royalty and all the other royalty. Pretty girls in shiny crowns perched on trailers and on car roofs. We clapped for flatbed trailers full of small children. We clapped for the veterans.
When Smokey Bear came by, people rushed out to hug him. Little kids, teenage girls, grown men. I haven't seen a person in an animal suit getting so many hugs since Hotshot and I accompanied our granddaughter to Walt Disney World last year and Winnie the Pooh was passing by.
I'm told the bear suit was air-conditioned, so there was no danger of Smokey getting heat stroke. Two forest service trucks followed Smokey. But wait!
The second truck was being pushed by half a dozen men. They weren't all wearing regulation shirt and pants; some were volunteers from the audience, helping out a ranger with a dead vehicle.
Was this breakdown a result of federal budget cutting?
The first truck stopped, the second got pushed up to it, barely, and a set of chains appeared. If you were sitting near the front of the parade, you can rest easy. By the time they reached Jackisch Drugs the first truck was pulling the second, and the volunteers could head back to their own families.
And of course, we clapped for all of them.
We clapped for the drill teams, the Outdoor Club Kazoo Band, the Canyon REO paddle majorettes. We cheered when those super soakers sprayed the crowd. We put on more sunscreen.
We admired the horses with their red, white and blue legs. We got ready to run when a handsome black horse got upset, bucking and rearing and threatening to back his buggy into the crowd.
We oohed and aahed over the flips by the agile gymnasts from Pagosa Springs.
We clapped for the heavy-duty tow truck pulling five - count 'em, five - vehicles strung out behind like turtles sunning on a log.
We laughed when the drivers of two enormous construction vehicles jumped out and staged their own water fight with the cement mixer's hoses. We wished they'd send a shot our way, but no such luck.
Hotshot and I have lived in a lot of different towns and attended a lot of parades. One of my favorites was in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, a suburb of Hartford. South Glastonbury held two parades each year, one in the spring, probably on Memorial Day, and one on Muster Day, a fall celebration harking back to colonial times.
A favorite entry in those parades was the guy on the box. Picture a wooden box about a foot wide and a foot high and maybe 18 inches long, with dinky little wheels and a hidden motor. The rider perched on the box, hunched over, his feet up on little metal braces, and worked the tiny controls. He never cracked a smile, but he drew a lot of laughs.
We also lived for a while in San Antonio Texas, which has some magnificent parades. Three of them take place in April, during the 10 days of Fiesta, which commemorates the battle of San Jacinto and Texas independence. These are major parades, with college bands and high school marching units, large mounted police troops, elaborate costumes. One parade is held at night, so a lot of the floats and entries carry little lights.
The biggie, though, is the Battle of Flowers Parade. This is the parade that features the Fiesta royalty. The Fiesta queens and princesses and duchesses stand on raised floats with elaborate beaded trains displayed in front of them. The trains qualify as works of art. They're about 20 feet long. Making them for the queens and princesses is a project that keeps some seamstresses in San Antonio employed year-round.
The result is stunning. The crowds are impressed. But I can't say they're having any more fun than we do at Pagosa's Fourth of July Parade.
Now if someone will just ride a little self-propelled box.
Doug Secrist gets park manager post near Eagle
I am sure many of you who read this column know Doug Secrist and his wife, Cyndy.
What many of you may not know is that July 8 Doug left his post as senior ranger at Navajo and moved to Sylvan Lake State Park, located outside of Eagle, as it's new park manager.
This promotion has been long awaited by Doug. As senior ranger for the past nine years, he has proved himself worthy of manager status time and again. Whenever problems arose - be it for a visitor, volunteer, or staff member - Doug saw to it personally. A tireless worker, Doug saw to the safety of all who came to the park.
Of course, Doug is not the only one who touched so many lives. As principal of Pagosa Springs Elementary, Cyndy also made her mark. Not only did students and teachers thrive under her leadership, but the school's Fourth grade made the state's highest marks in reading. Cyndy helped to create an environment where teachers felt comfortable in challenging their students to do more than they thought they could.
Through her position at the school, Cyndy played an important part in supporting the educational goals of both Navajo State Park and the Colorado Division of Wildlife. As one of the DOW's officers told me the other day, "We are going to miss her that far and I am sure they will be back to visit us here. If not, they have campgrounds at Sylvan. Goodbye Doug and Cyndy, and good luck.
With the holiday falling on a Wednesday this year, the usual three-day weekend stretched out to last six days.
Many of our visitors stayed much longer, enjoying the new campground's full hookups. Fireworks, special events in Pagosa Springs, Durango and Farmington, fishing and water sports kept people busy. Thunderstorms arriving every afternoon did not dampen spirits for long, but provided a cool respite from the heat.
On Saturday, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., people have the opportunity to master new wildlife watching skills through this activity-filled introductory workshop.
Learn how to become aware of sights and sounds in nature, discover where, when and how to see wildlife responsibly, and gain practical experience with wildlife habitats and signs on a short hike.
Want to become better at using binoculars and spotting scopes? This course can show you things you've always wanted to know but were afraid to ask. The course is free with park admission. If you wish to buy copies of the books and materials used during the class, they will be available for $15 per set. Please bring a sack lunch, water and appropriate clothing for walking outside.
Reservations are required so please call Sue at 883-5455. See you in the wild.
Travels in Colorado
This week's bookstore special spotlights travel in Colorado past and present.
"Amazing Traveler Isabella Bird" by Evelyn Kaye is a fascinating biography about a woman who didn't allow Victorian stereotypes to stop her from venturing along into the wild west and climbing mountains. Isabella Bird's adventures offer modern day women a mirror to examine their own freedoms. A must read for every student of Colorado history.
After visiting the Colorado of a hundred years ago, you may wish to see how the scenery has changed. For this, "Colorado's Scenic and Historic Byways" by Joe Vessengin can be your guide to many of the places Isabella Bird visited plus some. Buy both of these books and get 10 percent off the purchase price.
Women veterans entitled to same benefits
Recently I've seen an increase in women veterans contacting the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office. Some of the women veterans are new discharges and the most recent contact served in the Vietnam era. This office is pleased and honored to help the women obtain Veterans benefits.
Today, women constitute almost 15 percent of active-duty forces. There are more than 1.4 million women who have served, comprising some 5 percent of all veterans. And as the number of women veterans has grown, so has the VA health care system in meeting their needs.
