Front Page
November 29, 2001
La Plata Electric eyes 8% rate hike
By Richard Walter

There seems every likelihood that electrical rates will go up for Archuleta County residents in early spring - perhaps in the range of 8 percent.

Davin Montoya, president of La Plata Electric Association and a member of the board of directors of Tri-State G&T (LPEA's power supplier), set the stage for the rate hike in October when he announced several years of forecasts have indicated Tri-State will need to raise rates in 2002.

For 16 years, Montoya said, Tri-State has maintained or lowered rates. In fact, he said, rates have been lowered over 20 percent during that period. And, he said, it has been 13 years since LPEA last hiked rates.

The Tri-State rate increase will be passed along to local power consumers. For example, if the increase is 8 percent as predicted, the local user paying $50 per month now will see an additional $4 on the bill.

At the same October meeting, LPEA board members were told the firm could expect to lose $274,000 this year. That figure has grown rapidly. Last week, the directors were told the loss may be closer to $771,000.

John Bloom, the utility's chief financial officer, said the increased downfall was linked to lawyers' fees, debt repayment and updated forecasts. He said the co-op's expenses would be about $15 million higher than anticipated, most of that traced to the struggles of the firm's line installation subsidiary, Western Energy Services of Durango, Inc.

Without WESODI (which recently opened a facility on South Sixth Street in Pagosa Springs) and another subsidiary, REAnet, officials said LPEA would have a $1.7 million profit margin by year's end. Adding the subsidiaries into the mix produces the anticipated loss for a firm which had initially forecast a $3.6 million profit this year.

Montoya said the majority of Tri-State's generating capacity is coal-fired and stable coal prices have helped keep electric rates stable. "Coal prices are rising," he said, "and so is the cost of mining and transporting it. Large amounts have been spent on environmental controls and equipment at these coal-fired power plants to make them some of the cleanest in the country. Committing to a clean environment is the right thing to do, but one must realize that it does cost money."

In the past, the LPEA chief said, Tri-State had large blocks of surplus power which were contracted to other power suppliers for prices higher than the level it is now charging LPEA and the rest of the 44 member co-ops that make up Tri-State.

"Those co-ops, however, have grown to the point where they are now using the majority of the Tri-State surpluses," he said. "The surplus power that was being sold for a premium to non-members is currently furnished to members at a lesser price. Those sales were, in effect, allowing us to sell electricity at a reduction to our members. The loss of revenue from non-member sales is another factor contributing to the need for a rate increase."

He said Tri-State is installing new combustion turbines in Colorado and New Mexico to help keep up with demand.

"Just like a new car," he said, "new power plants cost significantly more today then the older ones. Consequently, additional revenue will be required to pay the cost of new generation to serve the growth member co-ops are experiencing."

He also noted Tri-State purchases power generated by hydrogenerating units from Western Area Power Association (WAPA) and that WAPA rate increases in the past 16 years have been absorbed by Tri-State. Now, he said, WAPA intends another rate increase in the near future.

He said there are many conditions which cause rates to rise. "Inflation and weather are conditions outside our control that can cause a significant impact to costs for electric companies. When the weather is extreme, electric consumption changes. A couple of years ago we had a wet, cool summer and Tri-State had a difficult time selling all its power.

"I would liken that situation to a grocery store having more product than demand. The grocer may need to sell at a price lower than his costs, or at a loss, which drives profits down. Extreme cold or extreme heat create a huge demand for power. If a power plant fails at one of these critical times, (as did one of Tri-State's last December) it can be very expensive to replace the loss of power."

Commissioners face Dec. 18 fiscal deadline
By John M. Motter

Meetings will be conducted during much of next week as the Archuleta County commissioners scramble to complete a budget for 2002. Dec. 18 is the target date for adopting next year's budget.

The process began weeks ago when the commissioners asked department heads and other elected officials to submit budgets for their respective departments. The budget process has some built-in pitfalls.

All elected county officials enjoy equal status in Colorado. Even so, the county commissioners are charged with developing, approving, and administering the county budget, including money appropriated to other elected officials. Once the money is appropriated, it is no longer under commissioner control.

The budget process often leads to confrontation between commissioners and other elected officials. Commissioners are squeezed between needs voiced by other elected officials and public demands to quit spending money. Other elected officials are squeezed between commissioner demands to keep spending down and public demands for more or better service or employee demands for better pay. Adding fuel to the fire, elected officials are forced to compete against each other for budget funds.

In addition to the three commissioners, elected county officials are the sheriff, clerk, assessor, treasurer, surveyor, and coroner. Each elected official administers the department carrying the official's job title. The commissioners administer what is left, including county planning, building permits, finance, and road and bridge.

The framework supporting next year's performance by the various departments is the county budget. Ideally, all capital improvements, maintenance, and salary costs are anticipated in the budget.

One unmeasured financial category is excess revenue, normally accrued in the general fund. The general fund is directly controlled by the commissioners. Excess revenues accumulate when income is underestimated and expenses overestimated. The difference grows as the year progresses, creating a positive balance from which the commissioners make unanticipated purchases. Excess revenues for 2001 show a positive balance, according to Cathie Wilson, director of the county financial department.

Another important budget category is reserves. The TABOR amendment requires counties to maintain a reserve balance equaling about two months expenditures. The TABOR amendment and Gallagher amendment limit the amount a governing entity can increase budget income or expenses during any year. Gallagher is the limiting factor in Archuleta County, according to Wilson.

The county contemplates adopting a temporary overall mill levy of 17.589 mills. Included within the overall mill levy are: 13.6 mills for the general fund, 3.5 mills for the road and bridge fund, and 0.489 for the social services fund.

Last year's overall mill levy was 17.257 mills, including 12.933 mills for the general fund, 3.5 mills for road and bridge, and 0.824 mills for social services.

The county's permanent mill levy is 21.145 mills. Each year, the county credits taxpayers with the difference between the temporary mill levy adopted for the year and the permanent mill levy. Taxpayers next year will be credited with the difference between 21.145 mills and 17.589 mills, if the latter figure is formally chosen as the temporary mill levy for this budget.

Several changes are anticipated in this year's budget. Among the anticipated changes are the hiring of a half-time purchasing agent, going to a purchase order system, the shifting of certain vehicular operating expenses from a centralized fund back to the budget of the using department, and the creation of a search and rescue department under the county sheriff instead of under public safety.

Another change is a proposal to shift an estimated Payment in Lieu of Taxes annual revenue of $320,000 from the road and bridge fund to the general fund.

The proposed general fund anticipates revenues of $5,273,546 and expenditures $6,022,524. The beginning fund balance is $1,653,056, the ending fund balance $904,078.

The proposed road and bridge fund anticipates revenues of $2,076,454 and expenses of $1,804,941. Road and bridge anticipates a beginning fund balance of $1,446,248 and an ending fund balance of $1,717,761.

The proposed road capital improvement fund shows a beginning fund balance of $2,073,609, revenues of $1,286,350, expenditures of $2,991,659, and an ending fund balance of $368,301.

The proposed capital improvement fund shows a beginning fund balance of $172,862, revenues of $783,495, expenses of $966,371, and an ending fund balance of a negative $10,014. A $763,425 general fund capital improvements transfer is included in this fund.

No decision has been made public on what the commissioners intend to do about wage increases. In the past, the commissioners have approved either fixed-amount or fixed-percentage increases for everyone, bolstered by individual incentive raises as determined by department heads or other elected officials.

Hospital district approves 'realistic' spending guide
By Tess Noel Baker

With voters giving the go-ahead to a major levy boost earlier this month, the Upper San Juan Hospital District Board acted quickly to put a 2002 budget in place at their regular meeting Nov. 20.

"Realistic," is how budget committee and board member Wayne Wilson described the document.

"You have a fair degree of faith that revenues will be at least what is projected?" board member Bob Huff asked.

Dick Babillis, interim district manager and board president, said in an attempt to be watchful, operating expenses had been figured conservatively for the year.

"It's your best estimate," Huff added, indicating the budget.

"We're lacking one certified mill levy," Babillis said, pointing to tax revenues. Archuleta County figures, which represent over 98 percent of the district's tax base, a total of $648,622 in operating funds, have already been finalized. However, the district also extends into parts of Hinsdale and Mineral counties. Hinsdale County has not yet certified its valuation - projected to result in about $5,900 in tax revenues for the USJHD.

According to the 2002 budget, the hospital district will receive a total of $695,562 in general tax revenues and an additional $118,106 in bond service revenues. User fees for EMS, the medical center and weekend Urgent Care Center operations will add another $1,468,459.

Following the discussion, Huff moved that the board approve the proposed $2.2 million budget with the condition that it be adjusted slightly depending on the remaining valuation certification.

Babillis said any slight corrections would be made in the reserve funds.

Construction of the 2002 budget began several months ago under the watchful eye of a budget committee composed of representatives from staff and the USJHD board. It was first presented as a financial plan in August, and used as the basis for determining how much of a levy increase to put before the voters.

The final draft remains true to that original document, Babillis said, with only a couple adjustments.

The approved draft allows for the return of up to $80,000 in funds to the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation. The Foundation set up a $100,000 line of credit for the district earlier this year to shore up operations during a budget shortfall. So far, a total of $45,000 has been withdrawn. Although legally the district is not required to pay back the funds, the board did agree to make a good-faith effort to return the money once the district was back on its feet.

Babillis said calculations now show it might not be necessary to draw down the emergency fund any more before the year ends. However, the district has to make it to February before the first of the new year's tax payments reaches its coffers.

To accommodate the return of these emergency funds, the target of a 7-percent emergency reserve set in August was adjusted downward in the final budget document. Even with the adjustment, reserves, which had been almost totally depleted over the last few years, will remain above the 3-percent statutory minimum, Babillis said.

The final 2002 budget draft also reflects the addition of one family physician assistant to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center staff, instead of another medical doctor.

Following an executive session Tuesday, the board agreed to hire former Pagosa resident Dan Keuning, PA, and stop searching for another physician at this time. Staff at the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic had been trying to coax an additional medical doctor to the area for several months, searching for a female to fill the void if possible. However, they had no success.

Laura Rome, Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center administrator, Dr. Mark Weinpahl and Dr. Bob Brown, told the board the hiring of a new physician at the nearby Pagosa Family Medicine Center eased their concerns about having another physician on staff. At this point, they agreed, a physician assistant can fill the needs of patients at the medical center.

Keuning's training will allow him to work independently at the Urgent Care Clinic when needed and to write prescriptions. He is also a certified EMT.

"He is a known entity," Rome said. "He and his family know this community and they're not going to pack up and leave town." Keuning left Pagosa Springs several months ago to take a one-year position in Alaska. He will return to work here Jan. 4.

Administrator nominee will answer today
Offer: salary of $60,000 with 3-month increase

By John M. Motter

Archuleta County is negotiating with William R. Steele, the selection committee's first choice to become the new county administrator.

An offer dated Nov. 21 was mailed to Steele, asking for a response by last Monday. Steele responded Tuesday morning with a counter offer. By press time Wednesday afternoon, whether or not Steele is coming to Pagosa Springs was still up in the air. Steele promised to provide a conclusive answer by Thursday (today).

Steele was one of three finalists chosen by the selection committee made up of the three county commissioners and their administrative assistant, the county attorney, and Ken Charles of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. After interviewing the three applicants Nov. 19 in Pagosa Springs, the first job offer was made to Steele, currently the town manager of Mount Desert, Maine.

Mount Desert is, according to Steele's resumé, an exclusive coastal island community. Steele's duties at Mount Desert called for him to manage all of the town's departments plus prepare and oversee an $8.36 million budget. Steele has been employed by Mount Desert since December of 1999.

Prior to working for Mount Desert, Steele was employed as a contract consultant by Stowe, Vt.; was in private business for approximately one year; and before that was with Springfield, Vt., from May of 1978 through June of 1998, beginning as a draftsman and ending as town manager.

Archuleta County offered Steele a beginning salary of $60,000 a year with a 90-day review and possible salary adjustment to $62,000 a year. Moving expenses of $3,000 were also offered. A three-month severance pay clause was included in the proposed contract.

Steele was asked to begin employment Jan. 2, 2002, or as soon as possible thereafter, but no later than Jan. 15.

Dennis Hunt, the former county manager, resigned during March of this year.

Editorials

Liaison graduations

Who among us does not admire the desire to be educated? Who isn't inspired by a thirst for knowledge? Who doesn't encourage and applaud completion of a course of study?

After what seems an overly-long time, our commissioners have interviewed finalists for the job of county administrator and tendered an offer to one of the candidates. It seems an appropriate moment to consider an educational process that has existed since last January and to wonder whether significant changes might be in the offing.

During the last year, our commissioners operated on what they call a "liaison" basis, with each commissioner becoming actively involved with one or more departments of county government controlled by the commission. Contrary to the thinking of a couple of our commissioners, these departments do not include those headed by other elected officials, who are statutory equals to the commissioners.

