July 10, 2003 
Front Page

Cocaine, pot, guns seized in raid here

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Local law enforcement agencies seized $24,000 worth of narcotics July 3 in the culmination of a three-month investigation into cocaine distribution in Archuleta and La Plata counties.

According to a joint news release, undercover officers from the Southwest Drug Task Force, with assistance from the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department and the Pagosa Springs Police Department, were able to infiltrate the distribution group, culminating in the seizure of seven ounces of cocaine, eight large bags of marijuana, $9,800 in cash and several weapons.

Several Archuleta County residences were searched. Investigators estimated the street value of the seized narcotics at $24,000.

One unidentified Archuleta County resident was arrested and charged with distribution of a Schedule 2 controlled substance and booked into the Archuleta County Jail on $50,000 bond. More arrests are expected.

Local personnel involved included: Police investigator Scott Maxwell and Detective Sgt. T.J. Fitzwater, Sgt. Karn Macht and Deputy Tim Walters, all of the sheriff's department.

The Southwest Drug Task Force is a multi-agency group comprised of the La Plata County Sheriff's Department, Colorado Bureau of Investigations and the Ignacio Police Department.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the task force at 385-5147 or Durango Crime Stoppers at 247-1112. Callers remain anonymous and may receive a cash reward.

 

Fire training tower plan draws $195,410 bid

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Before the snow flies, the Pagosa Fire Protection District should have its own fire training tower.

At least, that's the goal.

The district board accepted a Hart Construction Co. bid of $195,410 for the project at the regular meeting Tuesday. The bid included the cost of the training building which will actually be manufactured in Kansas City and shipped here for assembly.

"Meanwhile, we'll be working on the foundation," District Manager Diane Bower said. The training building will be constructed near Station 3 on U.S. 84. Because of the soil types in that area, the foundation engineering and construction will be key to the longevity of the live-fire training structure.

When finished, the structure, made of metal coated in pagnite to prevent it from burning, will reduce out-of-town training trips for Pagosa's 65 volunteer firefighters. The design includes two levels.

"The building will enable the firefighters to train on different types of fire and rescue," Bower said. To become certified as a Firefighter 1 or 2, a person must complete a live fire test. Until now, Pagosa's firefighters had to travel to Farmington to complete certification, taking people and equipment from the district.

The facility is being paid for with funds from the $2.8 million bond issue passed last year.

 

Woman, child hit in crosswalk;

4 charges filed against driver

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Two pedestrians were injured while crossing U.S. 160 downtown July 8.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Sarah McIntire, 31 and Nina Tuthill, 2, both of Chama, N.M., were struck around 7 p.m. when they were about midway across the street. They were using the crosswalk at U.S. 160 and Hot Springs Boulevard. Both received cuts and bruises.

Tuthill was transported to Mercy Medical Center where she was treated and released. Information on McIntire's condition was not available Wednesday.

The two were struck by a vehicle driven by Zane Fitzgerald, 18, of Pagosa Springs. According to the report, Fitzgerald told officers he was stopped at the stoplight on Hot Springs Boulevard just prior to the accident; when the car in front of him pulled out to the left, he followed suit. Sun glare apparently prevented him from seeing the two people in the crosswalk. He was unable to stop.

McIntire told the trooper on scene the pedestrian walk signal was engaged when they started across the street.

Fitzgerald was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, failure to provide insurance, careless driving causing injury and possession of drug paraphernalia.

 

County, town working toward

better roadways

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Thoroughfares in portions of Meadows I and Meadows IV subdivisions may soon be buzzing with activity following Tuesday's decision by the Archuleta County board of county commissioners to award a road improvements bid to Strohecker Asphalt and Paving.

If a subsequent contract is agreed upon by the county and Strohecker, the reconstruction of segments of South Pagosa Boulevard, Buttress Avenue and Meadows Drive could begin in early August.

"We're ready to go with South Pagosa and Buttress," said Bill Steele, county administrator, while indicating a waning construction season may result in work on Meadows Drive being postponed until after winter.

"We're possibly at the risk of having Meadows done next spring, but the benefit is a good bid," added Steele.

Strohecker's base bid for the project, approximately $1.38 million, is well beneath the county's budgeted estimate of roughly $1.6 million.

If a slate of additional works are completed by Strohecker- mailbox cluster relocation, blasting, excavation, seeding, mulching, etc. - the total bid award will increase to about $1.575 million, but remain below budget.

The three sections of roadway designated for "reconstruction and improvement with asphaltic concrete" include a 1.2-mile stretch of South Pagosa Boulevard from the intersection of Cameron Place to the intersection with Buttress Avenue.

Also targeted for improvements is a sixth-tenths of a mile span of Buttress Avenue from the intersection of South Pagosa Boulevard to the intersection with Meadows Drive.

Lastly, a 1.7-mile segment of Meadows Drive from the intersection with Big Sky Place to the intersection with Buttress Avenue will receive treatment as well.

Village Drive and Piñon Causeway

According to Steele, negotiations between the county and the town of Pagosa Springs on finalizing an agreement for improvements to portions of Village Drive and Piñon Causeway are continuing.

Contingent on approval by the town, that contract currently stipulates the town will be expected to annex the roadways shortly after the project's completion and assume all future responsibilities regarding their maintenance, repairs, easements, improvements and rights-of-way.

The contract also states that while the town and county will split the costs to reconstruct and repave the roads, the town will be fiscally responsible for the preparatory work, including engineering and construction management, to be performed by Davis Engineering Services.

Utility work to impact U.S. 160 traffic

A collaborative effort to install sewer line beneath U.S. 160 was initiated Monday by the Pagosa Springs Sanitation Department and Alamosa-based Rocky Mountain Septic and Excavating.

The work being done east of town is expected to last through July 17 and will result in various lane closures as it progresses.

Delays of approximately 10-15 minutes should be expected Monday-Thursday between 7:30 a.m.-6 p.m. until the installation is complete.

For more information regarding the project, contact Phil Starks, sanitation director for the town, at 264-4151.

 

PAWS switches watering days for Fairfield sites

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District approved a minor change to irrigation times Tuesday for a few Fairfield properties along Lakeside and Village drives.

At the request of Mike Ferrell, operations manager for Fairfield Communities Inc., the board agreed to allow the switch from watering on odd days of the month to even days at Mountain Meadows properties, the Fairfield Activities/check-in sites and the mini golf course grounds.

The decision is aimed at relieving the strain on the corresponding supply systems and reducing the loss of water pressure resulting from a large number of simultaneous users.

"It's not changing the intent of what we're trying to do," said board member Bob Frye, while explaining the variance will not result in more water usage since Fairfield will still be expected to adhere to established watering hour restrictions.

The current watering days/restrictions for the remainder of Fairfield properties and all other raw-water irrigators within the district (excluding the golf course) are as follows: watering on odd-numbered days of the month only, between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following morning.

Watering restrictions

The board made no adjustment to residential watering restrictions, and residents living within the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District who have addresses ending in even numbers may continue to water on even-numbered days of the month; residents whose addresses end in odd numbers may water on odd-numbered days of the month.

Watering is permitted between the hours of 5 p.m. and 9 a.m. the following morning.

Drought update

Information provided by Gene Tautges, assistant district general manager, indicates district lake and reservoir levels are:

- Lake Hatcher - 12 inches below full pool

- Stevens Reservoir - four inches below full pool

- Lake Pagosa - nine inches below full pool

- Lake Forest - nine inches below full pool

- Village Lake - 43 inches below full pool.

 

Weather

 

Date High Low Precip
Type
Depth Moisture

7/2

87

45

-

-

-

7/3

85

46

-

-

-

7/4

86

48

-

-

-

7/5

84

47

-

-

-

7/6

87

45

-

-

-

7/7

89

44

-

-

-

7/8

91

46

-

-

-

Heat wave to continue, monsoon a few weeks out

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Fourth of July was accompanied by the highest temperatures of the summer (thus far) in Pagosa Country as weekend temperatures hovered around 90 throughout the slate of holiday activities.

The forecast for the coming week indicates the heat wave will continue, but does not rule out the possibility of isolated thunderstorms across the southern San Juan Mountains.

"Currently, high pressure parked over Arizona is preventing moisture flowing into the Southwest from Mexico from reaching the Four Corners," said Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"While this type of moisture is subtropical, it is not associated with the monsoon season," added Ramey, "But there is a chance the moisture will wrap around the ridge of high pressure by the weekend, which may cause a few widespread thunderstorms in the mountains."

As for any hints of an early monsoon season, "Right now there is no indication we will experience a monsoon-type flow in the next two weeks," concluded Ramey.

According to Ramey, mostly sunny skies are expected today and high temperatures should climb into the low 90s. Nighttime lows are predicted in the 50s.

Similar conditions should prevail for Friday; highs are again expected to range in the low 90s while lows should settle into the 45-55 range.

Morning sunshine should give way to a few afternoon clouds Saturday, and highs are predicted in the mid-80s to mid-90s while lows should bottom out around 50.

Sunday is expected to be the fourth day in a row with high temperatures in the 90s. Partly cloudy skies and lows in the upper 40s are also predicted in the day's forecast.

A "cooling trend" is included in the forecasts for Monday and Tuesday; highs should peak in the mid-80s while lows should dip into the upper 40s.

