code for minors
By Tom Carosello
The Archuleta County board of commissioners gave preliminary approval to a pair of curfew ordinance drafts Tuesday - one detailing the consequences for violations by minors - and another applicable to violators' parents or legal guardians.
Originally introduced by Bob Grandchamp, county undersheriff, the proposals are the end result of a series of workshops conducted by the board during the past few weeks.
Presented to the board by William Steele, county administrator, the drafts outline when, where and why juveniles under the age of 18 who are not accompanied by adults having legal or granted authority over them will be considered in violation of the curfew.
Specifically, the proposals forbid minors "to be or remain upon any street or alley, or to be or remain in any establishment open to the public, in the unincorporated areas of Archuleta County, Colorado after the hour of 11 o'clock p.m. on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, or after the hour of 12 o'clock midnight on any Friday, Saturday, or any day which immediately precedes an official State holiday, or before the hour of 5 o'clock a.m. on any day ..."
Likewise, it will be unlawful "for any parent, guardian, or other person, having legal care or custody" of any juvenile under the age of 18 to knowingly fail to prevent such youths from occupying the restricted areas set forth in the ordinances.
Of course, some exceptions to the rules have been taken into account. Referred to as "affirmative defenses," cases in which a citation for curfew violation shall not be deemed appropriate include instances where a juvenile in question can prove he or she is:
- legally emancipated
- engaged in activities or travel related to lawful employment (directly to or from home)
- engaged in travel related to school activities that are authorized by school officials (with parental/legal guardian consent, directly to or from home)
- engaged in an activity necessary to assist in a medical emergency or engaged in activities related to the prevention of damage to property (when property value exceeds $100)
- traveling directly to or from home for a religious activity purpose (with parental/legal guardian consent)
- engaged in lawful intrastate or interstate travel (with parental/legal guardian consent)
- prevented from complying with the ordinance due to circumstances beyond his or her control.
In response to questions raised by the board, Steele indicated sheriff's deputies will have the authority to use their own discretion when determining if affirmative defenses offered by cited juveniles sufficiently meet the criteria.
While aimed at curbing what the drafts refer to as "disturbances and disorderly assemblies," Steele explained the proposals are not meant "to throw the book" at area youths.
"I view them as another tool in the toolbox of deputies and the sheriff's department," explained Steele, adding that the ordinances will likely serve best in cases of repeated violations.
According to the drafts, any violation will be considered a Class 2 petty offense; first offenses are punishable by a fine of not less than $50 and not more than $100. Second offenses warrant a fine of $100-$250, and third and subsequent offenses will be punished by a fine of $250-$500.
As for determining when parents or legal guardians will be expected to share the blame - and fiscal responsibility - for violations, Steele said not all cases will warrant parallel charges.
For example, said Steele, in the instance that "little Johnny snuck out and the parents didn't know it," the parents are not likely to be fined.
However, in cases where it can be determined that "little Johnny snuck out" and the parents "don't know, don't care," Steele indicated both parties will most likely be fined.
Though subject to amendments, the proposed ordinances will become effectively immediately if adopted by the commissioners following a public hearing slated for May 20 at 7 p.m. in the county courthouse meeting room.
Other business conducted by the board included the following:
- tabling a consideration of appointments to the "use tax task force" to allow more time for those interested to apply (Note: the county is in need of at least two people to serve as at-large, volunteer members on the force)
- approval of a final expenditure for the U.S. 160/Piedra Road signalization project in the amount of $7,005.63
- approval of a service agreement with GMCO Corporation for supply and application of magnesium chloride to county roads in an amount not to exceed $182,336
- approval of a memorandum of understanding with the Colorado Department of Transportation acknowledging an agreement to work jointly to add a deceleration/turn lane at the intersection of U.S. 84 and County Road 119 (Light Plant Road).
Health Service District schedules
special meeting 5:30 p.m.
By Tess Noel Baker
The future of the Upper San Juan Health Service District will be the topic of a special board meeting May 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Extension building at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.
Board member Dr. Dick Blide said a plan for addressing current problems in the district and long-term goals will be presented at that time. The plan, put together over the past two weeks by Dr. Jim Knoll, a Pagosan with 25-years of experience in medical administration, with input from several other community members, addresses issues at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, urgent care and Emergency Medical Services.
Blide said the plan includes the possibility of privatization of the medical center. Details will be presented at the special board meeting where the board will have the opportunity to vote on the plan. Other agenda items for that meeting were unknown at press time.
Work on the plan started after an April 20 regular meeting discussion about the medical center staff's decision to resign en masse April 4. The resignations were set to take effect May 2. Interpersonal problems with management and a perceived lack of response from the board dating back to July 2002 were cited as reasons for the action.
However, local businessman J.R. Ford asked the board to consider a 30-day extension on the resignation to allow time for negotiations on the future of the medical center and its providers to take place.
The board approved a motion to retain the medical center staff until May 15 to allow for such negotiation.
In order to get negotiations off on the right foot, Ford asked the board to return keys to the medical providers, rehire two employees who had been released following the April 4 resignations and free the staff from management by the board or district manager Dee Jackson during the 30-day grace period.
At the time, Charles Hawkins, board chairman, said keys would be returned to providers. The board tabled the remaining requests pending negotiations.
The medical center building was rekeyed following a suspected theft of narcotics reported to police April 6. The incident remains under investigation.
Until that time, Dr. Mark Wienpahl said, all employees of the center had keys to allow people access to the building after-hours. Since Hawkins' directive, Wienpahl said, the staff has been given two keys to share. The district manager and EMS operations manager also have keys.
Later in the meeting, following an executive session, the board approved a motion to create a Medical Advisory Committee headed by Knoll.
Town cleanup week opens Mother's Day
By Tess Noel Baker
For Mother's Day this year, consider a little cleanup. Mother's Day, May 11, kicks off the annual Cleanup Week in Pagosa Springs.
"Over the past two decades, the pride in our community has increased dramatically," Mayor Ross Aragon wrote in a letter to community members. "Improvements in the physical infrastructure and cleaner neighborhoods have been occurring every year. This year I would like to personally urge you to participate in Cleanup Week 2003."
To help with cleanup efforts, the town and other various public entities will provide Dumpsters in various spots throughout town, removal of junk cars and junk pickup.
Dumpsters for trash will be located in Town Park and on South 9th Street May 11. These trash receptacles will be relocated after a few days.
Call Town Hall, 264-4151 for updates on Dumpster locations or to arrange for pickup of junk cars. The town has set a limit on the number of junk cars to be towed, so call before May 9 to make those requests.
Town crews will be removing junk from along the street rows May 12-16.
The schedule is as follows:
- May 12 - North Pagosa (Western Addition to 3rd Street, including the downtown alley and the portion of Pagosa Hills inside town limits)
- May 13 - North Pagosa (3rd Street to the River Center) and Hermosa Street
- May 14 - East of the river (San Juan Street to the southern town border)
- May 15 - South Pagosa (west of the river to 8th Street) and Piedra Estates
- May 16 - South Pagosa (8th Street to Garvin Addition).
These pickups are for large items such as old lumber or appliances. Such items must be placed along the road right-of-way. The town will not pick up household trash - those items must be placed in the free Dumpsters.
If a hardship exists, call Town Hall at 264-4151, Ext. 238. In these cases, the town will enter property and remove junk, but only if the landowner is present. Please remember that town staff cannot remove or pick up hazardous materials. Motors and Freon must be removed from all refrigerators prior to pickup.
The town will also continue its residential tree program this year. Under this program, the town pays half the price of a tree planted between the front of the house and a town street. For more information on this program - and any restrictions that may apply due to drought - call the parks and recreation office at 264-4151, Ext.231.
Following cleanup week, the Pagosa Springs Police Department will issue notices to anyone with junk or litter on their property, so everyone is encouraged to participate.
Under Chapter 11 of the town's municipal code, junk is defined as "old motor vehicles, auto bodies or parts, old rubber tires, old farm machinery, refrigerators and all other abandoned personal property or other appliances stored out in the open on public or private property."
Seven business burglaries probed
By Tess Noel Baker
Pagosa Springs police are investigating a string of seven burglaries in seven days.
Police Chief Don Volger said the first burglary was reported April 19. Two more followed on April 21 and April 24. The final four reports came on April 26.
Businesses hit included: Car Quest, Southwest Mental Health, JJ's Upstream, The Bear Creek, The Club, Tequila's and the U.S. Forest Service offices. In each case, an undisclosed amount of cash, or the cash register, was taken.
Volger said the thieves forced entry into the buildings through windows or doors. All of the burglaries are thought to have occurred between midnight and 6 a.m.
"The cases may be related," Volger said. Investigation into the incidents continues. Police are suggesting that all business owners double-check to make sure buildings are secure when closing for the night, remove all cash from the premises each evening and leave cash drawers open.
Anyone who sees anything suspicious or has knowledge about the burglaries is asked to call dispatch, 264-2131, immediately.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Forecast mainly dry, slight chance for rain
By Tom Carosello
Cool, crisp mornings, breezy afternoons and dry skies dominated the weather pattern during the past week in Pagosa Country as the majority of wet weather bypassed the Four Corners region to pay a visit to the northern half of the state.
With the exception for a slight possibility of weekend showers in the forecast, chances are the trend toward drier weather will continue throughout the first week of May.
According to Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning will offer the best chance for rain.
"As this system moves in off the California coast, a thin layer of clouds spreading across the region Thursday and Friday will give way to heavier cloud cover by Saturday morning," said Ramey.
"Late Saturday, the winds should shift to a southwesterly flow, possibly bringing scattered showers to the region that may last through Sunday morning. By Sunday evening, the flow should shift to the northwest and Pagosa Springs will see only light rain, if any."
According to Ramey, skies should remain partly cloudy today and into tonight. Southwest winds should range from 10-20 miles per hour; highs should stretch into the mid-60s and lows should fall to around 30.
Partly cloudy skies should remain throughout Friday, and highs again should hit the mid-60s while lows should range from 25-35.
Clouds are predicted to increase throughout the day Saturday, providing the chance for late afternoon showers or thunderstorms. Highs should peak in the low 70s; lows should slip into the upper 20s.
The chance for showers and thunderstorms continues into Sunday morning; rain should taper to a drizzle by evening. Afternoon highs are predicted to range in the 60s while nighttime lows are expected to settle into the 40s.
Monday and Tuesday call for partly cloudy skies and a slim chance for rain showers. Highs should hit the low 60s each day; lows should drop into the mid 30s.
Wednesday's forecast predicts sunny skies, highs near 70 and lows in the upper 20s to low 30s.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 58; the average low, 26. Precipitation totals from April 24-30 amounted to zero.
The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "low to moderate." For updates, call the district office at 264-2268.
The National Allergy Bureau rates area tree pollen counts as "moderate," weed/grass pollen counts as "low to absent" and mold spore counts as "low."
River flow in the San Juan River as measured south of town fluctuated between approximately 230 cubic feet per second early last week to over 700 cubic feet per second by week's end. The river's historic mean flow for early May ranges from 700-800 cubic feet per second.
By Joe Lister Jr.
We have taken applications for our youth baseball/softball program over the last three weeks; the deadline has passed.
If you missed out you can get your child on a waiting list by signing them up or by calling Chris Corcoran at 264-4151 Ext. 231.
The recreation department is in need of approximately 10 sponsors for this year's baseball program.
Cost of sponsoring a team is $150 which helps to purchase hats and shirts with sponsor's logo on the shirts. The young athletes enjoy wearing professional replica jerseys with local businesses logos.
