October 24, 2002

Front Page

Murder-suicide probed in deaths at Pagosa Lakes

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs couple died Sunday in what was apparently a murder-suicide.

According to an Archuleta County Sheriff's Department investigation, Edward Messick, 68, fatally shot his wife, Elizabeth Messick, 69, with a .22-caliber pistol and then shot himself. The incident occurred at the couple's home in Pagosa Lakes.

Messick reportedly left behind a six-page suicide note outlining his intentions, going as far as e-mailing it to six people prior to the act.

Sheriff detective T.J. Fitzwater said the e-mails went out Sunday at 8:44 a.m. Dispatch received the first call about the suicide note from a man in Monterey, Calif., minutes after a family member called to report the victims had been found at the residence.

An autopsy showed Elizabeth Messick died of a pair of gunshot wounds to the head. Edward Messick was killed by a gunshot wound to the mouth. Both were killed by the same firearm.

Besides the suicide note, Fitzwater said, Messick left important contact numbers and financial documents throughout the house for investigators and the family to find easily.

Although the case is being treated as a homicide/suicide, investigation into the deaths continues. Anyone with information that may be helpful in this case should call Fitzwater as soon as possible at 264-2101, Ext. 1016.

 

Search continues for man last seen in July

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Sheriff's Department is looking for information to help find a missing Pagosa Springs man.

Greg Myers, 48, was last seen the first week in July when a friend and fellow rock climber dropped him off at the Williams Creek Trailhead in Hinsdale County, according to sheriff's department reports.

Officials were first notified of the man's disappearance Aug. 10 when a family member called the sheriff's department, concerned that Myers had missed a wedding he was scheduled to attend. At that time, it was reported Myers planned to do some rock climbing and hiking in Utah and California before joining his family in Texas. The department issued an "attempt to locate" bulletin for those areas.

When Myers didn't show up for an annual family reunion in the Palisades area above Williams Creek later in August, the family contacted the sheriff's department again. Further investigation showed Myers had not been seen since July. He'd also apparently sold his vehicle, indicated mail should be returned to sender and sent his belongings back to Texas.

Sgt. Karn Macht said it's been a difficult case to work because Myers moved frequently between Pagosa Springs and Texas, shuttling his valuables and mail between the two places. It's also not clear where he was headed, or why.

Terry Baker, a member of Upper San Juan Search and Rescue who was a climbing partner of Myers, spent two days searching for the missing man in the Weminuche Wilderness Area, but found nothing. Area outfitters working during the hunting seasons have been alerted to the situation and asked to call in if they see anything suspicious.

Macht, search and rescue coordinator, said he and his colleagues would like to plan a more extensive search but need to find a way to narrow the search area.

"There are thousands of acres to cover between Williams Creek and the Palisades," he said. "I am just not sure where we would start."

Anyone with information about Myers, his last days in Pagosa or where he might have been headed is asked to call the Archuleta County dispatch at 264-2131 as soon as possible.

 

LPEA will hike residential rates 10 percent

Average increase for all classes set at 7 percent

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

La Plata Electric Association announced Oct. 17 that it will increase rates an average of 7 percent for all bills calculated after Jan. 1, 2003, but 10 percent for residential customers taken as a separate category.

The average LPEA residential customer pays approximately $59 per month. This bill will increase by $5.90 to $64.90 or approximately 10 percent.

The utility is raising rates primarily to cover increasing wholesale electricity costs and to cover growing operating expenses; debt service, including that for subsidiary loans; and costs incurred by this summer's forest fires.

Association operating expenses in many areas have decreased in the past few years, but interest and depreciation have not.

The firm also increased rates in March to cover an increase in wholesale rates from Tri-State Generation & Transmission, Inc., the firm's power supplier. Prior to the March increase, the association had not increased rates since 1990. During the '90s, rates were increased twice.

In September, Tri-State officially notified La Plata Electric of an upcoming 7-percent increase in wholesale costs. This marks the second consecutive year that Tri-State has raised rates after 16 years of stable or decreasing prices.

Even though Tri-State said it has done everything possible to buck the national trend of escalating energy prices, (Xcel recently asked the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for a 15.4 percent residential rate increase). It said it has become caught up in forces beyond its control. These forces include unprecedented member growth and the worst drought in Colorado history.

Growth in this region and the resulting increased electricity demand is the most obvious culprit in increasing prices. Since 2000, Tri-State has spent $279.4 million on three new power plants to meet the increased demand.

Surplus gone

A not-so-obvious factor is the absence of power surplus, the supplier said. For many years, a firm spokesman said, Tri-State was in the enviable position of having a surplus. It was sold on the open market for a higher price than that which it charged member systems, which added significantly to margins (profits). Growth by Tri-State system co-ops has erased the surplus. Power that was once sold for a high price is now being sold to members at a lower cost, contributing to the lower margins and the need to increase rates.

Another factor in the rate hike, Tri-State said, is the drought.

Approximately 24 percent of the firm's electricity portfolio is hydropower purchased from the Western Area Power Administration. The rate for this electricity has increased 300 percent since 1985. And Western has just announced an upcoming 18 percent increase.

The drought has greatly reduced the amount of hydropower available, while demand among co-ops has increased forcing the supplier to buy higher priced power on the open market.

The Tri-State and La Plata Electric portions add up to a $4.3 million total increase for 2003. Approximately 62 percent of the local increase will cover the increase from Tri-State and 38 percent will cover La Plata Electric expenses.

Additional data

A long-term concern is that another year of drought like this one will exhaust reservoir storage in most of the water projects. Without water to deliver, Tri-State will need to purchase even more high-priced open market power, further increasing expenses.

An example of how seriously drought has affected power availability is as follows: water flows into Lake Powell up to Aug. 31, 2002, were 1.2 million acre feet. Contracts have forced the Bureau of Reclamation (the dam's operators) to release 8.6 million acre feet, for a net loss of 7.4 million acre feet.

In the absence of continued drought, however, Tri-State does not expect rates to increase again for another three or four years.

Tri-State, headquartered in Denver, serves 44 member co-ops in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and New Mexico.

 

San Juan gravel pit proposal

arouses Holiday Acres foes

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Holiday Acres residents turned out in force Tuesday night to oppose a Conditional Use Permit sought to open a new gravel pit south of Pagosa Springs.

Tuesday's meeting was a public hearing conducted by the county to consider issuing the permit for the Mask Ranch Gravel Pit. Mask Ranch is generally located in the San Juan River bottom and canyon immediately south of town. Access to the ranch is gained from Light Plant Road at the corner adjacent to the old light plant building.

Paradoxically, the name of a geographic feature associated with the San Juan River canyon in the area - the confluence of Echo Creek with the river - supports complaints voiced by residents of the Holiday Acres subdivision living on bluffs west of the proposed pit. The creek flows into the river from an easterly direction through a canyon; sounds from the river carrying up the canyon are thought to be the source of Echo Creek's name.

Fear of sounds from the proposed gravel pit was the most common complaint lodged at Tuesday's meeting. Residents living as far as one-half mile or more from the river say, while sitting on their decks, they can hear the gurgling and splashing of the river. One resident said the words spoken by river rafters can be understood, and the clanking of oars clearly heard from an unusual distance.

In recognition of the amplified sound effects associated with the river canyon, the county planning office has recommended denial of the permit as "incompatible with the neighborhood."

Other objections raised by the planning department and area residents center on dust, river contamination and perceived safety hazards connected with the volume of large trucks carrying gravel and using Light Plant Road.

The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission recommended approval of the permit by a 3-2 vote, despite planning staff recommendations to the contrary. Three commission members were not present for the vote. The commission recommended several mitigating steps including changing operating hours and posting traffic signs at the point where the road to the proposed pit leaves Light Plant Road. The commission is an advisory board serving the county commissioners.

A final decision concerning the permit is likely to be made at the regular meeting of county commissioners Tuesday. The meeting starts at 9 a.m. The commissioners will continue to receive comments concerning the proposal until the office closes Monday.

Representing Mask Ranch, LLC, was Dennis Walker.

The Mask Ranch owner wants to create a 5-acre lake, according to Walker. Selling gravel is the only reasonable method for disposing of materials excavated for the lake.

"We are your neighbors. We have the same concerns you have," Walker said.

He said the project is temporary and is timed to minimize impacts on the neighborhood. The owners hope to sell gravel for the coming U.S. 84 resurfacing project, Walker said. Others had offered to buy gravel, Walker said, including Archuleta County. The U.S. 84 project is being targeted because of its shorter duration, thereby minimizing impacts on the neighborhood.

The applicant intends to excavate gravel, crush it on site, and haul it to U.S. 84 from Nov. 1, 2002, through spring or summer of next year, according to information supplied by county planning staff. Work will be conducted five days a week between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Stockpiles of topsoil and overburden will be salvaged and retained on site for the reclamation process. The applicant estimates that stockpiles will remain for 12 to 18 months after excavation.

Because the gravel is moist when mined, dust won't be a major problem, Walker said. Traffic hazards will be minimized by hiring as many flagmen as needed.

Planning staff expressed the opinion that wildlife habitat might be disrupted, that nothing can be done to minimize the visual impact from homes overlooking the site, that nothing can be done to mitigate noise amplification, and that the proposed heavy industrial use is incompatible with the neighborhood. Planning staff further asserted that the site will create a danger to public health and welfare through traffic risks and possible dust pollution. The staff asserted that gravel can be obtained from other, more compatible sites.

The conditions included with planning commission approval are:

- Dust abatement shall be required as regulated by the state.

- Crushing hours shall be limited to between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

- Flagmen shall be required at the access to CR119 (Light Plant Road) any time a hauling truck is entering or exiting the site.

- A warranty bond shall be required to cover damages to CR 119.

- Crushing shall be completed by Feb. 1, 2003.

- The project shall be limited to the duration of the U.S. 84 project.

If commissioners approve the permit, planning staff asks that the following stipulations be added.

- A letter of map revision must be submitted to the Archuleta County Floodplain Administrator and to FEMA after the site has been reclaimed.

- The gravel pit shall be set back 200 feet from the edge of the San Juan River to prevent increased sedimentation and contamination of the river.

- Small Burnet, a forb, shall be included in the reseeding mixture.

 

 Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

10/16

64

25

-

-

-

10/17

62

30

-

-

-

10/18

60

28

-

-

-

10/19

63

26

-

-

-

10/20

64

25

-

-

-

10/21

61

27

-

-

-

10/22

60

29

R

-

.01

 

Dual systems bring much-needed precipitation

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

A weather system bearing precipitation is expected to continue dropping moisture in the San Juan Basin today, then taper off tomorrow. Another system could move in Saturday and Sunday bringing a slight chance for more rain in the valley and snow on the mountains.

Rain and snow dropped from clouds that covered the area late Tuesday and Wednesday. While rain fell in town, the cloud cover allowed residents only occasional glimpses of the surrounding mountains. Those glimpses revealed a general blanket of snow across the mountains above approximately 8,500 feet.

Two systems are creating the weather patterns that will affect us over the next few days, according to Gary Chancy, a forecaster for the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

One low-pressure system coming from the Northwest is dropping through Idaho into Colorado. A second low off Southern California will move inland and partially blend with the Idaho low. Weather conditions today and tomorrow will be controlled by the Idaho system. Conditions later in the week will be controlled by the Southern California system, which should move across Arizona and New Mexico. The Four Corners will be as far north as the effects of that system are felt, if it moves that far north.

Any precipitation falling at this season of the year is likely to be in the form of rain at lower elevations, snow in the mountains. Pagosa's elevation of slightly over 7,000 feet above mean sea level places it in the seam between mountains and valley. A change of a few degrees in temperature could cause precipitation to be snow, rain or even sleet.

Temperatures in Pagosa Springs, on the average, should continue to fall as winter approaches. Daytime temperatures should range between 50 and 65 degrees with nighttime lows in the 20s.

Only 0.01 inches of precipitation were measured last week at the National Weather Service gauging station located at Stevens Field. The recording period is the seven days between 7 a.m. Wednesday mornings.

High temperatures last week ranged between 60 and 64 degrees with an average high reading of 62 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 25 and 30 degrees with an average low reading of 27 degrees.

 

 Sports Page
Parks & Rec

Youth basketball sign-up deadline is Nov. 1 for 7 and 8 year-olds

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The basketball season for 7 and 8 year-olds will be held in the fall this year, due to the limited amount of time available in public school facilities. With the opening of the new Pagosa Springs Community Center's multi-purpose center, we expect to have a great season.

Registration deadline is Nov. 1 at 5 p.m. with cost set at $20 for a six-week program.

We envision the season running Nov. 4-26 and Dec. 2-20. The schedule allows for Thanksgiving break and ends before Christmas. Some Saturday play may be required.

