Driving down U.S. 160 near Aspen Springs Monday morning had many people seeing green.
Green bills that is, cash and coins spread along the shoulder of the highway, dumped from the top of an armored truck that crashed at 6:05 a.m. Colorado State Patrol Trooper Nick Rivera said the Loomis, Fargo and Company truck was westbound just east of Buttercup Drive when it went off the right side of the road.
The driver, Gregory P. Lothrop, 47, of Denver, overcorrected and the truck skidded for 122 feet before falling over on one side. It skidded another 50 feet and rolled onto its top, traveled another 50 feet and stopped, facing south.
The seams on the back end of the truck split open, dumping plastic bags of bills and coins everywhere, Rivera said. Members of the Colorado State Patrol and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department secured the scene until Loomis, Fargo and Company representatives arrived. Employees of the company worked to collect the loose money Monday and Tuesday, trying to pick every penny out of the grass.
Only one suspected looter, a person in a black stocking hat and black coat on the scene Monday night, was reported to the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department. The suspect left before deputies arrived.
The driver and the two passengers, Frank L. Arthur, Jr., 54, and Cecil E. Bass, 53, both of Denver, sustained injuries in the crash. They were taken to Mercy Medical Center in Durango where they were treated and released the same day. The driver was wearing a seat belt.
It is unknown whether all the money was recovered.
Mandatory Level 1 water rationing is coming June 1 for Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District customers.
The decision to implement mandatory water rationing was made by the district board of directors at the regular Tuesday meeting.
Required to comply with all Level 1 restrictions are all district customers, including those living in the subdivisions west of town, in Pagosa Springs, and in other subdivisions east of Pagosa Springs and south along U.S. 84.
In addition to water consumption restrictions, the board agreed on several additional steps designed to help the district deal with a perceived critical water storage later this year. The additional steps involve pumping water from the San Juan River into various reservoirs west of town for storage and later consumption, pumping potable water from the Vista treatment plant into the Lake Hatcher service area thereby saving Lake Hatcher water for later consumption, providing water in Village Lake for certain irrigation purposes, and adding pumping capability to the South San Juan Diversion Source.
Level 1 Rationing
Because mandatory water ra tioning will not be required until June 1, officials urge local water users to continue to save water voluntarily. Voluntary rationing means that outside watering will only be conducted 8 p.m.-8 a.m. In addition, water users are urged to use common sense with water consuming activities by saving whenever possible.
The district has a water shortage management plan, adopted in 1999, which divides water rationing into four levels, each level more restrictive than the previous level.
Level 1, adopted Tuesday night contains three principle provisions.
The first limits irrigation, including golf courses and all others who irrigate with raw water, to watering 8 p.m.-8 a.m. on odd numbered days.
The second provision pertains to those irrigating with treated water, such as most household users. Irrigating with treated water will be allowed every other day. Even number addresses irrigate on even-numbered days, odd number addresses irrigate on odd-numbered days.
Verbal or written reprimands will be issued for failure to obey Level 1 restrictions. Penalties could be $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense, and $500 for the third offense.
Additional steps were authorized Tuesday calling for filling reservoirs located in the Pagosa Lakes area with water pumped from the San Juan River south of town. The water is pumped to the new Vista treatment plant located at the district's Vista headquarters complex.
A first step was to fill Lake Forest, located across Lake Forest Drive from the district headquarters. Several options fall into line after Lake Forest is full.
In the future, if the San Juan River goes dry, water from Lake Forest can be returned to the Vista water treatment plant.
From Lake Forest, water can be pumped into Village Lake. Raw water from Village Lake can be used to irrigate the golf course and other public lawn areas. District directors approved an agreement with the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association and other organizations allowing pumping of water from Lake Forest to Village Lake using temporary pumping facilities. Water from Village Lake could be returned to the Vista treatment plant if necessary.
The temporary pumping into Village Lake for irrigation purposes is already taking place. Irrigators working under this agreement must meet all water rationing mandates required of individual citizens, according to Harold Slavinski, board chairman.
Priority was given Tuesday to pumping potable water from the Vista water treatment site into the Lake Hatcher service area. Lake Hatcher is located at the extreme northern limit of the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions and is highest in elevation among those subdivisions.
In the past, the Lake Hatcher area and other subdivisions were served by water stored in Lake Hatcher and treated at a plant linked to that reservoir. Because of the current water shortage, removal of water from Lake Hatcher is being restricted to uses in the immediate vicinity.
Weeks could be required to connect the Vista water treatment plant with the Lake Hatcher area. When the connection is made, little or no water will be withdrawn from Lake Hatcher. The intent is, if the San Juan River goes dry, the water saved in Lake Hatcher can be released for consumption by other subdivisions as before. Lake Hatcher water, and water from other reservoirs can be fed back into town if the need arises.
Currently, the South San Juan diversion is pumping two million gallons of water per day - its limit. Two pumps at three locations are being used to move the water from the river to the Vista treatment plant.
The district board approved the purchase of three additional pumps Tuesday, boosting the diversion pumping capability to three million gallons per day. An added benefit of the additional pumps is the redundancy it provides for the existing pumps.
Currently, in order to pump two million gallons per day, the two-pump system is running 24-hours a day, seven days a week. District officials are worried about what might happen if one of the pumps goes out.
The changes approved Tuesday night could cost between $125,000 and $150,000, a major proportion of it paying for the additional diversion pumps. A source for those funds has not been identified.
Board members feel the expenditures are warranted because of emergency circumstances created by the drought.
Aspen Springs, the subdivision adjacent to U.S. 160 about seven miles west of Pagosa Springs, is looking for water.
The development currently has about 400 homes and businesses, but contains about 2,900 platted lots. Aspens Springs contains no central water or sewage collection system. Successful wells are rare in the area.
Representatives of the Aspen Springs Metropolitan District asked the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board Tuesday if it is willing to supply water for a central water distribution system to be constructed by the metro district. Aspen Springs representatives were Ernest Jones, president of the metropolitan district board, and Pat Ullrich, budget officer.
Aspen Springs has a choice of developing its own water system or obtaining water from PAWS, according to the proposal. Aspen Springs has enough water and water rights to develop a system of its own, but prefers to obtain water from PAWS. The metropolitan district charter authorizes them to provide roads, water and sewer.
The Aspen Springs metro district is willing to turn the proposed distribution system over to PAWS for operation and maintenance. If the proposal reaches fruition, the Aspen Springs water system will become part of the PAWS water system.
According to the proposal, the metro district will provide water to the lot line of each lot in Aspen Springs. Nearly all of the lots will have adequate pressure. A booster pump might be required for some high elevation lots. The distribution pipes will normally follow road rights of way.
The connection would be made to a 12-inch line currently serving Elk Park immediately east of Aspen Springs. PAWS material and construction standards will be followed. Storage tanks will be located to provide 1,000 gallons per minute for up to two hours to provide fire protection.
If agreement is reached, Aspen Springs residents will join the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and pay the mill levy. The current assessed valuation of Aspen Springs is $11.6 million. Based on a mill levy of 3.049, about $35,000 would be generated annually.
"My gut reaction is, we don't have enough water to supply this," said Gene Tautges, the PAWS assistant general manager.
Some differences surfaced concerning PAWS fees relating to standby conditions, facilities upgrades, and inclusions.
"I'm not sure where to go with this," said Harold Slavinski, chairman of the PAWS board of directors.
"We have made a proposal to you," said Ernest Jones, president of the Aspen Springs metro district board. "Why don't you see what you can do and get back with us?"
PAWS district staff was directed to compile a list of concerns and requirements the district needs met before considering the offer. The report is to be completed in about a month or so.
In another action Tuesday, the PAWS board approved closing the central office to the public at 4 p.m. instead of 5 p.m. The central office staff will continue to work until 5. Currently, if a customer comes in about five minutes before closing, the clerk servicing the customer might not get to leave until 5:30 or later, incurring overtime pay.
Contracts totaling $353,945 for Phase II of Pagosa Springs High School athletic facility improvements were approved Tuesday by the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
Noting the bids came in about 5 percent over estimate, architect Julia Donoho said the total includes a 20-percent discount by one of the contractors, Strohecker Asphalt and Paving, and that bidding the project as a whole saved the school district at least $50,000.
Director Russell Lee wondered aloud, as he has in previous discussions about the project, where the funding will come from. Nancy Schutz, district business manager, said it has been agreed to dip into capital reserves for the project. She said that fund now has in excess of $1 million and is expected to receive an additional $400,000 from the general fund at the end of the fiscal year.
Specifically, the pacts approved Tuesday include:
€ $137,210 to Strohecker, of Pagosa Springs and Bayfield, for earth work, subgrade and asphalt
€ $37,799 to Five-Star Contracting of Pagosa Springs for trenching, subdrainage, culverts and structure moving
€ $ 9,000 to Grand Junction Pipe for pipe and culvert
€ $ 7,700 to Alpine Landscaping of Pagosa Springs for irrigation
€ $ 62,410 to SW Recreation for track trench drain
€ $12,986 to American Fence for 6-foot perimeter fencing
€ $ 8,750 to Davis Engineering for survey and staking
€ $19,000 to PQC Builders of Pagosa Springs, the general contractor, for construction management and supervision
€ $26,300 for items to be performed by the construction manager or bid out separately, including top soil, sod, seeding, site clearance, goal posts and bike racks
€ $22,480 for the construction manager's fee, insurance and overhead
€ $10,309 for bonding.
The project will include the underground drainage, piping, and utility lines necessary for a full track facility at Golden Peaks Stadium and is the second of three phases in the overall project. The first was construction of new restroom facilities and concession stand which were used during the recently completed girls' soccer season.
Included in the initial phase will be a base for a full track, and placement of stations for field events.
Work is expected to begin as soon as paperwork is complete and is expected to be finished by mid-August to a point where it will not interfere with football practice or football and soccer games.
Phase III of the project is scheduled for summer of 2003, and will include final track construction and selection and installation of track surface.
School board members say they hope the facility will be ready for full usage by the time the 2004 spring track season gets underway.
Pagosa track participants are now limited to running on an uneven and poorly-surfaced dirt track and have no stations for the other track events, although athletes have qualified for state competition in many such events.
The case of the unidentified bones found at the north end of Navajo Lake has been closed, at least from the standpoint of a criminal investigation.
New Mexico medical investigators have determined that the remains of one adult and three children found by a pair of Pagosa Springs residents are most likely those of Native Americans buried in the late 1800s.
Glenn Sterkel and Owen Parker were walking down the beach south of the Colorado border near the Miller Mesa Recreational Area May 5 when they saw the tops of what looked like two skulls protruding from the sand. They also identified what appeared to be a black plastic bag around the bones. The two men contacted a Navajo State Park Ranger who turned the investigation over to the San Juan County N. M. Sheriff's Department.
Detective Tim Black, of that office, said a crime scene investigation team and an archaeologist from the medical investigator's office in Albuquerque began excavating the area May 6. As it turned out, what looked like a plastic bag was actually a sheet of black plastic that had either been placed over the graves, possibly as the lake was being constructed, or became lodged there accidentally.
"Anything is going to be a theory," Black said, "but they were definitely not wrapped in plastic." According to the medical examiners, the bodies are probably those of one adult, two juveniles and one infant, about age 2.
The site where the bodies were found is normally under about 35 feet of water, and was probably an original burial site. It's been covered with water since 1988 when the lake was lowered to repair the dam.
Black said the remains have been turned over to the medical investigator's office. If possible, the bones will be traced back to a specific tribe so that they may be turned over for reburial.
With water levels in all area lakes predicted to continue dropping as long as the drought persists, it's possible more bones may be uncovered. Anyone finding remains is asked to leave them untouched and contact local law enforcement officials immediately.
A strong showing
Last week's special district elections were notable for the number of voters turning out to cast their ballots in the three major elections, for the decisions rendered regarding candidates and bond issues - with voters willing to spend additional tax dollars - and as a harbinger of things potential on the local political scene.
More than 900 votes were cast in the Upper San Juan Hospital District election. Directors elected to serve on the board include three incumbents - Wayne Wilson, Patty Tillerson and Sue Walan - and newcomer Kay Grams. They take their places on a board in the midst of an ongoing financial adjustment, following serious budget problems during the past year. No doubt all the district's directors understand the difficult task they and their manager face as they labor to align district operations and needs with fiscal reality. In the past the expectations of residents and expanded service outdistanced the ability of the district to keep pace financially. Now, the problem must be excised: Surgery spills blood but, in the end, successful surgery provides a cure.
A bond issue of $2.8 million was passed for the Pagosa Fire Protection District and directors were selected to sit on a board that will oversee the design and purchase of new equipment, the remodel of stations and the construction of a training facility. More than a thousand votes were cast in the election. One incumbent, Dusty Pierce, was returned to the board, to be joined by newcomers Ron Maez and Terry Windnagle. With the benefit of an analysis of what happened to the hospital district when it overreached budget constraints, fire district directors should be able to avoid committing money and energy to ideas and programs that stress the ledger.
Two incumbent directors returned to the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District board as nearly 500 district residents cast votes. Voters also approved a $5 million bond issue clearing the way for the district to make improvements to its wastewater treatment system.
This district is a key player in critical local situations - the first our present water shortage with the prospect of drought; the second, the question of growth and development. It is a major supplier of water and sanitation services and, perhaps more than any other body, can affect the nature of growth and development in a significant portion of the county. It's board members need to remember that, as a tax supported entity, the district's business must be conducted in full light of day when the law requires. This board operated for many years without being subject to close public scrutiny; those days are over, and the scrutiny will continue. A gaffe like a recent decision to destroy executive session notes after 90 days shows more progress is needed. While it is legal for a special district board to handle notes in this fashion - no doubt many districts do - against the backdrop of recent criticism concerning impact fees, the decision is questionable at least from a public relations point of view. This district plays a powerful hand in our future; its officials must be increasingly aware that they and the district have moved into the spotlight of public accountability.
With this round of elections over, a surge of energy and optimism will likely motivate staff and directors at all the districts. The local electorate should be enlivened as well. An example of a vigorous special district electorate should lead us to anticipate increased participation in upcoming primary and general elections.
Mother's Day gifts aren't bought
Three weeks ago, when writing about May 2 being the National Day of Prayer, I failed to mention that folks should pray for our country's churches, colleges, universities and seminaries.
It's easy to fault our elected and appointed officials and bewail their following a skewed moral compass or of totally lacking a moral compass. However, it's tremendously shortsighted to compare the leaders of today's legislative bodies and courts to those of our founding fathers without addressing the similar discrepancies between the leadership of today's churches and denominational bodies with those of the churches and colleges that existed during America's formative years. America's pulpits went soft long before America's morals, music, movies and other forms of mass entertainment "went south."
These thoughts and others stumbled through my mind Sunday afternoon while enjoying the Music Boosters' "sterling" presentation of "You Can't Take it With You." I could care less that I can't take "it" with me. But I often wish I could take my family back to the way of family life America experienced in the mid-'30s.
To me the strongest message of the play was that all three acts took place in the same segment of Martin Vanderhof's home - the combination living room-dining room area. I started wondering if the injection of "family rooms" into our homes ushered in the breakdown of families.
I finally spotted the key to the entire play partway through the third act. It was an obscure prop sitting on a side table in the living room. It was about 14-inches tall, 10-inches wide and about 8-inches deep. It could have been manufactured by General Electric, RCA or Phillips. It was an AM table radio. A nondescript mahogany case housed one speaker, a variety of transistors, a transformer and a coiled antenna. There was an on-off and volume dial and a tuner dial on its front and an electric cord running from the back, but the radio was silent throughout the play.
In 1937, playwrighters Moss Hart and George Kaufman could not envision that by supplanting the radio, TVs and/or PCs - rather than government programs, an obsession on accumulating wealth, or uprisings in Europe - would be the devastating threats to America's family life.
With the emergence of the family room and its king-size, flat-screen, multi-speaker, digitized color, remote control TVs and the inclusion of "chat rooms" into our floor plans; taxes and communism would be the least of our worries. Or that successful movies or other forms of entertainment would feature bedroom scenes or bathroom scenes and abandoned dining rooms would be replaced by delicious, nutritious home-delivery meals fit for an abandoned generation. Or that young engaged couples such as "Alice Sycamore" and "Tony Kirby" would simply move in together for a trial relationship rather than bothering with the concept of unselfish commitment or working to make a marriage work.
Long before Hart and Kaufman wrote their Pulitzer Prize winning comedy, America's churches emphasized the "You Can't Take it With You" truth concerning riches. But somewhere along the way while pursuing larger church buildings, larger congregations, more acceptance and such, America's churches somehow left behind the doctrinal truths that were woven into America's foundation.
Whereas there is no way to take it with you, there is a way to retrieve or claim what's been left behind. You can choose to turn around - in church they call it repent - and follow a way that offers the greatest promise.
Know you are loved and please keep us in your prayers.
91 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 19, 1911
The continued cold and dry weather of this spring must soon cease or Archuleta County's crop prospects will be seriously blighted.
Charlie Schaad sells the famous Neef Brewing Co.'s bottled beer for $2.00 per dozen, full quart bottles, delivered any place in town. Six bottles $1.00.
The Grand Army is making preparations to celebrate Memorial Day in a most fitting style on the 30th, which comes on Tuesday this year. The members of Fen. Ed. Hatch Post invite all secret and civic societies in Pagosa to join them in their observance exercises.
Notice - All dog taxes must be paid by June 1, 1911, or the dogs will be kept for three days and then killed. Frank Everitt, Marshal.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 20, 1927
Pagosa again has a baseball diamond, a number of volunteers having spent several days in grading and rolling the property just south of the depot and east of the stockyards. A team is now being formulated, daily practice is being held, and the first game of the season will be played next Sunday.
Among next week's events in Pagosa Springs are the carnival and the Senior play.
The local school board purchased a siren for the Pagosa Springs school house, the same to be operated from the electric clock therein. It will be installed in about ten days and will "sound off" one or two times per day in order to provide uniform school time.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 16, 1952
Weather the past week has turned off slightly windy, although nice and warm. The high country snow continues to melt and the San Juan has stayed high altho not near any record crests. Snow cover in the Wolf Creek drainage and elsewhere on the headwaters of the San Juan is listed at 180 to 200 percent of normal.
