County may amend use tax proposal
By Tom Carosello and
Tess Noel Baker
Is three a crowd?
That question will get a closer examination in the coming week by the Archuleta County board of commissioners following indications that its July 29 decision to approve grouping three "use tax" issues in one ballot question in this year's general election may need to be reconsidered.
Last week's action by the board proposes extending the county's 2-percent sales tax to all building materials purchased outside the county (for use in the county) and all machinery and equipment used for oil and gas production in the county.
Also included in the proposal is the notion that all motor vehicles purchased outside the county for registration within the county would be subject to the tax.
Although all three considerations were recommended by a task force that included ex-officio members representing the county and the town of Pagosa Springs, there is apparently concern the inclusion of each on the same proposal may hinder the ballot question's potential to gain voter approval.
"Since that decision there have been some expressions of - maybe discontent - with that decision (from) the town council," Bill Steele, county administrator, told the board Tuesday.
In response, the commissioners indicated initial feedback from a number of other sources has revealed similar concerns, and that changes may be necessary.
While the board took no action to rescind last week's motion to approve the proposal, the prevailing sentiment was to wait until after Tuesday night's town board meeting and reevaluate the decision accordingly.
"I, for one, would like to have a united front," said Alden Ecker, board chairman, resurrecting the question of placing the motor vehicle tax issue on a separate ballot to be decided in November.
"If (unity) is not there, the whole thing is an exercise in futility," added Commissioner Bill Downey.
Along those lines, if sentiments expressed by the town board suggested things need a second look, "I'm certainly prepared to reconsider," concluded Commissioner Mamie Lynch.
If any (or all) of the potential ballot questions get the nod from voters, all funds resulting from the additional tax income will be specifically allocated to the county's Road and Bridge Capital Improvement Fund.
On a related note, at Tuesday's regular board meeting, the Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees discussed the proposed use tax, but could not come to a decision.
Trustee Darrell Cotton was in favor of leaving all three types of use tax on the ballot.
"It's all a matter of fairness," he said. "One by itself is insignificant."
Trustee Bill Whitbred agreed with Cotton in theory; however, he voiced concerns about voter response to the automobile use tax.
"I think if automobiles are on there, it won't pass," he said. "I think we'll lose the whole ball of wax."
To iron out the differences, the board asked town staff to set up a workshop with county commissioners in the next few days.
Health district defaults on inmate care contract
By Tom Carosello
Archuleta County commissioners voted Tuesday to ratify action taken by Mary Weiss, county attorney, notifying the Upper San Juan Health Service District it is in danger of breaching a contract that ensures medical care for county jail inmates.
The board's decision came after Bill Steele, county administrator, notified the commissioners the health district is apparently "in default" of the terms of an agreement reached between the two entities in mid-February.
That contract stipulates, among other things, the district "on a weekly scheduled basis ... shall provide scheduled appointments to the inmates of the Archuleta County Jail."
"That has not happened last week, nor the week before that," said Steele, "Technically, that is a violation of the contract."
Steele told the board that a letter outlining the violation had been drafted by Weiss and sent by fax Monday to Dee Jackson, district manager.
Steele then requested the board ratify the notification of the default of the terms of the contract.
According to the contract, the district has 10 days from the date of notification to "cure" the default before the county can opt to cancel the contract as "being materially breached."
Steele also recommended that the board withhold half of the $950 monthly fee the district charges for the service, and requested he be authorized to negotiate with local health professionals to "have someone waiting in the wings" in the event the situation is not resolved before the 10-day grace period expires.
"I don't see that we have a lot of choice," said Commissioner Bill Downey, before moving to ratify Weiss' letter notifying the district of the default.
Downey's motion and a subsequent motion by Commissioner Mamie Lynch to withhold half of the monthly compensation paid the district both carried unanimously. The board also agreed to allow Steele to seek supplemental medical assistance from other sources.
Following the actions, Weiss indicated that even though the health district has not recently provided medical service to the jail, a similar contract with San Juan Basin Health Department provides for care as well - "So we're not completely uncovered," said Weiss.