So, parents and coaches, come by and sign up for the season. The season for youngsters 9-10 and 11-12 will start after Jan. 1.

USA volleyball

A parent/player organizational meeting will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Community Center conference room for girls' volleyball. Girls 10-14 can participate but must be enrolled at that meeting. Call Shelly Wedemeyer at 264-2078.

Wedemeyer will also be offering a four-session volleyball clinic sponsored by the parks and recreation department.

The goal is to offer a program for men and women that appeals to both recreational and competitive players who desire to raise their level of play by focusing on fundamental skills, fine-tuning techniques and gaining a deeper understanding of the game's working dynamics.

Total cost for four sessions is $40 per player with space available to the first 15 sign-ups. Dates and times are Nov. 2, 9-11 a.m.; Nov. 3, 3-5 p.m.; Nov. 8, 6-8 p.m.; and Nov. 9, 9-11 a.m.

All sessions will be two hours long with the last half-hour devoted to fast-paced scrimmage-type drills.

All sessions will be in the Community Center gymnasium. Call the number listed above for Wedemeyer to register.

Free fire wood

Reservoir Hill Park will be open 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday for anyone interested in getting free firewood. The trees have been cut down and limbed to 20-foot-plus lengths, so bring your saws.

Wood should be taken from piled stacks. Please drive directly to the pile and load. If you have any problems, call 264-4151, Ext. 231.

Town parks

Town Park is open until we get a major freeze. Please help by keeping it clean. We have had more vandalism at the park which makes it very difficult to try to keep it open and maintained for those members of the public who enjoy, rather than destroy, the facility.

Please respect public facilities and help make our tax dollars go toward adding to the parks instead of unnecessary maintenance and repair.

 

Schur wins; Ladies team, Mees will run at state

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Lady Pirates' team success depended on every second they could save at Saturday's regional cross country meet in Monte Vista.

Their determination earned them a seat on the bus to state, and yet another victory for the freshman, Emilie Schur. Schur paced herself with the leaders for most of the race, kicking it up a notch in the last 200 meters to win pulling away with a time of 19 minutes, 55 seconds.

"It was a very good race for her," coach Scott Anderson said. "We feel she's one of the stronger runners out there."

Schur was followed by freshman Heather Dahm, who crossed the finish in 11th place with a time of 21:45. "She just continues to impress us," Anderson said. Her finish would have qualified her for state as an individual had the whole team not qualified.

Junior Jenna Finney, who continues to run strong for the team, was the third runner for Pagosa across the line, finishing in 17th place with a time of 22:29. Senior Amanda McCain claimed a 20th place finish with a time of 22:49, beating out two other runners in a close race to the line.

"She came to cross country from volleyball a year and a half ago, and it's paid off for her this year with a trip to state," Anderson said of McCain.

Senior Hannah Emanuel ran another strong race to claim 27th on the day with a time of 23:41.

The team finished third in the region, just one point behind the second-place Monte Vista team. Bayfield won the meet, and Salida was the final state qualifier, in fourth.

"The Bayfield team has a legitimate shot at winning the whole thing this week as a team," Anderson said. In 2001, the four girls' teams from this region all had runners finish in the top 10 at the big dance.

For the Pagosa boys' team, the day was a bit of a heartbreaker. Among one of three teams vying for the final spot at state, Pagosa Springs lost the slot to Center in a close race.

"To a person, the boys ran a very solid race," Anderson said. "We outscored Salida, who we hadn't seen before. Unfortunately, when all the points were in, Center had a better day than us and edged us out."

Senior Todd Mees did qualify as an individual, however, finishing eighth on the day with a time of 18:05. "He was one of only four individual qualifiers," the coach said. "It's a tribute to his talent, he was able to pull that off."

Senior B.J. Lowder finished the race in 26th with a time of 19:11, cutting a minute off his best time of the season. His classmate, Jeremy Buikema, who joined the team just a couple weeks ago, finished 30th in 19:23. He was followed by Dan Lowder, crossing the line in 31st with a time of 19:25. Lowder, who faced some cramping problems Saturday, still managed to shave time off his league race the week before.

Freshman Orion Sandoval rounded out the boys' score, finishing 37th with a time of 20:15, shaving a minute off his previous week's time as well. "He continues to impress us as a freshman runner," Anderson said.

Mees and the girls' team will compete at state on the Kent Denver campus in Denver Saturday. The 3A boys are expected to start at 10 a.m. in the first race of the day. The 3A girls will take off at 11:30 a.m.

 

Spikers defy odds to share an IML title

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

They did it.

Many people who watch the Intermountain League predicted the Lady Pirate volleyball team was due for a long-awaited "rebuilding year," and saw little chance the team could produce yet another IML champ. After all, the program had won every IML title back to 1994 and the trend was wearing on the competition.

This year's team faced what was, arguably, the toughest regular season schedule in memory, fighting it out with several 5A and 4A squads, as well as with improved league programs.

The road was rough, and going into the last IML game of the regular season Saturday against Monte Vista, the team had lost eight matches, including two in the IML.

The trick: the Ladies beat the then-undefeated Bayfield Oct. 7 and the Wolverines turned around and lost to Centauri, giving Bayfield two losses.

The same as Pagosa.

The formula: Beat Monte Vista and Pagosa ends the league season 6-2. Pagosa was tied with Bayfield and owned the tiebreaker since Bayfield needed three games to win a Sept. 12 match and it took the Ladies only two games to win the match Oct. 17.

The dust has settled: Consider the Ladies the league co-champs and the No. 1 seed at the upcoming IML tourney: Pagosa defeated Monte 15-13, 15-7.

It took the Ladies three-quarters of the match to get into the groove, but the team had the talent and composure to stay in the running and win while fighting through the doldrums.

Monte took a 4-0 lead in the first match before the Ladies came back to tie, powered by two kills from senior outside hitter Katie Bliss.

Monte managed two points before the Ladies tried to take off again. Pagosa got an ace from Courtney Steen, a kill in the middle from Bri Scott and another kill by Scott inside the Monte block.

Bad judgment in the Pagosa back row gave up two points, but the Ladies sputtered and got two points back - one on a ferocious kill from the middle by Steen, the second on a Monte Vista error.

Monte gave the Ladies all they could handle during a Sept. 28 match and the visitors from the San Luis Valley were confident, and they were not through. They took advantage of two Lady Pirate hitting errors to close to within 11-10.

Then it was Monte's turn to surrender a point with poor hitting. Immediately after, Lori Walkup crushed a Monte pass that strayed above the net.

Monte refused to roll over and quit, and Pagosa obliged with yet another hitting error. Monte provided a charity point to put Pagosa on the edge of victory 14-11, but a Monte hitter nailed a kill inside the block and an ace serve put Monte one point behind.

Bliss ended the flat affair, putting a set from Steen to the floor.

Game 2 began on a flat note for Pagosa as the Ladies fell behind 7-1 giving up all but one of the opponent's points with errors and a lack of movement in the back court.

Coach Penné Hamilton called a timeout and got the train rolling for her team.

"I called the timeout and told them the setters had to deliver the ball where it needed to be, and the hitters had to adjust their swings if the ball was set off the net. After that timeout, Monte Vista never scored again."

Finally, the Ladies played with intensity and alertness. And Monte responded with mistakes. Pagosa ran the score to a 7-7 tie, getting an ace from Scott, a kill from Bliss and a point on a tip by Bliss.

Lori Walkup and Steen blasted kills for points. With serve back, Steen put an errant Monte pass down, then came back to score again, stuffing a quick attack from the other side of the net. Pagosa led 11-7.

The teams exchanged six sideouts without a score before a Monte serve error gave Pagosa the ball. A Monte hitting error put the 12th point on the scoreboard for the Ladies; Lori Walkup added another with an explosive kill of a bad Monte set. A Monte player was called for running into the net; another misguided Monte pass was killed by Scott and the game and match were over.

"If you can see the match played in four quarters like a football game," said Hamilton, "then we waited until the fourth quarter to start to play the way we can. Once we got to the second half of the second game, we played our kind of game on offense. Our service game was consistent throughout the match; we didn't miss one serve, but we couldn't get into the flow in other respects."

With the win, the Ladies enter Saturday's district tournament at La Jara as the top seed. Since no team won the league title outright, the top two teams in the tournament will advance to regional competition the following week.

As of press time, it was certain Pagosa, Bayfield and Centauri would be in the district tournament. Ignacio and Monte Vista are scheduled to play tonight to set the fourth team for the competition. Pagosa will open against the fourth-seeded team at 10 a.m. in the Centauri gym.

Hamilton is driving her team hard at practice this week, working on the elements she knows will have to be in place for the Ladies to succeed in a bracket filled with teams of relatively equal talent. "Anyone can win this tournament, any of the teams can advance to regionals," she said. "We need to get to the point where we play consistently well. This is our goal and I'm excited about this weekend."

Summary

Kills: Bliss 6, Steen 6, L. Walkup 5

Aces: Scott 2, Steen 1, S. Walkup 1

Blocks: L. Walkup 2, Steen 1

Digs: L. Walkup 9, S. Walkup 9, Bliss 7

Assists: L. Walkup 6, Young 6

 

Pirates clinch grid title in 21-6 win at Centauri

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs clinched a fourth-straight Intermountain League title Saturday by clipping Centauri 21-6 in La Jara.

"I am glad to have another win," said Sean O'Donnell, the Pirate coach. "Obviously, it would have been better had we taken advantage of our first period scoring opportunities and built a two or three touchdown lead. That might have taken the wind out of their sails. Instead, we fumbled the ball away and let them get their confidence back."

Once again, a rock-hard defense stimulated the Pirate win. The turning point may have come in the final period when, with Pagosa on top 7-6 and about 9 minutes left in the game, David Kern pooched a punt that a diving Jason Schutz swatted out of bounds on the Centauri 1-yard line. The Falcons' Kevin Gylling ran the ball out to the 20-yard line on the first play from scrimmage following the punt, but four plays later Craig Booth was forced to punt.

Obviously fired up, Pagosa started from its own 35-yard line with a mission in mind. They needed a more secure lead. Aided by runs from the two Brandons, Rosgen and Charles, and a 15-yard face mask penalty, Pagosa threatened with a first down on the 5-yard line. Two runs failed to advance the ball. The drive seemed thwarted when a holding penalty pushed the Pirates back to the 15-yard line. On third and goal from the 15, Kern's picture-perfect pass hit Jeremy Caler streaking across the goal line. Aupperle's kick was good. Pagosa now had breathing room, a 14-6 lead with 3:33 remaining in the game.

The throw was only the second completion of the game for Kern, but it was a big one. He was throwing with a bruised right hand.

Centauri tried to come back, but it was not to be. With just a minute and a half left on the clock, Coy Ross picked off a screen pass and raced 46 yards into the end zone to put the game out of reach.

Pagosa's D picked off four Centauri passes during the game, covered two fumbles, held for four downs once, and forced Centauri to punt three times.

Playoff hopes fueled both teams as they lined up for the opening kickoff. Centauri kicked, Pagosa received, and six plays later Pagosa scored. Daniel Aupperle's extra point kick was good giving Pagosa a 7-0 lead with less than three minutes gone from the clock.

Fueling the opening drive were runs of 20, 20, and 10 yards by fullback Rosgen. Quarterback Kern crossed the goal line from 1-foot out with a quarterback sneak to open scoring.

Centauri threatened to return the favor on its first possession. The Falcons banged the ball down the field for 13 plays and almost 4 minutes before surrendering to the Pirate D on downs on the Pagosa 21-yard line.

It didn't take Pagosa long to give the ball back. On the second play of the possession, Charles fumbled and Centauri recovered. Losing the ball reached epidemic proportions affecting both teams. Three plays later Centauri's Gylling fumbled and Pagosa's Kory Hart pounced on the ball. Pagosa cranked up the offense on the Centauri 45, but three plays later the ball came loose again and again Centauri covered the fumble, this time on their own 1-yard line ending a Pagosa scoring threat.

The Falcons tried a run and two passes, but Pagosa's defense refused to budge. Centauri punted from the end zone, allowing Pagosa to start in good field position with the ball on Centauri's 33-yard line. This time the Falcon defense held, forcing the Pirates to give up the ball on the Falcon 24. In their turn, Centauri managed to move out to the 44-yard line, but fumbled to the Pirates again.

After the combatants exchanged punts, Centauri scored on a 50-yard pass play. Danielle Valerio, a 5-foot, 102 pound senior kicker (yes she's female) tried to kick the extra point, but Pagosa's surging defense blocked the try. With 1:38 remaining in the first half Pagosa's lead was 7-6, a margin that would stand up until only 3:33 remained in the game.

