Front Page

June 27, 2002
Water rationing up to Level 2; surcharge affects all

Outdoor use: Irrigating limited to once a week,

8 p.m. to midnight

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Level 2 water rationing is coming July 1 for Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District consumers.

Restrictions included in Level 2 rationing limit irrigation to once a week between 8 p.m. and midnight, and sharply increase the cost of water consumption above the 8,000 gallon-per-month basic service level.

Action to impose stricter rationing was taken at the regular Tuesday night meeting of the district board of directors.

"Reservoir levels are not improving and the river continues to drop," said Carrie Campbell, the district general manager. "I'm concerned about our ability to preserve water in the reservoirs. If the river dries up completely, we will have to depend on the reservoirs, a very serious situation. I recommend we go to Level 2."

"We have no choice but to plan for the worst scenario," said Bob Frye, vice chairman of the district board.

In a move related to unexpected costs because of the drought, the district also enacted a temporary $5.25 per-equivalent-unit surcharge to be levied on each water service account.

The surcharge will be included on the July bill for June services. It will be continued through August at which time the board will review costs and make a determination if the surcharge will be continued or ended.

"The surcharge is based on additional operating costs," Campbell said. "The drought has caused costs we didn't anticipate in the budget."

When the temporary surcharge is added to the July 1 monthly water bill, if only the basic 8,000 gallons have been used by the customer, the bill will increase from $13.50 to $18.75.

Based on monthly consumption during Level 2 restrictions, water rates in addition to the $13.50 base for the first 8,000 gallons and $5.25 surcharge, will be: 9,000 to 20,000 gallons - $14 per 1,000 gallons; 21,000 to 30,000 gallons - $22.50 per 1,000 gallons; 31,000 to 40,000 gallons - $27 per 1,000 gallons; 41,000 to 50,000 gallons - $31.50 per 1,000 gallons; and usage above 51,000 gallons - $90 per 1,000 gallons.

The schedule for Level 2 daily watering is based on house numbers: Sunday - houses numbered 1 through 99; Monday - 100 through 199; Tuesday - 200 through 299; Wednesday - 300 through 399; Thursday - 400 through 499; Friday - 500 through 599; Saturday, 600 and up.

Penalties for violating water restrictions are: first offense - warning; second offense - $100; third offense - $250; fourth and additional offenses - $500 each.

During the budget process, the district anticipated running the pumps to lift water from the San Juan River to the Vista treatment plant only as a supplemental measure, maybe six hours a day. Because of the drought, the district has been running those pumps 24 hours a day, seven days a week, since April 1.

"I thought the use of those pumps would be supplemental instead of primary," Campbell said.

About $34,500 was budgeted to operate the pumps.The actual cost to operate the pumps will exceed that amount by more than $200,000. The district is paying about $500 a day for electricity to run the pumps.

One of the pumps, out of operation this past weekend due to the failure of its 75-horsepower electric motor, has been replaced.

Currently, the South San Juan diversion is the only source of new water for the district. Two submersible pumps at that location pump 2 million gallons of water per day to the Vista water treatment plant. The Vista plant is running about 18 hours a day in order to meet the daily need for treated water in the subdivisions west of town.

During the remaining six hours each day, the 2 million gallons from the South San Juan diversion plant is pumped into Lake Forest. The plan is to keep Lake Forest full. If the San Juan River completely dries up, water from Lake Forest will be sent to the Vista treatment plant for use downtown as well as west of town.

When there is water in the river, downtown water comes from the West Fork of the San Juan, is treated at a plant on Snowball Road, then distributed to users in and around town. If the West Fork of the San Juan River dries up, the Snowball plant will be of no use.

Additional drought plans call for pumping treated water from the Vista treatment plant to the distribution system supplied from the Lake Hatcher treatment plant. The idea is to retain as much water in Lake Hatcher as possible.

Lake Hatcher has the highest elevation of any of the reservoirs west of town. In the event this year's drought continues next year, Lake Hatcher could be used as a source to gravity-fed water to the entire district distribution system.

Plans also call for pumping surplus untreated water from Lake Forest to Village Lake. From Village Lake, the water can be used to irrigate golf courses and condominium lawns, and for other group projects.

The change in water collection and distribution procedures has forced the district to spend about $150,000 for new pumps and pump installation. Included among the pump purchases is an additional million-gallon-per-day pump for the South San Juan diversion, increasing pumping capacity from that point to 3 million gallons per day. The goal with the new pump is to fill all of the reservoirs this coming winter as a hedge against possible drought next year.

Meanwhile, current water availability continues to shrink. Flow in the San Juan River as measured in town had dwindled to 38 cubic feet per second Sunday.

On June 24, the usable capacity of Hatcher Reservoir was 46 percent. Stevens Reservoir was at 50 percent, Lake Forest at 98 percent, Village Lake at 33 percent, and Lake Pagosa at 56 percent.

Since April 30, the usable capacity of the five reservoirs has shown the following declines: Lake Hatcher has fallen 15 percent, Stevens Reservoir 11 percent, Lake Forest 2 percent, Village Lake 22 percent, and Lake Pagosa 8 percent.

Pre-evacuation alert stands; slight chance seen for rain

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A fire pre-evacuation alert remains in effect for all citizens in Archuleta County.

The alert advises citizens to pack medicines, clothing, and other valuables in order to be ready if evacuation is required because of a wildfire threat.

The alert has nothing to do with the Missionary Ridge fire north of Durango. That fire currently poses no threat to Archuleta County citizens.

No evacuation orders have been issued in Archuleta County.

Danger from potential wildfires remains high. The forest and undergrowth in and around Pagosa Springs remains tinder dry. If a fire should erupt, conditions are such that homes could be threatened within minutes.

If necessary, evacuation will be ordered by members of the local sheriff's and fire departments. If possible, door-to-door notice will be given. If door-to-door visits are not possible, the sound of three blasts from departmental sirens is an order to evacuate.

Those ordered to evacuate should pick up the survival packages they've already prepared and leave immediately.

Chances are slight through the coming week for relief from the sweltering drought conditions smothering Pagosa Country.

"Slight" as used in the weather forecast means a 20-percent chance for afternoon thundershowers starting tomorrow and lasting through Tuesday, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster for the National Weather Service Grand Junction office.

The thundershowers will be accompanied by gusty winds and warmer than usual temperatures, Chancy said. High temperatures should be in the upper 80s or lower 90s with a possible 97 degrees Friday. Low temperatures should range between 45 and 50 degrees.

A high pressure area hovers across much of the Rocky Mountain West, precluding the possibility of rain until the high moves out. The high could start moving east next week, creating a possibility for monsoon rains starting July 4, according to Chancy.

"That's pretty far in the future to have any degree of accuracy," he added.

National Weather Service sources have classified drought conditions in the Four Corners Area, including Pagosa Springs, as "Exceptional," the worst possible.

A lack of water and the ever-present threat of wildfire has Archuleta County and its neighbors locked in restrictions.

Fire bans ordered by the state, county, and U.S. Forest Service make it clear no open fires of any kind are allowed anywhere outside of a building. Cigarette smoking must be confined to buildings or closed vehicles. Chain saws cannot be used on Forest Service lands. Off-road vehicles can't stray from the road; they must remain on designated roads.

Fireworks of any kind are also expressly prohibited. The annual Pagosa Springs Fourth of July fireworks display is canceled.

Anyone caught violating fire or fireworks restrictions is subject to a fine.

All Forest Service lands are closed north of U.S. 160 and west of a line running from the Turkey Springs Road, U.S. 160 intersection northerly to Piedra Road and on to the Pine River in the Weminuche Wilderness Area.

Questions about local fires and evacuation requirements can be answered by calling the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268 or Central Dispatch at 264-5555.

Level 2 water restrictions begin July 1 for all Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District water customers, including residents of Pagosa Springs.

 

Firefighters busy; deputies make arson arrest

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Summer officially started Friday, and with it came a spate of fires in the county and one arson arrest.

Eighteen Pagosa Fire Protection District firefighters with six trucks responded to a fire in Aspen Springs Saturday afternoon. The fire, at property on Fred's Court, torched two trees, some oak brush and a pickup truck.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said firefighters fought the blaze for about an hour and were able to knock it down completely. U.S. Forest Service personnel, Archuleta County engines and a couple of civilians also responded to that scene.

An Aspen Springs man living on property adjoining the site of the fire was later arrested by an Archuleta County sheriff's deputy in connection with this event. Paul Harding, 43, was booked on charges of fourth degree arson and reckless endangerment. He was later released on a $250 bond.

Some U.S. Forest Service personnel, who initially responded to Aspen Springs, were actually called off to respond to another fire near U.S. 160 about a half-mile west of the Piedra River.

Jeff Miles, a U.S. Forest Service firefighter, said a lightning strike that sheared off the top half of a tree started the blaze in an area of heavy timber. Once the initial strike team arrived, they called immediately for more air support. Another helicopter and a slurry bomber joined the attack and helped smother the blaze before it could explode.

In this case, the Forest Service crews were assisted by a team of three civilians, all apparently with some fire training. Bob Bowker, a helicopter pilot on the scene, said when he spotted the three, he thought they were hikers or other residents who would need to be evacuated before slurry bombers could drop their loads. Taking a closer look, he saw they were digging a fire line.

"They did exactly what needed to be done at exactly the right place," he said. "They were a big help and should be thanked."

John Reich, a member of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, was one of the three civilians. The others remained unidentified at press time.

The helicopter crew and other Forest Service personnel also responded to a fire about four miles southwest of Chimney Rock Saturday - another lighting-strike start that covered about a tenth of an acre before firefighters arrived. Two helicopter crew members provided initial attack. They were joined by Forest Service and Southern Ute crews who finished knocking down the fire.

Outside county boundaries, seven Pagosa Fire Protection District firefighters with two trucks continue to assist with structure protection at the Missionary Ridge Fire. Grams said recently the local crews have been working on the west side of the fire in the Durango Hills area.

As of 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Missionary Ridge fire covered 66,983 acres. A total 1,271 residences, six commercial buildings and 200 outbuildings remained threatened by the blaze. Total costs have climbed to $15.3 million, more than double last week's total. Resources battling the blaze include 137 engines, 10 helicopters, 16 dozers and 12 water tenders. The fire is 30 percent contained.

Making the firefighter's jobs even more challenging, a second fire, the Valley fire, started three miles north of Durango Tuesday night. By 7 p.m., it had consumed 400 acres and six structures, causing evacuation of 90 homes in the Falls Creek Ranch and High Meadows subdivisions.