The San Juan Soil Conservation District is readying its plans for the annual display and demonstration of machinery and conversation practices. The program will also be the time of the annual meeting. It is to be held at the Chas Pargin ranch on Saturday, June 7.
A crippled children's clinic was held at the high school last Wednesday with 17 children being present for consultations.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 12, 1977
The moisture situation in this area is serious. Water content in higher elevation snowbanks is almost non-existent, as are the snowbanks. The reading made by the SCS April 28 for the May 1st averages may well be the lowest of record.
Only two things can be said about the weather this past week. It was pleasant, but it was dry. No measurable precipitation was received during the week. There was one evening last week when just a trace fell, but not enough to dampen the dust.
Soil Conservation officials from various areas met here this week to have a look at McCabe Creek and to plan some type of flood control project for that stream. It has, in the past, been a flood area during cloud bursts.
Conservation easement acres continue to grow
Walt and Bobra Schaeper, of Pagosa Springs, own a stunning piece of property in the upper end of Taylor Canyon. It's home to wildlife, offers wide-open views and acts as a buffer between residential, wilderness and ranching uses. In fact, Bobra Schaeper calls the 200 acres "the highlight of the property."
For many years, they harvested hay, maintaining the agricultural use. But as they got older, it became more and more difficult to keep doing it themselves. And it just didn't pay, Schaeper said. But how would they pay the higher property taxes levied against nonagricultural land? They were considering selling the property when the state laws changed, opening a door that would not only allow them to maintain ownership, but preserve it for future generations.
That door led the couple to a conservation easement - a document used to protect a property from development. It allowed the Schaepers to set the guidelines for the future uses of their property. They were very careful, going through nine drafts of the easement to get it just right.
"We were pretty specific with the restrictions," she said. The couple gave the OK for agricultural, recreational and educational uses, but said no to industrial, commercial or residential uses, with a couple exceptions. They even included a map to show accesses and the location of outbuildings. They also set it up so the property could be divided into two. No more. No less. The two homes allowed, one per parcel, have both size and height limitations. Wildfire management thinning and cutting is allowed. Commercial lumbering is not.
They consulted an attorney, and their accountant. When it was signed, the property was protected, and they maintained title. The property can still be sold. The easement just goes with it. It gave them both peace of mind and some tax benefits.
"You decide what you want," Schaeper said. "We bought it to protect the enjoyment of our property, to preserve the quality of life. We felt that was extremely important."
The Schaepers' conservation easement is held by the Southwest Land Alliance, a local nonprofit corporation that works to protect the intent of such easements.
"What the easement gives them," Ron Chacey, chairman of the alliance board, of which Schaeper is also a member, said, "is that no one is going to change what they decide to do. We become the watchdogs. We work for them."
According to the alliance's mission statement, the group works "in the Upper San Juan Basin of Southwest Colorado to protect the traditional beauty of our part of Colorado, and for the preservation of open space, wildlife habitat, and the family ranching way of life, through voluntary conservation easements." That means, once an easement is in place, members of the alliance review the conditions and terms annually to ensure that the property remains protected.
If terms of the easement are broken, the alliance has the option of taking the case to court. But that's never happened.
The Southwest Land Alliance formed in 1981. It currently holds conservation easements - all voluntary - on 10,063 acres. Of those, 3,636 acres of wildlife habitat and ranchland came under the protection of a conservation easement in 2001, the most ever. They've completed one more since Jan. 1, with several in the works.
To continue to reach out to the community, the group opened its doors very literally Monday, moving into an office in the Adobe Building on Lewis Street.
"This gives us a presence in the community," Chacey said. "It makes us that much more available because we have a place for people to come." The office will be staffed with volunteers Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.- noon. The volunteers will be able to offer information on conservation easements, answer questions and catch up on the day-to-day organizational work.
No one expects people to be banging down the door right away, Chacey said. It's a step to show the group is serious about becoming more pro-active, about listening to the needs of the community and about getting their name out.
Since the beginning, conservation easements have been viewed with fear by some who believe the easements allow the property to be taken away from the landowner. But the facts are conservation easements are permanent and stay with the land, do not require public access, do not remove ownership rights, are flexible and can be tailored to fit an individual's desire or situation, and are done in partnership with a land trust like the Southwest Land Alliance. Others, including the Cattlemen's Association Trust, are also available in the area.
What a conservation easement does restrict is development rights - but only those development rights the landowner chooses to restrict in order to preserve the property. They're not for everyone, Chacey said, but they can assist those who want to preserve land for agriculture, a ranch, open vistas or wildlife habitat. For those people, it can also provide some income tax credits and a reduction in property and estate taxes.
The income tax break comes directly from the restrictions placed on development rights. By restricting future development with a conservation easement, the landowner is in effect donating possible future profits. In most cases, this equals a charitable donation in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service. The amount of the deduction is determined by the difference in assessed fair market value of the property at maximum profit - say by subdividing the property for residential use - and the assessed value of the land under the conservation easement. The deduction can be up to 30 percent of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income in any one year with the unused portion carried over for five more years. Colorado state income tax can be reduced up to $100,000 as a tax credit for a conservation easement donation. Any of that unused portion can be carried forward for 19 years.
Then there's the property tax re-education, which came in handy for the Schaepers. In Colorado, property taxes on 80 acres or more under a conservation easement are figured at the agricultural use level without the landowner having to prove annual agricultural use of the land. This is a lower level of taxation than most other uses.
The reduction of appraised property value, especially on properties that might be near highly-developed or residential areas, can also help lower estate taxes and make keeping the ranch in the family a real possibility. Estate taxes can be extremely high, sometimes over 50 percent of an estate, according to Southwest Land Alliance information. This cost can force the heirs to have to sell all or part of the property to cover the costs.
The Southwest Land Alliance wants to get the message of savings out. Opening a door downtown is one step in a long-range plan. The group is exploring some grants that could allow it to hire a permanent office staff person. The organization has sent out letters requesting some significant annual donations to improve its capabilities. Members held an educational forum "Preserving Private Property Rights and Open Space" at the Extension building yesterday. More such meetings are planned. They are working to establish a fund that would help fund conservation easements for those without the assets to afford the cost of an easement or realize the potential of the tax breaks.
They are opening doors. Members of the alliance are hosting an open house May 22 from 4-7 p.m. in their new office on the east side of the Adobe Building to kick off this new move right. All are invited.
No rain has dimpled the dust in Pagosa Country since April 24. That's not all.
The dust is likely to remain undisturbed. No rain is forecast for the coming week, according to John Kyle, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
Water levels in local reservoirs continue to drop. Folks planning fun at 35-mile-long Navajo Lake take a lot of steps before reaching water, sometimes traipsing across grass growing where the lake bottom used to be. Navajo Lake is down 38 feet and falling.
Navajo Lake is not expected to refill soon. Normally turbulent at this time of year, the San Juan and Piedra rivers are running at less than 15 percent of average. Along with the diminutive Pine River, the San Juan and Piedra are Navajo Reservoir's only sources of water.
Closer to home, reservoirs at Pagosa Lakes continue to shrink. As of May 1, Hatcher Lake had 61 percent of usable capacity, Stevens Reservoir 61 percent of usable capacity, Forest Lake was full, Village Lake had 55 percent of usable capacity, and Pagosa Lake had 64 percent of usable capacity.
As a result of the drought, local water suppliers are dusting off emergency water shortage plans and firefighters are refining procedures in case the big one bursts forth in this community.
Since Nov. 30 of last year, Pagosa Country has received only 2.60 inches of precipitation. The longtime average total for the same time frame is 7.83 inches, not counting 1.21 inches for the full month of May.
Pagosa's average in-town precipitation is 19.37 inches based on records kept since 1938. The driest year of record during that time is the 10.44 inches measured in 1950. Second on the all-time low list is 11.32 inches during 1989.
Local temperatures continue to climb as expected for this time of year. High temperatures last week ranged between 73 and 63 degrees with an average high temperature of 66 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 35 and 32 degrees with an average low temperature of 34 degrees.
Changes to county land use regulations have recently been adopted by the Archuleta County Commission. The regulations are used by county planning department staff, the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission, and county commissioners to regulate development in the county.
Before any land development can begin, the developer is required to schedule a pre-application meeting with county planning staff. During the initial visit, the developer learns about county requirements and the steps needed to obtain county approval of any proposed development. The county learns about the developer's proposal and makes recommendations relevant to the proposal.
Because the county building permit department is located in the same office as the planning department, builders can also apply for building permits, as needed.
Changes recently adopted by the commissioners relate to development on steep land, public notice requirements, sidewalk issues and language changes in the conditional use permit section governing improvements agreements.
Development on slopes of 20 percent or greater has been banned in the past. Such development may be allowed in the future if certain conditions are met.
In general, the change allows development on slopes of 20 to 30 percent if a geological report can be produced showing no geological hazards exist such as excessive erosion, landslides, rockfalls, debris flows, mudflows, ground subsidence, collapsible soils or avalanches.
If a geological hazard does exist, a geotechnical report must be submitted containing provisions to eliminate or control the hazard.
Development on slopes of 30 percent or greater is forbidden.
Roads cannot be constructed on or through slopes of 30 percent or greater. County law continues to prohibit construction of roads with a grade of 8 percent or greater without a variance.
Notices and schedules
Changes were also made concerning the lead times for submitting certain applications to the planning commission, lead times for public notice and lead times for newspaper notices.
A pre-planning conference will be scheduled by county planning staff within 10 working days after receiving a subdivision sketch plan. Depending on the results of the conference and its follow-up, a preliminary plan is required for subdivisions.
The subdivision preliminary plan must be submitted within six months of the preliminary conference summary or a new conference must be scheduled.
Submittal time for the subdivision preliminary plan has been lengthened from 40 to 50 calendar days unless significant issues are raised.
The lead time for newspaper notices concerning preliminary plan consideration by the planning commission has been reduced from one week to six days. The minimum notification time for landholders living within a 500-foot radius of the development has been reduced from 30 to 14 calendar days. Such notice shall be posted on or near the property proposed for development.
A final subdivision plat shall be submitted within 12 months following approval of the preliminary plan.
The lead time for submitting subdivision final plats for planning commission consideration has been extended from 30 to 50 calendar days. Newspaper notification time for subdivision final plats has been reduced from one week to six days. Mineral owners will be notified 14 days in advance of the planning commission meeting instead of 30 days.
Concerning conditional use permits, the submittal lead time for a planning commission hearing has been increased from 40 to 50 calendar days.
Newspaper notification times for a conditional use permit have been dropped from 30 days to a minimum of six days. Public notice by certificates of mailing to property owners within a 500-foot radius shall be sent with a minimum of 14 calendar days instead of the 30 calendar days formerly required.
In addition, a member of the planning staff shall post a notice on or near the property proposed for development at least 14 days prior to the development's consideration by the planning commission.
No conditional use permit shall be considered fully approved until the public and on-site improvements required by the county or the state are bonded satisfactorily in the form of a performance guarantee and an improvements agreement has been approved and executed by the county commissioners.
No site preparation, use or issuance of a building permit can take place prior to completion of bonding and the improvements agreement.
The county commissioners will decide on the suitability of the performance guarantee.
A building official will not conduct a final inspection or issue a certificate of occupancy for structures that have obtained conditional use permit approval, until the building official receives a favorable report from the planning staff.
Paved sidewalks and trails shall be built to provide adequate flow of nonmotorized traffic with the exception of those uses which are located in more rural areas of the county and where the county engineer and planning staff have determined that constructing sidewalks is unnecessary.
If sidewalks are not required, consideration will be given to the contribution to the county's escrow fund.
Funds will be used within five years or returned to the developer. Any interest accrued by the fund will be retained by the county for the purposes for which the escrow fund was established. Sidewalk escrow funds will be used for trails or sidewalks within three miles of the development. The county is still developing a policy to guide disbursement of sidewalk escrow funds.
A local movie theater, hotel and the longest-running single-family owned and operated business in downtown Pagosa Springs will receive local historic landmark designations Saturday.
The Goodman Building and the Pagosa Hotel, including the Liberty Theater, will receive designation-status with a special presentation of plaques at 11 a.m.
Goodman's, on the corner of 4th and Pagosa streets, opened in 1900 as "Gent's Furnishings." The wood floor customers walk on dates back to the original building. The tin ceiling and old-time fans overhead are a little more recent, but maintain the flavor of the early-20th century stylings.
"It's more than just the building," current owner Bob Goodman said. "People recognize it as a landmark, a place where people met for years and years."
It was originally owned by David Lowenstein, who was born in Germany in the 1850s and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1860s. He moved to Pagosa Springs from Durango with his wife, Fannie, and daughter Hortense, in 1899. Lowenstein died in 1921. In 1922, Hortense married Louis Goodman, and the two took over the family business, expanding the store in the late 1920s and changing the name to Goodman's. Before she died, Hortense, who was reportedly the first woman to drive over Wolf Creek Pass, would spend a total of 66 years working in the family business.
Their son, Dave Goodman, took over the business in 1946 after returning from the war. His son, Bob, followed in the family footsteps in 1977.
About 10 years after the Lowenstein's started their clothing store, in 1911, the Liberty Theater opened its doors just a few feet down the sidewalk. According to research by one of the current owners, Jace Johnson, at that time the theater was known as the Star.
A 1911 Pagosa Springs SUN article announcing the opening of the Star stated, "Ladies and children are cordially invited to this theatre, no pictures will be shown that can possibly offend the most refined taste." At the time, silent pictures were shown with the piano as accompaniment.
A fire broke out in the hotel cafe just before midnight on March 11, 1919, causing $60,000 in damage. The theater reopened April 12, 1919, as the Liberty Theater. Admission prices were 20 cents for adults and 10 cents for children.
The public is invited to attend Saturday's presentations, then choose from a couple other activities. Right after the presentation, Glenn Raby, a member of the historic preservation board, will lead a historic walking tour through the downtown area. The tour will end at the San Juan Historical Society Museum at the corner of U.S. 160 and 1st Street. Local historian John Motter will greet visitors there and be available to answer questions.
At noon, the 1972 western "Running Wild" will be shown at the Liberty Theatre, and 1919 prices will be in effect - 25 cents for adults and 15 cents for children. Free popcorn and soft drinks will be offered. Goodman's is providing free hot dogs and will have sales in the store throughout the day.
In Archuleta County, the number of tourists to historical sites showed a slight drop in 2001.
About 1,500 people walked through the San Juan Historical Society Museum at 1st Street and U.S.160. That's down from the average of 2,500 to 3,000 in the early 1990s, Jean Taylor, president of the museum board, said.
"What the difference is we don't know," she added. They've tried to boost attendance by opening on the weekends, or later in the evenings for special interpretive programs. People say they don't see the signs, Taylor said, but at least four surround the building.
This year, the board opted to try some new, topic-specific displays, and they are opening a small gift shop. Opening day is May 24. The featured fiber arts display will pull together unique handmade items from throughout the museum.
Up the road at the Fred Harman Art Museum, Fred Harman III said numbers run between 4,000 on the low side and 5,000-5,200 on the high side. He blames the road construction near the entrance for lower turnouts in 2001. Interest remains high, in part, because of feature articles printed in magazines throughout the year. According to Harman, people will come from across the country and Europe for a tour.
At the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area, 8,922 people attended the daily tours in 2001, a drop of about 5.3 percent from 2000. Tom Ferrell, of the U.S. Forest Service, said even at that, the drop was smaller than several other sites. Mesa Verde numbers were down 11.4 percent, Aztec experienced a 23-percent drop in visitors and Chaco Canyon numbers were down 22 percent, he said.
A New Mexico woman was killed when her pickup truck crashed in the Navajo River May 11 between Chromo and Edith.
Trisha L. Vicenti, of Las Vegas, was driving west on County Road 391 when her 2001 Ford truck left the south side of the road and hit a fence and several small trees.
The truck rolled one and a half times down a steep embankment, ejecting the driver into the Navajo River. The vehicle stopped in the river on its top, facing west. Vicenti was pinned beneath the truck.
The air bag in the vehicle did not deploy. Vicenti was alone in the vehicle at the time.
A motion to dismiss the three voting members of the Environmental Control Committee died for lack of a second at Thursday's Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors meeting.
But that was only after heated debate about what director David Bohl called "arbitrary and personal issues as the basis for votes ... actions on whims ... an embarrassment to the community."
Bohl charged that three members of the commission are letting personal preferences and opinions cloud their votes on simple matters which come before them. He cited examples including making a homeowner change paint colors because "white doesn't match their concept of being contemporary in a rustic-based development."
Some committee members who may have served well in the past, said Bohl, "are now off on a tangent creating strife in the community by basing their decisions on personal opinions."
Earl Eliason, one of the three voting members, rose to the defense of committee actions, saying, "We base our decisions on the declarations and the building plans you have decreed people must follow. We are getting chastised for following the building package approved by this board."
Eliason accused Bohl of telling only part of the story, saying "a white house in an evergreen environment where most homes are cedar colored does not meet the harmony required in the declarations. We negotiated a color better for the neighborhood."
He said all members of the board have been invited to committee meetings to see how they are conducted and offer guidance. "Only Mr. Medford (director Jerry) has been there of all the members on this board."
Medford is the board-designated liaison to the committee and the board depends on his reports for its oversight of the panel.
He told fellow directors he realizes some mistakes have been made by the committee and that on occasion they have realized and corrected those mistakes. "I think we are showing we can work together as a team," he said, "with a professional approach to irritations revealed here tonight."
He said there have been improved relations with builders and contractors, with both sides realizing the need for cooperative planning and decisions.
Director Gerald Smith, however, wasn't too fond of the idea of pleasing the contractors.
"There are contractors out there who will beat you to death with your own stick," he said.
Arguing the committee is turning negative, Bohl stood by his comments about arbitrary decisions and moved, first, for dismissal and replacement of some members.
Told the motion was incomplete, he then moved specifically for removal of "Earl Eliason, Pierre Mion and Jack Tyson from ECC and their replacement with new members."
The motion died for lack of a second.
Bohl insisted that his charges were justified. "The appearance to the community is that the ECC has turned negative," he said.
Director Tom Cruse, agreeing that it is hard to define harmony, said, "We need to have better ways of making sure things are not out of control. Many people, I believe, have moved here because we have an active ECC."
Director Richard Manley, board president, said, "Subjectivity is a fine line they (the committee members) have to walk and it is this board's responsibility to see that they walk that fine line. This should be regarded as a signal this board will do that job."
