Hi ya'll: Here's a holiday primer
By Richard Walter
Rein in and spend some time with us as we show you an old fashioned celebration of this nation's favorite holiday.
While here, you'll get a heapin' helpin' of what we call Pagosatality or, if you prefer, down-home friendliness.
Whatever you've a keen interest in is probably on the agenda and even if it isn't, you'll find something to stir just about any patriotic thoughts.
You want a parade?
One of the biggest in southwest Colorado highlights our July 4 events, starting 10 a.m. Line up early because, traditionally, folks belly up to the curb early and line the sidewalks from 8th to 2nd streets four and five deep on both sides.
Horses of all breeds, cowboys and cowgirls (yeah, they still exist) ride in their finery.
Entries by the dozen form the parade lineup on the high school grounds and the youngsters picked to ride them are chomping at the bit to get it underway.
Musical groups of every kind blend their patriotic tones with the voices of Pagosa.
You'll see firefighters, paramedics, nurses and doctors as all concentrate on the theme of this year's events, "Our American Heroes." You'll find many of them, too: Veterans, survivors of many of our wars in appropriate uniforms of their era. They're the ones who made this celebration possible.
Church groups, youth groups, athletes and beauties of the day all march or ride the route waving to the crowd and savoring being part of a salute to the country which has served them so well.
But this isn't just a parade. It is, as intimated earlier, a celebration, a salute to America and all those men and women who have made her the land of the free she is today.
You'll find family fare with games and picnics starting 4:30 p.m. Friday at Pagosa Lodge three miles west of town and you're invited stay there for the fireworks show Friday night after dark.
How about a watermelon seed spitting contest? A hula hoop competition? Water balloon war, badminton, volleyball, three-legged race, sack race or golf ball hunt? Prizes will be awarded.
We've got that, too, with three days of rip-roaring action at the Red Ryder Roundup and along with it a special opening hour 5 p.m. today with one of the world's preeminent horse trainers from Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship, headquartered right here in Pagosa Country.
Like to see youngun's bounce their way into the light of fame?
Make sure you take in one of the mutton bustin' events at the Red Ryder Roundup, the rodeo now more than 50 years old carrying the name of the comic strip character created by Fred Harman who lived here and for whom a local museum is named at the top of Put Hill going west out of town.
Rodeo performances will provide all the thrills you expect from a western celebration. Calf roping, steer riding, bull riding, racing and clowns risking their lives to keep the riders out of danger.
Too wild for you?
Pop down to Town Park just below U.S. 160 and try the rides in the traditional holiday carnival.
Looking for a bargain?
Park-to-Park offers booths of more than 80 vendors of things from around the land. It's called Park-to-Park because the array of goodies stretches along the popular River Walk from Town Park to Centennial Park lying alongside the newly-stocked San Juan River behind the courthouse complex, where you just might want to dip a line and float a fly while you're in town.
Yep, got that covered, too, after the family picnic and fireworks.
If you haven't already pigged out on the fare from the vendors in the park or from the family picnic or the rodeo grounds, Pagosa offers a passel of fine eateries that can please nearly any taste, from a juicy steak to seafood; from pizza to traditional Latin fare, from Texas barbecue to hot dogs and Frito pies.
As long as you're in town, take a walk on the River Walk, hike the trails on Reservoir Hill (the one south of the river) where 14 trails of varying lengths and difficulty are available. Trail heads above the post office and at River Center Park outline the trails.
Or try your hand at fishing in one of the area streams or lakes.
Tired after all that action?
Take a dip in one of the variety of hot pools available and have the kinks rubbed out by one of the local professional masseuses.
We urge you to be a part of the celebration, not just an observer. Take in all the entertainment venues.
If you're going out into the hills camping, beware of daily fire threat levels and conduct yourself accordingly, being made aware that the county and forest service already have initiated strict controls on burning.
Make yourself aware of them before going out.
And, we want you to be able to go home with good vibes about Pagosa Springs and tell folks where you had the best time of your life.
So, drive carefully on area streets and roads; police here are keeping a close eye on what happens on the roadways, particularly after some of the events drawing large crowds.
Patience should be a byword. And if you are drinking, please don't drive. Pick a designated driver or make sure someone has your keys so you aren't tempted to drive.
When you're ready to depart "The Best of Colorado," give us a wave as you go by.
You're likely to get a friendly,
"Adios amigos. Come again when you can stay longer."
Mountain lions replacing
bear as nemesis of season
By Tess Noel Baker
This time of year, most stories of animal-human encounters center around bears. They're in bird feeders or garbage cans or passing by the local miniature golf course.
But last week, Colorado Division of Wildlife officers used a bear trap for another purpose - to catch a mountain lion.
Division Officer Mike Reid said the young female was inhabiting an area near an Aspen Springs residence. The homeowners have a small child and were concerned with the lion's presence.
"Where it was located, it was not conducive to everyone getting along," Reid said.
As a solution, wildlife officers used a beaver carcass the lion had been feeding on to bait a trap. The lion took the bait and was trapped. Officers, with the assistance of county animal control, tagged the animal and relocated her into the national forest away from subdivisions.
"We took it to a place that had a number of lions taken by hunters so we thought there would be room for her."
Reid said it was one of several mountain lion calls received this year.
"We get more people every year, and therefore we get more calls," he said. In one case, a mountain lion was shot and killed by a rancher after it ate one of his animals.
According to a Division release on lions, the mountain lion, commonly known as cougar, panther or puma, exists only in the Western hemisphere and is one of North America's biggest cats. The Division of Wildlife estimates there are between 3,000 and 7,000 lions in Colorado, with the number most likely in the 4,500 to 5,000 range. They are territorial and individual animals range in areas varying in size from 10 to 370 square miles.
Lions generally will be most abundant in areas with plentiful deer.
Generally, lions are calm, quiet and elusive. They tend to live in remote, primitive country. Such conditions can exist in mountain subdivisions causing the number of mountain lion/human interactions to increase. This increase is likely due to a variety of reasons: more people moving into lion habitat, increase in deer populations and density, presumed increase in lion numbers and expanded range, more people using hiking and running trails in lion habitat and greater awareness of the presence of lions.
Living in lion country
To reduce the risk of problems with mountain lions on or near property, residents are urged to follow these simple precautions.
Make lots of noise if coming and going during the times mountain lions are most active - dusk to dawn.
Install outside lighting. Light areas where people walk so they could see a lion if one were present.
Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Make sure children are inside before dusk and not outside before dawn. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
Landscape or remove vegetation to eliminate hiding places for lions, especially around children's play areas make it difficult for lions to approach unseen.
Planting non-native shrubs and plants that deer often prefer to eat encourages wildlife to come onto your property. Predators follow prey.
Keep pets under control. Roaming pets are easy prey and can attract lions. Bring pets in at night. If you leave your pet outside, keep it in a kennel with a secure top. Don't feed pets outside; this can attract raccoons and other animals that are eaten by lions. Store all garbage securely.
Place livestock in enclosed sheds or barns at night. Close doors to all outbuildings since inquisitive lions may go inside for a look.
Prevention is far better than a possible lion confrontation.
In case of encounter
No studies have been done to determine what to do if you meet a lion. But based on observations by people who have come upon lions, some patterns of behavior and response are beginning to emerge. With this in mind, the following suggestions may be helpful. Remember: Every situation is different with respect to the lion, the terrain, the people and their activity.
People rarely get more than a brief glimpse of a mountain lion in the wild. Lion attacks on people are rare, with fewer than a dozen fatalities in North America in more than 100 years. Most of the attacks were by young lions, perhaps forced out to hunt on their own and not yet living in established areas. Young lions may key in on easy prey, like pets and small children.
When walking or hiking in mountain lion country, go in groups and make plenty of noise to reduce the chances of surprising a lion. A sturdy walking stick is a good idea; it can be used to ward off a lion. Make sure children are within sight at all times. Talk with children about lions and teach them what to do if they meet one.
Do not approach a lion, especially one that is feeding or with kittens. Most mountain lions will try to avoid confrontation. Give them a way to escape.
Stay calm if a lion encounter occurs. Talk calmly yet firmly to it. Move slowly.
Stop or back up slowly, if it's safe. Running may stimulate a lion's instinct to chase and attack. Face the lion and stand upright.
Appear larger. Raise your arms. Open your jacket if you're wearing one. Protect small children by picking them up so they won't panic and run.
If the lion behaves aggressively, throw stones, branches or whatever is available without crouching down or turning your back. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly.
Fight back if a lion attacks. Lions have been driven away by prey that fights back. People have fought back with rocks, sticks, caps, or jackets, garden tools and their bare hands successfully. Remain standing or try to get back up.
Two lightning-caused blazes
quenched; fire danger 'high'
By Tess Noel Baker
and Tom Carosello
Pagosa isn't out of the woods yet - at least when it comes to lightning caused fires.
Crews responded to two such blazes this week. The first flared up June 29 in Hidden Valley, about four miles north of Pagosa Springs on Fourmile Road. It was the second fire started there from a storm that blew through Pagosa Country June 24.
Fire Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection District said the call came out at 10:40 a.m. The fire flared in grass and oak brush, burning about half to three quarters of an acre including three to four ponderosa pines.
"We got it and got it contained just before the wind picked up at noon," Grams said. Seventeen firefighters from the district responded. They were joined by three county firefighters and a 20-person crew from the U.S. Forest Service. The fire was completely contained by 3 p.m. that day.
Firefighters were called out again July 1 when a plume of smoke was reported to dispatchers about 11:40 a.m.
"We located the fire on Bass property west of Echo Lake," Grams said. Once again, lightning ignited an area heavy with ground fuels, including oak brush. Four trees were torched.
Grams said a helicopter crew stationed at Stevens Field responded quickly and put the fire out. Seventeen firefighters from the fire protection district, a county crew and two engine crews from the forest service also responded. By early afternoon, the one-acre fire was completely contained.
Both of these lightning fires were actually located inside county jurisdiction, not in the fire district. Fire protection district volunteers responded to help bring them under control as quickly as possible. No buildings were threatened.
Fire danger is currently rated as high in Pagosa Country and residents and visitors are cautioned to take care during the upcoming holiday.
Fire restrictions are in place in Archuleta County. The restrictions include the prohibition of open fires/agricultural burning and the private use of fireworks.
Also prohibited is the disposal of any burning material "hot enough to cause the ignition of weeds or grasses, such as cigarette or cigar butts, except in a fireproof receptacle designed for such disposal."
U.S. Forest Service restrictions differ slightly from county restrictions and include the following:
- building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, coal or wood-burning stove fire, any type of charcoal-fueled broiler or open fire of any type is prohibited, unless constructed in permanent fire rings or grates within developed campgrounds
- smoking is limited to vehicles, buildings, developed recreation sites or three-foot wide areas cleared of vegetation
- chain saws and other internal-combustion engines must have approved, working spark arresters
- acetylene and other (welding) torches with an open flame may not be used
- the use of explosives is prohibited.
Also, the use of fireworks is prohibited on all Forest Service and BLM lands, regardless of location.
Another Wolf Creek stretch
due for construction delays
By Tess Noel Baker
The highway on the west side of Wolf Creek Pass is the next in line for a facelift.