After receiving the second half kickoff, Centauri's first drive was stopped when Caler intercepted an attempted pass disguised as a reverse. Pagosa returned the favor by throwing an interception five plays later. Neither team threatened during the remainder of the third period.

As described earlier, Pagosa broke the game open for the win during the final period.

Centauri's defense stifled the Pirate passing attack throughout the game, holding Kern to just two completions and 15 yards in seven attempts. One of those completions was for a TD. Kern also threw an interception. Caler caught one pass for 15 yards and a TD, Rosgen one pass for no gain.

The concentration on pass defense seemed to open up the Pirate running game. The running attack featured five runs of 20 yards or more and a total of 246 yards. Rosgen ran for 148 yards on 17 carries, Charles for 90 yards on 15 carries, and Kern for 5 yards on seven carries.

Middle linebacker Pablo Martinez again inspired the Pirate defense with 15 tackles. Kory Hart was also in double digits with 11 tackles, plus a fumble recovery. Mike Valdez contributed eight tackles. Caler made five tackles, recovered a fumble, and intercepted a pass. Charles made three tackles and intercepted a pass. Schutz and Ross each made two tackles and intercepted a pass.

The win boosts the Pirate IML record to 3-0. Bayfield comes to Pagosa tomorrow at 7 p.m. with a 1-2 IML record. The game ends the regular season for both teams. Closest to Pagosa Springs in IML standings is Monte Vista with a 2-1 record. Pagosa has already beaten Monte Vista.

"We'll have to be at our best to beat Bayfield," O'Donnell said. "They've been improving all year and last week they beat Ignacio. They'd like nothing better than beat us in Pagosa Springs."

If Pagosa tops Bayfield, the win will be 17th consecutive IML win without a loss for the Pirates. Pagosa has not lost an IML football game since 1998.

For Pagosa, the worst remaining scenario would be losing to Bayfield while Monte beats Centauri, giving Pagosa and Monte 3-1 IML records. Under the league tiebreaker format, Pagosa Springs would still be champions because of their win over Monte.

Summary

Pagosa Springs 7 0 0 14 21

Centauri 0 6 0 0 6

Pagosa Springs: Kern 1 run (Aupperle kick). Centauri: Booth 50 pass to Brady (Valerio kick blocked). Pagosa Springs: Kern 15 pass to Caler (Aupperle kick). Pagosa Springs: Ross 45 pass interception (Aupperle kick).

 

Pirate kickers host Heritage Christian

in playoff opener today at Golden Peaks

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Sweet 16 of Class 3A Colorado High School soccer begin trying to work their way into the Elite Eight when they put a season full of remarkable feats on the line this week from border to border.

That geographic phrase will be no more evident than in the clash at Golden Peaks Stadium at 3:30 p.m. today pitting the 11-1 Pagosa Springs Pirates and their No. 6 seed against the Heritage Christian Eagles from Fort Collins who play in the Independent Mile-High League and come in with a 12-2-2 record and the No. 11 seeding.

Pagosa hosts the playoff contest because of a higher seed as determined by the state's coaches. Heritage Christian comes to Pagosa Springs after a 1-0 victory over St. Mary's of Colorado Springs in a pigtail playoff Saturday.

Pagosa opened its season with a 3-1 victory over that same St. Mary's team in Colorado Springs.

The Pirates begin their quest with a bevy of scorers, led by junior striker Kyle Sanders, leading the state in scoring (in all classes) with 30 goals. Sanders is also tied with senior midfielder Brian Hart for the team lead in assists with eight. Seniors Zeb Gill and Michael Dach each have seven assists.

But Pagosa is by no means a one-man team.

Nine players have scored goals for the Pirates this season and 14 have recorded assists. Denting the nets in addition to Sanders were Kevin Muirhead with nine (and he missed three games with a leg injury), Hart with five, Matt Mesker with four, Moe Webb, Zeb Gill and Kyle Frye had two each and Jordan Kurt-Mason and Levi Gill each recorded one score.

Heritage Christian has two scorers in the classification's top 25, Will Hoag with 15 and Elliott Silvers with 12.

For those who have not yet seen the Pirates in action, or are not sure how soccer is played, this is a chance to see an illustration of what teamwork means.

Pagosa's success has centered on each player seeing the whole field, knowing where teammates are, what their moves are likely to be and how best to attack whatever defense the opponent is employing.

Speaking of defense, it has been a hallmark of this Pirate squad, paced by the midfield play of Kurt-Mason, both Gills and Ryan Goodenberger, the sweeper extraordinary play of Dach, acrobatic goal keeping of sophomore Caleb Forrest and senior Mesker, and a flock of players - Frye, Keagan Smith and Ty Peterson - who go to the ball like bees to honey.

It is a senior-laden squad bespeaking experience and previous playoff action, but all the leading scorers except Hart will be back next season.

Injuries have slowed other players in addition to Muirhead. Zeb Gill, for example missed most of three games with an ankle injury and senior Travis Reid was forced to drop out after injuring, healing and then re-injuring a tendon.

But each time a player has been forced out of action, coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason has found the right relief on his bench and the Pirates have kept on winning.

The coach himself, fans will note, will be seen on the sidelines on crutches. He has a broken leg, achieved, of course, while playing soccer - in an adult league in Durango.

Kurt-Mason said his team will be ready for whatever the Mile-High visitors throw at them.

"We know little about them, other than the fact they have two good scorers," he said.

"But we've faced good scorers before and will see how they work against our shifting defenses."

He agreed defense will be the key to the contest, noting his squad has improved with each outing.

"It has been a full team effort," he said. "These kids have learned to play as a team on both sides of the field. We look forward to the chance to test those team skills against another team in the final 16."

"I can assure you," he said, "this team will be ready and the fans will see prep soccer at its best."

 

Telluride game was not played; scheduling error

A scheduling error prevented the planned soccer game between Pagosa Springs and Telluride from being played Saturday.

The date scheduled was beyond the date that had been set by Colorado High School Activities Association for final league games. The last date such a game could have been played was Thursday.

Area playoff action began Saturday with Bayfield hosting Middle Park and Telluride, a surprise entrant, hosting Denver Christian, both road teams from the Denver Metro League. Both Bayfield and Telluride lost.

 

 Obituaries

David C. Mitchell

David C. Mitchell, 68, of Pagosa Springs, died in his sleep Oct. 16, 2002, in Marble Falls, Texas.

He was traveling by bicycle from Pagosa Springs to Houston, Texas, to attend his 50th high school class reunion.

David was born in Houston, April 7, 1934, the son of Orlo Otis Mitchell and Corine McReynolds Mitchell. He graduated from Lamar High School in Houston in 1952, graduated from Southern Methodist University and spent two years in the U.S. Army.

He worked as a teacher and coach in Tucson, Ariz., Lompoc, Calif. and Yuma, Ariz., before moving to Pagosa Springs in 1974. David was employed by Archuleta County School District 50 JT. as a teacher and coach. He acquired The Pagosa Springs SUN newspaper in 1981 and worked as publisher and editor until the time of his death.

David Mitchell was preceded in death by his parents Orlo and Corine, and by a brother, Orlo Jr.

He is survived by his wife, Cynthia, of Pagosa Springs; sons Chuck, of Espanola, N.M., Tom and daughter-in-law Sheila of Alta Loma, Calif., Dan and daughter-in-law Jennifer of Gilroy, Calif., and Drew of Pagosa Springs; a brother, Steve, of Austin, Texas, and a sister, Katherine, of St. Catherine's, Ontario, Canada; and by his grandchildren Macey and Payton of Gilroy, and Taige and Trey of Alta Loma.

A memorial service was held at the Pagosa Springs High School Oct. 21 with graveside services following at Hilltop Cemetery.

Donations in David Mitchell's name can be made to Samaritan's Purse International Relief, P.O. Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607.

Elizabeth Messick

Elizabeth Burroughs Messick ("Bear") went to be with the Lord Sunday, Oct. 20, 2002. Elizabeth was born April 14, 1933, in New York City to Elizabeth Mitchell Jackson and Alfred Parker Burroughs. She was 69.

In 2001 she began vacationing in Pagosa Springs. She was a member of Holy Innocence Episcopal Church in Lattaina, Maui, Hawaii, where she served as a bookkeeper for many years. She was also a member of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church of Pagosa Springs where she enjoyed Bible study.

She was a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. Elizabeth adored traveling and enjoyed playing Scrabble and spending time with family and friends. Most importantly, she was a mother, grandmother, friend and a child of God and will be greatly missed by those who knew and loved her.

Her parents, Elizabeth Jackson Ohrstrom and Alfred P. Burroughs and a brother, Richard Ohrstrom, preceded her in death.

Survivors include a son, Robert Griffin of San Antonio, Texas; daughters Kathy Ellis of Oceanside, Calif; Barbara Griffin of Pagosa Springs; Joanie Pittman of Davidson, N.C.; Lisa Oney of Pagosa Springs; Candy Koltz of Canyon Lake, Texas, and Marilyn deMello of Boerne, Texas; granddaughters Jennifer Cullen of San Antonio, Lauren, Crystal and Rachael Ellis of Oceanside, Tania and Tiffany Pittman of Davidson, Remy Oney of Pagosa Springs, Jenna Decker of Austin, Texas; grandsons David Griffin of Westminster, Greg Griffin of Austin, Joey Pittman of Davidson, Hunter Dunfield Oney of Pagosa Springs and Christopher Decker of San Diego, Calif; a great grandson, Christopher Decker Jr., of San Diego; brothers, Alfred Parker Burroughs, George Ohrstrom and a sister, Maggie Bryant.

Visitation will be at 5 p.m. today at Pagosa Springs Funeral Options and services will be at 2:30 p.m. Friday in the new St. Patrick's Episcopal Church next to the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the St. Patrick's Episcopal Church building fund.

  Inside The Sun

$123,861 grant for airport

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Archuleta County has received a $123,861 grant from the Aeronautics Division of the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The money will be used for two purposes, according to Tim Smith, the airport manager. A majority, $90,000, will be used for Phase II construction projects to begin next year. The remainder will be used to purchase automatic, computerized weather measuring equipment.

When installed, the new weather system will automatically generate weather conditions to be broadcast by radio to approaching pilots.

The grant is one of 43 awards totaling $2.9 million spread across the state. Projects funded by the awards range from runway construction to safety improvements. Twenty-nine of the awards were made to assist airport sponsors in meeting the local matching funds requirement of federal projects.

A seven-member board, which governs the Aeronautics Division of CDOT, approves the grants. The funds come from aviation fuel tax revenues. They can be used only for aviation purposes.

"The Colorado Aeronautical Board looks forward each year to providing funds for Colorado's publicly-owned airports through this discretionary aviation grant program," said board chairman Dale Hall of Greeley. "The annual grant awards promote safe aviation operations, support economic development, and provide accessibility to emergency services for all citizens."

 

Mixed results locally in second rifle season

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

With big game hunting in its second rifle season, local sporting goods outlets are experiencing mixed results when compared with last season. The second rifle season ends at sunset tomorrow. Hunting traditionally infuses a great deal of money into the local economy.

All of those contacted agree that hunter success is good. Across-the-counter sale of sporting goods and licenses is producing mixed results.

"We're very busy, about three times what we did last year," said Louise Jagger, owner of Chimney Rock Processing.

The number of hunters in the field may be less than last year, but hunting success is very good, according to Jagger. "The animals being taken are big with good racks, both deer and elk.

"We handled the biggest bear I've ever seen," Jagger said, "I don't know his weight; he was brown with a lot of red."

Business is also up at the county's other game processing plant, The Buck Stops Here.

"We're doing real good, seeing a lot of big animals," said owner Bernie Schuchart, "with a lot of big racks. We're not seeing as many bear, but we're comparing with last year, a record year. Overall, I'm hesitant to say it so soon, but this could be a record season."

The second regular rifle season started Oct. 19. Coming are the third and fourth regular rifle seasons, both combined seasons allowing the taking of deer and elk. Season three starts Nov. 2 and lasts through Nov. 8. Season four starts Nov. 9 and lasts through Nov. 13.

Mixed results are reported concerning the number of hunters' license and supply sale volumes. Hunting success is widely reported as good.

Everything is better this season than last season, according to Sandra Million, who shares ownership of the Sports Emporium with husband Art.

"We're seeing a lot of hunters compared to a year ago and they are willing to spend," Sandra said. "A lot of large bulls with good racks have been brought in. Hunters say they are seeing more in the woods."

License sales are also up this year, according to Million.

"It's going pretty good. I can't complain," said Larry Fisher of Ski and Bow Rack, who says the season is not quite up to last year at his establishment.