Makeup of the committee first showed up on the board agenda last month when directors weighed increasing membership of the panel to six and having members exchange the voting role every three weeks. In that way, it was believed, all members would be more inclined to attend hearings and to stay on because each, not just the three permanent members, would get to vote at times.
That move was ruled out of order and some association members said it would have been a violation of the board's charter to change structure of the committee.
When the subject was reintroduced Thursday, Smith said the declarations do specifically limit committee membership to three members. "If we act on this, we'll invite the same kinds of letters to the editor that appeared last time."
Cruse argued the wording indicates there must be three votes on any decision but not that there need be only three members.
Manley said the move to have three members and three alternates was intended to keep all the members involved and give the alternates support and encouragement for participating by reward ing them with the right to vote on a rotating basis. "I liked that idea," he said, "but I have to agree with Director Smith that the action would not live up to the limits in the declarations."
Cruse said the board has, in fact, established a precedent by providing alternates who can hear cases and vote when a regular member cannot be there.
Director Pat Payne argued for consistency. "We need to have decisions based on consistent interpretation of the rules," she said. "We might not get that with rotating voting members."
The board voted unanimously to approve Smith's motion that Director Medford, as the committee liaison, "come up with a proposed solution to the ECC membership problem before the June meeting of the board of directors."
There still was one remaining issue concerning the committee.
Last month, for insurance purposes, members of the panel were made part-time employees. In the past, members have received a free hot lunch on meeting days, but the board wondered Thursday if it should continue that free lunch program or if it could be considered "hidden income" under IRS rules.
Manley recommended having IRS regulations reviewed and a recommendation made by staff.
Citing an unexpected $100,000 shortfall in timeshare revenue for recreation center construction plans, based on revised cost distribution factors, Tom Cruse asked the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association treasurer Thursday if he is comfortable with a proposed project financing plan.
The change in anticipated revenue occurred when Fairfield USA switched from prepaid recreation center vouchers to an as-used basis for the passes for its timeshare visitors.
Cruse, the association recreation center committee chairman, sought data on timeshare revenue prior to his report Thursday concerning a May 6 town meeting held to explain the expansion project.
Director David Bohl, the treasurer, told Cruse it seems an equitable distribution of costs has been achieved, but that mid-year review prior to July's annual meeting will include a complete review of both cost and financing factors involved in the project.
It has been estimated the expansion will require a $1.9 million bond to be repaid over a 20-year period. A $100,000 reserve fund for the project is included in total cost factors.
Cruse told the board 35 residents attended the May 6 meeting where architectural design and cost issues were discussed.
One resident's suggestion at the meeting, he said, was to eliminate a proposed access road off Park Avenue and keep just the west-end entrance to the parking lot. He agreed it was a good suggestion and recommended it be worked into final plans.
Cruse said a representative of the eight timeshare associations indicated they recognize expansion will be a valuable asset to them in marketing and that their assistance in the project will be forthcoming. He said, however, that the timeshares have not contacted Cendant Corporation for aid as had been recommended. Cendant is the marketing arm for Fairfield USA, operator of the timeshare facilities.
Cruse noted the larger center and expanded layout will require an expanded staff, and said those attending the town meeting seemed to agree that an increase in use fees is the correct way to meet the cost of expanding staff after construction is competed.
He assured the board the proposed increase in fees will go to operations and not to capital improvements cost.
Cruse recommended that the plan, as it now exists, be presented to voters at the annual meeting in late July.
Walt Lukasik, general manager, said a con statement had been received that day and said it will be included with the presentation to voters.
Director Richard Manley, board president, asked if there is a contingency plan if voters should reject the project as presented.
Cruse answered, "I'd move for immediate structural repairs and some mechanical necessities to be financed out of the reserve." He noted there are severe cracks and leaks in the pool area, insufficient air circulation in parts of the structure and a number of other problems that would be solved by the planned expansion.
The big question, if the proposal is defeated, Cruse said, will be, "How do we deal with the reality that the center does not have the capacity for the usage it gets?"
Members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association will have four candidates to choose from for two openings on the board of directors when they vote in July and one candidate seeking to retain a post to which she was appointed.
Candidates will be Thom Carter, Scott Brush, Bill Nobles and former director Fred Ebeling - vying for full three-year terms - and incumbent Pat Payne, running for the remaining two years of the term to which she was appointed.
Terms expiring are those of Richard Manley, board president, and Ken Bailey, who also was an appointee.
In other action Thursday, Walt Lukasik, general manager, told the board all of the proposed changes to the Code of Enforcement - Neighborhood Regulations have been received and the last matter prior to submission to the board will be proofreading and editing to make sure all portions avoid conflict with each other.
It should be ready for presentation next month, he said.
Lukasik also gave a preliminary report on an ongoing study of "uncoupling" lots in the association. These are lots where, at some time in the past, two or more lots have been coupled for possession purposes. In some cases homes have been built across lot lines.
There are a number of incidents where survivors of the original owners want to uncouple the merged lots and sell them off as individual properties.
What the staff is finding, Lukasik said, "is a cloudy bowl of stew."
There are 139 such couplings of lots in the member subdivisions, he told the board, and a great deal of research is needed to determine which ones can legally be separated and which ones "we were actually notified about."
The general manager also told the board the dams in the community were subjected to state examination May 6 "and all passed easily, with only minor problems reported. There was no leakage, and no cracks. I attribute that to a superb job of maintenance by Larry Lynch (property and environment manager) and his staff."
He also told the board that in a meeting with representatives of Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, he had agreed with their bid for increased temporary pumping of water from Lake Forest into Village Lake for storage. It will keep the lake level static, Lukasik said, "and the $460 increase for us will be a benefit to us and the homeowners surrounding the lake."
He said the increase will be for this year only while long-range planning is being worked out for maintaining sufficient water supply.
Manley told the board he had received suggested questions from Tosch and Associates for a planned telephone survey of association members and their wants and concerns.
There were some things miss ing that he had hoped to see, Manley said, and the proposal was returned for compliance with what the association deems necessary.
"We need to be sure," he said, "that the questions are not slanted to get us what we want to hear but are designed to elicit firm opinions from residents on their concerns and desires for the community."
The board unanimously passed a resolution tabled in May for "wordsmithing" with reference to controls of docks on association lakes. Director Gerald Smith asked if it includes "removal at their own expense" of nonconforming structures and was assured it does.
That said, the motion was made by Tom Cruse, seconded by Jerry Medford and passed unanimously.
Cruse expressed confusion with the new county dog control resolution and wondered if there would be cross-jurisdictional problems with calls and with fines.
Lukasik agreed there are some possible problems and indicated he would meet with representatives of the sheriff's office to determine how enforcement will work. He also said the county's new fine structure will be reviewed to see how it matches with that of PLPOA.
Finally, the board acknowledged receipt from Rand McNally of confirmation that the mapping company had received the association's resolution officially adopting the name Pagosa Lakes for the area included in the 26 member subdivisions and forwarded it to their cartographic and editorial departments for review for future editions.
The current water shortage and what to do about it was discussed at Tuesday's meeting of the San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors meeting. All of the board members expressed alarm.
"I'm not only concerned about the shortage this summer, I'm concerned about the coming winter," said Jack DeLange. "It's scary even to think about it."
Board members were urged to look for additional water storage capacity for the area by Fred Schmidt, the board president. Activities connected with increasing storage capacity include identifying suitable sites for storage reservoirs and discovering means for financing acquisition and development of sites.
Schmidt admitted the board had attempted to identify sites in the past, but said the matter has not been given the priority it deserves.
While agreeing with Schmidt, other board members pointed out past efforts to solve the problem have been frustrated by private developers who purchased prospective sites for their purposes.
Considerable time was devoted to discussing what the board should do now concerning the shortage. No actions were taken pending receipt of a report coming from engineers hired by the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District. The report is expected to analyze emergency water rationing plans. A copy of the engineering report will be delivered to each board member to study as a basis for future water shortage recommendations.
Jack DeLange, Windsor Chacey and Fred Ebeling were sworn in Tuesday morning as directors of the San Juan Water Conservancy District. All were elected in the May 7 special district election.
Also serving on the board are Schmidt, Cecil Tackett, Jerry Curtis, Jay Harrington, Karen Wessels, Roger August and Carrie Campbell.
The San Juan Water Conservancy District is a local taxing entity with a 2001 assessed valuation of $125.7 million and a tax levy of 0.351 mills generating revenues of about $45,000.
Curtis gave a progress report concerning the second phase of the Lower Blanco River restoration project. Curtis has served as liaison between the board and the Lower Blanco Property Owner's Association, major supporters of the project. The conservancy district is principal sponsor of the restoration.
The restoration project involves downsizing the Blanco River bottom with the intent of restoring natural conditions so that fish and other indigenous plant and animal life can survive in the river.
Creating the need for downsizing is the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project which takes water from the Navajo and Blanco rivers and sends it across the Continental Divide for use in the Rio Grande watershed.
The diversion removes a sizable portion of Blanco streamflow, making the remaining flow unsuitable for fish. Based on plans developed by river expert Dave Rosgen, more than a mile of the river has already been restored. Money is being raised and plans developed for restoring an additional reach of the river immediately downstream from the first restoration.
About 3,000 angular rocks are needed for the next phase, Curtis said. The rocks need to be about 3 feet by 5 feet. Based on past experience, they could cost about $40 each.
Work on the coming restoration phase is not expected to begin before fall, according to Curtis. Engineering plans and an Army Corps of Engineers 404 permit are not yet in hand.
Meanwhile, residents of the Lower Blanco are expecting a number of state dignitaries to mingle with property owners at the annual Spring Fling June 8 starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Blanco River RV Park.
Additionally, a Denver public school teacher, chaperones and 17 students will visit the site for two or three days starting May 28. The students expect to gain first-hand knowledge of the restoration project and to contribute their own labor to its success.
Unreasonably loud noise from cars, stereos or even construction activity could result in a fine of up to $1,000, a year in jail, or both, under an ordinance passed by the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees.
The punishment maximums were set to give judges flexibility in sentencings, Town Administrator Jay Harrington told the board at the May 7 meeting. They're also meant to help the town crack down on noise complaints that tend to increase with the summer temperatures.
Under the old law, the citizen being disturbed had to sign a complaint and possibly testify, in order to move a noise case forward. That led to some tough neighbor-against-neighbor battles. Ordinance 594 allows police officers and appointed town officials to enforce the provisions, leaving individual citizens out of the picture, if necessary.
According to the nine-page ordinance, " ... the making and creating of excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud noises within the town limits that are prolonged, unusual or unreasonable in their time, place and use are a detriment to the public health, comfort, convenience, safety and welfare of the residents of the Town and may cause damage to property or business."
Prohibited noise includes sounds that are excessive or unusually loud, " ... impulsive, continuous, rhythmic, periodic or shrill ..." To provide a guideline to determine what is unreasonable noise, the ordinance sets out a distance of 150 feet from a noise source on public property and 150 feet from the property line when dealing with private property. However, the noise in question does not have to meet this test.
The ordinance specifically covers loudspeakers and sound amplifiers on cars and trucks, as well as construction projects. Construction projects are limited to the hours of 6 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Harrington said people needing an exemption from the new ordinance for a special event or activity will be able to apply for a permit from the police chief.
The ordinance was approved unanimously by the board of trustees.
Newly adopted regulations are in place for oil and gas drillers in Archuleta County.
Effective since April 1, the new regulations are expected to prepare the county to deal with an anticipated spurt in gas drilling activity. The drilling target is methane gas contained in seams of bituminous coal located at depths of from 400 to 4,000 feet in much of the county west of the Piedra River.
Three wells drilled last year were approved by the county based on provisions of the conditional use permit, a generalized tool used by the county for a variety of purposes, but not specifically fabricated to deal with oil and gas issues.
One of the major complaints voiced by oil industry applicants last year was that the time required to process a drilling application through the conditional use permit process was excessive, from their viewpoint.
Facilitating oil and gas development in Archuleta County while augmenting state regulatory processes is the stated purpose of the new county regulations.
The regulations recognize that a drilling permit from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is required before any drilling can take place in Colorado. The commission also regulates underground conditions relating to drilling, including the density of wells.
Archuleta County's regulations attempt to mitigate certain surface results of drilling and operating oil and gas wells. Commission Rule 303 denies any county's right to govern surface conditions if the county's regulations conflict with commission regulations.
Certain Colorado counties, including Archuleta County, have brought legal action seeking to deny the commission position and support county rights concerning surface conditions connected with oil and gas wells. The legal action has not been resolved.
Archuleta County's new regulations contain provisions for appeals as well as resolution of conflicts developing when local requirements conflict with commission requirements. The conflict resolution process includes public hearings.
As with most county subdivision and land use processes, the road to gaining an oil or gas well drilling permit begins with a visit to the planning office in the county courthouse. The first step is making an appointment for a preapplication conference with planning staff, county engineer, and county road and bridge staff.
After hearing what the driller proposes, planning staff decides if the driller's application will be processed through a minor or major process. The minor process could be completed in 21 days. The major process could require much more time.
The surface owner will be given the opportunity to attend the preapplication meeting. It is the applicant's responsibility to notify the surface owner by certified mail at least 14 days in advance of the preapplication meeting.
An oil and gas minor facility is defined as an individual well site built and operated to produce petroleum or natural gas, including auxiliary equipment required for such production. Examples of auxiliary equipment are separators, dehydrators, pumping units, tank batteries, and other equipment located within the perimeter of the well site pad employing engines or motors with a cumulative horsepower rating of less than 200 horsepower.
Also defined as "minor" are facilities associated with gas gathering lines and water collection lines, such as drip stations, vent stations, pigging facilities, transfer pump stations and valve boxes, where such equipment or facilities employ engines or motors with a cumulative rating of less than 200 horsepower.
Individual wellhead compression and multiple well compression facilities powered by motors or engines with a cumulative horsepower of less than 200 are also included as minor facilities as are storage yards or construction staging areas occupying one acre or less.
Public notice provisions for minor facilities require a description of the proposed facility, an invitation for public comment, the address and telephone number of the planning department, submittal date for the application, and the date by which planning review must be complete. The final text of the public notice requires planning staff approval.
The public notice shall be sent to all property owners within a 500-foot radius of the outer perimeter of the drilling window, appropriate property owner associations and metropolitan districts containing the proposed well.
The public notice shall be sent a minimum of 14 days and a maximum of 30 days prior to the submittal of the minor facility application.
Planning staff will review all minor applications and can issue written approval or suggest other courses of action.
To ensure compliance with mitigation steps stipulated by the county in connection with a minor facility, the applicant must provide security in one of the following forms: a minimum $5,000 performance bond for each minor facility or a minimum $50,000 countywide blanket bond for all minor facilities operated by the applicant within the county. An irrevocable letter of credit or equivalent financial security approved by the county may be substituted for the performance bond.
If the conditions of approval are not maintained, a violation will have occurred. In that case, the county can invoke several enforcement powers as outlined in Section 3.34 of county land use regulations.
Major oil and gas facilities are defined as compressor stations and associated facilities serving multiple wells and employing engines or motors with a cumulative rating of 200 horsepower or more.
Major facilities may contain water injection stations and associated facilities, storage yards and construction staging yards which occupy more than one acre, any facility containing engines with a cumulative horsepower rating of 200 or more, gas treatment facilities which serve multiple wells or gathering systems, or chemical injection stations.
County regulations governing surface impacts of drilling and well operation sites generally involve fire protection, flooding potential, and geological conditions that affect the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Also included are conditions that could impose undue financial burdens on residents in the vicinity or an involved governmental entity. Sound emissions are to be limited to standards set by the state commission and care is to be taken to deal with certain visual impacts, safety fencing, road impacts, setbacks, water disposal and impacts on wildlife.
A complete copy of county oil and gas regulations can be obtained from the county planning office.
The second regular session of the 63rd General Assembly adjourned at midnight May 8. Some bills were left on the calendar primarily because they had problems. Senate Bill 141 (the infamous Royalty Bill) had no action by midnight, so it died an unceremonial death.
We put in long hours the last two weeks trying to reach compromises on the state budget, transportation and school finance bills. The time taken to resolve these issues contributed to the large number of bills that needed action in the last three days.
When the session was complete I was surprised I sponsored 21 bills and 11 resolutions.
Three of the bills and several of the resolutions were sponsored with Rep. Hoppe. As chairs of the House and Senate ag committees, it is traditional that we sponsor the major agriculture legislation. I also carried one other bill with Rep. Hoppe, eight bills with Rep. Larson, two bills with Rep. Alexander, and seven bills with other house members.
I had several bills that were very significant pieces of legislation. Senate Bill 13, concerning the prompt payment of insurance claims, was probably the most important health bill passed this year. The bill received wide support when it got to the floor but it had taken a lot of work and negotiation to get it into shape.
House Bill 1357 (the surface notification bill) modified H.B. 1088 from last year. H.B. 1357 reduced the instances where a mineral title search would be required before land could be developed. This will save money for anyone who is not impacting the surface enough to interfere with mineral extraction. It also required a lot of work and delicate negotiation and compromises between several different interest groups at the Capitol.
H.B. 1419 sets Fort Lewis College free from the State Board of Agriculture. This was obviously a major piece of legislation for our community. The content of this bill was determined by a working group led by Rep. Larson. Both he and I had the responsibility of keeping the agreement intact as the bill moved through the legislative process.
I carried H.B. 1415 at the request of the rural electric cooperatives. This bill determines procedures under which they will buy power back from customers who produce renewable energy. Manufacturers of renewable energy equipment wanted power to be bought back at retail. This would amount to the rest of the customers subsidizing those who produced renewable energy. In spite of their intense lobbying I was able to keep the bill together with only minor amendments.
H.B. 1064 put provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act into Colorado law and addressed procedures to be followed by courts to be sure tribes are notified of cases concerning Indian children. This is important to our tribes as it will help to keep Native American children from being placed in non-Indian families.
In addition to the bills passed I was also able to amend or obtain the sponsor to amend some other bills to address local needs. The sales tax issue in Pagosa Springs was addressed in this manner. Sen. Taylor agreed to amend H.B. 1218 so that we could resolve the potential conflict between Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.