Its rehabilitation, contracted to Neilsons Skanska Inc., of Cortez at a cost of $8.1 million, involves a 5-mile stretch of U.S. 160 extending from Treasure Falls east toward the summit. The project will run through late fall 2004, with a winter shutdown beginning in November. This season, work will consist mainly of drainage work and soil/rock stabilization.
"We have a lot of water running under the roadway, which causes the highway to shift and heave," CDOT Project Engineer Asa Farington said. "On this project, we've been creating rock drains, under-drains and culverts to relieve the pressure on the roadway."
This is the third and final phase of the 11-mile highway rehabilitation and drainage project started last year. Crews are still finishing up work from the first phases at the snow shed just east of the summit. Through November, impacts to traffic on the eastern side of the project are expected to be minimal with occasional stops for equipment and/or crews on the highway.
Work on the Wolf Creek Pass tunnel project even farther east is scheduled to continue through May 2004 with up to 30-minute delays during the day, Monday through Thursday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and Friday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m. A 12-foot width restriction is in place from 3 p.m.-7 a.m., Monday through Friday and 24 hours a day on weekends and holidays.
Not to be left out, U.S. 84 is also getting a lift. A 28-mile pavement rehabilitation project is underway there through October 2003. Travelers can expect delays of up to 15 minutes. A 10-foot width restriction is in place Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
In Bayfield, construction continues on U.S. 160 at the stoplight causing up to 10-minute delays between 8 a.m.-3 p.m., and up to 20-minute delays during the afternoon rush hour.
In addition, through July 23, some periodic traffic stops are possible 6 a.m.-8 a.m. for concrete work at the intersection. Traffic has been switched onto the newly-constructed westbound lanes so that construction of the eastbound lanes may begin. The speed limit is reduced to 30 miles per hour. A wide-load restriction of 12 feet exists between 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, through early November 2003, the projected completion date.
Forecast for the Fourth: Hot and dry
By Tom Carosello
Trace amounts of rain descended upon Pagosa Country during the past week, but the negligible precipitation did little to quench a countryside that is becoming increasingly parched with the passage of each day.
The predicted weather scenario for the next seven days holds little hope for relief as well; forecasters are indicating the Four Corners may experience the year's hottest temperatures - thus far - during the holiday weekend and into next week.
"Unfortunately, it looks like temperatures could range in the upper 80s to mid-90s for the next several days," said David Nadler, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"The San Juans might see an isolated thunderstorm Saturday and Sunday, but it is likely high pressure will dominate through at least the middle of next week," added Nadler.
"At this point, the region probably won't experience significant precipitation until the onset of the monsoon season, which is probably still a few weeks away," concluded Nadler.
According to Nadler, mostly-sunny skies are expected today and high temperatures are predicted to range from 85-95. Nighttime lows should settle into the 50s.
The forecast for the Fourth of July calls for sunny conditions, high temperatures in the upper 80s to low 90s and lows in the 50s.
The hot and dry trend is expected to continue for Saturday and Sunday, although a 20-percent chance for afternoon thunderstorms is included in the forecast for each. Highs should peak in the 90s, lows should fall into the upper 40s.
The trio of forecasts for Monday through Wednesday predicts high temperatures in the low to mid-90s, mostly-sunny skies and lows in the 50s.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 82 degrees. The average low for the week was 41. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to less than one-sixteenth of an inch.
The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current area fire danger as "high." Fire restrictions across lower elevations are currently in place. Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates and more information, call the district office at 264-2268.
The National Allergy Bureau rates area pollen counts as "moderate" and lists chenopods and grass as the current dominant pollens.
San Juan River flow is falling and ranged between approximately 120-230 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of July 4 is roughly 670 cubic feet per second.
A promise of lots of holiday fun for Independence Day
By Joe Lister Jr.
This year we promise to co-host a very busy, exciting Independence Day celebration at the Pagosa Lodge. Activities begin at approximately 4 p.m. July 4, and end with the largest fireworks show ever to be held in Pagosa Springs.
At 4 p.m. we will start by having a variety of games for both young and old. Games will include a hula-hoop contest, watermelon seed spitting contest, pick the winning duck contest and basketball shoot. There will also be tethered balloon rides available.
Some of the games will cost, while others will be free of charge. For games with fees, the proceeds will go to local nonprofit organizations that have donated time to help with these fund-raisers for their respected clubs.
Games, will be followed by live music, all while the family can enjoy a great menu provided by the Pagosa Lodge restaurant. The music, and hot air balloon ride will start to slow down right around dusk, with the "best ever" fireworks show, right at dusk.
This year's Park Fun program has been very popular place to be for the youngsters of Pagosa Springs. They have come out in droves to all the activities planned by Terri Davis and Tessie Garcia (art teacher). Favorite activity days seem to be swimming days, roller skating days, and art project days - our numbers have been quite high on those days, sometimes reaching 40 participants.
July is the last month of Park Fun. If June is any indication of the way July will be, we are in for a fun month.
Thank you, teachers and counselors for a great first month, you have all done a wonderful job.
We should be getting our final rendering for the master plan for design of the new park adjacent to the high school football field, sometime this month. We will have drawings for the public posted, so come by, analyze the plan and set up an appointment with Joe Lister Jr. for input by calling 264-4151, Ext. 231.
We are excited. We hope we have met the needs of most of the public, however please remember that cost and the reality of what we can build on the site have been taken into consideration.
Stretton sisters bring home state gymnastics titles
By Richard Walter
They represent Pagosa Springs Gymnastics Club.
And in state competition last weekend, Shelby and Sienna Stretton each won state championships in the vault.
That might not be so rare, but the fact they do not have a proper vault mechanism to practice and train on makes their success even more remarkable.
Shelby, the older of the sisters, competing in Optional Division B at the state finals in Evergreen, topped the vault competition for 12-year-olds with a score of 8.825.
Because of the degree of difficulty at the advanced level, this particular event is scored on a 9.2 maximum instead of 10.0 as for the over events. Thus, she was just three-tenths of a point off a perfect score.
She also placed second on bars with 8.6, second in floor exercise with 9.15 and third in all-around with 34.725.
Overall, the championships pitted 300 girls from 17 different teams representing all areas of the state.
Sienna Stretton, in the class for girls 4-11, matched her older sibling with a first in vault, scoring 9.5 (on the 10 scale). She was fourth in the all-around with 34.675.
The Stretton sisters were not the only point scorers for Pagosa, however.
Raesha Ray brought home the bronze on the beam in the Optional B with an 8.825 and was fourth in the all-around with a score of 34.225, her best performance in the all-round in the entire season.
Coach Jennifer Martin was beaming over the performances of Shelby and Raesha.
"I am so proud of both of these girls for having their best performance of the season at the state meet despite the intense competition," she said.
In Level 4-8 years and underage, Toni Stoll brought home bronze in floor exercise with an 8.25. It was her first state meet and her first individual event medal. And she topped it with a fifth-place finish in the all-around.
In the Level 4-9 year olds division, Re'Ahna Ray was second in vault with a 9.2, second on bars with 8.55, second on beam with 8.95 and third in the all-around with 34.7
"She had so many medals she could barely hold up her head," said the coach.
Level 4 - 10 year olds in addition to Sienna, had Jessica Blum capturing silver on the beam with an 8.9 and in floor exercise with 8.6 and third in the all-around with 34.7.
In Level 4 - 11-year-olds, Pagosa was paced by Casey Crow "who had a great meet," said Martin, placing second in vault with 9.25, third in floor exercise with 8.6, and sixth in all-around with 34.675.
In Level 4 - 12-year-olds, Stephanie Lowe medaled for third with 9.125 on valut, just missed silver in all the other events, but won bronze in the all-around with 34.075.
Community batting 1.000 in baseball park donations
By Richard Walter
The baseball complex adjacent to Golden Peaks Stadium is taking on a new look.
The bulk of the transformation is the result of donated materials and labor.
Most evident is the new batting cage constructed at the northeast end of the field.
It replaces an outdated facility which had been tucked into a triangular-shaped area between two softball fields.
And the key was volunteer effort - to the tune of an estimated $10,000-$12,000 in parts and labor.
The town of Pagosa Springs donated the fill dirt and gravel necessary for the cage base.
Circle T. Lumber/Ace Hardware provided cage materials at cost less $200; 4 Corners Materials provided the concrete; A-1 Communications loaned the Bobcat equipment for excavation.
Len Richey masterminded the project and supervised most of the construction effort.
La Plata Electric provided a cherry picker and employee Steve Orr to do aerial flyover and attachment work on the cage.
Untold hours of volunteer labor were turned in by Kurt Laverty, Bob Hujus, Mike Marshall, Bobby Hart and high school coach Tony Scarpa.
And, Richey was quick to point out, many players from the defending league champion Pagosa Springs Pirates and from the summer baseball program's 15-16 Mickey Mantle League volunteered labor whenever possible.
The community effort is just part of an ongoing project at the field to bring it up to standard as "the best field in the region."
The press box/food stand has been remodeled inside and this week was being professionally cleaned top to bottom. New unbreakable glass windows will be installed on the broadcast level (they're on hand and awaiting completion of minor remodeling) and a new backstop will be installed with proceeds from the annual Softball Blowout tournament to be held in August.
Scarpa said the continual contribution of labor and materials for the field are indicative of "how bad this community wants the best and how willing its members are to provide it."
He noted there is a long-range plan for a new type of surface featuring an Arizona clay that is water resistant and easily maintained.
Richey has been a coach for several years in the summer program offered by Pagosa Springs Baseball Club.
Wrestling clubs plan dance to support activities
The Pagosa Springs Pee Wee Wrestling Club and the Pagosa Springs Wrestling Club are combining to put on a benefit auction and dance July 11.
The dance will be held in the Extension building 7-11 p.m. and will feature the music of Andy Janowsky and the High Rollers, one of southwest Colorado's most popular dance bands.
The High Rollers play a variety of styles but their specialties are country dance music and classic rock and roll.
Proceeds from the dance will help provide camp scholarships, travel expenses and uniforms.
Last season the Pagosa Springs Pee Wee Club had over 70 participants, and the growing enrollment has created a demand for new warm-ups and uniforms.
In addition, each year the PWC attempts to send local teenage athletes to camps and competitions. Cost per athlete starts at around $300 and can be as high as $1,000 per athlete, depending on the event.
One camp on the schedule for three Pagosa Springs teen-agers is the Cadet and Junior National Tournament in Fargo, N. D. This event, sponsored by USA Wrestling, features the best 15- to 18-year-old wrestlers in the nation, with over 100 entrants per weight.
Daren Hockett, Michael Martinez, and David Richter of Pagosa Springs will represent Colorado wrestling in this prestigious event in late July.
Dance tickets will be $7 for singles, $10 for couples. Tickets can be obtained before the event at Goodman's, Bank of the San Juans, Citizens Bank and Boot Hill.
The clubs are independent of the Archuleta County school system.
The dance and auction are a great way to support local youth activities and have a good time.
Basin High Rodeo Team meeting set
Basin High School Rodeo Team will hold a June 9 organizational meeting for the 2003-04 high school rodeo season.
The session will be 7 p.m. at StoneAge Inc., 54 Girard St., Durango.
Any high school age students from Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Ignacio or the Durango area interested in joining the team should contact Ken or Brenda Cundiff, adult coordinators, at 247-8142.