The SUN's request for a response from the health district was sent to administration offices Tuesday, and Jackson declined comment on the matter Wednesday morning.
State tests show local gains; math still weak
By Richard Walter
The most intensive testing yet in the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP), shows reasonably good performance by most Pagosa Springs students.
The results were released July 31 reflecting statewide testing assessments in English and, at some grade levels, in Spanish.
In the spring, tests were administered in reading and writing to third through 10th grades, mathematics if fifth through 10th grades and science in the eighth grade.
Third-grade reading assessments were release in May and were not a part of this testing report.
However, 87 percent of the third grade students received proficient and advanced scores on the reading examination.
This score represents the highest percentage of students scoring in this range since the CSAP testing was first administered in 1997.
Twenty-two separate assessments were involved in the latest test scoring and Pagosa students registered gains in 15 areas measured in the four categories.
Students in third, fourth and fifth grades showed the greatest gains overall in reading, writing and math.
"Students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades demonstrated mixed results in reading, writing and math," said Superintendent Duane Noggle, "while students taking the eighth grade science assessment showed a measurable decline when compared to last year's students."
In the seven grades where reading performance was assessed, results show an increase in five, with fifth and ninth grades showing the most dramatic improvement.
"However," Noggle noted, "when the cohort groups are compared (the same students compared to their performance last year instead of compared to each other at the same grade level) all grade levels except the seventh showed excellent growth.
"For example," he pointed out, "when comparing this year's fifth grade to last year's fourth grade, there was an increase of 10 percentage points in the number of students rated proficient and advanced."
Sixth-grade cohorts also showed a 10 percent average gain but seventh graders had an 11 percent decline.
Eighth-grade students demonstrated a huge 17 percentage point increase and ninth and tenth grade cohorts each increased as a class by 9 percentage points.
In the seven grades at which reading performance was assessed in both 2002 and 2003, students in Archuleta School District 50 Joint showed gains at fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and 10th-grade levels.
Sixth and eighth grades each showed a decline in numbers of students scoring proficient or advanced.
Grades five, six, eight, nine and 10 outperformed the state average with all other grades near or just a point below the state average.
The data revealed the most dramatic improvement at the ninth grade level with the percentage of students scoring proficient or advanced increasing from 60 percent in 2002 to 76 percent this year.
With the exception of the eighth grade, all those tested showed significant improvement this year.
Third grade, for example, was up from 50 percent proficient or advanced to a 65 percent level. Fourth grade was up from 53 to 62, fifth from 38 to 47, sixth up from 48 to 49, seventh from 45 to 49, ninth from 43 to 53 and tenth from 45 to 52.
Eighth grade dropped from 55 in 2002 to 44 this year.
Pagosa students seemed somewhat broad-scaled when it came to math results.
Fifth grade, for example, was up from 40 to 49 percent proficient and advanced, but still below the statewide average of 56 percent.
Sixth-grade scores dropped from 49 to 41 percent, compared to 50 percent statewide.
Seventh-grade scores were up from 18 to 23 percent, but the statewide average is 41 percent.
Eighth grade was down from 34 to 31 percent while the statewide average was 38 percent.
The freshman level was up from 24 to 27 percent, but still below the statewide average of 31 percent.
Sophomores scored 17 percent proficient or advanced, compared to 18 percent last year and a 27 percent statewide average.
In science testing, the level at eighth grade dropped from 56 percent in 2002 to 50 percent this year, but was still above the statewide average of 49 percent.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Monsoon rains expected to return by weekend
By Tom Carosello
After a good showing in late July, monsoon rains were temporarily cut off from lower elevations across Pagosa Country after an area of high pressure off the coast of California moved east and into the Four Corners area last weekend.
However, scattered showers are scheduled to make a return to the region as early as this afternoon, according to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.
"The chance for afternoon showers in southwest Colorado will increase a little each day as the weekend approaches," said Norvan Larson, a forecaster with the NWS office in Grand Junction.
