Girl, 10, survives rattler's bites
By Tess Noel Baker
A Pagosa Springs 10-year-old was bitten by a rattlesnake on her way to a favorite swimming hole July 21.
Chanlor Humphrey said the rattler attacked as she was following two dogs through a gate to the river about 22 miles from Pagosa Springs on Trujillo Road. She was with her sister and some friends at the time.
At first, she didn't know what had happened, except a lot of blood was running down her leg. In fact, it wasn't until she was in the truck on the way to the doctor that she realized she'd been bit.
Humphrey was transported to Pagosa Family Medicine Center in a private vehicle. Doctors there discovered she'd been bit two and a half times and sent her by ambulance to Mercy Medical Center in Durango.
Humphrey's mother, Betty Humphrey said no anti-venom was available in Durango so a state patrol trooper from Colorado met a state patrol trooper from New Mexico at the state line to pick up the first dose and bring it to the hospital. From there, Chanlor was flown to a hospital in Albuquerque where she received two more doses of anti-venom.
She was hospitalized for three days, spending two of those in intensive care.
"She stayed really calm through the whole thing," Betty said.
Chanlor was released July 24. However, she will have to be watched closely for the next three weeks in case of a negative reaction to the horse-derived anti-venom she received.
Snakes were simply not something they worried about, her mother said. "We generally look for bears, mountain lions, bobcats," she said. "We don't think about snakes."
Mike Reid, of the Colorado Division of Wildlife said in his 14 years in the area he has seen only a couple of rattlesnakes. But, they are out there, and care should be exercised.
"We do have rattlesnakes in the area," he said. "And coral snakes are in our range map, although I've never seen one."
Good sense and keen awareness were guides to avoiding a confrontation with a rattlesnake.
"Don't stick your hands in dark places without looking," said Reid. "And don't approach the snakes. We have some lookalikes here that are useful and they often end up dead because someone mistook them for a rattlesnake. The bullsnake, for example has a similar pattern and is a beneficial snake."
Most rattler sightings are in the southern end of the county, and Reid said reports have been made from the Echo Lake and Aspen Springs areas. He indicated that, in dry years, rattlesnakes can move to higher-than-normal elevations.
"The key is to be aware," said Reid.
A checking account to help cover medical expenses and other bills has been opened in Chanlor Humphrey's name at Wells Fargo Bank.
County puts use tax plan on fall ballot
Building materials, drilling equipment and motor vehicles
By Richard Walter
Archuleta County voters will be asked on the November election ballot to extend the county sales tax to construction materials, oil and gas production equipment and motor vehicles purchased outside the county's boundaries.
County commissioners approved the ballot proposal Tuesday after extensive discussion following receipt of a task force recommendation.
Specifically, the question would propose extending the county's 2-percent sales tax to all building materials purchased outside the county for use in the county; all machinery and equipment used for oil and gas production in the county; and all motor vehicles purchased outside the county for registration here.
A six-member task force, with ex-officio members representing both the county and town of Pagosa Springs, recommended the question be put to ballot.
Since the task force charge dealt only with the building materials, its recommendation was to submit that issue.
At the same time, the panel recommended the county consider the other two tax sources.
Commissioners pointed out many of the items which would be subject to taxes are purchased outside the county for the specific purpose of avoiding the county tax.
The method of collection would involve a form, similar to an income tax return, completed by the owner and/or builder on a construction project. It would list the materials purchased locally and those purchased outside the county for delivery locally and/or any other situations which would have resulted in avoidance of the county sales tax.
The form would be due along with any use tax monies due prior to the final building inspection and/or issuance of a building occupancy permit.
All funds realized from the additional tax income would be specifically allocated to the county's Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Fund.
With reference to collecting the tax on automobiles or other motor vehicles, the county tax would be payable at the time of licensing.
Oil and gas production equipment taxation payment would be required at the time a potential driller came to the planning department for a drilling permit application.
William R. Steele, county administrator, told commissioners the building materials recommendation was unanimous and that the feeling of the task force members was that all three phases of the tax extension should be put to the voters.
There was discussion of splitting the proposal into two ballot issues with building materials standing alone and the others combined into a single voter choice.
But in the end, commissioners opted to put the whole proposal on the ballot in a single question.
Lynda Van Patter, a task force member, suggested the county also consider setting aside part of the funds realized for open lands preservation.
Commissioner Bill Downey, noting he was ready to go ahead, asked his fellow board members to "be sure we're at a point today where we're ready to put this out to the public for a binding decision."
He asked Mary Weiss, county legal counsel, if the county is ready for such action.
"Timingwise, you need to be," she answered. "We need time to prepare the wording for the ballot, so you need to move now."
In answer to a question from Commissioner Alden Ecker, board chairman, she said she didn't think the motor vehicle taxation proposal would stand alone.
Commissioner Mamie Lynch agreed, saying "the motor vehicle proposal, if separated, will pull the others down."
Downey agreed, noting it is "unfortunate that everyone who drives a vehicle is partially responsible for the wear and tear on the county's road system. Thus, we all ought to pay our proportionate share for the maintenance of those roadways. "
Weiss told the commissioners she and Steele investigated similar programs in other Colorado counties and that they had all been submitted, and in most cases approved, as companion issues in a single question.
With reference to Van Patter's open space funding idea, Downey pointed out "the county is already 67-percent open space with national forests and other governmentally controlled lands.
"If the county purchases more land for open space," he said, "we just take more land off the tax rolls."
"Then consider development rights instead of purchase," Van Patter responded.
Lynch said she had decided the building materials and oil and gas equipment should be lumped into one question and the motor vehicle issue a separate one. "And, Lynda, I would support 25 percent going to open space if we came down to that decision."
Downey, however, was adamant that all three issues be submitted for voter approval in a single question. "Too many questions on a ballot just confuse people," he said.
Lynch conceded it might be better to go with a single issue question and seconded Downey's motion to that effect.
The three then voted unanimously for the issue to be on the November ballot.
Ecker thanked the members of the task force for tackling a tough subject and presenting a well-constructed recommendation.
Members in addition to Van Patter were Michael C. Branch, Neal Townsend, Terry Clifford, Robert Hart and Bo Warren.
Twice the consideration of the proposal was interrupted for public hearings set at specific times by approval of the agenda.
But in the end, the proposal was approved after just more than an hour of discussion
After 60 years, Pagosan receives Purple Heart
By Andy Fautheree
and Karl Isberg
A presentation of the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War medals to John Walker, a World War II POW of the Japanese almost 60 years ago, took place July 29 at the River Walk Gazebo behind the county courthouse in downtown Pagosa Springs.
A ceremony also took place Aug. 26 at the Fiesta de Santiago, San Luis Museum Courtyard, in San Luis, as part of the Korean War Memorial activities held during the weekend. Walker was honored there along with other veterans from past wars, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient George T. Sakato, also a World War II veteran, made the presentation of the Purple Heart.
Ironically, Mr. Sakato is Japanese-American descent and fought on the side of the United States. Mr. Sakato was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his outstanding bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
Obtaining the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal for John Walker occurred because of the combined efforts of the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
Walker was a prisoner of war of the Japanese for 3 1/2 years. He is a survivor of the infamous Bataan Death March where reportedly almost 10,000 of his fellow American and Philippine soldiers died after surrendering to the Japanese in the early days of World War II in the Philippines.
Walker was imprisoned at the equally infamous and brutal Japanese Camp O'Donnell for a period of time, then transported under more brutal conditions aboard a vessel to a lead and zinc mine on the Japanese homeland.
During the Bataan Death March Walker witnessed fellow soldiers executed by beheading, bayoneted, shot, run over by vehicles, beaten and subjected to other cruel and inhumane treatments.
The forced march up the Bataan peninsula was about 100 miles in length and took place over the course of five days and nights. During that time captured troops were given no food or water and the forced march was nonstop. Those who fell by the wayside or could not continue were often executed.
No care was given for wounds or injuries from the earlier battles.
John has recounted how he narrowly escaped execution by "one number" while at Camp O'Donnell. A fellow POW had escaped and the Japanese captors selected 10 POWs to be executed in reprisal, five on each side of the escaped POWs' formation line. John was number six in his line.
John survived all of these ordeals, witnessing and experiencing extreme cruelty from his captors that is beyond the imagination. Throughout all of this he maintained his will to live. When he was liberated at the end of the war he weighed 68 pounds.
It is befitting, now, after almost 60 years, that John Walker receive the Purple Heart and Prisoner of War Medal for his service to his country and because of his ordeals.
The ceremony at the gazebo was well-attended with many of Walker's friends from church present. Walker and his wife, Carolyn, have resided in Pagosa Springs for 15 years.
Walker told a story Tuesday that gave an indication of the extreme nature of his wartime experience, but also of the depth of the man's character.
"I hated the Japanese people for 50 some-odd years," he said. "But then I had a chance to go back to Japan four times to build churches. I had an old Japanese man come up and give me a hug and say 'keep on loving us.' I had another man come up to me and say 'I'm sorry.' And you know where that hate went. I had to ask the Japanese people to forgive me for that hate."
As for the medals he was awarded this week, Walker said he "wasn't expecting it, but I certainly appreciate it. I thank Andy and Senator Campbell's staff for making it happen."
Welcome rains swell river flow; more due
By Richard Walter
It isn't the flood of Biblical proportions experienced by Noah, but the past week's rains have been manna from heaven for firefighters and garden growers.
And more of the same is in the offing, a somewhat regular routine for the days of the Archuleta County Fair where activities open today.
Forecasters with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction see more of the same, with Friday and Sunday probably the best days for outdoor activity.
The rain was, as usual, scattered, but it appears every section of the county got at least some precipitation.
The annual monsoonal flow has officially arrived, the weather service said, noting it came later than normal but we're much better off than last year when it didn't arrive at all.
The flow, normally south to north, has continued despite the fact most local rains seem to have come from the north.
That is because the frontal lines are pushing the moisture up through eastern Utah and a high over lower Wyoming is pushing it back down across the Western Slope.
Official measurements at the county airport at Stevens Field show nearly four-tenths of an inch of precipitation since the first storm Friday left .02 inches. Airport gauges did not record precipitation Saturday although substantial amounts fell in the downtown area. Sunday through Tuesday saw totals of .15, .09 and .13.
One caller from the upper Blanco area said their private rain gauge recorded just over 1.2 inches in the same time period.
The differing measurements are indicative of the scattered nature of the storms.
On some days the Pagosa Lakes area has high rainfall and downtown remains dry; other days see the opposite.
We could get similar totals in the coming days.
The forecast calls for a 30-percent chance of rain today with showers ending by midnight after a daytime high of 85. Lows tonight should be in the upper 50s.
There is no rain in the forecast for Friday, with mostly sunny skies and a high around 87 with mild, dry winds shifting from south to northwest at 8 miles per hour.
There is, however, a 40-percent chance of storms returning after midnight, with that percentage of chance remaining throughout Saturday when the high is expected to be 85 and the overnight low in he mid 50s.
The forecast Sunday through Tuesday indicates conditions starting to warm and dry Sunday and then new fronts will move in and offer a 30-40 percent chance of rain each day.
Daytime highs are expected to be in the mid-80s and overnight lows in the lower 50s as intermittent rains continue.
The rains are easily reflected in the San Juan River flows measured in Pagosa Springs.
As the week progressed, the flow rose from a low of 37 cubic feet per second on July 24 to a high of 120 cfs at 10 a.m. Tuesday. By the same time Wednesday, flow had dropped back to 88 cfs but that is still well above the 14 recorded on the same date last year.
The 67-year average for July 30 is 220 cfs, so the recovery has not come close to average. For those curious, the records list the all time high for the date at 2,200 cfs, but do not give the year that happened.
High temperature for the last week was 86 Saturday, the lowest 50 on both Monday and Tuesday. Average high was 83 and the average low 52.
Three Pagosa youths advance to Rockie's Challenge finals
By Joe Lister Jr.
Rockies Skills Challenge is a baseball competition that allows youngsters to showcase their talents in base running, batting, and throwing, with scores based on speed, distance and accuracy.
It is a youth program the Colorado Parks and Recreation Association provides with support in the form of a grant through the Colorado Rockies and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation.
Locally, it is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Parks and Recreation Department.
