December 19, 2002

 Front Page
 

Property tax levies show big jump here

By John M. Motter

Staff writer

Archuleta County taxpayers will have to dig a little deeper in order to pay property taxes for the coming year.

Property taxes in the county levied by all entities are 18 percent more than they were a year ago. When all of the taxes due all taxing entities in the county are totaled, they amount to $13 million, 18 percent more than the $11 million tax bill of last year.

The total assessed valuation of all taxing entities in Archuleta County is $1.4 billion, slightly more than the $1.3 billion assessed valuation from a year ago.

The board of county commissioners, meeting in regular session Tuesday certified property tax mill levies created by the various taxing agencies in Archuleta County.

A mill levy is the rate at which real property is taxed in order to produce property tax income. State law requires that the commissioners certify all mill levies. The commissioners do not establish the mill levy, or tax rate, for any entity other than the county government. The board of directors governing each taxing entity establishes the tax rate for that entity.

County commissioners simply certify to the Colorado Department of Local Affairs that "the above and forgoing are true copies of valuations as certified to county commissioners by the county assessor, and levies and revenue are certified to the assessor and property tax administrator by the board of county commissioners."

School District 50JT has a levy of 30.4 mills, the highest tax rate in the county. Next high is Bayfield School District 10JTR with a tax rate of 25.974 mills.

The tax rate for other taxing entities is: Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District 1 - 18.726 mills, Archuleta County - 17.138 mills, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District 2 - 8.822 mills, Pagosa Fire Protection District - 6.381 mills, Upper San Juan Health Services District - 4.491 mills, San Juan Water Conservancy District - .351 mills, Pagosa Springs Sanitation District - 3.400 mills, Pagosa Springs - 1.680 mills, Upper San Juan Library District - 1.500 mills, Southwestern Water Conservation District - .260 mills.

A number of road or road and water improvement districts also exist in the county. Their tax rates are: Lakeside Hills Metro District - 20 mills, San Juan Village Metro District &emdash;15.227 mills, Aspen Springs Metro District - 10.430, Alpha Rockridge Metro District - 10 mills, and Loma Linda Metro District - 9.125.

The amount paid in property taxes is derived by multiplying the tax rate in mills times the assessed value of a property. The assessed value is established by the county assessor. The mill levy is set by the taxing entity. Income derived from assessing the tax is received and spent by the taxing entity.

Archuleta County's assessed value of $181.5 million is the largest assessed value of any county taxing entity. Even so, school District 50JT receives more money from property taxes than any other entity. The school district has an assessed value of $173.9 million that, with the 30.4 mill tax rate, generates income of $5.3 million. Next largest in terms of income is the county with $3.1 million expected.

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District 1 anticipates income of $1.3 million from property taxes. District 1 is generally north of U.S. 160 and west of Piedra Road where district users receive both water and sewer services.

The only other entity with property tax income approaching $1 million is the Pagosa Fire Protection District. That entity has an assessed valuation of $153.8 million, a tax rate of 6.381 mills, and projected tax income of $981,549.

 

Area driver dies in Wolf Creek

accident

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A pair of tractor-trailers collided on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass Dec. 13, killing one driver and shutting down the highway for several hours.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Del Halverson, 40, of Chimney Rock, was killed. The other driver, Edward E. Lopez, 47, of Salida, received minor injuries.

Halverson was eastbound on U.S. 160 close to milepost 177 when the accident occurred. According to the report, Halverson was attempting a left-hand curve when the tractor-trailer he was driving went into the westbound land and collided head-on with Lopez's vehicle. Both tractor-trailers came to rest on their wheels.

Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts. Air bags were not available in either vehicle. No alcohol was involved.

A funeral service for Del Halverson will be held today at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Pagosa Springs. Donations can be made to the Del Halverson Memorial Fund, c/o Pine River Valley Bank, Bayfield, CO 81122.

 

Health district expects to avoid tapping credit line

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

With 11 months gone in 2002, the Upper San Juan Health Service District staff is continuing to crunch the numbers. So far, it looks good.

Dee Jackson, district manager and John Farnsworth, accountant, presented the numbers to the board at Tuesday's regular meeting. In one handout, they compared figures from 2001 through Nov. 30 to this year's statistics over the same period.

On both sides of the street, at Emergency Medical Services and the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center/Urgent Care, payables are current. At the same time last year, payables at the medical center rested at about $59,000. Payables at EMS sat at about $53,000. Today, both those figures are down around $14,000, which is about right for a month, Jackson said.

All areas of the district also increased in efficiency.

At EMS, net ambulance fees, fees after write-offs and adjustments, have jumped about 36 percent, from about $259,000 to $353,000. Jackson said the jump is attributed to an increased fee structure approved by the board in June of 2001. Actual ambulance runs have been fairly static, holding at 913 year to date. Through the same time last year, 919 runs had been made. On the other side of the books, expenses for EMS increased an estimated 1.5 percent when compared to January through November 2001.

At the medical center, net patient fee collections held steady. Fees for 2001 through November netted the district $641,000. In 2002, that figure totals about $646,000, actually about $100,000 below projected figures for the year, Jackson said. However, the clinic, now rid of the enterprise status which restricted the amount of tax dollars it received, used about $119,000 in tax receipts this year compared to $45,000 in 2001.

On the expense side of things, the clinic is down about 3.7 percent when compared to last year, dropping from $682,000 to $657,000.

Looking at the numbers, Jackson said, the district should be able to close out 2002 without having to dip back into the $100,000 credit line extended by the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation in 2001.

That money bailout was made available to the district in July of last year when the board faced the possibility of cutting staff to stay afloat financially until voters had the opportunity to approve a tax levy increase. Before hauling itself out of trouble, the district was forced to borrow a total of $82,500 to cover payroll and some operating expenses.

In July 2002, the district returned the money to the foundation with the understanding that the money would remain available to the district if needed. "If things continue like they are, we will not have to tap the foundation for operations this year," Jackson said.

"Or even the first quarter next year?" Sue Walan, a board member, asked. The first quarter of the year can be tight for the district financially because the first of the tax checks don't reach accounts until February.

"Right," Jackson said. In March of 2003, availability of the credit line will expire.

 

Pregnant horse gives a new meaning to thin ice warnings

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The dangers of thin ice always mean rescue personnel will be called to pull dogs, or even people, from the icy waters around Pagosa Springs about this time of year.

But this time it was none of the above.

The first creature to require rescue in 2002 was a horse, a registered quarter horse named Cody.

Veterinarian Kitzel Farrah whose niece, Katie Laverty, owns the horse, said Cody, seven months pregnant, apparently walked onto the ice of a pond in her pasture across from Day Lumber, attempting to get a drink, and fell through. Although she was only about 15 feet from the pond's edge, mud under the surface of the water sucked her in and prevented her from climbing out.

Luckily, someone driving by on U.S. 160 spotted the horse and called Archuleta County dispatch about 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13. Farrah, members of the Pagosa Fire Protection District and members of Upper San Juan Search and Rescue responded to the scene.

"It took over an hour to get her out," Farrah said. Although the pond wasn't very deep, the mud had sucked the horse in up to its withers. Molly Dorr and Tony Stevens, both volunteer firefighters and members of search and rescue, donned ice rescue suits and went out in the water to attempt to help the horse. Scared, Cody would thrash around when people tried to get close and had to be tranquilized.

Dorr, a veterinary technician, administered the tranquilizer and then she and Stevens worked to hook straps around the animal. "At one point about 10 of us were trying to pull her out with the ropes and we couldn't budge her," Farrah said.

After all, Karn Macht, search and rescue coordinator, said a horse can be a much bigger challenge than a dog, or even a human. "Fifteen hundred pounds of horse is not something you can just pluck out of the water."

To help, Duwane Ramey, maintenance assistant and training officer with the Pagosa Fire Protection District, brought in the district's new maintenance truck. The truck, which arrived in Pagosa in September, is equipped with hoist, boom and cables and designed for rescues like this one. After attaching the cables from horse to hoist, they were able to drag the animal out of the pond. Ramey used the truck one more time to help the exhausted horse stand and then they were able to move her to a barn for treatment.

Farrah said both horse and the expected baby are doing well.

Cody was treated for hypothermia and cuts to her mouth and forelegs. "Her temperature was about 7 degrees below normal when we got her out," Farrah said. The cuts apparently came from the ice as she was being extricated from the pond.

"We'd like to thank all the people who stopped and helped," Farrah said, "especially the person who called it in." Had Cody been trapped in the mud any longer, it could have been a much more dangerous situation.

 
Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

12/11

39

7

-

-

-

12/12

38

8

-

-

-

12/13

42

12

-

-

-

12/14

45

14

-

-

-

12/15

47

16

-

-

-

12/16

38

13

-

-

-

12/17

34

10

S

7.0

1.12

Forecasters see more snow

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Seven inches of snow blanketed Pagosa Springs Monday night. More is on the way.

The latest storm had dumped 24 inches on Wolf Creek Ski Area by 6:30 yesterday morning. Snow depth at the ski area was 74 inches at midway, 88 inches at the summit.

Today is expected to be mostly cloudy with a slight chance for snow increasing as night falls, according to Norvan Larson, a forecaster with the Grand Junction National Weather Service office.

Winds tonight will be 20 miles per hour out of the southwest. The highest temperature today will likely be around 30 degrees. By tonight the mercury could plummet into the single-digit range.

Tomorrow brings a greater chance for snow, as much as 30 percent, according to Larson. Snow could continue through Saturday, with a slight chance for more snow remaining Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of next week.

Daily high temperatures through Tuesday should be about 30 degrees. Low temperatures should remain in the teens.

A strong Pacific front carrying copious moisture slammed into Colorado earlier this week, according to Larson. The initial onslaught was led by southwest winds directed by the polar jet stream. As the initial attack moved out, unstable conditions borne by a westerly flow took over.

Similar conditions will prevail tomorrow when the Four Corners will be hit first by a strong southwest flow, then buffeted by unstable westerly flows. Another, stronger system may move in by the middle of next week, according to Larson.

High temperatures last week ranged between 34 and 47 degrees with an average high temperature of 40 degrees. Low temperatures ranged between 7 and 16 degrees with an average low temperature of 11 degrees.

The 7 inches of snow measured in town from Monday night's storm contained 1.12 inches of moisture, a relatively high percentage according to Larry Hjermstad, owner of Western Weather Consultants, the Durango weather firm under contract to seed clouds in the Pagosa Springs area.

"We're seeding as they come in," Hjermstad said.

His firm seeded from about 7:45 Monday evening until early yesterday morning, a span of 48 hours, Hjermstad said.

While not enough time has elapsed to scientifically evaluate the results of the program, Hjermstad points out that "there is snow on the ground" and "this winter is better than last winter."

"We're getting more frequent storms with a better intensity," Hjermstad said. "Last year there was good snow during November, then it tailed off. This year we're getting storms in December."

Western Weather Consultants is under contract to seed clouds in the Pagosa Springs area from November 1 through April. The seeding is accomplished by releasing silver iodide particles from ground generators.

 

 Sports Page

 Parks & Rec

Raw water program topic for joint agencies meeting

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Representatives of the Town of Pagosa Springs, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and Archuleta School District 50 Joint are discussing the upcoming raw water project that will take untreated water from the San Juan River to irrigate all present, and future, athletic fields near the high school complex.