Across-the-counter sale of goods is down slightly, Fisher said. So are license sales and the number of hunters generally. Hunter success seems good, according to Fisher.

Prospects for the coming seasons are a big question mark, according to Fisher.

"The question is, are they waiting for weather to hit so the animals will come down from the mountains before they choose a season?" Fisher said.

This year is about even with last year, according to Tony Stephens at Ponderosa Do It Best Home Center.

"License sales are about even considering we're only able to sell licenses two out of the four seasons," Stephens said. "Across-the-counter sales of sporting goods are about even also."

Hunters are reporting good success in the field, Stephens said. One party of six reported getting six elk.

 

Sheriff candidates answer SUN's questions

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Nov. 5, voters have two candidates to choose from in the race for Archuleta County Sheriff, although there is only one name on the ballot.

Tom Richards Jr., the current county sheriff, came through the caucus and Republican primary process to put his name on this ballot. Chuck Allen, the patrol supervisor with the Pagosa Springs Police Department, was unable to pass through the Republican caucus and assembly process but petitioned successfully and is running as a write-in candidate.

Richards has 48 years experience as a law enforcement officer, including 31 years as a Colorado State Patrol trooper, serving as Gov. John Love's personal bodyguard for part of that time. Since his beginnings in law enforcement, he has participated in continuing education classes at least one week per year, including specialized classes with the U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Secret Service, Governor's Security, livestock inspection, riot control and public speaking. Born in Bayfield, he moved to Pagosa Springs in 1972. Richards has been the Archuleta County Sheriff for 12 years and is seeking a fourth term.

Allen has been a police officer in Pagosa Springs since 1995. He has 25 years of experience in law enforcement. He also has 10 years of business experience, having worked as a small business owner in Montrose from 1985-95. Allen has over 1,000 hours of professional training including various aspects of personnel management, legal risk management, advanced major crimes investigation, drug interdiction strategies, supervisory liability issues, computer training, through such institutions as the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Colorado Law Enforcement Training Academy, the Albuquerque Police Department and various private companies.

Both candidates were given the opportunity to answer a series of three questions on various issues, including response time by deputies, day-to-day operations of the office and the relationship between law enforcement agencies in the area. These are their answers:

Recently, certain members of the community have raised concerns about the response time by sheriff's deputies. What are the scheduling and response-time issues facing the county today and is there room for improvement?

Richards:

There is always room for improvement in just about everything we do. However, response times by my deputies, to calls for service, will always be conditional on many factors. One of the biggest is a subject I have talked about before, many times, and that is manpower. When we have only one deputy working and he is covering 1,300 square miles, it is difficult to get low response times. If for example the deputy is in Arboles and he gets a call in Chromo, there will be a longer response time. It can't be helped. We are controlled by physical limitations.

I have advocated for some time now as a reasonable goal, having two deputies per shift. This will not only allow for better response times to our citizens' calls for service, but it will afford the deputies a built in backup factor. As it is now, most of the time, we have only one deputy on duty at a time. Not only is his response time going to be slower, but also he has no backup immediately available if a dangerous situation should arise.

Our latest figures show an average response time of 27.8 minutes for routine, but nonemergeny calls for service. So I think you can see that if we had a minimum of two deputies working a shift, hopefully that response time could be cut in half.

Allen:

Response times in the county should be improved. If an officer is at the office, response to Arboles is 45 minutes. Chromo is about 20 minutes. When you have only one officer on duty the response time could be well over an hour. If you split the county with two officers, response time could be cut in half. I would like to assign an officer to Arboles full time. An officer should make at least one trip during a shift to Chromo. With 12 officers, there should not be a time when there is only one officer on duty taking calls. Calls for service are the number-one priority.

The fire department will respond to any wildland fire within the district and fight that fire for the first 24 hours free of charge. Road and bridge is also equipped and trained to fight those fires. Officers should not be fighting fires and working for up to 24 hours and then leave the county without officers to handle calls. Tom reported he has 52 members of search and rescue. With that many people, I don't think officers should be spending hours and hours doing searches. I know some of the people involved in search and rescue. They are very capable of being in charge of search operations.

What do you see as the day-to-day role of a sheriff, and how would you structure the department to best serve the community?

Richards:

Leadership. The entire department takes its lead from the sheriff. It is virtually impossible for the sheriff of any department in today's society, with our size, to work cases. The demand on his time is too high. The sheriff is the leader of the team, he is constantly involved in policy making and he oversees the running of the department, but leaves the day-to-day to his subordinates. The department members take their lead from him and he must continue to provide the means which the department depends on to do its job. A sheriff is an elected official and must be part politician, part policeman, part strategist and a leader. This does not lend itself to handling cases, but he must be aware of all investigations and have the final responsibility for their outcomes.

Allen:

Operate as an office 8 a.m.-5 p.m. minimum.

Always have someone to greet the public.

Be hands-on.

Be aware of what is going on within the department and the jail.

Meet with department heads for briefing on the past 24-hour's activities.

Return phone calls.

Meet people in the neighborhoods and get input.

Attend meetings as required.

POST requires 40 hours continuing education every year for all Level 1 peace officers. I attend trainings with my officers.

Patrol as necessary to ensure coverage.

I think the sheriff's department is top heavy. There are not enough officers working the streets. With as many burglaries and drug problems as there are, I would have two people working investigations. I would like to have a civilian working a 3-9 p.m. shift to serve civil papers. This would free up officers to handle calls and be more proactive.

Describe the relationship between the various law enforcement agencies working in the county today. Where would you like to see the relationship go in the future to best serve the needs of residents here?

Richards:

We have an excellent relationship with the surrounding law enforcement agencies. The Pagosa Springs Police Department, namely Detective Carl Smith, meets constantly with Captain Grandchamp to share information.

We cross-commission with La Plata Sheriff, contract law enforcement with the Hinsdale County and hopefully cross commission with the Southern Ute in the near future. Chief Volger and myself have enjoyed a close working relationship for the past 25 years.

Allen:

I think that the sheriff's office and the police department should work together very closely. Investigators should share information. Criminals don't have boundaries. They commit crimes in the county and the town. They strike where they have opportunities. Politics must take a back seat to law enforcement.

I would like to see both departments train together and share information. We all have the same goal - to protect citizens, their property and arrest the bad guys.

The two candidates were also given the open-ended question, "What else do voters need to know about you or this election?"

Richards said: "When I made the announcement seeking another term as Sheriff, I said that I agreed with Mr. Karl Isberg who suggested that anyone seeking a political office should make themselves available to the voting public for any questions of concerns they might have, either in a public forum or in private. I still maintain that stand."

Allen said he was in favor of opening the outdoor firing range for public use provided a range master was on site to eliminate liabilities. He is also interested in building an indoor range, possibly with volunteer labor and materials. Allen is a, "strong believer in community policing," and encourages citizen ride-alongs.

He is in favor of concealed carry permits, providing applicants do not have a felony on their record and permits are renewed annually as required by state statute. Allen also applauded the sheriff's department on their work in helping to start a Neighborhood Watch program in Vista and would work to help programs like Neighborhood Watch and Crime Stoppers continue and grow in Pagosa Springs.

 

Isgar, Alexander state positions in race

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Early voting started Monday for the Nov. 5 general election.

The turnout has been steady so far and about the same as last election, according to June Madrid, the county clerk and elections official. More than 1,000 early and absentee ballots have been received, 134 of those early votes being cast in the office, Madrid said.

Early voting is taking place in the county clerk's office in the county courthouse. Early voting ends Nov. 1.

Among the races affecting Archuleta County is the contest to see which candidate voters will choose to represent Colorado Senate District 6.

Vying for the position are Democrat Jim Isgar and Republican Kay Alexander. Isgar is the incumbent, having been appointed to replace Jim Dyer who resigned to accept a position with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. Alexander is the current Colorado State Representative from House District 58.

The SUN asked each of the candidates six questions. Listed below are the questions, followed by each candidate's answer.

1. What is your position on Amendment 31, a proposed amendment to the constitution requiring that English be taught as a second language?

2. What are you doing regarding the conflict between counties and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission over regulating certain impacts caused by oil and gas drilling?

3. What is your stand on providing vouchers or tax credits for non-public schools?

4. Should there be statewide restrictions on growth?

5. State finances appear to be in a mess. First there were tax rebates because of too much revenue, then budget cuts because of too little revenue. What can be done? What about TABOR?

6. Where do you stand on HB 1022, which would provide $10 billion to bond water capital investments?

Each candidate's answer follows, tied to the appropriate question with the question number.

1. Isgar opposed Amendment 31. He hears from educators and teachers that the bill will not work. School boards oppose the Amendment, according to Isgar.

Alexander initially supported Amendment 31 because she believed we need to bring all of the children on board with English. After learning more, she opposes the Amendment because she does not believe teachers should be held responsible for its enactment. Under the bill, teachers are liable if they do not meet the requirements, according to Alexander.

2. Isgar says some people favor changing the makeup of the oil and gas commission because the board seems weighted in favor of the oil and gas industry. That might help, according to Isgar, but he thinks legislation needs adoption that will change the definition of the role of the commission. The current rules and policies were established more than 100 years ago and need to be updated, Isgar said. He favors giving the commission jurisdiction over drilling operations and counties jurisdiction over certain surface impacts, while protecting landowner royalties.

Alexander believes oil and gas issues need everyone at the table to balance various interests and rights. Counties need to be involved. She wants to revisit the responsibilities granted commission members because there is not a level field now.

3. Isgar does not support vouchers or tax credits. He says we cannot afford the luxury of taking money from public schools.

Alexander supports whatever is needed to help children succeed in reading, writing and arithmetic. Educational success is more important than maintaining the system, Alexander said. She has supported vouchers for credit.

4. Isgar does not believe the state should adopt statutes restricting growth. He says growth control issues are best left to local governments.

Alexander says her decisions concerning growth control have been based on her conviction that growth decisions are best made at the local level. She said the state can provide certain tools to help the local agencies, such as mediation resolution.

5. Isgar blames the state's financial problems on a sequence of years that first produced a surplus, then a shortage. Because of TABOR, the surpluses had to be refunded. Because of TABOR, revenues could not be raised the following year to meet standing needs. The solution would have been to retain a surplus in reserve outside of the general fund. Certain facets of TABOR, especially those that cause a ratcheting-down effect, should be changed, according to Isgar.

Alexander says TABOR needs to be revisited. She supported the original intent to control government spending, but TABOR has created significant problems for state and local governments, and for special districts. To solve current financial problems at the state level, Alexander would re-evaluate a number of state departments with the idea of cutting unnecessary spending by downsizing or doing what is necessary. She would not look at schools, the highway department and social services at this time.

6. Because of this year's drought, from 60-80 water bills may be proposed, Isgar said, to be considered by few people who understand water issues as well as he. He supports protecting Western Slope water and using more of the state's Colorado River Water Compact entitlement. The additional bonding is unneeded, according to Isgar.

Alexander supports HB 1022 as an interesting idea that might help provide additional water storage. She says legislators need to sit down with water experts and figure out the Western Slope's water identity.

 

County still negotiating Stevens FBO pact

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Archuleta County is still negotiating conditions for replacing the current Fixed Base Operator at county-owned Stevens Field.

The FBO provides fuel and other services for aircraft at the facility. Two contracts are involved. Until recently, the contracts were between the Archuleta County Airport Authority and the FBO service provider. One contract is for the FBO service. A second contract covers the lease of Nick's Hangar, the building in which FBO services are conducted.

Until recently, FliteCrafton Aviation held both contracts, including the four-year FBO contract renewed as recently as April of this year. The Nick's Hangar lease expired Oct. 16.

After learning that the owner of FliteCrafton Aviation was negotiating the sale of FBO assets to Energy and Engine Technology Corporation for a six-digit figure, the county disbanded the Archuleta County Airport Authority, then terminated both contracts with FliteCrafton Aviation.

One of the conditions of the proposed contract between the two private companies before the county was involved was a 20-year lease on the hangar and FBO service, a condition the county found unacceptable.

Subsequently, the county negotiated an agreement with Energy and Engine Technology Corporation.

Not removed from the picture, however, is FliteCrafton Aviation. Owner John Crafton says he still considers his contracts with the Archuleta County Airport Authority as valid. He says he has retained a lawyer to help him in the current negotiations.

Crafton also said he has made an offer to the prospective new FBO for about one-fourth of what was being considered before the county became involved. Crafton said if his offer is accepted, he will quietly go away and let the county complete its business with the new FBO.

What if his offer is not accepted?

"The county told me Friday they are evicting me, but will I please stay on while they are doing it," Crafton said. "I'm not sure what that means or who I am dealing with, the commissioners or county manager or who?