Many women who have served in the military do not know they are eligible for VA benefits. Some believe only those who served in a war zone or specific campaigns are considered veterans. Women veterans are entitled to the same benefits granted male veterans.
Homelessness is a common concern among veterans' groups, but until now little attention has been paid to homeless women vets. These women can be at risk for homelessness because they lack support when transitioning to civilian life, frequently serve as primary care provider to children, and often need to seek shelter from abusive relationships.
The VA has dedicated $3 million to support programs, staffing and transitional housing for homeless women veterans. By the end of the year, 11 sites around the country should be functional. These facilities will work with community programs, which can provide services VA cannot offer.
VA is beginning to improve its gender-specific treatment options. Women's VA benefits now entail complete physical exams, including breast and pelvic exams, gynecology services and referrals for necessary services unavailable at the facility.
A recent VA Advisory Committee report includes the following recommendations: educating women about benefits; ensuring privacy and safety in VA hospitals; making sexual trauma counseling a permanent program; and paying more attention to the specific health care needs of women.
Additional information about Women Veterans can be found on the Internet at: www.va.gov/womenvet.
Speaking of the Internet, a wealth of information about veteran services and benefits can be found at the main VA Website: www.va.gov.
I urge all veterans who have access to the Internet to check out the Website. For anyone without personal Internet access, you can access the Internet at our local public library.
I didn't get a chance to thank the Liberty Theater folks last week for honoring veterans while they were showing "Pearl Harbor." I believe on the opening night performance they gave free admission to all veterans. They continued to honor veterans on their marquee during the "Pearl Harbor" showings.
We are fortunate in this community to have strong veteran support from all of our media. I host The Bill Miller Show on KWUF Tuesday evenings from 6-9 p.m., saluting veterans and playing the '40s, '50s and '60s music. The SUN, of course, has been a very strong supporter of veterans affairs, publishing this weekly column and many editorials and feature editions about veterans over the years.
I could not go without thanking the Archuleta County Commissioners for their strong support of the Veterans Service Office. The next time you see Bill Downey, Alden Ecker or Gene Crabtree, shake their hands and thank them for their support of Veterans Affairs.
For information on these topics and on other veterans' benefits, 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 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, for application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Baseball instructional league will open play Friday
A baseball instructional league, to be held on Friday mornings, will begin tomorrow and continue through Aug. 10.
The league, for players age 8-12, will take place at the Sports Complex 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. each Friday. Questions about the clinic can be answered at Town Hall, 264-4151, ext. 232.
T-shirts are included in the registration fee of $25. Registration is limited to 40 participants.s
The youth baseball season ended for all but the Bambino League. The Bambino all-star team defeated Dulce 30-8 on June 29. The Bambino tournament kicked off Tuesday with two games. Games three and four are scheduled tonight on Field 1 at the Sports Complex, starting at 6 p.m.
Tournament brackets are available at Town Hall and are posted at the sports complex. The league all-star team will travel to Monte Vista for a tournament July 19-21.
Softball games resumed this week with contests Monday through Thursday evenings. The men's league finished its first round of play last night and will begin games in recreation and competitive divisions July 16.
The competitive league is comprised of At Your Disposal, Clifford Construction, Ken's Performance, P.P.P. Playboys and U Can Afford Landscaping.
The recreation league includes American Legion, The Bears, Dulce Black Sox, Dulce Tigers and Stray Dogs.
Schedules for the second half of the season are available at the games, at Town Hall, and are posted at the Sports Complex. League games for both mens' divisions will conclude July 25 and tournament games for both divisions will begin July 26.
Tournament brackets for the men's games will be available July 19. Coed league games will run through Aug. 1 and tournament play will start Aug. 2.
The program resumed Monday, limited to 21 participants. To have their child remain at Park Fun and keep a spot in the program, parents need to pay the next week's registration the Friday before the week begins. Participants will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will end Aug. 10.
Soccer registration is now underway with $10 early registration through Aug. 10. The organizational coaches' meeting will be held Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Practices will begin the week of Aug. 27 and games will begin Sept. 11.
The season will conclude with tournament play Oct. 19-20. Games will be played at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Forms are available at Town Hall. Call the Recreation Department at 264-4151, ext. 232 with any questions.
Arts Camp students' work in new show
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council is proud to have as the next exhibit at the gallery in Town Park the art work of students from the Summer Arts Camp directed by Tessie Garcia and Lisa Brown.
Of the 30 students attending the camp, 11 will display their pottery, basketry, sculptures, fiber art, painting, drawings and jewelry. The opening reception will be held today 5-7 p.m., and I encourage everyone to come into the gallery and view the talented children's artwork. The gallery is open 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, now until Labor Day.
Home and Garden Show
The first annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Home and Garden Show will be held Aug. 12 from noon to 5 p.m.
This is an exciting new event where local gardeners open their homes and share the beauty of their gardens with the public. Tickets cost $10, $8 for PSAC members, and can be purchased at Wolftracks, Moonlight Books and the PSAC Gallery in Town Park. More information can be obtained by calling the gallery at 264-5020.
The Pagosa Springs Music Boosters will present an exciting weekend of jazz starting July 27 at the Timbers with Moonyah Orchestra Latin Jazz playing from 8-10:30 p.m. and E.J. the D.J. from 11 p.m. on.
The internationally-known Queen City Jazz Band will perform at the high school auditorium July 28 from 7:30-9 p.m. The concert will be followed by a special "meet the musicians" at the Timbers from 9:30-10 p.m. and a jam session with DC and the All Stars at 10 p.m.
On Sunday Rio Jazz will perform at the Timbers.
Tickets can be purchased individually for each event or for $22 for the entire weekend at Moonlight Books, The Plaid Pony, Timbers, Wolftracks, and the Chamber or Diamond Daves.
"Fiddler on the Roof"
Auditions for the Music Boosters' production of "Fiddler on the Roof" are tomorrow 6-9 p.m. and Saturday 9-5 p.m. with call backs 2-6 p.m. Sunday at the high school band room. More information is available from Joan Hageman at 264-6983 or Andy Donlan at 264-9555.