When the three government agencies began talking about the project, they wanted a quick fix to try to cut down on the use of treated water. With the drought year we had last summer, and the Phase 1 raw water feed at Town Park, we learned a great deal about what it will take to make Phase 2 a success.

All three agencies seem to agree that we should not only build for the present, but also for the future. We plan to put in the system to include all outdoor irrigation for the school district and its fields and the future park the town is developing across 5th Street from the football field.

We plan to have the system operational by May 2003.

Youth basketball

Tryouts for the 9-10 and 11-12 division basketball operation were held this week. The draft, designed to split teams equally, is to be held later today.

We have over 105 players in these divisions who are ready to start playing basketball. Practices can start as early as Dec. 20 and continue through Jan. 5, Monday through Thursday and some Saturdays. Games will start Jan. 6 and all will be played at the Community Center.

Thank you to Keith Walkup and all the volunteer coaches for the fine job you are doing by stepping up to help these young athletes.

Public meeting

A meeting with representatives of the design company EDAW will be held at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 15 at Town Hall. It is open to all interested parties who would like to give input on the design of the sports complex planned on South 5th Street. People with interests in softball, soccer, skateboarding, river sports and special summer events are urged to attend.

Ice skating

Due to the warm weather the past few weeks, we are closely monitoring the ice at the ponds behind the River Center. As of today, ponds are closed and will remain so until further notice.

We will try to get a fresh layer of ice on top of the present layer after this cold front moves through. The optimum temperature for glazing the surface is 5 degrees or lower. So, not only do we want the snow for skiing and sledding, we also want cold temperatures to follow so we can glaze the ponds.

 

Pirates lasso Gunnison Cowboys, win tourney 65-31

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa battled to a 44-17 halftime lead on their way to a 65-31 win over Gunnison that wrapped up the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament Classic championship for the hometown team.

"The first half against Gunnison was the best basketball we have played all year," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "It wasn't spectacular but it was good, steady basketball."

Shaffer played all 12 of the men suited up for the game.

Clayton Spencer scored the first Pirate basket, but it was the hot hand of Jason Schutz that launched the Pagosa scoring blitz. Working to recover from an injured leg, Schutz dropped in four field goals for eight of the 20 first-period Pirate points. Schutz proved he is well on his way to recovery by making seven of nine field goal attempts for the game.

Caleb Forrest put in the first two Pirate field goals to start the second period. Forrest went on to tally eight points during the period. Meanwhile, Pagosa's perimeter defense harassed Gunnison unmercifully. The Cowboys managed only two field goals during the entire second period as they were outscored 24-7 by the Pirates.

If anything, Pirate defenders picked up the pace during the third period. Gunnison was prevented from scoring until only three minutes remained on the third quarter clock. During the final three minutes, the Cowboys managed one field goal and two free throws.

Pagosa scoring also slowed down. Schutz scored twice on inside moves to the basket, Forrest put in a jumper, Spencer hit two free throws, Charles canned a deuce from the top of the key, Kern drove for a layup, and Caler zeroed in with a trey to end the period.

Kern opened scoring during the final period with Pagosa's first two scores, sandwiched around a field goal by Gunnison's Pete Klingsmith. Before the period ended, Gunnison outscored Pagosa 10-9.

Nine Pirates scored during the game, led by Caleb Forrest with 15 points. Schutz's 14 points were not far behind, followed by Kern with 11 points, Spencer with nine points, and Caler with eight points. As he did the entire tournament, Brandon Charles led the Pirates in assists with six. Charles also turned in five steals to lead in that department.

Summary

Pagosa scoring - Forrest 7-9, 1-1, 15; Schutz 7-9, 14; Kern 5-6, 1-1, 11; Spencer 4-9, 1-2, 8; Caler 1-2, 2-4, 8; Faber 1-6, 0-2, 2; Charles 1-1, 0-1, 2; Samples 1-3, 2; Belarde 1-5, 2. 3-point goals: Caler 2-4, Faber 0-2, Goodenberger 0-2, Charles 0-1. Team rebounds: Off. 7. Def. 25. Ind. rebounds: Forrest 6, Spencer 5, Goodenberger 4, Samples 4. Assists: Charles 5. Steals: Charles 5.

 

Pirates drain Clear Creek in 89-27 tournament rout

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs routed outmanned Clear Creek 89-27 Saturday in the second round of the Wolf Creek Classic basketball tournament.

Everyone played and everyone scored as the Pirates raced to a 43-19 halftime lead. When the buckets quit falling 12 Pirate names were in the scoring column. Clayton Spencer led the scoring parade with 17 points. Not far behind were Caleb Forrest and Jeremy Caler with 14 points each.

Caler scored the weekend's longest field goal, a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer from just beyond the center court line.

Clear Creek battled hard and was behind only 11-7 midway through the first period. Pagosa hit eight points in a row while surrendering only two points to close out the first period with a 19-7 lead.

For the Gold Diggers, it only got worse as the game progressed. Pagosa outscored their opponent 24-8 during the second period, 20-3 during the third period, and 24-5 during the final period.

"I was most impressed because, with a 43-19 halftime lead, it would have been easy for the kids to get sloppy," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "I told them at halftime the challenge is for us to make ourselves do things better, to play by our own standards. They came through."

Pagosa made 33 of 56 two-point attempts, a phenomenal 59 percent shooting percentage. The Pirates also made 14 steals to more than offset the 13 turnovers they surrendered.

The Pirate trio of big men, Spencer, Forrest, and Jason Schutz, were successful on 57 percent of their shots, making 16 of 28 field goals from two-point range.

Summary

Pagosa scoring - Spencer 6-12, 5-10, 17; Forrest 7-12, 14; Caler 4-7, 2-3, 0-1, 14; Samples 5-7, 0-1, 10; Schutz 3-4, 6; Charles 1-1, 0-3, 3-3, 5; Rand 1-2, 3-4, 5; Kern 2-4, 0-1, 1-2, 5; Faber 2-2, 0-1, 4; Goodenberger 2-3, 0-1, 4; Belarde 0-0, 1-2, 0-1, 3; Ross 0-2, 2-4, 3. 3-point goals: Charles 0-3, Caler 2-3, Belarde 1-2, Kern 0-1, Goodenberger 0-1. Team rebounds: Off. 8, Def. 21; Ind. rebounds: Spencer 8, Forrest 5, Goodenberger 3; Assists: Charles 8, Faber 3, Goodenberger 3. Steals: Faber 4.

 

Thunder dunks, defense lead Pirates over Jefferson

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs outran a good Jefferson team 65-53 Friday in their opening game of the Wolf Creek Classic tournament.

Several thundering dunks by the Pirates during the game brought cheering hometown fans to their feet, but in the end it was the stingy Pirate defense, which brought Jefferson to its knees.

"We looked good for awhile, then bad," said Jim Shaffer, the Pagosa coach. "At one time we had an 18 point lead, then we let them cut it down to six points. We need more consistency. I thought Spencer had a real aggressive first half. He and Forrest played well. I especially like the idea they stayed out of foul trouble."

All-tournament most valuable player Clayton Spencer poured in eight points to jump start Pagosa to an 18-7 first period lead. Defensive pressure helped the Pirates outscore the Saints 12-1 during the last half of the period, giving Pagosa a lead it never surrendered through the remainder of the game.

Behind the shooting of Keith Stone, Jefferson tried to get back in the game during the early part of the second period. They had cut the Pirate lead to seven points and looked to be on their way, but a rim-rattling dunk by Caleb Forrest brought the Pagosa crowd to its feet and stimulated another rally leading to a 37-25 Pirate halftime margin.

Forrest's six second-quarter points led the way for Pagosa, but Ryan Goodenberger and Brandon Charles each lobbed in treys to keep the Saints from packing in on defense to offset Pagosa's height.

Goodenberger opened second-half scoring with a layup following a steal. The Pirates got scoring from four players during the third period to hold the Saints at bay. Goodenberger canned another trey to swell his third quarter total to seven, leading Pagosa during the period. Spencer drove the lane, soared above the rim, and put away another slam for the Pirates. By the time the game ended, Pagosa Springs racked up four slam dunks.

Despite a Pagosa lead that reached 18 points during the third period, Jefferson refused to fold. At one point during the final period, they narrowed the Pirate lead to six. Pagosa was up to the challenge, scoring the final six points while shutting out the Saints. Spencer dropped in both halves of a one-and-one, Charles sank a free throw, Forrest buried a slam dunk, and Goodenberger added a free throw as the game ended.

Pagosa handed the 4A school its first loss of the season.

Summary

Scoring: Pagosa - Spencer 9-11, 2-3, 20; Goodenberger 3-4, 2-3, 4-6, 16; Forrest 5-12, 4-8, 14; Charles 1-3, 1-2, 3-4, 8; Kern 1-1, 1-3, 3; Faber 1-3, 2; Caler 1-1, 2. 3-point goals: Goodenberger 2-3, Charles 1-2. Team rebounds: Off. 8, Def. 19. Ind. rebounds: Spencer 12, Forrest 9. Assists: Charles 8, Kern 4, Goodenberger 3. Steals: Charles 8, Kern 4, Forrest 4, Goodenberger 3. Blocks: Spencer 1, Forrest 1.

 

Pirates off to Pueblo tournament

By John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Fresh from capturing the championship trophy in their own Wolf Creek Classic Tournament, the Pagosa Springs boys travel to Pueblo tomorrow to play in the Pueblo Holiday Tournament.

Now 4-1 for the season, the Pirates collide with Rye tomorrow at 5:30 p.m., St. Mary's at 10 a.m Saturday and Wasson at 5 p.m. Saturday. The Rye and St. Mary's games will be played at the Southern Colorado College Event Center. The Wasson game will be played at Pueblo East High School.

The Pirates stayed home this week and won the Wolf Creek Classic Tournament in convincing fashion. On opening night, they handed the Jefferson Saints their first loss of the season 65-53. Saturday they blistered Clear Creek 89-27, then closed by burying Gunnison 65-31.

Pirate Clayton Spencer was named the tournament's most valuable player. Spencer was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates Brandon Charles and Caleb Forrest. Spencer is a 6-foot-6-inch junior, Charles a 5-10 senior, and Forrest a 6-7 sophomore.

"Overall I thought we did a nice job," said Jim Shaffer, the Pirate coach. "At times we looked extremely good. At other times we were not so good. I expect as the season progresses that the times of looking not so good will decrease."

Shaffer lauded Pirate team play.

"The guys on the outside did a good job of getting the ball inside to the big boys," Shaffer said. "That requires an unselfish devotion to the team."

As to the slam dunks recorded by Spencer and Forrest, Shaffer said, "They are fun. It makes the big guys want to run. When they know they will get the ball from the guards, it makes them want to run."

Shaffer complimented the play of point guard Charles and off-guard Ryan Goodenberger, as well as the play of David Kern, who started all three games this weekend.

"Charles was all-tournament last year for his scoring. This year he didn't shoot as much, but he was still a tremendous help to the team. Goodenberger has been a leader all season and I expect he will get better. Kern does everything I ask him, things the other kids don't want to do."

The tournament this coming weekend will end play for the boys' varsity for 2002. Play resumes Jan. 11 when the Pirates play Durango at Durango. Intermountain League play starts Jan. 18 when Pagosa hosts the Centauri Falcons at 7:30 p.m.

Rye is a 2A school located near Pueblo. The school's colors are purple and white; the team name the Thunderbolts. Rye plays in the Southern League.