Trustees consider options
to allow Seeds to grow
By Tess Noel Baker
Seeds of Learning, a nonprofit early childhood education center on San Juan Street, is looking to grow.
Members of the center's board of directors brought expansion plans to the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees Tuesday for review and asked the trustees to consider a long-term lease - they suggested 99 years - to help them meet fund-raising goals.
Currently, the center operates out of the old Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic building on San Juan Street, located on property owned by the town.
Sue Thorpe, a member of the Seeds of Learning Family Center board of directors, presented the plans. The expansion would add two classrooms and renovate the current facility, resulting in an additional 2,830 square feet.
When finished, the center would include three early childhood classrooms with bathrooms, administrative office space, equipment storage, teacher's room and meeting area and adult bathroom.
The addition would allow Seeds to expand its service to accommodate more children, meet ADA requirements, and provide multiuse opportunity for parent programs and continuing education for early childhood teachers.
Currently, 50 percent of Seed's clients meet the poverty guidelines for Archuleta County. Five are part of the Colorado Preschool program.
In order to get the funding to serve more families, Thorpe explained, they need to be able to show community support to grant-making foundations. That's where the long-term lease is crucial.
Several of the board members said they agree with the need for a facility like Seeds of Learning but balked at the long-term lease.
"My concerns would be your location," board member Jerry Jackson said. "I'm not sure it's the highest and best use for that property." He said until he could see developed long-range plans for the area, a decision on a lease would have to wait.
Board member Bill Whitbred asked for the basis behind their request for a 99-year lease, "Would you be able to function as well under a 30-year lease or a 10-year lease?"
Teddy Finney, former director of Seeds, said the foundations are asking for a commitment that would show their money will continue to be used for early-childhood education.
"When we're asking for money for bricks and mortar they want to know that the brick and mortar will be there in the long run," she said.
The board discussed the possibility of a 10- or 20-year lease with automatic renewal, or possibly adding a clause that would allow the town to sell the property sometime in the future with some of the profit going to help Seeds of Learning relocate.
Mayor Ross Aragon stressed that some kind of compromise should be possible.
"I think this is a worthy cause," he said. "In the beginning when Seeds joined the coalition for the community center, we accepted them and took their money. I'm not going to turn my back on that commitment."
The original plans for the community center included space for a daycare facility. Later, the daycare, most likely Seeds, was moved to a separate building planned for a space south of Town Hall. That site is now being paved for parking.
No decision on the proposal was made. Aragon said the board would plan a workshop to discuss the lease. Representatives of Seeds were asked to determine how much less than a 99-year lease could be arranged and still meet the requirements of foundations for funding of the operation.
Commission works to finish on deadline
By Tess Noel Baker
With time slipping away, the Pagosa Springs Charter Commission continues to work to create a document for governing the town under home rule.
Thursday, they tackled initiative, referendum and recall, elections, council structure, town attorney and municipal court, town administration, boards and commissions, and finance and taxation.
Some articles they approved to take to the board of trustees in August; others they considered for the first time, giving suggestions for creating a draft. They flipped through pages of example documents, discussed different ideas, asked questions.
So far, they have approved drafts of five articles. Four are waiting to be drafted from Thursday's meeting, and three or four are still to be drafted.
Approved is an outline for electing three of the council members at large, and three from a trio of districts divided as equally as possible by numbers of registered voters.
Under the charter, the mayor would be elected at-large by a majority of the voters using an instant runoff system. This is a change from the current system which elects a mayor based on the highest number of votes.
Under the instant runoff system, a majority winner can be determined in a single election, no matter how many candidates. This saves taxpayers the extra money needed for a runoff election, reduces the need for extra campaign fund-raising for a second election and maximizes voter turnout. Under this system, voters actually rank the candidates.
The commission, elected in April to write a home rule charter for the town, plans to approve that charter following a public hearing in the municipal court room at Town Hall July 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m. After that, the charter will be sent to the town attorney for review. The town board is scheduled to discuss the charter, make changes and call an election at the regular Aug. 5 meeting.
Whether or not Pagosa Springs becomes a home rule community will be up to voters in the fall. As a home rule municipality, Pagosa would be governed by the charter, something like a local constitution, created by the commission specifically for Pagosa Springs.
Currently, Pagosa is a statutory community meaning that its local government structure and organization is governed strictly by state statute. The goal of home rule is greater flexibility.
New rural land-use concept clears planning commission
By Tom Carosello
The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission gave unanimous approval last week to what may soon become a viable option for rural property owners in Archuleta County who would like to consider a variety of land-use and development alternatives.
During a June 25 review and presentation of the third draft of a new rural land-use process (RLUP) by Marcus Baker, associate county planner, the commission made some minor adjustments to the document before giving it the go-ahead.
Baker originally presented the conceptual RLUP to the commission in late April and explained Archuleta County's version is an adaptation of a unique process created and currently implemented in Larimer County.
Proposed as an alternative to the current practice of dividing hundreds of acres into 35-acre parcels, the pending RLUP option calls for consideration to be given to protecting the "county's rural character," as well as area wildlife habitat, view corridors and historic and archeological sites, by scaling down the size of the parcel splits.
If given approval by the board of county commissioners, the plan will include the notion of a greater density of smaller lots within "cluster" areas on appropriate large tracts while preserving the resulting majority (minimum two-thirds) of open space as "residual land" for a minimum duration of 40 years.
As defined in the draft, residual land is "an area designated and protected from activity that would significantly alter its ecological integrity, balance or character, including environmentally sensitive areas and areas in agricultural uses."
In short, additional language within the document states "the Rural Land Use Process will be driven by incentives and benefits for both the landowner and the public ..."
One goal county planning staff has set is to keep the process simplified and the accompanying timelines relatively brief.
"Ideally, we'd like to keep the process in the one to two-month range," said Baker.
Keeping the process short, said Baker, is necessary to make the option attractive for landowners who might otherwise consider the traditional 35-acre land splits, which require no review or approval from the planning department.
"If it becomes reality and the process continually takes longer than two months to implement, we'll have to take a look at revising a few things to shorten it up," added Baker.
While subject to change and applicable only to single parcels or two or more noncontiguous parcels (each must be at least 70 acres in size, single-family residential purposes only), the voluntary process is generally outlined as follows:
- The process initiates when a landowner contacts the planning department to discuss the intent to preserve, sell or develop all or part of his/her land and to determine if the process can be realistically applied.
- If feasible, a preliminary plan will be developed by the landowner with assistance from the planning staff. Afterward, planning staff will prepare a memorandum describing the plan to be reviewed by the landowner. If the landowner approves the memorandum, he/she will sign it and pay the necessary fees in order for the planning department to forward it to the proper agencies/authorities for comments and suggestions (San Juan Basin Health Department, Division of Water Resources, etc).
- Following the receipt of referrals, the planning department will schedule a site visit with representatives of a land trust, volunteers and the applicant to enable all to provide additional input regarding the proposed site.
- When the planning department determines the plan meets the proper objectives, it will schedule a pubic meeting with the planning commission for review and discussion of the plan. Following its discussion, the commission may recommend to the board of county commissioners to approve the plan, disapprove it, or approve it with conditions. (The planning commission can also choose to table the request for a future meeting date.)
- After a decision has been reached by the planning commission, planning staff will schedule a public meeting with the county board.
- If the plan is approved by the county board, the landowner/applicant will have one year from the date of approval to submit the necessary final plat and developmental agreement to the planning department.
- All final processing and improvements requirements are subject to the appropriate, corresponding county land use regulations; when all documents are determined to be in compliance, the planning department will present them to the county commissioners for final review and approval.
Since the process is voluntary, in the case that a final development plan cannot be agreed upon by the landowner and the county after negotiations initiate, either party will have the option to back out at any time.
A workshop regarding the RLUP proposal is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. July 15. The session will be attended by the county commissioners and planning staff.
County commissioners approve budget overhaul
By Tom Carosello
The Archuleta County board of commissioners approved budget amendments reflecting a total of $283,471 in changes to expenditures following a brief public hearing Tuesday inside the county courthouse.
The approval marks the second time this year the board has acted to implement necessary changes to the county budget, and according to Bill Steele, county administrator, at least one more adjustment will be needed before year's end.
"We will have one more (change) coming up, possibly two," said Steele, "But we're kind of putting that on hold until we see how we progress through the year financially."
The board approved the year's first slate of budget amendments, which resulted from the need to compensate for a variety of fiscal shortfalls surfacing in January and February, following a public hearing March 18.
Covering a broad spectrum of issues, the list of additional expenses totaled $171,414 and ranged from $1,200 for grease trap maintenance in the county kitchen to $41,672 to facilitate workload improvements for staff members in the county assessor's office.
Commenting on the amendments shortly before the motion to approve them, Commissioner Mamie Lynch expressed bittersweet sentiments.
"This is a tremendous amount of money that was not foreseen in the budget," said Lynch, "But in spite of it being that amount, I am pleased to see we are taking steps to amend budgets rather than overexpending them and running the risk of audits at the end of the year."
The current net changes in expenditures, which are actually the end result of transferring existing revenue between various department fund balances (plus some use of existing fund balances), are broken down as follows:
- building and planning departments, lease of new office space, $37,515. While this amount was not originally included in the budget, revenues resulting from the adoption of the county's new building code earlier this year are offsetting the expense. "We've already recovered more than the amount needed to make up for the cost to move this year," said Julie Rodriguez, county building and planning director.
- overtime pay for sheriff's department, detention/emergency operations, $27,913; solid waste department, $8,575; fleet, $10,401; and road and bridge department, $8,374. "As a rule of thumb, overtime is a situation that has not been budgeted in Archuleta County," explained Steele, "But I think we're reaching that magic line where the size of our organization will require (budgeting) in the future."
- salary survey implementation, $98,016. The amount reflects the cost to implement the recently-approved salary range/pay plan structure for county employees resulting from a comparative salary study conducted by Lee & Burgess Associates earlier this year.
- transportation department, job access and reverse commute (JARC) grant-matching funds, $15,364, and new bus purchase, $48,000. According to Steele, an apparent oversight during the budgeting process resulted in revenues from the corresponding grants for each to be included in this year's budget while the expenditures were not.
- emergency operations, foam units, $28,713. The board approved the purchase of three self-contained, foam dispersal units in early June. The units, or tanks, are loaded into the beds of county trucks and will be utilized as means of providing rapid, initial-attack suppressants in the case of wildfire.
- senior fund, addition to cleaning services contract, $600. The amount will insure proper removal and replacement of chairs during scheduled cleaning of the dining area at the community center.
Grease trap waste dumped by accident
By Tess Noel Baker
It's a greasy, smelly mess.
Water used to clean grease traps from local businesses was apparently accidently dumped June 25 into a storm drain behind the east end of the Pagosa Country Center.
The result is a large pool of rancid grease that is offensive to both the eye and nose.
Town Administrator Mark Garcia said the dumping apparently occurred when a driver for Albuquerque-based American Waste Removal mistakenly dumped the greasy water into the storm drain instead of the sewer. At that location two manholes, one for sewer the other a storm drain, are only about 25 feet apart.
It is unclear if the company had permission to dump the greasy water into Pagosa systems at all.
Garcia said Jeshua Thomas, a maintenance employee at the center had been watching the drains closely because of a suspected problem.