On the other side of Wolf Creek Pass, the Million fire was 55 percent contained at 1:30 a.m. Wednesday. That fire, two miles south of South Fork, covers 8,925 acres and is thought to be human-caused. Cost is estimated at $3.2 million. A total of 18 residences and two outbuildings have been lost, but another 175 buildings are threatened.

Legislative action saves local sales tax status

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Thanks to help from the Colorado Legislature, sparks created by friction between Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County over sales tax collection have been doused, at least for the next few years.

Passage of House Bill 1218 "provides us with the protection we need to allow the status quo to continue," said Jay Harrington, the Pagosa Springs town administrator.

As a result of the legislation, the Colorado Department of Revenue will continue to handle sales taxes paid in Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs as it has done in the recent past.

That means a 6.9 percent sales tax levy remains on retail sales in the county. Sales taxes are collected by local merchants and remitted to the state on either a weekly or monthly basis. The state retains 2.9 percent of the collections, then returns revenue from the remaining 4 percent to the town and county. The town and county split the 4 percent equally.

Sales tax collections became an issue because 2 percent of the local levy expires at the end of this year. In separate elections, town and county citizens each approved a 2-percent collection rate to begin Jan. 1 of next year when the old 2 percent expires. Since, in this instance, only one levy is permitted by state statutes, a decision had to be made as to whether the county or the town would get the 2 percent.

Had the town's 2 percent been approved, with the majority of sales tax in the county collected inside town boundaries, an intergovernmental agreement would have been necessary for the county to continue to receive an even split of revenues.

Passage of HB 1218 allows collection and distribution of the 2 percent to continue as in the past until the seven-year term of the new 2 percent tax expires.

Town officials took the issue to their voters, concerned that a petition from county residents living outside town boundaries might force redistribution of sales tax proceeds, causing the town to lose revenue. HB 1218 removes that concern.

Sales taxes collected in Archuleta County during May of this year topped May collections for last year by 1.78 percent. The May total this year is $350,589, compared to $344,483 collected last May.

Also ahead of last year is the total amount of sale tax revenue collected from Jan. 1 through May 31. The total collected this year is $1,943,617, compared to $1,884,834 collected last year, Jan. 1 through May 3.

The sales tax collection rate increase this year, when compared with last year's, is declining.

For the first five months of 2001, collections were 20.44 percent ahead of collections for the first five months of 2000. Except for January, monthly collections last year consistently exceeded monthly collections the previous year. The year-to-date increase this year is 3.12 percent compared to 2001.

If this year's month-to-month pattern follows last year, sales tax collections may start to dip in July. Year-to-date totals last year, listed month-by-month, show the following increases in percentages when compared to 2000: January - up 6.54 percent; February - 28.07 percent; March - 21.31 percent; April - 21.23 percent; May - 20.44 percent; June - 17.71 percent; July - 13.27 percent; August - 13.51 percent; September - 13.03 percent; October - 13.05 percent; November - 11.33 percent; and December - 11.76 percent.

Archuleta County divides its 2 percent of sales tax revenues between the general fund and the road improvement fun. Each of the county funds received $87,647 from May revenues. From January through May, each fund has received a total of $485,904.

The town's share of sales tax receipts is devoted to capital improvement projects.

 Weather

 

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

6/12

84

39

-

-

-

6/13

85

41

-

-

-

6/14

86

39

-

-

-

6/15

83

40

-

-

-

6/16

81

39

-

-

-

6/17

80

39

-

-

-

6/18

82

38

-

-

-

6/19

86

40

-

-

-

6/20

87

41

-

-

-

6/21

85

39

R

-

.04

6/22

87

41

-

-

-

6/23

88

42

-

-

-

6/24

83

40

-

-

-

6/25

85

42

-

-

-

 Sports Page

Porpoises stroke to season's bests in Durango

 

The Pagosa Lakes Porpoises Swim Team is at the height of its 14th season.

Having competed in Los Alamos, Fort Collins, Farmington, Pueblo and Gunnison since the start of the season in mid-January, the team joined more than 250 other swimmers at Durango last weekend for the first-ever meet at the new community center. The facility includes a 10-lane, 25-meter competition pool.

In a two-day format, 30 of the 38-member Porpoise team competed against the clock and swimmers from both New Mexico and Colorado. Pagosa Lakes team members at the meet ranged in age from 6 to 18 years.

Most of the Porpoises swam personal bests.

Emily Bryant, 6, completed her first-ever 100-meter medley and improved in two of her other four events. Both Savannah, 8, and Summer Wedemeyer, 6, competed in the Female 8 and Under category and dropped significant time in their 25-meter breaststrokes, finishing the race at 41.45 and 41.08 seconds respectively. They each posted personal bests in three additional events.

In the Male 8 and Under events, first-year swimmers made significant improvements. Keegan Caves swam his best ever in five events, dropping the most time, 16 seconds, in his 100 medley with a finish at 2 minutes 48.24 seconds. Evan Greer swam his best-ever times in four events cutting 16 seconds off his 50-meter backstroke. Austin Miller dropped substantial time in his 50-meter freestyle (58.18), 25 breaststroke (39.76) and his 100 medley (2:52.30).

In the 9-10 age group, Kala Matzdorf and Megan Bryant claimed the first two spots in the 50 breaststroke with a 51.12 and 51.49 respectively, in a large field of 46 girls. Briana Bryant and Emmi Greer each posted personal bests in multiple events with great improvement in their medley races. Teale Kitson had the best meet of his season bettering his time in each of his seven events. He tackled long events including a 400 freestyle (6:48.42) and 200 backstroke (3:32.63). His training paid off in the 50 backstroke (45.77), and the 50-meter butterfly (53.40), placing him third and fifth overall in those two events.

In the 11-12 age group, Mackenzie Kitson kept pace with her brother, improving in all of her five events with her best events being the 50 backstroke and the 50 butterfly. Hillary Matzdorf boasted personal bests in each event dropping 6 seconds in her 50 butterfly. Della Greer swam well and took the challenge of a 400 freestyle finishing in 6:46.68. Dylan Caves bested his time in four of five events, dropping over six seconds from his previous best race in the 50 breaststroke.

Porpoises in the 13-14 group swam competitively. Heather Dahm improved in four events dropping a full 10 seconds in her 100 freestyle. Katelynn Little swam the 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke, and the 400 medley, improving in all three. Kyra Matzdorf cut time in four of her events. She posted a 1:34.64 in the 100 butterfly, a 3.5 second drop. Laurel Reinhardt continues to show up in the fastest heats to challenge the leaders in her age group. Her strongest finishes - in the 100 backstroke and the 100 freestyle - earned her two third-place finishes in a field of 27 girls.

The team had five boys in the 13-14 age group with veteran swimmers Chris Baum, Michael Caves, Aaron Miller, Matt Nobles and Chris Nobles.

Baum improved in four events. Caves' best stroke, the 100 breaststroke, earned him fifth place with a time of 1:30.85. Miller improved in four events, cutting 17 seconds from his 200 backstroke to place sixth. He also took a third in the 100 backstroke. Matt Nobles cut time in the 200 backstroke (2:57.53), placing him seventh. Chris Nobles, in his last meet in the age group, placed first in four events, taking second only in the 100 breast.

Three senior swimmers, 15 and over, competed against a strong field and bettered most of their times.

Audrey Miller swam her best 400 free in 6:55.40 while teammate Tiffany Thompson cut time in her off-event, the 100 breast. A 12-year veteran, Thompson is visiting Colorado State University this week and will be swimming at CSU this fall. Chris Matzdorf, dropped time in three events making his best improvement in the 200 breastroke and the 200 medley.

Many of the Porpoises placed in the top six throughout the weekend at the Durango meet. The final two-team meets of the year include Montrose, July 12-14, and the Western Slope Championships in Grand Junction, July 19-21.

Parks & Rec

Youngsters get free rods, reels at fishing derby

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN columnist

Free fishing rods and reels, free hot dogs and newly-stocked ponds equal a great summer day in Pagosa.

Thanks to the Colorado Division of Wildlife and the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department, we had a record turnout Wednesday, with special guests including the Pagosa Springs parks and recreation advisory board, LPEA Round-Up committee and some of the town street crew.

The freshly-stocked ponds had some 2-pound lunkers tagged with special prizes to be awarded to the youngsters who caught the tagged fish. A costume contest featuring Huck Finn and Becky Thatcher lookalikes was also in store for the young ones. All winners will be announced in a later publication.

There are still lots of fish to be caught at the ponds behind the River Center, so load up the kids and come on out.

July 4 happenings

The annual fireworks display has been postponed but the party still goes on - the most enjoyable possible, considering the drought season we're living with. A barbecue dinner starts at 5 p.m., with a cash bar and live music by the Pagosa Hot Strings. Everyone realizes the seriousness of the drought and we are all working toward a great and safe Fourth of July.

An old-fashioned Fourth of July is being planned, with volleyball, horseshoes, watermelon seed spitting contest, a dance contest and more.

We invite all to come join the clean, wholesome fun at Pagosa Lodge. Sponsors are the Chamber of Commerce, the Parks and Recreation Department and Pagosa Lodge.

Youth baseball

The season is coming to a close. This season had the biggest turnout ever. The department would like to thank all the volunteer coaches who have helped out and who promote the youth sports program. Hope to see some of you for the soccer season.

Special thanks to the sponsors of youth baseball. Your contributions to this program helped bring new equipment, pants and uniforms the kids enjoyed using.

The end-of-season potluck is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Town Park. Everyone is invited to attend.

A reminder to all parents and athletes that kids get to keep their hats. T-Ball players get to keep their shirts, as well. Rookies need to turn in uniforms at their last game or during the potluck. The Rookies all-star team will be issued new uniforms to use in tournament play. Bambinos keep their uniforms for the tournament.

Tournament play will begin after the holiday weekend.

Baseball clinic

Beginning July 5, a youth baseball clinic for ages 8-11 will be held Fridays from 5-7 p.m. The cost will be $30 for five nights of instruction. Contact the parks and recreation office, 264-4151, for more information and registration forms.

Adult soccer

Adults interested in playing pick-up soccer games should contact Andrew Harden at 946-7373. Games are being played at 6 p.m. Tuesday or Thursday nights in Town Park.

Adult softball

The adult softball program is going on right now with games played Monday and Wednesday evenings. Anyone interested in playing should contact the recreation office about joining a team.