The county is also working closely with legal counsel.

County Administrator Bill Steele confirmed that the county is trying to bring together a deal to make everyone happy while guaranteeing the continuity of FBO services.

If a deal is not reached, the county will take whatever steps are necessary, Steele said.

 

Mitchell Scholarship established

By The Knights of Columbus have, with the approval of David Mitchell's family, established a scholarship fund in memory of the SUN publisher at Rio Grande Savings and Loan Association.

Grand Knight Joel M. Trujillo said anyone interested in contributing to the scholarship fund may do so by going into Rio Grande Savings and Loan or mailing donations to the firm at P.O. Box 69, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.

The account number is 03-101690-02.

For additional information, call Knights members Trujillo at 264-2579; Bill Sayer, 264-5754; Bill Korsgren at 731-2855; or scholarship chairman Josh Trujillo at 375-0173 or 264-2579.

 

Letters

Liberals

Dear Editor:

I am writing this for the wannabe liberals afraid to shed their conservative clothes and to the somewhat conservatives beginning to think about matters and relate them to one another.

The president's father and Ronald Reagan, following Barry Goldwater, almost made the word "liberal" part of profanity, as though liberal is tantamount to traitor, coward or anything equally damning. Stop a moment and consider what life today would be like had history's liberals been absent or silent.

First, there would have been no Jefferson to write a Declaration of Independence. Conservatives don't spark rebellions against status quo; conservatives are the status quo. There would be no freedom of press or speech because there wouldn't have been a Peter Zenger to stand up to "authority."

Education would not be a public concern because Horace Mann and others would not have fought for liberal education and establishment of high schools and teachers colleges in the 1830s. The idea women should vote was a far-out liberal concept, long fought for but not realized until 1920. I could safely say foods would be cheaper today had generations of liberals not struggled and sacrificed for better working conditions and wages.

We have only to read our own state's history to become aware of conditions in the mines and the Ludlow massacre to realize why the word "reactionary" is applied to conservatism.

Space doesn't allow me to make even a respectable listing of liberal accomplishments. Today, as we worry about the economy, what would it be like without the millions of Social Security checks sent out each month? Actually, without this gigantic financial buffer which my conservative grandfather railed against 65 years ago, where would we be today?

I often feel that our health care system is a fragmented divide-and-conquer arrangement engineered by an entrenched insurance industry. As we listen to arguments that say we can't afford liberal health care programs, who are the parties opposed to them?

Why do they always point to the British and to negatives about their system as though it were the only way, even after our independent GAO stated during the Clinton administration that if we wanted, we could cover every American citizen, maintain our high level of service and simultaneously, even reduce the federal deficit by spending only the same amount yearly we were spending then, but in a single payer program? The AMA bought it, but the nation was conned into fearing the tag liberal.

If you worry about identifying yourself as a liberal, "coming out of the closet," so to speak, then ask first what have conservatives contributed to the well being and social progress of Americans and what is their program now. Have you ever heard a definition of "compassionate conservatism?" Have you seen any results? On the other hand, if you identify yourself with our American history of liberal struggles and accomplishments, then I say be proud of yourself and be proud of America.

Believe God has blessed America.

Henry Buslepp

Voting

Dear Editor:

A number of public interest groups, including the Bighorn Institute, are sponsoring ballot initiatives which would increase the number of people voting in elections. Among these are Amendment 28, which requires voting by mail in most elections; and Amendment 30, which allows voters to register on election day. A secondary objective advanced is voter convenience.

The implied, but unstated, premise of both initiatives is that higher voter turnout will lead to the election of better candidates and result in improved government. Curiously lacking in the sponsors' claims is any reference to a single country in which high voter participation correlates with more responsible government.

Indeed, the opposite may be the case: Iraq routinely records 98-100 percent voter turnout, as do numerous countries in Africa and elsewhere. Are these interest groups suggesting that we emulate the likes of Iraq, Uganda or Zimbabwe? Or do they have other unspoken agendas?

Recognizing the political incorrectness of opposing the conventional wisdom, I nonetheless see no particular value in increasing the number of voters just for the sake of recording higher numbers. Bigger is not necessarily better. A smaller, well-informed electorate is infinitely preferable to a larger ill-informed one.

Is anybody suggesting that registering to vote in the country is a time-consuming or complicated process? If not, then why bother to encourage a high turnout of voters who are disinterested, uninformed or simply to lazy to make the effort?

Would not these groups better serve the public interest by promoting educational campaigns to stimulate interest in the political process, the important issues at hand, and the attributes of opposing candidates - rather than just making it more "convenient" for more people to vote?

In our democratic society, voting should be regarded as a high privilege available to all, but exercised primarily by those who really care about responsible government. High voter turnout and convenience should not be a high priority.

Sincerely,

Gene Cortright

LWV support

Dear Editor:

The League of Women Voters of Archuleta County would like to extend its condolences to the Mitchell family and the staff of The Pagosa Springs SUN. In 1994 David applauded our efforts to start a League chapter here in Pagosa, and through the years had given excellent coverage and editorial support of League activities in The SUN.

Our success and growth were greatly helped by his support. We will miss him.

League of Women Voters

of Archuleta County

Ballot issues

Dear Editor:

It is very rare for county clerks to take positions on ballot issues. We are, after all, the individuals charged with administering the elections that will decide those ballot issues. That is why the gathering earlier this month of county clerks from across Colorado was so remarkable.

Election officials from rural counties and metropolitan counties, Republicans and Democrats, all joined with Colorado Secretary of State Donetta Davidson to express our grave concerns with Amendment 30. The ballot issue would allow people to register to vote on Election Day. Simply put, we would be shirking our duty not to tell Coloradans about the impact of this proposed constitutional amendment.

Under current law, eligible Coloradans have until 29 days before an election to register to vote. Potential voters may obtain registration forms at county clerk's offices, college campuses, driver's license offices and from a number of different Web sites. During that 29-day period before an election, we check election records to make sure individuals are not registered at multiple addresses, submit our county registration information to the Secretary of State and prepare the signature cards for each precinct. Without these cards, judges would have no record to check to see if an individual is eligible to vote.

By eliminating this 29-day preparation period, Amendment 30 would tie the hands of county clerks when it comes to protecting against fraud and severely hinder our ability to conduct orderly elections. There are six states currently allowing Election Day Voter registration, none of which have the complex ballots we have in Colorado. Because we have so many special districts and levels of government in Colorado and because each of these entities frequently has issues on the ballot, determining which voter receives which ballot can be a real challenge.

In Archuleta County the most styles we have had in one election has been 13. Some of you may think that doesn't sound so bad but while we have 13, larger counties could have up to 113. Without the 29-day preparation periods for an election, voters could face chaos when they go to the polls.

This would open Election Day to all kinds of voter fraud and place new burdens on the system. It would cost taxpayers more, to train and hire more judges. Amendment 30 backers want computers in every polling place, and hooked to high-speed Internet connections. Can you imagine the cost of this technology, especially in rural counties? In some rural precincts it would be virtually impossible, but this law would make it mandatory.

Amendment 30 would place this new process in Colorado's Constitution. If the problems predicted by election officials materialize, the legislature would not have flexibility to go back and change the law. Nothing short of another ballot could fix the mess. As hard as I try to stay out of the way when it comes to individuals voting, I am extremely scared of this amendment and feel it is very important to educate voters before they vote on Amendment 30.

June Madrid

Archuleta County Clerk

Plaything for rich?

Dear Editor:

I read with sympathy the ongoing ramblings of Mr. Jim Sawicki and his personal problems concerning our local airport, Stevens Field. His criticism of the new taxi way. His lame opinion of the unpaid volunteers called the Airport Authority board. The dollars he's fantasized the taxpayers have spent maintaining a plaything for the rich. Does he have nothing else correct in his life? Obviously this is a guy who would have fought the wheel. He knows nothing about the airport.

Pagosa Springs needs an airport just as Denver, Alamosa, Durango, and the thousands of other towns across the country do. Airport management has let Stevens Field deteriorate. Although the taxiway was repaired, the runway is in serious condition. The weeds need mowed and the junk hauled off. Present management, supported by the commissioners, can't be described as a self-starter. This facility should be something the Pagosa Springs community can take pride in. I'd like to see Jim Sawicki complaining about this. Wait till he finds out the Indians don't own the Springs.

Fred Olson

Lone Star sign

Dear Editor:

A local government leader told me that the way to really understand the pulse of Pagosa Springs is to get out into the middle of it and touch it by listening to the "real people." Specifically, go have coffee and listen to people in any or all of the local establishments along the north side of U.S. 160 from U.S. 84 to the west City Market complex.

Well I did just that and the big three topics that I heard over and over again are the elections, zoning, and the huge log ranch sign at the intersection of 84 and 160 that says, "Lone Star" with the oversized star. That is the topic of this letter.

Now let me speak for the coffee chatter and for myself. This testimony to a specific state is out of place, inappropriate and approaches annoying. First of all I'm not against Texas or any state of the great United States of America, but I do feel compelled to speak out against this type of overdone and misplaced edifice.

In order to reinforce this position, how would we feel if everyone who now lives here from some 20 plus other states would construct such a monument. How about a huge orange with the name Florida Everglades or a giant Georgia Peach? Now add the big "Cheese Head" Wisconsin or a Surfer with California Kahuna, etc, etc. Ridiculous, perhaps, but start to multiply the Lone Star Monument to 20 and you have another Wally World movie set.

I truly believe we left another state to live in this magnificent San Juan Mountain town for trees, mountains, blue skies, wildflowers and wildlife, not a patchwork of other state signs.

Diversity is another bonus to living here. A long time and deep blend of Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures now mixed with many newcomers from all over the country. Let us enjoy this diversity of background, beliefs and thinking without building something that screams at us all.

In conclusion, I am a strong believer in freedom and the right to one's own land. But if you can take the man out of Texas, but not all the Texas out of the man, then on behalf of the 10,000 citizens of Archuleta County and the thousands of visitors from all over, please consider moving your log sign to your house where your private friends and visitors can enjoy it while the rest of us enjoy the natural beauty of our Colorado San Juan Mountain town.

Ron Parker

P.S.: Town and county leadership - please expedite zoning and the sign ordinances. Thanks in advance.

Road plans

Dear Editor:

In John Motter's article concerning mag chloride and the commissioners (Oct. 17, 2002), Commissioner Downey refers to a road plan.

What plan? Who established the plan? What does the plan say? Why isn't the plan published and available to all interested residents?

I agree that a fair and equitable plan on roads and road maintenance for Archuleta County is needed. It must be a plan that meets the needs of the residents of Archuleta County, a plan that reflects the wants of the residents and that is published and available to all interested residents.

Sincerely,

Bill Ralston

Mitchell legacies

Dear Editor:

One hundred years from now it will not matter what kind of car you drove, what kind of house you lived in, how much money you had in your bank account, nor what your clothes looked like.

But one hundred years from now the world may be a little better because you were important in the life and schooling of a child.

Yes, you will be missed David C. Mitchell. But the legacies you leave are many. There is no doubt you will be kept in their prayers.

Jim Sawicki

Quiet generosity

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, I want to express condolences to the family of David Mitchell, and to the staff of The Pagosa Springs SUN.

David was a generous supporter of many fine charities in Archuleta County, and usually did so in a quiet and anonymous manner. Thus it was with the Humane Society. David was a strong supporter of this organization, and did so without fanfare or publicity.

When our new shelter is completed, a tree will be planted on the grounds in David Mitchell's memory.

Thanks, David, for all you have done for this community. You will be missed.

Rex Shurtleff, president

Humane Society of Pagosa Springs

PAWS

Dear Editor:

I would like to clear up some misconceptions regarding the upcoming bond issues for the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District election in November.

The reason the word "may" is used, instead of "will," was on the advice of our attorney who assisted in writing up the ballot statement. He felt this could cover us in case of any unforeseen circumstance.

However, be assured the board has every intention of increasing the storage capacity of Stevens Lake and improving Dutton Ditch to provide increased availability of water. We intend to proceed on all projects listed on the ballot and in a timely manner.

The success of this bond issue ensures a larger capacity, should we continue in a drought, or experience another one in the future. Based on past history, eventually water will again become scarce and we need to be prepared. It takes several years to get any large projects on line and we intend to be ready.

Thanks to all you folks who have been cutting down on water usage, and because of this, we are in better shape than most other Colorado communities. Please got out and vote on this important issue.

Harold T. Slavinski,

President, PAWSD

 

 Community News

Senior News

We're mourning the passing of two good friends

By Janet Copeland

SUN Columnist

This has been a wonderful week but sad, too.