The liaison idea was conceived, it was said, to allow commissioners a chance to familiarize themselves with the way county government works. It was done for the sake of education, wasn't it?

The move was not made, it was claimed, to allow commissioners to fall into familiar roles, shielded from the uncertainties of political life and the controversies that naturally develop in a rapidly growing community. The move was made to facilitate learning, we were told, not to provide for micromanagement of departments and the avoidance of bigger issues.

The commissioners went to school, and they have been students nearly a year.

During their course of studies, we have seen a County Plan approved, with nothing substantial yet resulting from that approval. County government lost directors of four of five departments overseen by our commissioners: a director of finance, a county manager, a director of development and planning. Last week, the resignation of the director of the road and bridge department was tendered.

Now, with luck, the county is on the verge of procuring the services of someone with the ability to effectively coordinate the activities of departments, to keep tabs on projects, to administrate programs.

With this possibility looming, a question occurs: Do we need to maintain County Commissioner University? Is it time the commissioners climb back behind the wheel of county government and assume the difficult task of long-range planning, creating and setting policies with a clearly-stated vision of what the county will be like 10, 20, 50 years from now? Is it time to leave day-to-day operation of county government in the hands of an administrator and department directors?

Chances are, the answer from at least two commissioners will be "no." They won't want to leave school.

A second question then arises: How do the commissioners prove the liaison idea is not a means to conceal an inability to think panoramically, a haven for those unable to operate outside a restrictive box? How do they legitimize their burning desire to learn?

If we are forced to accept the premise that the liaison role produces valuable knowledge for our commissioners, let's make it a more comprehensive educational experience.

After a year in the classroom, it is time for each commissioner to graduate to a new department, to broaden his educational horizons, to prove the liaison position is not a cloak, a way of hiding a lack of overall competence, a failure of nerve in the face of long-term issues.

As of January 1, if each commissioner must be a liaison, let it be in a new department, fresh, with a new budget and a new year ahead.

This will give voters and taxpayers a few more months to assess academic performance, and another frame of reference to use to analyze our students' progress before we prepare their report cards.

In time for the next general election.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks
By David C. Mitchell

New experience joins old memories

Dear Folks,

This year's Thanksgiving was traditional in that it provided some memorable experiences and brought to mind some enjoyable memories - even though we celebrated it in Albuquerque.

Our oldest son, Chuck, graciously added some family flavor to our holiday by driving down from Española to spend Thanksgiving Day with us. It was very gracious of him considering that he had dislocated his right elbow while skiing at Wolf Creek during his visit with us last Thanksgiving.

That's one reason we went to Albuquerque this year. None of us wanted to add dislocated elbows to our list of Thanksgiving traditions. So we sought the safety of a motel room and the simplicity of eating lunch at a Furr's cafeteria.

The first plesant experience occurred at the Furr's cafeteria. Being our group's lone qualifier for the senior discount, I was pushing the last tray. Watching the others make their selections served as a reminder that the real attraction of a cafeteria is that, besides choosing the dishes you want, you get to reject all the selections you don't want. (That and the fact that you don't have to wash the dishes.)

With Cynthia and the boys leading the way, I mistakenly thought I could select my choices without worrying what others might think. So I started choosing some of my favorites . . . cole slaw, white navy beans, stewed spinach and baked fish. Just as I started to reach for a piece of corn bread, I heard someone behind me say, "Corn bread. I knew it. I've been admiring your selections."

Until then I had not noticed the nicely dressed little lady with well kept silver-gray hair who was following me in the line. When I told her my selections were some of the foods Mom had cooked when I was growing up, she said, "I thought so. Those were memorable years weren't they?"

Yes, and they had been good years. They made Thanksgiving Day a very special day. Rather than cabbage, turnips, spinach, navy beans, Salmon croquettes and corn bread it was turkey, corn bread dressing laced with celery, onion and oyster; cranberry sauce, boiled carrots, Kentucky wonder beans, black-eyed peas, scalloped potatoes, gravy with chopped turkey giblets, and fresh baked rolls that adorned the table - the dining room table. Thanksgiving dinner was served in the dining room with a white table cloth covering the table. It was a special day.

Later that afternoon after the Broncos had avoided snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory, Chuck and I were walking over to watch Drew ride at the BMX park that was only a few blocks from the motel. The faded jeans I was wearing had quite a few miles on them as did my sweat shirt-type zipper jacket, and my knit cap. Chuck was dressed somewhat the same, plus his beard and hair were nearing winter-comfort lengths. As we walked through a somewhat isolated picnic area of the park, we noticed a small group of folks standing around a picnic table that was next to a blazing metal grill. A variety of grocery sacks and foil containers were atop the table. Based on their backpacks and duffel bags, it would have been a safe bet to wager that it was a small gathering of homeless folks.

Just when I started feeling glad that apparently they were going to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together, one of the girls in the group waved at us and called out, "Hey, do you guys want some warm turkey?"

Talk about being humbled. Here someone who probably was used to having little was graciously offering to share with two strangers who unbeknownst to her were accustomed to having much. Chuck returned her wave and responded with a "No thanks, but thanks for the offer."

It was a unique Thanksgiving experience.

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

David

Legacies
By Shari Pierce

91 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era of November 25, 1910

There have been 373 cars ordered for Pagosa Springs this season for cattle shipments. Most of them have been used and the others will be used within a week or two. At an average of 18 head per car this will make a total of 6,614 head of cattle shipped from Pagosa Springs this season. In addition, there were 41 cars loaded at Chama with Archuleta County cattle.

The town and county yesterday bargained for the Beatty property in West Pagosa, now owned by G.W. Buckmaster, the building to be used as a pest house. The purchase price was $350.

One of the likeliest parts of Archuleta County is Blanco Basin. Plenty of water, good soil, fine range makes it an ideal section for stock and general farming.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 3, 1926

A rare circumstance occurred recently at the Louis Teeson ranch in the Blanco Basin. Mr. Teeson had remained for the night at the ranch home of his brother-in-law, Raymond Brown, and upon his return the following morning to his own home, discovered that his two dogs were greatly fatigued and showed evidence of having been in some terrific combat. He was carrying his coat, but opened the door of his home and threw the garment within, intending to his morning chores. However, some animal inside grabbed the coat at once and commenced to tear it into pieces. An investigation disclosed that it was a coyote, and the fight was on. It is surmised that the coyote had sought refuge in the empty house, the door being closed during the scuffle with the dogs.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 30, 1951

It was announced on Wednesday of this week that a deal had been completed whereby the Los Banos Hotel became the property of Dr. W.D. Anthony of Gallup, N.M. The Los Banos Hotel has in recent years become one of the famous eating spots of the west with many people driving long distances to dine there in the dining room, made famous by its family style meals. The hotel has been a favorite stopping place of traveling people.

On Monday morning of this week the town found itself without any water in the mains as a result of unusual conditions in the water supply. The river froze and then thawed slightly, causing a lot of slush ice which in turn plugged up the big line running from the headgates to the town pumping plant.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of November 25, 1976

Another cloud seeding, or weather modification, project appears to be in store for this area this winter. An application has been made to operate such a program, beginning February 1, 1977 and running through April 30. The program is described as one to demonstrate the ability and feasibility of such a program to increase the natural precipitation in the area. It is also expected to put additional water into storage facilities such as Navajo Lake, and to increase the snow pack.

Winter is a little late this year in the high country and present indications are that it may be some time before winter is at full scale in the high mountains. Local businessmen know that the snow will be here sooner or later, but at the minute it appears that it will be later.

Inside The Sun
$3.6 million proposed town budget on the table
By Tess Noel Baker

The 2002 Town of Pagosa Springs' $3.6 million budget will be on the table for public discussion and a possible vote at the next meeting of the Board of Trustees, Dec. 4.

At a recent budget workshop and the November regular meeting, Town Administrator Jay Harrington pointed out some major line items in the budget draft, focusing on employee health care and reviews of capital improvement projects and support to service organizations.

"This year we've seen a sixteen-percent increase in the cost of employee health care," he said. To pass that all on to employees through the cost-sharing program on family coverage the board implemented last year would eat up any increase in salary for most people.

After a short discussion, board members agreed to split the boost in health care costs 50-50 between the town and staff.

The proposed budget reflects a one-percent increase in sales tax revenues, a conservative number, Harrington said, but perhaps prudent considering the possible economic impact of recent worldwide events.

"In general, we've tried to scale back increases from previous years," he said. The proposed 2002 capital improvement plan totals about $1.2 million, down from both 2000 and 2001 when total expenditures reached closer to $1.4 million, according to figures in the proposed budget.

One of the major items in capital improvements is the old Town Hall - or newly named Gateway Park - project to create additional parking, public restrooms and green space at the corner of Lewis and Pagosa streets. Harrington said a total of $220,000 is budgeted for the project which should cover the entire cost. However, the town is applying for a $100,000 grant to alleviate some of that expense.

Another $220,000 has been budgeted for adding curb and gutter and improving drainage on Hot Springs Boulevard from the post office to the Chamber of Commerce, a portion of a bigger projects that includes sidewalks all the way to Town Hall.

Street paving projects, in locations still to be determined, take up another $160,000. Also included in the capital improvement plan are new trucks for the park department and street department, furnishings for Town Hall, matching funds for the Light Plant Road paving project, curbs cuts and $95,000 for operations at the new Pagosa Springs Community Center.

One hundred thousand dollars remains in the budget for improvements on North and South Pagosa Boulevard in cooperation with the Colorado Department of Transportation, but it's unlikely to be used, Harrington said.

"It doesn't appear it's going to be a reality for this summer," he said. "According to CDOT they are deferring all uncontracted work for one year."

In other business, the board briefly discussed the sales tax issue, agreeing with Harrington that it was time to send a letter to the Department of Revenue requesting a ruling on the question of sales tax, Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs.

At the heart of the issue is a possible conflict between two separate sales tax laws - both approved by the voters, both set to take effect Jan. 1, 2003.

Currently, Archuleta County has two different sales taxes on the books, totaling 4 percent. Two percent is a perpetual tax. The other two percent was approved by voters in 1994, and expires Jan. 1, 2003. In both cases, 50 percent of the revenues collected countywide are transferred to the town to be used on capital improvement projects.

However, in April 2000, voters inside town limits approved a town sales tax of up to 3 percent to begin upon the seven-year county sales tax being repealed, repealed and readopted, determined not to be effective or expiring in the whole or in part. The move on the part of the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees was an attempt protect its sales tax revenues from costly litigation prompted by a group of county residents.

In a move aimed at continuing the present tax structure, the county commissioners placed its own tax question on the Nov. 6 ballot. This ballot question - also approved by voters - sought specifically to "extend the existing 2 percent countywide sales tax" for another seven years. It also specifically authorized the sharing of revenues 50-50 with the town.

The question yet to be determined is whether the county's ballot question is actually an extension of the original tax approved in 1994, or a new tax. If it is an extension under the law, the county's tax structure would remain the same as its been for seven years. Should the county's recently approved ballot question be a new tax, the town's sales tax passed in 2000 would take effect. In either case, elected officials have verbally agreed to continue the 50-50 revenue split.

Jay Harrington said the letter to the Department of Revenue asking for a ruling would come jointly from the Town of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County officials. Board members agreed, asking only that it include some sort of deadline for a response.

"We can't formulate a position until the Department of Revenue makes a decision," Harrington said. "Both entities are very interested in getting this resolved."

Should the Department of Revenue decide not to make a ruling at this time, Harrington said the next step might be to go to district court and ask for a declaratory judgment to resolve the issue. That could be done separately, or could be another joint move by town and county to get the matter settled.

Biotechnology has benefits and warranted concerns
By Sen. Isgar

The last few months have been full of unprecedented tragedies - the terrorists attacks, anthrax, our economy threatened. But things seem to be righting themselves now. We have lost much but our society is strong and our perseverance in the face of these events is great. We have much to be thankful for and this past week has been the time to give thanks. I hope you all had a fine Thanksgiving full of family and all the trimmings of this traditional holiday.

I recently attended a seminar on agricultural biotechnology put on by Monsanto. As chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee and as a farmer I am very interested in ways that we can improve agriculture. Biotechnology holds great promise not just for agriculture but for the environment and health.

We use herbicides to control weed growth on some areas of my farm. We also raise squash and other vegetables on a separate part of my farm that is managed to produce certified "organic" products. I am aware of the arguments on both sides of this debate. At the heart of the matter there are several facts:

1. World population has doubled between 1960 and 2000 (from 3 billion to 6 billion)

2. Estimates of world population by 2050 are 9 billion

3. Most of the growth in population is occurring where there is little farmland

4. Most of the growth in population is occurring in areas where there is little income

5. Starvation is a continuing threat and distribution of products is a major problem

6. We have been "engineering" crops for thousands of years - all of today's crops are descendants of so-called "wild" or "organic" plants found in nature at one time or another.