Obituaries
Steven Glen Brady

Steven Glen Brady, 51, of Artesia, N.M., a former Pagosa Springs resident who once owned Happy Camper Campground, died June 24, 2002, in his home.

Mr. Brady was born Feb. 28, 1951, in Hagerman, N.M., to William and Ocie Mae Brady. He married Ann Bradshaw Nov. 29, 1969, in Juarez, Mexico. A former 20-year supervisor for Phillips Petroleum, he lived in Artesia until 1980, in Odessa, Texas, from 1980-1996 and in Pagosa Springs from 1996 through 2001 when he returned to Artesia.

He attended West Main Baptist Church, worked with 4-H clubs, was a member of Odessa Riding Club, Mesquite Team Penners, American Quarter Horse Association and the Sandhills Rodeo Association.

Funeral services were scheduled at 2 p.m. today in West Main Baptist Church in Artesia with the Rev. Dan Sanders of Pagosa Springs and the Rev. Mark Robinson officiating. Burial will be in Artesia's Woodbine Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions to the Lustgarten Foundation or Lakeview Christian Hospice.

He is survived by his wife, Ann; three daughters, Tammy Heard and husband Darren of Lubbock, Texas, Glenna Turner and husband John of Las Vegas, Nev., and Amanda Brady of Artesia; six brothers, Morgan and wife Glenna of Kingman, Ariz., Will and wife Darlene of Midland, Texas, Robert and wife Louise of Kennewick, Wash., Marion (Pete) and wife Patty of Ignacio, Bill and wife Coy of Roswell, N.M., and John and wife Gail of Roswell; four sisters, Ellen Dolinger of Bristol, Va., Lela Spear and husband Ed of Roswell, Barbara Wells and husband Charles of Nashville, Tenn., and Kathy Hatch and husband Robert of Roswell; four grandchildren, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Jim.

Cheri L. Ortega

Cheri L. Ortega, 39, moved to Pagosa Springs in 1996 from Anthony, N.M. She was born in Norwalk, Calif., to Joan and Bob Arnold. She passed away at Mercy Medical Center in Durango after a courageous battle with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

Cheri had worked at the City Market, the Humane Society as a vet-tech and at The Corner Store.

A memorial was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church June 24, 2002, followed by a celebration of Cheri's life at the Humane Society's board room. The Humane Society and The Corner Store provided refreshments.

As resounded at her memorial, she was always concerned for those around her. She was dedicated to keeping her husband, Smiley, and her two boys, Dylan, 8, and Brandon, 10, happy and well cared for.

Cheri treasured dolphins. So much so that she requested her ashes be spread among them. Her home was adorned with every kind of dolphin scenario you could imagine. Friends wore dolphin jewelry at her memorial.

Cheri lived each day of her life to the fullest, greeting each morning as a blessing and saying good night each evening to a day fully embraced. She shared this joy and determination with everyone she met.

Preceding Cheri in death were her Aunt Jenny, Papa Jim, Aurora Madrid and Grandma Helen.

She is survived by her husband, Smiley; sons Brandon and Dylan; her parents, Bob and Joan Arnold, and mother and father-in-law Yolanda and Ismael; her brother, Shawn Arnold and niece Caitlinn Arnold; Grandpa Juan Madrid, Augustine Ortega, aunt Helen Madrid, brother-in-law Kim Ortega, cousin Ozzy Madrid and Grandma Pauline Ortega.

"Friends of Cheri" have set up an account in her name to help the family offset some of their expenses. If anyone would like to contribute to the fund at Citizens Bank, the account number is 20706168.

Janice Russo-Burleson

Janice Lou Russo-Burleson, 46, of Pagosa Springs died in an automobile accident June 21, 2002. She had moved to Pagosa Springs from Torrance, Calif., in 1992. She was born in Harbor City, Calif., Oct. 3, 1956, to Thomas and Lou Jean Braddock.

She was a creative writer and a children's book writer. She was a homemaker, mother and wife. She had an enormous love for animals and she enjoyed writing, spending time with friends and family, the outdoors, baseball, music and dancing. She is finally free and will be enormously missed. She was loved by all who knew her.

She was preceded in death by her parents; a brother, Thomas Braddock, and a sister, Rhonda Snyder; her husband, Vito Russo; and her son, Jason Russo.

Survivors are her husband, Steve Luhnow of Pagosa Springs; a daughter, Deseray Russo, of Redondo Beach, Calif; a sister, Diane Davis of Torrance, Calif; a stepson, Jessy Luhnow of Pagosa Springs; a niece, Jeanine Davis, of Torrance Calif.; a brother-in-law, Stan Snyder of Lomita, Calif; a niece, Lindsay Snyder of Lomita, and niece and nephew Deni and Duke Snyder of Lomita.

A memorial fund has been established at Bank of the San Juans to help defray funeral expenses.

Geary Taylor

Geary Wayne Taylor, 54, died June 18, 2002, in his Pagosa Springs home. Born Aug. 20, 1947 in Selma, Calif., to Archie and Dorothy Taylor, he moved to Pagosa from Sam Rayburn, Texas, in 2000.

Married to Rhonda Taylor Aug. 26, 1995, he held a bachelor of science and a master's degree in business administration and had served four years in the U.S. Air Force where he received the Purple Heart.

He most recently worked in recreation properties management and development after retiring as CAO for Kern County, Calif.

Geary loved Mother Earth and was also a member of the International Foot Print Association. He loved music, golf, fishing, talking and sitting, not to mention his 55s. He was a wonderful man who had quite a knack for making friends easily and making those friends feel welcome and comfortable with his big smile and interesting stories.

A memorial service was held in his Colorado home June 22, 2002, with his children from Oregon and Texas attending as well as his close friends from Pagosa and as far away as California being there to celebrate him and all he brought to their lives.

Survivors are his wife, Rhonda, of Pagosa Springs; daughter Jessica Taylor of Portland, Ore.; stepdaughters Stacy Fischer and Molley Wheeler; and granddaughters Lauren Fischer and Ivy Wheeler, all of Lumberton, Texas.

 Inside The Sun

June 29 declared Forest Bramwell Day in county

 

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Saturday, June 29, has been declared Forest Bramwell Day in Archuleta County.

The proclamation was issued by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners while meeting in regular session Tuesday.

Forest Bramwell is a local who is ranked the No.1 bareback rider in the world following his showing at the United States Winter Tour Finale in Las Vegas.

Forest's parents, Gary and Faye, accepted the proclamation from the commissioners and showed off his Las Vegas trophy at the meeting. Forest was not present because he was in Canada, riding in another rodeo.

Commissioners also conducted the following additional business.

- An agreement with TDS Telecom/CML was approved allowing that firm to install improvements on the county E-911 emergency communications network.

- The expenditure of about $6,500 was authorized for replacement of a water heater at the courthouse.

- A 3.2 beer license for San Juan Marinas 1 and 2 at Navajo Lake was renewed.

- Conditional approval was granted for the 140-lot Reserve at Pagosa Peak subdivision. The improvements agreement for Phase 1 of the four-phase project was also approved. Reserve of Pagosa Peak is located about 6 miles north of the intersection of U.S. 160 and Piedra Road.

- Final approval was granted the improvements agreement for Econo Lodge.

- Conditional approval was given for contracting with U-Can Afford Landscaping for construction of trails along Park Avenue and Village Drive located in Pagosa Lakes.

 

Red Ryder Roundup corrals a heapin' portion of excitement

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

If rodeo is your passion, the Red Ryder Roundup July 4-6 in Pagosa Springs should be at the top of your agenda. That agenda should also include a new event, associated with the rodeo - Jackpot Saddle Team Roping July 7.

For over 50 years, the Red Ryder Roundup has ranked with the best amateur rodeos in the West. It has always featured three days of head-to-head, or something like that, competition between the stickiest riders and the orneriest bucking stock ever confined in one arena.

Starting times are 2 p.m. July 4, 6 p.m. July 5, and 6 p.m. July 6.

While hangin' on and fallin' off an assortment of bulls and horses rouses most rodeo fans into stompin' their boots and throwin' their Stetsons, this year's rodeo piles up excitement almost past the breakin' point with a whole corral full of additional crowd pleasing events.

Start with Monte Montana Jr., western entertainer deluxe. Montana was a longtime friend of Fred Harman, the creator of Red Ryder. Montana's philosophy will tickle your cowboy taste buds as he describes his many great experiences as a western performer. While he talks, he spins a lariat and throws in a cowboy song or two, or three.

Montana has appeared on the Grand Ol' Opry, the television series "Gunsmoke," and performed at most of the major rodeos in the U.S. and Canada. He has taken Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show around the globe to 26 countries. Montana served as the last cavalry officer in the United States Army and was a deputy sheriff in a mounted posse. An all-around performer who represents the West at its best, Montana will have you begging for more.

Everyone will want to look in on the special collection of saddles, spurs, tack and other rodeo memorabilia displayed in the Western Heritage exhibit located near the grandstand.

The rodeo organizers did not forget cowboys and cowgirls from the younger generation.

New this year, especially for the youngsters, is the Red Ryder Roundup Calf Scramble conducted July 5 and 6. The calf scramble is a free contest for cowhands between the ages of 12 and 19. Ten contestants toting halters try, all at the same time of course, to ease those halters over the heads of only five calves. The object is to lead a calf across the finish line. The first two across the finish line with a calf in tow will receive $600 toward the purchase of a steer to be shown and auctioned at the 2003 Archuleta County Fair.

Everyone wins a prize during the Red Ryder Roundup Mutton - that's a sheep, podnah - Busting events July 4-6. This time the rodeo hands must be six years old or younger with a parent at the rodeo. Twelve riders each day demonstrate how to stay on - or fall off - a sheep. A first-place buckle will be awarded. Everyone else wins a T-shirt.

The thrill of watching cowboys and horses perform doesn't stop with the end of the regular rodeo July 6. July 7, at 1 p.m., the ranching side of rodeo takes over with Jackpot Saddle Team Roping. This is head and heel roping with teams of cowboys unlimbering their ropes in competition for cash and a saddle.

All the traditional events rodeo lovers have cherished for many years take place at the Red Ryder Roundup. Included are bareback, saddle bronc, and brahma bull riding, steer wrestling, team roping, girls' breakaway roping, barrel racing, kids barrel racing, and scrambled egg team roping.

Prizes include trophy saddles for the all-around cowboy donated by Timber Ridge Ranch and for the all-around cowgirl donated by The Pagosa Springs SUN and Fred Harman Art Museum.

Before each rodeo, the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Savvy Team will demonstrate the horse training techniques that have brought Parelli world fame.