Three Pagosa athletes will advance to the Rockies Skills Challenge at Coors Field Aug. 24. There were eight winners in boys' and girls' competition at Runyon Field in Pueblo this past Sunday.
Pagosa was represented by Allison Laverty, C.T. Bradford, Mary Brinton, Ryann Charles, Kain Lucero, Kyler McKee, and Anissa Lucero.
Charles (boys 10-11), Anissa Lucero (girls 6-7) and Brinton (girls 10-11) each finished first in their age classification and advance to the state competition in Denver. The state competition will be held before a game between the Rockies and Atlanta Braves.
Sectional winners will received a Rockies hat, a Rockies Skills Challenge T-shirt, and three tickets for the participant and his or her parents to attend the game between the Rockies and the Braves.
All participants represented Pagosa well. Laverty was a second-place finisher and Bradford and Kain Lucero each finished third in their respective divisions.
Folk Festival news
Parks and recreation crews are welcoming the latest rain storms with open arms.
Our last big event of the summer will be the 8th annual Four Corners Folk Festival.
With this year's festival returning to the very popular, camper-friendly confines of Reservoir Hill, there promises to be a great show.
We are on the last phase of a three-year thinning project on Reservoir Hill with all work done by Timber Tech out of Durango.
Try a hike on the hill now and, better yet, buy a ticket to the festival and get ready to enjoy the great "Reservoir Hill Park," hiking, biking and camping out on the weekend of the festival.
EDAW final draft
The final draft is available at Town Hall. You are welcome to come in and go over some of the plans, including those for application for several grants which, if received, would be projected for 2004 funding. Cross your fingers and let's get our park built.
Each funding phase of GoCo funds is a maximum of $200,000. We have not received the final build-out cost of the project on South Fifth Street, but we feel $800,000-$1.1 million is a good ball park figure, pardon the pun.
Within the next few weeks we will be meeting with the school district, the county and the town board to try to set up an intergovernmental fund that would leverage our tax dollars to help show the cooperation and the groups' cash contribution and support.
With all entities working together we stand a much better chance of receiving grants in the future.
Corporate and individual pledges are welcome. Call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-4151 Ext. 231 if you would like to pledge something to the 2004 Capitol Improvement Fund.
We will have a cash match for grant purposes on hand.
The first phase of the project will likely involve a little league/ softball field, a Colorado High School Activities Association approved soccer field, parking- drainage and a completed raw water irrigation system from the San Juan River.
Final standings for the 2003 adult softball leagues are in.
Seeding was completed for the 2003 tournament. Competition began Wednesday at 6 p.m. and will continue through Aug. 5 with the championship games scheduled for Aug. 11 (coed) and Aug. 13 for Men's Division.
Here are the final standings:
Men's Comp League
2. U Can Afford Landscaping
3. Jann Pitcher Real Estate
4. Ruff Ryders
5. American Legion
6. At Your Disposal
7. Black Sox
9. Ace Hardware
1. Radio Shack
2. Jann Pitcher Real Estate
3. Big O Tire
Come see the final tournament games and enjoy an evening of softball.
Mountain bike race at Silverton
Silverton Mountain, the newest venue for lift-served, downhill-only mountain biking will be holding a new race Aug. 18 for the experienced mountain biker looking for a fun challenge.
The two-mile downhill course covers 1,900 vertical feet on the steepest course around.
All riders must have health insurance. Registration on race day is $25 and starts at 8 a.m.
The race begins at 10 a.m. The entry fee covers racing, lift rides and a free drink. Save $5 and pre-register for the race at Hassle Free Sports in Durango, Rock n' Roll Sports in Gunnison, or at Silverton Mountain.
Contact Silverton Mountain for more information at (970) 387-5706.
Junior high football hopefuls report Aug. 12
All students interested in playing junior high football must report to the junior high gymnasium Aug. 12. Practice will be 4-6 p.m.
All hopeful players should come to practice with their physical examination and parental permission forms completed.
The physical forms can be obtained from local physicians and must be given to a coach before a student can start practice.
Students should come to practice in shorts and T-shirts and with enthusiasm to play football.
If there are any questions regarding practice, call coach Jason Plantiko at 731-9592.
Edible, medicinal plant walk Aug. 6
San Juan Mountains Association will sponsor a free edible and medicinal plant walk Aug. 6 with herbalist Suzanne Davis.
The session will be at the Junction Creek Trailhead in Durango 6:30-8 p.m.
Participants should register by calling 385-1210.
Town Board to vote on home rule charter Aug. 5
By Tess Noel Baker
A public hearing to discuss a draft home rule charter for Pagosa Springs was held July 24.
It was about 15 minutes long.
No one from the public spoke at, or even attended, the hearing. One person arrived about 10 minutes after the hearing had closed, flipped through a copy of the draft, but did not speak.
Mayor Ross Aragon, who is also a member of the charter commission charged with writing the home rule charter, said the meeting time, date and location were properly published.
The town has been looking at home rule - an option for local government structure allowed under the state constitution - for several months now.
Currently, Pagosa Springs is a statutory town. Everything from the number of trustees, the structure of town government, election procedures to taxation options are dictated by state law. Under home rule, the charter - created by the commission, a committee of town residents - dictates how each of those things are structured and can do so in a way that fits the specific needs of the community.
In a special election in April, voters gave the town the nod to pursue home rule by a margin of 43-11. That's out of a total of 910 registered voters inside town limits.
At that time, voters also approved a slate of six charter commission members. Another three were appointed to the commission.
Members of the charter commission have spent the last two and a half months writing the document that, under home rule, would outline local government organization.
Now, it's time to go back to the voters.
Pagosa's home rule charter will come before the board of trustees at their regular meeting Aug. 5 at 5 p.m. in Town Hall. At that time, the board will have the opportunity to accept the charter and call an election. Currently, election dates in September or October are up for consideration.
Pagosa Springs would only become at home rule community if voters approve the charter at that election.
Hunting lodge, storage units win approval
By Richard Walter
A conditional use permit for operation of an exclusive, invitation-only lodge for elk hunts was approved Tuesday by Archuleta county commissioners.
The permit for Keyah Grande Lodge at 13211 W. U.S. 160 was approved unanimously, one of three actions on planning department recommendations.
Associate planner Marcus Baker said the project application indicates the use will be private, but noted there have been advertisements for it.
Specifically, the operators, Alan and Barbara Sackman, plan elk hunts in a penned shooting operation, spa weekends, corporate retreats and other special events for guests including horseback riding, hiking, ATV treks, fishing, and skeet, clay and trap shooting.
Asked by Commissioner Bill Downey what enforcement power is available to the county if the operation becomes strictly commercial, County Administrator Bill Steele said, "regardless of how the people get there it is, by definition, open to the pubic."
The Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission unanimously recommended approval and the planning staff followed that action, saying all conditions for approval had been met, including paved parking, well water and sewage system approval and installation of a sprinkler system for fire suppression. Also met were requirements for state permitting for access, creation of defensible space approved by the forest service and fire district testing and approval of water pressure and flow systems.
Also approved by commissioners, on recommendation of the planning department, was release of the improvements agreement and performance bond for Teal landing condominiums phases four through seven, buildings 14 through 17.
On-site inspection by planning staff indicated all required landscaping actions had been taken and that the bond totaling $78,959 should be released.
The final development approval issued spurred the greatest debate and took the most time to reach a decision.
It involved a reconsideration of a request for a conditional use permit to allow construction of mini-storage and outside storage in three phases on property at 3961 E. U.S. 160.
Petitioners are Eddie and Troyena Campbell.
The planning commission had voted 4-1 to agree in concept that the storage facility is an acceptable use for the location.
Planning staff, however, derived specific conditions for approval relating to recommendations from the commission, geological reports, the county engineer and site plans.
It was those conditions which brought Campbell before commissioners.
Before he spoke, Baker and Sue Walan of the planning staff reviewed some of the problems encountered.
Baker cited new maps, drawings and layout concepts filed for the property after the first hearing, a change in RV parking area, inappropriate landscaping plans, and lack of room for maneuverability for RVs.
Requirements for paving of parking areas and the access lane were opposed by Campbell, as was the department's recommendation for stone veneer on the sides and front of the storage buildings.
Walan told the board Campbell's engineers had promised final "new" drawings this week dealing with drainage, ditch clearance, RV turning radius and more importantly, the possible deposit of dirt into a Colorado Department of Transportation ditch and how to avoid clogging that ditch.
And, the panel recommended the access road be cut to 8-percent slope - or 10 percent if set by commissioners - instead of the existing 14 percent.
Baker said compatibility is the main issue in the project.
"We want to avoid the cluttered look and have it blend in. I don't think the planning commission envisioned what's in this plan."
Mary Weiss, county attorney, said codes stipulate compatibility with adjacent properties, but do not address what the actual building must look like. "We can say it must blend with the surrounding area, but haven't a whole lot of ability to dictate color and style.
Commissioner Mamie Lynch said the time for argument was over. "We need to take action one way or another. This can't keep dragging on."
She then moved to accept the first phase of the project to allow initial construction and to require paving and landscaping in two years from date of approval.
Her motion carried unanimously, pending receipt of the new maps and approval of changes thereon recommended by planners, with the exception of building style and color.
County noise ordinance passed, effective Aug. 31
By Richard Walter
An ordinance specifically controlling noise levels in unincorporated areas of Archuleta County was approved Tuesday by county commissioners.
The final draft contained minor changes from the original which had first reading a month ago, specifically with respect to hours at which motorcycle noise levels will change.
The ordinance will be published July 31 and will become effective on Aug. 31.
Purpose of the ordinance is that commissioners, on the basis of citizen complaint and staff research, have found noise in excess of common limits "is a major source of environmental pollution which represents a threat to the serenity and quality of life in Archuleta County."
"Excess noise," the ordinance states, "often has an adverse psychological and physiological effect on human beings, thus contributing to an economic loss to the community."
For purposes of definition, the ordinance describes "noise disturbance" as any sound which is or may be:
1) harmful or injurious to the health, safety or welfare of any individual, or
2) of such a volume, frequency and/or intensity that it unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life, quiet, comfort or outdoor recreation of an individual of ordinary sensitivity or habits.
Measurement of noise occurring with the county will be measured at or within the property boundary of the property where the measurement is taken and at a distance of 25 feet from the noise source.
Noise will be measured on a scale set on a sound level meter of standard design and quality.
Measurements will be made when wind level is not more than five miles per hour and consideration will be given to the effect of ambient noise on the level measured.
Specifically excluded from ordinance control are any noises resulting for authorized emergency vehicles, operation of aircraft subject to federal law with respect to noise control; operation of agricultural equipment, general traffic and railroad noise.
In general, maximum noise levels will be 80 decibels from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 75 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
No off-road vehicle operated on residential property will be allowed a noise level above 82 decibels at a speed of 35 mph or less; or 86 decibels at over 35 mph.
Those noise levels are permissible 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekend days.
Mufflers will be required on all vehicles and those equipped with a cutoff or bypass are specifically prohibited.
Penalties are set at a minimum of $50 and not more than $150 for first offense. A second offense by the same person carries a minimum $150 fine but not more than $500. Third and subsequent offenses are punished by a fine of not less than $500 nor more than $1,000 for each separate offense.
Allowable noise levels for motorcycles, on weekends, was dropped from the original 86 to 50 decibels.
Lightning sparks new fires, none allowed to grow
By Karl Isberg
The past week's fire activity was amplified by a July 25 lightning storm, with 994 total strikes in the Pagosa area.
Lightning sparked close to 40 new fires in the Pagosa District, all of which were less than one-tenth of an acre in size with low spread potential.
As of July 30, 24 of these fires had been declared out.
Firefighters are typically declaring five to eight fires out each day.
Higher humidity levels throughout the day and night have helped firefighters by lowering a fire's potential to spread and grow in size.
Fire officials expect a decrease in fire activity as long as weather conditions continue to cooperate.
Currently the Pagosa Ranger District has one Initial Attack crew from the Chippewa National Forest, one helicopter and local Forest Service personnel on hand to respond as needed.
Additional ground and aviation resources are available and stand ready. Firefighter and public safety remain the No. 1 priority for all fire fighting activity.
Currently two small wildland use fires are being monitored within the Pagosa District, one in the Weminuche Wilderness and one in the South San Juan Wilderness.