St. Mary's is a 3A school also known as the Pirates. The green and white Pirates play in the Tri-Peaks League. The cardinal and gray Wasson Thunderbolts are a 5A school playing in the Colorado Springs Metropolitan League.

 

Ladies take 4-1 record to Rye Classic

Pagosa's Lady Pirates will take their show on the road again this weekend, playing in the Rye Girls' Classic Tournament, opening with a 7 p.m. clash against the Class 2A host school at 7 p.m. Friday.

Pagosa games Saturday will come against LaJunta of the Tri-Peaks League at 2:30 p.m. and Manitou Springs, of the same league, at 5:30 p.m.

After that tournament, the girls will be off until their first game of the new year when they host Aztec at 7 p.m.

The game that was scheduled Tuesday night at home against Dolores was canceled at the request of the visiting school because of the inclement weather.

 

Sisters define Walkup for Gunnison Lady Cowboys

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Dictionaries offer several definitions of walk up, most of them having to do with places elevated above the normal and requiring extra effort for access.

Pagosa's Walkup sisters lived up to that strata Saturday and perhaps added a new one-word definition for the word - dominance.

In the final ladies' bracket game of the annual Wolf Creek Classic at Pagosa Springs High School, the sisters combined for 24 points, 9 rebounds, 10 steals and 9 assists to pace their team to a 52-29 victory and the championship of their own tournament.

Senior point guard Shannon Walkup had nine of her 10 points in the first half as the Pirates ran out to a 32-17 lead, while her sophomore sister, Lori, had seven in each half for a game high 14 points. Both Walkups were named to the all-tournament team and Shannon was selected the most valuable player.

With Shannon running the Pirate offense turning in five assists and four steals and contributing a rebound at each end of the court, Lori was sweeping the boards at the offensive end with five rebounds and picked up another pair at the defensive end. She also found time to swipe the ball six times from Gunnison and turn in four assists.

Gunnison's Shalee Keener was the lone bright spot for the visitors, justifying her selection to the all-tournament team with a game high 16 points, more than half her team's total. Unfortunately for the Lady Cowboys, she got little support against the swarming Pagosa defense.

The Walkups, on the other hand, were far from being the only weapons for Pagosa.

Sophomore Bri Scott chipped in with eight points, and fellow sophomores Melissa Maberry and Caitlyn Jewell each added six. Senior forward Katie Bliss, another all-tournament team selection based on her tenacious defense, added four and sophomore Mollie Honan and freshman Caitlin Forrest each had a pair.

The victory gave Pagosa a first time tournament trophy for new coach Bob Lynch who was effusive in his praise of the entire squad.

"This is a bunch of girls who want to learn," he said after the trophy presentation. "They are filled with a desire to improve and if they don't understand what I ask them to do they are not afraid to ask for a demonstration."

Teamwork, he said, has been the Lady Pirates key to building a 4-1 season record to date. "They just work together well," he said. "If one gets beat another fills in to block a drive or stop a shot. If one gets into foul trouble I have others on the bench who have filled in capably."

And it isn't just the starters who have played key roles. He's been able, at times, to go 12-deep and still get game control performances, including some strong play by freshman swing players from the junior varsity squad.

The one area of concern has been turnovers, but in the Gunnison game, the Ladies committed only nine, about half of what they had seen in each of the season's earlier games. Gunnison came into the clash even for the tournament, having lost the opening game to Clear Creek 37-27 and then defeating Jefferson 63-41. Pagosa had defeated Jefferson 56-32 and Clear Creek 47-36.

Lynch said the Intermountain League appears to be fairly strong this year, with Ignacio, Centauri and Bayfield probably the toughest foes, but both sets of Pirates, Monte Vista and his own Pagosa Springs squad capable of surprise.

"We won't back down from anyone," he said. "I think they'll all know they've been in a tough game after playing us."

Summary

Scoring, Pagosa - Scott, 4-12, 8; Maberry, 1-4, 4-4, 6; S. Walkup, 4-5, 1-2, 10; Honan, 1-3, 1-2, 3; L. Walkup 6-7, 1-4, 14; Bliss, 1-4, 2-3, 4; Jewell, 3-4, 6; Forest, 1-2, 2. Team rebounds, 27, 13 Off. 14 Def. Rebound leaders: L. Walkup 8, Honan 4, Scott 5, Maberry 4. Steal leaders: L. Walkup 6, S. Walkup 4. Assist leaders: S. Walkup 5, L. Walkup 4. Blocks: Jewell 1, Forrest 1.

 

Metro Jefferson Saints no match for Lady Pirates

Richard Walter

Staff Writer

One of the mysteries for a new high school coach is what to expect - not only from your own squad, but from unknown opponents who play in a more well-known league.

That was the feeling Bob Lynch had Saturday morning as his Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates prepared to open play in the Wolf Creek Classic on their home floor against the Jefferson Lady Saints, a Class 4A team from the Jefferson County League in the Denver metro area.

Big city school, well-known league means stiff competition, right?

By the end of the first quarter, Pagosa was up 14-5 and it was obvious which team had the advantage on this day. With six Lady Pirates hitting the scoring column in that opening stanza, the writing was on the wall.

After they added 16 points as compared to just four for the Saints in the second period, a 30-9 lead at the half gave Lynch the opportunity go deep into his bench in the second half. In fact, all 12 players suited for the game got into the action and 11 of the 12 scored.

The Lady Pirates continued their mastery in the third period, adding 18 more points while limiting the visitors to just a single field goal - by freshman Jennie Clark - and after three periods it was all Pagosa at 48-11.

With only reserves on the floor in the final period, Pagosa was actually outpointed 11-6 but six of the opponent points came at the free-throw line. In fact, the Lady Saints had only six field goals in 26 attempts for the game while Pagosa was shooting 21 of 53 from the floor and 10 of 19 from the charity stripe.

Senior point guard Shannon Walkup, hitting five of 12 from the floor, was Pagosa's scoring leader with 10. Sophomore center Caitlyn Jewell added nine, seven in the first half and senior forward Katie Bliss had eight. Sophomores Bri Scott and Melissa Maberry each contributed six; sophomores Lori Walkup and Mollie Honan contributed five and four points respectively; and sophomore Laura Tomford and freshmen Caitlin Forrest, Liza Kelly and Keri Beth Faber each had a pair.

Pagosa's Ladies dominance was nowhere more evident than on the boards where they outrebounded the Lady Saints 29-5, paced by seven from Pagosa's 6-foot-2-inch Jewell, five each from Scott and Honan and four by Bliss.

Junior reserve guard Melissa Diller was a key to the final quarter for Pagosa, repeatedly breaking the full-court press Saints' coach Mark Mitchell resorted to in an attempt to hold down the Pirates' margin.

Pagosa also turned in 16 steals in the game, four each by Bliss and Lori Walkup leading the effort.

Jefferson's 5-9 sophomore center Jessica Clark was her team's sole representative on the all-tournament team, based on her performances against Gunnison and Clear Creek. Pagosa held her to a single first-period field goal before she fouled out of the game early in the second half.

Summary

Scoring - Pagosa, Scott, 3-8, 6; Maberry, 2-4, 2-2, 6; S. Walkup, 5-12, 10; Honan, 2-5, 4; L. Walkup, 2-7, 1-2, 5; Bliss, 3-5, 2-4, 8; Jewell, 3-3, 3-4, 9; Tomford, 1-2, 2; Forrest, 1-3, 0-2, 2; Kelly, 1-2, 0-2, 2; Faber, 0-0, 2-3, 2. Team rebounds, 29, 11 Off. 18, Def. Rebound leaders: Jewel 7, Scott and Honan 5 each, Bliss 4. Steal leaders: L. Walkup and Bliss 4 each, Honan 3. Assist leaders: S. Walkup 3, L. Walkup and Bliss 2 each. Blocks: Jewell 1.

 

Ladies take early lead, defense stops Clear Creek

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Clear Creek's Lady Gold Diggers, coming off a 37-27 victory over Gunnison in the opener of the Wolf Creek Classic Friday, hoped to carry the momentum from that victory to success against the host Pagosa Springs Lady Pirates Saturday morning.

The hosts, however, weren't about to give up the home floor advantage.

They forged a 12-8 first quarter lead built on two field goals inside by 6-foot-2-inch center Caitlyn Jewell, a long trey by Melissa Maberry, a single field goal by Shannon Walkup, two free throws from Katie Bliss and a single marker from the stripe by Bri Scott.

Clear Creek's freshman guard Megan Hudson got three of her game high 11 points in the period and four points from the free-throw line kept Clear Creek close.

Scott hit five second quarter points for Pagosa, including one three-pointer, Maberry chipped in a deuce, Jewell added another field goal and Bliss another free throw as the Pirates hiked the lead to 22-16 at halftime.

Still, the Gold Diggers would not go away and despite Lori Walkup's 8-point outburst for Pagosa in the third period, actually cut the margin by a point to trail only 36-31 after three.

The Clear Creek surge was keyed by five more points from Hudson and four each by Jessica Cass and Alaina Hinojos (who would become a member of the all-tournament team).

When the Lady Pirates shut down Hudson in the fourth quarter, her sister, Kassie, added one field goal and Cass turned in another. Aside from a charity toss by Kaitlyn Hyser, however, that was the scoring story in the period for the visitors from Idaho Springs.

Pagosa, meanwhile, was methodically going about its business, Jewell hitting two more inside, Lori Walkup, Shannon Walkup and Mollie Honan each adding two points, and Maberry her final marker of the game from the free-throw line.

That added up to an 11-5 period for Pagosa and a final score of 47-36.

An obvious key to this game was a 29-14 rebounding edge for Pagosa, paced by Honan's six and five each from Scott, Maberry and Bliss, four from Shannon Walkup, three from Lori Walkup and two by Jewell.

A second major factor was the Pirates' defense, which turned in 16 steals compared to only one by their foe.

One strange statistic for the game was the fact Clear Creek had no assists. Aside from Megan Hudson's 11 points, the Gold Diggers got 8 from Hinojos, 7 from Cass, 5 from Hyser, 3 from Kassie Hudson and 2 from Shelly Cummins.

Neither team shot well from the line in this contest, Clear Creek hitting 10 of 20 and Pagosa only 5 of 11. Shooting percentages from the floor, too, left something to be desired with Clear Creek hitting 14 of 37 for 37.8 percent and Pagosa converting 20 of 51 for 39.2 percent.

Both teams committed what coach Bob Lynch thought to be "an excessive number of fouls." No one fouled out, but three Pagosa players, Maberry, Lori Walkup and Jewell each had four. Megan Hudson and Hinojos each had four for Clear Creek while Hyser and Kassie Hudson both had three.

Lynch was also concerned about his team's 17 turnovers in the game, compared to 14 by Clear Creek, "but overall, I was satisfied if not completely pleased by our performance."

The Pirates were paced by 10 points each from Lori Walkup, all in the second half, and Jewell. Scott, Maberry, Honan and Shannon Walkup each had six and Bliss added three.

That victory hiked the Lady Pirates' season record to 3-1 and set up a clash with Gunnison for the tournament title in the late evening game.

Summary

Scoring - Pagosa, Scott, 2-7, 1-2, 6; Maberry, 2-4,1-3, 6; S. Walkup, 3-9, 0-3, 6; Honan, 3-7, 6; L. Walkup, 5-7, 0-1, 10; Bliss 0-3, 3-4, 3; Jewell, 5-8, 10; Team rebounds, 29, 12 Off., 17 Def.; Rebound leaders, Honan, 6, Scott, Maberry and Bliss, 5 each; Steals, S. Walkup 5, Honan and L Walkup 3 each; Assists leaders, S. Walkup and Bliss 3 each; blocks, Bliss 1, Jewell 4.