Throughout the years peoples' biggest questions are geared toward costs of running a program.
Here is a break down of the cost for one 11-12 game:
- field prep including dragging, lining, and cleaning bathrooms - $45
- officials, including umpires, scorekeeper and department supervisor - $51
- balls, equipment, uniforms, and equipment used throughout the season; total amount $280 divided by eight games - $35
- rough estimate on cost to play one game - $131.
This gives everyone an idea on what it costs to have our local youngsters play in a league which sponsors up to nine games per season, per team.
Practically all our budget comes from either sales tax revenue or user fees, there is still a significant amount of money donated by our sponsors.
Let's support our schools, parks and recreation department, and our businesses by shopping local whenever possible.
People and businesses sponsor teams, and even donate trees to our parks projects, because they love living in Pagosa. They want to give back to the community. One of our biggest concerns is having something for the kids to do. We will have over 200 young athletes playing baseball this year. Sponsors and their donations are critical to our success.
If you want to sponsor teams please give us a call.
The pump and the water line to get water out of the San Juan River, and to the school athletic fields is approximately 80 percent finished. We hope to be pumping out of the river by June 1.
The Reservoir Hill annual fire mitigation project will start in mid-May with the cutting and mulching of undergrowth.
This project has been ongoing for several years, with this year's phase being supplemented by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service.
We are very lucky to have such an asset as Reservoir Hill within the town limits; we need to protect it, as well as make the hiking and biking experience a great one by preserving our park.
Boys and girls from third to eighth grade are welcome to a basketball camp to be held June 16-19.
The camp is planned in split shifts with grades 3-5 at 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., and grades 6-8 at 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m.
Cost is $50 per camper with a free T-shirt and a free basketball. The camp will feature high school varsity coaches, Jim Shaffer and Bob Lynch, and some alumni serving as counselors.
All interested campers should call Shaffer at 264-5070 or Lynch at 731-3007.
The adult softball team managers' meeting is scheduled May 13, beginning at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.
Games will begin in early June for both coed and men's competitive leagues.
Kickers fall 2-1 to Telluride in defensive classic
By Richard Walter
"Now that's what girls' high school soccer is supposed to be like. What a great game."
That was one of the three officials who worked the game talking after Friday's Pagosa Springs-Telluride clash on a neutral field in Cortez.
"It's a shame either team had to lose," said another. "Did you see the play that little girl for Pagosa made when her keeper got caught out of net?"
Fans for both teams reiterated the remarks after Telluride became the 2-1 winner in a brilliant defensive struggle.
The "little girl" reference was to Pagosa's Sarah Smith who may be small in stature, but a was a defensive giant all day.
It was one of those games you don't want to end. One filled with early frustrations, defensive gems, sharp passing, offensive recognition of defensive sets and defensive adaptation to new offensive moves.
The frustration for Pagosa came in not being able to stop the Telluride after erasing an early Miner lead.
Still, it was a game after which no member of either team should hang her head.
Wind, as it so often has been this season, was a factor, but both squads seemed to adapt to it.
Pagosa had the first threat, and understandably it came from striker Meagan Hilsabeck whose unassisted blast at the two-minute mark was stopped by Miner keeper Genna Kirsch.
After block-takeaways by Pagosa's speedy defensive stalwart Jenna Finney on consecutive Telluride possessions, Hilsabeck and then Brett Garman were stopped by Kirsch.
And then an old nemesis struck again. Caitlin Kirst, the girl who put the first game against Pagosa into overtime with just over a minute remaining, scored unassisted at 16:22 to give her squad a 1-0 lead.
Seven minutes later Kirst was wide right on a breakaway, and at 25:18, Tracy Ranta's bid for Telluride's second goal was hauled in by Pagosa's Sierra Fleenor.
At 28:09, another shot by Pagosa's Garman was snared in net.
But, at 30:37, Pagosa finally pulled even.
Hilsabeck, double- and triple-teamed all afternoon, got a crossing lead from Tricia Lucero on the left wing and tipped it back to a rapidly closing Sara Aupperle who drilled the equalizer.
Kirst was on the attack on the ensuing possession but Fleenor stopped her on consecutive shots before clearing the zone.
With the Pirates mounting attack after attack, a glorious opportunity to take the lead came at 33:13 when Pagosa had a penalty kick from just outside the box.
In a prearranged play, Aupperle faked the drive on goal but dropped a pass to Melissa Diller for the shot. It, unfortunately was blocked on another fine defensive effort by a Telluride midfielder.
Just 47 seconds later, Hilsabeck broke free of her containment for the first time and had a breakaway turned aside by Kirsch.
Pagosa's Amy Tautges, running support for Hilsabeck, had the rebound and a point blank effort from 10 yards but Kirsch had it, too.
At the 37 minute mark, Kirst's bid to give Telluride the lead clanked off the cross bar, up, over and out of play.
Smith, in a good impersonation of Finney, had block-takeaways on the next three Miner possessions and Pagosa's defense swarmed every ball.
With just 18 seconds left in the half, Pagosa got another chance to take the lead when Brittany Corcoran stole an outlet pass and crossed it to Bri Scott for an effort from 20 yards stopped, again, by Kirsch.
With the 1-1 tie holding at the half, Telluride stormed the offensive zone early in the second stanza with Pagosa outstanding defense repeatedly turning them away.
First it was wing Joanne Dix stopped on an outstanding effort by Fleenor. Then Rhea dePayter got into the act with a drive up the middle hauled in by Fleenor.
And then came the play which had everyone talking. Kirst was driving from center left when Smith tackled the ball away. A Telluride player ripped a shot on net that Fleenor came out to bat away.
As she did so, however, Kirst was boring down on the open cage and the free ball.
Smith outran her to the net and stopped her shot then kicked out a rebound effort before Pagosa could clear the zone.
"That was the best play I've seen all season," said the official who first called attention to it after the game.
But, back to the action. After another block-takeaway by Finney, Pagosa lost the ball at midfield on a missed kick. Thus, at 48:14, Fleenor faced both Kirst and Sarah Lamb boring down on her.
She didn't bite on Kirst's fake drop pass and kicked the ensuing shot out where Lamb was waiting.
Her drive, too, was stopped by Fleenor.
At 50:09, Pagosa had another excellent opportunity but Diller's 26-yarder off a drop from Aupperle was just wide left.
Fleenor had another fine save at 52:36, stopping a riser delivered by Dix.
Then it was Pagosa's turn to shine but Aupperle's free kick was blocked and the chance had gone awry.
At 64:18, it was Fleenor again to the rescue, stopping Riley McIntyre from the left wing.
Smith returned to the fray with two more block-takeaways and Kirst couldn't have been blamed for wondering where the defensive wizard was hiding.
At 67:28 Fleenor again answered the challenge, flagging down a bouncer from dePayter.
At 72:10, Pagosa's Kyrie Beye almost had a high, looping 40-yarder, played perfectly on the wind but with just a little too much foot
And then, at 74:21, the Miners got what would be the winning goal on a perfectly executed give-and-go with Shelly Hale dropping a pass to Britt Whitelaw and breaking for the net where Whitelaw found her with a centering cross and Fleenor was unable to flag down the drive.
With Pagosa trailing 2-1 and time waning, one final chance awaited. Liza Kelly broke free on the left wing with just 14 seconds remaining.
Her effort to tie the game and send it into overtime was foiled by Kirsch and Telluride's celebration could begin.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, visibly drained by the sudden end, was full of praise for his defense, from the midfielders all the way back to Fleenor in goal.
"Each one played above and beyond what we could reasonably expect," he said. "It was a tough one to lose when everyone played so well."
The season is not over for the Lady Pirates who finished the league season at 6-3-1.
They will host an opening round game in the state playoffs, hosting a team from the Tri Peaks League in Golden Peak Stadium this week. At press time, date, foe and game time remained undetermined.
Scoring: 16:22, T-Kirst unassisted; 30:37, P-Aupperle, assisted by Lucero and M. Hilsabeck ; 74:21, T- Hale, assist Whitelaw. Shots on goal: P-14, T-13. Saves: P-Fleenor, 10, T-Kirsch, 10. No card penalties.
Kickers find range in second half; stop Center 5-0
By Richard Walter
With the wind at their backs, the Lady Pirates launched 19 first half shots against Center in soccer action in the San Luis Valley Thursday.
Whether it was the wind playing tricks with the ball, shots taken too soon, or excellent play by Center's keeper, only one of the shots found its mark.
Pagosa had shots go over the net, wide right, wide left, off the post and crossbar, and one that sailed completely out of the field enclosure.
Center, meanwhile, going into the stiff wind, got past midfield only once in the half and failed to get a shot on goal.
Pagosa's frustration came early and often. Their first shot, by Melissa Diller at 2:29, was over the net from 30 yards.
Then it was a series of ineffectual efforts.
Meagan Hilsabeck was wide right on a drop pass from Bri Scott; Hilsabeck's chip shot from the right was blown outside the left post and Brittany Corcoran's drive was stopped by Center's keeper.
At 10:49, Corcoran's shot was wide left and at 13:37 Tricia Lucero's header off a corner kick from Sara Aupperle was stopped.
Almost exactly 10 minutes later, Lucero's drive from the left wing sailed over the net.
Pagosa kept the ball continuously in Center's defensive zone. Hilsabeck's shot at 23:41 was stopped on an excellent dive save by Center's keeper.
At 32:19, the game still scoreless, Pirate Amy Tautges gave a portent of things to come. She drove the right wing, skipped past a defender and drilled one right on that was stopped.
Then, in quick order, Corcoran was wide right, Aupperle wide left and then Aupperle had a corner kick curve just outside the right post.
Finally, at 33:25, Tautges put Pagosa on the board scoring off a centering drop pass lead from Aupperle and Pagosa had a lead it would not relinquish.
Three more Pagosa shots were taken in the half. Aupperle was wide right, Liza Kelly wide left and Diller wide right as the goal appeared to keep dancing in the wind.
With Kelly in goal for the second half in place of Sierra Fleenor who had not even had to touch the ball in the first frame, Pagosa seemed more intent and more in control of the ball while going into the wind.
Still, there was early frustration. Hilsabeck was wide right with her first shot and Corcoran's corner kick timed to ride into the wind, hit the right post.
And then, the Pirate teamwork began to show as positional play became the modus operandi and pinpoint passes resulted.
At 44:47 Lucero hiked the Pagosa lead to 2-0, scoring on a neat position switch crossing pass from Hilsabeck off the left wing.
Hilsabeck broke her personal scoring drought for the game at 48:15 in another demonstration of outstanding team play.
Hilsabeck started the drive herself, centering to Corcoran on right wing. Corcoran's crossing pass to Scott driving from left was chipped forward to Hilsabeck on top of the keeper and the score was 3-0.
Just two minutes later, Scott's opportunity to join the scoring parade ended when her corner kick was held high in the wind and gathered in by the keeper.
Then it was Lucero's turn to be blown out of a scoring chance, her left footer on a drop lead from Scott going wide right.
At 58:03, Hilsabeck got her second goal of the game and 23rd of the season converting a turftop lead from Aupperle right up the middle.
It wasn't all gold for Pagosa in the second half, however, as shots still slipped off target.
Diller's blast from 25 yards skipped left and was stopped; Scott was wide right and Tautges sailed one that somehow got over the net despite the wind.
The final Pagosa goal came at 74:39 when Corcoran ripped one from the right wing converting a clever reverse drop from Tautges.