Anyone interested in participating in the Music Boosters' Vaudeville Show Aug. 4 at the Archuleta County Fair is encouraged to call John Porter at 731-3671 or John Graves at 731-9863. The show will incorporate song, dance, comedy and skits.
The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater is presenting its first summer production Aug. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at the Fred Harman Museum. The Pretenders, known for their creativity, will perform a historical depiction of the life of the legendary local Fred Harman and his success with his comic character Red Ryder. The show will be performed outdoors in the early evening and will include the usual audience interaction and Pretenders' surprises. The group donates all of the proceeds from its production to community projects so it is a great way to support local talent. For more information call Susan Garman at 731-2485 or Addie Greer at 264-4596.
Due to the success of the first CD sampler, Volume 2 featuring local musicians is currently in development. Over 500 copies have been pre-sold with a release date tentatively planned for late this summer. If any business or group is interested in purchasing nine or more CDs their logo will be printed on the cover. Any musician interested in being included in the CD, needs to know selections will be made July 26. Call the gallery at 264-5020 for more information.
Relay For Life
In today's times almost everyone either knows someone with cancer or has had the misfortune of experiencing the disease first-hand.
Please support Relay for Life to help find a cure. The Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater is looking for members to join their team July 27-28 at Town Park. If you are interested you can call Susan Garman at 731-2485 or JoAnn at 264-5020. Support can also be given by stopping by the gallery and making your pledge for the walkers or by purchasing a luminary for the Light of Hope Ceremony.
Support the arts in Pagosa by becoming a member of the PSAC. We are a nonprofit organization that relies on membership, donations, volunteers and the success of our many sponsored events to help provide meaningful and educational cultural programs for locals and visitors to our area.
Benefits of PSAC membership include discounts on several local events and services, invitations and announcements to gallery openings and events, subscription to The Petroglyph, a free membership gift, and the wonderful fulfillment of supporting the arts.
Mission: Support women and sanctity of life
Pregnant? Don't know what to do?
There are probably no two questions that could have more impact on a woman's life than these. Fortunately, there is a place where women can get accurate answers, in a non-judgmental and supportive manner.
The place is the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center located 358 South 8th Street, and yes you can just walk in. In fact most women who seek help walk in instead of calling. That gives you an idea how well this center - established a little more than two years ago - is doing if women feel comfortable enough to walk inside an unfamiliar place and talk about their most personal matters.
Providing care, compassion, relevant information and resources to women facing unplanned pregnancies is what the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center is truly all about. Their mission is to promote the sanctity of human life.
Kathy Koy, registered nurse, is the director of the center, and she is aided by four trained and highly dedicated volunteers.
The center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Kathy says the center is so busy that they have had to expand their staff to two more volunteers, and a half-time paid staff person. Julie Burule will join them at the end of July to provide even more direct client services. However, Kathy says her most valuable resources are her volunteers because of their commitment to the women they serve.
Kathy's second most valuable resource is the donors. The Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center is totally supported by private donations. Client services, not fundraising, is their focus; but every two years the center hosts a golf tournament to raise funds. The October golf tournament raised $40,000.
Although the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center is truly a community sponsored program, it is under the umbrella of a national organization called Care Net which is network of pregnancy centers across North America. The Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center is a Christian-based organization, and thus their work is a ministry that helps women meet their total needs, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Since providing accurate information to women is paramount, Kathy makes very sure the information is thoroughly researched and reviewed by her staff before it is shared. Thus the three areas of ongoing services are resource information, abstinence education and abortion recovery.
Many women are attracted to coming to the center for the free pregnancy test, but the center at least attempts to provide some educational resource materials and discuss with each woman any issues or questions they might have.
Kathy stresses that supporting the woman, regardless of the choice she makes, is their main objective. She says that their focus is to help women set goals for the future, not to dwell on the circumstances that led to the pregnancy, although much support is offered in this area. Kathy, along with Kate Kelley, leads a Bible study support group which is a structured 12-week program for 4-5 women at a time. The small group size is to allow for more safe and intimate discussion. For some women it is the first time they are able to tell their story and feel accepted. If there are issues such as a history of child abuse, domestic violence, substance use or mental illness the center encourages women to seek help from counselors in the community. For other needs, referrals are made to the Department of Social Services, San Juan Basin Health Department, Healthy Kids Partnership and local physicians.
The question Kathy is most asked from the community is, how big is the problem of unwanted pregnancies? Kathy offered the following statistics: in Archuleta County 3-5 percent of the teenage population became pregnant in 1999, an increase from years past. Of those women who come to the center (the youngest being 14 years old and the oldest being 48 years old) about half are Hispanic. For Hispanic women statewide, nearly half do not have prenatal care in the first trimester. They are likely to have pre-term births and have children with low birthweights. Also they are likely to be less educated, and to be unmarried. Given these factors, agencies like the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center are needed to help better prepare all women facing unwanted pregnancies. Kathy reports that most women who come to the center choose to keep their babies.
Aside from educational support, there are practical needs, for example maternity and baby clothes, baby furniture and other supplies. The center wants to institute a new program called "Earn While You Learn" whereby a woman can earn points by watching an educational video or attending a presentation and use them toward any needed item.
Prevention of unwanted pregnancies begins early, and the Pagosa Springs High School takes the lead in their Teen Aid Program. Kathy facilitates discussions with the students on abstinence education which includes information on the damaging effects of sexually transmitted diseases. Again the center's focus is not about the physical aspects, but the interpersonal relationships youth have with one another and how they feel about themselves that impacts their decisions to have sex. If some students in the class have already been sexually active, Kathy stresses to them not to let the past identify who they are. Teenage girls who have been sexually active, especially suffer from hurtful remarks and labels and are in need of reassurance that they are O.K. We can all help these teenagers and women facing unwanted pregnancies by first conveying our acceptance, and then letting them know about others who can help them further. For more information about the free and confidential services the Pagosa Pregnancy Support Center has to offer, or to make a donation to the program, call 264-5963.
Attention: Information in last week's Insync with Isabel column regarding the scenario for DUI costs should be credited to Judge James E. Denvir.
Thanks for a great Fourth
Last week's Fourth of July holiday celebration in Pagosa Springs was unusual in one way, typical in most others.
It was unusual because the Fourth of July hit midweek. Generally, the celebration encompasses a weekend, with three or four days available for full-throttle festivities.