Wednesday's forecast indicates potential for a return of high temperatures in the 90s, but also includes a 30-percent chance for afternoon rain showers. Lows for the day are predicted in the 45-55 range.

The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 87 degrees. The average low for the week was 46. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to zero.

The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current regional fire danger as "high." Fire restrictions across lower elevation zones 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 grass and ragweed as the current dominant pollens.

San Juan River flow is falling and ranged between approximately 58-130 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of July 10 is roughly 330 cubic feet per second.

 

Sports Page

Parks & Rec

Now we have to live up to the fireworks reputation

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

It seems from all the positive responses we have received from the public, that this year's fireworks display may have been the best ever.

I personally feel that in all my years in Pagosa Springs it was the best I have ever seen.

What ends up going into a show is weeks and maybe even months of preparation. I felt like a general manager on a professional sports team, trying to get my team ready for the championship run. 

It started last year, with the town board approving another $4,000 for fireworks, after last year's show had been canceled - meaning we had another $2,500 or so to purchase more fireworks.

Then we advertised for volunteers to attend a class put on by Sam Stout of Fireworks America. He conducted the class for a dozen local volunteers, who were totally committed to help bring that championship feeling to Pagosa and its visitors.

Chris Gallegos (street superintendent) and his crew of Gary Lattin, Greg Lucero, and Dennis Ford, helped the parks crew set up over 100 mortars July 3.

The beginning of a successful show.

The fireworks crew was J.P. Rappenecker, Dylan Pruitt, Matthew Lattin, LeRoy Lattin, Lisa Jensen,  Jon Haner, Michael Ingram, Stephen Stovall, Joe Maloney and our faithful crew chief, Jim Miller.

This diverse group went out and committed to work long and hot hours on July 4, preloading  all casings and organizing the shot patterns per Stout's suggestions. After it was all said and done they had painted the sky with a fireworks display second to none.

A standing ovation was going on at the Lodge with the whole crew yelling from the excitement they had just created and knowing that they all had just hit a home run in the championship game.

We know it takes a whole team to accomplish this caliber of event so, from the town board and the office of the parks and recreation director, thank you bunches.

Now back to the monster we have created. Everyone is now expecting us to top this year's show, and we are in the planning stages for next year's show. Everyone involved has shown an interest in helping out next year. Now we just have to raise the money to buy the extra fireworks to pull of another championship season.

Old fashioned picnic

The old fashioned picnic was a huge success thanks to the efforts of Kate Lister. For the second year in a row Kate supplied people with tons of fun and games, with the enthusiasm of a 15-year-old. She really lives by the motto "If it ain't fun, don't do it."

Games like the watermelon seed spitting contest, Hula-Hoop contest, pick the winning duck, and others really were a hit at this year's event.

Thank you, Kate, and thanks Emily Saunders, for all your hard work at this year's picnic.

 

Mike Ray best all-around cowboy for fifth time at Red Ryder Roundup

By Richard Walter

Staff writer

In the late 1980s the name Mike Ray became a byword at the Red Ryder Roundup.

So much so, in fact, that he captured the trophy for all-around cowboy four times - 1983, 1984, 1986 and 1987.

The trophy was established as a traveling award, one that would become a permanent possession only if won three times.

Mike, a Pagosa Springs resident, became the second to do that.

Prior to his accomplishment, Floyd Bramwell had captured a travelling trophy three times and retained possession. Following him, nly Jake Montroy - in 1971 and 1973, Linn Blancett in 1972 and 1977 and Ernie Jacquez in 1980 and 1982 - had captured it as many as two times.

Then, Mike quit riding the rodeo circuit for 16 years, mostly to raise a family. But this year he got the bug anew and began getting ready for the Red Ryder Roundup by participating in the Bad Moon rodeos at the fairgrounds.

It paid off.

He is now the first five-time winner of the all-around cowboy honor. Only now the trophy has been replaced by a saddle.

Ray qualified with second-place finishes in both bareback (a tie with Danny Green) and saddle bronc riding in the rodeo completed Saturday.

He said the fact he just turned 40 might have had something to do with his comeback. "After all, bronc riders get old in a hurry. I decided if I was ever going to come back, this would be the year to do it."

In the meantime his daughters, now 9 and 12, are getting the rodeo bug and also competing in Bad Moon events. The oldest competed in the barrel racing event at this year's Red Ryder, but didn't place.

"Now we're looking for a faster horse for her," he said.

Other winners of the best all-around cowboy award, in addition to Bramwell, Montroy, Blancett and Jacquez were:

Buddy Shaver in 1979; Craig Pilling in 1981; and Shawn Goemmer in 1985. In order to qualify, a rider had to have placed in two separate sanctioned events.

The rodeo entrants for 2003 were topnotch and their numbers way up for all events, rodeo officials said.

The money-winner breakdown for the 2003 Red Ryder Roundup, by event, is:

Bareback - Carr Vincent, $530.94; Ray and Green, each $356.73; Hugh Robinson fourth, $199.10; Jay Yantzer and Steve Cordova and Daniel Baca, tied for fifth, all $71.90.

Saddle bronc - Brandon Biebelle, first, $672.26; Ray, second, $525.20; Matt Sliwkowski, third, $378.14; Robert Aragon, fourth, $252.10; Chance Towner and George Briscoe tied for fifth, $136.55.

Bull riding - Bo Selman, first, $696.42; Bobby Valdez (of Pagosa) second, $572.06; L.J. Jenkins and Dustin McCoy, tied for third, $385.52; Jared Green, fourth, $248.72; Cole Pearce, fifth, $124.36; and Justin Easley, sixth, $74.62.

Barrel Race - Kandi Hathcock of Colorado Springs (also won the saddle for best all-around cowgirl) first, $800.06; Carley Beamon, second, $666.72; Laramy Pope, third, $500,04; Alisha Sandoval, fourth, $366.70; Cheyanne Haddock, fifth, $300.02; Caren Lamb, sixth, $233.35; Wylene Penrod, seventh, $166.68; Stacy Gordon, eighth, $133.34; Melanie Luark, ninth, $100.01; and Diane Luark, tenth, $66.67.

Breakaway - Rene Morgan, first, $689.27; Tonya Bixler, second, $570.43; Cindy Lee, third, $451.59; Devyn Dennison, fourth, $332.75; Whitney Dutton, fifth, $213.91; and Sandra Suazo, sixth, $118.84.

Steer wrestling - Johnny Kieckheiffer, first, $701.35; Russel Armenta, second, $571.47; Sheraton Jodie and Bo Bliel, tied for third, $402.63; C.J. Arason and Clay Schricker, tied for fourth, $194.82; Cole Fritzlan, fifth, $77.93; Brad Krickimeyer, sixth, $51.95.

Incentive team roping - Cody Massingale and Gary Rodriguez, first, $774.51 each; Corky McIntyre and Mark Bower, second, $640.97 each; Brock Hanson and Bendell Greenhalgh, third, $507.44 each; Rick House and Lance Taylor (of Pagosa Springs and Arboles) fourth, $373.90 each; Marty Fowler and Rob Neutzling, fifth, $240.37; Tommy Cassadas and Jerome Rivera, sixth, $133.54 each.

Open team roping - Rowdy Reiken and C.L. Morgan, first, $946.82 each; Wade Kruitzer and Mike Bacon, second, $783.58 each; Steve Shure and Ellis Yates, third, $620.33 each; Cody Massingale and Gary Rodriguez, fourth, $457.09 each; John Sansill and Mike Freeland, fifth, $293.84 each; Corky McIntyre and Mark Bower, sixth, $163.25.

Incentive calf roping - Ryan Canty, first, $310.02; Blake Canty, second, $232.52; and Gary Vanbrundt, third, $162.06.

Open calf roping - Clay Schricker, first, $741.07; Travis Hill, second, $613.30; Darnell Johnson, third, $485.53; Mike Hadley, $357.76; Darrel Bastian, fifth, $229.99; and Marvin Tavarez, sixth, $127.77.

Kids barrel race (14 and under) - Katelyn McRee, first, $264; Julia Thompson, second, $198 and Sarrel Huntington, third, $138.

Scrambled Egg - Christy Brashire and Bernal Greenhaul, first, $809.04 each; Lisa Webb and Zane Bramwell (of Chromo), second, $539.43 each; Sam Hollar and Duane Cugnini, third, $427.05 each; Jim Bramwell and Mike Wolf (both of Chromo) fourth, $314.67 each; and Christy and Dustin Brashier, fifth, $157.33 each.

 

Three major donors make local Koufax teams shine

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Sandy Koufax League baseball is a project growing in Pagosa Springs with the help of numerous benefactors.

It is an organized baseball league for boys 13-14 and got its start here through the efforts of Dave Spitler, father to a now 16-year-old who, like many other fathers, dedicated his spare time to his son's interest in sports.

Dave began with phone calls to the Durango Sandy Koufax league and eventually formed a working relationship with AABC division board members. The town's park and recreation department assisted in the cost, equipment and field preparations of this "privatized" league.

As time went on, and children got older, the local league's baton passed to Len Ritchey and Mike Marshall for last year's league team, then to Dan Bahn, Jimmy Henderson and John Laner for this year.

For the first time this year, there was a large enough turnout at try-outs to field two teams. But, also for the first time, the park and recreation department no longer supported program.