I noticed in a newspaper article that Sen. John Andrews, minority leader of the Senate, had been less than complimentary of my year in the legislature. Sen. Andrews, an Eastern Slope urban Republican would like to unseat me, both to regain control of the Senate and because I, along with Rep. Mark Larson, was able to kill his pet bill, S.B. 141 that Andrews sponsored. That bill, you will remember, would have turned over to the big oil companies some of the royalty payments our constituents now receive and many use for their basic needs.
The state is once again safe, the Legislature has adjourned.
The partisan politics continued right down to the end when the speaker banged the gavel and announced that the session was over. The fate of several outstanding bills was then determined. One member was right in the middle of making a very quick motion to concur with Senate amendments to his bill when the gavel crashed and everyone cheered the end of a long and very difficult General Assembly.
It seems as if we were in session for 18 months. With the advent of the Democrats taking over the Senate for the first time in 40 years, the first session last year was a combination of them flexing their newly obtained majority status and trying to learn how to get things done. And after two summer-interrupting special sessions, this year's session promised a more effective strategy. Unfortunately, that strategy didn't work quite as well as they probably planned and the House found itself waiting long periods of time for the Senate to get bills to us for action. In the late hours their bill clerk could be seen running into the chambers with bills in hand and a stressed look on his face. I anticipated this train wreck was coming and made certain that all of my bills were through the process before the final days of havoc.
The House paid tribute to the many members who are term limited or running for another office. Three members have had their fill of politics and are returning to their chosen field of endeavor ... and a much better pay check. Some members are opting to run for the Senate because redistricting has forced them into the same district as other members. Institutional memory will take a hard hit with the exit of many good legislators. In the next session, a senior legislator will be one who has six years experience. Lobbyists played an inordinately large role in this session, and I can only surmise that it will get worse.
Some exiting legislators I will truly miss, like Rep. Bill Swenson, R-Longmont, chairman of the House Transportation and Energy Committee. Bill ran an even tempered committee that remained committed to citizen input and allowing a bill to get a complete and fair hearing, something that unfortunately did not always happen in some committees this year. Some exiting legislators I will not miss and simply bid adieu. One in particular had a nasty habit of trying to amend every bill and enjoyed making impassioned speeches that nobody ever listened to. I teased him by counting down the hours and minutes before he could no longer play his games. Fortunately, I will miss many more than I will not.
A few lessons learned this session include:
Learn to say "no" to carrying too many bills. Sen. Isgar eclipsed my record of 24. I will jest in defense that my bills were much more complicated.
Never assume that an association or organization that I know my constituents belong to necessarily reflects how they truly feel. Call home anyway!
Be careful what I write in my articles back home. The media hounds are now putting them in the daily clippings for all legislators to read. Some legislators don't like the truth being told about them even if it isn't published in their district.
Neither Denver political party knows anything about Southwestern Colorado. If an issue does boil down to party politics, listen only to the local party.
When in doubt, vote no.
I still have the most active and informed constituency in the legislature. I may whine occasionally about all the work but God knows I love representing you.
Gov. Bill Owens did the usual things a state leader does when he's on the campaign trail.
He pressed the flesh Monday in Pagosa Springs, meeting with any and all who happened to drop by the Malt Shoppe in the River Center, but he also gave time to some specific questions from the press.
"In this graduation season," he was asked, "what one piece of advice do you have for the state's high school graduates?"
"Wear sun screen," he quipped.
But, more seriously he added, "It's tough to distill feelings down to a simple, single piece of advice. I think I'd urge them to know Colorado, know that people everywhere in the world are hoping to get to America and Americans are looking to get to Colorado.
If you can't make it here, you can't make it anywhere," he said.
Noting the advanced educational opportunities available in the state, he said, "our students should look toward staying here and making it an even greater place to live, utilizing the Colorado education and the atmosphere of trust we've developed."
Asked if he has any direct information on Colorado Department of Transportation plans - if any - for reconstruction of U.S. 84 from Pagosa Springs to the New Mexico border, the governor was politically astute, as one might expect.
"I don't have anything to do with the construction," he said. "It is my job to raise the money. A state highway commission makes the construction decisions."
When a number of those in the crowd of about 75 agreed the highway is a disaster waiting to happen, the governor said he's sure the commission will have its own plan for the key southern traffic link.
He pointed out his administration has just obtained legislative approval of a $14 billion, 20-year highway construction program. "It will meet the rural needs of the state over that time period," he said, "and it is my guess that Route 84 will be a part of that plan."
Owens said, "the fascinating fact is that in the 10 years prior to my administration, the state spent $580 million on roads. In the first three years, we've spent $1.2 billion. The new highway financing will put Colorado where it should be with reference to moving people from one place to another."
He also pointed out the T-REX project in the Denver metropolitan area is getting only 10 percent of the highway budget, "a far cry from what some would have you believe."
Arriving 25 minutes late after a fly-in from Cortez, the governor also made Pagosa Springs the state capital, signing a proclamation making that action effective from 4:37 to 5:37 p.m. Monday. Copies were presented to Mayor Ross Aragon and Sheriff Tom Richards.
Citing Pagosa Springs' reputation for "effective tourism promotion and service to the visiting public," the governor said the growing drought is a "challenge to the industry but towns like Pagosa Springs always are ready to meet those challenges."
A number of changes at the high school level, including a one-year trial of new school term length and a new truancy policy got an initial green light Tuesday from the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
On the recommendation of Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, the board agreed in concept to a change in terms ending the first semester in December after 75 days of classes but adding the lost days to a 91-day second term.
Esterbrook told the board a key reason for wanting the change, which was endorsed by the entire high school staff, is the claim on time in the spring semester by the mandated Colorado Student Assessment Profile and ACT testing which takes teachers out of the classroom to act as monitors and puts substitutes in their place.
He said it has always been a problem getting students back into study mode for two or three weeks after Christmas vacation before semester end. This plan would end that struggle.
The change had originally been proposed for all district schools, but was defeated on a staff vote districtwide. The current proposal, which will be on the action agenda next month, will affect the high school only.
Esterbrook said one effect of the change will be that distribution of high school report cards will be separated a week or two from those for the other schools because the grading periods will differ.
A second effect will be that teachers will return for the second semester Jan. 6 and the students the following day. Under the current schedule, students would not have returned until Jan. 20.
With reference to the truancy problem, Esterbrook told the board "It really got out of hand about four weeks ago. We checked with many other schools and found it was an areawide problem and the frustration had set in all of them."
When it was started in 1999, he said, the in-school suspension policy with specific rooms set aside for truants seemed like a good idea. "But we had omitted on key element," he said, "the parents."
Parents and guardians had no input other than being notified, he said. And state laws restrict other possible means of dealing with the problem.
"We had to do something and do it quickly," Esterbrook said. "We decided that each truant would be immediately suspended from school until such time as a parent or parents came in to discuss the situation - whether it was 10 minutes or two days later."
That plan, he said, is working very well. Students don't want parents to be called in, and certainly don't want other students to seem them coming in.
"Calling the parents in may not look like a positive step," Esterbrook said, "but it has proven to work."
For that reason, he said, "We ask that the board make this action a part of official truancy policy."
The board agreed to put the issue on the action agenda for the June meeting.
In other action Tuesday, board members:
€ received individual voluminous copies of a recodified board policy manual to be reviewed and subject of a work session before submitted for final approval in August
€ learned there are five teaching vacancies to be filled before the fall term starts, two in the elementary school, and one each in the intermediate, junior high and high schools
€ scheduled a staff luncheon May 24 to honor retirees
€ approved in concept the School Within a School plan for a Washington, D.C. field trip next November with the students to raise their own funds to meet estimated costs of $735 per person including travel, local tour bus, hotel and restaurant passes, accident and medical insurance and all but three meals in the 5-day, 4-night excursion.
The American West may be renowned for it's "boom and bust" economy, but during the last two centuries it's been vastly more boom than bust, according to a new report from the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Since 1850, the economy has been on a generally upward trajectory, and the West's population has grown at a faster pace than the rest of the United States in all but one or two decades, according to the 21-page report authored by history professor Nelson Limerick, geography professor Bill Travis and research assistant Tamar Scoggin.
However, "Crashes happen and still require anticipation and preparation," Limerick said.
The report, titled "Boom and Bust in the American West", contains the findings of 12 prominent thinkers about the American West who gathered at CU-Boulder for a two-day workshop in December.
Participants included Richard D. Lamm, former Colorado governor and co-director of the Institute for Public Policies at the University of Denver; Ed Marston, editor and publisher of the High Country News; Ben Sherman, president of Western American Indian Chamber; Richard Wobbekind, director of the Business Research Division at the CU-Boulder Leads School of Business; Limerick and Travis.
"Above all, the most significant conclusion we made was this: smarter decisions about growth and management during boom times can ease the impact of busts, and efforts to avoid degradation of community and environment during bust times can lay the foundation for a more resilient and stable kind of prosperity," the report stated.
The panel noted that growth controls were generally ignored during good times; and also ignored or even repealed during bad times. "The minute things slow down, legislatures often act to eliminate all growth restrictions," Limerick said.
The alternative to this pattern is better planning, the panel said. "In good times, take action to make your community come out the way you want it to be," Travis said, such as providing for open space and the clustering of homes.
"Even when economic recoveries occur promptly, workshop participants felt strongly that booms should not be occasions to put the busts out of mind and memory," the report stated. "In good times, governments should anticipate downturns, and make intelligent moves to build and maintain infrastructures when tax revenues are more abundant. During booms, Westerners should fight their susceptibility to amnesia about previous busts and to the denial of future ones."
The panel noted an inverse relationship between California and the interior West - when employment in one area is up, the other is down - and also noted the importance of international immigration to the economy.
"In many ways, population growth equals economic growth," Travis said.
The increased ties of the Western community to the global economy in recent years means that the West has become more vulnerable to global downturns, but also that it should incur fewer jobs losses than before, according to Webbekind. And as the West becomes less dependent on natural resources and provides more service sector jobs - a huge sector including everything from hamburger flippers to doctors - it also has become more resilient.
The panel also forecast a major impact on the West from the aging Baby Boom generation, which it dubbed the "Assisted Living Frontier." "The retirement boom is coming," said. Travis. "Retirees bring in money just like jobs do."
"Most thinking about the Western economy occurs in an atmosphere of urgency and sometimes agitation. This report invites Westerners to take a step back and think with more tranquility about the 'ups and downs' of Western prosperity," Limerick said.
Contents of the full report are posted on the Web at www.center west.org.
For more information contact (303) 492-4879.
Will you live your life in such a way that in 1,000 years people will know who you were? Or even in 10 years?
Those were questions Monday for the 39 new members of the National Honor Society at Pagosa Springs High School.
Asking it was Mark Thompson, guidance counselor, who told the students, "If you do something awful or evil, it will be remembered. My charge to you is to follow your life in an honorable way. You are becoming members of a society of honor. I challenge you to lead the way."
Citing the four standards of the society, chapter president Hillary Wienpahl urged the students being inducted to exhibit scholarship, service, leadership and character.
"I know," she said, "that some of you say you don't like school, it's too boring, not big enough. Some of you enjoy it and there are nerds like me who love every minute."
Some students, she said, ask themselves as they sit in class, "Why do I need to know this? Everyone has those classes. I'm here to tell you that each of those classes will affect some aspect of your life ahead.
"You learn freedom here and you learn security," she said. "But as college looms on the horizon for many of us, high school becomes nerve wracking and exciting at the same time. Our lives will never be the same. We'll meet new people, make new friends and learn that we still have lots to learn.
"As you enter this society," she said, "take a look back at your life as a whole. It has been an adventure until now. Now it is part of your future. Don't be so anxious to get away that you forget how important high school was in your development as a human being."
Inductees for 2002 were:
Seniors Tyrus Scott and Darin Lister.
Juniors Sara Smith, Travis Reid, Jordan Kurt-Mason, Jeremy Oertel, Jared Lincoln, Todd Mees, Hannah Emanuel and Travis Blesi.
Sophomores Jenna Finney, Kyle Sanders, Melissa Wollenweber, Leslie Shepard, Sierra Fleenor, Tyson Peterson, Anna Bishop, Drew Fisher, Danielle Jaramillo, Krystle Franklin, Kelly Johnson, Rosanna Day, Monica Fehrenbach, Michael Quintana and Erin Whitbred.
Also, sophomores Randi Pierce, Kevin Muirhead, Clinton McKnight, Benjamin Marshall, Daniel Mc-Ginnis, Jon Howison, Melissa Diller, Malonie Thull, Amy Tautges, Jordan Goodman, Hannah Lloyd, Lauren Felts, Cynthia Neder and Jessica Stevens.
Each was escorted by a current member of the society carrying a lighted candle. Each new member received a carnation to present to a parent.
There were hugs and tears of joy. And, there seemed to be a sense of belonging, of taking a step on the trail to honor that Thompson had described.
New boundaries for director districts in Archuleta School District 50 Joint were approved Tuesday by the board of education.
One immediate effect of the boundary change was the resignation of Carol Feazel who had moved from her former district. That resignation was accepted unanimously.
Superintendent Duane Noggle said he had worked closely with June Madrid, the county clerk, to make the new districts as close as possible in population. Each of the five districts, he said, will have approximately 1,800 residents.
Legal descriptions of each district are being drawn up and as soon as possible voters will be told which district they now reside in, if it has changed. Maps with roads and identifiable landmarks will be drawn up as soon as possible.
The only other incumbent affected by the changes is Randall Davis, board president. The new map puts him in District 3 rather than District 1. Noggle said most of the town of Pagosa Springs north of U.S. 160 is now in Davis' district.
The board is expected to fill the vacancy created by Feazel's resignation by appointment at its June 11 meeting.
Noggle said state law now requires the district to review population characteristics by district every three years, but said redistricting, if necessary to maintain balanced districts, is required only every seven years.
In other personnel actions Tuesday, the board accepted the resignation of custodian John Perea, effective next December, intermediate school teacher Anita Scanga and bus driver Christine Hanson. The board granted family medical leave for teacher Debbie Moore and, after a 59-minute executive session, approved probationary teacher contracts.
The Colorado Environmental Coalition has announced and praised its 2002 "Rebel with a Cause award" recipient, Eric Schaeffer, former director of the Office of Regulatory enforcement for the Environmental Protection Agency.
Schaeffer was honored at the coalition's May 1 award party.
"I'm excited to be in beautiful Colorado to be honored as the Colorado Environmental Coalition's 2002 'Rebel with a Cause,'" said Schaeffer. "Like the coalition's everyday fight in Colorado, our job is not over - we all must continue to fight for a clean, safe and healthy environment for all Americans."
In late February, Schaeffer caused a firestorm by resigning from his EPA post in protest of the Bush Administration's refusal to enforce the nation's environmental laws and its attempts to water down these laws. In his resignation letter to EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman, Schaeffer highlighted his frustration about the fate of the EPA's enforcement actions under the Bush Administration against power companies that are violating the Clean Air Act, and his concerns about a "White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce."
He concluded his letter by urging Whitman to show "powerful utility interests" that they are not exempt from compliance with the law, which would "... leave the American public with an environmental victory that will be felt for generations to come."
The Colorado Environmental Coalition is working to protect Colorado's environment, wild lands and quality of life from the impacts of the Bush Admin-istration's National Energy Police, which calls for a so-called "streamlining" of environmental laws to accelerate oil and gas production, including in special areas like proposed wilderness and national monuments. "We are honoring Eric Schaeffer as our 'Rebel with a Cause' because he is a great example of a government official personally dedicated the best interests of the American People and our environment," said Elise Jones, executive director. "By going beyond the call of duty, Eric is a true rebel who reminds us that we as a nation can and should hold corporations and our elected officials accountable to obeying our environmental laws."
With the recent vote by the U.S. Senate to block drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the coalition said, the Administration is increasing its focus on the Rocky Mountain region for fast-tracked energy extraction.
As a result, a coalition release said, Colorado's public lands are facing greater threats from oil and gas drilling, including such special places as Vermillion Basin, a proposed wilderness area in northwest Colorado with its high concentration of ancient artifacts and petroglyphs; the Roan Plateau, a biological hot spot in Garfield County that is home to one of Colorado's tallest waterfalls; and the new designated Canyons of the Ancients which is slated for seismic exploration by damaging "thumper" trucks.
"The coalition applauds Schaeffer's work to make power companies obey the law and his bravery in crying foul when the Administration failed in its responsibility to uphold our environmental laws," added Jones. "Making companies produce energy efficiently and not pollute the air we breathe is a critical component of a clean, safe and sustainable energy policy - a policy that provides for America's energy needs while protecting our air quality and keeping Colorado's special wild lands safe from drilling rigs."
Schaeffer joined the EPA in April 1990, under the administration of George H.W. Bush and was a special assistant to the administrator in the first Bush Administration. Under his supervision, EPA reached global settlements with more than 30 refineries which together account for nearly a third of total U.S. refining capacity. Those settlements reduce harmful nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 150,000 tons per year.
Because of his leadership with the refinery cases, Attorney General John Ashcroft awarded Schaeffer the Justice Department's prestigious John Marshall Award in 2001, an award set aside for exemplary public servants. Schaeffer also was recipient of a Presidential Rank Award, the top award presented to career government employees.
The coalition has more than 70 member organizations and 3,600 individual members representing more than 150,000 Coloradans. For more information about the coalition visit the Web site at www.ourcolorado.org.
Persons with an interest in Colorado's wildlife and its management are invited to voice their opinions to Colorado Wildlife Commissioner Phil James during an upcoming open forum in Berthoud. The commissioner will be on hand May 29 at the Berthoud Community Senior Center, 248 Welch Ave., at 6:30 p.m. to talk to members of the public about the state's wildlife and its management.
"This open forum is a way for people to talk directly to a wildlife commissioner in an informal setting," James said. "The feedback I receive during forums helps me fulfill my role as a Colorado wildlife commissioner."
As a commissioner, James belongs to a 10-member, governor-appointed commission that sets Division of Wildlife regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, and nongame, threatened and endangered species.
Some of the issues James expects to discuss at the forum include the Division of Wildlife's Total Licensing Project, chronic wasting disease, big game regulations and state wildlife area management.
The open forum meeting is part of the Colorado Wildlife Commission's ongoing efforts to enhance its communication with constituents, outside of its formal public meetings. The meeting fulfills a legislative mandate that requires wildlife commissioners to hold public meetings each year.