"The area has dried significantly in the past week, but once moisture levels build up again there will be a return to normal monsoon patterns across most of the Pagosa area.
"But in the next few days, I would venture to say the chance for rain could best be described as 'scattered,' at least until the trough of high pressure begins to break down or move out of the area," added Larson.
According to Larson, morning sun today will give way to afternoon clouds. A 20-percent chance for rain is included in the forecast, and high temperatures are expected in the upper 80s while lows should fall into the 50s.
Friday and Saturday call for partly cloudy skies, a 20-percent chance for isolated thunderstorms, highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and lows in the 50s.
The chance for rain increases to 30-percent for Sunday and Monday, and highs each day should stretch into the mid-80s. Nighttime lows are predicted in the low 50s.
The forecasts for Tuesday and Wednesday predict highs in the low to mid-80s, a 30- to 40-percent chance for scattered showers and lows in the upper 40s to low 50s.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 82 degrees. The average low for the week was 50. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to approximately six-tenths of an inch.
The Pagosa Ranger District rates the current regional fire danger as "very high." Fire restrictions across lower elevation zones are currently in place. Conditions are subject to change rapidly this time of year; for updates and more information, call the district office at 264-2268.
The National Allergy Bureau rates area pollen counts as "moderate" and lists sage, grass and ragweed as the current dominant pollens.
San Juan River flow ranged between approximately 40-110 cubic feet per second through town last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Aug. 7 is roughly 140 cubic feet per second.
Youth soccer registration is now open
By Joe Lister Jr.
By Joe Lister Jr.
Sign-up for the parks and recreation sponsored soccer program is in full swing.
Aug. 22 is the final day for youth soccer sign-ups, and all late entries will be put on a waiting list. Please come by Town Hall and pick up your child's registration form.
This year we will have the following age groups for youth soccer:
- Kickers, ages 5-6
- Shooters, ages 7-8
- Strikers ( will participate in a draft to determine teams) ages 9-10
- Scorers (draft), ages 11-13
Sponsorship of teams is $150, with player's fees at $20 per child; there is a discount for multiple children or if you volunteer to coach.
We are in need of coaches, sponsors and officials. Call the number below if you can help in any capacity.
For more information or if you have any questions call Chris Corcoran at 264-4151, Ext. 232.
The eighth annual Four Corners Folk Festival is just around the corner. Contact the Chamber of Commerce for more information and accommodations.
This year's program is a full slate of great music, lots of fun and camping, back on Reservoir Hill. This venue is second to none, so come join us in the fun.
We are in the process of finalizing the final draft from EDAW on the proposed Sports Complex.
I will be attending a number of different meetings, with different groups trying to raise money in order to have more matching cash funds for our various grant applications.
We met Monday with the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council which voted unanimous approval of the plan. We met Tuesday with the Town Board and now will go on to private clubs and private parties for pledges for a three-year build cycle.
Cost estimates for the project as drawn will be in sometime this week. My estimate for full build-out, in three phases, is around $2.6 million.
If everything goes well in our fund-raising efforts we may qualify for as much as 80-percent funding through different grant sources, particularly GoCo, the Colorado Lottery Trust in charge of administrating and overseeing grant winners.
The big grant we are seeking is due Sept. 2. We must line up most of our cash match by that time. The minimum to be pledged is $100,000 per year. The town, county and school system are looking into a intergovernmental agreement that will help fund our percentage of the match.
Anyone who has a good idea for fund-raising, or would like to make a pledge, should contact me at 264-4151, Ext. 231.
The 20th annual Blowout tournament was a great success, with 27 teams participating and everyone having a great time.
Thank you Sue Jones for running such a class tournament that people from around the Four Corners have already put it on their calendars for next year.
Eleven golfers strive for PSHS varsity slots
By Richard Walter
It is a senior-laden squad, but the numbers are limited.
Coaches Mark Faber and Tom Riedberger welcomed the Pagosa Springs High School golf team hopefuls for their first practice Monday.
And they were a little surprised at the low turnout: 11 candidates for varsity action - action which will test their mettle long before any of their other classmates are even in school.
