U.S. 84 next
By Tess Noel Baker
The highway is getting a facelift, and it's a trend that seems to be contagious.
Crews started the pavement rehabilitation project on 11 miles of U.S. 160 through Pagosa Springs July 29. Aug. 1, state engineers opened bids on a similar facelift for 28 miles of U.S. 84 from the junction of U.S. 160 to the state line.
Nancy Shanks, Colorado Department of Transportation public information officer, said the U.S. 84 project will include a remix and rejuvenation of the current road surface plus an overlay of asphalt, an upgrade on guardrail and some shoulder work. The remix portion of the project is slated for this construction season and could start later this month. Because of funding constraints, the overlay will wait until the 2003 construction season.
On the current U.S. 160 project, contractors are working eastward from the west end of the project near Elk Park. Large heaters on the equipment heat up the top layer of asphalt, mix it with some additional ingredients and lay it back down to form a smooth base for a two-inch overlay of asphalt to be added later. Delays in the work area are running up to 20 minutes.
While that's happening to the west, crews have been patching areas of the highway on Put Hill, once again to improve the surface for the overlay. Moving closer to the downtown area, traffic was forced into a single-lane in some areas starting Aug. 5 to allow manholes to be lowered into place.
In mid-August, town crews will begin trenching through sections of the parking lot in the 400 block of Pagosa Street to connect power under U.S. 160 to crosswalks at the courthouse and at midblock. That will allow the state to install a system of lights under the pavement to improve safety for pedestrians crossing the highway, a project that's been in the works for at least two years.
The project, when complete, will result in traffic signals at Pinon Causeway and North Pagosa Boulevard, turn lanes off 160 at Great West Avenue and 10th Street, the crosswalk improvements, curb, gutter and sidewalk above the old football field across from the junior high school and a new asphalt surface from Elk Park east past the downtown area. According to a CDOT schedule, everything should be completed some time in November.
Meanwhile, up on Wolf Creek Pass, two construction projects continue. At the project near the snow shed east of the summit, travelers can expect a rough, gravel road for six miles with up to 10-minute delays around the clock, seven days a week. Paving on that stretch should begin some time this month, causing up to 20-minute delays during daytime hours only. A wide load restriction of 12 feet is in effect.
At the tunnel project farther east, lane closures and delays should be expected through early 2003. Crews continue to work on the west portal of the tunnel with explosives, but one lane of the highway remains open at night since most of the equipment and material is contained within the construction site. Daytime delays at the tunnel site will run as long as 30-45 minutes Monday though Thursday and 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Friday. A width restriction of 10 feet is in force.
For updated information on the tunnel project, go to www.dot.state.co.us, call the Wolf Creek Pass Tunnel Project hotline (719) 873-2221, or CDOT's toll free road condition hotline (877) 315-ROAD.
By John M. Motter
The Archuleta County primary election is Tuesday.
Local voting takes place from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. at eight designated polling places. Both Democratic and Republican ballots will be available at the polling place.
Absentee and early balloting will continue at the county clerk's office in the county courthouse from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. today and Friday. Unaffiliated voters may vote in the primary by declaring a party preference and filling out the proper forms at the polling place.
Candidates for state office, as well as candidates for county office, are on the ballots.
Only two of the local offices have attracted races, both on the Republican ballot. The two races are for treasurer and county sheriff.
Votes will be tallied by computers in both the primary and general elections this year.
Incumbent Traves Garrett and challenger Pam Eaton have squared off in the race to be treasurer. The winner will be the next Archuleta County treasurer.
Incumbent Tom Richards and write-in challenger Larry Bass are seeking the Republican nod for county sheriff.
This year's Democratic primary ballot contains the following candidates: United States Senator - Tom Strickland; representative to the 108th United States Congress from District 3 - Dennis Berckefeldt; governor - Rollie Heath; secretary of state - Anthony Martinez; state treasurer - Terry L. Phillips; attorney general - Ken Salazar; State Board of Education from Congressional District 3 - Christine Pacheco-Kovelski; state Senate from District 6 - James Isgar; county commissioner from District 3 - Mamie R. Lynch.
The Republican primary ballot contains the following candidates: United States Senator - Wayne Allard; representative to the 108th United States Congress from District 3 - Scott McInnis; governor - Bill Owens; secretary of state - Donetta Davidson; state treasurer - Mike Coffman; attorney general - Marti Allbright; State Board of Education from Congressional District 3 - Pamela Suckla; state Senate from District 6 - Kay Alexander; state representative from District 59: Mark Larson; county commissioner from District 3 - Gene Crabtree; county treasurer - Traves Garrett; county assessor - Keren L. Prior; county sheriff - William T. Richards Jr.; county surveyor - David L. Maley; county coroner - Carl Macht.
The following voting places in Archuleta County have been designated for the primary and general elections.
Precinct 1 - County commissioners' meeting room, Archuleta County Courthouse, 449 San Juan Street.
Precinct 2 - Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St.
Precinct 3 - Archuleta County Fair Building, 334 U.S. 84.
Precinct 4 - St. Peter's Catholic Church, 18851 Colo. 151, Arboles.
Precinct 5 - Paul's Place, 43 Buttercup Drive.
Precinct 6 - New Vista Clubhouse, 230A Port Ave.
Precinct 7 - Community Bible Church, 264 Village Drive.
Precinct 8 - Casa de los Arcos, 503 South 8th St.
Precinct 9 - Absentee voting, Archuleta County clerk's office, Archuleta County Courthouse, 449 San Juan St.
Pagosa CSAP scores up, math weak link
By Richard Walter
With uncanny prescience, the Board of Education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint adopted a new districtwide mathematics curriculum in June, promising an enhanced staff development program at all four school levels to institute the revision.
Results released July 31 from Colorado Student Assessment Program Testing done last spring indicate the board knew it had to improve an under-achieving program.
Mathematics, the scores reveal, is the weakest link in an otherwise forward-looking county public education system.
In each of the three grade levels at which mathematics performance was tested in 2001 and 2002 - fifth, eighth and 10th - there was improvement but, according to Superintendent Duane Noggle, at all grade levels (five through 10) the number of students scoring at or above the level considered proficient was below state average.
The worst performance was at the sophomore level, a bad level statewide, in which just over 15 percent of Pagosa students were proficient. And that was an improvement, up from just over 10 percent at the same level last year. The sophomore level was a prime concern in last year's testing because many school districts statewide found the tests included questions on topics not normally covered until the junior year.
Eighth-grade results indicate a proficiency level up 10 percent from 2001, with just over 30 percent receiving that score this year. The fifth-grade level showed the greatest improvement, up from 26 percent proficient in 2001 to just under 40 percent this year.
With 730 district students tested in mathematics, only 244, just a fraction over a third, scored proficient or better. Of the remainder, 327 were partially proficient, 208 unsatisfactory, and 28 either were not tested or had scores ruled invalid.
With the adoption of the revised math curriculum, Noggle said, "We are certain there will be major gains next year in (math) assessment scores."
In two of the three grades tested in mathematics for the first time this year, percentages with relation to state averages were far better. At the sixth-grade level the state average of proficiency was 50 percent. In Pagosa it was 48. At the ninth-grade level statewide proficiency was 30 percent, Pagosa's 23 percent. The worst comparison came at the seventh-grade level where the statewide average was 38 percent and Pagosa's 16 percent.
Number of students tested per grade level were: fifth, 131; sixth, 107; seventh, 144; eighth, 131; ninth, 121; and 10th, 146.
Reading tests in third through tenth grades showed improvement locally at four grade levels, the sixth grade scoring the most dramatic improvement. At all but the seventh-grade level, students outperformed the state average in both numbers proficient in reading and those at an advanced level.
The sixth graders improved from 61 percent proficient in 2001 to almost 72 percent in 2002. Fourth-grade results were up from 52 to 56 percent compared to the statewide average of 50. Fifth grade was up from 52 to 56 percent compared to the statewide average of 51.
The seventh grade was down from 62 percent in 1991 to 54 percent this year, compared to the statewide average of 58. Eighth graders recorded a reading proficiency rate of 63 percent compared to 45 percent in 2001, and a statewide average of 53 percent. At the ninth-grade level, proficiency dropped from 61 percent in 2001 to 58 percent this year, compared to 55 percent statewide. Sophomores rated 62 percent this year, 61 percent in 2001, compared to a statewide average of 54 percent.
Writing levels, compared to statewide average, were strong, with the sophomore class, again, the only one showing decreasing proficiency. At that level, the 2002 score was 41 percent proficient, compared to 47 percent in 2001 and a statewide average of 49 percent.
The most dramatic writing improvement locally was at the fourth-grade level where the proficient score jumped from 32 percent last year to 52 percent this year, three points higher than the statewide average. At the seventh-grade level, writing proficiency improved from 37 to 43 percent but was still below the statewide average of 49 percent.