Behind the driving forces of Dave Cammack, Bahn, Henderson, Laner, Dan Schofield, Mark McGowen, Jeff Moore and Mike Kraetsch, Pagosa came up with league fees (per child) and sponsors to provide for everything - uniforms, equipment, league and tournament entry fees, field maintenance, umpires and scorekeepers.

Sue Jones donated all her time for scorekeeping, up until a sponsor kicked in enough to pay her.

Three sponsors who contributed $1,000 each, were instrumental in achieving success for the program.

They included Wells Fargo Home Mortgage department; The Source Realty; and Juvio, a California corporation which does business through a local agent.

One of the Gold Team coaches said, "The Pagosa Gold Team has shown steady improvement throughout the season. Fundamentals and learning the basic concepts of competitive baseball have been the coaching emphasis all year and the team has responded.

"Collectively the team has improved measurably in their hitting and base-running. The boys are improving in fielding and the concepts of defensive baseball as well.

"Individually, there has been improvement in each of the players. We've had some stellar play, at times from our more experienced players, and our less experienced, developing players have each improved in at least one or more areas of weakness.

"Throughout the season pitching has been a difficulty for our team. Injuries and other issues have resulted in very little depth in the number of pitchers the Gold team has.

"The success of the Gold Team cannot be measured in the won-loss record of the team. They have stuck together through a lot of disappointment and adversity, have great attitudes toward each other and the game, and can be proud of their efforts even with very few wins this season."

The 14-year-old team (known as the Black team) is currently 12-0 for the regular season play. Tournaments have been another story, with a record of 2-0.

The knowledge learned by these losses has been extremely beneficial, not only building character, but also truly learning the definition of "team" as a team wins together as well as loses together. The art of perseverance can win a game, and the supportive slap on the back can help bring about a "hit" at the next at-bat.

In a local confrontation on the holiday weekend, Black defeated Gold for local bragging rights.

 

Adult volleyball workshop set in Durango July 18-20

An adult volleyball workshop will be staged July 18-20 with registration 1-2 p.m. July 18 in Cooper Hall at Fort Lewis College in Durango.

The workshop, sponsored by Durango Camps, will consist of instruction in the skills required to play the game more effectively, through participation in drills, discussions of the game's strategies and lots of playing.

The sessions will incorporate utilization of indoor facilities, grass surfaces and the beach doubles game. It is open to players of all abilities over the age of 18.

For more information, including costs, an outline of the workshop and registration and application forms, go to the Web site at www.durangocamps.com.

If you have additional questions call Jim Graham, workshop director, at 259-1723.

 

 Obituaries

John Dillinger

John Dillinger was born in Pagosa Springs Nov. 5, 1930, to John and Vada Dillinger, who preceded him in death as did a sister, Hattie Masco and a stepbrother, Sam Teeson. He died July 2, 2003.

John attended grade school in the Blanco Basin and graduated from Pagosa Springs High School and then spent four years in the U.S. Navy from which he was honorably discharged.

John married Dolly Pargin in 1954 and they had two children. He was Archuleta County Clerk in 1954 and 1955 and then worked as an accountant until he retired in 1980 and moved back to the Blanco Basin.

He is survived by his wife, Dolly; a son, John and his wife, Sandra; daughter Melanie and her husband, Bud Coate; sister Margaret and her husband, Al Cobb; his mother-in-law and father-in-law Sylvia and Charles Pargin; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Memorial services were held Sunday, July 6 in the Pagosa Springs Seventh Day Adventist Church with Bob and Dixie Cox officiating and members of Mullins-Nickerson American Legion Post 108 conducting the flag ceremony and presentation of the flag.

John will be greatly missed by his family and friends.

 

Inside The Sun

Pagosa man injured in July 4 crash

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A Pagosa Springs man was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident in the Pagosa Lakes area July 4.

According to Colorado State Patrol reports, Robert Johnston, 48, was driving a 2003 Harley-Davidson motorcycle south on North Pagosa Boulevard near Lakeside Drive, when he failed to make a lefthand turn.

The motorcycle left the road about 6:30 p.m., traveled 83 feet on a gravel shoulder and 78 feet down an embankment before rolling onto its side and ejecting the driver. Johnston was transported to Mercy Medical Center in Durango. According to the reports, he was cited for driving under the influence.

An account has been established at Bank of Colorado by friends of Dan Johnston. Donations can be made to the account to assist the Johnston family in their time of need.

Anyone with questions, concerns or who would like to help the family in other ways can contact Lisa and Randall Mettscher at 749-4205 for more information.

 

Holiday parade winners named

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Visiting judges from Nederland, Texas, and Glendale, Ariz., had their hands and hearts full trying to decide on winners in the July 4 Parade.

But, decide they did.

In the Commercial division, first place ($100) went to The Club - Pagosa Health and Fitness. Pine Ridge Extended Care Center was second ($50) and Jann Pitcher Real Estate third ($25).

Non-profit division winners were Pagosa Fire Protection District, first ($100); Pagosa Springs Rotary Club second ($50) and U.S.

Forest Service third ($25).

In the Youth division the TAPS entry was first ($100); La Familia Espinosa and Pagosa Springs Gymnastics, tied for second ($40 each).

In the category for Individuals, first ($100) went to the Reindle Family; second - a tie - to the Hughes Family Reunion and to Dave Hemauer and his 1926 REO Speed Wagon ($40) each.

Musical entry winners were Mountain Harmony Ladies Barbershop Chorus, first ($100); West Wind Pipers, second ($50) and Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, third ($25).

The judges were Walter and Joanna Hohlstein of Glendale, Ariz; Sharon and Kenneth Wright and Loretta Marriott, all of Nederland, Texas.

 

Final paving done on high school track; pro surface application to begin Aug. 1

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Consternation voiced by a number of people over lack of progress on the track project at Golden Peaks Stadium may be appeased.

Work began Tuesday, almost a month behind schedule, on application of the final layer of asphalt on the new track.

Superintendent Duane Noggle told the school board a month ago that Rob Keating, representing the general contractor, had promised paving would begin the following week.

When that expected action did not take place, members of the community began asking what had happened.

In fact, until July 3, at least one pile of stone and dirt remained on the track at the southeast corner.

Noggle said he had school personnel remove the debris as a means of getting the project "back on track."

Notwithstanding an earlier indication that the asphalt would have to cure for six weeks before the track surface could be spread, Noggle said he's now been told that if the asphalting is completed this week, installation of the professional track surface can begin Aug. 1.

That surface needs two weeks to cure and a special fence will be put up to keep people off it.

In the meantime that will mean the football field is unavailable for both football and soccer with practice for both scheduled to begin in mid-August.

The Pagosa Springs High School football team is scheduled to open its season on the Golden Peaks turf Aug. 29 against Alamosa.

The soccer team will be opening on the road the same weekend against Colorado Springs Christian and Manitou Springs.

Both teams have practice areas adjacent to or on nearby softball fields, but neither is fully acceptable to coaches. The soccer practice field has a huge elevation difference end to end and the football practice is conducted on shortened field layouts on softball outfield turf.

Noggle said he was told the delay in paving was attributed to problems with equipment to be used by Strohecker, Inc., the paving contractor.

At the same time, there are furrows in the field surface where raw water irrigation lines were installed and they, too, need some quick growth in order to provide a stable surface for athletes.

Sod was laid at the south end of the football field as part of a recrowning project intended to eliminate a dangerous cement ridge along the new long jump and triple jump tracks at that end.

However, no sod was put down on the water line tracks and settling appears to be taking place.

"It looks like we'll be OK if all the if's are met," said Noggle. "But I still have some concerns and we'll be watching it on a daily basis."

The total project, costing in excess of $800,000, will provide a full competition track facility for the first time in Pagosa Springs, with stations for all traditional high school track events.

It is expected to be in use for the first time next spring.

The Pirates have regularly qualified competitors for state track events in recent years without an adequate track on which to practice or host competitive events.

Also part of the overall project are the new concession stand-restroom facility already in use, a new field-sports equipment storage building nearing completion, a new press box/coaches observation facility, new fencing, new goal posts and additional support for seating facilities.

Still to come are new ticket booths and completion of a ramp for handicapped and wheelchair-bound fans. The approach to the field area has been completed across from the Worthe Crouse Vocational Arts building.

 

Heat spurs glances toward skies for hints of monsoon's arrival

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

On average, summer temperatures in the Four Corners region begin to climb toward their peaks in early July, and the toll the resulting heat wave exacts on the surrounding countryside becomes evident shortly thereafter.

While the lush shades of spring fade to paler, drier tones of green and yellow under intense sunlight, local eyes scan azure skies daily for any signs that Pagosa Country will soon be afforded relief from a growing thirst.

Such anticipation is usually satisfied one day during the early afternoon hours of the month's second week, when sparse groups of cottonlike clouds begin to appear along the southwestern horizon.

As the afternoon progresses, the patchy network of white builds in intensity, then solidifies, darkens and eventually announces its intent with a boisterous display of lightning and thunder.

As the season's first heavy curtain of rain descends upon a parched landscape, the scene warrants a one-word description from residents across the Southwest.

"Monsoon."

For many, the word evokes images of heavy rainfall, but according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the term is derived from the Arabic word "mausim," which means "wind shift" or "season."

Such terminology is more accurate, says the NOAA, since the word "monsoon" is intended to describe a "large-scale synoptic wind shift" that may - or may not - result in daily periods of heavy precipitation.