Persons with an interest in Colorado's wildlife and its management are invited to voice their opinions to Colorado Wildlife Commissioner Phil James during an upcoming open forum in Berthoud. The commissioner will be on hand May 29 at the Berthoud Community Senior Center, 248 Welch Ave., at 6:30 p.m. to talk to members of the public about the state's wildlife and its management.
"This open forum is a way for people to talk directly to a wildlife commissioner in an informal setting," James said. "The feedback I receive during forums helps me fulfill my role as a Colorado wildlife commissioner."
As a commissioner, James belongs to a 10-member, governor-appointed commission that sets Division of Wildlife regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, and nongame, threatened and endangered species.
Some of the issues James expects to discuss at the forum include the Division of Wildlife's Total Licensing Project, chronic wasting disease, big game regulations and state wildlife area management.
The open forum meeting is part of the Colorado Wildlife Commission's ongoing efforts to enhance its communication with constituents, outside of its formal public meetings. The meeting fulfills a legislative mandate that requires wildlife commissioners to hold public meetings each year.
The motto for Archuleta County should be, "A day late, and a dollar short."
We may move here because of the mountains, forests, fishing or clean air, but we stay here because of the extraordinary people.
The last few weeks I have had the privilege to help coordinate a small fund-raiser for a Pagosa Springs youngster (Iris Frye) who is recovering from cancer surgery. I wanted the citizens of this community to know how the merchants eagerly donated gift certificates and items from their stores for the raffle.
I have appreciated the kindness and enthusiasm of the Circle of Friends, a little-known organization that initiated this project without even knowing this remarkable child.
Victoria's Parlor will host a "High Tea" Saturday at 3 p.m. The super-extraordinary Pagosa Hot Strings have volunteered to entertain at this fund-raiser. Thanks in advance to everyone who will make this an enjoyable afternoon. There are tickets available by reservation. Call 731-5705.
Grateful to Pagosa Springs,
While the idea of an open primary has considerable merit in comparison to the present system, it is open to major manipulation.
Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County have a significant imbalance of registered voters favoring one major party over the other. This provides the likelihood of two members of the same party running against each other in the general election.
Would it not be fairer to use petitions in the manner in which you suggest and then hold partisan primaries (Republican, Democrat, and whatever other party can qualify with a minimum number of registered voters) to select candidates for the general election?
I suggest this knowing that, as a life long Republican, I would be surrendering an advantage to my party inherent in the system presented in the SUN. I also wouldn't have to live with the results, since I'm only a summer visitor (for over 20 years) and not a resident, but I think it would be fairer.
On behalf of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, I wish to thank the voters who gave us such an overwhelming vote of confidence at the polls May 7. We appreciate greatly your response.
During the past 14 years my wife, Glenda, and I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of volunteers and respect greatly the generosity of our community. We are grateful to all the inclusion committees, donors of land, materials, funds and labor, and the general public who have contributed so much to the well-ordered growth of the fire district.
Our deepest gratitude extends to the boards of directors with whom I've served, to our excellent staff, and - most of all - to our fire department volunteers, the heart of the service of which we're so proud.
Now you've done it, Karl!
You've really pushed my hot button with your comments about cowboy art in your Food for Thought column last week. (Now you find out who reads your column all the way through).
In the context of crediting divine intervention for the bewildering success of offensive religious entertainers, you amplified your amazement pointedly. We chuckled at your apt description of " ... pea-brains with a third grade mentality producing aesthetic garbage, convincing other simpletons to buy it."
But, then you quipped, "How else do you explain cowboy art?" What? Come again!
You lumped us "cowboy artists" and our collectors together with the "lowest common denominator," that "dominates our popular culture". I've been hearing this from critics since I first picked up a paintbrush half a century ago.
Gee whiz, Karl, haven't you ever saddled up and ridden out to the back forty with the other hands on a brisk morning? Didn't you see the movie "City Slickers?" Don't you understand the irresistible attraction, the romance of being a cowboy? Eatin' dust, gettin' hailed on, being bucked off? When you've "punched cows" since high school, as I have, it gets in your blood. Why shouldn't we impressionable (as opposed to impressionist) western artists glorify that life on canvas?
Why, Karl, I'll bet you would even question patriotic Americans' magnetic attraction to John Wayne.
You may not understand the appeal of cowboy art, but don't knock it. At least we're not in the starving category of artists. We're not out on the street corner selling drugs. America counts on us "cowboy artists" to preserve our western heritage and generate great sums of tax revenues every year. We keep America's CPAs employed.
We're an American institution. You should be proud of us and our collectors, some of whom are your neighbors and SUN readers right here in Pagosa Springs.
Feb. 23 Pagosa Springs High School hosted the Intermountain League drama competition. Pagosa High School Drama Club's one-act entry was entitled "Crying Out," by Matthew Hunt. The selected play offered a stirring portrayal of some of the more disturbing realities of life as a teen-ager. Topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, teen deaths and unhealthy family relationships were keenly portrayed. The nature of the play was serious, the topics relevant.
The most touching aspect of the play was the performance given by the cast, students from the high school. They were exceptional in their roles, poignant in their delivery and committed to the play's messages. Every cast member noted being affected by the seriousness of the content and material in the play.
Pagosa's entry fared well; they received top honors from the judges.
Additionally, awards for Best Actor and Best Actress were won by Pagosa High School. Big thanks to Sean Downing and Clay Pruitt, directors. The cast also presented their one-act to the student body of the high school, well-done and well-received. It is a production worthy of community presentation, or even statewide touring. The message it sends is profound, the students' performances soulful. Kudos.
Regarding the possibility of water restrictions announced in the May 9 SUN: No outside watering. I ask "Turn off our water outdoors and stop our veggies from growing?"
I ask for a moratorium on building with our water crisis, first and utmost. Continue developing new subdivisions and you reduce food on the tables of year-round residents for new homes. Re-think this restriction.
The rivers have and will run dry with increased toilet flushing if development continues in Archuleta County.
Profits before people? It should read people before profits.
A sigh from a 23-year-old garden ... think rain!
Opening May 24
The San Juan Historical Society's Pioneer Museum will open May 24 for the summer season.
We are looking for volunteers to work Monday-Saturday, mornings 9-12:30, afternoons 12:30-4. Please call 731-5080 if you are interested.
Concerned about an environmental sustainability crisis? Relax, there's little proof of any pending disaster. Nearly every valid indicator reads "good and getting better."
Less than 1 percent of our species are "endangered" and land primarily managed for conservation now exceeds 300 million acres, more than the combined acreage of numerous states. While nothing is perfect, we certainly aren't anywhere near a sustainability crisis. Besides, environmental sustainability is a political oxymoron, not a scientific reality.
Change is nature's only constant, not balance and harmony. There's no ideal mix of things or conditions that serves as a model for sustainability. Nature's full of destruction and nature simply doesn't care. Even ecosystems are arbitrary human constructs, not naturally stable discrete units without flux. Science lacks any protocol for determining their shape, size, location, or for even such elementary matters as classification, let alone the means for determining boundaries between them. Once we recognize this we'll understand that since our well-being requires manipulating the environment, we'll always be affecting some biota.
What we should be asking instead is how to establish sound policies when sustainability is mostly an emotional concept? And why are those most concerned about our environment turning to government to provide an answer? When government becomes the provider, quality decreases, waste increases, competing needs go unrealized causing conflict leading to undesirable outcomes. Government, inflexible, prone to massive error and coercive uniformity, consistently fails to use important knowledge, penalizes innovation, concentrates power in a few and sets neighbor against neighbor in an unending negative struggle. Its centralized decisions, difficult to undo, detract from sensible solutions and become destructive to both the environment and freedom. Government even depletes our most precious resource, public funds. Instead of exploiting the public purse we should arrange for private parties to use their initiative, information and knowledge to determine true needs and wants. That would foster harmony, reduce the vice of envy and supply voluntary actions to release us from bureaucratic stagnation.
If the time, money, and energy spent on seeking government control were expended in the private sphere, we might find real solutions to real problems.
It appears the managing editor's discriminating judgments covered most all of the bases in the May 9 SUN concerning the controversial plaque removal in the county clerk's office.
Just so the reading public could be alert and informed, I was somewhat dumbfounded that Isberg did not expound with a tinctured description of this "large and very angry man" who prompted the plaque's disappearance.
So what might be a fitting characterization of this arrogant and seemingly violent individual?
Well, he's probably some middle-aged liberal dropout who lives in his mom's basement on a diet of chicken dogs, store brand mac and cheese, Lil Debby Snack Cakes, and washes it all down with some warm, stale Mogan David. Probably has a growing bald spot, a large paunch, dandruff, and a perpetual hangdog loser expression on his face.
No wonder he's unhappy. He has a lot to be unhappy about. How could his reactions be anything but hostile? Somehow, if we could only find a way to get this guy some healthy victuals to clear the air we could all just kiss and make up.
Perhaps a large Denny's corned beef hash Slammer would do the trick.
Vittles for thought,
Fun for the heart
Saturday night our group found there were many things we could take with us - an evening of delightful entertainment, great memories, laughter and enjoyment. To Michael DeWinter and the entire cast and crew of "You Can't Take It With You," thank you for putting so much fun in our hearts.
Pagosa tracksters overcame tough competition and a stiff wind to qualify 12 boys for the state meet at regionals in Alamosa Friday.
The 3200-meter relay team of Todd Mees, Cliff Hockett, Brandon Samples and Aaron Hamilton, proved its mettle early when Mees, a junior, lost a shoe at the first turn, kicked it off and finished his laps wearing only a sock.
Head coach Connie O'Donnell said the shoe came loose during the exchange. Mees tried to push it back on for a few steps, then kicked it onto the infield, working to extend an early lead. The fumbled shoe cost him a few seconds, but Pagosa hung on to win the race in 8 minutes, 47.26 seconds, nine seconds in front of the second-place team.
Junior Jason Schutz, who was pre-qualified in the discus and 200-meter dash, picked up two more events Friday, the 100-meter dash and the 1600-meter relay.
Schutz finished second in the 100, crossing the finish in 11.26 seconds. He joined juniors Jeremy Buikema and Ryan Wendt, and sophomore Brandon Samples in the 1600 to finish fourth in 3:37.73 seconds. Schutz added to the team points with two more second-place finishes, a 138-foot throw in the discus and a 22.38 time in the 200-meter dash.
Buikema and Samples also qualified in individual events. Buikema claimed a fourth place finish in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.74, and Samples added a fourth place qualifying time in the 800-meter run, crossing the finish in 2:07.41, almost two seconds faster than his time just a week ago at Bayfield.
Junior Brian Hart, in his first season as a hurdler, qualified for state in the 110-meter high hurdles, finishing second in 16.95.
O'Donnell said she was proud of the team's effort.
"We had more individuals qualify than I thought we might," she said. "That was a nice surprise." The Pirate state squad will also include 3200 relay alternates, junior Clayton Mastin and sophomore Daniel Early, and 1600 relay alternates, freshmen Otis Rand and Manuel Madrid.
As a team, the boys finished fourth at regionals, climbing ahead of both Bayfield and Ignacio. Buena Vista won the regional team trophy, followed by La Junta and Centauri.
Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates missed qualifying for state by four seconds. O'Donnell said the girls worked hard to improve throughout the season and many deserved a shot at state.
The 1600 relay team of juniors Katie Bliss, Ashley Wagle and Amanda McCain, and freshman Lori Walkup finished fifth Friday with a time of 4:40.20. Walkup fin ished sixth in the 300-meter hurdles, crossing the line in 53.13.
Qualifiers will compete at state Friday and Saturday at Dutch Clark Stadium in Pueblo. Preliminaries begin at 9:30 a.m. Friday. Saturday's finals start at 10:45 a.m.
Bright orange bags show Pagosans care
Kudos and many thanks to all the Music Boosters' cast and crew for their fine production of "You Can't Take It With You." I attended a couple of performances and thoroughly enjoyed the superb cast and gorgeous set. I was indeed transported back into the '30s and became a part of the wacky Sycamore family with all their oh-so-human foibles and eccentricities. It was simply delightful, and we offer a big ole "thank you" to all the folks who worked so hard for so long to create yet another Music Boosters treasure. We're already looking forward to "Meet Me in St. Louis."
Please join us for our monthly SunDowner May 22, from 5 - 7 p.m. at the Bank of Colorado located at 205 Country Center Drive. As always, you can count on great food and company and plenty to drink. More and more folks are enjoying and taking advantage of the fabulous networking opportunities present at these events. SunDowners remain the best bargain around for $5 per person and almost more fun than the traffic will allow for mortals. Hope to see you all there.
It's that time again to get the word out to our 795 Chamber members by placing an insert in our upcoming quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué.
In the off chance that you haven't heard about this superb marketing bargain, it's easy as pie to participate, and I'll be happy to tell you how. Just make 730 copies of your message on 8 inch by 11 inch (unfolded) paper, using an attention-getting color, utilizing both sides if you wish, and bring those in to us at the Visitor Center with a check for $40, and we'll do the rest.
There is hardly a better way to market your product, current special, grand opening or move than a newsletter insert. Doug is especially adamant about the deadline because he is going on vacation and will have the newsletter pretty much done before he leaves.
The deadline is May 24, so don't be late or Doug will be very cranky. Please call us with questions at 264-2360.
Clean Up Week
It's Clean Up Week in Pagosa, and I'm always happy to see the bright orange bags sitting at the side of the road patiently waiting for pick up. It's the signal that lots of folks have been out there cleaning up all the left over winter debris in anticipation of our spring and summer months. Last week's SUN had detailed information for you about large items and dumpster locations. Please feel free to conduct your own cleanup campaign in your neighborhood when you go for your daily walk or run, or join your organization for their designated day. Our beautiful little town shines even more brightly when the trash disappears.
Please stop by the Visitor Center to pick up orange trash bags for roadside and community pickup projects. We are grateful to the many organizations, groups and individuals who pitch in every year to make our lovely community even more beautiful and clean. Encourage family members to take a bag with them when they walk the dog or just head out for a walk so they can clean their walking route. Call us with any questions at 264-2360.
Our pal, Jim Reser, Director of the Small Business Development Center at Fort Lewis College, will be in Pagosa at the Visitor Center May 31 to offer free business information to all who seek it. Jim has been coming to Pagosa for years and has helped countless members with his expertise and advice.
Call Doug at 264-2360 to set up an appointment with Jim. He truly has his finger on the pulse of current business conditions in the Four Corners area and will cheerfully share his fund of knowledge with you at no cost.
Music in the Mountains
If we are holding tickets for you for either of the Music in the Mountains performances in July, tomorrow is the deadline to pick them up. There is such a demand for those little jewels that we feel we must release those we are holding to give others a chance to attend these performances.
Please join Maria MacNamee at Happy Trails Ladies Boutique Saturday for her 10th anniversary celebration from 1:30 - 5 p.m. You will enjoy a Blue Willi's trunk show, snacks and drinks as well as many opportunities to win prizes. KWUF radio will be there with a live remote 2 - 5, so it promises to be quite the celebration. Stop by to congratulate Maria on 10 successful years of business in Pagosa.
We are ever so grateful that many folks join the Chamber well before they open their doors, and we want to acknowledge openings that have occurred recently.
Elements has opened for business and Patsy and Connie invite you to stop in and see their eclectic selection of gift and home furnishing items. They look forward to seeing you at 527 San Juan, No. A or you can give them a call at 264-4190.
The staff at the 19th Hole Restaurant and Bar welcomes you to come in and check out the new menu and new look at 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. (formerly Paradise Pizzeria and Pub). Sharla Gallegos will be happy to greet you there or answer your call at 731-1919.
The Shanghai Chinese Restaurant is now open and hopes you'll stop by and try out their fare at 100 Country Center Drive. They pride themselves on their authentic Chinese food and are anxious for you to see their newly renovated business.
Please plan to attend the second annual Pagosa Fiber Festival May 25-26 at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. each day. Additionally, for those who would like a hands-on experience with the fiber arts, May 24 will feature half-day and full-day training workshops. Please call 731-2729 for details on classes and registration.
The Fiber Festival offers a circus tent filled with fiber-bearing livestock, such as sheep, goats, llamas, rabbits and alpacas. Shearing demonstrations will be held throughout the course of both days to illustrate how the different fleeces are removed. Inside the Extension building you will find vendors from all across the country displaying and selling their natural animal fiber goods, most of which are handmade by the artisan with many one-of-a-kind designs.
There is no admission charge for this event, and I can assure you that it is both exceedingly entertaining and educational. I had a grand time last year and plan on more of the same this year. It's a terrific way to begin your summer, so we hope to see you all there May 25-26. Call Dave Belt at the above number for more information.
Please join members of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council May 23 to celebrate a 10th anniversary at the gallery in Town Park, 5 - 7 p.m. Those who have helped create the council will be honored, and Jeff Laydon, Carol Fullenwider, Jan Brookshier and Joan Rohwer will exhibit their work.
The San Juan Festival Ballet Company will present a "Spring Gala" performance tonight, tomorrow and Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at the San Juan Dance Academy, 188 S. 8th St.
There will be a special children's performance May 18 at 11 a.m. Performances will highlight dance by children 2-14 as well as an appearance by violinist Chris Baum. Tickets are $6 for general public, $5 for arts council members, and can be purchased at the gallery in Town Park or at The Pagosa Kid.
Tickets for the special children's performance are $3 or $2.50 for council members.
Saturday the first Annual Job and Career Fair will be held 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Junior High School for those looking for a job, those needing to update a resume or those in a quandary about career choices. Youth and young adults 14-24 are the targeted audience for this event, and a number of local businesses will be on hand to interview applicants throughout the day.
Those who attend will be able to explore career choices in the Four Corners area by visiting with representatives of local training providers, the military, vocational schools and community colleges. The Job and Career Fair is sponsored by the Archuleta County Education Center and the Southwest Colorado Workforce Center, and door prizes donated by area businesses will be awarded throughout the day.
How sweet it is to welcome five new members this week and renew four loyal members. Life is good.
Tammy Hendricks joins us with The Bear Hug located at 162 Pagosa St. At The Bear Hug you will find handmade and collectible bears, wildlife collectibles, bronzes, clocks, lamps, wooden items and signed prints. It's simply a bear collector's paradise, as well as the answer for those seeking just the right accent pieces for home and cabin. Please stop by and say hello to Tammy or give her a call at 264-1484.