 

Pirate grapplers scoring well - in weights they don't forfeit

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

They're good.

There's just not enough of them.

Pirate wrestlers finished seventh among 12 teams at the Buena Vista Demon Duals Saturday, the team score again dogged by forfeits the team surrenders at key weights.

The Pirates won two of five duals, but managed to win the majority of matches wrestled in each contest.

"We were hoping to get some guys back into our lineup for these duals," said Pirate coach Dan Janowsky. "We were optimistic, but it didn't happen and we were actually a bit weaker in our lineup than the week before at the Rocky Ford duals."

The first dual of the day was against 4A Steamboat Springs and the Pirates beat the Sailors 45-18.

Middle Park was next on the agenda, bringing a full team to the fray. The Pirates lost the dual 51-30, but the score tells a story. "Do the math," said the coach. "We won five of nine matches." The problem: there are 14 matches in a dual meet.

Florence is a strong 3A program and will meet the Pirates again at the regional tournament in February. The Huskies beat Pagosa 50-24, but again the Pagosans were victorious in five of nine matches.

Against Lake County, Pagosa suffered a loss to injury with Darren Hockett unable to fight. The Pirates won four of six matches to start the dual but lost 42-40 due to the forfeits.

In the final meet of the day, Pagosa beat Del Norte 34-21.

The Pirates forfeited matches in each dual at 103 pounds.

Until he withdrew from competition with an elbow injury, Darren Hockett had a fine day, going 4-0, including wins at 112 with a pin in the first period against Middle Park and a 7-2 decision over the wrestler from Florence.

Pagosa forfeited matches at 119.

Mike Maestas continues to look formidable at 125. The Pirate senior went 5-0, getting a forfeit against Steamboat Springs, a second-period pin against Middle Park, a 7-2 decision against Florence, a 10-4 decision versus Lake County and a pin in the second period against Del Norte. "Mike had a good day," said Janowsky.

No one took the mat for the Pirates at 130.

Junior James Gallegos fought at 135. Gallegos was 3-2 on the day with a forfeit over Steamboat, a win with a first-period pin against Middle Park, a loss to Florence, a loss to Lake County and a win with an 11-2 decision over the opponent from Del Norte.

Raul Palmer was 3-2 at 140. He beat Steamboat's man 16-8, pinned the wrestler from Middle Park in the second period then lost to athletes from the remaining three schools - including the reigning state champ from Lake County.

At 145, junior Aaron Hamilton was 3-2 with two wins by forfeit. Hamilton beat his opponent from Lake County with a first-period pin.

Kory Hart returned to action at 152 and the junior had an excellent outing, winning three matches and taking two matches by forfeit. Steamboat's wrestler fell to Hart in a first-period pin, Middle Park's man's shoulders went to the mat in the second period and Hart pinned the opponent from Florence in the third period. "Kory was real dominant," said the coach.

Jordan Kurt-Mason was able to fight one match before retiring from competition due to an asthma attack. The senior dominated the Steamboat Springs wrestler, pinning him in the first round.

Zeb Gill stepped in at 160 and lost to Florence, took a forfeit from Lake County and pinned an opponent from Del Norte in the first period.

Clayton Mastin made the sacrifice for the team at Buena Vista. Mastin, weighing in at approximately 155 pounds, fought in the 171-pound classification. He managed an impressive 15-0 technical fall over the Steamboat Springs wrestler.

Marcus Rivas recuperated from a football injury and competed at 189. Rivas was 3-1, with pins over Steamboat, Florence and Lake County. Rivas then jumped to 215 for his last match and pinned his opponent from Del Norte in the second round. "Marcus did very well," said the coach.

Pagosa forfeited the remaining matches at 215 and matches at 275.

"By the end of the day," said Janowsky, "we had a squad with eight wrestlers. In two tough duals, against Florence and Middle Park, we did a good job. On the positive side, we won 21 matches and lost 12, but it's real hard to get a feel for where we are, with so many forfeits. We had another rash of misfortune and I think we're 50-60 percent right now, at best. I don't see it changing a whole lot real soon."

The Pirates enter one of the state's toughest tournaments of the year - the Warrior Classic at Grand Junction - with depleted ranks, but the wrestlers who compete should acquit themselves well.

"We could go to Grand Junction at 75 percent strength, if we're lucky," said Janowsky. "That's life. We have a good team, but our destiny, at this point, is not entirely in our hands. We need medical help to put this thing together."

Action at Grand Junction begins tomorrow afternoon and continues Saturday.

 

 Obituaries

 

Cletus Jordan

Cletus Robert Jordan of Pagosa Springs, known as "Corncob" to his friends, passed away at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center Friday, Dec. 13, 2002. He was 79 years old.

Born Aug. 11, 1923 in Conicville, Va., to David McKinley Jordan and Anna Mae Baker Miller Jordan, he married Ruby Imogene Saylor in New Market, Va., on May 11, 1945. They moved to Pagosa Springs from Virginia in June, 2001.

During his lifetime, Mr. Jordan did a variety of things, earning him the title "jack of all trades." He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, worked every available position in sawmilling in Virginia, worked for National Fruit products and had experience as a mechanic, a poultry plant employee and a farmer. A faithful church member, he served his congregation as a trustee, a deacon and a church board member. He enjoyed gardening and took great pleasure in sharing the bounty with friends and family.

Mr. Jordan was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers, Frederick, Edward and John.

Survivors are his wife, Ruby; a daughter and son-in-law Ruby and Art Thompson and grandson, Caleb Thompson, all of Pagosa Springs; and numerous nieces and nephews.

A funeral service and burial will be at 2:30 p.m. today in Pleasant View Church of the Brethren, Mt. Jackson, Va. A Pagosa Springs memorial service will be held after the holiday period at a time and date yet to be determined. Call Pagosa Funeral Options at 264-2386 after Jan. 2 for details.

Memorial contributions may be directed to Pagosa Bible Church, 2017 W. U.S. 160, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; or Pleasant View Church of the Brethren, 4197 Conicville Road, Mt. Jackson, VA 22842.

Del Halverson

Del Henry Halverson, born March 6, 1962, died Dec. 13, 2002.

Del was a cherished and beloved husband, father, son, brother and uncle.

He is survived by his wife, Kim Halverson, children Ashley and Chance Halverson, Brittany Froman and Charel Key; his parents, Hazel and Richard Gallavan, sister and brother-in-law Cathy and Michael Higman, and many loving nieces and nephews.

He was born in Durango and lived on the family ranch near Cortez for most of his life. He graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 1980 and had a degree in range management.

He was a rancher and cattleman who loved his life, family, children and his work. His main goal in life was to provide for his family.

Del was accomplished at everything he did. Roping, bull riding, hunting and working cattle were just a few of his talents. He loved to laugh, dance, ride and poke about on the Internet.

Del was a man who made friends everywhere he went. His big heart and giving nature drew people to him. He would do anything for you, whether he had known you for five minutes or five years.

Our hearts are broken with his passing for he leaves a hole that cannot be filled. He will live in our hearts, our minds and our actions forever.

Join us in saying goodbye and remembering Del at our services to honor him. A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. today at First Baptist Church, 2900 U.S. 160, Pagosa Springs (731-2205).

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Del Halverson Memorial Fund, c/o Pine River Valley Bank, Bayfield, CO 81122.

Alvin E. Jackson

Alvin E. Jackson of Pagosa Springs died Monday, Dec. 9, 2002, in his home. He was born Dec. 14, 1941, in Pennington Gap, Va., where he was raised.

For several years he was a general contractor in Lakeside, Calif., before moving to Pagosa Springs 12 years ago where he was able to continue his passion for the outdoors and for hunting.

He is survived by his wife, Susan, of Pagosa Springs; two daughters, Sheila of San Diego, Calif., and Barbara of Pagosa Springs; two sons, Blair and Jason, both of Pagosa Springs; two sisters, Lenoir Beasley of Henderson, Nev., and Vickie Jackson of Marietta, S.C.; and three brothers, Jack and Jeff in Virginia and Randy in Georgia.

A private family service will be held at a later date.

The family suggests any donations be made to American Cancer Society.

 

 Inside The Sun

 

Juveniles suspects in auto theft

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A $13,000 car stolen from a site on Hermosa Street Monday morning was recovered a short while later in the parking lot of the Pagosa Lodge.

According to Pagosa Springs police reports, a 1999 white Pontiac Grand Am was taken and damaged before being recovered. Prior to the theft, the Grand Am was parked on Hermosa Street with the engine running. The owner, Shaun Wood, was warming it up before driving to work. When he came out to drive it away, the car was gone.

The theft was reported to dispatch at 7:22 a.m. Not long after, Officer Gilbert Perales spotted the vehicle headed west on U.S. 160. He followed it to the Pagosa Lodge where it stopped.

Three juveniles were found in the car, which apparently had been in an accident after it was taken. A subsequent investigation showed the car had come in contact with a post near the victim's home.

Summonses were issued to the three juveniles.

 

Health service district board

chairman faces recall threat

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs man asked for the resignation of the chairman of the Upper San Juan Health Service District board Tuesday. If Dick Babillis fails to resign, Toby Brookens told the board, a group will begin to circulate recall petitions after Jan. 1.

"I am speaking for us, the citizens, and the employees," he said, adding that Babillis should be removed because he's failed to perform the fiduciary duty of his office.

"Concerns have not been heard or not taken seriously," he said. According to a written statement prepared for the petitions, Babillis has "exhibited a variety of behavior as a USJHSD board member and as chairman of said board that seek to subvert the fair and democratic process." The statement goes on to accuse Babillis of preventing other board members from speaking during meetings, making efforts to censor an oral presentation by professional staff and using executive sessions inappropriately.

"I will not resign," Babillis said in an interview following the meeting.

The board, also interviewed following the meeting, supported his decision.

"He might not be a cuddly, fuzzy person," Sue Walan said, "but he's incredibly efficient and knowledgeable. What he tells you, you can take to the bank."

Without taking the time to list everything he's done for the district since being elected to the board, it's difficult to say anything at all, Ken Morrison added. Two of his accomplishments that were mentioned were his willingness to take on the job of district manager, a full-time position, as a volunteer for 10 months in 2001 and 2002 and the hours upon hours he put in to turning it around. He also organized the effort to find a new district manager, one to officially replace Bill Bright who left his position suddenly in 2001.

"We would be bankrupt without his efforts," Walan said.

Apparently, some of the district's employees and former employees are concerned, not so much with the money, but with morale. In fact, since the beginning of the district's financial problems over two years ago, employees have attended meetings periodically to comment on, first, the stress over not knowing if they would have a paycheck or a job in the coming months, and then, the problems adjusting to a new administration.

In some cases, it appears to be the impossibility of adjusting to the new administration. Several employees have pointed to the amount of turnover this year as one indicator of the problems. However, as Dee Jackson, district manager, pointed out last month, the employee termination rate this year is actually down when compared to 2001 rates.

When another round of complaints came up in November, board members admitted mistakes had been made, but asked those in attendance to give the board and administration time to make the needed adjustments.

Saying, "We made a mistake," is not good enough, Brookens said Tuesday. "I've heard no comment on how we were going to fix the problem."