As the Pirates resorted to control ball the balance of the game, only one more shot on goal was attempted.
Scott's header off an Aupperle corner kick was snared by the keeper and seconds later the game had ended.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, somewhat concerned about lack of intensity in the first half, was highly pleased by the motivation shown by his team in the second half.
"Sometimes," he said, "we seem to play better when the weather conditions are against us."
"We went to the ball much better in the second half, recognized and reacted to positional opportunities, and worked switches and overlaps to perfection on several occasions.
The victory hiked Pagosa's league mark to 6-2-1 (8-4-1 overall) and a second-place standing in the Southern League Mountain Division heading into a Friday game against Telluride in Cortez.
Scoring: 33:25, P-Tautges, assist Aupperle; 44:47, P-Lucero, Hilsabeck; 48:15, Hilsabeck, assists Corcoran and Scott; 58:03, Hilsabeck, assist Aupperle; 74:39, Corcoran, assist Tautges. Shots on goal: P-26, C-2. Saves: C keeper, 13; P- Kelly, 2. No card penalties
Tennis season kickoff event
A free tennis season kickoff will be held May 10 at Fairfield Pagosa Tennis Center with a full morning of activities open to the public starting at 9 a.m.
Local players will open the program with a short exhibition doubles match. Then, 9:15-9:45 attendees can join the Court Carnival and view for prizes of tennis apparel and equipment.
Two clinics also are on the program to help players improve ground strokes, volleys, serves lobs and overheads. Participants will also be able to demo new racquet technology and apparel catalogues will be available.
The event is sponsored by Fairfield and Dale Schwicker, a Prince pro team member, USTA clinician and the club pro at Fairfield.
For more information, call 731-8060.
Pirate hurlers blank Ignacio for share of IML title
By Richard Walter
Pirate bats sprayed base hits all over Ignacio's baseball field Saturday as Pagosa Springs swept a doubleheader and assured themselves a share of the 2003 Intermountain League title.
While Pagosa hitters were feasting on Bobcat pitches, Pirate hurlers were limiting Ignacio to a total of three hits in the twin bill.
The 12-0 first game victory went to Josh Stone who had nine strikeouts. Jarrett Frank got the second game win, going three innings and allowing a lone hit.
Ben Marshall pitched the final two innings in the second game 15-0 victory, striking out five of the eight men he faced, including the side in order in the fourth.
First game highlights included a pair of long home runs by first baseman Lawren Lopez, leading off in both the fourth and fifth innings.
In the second game, the Pirates went into the fourth with a 4-0 lead and then erupted for 11 runs on 13 hits in the next two innings to put the game away.
That gave Pagosa a 7-1 league record, the same as Bayfield, which swept a doubleheader from Centauri.
The league tournament is scheduled Saturday in Bayfield with Pagosa getting the number- one seed as the result of a league coin toss Monday.
As a result, Pagosa will meet Centauri at 10 a.m. Saturday. Bayfield will play Monte Vista and the two winners will play thereafter.
Two teams advance from the league to regional play at a site yet to be determined.
David Kern doubled to left center to open action and moved up to third when Marcus Rivas grounded to first. Josh Stone ripped a line shot that was flagged down by the Ignacio pitcher whose throw to third caught Kern for a double play.
Adrian Abeyta opened Ignacio's first grounding out to Rivas at third. Romero singled to center but was wiped out when Price grounded into a 6-4-3 double play.
Pagosa got two in the second after Ben Marshall walked, stole second and went to third on an errant pickoff throw by Romero.
Lopez singled to center but was out at second when Frank hit into a force play. Levi Gill hit a liner to the shortstop and Ignacio looked like it might escape unscathed.
Jeremy Caler stopped that thought with a single to center scoring both Marshall and Frank before designated hitter Michael Dach struck out to end the uprising.
Reynolds walked to lead off Ignacio's second but Stone got Justesen and Huerta on strikes before Adair hit a soft roller for an infield single giving the Bobcats runners at first and second.
Hogue, however, became Stone's third strikeout victim and the threat was over.
The Pirates went quietly in the third, Kern popping to Romero, Rivas grounding back to Romero before Stone singled to right, and then stole both second and third. He died there when Marshall grounded out to third to end the half inning.
Ignacio had its only threat - without a hit - in the bottom of the third. Melrose drew a walk leading off. After Abeyta struck out, Romero was hit by a pitch putting runners on first and second. Price fanned for the second out Reynolds reached on a fielder's choice and the sacks were loaded for Justesen.
His fly to left was hauled in by Caler and the threat was over.
Lopez led off the top of the fourth with a long home run to left center. After Frank fanned, Gill singled to right, Caler singled to right, Dach drew a walk and Kern singled to right driving in a pair. Rivas grounded to first but Stone reached on an error which allowed two more runs to score. He then stole third and scored the sixth run of the inning on a wild pitch before Marshall struck out to close the threat.
Huerta drew a walk to lead off the fourth for Ignacio but Adair, Hogue and then Gilbert, batting for Melrose, all struck out.
The Pirate fifth opened with Lopez again leading off and this time his home run went to right center, perhaps as high as it was in length. Clayton Mastin, batting for Frank, grounded to first for the first out. But Gill drew a walk and stole second. Caler popped out to the catcher, but Dach delivered a double to score Gill. Kern reached on an error by the third baseman which allowed Dach to score as Kern went all the way to third. A passed ball allowed him to score before Rivas grounded out and the lead was 12-0.
With Dach in right field for the Ignacio fifth, it seemed Ignacio had sights set on him.
Abeyta drove him back five steps to haul in his fly ball and Romero hit a screaming liner that Dach snared with a leap high to his left. Price drew a walk but Reynolds fanned and Stone got the victory with the mercy rule halting action.
Pagosa didn't wait long to get started in this game.
Kern opened with a ground ball to second that was misplayed allowing him to reach. He moved up to second on a wild pitch by Reynolds and stayed there as Rivas bounced to second.
Stone singled to drive in Kern and stole second. Marshall grounded out to third but Lopez singled to left scoring Stone. Gill ended the attack when he lined out to third.
After Abeyta grounded to short to open Ignacio's first, Romero singled to center for what was to be the Bobcats' only hit in game two.
Price grounded what looked like a double play ball to Stone, but he fumbled it and then threw wildly putting runners on first and third.
Frank responded to the challenge striking out both Huerta and Justesen. For all practical purposes, that was the end for Ignacio.
Frank opened Pagosa's second with a line shot single to center, stole second and moved to third on a catcher's throwing error. Caler was a quick out on a roller back to Reynolds, but Belarde reached on a fielder's choice. Kern grounded to second but Rivas delivered an infield hit for one run. Stone reached on an error at second but Marshall flied to left to end the inning.
Pagosa went quickly in the third, Lopez and Gill each bouncing back to the pitcher and Frank popping to first.
Ignacio's third was a four pitch inning for Frank. Romero flied to center on an 1-0 count, Price popped to second on the first pitch and Huerta popped to third on the first pitch.
Then the Pirate onslaught began.
Caler led off Pagosa's fourth with a single to left. He held second when Belarde, too, singled to left. He went to third on a wild pitch but was out on a fine play by Reynolds when Kern grounded back to him. With Kern at first and Belarde at second, Rivas ripped a double to right scoring two and Stone followed with a double driving in Rivas. Marshall singled to score Stone, moved up on Lopez grounder to short and scored on Gill's single before Mastin fanned. Six Pirates had scored on seven hits in the inning.
Coach Tony Scarpa, looking to get others into the pitching action in preparation for the league tournament Saturday, pulled Frank, sent Marshall to the mound, moved Rivas behind the plate and put Mastin at third.
Marshall went to 3-2 on Justesen before striking him out and then fanned Reynolds and Adair on three pitches each.
Pagosa's fifth was another offensive surge with 10 men batting and five more runs scoring on six hits.
Caler led off with a walk, Belarde collected his second straight single, and Kern singled to right to drive in two. Rivas fanned for the first out and Stone was out on a fly to left.
Then Marshall, Lopez, Gill and Mastin singled in order before Caler flied to center to end the inning with Pagosa up 15-0.
All that remained was for Marshall to stop Ignacio in the bottom of the frame to force the mercy rule into effect again.
Gilbert reached on an error to open the frame. Hogue struck out and Abeyta hit into a fielder's choice, Gilbert cut down at second. Romero walked, but Marshall fanned Price to end the game.
Game 1: Scoring: P-12 runs on 10 hits and 3 Ignacio errors; Ign.- 0-2-0. Home runs: P-Lopez 2. RBIs: P-Kern 1, Lopez 2, Caler 2, Dach 1. Strikeouts: Stone 9, Romero 3. WP-Stone, LP-Romero.
Game 2: Scoring: P-15 runs on 17 hits and 3 Ignacio errors; Ign., 0-1-0. RBIs: Kern 2, Rivas 1, Stone 2, Marshall 2, Lopez 1, Gill 2 , Belarde 1. Strikeouts: P-Frank 2, Marshall 5; Ign.- Reynolds 2. WP-Frank, LP-Reynolds.
Pagosa races to strong showing in Alamosa
By Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Pirates faced down a bit of a wind Saturday to continue to improve their times in preparation for the Intermountain League meet this Saturday in Bayfield.
"Our girls did great," Coach Connie O'Donnell said. "The relay times and individual times just keep getting better. Katie Bliss is running really well and showing a lot of determination in the 400. She ran a personal best this weekend. Our hurdlers are really coming on strong. Mollie Honan and Janna Henry have been knocking seconds off each weekend. They are really good at practicing the basic skills of hurdles including boring drills. I really think that is what has made them do so well in meets."
On the boys' side, some of the relay teams had to be rearranged because of athletes competing at an FBLA event, O'Donnell said. The teams had some trouble with baton handoffs and were disqualified in two relays, but the boys still finished fourth with 67 points among 16 teams.
Pagosa trailed Alamosa, Centauri and Bayfield. Alamosa, a 4A school, won the invitational with 154 points. On the girls' side, 3A Centauri won the team trophy.
Unfortunately, due to a printing problem in Alamosa, placements and official electronic times for Pagosa Springs athletes were not available by press time.
Based on hand times, in the 400-meter run, Bliss, a senior, ran a personal best of 1 minute, 5.8 seconds. Her teammate, senior Ashley Wagle finished the same race in 1:11.6.
Junior Roxanna Day bettered her pole vault from a week ago by 18 inches, clearing 7 feet 6 inches in Alamosa.
In the 100-meter hurdles, Henry and Honan, both sophomores, shaved several tenths of a second off their times from a week before. In Alamosa, Henry finished in 17.67 and Honan's time was 18.36.
Freshman Mia Caprioli shaved three-tenths of a second off her 100-meter dash fourth-place time of a week ago, finishing in 13.2. She ran the 300 hurdles in 52.2.
Distance-runner freshman Emilie Schur took almost a second off her 800-meter run time, finishing in 2:29.6. The girls' 800 relay team of Alex Rigia, Caprioli, Henry and Bliss finished in 1:56.51, almost a second faster than a week earlier.
On the boys' side, sophomore Otis Rand topped Pagosa's effort in the 400, finishing in 53.4, over a second faster than his time of a week ago.
In the 100, sophomore Paul Armijo led the Pirate's effort, finishing in 11.61. Brandon Samples finished top among the Pagosa Springs contingent in the 800, finishing with a time of 2:10.7. In the 200, Jared Kinkead cleared the tape in 24.4 to lead the Pirates.