Wildland use fires are managed to achieve resource benefits. Benefits include allowing fire to play its role in the ecosystem, removing dead and down fuels, improving wildlife habitat and forage, and creating biological diversity in the forest.
The Bolt Fire, located on Southern Ute Tribal lands, Forest Service lands and various private parcels south of the Chimney Rock Archaeological Site, remains the largest fire in the county, estimated at more than 2,000 acres in size as of Sunday. The Bolt Fire was said to be more than 90-percent contained over the weekend.
Thundershowers aided fire-fighters in mop-up efforts Tuesday but created problems for crews on slippery roads.
As of Monday there were 310 people assigned to the Bolt Fire, headed by a Type II Oregon and California Interagency Incident Management Team. The fire was being fought by nine Type II hand crews with seven engines, four dozers and eight water tenders.
For further information, contact the Pagosa Ranger District Office at 264-2268 or visit www.southwest coloradofires.org (fire updates) or www.fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan (fire information).
Citizens' group discusses Mary Fisher plans
By Tess Noel Baker
About 60 people gathered at the Pagosa Springs Community Center Sunday for a town hall-style meeting about health care in Archuleta County.
Most of the discussion revolved around a plan for privatizing the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center that was rejected by the Upper San Juan Health Service District Board July 15.
That plan, brought forward by Dr. Mark Wienpahl, Dr. Bob Brown, nurse practitioner Susan Kuhns and community member J.R. Ford, offered a proposal for 24/7 on-call coverage for all patients, including visitors, by local doctors including staff from both the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center and Pagosa Family Medicine Center.
Under the plan, the district would contract with Wienpahl who would, in turn, provide a family practice clinic in the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center, and operate the Urgent Care center. It also addressed indigent patients through a payment from the district to the physicians at both private practices.
The plan was one element of a long-range six-point concept for integrated health care in the county put forward by Dr. Jim Knoll, a Pagosa Springs resident who also served as chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee, an ad hoc committee of the district.
The district board approved the six-point plan in concept and pledged to look into the legality and financial impacts of the plan which included a proposal for the clinic, restructuring EMS, a forum for the doctors to provide input to the district and a restructured role for the district itself. Then, in July, the board voted 5-2 against the privatization proposal advocated by the six-point plan, in favor of restructuring the clinic with a doctor and two physician assistants.
Future financial concerns was one of the reasons given for the decision. According to numbers presented by the district's accountant, a move toward privatization would ensure the district would have to go back to the taxpayers for more money.
However, the dollars and cents of the thing continues to receive debate.
"Our plan would work," Ford told those gathered Sunday. "It was a choice of which plan they wanted to finance." Ford's plan was reviewed by several consultants as well as two lawyers.
The district's plan to restructure was created by their own consultant, hired in June.
Ford asked the board members several times to place a dollar value on using existing doctors versus an unknown and, as yet, unhired staff. He said he never heard what the dollar values were.
"This wasn't a plan we just kind of made up," Ford said. "Our district does have the money to do this, they chose something else."
Wienpahl said the issue is really finding the best way to pay for integrated health care in the community.
"This issue isn't about me," he said. "I'm just one of the players. I'm not planning on leaving." In fact, he said, he is "working diligently" to set up his own private practice. Currently, he continues to work at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center for the health service district. Brown and Kuhns have both left their practices following the board's decision in July.
When the six-point plan was presented, Wienpahl said, it was the first attempt at long-range planning put forward in quite a while. He said it was a solution that brought everyone together - a key element of success.
"We don't feel the district received input from you, we don't feel they made the right choice," he said.
Dr. John Piccaro, of Pagosa Family Medicine Center, said people are not getting some of the facts and it's leading to a terrible misconception. Some people, he said, are accusing the doctors at Pagosa Family Medicine of being "country-club doctors" and "greedy" in promoting a plan that would include them contracting with the district for things like 24/7 service.
The facts are that a government subsidized private practice in Durango recently laid off five or six of their physicians because the money wasn't there, he said. In that case, Medicare and Medicaid patients made up somewhere around 17-18 percent of the total practice. (Medicaid and Medicare patients are reimbursed at a lower rate than private insurance, making it very difficult for physicians to see large numbers of those patients and recoup the loses.)
In the case of Pagosa Family Medicine, Piccaro said, the same practice people are labeling as "greedy," the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients equal over 45 percent of the practice. In addition to that, he said, Pagosa Family Medicine took a substantial loss last year from non-pays. That is people who won't pay their bill or can't.
"I don't know how long I will work in a town that allows these types of comments to continue," Piccaro said.
Meeting moderator Bobra Schaeper asked, given those conditions under which the current private practice operates, how is the district going to handle Medicare-Medicaid in future if they expect to make money - their reason for the restructure over privatization?
She also voiced concerns about the amount of tax dollars going to district administration, the attitude of the district manager and the lack of effort to find grants to help keep the district on its feet financially.
"If we could overturn this now, we could get back on track," she said, urging those present to do whatever they could to try to get the health service district board to reconsider privatization.
Some of the suggestions made included writing letters to the editor, calling the various members of the health service district board and possibly holding another town hall style meeting and inviting members of the district board to attend.
"A decision the board has made can be remade," Schaeper said.
Albuquerque woman seriously injured in July 25 collision
By Tess Noel Baker
A New Mexico women remains in critical condition following an accident on U.S. 160 July 25.
According to Colorado State Patrol report, Elizabeth Hartle, 70, of Albuquerque, was injured in a two-vehicle collision at the intersection of U.S. 160 and Cat Creek Road.
Hartle was the passenger in a Buick driven by her husband, Maurice Hartle, 82. They were traveling westbound on the highway, came around a corner and collided with a Subaru Outback waiting to turn left. The force of the collision pushed the Outback off the road.
The driver of the Outback, Monica Hausler, of Aurora, and her passenger, Ashley McIntosh, of Littleton, both age 19, were taken to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center where they were treated and released.
Elizabeth Hartle was life-flighted to San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington where she remained in critical condition Wednesday morning.
Maurice Hartle was transported to Mercy Medical Center. He was cited for careless driving causing injury.
Annual conference draws big crowd, topnotch speakers
By Tess Noel Baker
Nearly 400 people gathered at Pagosa Springs High School Monday and Tuesday for a conference on kids.
Eight years ago when the Southwest Conference on Learning first started, there were just 40 participants, Ralph Hamilton told the crowd gathered in the auditorium at the start of the first day.
Teachers, counselors, law enforcement officers, parents and others attended this year. One person came from as far away as Washington state.
They came to hear three people: Mac Bledsoe, Dr. Bruce D. Perry and David Pelzer. One spoke on parenting, one on brain research and the other on overcoming childhood trauma.
"We really, really research our speakers," Diana Talbot said. Talbot, along with Hamilton and Terry Alley, make up the Charles J. Hughes Foundation Board of Directors. The foundation, along with the Archuleta County School District 50 Joint, sponsor the conference. "We look for somebody who's an expert in their field, someone with a proven track record at conferences."
Bledsoe, a former educator, founder of Parenting with Dignity and president of the Drew Bledsoe Foundation, spoke all day Monday about how to teach kids with dignity, respect and love rather than a series of punishments.
Perry, a senior fellow of the Child Trauma Academy and an internationally recognized authority on research and education on child maltreatment took up the morning Tuesday, and Pelzer, author of the books "A Child Called It," "The Lost Boy," "A Man Called Dave" and "Help Yourself," spoke Tuesday afternoon about overcoming life's troubles and learning to help yourself .
"My goal is just to help as many people as we can help kids," Talbot said. The Hughes Foundation was started in 1991 by Donna Hughes as a means of recognizing her late husband.
In the beginning, the foundation helped implement a reading program in the schools, gave out scholarships to students and developed a grant program to help teachers purchase equipment for their classroom. They also provided money to help teachers attend conferences.
"We're in a remote area," Hamilton said. "It's difficult for teachers, administrators, caregivers here to go to top-notch conferences - there are huge expenses involved. We thought through the foundation we could provide top notch speakers at an affordable cost to the locals."
The growing number of attendees is evidence of their success. In fact, they've already started planning for next year.
Committee reports detail Pagosa Lakes' ongoing programs
By Richard Walter
Michael Piper, committee chairman, and Larry Lynch, property and environment manager, shared reports for the Lakes, Fisheries and Parks Committee at Saturday's annual meeting of Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.
Piper told of progress in trails construction and future plans and Lynch outlined the stresses drought is having on the community lakes.
With the Village Drive-Park Avenue trail now completed, Piper said, the committee's hope is to have the trail along North Pagosa Boulevard blacktopped.
The panel is also looking at creation of a staging area at Aspenglow and North Pagosa for those seeking access to the Martinez Canyon trail area.
Another priority, he said, will be extension of trail lanes from Eagle's Nest to Cloud Cap.
Lynch was not as pleased with the possible future of lakes and fisheries, citing the ongoing drought as adding great stress to the waters and forcing tougher health and management techniques.
"We have studied siltation and are considering many options," he said. "We need to have mitigation and restoration plans for each public water body before beginning any action."
He said the committee has met eight times and has kept the needs in focus.
Before any dredging or sediment removal can take place, he said, careful consideration must be given to funding avenues and to identifying and controlling sources of the sediment, as well.
Last year, he said, "hydrologist Dave Rosgen worked with us to develop a sediment flow control area and this year the Cloman Ditch is the focus area for flow into the southeast corner of Lake Pagosa."
He said an engineer has been hired to help evaluate problems and develop a two-part plan including watershed control and action to alleviate flow problems.
One part of the project is a complete watershed map for all the Pagosa Lakes water bodies and feeder streams, from Martinez Creek to the base of Pagosa Peak and the area above Stevens Reservoir.
In his report on legal actions, Walt Lukasik, general manager, said only one legal action is now active, defense of a canine attack. Two other actions have been withdrawn or delayed.
Director Bill Nobles, reporting for the recreation center committee, noted the work on expanding and redesign is nearing completion.
"We plan an open house in late August, date to be determined, and actual construction is expected to be finished by Aug. 8," he said. "This will open recreational advantages to more people and is a project in which every resident should take pride."
Finally, director David Bohl presented the financial report showing assets of $1,424,901 and long-term assets of $1,876,477 for a total of $3,301,379.
Current liabilities are $35,673 and equity is $3.2 million.
He said the association has a remaining balance of $585,140 in the settlement fund account.
Of this amount, $108,238 is held in trust for the Ranch Community road project.
The association also has reserves of $107,903 in the Recreation Center Fund, which is fully committed to the current project, and $81,116 in the physical plant fund.
And, he noted, for the first six months of the year, operating expenses are $136,804 below budget and replacement reserves are all fully funded based on the schedule adopted Jan. 1 of this year.
PLPOA voters urge health board to reconsider the six-point plan
By Richard Walter
"Service has become uncertain and health care in Archuleta County is in a state of crisis."
That was a portion of a statement by Gene Cortright of Lake Forest Estates as he called Saturday for a Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association resolution seeking a solution to that crisis.
Speaking at the association's annual meeting, Cortright said the crisis is of "growing proportions" and that it is incumbent upon all taxpayers to seek a solution because "it is they who pay the taxes to run the district."
Taxpayers, he said, pay the salaries of the physicians and their staff, emergency medical service and equipment and operation of the Mary Fisher Clinic.
He accused the health district board of being delinquent in its administration of district affairs and holding board meetings at odd times in unannounced places and thus denying the public access.
He said two retired physicians came up with a six-point plan as a framework for handling health needs in the county which was endorsed by all the existing physicians.
"The health care vision, unfortunately, was rejected by the district's board," he said, "arguing that it did not fit their plan."
What that action did, he said, was "allow a failing system to remain and failure to probably recur."
That board, he said, wants to replace physicians and staff with out-of-area doctors, doctors who don't know the local patients or their needs."
"Judgment of medical needs by the district manager is a hair-raising proposition," he said, adding "it's a jury-rigged system, at best."
His comments came after a move to amend the published agenda to allow presentation of the resolution.
Since it was not on the agenda, however, there could be no formal vote.
The resolution called for a vote of the PLPOA constituency asking the health district board to "reconsider the six-point plan within the framework of modernizing health care services."
Earle Beasley charged the health board has need of an open forum instead of "meetings spread around in various places at unusual times and hard for all interested parties to find."