Stock for the rodeo is supplied, as it has been for many years, by Buster Webb.

Sanctioning for the Red Ryder Roundup is provided by the Colorado Rodeo Association, New Mexico Rodeo Association, and the Grand Canyon (Arizona) Professional Rodeo Association,

The Red Ryder Roundup is a sponsored event, as are other Fourth of July events. The Grand Rodeo Sponsor is Colorado's Timber Ridge Ranch.

Pre-sale general admission and box seat tickets are available by calling Pagosa Land Company at 264-5000, or by stopping at the company's office in the Hersch Building downtown on Pagosa Street. The preseason general admission price for all three days is $20 for adults, $10 for children. Box seats are $100 July 4, $75 July 5 and 6. Box seats cost $225 for all three days. A box seats eight people.

Pre-sale tickets are also available at Goodman's Department Store, downtown on Pagosa Street.

At the gate, general admission tickets for adults are $8 for July 4, $7 for July 5 and 6. General admission child tickets at the gate are $5 July 4, $4 July 5 and 6.

The first Red Ryder Roundup was held July 4, 1949. Fred Harman, the creator of Red Ryder and a native of Pagosa Springs, was active in promoting the event during its early years. Harman's cowboy creation, along with his sidekick Little Beaver, appeared in comic strips around the world, and was the subject of several movies and books. A huge number of objects, including the Daisy air rifle, carried Red Ryder endorsements.

Red Ryder Roundup is the outgrowth of local rodeos historically conducted on ranches in the area as well as in town.

The rodeo grounds are located east of town east of the intersection of U.S. 84 with Mill Creek Road.

'Let's roll for freedom' in Pagosa's July 4 parade

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

July 4 is the time-honored date to celebrate American independence, patriotism and heroism and the fast-approaching 2002 celebration is no exception.

There will be no fireworks, but there will be shows of national pride and none will be more telling of that trait than the annual Pagosa style parade, sponsored again by the Rotary Club.

Catch phrases, words uttered in moments of stress, have long distinguished American fighting men. Words like "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead," "Surrender, hell" and "I shall return" have spurred patriotic fervor for decades.

Less than a year ago a new phrase, a cry to overcome, was spoken by those aboard a hijacked airliner destined to go down with loss of all aboard in a rural Pennsylvania field.

Those words, "Let's roll!" have become the nation's new rallying cry. And it is apropos that they should be a part of the Pagosa Springs parade. The theme will be "Let's roll for freedom."

The selection of a grand marshal for any patriotic parade is often a hard choice but Pagosa will welcome one of its prime military veterans and community leaders to that role this year.

The Rev. John Bowe, pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church has been selected to fill the role.

Father John, as he's affectionately known to his flock, was born in Minneapolis, Minn., and later came to Pagosa Springs in 1976 as the IMH pastor. He had served in the Army during World War II at a post on the Aleutian Islands off Alaska. Music has always been an important part of his life and his skills on piano and organ have been deemed "remarkable."

He has served in Pagosa Springs longer than any other active pastor and has always been active in community affairs such as serving on the low-cost housing advisory board and the child protection team.

Those responsible for his selection said, "He continually reminds us that the more work we do together in our community, the brighter our future will be - especially when it comes to the lifestyles of our youth."

The parade will offer first- through third-place cash prizes in each of five categories: Commercial, Nonprofit, Youth, Individual and Family, and this year for the first time, the Most Musical entry.

Organizations, businesses, youth groups, families and individuals are encouraged to participate in the parade as marchers or to construct and enter a float. Entries will be judged by category. Participants are encouraged to keep the theme in mind and to display the American flag as a part of their presentation.

Parade applications are available at all area banks and at the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce. Those planning an entry should have their application returned by June 29. They may be mailed to Rotary Club, P.O. Box 685, or dropped off at the Chamber office. Any entries received after the deadline will march at the end of the long line of celebrants.

If you want a good seat for the parade, it's wise to get there early. The march will begin at 10 a.m. after participants have registered beginning at 9 a.m. and formation has begun on the Pagosa Springs High School parking lot.

The actual parade route will move down South 8th Street to San Juan Street and then proceed through the entire downtown area, culminating at 2nd Street adjacent to the Forest Service offices.

Traffic will be re-routed through downtown on Lewis Street.

The parade, one of the largest in the Southwest, has grown annually and is expected to feature more than 100 entries this year.

If you can't be in the parade as a participant, be sure you're on hand to salute all those who have taken the time to enter and show their patriotism and love of country.

The parade is part of what community is about. It is the collective celebration of an event of national significance at the local level.

Thousands of spectators annually line the street, several persons deep, through almost the entire route. Many stake out prime viewing spots the night before, parking on the street as soon as the street sweeping hours end, often putting up tents or awnings over the prime spots.

Those who are entering the parade should remember not to throw candy to the children lining the route. There has been near tragedy a few times and children should not be put at risk. Excited children have no idea how difficult it is for drivers and riders to anticipate little ones rushing out to grab a treasure.

Still, Rotary is happy to see children receiving goodies and they ask that if you plan to be among the generous folks, have a couple of people walking curbside with your entry to pass out the treats.

Finally, be aware that no water guns of any type will be allowed.

People come from throughout the Four Corners area for the parade, for the camaraderie and the joy that arises from celebrating the independence of the nation, perhaps even more so in times of stress.

The passengers on that hijacked jetliner set the stage for us all. We need to live up to the parade theme:

"Let's roll for freedom."

Park to Park arts, crafts fest July 4

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Fourth of July celebration will spread from downtown all the way up Put Hill this year, for a day of family fun and entertainment that's sure to bring out the patriotic pulse in everyone, even without the fireworks.

Starting July 4, about 90 arts, crafts and food vendors will descend on Pagosa Country for the 24th annual Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival. That, combined with a rocking good picnic scheduled at the Pagosa Lodge and a quilt show, will provide fun for the whole community.

The Fourth of July Family Celebration and Concert at the Lodge will kick off with games and activities at 4:30 p.m. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy volleyball, croquet, horseshoes, a three-legged race, sack race, egg tossing, potato passing, ping pong ball hunt, bobbing for apples, golden duck contest, watermelon seed spitting, and a patriotic theme costume contest. Food service will begin at 5 p.m. with entertainment to follow at 6 p.m.

Food choices offered by the Lodge will include barbecued beef brisket, barbecued beef sandwiches, sausages, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, condiments, brownies and cookies. Sodas, water, beer and a full bar will also be available.

The Pagosa Hot Strings, a local favorite, is back again to kick off the entertainment. Their talent and fancy fiddling is sure to wow any crowd from 6-8 p.m. A dance floor will be set up to allow everyone to kick up their heels and rock for the Fourth. A second band, yet to be announced, will play from 8-9:30 p.m. Pigeons will be released and carriage rides will be offered.

The arts and crafts festival will line the Riverwalk from Town Park to Centennial Park. Vendors will offer one-of-a-kind handmade goods over three days. From July 4-July 6, booths will open at 9 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. On July 7, the festival will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. For the first time, the Pagosa Springs Humane Society will offer a beer garden, open during the same hours.

Over at the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium, just up the hill from the arts and crafts festival, the Pagosa Piecemakers Quilt Club will pre-sent a stunning quilt show complete with full-sized quilts, wall hangings and quilted accessories. The Christmas Corner, full of holiday items, is sure to brighten everyone's afternoon and bring memories of cooler temperatures. The show will open at noon July 4 and 10 a.m. July 5-6.

Doug Trowbridge, festival event coordinator, encourages everyone to come early and often for the pick of festival offerings. Bringing a full wallet might help too.

The arts and crafts festival has been growing steadily since its inception and this year will be no different. In 2001, a total of 11 states were represented, and preregistration for 2002 started almost immediately after cleanup was completed last year. Space for vendors has been filled for more than a month.

 

Emergency services, Knights establish local fire hotline

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

"I'll go out on a limb and say we'll probably never get a fire that would sweep through the town of Pagosa Springs."

That was the comment of Warren Grams, chief of the Pagosa Area Fire Protection District at a Monday session in which plans for a community hotline for fire information coordination were ironed out.

The meeting in the Parish Hall of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church was planned by local Knights of Columbus who told fire officials they wanted to get involved in the effort to save lives in the county.

Grams said the town provides too many natural fire breaks for a major conflagration. "I'm not saying where a fire might occur," he said, "just that the normal winds here are south-southwest and that would carry any approaching fire away from the town."

Also speaking were Assistant Fire Chief Manny Trujillo, Russell Crowley, the county's director of emergency services, Town Administrator Jay Harrington, and Bill Korsgren and Bill Sayre representing the Knights' organization.

About a dozen people were in the audience, many with specific questions and offers concerning housing for uprooted neighbors, transportation and grazing area for large animals, and worries about coordination of efforts.

"Who will determine the needs?" was one question. "Who will coordinate placement?" another.

Crowley told the group they will be given detailed information on the things they can tell the public and lists of the things they cannot discuss.

A specially designated county public information officer, Karl Isberg, will be the authorized source of data on emergency operations, evacuations, and will handle contact with major media outside the area.

The Hotline operation got underway on a limited basis Tuesday afternoon with Knights members manning the phones at 264-3171. That is just a temporary location and number.

Harrington said a section of the new Community Center is being fitted for continuing the operation and the phone number there will be announced later.

Residents will be able to call the volunteer hotline with information on where housing for victims can be found, transportation, emergency care if necessary, and non-fire situation related reports.

Specific information on fire danger will still come from the Forest Service, the sheriff's office, or if an emergency is declared, from the public information officer.

Daily updates on fire data will be provided on radio at 1600 AM and 106.3 FM at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., with emergency updates as necessary. Initially, the hotline will be manned from 2-8 p.m. weekdays, 2-5 p.m. weekends, and no service July 4, but could be expanded if the emergency need should arise.

The placement of evacuees was discussed, with Crowley saying he has contacted community schools and the ministerial alliance. "I'd prefer the churches," he said, "but some of them have heavily-wooded locations and would not be appropriate shelters in the face of advancing flame."

On the other hand, he said, "both the high school and middle school would be ideal command centers should the need arise. They could also be used as Red Cross coordinating locations and mass shelters."

Asked if the Community Center also is available, Harrington said it will be, but not until late July or early August. "Then," he said, "it would be a good location. It will be air-conditioned and those with respiratory problems would be better off there than in a structure with just air exchange capabilities."