Third, sixth, eighth and ninth grades were tested for the first time this year in writing so there are no local comparative scores. However, compared to statewide averages, the classes stacked up well. Sixth grade statewide was at 49 percent, Pagosa at 47; eighth-grade proficiency here was 51 percent, the statewide average 49.
"While results of the writing assessments are disappointing," Noggle said, "they do provide the district with baseline data at all grade levels from third through 10. For the 2002-2003 school year, teachers will utilize the data to begin the process of curriculum revision and lesson plan adaptation to the assessment tests format.
"More importantly," he said, "teachers will use the assessment results to learn about each and every student under their tutelage. The results have presented us with a challenge, but I am confident that the teachers and students will rise to the occasion and meet the expectations of the community."
Noggle said, "We have a good staff who care about kids - they will do what is best for kids."
At the eighth-grade level, the only one tested, Pagosa students were at exactly 50 percent proficient, up from 35 percent in 2001 and above the statewide average of 47 percent.
"While the scores show promising results," Noggle said, "we still have lots of work to do. We did demonstrate some growth and there were no significant drops in test scores. We believe we are on the right track and are determined to increase the level of growth in the classroom."
The science tests of 131 eighth graders showed six advanced, 63 proficient, 31 partially proficient, 15 unsatisfactory and 16 not tested or producing invalid results.
Over the next few weeks, administrators and teachers will review test results and look for meaningful trends in data. More importantly, teachers will use the assessment totals to diagnose the specific areas where instruction must be adjusted to meet the needs of the students.
"I am very proud of the teaching staff," Noggle said. "They rose to the occasion and have made a Herculean effort to close the learning gap. I am even more optimistic as I look forward to the 2003 state testing. Over the last year and this summer, principals and teachers have made a commitment to an intensive staff development program and have adopted models of successful schools and methodologies that get results."
Conservancy panel votes
in favor of cloud seeding
By John M. Motter
A first step toward starting a Nov. 1 cloud seeding program in the San Juan Mountains above Pagosa Springs was taken by the San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors Tuesday.
"We decided to go ahead," said Fred Schmidt, the district board chairman. "We feel like it is our responsibility to take the lead in this."
The board reviewed cloud seeding proposals from Western Weather Consultants LLC of Durango and North American Weather Consultants of Sandy, Utah.
"The two proposals were very close," said Schmidt. "We don't know which firm we'll choose yet."
Two formats were proposed, both to start Nov. 1. One format calls for seeding from ground generators over a three-month period. The second format calls for seeding over a five-month period. The estimated cost of the three-month plan is $65,000, of the five month program $80,000, according to Schmidt.
"We decided to go for the five-month program," Schmidt said. "We're looking at a long-term program, something to restore our water table."
The conservancy district also decided to fund half the cost themselves, about $40,000, and to ask the other two water districts in the area to help with the remainder of this year's cost. Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District of Pagosa Springs and the Southwest Water Conservation District, with offices in Durango, are the other districts.
This year's program is regarded as a demonstration, according to Schmidt. The results will be monitored as the season progresses. A final analysis will be made following completion of the program. Typically, cloud seeding produces a precipitation increase of from 10 to 20 percent. If the program is considered successful, broad-based support will be sought in order to continue the program in future years.
The two cloud seeding companies will be asked to submit contract proposals specific to a five-month program before one or the other is selected, Schmidt said. Selection of a company and signing of contracts could take place within two or three weeks.
Before cloud seeding programs can begin in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Natural Resources must issue a permit. Prior to issuing a permit, public hearings are conducted.
Saturday basketball will open recreation center
By Joe Lister Jr.
Come support the parks and recreation department at the grand opening of the new Pagosa Springs Community Center Saturday.
The department is hosting a series of basketball games as a way of letting the public see how the town of Pagosa Springs will benefit from the new multipurpose room, which includes a full-court basketball floor and volleyball court.
The ribbon cutting ceremony is at 10:30 a.m., followed by a tour of the facilities, free lunch and music by Rio Jazz. Come down and enjoy the great addition to our town's amenities.
Basketball games will start at 11 a.m. with both boys and girls games. The final game tips off at 3 p.m.
We encourage you to attend, check everything out and support the kids. I am sure you will enjoy the effort and the energy put out by the young athletes.
The Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Wolf Creek Wheel Club, will host the Pagosa Colorfest Bike Race in September- the final event in the Four Corners Bike Series.
Point totals for the year will be added up and prizes for the Pagosa race and the year-end awards will be presented. Look forward to this end-of-summer event and enjoy the great outdoors.
The time is right to register kids for youth soccer. Ages for this program are 5-12 years. Registration forms can be picked up at Town Hall, and registration deadline is Aug. 23. Important dates to remember are a coaches' meeting Aug. 20, practices beginning Aug. 26, games starting Sept. 10, and tournament play which begins the third week in October.
Teams from Dulce may enter this program and games could be played on Saturday as well as Tuesdays and Thursdays.
For more information contact Chris at 264-4151, Ext. 232.
The adult softball season is coming to a close with the coed tournament won by team Radio Shack.
The Radio Shack team cruised through tournament play in the winners' bracket to face Car Quest in the championship game. Car Quest defeated Radio Shack in the first of two games, forcing an "if" game in the double elimination tournament. But it was Radio Shack that came out on top, 18-7, to win the coed tournament championship.
Congratulations to all the teams that participated in this year's adult softball program. A special note is due in recognition of Big O Tires, which finished third in tournament play. This team was the most improved team in the league and its members had a great sense of humor on the field. Hope to see you next season.
Adult flag football will begin in the fall with games played Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Team roster forms can be picked up at Town Hall. The team managers' meeting will take place Aug. 22 at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Chris at 264-4151, Ext. 232.
Last hunter education
class before season
A hunter education class, sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Police Department in conjunction with the Colorado Division of Wildlife, will be held Aug. 29-30 in the new Pagosa Springs Community Center.
Hours will be 6-10 p.m. Aug. 29 and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. the second day.
Fee is $20 per student and the student must attend both days. Those wanting to attend the Friday session only will not be admitted.
The course will be open to anyone wishing to obtain a hunter safety card. If you were born on or after Jan. 1, 1949, you are required to have a hunter safety card before you can purchase a hunting license.
This will be the last class taught before the opening of the archery big game season this year.
All programs, services and activities on the Colorado Division of Wildlife are operated in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you need accommodation due to a disability, contact Doug Purcell or Mike Reid at 264-2131 or Don Volger at 264-4151.
To ensure the Division of Wildlife can meet your needs, contact officials at least seven days before the class.
New Mexico teams dominate Softball Blowout
By Richard Walter
Overcoming ankle deep mud on one field, periodic downfalls throughout the two-day affair, and constant threat of lightning and other inclement conditions, The Pagosa Invitational Softball Blowout got in 52 games over the weekend.
Joking there would be "a slight fee for the rain," Sun Jones, tournament coordinator, had high praise for the volunteer grounds crew, and for town recreation director Junior Lister "who spent at least 20 hours getting the fields in shape and then getting them in shape again after the deluge in the early morning hours Saturday."
Winners in the women's division were all from Albuquerque: Bring It finished first; A-Team was second and H.W.U.D.O.I.N. third.
In the men's division, Worth of Farmington captured first; Pam Eaton Realty, sponsoring an entry for Los Alamos was second; Crazy 10's, a family team from Monte Vista, captured third place.
The goal was to raise at least $2,000 for high school football team cold weather gear and Jones said the figure looks just about exact. However, she said, the high school has notified her there is a surplus in the football fund and the team can make its own purchases.
So the Pirate wrestling, volleyball and baseball teams will be the beneficiaries of the proceeds from the tournament.
The wrestling team will get a spotlight and mobile lift unit; volleyball players will get special gear bags, and the diamond entry will get $300 worth of baseballs.
In addition, $125 was raised in a bat raffle (at $1 a chance) to help pay for bleachers in the gymnasium at the new Pagosa Springs Community Center.
20 hopefuls open challenge for golf team spots
By Richard Walter
Mark Faber welcomed 20 prospective Pagosa Springs Pirate golf team members Monday evening, including six who saw extensive action on the circuit last year.
Faber, the new head coach, set out the rules he'll expect team members to follow and told them they will qualify for tournament action on the basis of top scores in practice sessions.
And he'll have scant time to evaluate his charges. The season opens Wednesday with the annual Pagosa Springs Invitational, the only chance home fans will get to see the team in action this season.
The squad is not without experience, with six hopefuls having recorded varsity competition last year. They are expected to form the core of the squad, but all the others will have an equal shot at playing time.