During a normal year, a massive ridge of high pressure seated over the eastern Pacific Ocean will move eastward as the summer progresses.

Across the Southwest, the result of such movement is a shift in winds to a more southerly direction, which allows increased moisture to track northward from the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California.

The resulting changes in weather scenarios are usually observed from early to mid-July through the end of August, but can last until October. Such effects, or "monsoons," are described by the NOAA as a "pattern of bursts and breaks."

According to the NOAA, bursts generally bring about rainfall while breaks tend to stabilize the atmosphere.

Bursts are movements of weak troughs in the upper level westerly wind into the Southwest that spread upper level cold air into the region.

In the lower levels of the atmosphere, strong surface heating and southerly winds will then transport moisture into the region, leading to widespread thunderstorm activity.

Breaks occur when enhanced ridges of Pacific subtropical high pressure move inland and cut off the moisture flow, temporarily stemming thunderstorm outbreaks.

So when can Pagosa residents expect the monsoon to arrive?

According to Dr. David Mitchell, assistant professor of atmospheric science at the Desert Research Institute in Reno, Nev., southwest Colorado tends to see monsoonal moisture earlier than other Four Corners states such as Arizona and Utah.

"What I think has occurred is that most of the tropical warm water has been pumped into the Gulf of California, and it is now up to the sun to warm the surface temperatures further," said Mitchell, indicating monsoon activity in Arizona tends to begin once sea-surface temperatures approach or exceed approximately 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

"And I'm not sure how long the sun will take to do this. My guess is a few weeks perhaps, but that's purely a guess," added Mitchell.

"Since Colorado and central/eastern New Mexico get their moisture earlier than Arizona, perhaps from water in the central Gulf of California or farther south, you may be seeing Gulf of California moisture and thunderstorms anytime in Colorado (since) surface temperatures in the central Gulf are about 84 degrees now.

"But the really good action may begin once those temperatures reach about 86 degrees," concluded Mitchell.

While most residents welcome its arrival, with the monsoon season come hazards.

While heavy rains will definitely benefit southwestern Colorado, back-country travelers and city dwellers alike should be aware of the possibility of flash floods during monsoon thunderstorms.

Areas recently scorched by wildfire and terrain that has received previous heavy amounts of rain are especially subject to flash floods.

While outdoors during thunderstorm activity, hikers and fishermen should avoid steep, narrow canyons that can fill rapidly with water at the onset of a storm.

Motorists should avoid driving vehicles into any flooded areas if they are unsure of the water depth - a flow depth of two feet is enough to sweep most vehicles downstream.

For more information on the monsoon season visit the NOAA Web site at http://www.noaa.gov or the Desert Research Institute home page at www.dri.edu.

 

Full moon provides chance to hook larger fish

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

With the onset of "dog day" weather in Pagosa Country, midday stream fishing has slowed considerably as trout are seeking refuge from direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Casting behind large midstream boulders and into shaded pockets or undercut banks will produce a few strikes during these hours, but fish will continue to be most active during the cooler hours of early morning and late afternoon.

For a change of pace, adventurous anglers who keep the necessary precautions and equipment in mind may want to try their luck under Sunday's full moon - aggressive, larger fish often take advantage of the improved lighting conditions to feed aggressively.

Reservoirs are warming but fishing remains steady, although plant growth in some of the area's shallow lakes is beginning to hinder the efforts of shoreline anglers.

The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:

- San Juan River (through town) - Recently stocked. Warming flow is averaging about 80 cubic feet per second. Anglers using spinners, flies, marabou jigs and streamers are reporting decent catches of rainbows along with a few browns.

- Echo Lake - Lake is seeing a surge in plant growth as it continues to warm. Largemouth bass, crappie, sunfish and perch are being taken on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Trout are holding deep midday but will occasionally hit flies, marabou jigs, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, cheese and PowerBait.

- Williams Creek Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout is reportedly fair to good with live bait, PowerBait, light jigs in orange and yellow, and spinners in gold, silver and bright fluorescents. Kokanee fishing has slowed, but some anglers are reporting occasional success with flashy spoons and pop gear in 25-35 feet of water.

- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,016 feet and water temperature is in the low 70s. Catfish are active day and night, regularly hitting blood/stink baits. 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 in the early morning and toward evening.

- Piedra River - Clear flow along the entire stretch of public water. 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. Fish are spooky, but small browns and rainbows are being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.

- Fourmile Creek - Clear flow is falling, but 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 hammered, but fishing is steady early and late. 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.

 

Dean family benefit set 1 p.m. Saturday

A community benefit to help offset medical costs incurred by the family of Dave Dean will be held 1 p.m. Saturday at Paul's Place on U.S. 160 west of Pagosa Springs.

Dean, who suffered serious injuries in an auto accident near the intersection of U.S. 160 and Trails Boulevard in mid-May, remains in a coma and is being treated in a Denver-area hospital.

Saturday's slate of events includes food, live music, karaoke, a Chinese auction, silent auction and raffle drawings ($1 per ticket). Bid items will be donated from Below Wholesale and a variety of other local businesses. All auction/raffle proceeds will be donated to the Dean family.

Also on the agenda are electronic darts, video games and a horseshoe tournament with an entry fee/donation of $5 per person. Prizes will be awarded to the winning team, and all tournament proceeds will go to the family.

In addition, a percentage of the establishment's profits for the day will directly benefit the family. For more information, call 731-9919 after 4 p.m.

 

Letters

Special meeting

Dear Editor:

The Upper San Juan Health District is holding a special meeting at noon today in the EMS building. At this meeting recently hired medical consultant Robert Bohlman will present his report to the board.

I personally looked into his qualifications and I was quite impressed. He has been a principal with MGMA Health Care Consulting Group since 1984, with over 25 years experience in medical group practice administration, including a continuing relationship with a 60-physician medical group in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

As a consultant, he has served more than 400 medical groups, hospitals and health care organizations.

He and his wife recently have become part-time residents of Pagosa Springs. Therefore, I believe he and his family also have a stake in whether our health care system fails or thrives.

I am personally looking forward to his report to the board. He will be providing the information needed for the board to make very important decisions about our district's future.

At the special board meeting the public is invited and will be allowed a limited time for verbal input. The Citizen's Advisory Committee will provide pencils and paper and an input box for written comments. All comments will then be delivered to each board member immediately for their use at the workshops planned at noon July 11 and 14. At the workshops, public verbal comment is not allowed, only written comment.

Other avenues of communication to the board are: written communication delivered to the district office located in the EMS building-input box (picked up daily by committee members); the e-mail address pshealth@pagosa.net; or personally speaking with a board member. Due to the timing of the special meeting, the consultant will broadcast a summarized report on behalf of the district later in the day on KWUF.

I cannot stress how important it is for the board to receive the public's input now. The next regular board meeting will be held July 15 (time and location to be posted). Hopefully, at this meeting, the board will have the information needed to decide the future direction of our health district.

It is now time for the crisis to end.

Time to be involved.

Debra Brown

Citizen's Advisory Committee

Water talks

Dear editor:

Aspen Springs Metro District will have an open meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 15 in the Metro District Building, 111 Metro Drive, to discuss the possibility of a central water system.

Water is part of the authority given the board under the metro district charter, but will require the approval of voters.

I am a resident and property owner in Aspen Springs and have many cost reservations about this proposal; along with its long-term effects on owners and renters. I will be attending this meeting to present my questions, along with other input I have received from neighbors and residents.

I encourage all residents and owners to attend this meeting.

It is my understanding that if this is put on as a ballot issue, any Colorado registered voter living in, or owning property in Aspen Springs has a vote.

Anyone having a vote should attend this meeting, along with others who can offer input concerning pros and cons.

Additionally, as an active member of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, I have confirmed with Chief Grams that a central water system with fire hydrants will not reduce current fire insurance rates within five miles of the fire station. I am hopeful of having Chief Grams and insurance agents at this meeting to address this officially.

Respectfully,

John Brungard

Too much hate

Dear Editor,

Upon reading Mr. Bennett's letter last week, I must say I was saddened, but not surprised.

In equating people who are homosexual with pedophiles and bestiality, he spreads only hate and intolerance. Such blatant prejudice and bigotry are the very reasons so many gays and lesbians have to hide who they are, sometimes for fear of their lives.

Obviously, Mr. Bennett doesn't realize how many people are gay, around 10 percent of the population. These same people he so mean-spiritedly passes judgment upon are teachers in our schools, grocery clerks in our stores, social workers and other highly regarded members of our communities.

I have been fortunate to have friends from all walks of life, including a number of gays and lesbians. These people are some of the most inspiring and caring people I have known.

Perhaps it is from a lifetime of being exposed to intolerance and prejudice that has enabled many gays to develop empathy for those that are less fortunate. On average, gays tend to be more involved in occupations that involve helping others or society in some way.

A few examples of people I know personally, a special education teacher, a social worker with the homeless in downtown L.A., Peace Corps volunteers, HIV outreach educators, teachers, community development coordinators, etc. We should be ashamed as a culture to treat such citizens so poorly.

Why shouldn't these members of our communities, who pay taxes like everyone else, and work with us throughout our communities, be entitled to the same basic civil rights as the rest of us? Most people who are gay, simply are. It's not a choice, it's just who they happen to be, and there is nothing wrong with that.