Director Tom Cruse, board president, reminding owners the issue could not be voted upon, said, "That doesn't mean we can't discuss the issue, provide leadership and put it before the people."
An audience member said he believed the people are confused about the issue and suggested formation of an ad hoc committee to study all sides and determine how to get the information to the public.
Former director Jim Carson suggested it would be appropriate to get an indication of the sentiment of the voters in attendance.
Cruse, noting "it is a substantive issue and one which concerns all residents," asked if the audience could be formed as a "quasi committee of the whole to consider tenor of the resolution without a vote."
Ron Clodfelter, the designated parliamentarian, agreed it could be done if the resolution made and seconded were withdrawn.
A voice vote on a move to withdraw was unanimous and Cruse then called for creation of a "Committee of the Whole, comprised of those voting members present, to consider the message of the now withdrawn resolution."
The result of that vote, he said, will be forwarded to the association board for a vote at its next meeting.
Cortright said it is appropriate for PLPOA to form opinions and to attack issues from outside "which affect all of us as members."
Mary Sealy, a resident of the Village Lake area, supported the move, citing a recent incident in which she needed emergency care on a Saturday, found none available, and was forced to drive herself to treatment in Durango.
"We should be supportive of anything that can be done to make emergency care available for all of us, all of the time," she said.
Cruse then called for a vote of the new Committee of the
Whole "in support of the sense of the withdrawn resolution" and the result was a unanimous approval.
Cruse, Bohl retain PLPOA leadership seats
By Richard Walter
Two incumbents running for reelection were tabbed for continued service Saturday by voting members of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association.
Picked for additional terms were Director Tom Cruse, current board president and Director David Bohl, association treasurer.
With 2,636 votes cast, including 121 from timeshare owners, and 68 from those in attendance at the meeting Cruse and Bohl each garnered 1,036 votes.
Their opponent for the two open terms was Fred Uehling, a newcomer to the community, who garnered 558 votes.
Despite losing, Uehling promised to be active in the organization in any way needed, and was thanked for getting involved.
In a special meeting following the annual meeting, Cruse and Bohl were each reelected to their officer positions, Cruse on a 5-2 vote over Bill Nobles and Bohl by acclamation.
Director Hugh Bundy, named to the board two months ago to fill a vacancy, was selected vice president 4-3 over Nobles and Director Pat Payne was a 4-3 winner over Gerald Smith as board secretary.
By unanimous vote, the board also returned Bohl to the position of investments officer.
At the same time, the board agreed to continue a policy proposed last month to have directors as liaison on each standing committee, but not as committee chairmen.
In conjunction with that move, director Fred Ebeling volunteered as liaison to Rules and Bundy volunteered for Lakes, Fisheries and Parks.
Cruse said the road committee will remain unconstituted for now, with no liaison and the long range planning committee, having fulfilled its charge, will cease to exist after its formal report to the board next month.
After his selection to continue as treasurer and investment officer, Bohl announced two Morgan Stanley accounts will mature in November and early 2004 and the association will then pull out of investment with the firm.
County sets magnesium chloride application schedule
By Richard Walter
Ten magnesium chloride reapplications on county roadways were approved by county commissioners Tuesday along with five new treatments, including one on a non-county maintained roadway.
The latter, that portion of Hill Circle between N. Pagosa Boulevard and Hatcher Circle, was singled out because it is a school bus route.
In conjunction with that decision, Commissioner Mamie Lynch asked for consideration of adding Saturn to the list while in the area.
Saturn is county maintained, and a portion is paved. William R. Steele, county administrator, said adding Saturn would add about $1,000 to the total project cost, still well within the budgetary restraints.
Listed for reapplication, on a onetime basis with cost (rounded off) in parentheses, were the following: 3,368 feet of County Road 400 ($852); 2,117 feet of Hersch Avenue from U.S. 160 ($536); 793 feet of CR 500 from the first S curve ($201); 304 feet of CR 500 at Perkin's Pit ($77); 1,275 feet of CR 500 on the hill out of Pagosa Junction ($484); 8,900 feet of CR 359 ($2,254); one mile of CR 335 running from U.S. 84 ($1,337); 2,222 feet at the beginning of Left Hand Canyon Road ($563); 4,138 feet of CR 326 at Red Ryder Hill ($1,048) and 1,924 feet of CR 302 from fairgrounds to asphalt plant ($487).
Scheduled for first treatment, in addition to Hill Circle and Saturn, were Antero and Buckeye, 4,862 feet ($1,847); Grenadier, 1,816 feet ($690); and Pompa, 4,219 feet ($1,603).
Total cost of the project, including the addition of Saturn, is $14,271.
Connie Mack parade Friday in Farmington
The 2003 Connie Mack Parade is scheduled 11:30 a.m. Friday, in Farmington.
Parade line-up begins at American Plaza starting at 9:30. The parade will take off promptly at 11:30 and travel East on Main Street to Orchard Avenue.
Entry forms are available at the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, Farmington Museum at Gateway Park and the parks and recreation office.
The theme for this year is "Remembering the Past" and the parade marshal is Jim Clay. For more information call the Chamber of Commerce, (505) 325-0279.
Town proposes multiple member grant bid agency
By Richard Walter
Formation of an intergovernmental agency to bid for Great Outdoor Colorado grants was proposed to the county Tuesday by Mark Garcia, Town of Pagosa Springs administrator.
Citing a similar operation in Durango involving the city, school district and county, he said the town had anticipated filing for a GoCo grant next year.
After meeting with a funding agent, however, the town was advised to get its bid in this fall.
"We were told," he said,
"that partnerships like an IGA are more likely to be successful because they can pool projects and cash grants to serve more people."
He said the initial project under consideration would be the Sports Complex near the high school fields and that the initial grant, if received, would cover the infrastructure and turf.
Later phases would add trails and other facilities like tennis courts.
The initial proposal would be for each of the participating IGA members to come up with a $20,000 donation which would be used as a matching grants pool for GoCo applications for all members.
The proposal will be presented to the school district Aug. 12.
Commissioner Bill Downey, noting the county has plans for a 30-acre park near Cloman Industrial Park, asked how priority of funding would be determined.
Garcia said each entity involved in the IGA, as is the case in Durango, would have a member on a staff committee which would study proposals and make recommendations.
"One year we might get a matching grant for a school cross country track, the next planning for a county park and the next a town project," said Garcia.
Downey said it appears, on the surface, that an IGA operation "might be a solution to prevent competing local grant applications.
"If we were to go along, we'd have to include the appropriation on the next budget," Downey said.
"So would the other members," Garcia replied. "But we're convinced that working together in a partnership would fund a cycle of improvements for each of the participating IGA members.
"We just wanted to plant the seed now," he said, "so you have time to consider it and how it might serve all of Archuleta County."
Catfish offer change of pace when summer fishing slow
By Tom Carosello
Afternoon rains continue to augment depleted streamflows in Pagosa Country tributaries, and fishing has improved marginally over the past two weeks as a result of the increased flows.
Dawn and dusk are still the favored times to pursue trout, but anglers seeking steady action throughout the day are turning their attention to warm-water species such as largemouth bass, bluegill, perch and catfish.
Catfish are traditionally more active than other species in reservoirs with higher water temperatures and will bite with regularity during the summer months, especially at night.
Tightlining and slip-weight rigs are the preferred methods of take locally, and while just about anything that stinks will attract cats, productive choices of bait include blood worms, dead minnows, nightcrawlers, catfish paste, crayfish, shrimp, chicken liver, dead fish and dough/blood baits.
When repeatedly fishing in the same location of a lake or river, changing baits periodically will usually result in steadier action and prevent conditioning the fish to one specific type of bait.
Consult page five and six of this year's fishing regulations brochure (published by the Colorado Division of Wildlife) for more information on catfishing, including legal methods of take.
The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:
- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,011 feet and water temperature is in the 70s. Catfishing is good to excellent; fish are active day and night, regularly hitting blood/stink baits. Fishing for smallmouths, largemouths crappie and northern pike is reported as fair.
- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are averaging about 30-40 cubic feet per second. Recently stocked. Successful anglers are using spinners, flies, salmon eggs and streamers to catch rainbows and an occasional brown.
- Echo Lake - Aquatic plant growth is making angling difficult in shallow areas, but largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch are being taken on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Most trout are seeking deep water midday but will hit flies, marabou jigs, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, cheese and PowerBait in the cooler hours of the day.
- Williams Creek Reservoir - Fishing for rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout is fair to good with live bait, PowerBait, light jigs in orange and yellow, and spinners in gold, silver and bright fluorescents. Kokanee fishing is reportedly slow.
- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing is good near the creek inlets and fair in the deeper areas of the lake. Brook trout are now the predominant catch and are hitting PowerBait, flies, and spinners.
- East Fork of San Juan - Flows varying with runoff from afternoon rains. Fishing for pan-sized rainbows and browns through the shaded canyon areas is fair in the early morning and toward evening.
- Piedra River - Clarity is affected by afternoon runoff, but river is fishing OK in most sections. Best fishing is between the box canyons and near dawn or dusk. Browns and rainbows are the predominant catch and are hitting flies, streamers and flashy spinners.
- Middle Fork, Piedra River - Very low; fish are easily spooked, but small browns and rainbows are occasionally being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.
- Fourmile Creek - Flow fluctuates depending on rains, but brook trout and cutthroats are taking attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners in the upper sections near the falls.
- Williams Creek - Campground sections continue to see a lot of pressure, but fishing in shaded sections is fair to good early and late. Flies and small spinners are working well for brookies, cutthroats, browns and rainbows near the dam, while browns and rainbows are the main catch in the lower stretch.
State Parks waive admission fee Aug. 4 for Colorado Day
Colorado State Parks will waive admission fees Aug. 4 in celebration of Colorado Day, which recognizes Colorado's acceptance into the union in 1876.
Established by the state legislature in 1988, Colorado Day provides the public an excellent opportunity to explore the state's diverse landscape showcased at Colorado State Parks.
"If you haven't already been out to enjoy Colorado State Parks this summer, this is a great opportunity," said Lyle Laverty, Colorado State Parks director.
All other fees, such as camping fees and the $1 Cherry Creek Basin Water Quality Authority fee that promotes higher water quality, will remain in effect.
For more information, call (303) 866-3437 or visit the Web site at www.parks.state.co.us.
Chef lends a hand with Chuckwagon barbecue dinner
By Tess Noel Baker
The 4-Hers are planning dinner.
They're expecting a crowd of 800 in just over three hours time.
It's their largest annual fund-raiser, the Chuckwagon Dinner Saturday night under the activities tent at the Archuleta County Fair.
They'll be serving barbecue beef brisket, corn on the cob, baked potatoes, cole slaw, baked beans, apple cobbler and four types of bread. It's all homemade and everything but the brisket and corn will be cooked in the high school kitchens and shipped from the oven to the crowd. The meat and corn will be cooked on-site.
It's a major undertaking and to bring it all together, they have the help of Chef Rudy Smith.
Smith graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. in 1986. Since graduation, he has taught at the institute, competed in high level cooking competitions, served as chef for some small fine-dining establishments, consulted and worked in product development.
In his 30 years as a chef Smith has cooked for two presidents, the prime minister of England, several movie and sports personalities. In September 2001, he spent a week in New York training Vice President Dick Cheney's staff. He's taught classes in New Mexico and Brazil among other places.
Now, he cooks for Pagosa once a year.
In 2002, Smith's son became involved in 4-H for the first time. As a result, Smith heard about the chuckwagon and asked if he could help. His offer was accepted.
And the result is lots of fun for everyone involved.
This year they have added corn on the cob to the menu. The beef brisket is being provided by Doug Cook, and the 4-Hers will be up to their elbows in bread-making. Smith plans to offer four types of homemade bread to the crowd.
It will be wonderful, he said, because the 4-Hers will make it.
"Cooking has to come from the heart," he said. That passion and excitement spills over into the food and truly makes for a great meal.
"I could go another 100 years and never stop learning about food and the cultures behind it," Smith said. It's one of those crafts tied to people, still handed down from generation to generation.
"That, to me is really special," he said.
Teaching the 4-H kids is simply part of the tradition. Smith, himself, got his love of cooking and eating food from his grandfather.
"My grandfather was from Germany and loved both food and people," Smith said. "He turned me on to food at a young age."