The veterans are Jesse Trujillo, Ty Faber, Danny Lyon, Dan Coggins, Casey Belarde and Garrett Forrest.
Samantha Ricker, a freshman, was the only female at the first session, but at least one other is expected to try out when she returns from a family vacation.
Others who attended the opening session were Steven Sellers, Niko Carrizo, Craig Lucero, Matt Lattin, Clint McKnight, Jake Makensen, Derrick Rader, Damian Rome, Matt DeWinter, Steven Parker, Avery Johnson, Terry McAlister and Jacob Blum.
The coach told his candidates the coaches "will reserve the right to pull anyone on the basis of attitude or demeanor on the course."
Golfers, he said, "must show respect, manners and concern for the well-being of fellow competitors."
He urged the squad to "remember that golf is a game of integrity more than any other sport," noting that all others have officials on hand but golfers rely on their own honesty and officiate their own performance. "In what other sport," he asked, "will you find a contestant penalizing his or her own wrong?
"Take pride in what you do," he urged. "Don't try to get away with anything you can simply because you can."
The home opener, coming two weeks before school actually starts, is the first of three consecutive days of action next week. The Pirates will journey to Cortez Thursday and close out their first week of action the following day in Durango.
Two Pirate grapplers back from national competition
By Karl Isberg
If it doesn't kill you, it will make you stronger.
Local wrestlers, Michael Martinez and Darren Hockett, qualified to participate in the Colorado Cadet/Junior National Team training camp July 14-19.
At the camp, the two grapplers successfully trained and competed for spots on Colorado's Cadet National Wrestling Team that took part in the Asics Cadet/Junior National Wrestling tournament July 20-28 in Fargo, N.D.
The tournament brought together the finest wrestlers in the United States.
Martinez, at 119 pounds, and Hockett at 112, were among a Colorado contingent that included three competitors in each weight class. They fought in the Cadet division, with athletes 15 and 16 years old, at what is billed as the largest wrestling tournament in the nation.
The Pagosa duo wrestled Greco-Roman and freestyle matches. The Greco-Roman style, unfamiliar to many high school wrestlers, emphasizes upper-body attacks and throws.
With their return home, consider Martinez and Hockett stronger.
The size of the tournament and the quality of competition impressed Hockett, who made it to the Colorado 3A State championships last season at 103 pounds. "It was big," he said. " I learned throws on my feet and how to keep my weight balanced on the bottom. I think what I learned will make a big difference this season."
Martinez, the third-place finisher in the state last year at 112 pounds, agreed the experience will lead to improvements when the next high school season begins. He also made a terse comment concerning his intended appearance at another Asics national tournament. "Wait till next year."
Dan Janowsky, Pirate wrestling coach, was pleased two of his athletes were selected to attend the national event, and happy with their performances. "I think their showing was great. They wrestled Greco-Roman for the first time, and did it at the national level. They represented us well and I'm impressed by how hard they work and what they bring to the sport. They got rave reviews from all their coaches."
Jeanne Cannaway Burns, a long-time Pagosa resident, passed away in Mexico Aug. 1, 2002. There was cremation, and a memorial service will be held later in San Carlos, Mexico.
She leaves her husband, Jack Burns, former president of the Pagosa Lions Club, daughter and son-in-law Jill and Bill Kennedy, sons and daughters in-laws John and Diane, Jay and Robin, three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
By John Graves
Special to The PREVIEW
One of the hit songs from the great musical "A Chorus Line" was "What I Did For Love." However, this beautiful ballad was not dealing with romantic love, but was an explanation by an injured dancer of why he had pursued a career and lifestyle so fraught with pain, frustration, and even danger.
Bob Thom, who plays the father in the Music Boosters' production of "Meet Me in St. Louis," also constructed the impressive set pieces from Michael DeWinters' designs. These structures include a staircase, a moveable porch, and the trolley car for the "Trolley Song" production number. But "the rest of the story" is that Bob lives and works in Durango. That's a 120- mile round trip for every rehearsal.
Thirteen seamstresses not only attend rehearsals from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on weeknights and 9-5 p.m. on weekends, they often take costumes home to work on. And even if you couldn't understand a word of this delightful portrayal of early twentieth century family life, the sets and costumes alone would provide an enchanting panorama of colorful period pageantry.
Everyone involved - the actors, the crew, the Music Boosters board and the support volunteers - are all willing to drastically change their lives, plans and schedules to accommodate the demands of this major musical endeavor. Kathy Isberg, the president of Music Boosters, says, "I'm not on the board because I like to run meetings. I'm there because I love to sing and act - and help young people who want to commit their lives to the performing arts."
Perhaps this phenomenon of dedication to an art form can best be illuminated by a classic rejoinder. When the man with a shovel and broom who followed the elephants in the circus parade was asked why he didn't quit that lousy job, he replied, "What! And get out of show business?"
To share in the results of all this sacrifice and dedication, get your reserved seats to "Meet Me In St. Louis" at the Plaid Pony (731-5262) or Moonlight Books (264-5666).
This cascade of impish charm, lilting melodies and gaiety will have a matinee performance Aug. 18, at 2 p.m. Show times at 7:30 p.m. will be Aug. 16, 17, 22, 23 and 24. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors with a Senior Center card.
By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
Tickets are still available for the seventh annual Four Corners Folk Festival, which takes place in just over three weeks. The popular music festival has lots of diversions for the whole family, including a free kids' program with magic shows, musical performances, arts and crafts, an alpaca display and other ongoing activities; a vendor expo with goods and crafts from around the world; an enticing food court with fare from Thailand to Mexico; and a brand new Four Corners Music Expo.
This new addition will showcase 13 national instrument and musical product manufacturers including Martin Guitars, Gibson, Nechville Musical Products, Weber Mandolin, Collings Guitars, Rono Strings, Deering Banjos, D'Addario Strings, Rainsong Graphite Guitars, National Guitars, John Pearse Strings, Fishman Transducers and Elixir Strings. These companies' products will be on display and available for demos in a large tent at the festival, overseen by the knowledgeable staff of Canyon Music Woodworks.
The three-day musical lineup is packed with the incredible talent of 15 different bands. Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, both founding members of the David Grisman Quintet and the Tony Rice Unit, are two of the key players in the 25-year-old New American String Band movement. Recently dubbed "the new acoustic supergroup for the '90s" by the Philadelphia Inquirer, these two major forces in contemporary string music once again join forces to explore a musical world stretching from Brazil through the Appalachian hills, by way of Manhattan and the Florida Swamps.
In each decade from the '70s to the present, they have helped spearhead the most crucial developments in this quintessentially American form. You will not want to miss their inimitable, ebullient and fascinating brand of folk-jazz-classical music Aug. 30 at 3:15 p.m. on the festival's Main Stage.
The Four Corners Folk Festival is still looking for volunteers for various jobs at this year's event, scheduled Aug. 30 - Sept. 1 on Reservoir Hill. For a six-hour shift, volunteers will earn a three-day pass good for the entire duration of the festival. Volunteers must be mature and reliable. Anyone interested should call Dan at 731-5582.
Additional information on the festival can be found at www.folkwest.com. Tickets can be purchased locally at Moonlight Books downtown or Wolf Tracks Coffee and Books in the Pagosa Country Center. They can also be purchased with a credit card by calling 731-5582 or online at www.folkwest.com.
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management officials announced that camping restrictions, which allowed camping only in designated campgrounds, were lifted August 2 on the San Juan Public Lands in southwestern Colorado.
Camping will be once again be allowed on public lands outside developed campgrounds and designated Wilderness. The restrictions had been in effect since June 19 due to high fire danger and drought conditions. The restriction banning campfires, charcoal grills, and wood-burning stoves, however, will remain in effect until conditions improve further.
Campgrounds around Vallecito Reservoir closed due to fire danger or hazard trees remain closed as does the Missionary Ridge Road and most areas within the Missionary Ridge Fire perimeter.
The biggest factor in the decision to lift the camping restrictions is the recovery of relative humidities at night. Along with some moderate precipitation the area has received, the chances of a fire spreading when one does start are much less than earlier in the summer.
In June, relative humidities were often in the single digits; now they are typically in the 20-40 percent range. However, the moisture content in grasses and trees is still very low and users are encouraged to use existing "dispersed" sites and should not park their vehicle over dry grasses.
All-terrain vehicles, motorcycles, and 4-wheel drives are still not allowed on trails or to travel cross-country, but may drive up to 300 feet off open roads to camp. Chain saw use is still prohibited, but firewood cutting with hand saws is allowed. Smoking is allowed only inside an enclosed vehicle or building. Restrictions on commercial logging, hydromower operations, oil and gas drilling, and the use of explosives or welding equipment also remain in effect.