Saturday's district event begins at 9 a.m.
Special Olympics slates track-field meet May 7
Special Olympics Colorado will hold its annual southwest area track and field event May 7, 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Durango High School.
Officials say at least 90 athletes from the surrounding area will participate with students ranging from elementary to high school age.
Activities will include typical track and field events such as pentathlon, 100-meter dash and shot put. In addition, for those students with more involved physical disabilities, there will be bean bag toss, wheelchair slalom races and a 10-meter walk.
"Special Olympics can accommodate all ability levels," said Lynn Martens, area manager. "We provide adaptations in every sport we offer for those athletes who are unable to participate in the traditional manner."
Special Olympics also provides integrated activities through its Unified Partner® Program where people with and without disabilities compete together. For example in track and field, the Special Olympian and their Unified Partner® both run the 100-meter dash against other athletes of similar ability. Then, both times are combined for a total team score.
The program allows family members, peers and friends the opportunity to participate alongside the Special Olympian.
"The program helps to create an inclusive community where everyone belongs," said Martens. "It's exciting to see it in action during our school events. The Special Olympians are encouraged and motivated by their peers and the typical students learn to approach differences with more tolerance and acceptance."
For more information on the event or to become involved with Special Olympics, call 385-8545.
Not more fires, just different results
By Tom Carosello
"For years, we had been suppressing fires because we thought it was the best thing to do - of course now we know that in some cases it was and in some cases it wasn't."
That was Bob Frye's introduction Saturday morning to a group of about 20 people who gathered near the intersection of Piedra Road and Forest Road 629 to tour four sites within the Turkey Springs area where various fire-risk management efforts have been conducted the U.S. Forest Service.
Frye, a supervisory biologist with the Pagosa Ranger District, was accompanied by several district employees throughout the presentation, which was designed to educate and inform the public with regard to effects the district's fire-management initiatives are having on area forestlands.
A few surprising statistics were revealed during the tour, which included demonstration areas where fuel reductions have taken place by means of chain-saw thinning, hydro-mowing and prescribed burning.
For instance, while the catastrophic wildfires spawned by last year's record drought led many to believe the total number of fires statewide soared above average, according to Frye "there hasn't really been an increase in the number of fire starts, just different results."
To that effect, Frye explained that while the number of forest fires has remained relatively constant through the years, recent wildfires have been more intense, longer in duration and have resulted in more fatalities and property damage than at any time in history.
"When people generalize and say fires such as the one in Yellowstone National Park are a natural occurrence, that's sometimes not the case," said Frye, "The fire is natural, but the results are often not."
Legislators have taken notice, said Frye, indicating the amount of funding Congress has allocated for measures aimed at reducing the abundance of high-risk areas resulting from unnatural, crowded forest conditions has increased by fivefold in the past few years.
"We have a whole new fuel model that we didn't have before," added Scott Wagner, district field forester, explaining that current thinning efforts are designed to restore - as closely as possible - the health of the forest to its former, pre-European settlement state.
Wagner conveyed that until permanent settlers arrived in about 1880, most areas of the region's forestlands were subject to naturally-occurring fire every 6-10 years. Such frequency kept forest fire conditions in balance, reducing ground fuels and preventing wide-ranging crown fires.
After 1880, said Wagner, the forest underwent change as a combination of factors took effect. Intensive grazing by sheep and cattle reduced grasses and bushes to the point that fires could no longer spread, preventing the occurrence of natural forest regeneration.
Then, between 1914-1917, as a result of several years of wet weather, the region experienced a surge in the population of ponderosa pines. When logging started some years later, the largest ponderosas - those better adapted to fire - were selected and the smaller trees left behind.
The removal of full-grown ponderosas resulted in a lowering of the forest canopy and abundance of ladder fuels, conditions which prevail today.
"Mature ponderosas are very fire-adaptive trees," explained Sara Brinton, district ecologist, citing the fact that many of the area's larger ponderosas bear the scars of past fires yet continue to grow.
"But those lower to the ground are obviously susceptible to fire," she added, stating that the high number of young trees found in today's forests would not have been the norm in the past, thus the rationale for thinning dense groves of young ponderosas and scrub oaks.
Despite the efforts, which are collectively referred to as "adaptive management," the risk of wildfire will always be present.
"No matter how much money Congress gives us, we're continuing to fall further behind every year; that's just reality," said Frye, offering controlled burns as an example.
Frye indicated the state currently allows the district to treat a maximum of 158 acres per day with controlled burns, although the district could treat roughly 250 acres under the proper conditions.
"We're a little bit limited; sometimes it takes two days to do what should take one," said Frye, adding the district implements controlled burns in the spring and fall, when the humidity levels recover enough during the night to prevent runaway fires.
Jo Bridges, district ranger, explained ongoing fuel-reduction efforts in the San Juan National Forest such as the controlled burns conducted in Kenney Flats this week are not done at random.
"We're going to try to figure out what is the right activity for the right area," said Bridges. "We look at cumulative effects, what effect a particular action within an isolated location will have on the area as a whole."
In conclusion, Bridges indicated the success of the fire-management program - and all district projects - depends on two-way communication with the public.
"As always, we certainly welcome public comment and invite anyone who is interested in knowing more about the Forest Service to stop by the office or call," said Bridges.
For further information regarding controlled burns or other district projects, call the district office at 264-2268.
evaluations result in dismissal
By Richard Walter
A school district employee deemed unauthorized and unqualified to make evaluations of other employees was dismissed Tuesday.
That action came after almost two and a half hours of executive session at a special meeting of the Board of Education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.
With school district legal counsel Reese Miller in attendance, the board heard Errol Hohrein's defense of his actions; heard from Dennis Kleckner, district building maintenance supervisor and Superintendent Duane Noggle.
In a specially prepared resolution after the executive session, adopted unanimously and read to the public by director Carol Feazel, the board spelled out the basis of the issue.
The resolution noted Hohrein, a maintenance helper, had presented a series of complaints and directed those through the administration to the attention of the board.
It said the board "desires to expedite the procedure for addressing the complaints and Mr. Hohrein has been agreeable to bringing the complaints directly to the board."
It noted the board had provided a hearing "at which Mr. Hohrein was able to address the complaints in executive session, the board heard input from the administration and has reviewed all available documentation."
Specifically, after setting that format, the board resolutions stated the following points:
"1. Mr. Hohrein described a number of concerns regarding his supervisor. Mr. Hohrein's input is valued by the Board and will be taken into consideration to the extent permissible under district evaluation procedures.
"2. Notwithstanding the preceding, Mr. Hohrein is not authorized nor qualified to evaluate other employees and his attempts to do so have been in a manner that is disruptive to the district's operations and to personnel relationships within the district.
"3. Mr. Hohrein identified a number of district concerns that the board will review and, if appropriate, will direct remedial action.
"4. The board finds that the complaints identified by Mr. Hohrein's rights have not been violated. The board further finds that the complaints identified by Mr. Hohrein, whether valid or not, do not entitle Mr. Hohrein to a remedy under board policy.
"5. The board directs the administration to provide a report to the board on the several building concerns described by Mr. Hohrein. The board will then be able to consider necessary remedial actions, including, if necessary, personnel actions. This report may be coordinated with the input to be received from the consultants currently engaged by the district."
After adoption of the resolution, the board, on a motion by director Mike Haynes, seconded by Feazel, voted to terminate Hohrein's employment, effective today.
No detail was available on Hohrein's specific complaints.
Keyah Grande will host event for United Way
By Kathi DeClark
Special to The SUN
United Way of Southwest Colorado, Archuleta County is pleased to announce The Keyah Grande Wine and Cheese Tour, 3-6 p.m. June 7.
Barbara and Alan Sackman have graciously agreed to open their home for a fund-raiser. They live full-time in Long Island, New York. They have come to Pagosa Springs several times a year for two weeks at a time since 1984.
They are both big game hunters and have won numerous awards and participated in hunting and conservation programs all over the world.
Mrs. Sackman said she is pleased to be able to do this as a fund-raiser for United Way of Archuleta County. She said, " We feel very close to the community and have watched it grow over the years. We like the traditions. We always go to the Fourth of July parade with our grandchildren and never miss the rodeo. We especially enjoy the RiverWalk. Pagosa Springs has been a very special place for our family."
Tickets will be $25 in advance before Wednesday June 4 and $30 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at The Chamber of Commerce and Wolf Tracks Coffee Shop.
McInnis bill would put reforestation on fast track
U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis has unveiled comprehensive legislation to address "America's forest health crisis."
He cited the exploding number of large-scale catastrophic wildfires in the last several years and the growing incidence of fast-spreading insect and disease outbreaks in all parts of the country.
The bill, the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, was authored by McInnis and Oregon Rep. Greg Walden along with House Resources Committee chairman Richard Pombo and Bob Goodlatte, chair of the House Agricultural Committee.
The bill has over 70 cosponsors from wide ranging parts of the action, and from both sides of the aisle.
McInnis and Walden, whose home states both experienced record-setting wildfires last summer, spearheaded a bipartisan push to enact healthy forests legislation in the 107th Congress, a process that ultimately fell short as time ran out on Congress and the bipartisan talks.
"The proliferation of catastrophic wildfire and massive insect and disease outbreaks is, in my estimation, the single largest and most daunting challenge facing our natural resources managers today," McInnis said.
"It's a wildland epidemic that is going to continue to despoil our air, water and wildlife unless and until policy makers chart a decisive new course. This bill sets that course in a thoughtful, deliberative and balanced way," he added.
The Healthy Forest Restoration Act would establish streamlined procedures to hasten the implementation of scientifically-proven management techniques (like thinning and prescribed burning) on national forests, Bureau of Land Management lands at unnaturally high risk to catastrophic wildfire or large-scale insect and disease epidemics, placing express priority on management of wildfire prone lands near communities and sources of municipal drinking water.
Of the 190 million acres identified by federal land managers as being at unnaturally high risk to wildfire, the bill stipulates that these expedited procedures could be used to treat hazardous conditions on 20 million acres.
The bill codifies the bipartisan Western Governors Association collaborative model for both identifying and receiving public input on forest management procedures.
To provide what McInnis called "reinforced assurance" that the public has a full opportunity to engage public land decision makers, the legislation calls for an additional open public meeting on all projects implemented under the bill's expedited authorities, providing an opportunity for public input over and beyond current requirements.
"The bill expedites the bureaucratic decision making process, but in a way that honors the imperatives of meaningful public participation," McInnis said. "Anyone who says this bill provides anything other than a robust opportunity for the public to engage land managers is simply not being straightforward and looking at the facts.
In order to accelerate the implementation of forest management work, the bill would require that federal land managers perform a full environmental analysis only on the proposed forest management action, and not on a litany of additional alternatives to the proposed action.
"If, after engaging its own scientists and the public under the WGA's collaborative model, public land managers decide to thin and control-burn a thousand acres of at-risk lands near a community," McInnis said, "this bill requires a full environmental analysis and documentation of the impacts of that 1,000-acre project, including any potential effects on water quality and wildlife."
Under the bill the agency would not be required to perform time consuming analysis and documentation to alternatives that consider the impacts of the treatment on, for example, 10 acres or 10,000 acres as is currently the case.
After public input in the case of the example, however, the agency could always modify the parameters of the original 1,000-acre project and its accompanying analysis if the decision makers and the public were to discover new information or change their minds during he course of the multiple-layered public input process.