Grams warned that all residents need to be aware of possible power system failure should there be a blaze along the south side of Yellow Jacket Pass where major transmission lines into the area are located.

The positioning of a command post and any evacuation centers, he said, would be determined by the location and direction of movement of any fire considered a threat to the area.

Knights personnel said they expect the hotline to act as a clearing house for information and Trujillo said one reason for fire department support is that the hotline will reduce the number of calls to the department and to central dispatch.

"No information will be given out that has not been cleared either by the sheriff's office or by Mr. Crowley's office," he said. "Questions which cannot be answered by those manning the phones will be forwarded to the proper authorities."

In conjunction with the hotline operation, fire and police officials will post periodic fliers detailing current conditions and possibilities at strategic public locations most people are likely to visit, i.e., both City Markets, Sisson Library, the county courthouse, Town Hall and Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center.

 

Timber Ridge plea for variance spurs meeting tomorrow with county planners

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A request for an exception to subdivision regulations because of "these extraordinary times," prompted the Archuleta County commissioners to arrange a meeting involving representatives of the land development community and county planning staff.

The request for special treatment was made during the regular Tuesday morning meeting of county commissioners. On the table was an agenda item titled "Improvements agreement for Colorado Timber Ridge Phase IV."

Early in the discussion concerning Timber Ridge, the commissioners unanimously approved an improvements agreement and a security bond amounting to $791,057, and gave conditional approval to the final plat for Timber Ridge Phase IV.

The commissioners then listened to a request that the developer be allowed to sell lots in Phase IV, even though the improvements have not been completed to allow the final plat to be filed with the county clerk and recorder.

County subdivision regulations do not allow developers to sell lots until a final plat of the development is recorded. The final plat cannot be recorded until all improvements are completed.

Colorado Timber Ridge Ranch is a California Limited Partnership owned by Joseph Machock. Representing Machock before the commissioners was Richard Gustafson of Gustafson Consulting. Included in the packet of documents concerning the Timber Ridge proposal was a letter from Mike Mitchell, managing broker for the developer, urging the commissioners to allow sale of the lots immediately.

Speaking directly on behalf of Timber Ridge was local attorney Jerry Venn.

"These are extraordinary times that call for extraordinary action," Venn said.

The fire on Missionary Ridge has worked a severe hardship on Timber Ridge, according to Venn, because road construction crews and equipment expected to work within the development have gone to Durango to fight the fire. So has much other heavy equipment from this community, Venn said.

Consequently, Timber Ridge will not be able to complete road construction until next year, Venn said.

Venn asked for a waiver, a variance, "we want a variance today," allowing Timber Ridge to sell lots immediately. The expression for selling lots used by Timber Ridge, as contained in Mitchell's letter, "to close escrows," refers to the practice of Timber Ridge and other developers of selling lots and holding the proceeds in escrow until the final plat is filed.

Arguments used by Venn to encourage immediate action by the commissioners included: sale of the lots benefits the local economy; Timber Ridge will post reasonable security in whatever amount and form the commissioners require; Timber Ridge is reliable as evidenced by performance during the first three phases of the development.

"I believe you can grant this without going to the planning commission for their recommendation," Venn said. "I believe this is outside of planning commission purview."

Venn later recommended that the county use "developer-to-developer flexibility," and that more than one standard be established for developers recognizing the high level of performance and financial responsibility shown by developers such as Timber Ridge.

The commissioners spoke with one voice in denying the Timber Ridge request for an immediate variance. All agreed that existing regulations do not permit the commissioners to grant a variance without going through the variance process defined in county law.

They divided on the next step, the step which ended with instructions to the county planning staff to meet tomorrow with developers in search of an answer to their perceived problem.

Bill Downey, chairman of the board of county commissioners, agreed to look at arguments concerning the issue, but said he is skeptical and '"will have to be convinced."

"I agree we are in extraordinary times," Downey said. "We're in a drought the likes of which we have not seen before."

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District is having trouble keeping up with demands created by growth, Downey said. A lot of people think no more growth should be allowed because of the additional strains placed on the water supply, Downey added.

After pointing out he thinks current regulations are good and workable, and that granting a variance to Timber Ridge will set a precedent that other developers will want to follow, Downey said, "This board is responsible for protecting the county as a whole. If that places a burden on developers, so be it."

Commissioner Alden Ecker pointed out the commissioners are responsible for protecting the citizens of the county, and recalled numerous instances in the past when that wasn't done and "the people of the county are still paying."

Ecker agreed that current county rules cannot be ignored and that approval of the variance is not possible unless the rules are changed.

"I don't know if we have double jeopardy here or not," Ecker pointed out. He then said he is not opposed to reviewing the law and did not see why sufficient bond would not be adequate.

"I agree with the other two commissioners," said Commissioner Gene Crabtree. "We can't go against the existing laws. I propose that the developers sit down with planning staff as soon as possible, maybe Thursday, and work something out."

Crabtree then asked other developers in the audience to speak up. Jim Mudroch of Elk Park Meadows and Nancy Ray of Fairfield Communities, Inc., spoke in favor of discussing changes to subdivision laws.

When Crabtree asked if anyone in the audience wanted to speak against changing the law, no one answered.

Bonding agent Tim Blanchard also spoke in favor of changing the law.

"You're talking about private land," Blanchard said to the commissioners. "What do you care if someone half finishes a subdivision, then leaves without finishing."

Machock, the Timber Ridge owner, observed that if he could have 30 minutes Friday with Director of County Development Greg Comstock, an agreement could be worked out.

When Downey suggested that planning staff will have to abandon other projects if they switch to this one, Machock said it had been his experience that developers sometimes pay overtime expenses incurred by staff.

Without taking a vote, apparently by silent agreement among the commissioners, county planning staff was instructed to meet with the developers Friday to see what might be worked out.

At issue will be the contention by some developers that county subdivision requirements concerning the completion of improvements are overly restrictive.

Among the improvements required by the county are roads, sidewalks and utilities. An improvements agreement is a contract between the developer and the county wherein the developer agrees to complete specified improvements according to county law, usually within two years of signing the improvements agreement. As additional surety, the developer is required to post a performance bond or other guarantee acceptable to the county that will be forfeited to the county should the improvements not be completed as agreed upon.

In addition to the agreement and the performance bond, the county requires all improvements be completed and accepted by the county before the final plat of the development is officially recorded by the county clerk and recorder.

Finally, title cannot be transferred from the developer to a buyer until the final plat is recorded.

The county has argued that county laws on this issue are necessary. The bond is necessary, officials said, in case the developer goes broke or for some other reason leaves without completing all of the improvements. In that event, the county can cash in the forfeited security and use the proceeds to complete the improvements. A second county option is to use the bond proceeds to restore the property to its original state.

Collection of bond money could require some time, even years. A lawsuit with a bonding company could develop. To this point in time, the county has insisted on the ultimate guarantee, that the work be completed before title to property is transferred.

 

Pagosa woman dies in head-on collision

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs woman was ejected from her vehicle and killed following a June 21 head-on collision on Put Hill.

According to Pagosa Springs police reports, Janice Lou Burleson, 45, died of massive head wounds at the scene of the accident. Burleson had been traveling eastbound on U.S. 160 about 6:30 p.m. when the wheels of her vehicle went off the south side of the pavement. She apparently overcorrected and her 1989 Suburban crossed the centerline of the highway and the first westbound lane before colliding with an SUV driven by Gregory Decoteau, of Ouray.

The force of impact flipped Decoteau's vehicle onto its top. Burleson was ejected near the point of collision. Neither driver was apparently wearing a seat belt.

Decoteau, 44, was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Durango where he was treated for a complex facial laceration and a fractured right heel. He has since been released.

Disaster Recovery Center expected in Durango soon

 

The Region 9 Economic Development District is working with local, regional, state and federal agencies to provide information about low-interest loans and possible grants to area businesses that have been adversely impacted by the Missionary Ridge fire.

Ongoing discussions with the Small Business Administration, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Governor's Office of Economic Development are underway to assist businesses that have suffered either direct impacts (fire damage) or indirect impacts (decreased sales, operational closures) as a result of the fire.

It is hoped the federal agencies will establish a Disaster Recovery Center in Durango in the coming week or two. Representatives of the two units said the immediate danger of fire will need to be under control before field representatives can begin meeting with businesses.

Ed Morlan, Region 9 director, said his office already has received a number of requests for assistance from small businesses. He advises owners to first check their insurance policies because many include business interruption clauses that can provide immediate financial relief. Next, business owners should contact their current lenders or creditors to see what term extensions may be available in light of the circumstances.

Low-interest, long-term loan programs (4 percent over 30 years) may be available through the Small Business Administration Disaster Relief program. However, Morlan cautioned, it may take several months before some businesses can prove economic injury due to the fire.

For example, historical comparisons of past years' sales to this season's sales may be required to prove an indirect economic injury from the fire. This may mean that businesses will have to wait until the end of the summer season to fully define the economic injury and consequently, may have to wait until that time to have enough information to apply for this type of assistance.

"We understand that businesses throughout the region are going to suffer negative consequences due to drought, fire and a loss of tourism this year. We're working hard and fast with other agencies to identify every conceivable resource available to small business owners in order to keep our region's business communities intact," Morlan said.

"It may be a long road to recovery," he added, "but residents can help now by supporting their local businesses. They need their community's backing now more than ever."

Loans from Region 9 (funded by Community Development Block Grants through the state Office of Economic Development) may also provide financial assistance to businesses.

For information on the variety of programs available to small business owners throughout southwest Colorado, contact the Region 9 offices at 247-9621 or e-mail: region9edd@frontier.net.

Letters
Fire tips

Dear Editor:

I am a recent emigrant from California where being prepared for earthquakes and forest fires is a way of life. I have a couple of suggestions for my new neighbors in Pagosa, some of whom seem to be a little unsettled over the possibility of fire evacuations.

First, don't wait until an evacuation order comes to decide what to take. Think ahead of time about what you have that is irreplaceable. Pictures, family heirlooms, jewelry, papers that would be hard to duplicate. I was amazed to see people fleeing the Hayman fire taking furniture and barbecue grills. I have a pendulum clock that is one of my most treasured possessions, but it doesn't go until all the stuff on my list is in the car, because it's replaceable.

That's the second step, make a list. I have a chart going from room to room listing what I will load in the car. You can have two sections - one if you're in a hurry, one if you have time. Naturally your very most treasured things are on the "in a hurry" list.

I hope this helps those who have never had to think about something like this. The Lord willing, none of us will have to use our lists, but once you've thought it through, you will have peace of mind and that's worth a lot.