On June 19, extreme fire and drought conditions forced land managers to restrict camping to developed campgrounds with an on-site host or within the Weminuche, South San Juan, and Lizard Head Wildernesses. Land managers will continue to lift restrictions as conditions improve. While the area has received some rain, the summer monsoons have not set up in a way that allow all restrictions to be lifted at this time.
Visitors are encouraged to report suspicious activities that could lead to a fire ignition by calling their local sheriff's office or local Forest Service/BLM offices. Remember, people aware are people who care.
By Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees stopped short of putting a home rule question on November's ballot, asking instead for more information.
"I feel like we're moving too fast," Mayor Ross Aragon said. "I've never seen a charter or even looked at one. I feel like we ought to have some work sessions. I'm just not comfortable with it at this time."
Home rule is a form of government, "based upon the theory that the citizens of a municipality should have the right to decide how their local governing problems are managed and solved," according to a 12-page informational document handed out at the July board of trustees meeting. It is offered as an alternative to statutory rule, Pagosa's current form of government, whereby municipalities receive their authority to act from the state constitution or statutes. If the authority isn't specifically granted, the community's hands are tied.
A home rule government's authority comes from its people. Its local powers, structure of government, and limitations stem from a charter created and approved by local voters. It is not, however, unlimited control. On matters of statewide concern, including provisions in TABOR that protect taxpayers, home rule communities, like statutory communities, must have a specific grant of authority. Because home rule powers come from a charter created by a commission of local citizens, and both the commission members and then the charter must be approved by election, it's a rather lengthy process from start to finish.
The town board is considering an ordinance that, if approved, would be a first step in the process, placing two questions before voters in the fall: shall the town of Pagosa Springs form a home rule charter commission and who shall be on the commission. In Pagosa Springs' case, voters would have the opportunity to elect a total of nine people to that commission. The commission members would then have 120 days to write the charter determining the particulars of government. That charter would also have to come before voters for approval.
Town staff and trustees have been discussing home rule government on and off for several years. It came up most recently in relation to sales tax issues because home rule allows self-taxation. But time is short to make the ballot.
"I think it's got to be hop in and check the water," trustee Darryl Cotton said at Tuesday's meeting. "I think we give it a shot and find out where we are. I think it's one of those things where we're not going to be comfortable with it, until we jump in the middle."
After further discussion, he remained in the minority.
"You're talking about jumping into the water, and I'm thinking look before you leap," Aragon said.
The board agreed to convene a special meeting Aug. 13 at 5 p.m. in the Town Hall municipal court room to further discuss the issue. They also requested the town staff have representatives from the Colorado Municipal League or a community that already operates under a home rule government at the meeting if possible.
By Karl Isberg
William "Bill" Bright, 46, former Pagosa resident and former manager of the Upper San Juan Hospital District was found dead July 29 in a Grand Junction motel room. Following an autopsy, Mesa County Coroner Dr. Rob Kurtzman ruled Bright died of natural causes.
Bright leaves three children, daughters Jenna and Alisha, and a son, Ian.
Bright was born in Pennsylvania and raised in Vermont and Illinois. He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, receiving a bachelor's degree in marketing and management. He first resided in Pagosa Springs in the late '80s, working as a photographer and earning his Emergency Medical Technician-Basic here in 1988.
Bright later moved to northern California where he worked as a firefighter and EMT with the Windsor Fire Department. He attended paramedic school in San Francisco and graduated in 1990. He then worked as a fire captain and paramedic with the Southlake County Fire Department.
Returning to the Pagosa area in 1997, Bright was named manager of Emergency Medical Services June 4, 1997, and later manager of the Upper San Juan Hospital District.
Hospital district staff has established a memorial notebook for Bright's children. They ask anyone wanting to add a thought or memory to that notebook to stop by the Emergency Medical Services building on North Pagosa Boulevard and ask for Kate Jackson.
By John M. Motter
Archuleta County has a Community Plan. What is its purpose?
The plan is defined on Page 1 as: "A community plan is an official public document designed to guide the future development or redevelopment of a community in order to create and maintain a desirable environment and to promote the public health, safety, and welfare. The plan is intended for use by public officials, citizens and developers in making decisions about future development in Archuleta County and the town of Pagosa Springs.
"While the plan is an advisory document only, it is the basis for revising existing regulations or enacting new regulations, and for evaluating developmental proposals and guiding project review recommendations."
"Š The plan also recognizes that protection of individual property rights is a fundamental legal and philosophical principle Š However, the plan also recognizes a common vision, expressed by county citizens at 22 public workshops, to preserve community character and environmental and scenic qualities, while enhancing economic opportunities and creating a more diverse economy."
In its introduction, the plan recognizes the conflict between private property rights and the rights of others in the community affected by the use of that property. Because it is advisory in nature, the plan also recognizes the county must adopt specific regulations in order to enforce it.
The advisory nature of the plan was clarified by Archuleta County Attorney Mary Weiss at a special meeting conducted by county commissioners last week. According to state law, a master plan is only advisory, Weiss said. It lacks sufficient specificity and other attributes needed to serve as authority for regulatory activities.
In order to enact the intent of the Community Plan, specific enactment tools must be adopted by the county commissioners - tools such as lighting regulations, sign regulations and specific land use designation regulations. Adoption of enactment tools can only take place following public hearings, Weiss said.
Zoning, referred to as the "Z word," is the most controversial of the implementation tools connected with the Community Plan. The mention of zoning is a call to arms for certain property owners. As a land use management tool, zoning can take many forms.
The typical statement of opponents to zoning is something like, "In the future, I might want to subdivide or in other ways develop my land. I don't want anyone placing a zoning designation on my property that will make it impossible for me to develop it." The implication is, if a rancher's property is zoned for agriculture, that rancher won't be able to subdivide in the future. The effect, according to ranchers, is to remove a property right and property value.
A suggested answer has been for governments or other organizations to purchase development rights. When that happens, the rancher is remunerated while allowing the property to remain in its present condition, even operated as a ranch.
The current board of county commissioners has discussed at least four zoning options. Those include traditional Euclidean zoning, copying the Montezuma County landowner initiated zoning concept, or performance based zoning. Doing nothing is a fourth option, an option followed, either purposely or by default, since the commissioners approved the Community Plan 14 months ago.
Public hearings are required before any zoning laws can be adopted. When adopted, zoning laws normally apply only to building and growth that happen after adoption. Facilities in existence before adoption of zoning laws are grandfathered. That means they continue as they are, unless major alterations are made.
Zoning in its traditional, most common form - Euclidean zoning - involves dividing the county into geographical zones. The kinds of building and development in each zone are specifically described according to the function desired. The town of Pagosa Springs practices Euclidean zoning. The number of zones selected depends upon how much separation the zoning law writers deem necessary. Traditionally, single-family residential use is limited to particular zones, commercial and retail uses to other zones, industrial use to still other zones. The list of zones could continue.
Euclidean zoning requirements can be, and usually are, flexible. More than one use can be allowed in a zone. Usage definitions for particular zones depend upon the needs and ingenuity of the lawmakers.
The title of the Montezuma zoning plan sounds better than the practice. Called landowner initiated zoning, in practice application of the plan is less than that. As a beginning step, a series of zones with specific uses is drafted. Landowners are surveyed and asked to choose a specific zoning preference from the list of choices. Owners of large tracts, often agriculturists, are allowed to continue doing what they have been doing, in essence removing them as an opponent to zoning.
Still, communities of common interest are recognized. Ultimately, land uses conforming to community interests are enforced. The Montezuma plan appears to be a politically expedient approach that satisfies ranchers and farmers in the beginning. After a few years pass, the practice seems to result in zoning patterns very similar to Euclidean zoning.
Performance-based zoning recognizes that various areas in a community develop naturally according to a number of pre-existing conditions. Those conditions include the historic usage of the area; topographical features, that is hillyness, steep slopes, soil type, views, and such; the presence of a water bodies, forests, and other natural conditions; the presence and kinds of roadways, utilities, and other services associated with population density. The list can be as long as the lawmakers choose.
Finally, the commissioners can choose to do nothing more about zoning, thereby avoiding the conflicts associated with decisions involving private versus public rights conflicts.
Some commissioners argue that existing land use regulations are a form of zoning and the county needs no more. These include regulations governing subdivision development, limited impact subdivision regulations, conditional use permits, lighting, signage, road construction, and health issues enforced by the state.
Ultimately, zoning regulations adopted by a community tend to be a combination of practices selected from the various recognized forms of zoning.
Zoning and land management issues aggravated by growth have been topics of more or less public interest in Archuleta County since the current growth pattern began during the early 1970s. The state has forced the county to appoint a planning commission and in other ways address the issues. As local land use becomes more intensive, pressure is being brought on the county commissioners to adopt regulations designed to maintain perceived aesthetic values in the community. The acts, or lack of acts, related to zoning taken by the commissioners in the near future will shape the county for decades to come.