There are good things that come from biotechnology. Crops that are insect resistant need less chemical insecticides. This means less cost to the farmer and less harm to the environment. Because of this, there are more insects and greater insect diversity, less ground water contamination and other benefits. More productivity means fewer acres need to be cleared. Biotechnology has provided a variety of rice (golden rice) that is rich in vitamin A. This rice will help prevent blindness in millions of poor children around the world. Genetically modified soybeans can reduce a baby's allergies to soybeans. Because of these benefits we must be open minded about genetically modified crops

Even though I see great benefits in this technology, we do need to make sure that we address all the concerns of the public. We need to move on this technology at a rate that society will accept. As we move ahead we need to be sure we use sound science to address the concerns that have been raised as well as the benefits perceived of biotechnology. I will continue to attend as many of these informational and educational seminars and meetings as possible. Hopefully, these experiences and this knowledge will allow me to make the best decisions and recommendations I can as your senator in Denver.

On another issue, Andy Fautheree, Veteran Service Officer for Archuleta County has applied for a grant to acquire a vehicle to transport veterans for medical needs as far away as Albuquerque. Andy is a hard worker and has the vets' interests at heart. He brings private sector values to his position and represents a person who needs our support. I am thankful that we have people like Andy who are working in the public sector to help our most deserving veterans.

Let's hope that the weeks and months ahead continue to see improvement both regionally and nationally. Hopefully, by the time you read this, old man winter will have arrived and given us a good start on our mountain snow pack.

Brace up: Another winter storm's approaching
By John M. Motter

Pagosa folks may get a repetition of the vicious winter storm that slammed into the area last Sunday. A Pacific storm carrying lots of moisture is expected to move into the area starting Thursday afternoon.

"Thursday (today) look for cloudy skies with a 20-percent chance of snow showers," said Mike Chamberlain, a forecaster from the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction. "By Thursday night there is a 70-percent chance of snow. It will be blustery and a significant amount of snowfall is likely."

Thursday's conditions will remain through Friday, according to Chamberlain. By Saturday and Sunday the Pagosa area should be clear and dry. By Monday, there is a slight chance for rain or snow. Tuesday is likely to be dry.

High temperatures should range between 30 degrees today down to a possible 25 degrees during the Thursday-Friday storm. Some warming should take place during the remainder of the forecast.

A vicious winter storm propelled by swirling winds slammed Archuleta County last Sunday. Before the dervish departed, more than a foot of snow stretched across the local area, making travel difficult, if not impossible for Thanksgiving revelers driving to and from Pagosa Country.

Following close on the heels of a Friday storm, Sunday's onslaught dropped more than eight inches of snow in town. The 10,000-11,000-foot slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area received 36 inches of snow over the last seven days, 22 inches during the most recent storm. As of 7 a.m. yesterday, Wolf Creek Ski Area reported four lifts operating with 32 inches of snow midway, 40 inches at the summit.

Local law enforcement agencies and tow truck drivers were busy pulling vehicles from ditches and separating fender benders. Highways, streets, and driveways were packed with layers of snow crushed to ice that rendered controlled progress an iffy, slippery challenge.

Not since Nov. 5 had locals seen measurable precipitation in town. The only previous measurable snowfall this season was one-half inch on Oct. 12, six weeks ago.

The storm increased November snowfall as measured at Stevens Field to 11 inches. The historic average snowfall for November in town is 10.6 inches. During November of 1964, a record 46 inches of snow fell in town.

Snowfall in town during December averages 22.2 inches, trailing only January which averages 27.1 inches. The maximum snowfall recorded during December in town happened in 1967 when 72 inches dropped. January's maximum was 108.9 inches during 1957.

Tuesday was the coldest night of this season with a 4 degree reading at the official weather station located at Stevens Field.

Model railroading stimulates the imagination
By Tess Noel Baker

Remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? This dapper gentleman came in every day, grabbed a sweater off the single hanger in the coat closet, singing all the while, buttoning it to the last note.

A little later came what I thought was the best part - when the little red train came chugging out of the wall to take the audience to the "Land of Make Believe." What I didn't realize then is that similar little trains journey through the homes of thousands of Americans, differing in shape and size, but all traveling on tracks of imagination, all part of the diverse world of model railroading.

"We're all working with pieces of visions," local model railroader Tim Bristow said. "It's my own little world. My own vision of what might have been."

Bristow is one of a handful of Pagosa Springs model railroaders - part of the estimated quarter million Americans who enjoy a hobby that combines carpentry, electronics, painting, model building, engineering, historical research and, always, imagination.

"I've come up with the names of 17 people in Pagosa Springs who have train layouts or are planning to build model trains," Richard Wholf, another local model railroader, said. Another handful are into other aspects of the hobby or enjoy the history and lore of the "prototypes," the life-sized version.

"There's quite a range in the hobby," he added. For instance, one person might only collect or build models of refrigerator cars with advertisements for different kinds of beer. Another modeler might be interested in a similar product, but only those with the advertisements for baby food.

Someone else might be transfixed with the electronics of train operation and have a layout that includes signaling down to the last detail, but fairly simple scenery, Wholf said. Still others are fascinated by the idea of operating trains and construct complicated layouts that can keep several people and a dispatcher busy for hours.

But the divisions listed above are fairly detailed, getting into the specific quirks of enthusiasts. The three most general categories for modelers include scale, toy and garden railroading.

In scale modeling, the trains are constructed using a ratio of measurements between miniature and full-sized trains. For instance, the popular HO model is built so that in every proportion it is exactly 1/87th the size of the real train. It follows then, that in an HO layout, the scenery and structures would follow the same scale. Gauge, or the space between rails on the track, is another important standard in this lifelike style of modeling.

Toy models are generally larger, less finely-detailed and not built to exact scale. They include the Lionel American Flyer and K-line sets most people started out using. Today, those old standbys are joined by a number of contemporaries. New lines and old have attracted a number of hobbyists.

Garden railroading, done on a larger scale than either of the two smaller toy divisions of the hobby, is yet another direction modelers can go. These trains are constructed to run outside over real terrain and in actual weather conditions, a combination that can sometimes peak the interest of the whole family.

For Wholf, model railroading is something he's enjoyed all his life.

"My father had bought trains before I was born," he said. "I grew up with trains of various kinds, both little and big." His fascination has links to the history of railroads, the enjoyment of the hobby and the down and dirty construction.

"It's just fun," he said. "Some of the things that appeal to me are building the trains. I enjoy the camaraderie of the other people in the hobby. I enjoy the operation aspect when you try to run trains just like the railroad. I enjoy seeing what other people are doing."

Wholf is currently putting the final touches on plans for a new S, 1:64- scale layout which, when finished, will depict a piece of Kansas City's Central Industrial District commonly known as the West Bottoms. He has been researching the area for some time, combining information from the internet, library sources and his own observations to create a working piece of history.

"This area has some fascinating old buildings," he said, "and a lot of interesting railroad operations." In fact, at one place in the original West Bottoms, as many as six trains might be passing by at one time, either above or next to one another. Although his layout won't be large enough for that much detail, it will be constructed to allow for operations. Trains will be loaded and unloaded, cars switched in and out, engines dispatched on important duties among other things.

"Most people just like to see trains run, so it will do that too," Wholf said.

Bristow is also in the construction phase of a layout.

"Like most people, we started with a train set when we were young, and got out of it when we went to college and now have picked it up again."

Right now, the framework is up, and the drywall behind the construction has been painted to resemble a sky, curved at the corners to create a better illusion of reality. Lighting has been added, and the package for each different bulb remains taped to the wall, giving him time to experiment with what might look most natural. When finished, the layout will cover about 2 1/2 miles of track to scale.

"It doesn't sound big, but in modeling terms I'm really lucky to have this," he said.

Bristow's layout is being created in a large room in his garage, and when the intricacies of the model have been completed, he gauges operating the set will be able to keep 4-6 people busy for 5-6 hours at a time.

But the project is a big one. Once the framework is finished and the track laid, the landscape will be added using paint, plaster and even wadded up newspaper to create lifelike geography. He is building the train itself from kits that come from as far away as England. Each boxcar takes about two hours to put together. Then it must be painted and aged to appear authentic.

But, then, finishing is only part of the fun.

"It seems like everybody's layout is in some degree of complete and incomplete," his wife, Lindsey Morgan, said. She, too, has dabbled in the hobby, enjoying the challenge.

"I just enjoy the putzing and gluing my fingers together," Bristow said. "You go in fits and spurts."

In the summers, his spurts include working on the life-sized prototypes - full-sized modeling where one foot equals 12 inches, he joked. Bristow volunteers through the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec, working alongside others to keep the narrow-gauge railway in working operation.

"It's a lot like work, but it's historic preservation," he said. "The ground literally shakes and you can feel the heat of the engine as it goes by."

It was a similar kind of life-sized experience that first caught another local railroader's curiosity 29 years ago.

"I got into trains in 1972 in Carson City, Nevada," Don Ford said. "I was out driving on a hillside, one of those easy grade, slow curve roads and I found out it was originally part of the Virginia and Truckee right of way."

That initial spark ignited into full-fledged flames added to the fuel of a natural interest in history, and Ford was off and running, researching not only the V and T line, but railroad lore in the places he's called home. It has become, for him, a lifeline at times.

"When I was going through a very, very difficult time where I could have wallowed in depression, where I could have gone back to drinking, I turned to my hobby of railroads and immersed myself in that and it got me through that very, very difficult time."

Ford builds his own models from scratch, creating designs from photographs and then building them by hand to a garden-sized, basically a 1:20.3, scale.

"The cars themselves, I build," he said. "I build buildings, but I buy engines." Creating the models, like walking old roadbeds, helps him visualize the reality behind the hobby.

"Railroads were such an important part of the history of the United States," he added. Not only did the iron rails connect east with west, they meant boom or bust for dozens of tiny towns.

"In the 1800s, if a railroad came in to or went through a town, people felt that town would prosper."

Anyone interested in this kind of moving make-believe with roots in the history of the United States, or hobbyists that have yet to connect with other model railroaders are encouraged to call Dick Wholf at 731-2012. Wholf is a member of the National Model Railroad Association. Locally, that organization is represented by the Silver San Juan Division which covers the Four Corners area and meets regularly in Durango.

Letters

Thinking of others

Dear Editor,

We have had 500 years of destruction to the environment in the Americas. Now a wonderful group like The Nature Conservancy comes along and people call them extremist for saving private land by buying it up. The Nature Conservancy is a wonderful organization and hardly extreme. Extreme is the 2,000 acre clearcuts still being done in Canada and the thousands of acres lost each day to lumber barons who are destroying whole ecosystems throughout the world. God bless the conservationists thinking of future generations.

Ron Alexander

Low water concerns

Dear Editor,

There is a request among Pagosa Lakes Property Owners to rename the original Fairfield development "Pagosa Lakes". We better be sure we have five "healthy" lakes available before we try to name something that isn't there.

Currently we have what most people would call four lakes and a mud puddle. With the depletion of water to maintain a professional golf course, Village Lake is anything but a lake. The level is so low (1 to 2 feet in spots) that there are sandbar-like areas extending from shore to shore, thus eliminating boats and resident access to open waters throughout. The water level is so low that fall season fish stocking would be devastating to most fish. Therefore, Village Lake is not being stocked. Does this create equal opportunity at all lakes for dues paying and sighing, license paying residents, family and friends? Certainly not!

Property owners with shoreline experience "lake-like" conditions in the spring season (with snow melt and water runoff through wet land areas) and the early part of the summer only. Other than that, the so-called Village Lake is like a tire with a significant leak (although it hasn't gone completely flat yet).

Many shoreline residents have lost so much water that they gained over 17 feet of ground shoreline at this time, with more added daily. Can you imagine paying a large sum of money for a pier or boat dock limited to 100 square feet at 16 feet by 6 feet? Now that's a true "dry dock".

I'm tired of being hoodwinked to believe that Village Lake is truly a "lake" - it's a reservoir for a golf course and little more than that most of the year.

You'd think that there is enough intelligence and leadership with the PLPOA organization to rectify this dilemma. What are the Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee, the PLPOA General Manager and the PLPOA directors doing to address this issue?

Let's take off the blindfolds and develop a plan of action or use the name "Four Lakes and a Mud Puddle".

Patricia Bailey

North Lake Village

property owner

Youth development

Dear Editor;

Starting at the grass roots level in every community across America, a nationwide effort is underway to capture the best ideals in youth development and use them to set an agenda for the new century.

The National Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century is spearheaded by 4-H as one of its centennial initiatives. The conversations begin with meetings in the counties. The Archuleta County Conversation will take place tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. Those ideas and some delegates will move to the state level in 50 states, District of Columbia, Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and five territories, culminating with a National Conversation beginning Feb. 28 in Washington D.C.