If you don't agree with that, that's fine, we are all entitled to our opinions. But please restrain yourself from spreading any more hate, if there's one thing this world has too much of, it's hate, and not enough of what really matters, kindness and understanding.

So, in response to the legalization of "sodomy," I can only say that it's about time our country started making more strides toward true equality for all citizens. What Mr. Bennett fails to realize, is that for the vast majority of gays and lesbians, this new legislation is not about a sexual act. It's about something much more important - the freedom to love who they love and not have to hide it. All people should be free to experience love without shame or fear, whether that be heterosexual or homosexual love.

In today's troubled world, where intolerance has left countless people displaced, killed and downtrodden, and where it seems like good news is heard less and less frequently, this small step should be seen for what is it, a cause for celebration. May we all have the freedom to love whom we choose, and the good fortune to find that love.

Sincerely,

Adrienne Haskamp

Great cleanup

Dear Editor:

I would like to extend my appreciation for the excellent cleanup job done by the Pagosa Springs parks maintenance department during this past weekend.

We are blessed to have such a dedicated crew supervised by Jim Miller to keep our town clean and parks looking great even in these dry conditions.

Sincerely,

Guiseppe Margiotta

Parade energy

Dear Editor:

We would like everyone to know how much our family enjoyed being in the Fourth of July parade.

As we arrived at the high school parking lot to register you could feel the excitement and energy of everyone there.

Entrants were putting last-minute touches to the many beautiful floats, ladies in red hats were singing, several people were playing bag pipes, a clown was "clowning around" and Ms. Faye Brown, who is now 98 years young, rode by on her horse accompanied by two friends. That certainly was a treat. Everyone was anxious for the parade to begin.

Our float had a large airplane loaned to us by Bonnie Jean and Clarence Nigh that everyone seemed to enjoy since Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

Abraham Lincoln needed a stovetop hat to complete his outfit and Holy Smokes came to the rescue. The sailor represented all the heroes of the U.S. military.

The nurse was Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross. She had fun walking curbside giving out candy. She is now four years old and this was the third parade she has been in. She was impressed that all the kids said "thank you" for the candy.

John was the driver and the sound system man. We were able to sing along with Lee Greenwood and his tape of "God Bless the USA."

We could have marched as far as Wolf Creek Pass.

Only 352 days until the next parade! Hope to see you there.

The Reindle Family

High priority

Dear Editor:

Again, our community was blessed with wonderful celebrations - a great parade and exceptional fireworks displays.

Most of us were free to enjoy all festivities with friends and families "at leisure" and my, what a blessing in this land of the free.

However, the security we enjoyed as we celebrated was due to those who willingly served this community to provide assistance to potential needs.

As I enjoyed my leisure, I was able to monitor calls answered by EMS folks responding to medical emergencies as well as providing on-site standby assistance at the rodeo.

Add to those folks our law enforcement officers, our sheriff's dispatchers, on-call volunteer assistance from victim's advocates and our volunteer firemen.

I am thankful for all those folks who placed the health and safety or our community as a high priority in their lives. When you see these folks say "thanks."

Patty Tillerson

Health care

Dear Editor:

There are major decisions to be made in the next few days concerning the future of health care in Archuleta County.

Any decision made that would result in three family practices existing in the county is wrong. This is not just my opinion. I have questioned many doctors both working and retired in Pagosa Springs and Durango. Some of these know our situation well and all have operated private practices. I have questioned business people and others who know our situation. I have also done research on the Internet looking at many rural areas like ours.

For an area with our dynamics and population having three practices is not practical or feasible. All practices would suffer and progress in health care for the people would be severely limited.

A third practice was tried here. It failed.

There are two workable "plans" being considered - the Dr. Knoll plan and the J.R. Ford-Wienpahl Plan. Both involve using the same space in the clinic building. I have forwarded a simple concept for better space utilization and a mild modification to the clinic that would allow the best of both plans to coexist in the building. The best of both these plans is the solution.

It has been a very painful year. I pray that all involved rise above the pain and do the right and best thing for the health care of all of us. There is a clear path to a better future.

Norm Vance

Holiday praise

Dear Editor:

Fourth of July 2003 is history and hopefully a fond memory for the vast majority of visitors to and residents of Pagosa Springs.

From a law enforcement perspective, things went well. The extra effort expended by many, many volunteers and other community servants made that possible. We live in a wonderful community.

Please extend my sincere gratitude to members of the Colorado Mounted Rangers, the Rotary Club, the Red Ryder rodeo board, the Chamber of Commerce, the town parks and recreation department, the town street department, the Colorado State Patrol and my staff.

The individuals who helped know who they are and I appreciate each and every one. They made my job easy. Thank you.

Donald D. Volger

Chief, Pagosa Springs

Police Department

 

Community News
Senior News

How to get on White House list for special occasion cards

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Cards from the White House are available to many senior citizens.

Anniversary and birthday cards from the president go to couples celebrating a 50th anniversary or higher and to individuals 80 and older.

To make arrangements for White House cards, contact the office below a month ahead of time:

Greetings Office, Room 39, The White House, Washington, D.C. 20500, or phone (202) 456-7610; fax (202) 395-1232 or e-mail president@whitehouse.gov.

Be sure to give names and addresses of recipients and the date of their big event.

Walkin' with George

George Golightly has been allowing us to print some of his thoughts about walking. This is an excerpt.

"Christy and Lena were curious about how far I might have traveled during my walks if I had been walking in a straight line. We couldn't find a measuring tape but Musetta loaned us a ruler. The three of us went into the gym and, on our hands and knees, we started to measure the boundary line around the basketball court.

"Musetta looked in once, but all she could see was rear ends and elbows! After some time we measured 50,280 inches around the basketball court.

"Figuring this into feet and again into miles, they figured that by now I would be 6 1/2 inches inside the town limits of Medicine Hat, Utah. They are still wondering where that half inch came from."

Interest has waned for the play in Creede this month, so we won't be going in July. However, there is a lot of interest in the production "Forever Plaid" Aug. 2. Come sign up to come with us to Creede.

Terri Smith came to speak to us about volunteering at the county fair Aug. 2. There are quite a few interesting positions available, so if you want to meet a lot of Pagosa folks, give Terri a call at 731-0729 or 946-1745.

We are still in need of 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. Any help would be appreciated.

We are going to the Bar D Chuckwagon supper Aug. 23. This is a popular trip, as there is an Old West stage show, things to buy and great food. If we can get a group of 14 or more to go our cost will go down to $14.40 for barbecue beef or chicken, $17.10 for beef and chicken; and $22.50 for steak. There will also be a charge for transportation, if you need it. Please pay in cash at the time you sign up.

Don't forget our free movie Friday, "Maid in Manhattan," showing at 1 p.m. in the lounge for our seniors. Popcorn's only 25 cents.

We are going to Sky Ute Casino July 15. Transportation is free and we leave the center at 1 p.m. Sign up early; we have only 13 seats on the bus.

We need volunteers to read for the blind. We also need someone to coordinate this project. For more information, please call Jim Peironnet at 264-2663.

Are you homebound? We have a Friendly Visitor Program that 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.

Attention Canastaholics! Come in to the senior center and learn to play Canasta. This class is for new players or people who used to play but need some instruction. We will set up a space 9 a.m.-noon July 28. Free to all seniors.

Visitors and guests: We have more people coming to lunch every week. We saw Pat Cornell, Erma Bone, Mary Hurchalla, Betty Lewis, Judy Meyer, Jim and Martha Smith and Judy Wood. We also got to see Jerry and Anita Torres, Alonzo and Peggy Tixier, Ray and Martha Trowbridge and Barb Tackett.

Events calendar

Friday, July 11 - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling; 1 p.m. free movie, "Maid in Manhattan"

Monday, July 14 - 1 p.m. bridge for fun

Tuesday, July 15 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class; 1 p.m. leave for Sky Ute Casino

Wednesday, July 16 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 1 p.m. line dancing class

Lunch menu

July 11 - Beef stew with vegetables, spinach, cornbread, tossed salad and apple crisp

July 14 - Beef tamale pie, pinto beans, tossed salad and apricots

July 15 - Turkey Divan with broccoli, boiled potatoes, roll and plums

July 16 - Roast pork, mashed potatoes, Brussel sprouts, spiced applesauce and whole wheat roll.

 

Veterans Corner

'Means test' mandatory for VA health care members

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

It is very important to remember that all veterans enrolled in VA health care must complete a "means test" every year, usually due on the anniversary of their enrollment date.

What is a means test?

It is a report of the enrolled veteran's financial means to qualify for VA health care. This information was voluntary prior to Jan. 17. A veteran could opt to decline reporting financial means and just agree to pay the co-pay fees.

This is no longer the case. With one exception, all veterans enrolled in VA health care must now report their financial means every year. The exception is veterans with 50 percent or more service-connected disabilities and certain other veterans such as recipients of Purple Hearts, etc.

Test required

Failure to make this all-important report could mean the veteran being dropped from active patient status in VA health care.

After two years, you could be dropped completely from VA health care, and may not be able to get back in, depending on your income status as a "new" enrollee.

If I enrolled you in VA health care from this office in the past two years, most likely I already have nearly all the information I need to assist you with your means test on the computer. You need only stop by my office and I will complete the form for you. After you sign the form we will fax it to the VA health care records center and it is a done deal. Won't even cost you the price of a postage stamp.