The double standard that is so flagrantly displayed in the Pagosa SUN, doesn't even approach any semblance of "journalism." You seem to believe that letters to the editor pointing out the errors/deletions in a news article ("Vista Residents," 7/25/02) or the political bias in your op-ed ( "Facts," 7/11/02) is against your "policy" and is considered "candidate advocacy." Since when is trying to correct errors in an article written by one of your staff or pointing out your hypocrisy in an op-ed considered "candidate advocacy?"
The political bias shown by the SUN over the 12 years that I have been a local resident has been so egregious and below any "standards" for journalism, it is a long-standing joke in the community. Since when do the "claims made in a letter to the editor" have to be investigated by your staff - are you now an investigative arm of the local law enforcement?
Even the clearly biased Denver Post does not have such a "policy."
The letters to the editor submitted by your readers are their opinions, and believe me, I have read some really outrageous opinions and false "information/accusations" in those letters! Where were your "claims police" to "verify the legitimacy" for those letters? Only when an opinion letter comes in with rebuttals and corrections to the SUN's biased opinions, do you refuse to print those letters! Get a life and perform like a "real newspaper" instead of trying to be the local "Opinion Police"! Or do you really believe you are the only source of the "truth"?? Have you read "Bias" by Bernard Goldberg?
Know the Truth!
(Editor's note: Any "clearly biased" newspaper - the Denver Post or The Pagosa Springs SUN - is liable under the law for claims made in letters to the editor. No newspaper prints any and all letters submitted.)
Follow the money
July has come and gone and with it, along with a number of other traumatic events, was the annual meeting and election of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association. With it we have a change in leadership, with a new president, Mr. Tom Cruse, who is a very competent man for the task. The board of directors has two new members who were both past board members in earlier years. Let us hope that this board shall have a better sense of the past history of PLPOA, both good and bad.
The first question the board needs to ask its own members is: Who does the board represent?
Recent history over the past two years, and the statements made at the annual meeting quoted in the SUN leaves some doubt.
It seems a matter of great pride that the association has assets of $3.5 million dollars ($1.5 million plus approximately $2 million long term) and only minor debts. PLPOA is organized as a nonprofit corporation that is entitled by law to reasonable reserve accounts for future replacement of capital assets, (buildings etc.), and one year's operating expenses. What justifies the excess? Does it endanger our nonprofit status? Is there any reason why the remainder of that money should not be returned where it came from?
Another point of pride was the information presented by the general manager that there were no legal actions pending. Unfortunately this also includes the board's failure to take legal action to enforce the PLPOA/county contract when it became clear that the county had mismanaged the Fairfield road improvement project.
Congratulations go to board member Gerald Smith who has attempted to convince the board that the county commissioners may not be the best friends PLPOA ever had.
The results of the telephone poll commissioned by the past board are apparently to be unveiled to the current board. I must express curiosity about both the questions presented to property owners and just how the respondents were selected.
Until there is more information made available to all property owners I ask my fellow Pagosa Lakes property owners to ask yourself, and then the board, what exactly has the association and the board done for the million dollars plus dues we submit every year?
League of Women Voters of Archuleta County was able to obtain extra copies of the Denver Post Colorado Primary (Aug. 13) 2002 Voters' Guide printed July 28, and has placed them in the Sisson Library for voter use. These guides, funded through the League of Women Voters of Colorado Education Fund, provide voter education and congressional and state level primary candidate information.
The guide includes a short biography for candidates in a contested race, with their answers to the League questionnaire provided. General information concerning voting procedures and partisan and nonpartisan Web sites will be useful to the voter. A preview of the top-level federal and state candidates running for office in the Nov. 5 General Election is also given.
Become an informed voter, and vote in your primary Aug. 13.
Accuracy of roads
I have been concerned that the article on missing streets implied that the named streets were unknown for emergency response purposes.
There are two ongoing projects to make improvements to emergency response capabilities.
One is mapping using Global Positioning Systems technology to create accurate road/street maps of the county. This was started in 1999. Initially the county estimated about 600 miles of road. The GPS contractor found 736 miles. This was done in cooperation with La Plata Electric and has been ongoing. La Plata Electric had previously been locating meters using GPS.
These maps will give emergency responders the ability to find emergency disaster situations. I am far more concerned with rural areas of the county, that no first responder may be familiar with, than I am with the town. I am sure that the town police and other first responders know the town. The town is to be mapped as every road and street in the county will have to be mapped. This will be especially important as a way to locate cell phone calls when 9-1-1 is called. Again, some of these capabilities are in the future.
The county assessor's system has all of this information but not a real good ability to deliver the information to first responders. It also does not tell you if a road actually exists, only that it is legally there, i.e., platted but not constructed.
There will be ongoing updates as new roads and streets are built.
The other related project is the Master Street Addressing Guide. It has to have all roads/streets in the county on it and has to be created by the county. This was the original impetus for the GPS mapping. GPS gives very accurate location and length information. Guide information that must be included includes the high and low street address that will be on that particular street, the post office, the law enforcement, fire and ambulance that would respond. To improve information, Archuleta County's guide also includes the subdivision/town if applicable and the common name of county roads.
The guide is matched to CenturyTel's phone records by Intrado, a company in Boulder that is under contract by Qwest to provide E-9-1-1 addressing database. The database is very cranky. If the spelling, address range or other points of comparison do not match, the particular phone/address is kicked out to be corrected. If all items match, then it is considered a valid address. The enhanced 9-1-1 system is not operational unless there is at least 95 percent match between the guide and the phone company's addresses.
So, while it may appear that some streets are not known it is only in our GPS mapping that they were missing for many legitimate reasons. These missing streets are being added to the map system. All entities involved are working together to bring the system up to date and accurate. But total accuracy will always be a goal, not an actuality.
I have a life calling that puts me in the middle of helping people during tragedy in their lives. I get much credit where I deserve little, however. Most of the credit belongs to our community members who "stick their necks out" to serve others around them."
Their calling and mine overlap and sometimes intertwine. Their competence and team spirit often go unnoticed except by those few lives they've served, lives heartbroken by tragedy.
We cannot speak highly enough of those people whose calling is to serve so graciously. These people are the search and rescue teams who risk their lives and health to search for your missing loved one. These people are the EMTs who train hard in excellent medical competence, and weep, when no one is looking, over a lost life.
These people are the physicians who will leave the supper table and show up at your doorstep and console you when your friend has died. These people are the coroner and his deputies who must face the ugliness of tragedy head-on and be the Rock of Gibraltar to families shocked by ugly realities.
These people may be the police chief and his staff, or the state patrol trooper who scrambles his day around to escort a funeral procession in dignity, and safety, but rarely is thanked.
These people may be easy to ignore because we like to look the other way from heartache, tragedy and death. But in my book, these people deserve the best pay, the highest accolades, the deepest respect. I know that because I look into the eyes of people every day that these people have served. I see their gratitude for these people to the depth of their souls.
May God increase these people's kind.
The lost is found
Through a series of recent events, I was able to experience first hand the integrity, good character, professionalism and downright caring of one of our local citizens and businessmen, Dave Pokorney.
My wedding ring and another ring were lost or stolen in a local subdivision here in Pagosa. After several hours of searching for the rings with no results, I asked my husband to stop by our local pawn shop to give Diamond Dave a description of the rings, in case they turned up in his store. My husband stopped at the shop, recounted to Dave how I lost the rings and where, and gave him a full description of them. Dave told him, "If the rings come in here, they will not leave until you come in and pick them up."
The next two days were very difficult for me because I was extremely distraught, having lost my most precious possession, my wedding ring. It was late in the afternoon of the second day when we received a call from Dave, telling us the rings were in his possession. When my husband and I arrived, Dave was waiting outside the shop for us. Through tears of joy I identified the rings. They were in seemingly perfect shape, although a little dusty.
The rings were brought into the shop by a young man who was visiting here. He had unfortunately decided to sell the rings after he had found them. (I had spoken to him about the rings after I had lost them, and had given him a description of them along with my name and phone number.)
It was his choice to take them to the pawnshop and try to sell them. Unfortunately for him, Dave was very honest. He was detained by Dave with the help of Steve, a UPS man, until the police, and later sheriff's deputies arrived.
Like the young man, Dave had a choice. His choice was to either buy the rings and sell them again or to call the police and report the stolen property. Having the good character and integrity that he has, Dave did "the right thing!" During our conversation after the incident, he said he always works closely with local law enforcement.