We are so saddened in the loss of David Mitchell — our prayers are with his family as well as with the staff at The SUN.

Also, we are sad to hear of the passing of Marie Reeves — please keep this family in your prayers, too.

This has been a busy week and I hope I haven't missed naming any of our guests and returning members. It was great having the following folks join us: Bill Miller, Jean Gordon, Lupe Henrichsen, Carl and Marianne Barber, Curl and Dot Jones, Charles and Vickie Knoop, Katherine Ide, Eva Darmopray, Gertrude and Dan Galleos, Barbara Brashar, Haddie (Mary) Hurchalla and Roy Craig.

Thanks to Roy Craig for his very informative talk about his investigations into UFOs.

Muriel Cronkhite spoke to us Wednesday about good eating habits, particularly as they relate to diabetes. This is very important information and we appreciate Muriel informing us.

We had a wonderful turnout for our Oktoberfest. Thank you to this wonderful community for its support.

The idea for an Oktoberfest first materialized last November when the Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. board was trying to come up with a major fund-raiser to replace the chili supper, which had been held for several years. The Copelands had attended Oktoberfests in Ouray and in Munich, Germany, and suggested it would be something different for Pagosa Springs and might generate a lot of interest.

Fortunately, this has been the case — beginning with our first conversation about it with Sally Hameister and with asking for volunteers to help plan the event, we have had great response.

First we recruited help for planning the event. In January we began to line up a band to play German music. When we mentioned it to Melinda Baum, her eyes lit up and she said she would talk to her musician friends about it. Soon she said they thought it would be fun to do it so they volunteered their services. They learned the music and she says they have had a ball with it. They now have a 12-piece band named "Pauken Schlagel." They are great.

We are so thankful for the volunteer committee members who made this event a reality. Sally Hameister, Joann Sager, Phil and Nita Heitz, Kurt and Louise Diedring, Sepp and Ingrid Leppitsch, Gene and Janet Copeland, Ron Gustafson, Eve Kirton and Billie Evans were the original members. Tony Simmons joined us later.

Thanks to Ken Harms and Musetta, who came up with a beautiful logo design for our mugs. These served as drink containers as well as mementos for attendees to keep.

Since Rotary Club members have always supported events for the seniors, they were contacted early on in the planning process and agreed to help where needed.

Tony Simmons stepped in for Ron Gustafson (Ron had to drop out as he was to be out of town when the event took place). Tony made all the arrangements for ordering the beer and obtaining decorations from the brewery, having the beer delivered and kegs tapped. He has been most valuable to us and we so appreciate his help.

The folks at Oakridge Best Western were so generous in providing a room Oct. 19 for the person from Durango who tapped our kegs; we needed someone who is experienced with tapping kegs at this altitude.

A huge thank you to members of the Oktoberfest committee, the Senior board and our organization - we couldn't have succeeded without all your help. Musetta Wollenweber (our director), and her assistant, Laura Bedard, were such a big help, as were Sally Hameister, Kathy Holthus, Mercy Korsgren, Jay Harrington and Mark Garcia. Thanks to Chuck Allen from the police department, Dave Sedgwick of the transportation department, Kurt Killion the bus driver; Dorothy O'Harra, who phoned folks to recruit desserts and all the folks who helped in the kitchen, bar and ticket sales areas. Our thanks also to Dorothy Million, who furnished film and took photos during the evening; Robert Penton and Troop F of the Colorado Mounted Rangers, who provided security; Chris Bentley at Town Hall who advertised on the town marquee for us; and many other folks who joined in to help and to donate needed items and money.

Several folks donated food (especially Billie Evans), items to be used as door prizes, and items to use on the tables for decoration.

Veterans Corner

Durango clinic already seeing veterans

By Andy Fautheree

The new Durango VA Clinic was given a big official kickoff last Thursday. A ceremony was held at the new Community Building at the La Plata County Fairgrounds followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Durango VA Clinic itself shortly before noon. There was lots of flag waving and congratulating by all the attendees.

Numerous guests were present from the Albuquerque VA Medical Center as well as Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs, veteran's nursing homes, political representatives from state and national offices, and various local veterans' organizations such as the VFW, DAV and American Legion. It was nice to see several veterans from Archuleta County were also attending the event.

The evening before, and during the day, Albuquerque VA Medical Center staff was on hand to make VA ID cards for veterans. We also enrolled a number of veterans for the first time in VA Health Care. I was on hand to help my counterpart in La Plata County, John Hardardt, with this task. Also helping was Fred Riedinger from the VFW in Durango. Some of you may remember these gentlemen came over for our recent veteran's forum here in Pagosa Springs to help me with that event. It was good to return the favor.

The Durango VA Clinic is already seeing VA patients. Those veterans enrolled in VA Health Care who would like to transfer from other VA Health Care facilities should call the clinic at 247-2214. Because of the high volume of calls from veterans wanting to use the Durango Clinic you may experience some difficulty in getting through on the number. My suggestion is to call and leave a message if necessary. If they don't call back in a reasonable time call them again. Patience and persistence is the key element.

You can also call the Albuquerque VA Medical Center at (800) 465-8262 Ext. 2844 (Clinic Ops) and tell them you want to be transferred. There are some other options if these fail to do the trick and I encourage local veterans to see me if they are having any problems with enrollment at Durango.

To enroll in VA Health Care veterans need a copy of their DD214 discharge paper, personal information, and social security number and date of birth for the spouse and any children under age 18. If you are already enrolled at some other VA Health Care facility outside of VISN 18 (Albuquerque VAMC), such as Grand Junction, you will need to fill out a new 1010EZ form. I have them computerized and it only takes a few minutes to complete the form.

Speaking of Grand Junction, I learned at the grand opening ceremony that Grand Junction VAMC would be working with Durango patients if a patient needs specialist care. Grand Junction VAMC is in VISN19 medical district. This means veterans who have been going to Grand Junction for primary care can transfer to Durango and still get specialist care at Grand Junction.

If you have not enrolled in VA Health Care yet, I would urge you to do so as soon as possible. As I recently wrote in this column my fears have been that the availability of this VA benefit may become harder to obtain as time goes by. The VA Health Care system is very much overloaded with veterans needing health care, and is planning ways to ease the burden. One way will be to place more emphasis on priority levels.

Most veterans enrolled through this office are in the lowest priority, level 7. They have no service-connected disabilities and have normal financial resources. This priority level may get pushed back to the end of the line or the bottom of a long waiting list while veterans with service-connected disabilities get moved to the head of the waiting line.

For information on these and other veterans' 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 from 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.

Arts Line

Last gallery exhibit of season is open

By Pamela Bomkamp

Come see the last exhibit of the season at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park.

The exhibit features Jay Jackson's multimedia art, including oils on canvas, still life and landscape. Jackson is also showing jewelry made from recycled piano keys, elk antlers and semiprecious stones, including necklaces, earrings and bracelets. He has designed belt buckles and cufflinks for men. Also on display will be his unique vessels and containers.

Jackson is a first-time exhibitor from Chromo. His art will be available for viewing and for purchase through Nov. 6. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Imagination Station

The Arts Council is sponsoring the "Imagination Station" an after-school program with Tessie Garcia providing instruction. Garcia is an art teacher at Pagosa Springs Elementary School. This program is underway at Pagosa Springs Community Center with children kindergarten through fourth grade attending.

The after-school program meets every Tuesday, 4-5:30 p.m. During the month of October, the children are creating masks. November will find them weaving and in December they will by learning candle making.

Cost for each student for October is prorated to $5. November and December is $15 for each month. To reserve a space for your child, please stop by the gallery in Town Park.

Ballet

The San Juan Festival Ballet Company, will present its Christmas performance Dec. 12-14. The performance is titled "A Holiday Gala" and will feature excerpts from "The Nutcracker Ballet."

The company is presently looking for volunteers to help with sewing costumes and assisting backstage. If you would like to help out, call Stephanie at 264-5068.

Photography Club

The next Pagosa Photography Club meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14. The meeting will be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Jeff Laydon will discuss camera basics. For more information contact Laydon at 264-3686.

Pagosa Pretenders

Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater's production, "Escape to Broadway," has two more performances to go: Oct. 25-26. The shows will be performed at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium. Sabine Elge is directing.

Pagosa Pretenders Theater encourages family involvement in the theater and past productions include "Wizard of Oz," "Sleeping Beauty," and "Arabian Nights."

Tickets are on sale at the Arts Council gallery, WolfTracks Coffee and Books, Moonlight Books, the Sisson Library and the Plaid Pony. Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 years old and under. As usual, there is a discount for council members.

For more information and to become involved with the organization, call Elge at 731-3506.

Workshops

Donna Brooks will present a basketry workshop 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Participants will learn pine needle basketry. Cost is $75, and a discount will by given to council members. Sign up by stopping by the gallery or call 264-5020.

Another workshop, "Unleashing the Power of Watercolor," is set Nov. 11-14 from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. The class is targeted at watercolorists with some experience to those with advanced skills.

To learn more about the instructor, Joye Moon, visit her Web site at www.joyemoon.com. The cost is $175 for the four-day class. A 10-percent discount will be given to council members. Coffee and doughnuts will be served in the morning, but please bring a sack lunch for the afternoon. Attendance is limited, so sign up soon at the gallery.

Volunteers needed

Anyone interested in volunteering some time at the gallery, or at other arts council functions like our occasional snack booths, please call Joanne at 264-5020.

The Petroglyph (the council's quarterly newsletter) is looking for businesses interested in inserting a flyer into the center of the newsletter. Interested businesses should contact Stephanie at 264-5068.

Other news

Stop by the Town Park gallery for your copies of the Pagosa Springs Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 CD sampler, "A Local Gathering."

If anyone has Pagosa Springs art-related information we could use for the Artsline column, call Joanne at the gallery, or e-mail it to psac@frontier.com.

City Market/Krogers will donate funds to the arts at no cost to the customer. Our City Market will donate a small percent of your purchase to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council each time you shop at the market and use your City Market value card. All you need to do is come in to the gallery at Town Park and sign up. It is a great way to support the arts in our community without a lot of effort. You can call Joanne for more information at 264-5020.

Pagosa Springs Arts Center and Gallery is located in Town Park, at 314 Hermosa St. For information, phone 264-5020 or check out the Web site at www.PagosaArts.org.

Chamber News

Treasured memories, great legacy

By Sally Hameister

The staff and board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce would like to express our heartfelt sympathy and sadness to Cynthia Mitchell and all members of the Mitchell and Pagosa SUN family. David was a wonderful friend and strong supporter of all things Chamber, as well as one of the kindest, most generous humanitarians I've ever known. We will miss him so much but will treasure each and every memory and the great legacy of his countless contributions to this community.

Appreciation Week

This is Volunteer Appreciation Week, so we are hopeful that you will find time to do something terrific for those amazing nonpaid staff members of yours, the volunteers. We had a Halloween luncheon and party last week for our Chamber Diplomats in a small but terribly sincere effort to express our thanks for all they do for us. We want to thank Jack Nightingale, Chris Gurlach, Marlene, Chef Fernando and all the wait staff for an outstanding job with food and service. They couldn't have been more helpful or accommodating.

Please take this opportunity to find some way of thanking your volunteers. Clearly, Pagosa Springs could not survive without the hours of service contributed by our generous corps of volunteers.

Escape to Broadway

Don't miss the current Pagosa Pretenders Family Theater production, "Escape to Broadway" playing Friday and Saturday evening at the high school auditorium at 7 p.m. I attended with family and friends last Friday night, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Once again, I am astonished at the number and quality of the costumes and at the number and quality of the cast members. It's truly a charming production, and I hope you will all support the Pretenders in their efforts to bring us family entertainment at affordable prices.

Tickets for "Escape to Broadway" are $6 for adults and $3 for children and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce or at the door.

Opening reception

Jeff Laydon of Pagosa Photography fame invites you to join him for the opening reception of the show featuring the photography of Brett West Oct. 25 from 5-7 p.m. at his studio located at 480 San Juan St. Fittingly named "Shades of Gray," this show will boast the landscapes of southwest Colorado in black and white. Please plan to join Jeff for fun, refreshments and beautiful photography Friday evening. If you have questions, just give him a call at 264-1010.

Halloween party

It's time for the community Halloween party Oct. 31 at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. This is a safe alternative for kids in Pagosa Springs to enjoy Halloween without canvassing neighborhoods in the dark. The festivities get underway at 6 p.m. when the Kiwanis Club serves up free hot dogs, soda and ice cream.

Coordinators are looking for a little community support to help make this evening of spooky fun a success. If you would like to donate candy or prizes for the games and contests, please drop them off at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church office, 451 Lewis St. They are also looking for actors to add to the scary atmosphere. If you have what it takes to be an entertaining monster, call 731-6223. You help is greatly appreciated.