Seniors include Ty Faber, the only candidate who made the regionals last year; Matt Lattin, Jake Mackensen (who won a tournament last year in South Fork but did not play regularly with the varsity); Steven Sellers and Casey Belarde, both of whom were varsity performers last year; and Craig Lucero who was present but doesn't yet have clearance to play because of a dislocated elbow.
The lone female candidate for the squad is sophomore Samantha Ricker. Others are Tom Huggins who played varsity last year in Gunnison, Damian Rome, Niko Carrizo and Ben DeVoti.
Coaches told the squad they will practice daily at 5:30 p.m. and "be prepared to stay here until dark."
If there is bad weather, they will work on conditioning, game rules and study course layouts inside.
And just nine days after the first workout, the squad will open (varsity only) at the Dalton Ranch tournament in Durango, go right back to Durango the next day to play a tournament at Hillcrest and then come back for their only home appearance of the year, the Pagosa Invitational, on Aug. 15.
Each player was warned that prep tournament play requires collared shirts with tails tucked in at all times.
And coach Faber emphasized the game is one of frustration, but of etiquette.
"Don't get down on yourself for a missed shot," he stressed. "And don't chide an opponent. Know and observe the rules of golf and if you're not sure, ask a coach. If we don't know the answer, we'll find it."
Even in practice, he told the squad, "you will share score cards. Honesty will be a byword for this team.
"You are representing Pagosa Springs High School wherever we play," he said, "and that's an honor. It means something to be a team member."
The squad will have an overnight trip Aug. 20-21, playing at Delta the first day and Montrose the second. The following day the Pirates are due in Cortez and may just go there from Montrose.
They are scheduled in Monte Vista Sept. 3, but may send the junior varsity to that tourney and have the varsity participate in Alamosa which is where the state tournament will be staged Sept. 29 and 30.
Other games on the schedule, all on the road, are Sept. 5 at Kirtland, N.M. (varsity and junior varsity both); Sept. 8 at Ridgway (four golfers only); Sept. 12 at Crested Butte (both teams) and regionals Sept. 16 at Desert Hawk in Pueblo (four golfers only).
Faber said it is possible other would-be team members were out of town or unable to get away from work for the first day of practice.
"However," he added, "we have a good core group here and this is the hand we'll play."
He said the weekly players for varsity will be determined on practice action, head-to-head competition and scoring.
Finally, Faber told the squad there "is no reason we can't send a full team to regionals and state. We need only to concentrate on our goals and perform to the best of our ability."
"Numbers are not the important factor," he said. "Desire is."
Softball Blowout nets at least $1,000 for baseball backstop
By Richard Walter
A major league net style backstop should grace the Pagosa Springs High School baseball field by spring.
And it will all be thanks to a big Blowout. Not a tire. Not a riot. Not an oil well eruption.
Nope, this was the 20th annual Softball Blowout, an end of season tradition in Pagosa Springs for major softball teams from across the Four Corners area.
Organized and conducted by Sue Jones of the town's parks and recreation department, the tournament regularly focuses all proceeds on a school district need.
In the past it has been scoring machines for the junior high school, wrestling equipment for the high school, or football gear.
This year's tournament beneficiary will be the high school baseball team.
And, though costs for prizes and officials were up this year and the number of teams down slightly, at least $1,000 will be donated for the backstop project, Jones said.
She noted the tournament drew a record five local teams this year.
Winning the men's division, going undefeated, was Worth of Farmington. Second was Ken's Performance of Pagosa and third went to Silver Fox of Alamosa.
Short Circuits of Farmington, also undefeated, captured the women's division. A-Team of Albuquerque was second and Ribbons of Albuquerque, a first- time entry in the Blowout, was third.
In all, the tournament drew 27 teams this year, 11 in the women's bracket.
Jones said plaudits need to go to Joe Lister Jr. who single-handedly got field three in playable condition. She also cited grounds control activities by Chris Corcoran, Jim Shaffer and Dylan Pruitt.