The town is moving ahead with nuisance charges against American Waste Removal, Garcia said. The company has pledged to clean up the mess.
Pioneer Museum open for business July 4-5
By Tom Carosello
In celebration of the region's storied past, the San Juan Historical Society Museum will be open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. July 4, providing locals and visitors alike the opportunity to trace the pioneering footsteps of Pagosa Country's' earliest residents.
The facility, also known as the Pioneer Museum, will also be open 9a.m.-noon July 5. It is located at the corner of Pagosa and 1st streets.
Visitors to the museum can view and learn about many artifacts from the area's past, including antique printing presses, saddles and tack, school room memorabilia and general store supplies.
"We've got literally thousands of items on display, including a total of 86 new items that were donated this year," said Ann Oldham, museum director.
"A unique quality of our museum is that we can match names and faces to the items we receive since 99 percent of the display has been donated by local residents and their heirs," explained Oldham.
One of the more popular displays at the museum features the works of the late Worthe V. Crouse, a longtime resident of Pagosa Springs.
Crouse, a shop teacher at Pagosa Springs high school and highly-skilled blacksmith, helped found the museum in 1974.
"He was one of the charter members of the museum," said Oldham, "And his works have become the focal point for many museum visitors."
On display for the first time this summer is a collection of dental equipment from Dr. Bert Ellsworth's office. Ellsworth graduated from the School of Dentistry at Denver University in 1911 and established his practice in Pagosa Springs the same year.
A portion of the items donated by Ellsworth's daughter, Elaine Ellsworth Kachel, include dental drills, tools, medicine bottles, publications, Dr. Ellsworth's business sign and a graduation photo of his dental class at Denver University.
These items augment the dental chair, Ellsworth's hats and other items donated previously by the family.
Ellsworth was a respected member of the community whose hobbies included hunting, photography and travel. He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge. He operated his dental practice in Pagosa Springs until 1966.
Another of the museum's special exhibits features a display on logging and railroading in Archuleta County.
A.T. Sullenberger was a driving force in both of these industries in the early 1900s. His grandson, Robert Sullenberger, collected photographs and papers relating to this time in our county's history.
Before his death, Robert Sullenberger donated several photographs to the historical society. These are included in the special exhibit and supplement the logging and railroading artifacts the museum already had in its collection.
Also featured is a detailed drawing of a Denver & Rio Grande railroad engine that was donated by the Vernon Cato family. Vernon and his father, Hugh, both worked for the local railroad.
In addition, there are other photographs, the Pagosa Lumber Company safe, a railroad mile marker, railroad time schedule, crosscut saws, pulleys, tools, lanterns, maps and much more.
Regular museum hours are 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays.
Be careful: Auto sales lot is illegal
By Tom Carosello
For sale: Used vehicle.
Low miles, good condition. Runs great. If interested, stop by to see - it's the one parked illegally on the vacant lot just north of the Ruby Sisson Library on Put Hill.
The preceding description, while somewhat facetious, could be applied to a number of vehicles that are temporarily occupying county property south of U.S. 160 between the library and the entrance to Pagosa Springs Elementary School.
The parcel in question, which formerly served as a maintenance site for the Colorado Department of Transportation, has recently become an unlicensed dealership of sorts for those interested in selling an assortment of used trucks, cars and motorhomes.
According to Bill Steele, county administrator, efforts are underway to correct the problem, which may have arisen from simple misunderstanding.
Whether or not they know it, says Steele, people who choose to showcase their vehicles at the site are trespassing and in violation of the law.
"The problem with enforcing the law at this time," said Steele, "is that we don't have it posted with the proper signs, and people are starting to take advantage of the situation.
"Once we have the signs in place, the sheriff's department can definitely start to lean on these people pretty heavily," added Steele.
Because the vehicles exhibit contact phone numbers, a number of owners have already been given due warning, according to Bob Grandchamp, county undersheriff.
"We've made some initial calls to make people aware of the violations," said Grandchamp, who indicated that appropriate "no parking/trespassing" signs are in the works at the county road and bridge department and will likely be in place by the weekend.
Lastly, said Grandchamp, some unwanted expenses will be incurred by anyone who does not abide by future warnings.
"Those who don't comply will have their vehicles towed at owner's expense and will also be given a citation."
PSHS grad named new junior high principal
By Richard Walter
"My first job will be to build on relationships established on the basis of experiences in teaching and in life."
That was the first comment Thursday by Chris Hinger, after he was named principal of Pagosa Springs Junior High School, replacing longtime mentor Larry Lister who retired at the end of last school year.
Hinger, a graduate of Pagosa Springs High School in 1988 who taught earth sciences at the eighth-grade level since coming back to the district in 1995, was one of 12 on the original list of applicants.
A six-member staff committee narrowed the list down to four finalists and began scheduling interviews.
One of the three finalists dropped out of consideration to take a post in Mancos and the committee then focused on the final three, interviewing each individually.
Carol Feazel, vice president of the board of education for Archuleta School District 50, was a member of the selection panel and also chaired the morning selection announcement meeting in the absence of Randall Davis, board president.
She said the panel spent nearly three hours in deliberation after the interviews, attempting to match applicants and their stated beliefs with established philosophies of the school district.
The committee, she said, unanimously selected Hinger as the person "who could best provide stability and a smooth transition for the junior high school operation."
It was noted during board discussion that four of the candidates were local, but only two from within the school system.
The motion to accept the committee's recommendation of Hinger was made by director Mike Haynes, seconded by Jon Forest and passed unanimously.
Director Clifford Lucero, also a member of the selection committee, said, "This was a well thought out decision. We did not rush to make a selection, but carefully scrutinized the comments of each of the finalists."
"I believe in connecting with the kids," said Hinger. "I'm excited about the opportunity to take the junior high school to the next level and to work with the teachers we have."
"There are things we can improve," he said, "but teacher relationships are a huge, strong base from which to start."
"I'm interested in technology, on how the students score," he said, noting he recently completed his master's thesis in extrapolating and analyzing data."
He said he plans to be "an innovative motivator. We'll test, but the story is not just in the test scores. We need to understand the junior high students and work with them."
The district has three teacher openings at the junior high level and Hinger said filling them and finalizing the staff will be his first task. "I'll hit the ground running," he promised.
Members of the selection committee in addition to Feazel and Lucero were Bill Esterbrook, high school principal, Mark DeVoti, intermediate principal, and teachers Maria Gallegos and Dan Janowsky from the junior high staff.
After the selection, it was announced Janowsky is moving to fill a vacancy at the high school and his is one of the junior high posts to be filled.
After graduating Pagosa Springs High School, Hinger attended the University of Colorado where he earned his B.A. in environmental biology and was teacher certified. He graduated from New Mexico Highlands University earlier this year with his master's degree in educational leadership.
His first teaching experience after graduation from Colorado was as a sixth-grade mathematics instructor in the Monte Vista school district.
In addition to his teaching duties, Hinger has been junior high football coach (through this year); junior high wrestling coach in 1997-1998 and junior high track coach in 1994.
His family has owned and operated Bruce Spruce Guest Ranch at the foot of Wolf Creek Pass since 1966.
He is married to Anita Faith and the couple have three children, Jaden Lake, Tate Christopher and Cam Nathaniel.
Hinger's interests outside school include church, family, running, football, hunting and fishing.
July school board meeting delayed for one week
By Richard Walter
The regularly scheduled meeting of the board of eduction for Archuleta School District 50 Joint has been moved from July 8 to 15.
The board made the decision Thursday after a 7 a.m. breakfast meeting, in order to allow time to interview the 27 persons who have applied for the post of maintenance director for the district.
In addition, the board will be prepared to act on teacher vacancy recommendations by new junior high principal Chris Hinger.
The vote to delay the July meeting was unanimous.
The maintenance position was vacated earlier this year when the administration and Dennis Kleckner agreed he could not be effective as both a maintenance worker and the supervisor.
It is anticipated the person taking the post will be strictly a supervisor and work coordinator and not directly involved in hands-on work efforts.
Fishing the Fourth? Go early, go late
By Tom Carosello
Although dry weather and subsiding snowmelt are resulting in decreased flows in Pagosa Country streams and rivers, most tributaries will continue to fish well through the next few weeks.
Fishermen heading to shore's edge during the cooler hours of early morning and late afternoon will avoid the crowds and better their chances for a successful outing.
While area reservoirs traditionally receive heavy fishing during the holiday weekend, the fish in most don't seem to notice and will readily cooperate with a skillful angler.
The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:
- San Juan River (through town) - Stocked last week. Falling flow is clear but warming. Anglers using spinners, flies, marabou jigs and streamers are reporting decent catches of rainbows along with a few browns.
- Echo Lake - Recently stocked. Largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and perch are being taken regularly on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Trout are hitting flies, marabou jigs, spinners in gold and silver, fluorescent Z-Rays, salmon eggs, nightcrawlers and PowerBait.
- Williams Creek Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout is reportedly good in the early morning and late afternoon with live bait, light jigs in orange and yellow, and spinners in gold, silver and bright fluorescents. Kokanee salmon are holding deep, but some anglers are reporting occasional success with flashy spoons and pop gear near the inlet in 10-20 feet of water.
- Navajo Reservoir - Water level and temperature are slowly rising and catfish continue to bite day and night on blood/stink baits near the river inlets and in the shallows. Smallmouth bass are taking Yamamoto grubs and similar soft plastics, and crappie are being caught near rocky outcroppings and underwater brush using vertical jigging methods. Northern pike are reportedly most active in the afternoon and are hitting reflective spoons and plugs.
- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow and brook trout is good near the creek inlets and fair to good in the main body of the lake. Successful anglers are using PowerBait, flies, and brightly-colored spinners.
- East Fork of San Juan - Clear, flows, but falling. Fishing for pan-sized rainbows and browns is fair to good in the early morning and toward evening.
- Piedra River - Clear water from the headwaters to U.S. 160. Fishing is best near dawn and dusk. Browns and rainbows are the predominant catch and are hitting flies, streamers and flashy spinners.
- Middle Fork, Piedra River - Flow is decreasing, but still running clear and cool. Small browns and rainbows are being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.
- Fourmile Creek - Flow remains clear but is falling. Brook trout, cutthroat and a few rainbows and browns are hitting attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners.
- Williams Creek - Water near the campgrounds continues to get heavy pressure, but the creek is clear and fishing well along its entirety. Flies and small spinners are working well for brookies, cutthroats, browns and rainbows near the dam, while mainly browns and rainbows are being taken along the lower stretches.
Now that sodomy has been legalized, how long will it be before pedophilia and bestiality will be legalized? After all, what goes on behind closed doors, such as a bedroom or the Oval Office is private and no one else's business.
Two years ago, the left in Great Britain campaigned hard to have the age for consensual homosexual sex lowered to 16. The House of Lords turned down the measure three times. Over 80 percent of the public polled argued against the measure, but in the end, Tony Blair and the homosexual MPs in the House of Commons forced it through. The day after the measure became law, the same "gay" house of common members who forced the law to lower the age of consent to 16, began campaigning to lower it yet again to 14! Why not just lower it to 12 or 10 ... or 7?