Orient Express

The sixth annual Immaculate Heart of Mary Fashion Show and Luncheon will be held at the Parish Hall Nov. 9, beginning at noon.

This is always such a lovely affair with delicious food and gorgeous fashions modeled by the cutest models in the world. This year's theme is "Experience the Orient Express" so I'm quite sure we can expect plenty in the romance, intrigue and mystery department.

Tickets are now on sale at the Chamber, and I strongly encourage you to purchase them as soon as possible because this show sells out every year. Tickets are $18 and I assure you that this is a huge bargain for the pleasure and fun you will experience.

Trick or treat

The Downtown Merchants Association has asked me to remind you that they will once again hand out candy to all the little ghosts, ghouls and goblins Oct. 26 during regular store hours. Just look for "Trick or Treat" signs Saturday in participating store windows to know where to take your goblin for treats.

Visitor Center stats

We'll share with you once again some not-so-surprising numbers concerning the Visitor Center foot traffic and requests for information packets. Some of these numbers are very consistent with past information with just a little surprise here and there.

Our visitor numbers are significantly down from last year's numbers with 3,946 this September compared to last September's figure of 5,436. August's drop was even more dramatic with a drop of 2,464 from the previous year. The number of visits from Colorado neighbors was highest with 619 over 446 visitors from Texas. New Mexico followed with 227, and Arizona and California fell into fourth and fifth slots with 163 and 133 respectively.

Requests for information packets differed somewhat with Texas leading the pack with 848 requests and Colorado and Arizona following with 481 and 229. Some unusual numbers in the request category came from Missouri with 150, Florida with 146 and Illinois with 101.

I can't help but think that our great presence on the Internet has increased the numbers from rather unpredictable places. The really interesting thing about packet requests is that the current number of 4,083 exceeds the number of 3,636 for the entire year of 2001. We still have three months to go, so we will end up with a significantly larger number at year's end. Summer requests are leading winter and relocation requests with 2,771 to date as opposed to winter at 720 and relocation at 592. Both summer and relocation are up from 2001 with winter down by a margin of about 100.

If requests indicate the number of people we can expect, we're in good shape for the future, folks.

Membership

Couldn't be happier to introduce one new member this week and 16 renewals.

With the year we've all experienced, I am so happy that you still consider your Chamber membership a sound investment. It would seem from all indications that Pagosa has had a rather soft impact from 9/11 terrorists/the stock market/etc., for which we should all be most grateful. Supporting our marketing efforts for our entire community is indeed a positive, smart way to insure our future. We value you and your membership and promise to work as hard as we know how to keep us all in business.

Gaige Sippy is our new member this week, and he brings us Cottonwood Management Services, LLC, located at 898 Winterfall Lane in Durango. Gaige offers property management services as well as caretaker services on a year-round or temporary basis. His services include visits to your property, light repairs, snow removal and moving services. He brings 15 years experience to this business and promises you peace of mind while you're away. Please give Gaige a call at (970) 799-2423.

Our renewals this week include: Gary Weger with Mountain Land, Inc.; Gary and Claudia Weger with Associate Memberships with Mountain Land, Inc.; Stacia Aragon with Pagosa Glass; Mark and (board director) Angie Dahm with WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company; Christie L. Anderson with United Country Premier Brokers; Christie L. Anderson with United Country-Northern New Mexico Real Estate, Inc. in Chama; James Fletcher Jr. with Abram, Edwards and York, LLC; John L. Applegate with Pagosa Area Trails Council; Terri Andersen with Discovery Toys; Lynda Brown and George Clous with Hodge Podge; Veronica Doctor with Alpenglow Guest Houses; Mary Marugg with Sonlight Christian Camp; Maria D. MacNamee with Happy Trails Lady's Boutique; James E. Grant with Pagosa Lakes Ranch; Julie Pickering with Rocky Mountain Health Plans located in Durango; and last but far from least, our friend, Jim Foster, with Music in the Mountains located in Durango. Many thanks to each and every one of you for your continued support.

Library News

We mourn a friend of the library

By Lenore Bright

The death of our good friend David Mitchell leaves us contemplating our own mortality and pondering the ramifications of this loss.

David Mitchell was a strong supporter of the library. He served as the registered agent of the Friends of the Library organization since 1983. His generous coverage of library happenings in The Pagosa SUN helped us in so many ways.

His wife, Cynthia, another long time library supporter, serves on the Friends of the Library board of directors. Our connections are strong and deep. We mourn with Cynthia and the rest of David's family.

We mourn with David's other family - the staff at the SUN office. David left the paper in good hands. Our sympathies go to all concerned. David will be missed by all of us who had the fortune to work with him for the betterment of this community. We have all lost so much.

Helen Keller poem

We have a poem entitled "Autumn," written by 13-year-old Helen Keller who only six years before, was a "wild little creature." The poem can be accessed through the American Memory program from the Library of Congress. We have a copy for anyone wanting it. Here is part:

"Oh, what a glory doth the world put on

These peerless, perfect autumn days

For Autumn dies not 'tis as the Poet says:

There is no death. What seems so is transition.

All that is divine lives

In some nobler sphere, some fairer form."

Civic Club bazaar

By now, everyone should be aware that the holiday bazaar will be at the Pagosa Springs Community Center rather than the Extension Building. The new facility is perfect for the event and the booth holders will be pleased with the change.

Doors open Nov. 2 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. There will be good food to eat and many opportunities to buy from all of the crafters. My thanks go to all of the participants who make this annual event so special.

The raffle items on display at the library and will also be at the Civic Club booth the day of the bazaar. Be sure and get your tickets.

Donations

Thanks for materials from Chris McCracken, Barbara Carlos, Bev Sondag, Bev Worthman, Margery Nevitt and Roger Bush.

 

Births

Milby/Lewis

Proud grandparents David and Christina Velarde of Pagosa Springs would like to announce the births of two grandchildren.

Meredith Marie Milby was born July 18, 2002, weighed 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 19 inches long. She is the daughter of Chad and Danielle Milby of Temecula, Calif. Cameron James Lewis was born Sept. 2, 2002, weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 inches long. He is the son of James and Dana Lewis of Sedona, Ariz.

Danielle and Dana are the daughters of David Velarde of Pagosa Springs and Geneva Velarde of Dallas, Texas. Chad is the son of Verna Lucas of Pagosa Springs and George Milby of Escondido, Calif. James Lewis is the son of Milton Lewis of Phoenix, Ariz.

 

People

Six Pagosans have seven scholarships at Fort Lewis

Six Pagosa Springs students accepted seven scholarships to attend Fort Lewis College for the 2002-03 academic year. The students, scholarships and parents follow:

- Centennial Savings Bank Scholarship recipient: Hank Wills, son of Jerry and Vicki Wills.

- Craig-Dyer Scholarship recipient: Michael Arries, son of Don and Terry Arries.

- Nathan Robert Hertzog Scholarship recipient: Breezy Beckler.

- Nora Horan Leadership Award recipient: Carmin Carnley, daughter of Tom and Jan Carnley.

- Helen Kroeger-Faris Scholarship recipients:

Amber Brown, daughter of David and Teresa Cook and wife of Dean Brown; and Hank Wills.

- Julian H. Murphy Scholarship recipient: Jodie Lynn Blankenship, daughter of Tom and Polly Blankenship.

 

 

  Features

Battle of Adobe Walls

survivors became heroes

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Two classes of men occupied Adobe Walls on the eve of the 1874 battle between whites and Indians that forever etched the Panhandle trading post's name on the scrolls of western history.

"On the buffalo range, there are two classes of people," said J. Wright Mooar, one of the principal promoters of the buffalo hide industry.

One of the classes pursued buffalo hides in order to enjoy "the finer things of life." The second class consisted of men scarcely better than common hoodlums and outlaws. A common characteristic was shared by the two classes. They were all adept at handling weapons, especially the Sharps .50-caliber "big gun."

One man who took part in the Battle of Adobe Walls had a life style that seemed to straddle both classes. That man, Dutch Henry Born, is the subject of this series of articles because Dutch Henry was a Pagosa Country pioneer.

A principle source of information concerning the Battle of Adobe Walls is titled "Adobe Walls, the History and Archeology of the 1874 Trading Post," by T. Lindsay Baker and Billy R. Harrison, Texas A&M University, Copyright 1986 by the Panhandle Plains Historical Society.

Of Dutch Henry, the authors write, " Born became one of the most feared of all horse thieves on the central plains." A Denver newspaper reportedly said, "Born has been shot and cut from toe to toe, from Dakota to Texas, but is still the same reckless and powerful man he was in the beginning He is a fine shot and uses the lasso to perfection." A Dodge City newspaper reported that Born " has stolen more horses, been captured oftener, wounded oftener, broken jail oftener "

In his later life in Pagosa Springs, Dutch Henry was known as a peaceful, gentle, family man.

In June of 1874, Dutch Henry, along with a number of other plainsmen, was in mortal danger. The group, consisting of hide hunters, merchants and teamsters, were at the trading post known as Adobe Walls, located in the Texas Panhandle. As many as a thousand Indian teepees were pitched in the vicinity.

Housed at Adobe Walls was the Leonard and Meyers trading post consisting of three, timber-picket buildings surrounded by an eight-foot high picket fence. Nearby was the Rath and Company store, constructed of sod. Between the two stores was Hanrahan's Saloon and a blacksmith shop.

Adobe Walls was a busy place, handling as many as 1,000 buffalo hides a day. Bull hides brought $2.15 each, cow hides $1.15. The hides were placed in a massive stack outside the buildings, waiting to be transported to Dodge City. At Dodge City, they would be loaded on a train and shipped east.

If the residents of Adobe Walls were not nervous, they should have been. Four days earlier, Indians had killed four men just a few miles away. A wagon train bringing whiskey from Dodge City had been attacked.

On the night of June 26, some men slept in buildings, others outside under the stars, and two teamsters slept in a wagon outside the Leonard and Meyers store. At about two the next morning, a loud crack roused those sleeping in Hanrahan's saloon. Apparently the ridgepole supporting the saloon's roof was giving way. Two men were sent up on top to remove some of the sod from the roof, relieving some of the pressure. By about 4:30, some of the hide hunters were stirring around, preparing to leave so they could start shooting at first light. A couple of men were sent to gather horses corralled 200 yards from the building.

Shortly after, the men sent after the horses returned. Shots echoed through the darkness. Men scrambled into buildings. Battle cries from Indian warriors filled the sky. Bat Masterson, who had been sleeping in a corral, ran into Hanrahan's. We don't know where Dutch Henry was sleeping.

From out of the darkness, a horde of mounted Indians appeared, shouting and firing weapons. Already under fire, the last of the hunters scrambled inside Rath's store. Doors were bolted, barricades piled up, chinks of mud knocked from walls allowing guns to be fired at the attackers.

For about 30 minutes, the battle was fought at close quarters, white men inside the walls of the three buildings, Indians outside trying to gain entrance. One of the whites said the Indians were so close he could touch them when he poked his pistol through a hole in the wall. During that first desperate half-hour, the whites fought with sidearms.

Somehow, only three whites died, all in the initial assault. Two teamsters, the Scheidler brothers, had been sleeping outside in their wagon. Indians cut them off from the buildings and killed them. Billy Tyler, shot down trying to enter the Myers and Leonard store, was dragged inside. After about 30 minutes, the attackers backed off, taking cover behind Meyers' corral and the stack of buffalo hides. The three buildings housing defenders were kept under constant fire while occasional attempts were made to breach the doors. At one time, as many as 150 Indians surrounded Meyers' store, but were unable to gain entrance.

By noon, the attackers retreated to a distance of three-fourths of a mile, but not beyond the range of the buffalo rifles.

Dutch Henry had been in Leonard's store during the attack. Among the attackers was a bugler some said had deserted the Army. One report from a participant years later said Dutch Henry announced he was tired of hearing the bugle and so shot the bugler.

The battle continued at long range for four days. Even at the longer distances, some of the assailants were killed by the buffalo hunters. It was at this time that Billy Dixon is said to have shot an Indian 1,400 yards away. Later in 1874, Dixon received a Congressional Medal of Honor for bravery in the Battle of Buffalo Wallow, where he served as an Army scout. Dixon's account of the Battle of Adobe Walls was the primary source of information for many years.

Even though a great deal of information has been compiled about the battle of Adobe Walls, many of the accounts do not agree. The Indians are said to have become discouraged because their medicine man's horse was shot, Quanah Parker was shot in the side, and the white man's guns worked. Their medicine man had told them the white man's guns wouldn't work.