The bill also directs the Forest Service to establish an alternative administrative objections process to the current conflict-oriented appeals process. The new objections process would apply only to hazardous fuels projects on Forest Service lands that meet the terms of the legislation.
The Forest Service is the only land management agency to have an appeals process codified in statue, established as a legislative rider to an appropriations bill in the early 1990s. In other words, a hazardous fuels reduction project implemented on at-risk lands on the Deschutes, White River or Plumas National Forest face a significantly higher administrative appeals bar than the exact same project would encounter if implemented in Yellowstone National Park (Park Service), the Klamath Basin Wildlife Refuge (Fish and Wildlife Service), or the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (Bureau of Land Management).
"A wildfire mitigation project on the San Juan National Forest shouldn't have to encounter a significantly more onerous administrative appeals process than the same project would encounter at Mesa Verde National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park or on any BLM lands," McInnis said.
Recognizing the fact a declining forest condition is not a phenomenon limited to public lands, the legislation also establishes the Healthy Forest Reserve Program, a private forestland conservation initiative to support the establishment of conservation easements on a million acres annually of declining forest ecosystem types critical to recovery of threatened and endangered species.
Teddy Roosevelt, early in the last century, wrote a book titled "Fear God and Take Your Own Part," in which he discussed the problem of "hyphenated Americans." This was when Wilson sat in the White House and Teddy was a bit frustrated with America's obvious lack of resolve over the war in Europe.
Former President Roosevelt spoke about how the role of "political correctness" played out even in his time, was crippling America's leadership role in world events. Many German-Americans were pressuring the Wilson Administration to stay out of Europe's affairs. Some Mexican-Americans were pressuring Wilson to stay out of the Mexican Revolution, even as Poncho Villa's forces were raiding American towns killing innocent civilians.
Japanese-Americans claimed that America had no right to dictate to Imperial Japan while it committed aggression against China. Roosevelt's opinion was either "you're an American, or not," suggesting that the hyphenated-Americans were more loyal to their former countries than they were to the one they supposedly now pledged allegiance to.
Teddy questioned if you couldn't be an unhyphenated American, why were you here in a country you couldn't support?
Today, hyphenated-Americans still exist, of course, but unlike Teddy's era, it's not the ethnic-Americans, not even Muslim-Americans who pose the greatest threat. It's liberal-Americans or to put it more accurately, Marxist-Americans, leftist-Americans and, perhaps the best description, anti-Americans.
These are people of all colors and ethnicity but for the most part, spoiled-soft-white-middle-class-Americans. The problem with these hyphenated-Americans, is that nationalism, even for another country does not drive their loyalties.
Rather a treacherous, selfish and evil ideologue that suggests "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness," should not be held by the majority, but rather by the minority of intellectual elite who, of course, are the only ones who know what is best for the masses. For the most part they are anti-God, anti-self defense, anti-military and anti-Constitution, except when they use the First Amendment for their own propaganda.
I suppose the best that could be said of these new hyphenated-Americans, is that they are the greatest kind of hypocrites. They, like the terrorists, use our country and its freedoms to launch attacks against our citizens from within our own shores and then hide behind our Constitution. Like the Iraqi soldiers who hide behind innocent civilians, waiting to ambush our soldiers, they enjoy these freedoms but embolden Saddam's regime with violent protest, giving the terrorists the impression we Americans will blink under pressure at home, like we did in Vietnam, and Somalia. The great American Roosevelt, would be proud to know most of us Americans still "Fear God," and will "Take Our Own Part," because if we don't, the new minority, these new hyphenated-Americans will continue to give aid and comfort to the tyrants and terrorists of the world, just like they always have.
Pray for our troops! Pray for America!
The situation with the Upper San Juan Health Services District is very dynamic and deeply felt by all of those with a stake in the process.
The ACHCP has heard many opinions and appeals over the nine month period we have been actively pursuing positive change in the district.
In the last few days we have heard considerably more such communication. This letter is designed to provide information concerning the ACHCP's position and the process we are pursuing.
We are sorry if our process interferes with any other recently begun process or committee but we will not slow down or stop our recall petition.
We believe the board members being recalled have proven, beyond doubt, that they are not able, due to interest, experience, time, attitude and intellect, to fulfill the positions they hold and lead the system into the future.
We believe it was their decisions and total failure to be responsive to the district's medical director, the employees, the citizens, and the situation that caused the current drastic condition.
We do not believe these people deserve a stake in the future of health care in Archuleta County.
Please understand our perspective. Over the nine month process several people or groups have approached us saying that they have the solution and the power to over come the problems.
Some of these individuals seemed powerful enough to accomplish their goal. We have, several times, slowed the process, only to see their effort fail.
We have now begun the recall process and there is a time limit for that process. The stakes are simply too high to take the chance of slowing down and failing to obtain the number of signatures required. We have a campaign that begins this week.
When we have the signatures and have carefully checked each one for legality, we will then make the decision of when to file the petition with the authorities.
We hope you find this information helpful.
For the last couple of years there have been problems with the hospital board and the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic, mainly financial problems.
It is important for the community to realize that these financial problems were largely caused by the failure of the board members to properly budget, and failure to effectively collect the moneys due the clinic for services.
The problems were not with the doctors and employees who have always done their jobs. The community loves the staff. They are involved with patient care, not finances, and they are wonderful with patients.
To sit on a board of directors you should have a certain amount of expertise and skill because businesses like the water board and hospital board are among the biggest businesses in town.
You shouldn't sit on a board just because of the honor of being elected, for if you do you become a yes man rather than someone with skill and vision who can direct that business.
If you sit on the hospital board with no expertise in budgeting, collection and handling employees, you are not going to do a good job any more than if you sat on a water board for 25 years and failed to anticipate water needs for a steadily growing community.
Also, you cannot violate the rules by making improper and illegal e-mails, such as was done by a board member. If he didn't realize the e-mails were illegal he certainly did not have the vaguest notion of what is required in that job and he lacked expertise.
So, I say it is time for the board to go, not the employees. Dee Jackson deserves an A-plus for straightening out the finances, but an F for the way she attempted to handle employees. It is time for the board and Dee Jackson to quietly remove themselves from the scene, and if they refuse, they should be recalled. They have become an embarrassment to themselves and the community.
On Dee's side
First, I would like to take a quote from the Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli: "There is nothing more difficult and dangerous, or more doubtful of success, than an attempt to introduce a new order of things in any state. For the innovator has for enemies all those who derived advantages from the old order of things, while those who expect to be benefited by the new institutions will be but lukewarm defenders."
I understand that change is difficult, and Dee Jackson is admirable for taking on the task of changing our sick health care system. I am certain there are things that could have been different, but experience will take care of those. The USJHSD Board should also be commended for caring enough to serve our community.
As far as leadership needs, the board has done well entrusting Ms. Jackson to fulfill her leadership duties.
When did Pagosa Springs, Colo. officially change its name to the "Harper Valley, Colo."? It seems like some of our fine citizens, once again, have decided "throwing stones" is the only answer to correcting a bad situation.
I would like the volunteers of the USJHSD board to know that these "fine citizens" are not speaking for all the citizens in Archuleta County. In addition, bringing the director of the district and the current board down is not the answer to our problems. The problems will continue.
The challenge of a small staff resigning was hard but let me remind you that they resigned. Whether they come back on their terms or the district's, the problems aren't resolved. We still need adequate health care and a hospital district that won't be bankrupt in a year.
The current staff has demonstrated their lack of responsibility to the clients. They walked out. Now, with their hats in their hands and with a spokesperson, they want their jobs back with no interference from the board.
What a choice - either lose the best director that the district has ever had or lose a staff because of their own power struggle with the upper management and the board.
I say, board members stand firm! If you allow them to come back then let them back on your terms.
Some of the "head hunters" should be very careful with what they are saying. In addition, the district manager's size, shape or color is absolutely not relative. If you have proof that the district manager has done something illegal, something unethical or have any other unlawful reasons for demanding her removal, then bring it forward.
The fact that someone says, "She's not a people person," that "She's too aggressive" or that "She doesn't understand the small town mentality," is not a reason to demand her resignation; it's a reason to give her a promotion.
Health care is a business not a social hour and it needs to be treated as one. This is not a popularity contest. Or is it?
Ask questions and get accurate information before you decide if it is fiction or is the truth. Your neighbors' intentions may not be that honorable.
No White Knight
Since I like being retired not only in body but also in spirit, I have been hesitant to write about everything that activates my adrenal glands. However, the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board has pushed me over the edge.
The board seems of the opinion that the current manager is some kind of White Knight who came riding in on her gallant steed and killed the dragon. First the board needs to realize that there was no Dragon - only do-nothing boards.
The board of approximately three years ago failed to question that manager's actions, to look at the books or to try to determine what was happening to the service they were supposedly governing. They simply kept their heads buried in the sand. The result was chaos and a huge debt.
Then the current manager, apparently a competent bean counter, came aboard, created more efficient procedures and got the financial books in order.
With the aid of the money from the new taxes, the debts were paid and the clinic is now solvent. According to everyone she has done a commendable job, but certainly not one of heroic stature.
However, the current manager has also managed to affront, frustrate and infuriate every health care employee at the Mary Fisher Clinic and many other outside health care professionals. These professional people are of the highest caliber of any with whom I have entrusted my life.
One or two malcontents in a group is not unusual. But when all employees agree on an action as drastic as to resign in mass, the onus is on the manager. It is impossible to believe that the nurses or doctors I know could be influenced by a couple of malcontents.
The board should recognize that doctors and nurses are not plug-in components and neither are their patients. Doctors, nurses and patients build relationships over the years that are extremely important and even critical to the welfare of the patients.
It is time for the current board to pull their heads out of the sand. The board's dragon is about to devour the tail it wags.
By Laura Bedard
Always trying to keep in step with the times, we are going to start line dancing classes, if enough people are interested. We also need a teacher, so if you'd like to strut your stuff or teach us how, call Laura at 264-2167.
Are you interested in participating in a chronic illness group? Call Musetta at the senior center, 264-2167.
We had a great Easter celebration on Good Friday. Dawnie served a wonderful lunch of salmon, corn, coleslaw and cupcakes.
We also had our baby picture contest, and June Nelson, Elaine Nossaman and Marsha Ferguson won prizes for guessing who each baby was. The funniest picture prize was given to Bill Kimble. We also had the Seeds of Learning kids here to hunt for Easter eggs.
For those who have computers, you can now get our newsletter online at archuletacounty.org/Seniors/seniorcenter.htm then click on links.
At the same address, you can now check out BenefitsCheckUp, a wonderful screening tool to let you know if there are any programs you are eligible for.
Home test predicts complications - an excerpt from Prevention Magazine:
"An inexpensive, cuff-style blood pressure monitor available in drugstores can help stop the most debilitating complications of diabetes before they start. Just check your AM blood pressure - in bed.
"People with type 2 diabetes and high morning blood pressure may be at higher risk for diseases of the eyes, heart and especially kidneys. (A high a.m. reading indicates blood vessels are damaged or aren't relaxing during the night, a signal of diabetes-related damage through the body). Test morning pressure while sitting up in bed, within 10 minutes of waking up. Readings above 130/85 are considered high and should be discussed with your doctor."
You might want to check out AARP's online games. They are under the travel and leisure area at aarp.post.intellimedia.com/UM/T.asp?A910.18842.1326.6.315007
Computer guided joint surgery - an excerpt from Prevention magazine:
"An artificial knee (or hip or shoulder) will work best and wear least if its perfectly aligned with your own bones. Now surgeons are calling in an artificial brain - an infrared camera hooked up to a computer - to measure crucial angles during joint replacement procedures.