If you enrolled elsewhere, I suggest you stop by anyway and let me assist you in filling out the form. I know all the short cuts and have the form on the computer. Then I will add the form to my database under your name and thereafter have the information stored here for use each year to send in for your means test.

Information needed

To answer the test question you need to know your gross annual income from the previous tax year, value of any real estate owned besides your primary home (your residence does not count) and any out of pocket medical expenses.

Medical expenses include dental as well as doctor expense for you and your spouse, and for those of you on Medicare, the deduction from your Social Security for Part B of Medicare, usually around $55 or so. This deduction amount is on the Social Security statement you receive every year. There are a few other easily answered questions regarding assets, etc. Close estimates are fine.

As of Jan. 17, a veteran enrolling for the first time must meet certain income standards to qualify for VA health care. Up until that date all veterans could enroll in VA health care, regardless of their income.

Income rules

The rule of thumb to qualify for VA health care after that date is an income below about $28,000 for a single veteran with no dependents. A veteran with one dependent can make about $29,500 income or less and qualify for VA health care.

Also coming into play is a veteran's assets, real estate owned and other valuable assets. In other words, if you make over those amounts you generally will not be able to enroll in VA health care at this time.

As I have often mentioned here, I expect these rules to change in the near future, so I urge all veterans to enroll in VA health care whether they think they financially qualify or not. This gets you into the VA computer systems and then when these financial requirements change you may be one step ahead to obtain VA health care.

Rules change urged

A lot of intense pressure is being brought to bear on the VA and Congress to rescind these new income-based rules and go back to allowing almost any veteran with an honorable discharge to enroll in VA health care.

One of the big arguments in support of going back to the previous rules is that it is more cost effective to provide preventative health care, rather than deal with a veteran's declining health issues at a later date.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304 and our e-mail address is afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

 

Chamber News

Holiday celebrations surpassed all expectations

By Sally Hameister

I think Betsy Carter said it best: "If there is a more optimistic holiday than July Fourth, I don't know what it is: the food, the spectacle, the picnics, the reminder that there are still a delicious nine weeks left until the end of the summer."

Thank you all for the tremendous support you provided for the fabulous Fourth weekend we just experienced - you were an awesome community.

Rotary members outdid themselves again with the parade and Terry Smith at Circle T/Ace Hardware was once again our "truck/stage angel" loaning us an Ace vehicle that acted as both; the rodeo folks provided a wonderful taste of the Old West for one and all (one of these days, I'm going to be able to attend the rodeo, I swear); Doug worked himself into a lather and completely overheated with the very successful arts and crafts festival, and Morna was as always everywhere at once; our beloved police department protected, defended and lived through yet another parade and picnic/concert along with the Mounted Rangers who also provided security for the A&C Festival; the town did a magnificent job on their maiden voyage with the outstanding fireworks display and game-hosting at the Lodge; the folks at Pagosa Lodge fed over 1,200 people a picnic dinner and co-hosted the games; the Pagosa Hot Strings were hotter than ever in their divine concert and were so good natured about appearing on our float; the Mountain Harmony Ladies not only won first place in the musical float category but delighted the crowd at the Lodge with their renderings; and the Pagosa Springs Community Choir couldn't have been better and raised thousands of goosebumps with their rousing patriotic tunes.

Special thanks to Bob Hart for his generosity in providing the prizes for the games at Pagosa Lodge and to Phyllis Alspach for acting once again as Doug's sidekick marking the vendor booth spaces.

The July 4 celebration almost makes it worth the heat exhaustion and sleep deprivation, doesn't it? At any rate, thanks to all for a truly outstanding July 4 celebration and start napping right now for next year.

Music in the Mountains

Slowly but surely the tickets are disappearing for the remaining two concerts (out of three) for the upcoming Music in the Mountains, and I won't be terribly sympathetic when they're all gone and you are boo-hooing about missing the amazing and entertaining world-class musicians who grace the stage for those concerts.

The only available performances now are July 21 and 25 because the Aug. 1 show is sold out. Tickets are $35 for the remaining concerts, and all three will be held at the gorgeous BootJack Ranch.

While we're on the subject, for those of you lucky devils who will be attending any and all concerts, it is suggested that you arrive at least 20-30 minutes early. There will be a shuttle service to the performance tent from the parking lots, and you definitely don't want to miss a second of the music.'

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 opportunity. 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.

Building contest

In conjunction with Pet Pride Day, the third annual bird house building contest will take place in Town Park Saturday, 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 between 10:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Tuesday through Friday, and all entries must be received by 5 p.m. Friday.

St. Pat's concert

Please plan to attend the organ concert at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church at 7 p.m. Sunday presented by The Very Reverend Jerry E. True, Rector of St. Luke's in Attica, New York.

Consider this a "baptism" for the new organ with Jerry playing a tremendously varied program ranging from classical to show tunes with a patriotic segment as well.

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" rendering will feature Monica Fehrenbach on the piccolo. She, along with Jerry, is donating her talents to benefit the church building fund.

A donation of $5 is suggested and will 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.

Boom, Bust and Battle

A musical variety extravaganza featuring the dance, music and comedy of the '20s, '30s and '40s is headed your way this month, and you simply won't want to miss it. Over 30 performers will be featured, some of whom were born during the 1920s and some 75 years later. Some are local troopers you may have seen more than once, and some are new to the stage. A seven-piece orchestra, dancing girls, slapstick humor and some of the most popular songs of these three decades will combine to make for a memorable evening.

The Johns - Graves and Porter - are co-producing this extravaganza at Parish Hall on Lewis Street at 7:30 p.m. July 18 and 19. Advance tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and $6 for students and can be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company. Tickets at the door will be $15.

Demolition derby

The call is out for all cars, drivers and fans for the 2003 Demolition Derby to be held Aug. 3.

Even compact cars will have their own division this year, so pick up your entry packets at the Extension office or at Joy Automotive, 333 Bastille Drive. Call 731-9444 or 731-1146 for more information about the 2003 Demolition Derby.

Ride the Weminuche

United Way of Southwest Colorado will hold its second annual Ride the Weminuche Trail Ride Aug. 9 at the historic Poma Ranch beginning at 9 a.m.

This is a perfect opportunity for the entire family to see the San Juan Mountains and the Weminuche on horseback, watch the wildlife, enjoy a delicious chuck wagon lunch and raise money to support our community.

The price of admission includes a two-hour ride, a lunch featuring brisket, chicken, ribs and beans, a live auction and music, followed by yet another two-hour adventure.

You are invited to join this group for just lunch if you choose (which I do) to enjoy the great company and breathtaking views surrounding the Poma Ranch located 27 miles north of U.S. 160 on Piedra Road. Rides will be guided or unguided, and the fee is $55 if you bring your own horse and $95 if you need to rent one. The registration fee includes lunch.

To register or for more information, call Kathi DeClark at (970)946-2057.

Membership

I have the pleasure of acknowledging a nice tidy dozen renewals this week and am so happy that 12 businesses and/or individuals took the time during the busy Fourth week to renew their Chamber membership. We thank the following for their continued support: Seeds of Learning; Richard Byers with Sundance Shoes and Essentials; Mary Blandford and Sherry Waner with Vectra Bank; T.L. Shumaker with the Junction Restaurant; Steve and Judi Ferguson with Bello Lago Villa and Cottage; Kiu T. Ha with The Shang Hai Restaurant; Scott and Margaret Brush with Starlight Custom Homes; Sharon Robinson with Cool Pines RV Park; Roger Horton with Fairfield Pagosa Realty; Ron and Julia Jones with Pagosa Riverside Campground; and Sherley Albouy with Blanco River RV Park. Our associate member renewal this week is diplomat extraordinaire, Carol Gunson and husband Rich. Minny, minny thanks to all.

 

Library News

An uncensored history of 'Saturday Night Live'

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

"Live From New York: an Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live," by Tom Shales and James Andrew Miller remembers the comedy show that launched in 1975 and still thrives today.

It had such an impact on American life that even presidents had to take notice. This book covers remembrances of the cast from the beginning through 2002.

The people who were there get to tell their stories blunt, loving and uncensored.

"Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed," by Patricia Cornwell, presents hard evidence that the killer was world-famous artist Walter Sickert.

Using forensic skills, Cornwell gives a detailed analysis of the man's life and what created the psychopathic killer.

Booksale

The Friends Annual Meeting and Booksale will be Aug. 15. The public sale will be on Saturday, Aug. 16. Friends will be getting an invitation in the mail. You may become a Friend by paying the annual dues at the library before hand - $5 for an individual - $10 for a family. You must be a Friend to attend the private sale.

Bookmarks

There are several new bookmarks available now. The local artists helping with this fund-raiser have created keepsakes that are truly collector's items. We thank all of the artists - Carol Fulenwider, Mo Covell and their committees - for these works of love. Please come by and see the variety. They cost $3 each and the proceeds go to the building fund.

Donations

Thanks for a gift to the building fund from Barton and Jackie Cox in honor of JuJu Cox's 95th birthday. And thanks for materials from Ray and Robin Ball, Trish and Randall Davis, Lynnis Steinert, Jeanne Simpson, Rosemary Wright, Paul Matlock and Sandra Barber.