Smith said the chuckwagon would not be possible without the help of lots of volunteers, including 4-Hers and their parents. Two volunteers, he said, should be given special recognition: Marcella Maddux and Mary Nickels both put in long hours to make all of the organization, logistics and donations come together for the big night.
"It's just a wonderful get together for the whole community," Smith said. "It's the whole town sitting down to a family dinner together."
The 4-H Chuckwagon Dinner is set for 4:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets may be purchased from any 4-H member or under the tent the night of the dinner.
Cost is $5 for ages 12 and under and $8 for anyone 13 and over. All proceeds go to help the 4-Hers with projects throughout the year.
The board of the Upper San Juan Health Services District voted July 17 to reconstitute the Mary Fisher Clinic, staffing it with new personnel. By this action J.R. Ford's and Dr. Mark Wienpahl's plan to privatize the clinic was turned down. A major effect of this action was to alienate the medical practitioners from the district.
Because of liability issues, I'm concentrating just on the effect of this move on the Emergency Medical Service (EMS). The local physicians will now cover only their own patients at night. This leaves a group of persons uncovered: the indigent, tourists and persons not a part of the physicians' practices.
The local physicians cannot cover this group without some reimbursement from the district. Medicare already constitutes 45 percent of their practices from which they are lucky to break even. So, what happens to the latter group? On an ambulance call the EMTs will have to make a decision without physician input. In the majority of cases, the EMTs will take the patient to the Mercy Hospital ER in Durango to be on the safe side.
I recently talked to Dr. Don Bader, head of ER service at Mercy. He said they are receiving too many ambulances from Pagosa Springs. Many of these calls could have been handled by a local physician and were not emergencies. I talked to the doctors here previously and they agreed that about half the ambulance trips to Durango were unnecessary and could have been handled locally.
Dr. Bader agreed with this figure. He emphasized that they are set to handle emergencies and their purpose isn't also to be a family health clinic.
With the board's recent vote, it is clear there will be even more unnecessary ambulance trips to Durango.
Bob Bohlman, the special consultant brought in by the district manager and board chairman, not by the board itself, indicated the new clinic could be run by one physician and two physician assistants and that they could handle the night calls.
This may be true in a big city where physicians in other practices will cover for one another. However, the local physicians won't be covering for this one physician who works for the district. So, two out of three nights will be covered by the physician assistants and they will have to backed up by the one physician. In effect, he will be covering at least five nights a week. Do you think you are going to get a new physician in here to work those hours? Get real.
Those patients taken by ambulance unnecessarily to Durango get an ambulance bill of $1,400 plus and ER bill, say of $200, for a total of $1,600. If they had been treated in Pagosa, perhaps their bill would have been $100. If you were a tourist how would you feel about this bill?
The EMTs in our EMS are a dedicated group of hard-working professionals who are laboring under difficult circumstances. We have just made their job even more difficult.
Dick Blide, M.D.
I appreciate the thoroughness of Bill Nobles' article on grasshopper management in July 17's Preview "Viewpoints." However, I would like to offer some additional information about insecticide use.
Many people assume that because you can buy a pesticide off the shelf for use in your home and garden, you can assume it is safe. However, most pesticides are toxic to some degree.
If you are planning to use insecticides to kill grasshoppers, it is wise to fully understand the risks to which you are exposing yourself, children, pets, plants and water.
For example, the insecticide carbaryl (Sevin), one of the three most commonly used insecticides in the U.S., has been associated with a wide range of health problems, including acute toxicity, suppression of the immune system, behavioral problems, cancer, genetic damage and reproductive problems.
When we apply these products to our lawns, pastures, roadsides, trees, shrubs, cracks and crevices, we receive exposure to the insecticide. Drift, which is an inevitable part of some application procedures, can contaminate vegetables and other plants and is toxic to a wide variety of living things, such as beneficial arthropods, birds, bees, frogs, fish, earthworms, plants and bacteria.
Part of the problem is that this and other pesticides accumulate over time in the environment and in our bodies, building up over years to contribute to or cause many health problems, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, in addition to those mentioned above.
The dangerous chemicals can also cause a host of environmental problems, affecting ground and surface water quality and disrupting the balance of certain plant and animal populations. When choosing to apply a pesticide, many people assume that the small amount they are spraying or broadcasting is "no big deal." But, taken together, our actions can have far-reaching effects, many of which we cannot predict and which are not immediately apparent.
By contrast, the biopesticide Nosema Locustae, which Nobles mentioned, is inherently less harmful than the conventional insecticides. Often sold under the name Nolo Bait, it specifically targets the grasshopper, and so does not adversely affect humans, plants or other animals. It can be used as part of a broader program of control, such as netting vulnerable plants, keeping a few guinea fowl or turkeys, and, when possible, tilling breeding areas in the fall to disrupt the breeding cycle.
As Nobles mentioned, these methods do take longer, and they are certainly less convenient. But the choice is: Would you rather risk degrading the environment and contribute to the many causes of debilitating diseases for yourself, your children and your neighbors, or work with nature to slowly bring the grasshopper population under control? Would you rather poison the pristine environment of Pagosa - your home - or contribute to a harmonious, natural solution?
Marianne Calvanese ND
The controversy between the Upper San Juan Health Service District and virtually the entire medical community (all local practicing physicians, professional staff and retired doctors) has reached crisis proportions, causing residents much concern over the future of healthcare in the community.
Dr. Jim Knoll and Dr. Dick Blade, who are no longer practicing physicians (with no axe to grind), proposed a six-point plan which should have been a basis of compromise between the two groups. All the more so, because the district board approved the plan in principle some weeks ago.
However, as negotiations between the two groups evolved, it became clear to some that members of the district board were more interested in promoting their own plan. Indeed, the board last week rejected the six-point plan, asserting it was too costly. But estimates prepared by members of the medical community show that implementation of the plan would actually result in a small surplus, while greatly enhancing healthcare service. Whom to believe?
A possible solution was endorsed by those present at two well attended meeting over the weekend. It unanimously called upon the district board to reconsider the six-point plan in open, conscientious deliberations with the medical community, with each side presenting factual documentation in support of their respective positions. Both sides of the controversy owe the taxpayer/voters of this community nothing less.
Here's one possible scenario to think about:
Pagosa Springs' growing population has three or four physicians in private practice as well as a physician or two at Mary Fisher clinic. We feel pretty good about that.
However, under increasing financial pressure from cuts in Medicaid and Medicare funding from both federal and state sources, along with rising costs of malpractice insurance, these private practice physicians (who have contributed up to 45 percent of the cost of services) find they must sharply curtail the number of patients unable to pay for what their health services cost - or close up shop.
So more patients seek care at the publicly-funded facility, Mary Fisher Clinic. On the advice of consultants, Mary Fisher administration double the patient load for staff physicians; allowable physician time with a patient is cut in half. Staff time for bathroom stops is monitored.
With increasing numbers of aging patients less able to pay, red ink reaches flood stage. Personnel stress rises. Staff resignations follow.
Facing rising public debt and disastrous staff problems, the Upper San Juan Health Service District and ambulance service (a Metropolitan Service District under state law) hires an administrator with a proven record of cost containment and a mandate to operate in the black.
Another consultant is employed.
Mary Fisher turns over in her grave.
Michael J. Greene
Village Lake is approaching mud hole status again this year. PAWS will tell you that the recreational and aesthetic value of all the lakes is their lowest priority. I agree with that, but it is a priority that should not, and cannot be ignored.
Village Lake is probably seen and used by more visitors than any other Pagosa lake. All of the Pagosa lakes are an asset to this community, just like the golf course, the hot springs, the Fairfield timeshares and all of the other recreational activities available here. These assets are the "lifeblood" of this community and should be treated accordingly.
The voters in the Pagosa community passed a PAWS bond issue that we supported. From attending regular PAWS board meetings, we understood that a portion of the bond money would be used to install a water line spur off the existing San Juan Pipeline to provide water to Village Lake. I understood that this pipeline would supplement the gravity feed water system in order to maintain Village Lake at an equitable level with all other Pagosa Lakes (at or slightly less than the spillway).
I felt deceived and extremely disappointed when the PAWS board decided to establish a minimum water level for Village Lake of 60 inches below the spillway. I feel betrayed because 60 inches below the spillway means: portions of the lake have water depths of two feet; coves are cut off by sandbars forming stagnant pools of water, creating an ideal mosquito habitat; shore lines have increased by 15 feet or more. This minimum level is much too low and is endangering the healthy environment of this lake. Recreation, whether it is fishing, boating or just walking has been reduced to an all -time low.
As of July 25, PAWS had started to once again pump water into Village Lake. This won't last for long. I asked PAWS if they were going to bring Village Lake back up to an acceptable level. I was advised that the pumping would only last to maintain the 60-inch lake level then the pumps would once again be shut off.
I have taken all of these health and environmental issues to the PAWS Board to no avail. How can this be acceptable to a community that supposedly offers "The Best of Colorado"?
I wish to thank the Pagosa SUN for recently publishing a very informative article concerning the spread of the West Nile Virus in Colorado. Since the publication of this article, news has been released about the contamination of two horses in our region.
For this reason, I would like to alert members of our community of a health hazard in our own community.
Village Lake, located between the golf course, at the foot of the Fairfield condominiums, and winding through residential housing on its north shore (North Village Lake Subdivision) has been drained to five feet below the spillway. This is the minimum water level that PAWS has designated for this "irrigation lake." The result is an ugly marshy mud flat where the geese are walking on sand bars, the coves are full of stagnant water and the mosquitoes have established a thriving hatchery. None of this would be happening if the water level were maintained at a sustainable level for circulation.
My concern is for the spread of this disease, which can affect our wildlife ecosystem, our domestic animals, our summer visitors and ourselves. Anyone over 50 years of age as well as, young children is especially vulnerable to West Nile Virus. As we have learned, the disease can be fatal.
I would like to think that a health hazard of such a serious nature would transcend financial considerations and that our community would be willing to insure that this orphaned lake in our water system would be maintained in a proper manner. This affects all of us!
While we have kept reasonably informed of local political issues we haven't become immediately involved - until now.
The insensitive actions of the management of the Upper San Juan Hospital District and the blind acquiescence of the board prompted us to become active in hopes of correcting an appalling situation.
- Any organization is only as good as the staff. Employees, especially when these people are skilled professional people, are to be encouraged, their achievements acknowledged and rewarded, and their proposals for improvements considered. Undesirable behavior by employees should be handled with tact and discretion. This cardinal rule of management appears to be foreign to the district manager and the board.
It was this blatant lack of consideration for those former employees of the clinic that concerned us the most and prompted us to become involved in this issue.
- The proposal the board approved was one of reconstruction of the clinic. Their vote appeared to be solely based upon questionable fiscal considerations. Not considered were the employees, the overwhelming wishes of the public for the alternate six-point plan, and the long standing relations of the public with their doctors and staff. Any alternative to the reconstruction plan was not given proper consideration.
- We regret an opportunity missed. The privatization plan (six- point plan) could have had positive effects upon the future growth of our medical services. Increased diagnostic equipment and full time medical services for patients would have been provided by the doctors well all know. The future medical requirements of our growing community could have been accommodated. It is very questionable that these goals will be achieved by the recently approved reconstruction plan.
We wish we could close with a positive corrective proposal but we can't. Only the collective expression of indignation by the residents of our community may influence the board to reverse its decision.
Praise for Larson
It is no great secret that money is a dominant force in our national and state politics.
The good news is that the voters of Colorado had the wisdom to do something to break the stranglehold Big Money has on our electoral system.
By a two-to-one margin Coloradans supported Amendment 27 last fall. Amendment 27 is a comprehensive campaign finance reform initiative that limits campaign contributions and spending in legislative and statewide races and creates a system of full disclosure of the money behind our elections.
Despite this overwhelmingly strong endorsement of campaign finance reform, powerful members of the legislature waged a full-scale assault on the law and very nearly succeeded in passing provisions that would have done great damage to this citizen initiative.
Fortunately, Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, helped to forge a bipartisan coalition to block these special interest supported provisions from becoming law.
Rep. Larson deserves credit for standing up for the nearly one million Coloradans who voted to make people and ideas more important than money in our politics.
Colorado Common Cause, Denver
To the Health Services District, its board members and manager:
Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel, why not instead listen to the timely advice given numerous times by all of our local doctors.