There was speculation as to whether the Independence Day goings-on would be changed by the Wednesday date.
Concern was unfounded: the Fourth was business as usual. There was a crush of enthusiastic participants and spectators, a stellar lineup of activities - all seemingly bigger and grander than the year before. This has been the trend for quite a few years, and there is no sign it will abate. The holiday reflects the community: bigger, more complex. Fortunately, it does not mirror the community's problems, only its assets.
The summer holiday connects present with the past. It is the quintessential small-town celebration. People come from far and wide to join oldtimers and newcomers alike at the parade, the arts and crafts fair, the rodeos, the concert, the fireworks display. Ask anyone who has lived in Pagosa Country for fifteen years or more how many parade participants they recognized; you will get a good idea how this community has grown, how most of us are now strangers. Look at other participants, though, and you see lifelong residents of Archuleta County, some in their 90s. Not everything or everyone is new.
The town was packed. Traffic was nearly impossible to negotiate at times: the flow of cars, trucks and RVs on the highway was heavy all week. Crossing Pagosa or San Juan streets downtown was a challenge.
Despite the crowds, the crush, the confusion, the event was a success.
Read the Cards of Thanks in this edition of The SUN. Many are directed to the people who made the holiday happen. There is a letter to the editor that lauds the festivities and Sally is effusive in the thanks she offers in her Chamber column in The Preview. At a time when some local entities that used to depend on volunteers for everyday operations are suffering a drought, mention is made of the many unpaid workers who came together on the Fourth: the folks from Rotary who manage the parade; the Mounted Rangers who direct traffic at events; the many people from the Chamber who helped with the arts and crafts fair and with the Chamber-sponsored concert and fireworks display; the members of Pagosa Springs Enterprises and their helpers who made the Red Ryder Roundup a success and who made sure the rodeo grounds were ready for the events.
Thanks, too, should go to the paid employees of town, county and state who worked on the Fourth and on the days immediately before and after. On July 4, town police worked two shifts to ensure the safety of celebrants; town employees in the Street, Sanitation, and Park departments worked during the parade, and the clean-up efforts following the parade and carnival were outstanding. County sheriff's deputies were on duty as were Colorado State Troopers.
It is not possible to mention everyone who contributed to the holiday. It must suffice to note that they are a credit to the community, whether they are newly arrived or third-generation natives.
Thanks go to all of them for providing a respite from the tragicomedy of local politics; from the sometimes dreary and depressing realities of a community in transition; from the ebb and flow of demands, friction and complaints that seem to take up so much space in the average day.
Thanks to many of our neighbors the Fourth was, again, a wonderful experience - anything but an average day.
No one does it better than Pagosa
Driving to Durango during the "orange barrel" highway construction season of isn't one of my favorite things. But when an iMac started malfunctioning last week it was my job to taxi it to the Apple serviceman in Durango.
A new logic board was installed in a matter of minutes so I somewhat felt like a boomerang as I prepared to head back to Pagosa. As I pulled away from the curb a song being played on a Durango radio station sent my mind in reverse. Though not accompanied by a "twangy" guitar or sung with a Southern drawl, the song reminded me of some unique experiences during the summer of 1951.
Set to enter my senior year in high school, it was decided I should get a "real" job during that summer. A day or two before school was out for the summer, Jack Deans, a family friend, called with an offer. Jack worked for the Better Business Bureau and had a number of contacts. He also was actively involved in the area's "DP" program.
For most folks World War II ended in 1945. For the "displaced persons" from eastern Europe, the effects of the war were still ongoing in 1951.
Jack knew a carpenter who needed a helper and asked if I'd be interested. He wanted to be sure I was 17 and that I could use a hammer. Then his questions went in a different direction. Would I mind riding the bus to town in order to catch a ride to the job sites? Could I work half a day on Saturdays? Would I mind working with a displaced person from Poland? Would I mind if he's a Jew? Being it was 1951 the final question was saved for last. Would I mind working on houses that were located in the Negro area of northeast Houston?
Thus began my education on leveling block foundations of dilapidated shiplap houses, installing asbestos siding, caulking wooden casement windows etc. But it was the dark-blue numbers tattooed on Sammy's forearm that taught me the most important lessons that summer.
In his early 20s, Sammy had spent most of his teenage years in concentration camps - the tattoo was his serial number. After being liberated, he spent four more years in DP villages where he studied English and learned carpentry skills. He and his new wife had been in Houston less than year. They lived in "our very own apartment with electricity, a refrigerator and running water." He faithfully made weekly payments on his new Ford pickup and he constantly played its radio.
Partway through the summer Sammy asked if I'd mind working a full day on the upcoming Saturday - he wanted us to help some friends that morning and then go on to our job site. It turned out that he needed me to help him unload some donated furniture and carry it up the stairs to a garage apartment that was occupied by some recently arriving DPs.
An elderly couple, both with snow-white hair, greeted Sammy in their native language and began showing us where to set the furniture. They too had dark-blue numbers on their arms.
Later that day, Sammy asked me to guess the ages of the couple we had helped that morning. Based on the similar thin stature and mannerism of my grandmother, I guessed they were in their early 70s. Rather than offer a second guess, Sammy turned and said the husband was 37, the wife was 35. They both were Jewish and had survived the concentration camps.
It explained why Sammy was always turning the radio dial in his pickup from station to station until he could find one of the popular western songs of 1951 - "It Is No Secret What God Can Do." It explained why Sammy would always sing along. Though the song moved up and down on the "Top 20" charts, to Sammy it stayed as No. 1. To Sammy, it was not a song, it was the reality of his life.
Unexpectedly hearing the words of the song Friday morning sent my mind back to the summer of 1951 and the lessons I learned from Sammy.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers. David
100 years ago
Taken from The Weekly Times of July 11, 1901
For years there has been known to be oil in Archuleta County and claims have been at different times located, but not until recently has there been much interest taken in the work of development. Last winter about Feb. 1st an oil company of Oregon named The Archuleta began work on the Navajo about twelve miles from Edith, Colo., soon the people of that vicinity became interested and made numerous locations, taking the vacant land by oil placer claims.
The 4th of July is over; a very nice picnic was enjoyed. Old and new neighbors shook hands and the young people shook their feet. Supper was enjoyed on the grounds, followed by fireworks and dancing. A perfect time.