It is, in my opinion, the good fortune of our town and the surrounding communities to have such an upstanding citizen, true professional and businessman like Dave Pokorney. He is a caring man, as well. Although he wears a lot of gold around his neck, the real gold is in his heart. Diamond Dave really does shine.
I have attended many county fairs around our country, some larger, many smaller, and have never had to pay admission. This year, for the first time in the 14 years I've lived here, we had to pay admission to the county fair.
I have spoken with many people in our county who are upset about this and many wrongly blame the fair board. But it is our county commissioners who denied the fair board the funds to put on the fair.
Sadly enough, the 4-H participants had to buy passes so they could come in and tend to their livestock. People had to pay admission to attend the Taste of Pagosa (supporting our local restaurants) and the Chuck Wagon Barbecue (supporting the 4-H).
To my knowledge, there were no exceptions for attending these events. What about the families who couldn't afford to pay the entrance fee? These people have been supporting the fair and bringing their children for good, clean family entertainment for many years; now they may not have the extra funds to attend. Merchants and vendors were also affected by this as there were fewer people attending to buy their wares.
The community center had a booth this year to sell donor blocks. Many people volunteered to work at the booth to support this worthy cause, but they had to pay admission in order to volunteer for our community center.
There are many good people who volunteer to work at the fair in various capacities to make this yearly event a great weekend for the local community as well as tourists, many of them had to pay the fee. Making volunteers pay an entrance fee is a no-win situation forced on the fair board by our shortsighted commissioners.
Since my husband and I were volunteers at the community center booth, we attended the fair this year. But, rest assured, as long as the county commissioners cannot find it in their budget to support our community by supporting the fair, it will have been the last fair we attend.
Kudos to the Fair
Ron and I spent hours on each of Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the fair and I can only say, "it was the best."
It was organized and run smoothly. All sorts of unexpected problems came up but no matter.
We enjoyed the Taste (what a great social event Š so nice of Melange to donate their music for the evening), the rodeo, the Colgate Country Countdown, the barbecue, the 4-H auction (yea for the kids), the dance, the chile cook-off and the demolition derby.
Please bring Mr. Magician Frank Popovich back. He was so much fun. Also enjoyed Warron Big Eagle and his beautiful voice.
I know so many people worked so hard. Thanks to you all. The setup was very good, easy to get from place to place.
We are sorry it's over. Can't wait until next year.
A request to the commissioners after reading The SUN Aug. 1:
Please know that many folks are concerned about the rapid growth here. Please control, slow down the process now.
It is extremely difficult to watch trees and plants die while machinery is tearing up soil to lay down another foundation. New foundation equals new toilets to be flushed and you know how the story goes. It's called increased water use, less quality air, increased traffic, more loss of our night sky with increased lights, and the list goes on.
Dams, reservoirs, to me, are not the answer. Good planning, sensible open space: protect the beauty that is here. Do not make it into another Durango, as so many areas become just like the place down the road.
Sheep at large
The sheep at large in units 4 and 5 of Aspen Springs are a nuisance, hazard and abomination. The local sheriff and brand inspectors say there is nothing they can do because this is an "Open Range State."
I suggest that these law enforcement persons and brand inspectors need to have the law explained to them. Title 35-46-102(2) Colorado Revised Statutes Colorado Livestock Laws plainly states a person must own or lease sufficient land at the place of ranging to sustain the number of livestock that are being pastured. A couple of acres aren't sufficient to forage over 50 head of sheep.
According to this statute,
"Whenever any person stocks land, not enclosed by a lawful fence, on which such person has a lawful right to pasture or forage livestock, with a greater number of livestock than such land can properly support or water and any of such livestock pasture, forage, or water on the lands of another person, in order to obtain the proper amount of pasture, forage, or water or whenever any person stocks with livestock land on which such person has no lawful right to pasture or forage livestock and such livestock pasture, forage, or water on such land or on other land on which such person has no right to pasture or forage livestock, he shall be deemed a trespasser and shall be liable in damages and subject to injunction."
These sheep are penned at night and then turned loose and allowed to free range during the daytime which is in direct violation of Colorado Livestock Laws 35-46-107 with the intent being to allow these sheep to range and forage upon their neighbors and cause destruction of personal and private property, and present themselves as a hazard and nuisance on the roadways.
Statute 35-46-107: "Unlawful to break fence or open gate. It is unlawful for any person to willfully break down or cause to be broken down any fence or gate or to leave open any gate in such fence. This section shall not apply to the owner or occupant unless such owner or occupant causes such fence or gate to be broken down or left open with malicious intent."
To dispel the sheriff's department's ludicrous saying, "There is nothing we can do about it because those are not county roads."
When the county accepted the plats of the Aspen Springs subdivisions, this removed the land from the agriculture roles. The special district was created by the county to reconstruct the roads within the Aspen Springs subdivisions, completed based on the mileage of those roads with an inter-governmental agreement that the Aspen Springs Metropolitan District would maintain those roads. The only thing differentiating them from other county roads is the inter-governmental agreement giving the metro district the maintenance responsibility of the roads.
Perhaps each of the 2,200 owners in Aspen Springs should forage 50 head of sheep upon their neighbors.
Benefits of zoning
We just moved to Pagosa Springs in May and are building our dream home. We hope to spend the rest of our lives here hiking, fishing, skiing and contributing back to the community. Archuleta County is now our home. We have been especially impressed with the entire community which has welcomed us so warmly.
Our biggest long-term concern, beyond the immediate drought and fire worries, is how to help preserve and enhance this beautiful county that we have moved to. We believe that careful yet clear and concise zoning and ordinances will ensure that the inevitable growth and development will benefit us all.
We are not tree-hugging liberals from the east who want to move in, bring in big city rules and regulations and disregard the traditions and experience of long-time residents. We are thoughtful conservatives who believe in less government, but also respect how zoning can benefit all; individual citizens, the community as a whole and our natural environment.
We have attended recent Archuleta County planning committee and county commissioner meetings and were glad to see that well-planned efforts are already underway. Yes, we have heard from many half-empty, partly cloudy critics that our commissioners have been slow to implement thoughtful zoning and planning. However, we clearly saw a genuine effort by them to move forward with community planning.
We were especially pleased to hear that our commissioners, county administrators and planners have already taken action to transform a current eyesore, the Archuleta County road and bridge facility, into a countywide example of how landscaping and screening can allow any functional building to blend in harmony with our beautiful countryside.
All three commissioners convinced us they would get it done. They hope to make this project an example to all future development of how required landscaping can only enhance our community. We say, "thank you" to their leadership and we look forward to the completion of this project.
Ron and Deborah Parker
Help the bears
I would like to respond to Mr. Bennett's letter entitled, "Don't Feed the Bears," in last week's SUN.
Mr. Bennett, do you really think that if we stop feeding the bears, they will disappear? Bears won't disappear, especially if they're hungry and they smell your wife's cooking. They will become a nuisance and a menace, which will lead to them being killed. Your solution is no solution.
People are basically selfish and want what's good for them. Not feeding the bears suits their purpose because they don't have to do anything and besides the experts recommend it, thus relieving them of any guilt or responsibility. The "experts" must know what they're doing.
Aren't they the ones that introduced the lynx into this area but forgot to introduce their food supply? Have you seen any lynx or rabbits lately? Experts have a point of view that is influenced by the people they serve. They refuse to spend money for fear of antagonizing people. So much for "experts."
So what's to do? Leave the bears alone? Feed the bears? Or is there another solution?
We know that if people were left to their own devices they would have destroyed most of the animals on this earth. That's why laws had to be enacted protecting animals from extinction. We don't need "experts" to tell us what to do. What we need is an informed public of reasonable, intelligent people who can assess the situation without their emotions clouding the issues. Then, the issues become simple.
Bears deserve to live. If their food supply fails, man must supply food and a safe place for them to live, preferably away from people.
If this costs money, so be it. It must be done in order to provide people with a safe environment.
Now, let me offer you some free medical advice. If you wish to live reasonably well and free of stress, you must follow your conscience. Otherwise, you will damage your health.
If you believe that bears have no right to live and should be killed, you are not following your conscience. Have you thought about this? Do yourself a favor and work toward helping the bears. Start pestering the experts for a safe place for the bears.
Dr. Herbert Parker
A county fair is a lens through which we can examine certain characteristics of a community and the state of its evolution. Our recent county fair provided an excellent view of a community in the midst of change. It is not as if we need additional signs of change, they have been here since the first Anglo and Hispanic settlers arrived in Pagosa Country more than a century and a half ago. But, up until the last 25 years or so, change was measured here with a simple assessment of population and an analysis of the ups and down of lumber and ranching industries.
Archuleta County fairs in the not-too-distant past revealed a community with a firm foundation still resting on ranching, a rural community with interests and activities to match.