By the way, I still have jugs of water stored under my bed. You just never know when the earth might start to shake.

Diana Belle

A very sad day

Dear Editor:

I bought my Buddy Poppy in front of City Market today, as I have for too many years for me to admit to, but more than 50. The ladies asked all entering and leaving to buy one, but many refused to give 25 or 50 cents - much less a buck - for an item that was worth only a few cents.

Wrong! Shame on you!

They are worth the lives of hundreds of thousands of men, women and even boys whose parents lied to get them accepted into military service. How many of you would idly walk by someone standing there waving a Nazi or hammer and sickle flag without comment.

Many died so that you can shop in peace rather than be in soup and bread lines operated by Hitler's thugs, Stalin's butchers or Saddam's terrorists.

I watched fascinated to see so many pushing carts loaded with items who couldn't drop two bits in a can to help a veteran in a hospital who suffered to make their shopping routine.

It was a sad experience for one veteran - me.

Walt Geisen

Unsung heros

Dear Editor:

As a child I watched the boys march off to World War II. As a young person I saw them go to Korea and as a college student and young married, off to Vietnam, all bearing arms.

There's been a lot of talk about heroes since 9/11, but last Saturday I watched 14 young people, guys and gals in yellow shirts, armed with only picks and shovels march single file through a ragged terrain to reach a wildfire here in our county. I'd swear none of them was over 22.

Having battled fire myself (mostly structure) they brought a lump to my throat and I thought, "Thank God for these good young people."

They are truly our unsung heroes.

Just thought you'd like to know.

Kay Grams

Call for planning

Dear Editor:

Archuleta County's almost 10,000 residents are served by three major entities: town, county and Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, each with its own priorities. Which of them will own any one of the following priorities?

1) Growth: I understand that Archuleta County experienced 100-percent population growth over the past 10 years. Where will the water come from to hydrate, clean up, and entertain us if growth continues at this rate?

About three quarters of water stored in this part of the state is reserved for agricultural use, according to a recent report in the Denver Post. People growing the population, however, are not engaged in agricultural pursuits.

Water. Roads. Ecological concerns. Greed. Take your pick.

2) Fire: More and better firefighting equipment will soon be available. Paradoxically, putting out more fires quicker may only defer a catastrophic fire.

"Back then (in the 1950s) they decided that (forest) fires were bad and they decided to put them all out," James Gosz, forest ecology expert told the Associated Press recently. "Without those fires the fuel level in the forests increased. The understory built up, so now when you have fires they're catastrophic."

Forest management in populated areas to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire is achievable. But it's expensive. What's the trade-off? Who owns the problem?

3) Farms and ranches: According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Archuleta County farmers and ranchers have been taking an overall net loss in income since 1994. This year's drought promises to put many more in debt or out of business. Many area ranchers are now selling off much, most or all of their herds because they can't afford to feed them. Drought may soon force others to sell off land - some of it, surely, with "great mountain views, adjoining national forest, ideal for development."

Is the continuing net-loss trend in farming and ranching, and the increasing demand for water restricted to agricultural use, a town, county or PLPOA issue?

4) Tourism: In 1999, 44 percent of Archuleta County families had less than qualifying income to purchase a median price home ($126,400), according to data from public sources collected by Operation Healthy Communities. That's a home bought with 10 percent down and 7.5 percent interest on a 30-year loan.

What's that have to do with tourism?

Reliance on tourist dollars creates larger numbers of what economists call "basic age jobs," and larger numbers of people who cannot afford to buy a median-priced home - and are swiftly wiped out by a blip in the economy.

Do we really need three entities in this county to handle services for less than 10,000 people?

Will it take total drought, catastrophic fire, farm-ranch bankruptcy, depleted tourist and recreational income, and serious family and social problems to create a pre-crisis joint task force on planning and management?

"Just add water" is a recipe that works fine for instant mashed potatoes. It's not an answer to long-term problems that affect us all.

Michael J. Greene

Condolences

Dear Editor:

I just received obituaries from our son Steven Hudson which you had mailed him. I lack any recent address for either and hope you may publish my regrets.

We want to send our condolences and comfort to the families affected:

Lloyd Clark Jr. a steady citizen of good character and reputation along with his wife helped make Pagosa pleasant and safe and welcoming to newcomers. He served in World War II, the same war as my husband, Joe.

Ray Macht, with his wife, Genelle, made us welcome in 1959 early on. His easy manner masked a basic knowledge of the human nature as he eased "city people" into mountain living. Our sons were classmates. We learned what 4-H meant.

I hope that by hearing from others, these families can find ease and solace from sudden shock and absence of life partners.

In all sincerity.

Peace and love,

Doris and Joe Hudson

Fire-prone lands

Dear Editor:

The forest fires raging today can be credited in large part to tinderbox conditions slowly created by allowing the environmental movement to get their way. Specifically, they've been instrumental in diminishing human access or use of public, and even private lands, along with sharply curtailing the lumber industry.

When combined with the increasingly huge amounts of plant material, large fires are inevitable, just waiting for the right condition. And those types of fires often do damage that can take numerous human lifetimes to repair.

We've been slow to recognize this fact. Unfortunately, like everything else in this world, fixing it with a short-term solution isn't feasible. And certainly everyone wants to help when emergencies are underway. However, once the fires are put out, less attention will be given to the real causes, that fire preparedness, forest management or private responsibility are out of vogue.

Instead, while our neighborhood burns, our government officials have been working to fund massive increases in creating more fire-prone lands. Known as CARA, this legislation will provide hundreds of millions of tax dollars to acquire or even take private property, without concern for proper forest management or fire protection. Our Colorado makes a strong argument that this is exactly the wrong thing to do.

Our priorities should be to adequately fund fire preparedness, adopt proven forest management techniques, create and maintain sound economic uses of lands that help maintain their vitality, and reduce the abundant hazardous fuel problem through commercial means where possible, noncommercially when necessary.

Karren Little

Hesperus

Zoning for bears

Dear Editor:

It seems to me that the solution to the problem of feeding the bears was a too drastic one. Passing laws against feeding the bears is not the answer for the simple reason that starvation of any species is not a humane one.

There is a better way.

Usually, solutions to wildlife problems have an underlying, hidden agenda. If you were to screen Democrats and Republicans, you would probably find that Democrats favor feeding the bears while Republicans do not.

Why? Economics.

Republicans want to extinguish all wildlife because it interferes with the increase of land production. The humane solution to the bear problem would be zoning, but this would interfere with the acquiring of land for production purposes.

Animals have the right to live, just as humans do. The first step is educating people in zoning for wildlife. Then the government must step in and establish areas where animals can live without being killed or starved.

Sincerely,

Dr. Herbert Parker

Open your homes

Dear Editor:

Recently in Pagosa Springs I was a host to Ride The Rockies bicyclists to house and feed them while they were here to show how hospitable our small town can be.

Before that, my husband and I took in friends from the Missionary Ridge fire. They stayed at our house for about 10 days and now are settling into a house we are in the process of selling next door to us.

I imagine lots of Pagosans have done the same and if not, I encourage you to open your homes or other rental property that may be vacant for these victims of the fire. The Durango people are family, neighbors and friends. What if the table was turned and we here in Pagosa needed a safe place to be?

I urge you to call the Red Cross at 259-5383 or 382-7262 and ask them what you can do to help. I know we can help the firefighters, as well, with items they need.

Please offer your home or any empty home you may own to our Durango family.

Lynnzie Sutton

Business News

Jamie Miller owns and operates Treasures From The Past, newly relocated to 3093 U.S. 84, 3.5 miles south of Pagosa Springs.

Treasures From The Past offers antiques; new, used and hand-crafted furniture; hand-crafted decorator items; and provides upholstery service, fabrics and supplies.

The business will hold a Grand Opening this weekend, Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The event will include a craft fair with antiques, food and fun for the kids, and 15 percent off on all items in the store.

Regular business hours at Treasures From The Past are Monday to Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Call 264-3722.

  Editorials

Have fun, spend money

We are but a week into the summer season, and the overall mood in Pagosa Country is subdued. It is one of the driest early summers on record and, so far, our Summer of Smoke. Water levels in rivers and streams are perilously low and falling, and existing supplies are limited to the point that outdoor domestic water use, for irrigation purposes, will be further restricted. Hot, dry weather makes the danger of catastrophic fire more extreme by the day, with chances increasing that a conflagration could be ignited close to home.

Last week, at least three blazes started inside the county, one of them allegedly set by someone violating restrictions on outside burning, on public or private property - the burning of trash and open fires of any other kind, including charcoal and wood fires for grilling. Only quick and effective reactions by several local residents, fire district personnel and Forest Service firefighters kept the fires small.

With our severe drought condition and fire danger comes another blow to the community: Tourist numbers, by all accounts, are down and the revenues that ordinary flow from the increased numbers of people in the county during the summer months are reduced at this point. The prospect of spending a vacation in the smoke, with constrained opportunities for traditional outdoor activities, is keeping some people away this year.

This situation has two sides to it.

It is a rash thing to say, but we will say it: Perhaps, given the extreme physical conditions we confront, it is best that fewer people are making their way to Archuleta County right now.

It's not hard to figure: Fewer people mean less use of water. Fewer people mean reduced chances a blaze will be started by open fires, vehicles and other machines, fireworks, carelessness.

At the same time, though, the blow to parts of the local retail sector - a sector that also suffered through a less-than-optimum winter - cannot be taken lightly. Our saving grace at this point is that the building industry continues to operate in healthy fashion. Without it, we would be in worse straits than we are.

Now we're nearing the Fourth of July, our mid-summer holiday. If trends continue, it is likely the numbers of visitors to the area will be far below record levels and, thus, retail and sales tax revenues will probably sag from what was anticipated.

Some residents are succumbing to the bleak scenario, yet others are determined to make the upcoming holiday a success. Festivities have been cut back, yes, but local organizers and town officials are working hard to provide people with a good time. While fireworks of any kind are out of the question, a community picnic and celebration is planned for the Fourth. The Red Ryder Roundup will go ahead as usual with rodeo performances and roping competition. The Park to Park Arts and Crafts Fair will draw people to our parks. The Rotary parade will move through the heart of town. A quilt show will take place at the Mamie Lynch gym.

We need to get out and have some fun, gear up and get this truck back on the road.

While we're at it, we need to remain cognizant of the problems many of our local business owners are experiencing during the tourist drought. This space is rarely used as a forum for boosterism, but this week is different. Sally Hameister notes in her Chamber of Commerce column in this week's PREVIEW that we need to shop Pagosa first. She is right.