This community has enjoyed the medical assistance and advice provided by our doctors for countless years. We are comfortable with our present "doctor-patient" relationship and we do not wish a change. We do not wish to have our doctors replaced.
Numerous proposals have been presented to the board and numerous proposals have been rejected by the board. The most recent proposal, which was presented by J.R. Ford, was reasonable, on target and provided a simple solution to the crisis which the board and manager have created.
Please reconsider your recent vote against the J.R. Ford proposal and work toward a positive resolution to your created crisis.
As a registered voter, Archuleta County resident and taxpayer, I personally believe that my tax dollars should go toward supporting that which the majority of the community taxpayers wish. No one should be allowed to come into our community and make havoc of our medical staff, ignore their expert medical advice, refuse their proposals and then go about replacing them with doctors who are not familiar to any of us in the community.
It is unconscionable.
At the January board meeting of Upper San Juan Health Services District, physicians from the Pagosa Family Medicine Clinic and the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic appeared to state their need for more family time, which resulted in their joint request to be free from calls after hours on Friday and Saturday nights.
In sympathy with their needs and desires, I made a motion to the board that we accept their request - the motion was unanimously approved.
With the district books in balance and all bills paid, the board was in a position to expand health care services and meet the desires of our physicians for more family time.
We have listened to and given serious consideration to suggestions from various citizen groups, and our district management team is now progressing nicely toward our goal of an integrated health services system that includes a Community Health Clinic, Urgent Care Center and Emergency Medical Ambulance while meeting our obligation to protect the taxpayers' investment.
As we proceed, health care providers in private practice will have their desires met and their quality of life greatly improved.
I work at the transfer station on Trujillo Road and people always ask me what is recyclable and what is not. I have made up a list to answer some of your questions.
Recyclable materials are junk mail, but not manila envelopes; magazines, brown paper bags, only corrugated cardboard boxes (if a box has wax on it, it is not recyclable); any color of glass, plastics 1 and 2 (jugs without lids); aluminum cans and rinsed steel cans.
Non-recyclable items are toilet paper, paper towels, Christmas wrap and other gift wraps, single layer boxes such as cereal boxes, beer containers and plastic butter and cottage cheese containers.
If you have questions call 264-3311 or 264-0193.
Apologies to George Love. George cut down the burning tree last week, not me.
Prescription firm ceases operations; don't pay
By Laura Bedard
One of our vigilant seniors came in and told us that ValuePrescription charged her for a $119 membership she wasn't told about, and when she called to question it, she found out the company had gone out of business.
If you have signed up with this company, make sure you don't have this charge on your credit card and, if you do, don't pay it.
There has been a small change in the benefits to our Seniors, Inc. membership: The Spring Inn's discount for seniors has gone from $4 to $7.50. It is still less expensive than local prices and we appreciate their discount for our membership.
Our Ice Cream Social and SingAlong was a success again. For only 50 cents you get a big scoop of ice cream and any toppings you want to put on. When you have enough sugar in you, you can start singing.
We have song sheets available, but you will recognize a lot of the old songs and at our next SingAlong we will have the Jack Hanson trio accompany our glorious sounds. Be sure to attend the Ice Cream Social 1 p.m. Aug. 29.
Phyllis Decker from the Forest Service gave a great talk to our seniors about bears and how to keep them out of our homes. We had good attendance and we look forward to our next speaker, Glen Raby, who will tell us about volcanoes Aug. 22.
Our nonprofit Seniors, Inc., is hosting a picnic for members and will supply the basics: grilling meat, buns and beverage. We can bring whatever extras we like.
Phyllis Decker will give a talk about early pioneers of the area and there will be plenty of shade and chairs. To get there, go up Fawn Gulch Road four miles and you'll see the Whites' sign; turn left and take the road to the end where you should see another sign at the entrance.
We cannot offer transportation, but we can help with carpooling. Please sign up at the center by Aug. 4 and you can also sign up to bring a side dish. If we get rained on Aug. 7, we will try again Aug. 21. See you there.
Walkin' with George ...
"Our new gymnasium is a beautiful place to walk. You never get wet with rain, spattered with mud or bedeviled by rocks. When there is a crowd the walls echo with conversation and laughter.
"However, I have noticed that when I am the only one walking, the only thing I can hear is my own footsteps. If more people don't join me when I walk I might have to live with the new nickname, 'Lonesome George.'"
Prescription drug prices
The prices of the 50 most -prescribed drugs to senior citizens rose, on average, nearly three and a half times the rate of inflation last year, according to a new report released this week by Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers.
Among the top 50 drugs sold to seniors, more than half (27) rose in price at least three times the rate of inflation from January 2002 to January 2003, according to the report. Some of the drugs that experienced the fastest-growing price increases were the following:
Claritin, an antihistamine, rose nearly 12 times the rate of inflation; Kor-Con 10, a potassium replacement, rose more than 11 times the ROI; Premarin, an estrogen replacement, rose nearly 10 times the ROI.
The Families USA study compared last year's price increases for generic versus brand-name drugs. It found that 15 of the top 50 drugs sold to seniors were generic and 35 were brand-name. On average, prices for generics rose by 2.6 percent and prices for brand-name drugs rose by 7.1 percent, almost three times as quickly. Nine of the 15 generic drugs did not increase in price last year, while only three of the 35 brand-name drugs did not increase in price.
We might be able to help you with discount prescriptions. Give us a call at the senior center, 264-2167.
We are still signing up people to come with us to the Bar D Chuckwagon Supper in Durango Aug. 23.
This is a fabulous evening with lots of songs, stories and comedy to go along with great food.
Meal starts at 7:30 p.m. but you will have time to shop, ride the train and enjoy the atmosphere before the show starts. Tell us whether you prefer barbecue beef, chicken or steak (beef or chicken is $14.40, beef and chicken $17.10 and steak $22.50) and whether you need transportation or not. (This is an extra charge of $12). Please pay cash at the time of your registration at the center. We need 12 more people to sign up to get these discounted prices, and it's a great time, so please register by Aug. 8.
Visitors and guests
This week we got to see Laurie and Tandy Phillips at lunch, the Wedgners, Richard Torney, Clydene Wright, the Morgans, the Muellers and the Troells. We also saw Jim Carnley with Carmen Valdez, and it was good to have Carmen eating with us again. We saw Pat Cornell, Marcie Marquez and it sure was good to see Thelma Lyda with us again.
Friday - Beef Stroganoff, rice or noodles, apricots and roll
Aug. 4 - Meatloaf, boiled potatoes, coleslaw, peaches, whole wheat roll and apple juice
Aug. 5 - Sloppy Joe, carrots, tossed salad and sherbet
Aug. 6 - Beefy Spanish rice, vegetable salad, muffin and fruit cup
Friday - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 Medicare counseling; 11 veterans benefits; 11 blood pressure check
Aug. 4 - 9 a.m.-noon CanastAholics meeting/class; 1 p.m. bridge for fun
Aug. 5 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class; 11:30 Seeds of Learning kids will sing
Aug. 6 - 10:30 a.m. computer class; noon, drawing for two lawn chairs
Aug. 7 - noon Seniors, Inc., picnic at Billie Evans' ranch; no line dancing this week.
Some non-VA prescriptions covered in new program
By Andy Fautheree
In a startling announcement July 24, the VA said it plans to begin a program whereby certain veterans will be able to obtain prescription drugs from private care physicians.
Some veterans waiting to see VA physicians for the first time may be eligible to receive medications from VA mail-order pharmacies that were prescribed by private doctors, under a new policy.
This policy should ease the minds of veterans with pharmaceutical needs who have been waiting for their first appointment. This decision will help these veterans while preserving the ability to serve veterans already enrolled in VA health care.
Three points to qualify
To be eligible for the new benefit, veterans must meet all of the following conditions:
- have enrolled in VA health care before July 25, 2003
- requested their first primary care appointment with VA before July 25, 2003
- must be waiting more than 30 days for their first appointment with a VA primary care physician on Sept. 22, 2003.
The first prescriptions will be filled under the new program on Sept. 22. Eligible veterans will be unable to get prescriptions filled before that date. The period between announcement of the program (July 24) and filling the first prescriptions (Sept. 22) is necessary to allow VA to identify and contact eligible veterans and to put new systems and procedures in place to deliver this benefit.
The VA stressed the policy is a short-term measure to assist veterans who were enrolled and waiting for the appointment before July 25, when details about the new benefit were published in the Federal Register. It will not apply to veterans who are put on the waiting list after July 24. VA estimates that 200,000 veterans will be eligible for the benefit.
Veterans covered by the new rule will receive information by mail from their nearest VA medical facility about filling prescriptions by mail for non-VA doctors, including information for the doctors themselves.
This is indeed exciting news. I had been anticipating some "turnaround" changes would be made in the VA health care system, since many veterans became ineligible for VAHC Jan. 17, 2003. Since that time I have been urging veterans to enroll in VAHC even if they thought they were not eligible at this time.
I felt the Jan. 17 policies might be changed due to increasing pressure from many veteran groups. Many veterans with certain high incomes were not eligible to enroll in VAHC after Jan. 17.
I would estimate that as many as 70-80 percent or more of Archuleta County veterans enrolling in VAHC are doing so to obtain the low-cost $7 prescription drugs. Many more of our veterans enrolled between Jan 17 and July 24, and waiting for their first appointments, will now be eligible for prescription drugs through this new program. However, eligibility is still based on income and other VA criteria.
At the fair
I will be at the Archuleta County Fair Friday afternoon and most of the day Aug. 2 and 3 to greet veterans and help you with your benefits. I will have a laptop computer on hand and information on all VA benefits.
If you plan to enroll or file for any VA benefits, please be sure to bring your DD214. If you wish to sign up for VA health care, be sure you have your Social Security number, date of birth for your spouse and any children under 18. You will also need your financial information.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-2304, the fax number is 264-5949, and e-mail is afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open 8 to 4, Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the County, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
From dawn to dusk, county fair offers wonders for all ages
By Sally Hameister
For those of you who, like I, have only the fondest memories of attending county fairs in your youth, you can experience the "déjà vu all over again" thing this weekend at the 52nd Archuleta County Fair.
Lots of folks have already devoted hours to this yearly event and invite you to come and experience the fruits of their labors with activities, events, animals, food, contests and just generally something for absolutely everyone.
Please check The SUN for a complete schedule of all the events taking place beginning today from 4-9 p.m. with the inaugural Lee Sterling Chili Taste sponsored by The Pagosa Springs SUN in tandem with Taste of Pagosa.
There are far too many events to list individually here, but I assure you that from dawn until dusk (and past dusk) there are many wonders to see, hear, taste and experience.
I will be selling tickets this evening and allowing myself to be dunked Sunday at noon, but I love seeing all the entries in the food/plant/art and crafts competitions and especially enjoy all the livestock.
Some things never change - I enjoyed those same things as a kid. Hope to see you all at what is claimed to be "the best little county fair in the county."
Pagosa Fun Place
Today promises to be quite the busy day in what clearly is one of the busiest summers in my memory.
The Pagosa Fun Place (formerly Ridgeview Mall) will open offering bowling, skating, food and fun, fun, fun.
I stopped by this morning (Monday) and couldn't believe the colorful environment they have created and that there are actually bowling lanes installed and looking for some action.
I, for one, can't wait to don my special bowling shirt, rent my shoes and proceed to make a total fool of myself attempting to bowl. Talent has nothing to do with this, by the way - only the sincere desire to do something fun with people you like. Sure, a nice handicap would be just swell, but having a good time is way more important.
The Pagosa Fun Place offers a smoke-free environment and is located on Navajo Trail Drive. Please call 731-1112 for more information.
Ride the Weminuche
Coming up right on the heels of the county fair is Ride the Weminuche Trail Ride sponsored by the United Way of Southwest Colorado.
What a lovely opportunity 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.
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 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.
Outreach council benefit
The Pagosa Outreach Council (Episcopal, Methodist and Catholic Churches) is sponsoring an afternoon of fun and games (literally) to raise funds for those in our community who could use a little help.
You are invited to come to the PLPOA Clubhouse on Port Avenue 1-5 p.m. Aug. 8, to enjoy bridge, pinochle and/or Maj Jong with the foursome of your choosing, if you like, or just to play with new partners.
You can buy your tickets at the Chamber of Commerce or at the Episcopal, Catholic and Methodist Churches for $10 which also includes refreshments.