The National Conversation will result in a report to the President of the United States, the Cabinet and Congress. The federal government, through a special matching grant, has provided half of the funding for the $10 million effort. Corporations, foundations and in-kind services are contributing the remainder.

4-H is at the center of the growing youth development movement in the nation. Many efforts in the past have spotlighted youth problems and attempted to provide education and support to youth involved in those problems. Youth development programs, instead, use direct experience to build decision-making and life skills. Youth are engaged in activities that they choose and are mentored by caring, concerned adults.

4-H is to be commended for spearheading this National Conversation. We see several aspects that could lead to a significant outcome. First, 4-H is an inclusive organization and it is making an effort to include all segments of the community and, in particular, other professionals who work with youth. Second, 4-H has the unique ability to function in every county in America, which ensures urban, suburban and rural perspectives will all be represented. Third, rather than building a monument, 4-H is observing its centennial by investing in its future and shaping the direction of the organization as it moves into its next century.

I look forward to learning the results of the Local Conversation and watching as the process moves forward to the State and National Conversations in the coming months.

Sincerely,

Pamela Bomkamp

Friendly Texans

Dear Editor,

My wife and I are currently visiting our old hometown of Iowa Park, Texas. We came for turkey and a "Grandkid Fix", but not necessarily in that order (Thanksgiving was just a good excuse).

I know to be a "good Colorado citizen", you are supposed to have a natural animosity towards Texans so, in that light, I guess I'll never be a "good citizen" of our beautiful State. I can say this about Texans - they are some of the friendliest people on the face of the earth, plus they'll sell you gasoline for 95 cents a gallon all day long. I'm a Texan by birth and a Coloradan by choice, and proud of my dual citizenship. When you look at our "competitive" grocery and gasoline prices in Pagosa Springs, it makes you wonder if we aren't under terrorist attack as I speak. Oh well, I guess you have to expect to pay something for the beautiful scenery.

Roy Boutwell

Micah's recovery

Dear Editor,

We would like to send this message to our friends and the community of Pagosa. On November, 17, 2000, Micah Hildebrand was seriously injured in a car accident.

He received a traumatic brain injury. His recovery to this point has been amazing, but we still have a long way to go.

We would like to take this opportunity to say thanks.

Thank you to the people, who on that fateful night, helped save Micah. There are not enough words to thank the special friends who have gone above and beyond friendship in helping with Micah's recovery.

Thank you to all those who donated money and whose kind words have been a blessing and support.

Micah loved Pagosa and the people who live there. It is our dream to bring Micah back to the place he loved most. Meanwhile, we'll cherish the visits we can have in Pagosa. Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.

Sincerely,

Britte Bowman

and the Hildebrand Family

Dazzling display

Dear Editor,

How many other Pagosans besides my family were crazy enough to be outside as 5 a.m. last Saturday (11/24) watching the dazzling display in the northern sky?

I don't know why I awoke at that hour on a Saturday morning, but the first thing I did after putting the coffee on was step outside to look at the sky and see what the weather was doing. I was shocked to see the red sky above Pagosa Peak, realizing it was way too early for sunrise, so I ran out on the deck to let my eyes adjust to the darkness and get a closer look. Then I could see the shimmering curtain-like northern lights clearly, but I'd never before seen a red aurora. I went back inside and awoke my husband, Peter, and my son, Billy (visiting for Thanksgiving), and we spent the next twenty minutes out on the deck watching the show. The red sky spread slowly to the western horizon, filling the northern sky all the way to the northeast, and vertical shafts of silver began punctuating the red glow. The silver rays faded in, then intensified, and slowly faded out. They were different widths and intensities, and reappeared randomly across the sky like a dance. At one point an entire veil of transparent silver appeared across the red sky, full of silver "spears", then disappeared. For a while a vertical black shadow separated the red glow in the northwest from the rest of the show. Gradually the whole event faded out by 5:30 a.m. It was stunning, and we couldn't take our eyes off it till it was over.

We were freezing out there in the 12 degree air temperature, needless to say, and after we thawed out by the woodstove, my son, Billy, got on the Internet and looked at NOAA's space weather website. He found and showed me a report that stated that on Nov. 23 a solar storm and flare of such intensity it was almost off the chart occurred, and resulted in the spectacular light show we had just viewed. Their forecast was for the aurora to continue to be visible Nov. 25 and 26, though far less spectacular.

I've never before seen anything like that show in my 26 years in Pagosa Springs, and never anticipated it. I'm going to try to do a painting of that sky at the peak of its intensity, while it is still fresh in my memory. I hope some other early risers in our area got to see it, too, because it was so rare. I had to tell you about it!

Claire Goldrick

Pagosa football

Dear Editor,

Once again the Pagosa Pirate football team has come to a close, and a very successful season it was. The three consecutive championships set a new mark for our tenure in the Intermountain League. Please allow me a little reflection on the subject.

My association with the game dates back a few years to playing at a time when the old leather helmets with no face protection were in vogue. Later, as a minister in several different communities ranging from Western New York to Kansas to Colorado, I followed many teams whose players were often members of my churches. I've had the privilege of watching my three sons play the game, and now it has been topped off by watching my grandson Ronnie play, and a privilege it has been.

For the record, in his three years as the starting quarterback, he never lost an IML game. Last year he received all conference recognition. As the season began, the Aug. 30 edition of the Rocky Mountain News Prep Section gave Pagosa's quarterback a Best of the Best rating for the state of Colorado. He finished the regular season as first in the state in 2A play for total touchdowns and third for total yards in the state. He also finished the regular season with 21 touchdowns against 4 interceptions. While these stats were noted in the state newspapers and on the internet, they were never reported in the SUN for local fans.

Any student of the game knows that the key to a quarterback's success is the offensive line. This group of Vega, Sanford, Marshall, Martinez, Lopez, Schutz and Wagle, proved true the old sports axiom that it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

Congratulations to Coach Stretton and staff and to the entire Pirate football team for a very successful and enjoyable season.

Sincerely,

Phil Janowsky

(Editors note: The SUN does not report statistics gathered by the Denver newspapers. Not all teams report statistics to those sources, nor are those statistics always accurate. Further, The SUN does not report unsanctioned "all-state" designations made by other newspapers. We do, however, report and enjoy the careers of our Pirate athletes from our local perspective. Year in and year out they do our community proud.)

Thanks to coaches

Dear Editor,

I want to write and compliment the Pagosa Pirate athletic coaches. My compliments are not on their winning seasons; but on their method and manner of coaching. I have attended as many of the boys and girls contests as I can find the time to do so; and I have always been impressed with their style of coaching. My children went through the Texas 5A athletic system where the coaches try to win at all cost and the biggest cost is to the kids.

The kids here seem to have fun, learn to cooperate in competition, learn sportsmanship, learn how to win and lose with dignity and all the other things that high school sports are designed to teach.

The Pagosa coaches seem to put the kids first and then try to win. I have never seen a Pagosa coach scream at or humiliate an athlete on the field or court. I have never seen a coach grab or shake an athlete. And even more impressive is when a kid gets hurt - the coaches personally see to them and never "abandon them on the bench." They all seem to maintain their tempers even when plagued by bad plays, bad calls, and bad luck.

I have noticed this trend over several years, with changes in coaches and in different sports. This is therefore not coincidence. Somebody, somewhere is doing something right so that this system is providing for the kids what they are supposed to be getting from athletics. Winning is only a side product.

Now I am sure they have their faults and slip up from time to time; but overall their behavior toward their athletes is exemplary. They are role models for a lot of kids and they are doing it right.

So to the Pagosa school system - congratulations on producing winners. And it is nice to have the athletes have winning records also.

Jim Knoll

Preview praised

Dear Editor,

Everything I need to know I read in Pagosa Sun Preview.*

I now know about the Rose Bud Saloon that used to be on San Juan Street.

I now know about the road problems in the mid '80s reported by a K. Isberg (an unlikely name, probably a poor interpretation of the Swedish word "Iceberg.")

Kate's calender of events that frequently come to be.

That me and many of my friends are Cultists.

An Isberg (there's that name again) recipe usually with ingredients unavailable this side of the English channel.

Thank you Editor with the unlikely name.

Lee Sterling

*with apologies to Robert Fulghum.

Sports Page
Pirate grapplers looking strong at lower weights
By Karl Isberg

Pagosa wrestlers are ready for another season.

Ready for three months of unremitting labor in a sport that admits of no excuses - a sport where no one else can be blamed, that pitches two athletes into a circle from which only one emerges the winner.

According to Coach Dan Janowsky, there are 29 high school athletes out for this year's team and there is not a slacker in the lot.

A good thing, for wrestling does not reward a slacker.

After an off year last season, a year in which early expectations were not met, Janowsky hopes the intensity his wrestlers are showing in the practice room will carry over to competition. The earlier the better.

Fans should not expect the Pirates to be a premiere dual meet team, said Janowsky. The squad lacks depth at the upper weights and, without the ability to win matches at all weights, such a team does not ordinarily fare well in the dual-meet format.

At tournaments, however, this team could tell a different story.

"The number of wrestlers we have out this year is a little smaller than usual," said Janowsky. "But, the fact of the matter is, we often end up with only 29 or so after the kids who don't really want to be there are weeded out. This year, it seems all the guys we have are serious about what they're doing."

The Pirates return some significant experience to the mat this season and, up through 140 pounds, Janowsky has a lot of talent to choose from.

A freshman, Darren Hockett, looks as if he will step into the varsity roster at 103. In doing so, he'll take the slot occupied last year by Michael Martinez.

Martinez was last year's most successful Pirate wrestler. As a freshman, Martinez took fourth place at the Colorado 3A state tournament at 103 and comes back this season ready to compete at 112.

At 119, two juniors - Jesse Trujillo and Ryan Lee - are ready for action, each bringing a measure of varsity experience to the situation.

Likewise, at 125, junior Michael Maestas and sophomore James Gallegos have varsity matches under their belts.

"We get congested from 130 to 140," said Janowsky, who is watching his wrestlers closely to determine who will take the mat for the first matches of the year. Senior Ronnie O'Brien and junior Justin Bloomquist could compete at 130, with Bloomquist also a possibility at 135. Cliff Hockett got serious mat time last season and the junior, as well as sophomore Jesse Rader, is ready to go at 135.

At 140, the traffic jam gets heavy. Junior Clayton Mastin, senior Aaron Perez and sophomores David Richter and Aaron Hamilton are at or near the weight, as is Corey Hart, a sophomore transfer from New Mexico who had a great year at Bloomfield last season.

Senior Trevor Peterson returns at 145, hopeful to fashion a complete, healthy year in his last season with the program.

Zeb Gill begins his junior year with a great deal of varsity mat time. He will compete against junior Charles Sosbe, wrestling for the first time this year, at 152.

The ranks thin beginning at 160, where sophomore Matt Lattin could wrestle. Lattin might also be at 171.

Only two Pirates are now in a position to compete at 189, 215 or 275.

Luke Boilini returns for his senior year after a state tourney appearance last season. Boilini could fight at 189 or 215, depending on how many pounds he sheds during the year. Craig Lucero could wrestle at either 215 or 275.

"Essentially," said the coach," we have the same team as last year. We don't have a lot at the top end and that'll be a problem for us. I'm leaving the door open for some of the bigger guys from football, and hopefully they'll join us. But, we're going to have bodies nearly everywhere even if we lack experience at some of the higher weights."

How does Janowsky figure the team will fare, compared to last year?

"They've shown a lot of superb habits during practice," he said. "I couldn't ask for more from a group of guys; I just don't know how we'll do when it comes to competition. We have a lot of guys who want to be good; it's evident in the way they practice. If they carry their desire over into competition, we'll be a challenge to anyone in our league or our region. These guys are progressing well and they're all here to wrestle."

The first chance the Pirates will have to move from practice room to the glare of the spotlight will be Saturday at the Rocky Ford Invitational - a tournament that has become the accustomed season opener for the team.

Rocky Ford is a dual-meet tourney with 12 teams and the Pirates will have an opportunity to fight duals against a number of traditionally formidable 3A and 4A opponents. The tourney roster usually includes several squads from the Pirates' region - Rocky Ford, Las Animas, Trinidad and La Junta - as well as 3A state tourney regulars University, Platte Valley and Weld Central. Pueblo Centennial and Canon City, generally tough 4A teams, often make appearances at Rocky Ford.

Janowsky relishes the tournament because it signals the beginning of the season, but also because it gives him and his team a hint of what might await at the end of the schedule, at post-season tournaments.

"Rocky Ford is our one chance to get a look at what things are like in our region and in 3A on the other side of the mountains," he said. "If some of our kids can get a few wins under their belts, we'll have some confidence and we'll be off to a good start."