Fred W. Dempsey purchased A.A. Parker's interest in the Santa Fe Cafe Tuesday morning
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 9, 1926
Pagosa Springs was a busy and exciting place for three days during the Fourth of July celebration which began Saturday noon and the festivities did not cease until the close of the dances on Monday evening.
During the past year Mail Carrier A.M. Gasaway never missed a day in covering the route by motor truck a record over the Yellowjacket divide in winter.
Miss Lucille Clay has been compelled to dismiss her school in the Blanco Basin temporarily, and is planning to go to a Durango hospital for the removal of her tonsils.
The county truck and five-ton caterpillar, which were broke down, have been repaired and are again back on the job on the state highway.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 13, 1951
A fire which started Saturday around noon in Echo Canyon, was finally brought under control late Sunday night after it had threatened to become one of the largest fires of the year. Forest service officials estimate that more than 1,000 acres of pasture and timber were destroyed in the fire, most of which was on property owned by W.F. Jackson.
The Forest Service has just completed the extinguishing of the Devil Creek fire which started over two weeks ago and Sheriff Ottaway still has three fires on private land which are dangerous, as well as the fire at the Jackson ranch, which will burn for some time.
We hope all fishermen will be more cautious about their smoking with all the fires we are having.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 8, 1976
The U.S. Weather Observation Station reports that it was hot this past week, if there was any doubt about it. A new high for the year to date was set on July 5 when the mercury soared to a torrid 88 degrees. There were no freezing night. Snow is just about gone in the high country, stream fishing is very good an it seems safe to say that summer has arrived in the county.
Some low minded individuals stole several flags over the holiday. These were flags purchased by the American Legion and displayed on parking meters in downtown Pagosa Springs. Anyone having any information about the thefts should report it to the town police department.
Forest fires have been numerous the past week, with 11 being reported by the U.S. Forest Service in this area.
Life's too short to be stuck in the fast lane
Speed has come to Pagosa Country.
Well, actually, maybe I should say speed seems to have increased, taken on new meaning here.
We seem to have become a community of speed demons rushing somewhat aimlessly toward appointments with the hereafter.
And despite the huge flows of traffic in the recent week, traffic that seemingly slowed everything, there were those whose insistence on getting somewhere fast seemed to obliterate all sense of highway courtesy.
Speed, the traffic students and planners are wont to say, causes accidents and accidents often carry with them the finality of death.
We are always in a rush to get somewhere. It's a meeting here, a photo assignment there, and quick cup of coffee with a source across town and then back to the office. We rush because peer pressure in any one of the businesses in our area says we need to be there first with the best offer.
We whiz by gardens of beautiful flowers, failing to admire their beauty or savor their scents.
We barge headlong into situations with which we are not familiar, sometimes embarrassing ourselves when we find we had no business forcing our way into someone else's space.
We stand in line at a supermarket or some other local establishment and chafe when the elderly woman in front of us has trouble finding her money and wants to chat with the checker while she leisurely searches every pocket and cranny of her purse. We frantically look to see if another line is shorter and fret inwardly when it is not.
On July 4, I witnessed such a scene in a downtown business. Two clerks were working as quickly as possible to take care of more than a dozen shoppers ready to check out. When one decided the lines weren't moving fast enough, he threw his bag of chips at the rack, slammed his bottle of designer water to the floor and stormed out with a few not-so-well chosen words about, to clean it up, his perceived ineptitude of the help "in this hick town."
At least in this town we are normally courteous to each other even in the heat of competition for the shoppers' dollars.
There are those who do a not-so-slow burn when following a vehicle moving at less than the speed limit or, perhaps just as often, driving at the speed limit but not fast enough for them.
They honk, wave and demand space to pass when, in reality, they really have no demanding deadline to arrive at a specific destination - just an almighty hurry to get somewhere.
You've all seen people who scamper, often even camping out overnight, to be the first in line for tickets to concerts or sports events, convinced they'll get the best seats in the house. Usually, they fail to recognize, those seats have long been gone to those with credit cards and advance reservations.
How do we get off this roller coaster to nowhere?
A good friend once gave this suggestion:
"What good does it do to do everything at breakneck speed if you can't get there right now and you know you can't because now is fleeting and it just passed you by?"
Now is gone as soon as you pronounce it and a new now passes just as quickly.
That old friend suggested those in a hurry try to remove themselves from the turmoil they've created in their lifestyle, levitate themselves as it were and observe the happenings from a third-person viewpoint.
If we could look at our impatience with others from a distance, he said, we'd realize the need for speed is often a figment of our own imaginations.
"Slow down," he admonished, "and see all the things you've been missing."
"Too many people," he said, "rush through life and then find, at the final moment, they've never been anywhere."
The point is well taken.
How can we enjoy the present if we're in a rush to get into the future?
How can we live the moment if we don't recognize its lure and satisfaction because we've already concentrated on a future moment?
Time passes too swiftly to waste it. Dream if you must. Dream of a future filled with everything you want and need. Dream of helping others, of finding a common thrill in reality.
But don't be caught in a speed-induced daydream and miss the moment of today. Enjoy it while its there because it will never come again.
Time is ours to savor.
Let's not lose our current moments in a headlong rush into the hereafter.
Each of us needs to take time to live with and enjoy the years we have with loved ones in this American wonderland. We needn't be wasting our lives as an inconsequential speed blip on the radar of time.
1890's: Mad rush to replace old with new
The Gay Nineties. The federal census of 1890 officially recognized the end of the American Frontier. No remaining unexplored wilderness. The Industrial Revolution and smoke-spouting trains had already replaced vanquished Indians and buffalo herds. Autos and electricity and telephones and such harbingers of progress won a foothold in the pioneer heart of America, a foothold that soon enough replaced the heart as the center of all things.
Despite her isolation, Pagosa Country joined the rest of the nation in a mad rush to replace the old with the new. And that transition is the focus of this Oldtimer column.
Modernization, disguised as a logging railroad, marched into Pagosa Country from the south in 1895. The following newspaper items document that march. Counting cadence was Ed M. Biggs of the New Mexico Lumber Co.