Isn't it strange how the left seems to have such a passion about protecting the rights of children, but are always the ones who stand in the way of child pornography laws under the guise of First Amendment Rights, while promoting aberrant behavior in the class room under the guise of "sex education."
Lets be honest. The "if it feels good, do it" generation simply wants to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it. Bit by bit they are eroding the protection of decency laws in order to selfishly force their agenda on the rest of humanity. If the last 40 years of social decline in America have not proven anything else, it has proven what history has always shown.
Societies soon decline into obscurity when sexual promiscuity and the innocence of children are forsaken for the lustful, selfishness of the flesh of so called adults.
Gee, maybe that's why they called it Sodomy.
The June 23 Denver Post carried a letter to The Open Forum from Terri Takahashi which to me at first was kind of amusing, but later I began to realize that she was making a very serious point.
Evidently The Post has printed an abusive letter by someone belittling both Hillary Clinton and her book, even before it had been released, because her husband was an adulterer.
Ms. Takahashi then pointed out that Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani, both conservative Republicans, had also written books and also were adulterers, but for some reason their conduct never receives the attention which continues to be poured on the Clintons.
If you recall, Gingrich's second wife divorced him because of an amorous relationship with his secretary, who he later married after he left Congress to teach college students.
Giuliani, who once wanted to become a priest, tried to oust his wife from the mayor's residence in New York and install his mistress.
Both of their books were well received. Gingrich now has a job at the White House and Giuliani is a hero both here and abroad.
Ms. Takahashi is asking how the behavior of these men is different from President Clinton's that he and his wife should be targets of such abuse.
This made me wonder if it has to do with conservatism versus liberalism and whether there is a double standard: what's all right for conservatives is not OK for liberals. Or do conservatives simply do their things the acceptable way?
What do you think?
The dream of every American boy who ever went through puberty has come true, according to Bob Edwards of NPR's Morning Edition. Yes, fellas, they've finally perfected an X-ray machine that can see through clothing.
Ever since Superman comics hit the stands, lads have envisioned Superglasses. Slip them on, and off come the clothes and nobody knows but you. It's become a reality in our lifetime. Isn't technology wonderful?
As with every technological advance, there's a down side. This Supervision machine is in the control of (you guessed it) Uncle Sam. To all appearances, Uncle Sam has been vigilantly on the ball to protect our privacy. Every day my mailbox is full of privacy statements from credit card companies, cell phone companies, banks, title companies, insurance agents, financial advisors, doctors, lawyers and Internet providers, all of them put there because Uncle Sam stands by our right to keep our private information to ourselves.
Apparently the same government entity that twists its thumb over corporate America, ostensibly to protect our personal rights, has the other hand wiggling behind its back maneuvering a candid camera.
Uncle Sam is going to put the Magic Eye in the position that will return the most bang for its buck: the airport. And what more logical place? The silent eye can scan our bodies at our most vulnerable moments, when we've squeezed into our tightest jeans or trussed up our cleavage or jammed ourselves into our most uncomfortable shoes so that we can make an impression when we step off the gangplank at the other end. We'll hoist our carry-on onto the conveyor belt and pass through an area that will disrobe us for the inspectors. Smile! Pretend you're happy to be naked.
Will my appendicitis scar be revealed to a complete stranger? Will that unsightly mole no longer be my secret? Will people be arrested for tattoos that make bold political statements?
I suppose the idea here is to see at a glance if someone has a .44 Magnum concealed in an unlikely crevice, or to know if his body is strapped with plastic explosives before he steps onto the plane. But what's to say the weaponry won't fall away with the clothing? What if the stash of cocaine tucked into the nether regions goes undetected by the machine? What's the purpose here?
I wonder to what use the machine will be put during slow times, between departing flights when little or no traffic passes through the security post. Can Mr. Security aim his camera across the airport to take a peek at the babe purchasing a ticket to Miami?
We can no longer make prank phone calls because Caller ID will nail us. We can no longer make the choice, however unwise, not to wear a helmet or a seat belt. We can no longer carry tweezers on an airplane. We can no longer call a corporate entity and speak to a live person. And now this.
It's the ultimate indignity.
Effort not in vain
We wish to offer thanks to every citizen who provided support, carried petitions, and signed petitions for the recall effort. We believe our efforts were not in vain. There is an enormous increase in the public's knowledge and concern for health care in our community and that alone makes the recall effort worthwhile.
We want it clearly communicated that it was a technicality and not a lack of signatures that caused the failure. The required number of signatures was obtained to affect the recall. When all recent petitions are combined, citizens have put pen to paper over 2,400 times to demand change within the Health Services District. The District has yet to respond.
Comment has been made about the cost of the recall effort to taxpayers. If the greatest right of citizens of the United States of America is to vote for and elect our leaders then an equally great and important right is the ability to petition and vote a recall if elected officials are seen as failing at their responsibilities.
What is the cost to democracy if citizens do not act on their beliefs and apply their rights?
This effort has offered good lessons and reminders for all of us. The government holds citizens to a considerably higher standard of perfection than it does itself. In this effort, a dozen citizens and hundreds of signers had to comply with a complicated set of statutes to absolute perfection.
A couple of very human mistakes were made. The recall process offers no opportunity to correct mistakes. It is ironic that this recall effort was based on a large percentage of the county's population believing a government entity is making serious mistakes and acting far from perfection.
As part of the process of recall many citizens trusted the Archuleta County Health Care Project to offer a qualified slate to run for the recalled positions. We believe we gathered a splendid slate of highly motivated citizens with strong and varied credentials. We wanted balance and a depth of knowledge and community experience.
The slate was Glenn Cope, Bobra Schaeper, Lindsay Morgan, Kay Grams, and Jeff Schmidt. These citizens should be acknowledged for their willingness to step into a volatile situation and act decisively. This slate has promised to stay involved and prepare for the next regular election.
The panel will remain active in an oversight capacity. We have projects beyond recall. When things are settled we plan a special event of respect and thanks for our health care workers and we are looking forward to a project that will repair the damage to the legacy of Dr. Mary Fisher. This includes cleaning and repair of Mary's grave. We welcome volunteer help from the community.
My crippled old fingers don't work, ditto my printer, but with patience, perhaps you can read the following.
As a former SUN subscriber and occasional visitor to your region of great beauty, it struck me you might find this of interest.
Truly a cowtown, Chino was, many years ago, not unlike Pagosa absent breathtaking beauty; one stop light (though no Put Hill), law enforcement the San Berdoo County Sheriff, the nearest supermarket some distance away, horses in virtually every back yard, a marvelous bucolic atmosphere (sometimes pungent, given the cows).
We have even shared some common Spanish history, with our Pio Pico and you with the Archuletas.
But this glorious rural ambience (sic) went the way of the cow (to San Diego County or out of state). The population has grown exponentially, homes litter the dairies, shopping centers with all the big box names abound. A freeway defines our northern boundary and gridlock is common.
But you had something unique, a span of great worth (pun unavoidable). A man like Mr. Crouse rarely comes along. I miss corresponding with him.
I want to thank Tess Noel Baker for writing such an accurate article regarding the Think Like Your Dog workshop presented at the Extension Building on June 14.
Robbie Schwartz, Gary McNaughton and I thoroughly enjoyed the parts we played in presenting this information to our community. Tess' article was frosting on the cake.
I do want to remind the community that the event was cosponsored by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owner's Association. Approximately one-third of those in attendance are members of the PLPOA.
It was a great day.
On this Independence Day, all Americans should pause for a few moments to give thanks for a nation conceived in liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In the pursuit of life, all of us need to realize that it isn't how long we live, but how we live life that is important. The courage of the future is in our hands. The courage of the past is in the hands of history.
As our great nation recalls those who have fallen during the holiday celebrations, let us rededicate ourselves to the tradition of courage. Let our youth develop a deep reverence for life and a passionate desire for their freedom. Hopefully, all Americans will remember the courage of those who have woven this tradition into the history of our country.
Personally, I will remember our heritage and history with gratitude; with admiration I will smartly salute our flag and cherish the value it represents when it passes in parade; with respect I will honor our Constitution which proclaims dignity for all persons; with reverence I will hold dear the memory of all those heroes who gave their lives to make these things possible.
During this Independence Day holiday, let our focus be our country, our whole country, and nothing but our country. And, by the blessing of God, may our great country itself become a vast and splendid monument, not of oppression and terror, but of wisdom, of peace, and of liberty, upon which the world may gaze with admiration forever.
No man can suffer too much, and no man call fall too soon, if he suffers or if he falls in defense of the liberties and Constitution of his country.
A happy star-spangled Fourth, America.
I'm writing to you regarding the June 19 article by Tess Noel Baker on the Pagosa Springs Relay for Life.
I am Doug Trowbridges' brother and my wife is battling cancer. While Doug, Morna and Nathan have been very supportive and helpful during this ordeal, we, the New Jersey Trowbridge's, wanted to thank you, all the residents of Pagosa Springs, for your support, time, thoughts, prayers and money you raised in the fight to find a cure for cancer.
Your article touched our hearts. The feeling expressed by Doug and Morna as well as those expressed by the Thorpe's reminded us that we are not alone in this fight.
It also reminded us that what we are experiencing and feeling is not unique to us, but shared by millions of people all over the world.
The residents of Pagosa Springs should be proud of themselves. We certainly are.
We will not forget and will always be very thankful for your support during our fight with this awful disease.
Thank you all.
Jeff and Jeannie Trowbridge
West Milford, N.J.
Friendly Visitor Program can help lonely seniors
By Laura Bedard
We are still selling patriotic flag pins at the senior center for only $2.50. Come in and purchase one for the Fourth.
We are going to Creede Repertory Theatre July 12 at 2:30 p.m. for the production "I Hate Hamlet." Price is $14.45, cash only. Please sign up as soon as possible as seats are going fast.
We need volunteers to read for the blind. We also need someone to coordinate this project. For more information call Jim Pieronnet at 264-2663.
Are you homebound? Lonely? Want some company?
We have a Friendly Visitor Program you might be interested in. Someone comes in to visit once a week or so, to see how you are doing, and just chat.
We need someone to visit people, as well as names of people who want visitors. Local background checks will be required for visitors. If interested, please contact Musetta at the center.
We want to thank everyone who helped contribute to the Relay for Life. We were pleased with the enthusiastic response we got for our request for donations.
Calling all canastaholics. Come to the senior center and learn to play canasta. We will set up a space 9 a.m.-noon, July 28. Free to all seniors.
Good news about eggs
Studies show that eating an egg a day doesn't raise the risk of heart disease among healthy people. In fact, lutein, a nutrient found in the yolk, may actually help prevent heart disease.
Eggs are high in choline, believed to play a role in development of memory function. They are also one of the few food sources of vitamin D, which is essential to bone health.
The carotenoids in eggs may reduce risk of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration, and one large egg contains just 75 calories, 5 grams of fat and 6.25 grams of protein (excerpt from Egg Counsel).
July 9, our very own dietician, Myra Miller, will give us the latest facts on the control of diabetes. Come and eat lunch with us and at 12:30 p.m. Myra will start her talk in the lounge.
Help! We need a volunteer to help get rid of weeds so we can build our raised beds outside the senior center. You need to bring your own tools. We will appreciate any help you can give us.