For details, call Mary at 731-5121 or Patti at 731-5213.
The Knights of Columbus announce their first-ever Duck Race and Picnic to be held in Town Park 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 16.
This family event in the park will feature a barbecue, music, games for the kids, a raffle for prizes and big money for winners in the duck race. You could win $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second and $100 for third, and that ain't chicken feed. All proceeds will be to benefit the Knights of Columbus, so be sure to go out and support this event.
Call 731-0253 or 731-3741 for more details.
Town Night party
The town of Pagosa Springs and Habitat for Humanity invite you to attend a special Town Night at the fairgrounds to give you the opportunity to meet the participants attending the Rocky Mountain Championship Cutting Event to be held at the Galles Ranch Aug. 6-14.
This event promises to bring hundreds of visitors into our area and most will be sleeping, eating, recreating and shopping in Pagosa when they are not involved in the cutting events. The planners have scheduled for the cutting events to end early, so potentially, we should all realize some great business during their stay.
The Town Night will be held Aug. 7, at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds and will feature great barbecue and music with proceeds benefiting Habitat for Humanity.
Tickets for the dinner and music are $10 for adults and $6 for children. Local country and western entertainer Jac Constant will provide the music, so we hope you all can make it to this fun affair. We hope you will all come out to meet and greet our visitors and give them a big Pagosa welcome.
Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce.
Habitat barbecue, dance
Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta Country invites you to attend their annual fund-raising event at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat 6-10 p.m. Aug. 16.
Sen. Jim Isgar will be in attendance and Back Country Barbeque will serve up the delicious western barbecue dinner. Entertainment will be provided by local country western performer Jac Constant.
Please plan to attend this event that benefits so many.
Tickets are on sale at the Chamber of Commerce and Wells Fargo Bank for $50.
Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat is located a few miles south of Pagosa Springs on 84.
Archuleta County No. 30
It would seem that only Nevada outperformed Colorado with housing unit growth between 2000 and 2002 with a 9-percent increase representing 901,597 housing units according to the most recent census findings.
Colorado increased 6.7 percent to 1.93 million from 1.81 million during that period which includes both occupied and vacant homes. Douglas County continued to lead the growth pack in the No. 1 position in U.S. rankings with 13,761 units, a 21.7 percent increase.
In other nationwide census findings, Archuleta County ranked 30th with 732 units or 11.8 percent and nine other Colorado counties ranged from 18 to 83 in the growth numbers.
No matter how you look at this one, we live in a very popular state. Broomfield County was found to be No. 6 in the top 10 fastest-growing counties in the nation.
I do believe we've been discovered, kids.
Music in the Mountains
Although I cannot offer you tickets for the final concert tomorrow night, I can offer my gratitude, once again, to Dave and Carol Brown of BootJack Ranch for providing a gorgeous venue for these incredibly successful concerts and allowing them happen here in Pagosa Springs.
Their generosity and kindness will be with us forevermore as we continue to enjoy each and every note created by world-class musicians who normally appear only in large concert halls in the "big cities."
Even though the Browns could not be here, Crystal and the BootJack gang did a magnificent job of organizing and implementing every minuscule detail of these exceedingly complicated events.
Countless volunteers on hand for each performance are to be commended, and Jan and Bob Clinkenbeard need to be acknowledged as the stars who provided the "glue" that held it all together from beginning to end.
President Jim Foster, Festival Director/Conductor Mischa Semanitzky and the entire Durango crew were, as always, a total pleasure. They have been patient and constant mentors with the new kids on the block in Pagosa trying to learn all the fine points of this type of event.
The musicians have been nothing short of remarkable, and I await with great anticipation the "Dvorak Plus" concert tomorrow night performed by yet another Van Cliburn medalist, Antonio Pompa-Baldi.
We have at least 10 names on our waiting list for tomorrow night's performance which tells us that perhaps you would like to be included on next year's Music in the Mountains mailing list.
Being on the list assures you of receiving early information concerning dates and times in Pagosa so you won't miss anything next year.
Please call the Music in the Mountains offices in Durango at 385-6820 and ask to be included on the Pagosa Springs mailing list.
On a totally practical note: A sweater was left at the Friday night concert, and you are welcome to come to the Chamber offices and pick it up.
We're happy as can be to introduce one new member this week along with four renewals, all of whom are as welcome as the recent moisture - and that's really welcome.
We couldn't be more pleased to include McDonald's among our ranks again with the delightful new owners, Kay and Jess Donahue. These good folks were busy at work when I stopped in, but it was a pleasure to meet Kay and chat with her for a moment. McDonald's really needs no introduction, but along with the Big Mac and wildly popular fries, you will find a world-famous breakfast with new McGriddles served from opening to 10:30 a.m. You will also find premium salads served with Newman's Own Dressings. Large groups are welcomed and are considered McDonald's specialty. For more information, you can call 731-1016.
Our renewals this week include Phillip R. McClendon, CPA, with McClendon and Lynch CPAs, LLC; M. Stern with Pagosa Consulting Services; Marilyn Hutchins with Aspen Winds Vacation Condos located in Pagosa Lakes and Jack Nightingale with Chez Pagosa Restaurant located in Pagosa Lodge. We're happy to have you all.
Mike Hanosh, Allstate Insurance's new owner in Pagosa Springs, offers quality coverage and service, along with a friendly and helpful attitude to guide you through the process of choosing the right type of coverage.
Mike, his wife Kristi, and their children, Emily and Madison, moved here recently from Arizona where Mike worked in semiconductor manufacturing.
Allstate Insurance offers coverage for auto, home, commercial, umbrella, life, accident, health, financial services, RV, boat, motorcycle, cancer, long term care, classic automobiles and much more.
Working with Mike, you will also have access to the Allstate Bank, which offers investments, CDs, retirement accounts and more.
Allstate is focused on service and designing the right type of coverage for each client.
Business hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, or by appointment after hours and on weekends. Mike can be reached at 731-5190.
Erika Leigh Roberts and William Forbes Miller were married July 12, 2003 at the bride's parents' cabin in the Lost Valley of the San Juans. In attendance, in addition to the bride's parents, Don and Lee Roberts, were the bride's grandfather, Daryl Avenell and his wife Doris of Rifle; the bride's sister, Lisa Nieslanik and family of Carbondale; the groom's parents, Billy R. and Linda Miller of Cuero, Texas; his grandmother, Irene Hahn of Westhoff, Texas; his aunt Peggy of Cuero, and other close family friends from Colorado, Texas and Indiana.
Reverend Ed White performed the ceremony with the backdrop of the mountains surrounding Pagosa Peak. The couple honeymooned at Cabo San Lucas following the wedding, and have now returned to Texas, where a reception hosted by the groom's parents will occur in Cuero.
The bride, of Boerne, Texas, is the mathematics media instructor at Region 20, San Antonio. The groom is the head baseball coach and mathematics instructor at Elgin High School, Elgin, Texas. They plan to return to Pagosa during the Christmas Holidays.
Glen and Linda Eyre of Pagosa Springs are pleased to announce the engagement of their daughter, Julie, to John Conston, son of Angelo and Ann Conston of Cape Coral, Fla. A September wedding is planned.
Weather, stress give beetles foothold on Colorado trees
By Tess Noel Baker
In entomology lingo, they're sometimes called "LBBs."
That's Little Brown Bugs to the rest of us. A variety of these critters, also known as bark beetles, are attacking Colorado forests recently compromised by fire and drought.
Tom Eager, an entomologist for the forest service, stopped in Pagosa Springs Monday to talk to a small group about forest health management and the role of the beetle.
Beetles are not a new threat, he said. Loggers commented on the critters when European settlers first moved into the region. John Muir even labeled them, "nature's little loggers." However, their impact moves in cycles dependent on three things: weather conditions, tree stand conditions and the beetle population available for attack.
The current drought and recent wildfires have tipped the scales in the bugs' favor - a fact that probably signals a change in the forest makeup. After all, one generation of people is just a heartbeat to the forest trees, some of which can live hundreds of years.
Eager gave this disclaimer: "Forests are dynamic systems that are constantly changing at a pace not immediately evident to humans."
The agents of that change include: disease, insects and fire among others.
And change is not always bad, but it is different. Eager pointed out several studies that showed Colorado forests, and most forests throughout the West, continue to grow as far as numbers and size of trees.
A 1999 Forest Health Monitor Review of the distribution of different sizes of trees throughout the west actually showed that sawtimber - the largest of the trees - made up 59.51 percent of the total number of trees.
The bugs are simply working to take their bite out of the pie.
"Bark beetles are constantly looking for weak, wounded, sick individuals," Eager said. Their life cycles, although slightly different among the different species, are variations on a theme.
Bark beetles bore into the bark of the tree, sometimes bringing a form of fungi with them, creating nests for their young. Once the young are born, they tunnel deeper, feeding on the tree. The result is either a weakened tree - or a dead one.
Eager focused on two kinds of bark beetle, the Piñon Ips and the Spruce Beetle.
The Piñon Ips, a beetle the size of a grain of rice, attacks Piñon pines, the most prevalent tree in Colorado. Piñon Ips can produce as many as five generations in a single year depending on the weather and in those numbers proves a real threat.
Eager said healthy stands of trees will try to repel the beetles with resin. When the beetle starts to bore into the tree the tree actually pushes back by forcing out its own resin. The beetle's advantage is in numbers.
A healthy tree will produce a creamy white resin when the beetle attacks. However, the beetle calls in its friends to make "hundreds, if not thousands, if not tens of thousands of holes in the tree," Eager said. A tree under stress of drought will eventually be overwhelmed.
Spruce beetles, a more aggressive variety of bark beetle, especially like areas of blow down where wind has already killed a patch of trees, Eager said. The beetle has to expend no energy fighting the downed trees and gets a foothold in the area. From there, the forest is simply a smorgasbord for the bugs.
Eager said 2002 was the largest single-year bark beetle outbreak the state has ever seen. And more tree deaths are probably on the horizon - at least until the drought is over.
Scott Wagner, Pagosa Ranger District forester, said local outbreaks have been spotted in the southwest corner of the county with some Piñon pine mortality in the lower elevations.
Ponderosas have been attacked in pockets on the south and southwest slopes and exposed ridgelines as well as in the lower fringe areas where Ponderosa meets the piñon/juniper forests.
Bark beetles are attacking patches of Douglas fir of between 5 and 200 tress on north slopes at lower elevations. (Patches are areas larger than pockets.)
Management takes a variety of forms.
"The smaller your goal is, the better your chance of success," Eager said. Saving one or two valuable trees might be possible. Saving an entire drainage would be much more difficult.
Short-term management includes preventative chemical sprays. These are only meant to save one or two trees and sometimes require several applications.
No chemical treatment exists for trees or wood already infested by Ips beetles. In the case of the Mountain Pine Beetle, chemical control options are severely limited.
In the long-term, mechanical thinning such as the forest service has tried on several tracks around Pagosa this year, can help open up the forest, reducing competition among the trees, helping prevent wildfire and creating a healthier stand. Healthier trees are much more capable of fighting off the little brown bugs.
Of course, it's also important to take care of newly cut timber in such a way to prevent beetle access. For instance, according to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Fact Sheet No. 558 on the Ips beetles, the creation of freshly cut wood - a preferred breeding site for the beetle - is actually contributing to the current bug problem in some cases.
To prevent the beetles from using this opportunity, all freshly cut material should be removed from the vicinity of those trees chosen for protection.
According to the fact sheet, "Never stack green or infested coniferous wood next to living coniferous trees. Such green woody material should be chipped or treated so that the inner bark area is destroyed. Ips larvae will not survive standard chipping or debarking treatments. Other treatments could include scattering (as opposed to piling) slash to promote rapid drying."
Kent Grant, of the Colorado State Forest Service, said for $30 a member of the forest service will do a "house call" to offer advice on trees on private property. They also provide information on various beetles and preventative spraying at no charge over the phone. Call 247-5252 for details or an appointment.
For even more information on beetles, contact Colorado State University Cooperative Extension via the Web at www.ext.colostate.edu/ for a list of fact sheets.
Arboles has a colorful and often rowdy history
By John M. Motter
Arboles is a quiet place today, mostly known as the Colorado gateway to Navajo Lake and the state park located there.