We can hope our economic slowdown is temporary, but for certain it is time to do what we can to help the local economy stay in a positive mode by making our purchases from local businesses when we find the products we need. We are not in a "business as usual" situation. We should take every opportunity to be lighthearted, to have fun, and strive to keep our business close to home.

Karl Isberg

Legacies

By Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 28, 1912

Dr. Nossaman and Mr. Catchpole went down to Arboles the first of the week, and Dr. brought back a few samples of green fruit to show how things are coming in that part of the county.

Harry Patterson was taken to Durango by special train this morning to be operated upon for appendicitis. Yesterday morning he was suddenly seized by the dreaded ailment and as the day passed he grew worse, and last night it was seen something had to be done quick in order to save his life so a special train was made up and left for Durango at 4:30 this morning.

There will be no service at the Methodist Church Sunday morning. We will unite with the Baptist Church for the morning.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 1, 1927

The Pagosa Springs Social Club will give a dance Fourth of July night at the Sparks Hall for the benefit of the Women's Civic Club.

Monero will cross bats with the Pagosa baseball team here on July 4th. It promises to be a real contest.

We understand that Swift & Co. have abandoned their plans to establish a cream receiving station in Pagosa Springs, having found that the Pagosa Creamery was ably filling all local needs.

Louis and Leon Montroy have commenced the construction, on the lot west of the Ralph Flaugh residence on east Pagosa Street, of a modern frame bungalow, which when completed will be occupied by their mother, Mrs. E.L. Montroy.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 27, 1952

This week saw the arrival of the steel structure for the new seats at the Red Ryder Round-Up rodeo grounds and they will be in place by the middle of next week.

The town board voted to place watering hours in effect on July 1st. Each year for the past several years the pumping capacity has been increased and each year it fails to meet the demand. It is safe to say that the amount of water being used here now is twice what it was four years ago. Due to that fact and the fact that water pressure is very low in parts of the town during the peak hours of use the board voted to have hours in effect for all of the town with half of the town sprinkling on odd numbered days and the other half on even numbered days with both watering on Sunday.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of June 23, 1977

No precipitation was reported in this general area the past week, fire danger is very high, and major streams are dropping rapidly. The area is very dry and extreme caution with fire is urged by officials.

Several Forest Service campgrounds are experiencing water shortages in this dry year. The Williams Creek Campground in this area is without water at times. However, Teal Campground and Cimarrona Campground adjoining Williams Creek Lake do have adequate water supplies. Many smaller streams are drying up and anyone planning an extended trip in the high country should check for water information before making the trip.

Community News

Pagosa Lakes News

Volunteer trail building workday Saturday at Vista

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association, in conjunction with the Pagosa Area Trails Council, will sponsor a volunteer trail workday Saturday on the Vista Lake/Stevens Draw Trail.

This trail is part of the non-motorized system that will eventually connect to Martinez Canyon. Trail work will include efforts around Vista Lake and into the Trails Subdivision and Stevens Draw.

Volunteers will meet at 9 a.m. at the Vista Lake picnic pavilion behind the PLPOA administrative office. To get there, turn north on Vista Boulevard from U.S. 160 and then left on Port Avenue to Vista Lake.

Bring water, a sturdy pair of work gloves and boots. Lunch will be provided. This is a great little trail and, after Saturday, will be even better.

If you have any questions, call Larry Lynch at the PLPOA offices at 731-5635 or John Applegate, Trails Council president, at 731-9325.

Trail building is not for the faint of heart; it's a rugged experience that will help you sleep soundly that night. However, with a group of volunteers you'll find there's always some big hunk who wants to do the heaviest labor ... which leaves lightweight finesse work for the more meticulous.

If you have older children at home, I encourage you to bring them along. It's beneficial for our young people to learn to be civic-minded and to cultivate an interest in doing things that are good for the community. It's also a way to pass the torch of stewardship to the next generation. Besides, you may be opening the door for them to see what a career in natural resources is like.

Speaking of opening opportunities to our young people, Gail and Doug Hershey did just that when they sent their daughter, Anna, to Space Camp. Anna, who is 13 years old, attended the Future Astronaut Training Program May 29-June 3 in Hutchinson, Kan. This adventure was an incredible week of hands-on, high-flying activities developed from actual astronaut training. Ask Anna about space suits, shuttle missions, G-force testing, and you'll see her eyes light up.

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club's Chuck Dorman Memorial Golf Tournament will take place Saturday. The generous donations of hole sponsors for this tournament make it possible for Pagosa Rotary to hold this major fund-raiser annually. Don't be left out when local and neighboring golfers compete for a big hole-in-one prize.

Here's the skinny: A shotgun start for the men's and women's flights will open the $2,750 purse tournament at 9 a.m.

The purse is based on a minimum 100 golfers registered to play. A $35 entry fee for members of the Pagosa Springs Golf Club and a $70 fee for non-members will cover greens fees, cart use, lunch and refreshments.

Golfers can register at the Pagosa Springs Golf Club or by calling the pro shop at 731-4755. Money raised at the tournament will help fund the many local programs supported by the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club.

Senior News

Seniors go one-on-one with senator and wife

 

By Janet Copeland

Staff Writer

Thanks to Sen. Jim Isgar, his wife Brenda, and Ann Brown, his campaign manager, for joining us Tuesday. They had just returned from the fire scene near Vallecito and updated us on the devastation and firefighting efforts. Sen. Isgar grew up in west La Plata County so he is quite familiar with the area.

He was appointed to the Legislature a year ago and will be running for election in November. He was one of several state representatives who helped get approval for making the Older Americans Fund a permanent line item in the budget. He also worked for approval of legislation to prevent identity theft and addressed predatory lending problems which affect seniors.

Unfortunately, with the state budget in such a crunch, we may see funding cuts this year, but he will help us when possible. Several seniors enjoyed talking one-on-one with Sen. Isgar and letting him know of our political concerns.

Our Senior of the Week is one terrific lady - Terrisa Diestelkamp. Congratulations, Terrisa and thanks for all your volunteer work.

It was great to have some other guests and members join us this week. Welcome to Kerry Madrid, Donna Cook, Karen Felts, Betty Meyer, Jimmye and Vernon Day, Diane and Doug Dwan (daughter and son-in-law of Bobbie and Carroll Carruth), Glena and Gloria Vanderweele, Wilma Weber, and Bobby Girardin (Helen Girardin's grandson). We miss Charlie Weber and hope he will soon be able to join us again.

Unfortunately, the piano concert scheduled to be presented by Vivian Rader June 26 had to be canceled. Vivian was injured in an accident. We hope she will recover quickly and be able to play for us later on.

Another of our seniors, Mary Archuleta, was injured in a fall last week. We pray that Mary will soon recuperate and be back with us on a regular basis. Mary's daughter, Berlinda, brought her to eat with us Friday. Welcome, Berlinda, and we hope you will join us again soon.

A big thank you to Alison Stephens for the free massages she has been providing. She will not be giving the massages for the rest of the summer but we hope she can join us again in the fall.

As of this date, seniors still plan to attend the Bar-D-Wranglers performance July 25. Cost will be $16 plus transportation. Please sign up soon for this delicious meal and fun entertainment. If Bar-D has to close because of fires (and we hope it doesn't), we will let you know.

Other upcoming events include Janice Friddle joining us June 28 at 12:30 p.m. to talk about identity theft, scams, Medicare fraud, caregiver fraud, junk mail offers and more. Janice is from the AARP Elderwatch program and works in conjunction with the attorney general's office.

The pool at Best Western is available at no charge for members of the Senior Center Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 9-11 a.m. Be sure to check in at the desk and show your membership card. They also offer us discounts on meals.

Yoga by Richard Harris is at 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays.

Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. we have computer class with Sam Matthews; card games are at 1 p.m. and Chi Kong Exercise with Vasuki is at 1 p.m. (bring a large towel or mat and a tie, if possible, and wear loose clothes). A matinee show at the Liberty Theatre for seniors is $3. Call 264-4578 to let them know how many will be attending.

Every Friday at 1 p.m. Jim Hanson will help with Medicare counseling.

Veterans Corner

Priority 7 group makes up 20 percent of veterans under federal health care

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

Veteran health care facilities would receive federal funding based more upon patient workload than on the priority group of the patients they serve if some lawmakers are successful in pressuring Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs to follow the recommendations of a recent General Accounting Office report.

Currently, the VA distributes about $200 million per year "in a manner that does not align workload and resources as equitably as possible among networks," GAO says in a recent report on Veterans Equitable Resource Allocation system. Specifically, the VERA system excludes a certain category of higher-income veterans with no service-connected disabilities, (Priority 7 veterans) from its calculation of patient workloads. This results in skewed resource allocation because Priority 7 patients comprise roughly 20 percent of all veterans under federal care, GAO explains.

I believe the figure is much higher here in Archuleta County for Priority Level 7 veterans enrolled in VA Health Care. I would say much more than half of all veterans I sign up for the health care program are in this priority, with no service-connected disabilities and of normal financial means. It has only been in the last few years Priority Level 7 was added to the VA Health Care system. Previously, the lowest category required the veteran to be below a certain income level. I don't know how many times I've mentioned VA Health Care to veterans and they respond "I make too much money" to get that benefit. Old information is hard to change.

GAO recommends that the VA calculate workload factors based on actual patients served regardless of veteran priority group, incorporate more categories of care into VERA's case-mix adjustment of funding and update the clinical date which currently determine what types of care should receive more compensation.

I know the Albuquerque VA Medical Center system, that includes all the outpatient clinics, is currently running several million dollars in the red. It is not surprising knowing the quality of care they give at the low cost they charge the co-pay veterans. And if a veteran has a service-connected disability they do not have to pay anything for health care.

For information on these and other 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, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.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.

 

Arts Line

Metal, glass, jewelry in coming exhibit

By P.R. Bain

If you like animal paintings and unique landscape photography, then you must see the current exhibit at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park. The exhibit by Jan Power and Sabine Baekman-Elge will not disappoint you. Hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

A reception for Adrienne Haskamp, metal artist, Carl Nevitt, stained glass artist, and Carol Brown, jewelry designer and collage artist, will be held 5-7 p.m. July 4 in the gallery. Refreshments will be served. The exhibit will continue through July 24.

Independence Day

There will be some great happenings here in beautiful Pagosa Springs starting with the July 4 parade through the downtown area.