The dual meets at Rocky Ford start Saturday at 9 a.m.

Pagosa travels to Ignacio Dec. 6 for a tri-meet with the Bobcats and Aztec N.M.

Ladies open Cortez tourney Friday against Delta
By Richard Walter

In the wake of a trip to the Class 3A Final Four last year, Lady Pirate basketball coach Karen Wells is looking for just a little more from this year's squad.

But, there are a number of questions to be answered and she hopes some clues will come when the team opens its season Friday in the Cortez Invitational.

With 6'3" Ashley Gronewoller and her 6'1" running mate Katie Lancing back at the twin post positions, the ladies appear to have an edge on the inside game. Both were all-conference selections last year and they were the two leading scorers for the Pirates.

Starting guards Meigan Canty and Andrea Ash and power forward Tiffanie Hamilton graduated from last year's squad.

Returning are IML all-conference honorable mention junior guard Shannon Walkup and experienced senior reserves Carlena Lungstrum, Nicole Buckley and Joetta Martinez. Joining them are experienced juniors Tricia Lucero and Katie Bliss.

Then, Wells said, the question marks arise.

For example, she has no sophomores on the varsity right now. But there are three talented freshmen challenging for playing time as they develop their game. They are Lori Walkup, Mollie Honan and Briana Scott.

That makes 11 on a varsity roster which can suit 12.

"I have a feeling there is another Lady in the nearly 40 who turned out who wants to be a varsity player," Wells said. "I'm keeping the twelfth varsity spot open for the girl who shows me she wants it the most."

The defending Intermountain League champion Pirates, ranked the state's top 3A team in a preseason coachs' poll, expect to face zone defenses most of the time this year because of their height advantage. As a result, Wells said, "you can probably expect us to do more shooting from the outside, trying to draw the zones out and open up the driving lanes."

She expects, as usual, the biggest league challenge for the Lady Pirates will come from Centauri which comes the closest to matching up sizewise with Erin McCarroll, Brittny McCarroll and Kiley Mortensen along with sparkplug guard Idana Espinoza. "Bayfield lost Evers, their main height and Ignacio will try to run people into the ground with their speed," she said. Monte Vista is a question mark club which showed signs near the end of last season "of melding into a strong competitor."

With a holiday break over, the Ladies had only this week of practice before the Cortez opener Friday when they meet the Class 4A Delta Panthers at 3 p.m. If they win that game they'll face the winner of the Cortez-Bloomfield contest at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Losers of those two preliminary games will play at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Trying to get experience for the underclassmen will be a big job because, with a one-game exception, they see nothing but tournament action before the start of IML competition. Following the Cortez tourney, Pagosa hosts the Wolf Creek Classic and then goes on to Montrose for the Black Canyon Classic before breaking for the Christmas-New Year holiday.

That contributes to Wells' dilemma. Who gets the most varsity playing time and who works with the junior varsity as swing players to get experience? Right now, she said, it looks like Lucero, fellow junior Katie Bliss and freshmen Briana Scott and Mollie Honan will be the swing players from jayvee to varsity.

Perhaps the biggest job facing Wells is determining which of her charges replaces Hamilton, the team leader in assists (83), number-two ranking player in offensive rebounds (103 of her 185 total came at the offensive end), and number-two shot blocker with 17.

"We plan a more diversified offense this year, and expect to have more speed on defense. I think we'll be a better outside shooting team, and one with more depth," Wells said.

After a scrimmage with Durango's Class 5-A varsity Monday, Wells said she has decided to open the tournament with the Walkup sisters at the guard positions, Lancing and Lungstrum at forward and Gronewoller at center.

She said the scrimmage "went better than I expected. We shut them down inside, but need to work this week on transition defense and ball control."

For fans who want to plan their season of viewing now, the Ladies' schedule has them in the Cortez tourney Nov. 30 and Dec. 1; hosting the Wolf Creek Classic Dec. 7 and 8 with Bloomfield, Gunnison, Cortez, Montrose and Nucla as the guest teams; at the Black Canyon Classic in Gunnison Dec. 14 and 15; and traveling for a Jan. 11 game at Bloomfield before the IML season opens.

Pagosa will host Ignacio Jan. 18, step back out of league action to welcome Piedra Vista Jan. 22, and then resume league play Jan. 25 with Bayfield visiting. Then they go on the road for four consecutive games: Jan. 26 at Monte Vista, Feb. 2 at Centauri, Feb. 9 at Ignacio and Feb. 15 at Bayfield.

The Ladies will close out the regular league season hosting Monte Vista Feb. 16 and Centauri on Feb. 23. District tournament action will follow March 1 and 2 in Monte Vista. State playoff action will begin March 5 with successive action, if they advance, March 9 and 14 before the state tournament is played March 15

and 16.

Pirates have height, hurt to open hardcourt race

By John M. Motter

The basketball season is all new for Jim Shaffer, the new head coach of Pagosa Springs' boy's varsity team.

Shaffer's Pirates play at Cortez tomorrow in the opening round of the 2001 Cortez Varsity Basketball Invitational. That's not so new. Pagosa's basketball season has opened at Cortez each of the past few seasons.

Pagosa opens the season with the 4A Delta Panthers tomorrow at 3 p.m. If they win, on Saturday the Pirates get the winner of Cortez versus Bloomfield game.

In terms of school size, Pagosa is the smallest school in the Cortez tournament. That hasn't stopped the Pirates from coming home with the championship trophy in past years. This year, Shaffer has only three players returning with serious varsity experience. A victory at Cortez will be a pleasant surprise.

Getting underway has been a serious challenge for Shaffer, himself a newcomer to the Pirate helm. The three Pagosa players with considerable varsity experience all played on the football squad that reached the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs before bowing out. That means those three, Darin Lister, Jason Schutz, and Brandon Charles, were not around during the first weeks of basketball practice, a time when Shaffer was introducing a new system.

Adding to Shaffer's challenges, each of the three carried some degree of injury as the football season closed. Schutz, a 6'5" senior expected to man the post position in the Pirate offense, may not play until after Christmas. Lister and Charles started practicing this week.

"It's going to take some time," Shaffer said. "I believe by the time league play starts, we'll be ready. We're going to affect the league outcome, maybe win it all."

In any case, Shaffer will get his first look at his charges in real-time situations at the Cortez tournament. Going into that tournament, Shaffer has narrowed his varsity roster to 11 names. The roster includes three seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, and one freshman.

Leading the seniors is Lister, No. 22, a 5'10" guard who started much of last year. Lister was a standout, first-team selection on the all league football team. Senior Cord Ross, No. 32, is a 5'8" guard who missed the past two seasons because of football injuries. Ross has had reconstructive surgery on a knee each of the past two seasons. Even so, Ross played football again this year. Senior Ethan Sanford, No. 14, is a 5'10" guard who was an all-league football selection as a lineman.

Juniors on the squad include No. 40 Jason Schutz, No. 12 Brandon Charles, No. 24 Todd Mees, and No. 34 Henrique Dias. Schutz and Dias are 6'5" post players; 5'9" Charles is a guard, and 6' Mees is a forward. Charles and Schutz picked up considerable playing time last year. Mees was also on the varsity squad last year. Dias is an exchange student from Brazil with no experience in the United States.

Sophomores on the squad are No. 10 Ty Tabor, No. 30 Ryan Goodenberger, and No. 42 Clayton Spencer. Tabor is a 5'9" guard, Goodenberger a 6' guard, and Spencer a 6'6" post. None has varsity experience.

The lone freshman on the squad is No. 44, 6'5" forward Caleb Forrest.

Pagosa will also field junior varsity and freshman teams.

Following the Cortez Tournament, Pagosa returns home Dec. 7 and 8 to host the annual Wolf Creek Classic. Other schools in that tournament are Aztec, Bloomfield, Thoreau from New Mexico and Montrose and Gunnison.

A week later, the Pirates cross Red Mountain Pass to play Dec. 14 and 15 in the annual Black Canyon Classic. Schools in that tournament could include Gunnison, Delta, Olathe, Montrose, and Rifle. Finally, Pagosa closes the year 2001 by hosting Durango Dec. 20.

Following the holiday break, Pagosa begins the new year at Bloomfield Jan. 11. Intermountain League plays starts Jan. 18 when Pagosa hosts Ignacio. On Jan. 25, Pagosa hosts Bayfield in another IML game, then hits the road to play at Monte Vista Jan. 26. Pagosa completes the first half of IML play at Centauri Feb. 2.

Pagosa plays Sangre de Cristo Feb. 7 in a non-league encounter. The second half of league play begins Feb. 9 with Pagosa on the road at Ignacio. On Feb. 15, Pagosa plays at Bayfield, then returns home Feb. 16 to host Monte Vista and Feb. 23 to host Centauri.

Monte Vista hosts the district tournament March 1 and 2. Qualification games for the state tournament begin March 5. Two teams from the IML advance into the state playoffs.

Two routes are possible for state tournament qualification. The first route is to capture the IML crown outright during regular season play. Even though they must play in the district tournament, a district champion automatically advances into state tournament action.

The district tournament champion, if not also the league champion, also advances into the state playoffs. If the league champion captures the district tournament, then the team finishing second in the tournament advances into the playoffs. If more than one team ties for the league title, then the two teams finishing highest in the district tournament advance into the state playoffs.

Pagosa Springs has captured the IML title the past two seasons. Each season, the Pirates advanced through regional and area competition to play with the final eight 3A teams at the state tournament held in Colorado Springs.

Members of the IML are Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Ignacio, Centauri, and Monte Vista.

Boys basketball is the only team sport in which Pagosa Springs has won a state tournament. In 1960, the basketball team captured the state title.

5K race will close Creede runner series

The last race of the Creede Patriot Games Series, the Pearl Harbor Memorial 5K race, will be held Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. in Creede.

The entry fee is $10 for all ages and abilities and proceeds will benefit the Creede Chamber of Commerce.

The race starts at the Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce. All participants must be registered by 10:40 a.m. and ready to run promptly at 11. An awards ceremony will follow, with trophies given to the top three males and females and ribbons awarded to third place winners in 12 age groups.

The Creede Patriot Games Series consists of four races throughout the year, the first during memorial Day; the second in celebration of Independence Day; the third to honor Veteran's Day; and the last in memory of Pearl Harbor.

Participants in all four races are awarded points for each race and may receive awards for the entire series.

Weather Stats

Date

High

Low

Precipitation

Type

Depth

Moisture

11/14

60

26

-

-

-

11/15

61

26

-

-

-

11/16

59

24

-

-

-

11/17

59

22

-

-

-

11/18

56

19

-

-

-

11/19

56

18

-

-

-

11/20

55

15

-

-

-

11/21

55

14

-

-

-

11/22

51

15

-

-

-

11/23

45

17

S

2.5

0.4

11/24

42

16

-

-

-

11/25

29

14

S

1.45

8.5

11/26

28

10

-

-

-

11/27

29

4

-

-

-

Community News

Chamber News By Sally Hameister

Town will sparkle in Parade of Lights

You should have received a form for our third annual Parade of Lights, and we hope you will join the fun Dec. 7.

This has become quite the deal and one of the prettiest things you will ever witness. There's nothing quite like a jillion lights, Santa, elves, horses, cars going down Pagosa Street on a December night.

Our music, once again, will be provided by KWUF, and we ask everyone to bring a boom box for their float so we can all tune in during the parade.

We will award $100 to the Best and Brightest Float in the three categories of Family, Business and Organization, and you could have some extra moolah for that holiday shopping. Please call us with questions at 264-2360. Entry fee is $25, and we would love to see you sparkle plenty on Dec. 7.

Christmas Choir

The annual Community Christmas Choir Concert will be held at the Community Bible Church Dec. 8 and 9. The Saturday performance will be held at 7 p.m. and the Sunday concert will be at 4 in the afternoon.

Admission is free as is nursery care for your little ones if you so desire. This is a magnificent part of our season, and I hope you will plan to attend. I'll see you there.

Christmas in Pagosa

Please look elsewhere in this issue of the SUN for a Christmas Event Calendar including all the activities we know about right now. We have been feverishly decorating here at the Chamber for Santa's arrival on Saturday, and we know that our favorite Cookie Lady, Sally Theesfeld, has been slaving away in her kitchen day and night baking cookies for this very special day.

Please bring your family to the Visitor Center Saturday to visit with Santa, enjoy Sally's delicious selection of cookies along with some hot spiced cider, listen to and join in with the caroling of our lovely Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus and help Santa with the countdown to the annual Chamber Lighting Ceremony.

You don't even have to cook that night because you can enjoy all of the above and then head on over to Parish Hall on Lewis Street for their annual "Infamous Chili Dinner." They have extended their hours this year from 4:30 to 7 p.m. to assure that everyone has a chance to experience this yummy meal. Advance tickets are available at the Chamber and at the Village Texaco, and the cost is the same as years past, $5 for adults and $3.50 for children. There will be free face painting for the kids. We hope to see you all Dec. 1.