From 12 to 30 white men were probably at the site along with the only woman, Mrs. Hannah Olds, who cooked at the Rath store. Three white men died. From 200 to 250 Indians took part in the battle, according to this version. From 12 to 30 Indians died. Prior to the battle, the Hanrahan who ran the saloon had been a Hinsdale County (Lake City) sheriff.

Sensational accounts of the battle appeared in newspapers across the county. Those who participated were venerated as heroes. Dutch Henry, as one of the combatants, shared the fame. His legendary career as an outlaw followed the battle. In Dodge City, during 1879, he was found not guilty of horse theft. Shortly after, by 1880, Dutch Henry showed up in Fort Garland. From that time until his death, he was a law-abiding citizen.

Still later, he married Ida Dilbaugh, the girl back home, homesteaded north of Pagosa Springs and served as a model citizen of Pagosa Country.

 

Youth to Work

Junior high program readies students for real world

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

They've cleaned, walked dogs, watched surgeries, dealt with preschoolers, and learned to take apart computers.

They've written resumes, practiced interviews, tried team building and completed a cultural competency project.

They've learned to work.

They are the six to nine junior high school students participating in the Archuleta County Education Center's Youth to Work program. The program gives students an opportunity to work in the job of their choice for six hours a week over six weeks. They earn money, go to class on a few Saturdays and learn job skills from coordinator Jenine Marnocha.

"Our goal is to give kids a safe, productive learning environment, to build relationships between youth and adults and to build relationships between the youth," she said. The Youth to Work program was born in Archuleta County in 1997 as part of a move to reduce crime among youth by giving them a safe place to go. In the beginning, Marnocha said, the program served both high school and junior high students. Now, it focuses on students age 12-14 only.

Marnocha goes to the junior high a couple times a year to recruit students. No one is turned down, and there is usually a waiting list. The students must fill out an application, receive their guardians' OK and commit their after-school or weekend time.

In return, Marnocha tries her hardest to get them whatever job they want.

"I tell them, 'Think big,'" she said. "Whatever they want to do, I don't care what it is, I'll try to find it for them." She's successful most of the time, working with 50 business partners in the community. Currently, students are placed with local veterinarians, early childhood centers and a photography and film developing studio.

Two are working at Seeds of Learning, a business that's been involved with Youth to Work almost from the beginning.

"It's wonderful because it gives the kids an opportunity to get work experience and learn what a job is all about," Seeds of Learning director Teddy Adler Finney said. "For us, it's also great to see if they like early childhood."

The two youngsters they have now, Ramonsita Salas and Reva Shepard, are "extraordinary," she said. "These two are dynamos."

Both 13-year-olds became interested in the program when they heard Marnocha speak at their school.

"She said we could work wherever we wanted, and I wanted to work with little kids," Salas said. Since starting with Seeds of Learning, she has changed diapers, cleaned, played with the kids and "just had fun."

Shepard has had a similar experience, enjoying her work with the preschoolers and learning a few things at the same time. The biggest challenge, she said, has been cleaning up after the kids.

Learning how to discipline effectively has also been a challenge, Salas said. Both agreed the time spent doing their job and in the classroom learning interview and employee skills has been a good experience.

A lot of information and activity is packed into Saturday classes. They practice writing resumes, completing an interview, including what to wear, picking up skills needed to be a responsible employee and building positive assets.

Assets for Colorado Youth is a program the education center has been behind for several years. It lists a series of skills, traits or contacts that can help children avoid the pitfalls of drugs, alcohol and crime. The more assets or pluses they have, Marnocha said, the better their chances of growing up to be positive, productive members of society.

It's one of the reasons relationships are so important, a point focused on throughout the class in several ways, including the cultural competency project.

To complete the cultural competency phase, the class must complete a project that combines a creative act in the community with cultural education. For instance, one class connected with an orphanage in Mexico, writing letters and sending pictures to the youth there. This quarter's class is planning a dinner combining food from all of their cultural backgrounds. Mexican, Norwegian and other ethnic dishes will be included.

Julianna Whipple, who is working at the Pagosa Veterinary Clinic, said she would recommend the program to others. She first chose to work at a veterinary clinic because she likes animals. The experience has been really eye-opening.

"Work isn't as easy as it sounds," she said. Whipple has walked dogs, cleaned and had an opportunity to watch the doctor perform some surgeries.

She's pretty sure now it's not a field she's interested in pursuing.

"It's too gory," she said. "I don't like the blood and stuff."

It happens both ways, Marnocha said.

"Some kids out of the program have been hired by the places they worked," she said, "but what happens more frequently is that they say, yes, this is what I want to do or no, this is definitely not what I want to do."

The overall experience is really the key, Marnocha said. The program exposes participants to the reality of a job so they can begin to make choices about their future and gain the skills to be successful early in life. Along the way, it helps build relationships in the community, gives the young people a start on a positive future and rewards the students with a $198 check for their efforts, something that always brings on a big smile.

 

Editorial

Keep it clean

It is a nasty political season, perhaps the ugliest in a long time. We have, unfortunately, grown accustomed to cheap and dirty politics played at the national level, with spin doctors and public relations reps dominating campaigns, flooding the mail, newspapers and airways with the products of their mean and trivial craft. We've been numbed by the tactics of party-funded flacks, eager to fling mud and to engage in tabloid-style gossip-fueled strategies.

Sadly, the weed has found its way to Colorado and its seed seems to be coming into full flower this year. We cannot help but recognize its noxious presence.

The race for the U.S. Senate seat between Wayne Allard and Tom Strickland has been one of the most distasteful in memory. Each side, campaign coffers stuffed with outside money, has leveled one blast after another at the opponent. Television advertising in the race, in particular, has been impossible to watch without cringing, without asking whether or not there is a modicum of character left in either's camp. We feel greasy after viewing many of the ads.

Not to be outdone, Kay Alexander's campaign used a group with a Denver mailing address - and it's anyone's guess who is in the organization or where the group's funding originates - to engage in a lowbrow mail attack on opponent, incumbent state Sen. Jim Isgar. The two are battling it out to represent us in District 6, a key district in the state Senate for both parties.

The missive from the "Business Education Fund" was as cheap a shot as has been taken in area politics in recent memory. It was pure, negative politics, turning on half-truths, reliant on emotionally loaded distortions to gain support from undiscerning readers.

It was an insult to the people of the district.

Not to be outdone, another Denver group, the Allegiance Fund, produced a mailer and attacked Alexander. The tone and content was less odious, but cut from the same negative cloth.

There are no questions in this quarter as to why a great number of voters are repelled by the process and will not participate Nov. 5. Who is eager to vote in a race where neither candidate appears worthy - as in the Allard/Strickland contest - or in races pushed by outside influences and money?

More to the point is something noted last week by Pagosa Springs Town Administrator Jay Harrington. Commenting on the subject of this year's campaigns Harrington, a new father, wondered how many of our "leaders" can reasonably expect young people in this society to respond favorably to the political process when what they see and hear is so mean-spirited and derogatory.

He is right on the money. How does this process affect youngsters in our midst; and of those attracted to the process, with its essence so clear, what can we expect of them?

We live in a society characterized by the demise of civility, the erosion of manners and respect. Too many of our political leaders, while eager to bemoan this decline, act instead to accelerate it with their public actions during campaigns. The office is more important than the ethics.

Shame on them.

We are fortunate that our local races have thus far remained untainted by the disease of the day.

Sheriff Tom Richards and write-in challenger Chuck Allen have stayed out of the muck.

Commissioner Gene Crabtree and challenger Mamie Lynch have run clean public campaigns, issue-oriented and idea-based, with personal criticism minimal and low blows not a significant part of the action. Our thanks go to them, with hopes expressed the situation remains this way through Nov. 5.

Karl Isberg

 

Dear Folks

He was who he was

Dear Folks,

If you are reading this you are probably like us: You glanced at the front page and then turned to view the editorials. Since April 23, 1981, we have read the Dear Folks column before looking through the rest of the paper.

Prior to our father becoming the editor of The Pagosa Springs SUN he would periodically visit the mailroom the night of the press run. Graciously, Mr. Edmonds would allow him to search the stacks of papers ready for mail. He would slip a letter to Mr. and Mrs. Orlo Mitchell into the paper marked for their address in Houston, Texas. When they would receive the local Pagosa news print they would find a letter from their son. A "Dear Folks" letter was sent out in the paper long before it became our favorite column.

Dad was approached by Don Winters and Herman Riggs to lease The SUN. He had never been a businessman; he knew nothing about editing. To him, a newspaper was restroom literature. Little did they know he would not only accept the offer, but he would succeed in an adventure he knew nothing about. Our father understood his God, sports, education and his family. On a wing and a prayer he signed the lease and became the editor of The Pagosa Springs SUN. God's plan had begun.

Dad never did anything like everyone else, so it was no surprise when he mentioned that his mode of transportation to his 50th high school reunion would be his bicycle. Like his walk with God, the ride wouldn't be easy. As Dad rode his bike from Pagosa to Houston he would encounter wind, hills and the dangers of passing motorists. As he lived, he encountered challenges in the form of frustration, pain and sorrow. There were times during the ride to Houston where the elements were too much to handle. Being a humble and smart man, he would call Chuck to pick him up, and they would ride together in the truck till Dad was ready to continue riding. In life, Dad called upon the strength of the Lord to carry him through each day. He didn't wait for the wind to be too strong or the hill to be too steep. He sought the Lord each day for strength for the long journey ahead.

Prior to burying our father this week, we looked back to Volume 72, No. 24, dated April 23, 1981. On page one there is a very small column explaining the lease agreement. Turning to page two we found the first Dear Folks. Dear Folks number one is just what it says: It was a letter to his family. Over the years he shared so much with all of us through this column. Whether he was talking about a family visit, a tragedy or just local news, we all felt connected with him through his words. Dear Folks was one of many tools Dad used to convey his compassion and priorities for life. God's plan was being fulfilled.

For 20-plus years our dad has lived to be a servant to others. With his departure it has been comforting to see the outpouring of love and support shown to the Mitchell family from so many people. We have all grieved and mourned together: Now the healing begins. Following the celebration of our father's life Monday, we move on to life without him. As his family, it will be difficult at times, but we praise the life he lived. We will continue to celebrate his victory over death. His example of how to live life is a billboard of what a great man of God should be. In no way was he perfect, nor did he claim to be perfect. He was who he was, and did not veer from the path laid before him. He faced the challenges of the road ahead - not alone, but with the strength of his Lord. His death is a great loss to us, but for 68 years he has been preparing for it. He has beaten death and now rides his bike on streets of gold.

So, will Dear Folks continue? Sure, it will always be around. You won't be able to find it in The Pagosa Springs SUN, but you will find it in your memories. Dad would want you to remember that "Know you are loved" didn't mean that Dad loved you. It meant that Jesus Christ loves you. If you seek Him, you will find the same strength that empowered David C. Mitchell: The strength to face the challenges of the world, to beat death and to have eternal life in Heaven.

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

Chuck, Tom, Dan and Drew

 

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 25, 1912

Some time last Wednesday night the barbershop of D. Robertson was burglarized and $90 in cash that had been left over night in a drawer stolen.

Alice M. Gaylord's work in the county clerk's office stands as a monument to her ability and efficiency. No higher compliment was ever paid a county official than when the auditor of state publicly asserted that she was the most efficient county clerk in the state of Colorado.

The hardware stores will close at 6 p.m. instead of 6:30, commencing next Monday.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 28, 1927

Our month of decent weather is going a-glimmering with a steady fall of rain today, which has become snow on the higher ranges.

Emmet Wirt, post trader at Dulce, was transacting business and renewing old friendships in Pagosa Sunday.

No eastern mail arrived here on Tuesday owing to the destruction by fire of a railroad bridge at Osier on the Cumbres Divide.

Robt. Hott shipped out 6 cars of cattle to Pueblo Sunday, W. Karsh 5 cars of cattle to Denver the same day.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 24, 1952

The 1952 season gives indications that a record number of licenses will have been sold here, but that the number of animals killed will be materially under that of last year. A combination of dry weather, good forage for the animals in the high country and the large number of hunters is probably the reason for this.

The weather the past week has continued ideal with the days in the 70s and the nights slightly below 20. The hunters are wishing for snow as are the forest service men who are taking care of the numerous small blazes.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Oct. 20, 1977

Members of town and county boards were told Tuesday that there will be a test well, to determine the potential of geothermal heat in the area, sometime soon. The test well is to be drilled on public property and will go to a depth of 2000 feet. It is expected to be completed by early spring.

Beautiful fall weather greeted deer hunters as the season opened last weekend. The weather has stayed nice, skies have been clear, days warm, nights chilly, and there has been on precipitation. Fire danger is high.