At the same time, members of the high school baseball team, coach Tony Scarpa and team parents worked the entire tournament picking up trash, keeping barrels emptied and Dumpsters filled.
David Belarde was chief umpire and coordinated all actions on field.
Volunteers who contributed to success of the project, Jones said, include Fred Manzanares, Everett and Jeremy Coen, Lucas Jones, Andy Gonzales and Ricky Ochoa and Virginia Manzanares, who did all the pre and postgame bookwork.
After the now famous "mud bowl" of last year, Jones said, "I was prepared for the worst and woke up at 3:30 Saturday prepared to go out and start rebuilding fields.
"I was surprised to find clear skies and stars shining," she said, and "knew we'd get the games in with a minimum of delay."
In fact, the only threat came late Saturday when heavy rains fell for about 10 minutes, but "the teams and umpires kept it going," Jones said.
The three fields in use all absorbed the rainfall completely and games early Sunday were on dry surfaces.
And now Jones has only to wait until late summer 2004 for Blowout 21.
"Some didn't want to wait," she said. "Eight teams already have signed up for next year. One even wanted to pay in advance but we couldn't accept that."
Still, she said, "It's nice to know the people want to come here. We do it as the same time as the county fair and it draws more spending for everyone."
PSHS volleyball starts Monday
Preseason practice begins Aug. 11 for would-be members of the Lady Pirate volleyball team.
Competition for positions on the varsity, junior varsity and C teams begins when players report to the high school gym.
To be eligible to participate, a player must have a completed physical and a signed parent permission slip. Players must arrive with shoes and other equipment necessary to begin practice.
Practices will be held 9 a.m. to noon.
The Lady Pirate volleyball season begins Aug. 28 with a home match against Cortez.
PSHS football practice begins Aug. 11
All students wishing to participate in the Pagosa Springs High School football program must report to the high school for the opening day of practice Aug. 11, 7 a.m.
Students who intend to practice should report to the locker room with their physical examination and parent permission forms completed.
Physical examination forms can be obtained from local physicians and must be given to a coach before a student will be allowed to practice.
Students should report to practice in workout clothes (shorts, T-shirts, etc.) and with enthusiasm to play football.
For more information regarding practice schedules, call coach Sean O'Donnell at 731-5849.
Pagosa harriers practice Aug. 11
By Tess Noel Baker
The Pagosa Springs High School cross country team will begin practice for the fall 2003-04 season Aug. 11 at 7 a.m.
Anyone interested should meet at the high school. Bring a completed physical permission form and wear appropriate clothing for running.
A parent/guardian meeting has been set for Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at WolfTracks located in the Pagosa Country Center.
The team will open the season Aug. 28 at Harrison High School in Colorado Springs, also the site of this year's state meet.
Daryl W. Streiff
Daryl W. Streiff died in his Pagosa Springs home Friday, Aug. 1, 2003, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He and his family appreciated the compassionate care they have received from Hospice of Mercy.
Daryl was born Feb. 11, 1943, in Kansas City, Mo., to the Reverend Lawrence H. Streiff and Mrs. Blanche Murdock Streiff. He attended high school in Richmond, Mo., and graduated with a degree in Engineering Geology from San Diego State University.
He served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1961 to 1965 as a communications specialist. He was employed by URS as a geologist specializing in the construction of dams and tunnels. Daryl married Karen Wright in 1990 and they lived in California and Australia before semi-retiring and moving to Pagosa Springs in 1999.
He was active in the Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs, Habitat for Humanity, Four Corners Emmaus Community, Promise Keepers, CUMC Thrift Shop, CUMC Board of Trustees, and Medical International. He was a member of the Geological Society of America, San Diego State University Geology Alumni Association, and the San Diego Association of Geologists.
Daryl was preceded in death by his parents. Survivors include his wife, Karen of the home; brother and sister-in-law Larry and Annalou Streiff of Belton, Mo.; stepsons Jon Keller and Cameron Keller of Kansas City, Mo.; niece Christine Johns of Lees Summit, Mo.; and nephew Ben Streiff of Belton, Mo.