Chamber Store

Keep in mind that we offer some rather "Pagosa-specific" gift items for the holidays right here at the Chamber, so come on down and check 'em out. Friends and family who have visited here might particularly appreciate some of these items.

Most recently, we have added the beautiful Pagosa Springs poster to our inventory and, framed or unframed, it makes a gorgeous gift for family and friends. We also have the Pagosa Springs video, cups, mugs, pins and the Rio Jazz CD, all of which make the best stocking stuffers ever. Lili Pearson has brought us some simply stunning Christmas cards of Pagosa scenes that you can buy individually for those special people who will turn green with envy that you live here and they don't.

"Shop Pagosa First" becomes even more important during these times of economic unrest, so please go to all of our wonderful local retailers first before you head out of town to shop.

Christmas Bazaar

The gang at the Community United Methodist Church is in full swing now with their beautiful wreaths and centerpieces, so call or run over to place your order. Their hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec.7, Monday through Friday. This is the 42nd year for this huge philanthropic endeavor, and you can arrange to have the wreaths shipped all over the world to make someone's holiday even more festive.

Don't miss this opportunity to put smiles on many faces of those you love. Imagine how pleased and surprised they will be to receive a beautiful wreath from Pagosa Springs

Holiday Home Tour

Don't forget to pick up your tickets for the first-ever Holiday Tour of Homes to be held Dec. 6, from 6-9 p.m.

The tour includes five beautiful homes decked out in their absolute holiday best and sure to give you lots of ideas for your own home.

There are only 150 tickets available for this tour, so please pick up your tickets as soon as possible. Doug informs me that we have already sold about 25 and we are only one of four outlets.

Seeds of Learning is sponsoring this event, and you can pick up your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce, Seeds of Learning Family Center, The Pagosa Kid and Wolftracks Bookstore and CoffeeHouse. Tickets are $8 and will be sold until 3 p.m. on the day of the tour. Please join us for what promises to be a wonderful annual event.

Membership

We have three new members to welcome this week and 16 renewals. Pretty doggoned remarkable for a holiday week, I'd say.

We are delighted to welcome Drex Yeager with DWB Enterprises working out of his home. Drex offers a number of services through DWB: landscape maintenance and installation, snow removal and janitorial services. He immediately ingratiated himself here at the Chamber when he recently responded to a call for help and resolved the problem for us in short order and again when he came in bright and early on both weekend days to remove a considerable amount of accumulated snow. He has been especially gracious, and we are most grateful. Please give him a call at 970-749-4552 for more information.

Our second new member is actually an existing member who comes to us with a new business. We welcome Gary Weger who has been a Realtor Associate with Mountain Land, Inc. previously and now brings us Mountain Crossing located at the corner of U.S 160 and 84. Gary is the owner of 111 acres of prime master-planned property within town limits, split into three zoning districts. This acreage offers commercial, mixed use commercial development and residential. Mountain Crossing is ready to build on with virtually all the CDOT access issues, traffic study, development impact analysis, zoning and master planning pre-development details already resolved. To learn more, please give Gary a call at 731-9256.

Last but not least this week, we're so happy to welcome Deena C. Moore as representative for Hi-Mesa Truck and Auto Center, LLC, located at 597 Navajo Trail Drive (formerly Pagosa Auto Sales). Deena and I have spent quite a lot of time on the phone with membership issues, and the girl just wouldn't quit until everything was in good order. Hi-Mesa Truck and Auto Center, LLC, features AWD and 4x4 SUVs, trucks and many different brands of cars - Subaru, Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and GMC. They boast quality-reconditioned vehicles for all budgets and are especially proud of the hometown service they offer to Pagosa Country folks. They also have three other lots to choose from in other areas. Please call Deena at 731-4377 for more information.

Renewals this week include Claudia Weger with Land Properties, Inc.; James Grant with Pagosa Lakes Ranch; Chris Willhelm with Riverside Properties; Kimberly Budd with Fairfield Pagosa; Tina Graham and Ellen King with Mercy Orthopedic and Sports Therapy/ Home Health and Hospice; Darlene Hodgson with Bad Moon Rodeo, in Blanco, N.M.; Bessie Montoya with the Elkhorn Cafe; Todd D. Shelton with Century 21 Wolfcreek Land and Cattle, LLC; Lauri Heraty with The Source for Pagosa Real Estate; Mark and Erica DeVoti with the Pony Express Brochure Delivery; Nan Rowe with Rocky Mountain Reefs of Pagosa, Nan and Gary Rowe with Oso Grande Ranch, and Nan and Gary Rowe with Oso Grande Ranch Outfitting (I don't think Nan and Gary have a whole lot of spare time on their hands); Tony Simmons with The Brew Haus; Ben L. Lynch with Jackisch Drug, Inc.; and Julie Pickering with Rocky Mountain HMO in Durango.

Associate Member renewals this week include J.B. Smith and Gary and Wanda King.

We like to keep you apprised of changes within our membership concerning new owners, address changes, etc., and that being said, we want to let you know that Eddie Vita is the new owner of both the Conoco East and Conoco West Convenience Stores. Eddie has made a number of additions to the stores. You can call with questions at 264-5322.

Senior News
By Janet Copeland

Senior Citizens board election slated Dec. 14

A great big thank you to Francisco's Restaurant in Durango for the delicious Thanksgiving meal provided to local seniors on Nov. 20. These generous folks do this each year and we really appreciate it. Twenty of our group attended and it was enjoyed by all.

Stella Carter was honored by Dawnie and the seniors for completing 10 years of service Nov. 18 with the kitchen crew. We really appreciate Stella and the service she provides.

Thanks to Terri Beecher who spoke to us on Nov. 16 about dental care and how to protect our teeth and health. It was very informative, especially the effect periodontal disease has on general health. She said people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as those without the disease. It can cause patients to be more susceptible to and aggravate diabetes, cause patients to be prone to lung infections, etc. She also spoke on the value of using water picks and toothpicks. Musetta is making arrangements to order water picks at a discounted price for those who request them, so contact her if you would like to be added to the list.

Our Senior of the Week last week was Carolyn Hansen - a wonderful lady we all dearly love. Congratulations Carolyn.

Election for the board of Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc., will take place Dec. 14. We welcome nominations for these positions so if anyone is interested in serving on this board, please contact Phil Heitz, 731-2558, or Musetta at the Senior Center. The board meets after lunch on the last Friday of each month and visitors are welcome to join us in order to become more informed about what we do.

Nov. 30 is a busy day at the Senior Center. At noon we will celebrate the birthdays of all members born in November. At 12:45 p.m. the Archuleta Senior Citizens, Inc. board will meet at the new City Hall for our monthly meeting. And at 5 p.m. our monthly potluck will kick off, after which we will have very special entertainment by the Mountain Harmony Women's Barbershop Choir. This is truly a treat, so we hope everyone will bring their favorite dish and join us for a good time.

The CPR class has been rescheduled for Dec. 10. Kathy Conway from EMS will provide a nuts-and-bolts, non-certified CPR class. Sign-up sheet for this class is in the lobby, or you may call the center at 264-2167 and have them sign you up. There is no charge for the class, though donations will be appreciated.

Also on Dec. 10, Ben Lynch, Jackisch Drug, will analyze medications to identify those which should not be taken together. Bring in your medications and Ben will talk with each person individually to determine if there is a problem.

We currently have a contest in the process for naming of the new senior center which will open approximately next August when the new Community Center is completed. You may call Musetta or Cindy at 264-2167, or submit your suggestion in writing and mail it, along with your name, address and phone number, to Archuleta County Senior Center, PO Box 1532, Pagosa Springs, Co. 81147. The prize is a wonderful 13-inch color TV, so it is certainly worthwhile to come up with some good suggestions.

On Fridays, at 1 p.m. we hope all you bridge players will join us to start up a group to play bridge. And don't forget the movie matinees for seniors on Wednesdays, 2 p.m., at the Liberty Theater; the fee is $3. Please call the theater to let the Johnsons know if you plan to attend the movie.

My husband and I celebrated Thanksgiving in Oklahoma with our family, so if I missed providing important information this week, please forgive me. I will try to get up to speed by next week.

Local Chatter
By Kate Terry

The fastest project ever in Pagosa Springs

Back in 1985 when Juanalee Park headed the town's recreation, the grass at town hall was newly seeded. The late Betty Feazel complained that she had to go clear to the corner so as to walk on concrete up to the library. (At the time, the library was located in Town Hall).

And so I wrote: "Needed, a path of flat rocks leading off Lewis to the Town Hall entrance. It's awfully hard to be respectful of the new grass seeding and having to walk clear to the corner in order to walk up the sidewalk."

A few days later Chris Chavez, a county commissioner at the time, saw me and wanted to know what I thought of the new walk. What walk? But there it was: a walk leading from Lewis Street to the Town Hall entrance. It had been ordered by Herb Haist, town manager at the time. Herb left right after this. He said it was his last official act. Chris had built it.

The late Jim Cloman said that it was the fastest thing he'd ever seen in Pagosa Springs.

The walk was the base for the handicapped access ramp built later. It's now gone forever, to make room for parking! That's progress.

Around Town

Whistle Pig is one of the musical programs under the umbrella of Pagosa Springs Arts Council. There are two parts. The first is held at the Vista Clubhouse and includes an "open mike" (where anyone can play or sing) and the other is the Hudson House concerts.

When Whistle Pig started four or five years ago, Ken Greentree and Bill Hudson were in charge. Then Ken moved away and four of the volunteers quit and Hudson (as many call him) and his wife, Clarissa, started the house concerts. The guest artists are fine musicians and a fee of $7 covers expenses and homemade refreshments. The turnout has been full-house. The next concert is Dec. 21, a duet with Correo Aerea from Seattle playing harp and violin, their music to be "south of the border." Reservations are suggested. Call 264-2491. This show is the Whistle Pig for the holidays.

Let's talk Thanksgiving. Mine was great and then, when I was reading some back papers and saw the headline of 'The Mini Page' (the whole page feature for kids carried by some newspapers) I decided that it is time to write about Thanksgiving.

The headline of said issue read: "The Pilgrims Give Thanks," and the story told was the one we all know - that the Pilgrims had a feast we know as "the first Thanksgiving."

This is misleading. The truth about Thanksgiving traditions differs somewhat from what is generally thought and taught. The celebration by the Pilgrims and their guests, the nearby Massosoit Indians, was a traditional English harvest. Autumn 1621 had yielded bountiful crops and they had good reason to celebrate.

But they were not the first group to do this; many civilizations had done so. It's the word "first" that causes the trouble.

Historians think that the meal was held outside because there wasn't a building large enough to hold everyone. And while I'm at it, I wonder how many observant kids questioned the long tablecloths covering the tables (as pictured in said Mini Page feature). Tablecloths weren't necessities the pilgrims would have included in their luggage.

The Pilgrims' famous celebration was in 1621 but the English settlement of Jamestown was in 1607 and an autumn harvest there is a matter of record. When John F. Kennedy was president, his Thanksgiving proclamation included Massachusetts and Virginia.

History also records that the Pilgrims did not wear shoes with silver buckles and that most of their clothes were colored.

Fun on the run

Actual classified ads:

For Rent: 6-room hated apartment

Man, honest, Will take anything

Christmas tag-sale. Handmade gifts for the hard-to-find person

Wanted: Hair-cutter. Excellent growth potential

Wanted: Man to take care of cow that does not smoke or drink

3-year-old teacher needed for pre-school. Experience preferred

Our experienced Mom will care for your child. Fenced yard, meals and smacks included

Auto Repair Service. Free pick-up and delivery. Try us once and you'll never go anywhere again

Girl wanted to assist magician in cutting-off head illusion. Blue Cross and salary

And now, the Superstore - unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience

We will oil your sewing machine and adjust tension in your home for $1.

Veteran's Corner
By Andy Fautheree

'Freeze' imposed at Farmington clinic

The Veterans Affairs Health Care system is a great opportunity for most veterans to obtain low-cost quality health care.

These folks are doing a great job of handling a large influx of veterans applying for and obtaining VA Health Care benefits. The numbers have swelled to the point the Farmington VA Clinic is now "frozen" on new applicants.

This does not necessarily mean new veteran applicants for VA Health Care are shut out of the system. It just means there may be a longer delay in getting enrolled and being scheduled for the first physical examination, which is required by the VA Health Care system, to obtain further health care needs and prescription drugs.

The recent freeze on the Farmington VA Clinic was imposed by the VA Albuquerque Hospital that oversees Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC) in its district. I spoke to Albuquerque VA Hospital officials Monday, and they said the Farmington VA Clinic is seeing about 2,600 patients and it is staffed for 2,500.