Walkin' with George
"Little Lena, who rides shotgun on Christy's stagecoach, is 5-foot 2-inches, a native of Brooklyn and not afraid of the Devil himself. She saw several of us walking and decided she was game to try walking with us.
"However, she didn't have her walking shoes with her and I said she was welcome to use mine.
"So Lena put on my shoes, but they were so big she had to take three steps before the shoes even started moving. The good part was - she only had to do 10 laps to match everyone else's 20."
Senior lunch menu
July 4 - no meal
July 7 - Swiss steak, potato, spinach, onion roll and peaches
July 8 - meatloaf, baked beans, coleslaw, roll and pears
July 9 - chicken chop suey, rice, spring blend vegetables, pineapple and oatmeal cookies.
July 4 - center closed
July 7 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun
July 8 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; no computer class today
July 9 - no computer class; 11 a.m. blood pressure check with Patty Tillerson; 12:30 p.m. talk about diabetes with Myra Miller
July 10 - trip to Durango
Parade is veterans' opportunity to shine
By Andy Fautheree
This year's Pagosa Springs Rotary Club Fourth of July parade is saluting "Our American Heroes." I'm sure elsewhere in this edition of The SUN there is additional information about the parade.
I have been asked by several organizations in Archuleta County for information on contacting veterans to be in the parade and on floats. In particular, American Legion Post 108 here in Pagosa Springs plans to have a float and would like as many veterans as possible to join them.
I believe our American Legion organization had a winning float in past July 4 parades, so I expect they will do a bang up job putting one together this year. Other organizations are asking for veterans to join them on their floats also.
Of course, they would like as many veterans in uniform as possible. But plain old "civvies" are perfectly OK, too. For you nonmilitary folks, that's slang for civilian clothes.
All one needs to do is show up where the parade starts up behind the old City Market. You won't be able to miss it. I'm sure there will be plenty of room, on plenty of floats, for our veterans.
Starts at 10 a.m.
The parade starts at 10 a.m. July 4. I would suggest you be there early, between 8 and 9 a.m., so the parade folks will have an idea of how many will be participating.
I would suggest also you be sure and wear a hat and cool clothing. It is expected to be very sunny and hot July 4.
Veterans, this is your chance to let Archuleta County honor you for your service to your county. Let's all show up for the parade and make a good showing.
Wonder what they would do with over 1,300 local veterans all showing up at the same time? Shall we see if we can overwhelm them? Hope to see all of you there.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the 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@archuleta county.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.
Holiday fun yours in all our Independence Day events
By Sally Hameister
Tomorrow is the Big Day, and I hope you're ready for all the fun-filled Pagosa Springs July 4 celebration events.
If this is your first year to experience all the amazing activities, you have such a treat in store. If you are an old hand at this madness, then you are aware that you need to pack in plenty of zzzz's tonight so you will be well rested to take on the Fourth morning, afternoon and night.
The Park to Park Arts and Crafts Festival awaits you in both Town and Centennial parks with an amazing array of vendors all of whom are required to create their own crafts to qualify for the show. As a result, you will find some incredibly unique and one-of-a-kind items born in the minds and hands of the different artists. Along with the vendors, you will also find a great variety of food and drink to keep you going like the pink bunny.
The Red Ryder Roundup will take place today through Saturday at the Fairgrounds, and you will find ticket information and times in this week's SUN.
The biggest parade in Pagosa will take place tomorrow morning beginning at 10 a.m., and you will need to find your spot very early. I know some enthusiasts, who will remain nameless, that find their spots in the wee, wee hours of the morning. It's well worth the effort as this Rotary-sponsored parade is so entertaining and awards lovely cash prizes for winners in several categories. The registration is free, and you are invited to pick up your form at the Visitor Center to compete in this year's theme, "Our American Heroes."
Be sure and check out the Chamber float in the parade for a look at some local heroes and, of course, some Chamber folks making fools of themselves as always. If we are forced to grow up one day, I just don't know what we'll do.
About 4:30 p.m. on the Fourth you need to gather up all the kids and family members and head out to Pagosa Lodge for fun, games, prizes, food, entertainment and, with Mother Nature's cooperation, a wonderful fireworks display over the lake at dusk.
We like to think of it as an old-fashioned family picnic with something for every member of the family. We enjoyed it so much last year that we decided to make it an annual affair. The kids will love participating in the golden duck game, the watermelon seed spitting contest, and the hula hoop and water balloon contests. Badminton, volleyball, a three-legged race, a sack race and a golf ball hunt will also be available for kids of all ages. We purchased a truckload of prizes, so the kids can look forward to collecting some fun stuff throughout the afternoon.
The Lodge is cooking up a picnic dinner for everyone that will be available from 5-8 p.m. in a special food tent, and a cantina bar open from 5-10 p.m. Both adult and senior prices are available ($8.50 and $7.50) and kids 10 and under will enjoy their own menu and eat free. You are asked to bring your own chairs, by the way, or blankets for the grass work really well too.
We are delighted to announce the Pagosa Hot Strings will perform again this year as they have in the past, and we couldn't be more pleased.
Since we have literally watched them grow up here in Pagosa, we have always known that one day they would leave us to seek their fortune and fame. Thankfully, even though Josiah went off to school, he's back and we still have our beloved Strings intact and ready to go.
The Hot Strings will perform 6-8 p.m. and will be immediately followed by our own Pagosa Springs Community Choir with a patriotic musical program. We are extremely pleased to add this marvelous group to our agenda this year and hope they will return time and again.
We are equally pleased that the Mountain Harmony Ladies have offered to perform during the break, so we feel so fortunate that our cup is just running over with talent, talent and more talent.
Weather permitting, the town of Pagosa Springs will present a deluxe fireworks display beginning around dark over the lake at the Lodge. Last year's weather conditions prevented us from presenting this great show, but it looks very good for this year. Everyone loves this huge annual treat.
Don't miss out on any of these July 4 events because we have to wait another year for the next back-to-back gala filled with so many fabulous activities.
LPEA good guys
Once again, we are indebted to Mike Alley and the LPEA crew of good guys for trading out our Chamber flags.
When I called to ask Mike for this time-and-again favor, he assured me he would be happy to accommodate for the princely sum of $200. After I picked myself up off the floor, he chuckled with a "just kidding" and said he'd be here promptly.
I can only hope that Darin and Dave realize just how much we appreciate the high-wire act they are required to perform each time they take on this dizzying task. Thanks guys, and thanks to Mike and LPEA for their cheerful community spirit and good-natured acceptance of this chore every time we ask.
Congratulations to cast and crew members of the outrageously funny and entertaining "Nunsense II, The Second Coming" that closed with the last of six performances on Saturday night. What a joy this production was providing comedy, dancing, beautiful music and outstanding performances by each and every nun and a small, but mighty, cadre of extremely talented musicians.
To all, a huge "thank you" for bringing so much laughter and joy to our community, and for giving so much of yourselves, your time and your talents. We are already looking forward with great anticipation to "It's a Wonderful Life!" in early December. We're so lucky to have you all.
Music in the Mountains
Before you know it, July 21 will be here with the first of three Music in the Mountains concerts, and you'll be more than disappointed if you miss any of these amazing performances by world-class musicians.
I recently heard a Russian pianist who tours with Music in the Mountains and was completely mesmerized by her stunning performance. She will not appear again in Pagosa, but she surely represented the caliber of the musicians who will join us this year.
I will say again that these musicians are not only exquisitely talented but also delightful entertainers who relate beautifully to their audiences. I always feel, at the end of a performance, that I have made a new friend.
On July 21, violinist Vadim Gluzman, and pianist Angela Yoffe will perform Mozart and Prokofiev.
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 Aug. 1, followed by a reception. The tickets are $35 for the July performances and $45 for the August performance and reception.
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. 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 Pagosa Springs Pee Wee Wrestling Club and PS Wrestling Club are combining to put on a benefit auction and dance July 11 at the fairgrounds, 7-11 p.m.
One of Southwest Colorado's most popular dance bands, The High Rollers, featuring Andy Janowsky, will provide the music. The High Rollers specialize in country dance music and classic rock and roll.
Proceeds from this dance will help provide camp scholarships, travel expenses and uniforms in order to send local teenage athletes to camps and competitions. Costs per athlete begin at around $300 and can go as high as $1,000 depending on the event. Locals Daren Hockett, Michael Martinez and David Richter will represent Colorado wrestling in a prestigious national event in late July.
Tickets for the dance are $7.50 for individuals and $10 for couples. Children 12 and under accompanied by a parent are free. Homemade baked goods will be auctioned. The dance and auction are a great way to support our local youth and have a great time.
In conjunction with Pet Pride Day, the third annual bird house building contest will take place in Town Park July 12, with judging at noon. The three categories are under 10 years of age, 10-18 years old and adult.
Each exhibitor may submit up to two individual birdhouses for display, and all must be original works built by the exhibitor. Commercially produced birdhouses or assembled kits will not be accepted and a $5 entry fee per birdhouse will be required. The winning entries in each category will be displayed at the arts council gallery in Town Park, and all participants will be given the option of donating their houses to the Arts Council or to the Humane Society to be sold. Please drop off entries at the gallery 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and all entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday.
St. Pat's concert
Plan to attend the July 13 organ concert at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church at 7 p.m. presented by The Very Reverend Jerry E. True, Rector of St. Luke's in Attica, N.Y.
This will be a fitting way to "baptize" the new organ as Jerry is gifted musician and plays a tremendously varied program ranging from classical to show tunes and will include a patriotic segment as well. "The Stars and Stripes Forever" rendering will feature Monica Fehrenbach on the piccolo who, along with Jerry, is donating her talents to benefit the St. Pat's building fund. A donation of $5 is suggested and would be appreciated, and children are free. During intermission, desserts, coffee, tea and lemonade will be served. Please plan to attend for an evening of beautiful music for a great cause.
We hold our very own fireworks display here at the Chamber when we are privileged to announce three new members, nine renewals and two associate memberships. 'Tis reason to celebrate.
We are happy to welcome Sharon Garrison who brings us her in-home business, Sharon's Cottage Creations. This unique business offers custom bedding, pillows, shams, table drapes, runners and some window treatments. Sharon specializes in vintage fabrics, trims and buttons and is happy to coordinate with interior designers or individuals. You can learn more about Sharon's Cottage Creations by calling Sharon at 731-1701.
Carmen Ferguson joins us next with a hairstyling business locally owned and operated in Pagosa Springs since 1985, Headlines by Carmen. Carmen boasts a licensed, professional staff at Headlines who strive to provide excellent customer service as well as attention to every detail with all your styling needs. Carmen encourages you to "Come see how the natives do hair." To learn more about how Carmen can help you with hair needs, please call 264-2548.
Welcome to Don "The Panel Guy" and Denise Pastin who join us next with 5-D Construction with offices in their home. Don is a custom builder specializing in structural insulated panels (SIP) which are energy efficient (R-24 to R-47) as well as cost effective, fire resistant and superior in strength. SIPS outperform stick and batt construction when it comes to maintaining constant interior temperatures which translates to improved occupant comfort. These homes are designed to fit the owner's property, needs and style. Don would welcome your call at 731-9672.