A carnival will be set up on the field across the street from Town Park. An Arts and Crafts Festival sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce will take place in Town and Centennial parks. This is a big one, folks. The two events will continue until July 7.

Volunteers

We at the Arts Council gratefully thank all of the generous volunteers who worked at our food booth during the Ride The Rockies bicycle tour stop in Town Park. It was a huge success.

Currently, the Council needs someone to write the Arts Line column once a month. Also needed is someone to keep up our scrapbook. Generous souls who would love to volunteer some time helping with Arts Council functions are needed as well. It's a good way to meet people. Call Joanne at 264-5020.

Other business

City Market will donate a small percentage of your purchase to the Council each time you shop at their stores and use your Value Card. All you have to do is sign up at the gallery in Town Park.

Businesses wishing to have a flyer in our quarterly newsletter can contact Stephanie at 264-5068.

Thanks to Marguerite at Mountain Greenery for the great complimentary floral arrangements that adorn each Council reception.

Don't miss the latest information and interviews pertaining to the Arts Council on 1400 AM.

The Council office is at 314 Hermosa St. in Town Park.

 

Chamber News

Let's merge energies into happy holiday

By Sally Hameister

It's official that the fireworks have been canceled this year, and I'm sure we all applaud and concur with that decision, painful though it is.

It's unfortunate, of course, but considering the possible results of staging the fireworks, this was indeed the best of all decisions for this year. Keep in mind, however, that everything else connected to this fabulous holiday is scheduled and on course. We all need to put our energy into all the good things that are taking place over this highly anticipated holiday.

Of course, we always begin July 4 with the Rotary parade with the timely theme of "Let's Roll for Freedom" this year. Cash awards will be presented to the top three winners in five categories, so drop by the Chamber today to pick up your entry form.

After the parade, saunter on down to Town Park and Centennial Park for the 24th annual Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival beginning at 10 a.m. Doug has enlisted more vendors than ever before for this fabulous event, so you will find around one hundred vendors with one-of-a-kind merchandise to answer all your shopping needs.

At 2 p.m. the 53rd annual Red Ryder Roundup will commence in all its glory. Cowboy speaker and entertainer, Montie Montana Jr. is this year's featured act and evidently is a wonderful entertainer. He spins tales and sings while spinning his rope, not unlike the Will Rogers of days gone by. Friday and Saturday, the rodeo begins at 6 and Jackpot Saddle Roping will take place at 1 p.m. July 7. Please call 264-2345 for information about pre-sale or box seat tickets.

Don't forget to go over to the Mamie Lynch Gymnasium July 4 beginning at noon and July 5-6 beginning at 10 a.m. to check out all the beautiful quilts, wall hangings and quilted accessories. These lovelies are created by members of our local quilt guild, The Pagosa Piecemakers Club, who also invite you to visit their featured highlight, The Christmas Corner, boasting many holiday quilt items.

The Pagosa Lodge will host the Fourth of July Picnic and Concert this year with some luscious food choices for you and your family. Even though their outdoor grill system cannot be used, they have come up with an exceptional menu. Available for your dining pleasure will be barbecued beef brisket, barbecued beef sandwiches, medium spicy sausages, corn on the cob, potato salad, cole slaw, baked beans, condiments, and brownies and cookies for dessert. Yum. Sodas and bottled water will also be available to you as well as a full bar and kegs of beer. Sounds like a party to me.

Food service will begin at 5 p.m. which will allow you to get your meal and settle in to listen to our own Pagosa Hot Strings concert beginning at 6. I have asked these young men to be our headliners every year until we can't afford them anymore and, thankfully, we still have enough dough in the coffers to pay for this exquisitely talented group. We do love them and look forward to this concert.

Don't be telling me that we don't have a great Fourth on tap for one and all, because we do. We hope everyone will plan to join us July 4 and for all the other activities July 5-7. Pagosa prides itself on this annual celebration for a very good reason: It's the best in the nation.

Shop Pagosa first

It's been quite the year economically for the entire country and, specifically, for the southwest region of Colorado.

We experienced a challenging winter with the dearth of snow and moisture and, unfortunately, that pattern has continued throughout the spring and summer. Add to that the current fire situation on either side of Pagosa, and we are all understandably concerned about the fallout from all the curves Mother Nature has thrown us for what seems way too long.

Even though we can't control Mother Nature, what we can control is where we shop.

Now, more than ever before, shopping Pagosa first is a dandy idea that could help sustain our entire community during these uncertain times, and the town of Pagosa Springs and the Chamber of Commerce respectfully request that you support all of our local merchants and businesses in lieu of heading out of town for your shopping needs.

What you will discover is that we have just about everything you could possibly need right here in Pagosa and some things that you simply won't find elsewhere. Give yourself some time to seriously shop Pagosa from one end of town to the other (you don't have to do it all in one day, for cryin' out loud) and you will be astonished at the array of different and unique merchandise you will find that has been here right under your noses all this time.

What we know about this community is that time and time again we are asked to collectively respond to difficult situations, and nobody does it better than Pagosa Springs. This is clearly and historically the most generous community that I have ever seen, and now is the time to pull together to get us all through a summer wrought with unpredictable challenges. Let's all hang in there together and we'll get through it with very few scars and a great sense of accomplishment.

Country Showdown

The world's largest country music talent showcase and radio promotion is coming to Pagosa Springs with over $200,000 in cash and prizes awarded nationally. Our own KWUF is sponsoring this event which is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America, giving these performers a chance to launch their professional careers.

Local winners advance to one of over 40 state contests where the prizes include $1,000 in cash and the opportunity to compete at one of the six regional Country Showdown contests in the fall. Winners at the regional level are flown expense-paid to the National Final where they compete for the Grand Prize of $100,000 and the coveted National Title.

The contest is open to vocal and/or instrumental performers, individuals or groups with up to seven members who have not performed on a record listed in the national record charts of Billboard, Radio and Records, or the Gavin Report within 18 months preceding local competition.

Entry forms are available by calling KWUF at 264-1400. Deadline for entry tapes/CDs is July 8. Y'all come.

Benefit the Animals

The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park invites you and your friends to join them in this annual exciting fund-raising event Saturday, starting at 6 p.m. with wine and hors d'oeuvres.

Included will be a silent and live auction, a raffle and door prizes beginning at 7 p.m. Some of the items up for auction include framed original artwork, signed/numbered prints, handcrafted items, an afghan, jewelry and much, much more.

Advance tickets are $10 and $12 at the door and can be purchased at the Wildlife Park and the Chamber of Commerce. Due to the nature of this event, the Rays recommend adults only for the evening.

For information, reservations, or if you would like to donate something for the evening, call 264-5546 or 264-4515.

Membership

We have one new member and two renewals to introduce to you this week, so on with the show.

We warmly welcome Kendall Reece with Kendall's Security and Locksmith doing business in his home here in Pagosa. Kendall is about the business of meeting the needs of this community in security systems, locksmithing and home automation. He can help you with theatre, lighting, environmental and security controls. Please give him a call at 264-4556 to learn more about Kendall's Security and Locksmith. Welcome, Kendall.

Our renewals this week include Roy D. Vega with Vega Insurance and Financial Services-New York Life and Mary Jo Rakowski with the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad in Durango. We're thinking good thoughts about the DSNGR these days and the current suspension of services to Silverton and hope that much-needed moisture arrives so that they can resume their normal routine.

 

Library News
Annual meeting, book sale rescheduled

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

Due to the uncertainties and the current fire threats, the Friends annual meeting and book sale will be rescheduled to Aug. 9-10. By that time we trust the monsoon season will have eased the fire dangers. We'll keep you informed about the dates.

Our wonderful fire district volunteers are an integral part of this yearly event, and we don't want anything to interfere with their important work.

Eyes of Texas

Billie White Evans' daughter, Vicki Campbell, made us the neatest stained glass with a Texas motif. We decided it was so special, we would do an extra raffle just for folks with Texas ties. Please come in and see it and buy some tickets.

The regular Civic Club raffle tickets should be ready soon. Margaret Wilson has lined up some great prizes as usual.

Reading program

We had 137 children sign up the first week.

Story time is Tuesday and Friday at 11 a.m. Parents must remain in the building. Children may continue to sign up anytime for this program. There are five more weeks to go.

Summer reading winners

Readers of the Week: Necole Martinez, Ben Miller, Timothy Mueller, Cole Smith and Wendy Webster.

Snake Contest: Connor Burke-Smith, Molly Burke-Smith, Emily Bryant, Zachary Curvey, Isaiah Thompson, Anne Townsend, Kitman Gill, Keaton Anderson, Dustin Anderson, Breezy Bryant, Megan Bryant, Samantha Hanks, Audrey Martinez, Jennifer Mueller and Silas Thompson.

Coloring Contest: Justin Boyd, Saje Brinkmann, Emily Bryant, Sierra Bryson, Zachary Curvey, Marley Gabel, Angie Gallegos, Aimee Lark, Garrett Lyle, Reyes McInnis, Ryan McInnis, McKenna Moore, Hannah Rohrich, Zoe Rohrich, Kyla Thompson-Guber, Anne Townsend, Kitman Gill, Breezy Bryant, Aniceta Gallegos, Benny Gallegos and Jennifer Mueller.

Extended studies

Adams State College is now offering new online noncredit courses. They are unique as they are instructor-facilitated rather than self-paced. Courses last only six weeks.

Courses offered include Computer, Internet, Writing, Business and Personal Enrichment. The cost for the six-week courses is between $55 and $75 depending on the subject.

If you're interested, please come in and pick up a brochure at the desk.

State cuts

We are still waiting to find out the ramifications of the governor's cut in library services. Loss of interlibrary loan and fewer book purchases will be the most difficult for our patrons. Nothing has been determined yet by the lending libraries. We'll keep you informed.

New book

"The Invisible Web," by Chris Sherman and Gary Price helps to uncover information sources search engines can't see. Content-rich databases from universities, libraries, associations, business and government agencies are appearing on Web servers around the world.

The current generation of search engines such as AltaVista, and Google can tell you little or nothing about the valuable data they contain. As this trend skyrockets, the Invisible Web is expanding at staggering rate - a priceless treasure trove of information eluding online searchers.

This book will introduce you to top sites and sources, and offer tips that will help you research.

New library cards

Please don't forget to come in and sign up for your new library card.

Donations

Thanks for financial help from Mavis and Merton Burkhard. Thanks for materials from Kathy Cruse, Walt Geisen, Bob Outerbridge, Robin Struck, Mele LeLievere, Billie Riggs, Joan and Harry Young.