Chews to Read

Our thanks to Phyllis Decker for her program and the donation of the book, "Spotted Bear: a Rocky Mountain Folktale."

The summer reading program is winding down. The final party, July 23 at 11 a.m., is going to be in a different location this year: South Pagosa Park on South 8th Street three blocks south of the library. It's a watermelon party. All of the children who complete their contracts will receive their prize packet that day. Help create a real celebration by carrying or wearing something with a watermelon theme. Remember -South Park, not Town Park.

Readers of the week: Billy Baughman, Dylan Burkesmith, Karrington Castro, Marcella Church, Jacqueline Garcia, McKenzie Graham, Chris Jackson, Tristin Johnson, Ty Kimsey, Matthew Mundall, Desi Pastin, and Trey Spears.

Birthday cake: Matthew Harrell, Leslie Baughman, Savannah Brown, Breezy Bryant, Molly Burkesmith, Cassidy DeYapp, Jacqueline Garcia, Kyle Garcia, Kerry Honan, Kaytlyn Kelley, Jaime Kirkland, Malory Layton, Liam Nell, Delila Pastin, Demi Pastin, Desi Pastin, Delayne Sanchez, Sarah Sanna, Dean Scott, Diana Scott, Spence Scott, Coleman Smith, Samantha Townley, Anne Townsend and Barak Townsend.

Closest guess as to books read: 425 by Molly Burkesmith. There were 433 gumdrops in the jar.

 

 

Births

 

Natalie and Eli Carpenter proudly announce the birth of their daughter, Ivory Jane Carpenter, who was born in Durango June 24. The 6 pound, 5 ounce, 18 and 3/4-inch bundle of joy was welcomed home by her excited brother Dylan Kai. Her maternal grandparents are Carla and Jim Bass of Long Beach, Calif. Paternal grandparents are Diane and Jack Cochran of Houston and David and Joy Carpenter of Yucca Valley, Calif. Great-grandmothers are Jane Johnson, Jan Schultz, and Lois Kelley. We are all happy to have you in our lives, Ivory Jane!

 

Business News

Big-town retail specialization is brought to small-town Pagosa by Southwest Hardwood and Supply.

Mike and Karen Thomas opened Southwest Hardwood and Supply when Mike decided to make a career change after 27 years in hardwood flooring, tile and remodeling.

The Southwest Hardwood showroom exhibits a sample of the many different flooring materials available to customers. Do-it-yourselfers can wander back to the material and tool room where they'll find a wide range of flooring products and tools available for purchase or rent.

As a discount supply store, Southwest Hardwood and Supply offers many unique types of wood flooring and tile at affordable prices, something for every budget.

Mike's experience in interior design spans 38 years and is backed by a degree in the fine arts with an emphasis on interior design.

Southwest Hardwood and Supply is located at 123 N. 15th St., on Put Hill right next to Alpha Engineering and the Summer Phillips Goldsmith. The store is open Monday-Friday 9 a.m.- 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 264-4804.

 

People

Michael and Berkey Branch, of Pagosa Springs, are pleased to announce the wedding of their son, James Coe Branch, to Jennifer Schmeiser. The couple will be married in Denver at Trinity Methodist Church, July 19, 2003. James Coe is a 1994 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado and a master's degree from Arizona State University. Jennifer received her bachelor's degree from Colorado State University. Following their wedding, the couple will reside in Littleton where both teach at Columbine High School.

 

Silva

Jason Silva graduated May 10, 2003 from Western State College in Gunnison with degrees in psychology and business.

A 1999 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, he is the son of Mark and Vicky Ginn and Richard Silva.

 

Lister

Darin J. Lister has graduated from the Preparatory School at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs with appointment to enter the Air Force Academy.

Lister, son of Larry and Cindy Lister of Pagosa Springs, is a 2002 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School.

The prep school is designed to assist students in meeting strict academic and physical requirements of the academy. The school's program integrates academic preparation, military training, and athletic conditioning which includes a primary curriculum of academic preparation with intensive instruction in mathematics, English and the basic sciences.

 

 Features

Making Lemonade

Family beats the heat with fun fundraiser

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

As temperatures soared into the 90s on the Fourth of July, some took shelter indoors.

Others dipped their feet in local pools, or participated in the water balloon contest.

Still more set up picnic blankets in the grass and went in search of something cool to drink.

At the Pagosa Lodge, it didn't take anyone long to find a thirst quencher. Pagosans Kassidy and Sydney Smith, 9, and Becky Riedberger, 10, were on hand with mobile coolers selling ice-cold lemonade and Otter Pops - a version of the popsicle.

The cousins "wanted to do something fun together while waiting for the fireworks show," Carolyn Riedberger, Becky's mom, said.

Kassidy, Sydney and their mom, Michele Smith, handled the Otter Pops. Becky took on the lemonade and Grandma, April Holthaus, donated the decorations, including matching patriotic outfits. Well-schooled in making change - their mothers went over that and a few customer-service tips beforehand - the entrepreneurs set out pulling a bright red wagon behind them.

As a special touch, they hung a sign on the back, donating their efforts "In honor of their uncle, Lt. Cmdr. Stephen Sprague, USN." Sprague returned from Operation Iraqi Freedom just in time to celebrate his July 4 birthday with family in Pagosa Springs.

The girls set out on their venture about 5:30 p.m. on the Fourth - just as the sun dipped behind some clouds cooling things off enough for crowds to gather for music and, eventually, fireworks. They looked a little wobbly at first, their wagon fairly loaded down with goodies, including ice. Things straightened out pretty quickly as the three strategized the best way to keep things steady on their way to see the first customers.

For about two and a half hours, they trundled along the sidewalks, took on the challenge of a bridge and honed their hawking skills.

"It was definitely a team effort to keep everything intact," Riedberger said. At one point, the ice even went overboard, but the girls recovered nicely.

Family members coached them to yell, "Get your cold lemonade!" but the girls couldn't quite bring themselves to shout. In fact, at their first stop near some people playing volleyball, their call was so quiet and drowned out by several giggles, no one heard. Eventually they decided to just walk close to people and ask.

"The girls were a little shy at first," the moms said, "However, they persisted and were rewarded by the generosity of their friendly customers."

The lemonade went for 50 cents a cup, the Otter Pops for 10 cents each.

As the night went on, profits began to pour their way. By the end, they sold out of lemonade - about 50 cups - but had a few Otter Pops left.

"The only casualty they encountered was a 2-year-old who took off with a couple of Otter Pops without paying," Riedberger said.

Of course, the goal was really to have fun.

"We just really wanted them to have a good experience with business," she said. "We're always encouraging them to try new things." This was actually Becky's first attempt at a Fourth of July business, but not her first in the world of entrepreneurship. Before moving to Pagosa Springs, she and her brother sold grandma's cookies and lemonade at an annual neighborhood garage sale, sometimes pulling in $50 a day.

Riedberger said the idea of grandma's cookies came up during planning for the Fourth, but it didn't quite get done.

"Maybe next year," she said, although by then the girls might have a little competition. Some of their male cousins apparently made some comments about getting in on the act - if their mothers would help, of course.

The girls made about $10 profit each and promptly donated it to cousins Keagan and Kailey Smith who are planning a trip to Mount Rushmore with a group of H.S. PACE homeschool students.

 

Pagosa's Past

Pagosa as seen by a 13-year-old girl in 1880

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

Cowboys and Indians. Soldiers and outlaws. Prospectors, miners and lumberjacks. Doctor, lawyer, merchant chief. Pagosa Springs had them all and more in 1879.

The log barracks of Fort Lewis bristled on the west bank of the river. Merchants lived and sold their goods from an assortment of buildings hammered together from rough-sawn lumber on the east side of the river.

Thundering through town on a regular schedule, two stage lines connected the arriving railroad temporarily perched atop Cumbres Pass to the gold fields of the San Juans.

Fortunately for those of us enamored with frontier history, two eyewitnesses have left descriptions of the newly-fledged town.

Last week we quoted from the memoirs of Daisy Opdyck Fitzhugh written in 1942. Daisy was born in Warsaw, Missouri, Oct. 16, 1866. She came with her parents and two brothers to Colorado in 1878, to Pagosa Springs in 1879. She died in Pagosa Springs Oct. 4, 1956, just shy of 90 years old. Several folks who knew Daisy still remain in Pagosa Springs. Her view of Pagosa Springs is through the eyes of a 13-year-old.

Last week we reported her description of a shooting on the front steps of the Rosebud Saloon, her fear when Henry Gordon decided to play croquet by massaging the balls with flying lead from his six shooter, and the war dances conducted by Ute Indians in town at the time of the Meeker Massacre.

Daisy leaves us this description of how the pioneers took advantage of the Great Pagosa Hot Springs. At that time, the springs were still owned by the U.S. government.

"Almost every family had their own little bath house. We would go in the morning and fill the large built-in wooden tub and by afternoon the water would be cool enough to take a bath. Then when we were through bathing we would empty the tub, lock the door and it would be ready for the next time."

Motter's note: Not only were the hot springs owned by the federal government, there were no bath houses at the time. Since the water on the surface is about 145 degrees Fahrenheit, it obviously had to be cooled. The Indians bathed in little cavities on or near the edge of the spring where the water was trapped and cooled. The Indians also used blankets to trap steam in those cavities, thus giving themselves steam baths. Mud from the mineral water was thought to be very beneficial.