Renewals this week include our pal Rick Taylor at AAA Propane, Inc.; Doug Snow at Durango Coca-Cola; Carolyn Feller at Chile Mountain Café; Tim Smith at the Archuleta County Airport-Stevens Field (note name change); Natasha Martinez with Colorado Housing, Inc.; Chamber board director, Toby, and the lovely Renae Karlquist with K.K. Paddywhacks Embroidery, Etc.; board director, Scott, and his bride, Kris with Asay Chiropractic and Wellness Center; Jeff and Heather Hunts with TUFCO, Inc.; and the good folks at Land Properties, Inc.
Our associate member renewals this week include longtime Chamber Diplomat, Joan Cortright and husband, Gene, and Jack and Katy Threet. Thank you one and all for your membership and continued support. We would be nothing (and very lonely) without you.
Readers needed for SUN on tape program
By Lenore Bright
For a number of years, Paul and Muriel Cronkhite have coordinated the reading of The SUN on tape for people unable to read the newspaper for themselves.
Due to ill health, the Cronkhites can no longer take on this responsibility.
Alex Shaw and Jim Peironnet are trying to keep the service going. They are asking for volunteers to be readers and, also, they would appreciate someone willing to act as coordinator.
If you can help with this vital service, call Jim at 264-2663, or Alex at 264-4781.
They ask you to call if you would like to receive The Pagosa Springs SUN on tape. This is a free service. For more information call either Jim or Alex.
There is one problem with our paradise - the evil little bugger that makes our life miserable for several weeks in the spring.
The old-timers tell us that no-see-ums disappear when the monsoons get here. Normally that is sometime after the middle of July.
Many people are so allergic that they should probably see a doctor and get allergy shots way before the season starts.
DEET supposedly is effective against most insects. We have some information about insect repellents, the dangers, and what works. Ask for the information at the desk.
We appreciate the book, "Hats on For Polka Dot," from Dave and Susie Belt. We also appreciate them bringing a llama to share with the children during story time.
Thanks for materials from Yvonne Johnson, Cristy Holden, Barbara Rawlings, Kate Smock, Carol Walker and Laurie Walston.
It is time for carpet cleaning once again and the library will be closed tomorrow and Saturday. Happy quiet, fire-free Fourth of July.
Chews to Read winners
Tom Levonius won the candy count.
Readers of the week: Amanda Barnes, Colton Castro, Jacqueline Garcia, Shaun Jackson, Levi Suttles, Waylon Lucero, Jeanelle Mann, Meghan Mundall, Nicholas Piccaro, Lashae Smith, Brooke Spears and Wyatt Walston.
Coloring contest winners: Savannah Brown, Colton Castro, Karrington Castro, Madison Corbett, Jacob Gregg, McKenzie Kelley, Summer Matthews, Marissa Medina-Chavez, Ben Novack, Colby Anderson-Andresen, James Berndt, Connor Burkesmith, McKenzie Graham, Tristan Johnson, Erick Medina-Chavez, Mark Mundall Megan Mundall, Annette Pasterszak, Daniel Rivas, Kyle Anderson-Andresen, Breezy Bryant, Emily Bryant, Caitlin Cameron, Anthony Hobbs, Nacole Martinez, Sierra Monteferrante, Jennifer Mueller, Crystal Purcell, McKenna Puttnam, Shannon Nicole Rogers, Sarah Sanna, Courtney Swan, Anne Townsend and Sarah Vining.
Ice cream cone winners: James Berndt, Joey Berndt, Savannah Brown, Brianna Bryant, Tim Cochran, Madison Corbett, Brock Cordova, Trenton Cordova, Zachary Curvey, Cam Hinger, Jaden Hinger, Tate Hinger, Chris Jackson, Shaun Jackson, Jaime Kirkland, Bodi Larkin, Derek Lorenzen, Viridiana Marinalarena, Nacole Martinez, Eric Medina-Chavez, Marissa Medina-Chavez, Jennifer Mueller, Mark Mundall, Matthew Mundall, Mattisen Mundall, Megan Mundall, Sarah Sanna, Anne Townsend, and Wyatt Walston.
Rocky Martinez and Nancy Vigil are proud to announce the birth of their daughter, Alyssa Julia Martinez, on April 11, 2003, in Durango. The young lady weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long. Grandparents are Julia Trujillo of Pagosa Springs and Ronald Vigil of Durango, Lucas and Marlene Martinez, and the late Lillie Martinez, all of Pagosa Springs.
Wondering where Log Park Trading Company disappeared to from it's Pagosa Country Center location?
Call your search to an end because the business has relocated to 468 Lewis St. where owner Joyce Hopkins can now offer a larger selection of the same quality products.
Shortly after moving here in 1997, Joyce began the Log Park Trading Company, which specializes in furnishings for the home, lodge, camp and cabin.
Pieces offered include furnishings, wall art, gifts, lighting, and bed and bath items.
Hopkins bought the historical building and moved the business recently to expand the amount of merchandise available for customers. The building itself is a draw, being part of historical downtown Pagosa Springs and renovated in 1999.
Log Park Trading Company is open Monday through Saturday, 9:30-5:30. Hopkins can be reached by calling 264-9636.
Whether it's breaking and training a horse or building a custom home, new Pagosa residents Anna and Rick Woodmansee have a lot to offer.
The Woodmansee's Thunderhead Training offers horse training in both Western and English forms of riding, with 22 years experience. Both are trainers, and ride in professional events.
Anna worked at Aspen Valley Ranch and Jackson Hole and was trained in her English style of riding by famous trainer Hilda Gurney. Rick's Western style of riding is backed by years of work as the corporate trainer for the King Ranch.
Thunderhead Training offers training in all aspects of showmanship. They accept horses in training and offer clinics and lessons.
The Woodmansees also own Woodmansee Construction, operated by Rick, a third-generation contractor. It is a family-owned business that has served the Taos and Santa Fe areas for 68 years.
Woodmansee Construction is a custom home builder offering clients special skills to deal with creative work.
Contact Thunderhead Training or Woodmansee Construction for information and appointments at 799-0872.
Brianna Kaiser, a Pagosa Springs High School graduate, received her bachelor of arts degree in business administration-management at Fort Lewis College's summer commencement, June 7.
Carmin Cox, a former Pagosa Springs High School student, received her bachelor of arts degree in business administration-agricultural business at Fort Lewis College's winter commencement, Dec. 21, 2002.
Photography club returns to Pagosa Springs
By Tess Noel Baker
"It's the opportunity to capture an instant in time that nobody else would've ever seen."
That's what drew Pat Artis to photography in 1967 as a freshman in college. It's what keeps him, and probably others, at the hobby today.
It's a hobby and an opportunity that grabs the hearts and minds of many, especially in Pagosa where the scenery inspires them to peer through the lens looking for the picture worth 1,000 words.
One of the outlets for Artis' talents and others like him is the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Club - reborn after a three-year hiatus.
Local photographer Jeff Laydon resurrected the club about a year ago, after receiving several requests.
"Personally, I enjoy photography, and I like sharing it with others especially young people," Laydon said. "I started when I was 15, and it's the only job I've ever had. I just like to share the experience."
Meetings, scheduled the third Thursday of every month at 6 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Community Center, are generally informal and last about an hour, centering around a different topic each month. Sometimes attendance is four. Other times, classes will draw up to 20. It all depends on the topic. No strings attached. Each person is asked to pay a $5 donation per meeting to cover expenses. No official membership roster is kept. Laydon volunteers his time to organize the club, line up speakers and make presentations himself.
Past topics include camera basics, fundamentals of digital photography, portraiture and a photo tour of European ski resorts. Artis, who has been working with high-end digital photography for about three and a half years, is scheduled to lead a presentation July 17 titled, "Don't be a Megapixel Bubba."
Artis said many times people get caught up in the "more is better" fallacy when it comes to digital cameras and the number of megapixels available. Actually, Artis said, the number of megapixels needed depends on how the camera will be used. The presentation will cover the definition of megapixels and review the options available in digital photography to lead people to something that meets their needs and budget.
"Digital photography can open a lot of doors for people," he said. Some of the primary benefits are immediate feedback and the fact it is relatively inexpensive at the entry level.
For both youth, who may not have the patience to wait weeks while film is developed, and more experienced photographers who might forget the tricks used to get the perfect photo by the time it comes back from the darkroom, digital photography allows the photographer to see the image the moment after its been taken and adjust if necessary. Crops and cuts can be made at home on the computer instead of by an outside source.
Of course, Artis said, it's all about variety. "There's the opportunity with digital to do things that simply don't exist in film and there are things in film that simply don't exist in digital."
After all, variety is the spice of life, and the key to the photography club - at least for Artis.
"Essentially, one of the most interesting things about the club is the discourse among people," Artis said, "the mutual discovery and sharing." Some members are focused on the scrapbooking angle - making memories of family on film. Others focus on photographing the history of local railroads and still others work with the computer to manipulate photographs. Together, they help each other discover new ways to use the camera and tips for taking better pictures.
"It's a fairly safe environment to take your photos and get a critique," he said.
John and Bette Mathis attend the meetings to keep up with new developments in photography and learn more. John, who has been interested in photography for over 50 years, labels himself an "advanced amateur."
"It's about seeing an image and trying to reproduce it in the way that you saw it," he said.
Right now, Mathis is trying to learn more about digital photography.
His wife, Bette, focuses more on the family photo end of things.
"The two of us kind of enjoy taking pictures together," she said. They both labeled the seasonal workshops as their favorite aspect of the club.
The seasonal daylong workshops allow participants the opportunity to stretch their scenic photographic talents.
"I like it being a rare situation where you can't go on your own," Laydon said. When planning the workshops, he tries to find private ranches with particularly striking vistas or historical depth.
"The club leans more toward the scenic and that's where I feel the weakest," Laydon said. Because his work is by assignment, he deals more with people than landscapes. "I'm just like most people," he said. "I don't do much of that (wildlife photography) unless it's in front of me." Last fall's workshop was at the Saddleback Ranch. This spring another group journeyed up the Piedra to the Taylor Ranch.
At both places, he found the group a mentor, someone familiar with the property to help explain the history, flora and fauna. The group tours the ranch with the mentor and then spends time at a variety of locations shooting pictures.
"I scout everything we do," Laydon said. "We spend this much time by the pond, this much time in the trees. We look at things and talk about elements of photography like filters and composition."
A meal is provided and Laydon tries to keep costs under $100. Once again, anyone is welcome.
The club operates as a committee of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. "They help in a great way by offering encouragement," Laydon said. They are also assisting with grant preparation to fund equipment for a darkroom at the community center set to be up and running in September.
"That's going to be the goal," Laydon said. He urges people with a variety of talents to come and check out the club.
"I especially encourage young people to come," Laydon said. "I welcome all other photographers, professional and amateurs alike to come and to lead a meeting if they like."
When the six-gun was king in Pagosa Country
By John M. Motter
July of 1879, would have been a wondrous time to be in Pagosa Springs, especially as seen through the searching eyes of a small child.
As the first rays of the morning sun peeked across Quartz Ridge, the clarion call of a trumpet roused soldiers sleeping in log barracks erected in two neat rows of five each along the west side of the river. The enlisted barracks faced each other, one row starting at today's Goodman's Store and running south, the other row starting about at the corner of Lewis and Fourth Streets and doing the same thing.
A row of four officers' quarters closed the gap at the north end of the parallel lines of enlisted barracks. Also constructed of logs, the officers' quarters ran east to west about where Mamie Lynch Gym is today.