"Tiny transmitters placed on the patient's leg send images to the computer, which displays an image of the knee joint with important angles and distances marked. In a European study of 821 joint replacement patients, 35 percent of the computer-navigated cases had perfectly aligned bones, compared with 24 percent of those without it.
"Artificial joints take a beating; a replacement knee, for example, is twisted, flexed and jarred millions of times in a year and subjected to forces equal to six times your body weight while you jump rope or simply walk downstairs.
"The problem: Stress and activity can break down a fake joint's plastic parts, sloughing off tiny particles that inflame joint tissue and damage nearby bone.
"One solution: Researchers are experimenting with more durable metal and ceramic joint replacement parts that may one day replace polyethylene. Trials are underway."
Guests and visitors
We were pleased to serve Eve Martinez and Joan Guckert lunch on Good Friday. Joan has helped us with our walking program, but we don't see her much beyond that - she's too busy walking.
We also saw Ed Dailey and Gene and Shirley Takach for lunch April 21.
May 2: 10 a.m. Walking Awards Day, Qi Gong; 11 a.m. veteran's benefits with Andy Fauthereee; 1 p.m. dominos; no Medicare counseling today.
May 5: 1 p.m. bridge for fun
May 6: 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class
May 7: 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class
May 8: Trip to Durango.
New priority rules exclude many from prescriptions
By Andy Fautheree
One of the reasons so many of our veterans, especially senior veterans, are encouraged to sign up for VA health care is for access to low-cost prescription drugs.
With the new priority rules in VA health care that exclude many veterans from enrolling and obtaining health care through the VA medical system, that avenue to the VA pharmacy prescription program is cut off.
Under the current guidelines, if the veteran cannot get VA primary health care because of income level or no service-connected disabilities, they cannot get prescription drugs. The VA primary physician must prescribe the drugs. This really hurts our veterans with limited income resources.
Policies can change
However, as I have mentioned here frequently, I think these policies could change. There has been more and more mention in VA news lately of proposals to allow the VA to work with Medicare to provide some sort of alliance that could include prescription drugs.
H.R. 1309, "The Veterans Prescription Drug Benefits Act of 2003" was recently introduced in Congress. The legislation would provide a Medicare outpatient drug benefit for veterans who are eligible for Medicare.
The bill would require the VA to establish a program for providing prescription medications ordered by veterans' private physicians. Medicare would fund this new benefit. While VA provides a prescription drug benefit to its patients, there are only limited situations today in which VA fills prescriptions ordered by non-VA physicians.
Under the legislation, veterans would be the first among American seniors and disabled people to have a Medicare outpatient drug benefit. The bill has the support of several major veterans' service organizations.
As we all know, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs restricted enrollment of higher income veterans to those who were enrolled prior to Jan. 17, 2003. This bill would allow veterans who no longer have the option of receiving a full continuum of health care services to receive subsidized prescription drug coverage from VA.
It is felt the new drug benefit for Medicare eligible veterans could also have the effect of eliminating the enormous waiting times that have developed as higher income veterans have flooded the system to seek inexpensive prescription drugs. As of the end of January, about 202,000 veterans had waited longer than six months for a first primary care visit or for necessary follow up care.
Support HR 1309
Governmental sources have indicated VA could save money by avoiding duplicating services veterans have already received to obtain a prescription drug order in the private sector. That report stated VA could save more than $1 billion a year by providing a drug benefit to lower priority veterans who are mostly using the system to obtain inexpensive drugs.
It sure makes sense to me. But, remember it is only a pending bill in Congress, and would need to win broad support to become law. I would urge you to write our congressmen and urge their support of H.R. 1309.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Events fill the Pagosa spring calendar
We want to recognize and thank those who participated in the Volunteer Recruitment Fair Saturday.
We had a marvelous time despite the fact only about a dozen people came to "shop" the fair.
A lot of great networking took place among the nonprofits, and I personally adored the time I was able to spend with folks learning more about them and just generally getting to know them better.
Thanks to the American Red Cross, the Colorado Mountain Rangers-Troop F, Friends of the Performing Arts, Friends of Native Cultures, Habitat for Humanity, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Music in the Mountains, the Pagosa Area Trails Council, the Pagosa Ranger District, the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, the San Juan Historical Society and the San Juan Mountains Association.
Thanks, too, to Doug and Morna Trowbridge who once again gave up their Saturday in the name of the Chamber of Commerce.
Congratulations to Archuleta County Fair Royalty Pageant directors Pamela Bomkamp and Mary Jo Coulehan for a perfectly delightful production.
It was a smooth as silk, and the girls were all simply charming with their Q and A with MC John Porter, as well as their big group production number. It was clear that a lot of time and hard work went into the pageant, but the result was well worth it.
Melinda Baum accompanied on piano, Lisa Hartley was stage manager, and I have no clue how these two begin to keep up with all the staged events here in Pagosa. They are to be commended for their considerable contributions to our performing arts.
I did not envy the task of judges Sandy Bramwell, Emzy Barker and Maggi Dix Caruso to select just one young lady in each category, but they did a stellar job.
Congratulations to the new Fair Queen, Randye Taylor, Fair Princess Tamara Gayhart and Junior Princess Payton Talbot, all of whom were remarkably composed and gracious. Actually, every one of the contestants did a marvelous job on that stage, and we in the audience thought they were all winners.
You still have an opportunity to attend a Diplomat training workshop tomorrow if you missed the one yesterday afternoon.
These are those wonderful volunteers who host the Visitor Center seven days a week during the summer and make friends from all over the world for the entire business community in Pagosa. They do indeed earn their moniker of "Diplomat" in so many ways.
Feel free to join us at the Visitor Center tomorrow, 9-11 a.m., to meet the corps and learn about becoming a volunteer for the Chamber of Commerce.
If you have questions, please give Morna a call at 264-2360.
Congratulations to cast and crew for a great job on "Mousetrap." This was a production that had so many setbacks to finally reach the audience that everyone deserves an especially big pat on the back.
When it was first scheduled to appear, folks were dropping like flies with that especially virulent virus that landed in the community and just wouldn't let go. Congrats to all, and we're already looking forward to the next production.
Tonight is the debut of the Community Choir's first spring concert, "There is a Season" at the high school auditorium beginning at 7 p.m.
We know this group does a magnificent Christmas concert and can only guess that their spring concert will be right up there on par with that one.
Pam Spitler will conduct the 40-member choir performing a wonderful variety of sentimental favorites, fun pieces and patriotic selections.
This group has been working and practicing for months, so I hope to see everyone there. This is easily the most affordable event in a long time because admission is free, so the price is perfect.
Music in the Mountains
Once again I encourage you to purchase your tickets for all three or just one or two of this year's Music in the Mountains concerts.
Dave and Carol Brown have once again graciously offered their facilities at Bootjack Ranch as the venue for these fabulous events which promise to play to sellout crowds. We are grateful to the Browns and all those who work so hard to ensure the success of these performances.
Violinist Vadim Gluzman, and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform Mozart and Prokofiev July 21. Aviram Reichert and festival musicians will present "Romancing the Piano" July 25, and Antonio Pompa-Baldi and festival musicians will present Dvorak and other piano works Friday, Aug. 1, followed by a reception.
Tickets are ever-so-affordable this year at $35 for the July performances and $45 for the August performance and reception.
Another piece of Music in the Mountains is a program called Music in the Mountains Goes to School, and Melinda Baum has acted as local liaison to bring this to Pagosa schools.
The program, which has reached more than 4,000 music students in the Four Corners regions so far in 2003, puts festival musicians in the schools for mini-concerts and hands-on instruction.
A grant from the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club made it possible for this program to be launched here in Pagosa this year.
The Chamber of Commerce is the only ticket outlet for Music in the Mountains, so please stop by soon to pick up your tickets so you won't miss out on this fabulous opportunity.
I encourage you to purchase your tickets soon as I assure you that we will be sold out before you know it. We sold out last year, and the tickets were quite a bit more expensive.
I am delighted that this year's tickets are so much more affordable and hope you all will take advantage of this bargain. Please give Doug a call at 264-2360 with questions.
Just so you know: We can't hold tickets for you this year, but you can purchase them with a credit card if you like.
The Bicycle Rodeo 2003 will be held in Town Park 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, and all children between the ages of 5-10 accompanied by a guardian and an operating bicycle are eligible to participate in this fun and educational event.
Free bicycle helmets will be distributed while supplies last and the rodeo will feature obstacle courses, clowns, safety manuals, safety rule cards, and food and drinks. Sounds like a great party.
The Pagosa Springs Police Department will be there to register bikes, and the Wolf Creek Wheel Club will be there to make sure all the bikes are safe to ride.
I assure you that if I had a young one, I would be there to take advantage of this terrific opportunity that could ultimately save lives.
If you have questions, give Holly a call at 731-9289 or 731-4191 for more information.
The good folks at Navajo State Park invite you to attend their Spring Open House Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in their beautiful new Visitor Center.
Refreshments will be offered as well as door prizes, a 10-percent discount on selected books and free stickers for the kids.
At 11 a.m. a dedication ceremony will be held for the completed Sambrito Trail and Interpretive Signs and students from Ignacio High School who helped with this project will be honored as well. After the ceremony, a short hike will be taken to the Sambrito Wetland Pavilion for a reception.
Volunteers will be needed 1-4 p.m. to help clean up two other trails in the park with tools and supplies provided. You are encouraged to bring your own work gloves for this project. All the volunteers will be admitted to the park free that day and are asked to meet at the Visitor Center.
For information about any of these activities, call the park at 883-2208.
Equine nutrition seminar
Our friends at Mill Creek Veterinary Clinic, Drs. Jim and Patty Latham, invite you to attend an Equine Nutrition Roundtable May 5, at 6 p.m. at the Extension office at the county fairgrounds on U.S. 84.
Topics discussed in this seminar will include Nutrition in Health, The Pregnant Mare, Growth, Minerals, Vitamins E and C and Geriatrics. The Nutrition in Disease segment will include The Carbohydrate Theory, Laminitis and Cushing's Syndrome.
If you would like to learn more, call Patty at 264-6334.
Habitat for Humanity cordially invites you to attend the Friends of Habitat Dinner Meeting May 9, 6:30 p.m. at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat located at 2297 U.S. 84.
The Habitat folks are looking for volunteers to help them build their 11th house and hope you will join them for the meeting and free dinner.
Friends of Habitat is the volunteer branch of Habitat for Humanity and offer volunteer opportunities in many areas.
Please RSVP to Judy Clare at 264-0025 to become a part of this worthy community endeavor.
One new member to introduce to you this week and eight renewals. It is always a pleasure to welcome new businesses/individuals to the fold and to renew our loyal supporters.
Elliot "Skip" Earl joins us this week with Pagosa Data Design with offices located in his home on Beaver Circle here in Pagosa. Pagosa Data Design is a local data services and Web development firm specializing in small office and residential computer hardware and software support. He can assist you as well with the planning, design, development and hosting of business-to-business and retail Web sites. To learn more about how "Skip" can help you, please call him at 731-3767 or contact him on the Web at www.Pagosadatadesign.com.