Board member Martha Garcia said one step the board had taken was scheduling a workshop for the end of the meeting to discuss a grievance policy that would outline exactly what steps an employee could take to get a problem resolved. All employees and the public were invited to the discussion, which was held as a public meeting.

Jackson said an announcement regarding the workshop on a grievance policy was posted next to time clocks in both district buildings. Information regarding various sample policies was also made available. Prior to Tuesday's meeting, no one had picked up any of the information, Jackson said.

"I would like to say I really feel we haven't been given the opportunity to do what we need to do," Kay Grams, a board member, said in the interview after the meeting. "Give us some time here. This is a not a situation that blew up overnight, and it won't go away overnight." The bottom line, she said, is "none of us would be here if we didn't care about this organization and its people."

Under Colorado Revised Statutes, once recall petitions are approved by the local election official, the group heading the drive has 60 days to collect the required information. In the case of a special district official, that would mean either 300 names, signatures and home addresses of eligible electors, or the same information from 40 percent of the eligible electors of the political subdivision at the time of petition, whichever number equals less.

 

Commissioners reject developer bid to sell lots before finishing improvements

By John M. Motter

Staff writer

Archuleta County's commissioners said no Tuesday to a land developer's request for permission to sell lots and complete improvements later.

Crowley Ranch Reserve is a multi-phase development located in the Navajo River Valley generally east and south of the Chromo Mercantile Store.

Ron Barsanti, the developer, asked permission to sell and record the sale of lots in Phase IV of the project prior to the completion of deceleration lanes for access to the property from U.S. 84. The deceleration lanes are a Colorado Department of Transportation requirement.

The commissioners did approve certain changes to the improvements agreement in connection with Crowley Ranch Reserve Phase IV.

One change legitimized the developer's failure to purchase a performance bond guaranteeing the completion of the agreed-upon improvements. The county recently adopted rules eliminating the need for performance bonds in connection with improvements agreements. Tuesday's action in connection the Crowley Ranch Reserve conforms with the new policy.

Tuesday, the county did implement a warranty bond requirement for the development. The warranty bond will have a value of approximately 20 percent of the cost of completing the improvements. In the past, the county has required warranty bonds to equal the cost of improvement construction. In this case, the improvements are substantially completed.

"It is unlikely there will be any failure amounting to the total cost of the improvements," said Greg Comstock, the director of county development. "Twenty percent seems like a reasonable amount for a warranty bond."

A warranty bond of $31,570 will cover water improvements for three years. In addition, the warranty bond will contain $84,530 to cover road improvements for two years.

The developer proposed language promising completion of all improvements on or before Aug. 6, 2004, in exchange for final plat approval. Immediate final plat approval would allow the developer to sell lots and the lot purchasers to record title to the lots. Without final plat approval, lot purchasers cannot record their purchases, effectively denying them title to the lots.

In accordance with current county law which says final plat approval cannot be granted until all improvements are complete, the commissioners unanimously refused to give final plat approval for Phase IV.

The commissioners also set a hearing date on the proposed closing of a road leading to the Upper Blanco Basin, and conducted other business while meeting in regular session.

Based on testimony from local citizen Bill Seielstad, the county scheduled a public hearing Jan. 14 at 7 p.m. to consider closing County Road 326. CR 326 is the road running past the former Red Ryder Ranch and into the Blanco Basin. The road is being identified as the Tiger Regester Road.

Seielstad says that when he was an Archuleta County commissioner in 1966, his friend Chuck Regester deeded land for a new road in exchange for abandoning the old road.

"Unfortunately," Seielstad writes, "due to an oversight on the part of myself, Mr. Blacker of the Forest Service, and Mr. Regester, the second half of the agreement - where the county would abandon the "old" road - never took place. There was no follow through on the conveyance back to the Regesters."

The road in question provides access to Forest Service land and to two private ranches, one the Regester Ranch, the other the Squaretop Ranch.

 

Moki's ornament now a $500 bulb

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

By now almost everyone's heard the cautions against overindulging during the holidays. Moki, a 2-year-old black lab, didn't take the warning seriously enough.

Last week, Moki ate a small holiday bulb off the floor. Ate it whole. In fact, not a scratch or a crack could be found when Dr. John Eustis removed it surgically a few days later.

"My wife was making a table-top decoration when one of the balls fell on the floor and she forgot about it," Moki's owner, Pierre Mion, said. Moki snatched it up. She apparently has a bad habit of that, being the likely suspect in a string of disappearances at home.

Moki's been accused of eating a very expensive ring Mion had made for his wife, Sandy. Rocks, peach pits and a hearing aid have also vanished into the black mouth. The hearing aid they discovered while the dog was still chewing, although it had to be replaced. The fate of the rest is unknown.

The Christmas decoration, however, has been recovered.

When Moki started throwing up and acting strangely, the Mion's took her to Eustis Dec. 12. X-rays revealed the bulb and Moki underwent surgery that afternoon. The object was removed, perfectly intact, and the dog went home the same day. Now, the bulb is worth about $500, Mion said, making it the most expensive Christmas ornament he owns.

With less than a week to go until Christmas, Moki is doing just fine. She's on a special diet for a little while, no Christmas decorations included, and expected to make a full recovery.

 

 Letters

Intersection

Dear Editor:

Elaine Hyde deserves thanks for opening to public input a recent traffic change made at U.S. 160 and Talisman. You're not alone, Elaine. We live east of Fairfield, but do a lot of business in that area.

We're angered by this poorly planned change which causes lost time and frustration daily. Did we miss a publicized proposal for this change? Were users of this intersection provided an opportunity to accept or reject the change?

Pagosa Country Center is a large, busy area during most business hours, even more so during peak tourist seasons. Presently, the only nearby exit from that major shopping area onto U.S. 160 is the stop sign at busy North Pagosa Boulevard. This is too near the major signal at 160 to allow smooth-flowing exits for multiple cars, thus often requiring a wait.

Traffic feeds onto that section of North Pagosa from six different sources: east and west bound turns from 160, driveways from two gas stations, Navajo Trails and southbound Pagosa Boulevard. As many of these cars cross traffic to enter the shopping center, they repeatedly block exiting shoppers from a left turn onto North Pagosa. When finally on North Pagosa, you often have to wait again at the major intersection signal at 160.

Prior to the recently created no-left-turn at Talisman, that intersection carried a consistent stream of eastbound traffic out of the area from all businesses in the vicinity. If that intersection had become too dangerous, why didn't the county install the new signal at heavily used Talisman Drive instead of less used Pinon Causeway?

Neither Village Drive nor Pinon Causeway, the route we must now navigate to utilize that signal, was designed or constructed for the extra use to which it is now being subjected. In addition to that route including one more stop sign to get to the signal, the red signal light is quite long and the green light too short when several cars are waiting to turn. One evening I was fourth car back and did not get through, having to endure a second long red light to make my turn.

Whoever created this problem should be accountable and correct it without resistance. Are there others, including businesses in the vicinity, who want the left turn restored to the intersection of Talisman and U.S. 160? Let the rest of us hear what you think.

Catherine Brackhahn

Editor's note: While county and municipal funding and input might play a part in the installation of traffic signals in the area, the ultimate decision on signals at, and reconstruction of highway intersections, is made by the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Alien spacecraft

Dear Editor:

In response to Mr. Jim Sawicki's comments of last week, I would be glad to allow the Pagosa-bound jets to land at my backyard aerodrome, except it is already overcrowded with black helicopters and alien spacecraft.

For the first time in 20 years, I agree with Mr. Sawicki. In view of the associated hazards, the nuisance and the potential impact on property values, I too believe it would be prudent for the affected voters to vote on any major expansion of the airport into the suburban Pagosa area.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Budget deficit

Dear Editor:

In response to Pamela Bomkamp's letter on the gutting of tobacco prevention programs, I too am concerned about the governor's proposal to use tobacco settlement dollars for a stopgap approach to solving Colorado's budget deficit.

When I learned that over $130 million had already been taken from the tobacco money that was intended to help save lives and potentially millions of dollars for the state of Colorado I was appalled.

Only two years ago, Jane Norton, then the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, delivered a comprehensive tobacco use prevention and reduction plan to Governor Owens and the Colorado General Assembly. That document outlined a plan "to save Colorado $930 million a year - and over 4,000 lives."

This savings was based on an annual investment of $15 million, funded solely through the tobacco settlement. I don't think you have to be a financial wizard to figure out that if spending $15 million per year can save $930 million, that's a wise investment. If you also save 4,000 lives in the process, it is unconscionable to consider taking the money away from the programs that can prevent these deaths.

So why are our elected officials even thinking about stealing from the monies intended to fight the disease promoted by big tobacco money, the intended use of the tobacco settlement funds? Tobacco companies spend $2.4 million dollars per week promoting their product here in Colorado. I don't think it's unreasonable to ask that our state officials see to it that the tobacco money we were awarded is used for the purpose it was intended, to fight big tobacco promotion of a lethal substance and help alleviate the suffering it causes.

All of Colorado's citizens should demand that fiscally responsible decisions be made by our elected officials, not just for now or the next election but decisions that will also create a healthy and stable future for our children. Decreasing the amount of money that was awarded to this state and designated to reduce and prevent tobacco use is not one of them.

Judy Garrigues

Airport

Dear Editor:

It seems there are always opponents to aviation and airports. Below are some facts as I know them to be.

Stevens Field has been a part of the Pagosa Springs community for over 40 years, and maybe prior to 1950. I cannot find out the actual start date. The FAA spends tax money from the Aviation Trust Fund to improve aviation facilities. This money is not from the General fund. The money comes from taxes paid by the aviation industry. In order for a community to receive those funds, it promises certain things and generally, 10 percent matching funds.

Stevens Field, when it was built, was out in the boondocks, but that was 50 or so years ago. The subdivisions are encroaching on the airport, not the other way as Mr. Sawicki implies. Just look at the new Denver DIA airport built out in the flatlands way east of Denver several years ago. The area is building up because the airport is there, for jobs and business.

Mr. Sawicki's comment about a ditch across highway 160 makes as much sense as a comparison several years ago comparing Stevens Field to LAX by another poorly informed local citizen.

At the present time all FAA funds are 90 percent and local matching funds are 10 percent, except this runway improvement is 90 percent FAA, 5 percent State of Colorado aviation trust funds and 5 percent local matching money. Another thing that needs to be brought up is that when land is purchased in or near an airport, you acknowledge on a legal form that you are aware of it.

I did that when I bought my property in Pagosa Springs over 11 years ago. From the tone of Mr. Sawicki's letter he has a vendetta against one or all of the "Three Amigos" and I have no idea who they are. Neither do I know Mr. Bob Dungan of Arboles nor am I familiar with his sheep pasture.

I do know I do not want to drive one hour and 60 miles to get to Pagosa Springs, where I have my home, from the airport in Durango, if I do not need to. I bought in Pagosa Springs because it had everything I wanted, including a close-in airport.

For the record, I have been traveling and visiting southern Colorado for over 40 years, settled on Pagosa because of the airport, amongst other things. I have an airplane that I use in business to travel the Rocky Mountain states. I do support the local community and will continue to do so.

Frank Touloumis

Community News

Senior News

Mountain Harmony puts seniors in holiday mood

By Janet Copeland

Special to The SUN

What a treat! The Mountain Harmony Chorus treated us to a musical program of Christmas songs Friday, and we are indeed grateful to see these very talented ladies and girls. Anyone who isn't in the Christmas mood after that had better hurry.