A flag climbing the pole at the south end of the open space created by the three rows of barracks focused the newly-roused troops, all standing at attention. The open space served as the parade and drill grounds for the frontier post.
South of town on the east side of the river, a cloud of dust heralded the pending arrival of the Barlow and Sanderson stage, the lathered horses primed for a mouthful of oats from Peabody's livery stable. First, they'd drop off a handful of wrinkled travelers at Ma Cade's San Juan Hotel.
Across San Juan Street from the hotel, gamblers and other ne-er do wells already pushed through the front door of the Rosebud Saloon, ready for another daylong bout with Big Alec Fleming's red eye liquor. If they didn't like Fleming's brand of brew, several other bars waited to take up the slack.
All day long, wagon loads of freight lumbered into town. Some made deliveries to the fort, then returned home. Others paused for a rest, then continued on in a westerly direction to Animas City and the San Juan gold fields.
Interspersed in and around the wagons, an endless stream of riders trotted along the dusty roads: miners, cowboys, families of settlers, merchants, drifters, drummers. The San Juans were gold rush country. There were fortunes to be made. On top of that, the San Juans had been opened for settlement, one of the last regions in the lower 48 states to feel the pressure of plows.
And mingling among the crowds, bands of colorful Ute Indians drifted and stared, wondering where all the white eyes had come from, wondering if anything would be left untrammeled.
Fortunately, we have a couple of eyewitness accounts left by youngsters who came with their families to Pagosa Springs in 1879, and thoughtful enough to have written what they saw.
Jacob Van Horn and Catherine Young Opdycke with sons Cornelius and Jacob and daughter Daisy arrived in Pagosa Springs during June of 1879. Daisy wrote her memoirs in 1942.
"Fort Lewis was located at Pagosa Springs then and five companies of soldiers were stationed here. There was a guard on the bridge and those (soldiers) who could get passes would cross over, but those who couldn't get passes would go up the river and wade across to the town of Pagosa Springs and then they would be arrested and thrown in the guard house.
"Almost every building in town was a saloon. Across the street from our house (San Juan Street east of the river) was a saloon called the Rose Bud; it had big roses painted over the front. One morning I was standing in the front door of my mother's home, looking around. Everything was very quiet; all at once a man came out the front door of the Rose Bud and he had a gun in his hand. At the same time another man came out of the side door of the saloon. The man with the gun shot and the other fell. I ran back into the kitchen where my mother was getting dinner and told her; she said:
" 'Don't ever tell anyone you saw Big Alec shoot that man. If you do, they will take you to Conejos for a witness and keep you in jail.' Conejos was the county seat and it took about four days to go there, so I surely never did tell anyone until I was fifty years old."
Motter's note: Big Alec was taken to Conejos and tried for the shooting. In those days on the frontier they had a legal defense that went something like "He needed shooting." Big Alec, a longtime San Juan prospector, was turned loose.
Daisy continued her story by describing another shooting, an undertaking that would land you in jail today. In 1879, it was a prank.
"Someone had brought a croquet set to town and set it up on a little flat place just above our house. One afternoon we were out playing croquet when we heard a horse coming over the bridge and a man yelling and shooting. Here came Henry Gordon and he began showing us how to knock balls through the wickets with bullets. He had it all his own way in a few minutes - we were hiding behind everything we could find. The cowboys habitually came in to shoot up the town and have wild times.
"We also had the Utes. They were always begging for bread. Buckskin Charley (a primary Ute leader of the time) was always wanting me to ride his ponies and he told me if Pagosa was ever burned, he would take care of me. Mother forbade me to ever get on any of his ponies, for fear he might steal me and I would never get back; I was so afraid.
"During the fall of the Meeker Massacre (1879) the Utes would come in to town and hold war dances. Of course our soldiers were all gone except for a few. I didn't realize the danger; it was fun for me. But nothing happened."
Daisy Opdycke Fitzhugh's story is taken from "Pioneers of the San Juan Country, Volume 1" published by the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
To most Americans, the Fourth of July holiday is just that - a holiday, a day off work, a long weekend, a mini-vacation, time for fun. Here in Pagosa Country, we are no different than others. The Fourth of July holiday is occasion for major festivities, with tourists flocking to the area and plenty to do for everyone who cares to do it: a parade, three days of the classic Red Ryder Roundup rodeo, an arts and crafts fair, a carnival. There are barbecues, picnics, hikes and camping trips on schedules. There is, of course, the big community party and fireworks display on July 4.
It is an opportunity for residents and visitors alike to kick back and enjoy themselves.
July 4 is Independence Day, the anniversary of the day when the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress. We gain if we pause and consider what the day is designed to celebrate.
Yes, the independence of the colonies and the creation of a new government is at the heart of the observance, but dig deeper and we discover some extraordinary ideas and ideals.
In the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence we find this sentence:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
This sentence passes with little notice during our holiday but what an incredible set of ideas is relayed by these 35 words: A set of ideas seldom reviewed, infrequently expressed and in danger of being ignored with harmful results.
The authors of this sentence tell us that there are self-evident truths, universals available to reason.
They tell us all human beings are created equal and give us a highly abstract notion of what it is to be human, an ideal to be sought in public and private life.
Each human they say, is endowed by the Creator with certain rights that cannot be transferred to another, that cannot, without the just action of the society, be denied. To anyone. In this ideal image of the human, there is included the right to retain life, to live freely and to seek to achieve a state of happiness - a happiness that, to these reasonable authors, meant much more than easy self-indulgence.
According to the authors of our Declaration of Independence, everyone has these rights, here and everywhere else. This is a remarkable idea and a unique foundation for the construction of a society. It is not currently popular to say it, but let's do so: It is an ideal far superior to any of its competitors.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that is increasingly factional, with groups and individuals seeking to impose tightly defined identities as a basis for social rule and conduct. These identities are forged in terms of gender, race, economic class, religion. Many factions seek to silence those who do not agree with them - stifle them with the gag of political correctness, stun them with the hammer of political or theological ideology.
This is not what "all men are created equal" means.
Our independence rests on a vision of what human beings could be, of what we must strive to be. That vision contains within it the notions of tolerance and respect for all fellow human beings; it rests on an understanding of what is common to all, on that nature given us by our Creator. This holiday, we need to take a moment to reflect on what our Founding Fathers gave us. It is a fitting occasion to reacquaint ourselves with an ideal that must remain unchanged if we are all are to remain independent, equal and in possession of our God-given rights.
Independence Day, circa 1900
By Richard Walter
We begin the celebration today which most exemplifies the Spirit of America, marking the nation's independence, the belief that it is the land of the free.
I thought it would be interesting to see how the celebration was reported 100 years ago in Pagosa Springs - but no newspaper is available in our files for the year 1903.
I settled for the following report published July 6, 1900, just three months after my mother's family first arrived here.
A page one story in The Pagosa Springs News, a predecessor of The SUN, was headlined "Grand Celebration: Pagosa did herself proud."
See the similarities - and some differences - in today's events for yourself.
"The program opened by sunrise cannonading, which made one feel rather religious after having a two hours nap.
"At 9 a.m. the grand parade was to take place, but had to be postponed on account of rain. The parade formed at the upper bridge about 11 o'clock and came down Pagosa Street headed by Marshal Taylor and Miss Muriel Brown; then came the Columbine band, followed by the G.A.R. Next came ladies riding horse back, dressed in red, white and blue. Then came a float, one side of which was a poor widow with several children; the widow was washing and the children very ragged. Below a sign read "My husband was not insured by Modern Woodmen." On the other side was a widow with children, all well dressed and happy and below a sign read, "My husband was insured with the Modern Woodmen."
Following came the Modern Woodmen lodge, with a fine new banner in the lead. A class of little girls all dressed in white came next and were singing patriotic hymns, Mrs. N.M. Gibson being their leader. Next followed a float of little girls representing states and Miss Elsie Arnold the Goddess of Liberty.
"A prayer by Rev. S.E. Hatcher was next followed by the reading of the Declaration of Independence by Rev. J.M. Barnhart. Then came the song "America" by Mrs. Gibson's class.
"Next, Marshal Taylor introduced the 'red-headed rooster of the Rockies and Silvery-tongued Orator of the Silvery San Juan' Hon. Chas. A. Johnson of Durango who made a very patriotic speech.
"In the afternoon the crowd assembled at the race track and the roping contest opened. George Babcock took first prize, lassoing and tieing his steer in 2:03 minutes. Ike Cox, second; time 2:30. Dick Farrow, 3rd - won by drawing straws as neither he, Rocky Farrow or Louis Gilliam tied their steers down.
"In the evening a display of fireworks was held, the old as well as the young taking part.
"At 8:30 another grand concert in the park pavilion and then the ball ... The Woodmen had a grand ball in their hall and it was reported an unusual large crowed was present.
"The next day featured foot races and a baseball game with the Pagosa First Nine playing a picked nine. The First Nine won dead easy - 17-9.
"Wheelbarrow and potato races and a bucking horse contest followed."
Separately was this note: "Only one plain drunk during the Fourth is a good record."
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of July 4, 1913
The opening of Lewis Street by grading it through for wagon travel was a needed improvement. It will open that street to new buildings when new buildings are erected.
It is claimed that gasoline is coming into such use that the supply will soon be far below the demand.
The free ice water furnished during the celebration by the W.C.T.U. was greatly appreciated by the great crowds who took advantage of the refreshing drink. Even the printers lined up for nature's beverage.
Pagosa's three-day's celebration was, as usual, a success. There was a big crowd in attendance throughout the celebration, the weather was nearly perfect and all visitors seemed to enjoy themselves.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 6, 1928
The board of county commissioners of Hinsdale County and Road overseer John Stevens of the Upper Piedra are receiving the plaudits of that entire section for the splendid roads are in the best condition that they have been for many years.
Due to the change in the local train's departure from 8:30 to 8:10 a.m. the Pagosa Springs post office will not open the general delivery, stamp or money order windows in the morning until 8:00 a.m., in order to allow sufficient time for the dispatch of the outgoing mail. The lobby will open at 7:30 as usual.
Mrs. Daisy Fitzhugh has resigned as librarian at the public library and Miss Nellie Hotz has been appointed to the position.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 3, 1953
The town of Pagosa Springs is having a little bridge work done and it is not being done by the dentist. The state highway department has moved a bridge crew into town and with the help of local highway employees are working over the two bridges on state highways in town.
The SUN job department this week delivered to the Pagosa Springs Telephone Company the 1953 directory. This directory is the largest ever published in Pagosa Springs and reflects the growth of the community as well as that of the telephone company. The company has maintained a program of improvement and replacement that has made it one of the most modern in the state.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 6, 1978
The Red Ryder Roundup, the first to be a three-day rodeo and celebration, drew a large crowd for the event. There were no serious accidents reported on the highways in the area, and there were no serious injuries at the three days of rodeo and races.
One of the attractions missing at the Red Ryder Roundup this year was Fred Harman, the originator of the famous Red Ryder and Little Beaver comic strip characters. Mr. Harman's health did not permit him to be present.
A grant from the state has been received by the town and county. The amount is almost $50,000 and will be used to help alleviate the unemployment problem caused by the closing of the San Juan Lumber Co. mill.