We're happy to renew Dawn Ross with Buckskin Towing and Repair, LLC; Jace and Kelly Johnson with the Liberty Theatre; Brenda Eaves with Rainbow Gift Shop, LLC; Bob and Mary Hart with Hart Construction Corporation; Michael DeWinter with the Pagosa Springs Music Boosters; Lili Pearson with Shutterbugs; John L. Smith with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group; and Sharon Hermes with The Durango Herald. We're grateful to each and every one.
Two fire films are now available
We have two videos donated by the Forest Service, the San Juan Public Lands Center and other government agencies giving important information on how to protect your home from wildfire.
We shouldn't be lulled by the moisture we've received this spring; wildfire will always be with us. "After the Fire," is a thought provoking film about learning to live safely in the aftermath of the Missionary Ridge and Valley fires of Southwest Colorado. These fires burned more than 70,000 acres and were followed by devastating mudslides.
Why were these fires so intense? Why will we be facing dangerous mudslides for years to come?
"Protecting Your Home from Wildfire," gives detailed instructions on how to make your property safer.
Both films may be checked.
Health and nutrition
The latest Tufts Nutrition Letter discusses household chores that may be too taxing for some people's hearts. Vacuuming may bring on angina symptoms as well as bringing laundry up from a basement can be a problem. If a chore makes you short of breath, your doctor should know. Find out more about this along with making heads or tails out of the nutrition claims in the Sunday circulars; how to stop hearing the ringing of tinnitus, and where and how to store potatoes.
Is your name on the list to get some money? Did your Uncle Mo leave you a nest egg and forget to tell you? Probably not, but check the list anyway. We have a copy at the library.
"The Life of Pi," by Yan Martel already has a waiting list. This is an impassioned defense of zoos, a sea adventure that is a parable that covers the gamut from brutality to tenderness while being funny. Pi sees no problem with practicing Christianity, Hinduism and Islam. It is a tale of survival and faith. It couldn't be more timely.
Rep. Mark Larson and Sen. Jim Isgar tried to help maintain the state library cooperative network. For close to 40 years, seven regional library offices were maintained to help small rural libraries such as ours.
These seven entities lost total funding for next year. The implications are not well understood even by librarians all over the state. All cooperative programs are in question - this includes interlibrary loan. I will attend a meeting this week to find out more about the future of state library services.
Our library lost about $3,500 for book purchases, and we think we will lose our $200,000 grant for our building addition. Bad times for library patrons.
We are thankful for all of you who continue to donate materials: Larry Larason, Bob and Carole Howard, The Methodist Thrift Shop, Anna Dennis, Bev Worthman, Violet Hamblin, Carol Hakala, John Cramer, David Howe.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Allison R. Diller has graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas.
During the six weeks of training, the airman studied the Air Force mission, organization, military customs and courtesies, performed drill and ceremonial marches, and received physical training, rifle marksmanship, field training exercises and special training in human relations.
Diller, a 1998 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, earned distinction as an honor graduate.
The daughter of Dorman and Betty Diller of Pagosa Springs, Allison is now undergoing advanced tactical computer training in Biloxi, Miss., before reporting to her first duty station in Montgomery, Ala.
Navy petty officer 3rd class Kenneth G. Kelley, son of Kenneth G. Kelley of Pagosa Springs and Debbie D. Alderson of Uvalde, Texas, is currently participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom in the Arabian Gulf assigned to Sea Control Squadron 22 about the aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman.
Kelley is one of more than 8,000 Atlantic Fleet sailors and marines aboard ships in the Truman carrier battle group.
Based at Naval Air Station , Jacksonville, Fla., Kelley's squadron flies the S-3B Viking, a multi-purpose jet aircraft capable of long range surveillance of shipping, air-to-air refueling, locating and destroying enemy submarines, and other missions as required.
Kelley is a 1999 graduate of Victoria High School, Victoria, Texas, and joined the navy in September, 1999.
Queen for a year
By Tess Noel Baker
By Tess Noel Baker
For the last year, Brittany Fisher has been living "every little girl's dream." She's been a queen, complete with a sparkling crown to wear.
Sunday, she passed her crown - that of 2002 Archuleta County Fair Queen - on to 16-year-old Randye Taylor.
Taylor, Princess Tamara Gayheart and Junior Princess Payton Talbot, were chosen as fair royalty from a field of poised, talented contestants during the annual pageant. The runners-up included: Marissa Maddux, Hope Forman and Brooke Spears. A total of 13 girls participated this year, working their way through two separate interviews before final selections were made.
It's a time of nerves. Of tears. Of smiles and of finding new friends.
"It's really a two-step process," Mary Jo Coulehan, co-royalty director, said. First, contestants must complete a person-to-person interview in front of a panel of judges. In that round, completed the day before the pageant, each contestant is asked to respond to the same general question.
A second interview on stage is conducted during the pageant to gauge their performance in front of an audience. This question differs between the age groups. For instance, Coulehan said, junior princesses, ages 6-9, might be asked "What do you like best about the fair?"
For princesses, ages 10-13, the question would be something like, "If someone was to ask you about the fair, what would you tell them?"
Queens, ages 14-18, would be asked, "What would you do to improve the fair?"
Coulehan said as royalty, the girls spend much of their year promoting the fair before adults - either one-on-one or in large groups - and it is essential that they reach a certain comfort level to be successful.
As a former judge, Coulehan said it was surprising how many girls would be good in one situation and clam up in the other.
"We're trying to find someone with a balance," she said. Besides their public speaking ability, the girls are judged on appearance and poise.
"It is not a beauty pageant," Coulehan said. It is an opportunity for the girls to learn some life skills to help them no matter whether they wear the crown or not. Winners receive a $50 savings bond at the end of their reign, a T-shirt for casual events, a jacket and get to keep their crown and sash.
This year, the contestants spent about 10 weeks preparing for the pageant. They used the time, meeting about one hour a week, to practice a group dance and receive tips on public speaking, hair and makeup.
Coulehan and Pamela Bomkamp co-directed the royalty events - their first time with that responsibility. They started planning for the 2003 event last year. Bomkamp said they distributed fliers about four months before the pageant - open to any girl living in Archuleta County.
Bomkamp said in 1984, the pageant actually started as a horse competition. Later, it changed, removing the requirement to compete on horseback and opened to all girls to give the county a broader representation. Each contestant must fill out an application, but requirements are few. Bomkamp said the most important thing is that girls live within the county for their entire yearlong reign. They also cannot be graduating seniors.
The queen contestants agreed, learning the dance, choreographed to "Miracles Happen," was one of the most challenging part of the pre-pageant preparations. It was also fun.
"I wanted something upbeat for the girls, something modern," Coulehan said. "A big focus for us was that no matter what, we wanted the girls to have fun."
In the end, after all, it should be the experience that counts.
"I decided to enter the pageant because I wanted to challenge myself," Queen candidate Laci Jones said. "I usually don't do stuff like this and I normally don't wear dresses."
For candidate Audrey Miller, it went back to a lifetime of watching princesses in local parades.
"The fascination kind of stuck with me," she said.
Ashley Maddux's time as princess inspired sister Marissa to run for queen.
"I looked up to her," she said. "I think it's a great experience for everybody."
For Taylor, entering had more to do with meeting new people and making friends than anything else.
"I've met lots of cool girls," she said. "Everyone's been very sweet."
Each of the girls needs just one formal to participate in the pageant. At least for the queens, that meant some shopping was in order.
"I looked for something shimmering because I think that fits my personality," Taylor said.
Miller bought her dress back in November and has been waiting all these months to wear it. Maddux found hers in a magazine and was drawn to the pale blue color. The color, she said, that reflects some of her best traits - someone who is calm, outgoing and makes friends easily.
Jones said it's important to strike a balance between fancy and overbearing.
"It shouldn't be too fancy because then it takes away from you," she said.
By the lights in their eyes, it was evident each thought her dress perfect. Still, a few nerves were also evident.
"The biggest challenge of all will be tomorrow night being in front of everybody," Jones said. Oh, yes, and dancing in high-heeled shoes.
Fisher, the outgoing queen, had just a couple pieces of advice.
"Have fun and be yourself. If you're not yourself, you won't have as much fun." Taylor actually entered the pageant twice. The first year, she lost, but decided to give it one more shot in 2002. It turned out to be the right move.
Now, its starting over for someone else.
Taylor, and the other royalty, can look forward to rides in parades. Greeting people. Handing out ribbons. Promoting the 2003 Archuleta County Fair July 31-Aug. 3. Public speaking. Community service projects. Monthly appearances. Long days at the fair.
It amounts to lots of memories, Fisher said, a chance to give back to the community and an opportunity to meet many, many people.
"I think my best memories were being able to work with Ashley and Natasha," she added. "It's the whole being a role model to the younger ones."
And when the year rolled to an end, those memories left her with much to smile about.
"It's the closing of your little girl's dream," Fisher said. "It's sad, but I'll still have the friendships, those will last a lifetime, so I won't be leaving anything behind but my crown, and I'll just be passing that on."
Lumberton, full of heart and hope
Lumberton is a struggling community located a little over 30 miles south of Pagosa Springs and just across the New Mexico border. Lumberton might be described as somewhere between a promising past and a questionable future.
A new visitor to Lumberton first notices an unorganized collection of old adobe houses and mobile homes surrounded by what may be the world's largest collection of junk cars. Over in one corner and about a block from U.S. 64 is St. Francis School, the heartbeat of what remains of a once thriving retail center.
Lumberton is a survivor of earlier times when Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge trains huffed and puffed between Antonito and Durango. The train was the artery that held together and pumped life into a series of small communities stretching from Chama to Durango. When the last whistle blew for the last train clattering down the track, it was the death rattle for many of those communities.
Old-timers still remember names like Monero, Amargo, Lumberton, Dulce, Juanita, Pagosa Junction, Caracas, Arboles, Allison, Tiffany, Oxford, and even smaller places that served maybe as temporary lumber mill sites or a mail drop. And the interested sightseer, armed with sufficient information, can still find telltale remnants of most of those locations.
Of all of those places, only Dulce is thriving today. And for Lumberton, located about three miles east of Dulce, the future seems to be tied to Dulce's prosperity.
Once upon a time, Lumberton was closely linked with Pagosa Springs. Before the railroad reached Pagosa Springs in 1900, goods and passengers bound for the hot springs hamlet climbed off the train at Lumberton and onto a stage for the grueling, 30-plus mile ride.
Even after the train reached Pagosa Springs, residents from Lumberton, Dulce, and the surrounding area shopped in Pagosa Springs. Chama and Tierra Amarilla offered little shopping and the paved road to Farmington had not been constructed. Consequently, traveling to Farmington to shop was an ordeal. And so, at least into the 1950s, Lumberton and Dulce folks shopped in Pagosa, celebrated the Fourth of July in Pagosa, visited the doctor and dentist in Pagosa Springs, and in other ways shared a common existence.
Historians digging up Pagosa Country pioneer roots should not forget the Lumberton, Dulce area. Descendants of several proud pioneer families still live here. Among those names the Gomez, Garcia, Archuleta, Cordova, and Martinez families, and others. Some of these families settled in the area by 1876, before Fort Lewis was erected at Pagosa Springs. The Jicarilla Reservation was created in 1887, but rations were doled out at Tierra Amarilla and Amargo long before that to Jicarilla families already hopeful of obtaining a reservation in the area.
Lorraine Medellin was born in the Lumberton area during 1933. Her mother, Cornelia Valdez, born a Herrera in 1905 at Coyote, remembers 1933 as "el ano del nevada" the year of the big snow which killed so many sheep. Following the storm, it took her grandfather all day to make a path between the house and the barn.