A casual visitor might never guess that Arboles has an ancient and honored history. At one point, Arboles affairs were so violent and decadent, the Army was called in to quiet things down.
Arboles is located at the extreme southwest corner of Archuleta County around the juncture of the San Juan and Piedra rivers. Arboles is taken from the Spanish word arbolera, meaning grove or orchard.
The first Spanish visitors to that locale probably encountered stands of old cottonwood trees. I wonder why they did not choose the name alamo which refers specifically to poplar or cottonwood trees. Remember the Alamo? Now you know where Alamosa over in the San Luis valley got its name.
We don't know for sure when the first settlers in Arboles looked around and decided to make a home in Arboles. Anasazi remains are scattered across the valley floor and walls. The Anasazi are thought to be the ancestors of today's Pueblo Indians, hence the politically correct current name, Ancestral Pueblans. The Anasazi left the scene circa 1100-1200.
There can be no doubt that Ute and Navajo knew the area intimately.
Then there were the New Mexico Hispanics, who named everything in sight. As early as 1765, Juan Maria Rivera was sightseeing through the area. A few years later, in 1776, the fathers Domingues-Escalante came through, hoping to reach San Francisco. They had to settle for Ute Lake near Provo in Utah.
In subsequent years, a trail connecting New Mexico with Utah and even California passed through Arboles carrying trappers, traders and even some settlers to California and back.
Finally, Gen. Palmer's Denver and Rio Grande narrow gauge railroad construction crews reached Arboles. This motley crew did little to improve working conditions. The area was already a little wild, what with nearby Hispanics making a living by supplying alcohol to Southern Utes encamped around Ignacio.
One of our early looks at Arboles is supplied by Harry Jackson, who moved to Arboles from Amargo. Jackson had already purchased a six-shooter and enjoyed the antics of the Allison gang and other outlaws at Amargo. After two weeks of repeating Jackson's description of frontier life in Arboles, we present his description of Arboles, written during the summer of 1881.
"I well remember our last night in Amargo; the town was moving on to the next station at the end of the track, a place called Arboles. Foot-pads and gamblers held up every business place they could get into that night. Fred Jones and I did not go to bed; we sat there in our shack and waited, but nothing happened to us. Meantime, we had hid all our money in the bellows, where the foot-pads would not find it.
"Upon our arrival at Arboles, we went to T.D. Burns' store and bought quite a large tent, in which we established our blacksmith shop and living quarters; we had a pretty location in a grove of cottonwood trees right alongside the San Juan River.
"All the saloons and dance halls were established in tents of various sizes, as there were no buildings available; business was carried on in these places just about as it was in Amargo. One day about noon we were surprised to see a company of cavalry under the command of Colonel 'Somebody' riding in from Fort Lewis; the Colonel sent a courier around and notified everyone to be in the center of camp at one o'clock. We all went and on a platform was the Colonel, Mr. Stollsteimer, who was the Indian Agent for the Southern Utes, and Burns.
"The Colonel addressed the meeting as follows: He says - 'Now boys, the reason I have got you all together here at this time is that you must be aware that you are on an Indian Reservation and this Reservation is under my control; and as the government allows nothing but legitimate business to be carried on, on an Indian Reservation, the dance halls and saloons are hereby ordered to move on, and I will give you three days to move your belongings from the Reservation. If this order is not obeyed in that time, I will order the cavalry under my command to remove you forcibly.'
"At once all saloon and dance hall business was suspended, and removal made by teams to Durango. All other businesses had the privilege of continuing. But needless to say, after this element left, the place was a deserted village, and there was no business left.
"Arboles was certainly a pretty place to camp in, it being at the junctions of the San Juan and Piedra rivers. There was a large deep pool close by the grove and on warm days it was our delight to go in swimming. The rivers at that time were full of trout and suckers. Here was the first time and place I ever saw anyone dynamite the fish. The men could have caught all they wanted with hook and line, but that was too much work. I saw the railroad men go to the river and throw in and explode a stick of dynamite that killed fish by the thousands and was a needless waste as they did not use half the trout they destroyed. There being no game wardens in the country at that time, there was no danger of ever being discovered."
Motter's comment: Jackson moved on to Durango. Indian Agent Stollsteimer was Christian Stollsteimer, an early Anglo settler first in the San Luis Valley and later in Pagosa Springs. Stollsteimer was Southern Ute agent for a time and, for awhile, agent for both Ute and Jicarilla Apache. Stollsteimer Creek is named for him and some of his descendants still remain in this area. Before the Stollsteimer name was attached to the creek, the same stream was known as the Nutria River by the early Hispanics. I have never discovered exactly where his homestead was. Later, a Stollsteimer had a homestead in the Valle Seco area. I have read accounts written by early travelers between Pagosa Springs and Durango who said they spent the night at Stollsteimer's place, but they didn't identify the location very clearly.
Harry Jackson's remembrances can be found in "Pioneers of the San Juan Country," published by the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the N.S.D.A.R. of Durango.
It's about time
A ceremony was held Tuesday at the Gazebo in Centennial Park, behind the county courthouse. A small group of people gathered there to watch the presentation of medals to an American serviceman. John Walker, of Pagosa Springs, received the Purple Heart and the Prisoner of War Medal in recognition of imprisonment and wounds suffered in wartime. It was an emotionally moving ceremony. Walker received his medals, finally, more than 60 years after the fact.
That fact was Walker's capture by the Japanese in the Phillipines, at Bataan, after months of jungle combat against overwhelming odds.
Walker was one of the brave Americans forced to endure the horror of the notorious Bataan Death March. Of more than 70,000 Americans, as many as 7,000 died before that awful trek ended. Walker then endured a succession of forced labor camps and prisons. He was finally moved to Japan where he was put to work as a slave laborer in a zinc and lead mine.
By war's end, three and a half years after his capture, Walker had suffered numerous injuries, his weight falling to 68 pounds. Those injuries are felt to this day.
This patriot was recognized for his service, awarded a variety of medals including the Bronze Star. But, in a typical government snafu, he received neither the POW medal nor the Purple Heart - the medal that recognizes physical sacrifice.
Walker moved to Pagosa with his wife Carolyn 15 years ago and his faith has led him to many good works, and altered his feelings about his one-time tormentors, revealing the strength and character of the man.
But the physical wounds Japanese soldiers inflicted remained with him. If anyone deserved the Purple Heart, it was Walker.
With the assistance of local Veteran's Affairs officer Andy Fautheree, Walker set out on the quest for his missing medals. Fautheree enlisted the help of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and, Tuesday, Fautheree proudly pinned the medals on Walker's shirt.
John Walker is a sterling example of the millions of patriots who rose to their country's service during its most extraordinary military and political adventure - World War II. It was a time when there was a clear-cut line drawn in the moral sand, when no ambiguity clouded the situation, when a nation's purpose and meaning was defined in no uncertain terms. Walker and his generation answered the call and answered it magnificently.
It is an effort that cannot be forgotten - in the case of an individual who deserves medals or in the case of the entire group of Americans who served during that war, at home or abroad.
Our history has been prey to revisionist tinkering for too long, with history rewritten, reinterpreted in light of politically correct agendas. Much of the mythos of the nation has been dissembled by clever academics and politicos, working to degrade the legends and lessons that can sustain us.
This should not happen with those heroes who did battle with the Axis, whose efforts secured a future we now indulge in luxury. They powered us forward, into the lead as a world power. They redefined this nation physically, intellectually, politically, economically, opening the door to a new world, much of it grander than anyone could conceive. They pulled a nation out of a Great Depression into prosperity and greatness with the responsibilities, rewards and work it entails.
Now, we are losing these men and women at a rate of 1,000 or more each day. They are marching past in a final review. They deserve our gratitude, our respect, our thanks. Their accomplishments must not be forgotten. They all, like Walker, deserve medals and a heartfelt salute.
Astigmatism of the mind's eye
By Richard Walter
I've been wearing glasses for over 55 years.
But I think I must have astigmatism of the mind's eye.
That's where we all see what we want, feel we need, or would like to have. We see our dream home, our dream car, our dream everything in that mind's eye.
Some might call it imagination. We imagine what it might be like to be someone else, be somewhere else, do something else.
Inevitably, my mind's eye wakes me at the very best part of the imaginary Valhalla I see in it. And I realize what I'm seeing is make believe.
Foggy minds, I've been told, make for a foggy mind's eye.
Astigmatism is defined in Merriam-Webster's desktop dictionary as a defect in a lens or an eye causing improper focusing.
It may be epidemic in imaginative proportion.
Why else would so many people have vastly differing outlooks on news events directly affecting them; for example, those who believe they know everything there is to know about what is or is not wrong with health care in Archuleta County.
Everyone seems to feel entitled to dispense the "facts" as they "see" them. Each has or her own version of those so-called "facts." And in each mind's eye, there can be no correct version other than the one they see.
Mental pictures can be as blurred as a photograph taken with the lens at the wrong setting. It might be photographic astigmatism. It might be misinterpretation of the parameters of visibility allowing the picture or mind's eye image to deteriorate with the supposed impact of every new "fact" added.
Obviously there are at least two sides or pictures of every story. And if there are two dozen persons involved, the number of mind's eye views are multiplied exponentially.
Most of us can only react to the news we see or are exposed to. And, like an overexposed negative, the picture is often muddied by the personal interpretation of the so-called "facts" presented.
It is hard to focus on a "fact" as truth with so many opposing versions assaulting our psyche.
If you attend a meeting of the official board of a public body and no one is there from the public, you wonder if everyone is satisfied with the job that board is doing and thus has no need to attend.
Invariably, those who do attend have a specific cause to espouse or defend and hope to make their interpretation of the potential effects on them a part of the official record and to place an indelible picture in the collective board's mind's eye.
Residents of Pagosa Springs, for example, will soon get a chance to determine the administrative future of the town, to adopt a document making this a charter community. But no one from the public attended the planned final hearing July 24. Not one member of the public was interested enough to find out what is happening or how they may be affected.
Let that mind's eye wander forward to the election day. Picture the turmoil in some minds over the proposition on the ballot. We didn't know, they may say, and that's no astigmatism.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of July 25, 1913
C.A. Brooks, department commander of the G.A.R., who arrived in Pagosa last evening, was a member of the First Minnesota, the regiment that saved Little Round Top to the Union position at Gettysburg and in so doing lost 215 men killed and wounded out of 262 engaged. It was the greatest percentage of loss ever sustained in regular warfare anywhere.
Prof. G.F. Snyder, principal of the Fort Lewis agricultural school, will address the people of Pagosa Springs on Tuesday evening at the Methodist Church on the work of the school and associated subjects.
The Star Theatre continues to show to capacity houses nightly. The management is giving shows that deserve a big patronage.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 3, 1928
An aeroplane came in from the southwest Saturday morning, circled over the city and returned in the same direction from whence it came. We did not learn the identity of the pilot nor his destination.
On August 23rd, there will be a community health conference in Pagosa Springs. The whole day will be devoted to making free physical examinations of all preschool children in the community and as many school children up to 13 years of age as time will permit.
Forest Supervisor A.F. Hoffman and wife of Mancos were weekend guests at the Whiney Newton Ranch on West Fork. Mr. Hoffman was formerly employed at the forest office in Pagosa Springs and his wife at the Hersch Merc. Co. store.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of July 31, 1953
Practically all of the work on the new town bridge and the approaches in the park are complete and the bridge is now open for two way traffic. The bridge is of very sturdy construction and should last for several years unless high water takes it out.
In the west end of town in front of The SUN office, the bridge across McCabe Creek is being replaced by two large culverts, which will make the highway wider at the crossing and permit better drainage and snow removal. The work on the bridge struck a slight snag Tuesday when the drag line hooked into the city water main serving the west and southwest parts of town. It was necessary to shut the water off in that part of town for several hours while the leak was repaired.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 3, 1978
Construction work is well underway on extension of water service on the Archuleta Water Company extensions. The new extensions will provide water to approximately 200 taps, for homes and some commercial establishments. The new extensions will serve areas south, east and north of town.
The town has hired a Denver firm to prepare a comprehensive plan and a study of industrial development for the town. The contract is $20,000, with all funds being furnished by state and federal governments.
The Archuleta County Fair is coming up next week. It starts Friday and runs through Sunday. There will be exhibits, kids rodeo, kids horse races, livestock, a dance, dress revue, barbecue and other attractions.