A big congratulations to our Volunteer of the Month, Donna Modarelli. Donna has served in many different areas since joining our group and her enthusiasm and willingness to help is really appreciated.

Don't forget, we will have a holiday treat exchange Friday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Join in the fun and bring wrapped or boxed treats (cookies, bars or candy) and exchange them for an equal amount of something else.

The big party is on Dec. 24. We will have our holiday meal and gift exchange from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Women may bring a gift for a woman, men a gift for a man, or bring general-purpose gifts. I hear there may be a special surprise on that day, too, so we hope everyone will join us.

Thanks to Kathy Kulyk from Adult Protective Services (Social Services) for speaking to us last week. Kathy offers a lot of help to folks in need of assistance and we hope they will feel free to call on her.

We hope Dru Sewell had a very Happy Birthday on Friday. Dru is one of our dedicated volunteers at the Senior Center and we really appreciate her.

On Friday, elections were held to select new board members for 2003 for the Archuleta Senior Citizens Inc. and one new representative to serve on the Area Agency on Aging. Next year's officers will be: Billie Evans, president; Beverly Arrendell, vice president; Joann Sager, treasurer; Judy Cramer, secretary; Donna Modarelli, Robert Baumgardner and Susi Cochran, members at large; plus three individuals serving their second year as members at large: Lucille Arrington, June Nelson and Terrisa Diestelkamp.

George Ziegler was elected to serve three years on the Area Agency on Aging board, and Gene Copeland will serve his second year on that board. We were happy to have the new officers and Ralph Goulds join us for our December board meeting Friday afternoon.

We want to remind everyone to renew their memberships beginning in January (membership fee is $3 for seniors). There are many benefits worth much more than the $3 to card-carrying members (including discounts at several local businesses).

Lunch prices will have to be increased slightly next year - to $2.50 suggested donation for seniors 60 and over, $4.50 for non-seniors. Because of serious cuts in the amount of money we will receive from the state next year, it is a necessity. We hope folks will contact our representatives in state government to remind them of the necessity of funding senior programs.

Unlike some other cities/towns in Colorado, Pagosa Springs does not have a soup kitchen to provide meals to low-income folks so the meals provided by our Senior Center are vital for many older folks.

The last Friday of every month is our Spirit Day. Show you are proud of being a Silver Fox and wear your T-shirt Dec. 27.

The Friendly Visitor Program has been initiated at our Senior Center. We need several more volunteers who are looking for someone to share stories or just pass a little time with. If it is difficult for you to leave your home due to a disability, this may be just the program for you. Call 264-2167 for more information.

Upcoming events

Dec. 23 - chair exercises 10 a.m., bridge for fun 1 p.m.

Dec. 24 - yoga 9:30 a.m., holiday meal and gift exchange noon.

Dec. 25 - Merry Christmas. The Silver Foxes Den is closed.

Dec. 27 - Qi Gong 10 a.m., Jim Hanson, Medicare counseling 11 a.m

Veterans Corner

Veteran service groups aid community

By Andy Fautheree

I would like to call attention this week to the veteran's organizations in this area. They provide many benefits to veterans, their families, and to the community.

The Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post No. 108 is familiar to our community. If you have been to Town Park by the river, you have probably seen their log building, just east of the park. This building, I am told, is a historic Pagosa Springs structure, that was originally a schoolhouse located elsewhere.

The American Legion meets the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in this meeting hall. Membership is open to all veterans who served in the U.S. military during wartime. They also have an American Legion auxiliary. Membership in the auxiliary can be any spouse, or immediate member of the family of a veteran who would qualify for regular American Legion membership. The veteran does not have to be a member of the American Legion. The auxiliary meets the second Wednesday of the month.

Active in community

They are active in our community in a number of ways. They hold Bingo games at the Legion Hall on the first, third and fifth Wednesday of the month at 7p.m. Frequently the Legion holds potlucks that include not only the members and their families, but also the community. I can personally attest to some fine food at these potlucks.

Certainly very familiar to many are the patriotic duties they perform. This includes events such as Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies, funeral honor guards for veterans and color guards for parades. They also maintain a two mile stretch of U.S. 84 for cleanup and maintenance. American Legion has also worked diligently on finding and marking unmarked veteran graves at Hilltop Cemetery.

Post commander is Raymond Taylor. He can be reached at 264-6023 or 731-5765. Ernie Garcia is the Sergeant at Arms, and coordinates the honor guards for deceased veterans among his duties. He may be reached at 264-6481. American Legion address is: P.O. Box 1655, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

I have enrollment forms for the American Legion at my office.

VFW

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9695 meets on the second Thursday of the month at member homes.

Familiar to many was the VFW building located near Aspen Springs until this past year when it was sold. The local chapter is looking for a new location closer to town. Post commander is Robert Dobbins. You may be able to reach Robert at 731-2482. VFW mailing address is P.O. Box 2543, Pagosa Springs.

VFW is well known for its contributions and help to local veterans. This can include scholarships, help to veterans with benefit claims, and representation at local veteran activities and observances.

Retired Officers

The Retired Officers Association is comprised of men and women who are or have been commissioned and warrant officers of the U.S. military, some other organizations, and the surviving spouses of eligible veterans. The association has one organization for the Four Corners area of Colorado. They hold frequent meetings that are casual, social and fun with brief business discussions and special guest speakers at times. Picnic meetings are held during the summer. A Christmas Party takes place in December, usually at the Strater Hotel in Durango.

As with the American Legion and VFW, the Retired Officers Association is engaged in numerous activities to benefit veterans' interests.

Long time Pagosa resident Walt Geisen is the current head of the organization. You may recall seeing Walt at veterans' activities dressed in his authentic Civil War officer's uniform. He may be reached at 731-5429. The association mailing address is 76 Navajo Circle, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

I am in frequent contact with members and leaders of these veterans' organizations, and they are a great help to me as I work with veterans and their families at the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office. They provide a much needed fellowship and support to our veterans. Many of the members belong to more than one of these organizations. I would encourage veterans to contact them and look into the benefit of membership.

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

Chamber News

Ten entries light parade route

By Sally Hameister

It was not the largest Parade of Lights we've ever had (that would be 15 floats) but it certainly held its own in the fun and bright category with 10 entries all decked out for the holidays.

We congratulate our winner in the business category, Snips, and our winner in the organization category, Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs. Both had obviously spent some time creating their lovelies, and we are delighted to award each $100 for their efforts.

We are grateful to Pastor Don Ford, who has been one of our judges for all four years, Pastor James Coats from the Healing Waters Presbyterian Church and the "Nunsense" Mother Superior, Mary McKeehan who, not surprisingly, arrived in full habit for the occasion. We appreciate Will Spears and KWUF for once again providing the Christmas tunes throughout the parade, and, of course, our wonderful friend, Terry Smith at Ace Hardware for loaning us an Ace truck for the fourth year and Ace driver, Rodney Sullivan.

Police Chief Don Volger and his crew were once again so generous and good natured about allowing us to put on our little parade with the help of the guys and gals from the Colorado Mounted Rangers Troop F. Thank you all for participating in one of our favorite holiday events. We also want to thank Sheriff Tom Richards for riding on our float with the best "ho, ho, hos" ever.

Thanks to board directors Angie Dahm, Bonnie Masters, Liz Marchand, Sally Theesfeld (Hovatter), Bob Eggleston, Will Spears and Ken Harms for decorating the float and creating a mighty fine entry. This board can always be counted upon to have a great time no matter what the occasion, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Nutcracker ballet

This Friday and Saturday you will have the opportunity to see the San Juan Festival Ballet presentation of the holiday classic, "The Nutcracker Ballet" at 7 p.m. at the high school auditorium. You can also see "The Nutcracker Suite," Act 2 only, Dec. 21 at 11 a.m. Tickets for the evening performances are $10 general admission and $9 for PSAC members. Matinee performance tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children. Tickets can be purchased at The Pagosa Kid, Wolftracks Bookstore and Coffee Company, the San Juan Dance Academy, the Arts Council Gallery in Town Park and Granny Moose. Please plan to attend this holiday treat which features 50 local performers.

Citizen/Volunteer awards

Please remember to submit your nomination for Citizen and Volunteer of the Year to the Visitor Center by the Dec. 31 deadline. We have forms available to you here, so don't let that hold you up. Both of these awards deserve careful consideration, and we hope you will do what you can to see that worthy folks receive the credit they so richly deserve.

Board candidates

You also need to remember to cast your votes for three of the six candidates running for Chamber Board Director, especially if you cannot attend the Annual Mardi Gras Jan. 18. The nine directors act collectively as the governing body for your Chamber of Commerce and act as your voice in all matters Chamber, so getting to know them through their profiles and conversations is ever so important. In any election, it is imperative to exercise your right to vote, and this one is no exception. Please drop in the Visitor Center to register your vote or give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions.

New Year's Eve dance

The Knights of Columbus invite you to attend their New Year's Eve Dance at the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Clubhouse to benefit the David C. Mitchell Scholarship Fund. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce in advance for $10 per person or $18 for couples. All tickets at the door will be $12, and the fun begins at 8:30 p.m. Country Feedback will provide the music, and party favors, snacks and champagne will be provided.

Membership

We couldn't be happier to welcome three new members this busy holiday week along with nine renewals. We are thrilled to announce that we now count 812 members in our Chamber family and couldn't be prouder. Thanks to each and every one of you who have been a part of creating this phenomenal number. We're very pleased to say the least.

We welcome Tylor Hall and Nancy Torrey who bring us Wind Dancer Aviation Services, Inc. at our Pagosa airport at 777 Piedra Road. These folks provide General Aviation fuel, maintenance, hangar and rental cars. Tylor and I have spoken just this morning, and he is very anxious to become a part of our community and let everyone know about all the positive changes that have been and are being made. You can reach these folks at 731-2127 with questions.

Christopher Smith joins us next with Wildwood Mountain Homes and Property at 236 Red Ryder Circle. Wildwood designs and builds log lodges as well as provides seasonal rentals of lodges. These lodges are located right on the San Juan River between the hot springs and ski area.

Our third new member this week is Teri Garcia who brings us Pagoslow Retreat located at 731 Aspenglow Blvd. This retreat is a B & B style quiet home nestled in the woods close to town. It offers lovely views, spa and healing treatments as well as yoga and meditation opportunities. You can contact Teri at 731-3584 to learn more about Pagoslow Retreat. We are grateful to member Wade Duncan for recruiting Teri and will cheerfully reward him with a free SunDowner pass.

Our renewals this week include our old friend Denny Barber with The Hogs Breath Saloon and Silverado Clothing; Connie Grossman with Armadillo Packaging in Dallas, TX; Jean Bruscia with the American Cancer Society in Durango; Udgar Parsons with Growing Spaces; Wade Duncan with Genesis Mortgage; Terry Clifford with Clifford Construction; Jane McKain with Pathfinder Construction of SW CO, LLC, and Anna O'Reilly with Anna's Energy Massage.

Library News

No charge for interlibrary loans

By Lenore Bright

The other day I was made aware of a rumor that we were charging $20 for interlibrary loans. This is a misunderstanding that I want to clear up.