Lorraine's father was Henry Valdez. Henry had been born at Edith in 1902, where his dad worked at the lumber mill. Henry's dad had been born at Abiquiu.
Sheep supported Lorraine's father and mother. During the winter, the sheep were kept around the family home between Lumberton and Edith. There was an old road there that formerly ran between Edith and Amargo. A number of houses and a community called Nutritas stretched along that road.
During the summer, the sheep were driven past Edith, past Chromo, and up the Little Navajo River to the flat mountain behind V-Rock. Following shearing, the sheep were driven to the mountains during July, then back home in October. They provided money twice a year, in the spring when the wool was sold, and in the fall when the lambs were sold.
During Lorraine's time, sheep provided much of the support for families living in and around Lumberton and Dulce.
She and her brothers and sisters walked five miles to attend school in Lumberton. In those days, a public school served grades one through 12 and had as many as 40 or 50 students, the count is uncertain. The public school burned in 1965. The new St. Francis School was erected in 1981, but an earlier Catholic school served Lumberton.
Lumberton was quite a place during Lorraine's youth. Serving the community were two grocery stores, three bars, a movie theater, elementary and high schools, and, of course, the train. A state high school opened in 1953, but closed in 1957. When it closed, the building was moved to Dulce where it continued to serve the public school system.
Moving buildings around was quite common. The Monero school building now serves as the Watering Hole, a Mexican food restaurant just east of Dulce. The Lumberton railroad depot has been incorporated into the El Ranchero Restaurant, another Mexican food eatery located along U.S. 64 between Lumberton and Dulce. And the Amargo railroad ticket office, including all bullet holes, was long ago moved to Pagosa Junction.
Youth in Lorraine's time worked hard. They hurried home from school arriving in time to down a hurried snack, then dive into the multiplicity of chores which included tending the garden and animals, house cleaning, cooking, laundry, and on and on. Water had to be carried in buckets from the arroyo to keep the garden green. The garden was necessary to help the family eat.
Most of the family clothes were made at home, but there was the occasional trip to Pagosa in the wagon to shop at Goodman's. Entertainment might consist of a weekly trip to the movie theatre and of course there was church. Lorraine still recalls both grandfathers and many other men in the community following Penitente practices. They worshipped at moradas, one located on a little hill above Lumberton and another near Nutritas.
Important merchant families included the Reads and the Garcias. The Reads owned a building which included a grocery store, theater, and post office until it burned. At that time the post office was moved into a frame building that formerly housed a business known as "Our Place." That building collapsed this past winter.
St. Francis Day, celebrated Oct. 4, was perhaps the biggest celebration of the year. The fiesta included lots of family reunions, food, and dances. Music was provided by musicians from Los Ojos. Most of the dances were Spanish.
Until the railroad closed, coal was mined throughout the area. Mines were located near Monero, Amargo, and Lumberton. By Lorraine's time, Amargo had pretty much disappeared, although her grandfather had lived there. Monero remained a thriving community until the coal mine closed in the 1960s.
Lorraine recalls the past - with its hard work and lack of money - as good times.
"We thought it was beautiful," Lorraine says. "Now things move to fast. It used to rain and snow more. We'd go to midnight mass in a sled."
Lorraine is a substitute teacher in the Dulce schools. Husband Frank, who was born in South America, has worked at construction for 40 years.
Meanwhile, Lumberton struggles, plagued by the lack of a good supply of water. Years ago the Archuleta family started a ditch from the Navajo River near Edith. The ditch was never finished. A community system currently taps the same river a few miles above Dulce. One resident told me the water is not fit for drinking, only fit for a shower, and he was dirtier following his last shower than before he started. There is a hope that Lumberton will be connected to a new community water system planned for Dulce.
And so Lumberton, a community which once supplied contraband liquor to the Dulce Apaches, now is dependent on Dulce for its future. Many Lumberton residents work in Dulce.
Folks in Pagosa Springs with time on their hands and a yearning to learn more about Pagosa Country would do well to visit the Dulce-Lumberton area. Three good restaurants are available, especially if you like southwest cooking. A number of roadside eateries featuring fry bread and other goodies are usually standing around Dulce. You can share laughs in English, Spanish, Jicarilla, and Navajo. History abounds, especially railroad history.
In Lumberton, a number of older adobe buildings remain. Jicarilla mementos can be purchased at the Jicarilla Inn, Jicarilla Culture Center, and Jicarilla Arts and Crafts Center. El Ranchero Restaurant also features a gift shop. And gambling is available at the Jicarilla Inn, a Best Western establishment.
Push the plan
With all the upset at the Upper San Juan Health Services Dis-
trict, it is easy to forget there are other local situations that,
given a certain resolution, could have a profound effect on the future of our community.
Water is one of these, as is the chance of another difficult wildland fire season. The local economy is of concern to all who understand that Pagosa Country sits near the end of what might be a perilously thin economic chain, heavily dependent on tourism and immigration.
Also on the radar screen is an item that might have the greatest long-term effect on our community - the possibility we can create fair and effective land-use regulations for the county.
To those who have lived their lives in this state, who are third or fourth generation Coloradans, the results of a lack of planning are obvious.
In Archuleta County, the memories in the minds of many old-timers of what this land once was are bitter sweet. For the most part, the county has developed without local land use control. At one time, it wasn't necessary. Now, it is.
With the creation of the Community Plan, a blueprint for land use planning was put on the table. Call land use planning what you will: When the veneer is stripped away, it rests on the foundation of zoning.
The county planning office has worked on a zoning plan, producing documents, maps, draft regulations. The work is not done and, with the recent departure of the head planner, creating a meaningful realization of the Community Plan is more difficult than ever.
Some citizens say committees and focus groups should be formed to work on the draft plan and regulations. This is not necessary; citizens had ample opportunity to help produce the Community Plan that regulations must now reflect. Local residents have opportunities to provide input during required public hearings before any land use plan is adopted.
It is time for the county commission to expedite the process.
The commissioners are dealing with elements of a plan - lighting, sign and noise ordinances - yet these are without the regulatory base provided by a county zoning plan. Details are nice, but we need the muscle and vision provided by the overall scheme.
Let's hope the commissioners bring a substantial plan to fruition in a timely manner.
Some county officials say there are two general approaches to the problem.
The commissioners can continue to set the task on desks in the planning department and trust that a lack of manpower will not inhibit progress.
Second, there is money available in this year's budget that can be used - grant funds carried over from last year and the year before. The money can be spent in-house to provide for more personnel, time and energy to be devoted to completion of a comprehensive draft plan. Some in the courthouse say the money could be used to procure the services of a consultant to aid in the process. Whatever the choice, it is time to put the dollars to work, to provide materials for commission/planning workshops and to bring the Community Plan to fruition in the form of workable regulations.
The creation of a land use plan is something that should have taken place 30 years ago. Growth has fueled great things here, but it has caused most of our major problems and, outside of the town of Pagosa Springs and some subdivisions with covenants and restrictions, there has been little in place to manage that growth and to mitigate many of the negative changes it produced.
It is late, but not too late.
Pick Your Own Threat Day
By Richard Walter
Thursday may have been "Pick Your Own Threat" day in America.
Want to be sick? Want to be really sick? Want to die?
Headlines told of :
- the growing threat of severe acute respiratory syndrome and the new acronym - SARS - added to our language. The story warned travelers to avoid Toronto, the first locale outside Asia to merit the warning
- virulent sepsis infections on the rise. The trio of sepsis, septicemia and septic shock infect 750,000 annual in American hospitals and intensive care units
- major study shows clear link between obesity and cancer. Overweight, the story said, accounts for 14 percent of cancers in men and 20 percent in women
- of course the state budget crisis has to be part of the problem. Courts statewide, we were told, have been ordered to cut staffs by 320 positions to save $12.7 million, a move jurists said would "threaten public safety."
And that was on just the front page of the Denver Post.
Page 2 wasn't designed to make anyone feel better. "New nuclear bomb in the works" heralded the main story, reporting the Bush administration has launched a design contest despite arms-control fears. This one has a great name: Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator or RNEP.
Not enough for you? How about Page 6 and its report that the nation's three major grocery chains are artificially coloring the salmon on their shelves to make it pinker and thus appear fresher.
The same page told us what we probably already knew: Traffic deaths last year reached the highest level in 12 years with 42,850 killed in roadway crashes, 17,970 of them alcohol related.
The bad news, of course, leads to page 7 where headlines announce the Federal Communications Commission has doubled airwave space for emergency use by emergency and public safety workers seeking better, faster ways to deal with all the bad news.
Oh, yes, there was the Page 3 item in the Denver and the West section: "Raw milk regulation has dairies stirred up." Seems small dairy farmers around the state, including the Four Corners, are opposed to legislatively mandated implementation of new pasteurization rules while the big dairy industry calls for more regulation.
Small dairies said the process would diminish their milk's nutritional value and destroy their businesses. Colorado, it was noted, has stringent regulations for milk products sold in stores but does not prohibit non-store sales of raw milk.
As if health and threats to it were not already confounding enough, the Business section gave us the news that a Colorado-developed tumor fighting drug has failed to significantly prolong life of the brain cancer patients for whom it was developed.
Confronted with all this news of terror, illness, and threats to mankind, is it any wonder The Scene told us of the growing decline in civility and the erosion of good manners?
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of May 2, 1913
The sheepmen are getting their flocks on the lambing grounds in good shape and indications point to good weather conditions for the lamb crop.
Fred Harman is the only nominee for secretary of the school board to succeed Lorin Catchpole. Fred is a competent and interested citizen and should make a valuable member of the board of education.
The county is drier than it has been for a decade at this time of year and unless some moisture falls soon both the range grasses and dry farm crops will be retarded in growth.
Archuleta County continues shipping in hay, grain and spuds in huge quantities. And we have a soil and climate fitted to produce all these.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 4, 1928
Mrs. Mable Catchpole, present incumbent is the only one who has filed declaration of candidacy for the position of secretary of School District No. 11 during the time limit allotted for that purpose. The election will take place next Monday afternoon,
A number of volunteer citizens started work Sunday towards opening Wolf Creek Pass highway and repeated the endeavor Tuesday, getting through the drifts to within about a mile and a half of the top. Parties from Del Norte and Monte Vista have also been busy this week trying to open the east side of the pass. All will again plunge into the work next Sunday when it is believed that the pass can be completely opened for auto traffic.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 1, 1953
The rodeo committee this week announced plans for a new $11,000 steel grandstand at the Red Ryder Round-Up grounds. The new stand will be capable of seating one thousand people and will be of steel construction complete with roof. The grandstand will be a long step forward in promoting the recreational facilities of the rodeo grounds.
The Town Board met last weekend for further discussion of the proposed water works and to make some preparations for a sufficient supply of water until such a time as some action was taken. They also voted to hold up further discussion on the proposal until such a time as a test could be made on the well at the San Juan Motel which is now producing water.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of May 4, 1978
Mrs. Marguerite Wiley, president of the Citizens Bank, announced this week that the controlling interest in the bank has been sold to a group of investors headed by Donald W. Winter. The sale involved the holdings of the Hersch Family, which had held an interest in the bank since 1924.
A federal grant has been obtained for the construction of a radio system which will be used to operate a county wide dispatch center. Dispatchers for the operation will be paid by grant money and this will enable all law enforcement officers in the county to have 24 hour a day radio contact and will also give 24 hour a day service to citizens who wish to contact a law officer.