According to my records, we have approximately 300 veterans from Archuleta County enrolled in the VA Health Care system. I estimate this office enrolls an average of about one veteran a day - quite an impressive number considering the size of our county population. You can imagine how many veterans are enrolling from larger neighboring counties to these same facilities.

Other VA Health Care facilities besides the Farmington VA Clinic are available to Archuleta County veterans. Our veterans can go to the Albuquerque VA Hospital, the Grand Junction VA Hospital and to a CBOC in Gallup, N.M. However, these facilities are further away than the Farmington clinic. Additionally, some of these VA Health Care facilities are not completely networked with each other. An Archuleta County veteran enrolled in one facility may not be in the system for a different facility. The veteran would essentially be seen as a new enrollee even though he or she is already enrolled in another facility or CBOC. This happens most often if the patient is enrolled in a different VA Health Care district, such as Grand Junction VA Hospital. Our district headquarters is based at the Albuquerque VA Hospital. This problem could obviously affect a patient's known medical records, appointments, test schedules and results, prescriptions and other health care concerns. Information is shared between the VA facilities, but sometimes this can take some time, and time may be a very critical factor for a patient.

On Monday I spoke to Bobby Kizer, director of the Farmington VA Clinic, and she advised me to continue sending new Archuleta County VA Health Care applications to her office. She said these applications would need to be on file with the Farmington clinic if the veteran wants to use that facility, when it begins to accept new enrollees. If the application is sent directly to the Albuquerque VA Hospital, the veterans can be seen at the Albuquerque facility, but would not necessarily be in the Farmington CBOC system when it begins to accept new applicants. The applications sent to Farmington will be forwarded to Albuquerque and the client can schedule appointments at that facility until such time as the Farmington clinic is re-opened"or the Durango CBOC is opened.

I would urge all veterans currently enrolled in VA Health Care to be sure and keep close vigilance on their personal health care appointments, treatments and tests. With the ever-growing appointment schedule of veteran clients at the VA clinic in Farmington and the Albuquerque VA Hospital, the likelihood of something getting overlooked by an overworked staff or physician can greatly increase. If you have been seen by a health care provider at a VA Health Care facility, recently had tests, or been told you would be receiving further information, or prescription drugs, I strongly recommend you monitor the responses closely. If you do not hear from someone or receive something that is involved in your VA health care needs, be sure and follow-up with that provider or facility to ensure your needs are being taken care of properly.

You can call the Farmington VA Clinic at (505) 326-438. The number for the Albuquerque VA Hospital is (800) 465-8262. If you enrolled in the VA health care program recently and have not heard anything, I would urge you to call the Farmington clinic and check on the status of your enrollment.

One word of note: sometimes the Farmington phone number is busy and you will need to keep trying to get through. Also, let it ring for a long time. The Farmington staff is handling the calls as quickly and efficiently as possible, but if they are busy on a call, they can't answer an additional incoming call. If you have any problems or questions, please feel free to contact this office and I will be happy to assist you with contacting these facilities or the proper department at the Albuquerque hospital.

The real answer to these problems is to get the Durango VA CBOC up and running. I have made numerous calls to VA officials at the local and state levels, and to Senator James Isgar about the urgent need for the Durango CBOC. I continue to hear conflicting reports regarding this clinic. Let's hope the Durango VA Clinic will become a reality soon; we sorely need it.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. Active Internet website for Archuleta County Veterans Service Office can be found at www.geocities.com/vso_archuleta. The office number is 264-2304, the FAX number is 264-5949, and E-mail is vsoarch@pagosa.net. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, and Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

Extension Viewpoints
By Bill Nobles

Master gardener applications available

Tonight - Local Conversation on Youth Development in the 21st Century, Extension office, 6 p.m.

Dec. 3 - Chimney Rockers, Extension Office, 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 6 - Cloverbuds, Extension office, 4 p.m.

Master Gardener

The Colorado Master Gardener course for La Plata, Archuleta and Montezuma counties is accepting applications. Do not let this opportunity to expand your horticultural knowledge and stimulate your mind wait another year.

Colorado Master Gardener training consists of 10, 6-hour training classes taught by Colorado State University faculty and county staff. Class information is focused toward the non-commercial, home gardener.

Students must satisfactorily complete all training (i.e. pass exams and attend at least 80 percent of class work). Students are also expected to continue the learning experience through 50 hours (minimum) of volunteer service in their county. Colorado Master Gardener volunteers assist the local office of CSU Cooperative Extension to extend knowledge-based information on home yard care and gardening into their community.

The cost of the course is $95 and will be taught at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango from early January through March. Classes will held each Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Master Gardener Program volunteer network enhances Coloradans' quality of life by:

Extending research-based education throughout Colorado communities to foster successful gardeners

Helping individuals make informed decisions about horticulture to help protect neighborhood environments.

The Master Gardener Program leads educational efforts to nurture Colorado's natural environment and communities by:

Collaborating with the green industry, public agencies, and non-profits to provide current research-based information to the public

Developing educational programs for local needs such as water issues, alternative pest management, and ecosystem characteristics, to encourage environmentally sound horticultural practices

Reaching out to new audiences through a variety of new technologies

Providing life-long learning opportunities and a variety of meaningful volunteer options for Colorado Master Gardeners, resulting in a committed, active network of horticultural educators who serve communities across the state

Cultivating long-term support and securing abundant resources from diverse constituencies for the Colorado State University Master Gardener Program by showing the difference that this program makes in Coloradans' quality of life.

Applications for the Colorado Master Gardener Class of 2002 are now available through all the Cooperative Extension offices.

Call the extension office at 264-5931 if you have any questions, or to receive an application. Space is limited so do not wait.

Crusing with Cruse
By Katherine Cruse

Hotshot, rental goats attack thistle

Our neighbor Buck, who's a PLPOA board member, got a phone call from a concerned resident.

"Somebody near you is raising sheep in the Meadows!" said Ms. Gadfly. "That's against the covenants. What's going on?"

Buck started to laugh. He told the caller what was happening and then came over to share the chuckle with us.

My husband Hotshot and I were the culprits, the perps, the responsible parties. But the critters weren't sheep, they were goats. Three hundred goats, grazing in our pasture.

However, all you Meadows residents can rest easy. The goats weren't here to stay. In fact, they were only on our place for four days. Then they got loaded back onto trailers and hauled off to New Mexico.

These are Rent-a-goats, if you will. Working goats. Their job was to eat the weeds, aerate the soil, and fertilize the land. If we saw any of them resting, we called out, "Hey, goats! No lying down on the job."

We got them courtesy of Lani Lanning, the "goat lady." Last month she delivered 2,000 goats to Randall Davis' ranch to clean up the weeds, especially the yellow toadflax, commonly known as Butter and Eggs. A pretty plant, often grown in gardens, but a noxious weed nonetheless, because it spreads faster than grass and offers less benefit to cattle and other animals.

We didn't have toadflax on our little ranchito, but we did have Canadian thistle.

Some thistle you can control by yourself. You can use a shovel to cut the rosette from the root in the spring, before the plant grows very high. Or you can wait until it's taller and pull off the purple head before it sends those thousands of seeds out across the land.

Canadian thistle, however, isn't so easy to fight. It spreads mainly by sending long root runners underground in all directions, and new plants come up directly from those. This year you might have one little patch; next year rickly things. And after that well, you've got a real mess on your hands.

But it's the kind of mess that goats like. Goats will eat grass, if there's nothing else, but they prefer the weeds. They'll also eat pine seedlings, juniper greenery, and probably the tires off your car. So the goats were contained, and kept away from anything we didn't want them to eat, with temporary plastic fencing. Electrified temporary fencing.

The fencing also keeps the herd confined to a relatively small space. One day at a time they were moved across our land, doing their job.

Bobby brought the goats in a regular ol' horse trailer, about 75 goats per trailer load. When he offloaded them, Bru, the black and white Australian sheepdog, crouched nearby, watching intently, ready to round them up if necessary.

"You don't have to work," Bobby told him. "Lie down." Bru half lay, half crouched. He never took his eyes from Bobby's face, just in case his help might be needed.

Having the goats around brought out the latent farmer in Hotshot. He walked out among the goats to broadcast pasture grass seed, which the goats' pointy little hooves dug into the soil. This also stirred up the goats and made sure they covered the whole place.

He worried over whether there was enough water in the tank. When the goats drank it down to the level where it was hard for the little ones to reach it, Hotshot refilled it.

The first time he did this, every goat that put its nose in the water while the tank was filling jumped back in surprise. It took getting a little shock himself before Hotshot realized that the hose, draped over the electric fence, was delivering more than just water to the tank.

The goats tended to gather into a close bunch, then spread out. When one decided to get a drink from the tank, 15 or 20 goats would decide to follow.

When one goat discovered the salt block, suddenly there were 50 goats crowded around it, on their knees, licking away. Goats at the back pushed and shoved and wormed their way in to the salt. One wether (that's a former billy; all these goats had been neutered) backed up, lowered his head, and charged, lifting another goat right into the air.

The goats spent two days in our three-acre pasture on Meadows Road. Cars going by slowed to take a good look. One driver called out to Hotshot, "Are those goats for sale?" We could probably have recovered our cost, if we'd acted fast.

I have to say, I liked having the goats around. They were fun to watch. We couldn't really smell them. Their voices were pretty quiet. I liked the sound of all those little legs rustling through the grass. It was good to see animals in the pasture.

Will this work? Will the thistle be eradicated? Lani says we'll probably need the goats again in three years. She should know. She's got the degree in plant management, and she's the goat lady.

Meanwhile, Hotshot and I are talking about some more active use of our pasture. Maybe llamas. Maybe a horse.

And a couple of goats.

Parks and Rec
By Douglas Call

Ski and Bow Rack new coed volleyball champs

The annual Pagosa Springs "Elk's Hoop Shoot" will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in the intermediate school gym. The free event is sponsored by Durango Elks Lodge and is a nationwide basketball free throw shooting contest for boys and girls ages 8-13.

Hoop shoot winners are awarded "Hoop Shoot" T-shirts and patches, and will advance to the regional playoffs at Escalante Middle School in Durango Jan. 12. Boys and girls compete in these age groups: 8-9, 10-11, and 12-13.

Youth basketball

This year's youth basketball program is underway with practices starting this week. Players who have not received a call from their coach should contact Summer at the recreation department for team and practice schedules.

Coaches are still needed for the 7-8 and 11-12-year-old divisions. Please call Summer at 264-4151, ext. 232, if interested in coaching or officiating for this year's basketball program. Games will begin Dec. 10 and continue into February.

Not registered for this season yet? Registration continues at the $20 rate with forms available at Town Hall and the elementary and intermediate schools. This year players will receive T-shirts as uniforms. Deadline for registration is Dec. 7.

Adult volleyball

Congratulations to Ski and Bow Rack, our 2001 coed tournament champions.

Last Monday night Colorado Construction and Ski and Bow Rack faced off with Colorado Construction winning the first match in three games on scores of 15-13, 12-12,15-9.

But Ski and Bow came back to win the "if necessary" match in two games, 15-8,15-8, to win the tournament.

Thanks to league sponsors Ski and Bow Rack, Colorado Construction, Silver Dollar, American Family Insurance, Ace Hardware, CPR Title and Piano Creek Ranch.

Ice skating

The ponds at River Center Park have started to freeze and free skating will soon be available to the public.

Two lessons in skating will be offered this year: beginner figure skating and power hockey skating. For more information about youth skating lessons contact the recreation department, 264-4151, ext. 231

Please stay off the ice until it is posted open. The ice will be thin for at least another week. A minimum of four inches of ice is needed for group skating.

Arts Line
By Stephanie Jones

Galery's business hours begin Dec. 5

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Office at the gallery in Town Park will be open for business Dec. 5 through the end of March, Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

The gallery will reopen in May with exhibits involving multiple artists and lasting three weeks each. Gallery hours will be Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10-6. Artists who are interested in exhibiting can pick up information and an application at the gallery, or can call JoAnn at 264-5020.

Photo contest

The 14th annual Photo Contest at Moonlight Books will begin with a Feb. 2 opening reception from 5-7 p.m. The show will run through Feb. 23.

Anyone interested in submitting their photographs in the contest can pick up information and an entry form at Moonlight Books, Focus and Sound, Pagosa Photography, Mountain Snapshots, or the PSAC business office. Entries will be accepted at Moonlight Books up until 5 p.m. on Jan. 30. All entries must be ready to hang and there is a $3 entry fee per photo. Everyone is encouraged to attend the reception to cast votes for the People's Choice Award.

Support the PSAC

Getting involved with the PSAC is a great deal of fun. There are many exciting functions to attend and many interesting people to meet.

There are numerous ways that you can support the Arts Council.

We are a 501C(3) organization that depends on membership to support the many functions that we sponsor. Becoming a member is easy, is tax deductible, and has its benefits. Membership forms can be picked up at the gallery or at several locations in town. Individual memberships cost $20; a family membership is $30; business membership are available at $65.