Betty and Dale Schwicker join us next with B and D Enterprises doing business from their home. These folks offer tennis and swimming instruction, Prince and Ektelton athletic gear sales, marketing and public relations, writing, editing, print design and layout, English tutoring and Web design. Wow. Please contact Betty and Dale at 731-3363 to see how they can help you with their myriad talents. We thank Harry and Cathe at the Silver Mine for recommending Chamber membership to these folks and will promptly send them a free SunDowner pass.
Jason Theis brings us Southwest Mobile Detailing next and, as you might expect, he's on the go and mobile. Jason offers complete interior and exterior detailing on vehicles at your home or virtually anywhere because he carries his own water and electricity. He will hand wax and polish your vehicle as well as shampoo carpets and upholstery, treat vinyl and leather, wash those windows, tires and rims. He serves Pagosa Springs and Durango and will be happy to talk to you when you call 946-3744. A SunDowner pass will make its way to Cheryl McMains along with our thanks for recruiting Jason.
We next welcome Lynn Bishop who brings us 2 Good Cooks Personal Chef Services. 2 Good Cooks offers fresh, healthy and convenient at-home dining experiences through their Personal Chef, 5 Star Private Dining and Personal Events Services. They specialize in international gourmet and American comfort foods. You can reach them locally at 731-4391 or toll free at (866) 731-4391.
Dhian Lauren joins us next offering a country home on five acres and quality horse facilities with zero down payment. Pagosa Peak and panoramic views of the San Juan Mountains are yours from every window in this newly remodeled home. Please contact Dhian for details at (877) 381-1677, Ext. 9010 or view photos on the Web at www.homeswithout abank.com or locally at 731-3373.
Renewals this week include Jim Angelo with Pagosa Realty, Inc.; Stephanie Jones with the San Juan Dance Academy and San Juan Festival Ballet; and John Smith, managing broker with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group.
Older Coloradans' Act now a budget line item
The seniors are most grateful for the passage last week of legislation which makes the Older Coloradan's Act a permanent line item in the budget. It was cut from $3 million to $2 million, but at least we don't have to beg each year for the funding we so badly need. Thanks to all the people who worked so hard to get this bill approved.
Friday was a great day at the Senior Center.
We celebrated Mother's Day, with each lady receiving a beautiful carnation. Then we had a wonderful dinner (thanks, kitchen crew), special treats of chocolate candy thanks to Gwen Woods, and a beautiful cake donated by Rich and Sharon Aldahl.
A big thank you to Donna Boughan, who decorated and donated some gorgeous boxes with potpourri and candles inside. Winners of those were Martha Schjolin, Millie Rudd and Clara Kelly. Congratulations ladies.
We are so blessed to have so many volunteers who do wonderful things for us. Alison Stephens gave free massages Tuesday and will continue to offer them Tuesdays, 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. This is a treat we all love.
Dorothy Million is our Senior of the Week. Dorothy is a wonderful lady who takes beautiful photos of our special events, as well as serves on our board. We love her and are glad to honor her this week.
It was good to have Alice Young back volunteering in the dining room Tuesday. We hope she can join us more often. Also, we welcomed Keren Prior, Jerry Smith, Grace and Bill Reister, Sepp Leppitsch, Nicholas Haines (grandson of the Baumgardners), and Wendell Hildebrandt (who has the distinction of being member No. 200 to join our group this year).
Thanks to Carolyn Geiger for teaching an easy, sit-down kind of Tai Chi/Oigong May 10. Carolyn and her husband, George, are Laura's mother- and father-in-law. We so appreciate them visiting with us.
We appreciate Steven's presentation about Pagosa Pastimes on Wednesday.
For those wanting to become acquainted with computers, Sam Matthews is teaching "Basic Introduction to the Personal Confuser (also known as personal computer)" Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. This very talented man can answer your questions and help you make use of a valuable asset in our society.
Karen Keating will give a demonstration Friday about senior depression. This is a very important issue and we hope folks will endeavor to learn more about it.
Other upcoming events include free transportation on the third Tuesday of the month to Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio for six to 13 seniors, along with gifts and reduced price food vouchers. Sign up at the center.
There is free swimming and discounts on meals at Best Western 9-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; yoga at 9:30 a.m. and art classes at 12:45 p.m. Tuesdays; card games and yoga classes at 1 p.m. Wednesdays (bring large towel or mat and a tie, if possible, and wear loose clothes for yoga); and a matinee show at Liberty Theater at $3 for seniors. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.
Chimney Rock guides brave volunteers
I knew by the age of 15 that one thing I never wanted to do in this lifetime was be a teacher or lead a group of people around on a tour. I'd never acquire that mysterious talent called "classroom management." Over the years I have taught some classes and some workshops, but only to a willing audience. Only to people who wanted to be there. Usually adults, who paid money to hear me talk.
I once worked at The Hermitage, the historic home of President Andrew Jackson. I worked in the brand new education department. We offered the teachers a one-hour program, partly talk or slide show and partly hands-on, making something to take home.
The concept was great. I liked creating the slide shows and assembling the material.
But then my boss said, "You also have to teach." One of my co-workers, a gifted teacher, would finish an hour with a class, highly energized. "Weren't they great?" she'd say, rubbing her hands in glee. Myself, I'd go lie down in a quiet place until the headache abated.
I have nothing but admiration for the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area tour guides, a brave bunch of volunteers, if ever there were.
First off, they're volunteers. They don't get paid. They get other rewards - gratitude, smiles, happy customers. They are ambassadors on the front lines. They cope with heat, thirst, rattlesnakes, lightning storms ... and tourists. Last week they had a two-day training session, getting ready for the May 15 opening day.
They have to be knowledgeable. There's a lot to learn about the site: The various buildings, who might have lived there and when, the ways that the ancient peoples tracked the phases of the moon, the plants that grow there. The Pagosa Chapter of the San Juan Mountains Association, which recruits, trains and manages the tours for the Forest Service, has a library of over 100 books, and the volunteers are encouraged to check out the books and keep learning more.
It's not enough to say, as a sweet older woman did at a historic house, when I asked about an object on display, "I don't know, but it's very old." If Chimney Rock tour volunteers don't know the answer to a question, they're supposed to say, "I don't know, but I'll find out."
They have to take classes in first aid and CPR, and then they have to take refresher classes, so that their certificates are current.
They have to learn to be sensitive to others, especially the Native Americans who might visit, in the language they use. Don't call the buildings "ruins." Don't say that the Ancestral Puebloans "abandoned" the site. They migrated out, but they still come back from time to time.
A lot of the training is how to be a good tour leader. How to keep your group together. How to keep them interested. How to involve them. How to do all those things that give me a sick headache. And I did learn a few things.
Experienced tour leaders (you mean they like it so well they come back for more?) gave the new volunteers lots of pointers. Organize your material and your talk, so that you know what you're going to say at each stop on the tour. Have a theme for your talk.
"Engage your group," was a common piece of advice. Ask them questions, tell them a funny or disarming story, maybe about yourself. Look them in the eyes, even if it means taking off your dark glasses and squinting into the glaring sun.
Keep your group together. "Use a bullwhip," said one speaker, but I think he was joking. Appoint someone to be the drag or sweep. Ask a kid to do this; it makes him feel more involved.
The new volunteers were warned that adults can sometimes be more of a problem than bored kids. Difficult adults on tours come in two main kinds. There are those who linger behind to take pictures or maybe to look for artifacts to take home as a souvenir. And there are those who say, "I think you're wrong about that." The volunteers were cautioned not to argue back, but to say, "Let's talk about that after the tour."
There's an extra element at Chimney Rock that can add a little excitement to the tour, and that's the resident rattlesnake up by the Great House. If the rattlesnake is out sunning itself on the trail, tour guides were told to lead the group around it, keeping everyone to the same side. Don't surround the snake.
And one experienced volunteer said she uses the snake as an incentive to help keep the interest of kids. "If you're very good," she tells them, "I'll show you where the rattlesnake lives."
Finally, another leader reminded the volunteers that it's not only the tour guides who are good will ambassadors; the cabin hosts are really the front line, the first people that most visitors to Chimney Rock meet. She told this story.
A man and his two boys arrived at Chimney Rock late in the afternoon, too late to go on a tour. The man was furious. He'd gotten lost trying to find the site. He was hot and tired and now they were too late to take a tour. He'd already spent a chunk of money on other tours and he sure wasn't going to spring for an extra night's lodging in Pagosa Springs. They had a schedule to keep and places to go tomorrow. He went on and on in this vein. He was really irate.
The cabin hosts, who were in the process of closing up when the man arrived, invited him in. They sympathized with his disappointment. They showed the boys a metate and explained how it was used for grinding grain. They took them to the back of the cabin and pulled open the drawers of artifacts, potsherds and stone points and other items, and they let the boys handle these while they explained what they were.
They went out of their way to make these disappointed visitors feel welcome. When the man and his sons left, they were satisfied. They hadn't gotten on a tour of the site, but they'd had a good experience.
My hat's off to the Chimney Rock volunteers. A brave and dedicated bunch of people. I'm so glad they like what they're doing.
Note: Chimney Rock opened for the summer tour season yesterday.
Local triathletes show their prowess
They commonly appear as the sun sets, staking claim to the edges of superstore parking lots, doing a little shopping before settling in for the evening. By morning, these overnight guests are traveling the nation's highways. Welcome to the latest craze in the road-trip world: Owners of recreational vehicles are passing up RV parks and campgrounds and bedding down for the night in the parking lots at Wal-Marts. The next time you drive by the Durango Wal-Mart, see for yourself.
It's safe, convenient, free and you always know you'll be able to find one. The practice is not frowned upon by Wal-Mart. Most of the stores throw out the welcome mat and stock the shelves accordingly. However, some localities are less welcoming, with laws that prohibit staying overnight in parking lots. So, before you decide to join this boondocking, ask store security first.
As the weather warms up and the snow is gone from high country trails, runners traverse the mountains for unsurpassed vistas. Two weeks ago, Robbie Johnson and Greg Sykes competed in the Collegiate Peaks Run east of Buena Vista. Robbie ran the 25-mile loop through hilly pinon forests in 4 hours, 38 minutes. Greg did the 50-miler (two loops) in 8:30. The elevation gain is 3,000 feet each loop. It's a tough race and there are few greater emotional feelings than finishing a challenge. Good job guys.
While Robbie and Greg were climbing and descending hills, Richard Cyr and Carole Walters were facing their challenges in Las Vegas. Not in the casinos, but in the Lake Las Vegas Triathlon - a sprint distance six-tenths-mile swim, a 16-mile bike ride and a 4.2-mile run. Following the triathlon, Richard and Carol hung around Las Vegas for the week to climb in the Red Rocks area (and to support the local buffet industry). That weekend they drove to Tempe, Ariz., and did a second triathlon. Wow, these folks are hardcore. At the Tempe Triathlon Carole did the sprint distance with a 500-meter swim, 8-mile bike and 3.1-mile run. She came in second in her age division. Richard opted for the Olympic distance (nine-tenths-mile swim, 18-mile bike ride and 6.2-mile run).
Although triathletes are often called "crazies," "superhumans" or "tri-zombies," virtually anyone is capable of completing a triathlon. It is one of the few adult participation sports where age and sex lines are gray. Whether you're in your teens, in your 70s, male or female, you can happily coexist both in training and racing. In a triathlon, you race within an age/sex category, against close peers. Yet, many triathletes also compete against the goals they set for themselves.
Carole Walters was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis 20 years ago. Being of strong ambition and hard of will, she pushed herself in maintaining an active lifestyle. In 1994, Carole climbed Mount Everest, successfully ascending to 21,000 feet. The Las Vegas Triathlon was her first ever. She succeeded when she crossed that finish line. Moving at her own pace, Carole underwent a sort of mental and physical metamorphosis, another personal growth story in a life already filled with many growth experiences. I'm of the opinion that everybody can do a little bit. You just have to put your mind to it and do it, like Carole.
Liberty Theatre gets historic designation
Thanks to Jace Johnson, the Liberty Theatre has received local historic designation. One doesn't just apply in order to get this recognition. Proof is necessary and usually that takes time and lots of legwork - as it certainly did in Jace's case.
One of the kindest things that Jace has done for the community is to offer Wednesday matinees for seniors. And there are more to come. It used to be that all small towns had Saturday matinees featuring cowboy movies. We cheered for the good guys and booed the bad guys - maybe not literally - but we had the concept. There wasn't any gray area, and we didn't look for symbolism. Anyway, thanks Jace and congratulations.
When Norman Vance was driving down from Colorado Springs through the San Luis Valley May 6, he was pulled over by a highway patrolman. The officer did his regular checking, said that Norm was driving a bit fast, and gave him a warning. On the road again, Norm noticed various law enforcement cars passing by, swerving around and following him for a distance. At the time Norm didn't know about the pipe bomb left in a mailbox near Salida and that the officers were looking for a mature man driving a Honda. It turns out that the pipe bomber was a 21-year-old student college student driving a Honda Accord. Norm drives a Honda sports car.
Now, I've ridden with Norm and he's not a speed demon, but he does say that with all that attention from the law, that was the slowest trip down the valley he's ever made.
The Southwest Land Alliance now has an office located in the Adobe Building on Lewis Street. It will be open Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m.-noon. Volunteers will be on duty. Call Ron Chacey 264-6275 for information.
The Mountain Harmony Women's Barbershop Chorus is practicing for a Sept. 11 Commemorative Concert. All women are welcome. Some new members are teen-agers. Practices are Monday evenings 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Community United Methodist Church.
Last week at St. Patrick's monthly potluck, this time at Dick Mize's home, Rev. Annie Ryder, who is always looking for a way to raise money toward the planned new church, said that if people challenged her to jump in the swimming pool, she'd accept the challenge if they'd put up the money. They did and she did, and she took Senior Warden Bob Woodson with her. It was a quick dip in oh-so-cold water and then they were off to the hot tub. They raised over $600.
St. Patrick's Episcopal Church has seven acres next to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard. The building already on the property is being renovated for use (later to be the Parish Hall and church school) until the main church is built. There is a 5 p.m. evening service at Community United Methodist Church.
Fun on the run
For the kids:
When I stopped the bus to pick up Chris for preschool, I noticed an older woman hugging him as he left the house. "Is that your grandmother?" I asked.
"Yes," Chris said. "She's come to visit us for Christmas."
"How nice," I said. "Where does she live?"
"At the airport," Chris replied. "Whenever we want her, we just go out there and get her."
I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"
When the mother returned from the grocery store, her small son pulled out the box of animal crackers he had begged for, then he spread the animal-shaped crackers all over the kitchen counter. "What are you doing?" his Mom asked.
"The box says you can't eat them if the seal is broken," the boy explained, "I'm looking for the seal."
This little grandmother was surprised by her 7-year-old grandson one morning. He had made her coffee.
She drank what was the worst cup of coffee in her life. When she got to the bottom, there were three of those little green army men in the cup. She said, "Honey, what are these army men doing in my coffee?"
Her grandson said, "Grandma, it says on TV 'The best part of waking up is soldiers in your cup.'"
In the supermarket was a man pushing a cart that contained a screaming, bellowing baby. The gentleman kept repeating softly, "Don't get excited, Albert; don't scream, Albert; don't yell, Albert; keep calm, Albert." A woman standing next to him said, "You certainly are to be commended for trying to soothe your son Albert." The man looked at her and said, "Lady, I'm Albert."
A 3-year-old boy went with his dad to see a new litter of kittens. On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother, "There were two boy kittens and two girl kittens."
"How did you know that?" his mother asked.
"Daddy picked them up and looked underneath," he replied. "I think it's printed on the bottom."
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, I used to take my 4-year-old daughter on my afternoon rounds. She was unfailingly intrigued by the various appliances of old age, particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs. One day I found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As a braced myself for the inevitable barrage of questions, she merely turned and whispered, "The tooth fairy will never believe this."
House budget plan hikes VA health care 12 percent
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a budget resolution containing a record $2.8 billion increase in spending on veterans' health care. The U.S. House Committee on Veterans Affairs praised the resolution and believes this will fulfill its obligations to veterans.
This budget resolution increases the Veterans Administration budget authority for fiscal year 2003 to a record $56.9 billion, including a 12-percent increase for health care. The increase is double what the administration had proposed.
What does all this "big dollar" talk mean to Archuleta County veterans? Well, it may kill a proposed $1,500 deductible and would be replaced dollar-for-dollar with new funds. I recently wrote in this column about some talk in Washington of the proposed $1,500 deductible for veterans enrolled in VA Health Care in the Priority Level 7 category, who do not have any service connected disabilities and are of normal financial means. I received numerous calls from local veterans voicing their objection to this sudden and dramatic proposed increase in their cost for VA Health Care.
I would venture to estimate as many as half or more of all Archuleta County veterans enrolled in VA Health Care fall into the Priority Level 7, and would be faced with this huge deductible. I also estimate there are approximately 500 Archuleta County veterans in the VA Health Care system. Albuquerque reports 453 are enrolled in its system from the zip codes in this county. I estimate there could be 50 or more enrolled at Grand Junction VA Hospital, which is a different VA district than Albuquerque. And, there some residents receiving VA Health Care from other districts such as Denver and perhaps Arizona and Texas for example, as many of our veterans are part-time seasonal residents. Those are pretty significant numbers from a small county such as ours.
Another area this congressional funding bill would help resolve includes the problem of concurrent receipt - that glitch in the law that requires military retirees to have their pensions lowered by the amount of disability compensation payments they also receive. In other words, military retirees (20-plus years) currently must choose if they want their retirement pension or disability compensation payment, but not both. The strong argument against this current policy is the veteran has earned both, giving a career of military service to his country and earning the pension. There is also the additional problem of incurring some disability to their health and well being, for which they are entitled to compensation, while serving in the military.
For information on these and other veteran benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304 and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 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.
Peace begins with us - you and me
As Jesus looked over the city of Jerusalem, so filled with conflict, he cried, "O, if only today you knew the things that make for peace." His whole ministry was a demonstration of those "things that make for peace." He urged people be kind to one another, to respect one another, to "love one another as I have loved you."
He reminded them that life does not consist of the amount of goods or property that one owns. Help other folks in need without asking for their Social Security number, their race, creed or political affiliation. And he died to show people that these "things" were not abstract philosophical or ethical ideals, but realities; not just possibilities, but necessities.