Newspaper item, July 5, 1895: By the terms of agreement made between the New Mexico lumber company the former company will be the sole occupant in the timber belt in the southern part of the county. The New Mexico company secures the mill at Chromo and the Biggs company the Lumberton (New Mexico) mill. The latter will be removed to Chromo as soon as the work at Lumberton is cleaned up. The mill at the Navajo bridge (Edith) is a huge affair and will soon be ready for steady running. The commissary for the New Mexico company at Lumberton and the one at Chromo will be removed to the large mill and combined into one general store. The railroad grade from Lumberton to the river is half completed, ties are being delivered all along the line, an engine has been purchased, and soon the great industry will be moving along like clockwork.
Motter's comment: Pagosa News editor Daniel Egger is documenting the entry of big logging and big lumber into Archuleta County. The railroad line started at Lumberton is on its way to a community which will be called Edith on the Navajo River. We don't know the name of the Edith community before Biggs moved in and named the place for his daughter. We know people already lived there and had been passing through the place for a long time. At the time of this news item, a mill existed at Lumberton, another at Chromo, and the Edith mill was under construction. The Chromo mill was apparently the first "big" lumber mill in the county.
Newspaper item, July 12, 1895: The steel for eight miles of track for the Rio Grande & Pagosa Springs railroad has arrived at Lumberton and tracklaying has commenced.
Newspaper item, July 19, 1895: The railroad grade from Lumberton to the mill on the Navajo is completed, and about half the track is layed. Mr. Biggs informed the writer on Tuesday that it is more than probable that the line will be built as far as Chromo the present season, and that a preliminary survey of the entire line to Pagosa Springs would be made in the near future. There is a possibility that the line will be built next year, if money matters continue to grow better. The company has fully determined to build the road via Chromo, being the best route. Perhaps the News was giving good advice when it advised the settlers on the Navajo to let the other outfit alone and assist the New Mexico company in building a railroad to Chromo and Pagosa Springs.
Motter's comment: Biggs has already purchased much of the timber in the southeastern part of the county. In those days, timber rights could be purchased from private individuals without buying the land. Timber and stone homesteads could also be filed. For a minimal price, an individual could file a T&S homestead similar to the better known form of homesteading. A favorite practice of timber magnates was to encourage residents of all sorts to file T&S homestead claims with money furnished by the magnate. The magnate would then purchase the T&S homestead claim for a nominal fee. Under certain circumstance, the U.S. government granted ownership of land along new rail lines, including timber rights, to the builders of the lines. All of these methods for acquiring timber were used in Archuleta County. One consequence was a federal grand jury investigation of many Archuleta County citizens between 1900-1910.
Newspaper item, Aug. 2, 1895: The Rio Grande & Pagosa Springs railroad was completed as far as the Navajo mill last week (Edith). The New Mexico lumber company provided a free dance at the mill on Saturday night for all those who desired to attend. A special train was run from Lumberton to the mill.
Motter's comment. Biggs' first goal in Archuleta County has been reached, as we learn from these week-to-week progress reports. What better time to have a shindig? It's interesting to note that the proposed route is from Lumberton to Edith, then up the Navajo River to Chromo before continuing north to Pagosa Springs. The old stage route was from Lumberton to the Edith area, then across Coyote Park to Pagosa Springs.
Newspaper item, Aug. 9, 1895: Mr. Sharpe, a civil engineer of the D.& R.G. railroad, is in town. He is here looking over this end of the route of the Rio Grande & Pagosa Springs railway. Actual surveying will begin next week. The survey and estimates will be complete, and it will require two months to do the work. The route Mr. Sharpe says, is an easy one. It is beginning to look as if we are going to have a railroad.
Motter's comment: No news excited Pagosa Springs folks more than the prospect of a railroad reaching town.
Newspaper item, July 5, 1895: The depot at Amargo will be removed to Lumberton at once. Pagosa merchants are removing their freight stored at Amargo as soon as possible.
Newspaper item, July 12, 1895: The D.& R.G. station at Amargo has been abandoned and the agency is now located at Lumberton.
Newspaper item, July 19, 1895: The Amargo depot is now being torn down and transported to Lumberton.
Newspaper item, July 26, 1895: The Pagosa Springs Mail, Express, and stage line, Sanderson and Crame, proprietors Pagosa Springs and Lumberton.
Motter's comment: As Lumberton grew, Amargo shrank. Now Amargo has lost it's railroad station. The above information is taken from the stagecoach advertisement in The News. This is the first official notice that Amargo has been replaced by Lumberton as the southern terminus of the stage line.
Newspaper item, July 26, 1895: A new engine for the Rio Grande and Pagosa Springs railroad passed through here Wednesday. It was an object of curiosity for the railroad boys. Alamosa Lance.
Motter's comment: The Rio Grande and Pagosa Springs railroad was the line run by Biggs into Archuleta County from Lumberton. In years to come, most of the lumber was cut at the Edith mill. I'm not sure where other mill sets in connection with the New Mexico Lumber Co. were made in Archuleta County. Logs were hauled by train to the mill.
Newspaper item, July 5, 1895: Among the most recent cures at the Springs that came under our notice are the following:
Andrew Falk came here from Silverton a few weeks ago with an affliction of rheumatism. On his arrival a little over a month ago he could not walk, and he was carried to and from the bath house. Last week he went home, walking from Pagosa Springs to Durango, a distance of 65 miles. He has no trace of rheumatism left.
Mr. Shirey of Durango arrived at the Springs about the same time that Mr. Falk did, limping badly from the effects of a paralytic stroke. Yesterday he played ball at Silverton.
A bad case of skin disease was that of a little child of Mr. and Mrs. Wheelan of Pine River (Bayfield). After a number of baths here, the father failed to recognize his child.
Joseph Clarke is at the Springs taking his annual bath. Mr. Clarke is suffering more than usual with the pain in his ankles.
Motter' comment: The Great Pagosa Hot Springs have always been the identity nexus of Pagosa Country. Even the coming railroad could not steal the entire spotlight from the "Healing Waters." The above news items confirm that the efficacious waters were still working healing wonders, wonders so miraculous they sometimes stretch our ability to believe beyond the breaking point. Joseph Clarke was Pagosa Springs' first postmaster, and maybe first resident. He was also the local contact for the Pagosa Springs Company, the first organized developers of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. By the time of this news item, Clarke is living in Durango, from which residence he once ran for La Plata County commissioner.