A while back, we announced the sad news that Governor Owens had cut funds for interlibrary loans. This valuable service helps out small libraries such as ours in the rural areas. The Denver Public Library acted as the "Colorado Resource Center." Any library in Colorado could ask them to loan a book, or answer a reference question free of charge. Other major libraries in the state would do the same. These big libraries were all paid a small amount of state funds to give this service. These libraries never were paid the total cost to help us out. They received around $5 per book loaned. It costs a major library about $20 to loan us a book. The big libraries were willing to pick up the rest of the cost because librarians realize how important it is to share information. Few other occupations are that generous with their resources.

Interlibrary loans allow all libraries to have access to a vast amount of information. Libraries had worked for over 30 years to build up this wonderful service. The Denver Public Library, serving as the "Colorado Resource Center," was a true gift to the people of the state.

When Governor Owens cut the funds that paid Denver Public Library and the other big libraries to loan us material, we all lost a major asset.

We do not charge for interlibrary loans at our library unless the lending library charges and they seldom do.

Colorado libraries are still trying to provide interlibrary loans on a limited basis. We have had to limit requests to one at a time. We also can't borrow new books, as the lending libraries need to keep these for their own patrons.

But libraries are still trying to help us out, and unless our legislators hear how important this service is to you, we probably will see more cuts in next year's state budget.

But please know that your library is not charging for interlibrary loans.

Local author

We're proud to feature Katherine Cruse and her just released book, "A Year in Pagosa Springs: Cruising Through the Seasons." Katherine's book of essays is based on her columns that have appeared in The SUN.

The book would make a great gift to send to all of your friends to explain what it is about Pagosa country that we all love.

Katherine worked in the field of historic preservation before moving to Pagosa Springs.

New books

"Painting Greeting Cards," by Elizabeth Joan Black is one of the watercolor technique books put out by North Light. This one shows how to use watercolor to create unusual greeting cards using techniques with stamp pads, plastic wrap and ornamental papers for stunning painted effects.

"Drawing Cartoons," by Mark Heath teaches you everything you need to know from drawing tools to drawing characters in motion. Easy step-by-step exercises show you how to draw with basic shapes. Heath covers all of the tips one needs to start cartooning. He even gives ideas about sending cartoons for publication.

"1000 Years of Famous People," is a stylish celebration of the noteworthy and the notorious that have left their mark on the world during the last millennium. These thumbnail sketches combine illustrations and photographs with basic biographies outlining where these individuals lived, when they lived, and their work and accomplishments.

Donations

Thanks for materials from Vivian Rader, Roger Bush, Bob and Jessie Formwalt, Julie Gates, Sandy Kobrock and Susan Winter Ward. Thanks for a subscription to Consumer Report from Ron Green.

 

Births

Tina and Larry Prieskorn of Pagosa Springs are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Lauren Michelle. She was born Oct. 11 at 3:17 p.m. in Durango. She weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces and was 17 3/4 inches tall. She was protected on her journey by her angel sister, Cassidianne Mae, and was welcomed home by her big sister, NataLee Joy.

Her maternal grandparents are Mike and Roberta Schroeder of Pagosa Springs. Paternal grandparents are Jack and Debbie Preimesberger of New Haven, Mich. and Larry and Jill Prieskorn of Marine City, Mich.

 

Business News

Robin and Mike Roberson own and operate Mykeys Lock and Safe.

The Robersons moved to Pagosa Country from Las Vegas and Mike brought with him 22 years' experience as a locksmith. In November, the Robersons purchased the former Jim's Lock and Key and went into business locally.

Mykeys provides fast and reliable residential, commercial and auto service, as well as safe work.

Service is available 24 hours per day, seven days a week by calling 731-0572.

 

People

Dave and Dorothy Goodman celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary Nov. 29, in Albuquerque, N.M.

Longtime Pagosa residents and owners and operators of Goodman's Store - the community's oldest retail establishment - the couple now reside in Tucson, Ariz.

The Goodmans were married on a Sunday, in the midst of a storm that dumped 27 inches of snow on the ground. Dave had to plow the road twice in order to get a minister to the wedding site then back to town in time for services.

The anniversary was celebrated with children and grandchildren in attendance.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Bill Downey announce the engagement of their daughter, Sara Kae Downey, to Robert MacNeil Kirkham, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmie Kirkham.

Sara graduated in 2000 from Pagosa Springs High School and graduated from Noble School of Cosmetology in 2001. She is employed at J.C. Penney in Colorado Springs as a designer hairstylist. She is currently attending Pikes Peak Community College.

Robert graduated in 1998 from Pagosa Springs High School and in May 2002 he graduated from the University of Colorado with a bachelor's degree in geography and environmental science. He will be attending Colorado Highway Patrol Academy in January.

The wedding will take place Oct. 18, 2003, in First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs.

 

  Features

Out of the fire

Chilean burn victim finds home in Pagosa Springs

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

In the last year, he's moved to Pagosa Springs, learned to fish, seen snow for the first time and made plans to go skiing. At school, he's working on reading and making friends. During the second six weeks of the term, he made the "A" grade honor list in Dulce.

In many respects, Manny Gutierrez Sotomayor is like any other 8-year-old.

In a few, he's very different. Manny was born in Santiago, Chile. When he was four, his mother, apparently drunk at the time, doused him in gasoline and set him on fire. Manny was burned over 30 percent of his body. Burns, some of them third degree, covered the front and back of his thighs, wrapping up and around his left flank, throat and arm. He apparently put his left arm up to block his face.

After nearly a year in the hospital recovering from his injuries, Manny was transferred to Ciudad de Niño, or City of the Child, an impoverished orphanage in Chile. Authorities closed his case after taking Manny and his two sisters away from their mother. The final determination on the cause of the fire was "accidental."

Manny spent two years in the orphanage before Erik Andersen, an international educator from Tucson, found him. Andersen was teaching at an embassy school in Santiago at the time. After meeting the child, Andersen said, he simply couldn't forget him. Conditions at the orphanage were poor. Money was scarce and certainly no funds were available to help Manny with his medical needs.

The other boys teased him, calling him "scarface" and "toast," Andersen said. Plus, he lost most of the sweat glands in the burned areas of his body, making it difficult for him to regulate heat. But perhaps Manny's biggest problems came from scar tissue on his neck. Skin damaged by burns doesn't expand like normal skin as the body grows. As a result, the skin on Manny's neck was actually making it difficult for him to breathe and restricting his movements.

Because of his contacts within the embassy, Andersen was able to work from the top down to get permission to bring Manny to the United States for medical treatment. At first, he said, it looked like it might be possible to find a sponsor family for the boy, but at the last minute the family backed out and Andersen, or "Tata," grandfather, as Manny calls him, became the boy's legal guardian.

Manny flew into the United States for the first time in the summer of 2001 and his story of survival made every news channel in the city. Plans were to base the boy in Tucson with Andersen and transport him to the Shriner's Hospital in Houston for treatment. Only the Houston hospital couldn't schedule the surgery until January of 2002. Upon hearing of Manny's condition, doctors at Tucson's St. Mary's Hospital offered to donate their time and skills to help the boy. Reconstructive surgery on his left ear, neck and arm was done that summer to ease his breathing. From there, the Shriner's took over.

Small, inflatable bags were placed under sections of Manny's skin. Each day for eight weeks, Andersen inflated the bags and the surrounding skin with an injection. After the two months, Manny had softball-sized growths of new skin at the back of his cheeks and on his shoulders. Doctors at the Shriner's Hospital in Los Angeles removed the new skin and used it to replace some of the scar tissue. The process will be repeated every year until Manny is 15. The next surgery is scheduled April 7.

Today, Manny and Andersen live in Pagosa Springs. Although Manny did go back to Chile following his first surgery in the United States, plans for an adoption in his home country fell through and Manny returned to Andersen who is now his legal guardian both here and in Chile. It's a job that's easy to love, Andersen said.

"God puts things on people's shoulders that only they can carry," he said. "That's the way I look at it."

To care for the boy, Andersen gave up his international teaching and accepted a job as a middle school math teacher in Dulce.

"They'd been after me for three years to teach here," he said. It wasn't unfamiliar territory. Andersen's uncle, who was born in Durango, was always after him to come to this area. About 12 years ago, he followed that advice, buying land in Pagosa Springs.

Tucson, Andersen said, was simply too big. And Grandpa worried about the boy's lack of sweat glands in such a hot city. So Manny started school in Dulce in the fall where he's been very successful. He'd already picked up English, speaking now with almost no accent. In reading, he is one step away from on-grade level, and he's made the "A" grade list.

However, because of the distance to Dulce and Manny's desire to make friends closer to home, the second-grader will transfer to Pagosa Springs Elementary School after the winter break. Neighbors have already opened their doors to the bright, outgoing, affectionate child, Andersen said. They've offered to watch the boy before and after school to give "Tata" the drive time he needs to go back and forth to Dulce.

Manny, whose big smile has been a constant through his whole ordeal, seems to draw out the best in just about everyone he meets. After all, who can resist a thank you hug and kiss, tradition in his home country?

"Sometimes I think he's 8 going on 60," Andersen said. "He grew up fast and he's very fortunate to be alive."

And Manny knows it.

His Christmas list read like this: "Dear Santa, You can give me anything you want to give me for Christmas."

  

John Cox: Pioneer cattleman was widely known in San Juan Country

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Last week I wrote a series of items based on information contained in the more than 1,000 obituary notices I have collected from early Pagosa Springs newspapers. The emphasis was on the names and lives of pioneers who did not largely impact local history. Just the same, these unknown settlers had to overcome the same forbidding obstacles as better known settlers.

This week I'm continuing the same theme. First, I repeat a condensed version of the obituary. I then follow the obituary with Motter's Comment, an attempt at establishing the historic relevance of the person discussed.

The first obituary is for John Cox. He is, in fact, well known in the annals of San Juan Country history. A book containing the history of Aztec, N.M., is built around the life of Cox. Aztec, Bloomfield, Farmington, etc., are located in San Juan County, N.M.

- John Cox, the brother of Mrs. A.U. Graves of Cedar Hill, and one of the early pioneer settlers in the San Juan Country, passed away April 9, 1927, in Kingman, Ariz. He was born in the year 1858 and moved to San Juan County in 1876, He married Miss Campbell in Denver. They had a son, Alex, and daughter, Mrs. George Sharp. April 9, 1927.

Motter's comment: Cox was one of the pioneer cattlemen who drove cattle from Texas to the San Juan. The term San Juan Country, or San Jons, covered a broad swath of territory when used by pioneers. Generally, the San Juans stretched from Fort Garland on the east side of the San Luis Valley, to the Blue Mountains in Utah. Cox, and a number of others, are credited with settling along the Animas River between Cedar Hill and Farmington. The Cox story, in time and routes chosen, closely parallels the story of a group of Pagosa pioneers led by the O'Neals. If the Cox and O'Neal parties did not come together, they certainly knew each other. Descendants of the Graves family still live in the Pagosa Springs area. More work needs to be done on the very early, before fences, history of the cattle industry in the Four Corners area. Many of the cattlemen were apparently able to establish minor fiefdoms despite the known fact that the area was set aside as a reservation for the Southern Utes.

- Ike Cox a former Pagosan, died June 21, 1942, near Eugene, Ore. He was born March 8, 1870. He is survived by daughters Mrs. John Stuckey and Mrs. Carl Lind, and by sons Roy and S.A. "Bingo" Cox. He was one of the participants in the Truby-Cox sheep-cattle wars during the early days. July 3, 1942.