A trip to our most recent fair revealed a community in transition, fairly certain of what it is not, still vague concerning what it will become.
The fair, if nothing else, is a lively affair and an accurate cultural barometer.
While our local 4-H programs are vital and provide activities for numerous youngsters, some changes are obvious from fairs of 10 to 15 years ago. The number of large animals shown by club members seems down from past fairs. The steer is a ranch animal and, while real estate ads tout 35-acre or less "ranches," the sad truth is the family ranch way of life is fast becoming extinct. There are, in turn, seemingly more smaller animals shown by youngsters at the fair - animals requiring less space, requiring no ranch resources for their growth and development. This is in sync with the reality of a landscape increasingly divided into smaller and smaller parcels, increasingly given over to residential and commercial use.
The overall fair is bigger now than it used to be and it lasts longer. Not too long ago, fairgoers parked at the front of the fairgrounds area and walked a short way to the livestock pens through a field of mud or made their way to the fair building to see the exhibits.
Now the parking is at a distance and the fairgoer pays a fee to enter the fairgrounds. Once, a large tent and the fair building served the fair. Now there are tents and a midway with booths featuring hustling politicians, traders of all manner of goods and vendors of foods. There is a carnival at the site.
The 4-H livestock auction and kids' rodeo were once the high points of the fair. Now, the events take their place as two among many others, including an evening featuring the foods of local restaurants, a country vocalist contest and a demolition derby. Once agrarian products and skills dominated the exhibit hall. Now the crafts and hobbies of people marginally involved with the traditional way of life, if at all, are predominant. Photographs are replacing Field crops.
All this accurately reflects the demise of the old ways - of the ranching and the timber industries on which the area was built. It reflects the ascendancy of an economy based on a retirement community and rampant construction, of a tourist industry with its service personnel and businesses, of the migration of a privileged class from less favorable environs.
Organizers of this year's fair did a splendid job, as have organizers from the fair's inception. It was well done, well worth attending. The event was entertaining and educational
Our fair gives us insights into what this part of the world used to be. In the next few years, it should give us a clearer idea yet of what this part of the world might become.
By Shari Pierce
90 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 9, 1912
Died. Sunday, Aug. 4, at old Elwood mining camp, Joseph Mann, of dropsy and old age senility, being as near as we can learn 86 years of age. Joseph Mann was one of the old pioneers of the west, spending nearly half a century in the mining regions of Colorado. Generous hearted, hospitable old Joe, whither wherever it is, may you enjoy that peace and happiness that was denied you in your later years. Old Joe was interred in his little garden plot near Elwood, where he had already marked the spot some weeks before his death.
Through extensive repairs the Archuleta property in the park is rapidly assuming its "before the flood" appearance.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 12, 1927
I.D. Russell of Coyote Park this week purchased the John Butler ranch of 200 acres on the upper Navajo, which will be maintained as headquarters for his sheep, in charge of Luis Vargas. Mr. Butler, who has resided on the Navajo for 26 years, will soon leave for Iowa to visit a sister and may conclude to remain in that state.
Some miscreant, apparently with nothing else to do, some time early yesterday morning found time in which to release the air from the tires of all parked cars on Pagosa Street, either by depressing the valves or slashing the tires with a knife.
L.J. Goodman is expected to return home Sunday from a two weeks' buying trip for the fall and winter trade at St. Louis.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 8, 1952
The board of county commissioners announced this week that effective August 1st, Archuleta County would have a road foreman. They have engaged Mr. Lewis Hopper, of Chromo, to act in this capacity at a salary of $275 per month. Mr. Hopper is to be the foreman of all county road work and should affect a great saving to the taxpayers of the county as well as making for more efficient work on the roads.
The Town Board met on Monday night. The council present unanimously voted to appropriate the sum of $500 for a preliminary survey of the possibility of obtaining a water line direct from West Fork. The money would be used to engage a reliable engineer to make the survey, determining the feasibility of such a project.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 4, 1977
The Forest Service meeting scheduled for Monday, Aug. 15 will be held at the high school. This is a meeting concerning the Forest Service's plans for managing the national forests. It is of extreme importance to all residents of this area. Every resident will, in one way or another, be affected by these plans. Much of the planning may concern roadless areas.
The Archuleta County Fair is coming up August 12, 13, and 14. Most of the activity will be at the Red Ryder Roundup grounds.
There was an 87 degree temperature reported as the high temperature during the past seven days. No rain has fallen in August, up through Wednesday, but indications were that there might be some coming up.
By Ming Steen
Things change when you turn 50. I can't see, I can't hear and I can't tell a $1 bill from a $5 bill without my reading glasses. But none of these things really bother me.
The worst thing is that dreaded invitation from AARP, which stands for American Association of Retired Persons. My husband turned 50 four years ago and I've been reading his AARP magazines.
This is a large and powerful organization concerned about dietary fiber. No, truly, AARP is so powerful that politicians in Washington D.C. kowtow to them because of the fierce way it lobbies for issues of concern to senior citizens, such as Social Security, Medicare and the constitutional right to drive without any clue as to where the actual road is.
So, AARP is not an organization to mess with. And when you reach 50, no matter where you are, AARP tracks you down and sends you the invitation letter.
My check to AARP is ready, as is the question: "I'm a member of AARP, do I get a discount?" Watch for me when I'm ahead of you in line at the City Market checkout.
I'm proud and happy to be a 50-year-old. I'll have fewer competitors in my age division, younger racers move out of my way when they see me coming because they respect my being out in the endurance fray with them; the post-race masseuse kneads my weary body first, because I look so much more battle-worn than the others Š and the list of benefits goes on and on. I'll treasure and enjoy my new status and its perks.
My mother, when I turned 50 last year according to the Chinese lunar calendar, wanted to know if I will stop abusing my body. She fears that I'm using up the prescribed number of heartbeats far too quickly. I tell her, on the contrary, my resting heart rate is helping me bank heartbeats for future use.
She still worries but doesn't say much. I suppose it is not unreasonable that as people grow older, many worry that if they exercise they may do more harm than good and perhaps even injure themselves.
But that fear is simply not true, even in the case of the very old. Remaining sedentary is more dangerous than physical activity. The benefits of regular exercise, even for people into their 80s and 90s, are enormous and lead to improved overall health, greater independence and ultimately a much better quality of life in old age.
So with that, keep up the walking, or running, or biking, or swimming or aerobic classes. From 50 onward there is a steady decline in the body's muscle mass which, if left unchecked, can lead eventually to increasing frailty and loss of ability to perform even basic functions such as climbing stairs or working around the house.
A walk, anyone?
By Andy Fautheree
In one of the health care industry's top measurements of quality, the hospitals of the Department of Veterans Affairs scored slightly higher than their non-VA counterparts.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations based the scores on surveys of VA health care facilities. The commission's hospital accreditation system is nationally recognized by the health care industry as a major, independent review of health care quality.
VA's mean score was 93, nearly two points higher than the average for non-VA hospitals nationwide.
The commission has surveyed VA hospitals since the independent reviews began in 1952. Surveys are conducted every three years and cover all 163 VA hospitals on a rotating basis. Each of the 58 VA hospitals surveyed in 2001 received a full, three-year accreditation. All of VA's hospitals are fully accredited by the organization.
VA's Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacies, which dispense more than 65 million prescriptions a year to VA facilities and veterans, were accredited by the joint commission for the first time in 1999 and are scheduled for resurvey in 2002. Six of the seven outpatient pharmacies achieved accreditation with commendation. VA was the first mail prescription service to be accredited by the joint commission.
During the hospital accreditation process, commission surveyors evaluate the credentialing of various medical care services, including medical staff, nursing care, medical records, patient services, monitoring and evaluation, laboratory and ambulatory care.
For information on these and other veteran benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. Internet Web site for Archuleta County Veterans Service Office can be found at www.archuletacounty.org. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949 and e-mail is email@example.com. The office is open 8 to 4, 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.
By Stephanie Jones
The Pagosa Springs Arts Council has been allocated three rooms in the new Pagosa Springs Community Center.
Be sure to attend the grand opening Aug. 10 starting at 10:30 a.m. The rooms will be utilized for education purposes, teaching workshops and demonstrations, for rehearsals, and as meeting rooms.
Programs this fall will include a children's play group for kid's newborn through age five, an after-school art program, a photo club, a garden club, and several workshops and demonstrations.
To find out more about the upcoming programs and events please attend the grand opening or call Joanne at the gallery 264-5020.
Any artist interested in holding a workshop, demonstration or teaching the children's after-school program at the center should also call Joanne.
Many thanks to the businesses, individuals and organizations that pitched in to help the gallery receive a new look: the Rotary Club, Paint Connection Plus, Ace Hardware, Cool Water Plumbing, Interior Dreams, and Andrew Jones. Stop by and see the results.