Newspaper item, August 2, 1895: Every able-bodied male citizen under the age of 45 year is required to pay a road tax of two dollars or perform two days of labor on the public highways in lieu thereof. By enacting this law the state has practically reduced wages to one dollar a day.
Motter's comment: How to pay for public roads has always posed a problem for governments. The method described in the foregoing newspaper item was common during earlier years. Some of us might like to return to the old ways in this regard. The levy seems minimal when compared with taxes collected for roads today. But then, horses didn't create as much wear and tear as motor vehicles.
Homeschool movement picking up momentum here, nationwide
Homeschooling - a growing educational system whereby parents instruct K-12 students outside of a campus-based system.
That's the simple definition anyway.
Becoming more specific than that is nearly impossible because of the variation between families, values, goals and available curriculum.
A homeschool structure can be something that looks very similar to a public school, or almost the opposite, Camellia Coray, a homeschooler and president of the Pagosa Area Christian Educators, said. To describe only one could mistakenly depict the wrong image.
For instance, a "school year" can mean many things in the realm of homeschooling.
"Some people keep to the traditional school year," Coray said. "What I do is take a week off when I need to. Then I might add a few weeks in the summer. Really, we feel all of life is an education. We don't like the idea of taking a break for the summer."
School may also take place at a variety of times in the day. Some may schedule chores or a devotional in the morning before sitting down to study. For older students with part-time jobs, evening classes sometimes work better.
One thing that most homeschool teachers stress is "schooling from within," Coray said. That means the parent, usually the mom, might give verbal instruction to start the day, but students work independently to learn the material presented.
Of course, the decision to homeschool means surmounting a variety of challenges as a parent - challenges that can vary from child to child.
Coray said, personally, some of her biggest hurdles included: sorting out personality and learning style differences between children, an initial lack of teaching experience, and developing time-management and organizational skills.
"You have to decide how you're going to group children together in class," she said. "You've got to be creative. You learn a lot about patience when you homeschool."
On the other hand, the benefits of homeschooling fill almost a page for Coray.
"They're not labeled," she said. "You have the opportunity to get to know your children and have more time to work on your children's strengths and weaknesses."
Other benefits include: the opportunity to instill character qualities and discipline when children are young, build close family bonds, encourage personal responsibility, choose the curriculum based on individual needs, develop accountability and provide a strong academic background.
"You teach them how to learn, and then let them go learn," she said. "Then they can get an education the rest of their lives."
As far as meeting children outside the homeschool environment, many opportunities for social interactions exist, Coray said.
As a part of the Pagosa Area Christian Educators, her family can participate in some cooperative learning options, such as bimonthly field trips and Friday School, as well as at-home lessons. In Friday School, a group of moms come together to teach classes for interested homeschool students. The courses offered depend on the individual mother's knowledge and experience.
Homeschool students also take advantage of Parks and Recreation activities, high school sports, 4-H and church organizations, among others, Coray said.
"We give them an education that fits well with their abilities and interests and then put them together with youth that challenge them," she said. That means introducing them to youth of all ages and, in most cases, avoiding a situation where children only interact with peers in the same age group. That way, older students learn the responsibility of being a role model for younger children, and the younger group can be challenged to grow by the older group.
The numbers of parents choosing this option are undoubtedly growing, and have been for at least three decades, although historically, few, if any, statistics were kept.
In a 1998 U.S. Department of Education paper "Homeschoolers: Estimating Numbers and Growth," by Patricia M. Lines, it's estimated that between 1990-91 and 1995-96, the number of students in homeschools nationally doubled, or possibly tripled from 250,000-350,000 to around 700,000-750,000.
The figures are based on data on documented children from 32 states and the District of Columbia. Only families that have filed papers with the states could be counted, "representing a fraction of the total," according to the article. The rest were estimated based on other statistical data.
According to the 1997 publication "Home Education Across the United States," by Dr. Brian Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute, the numbers of homeschool students reached closer to 1.2 million in 1996.
Closer to home, the Colorado Department of Education reported that between 1991 and 1998, the number of homeschooled students filing with the state rose from 3,339 to 8,590.
Here in Pagosa Springs, Coray, estimated that about 50 families belong to the group, with another 30 families homeschooling outside of PACE.
"It's something that's caught on and spread like wildfire," she said. In fact, it's only recently that children homeschooled under broader legislative freedoms have grown old enough to have families of their own, starting a second generation.
Janice Quitmeyer, publicity coordinator for the Christian Home Educators of Colorado, said the "homeschool movement" as it stands today really began in the mid-to-late 1980s when many states enacted legislation to give homeschools the right to teach their children at home.
Coray said, in reality almost all parents do some form of homeschooling.
"All in all it's doing homework during the day instead of night," she said. "Most people don't realize how much they are homeschooling their own students. It's not so different than what people are already doing."
Food (except ham loaf) stirs memory stew
In memory, everything is linked. Nothing recalled exists without relations, the raft of memory bobs on a sea of association.
This is definitely the case in our remembrance of food. Each of us, if we plumb our mnemonic reserves, can retrieve memories of favorite foods. Attached are our weblike versions of the circumstances in which the flame of attraction was kindled - versions constantly remodeled to fit our purposes.
This is the case, as well, for foods we can't stand.
For example: me and ham loaf.
I've been unable to ingest ham loaf since a stressful, cold early winter day in 1956 when, following three heaping portions of loaf at my Aunt Grace's house in Central City, I repaired to a nearby mine tailings dump to suffer unspeakable agony, my nearly lifeless, but husky body then carried back to the house by my brother Kurt and my cousin J.R.
My father, the doctor, said I had the flu.
I knew better: It was the ham loaf. In my opinion, the fact no one else who ate it took sick was an example of divine intervention, and the divine intervener merely forgot to include me. But, wait, if the divine agent was omnipotent and all-knowing, how could I be forgotten?
Clearly, the ham loaf was meant as a test, a lesson, and it nearly killed me. To this day, the memory of ham loaf sets my digestive system aflutter, causes a precipitous rise in blood pressure.
Causes me to find another, more desirable food to calm my gastric storm.
And to stimulate other memories.
Food is one of the most effective mnemonic devices: tastes, textures, smells stimulate reflective behavior, bend us back to people, places, situations long gone.
Allow yourself to open up when confronted with a food fact; see what bubbles up from the unconscious. It's unpredictable, delightful.