These were, and still are, the "things that make for peace." O that today we might know them.
Yet, it is not the knowing, but the doing that is vital to the wholeness of our society, of our world. Certainly, there are always exceptions, but the vast majority of people know that these things are good, because this is the way that folks want to be treated themselves.
People throughout the world are crying out for justice. Often "justice" sounds more like vengeance, getting even, pay back time. But the biblical call for justice is nothing like that. It goes beyond being "fair."
Biblical justice, God's definition of justice, is to do that which restores wholeness to the community. It calls for healing, for reconciliation, for "loving as I have loved you," even if it means giving up what is of value to me, even my life. Yes, we know this. We know that this is what needs to be done. We know that this is how we want to be treated. But, we just can't bring ourselves to do it.
Let's put this in a simpler, more manageable context than international relations. Even within our families, our small community, we find it difficult to interact in a loving, kind, trusting way, a way that sometimes puts others before us. Why? I am not a psychologist (obviously) but I believe that this difficulty arises from personal insecurity.
Our weak self-image cannot tolerate being wrong; it cannot risk being vulnerable to another's position or idea. A self-centered person cannot accept disagreement without feeling offended or threatened.
He or she must receive his/her rights. Two brothers came to Jesus, the one complaining that the other wouldn't give him his share of their inheritance. The problem was not economical; rather, it was poor relations between the brothers. Sharing the inheritance would not solve that problem. Although receiving one's rights might be appropriate and "just," it does not heal the deeper wound.
When we expand this to international relations, we enlarge the complexity of the problem. If two people cannot at least respect one another, how can we expect two nations or cultures to do so? But the basic principle is the same.
I realize that for many this is quite naive. It is fool's talk, too risky, impractical. It just won't work. In the world where we live that is true. It is naive. It just won't work. Well, we won't know, will we, until we try it? That's the rub. We've seldom tried it, at least not for very long.
Most folks know "the things that make for peace." When will we do these things? When will we respect another's right to be different, to disagree, to be wrong? When will we begin to be kind, gentle, compassionate, self-giving?
I don't know, but it will have to begin with us.
With you and me.
Over 300 youths enrolled for summer baseball
Baseball begins May 21 and runs through June 27. Coach pitch, T-ball, rookie and bambino games will be played Tuesday and Thursday evenings beginning at 5 p.m. This season is going to be a big one, with over 300 athletes ages 5-15 signed up to participate.
The adult softball team manager meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. May 20. Anyone interested in playing softball this season should show up at Town Hall to register a team.
The committee for the street skate course is meeting to create a proposal for a street course at South Pagosa Park.
Park crews have been busy getting ready for the summer baseball and softball seasons. Special thanks to all volunteers for their efforts in making improvements to the ball fields. Many now look forward to the first pitch of the season May 21.
A raw water irrigation system is almost operable and will provide the water for Town Park directly out of the San Juan River. This should be a help if we face drought conditions.
Park Fun program
Information about the upcoming Park Fun program and registration forms can be obtained at Town Hall. The program begins June 3 and runs 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. There are a limited number of spots for this program so pre-registration is encouraged. Cost is $80 per week.
The Parks and Recreation Board meeting will be held May 22, 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall.
Conserving water in landscape care
Today - 4-H Oil Painting, 4:30 p.m.
Today - 4-H Small Engines, 6:30 p.m.
Friday - Rabbit meeting, 2 p.m.
Friday - Entomology, 2 p.m.
Friday - Private Pesticide Applicators Training, 6 p.m.
May 18 - Weigh-in, 9 a.m.
May 18 - Cooking - Brunch, 8 a.m.
May 20 - Woodworking, 4 p.m.
May 21 - Electricity, 6:30 p.m.
May 22 - Add or drop project deadline
Lawns, yards and other landscapes account for about half of domestic water use. Here are some tips from Colorado State University Cooperative Extension on ways to conserve water applied to landscapes.
Harden or toughen lawns by watering less frequently but deeply. This encourages deeper root growth, which makes lawns more drought resistant. Some types of grass also survive drought by going dormant and thus requiring little water. For example, mature Kentucky bluegrass lawns can be watered at minimal levels and survive into the following summer. For this to be a possibility lawns need to be healthy to start with. Lawns with shallow root systems over time will weaken and die. Considering past winter conditions with very little snow cover, lawns may suffer from winter kill. It may be best to have the lawn green up and then over the next month let the bluegrass lawn go into dormancy. For more information, contact the Archuleta County Cooperative Extension office at 264-5931.
Do not apply all of the water a landscape needs during a short period of time. Water applied too quickly may run off the land and be lost in ditches or gutter systems.
Use a soil probe or shovel to determine a lawn's average root depth. Water the lawn until the soil is moist to that level.
Water lawns overnight between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. when conditions are less windy, cooler and more humid. Evening watering helps reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. Contrary to popular belief, watering at this time does not encourage diseases to develop in a landscape.
If planting a landscape this year, seriously consider xeriscape plants. For more information, call the Extension office.
Make sure that sprinkler systems are working properly. Don't water sidewalks, streets or parking lots. Proper sprinkler system maintenance is a must.
Mulch flowerbeds and gardens. Mulch conserves water because less moisture is lost to evaporation and promotes healthier plants.
Leave a little more length on lawns when mowing them this summer. Longer grass blades shade the soil and reduce water loss.
Use lawn sprinklers that deliver large droplets of water instead of a fine mist, which is more easily lost to evaporation.
With dry conditions in Colorado, residents may want to follow some tips to reduce the use of water in homes. On average, a person uses 50-100 gallons of water per day inside the house. This water use doesn't include the average amount of water applied to landscapes, which accounts for about half the average water use in urban areas.
Following are tips from Colorado State University experts to conserve water in the home.
Fix leaky faucets. One leaky faucet can waste up to 2,200 gallons of water per year - enough to quench your thirst with 35,200 8-ounce glasses of water.
Toilets can use up to 7 gallons of water with each flush. Less frequent flushing or water-saving devices in the toilet can conserve much water. Adjusting the float level in a toilet's water tank or adding a quart-sized, water-filled capped bottle reduces the water use of a toilet by several gallons each flush. Don't use the toilet as a wastebasket.
If you are purchasing a new dishwasher or clothes washer, consider choosing one with water-conservation features.
Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.
When washing dishes by hand, use the stopper in the sink to capture rinse water to use again instead of rinsing dishes in running water.
Saving food scraps to run through the garbage disposal once a day or less often reduces water use - or save the food scraps for a compost pile.
Don't run the tap to get cold water or hot water. Store water in the refrigerator for cold water and heat water in the microwave.
Showers, especially those fitted with flow restrictors or low-volume heads, usually use less water than a bath.
Allow small children to bathe together. Use only 2 or 3 inches of water in the tub.
Take quick, short showers and turn off the water between soaping and rinsing.
Turn the water off while brushing teeth, shaving or washing the face.
When cooking, use the smallest amount of water possible. For example, cooking frozen vegetables requires very little water. A tight-fitting lid on a pan saves water from boiling away and also cooks food faster and uses less energy. Use a pan of water when cleaning and peeling vegetables instead of letting the tap run.
Use a broom, not a hose, to clean sidewalks, garages and driveways.
Cover swimming pools to reduce evaporation.
Foster parenting is a full-time job
The primary goal for a foster parent is to provide a safe, nurturing place for children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. May is Foster Parent Appreciation Month.
As different as each foster parent is, they all share many similar characteristics.
On average, they:
are successful because they have an organized, nurturing personality
are patient, flexible and creative
are team players willing to participate
know how to track down and utilize community resources and supports
enjoy challenges and can work toward a goal individually and with a group
appreciate differences in individuals and are nonjudgmental
can give to others without expecting something in return
can use methodical discipline instead of physical punishment to manage children's behavior
recognize and support the importance of birth families to foster children
are eager to learn new knowledge and skills through training.
These 10 qualities are recognized nationwide. However, they are just some of the talents that foster parents have to offer.
It is noted that many children become remarkably resilient, especially when they know their foster parents and whole community care about them.
The Archuleta County Department of Social Services is primarily responsible for the certification of family foster homes, although there are some private child placement agencies that do the same.
Naturally, foster parenting is a full-time job, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Financial compensation for this important work is not high, thus most foster parents commit to this vocation because they want to serve children.
Many parents find fulfillment in reaching out to other kids once their own children have grown up and moved out of the home. Their parenting skills, cultured through the years, help them thrive as foster parents.
Then, there are parents who are currently raising children of their own and have so much to offer foster kids. The kids in out-of-home placement get to be a part of an active, well-functioning family. The biological children of the foster families get to be role models and are included in a wonderful learning experience.
Children come into foster care in a variety of ways. Often, law enforcement contacts Social Services, usually at night, and requests emergency placement for a child. A prospective foster parent might be awakened from a dead sleep and asked, "Will you care for this child?"
Likely, little has been done in the way of information collecting, so the foster parent is often at quite a disadvantage trying to meet the child's needs. Other times, a child is placed in a foster home after careful thought and planning and there is a lot of information and a lot of people involved in the case.
Sometimes the information on a child with complex needs can be overwhelming to a foster parent. They may be asked to transport a child to medical or counseling appointments, to participate in meetings with community agencies, and even to help supervise visits between children and their families.
As challenging as foster care placement of children can be, foster parents in Colorado do come into this work with preparation. New foster parents are required to complete 12 hours of core training and then maintain 20 hours of advanced training annually.
Recruiting and retaining foster parents is an ongoing job for the Archuleta County Department of Social Services. Foster parents are a vary valuable resource to the department and the community.
I would like to take this time to say thank you to all of our foster parents. You are truly appreciated.
If you would like more information regarding foster parenting, call 264-2182.
Society bird house contest is June 1
Pagosa Springs Arts Council's second annual "Pet Pride Day Bird House Contest" is June 1.
Each exhibitor may submit up to two individual birdhouses for display. All birdhouses must be original works, built by the exhibitor. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted.
There will be three categories for participants: under 10 years old, 10 - 18, and adults. Prizes will be awarded in each category. There will also be a $5 fee per entry. The winning birdhouse in each age group will be displayed for two weeks at the gallery in Town Park.
All participants have the option of donating their work to the council or the Humane Society. Entries can be dropped off at the gallery, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. All entries must be received before 5 p.m. May 31. Judging will take place at 2 p.m., during Pet Pride Day. For more information, please contact Joanne at 264-5020, or stop by the gallery to pick up an entry form.
We are proud of our first gallery exhibit of the 2002 season. Work produced by nine members of Charla Ellis' advanced art class at Pagosa Springs High School will be on display through May 22. Please come out and support our young artists by viewing their works.
For another opportunity to see more talented youth in Pagosa, be sure to attend the San Juan Festival Ballet spring performances May 16-18. This Spring Gala will be performed at San Juan Dance Academy, 188 S. 8th St. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m. and there is a special childrens' performance Saturday at 11 a.m. Tickets can be purchased for $6 general public, or $5 for arts council members, at The Pagosa Kid or the gallery in Town Park. Tickets for the special kids' performance cost $3 - $2.50 for members. For more information, call Stephanie Jones at 264-5068.
Congratulations to the Music Boosters for their production of "You Can't Take it With You." Michael DeWinter did a wonderful job as director of this comedy-farce, set in the 1930s. John Graves ("The Professor") played memorable popular song hits from the '30's era before and after the performance and during the intermission on the auditorium's conservatory grand piano and it was most definitely grand.
Music in the Mountains is a sellout. This classical music festival, now in its 16th season in Durango, will present two special concerts this summer at BootJack Ranch, north of Pagosa Springs, featuring world-class artists. Mischa Semanitzky, festival artistic director and conductor, said: "We're delighted that David and Carol Brown have offered their beautiful ranch as a site for Music in the Mountains, and we hope this is just the beginning of a summer tradition in Pagosa Springs."
Pagosa Springs Arts Council will celebrate 10 years in the gallery at Town Park May 23, 5-7 p.m. at the gallery, 314 Hermosa St. All are welcome to attend. There will be entertainment and refreshments and an exhibit featuring the photos of Jan Brookshier and Jeff Laydon, the watercolors of Carol Fulenwider, and stained glass by Joan Rohwer.
Thank you to Stephanie Jones and Jennifer Harnick for representing the arts council at the Philanthropy Days in Durango last week. A big thanks to Jeff Laydon for giving all the art-related photos he had to the council.
You can hear PSAC interviews and information on the radio. Tune into KWUF (1400 AM on your radio dial) the second Thursday of each month, 8:05 - 8:35 a.m.
The PSAC helps ensure a flourishing and diverse community by enriching lives through the arts. We are a nonprofit organization that relies on membership, donations and volunteers to help provide meaningful and educa
Water conservation display coming
Our most precious resource is in short supply. "Except for the air we breathe, water is the most important element in our lives. It is too precious to waste."
We urge everyone to conserve, and we have an excellent display on conservation right now. We have pamphlets on a variety of subjects. One is entitled "55 facts Figures and Follies of Water Conservation." This pamphlet can help you save hundreds, even thousands of gallons per month without any great inconvenience. Please come by and pick up material and see the excellent display that will be here next Monday. There are other brochures including one with many Web addresses.
The entries into our first annual poetry contest are now processed in a book that may be checked out. Poets include P.R. Bain, Hayden Cleverly, Carole Frances Confar, Chris Davis, William Dawson, Theresa Emmerich, Natalie Gabel, Marley Gabel, Lili Gettig, Ron Graydon, Michael J. Greene, Judy Horky, Wes Huckins, Maggie Valentine Inskeep, Mele Lelievre, Kelsey Lyle, J. Matthew Mees, Todd Mees, Jared Mees, Kathryn Nelson, John Porter, Blake Roman, Sarah Schultz, Dru Ann Sewell, Vasuki, Shannon Warren and Donna Wilson.
High Country News
A recent issue discusses the mystery of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. This gives a history of the lake, and tells about one of the West's most neglected ecosystems. It supports a brine shrimp industry as it ebbs and flows and fluctuates more than 12 feet from year to year. Two hundred and fifty-five bird species spend part of the year on the lake.
High Country News is just one of the subscriptions available to our patrons.
Tip of the week
The Colorado Health Exchange newsletter tells us that defrosting foods in the microwave helps retain more nutrients than defrosting them at room temperature, since there's less time for nutrients to degrade. The Exchange, is another one of our subscriptions. This same issue weighs in on childhood obesity. It lists a new Web site from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on health issues www.fns.usda.gov/tn/.
Jan Brookshier brought in an article about various states doing one big book club. Our governor liked the idea and he chose "Snow in August," as his suggestion for Coloradans to read. Pete Hamill's book is a New York Times best seller that tells the tale of a boy confronting morality. It takes place in postwar Brooklyn. We have the book if you'd like to join Gov. Owens in this endeavor.
"The Boy Who Would be King," by Nigel Blundell is a photographic biography of Prince William, the most famous young man in the world. This is an affectionate view of the boy who will one day rule Great Britain.
"Can You Believe Your Eyes?" by J. Richard Block has over 250 illusions and other visual oddities to amuse and amaze you. Some will be quite familiar, but there are many new brain ticklers to test your beliefs.
Thanks for financial help from Dallas and Lucy Johnson. Thanks to Patty Sterling for a book, and thanks for loaning Lee to Music Boosters for "You Can't Take It With You." Thanks to Don Nicholl, Alice and Inez Seavy, Julie Crilley, Adrienne Barnett, William Miller and Steven Benson.
Positive view promotes youth success
Optimism is one of the most important gifts adults can give to a child. When a young person has hope for the future and can find a bright side to most bad experiences, the young person will grow up healthy, caring and confident.
But what makes a child positive and hopeful? How can we, as adults, shape that optimism? The solution lies in promoting possibilities rather than shortcomings, in reinforcing the strengths instead of focusing on weaknesses.
Research shows that the payoff can be significant. Young people who have a positive view of their future are more likely to do well in school, contribute to their community and to value diversity. They are less likely to become involved in violence, to dropout of school, to be involved in drug or alcohol abuse. In fact, Search Institute identified having a positive view of one's personal future among the developmental building blocks, or assets, that young people need to succeed.
Assets for Colorado Youth, a nonprofit organization working with schools and communities to promote developmental assets for young people, is asking adults to rethink their perceptions of youth. Says María Guajardo Lucero, Ph.D., executive director of the organization, "We need to let young people know they are valued members of our communities - that they are resources to be tapped, not problems to be solved."
One way we can help nurture young people's confidence and self-esteem is by looking for opportunities to praise their efforts and point out their strengths.
That is exactly what the upcoming eighth grade end-of-year celebration is all about. The Education Center along with Pagosa Springs Junior High School and the Ralph Eaton Recreation Center is sponsoring a party tomorrow at the recreation center 2-5 p.m. This party is free to all eighth grade students in the community and is a celebration of the Class of 2006. The extravaganza will be a safe and fun afternoon for the entire class and will provide an opportunity for the kids to mingle with friends and celebrate the completion of junior high school.
There will be a variety of fun activities including swimming available for the afternoon. We are pleased to offer over 50 door prizes that will be raffled at the event. These prizes were donated by local businesses and coordinated by parent volunteer Terri Smith.
Another event to support young people (ages 14-24) is taking place Saturday in the junior high cafeteria. The first annual Job Fair is being sponsored by the Education Center and the Workforce Center. Employers will be there to talk to youth about employment opportunities. There will be materials and information available to help participants write resumes and polish their interview skills.
For more information on these two events, or any of our programs, call us at the Education Center at 264-2835.
Bonnie Nyre owns and operates Slices of Nature, opened in April at 144 Pagosa St.
Slices of Nature specializes in handcrafted items, including wood products, Sterling silver jewelry, candles and embroidered Colorado T-shirts. The shop also stocks home accessories, a full line of bath products and private label coffees. Coffee, cappucino and goodies are available on the porch or on the outdoor deck.
Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days a week. Call 264-1022.
Jason Engle, son of Robert and Shari Engle of Pagosa Springs, was one of 4,377 students who received degrees May 10 during commencement ceremonies on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus. Jason received a bachelor of science in architectural engineering.