Among the membership benefits you receive are discounts to functions, discounts at local businesses, an appreciation gift, a subscription to the Petroglyph, advance notification of arts events, and the satisfaction of supporting local arts.

Another way that you can support the arts is by volunteering your time and talent. We are currently looking for an individual to serve as our treasurer on the board of directors. Anyone interested in the position can call Jennifer Harnick at 731-3113.

We are also looking for a volunteer to handle the layout of our quarterly newsletter, The Petroglyph. Anyone interested should call JoAnn at 264-5020.

Workshops

This winter we would like to offer arts workshops to the public. If you are interested in conducting a workshop at the gallery, call JoAnn at 264-5020. We are also looking for a volunteer to coordinate the workshops. The workshops will begin at the gallery and be moved to the Community Center once it is opened.

Whistle Pig

The next Whistle Pig will be held Dec. 21 at the home of Bill and Clarissa Hudson at 446 Loma Street. "Correo Aereo" will perform.

For more information on the concert you can call the Hudson's at 264-2491 or visit their website at http://hudsonhudson/whistlepig.

Nutcracker

This December will mark the fifth year that the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet has performed the Nutcracker in Durango at Fort Lewis College. This holiday classic is a sure treat and incorporates company dancers, guest artists, and local dancers from Pagosa Springs and Durango.

Performances will be Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m., Dec. 8 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling the box office at 247-7657. Tickets are $10 and $14 for balcony, $21 and $25 for orchestra, and $30 for Plaza.

Local dancers in the Dec. 9 matinee are Jacqueline Garcia, Kayla Walker, Lila Burns, Emma Donharl, Daisy Jones, Leslie Baughman, and Hayley Hudson. Amanda Huang was cast in all four productions as a mouse in the battle scene and as the Chinese Dragon.

Artsline

Anyone with information for Artsline, please call Stephanie Jones at 264-5068.

In Sync With Isabel
By Isabel Willis

Appropriate referral vital for the needy

Have you ever had to do things repeatedly before you actually attained your goals?

Recently I was asked by several agencies and community members to reprint this summer's article on Life Skills.

Making an appropriate referral is important and could be vital to families in need. My goal has always been to educate our community to our local resources. Therefore, I think it's important to discuss the Life Skills Program anew so we can outreach to new and existing families that may have missed the first article.

Looking back, I discussed the Game of Life and how each of us need to acquire important skills in order to just survive.

Most of us learn these skills from our parents, teachers, religious leaders, employers and others who are in the position of mentoring. If, in our youth, we were provided with little or improper guidance to help us master life skills, our chances of relating effectively with others and being successful in a vocation in our adult years would be difficult to attain. For this reason, the Colorado Department of Human Services requires all county departments of social services to make available life skills training for parents and youth in need.

The Archuleta County Department of Social Services has a phenomenal life skills program thanks to its coordinator, Karol Novak. Karol has been a contractor with Social Services for two years.

Prior to filling the position she was a masters-level educator and counselor for the Lake Arrowhead, Calif., school system. Karol came to Pagosa Springs to retire but instead has chosen to work harder than ever assisting parents and youth in the community to build on their strengths to achieve success in a variety of ways.

After a family is referred to Karol by Social Services, she sets up a meeting with them to find out what their needs and desires for help are, and then she assists them to prioritize - working to resolve the most critical needs first.

Karol's main job task is advocating for her families with other agencies and organizations. Perhaps the family's checking account is overdrawn, or they do not have enough money to pay their bills. After helping the family with the initial crisis, Karol will work with the family on budgeting and learning how to balance a checkbook.

Maybe this family has difficulty with time management, household organization, or is under stress caring for and supervising the children. Karol will partner with the parents to make a plan to improve any or all of these issues.

She not only helps come up with suggestions for the parents, but works alongside modeling, teaching and later empowering them to do these tasks on their own. Oftentimes people are not aware of community resources that can assist them, or they are fearful to use them. Part of Karol's job is to acquaint her families with these resources and help them access the resources if necessary.

Karol can be described as nothing less than a go-getter when it comes to helping her families. She does a lot of follow-up on behalf of her families and is very visible in the community. On any given day you will find her at one or more of the following places: a school, social services, the health department or a doctor's office, the courthouse, the housing authority, a civic club meeting, or at a church seeking assistance for a family. Karol does whatever it takes with enthusiasm and efficiency and that is why she is highly respected by her families and community representatives.

Let's not forget the youth Karol serves. This is really her greatest contribution. Some youth need to build more on their social skills with peers and adults in order to do better in school or be a better law-abiding citizen. Karol can help these youngsters by encouraging them to participate in recreational or leisure activities, comply with their community service hours, apply for jobs, attend school or enroll in supportive educational or therapeutic activities.

She is an active team member of the Pagosa Springs Community Day Treatment Program helping students in this school therapeutic program with all the previously mentioned activities. For those youth in foster care, Karol spends time one-on-one with them each week to help them meet their goals, which also gives their foster parents some needed respite.

As you can see, the life skills program Karol coordinates provides vital support for many community services that benefit her families.

If you would like more information about the Life Skills Program, contact the Archuleta County Department of Social Services at 264-2182.

Library News
By Lenore Bright

Contest: Which three books would you take?

Chris Gerlach, one of our good patrons, wrote an article for the Foreword Magazine a while back. He reminded us that in H.G. Well's novel, "The Time Machine," the main character returns to the future, taking with him three books from his library in Victorian London to rebuild the world.

Mr. Gerlach ponders, "which three books would you take? Our choice may change our world?" Chris has stirred the imagination.

We invite you to enter our latest contest. Please submit the titles and authors of three books you would take if you had the chance to rebuild the world. Deadline for the contest is Dec. 31. Our emotional world certainly needs rebuilding after 9/11. This endeavor can help remind us of the great inspiration found in the books we've loved through time.

Be sure to include your name, address and phone on your entry.

Health information

Our Library System office sent over some health web sites that are considered to be reputable. Pick up a free copy at the desk.

Storing information

We've discussed some of the problems with technology before, and want to pass on some new information.

Books printed on regular paper are in jeopardy because of acid from the wood pulp. Anything printed since 1850 will deteriorate. The old vinyl music records are fading away. If you have videos, music tapes, or book tapes, you must run them every so often or they may leach and be ruined. No one is sure how long the tapes will last. If tapes are stored on metal shelves, that can hurt them too, as the tapes are magnetic.

First we had computer viruses, and now a strange happening was just reported. Scientists in Spain are studying a fungus that eats compact discs. The actual fungus was found in Belize in Central America. CDs have an aluminum layer, and the fungus completely destroyed it.

Philips, a Dutch electronics company, invented the CD. Philips believes the Belize case is a freak incident caused by extreme hot, muggy weather conditions. Keep your CDs cool.

Archivists seem to agree at this point that putting important documents on microfilm or microfiche remains the safest way to protect them. It will be difficult to keep up with the other rapidly changing technology for storing information.

As for keeping your memoirs in good condition, we have a new book, "How to Clean, Repair, Store and Display Your Heirloom Papers and Photographs," by Dr. Martha Ellen Webb.

Dr. Webb asks, "are your irreplaceable heirlooms baking in your attic or mildewing in your basement? Dr. Webb is an historian and exhibit specialist. She is president of "Making History," a publishing company in Nebraska. This book has excellent tips to preserve our treasures.

Wonderful trains

The model trains will be with us for one more week, be sure and come by to see them. We need a train store here, anyone interested?

Donations

Financial help came from Pat Howard and Donald Logan in honor of Bob and Carole Howard, and from John Graves and the Film Society. Material came from Gail Salaway, Patsy Braune, Kate Lister, Anna O'Reilly, Ward Lawrence, Barbara Carlos, the Quillins, Phyllis Decker, Mary Coulter, Lyn De Lange, Carol Hakala, Ed Lowrance, Julie West, Bill and Ann Pongratz, Carol Feazel, Frank and Rita Slowen, Lisa Peterson, Zac Bentley, Maria Feht, Nancy Cole, Diane Bower, Sharee Grazda, Genelle Macht, Judith Brown, Elizabeth Flowers, and Cathy Dodt-Ellis. Our thanks to all for this support.

Shepards Staff
By Ron Taylor
Associate pastor
Pagosa Bible Church

Bible brings believers God's message

How frequently believers experience a spiritual low right after a spiritual high. One moment we have that mountain top experience where God is so real that we sense His very presence within our being. Then suddenly, we are beset with doubts, feelings of inadequacy and depression. Have you noticed that the higher the high, the lower the low?

Is it not interesting that perhaps the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, Elijah, had this very thing happen to him? He, through prayer, moves God to send fire from heaven to prove to a host of idol worshipers that Jehovah, He is God (I Kings 18:16-39). Immediately following, he runs for his life when threatened by the benefactor of the idol worshiping prophets (I Kings 19:1-4). It causes me to wonder - the high-to-low phenomena happened to such a godly man as Elijah, why do I expect it would not happen to me? Perhaps it is unnecessary for me to compound my low times by piling guilt upon myself.

The fascinating aspect of this whole discussion is the way God reacts to Elijah, which in turn suggests the way He reacts to me. There are no recriminations, no anger, no disgust, and no, "How can you be like this after what I have just shown you?" The full narration should be read. It is recorded in I Kings 19:5-18. My take on the passage is that God reacted with great love and compassion. After all, the Lord never said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you unless you cower in self pity after a spiritual high."

Look at the specific things that God did in the Elijah story. (1) He sustained Elijah (the meal) which gave Elijah the strength to move through his depression, (2) He spoke to Elijah in a still small voice (quiet and gentle), and (3) He gave Elijah three jobs to do.

How do I apply this to myself? First, I trust that God will sustain me. I believe His promise of Isaiah 41:10, "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Second, I listen for His still, small voice. He speaks to believers today through His written Word, the Bible. Therefore, whether I feel like it or not, I must continue to read my Bible to receive those special words He has for me. And third, in His time, He will make me aware that I must get off my bed of depression for there is kingdom work to be done. I sort of wish he would address my fears and lack of self worth. However, when I think about it, He already has, for Romans 5:7-8 reminds me that, "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for me in this: While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me."

Pagosa Lakes News
By Ming Steen

New snow means winter fun for all on the slopes

There will be an organizational meeting of the Four Corners Volleyball Club at 6:30 p.m. tonight in the Durango High School cafeteria.

The club is being established to provide young girls, ages 12-18 from the Four Corners area, an opportunity to participate in a quality year-round volleyball program. It is designed to enrich these young peoples' volleyball experience by competing against high- quality players from around the nation.

Players will receive instruction from top-quality coaches and participate in USA Volleyball tournaments where they will be exposed to the potential they possess in the sport.

It is hoped that the club volleyball experience will assist them in realizing their dreams of a college experience playing the sport by promoting them to college coaches, of all levels, at the various venues of tournament play .

The USA Volleyball Junior Olympic Club Program, of which the Four Corners Volleyball Club would be a part, is for the more serious athlete. These athletes are those interested in pursuing a volleyball career in college or those striving to achieve their personal best throughout their high school playing career. They should be dedicated to the hard work and discipline required to achieve such goals.

This program is open to all girls from throughout the Four Corners area. Present thinking is to have six teams, practicing two nights a week for two hours a night and participating in a tournament every three to four weeks. The club will consist of two 14-and-under teams; two 16-and-under teams; a team consisting of high school juniors; and a senior team.

Plans are now being developed for club tryouts and will be announced at the organizational meeting. Launch date is expected to be January, 2002.

Questions should be directed to Jim Graham at 259-1723.

Business News
Biz Beat

Kurt Raymond is the founder and owner of Raymond Rent-A-Nerd, bringing more than 15 years real-world technical experience and a B.A. in Computer and Information Sciences to the task of providing customers assistance with the application of computers to their business needs.

Raymond Rent-A-Nerd provides customer-centered computer assistance, including network configuration and troubleshooting; web site development and marketing; search engine positioning; Windows PC troubleshooting and consultation; and instruction and tutoring on Windows OS/applications and Internet. All work is unconditionally guaranteed.

Raymond Rent-A-Nerd can be reached at 731-NERD (6373), by cell phone at 946-2625, or by e-mail kurtray@frontier.net.

Obituaries

Lillie O. Valdez
Mother is another word for love.Lillie O. Valdez.

Mom we love you.

One day at a time, help me believe in what I could be, and all that I am. Show me the stairway, I have to climb.Lord, for my sake, teach me to take one day at a time.Mom, you have taught us everything we know. Even taking one day at a time. We love you and think about you all the time.Joe and Corina Valdez and familyGilbert and Dianna Valdez and familyRichard and Carol Valdez and familyEvelyn Valdez and familyKenny and Katherine Stanfill and family