Daisy continued: "There was a building east of the hot spring that was used for a school house, also for dances or for church or for any community gathering. Whenever there happened to be a fire we had a lot of excitement. There was an old German and his wife who ran a saloon and they lived in rooms at the back. One day their house caught on fire and everyone ran with pails and formed a line to the river. The old lady got so excited she jumped up and down and knocked her wooden shoes together and kept crying, 'Somebody get up there and pour water on me.'

"A young man in town boarded with my mother; he had a little gun he carried around, always looking for something to shoot. One evening he came in and said he saw a cat in the wood pile and would we care if he killed it? I asked what it looked like and he said it was black and white and had a big bushy, tail. I said:

"'No, we don't want it. Go and kill it.' So he got up rather close and shot, and he sure got the benefit of that shooting. At that time there was a preacher in town who wanted everybody to come to the school house that night, and of course this fellow went. He would sit down by someone and the person would move. He would look around and see that he was alone; then he would get up and sit by someone else. The preacher was talking and the people were moving around. I think the preacher wanted to get out, too.

"When Garfield was elected (president of the U.S.) in 1880, the soldiers wanted to celebrate. They had a small cannon at the Fort, which they placed on the river bank, pointing it up the river; they loaded it with tin cans which were filled with pebbles. They came over and asked my mother if she would let me fire the cannon. (I was thirteen years old at that time.) She was afraid I would get hurt, but they promised her there was no danger so I fired the cannon and such a report you never heard! I was deaf for a week, but anyway I fired the cannon for Garfield."

Motter's comments: We can learn a lot from Daisy's observations. For example, the first school house was located east of the hot spring. Pagosa would have been in a Conejos County school district at that time. The first Archuleta County school house was started in 1885 when Archuleta County separated from Conejos County. I believe that was the building near the corner of Lewis and Third streets. Paradoxically, that building became a boarding house and Daisy probably lived there during her last years.

We also get a glimpse of church life, probably under the auspices of a traveling parson. Pagosa Springs' first church buildings didn't come along until about 1898. Nevertheless, the preachers were in town 20 years earlier.

We also get a glimpse of a fire line in action, which explains why none of the wooden buildings from that era remain.

 

Editorial

No Referendum A

There is no more important subject in the West than water. This

resource drives everything in our part of the world. Always has.

Without water, we have few worries, other than where to move. It seemed this past year Coloradans were on the verge of a new day in terms of how the resource is managed statewide. A coalition of organizations representing our counties conceived the Colorado 64 Water Principles, with a general guide of 10 principles that could help create a future in which cooperation between the Western Slope and the Front Range, the rural and urban areas of Colorado, could occur to everyone's benefit.

Now, thanks to our legislature, there is a referendum on the November ballot that causes us to ask questions - about the willingness of some in the state to cleave to the Ten Water Principles and about water development and use in Colorado.

In November, we will be asked to vote on Referendum A - a $2 billion bonding authorization for water projects

If approved, the referendum requires the Colorado Water Conservation Board to create a list of water projects of $5 million value or more, two in different basins in the state. By 2005, the governor will select at least one project, bonds will be issued and the bonds will be repaid by the users of the water.

One problem: The projects are not defined prior to the vote.

Second, there is an apparent conflict with at least two of the Ten Water Principles.

Water Principle 4 states, "Additional water storage should be pursued through improvement and rehabilitation of existing structures and development of new structures." Here's the kicker: "These activities should be accomplished with local consensus."

This is precisely what we are attempting to do here in Archuleta County. We recently passed a bond issue and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District is going forward with projects to improve ditch delivery of water to reservoirs, and is spending our money, with our consent at the polls, to improve reservoir capacity.

The local water conservancy district is investigating the possibility of constructing new water storage for a growing population. If elements fall into place, water users in the area could be asked to approve a bond issue to allow for construction.

We have the choice. We have control. Here, where the choice and control should stay.

A second possible conflict occurs with Water Principles 7 and 8.

"Future water supply solutions must benefit both the area of origin and the area of use." In other words, when water is shared, as the principles urge, two local areas must cooperate in the process. It should be a matter of more than just the governor and the state water board.

"Adverse economic, environmental and social impacts of future water projects and water transfers must be minimized; unavoidable adverse impacts must be mitigated, including both the immediate and long-term impacts attributable to water transfers. Locally affected communities must have the opportunity to assist in defining appropriate mitigation of each project."

Again, in the principles, local control and cooperation is paramount. It is the backbone of responsible and responsive water acquisition, storage, use and transfer.

We can approach Referendum A naively, saying, "Why not trust an appointed board and the governor? Why not assume that local interests will be protected?"

Heaven knows we have few examples of local interests being undermined by big government.

The Ten Water principles provide a workable and honorable way of dealing with our state's water problems. We should design and fund our projects locally and share in accord with principles.

We don't need a hazy Referendum A to muck up the process.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

Observations of a festive event

By Richard Walter

There is something of a letdown when a long holiday ends.

You've been keyed up for the crush of events, for the coverage and for the personal satisfaction of taking part in a celebration of consequence for the nation.

Some observations of the scene:

- the parade was far better than last year's because, simply put, the rabble-rousers who caused all kinds of problems last year were absent

- crowds were huge and most of the comments I heard around town were quite complimentary of the community and its efforts to supply the holiday spirit for a wealth of visitors from almost any place you'd like to mention

- the community's growth has not escaped the eye of the visitor. One woman commented she was here eight years ago "and it (the town) wasn't anywhere this big then"

- there was no pushing and shoving for parade vantage points as there has reportedly been in the past, and, yes, the early birds were on hand with all kinds of chairs and truck beds as sites for viewing the parade

- despite drought and imminent fire danger, there was no major threat during the long weekend. Campgrounds were jammed both near town and in the wilderness areas, but it was apparent campers were aware of the danger and taking precautions.

- there were relatively few illegal fireworks set off ... most of them along the river and restricted to firecrackers instead of aerial launches

- drivers were, for the most part, aware of the huge flood of vehicles on the roadway and driving cautiously. There were, however, exceptions, particularly at the lighted crosswalks downtown where drivers, particularly those from out of town who had not seen such devices before, were amazed to find pedestrians crossing in the protection of the lighted walkways and often failed to even slow for them. Several local drivers, too, were seen to ignore the pedestrian safety lane

- the fireworks show at the Pagosa Lodge was termed a huge success by even the most discerning cynics. They were even visible to a portion of those living downtown, if they were looking at the right spot

- the river was the place to be, as young and old alike escaped into the receding waters for respite from the heat and if you didn't have some sort of flotation device, you just waded in and let nature take her course

- respect for the flag and for its passing was much more evident than in recent memory. The sight of youngsters waving the flag and saluting it as it passed in parade was reassuring for some of us old fuddy duddies

- huge crowds at all the events indicated the planning which went into them was well thought out and that Pagosa is a "destination site" for summer visitors looking for something just a little bit different and just a little bit better than what they expected.

- sporting events, though unadvertised, drew good crowds and after all, what is July 4 without baseball?

It was, indeed, a fitting observance of the birthday of a nation celebrating its freedom.

 

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of July 11, 1913

Walter Zabriskie, the Junction merchant, who began growing an orchard a few years ago, informs us that he now has over 1,000 living trees and a few apple trees that are bearing this season. Mr. Zabriskie had had little or no experience in orchard growing when he began his work, but he applied intelligent methods, learned all he could as he went along and has apparently made a success.

Leon Montroy returned Wednesday from Treasure Mountain, to which place he accompanied a couple of Denver gentlemen who had heard of the story of the hidden Frenchmen treasure and are investigating its probabilities. Many of Pagosa's intelligent people have faith in the tradition and believe that someday the treasure will be found.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 13, 1928

A small forest fire was started in the vicinity of the Gomez corrals in O'Neal Park Saturday evening but was quickly extinguished without much damage. A more serious fire broke out Sunday near the Toner Ranch at Middle Fork and burned about three acres before put out. It is believed to have been caused by some careless fisherman.

Miguel Chavez today completed a deal whereby he disposed of his pool hall to Fred Lobato, a recent arrival from Lumberton, who had opened up a lunch counter in the said establishment. Mr. Lobato will take possession on Monday.

Regular dances at Carlsbad Lodge tomorrow and next Wednesday.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 10, 1953

The bridge across the San Juan at San Juan Street near the Town Hall slid into the river Sunday morning as the result of being hit by a car earlier that same day. The bridge was a complete loss insofar as rebuilding it was concerned, but some material will be salvaged from it.

The bridge suffered the fatal blow at about 3:30 Sunday morning when a Chevrolet pickup struck the south edge of the bridge on the west side of the river. The blow caused the support to bend and the bridge to buckle.

A temporary bridge is being constructed across the river in the town park. The old bridge was erected in 1912.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of July 13, 1978

The geothermal observation test well being drilled has been abandoned because of cave in problems. The drilling crew will now start on the 2,000 foot production well. The test well was down more than 700 feet when it caved in and water temperatures were between 130 and 140 degrees. Much hotter temperatures are expected below 1,000 feet.

A grant in the amount of $50,000 to the town and county resulted in 23 workers being employed last week. They are working at various projects in town and will be doing some in the county.

Construction work will start on Wolf Creek Pass next Monday. From that date until the end of the summer the Pass will be open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.