Motter's comment: I don't know what, if any, relationship existed between Ike Cox and John Cox. Many Pagosa old-timers will remember Ike Cox and his son Bingo. Ike spent a lot of time in Pagosa Springs and at one time was in charge of Whit Newton's cattle and horses. More could be written about the Truby-Cox feud even though much of the story forms the basis for Katie West's first novel, "Cedar Hill." The San Juan area had a plethora of gangs, outlaws and lawlessness during its formative years. Lawlessness in the San Juan County, N.M., area was so rampant territorial governor Lew Wallace sent in the militia to restore law and order.

- Alpheus T. Creswell. "Al" Creswell died at Palisade Lakes in Nov. of 1926. Mr. Creswell was born in Iowa June 3, 1850, and came to Colorado in 1883, first settling in Silverton and Durango. He later formed a partnership with Ira Hubler and for the past 30 years has been connected with Palisade Lakes. His brother, Smiley Creswell, was also connected with the lakes, but passed away 15 years ago. He is survived by sister Frona Wimer, another sister in Ohio, and a brother L.Z. Creswell. He never married. Dec. 3, 1926.

Motter's comment: Palisade Lakes, one of the jewels of the Pagosa vicinity, is located in Hinsdale County on the row of mountains separating the Middle Fork of the Piedra from Williams Creek. Palisade Lakes remain in private hands. I marvel when I contemplate the degree of difficulty the Creswell's and those who visited them endured in order to reach the lakes. The road could not have been more than a couple of ruts. The current road passes through several really boggy areas. Pristine would have described that locality in the 1890s and shortly after. Grizzly bear and wolves would still have been prevalent. If pristine is no longer an accurate description for the area, it remains remote, even for Pagosa Country backcountry. A Ute friend of mine who is a historian says there may have been mountain buffalo in that vicinity. The Creswells ran a fish hatchery at the location, one of the first in Colorado. Dutch Henry Born purchased fish spawned at Palisade Lakes.

- Ira Hubler. Deceased was born near Logansport, Ind., Dec. 5, 1852. He died in Nov. of 1929. He came to Colorado in 1886, first settling in the Pine River area and later at Palisade Lake. He is survived by a sister Mrs. Henry Potof and a brother Andy Hubler. Nov. 8 1929.

- John Hubler died March 7,1929, at the age of 82 years. He first came to Colorado in 1888 and was a brick mason. He plastered Pagosa Springs' first Methodist Church building, Later he made his home with his brother at Palisade Lakes. March 1929.

Motter's comment: The Hublers were partners of the Creswells. In connection with Palisade Lakes, what can be said about one family can be said for the other. Wouldn't it be fun to discover a diary describing life at Palisade Lakes during the first quarter of the 20th century?

- Algernon S. Dutton was one of the true pioneers of Colorado. Family legend says he prospected in the San Juan Mountains, particularly in the Rico area, before the Civil War. In any case, his discharge from Company "D" Second Regiment of the Colorado Cavalry, given at Fort Riley, Kan., June 19, 1865, after three years of service, disclosed that he had been born in New York, was 32 years old, five feet seven inches tall with a fair complexion and blue eyes, and when enrolled was a miner. With his wife Harriett Dodge Dutton he came to Pagosa Springs in 1880, perhaps as early as 1878. They homesteaded land on what is now called Dutton Creek. A. S. Dutton was one of the first Archuleta County commissioners, having been appointed by the governor of Colorado when the county was formed in 1885. He was also treasurer of the first local school district. The offspring of A.S. and Harriett Dutton continued to fill leadership roles in Archuleta County for many years. A.S. Dutton died Dec. 14, 1885.

Motter's comment: If he prospected in the San Juans before the Civil War, A.S. Dutton would have been associated with the Baker Party. The Baker Party is credited with discovering gold near today's Silverton thereby setting off the rush to the San Juan Mountains that led to the first wave of settlement. The Civil War interrupted that settlement because many of the Baker Party prospectors did just what Algernon did; they returned to the East to fight in the war. Not until the war was over did serious settlement resume in San Juan Country. Another former Pagosan, David Lowenstein, served in the Colorado militia. Lowenstein was among the early settlers of Lake City.

 

Editorial

Exception to the limit

A round of applause and energetic support is due the Upper San Juan Library District. Library officials have decided to replicate a major effort made more than a decade ago, which led to the construction of one of rural Colorado's finest libraries: the Sisson Library, at the corner of U.S. 160 and South 8th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Board members and staff have determined to undertake a major capital construction project - hoping to nearly double the size of the building and to remodel some of the current building's interior - without asking the voters for a bond issue and tax increase.

How refreshing.

It was only 14 years ago the local library occupied tiny spaces at the rear of the old Town Hall building. Anyone who visited that facility was struck by the cramped conditions, but also by the dedication of the staff and supporters. The library, limited though it was, was regarded as a key asset in the community. The need to enhance that asset was the order of the day.

With the help of the Civic Club and the Friends of the Library, the library district raised more than $760,000 via private donations and grants to construct a new facility. They expected that facility to provide ample space for 20 years.

No one anticipated the growth the county experienced during the last decade. The space at the Sisson Library served for 13 years and there is no room left. Now it is time to marshal the forces again and to attempt to raise the funds for a new addition and for remodeling the same way.

The extra space and the refurbishing of existing space are needed to improve programs and to add programs and materials. None of the plans are frivolous. The addition and remodeling will allow the library to expand its popular computer service, including a boost from two to eight in the number of stations and card catalog access. The Sisson Library is purchasing more reference material via the Internet Library and the computers will give more people easier access to that material.

A new wing will allow the library to provide a quiet study area as well as space for the popular nonfiction section of the collection. More space will be available for popular fiction and the always-in-demand books on tape offered by the library.

The children's area will be expanded to provide space for additional programs; the periodical section and the Hershey Collection can be moved to a different location in the building. The overall collection can expand.

There could be no worthier project for a community than to ensure it has an exceptional library, and there are few public facilities in Pagosa Country that serve the community as well as the Sisson Library. It is a repository of information and a fortress in a great struggle. We live in times where too many forces act against the values established in a library: literacy, memory, reason. These values must be preserved if we, as a culture and as a community, are to preserve our history, our traditions, our core ideas.

It is time for our community to rise in support.

This is difficult. During the past decade, the number of hands extended for donations has increased dramatically. The number of auctions and other fund-raising events scheduled to produce funds for one organization or another has trebled during that time. This is a generous community, but there is a limit.

Donations to the Sisson Library should be considered an exception to the limit.

Whether large or small, donations to this cause will have an enduring benefit. If you are willing to contribute, contact any member of the library board, the Friends of the Library or the library staff.

Karl Isberg

Dear Folks

 

Remembering December 21st

(This Dear Folks was first printed Dec. 21, 2000)

Today is Dec. 21.

It's a very special day in my life.

It's Cynthia's birthday.

Had she not been born, I obviously never would have met her.

Had I never met her, I never would have had the courage to ask her to marry me. Had she not married me, I probably would not be writing this weekly column.

Had I never met Cynthia, I seriously doubt if I still would be living in Pagosa.

I started at the SUN in April 1981. I had submitted my resignation to School District 50 Jt. It was my intent to eventually assume the responsibilities of Glen Edmonds, the former editor of the SUN.

I met Cynthia in September 1981. She had signed a contract with School District 50 Jt. It was her intent - for one year at the most - to assume the responsibilities of Mrs. Ima Edmonds, the former librarian of Pagosa Springs High School.

As a friend, a wife and mother, Cynthia is the epitome of the once-popular song, "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To."

She's my reason for not wanting Christmas or birthday presents - thanks to her, I already have much, much more than I could have ever hoped.

I hope that when I woke up this morning that I remembered that it's Dec. 21 and it's Cynthia's birthday.

It's also the fourth day of her Christmas vacation.

It would be great if she sleeps late this morning.

Hopefully, it will be a clear, sunny day and that she and Maggie can go walking on the ridge.

Today would be a perfect day for the elk to graze the valley.

Surely her friends the finches, jays and all - Cynthia know their names, to me they are birds - will congregate and visit her feeders.

It will be a perfect day if she gets to visit with Charla or Kathlene or Dorothy or Becky or Lee the mother to be.

I better stop before I get myself in trouble.

I better read, re-read and re-write a number of times what I've written in hopes that I haven't messed up.

If my tongue would move as slow as my fingers do when I type, I would have tried to verbalize my thoughts. Instead, when I talk, my words seem to bypass the thought process as they tumble clumsily out of my mouth into a pile of confused and cluttered sentiments.

So in essence, this week's column is an expression of my thoughts and a confession of my fears.

Yes, I've succumbed to my fears. I was afraid to try to tell Cynthia my thoughts tonight when we're eating supper. I was afraid I would forget what I wanted to say.

So yesterday evening when it was time to write this column, all I could think of was: Tomorrow is Dec. 21. Tomorrow is Cynthia's birthday. I can't forget. I've got to remember.

If my memory did not work as slow as my fingers do when I type, I would not harbor my justified fear of forgetting. I might have expressed some much different thoughts in this column.

But rather than take a chance, I wanted to be certain that I did not forget today is Cynthia's birthday and that I remembered to tell her how thankful I am that she was born.

I'll probably be somewhere else when she reads this. It's safer that way.

If I'm lucky, she will take today's column in stride.

If she doesn't, don't be surprised if this space is blank next Thursday.

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

David C. Mitchell

 Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Dec. 20, 1912

Friday, December 13, 1907 hit Pagosa Springs a bunch. It was the date of the failure of the old bank.

Let us hope no Pagosa kid will wake up next Wednesday morning with an empty stocking and a full parent.

There is money in it for the man who will build a creamery in or near Pagosa Springs. The country has ideal advantages for a factory and all the butter that the factory could produce would find a ready market at home.

Some Pagosa people are talking of purchasing a small portable sawmill and sawing out such lumber and ties as individual ranchmen have timber for, moving the mill from place to place as conditions demand.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 23, 1927

The local train, while preparing to make the return trip from Pagosa Junction Tuesday, was derailed. The wrecker had to be obtained from Chama and it was three o'clock Wednesday morning before the train reached Pagosa Springs.

With the advent of real cold weather and necessity for heavy fires, it behooves everyone to see that their stoves and flues are in the best possible condition - to prevent another winter conflagration in Pagosa Springs.

With the thermometer hovering around 40 degrees below zero two mornings the first of the week, residents of Pagosa Springs needed no almanac to tell them that winter had officially arrived here.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 19, 1952

The big free Christmas show and party for the kids is all set for this Saturday afternoon. December 20 at 2 p.m. in the high school gym. Word has been received from Santa Claus that he will be on hand along toward the end of the picture show and he will personally pass out treats to all children present.

The Pagosa High School girls' basketball team won their first game of the season Dec. 12, as they downed the Dulce girls 29 to 14.

The Intermediate Sunday school class of the Community Methodist Church entertained the Junior class Saturday afternoon with a sleigh ride at the Terry Robinson ranch as a result of a membership contest in the Sunday school.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Dec. 15, 1977

A brief snow storm Monday night left roads icy and slick overnight in this area. About one inch of snow fell, and it contained .03 inches of moisture.

The local sorority, which sponsors the lighted star and cross is asking for donations for that project. The star and cross are visible for many miles and are remarked upon by travelers. The members of the sorority will also be contacting various businesses and individuals for the donations.

The school board will call for another bond issue election, probably to be held in early May. The exact amount and details of the bond issue have not been formulated at this time and will be announced when plans are more detailed.

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