The LaPlata Electric Round Up Foundation recently awarded the arts council a grant for a new computer. This award, coupled with the generous donation from a local individual, allowed the council to purchase a state-of-the-art new system. Thanks to Natalie Koch for setting up the system and transferring everything over from our old computer.
The council will host a SunDowner Aug. 28 from 5-7 p.m. in Town Park. The evening will include a delicious barbecue and fabulous entertainment by Rio Jazz. We will have our annual silent auction and premiere a live auction containing new and original works by artists. Any artist willing to donate a piece, please contact Joanne at the gallery.
The Whistle Pig concert series will hold a house concert at the Hudson House Aug. 23. The evening will feature Zen Cowboy Chuck Pyle, with cowboy poetry and guitar. For more information call the Hudsons at 264-2491.
Thank you to all of the individuals who attended our benefit dinner at the Timbers. A great time was had by all, thanks to hilarious entertainment by Durango.comedy, Andrew Jones, Callie Smock, Jared Lancing, Sally Yates, Mark and Lisa Brown and several dinner guests who did improvisational humor.
Thank you to Marti Capling and Doris Green for all of their work on this year's home and garden tour, and to all the families who opened their beautiful homes for this successful fund-raiser: the Moores, the Karas', the St. Laurents, the Passants, the Masons, the Websters, the Butlers and the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District xeriscape garden.
The current exhibit at the gallery in Town Park is the photography and jewelry of Michelle Turolla and Ruth Carr's Watercolors.
The Gallery is open 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. The next exhibit will be Roberto Garcia's bronze sculptures and watercolors, opening Aug. 15.
By Sally Hameister
Friday night is the annual library book sale at the Extension building at the fairgrounds, beginning with a short business meeting at 6 p.m. Refreshments provided by board members and nice people who attend and are always plentiful and delicious.
After the business meeting, you are turned loose to shop for some of the best book bargains you will ever see. With the current spate of warehouse book stores, one is tempted to believe they will find the best bargains there when in actuality they can be found only at the library book sale.
I look forward to it each year and always leave with a box or two of treasures that keep me entertained all winter. This will also offer the opportunity to become a member of the Friends of the Library for a very small fee payable at the door.
Please feel free to bring along friends who might be interested, and don't forget to RSVP at 264-2209. Also, if you are so inclined, please bring a snack to share that evening. The sale will continue the following day for those interested.
Please join us Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m. at the new Pagosa Springs Community Center for the grand opening celebration. This day will mark the culmination of years of hard work, planning, hand wringing and, just generally, the blood, sweat and tears of a number of local folks.
This was the dream of Mayor Ross Aragon many years ago when I attended the first meeting during which Ross announced it was time for a community center in Pagosa Springs. At the time, I honestly thought it was a noble idea but never imagined it would materialize during my lifetime. It has been a remarkable journey watching it grow from concept to reality, so Saturday will be quite the benchmark for Pagosa Springs. There will be a ribbon cutting, music by Rio Jazz, tours of the facility, games and food. You won't want to miss the opportunity to become a part of Pagosa history, so please join us Saturday morning.
The deadline for sponsoring Colorfest balloons has been extended for another week, so please give us a call if you are interested. Even though there are different levels of sponsorship, the basic sponsorship is $100. The balloon rally will be sponsored again this year by Dahl of Durango, and the glow will be sponsored by local business, K.K. Paddywhacks.
You don't want to miss out on this year's event folks, because we have so many cool things planned, not the least of which is the "Safari" theme. You will be surrounded with animal pattern invitations, programs, tickets, napkins, tablecloths well, I'm sure you get the idea. I hope you're already looking into your attire for that evening with animal print shirts, skirts or whatever and perhaps a pith helmet just for good measure.
It promises to be quite the occasion with some wines provided by Safari Tour owner, Jerry Dale. Jerry will bring in around seven South African wines that are to die for, so you won't want to miss that. More on this later, but please give us a call at 264-2360 to sign up for balloon sponsorship.
Ride the Weminuche
United Way of Southwest Colorado is proud to present the second annual Ride the Weminuche Aug. 17, beginning at 9 a.m. at the historic and stunning Poma Ranch located about 28 miles north of U.S. 160 on Piedra Road.
Many options are available to you on this day, and you will surely want to take advantage of a few. You can bring your own horse or rent one to enjoy a four-hour horseback ride in the mountains surrounding the ranch, and both options include lunch.
If you bring your own horse, the price is $55; rentals are $95 and rides will be guided for the novice or unguided for the experienced rider. If you wish to just sit and admire the amazing views you will find on this gorgeous piece of property and enjoy lunch, the price is $15 per person.
A real chuck wagon lunch will be provided replete with brisket, chicken, ribs and beans and a live auction will be conducted with interesting, exciting and unusual items. Lodging and overnight accommodations are also available to you and your horse if you are interested.
Please call Kathi DeClark at 970-946-2057 for more information. Preregistration forms are available at the Visitor Center, so please plan to pick one up and support our local United Way.
Even though no one in Pagosa sustained the loss of residence or property due to fires, Economic Injury Disaster Loans are available through the SBA for businesses impacted by the drop in tourism. This type of loan provides working capital to pay necessary obligations until operations return to normal. You can call 1-800-621-FEMA for more information or stop by the Visitor Center for more information. Even though you may not need immediate assistance, you are encouraged to register with FEMA in case you need their services in the future. A number of local businesses have registered with these folks so feel free to contact them for more information.
Just a word or two about our recent marketing efforts to let the world know that Pagosa Springs is open for business despite the recent fires, smoke, drought conditions and any other treasures you can conjure. We contracted for a 10-day TV ad campaign that appeared all over New Mexico CBS affiliates through KOB-TV in Albuquerque emphasizing our "cool Colorado nights and world-famous hot springs" since neither of those things is available in New Mexico.
We are currently running ads in the Houston Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News once again touting our cool nights and hot springs. As I write this Monday morning, we have already received calls from folks in those cities requesting information, so let's hope they're working. It continues to be a challenging summer, folks, but we will just hang in there and keep pluggin' along.
Today you can get a great bargain at the Methodist Thrift Store on Lewis Street at their Bag Sale. You can buy a bag of clothing for only $2, and if you've checked out retail prices lately, that's quite the savings. Please call 264-2572 for more information.
Eleven loyal members have renewed this week, and without further adieu, I am pleased to share them with you.
The good folks at the Super 8 Motel; Ron and Julia Jones with Pagosa Riverside Campground; Nina Allen with Essence of Earth; Bobbi Wirth with Village Carpets and Interiors, Inc.; James C. Pruitt, MD, with the Pagosa Springs Family Medicine Center; Christina Knoell with Colorado Housing, Inc.; Adria Hooker with Land Properties, Inc.; Scott and Margaret Brush with Starlight Custom Homes; Sherley Albouy with Blanco River RV Park, LLC; Eddie Dale with Dale Construction, Inc.; Eddie Dale with 3-D Inspection Services (what a busy guy); and Darlene Marcus with The Marcus Group, d.b.a. Xerographics Plus located in Durango. Thank you to each and every one.
By Lenore Bright
It's finally here - our big event: The annual book sale sponsored by the Friends of the Library.
Actually there are two book sales. Friday night is the Friends annual meeting and private book sale. Saturday is the public sale. Anyone may join the Friends and can pay dues at the door Friday night.
We would appreciate it if you could call 264-2209 to RSVP as food is served and it helps to know how many will be coming.
Doors open at 6 p.m. Friday night at the Extension building on U.S. 84.
The public book sale Saturday starts at 7 a.m. and will run until 2 p.m. Proceeds from the sale support the library in many ways. The Friends helped purchase books for the summer reading program and the final tally showed that the children ended up reading 3,033 books in the six-week period. Congratulations to all involved.
We are extremely proud and happy to congratulate the folks who brought the Community Center to fruition. What a grand day for Pagosa Springs Saturday when the center holds it's grand opening. A special congratulations to Sylvia Murray and Ross Aragon for their vision.
Come early to the book sale and then plan to celebrate at 10:30 a.m. at the center.
Jan Brookshier brought us more postcards with the special views of our beautiful country. Jan donates part of the proceeds to support the library. We thank Jan for this continued fund-raiser. Pick up some at the desk, they cost 50 cents.
Thanks for materials from Jenny Frederick, Julie Gates, Elizabeth Learned, Dennis Schutz, Sue Ellen Lohrer, Evelyn Kantas, Sharee Grazda and Alice Seavy. We appreciate Katherine Cruse giving us an autographed copy of "Midlife Clarity: Epiphanies from Grown-Up Girls," that includes a piece by Katherine, and also one by Bonnita Lynne. We're very proud of our resident authors.