Heather Riley, a 1997 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, graduated summa cum laude from Mesa State College in Grand Junction May 12 with a 4.0 grade point average. An English major, she received a teaching certificate and plans to be an elementary school teacher. Heather is the daughter of Lee and Laurie Riley of Pagosa Springs.
Samantha Twyla Trujillo
Samantha Twyla Trujillo, daughter of Julia Trujillo of Pagosa Springs, will receive a bachelor of science degree in business information systems, graduating summa cum laude May 24 from University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. Her sister, Nancy Vigil, and brother, Nathan, will help her celebrate the honor.
'Pioneers of the San Juan Country' a good read
Every lover of area history should own a copy of "Pioneers of the San Juan Country."
Published by the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Durango, starting in 1942, the book contains four volumes. The stated goal of the project was to record 100 years of San Juan Country history starting with the 1860 Baker expedition.
A majority of the articles recall adventures of the pioneers who made the history, written or narrated either by the pioneers themselves or by direct descendants.
The area covered includes all of the "San Jon" country of the pioneer days stretching west from Saguache in the San Luis Valley to the Cortez area on the Utah-Colorado border and south into nearby New Mexico.
Specific communities mentioned include Saguache, Lake City, Ouray, Silverton, Parrott City, Animas City, Durango, Pagosa Springs, Allison, Pine River, Rico, Mancos, Farmington, Aztec, and many, many more.
The reader should not look for a comprehensive history of the region or any particular community. Instead, one learns many of the who, when, where, why, and hows of the first years of settlement. One learns much about travel, commerce, mining, the first cattle industry, the Southern Ute Indians, the army, and feudin' and shootin' as seen through the eyes of those first adventurers.
The preface to Volume IV, copyrighted in 1961, was written by Clee Woods, a writer still remembered by Pagosa Springs old-timers. Woods lived with his wife Betty up the San Juan River near the Turkey Creek outlet.
The Volume IV preface written by Woods contained the following laudatory remarks.
"The San Juan Basin is only one generation away from its early beginning as a white man's paradise. There are a few old people yet living who have ties threading into the early life of the Basin. A few others recently have joined our pioneer dead.
"A small group of dedicated women have undertaken to assemble the stories and recollections, and experiences, of those pioneer people. Tomorrow these folks will be history. Most of them, however, would have been lost forever to recorded history but for the efforts of the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. They have snatched this history back from oblivion while there is yet time. They have recorded our local history in three previously published volumes. They have retrieved still more Basin history in this fourth volume.
"Posterity will bless them for their intelligent foresight in preserving this priceless Americana. History, gathered so fresh from the stage where it was enacted, reads like living words from the lips of the people who built for us."
When compared with the time frame for settling most of the American West, the settlement of San Juan Country was a recent occurrence, all of it having taken place since 1860, starting just 80 years prior to the first volume of this book. Consequently, many facts of local history were still fresh when this book was put together.
It is apparent that many of the first settlers understood their roles as pioneers and were anxious to preserve the knowledge of their accomplishments for future generations. To that end, they initiated a history preservation society, as described in the Volume IV edition of this books.
"The San Juan Pioneers Association was founded in Silverton, July 6, 1895, with 125 members, all residents of the original Conejos County which comprised twelve Colorado counties. Persons were eligible for membership if they arrived in the county before 1881.
"Meetings were held in turn at Del Norte, Silverton, Durango, and all towns that fall within the old Conejos boundaries.
"According to Article I, Constitution and By-laws:
"This Association shall be called and known as The San Juan Pioneers Association. It is designed to be and is a moral, benevolent and literary association, and its objects are: To cultivate social relations for a more perfect union among its members, to collect and preserve information connected with the early settlement and subsequent history of San Juan country, and to perpetuate the memory of those whose sagacity, energy and enterprise induced them to settle in a wilderness and develop the resources of Southwest Colorado.
"The last slate of officers were John Wilmer, president; Earl Faris, treasurer; Mrs. Harold Harris, secretary; Mrs. A.W. Ayers, necrologist. These officers presided over the meeting that disbanded the association. Records 'so far as they could be found' and money of the society were turned over to the Four Corners Museum. This was decided upon because of the lack of interest of members of the second and third generation among descendants of the pioneers. (Durango Herald News, Sept. 4, 1959.)"
Among the authors from Pagosa Springs are Illa D. Montroy, Daisy Opdyke Fitzhugh, Laura Manson White, June Lynch, John H. Galbreath and Georgeanna Etheridge.
Out of respect for the accomplishments and opinions of these first pioneers I have always used their definition of a pioneer - that is, someone who arrived prior to 1881. Anyone who came later was an early settler.
The most famous contributor to Pioneers of the San Juan Country is David Lavender, a well-known writer of western history who grew up near Telluride.
Articles not focused on Pagosa Country often shed light on Pagosa Country history. Thus we learn from an account of a circa 1880 stage ride from Chama to Animas City with an overnight stop in Pagosa Springs.
Durango pioneer Harry Jackson, Jackson Hardware, stopped for some time in Amargo and leaves us one of our best descriptions of that short-lived, long-dead rail head.
Many pioneers whose stories are included lived somewhere else in the basin before or after living in Pagosa Country. Sen. West writes as a veteran cowman of the Dolores area, but for years West partnered with the Hott family in running cattle on the upper Piedra. Incidentally, a couple of cowboys reminiscing about early days in the Dolores area mention the exploits of R.P. Hott, local rancher R.D. Hott's great-grandfather.
As a teaser, listen to a part of the story of Mr. and Mrs. John Rudy as told to Josie Moore Crum in 1942.
"... Mr. Rudy, with team and wagon, left Pueblo on March 1880 taking the Cumbres Pass-Pagosa Springs route. Since for much of the way over the Continental Divide there was no road, it was often necessary to let the wagon down steep hills by ropes. Swollen streams had to be forded and in crossing Navajo Creek the wagon suddenly dropped into a hole throwing John Rudy forward into the water. He came via the Florida River into the Animas Valley and when he looked on it he thought it was the most beautiful country he had ever seen and knew his wanderings were over and that he had reached the promised land.
"There was no town in Durango then and Parrott City was the county seat. There was a town at Animas City where Mr. Rudy traded some ham and bacon that he brought with him for other supplies, then he started north and, as there was an exemption for the first wagon of the year, did not have to pay toll at the Baker Bridge tollgate; he went through Rockwood, over Cascade Hill where there were a number of snowslides to cross; then down the Animas River and followed it to Silverton ..."
This book is long out of print. The Ruby Sisson Library has copies for those patient enough to remain inside while reading. You can't check it out. If you have the time, it's worth the effort.
Don't be the torch for our summer
Terror-stricken faces, sobbing homeowners, elderly women rummaging through rubble, children crying over a twisted favorite toy.
We've all seen it on television. Nature's vengeance on an unsuspecting populace. Tornado, hurricane, flood and fire all leave chaos in their wake.
While it has yet to happen here, we are in a climatic situation which could lend itself to fire of immense proportions, devastation which could have thousands of county residents ordered out of their homes, thousands of homes destroyed by flames raging out of tinder forests deprived of moisture.
You might be awakened in the middle of the night by a reverse 9-1-1 call, or a loudspeaker from a passing squad car, or a knock at the door. "Get out of your home," the voice says. "You have less than an hour. Evacuation of this area is mandatory."
It is Mother Nature at her deadliest, a raging forest fire advancing inexorably on your family castle.
Your years of saving, scrimping and planning for that perfect home to serve you and your family until eternity knocks are in danger of having been wasted.
The first questions in your mind after the alert might well be, "What will I take with me? What should I save?"
Family heirlooms may well be too bulky to pack and remove quickly so, assuming the worst could happen, what do you want to take with you?
Money, bonds, deeds, checkbooks, savings pass books, all credit cards, insurance policies, coin and stamp collections are normally already stored in safe places and can be removed quickly to a point of safety.
Sufficient clothing for all members of the family for several days. Photos of loved ones, old letters telling the family history and, of course, the loving pets who depend on you for their nurturing and safety.
If you have camping gear already packed and awaiting the next excursion, it might be wise to haul it out, hook up the trailer if there's time, and start loading it. Maybe toss in some cookware and non-perishable foods because you don't know where or how your next meal will be prepared or where the foodstuffs might come from.
That new computer, the 37-inch television and the VCR most likely will have to stay behind. How much, your racing mind will ask, can I get into the car, truck, pickup, SUV or camper and still have room for the family?
The time left for you to safely flee the area is now down to 45 minutes and you still haven't decided what to take.
Favorite books most likely will have to be left behind. A Bible would seem a must for many people, a source of comfort when the fury, frustration and worry of the moment is most fierce. A book of recipes handed down from your great grandmother? Maybe you can stuff it in a grocery bag and put it under the car seat.
Remember that drinking glasses and cookware are empty when not in use. They take up the same amount of room when used as receptacles for items you hope to save.
Prescription medications and special orthopedic support appliance are musts, including glasses, contacts, crutches and canes. If you survive - and now there's only 30 minutes left - you must be prepared to tend to your own health and that of your family.
Maps, if available, should be crammed into a handy door slot. You may end up 30, 40 or 50 miles from home and may not be familiar with the territory. You will need directions on how to get to and out of recommended safety sites.
It's final decision time. You have to act. Those things which are going to be saved have to be in the car soon. In order to get you and your family out of harm's way, you have to act now.
If yours' is a two-vehicle family, plan to utilize both of them and distribute the saved items between them. When you're ready, travel together, if possible, within the limits allowed by authorities as the approaching danger dictates.
Beware of the temptation to take too much. Limit the cargo to what you know you can safely and quickly move and still leave room for the family and pets. Don't try to go too fast. Remember that your neighbors face the same emergency and the same stresses you do.
You are now down to 15 minutes.
The smoke is thickening. You can hear the crackle of flame devouring hundred year old trees. You have to get out of the area as soon as possible.
No more hesitating over old paintings on the walls. No more pondering whether to haul out your favorite rocker.
Ten minutes and everyone is out of the building, in the car and impatient to flee. Still, you posit, "Maybe it'll veer away. Maybe we don't need to go. Maybe we'll be safer right here."
Don't create that trap for yourself.
You're now down to eight minutes and you can actually see flames.
Your time to flee to safety is rapidly burning away.
* * *
The preceding is a scenario none of us wants to face. But, we're in a severe drought that could lead to just such an incident.
Wherever you live, plan in advance what you would do.
It isn't too late to plan an emergency escape route. Have emergency supplies packed and in a spot known to everyone in the family so that whoever is home knows where to go to get the things prepared to save and can instantly load them.
Take time now to prepare in advance a list of the things you would want to take with you if evacuation is ordered, and gather them into a specific location so no time is wasted in removing them to the escape vehicle.
Be prepared to pare that list down as the time expires. You won't be able to take everything you want, so be sure the most needed, most meaningful items in the structure are at the head of the list.
Don't play hero and stay behind to protect the old homestead.
A new house can be built. A new life cannot.
As Boy Scouts are taught from the beginning:
No relief for Canadian fixation, eh?
You've been body-slammed by anxiety and doubt, vexed by double-bind situations not of your choosing, ball-peened by the overall absurdity of your existence and, suddenly, you fix on an idea.
You can't shake the idea; it grips you like a Doberman locking on to a gimpy bunny. It has a hold on you every bit as tight as your anxious thoughts, but it brings you relief.
The fixation mitigates your misery: It transports you from the torment of your circumstances, allows you to deflect a ceaseless play of frustrating thoughts, gives you a psychic Get Out of Jail Card in the midst of the storms generated by your cerebral high pressure system.
The fixation is your life raft.
The best possible thought to fixate on?
I'm sure you already know. Granted, there are plenty of options - kitties, the geology of Borneo, Agnes DeMille - but one stands out above all the rest.
I've been fixated on Canadians for days now; trust me, it works like a dream. The last couple of weeks, I've been unusually crabby, gripped by angst concerning my life situation; I needed to release the nervous steam.
I stumbled onto the remedy last week, just in the nick of time.
I am backstage Friday at the Music Boosters' production of "You Can't Take it With You," observing the scene. The backstage vantage point at a theatrical production is best; it's where the real entertainment occurs. Watching thespians and their cohorts in that setting is better than looking through the two-way mirror in a police interrogation room while officers play Good Cop/Bad Cop with a Neanderthal. Theater folk must, by definition, be loaded with peculiarities and they are best observed just before they step into the glare of the lights.
My pal Sterling is acting in the play. I spot him cowering in a corner of the dressing room and I approach him - making no sudden movements, giving him a clear view of my hands, a neutral expression on my face. You can't do anything remotely threatening around Sterling; he has a delicate constitution.
He has his makeup on and I realize, for an 80-year-old man, he is one nice looking guy. But neither this distraction nor the backstage oddities occurring around me are enough to keep my mind from returning to the fact my existence is miserable, fraught with unresolvable conflicts and demands that, by their convoluted nature, cannot be satisfied.
Ennui rolls over me and I realize I need something stronger than the eccentricities of actors to pull me out of the mental morass.
I recall that Sterling (I'm convinced, in the mistaken belief our neighbors would never actually go to war) hustled north of the border prior to America's entry into World War II and enlisted in the Canadian military.
That association is enough: In a flash I am thick into an obsession with Canadians and able to evade my preoccupation with the nonsense of my real-life predicaments.
Though I am certain you too obsess about Canadians in times of enormous mental stress, have you ever taken the time to learn anything about Canada, to get to know Canadians?
I have, and I guarantee the more intimate your knowledge, the more powerful the medicine of the obsession.
When I was young, I played hockey and, during the course of my less-than-illustrious career, I was around Canadians. Lots of them.
I was American. They didn't like me.
But, darn it, I liked them. When they weren't pummeling me.
Most of the Canadians I knew were nowhere near as attractive as Sterling, and they were generally lacking in what you would call ... personality. The lion's share of them were from God-forsaken places like Flin Flon, Brandon, Milk River, Saskatoon, Regina. Some of them came from little towns set like scabs on the skin of the barren western prairies, the descendants of deranged Ukrainians, Nords and Scots who actually thought the environment was pleasant.
As a result, the boys had some quirks, all of which they exorcised participating in the organized violence they deemed their national sport. The facilitator of that exorcism was often, you guessed it, me. Canadians deprived me of some of my favorite teeth, fractured some of my favorite bones, merrily snapped some fairly vital connective tissue.
These chaps were basic. It was a rare day when you could turn to one of your Canadian pals and say something like, "Say, Warren, do you have a favorite poem by Wallace Stevens?" without receiving a stout thrashing. The word "poem" seemed to set them off.
The two Canadians who best established the stereotype for me were Hawk and Grant. Many were the times I hung out with Hawk and Grant in the locker room beneath the west stands of the old University of Denver Arena. The atmosphere in that crumby space cannot be described; there is no way to accurately convey the sensory overload experienced in a room filled with moist hockey equipment, the sweat-soaked and rotting long underwear the Canadians preferred to wear under their gear, the socks that had not been washed in three months. The effect of powerful psychoactive drugs pales by comparison.
And the cultural atmosphere, as provided by Hawk and Grant, was equally thick and kaleidoscopic.
When I obsess, I hearken back to the last time I saw Hawk and Grant. The memory provides me with a workable perspective - on my troubles, on humankind.
The lads were in a dither the last time we conversed. Their eligibility was in jeopardy with the toughest games of the season at hand, their grades in a particularly important class hinging on their performances on the final exam, their futures as scholarship athletes hanging in the balance. Without the scholarship, it was back to Red Deer.
I offered to help.
What's the class?, I asked. Economics? Math? Physics? I didn't dare say "poetry."
"It's a tough one, eh?" replied Hawk.
"Theory of Swimming," said Grant, his pronounced brow protruding like a bathroom shelf.
According to the boys, the final exam was imponderably hard.
Floating. On the back!
"We might not make it, eh?" said Grant. "We gotta study."
We sank into the silence that, in ordinary discourse, signals deep contemplation. With Hawk and Grant it merely meant they had run out of words. Soon, they grabbed their towels, and headed off for their study session.
Our goalie, Butch, and I sneaked up the stairs to the balcony of the "natatorium" and entered the humid chlorine-scented interior of the building. There, barely visible below us in the darkness, were two shapes suspended in the water, backlit by the weak lights set in the sides of the pool - two black forms, unmoving, like flotsam cast off a tragic wreck.
Grant and Hawk. Studying.
I love 'em.
As I continue to fixate on the subject I wonder, what is the essence of Canadian cuisine?
According to Grant and Hawk, and most of the other randy pucksters I knew, Canadian cuisine consists of beer and pizza, with quality determined by quantity. On special occasions, the Canadian dining experience involves a trip to an all-you-can-eat cafeteria with tray after tray loaded with cheap Salisbury steak, rolls and bread. Oh, and did I mention beer?
There must be something more and, if I am going to be able to sustain my Canadian fixation, I am going to have to find it. And, believe me, I need to extend the fixation.
I go to the Internet finding my favorite search engine, typing in "Canadian recipes." I refine the search to the suggested "Fine foods, Canadian foods," and the reply is swift and to-the-point: "We found no link connections for your search Fine foods, Canadian Foods."
I located a site called Dotty's Kitchen and, while virtual Dotty seemed pleasant, there was nothing there you wouldn't find in Fannie Farmer.
A Foods of Newfoundland site revealed an array of Bangbellies (a sweet bread with an additive of salt pork), Toutons (small squares of white bread fried in rendered salt pork fat), Damper Dogs (a fattier relative of Toutons) and a variety of Duffs (boiled and steamed puddings, many of which contain salt pork).
My conclusion: Canadian cuisine is like Hawk and Grant - floating motionless in a dark, empty space. Cuisinewise, Canada resembles a cold America, Britain without the mashed green peas, a more courteous France. This is a cuisine of great ethnic diversity, all the options transported from somewhere else. Except for some pemmican, muk tuk and moose recipes, I found nothing truly indigenous.
Nonetheless, I intend to cook up at a least a week's worth of Canadian chow, to fuel my fixation. I need it more than you can imagine and the longer it lasts, the better I'll be.
I suppose I'll be eating a ton of Toutons. I'll parboil cubes of salt pork, then fry them crisp in a heavy pan. I'll cut squares of industrial-strength white bread and dump them into the pan with the pork and fat. A bit of salt and pepper and when the bread is golden brown, it's time to chow down.
Oh, I almost forgot: Grant passed his final. Hawk didn't.
Did I mention beer?