What happens when you smell freshly-baked bread? Let your mind go, where does it take you? I am at Ruegnitz Grocery.
How about a roast in the oven - a pot roast at 325 degrees with vegetables and spices donating fragrances to the mix?
A chocolate cake, still warm, waiting for its frosting? My mother appears.
Fresh corn tortillas, frying in lard? I can almost see my boyhood friend Mark Vigil. His cousin with the long braid is making dinner in a kitchen on Pennsylvania Street.
Onions on the cusp of caramel-ization? A roux one degree this side of mahogany?
Curry? Egad, I'm at Anwar's in London.
The odor of a pub? Or of a great breakfast joint?
A sniff of single malt scotch, a Margaux splashed across the palate? The fermented nuttiness - the wet-fur-of-a-feral-animal overtone - of a high-grade, brewed shoyu?
Have you consumed a classic grilled cheese sandwich lately? Did you focus on the ores the experience pulls from beneath the psychic surface? Add a cup of cheapo canned tomato soup to the mix. Anything?
The smell of freshly decanted ginger ale? The tickle of the bubbles against the nose?
Where does mayonnaise take you? Herring?
Sardines transport me to the banks of the Upper Taylor River. It is noon and clouds rise over the mountains to the west of the high mountain valley. I hear the water; there are cattle a couple hundred yards away. A pine-flecked breeze stirs the hot midday air. Uncle Jack cracks a can of sardines and pulls a pack of Saltines from his pocket. Our fishing poles are on the grass next to us. My ear hurts where I hooked myself with a yellow-body grayhackle trying to cast around a pesky willow. The same associations would flower if I ate Vienna Sausages or potted meat.
Bolognese sauce, simmered slowly on a stove. It is warm and humid indoors, bitter cold outside. I'm seated alone at a table in a little restaurant on Greene just off Bleeker Street. I haven't eaten in two days. Finally, I've got enough cash together to go a la carte. One choice, nothing extravagant: maybe a half order of ravioli, with the incredible garlic-riddled, fleshy and complex sauce. Then, back to the Hotel Albert to explain to an increasingly surly manager why I haven't produced the month's rent. A dilemma that will be solved by a change of locks, not by me.
Double-cooked French fries. Or are they Belgian fries, or Dutch fries? I'm just past the Red Light District in Amsterdam, wandering away from the waterfront, hopelessly lost. Extra-crispy, puffy sticks of hot spud wrapped in a cone of heavy white paper, dipped in mayonnaise. Who cares where that tacky canal house is located? As long as the fries hold out, I'll walk to Rotterdam.
Brown rice. A daffy hippie from the Haight named Shrinking Violet and her German shepard Steppenwolf. Violet loves everyone and wants them to be healthy. She marries an opthamologist.
Roasted goose. I am at the Kid's Table with my siblings and my cousins, barely able to see over the edge of the table top to the food before me. My Grandmother Mabel brings a piece of goose to each child, with a helping of red cabbage and some herring. Without these additives at the new year, Swedes too numerous to count will die senseless deaths.
Raspberries. I walk with my Aunt Hazel on the tram road that goes from the English side of the mountain in Central City to a place called Castle Rock. Cornish miners planted raspberry bushes next to the road 75 years before. We carry large metal buckets and we pick the ripe berries. We eat the berries as we walk, each one a grenade of flavor exploding in the mouth, nothing like the tasteless, genetically engineered versions produced for durability and shipped to the markets. We eat berries for breakfast, in a bowl, with heavy cream. We finish dinner with raspberry tart and whipped cream. Hazel lets me help make raspberry jelly and jam. I stand on a stool at the old heavy stove, stirring for hours, my every pore saturated by the berrified steam.
Pastrami, knishes, kreplach, chopped chicken liver, schmaltz. It's the sadly defunct Chuck o'Luck Deli on Krameria Street in Denver. I watch my beloved friend Pierre inhale a Howie's Heartburn in less than two minutes. Complete with pickle and a side of slaw. The sandwich is a monster, a four-inch tower of corned beef, pastrami and salami, lovingly contained by mustard-slathered dark rye. A slab of kugel to finish things off. The man was a master eater.
I cook every night, so I try to break the boredom with an occasional memory-rich dish - something to make dendrites multiply and grow, to accelerate the pace of the neuron circus. I need to compile a list of foods rich in associations to use as a guide when I shop.
Where to start?
Gobo, cut into thin sticks, simmered in mirin and shoyu, with a touch of sugar.
Corned beef hash.
Brown sauce, demi-glace.
Veal alla Marsala.
It goes on and on. And with each word, each bite, each moment of preparation, the pastoflashes sparkle on the brain screen.
Right now, I'm considering baking a whole salmon, with aromatic veggies and herbs. It reminds me of my friend Fabby's wedding in 1980. It was her second or third wedding, but it was a doozie, foodwise.
If I can't get a whole salmon (why would that be?) I'll try for one of those major-league hunks of salmon carcass you occasionally find at the market. No head, no tail, gutted, skin on.
While the oven preheats to 375, I'll reduce a cup or so of sauvignon blanc in a sauce pan, not too hot, at a simmer. Into the wine, I'll toss some fresh herbs - tarragon is good, some basil, a sprig or two of rosemary - as well as a stalk of celery, a couple of lemons sliced with peel on, minced shallots, a bit of salt and a touch of white pepper.
When the wine is reduced by more than half, I'll put the hunk of fish on a sheet of doubled foil, pour the wine and goodies on the fish and close the foil, folding and crimping the edges. Into a large baking pan the package will go and I'll bake the beauty for nearly two hours. I'll let the delectable finny thing cool, then I'll chill it in the fridge.
A yummy accompaniment will be a mayonnaise, with parsley, or a standard green sauce.
As I eat, I'll remember Fabby, stubbornly clad in white, as she took a header down the steps leading to her mother's garden where minister, besotted groom and well wishers waited. It was an omen of sorts; the salmon was delicious. There was a smell of rain in the air and a car drove up and down the street at the front of the house, "It's a Family Affair," by Sly and the Family Stone blaring from the stereo.
There are no limits to the recipes, the dishes, the associations. Memories blow like dry leaves on a lawn. Nothing is off limits.
Except that cursed ham loaf.