Daryl loved God, his church, family, geology, home, travel, fishing, NASCAR racing, skiing, hiking, Colorado, helping others, and snoozing with puppy dog Sunny on his lap. He will be missed greatly by his family, friends, and the community.
A memorial service in celebration of Daryl's life will be held Friday, Aug. 8, 2003, at 10:30 a.m. in Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs, 434 Lewis St., 264-5508. Memorial donations may be made to the Community United Methodist Church parking lot fund.
Harold "Red" Clevenger died unexpectedly July 29, 2003, at the Western Arizona Regional Medical Center in Bullhead City, Ariz., of a heart attack following a successful arterial graft to his right leg.
Red was a resident of Bullhead City since July of 2000 but he, his wife and their six daughters were residents of Pagosa Springs, Colo., from 1968 to 1988.
Red was born Sept. 28, 1928. His parents, Jeff and Oma Clevenger, both of Tulia, Texas, preceded him in death. He is survived by four siblings; Jethan George of Booker, Texas; Daryl Clevenger of Hart, Texas; Whister Clevenger of Runaway Bay, Texas; and Vonda Woolsey of Amarillo, Texas.
He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Wilhelmina "Goomie" Clevenger. They raised six daughters, one of whom, Susan Desiree 'Desi' preceded him in death in 1982. Five surviving daughters and their families are Jennifer Virginia "GeeGee" Gallegos and her husband, Robert, of Bullhead City; Kindra Kay "Kindy" Martinez and her husband, Leonard, of Albuquerque; Oma Jetuan "Tonnie" Taylor of Artesia, N.M., Rosemary Zabrina "Zebbie" Bowden and her husband, Ridge of Ruidoso, N.M., and Felicia Coleen "Lisa" Clevenger of Bullhead City; grandchildren Jedeka and Terry Hamilton of Las Vegas, Nev., Robert Gallegos Jr. of Las Vegas, Palmira, Estrella and Jose Martinez of Albuquerque; Dominic Trujillo and Barb Long of Klamath Falls, Ore.; Tawny Trujillo of Bullhead City; Stephen Hatch of Portales, N.M.; Tristan Bowden of Ruidoso; and Jade Michael Clevenger of Bullhead City.
Besides being a loving father, brother, husband, and grandfather, Red was an avid outdoorsman and worked for many years as a Linotype operator for the Durango Herald, the Rocky Mountain News, the Denver Post and the Pagosa Springs SUN.
He was also a successful bidder/contractor as well as a carpet installer in the Pagosa Springs and Dulce areas. As a sportsman, he was well known for his love of fishing for catfish, hunting for pheasant or dove, the Denver Broncos (a lot) and perhaps the Dallas Cowboys (at times), was growing to appreciate the Arizona Diamondbacks, won his fair share of pool tournaments and seldom passed up a good game of cribbage.
All who knew and loved him will miss Red. The family held a memorial service for the immediate family on Friday, Aug. 1, 2003, in Bullhead City. His ashes will be enshrined in Pagosa Springs, in the mountains he dearly loved, next to his daughter.
A celebration of his life is planned Saturday, Aug. 9, 2003, at 10:30 a.m. in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. His family invites all his friends in this area to join them for this celebration to be followed by a luncheon at the Parish Hall.
Mountain Express begins Saturday service Aug. 9
By Tom Carosello
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Aug. 9 will mark the beginning of a new era for public transportation in Archuleta County when Mountain Express initiates Saturday bus service for the first time in its history.
According to Dave Sedgwick, county transportation director, as long as ridership is favorable, Mountain Express will continue to provide Saturday service on all but one of its eight runs between the hours of 6 a.m.-6 p.m.
"Unfortunately, we will not be providing service on run No. 8 on Saturdays," said Sedgwick, "But otherwise we plan on running the service the same hours one would expect to see during the week."
Honoring a request from Sedgwick, the county board of commissioners voted unanimously to approve the extension of Mountain Express service to weekends during its July 22 meeting.
At that time, Sedgwick told the board he felt the extension would be well received by the public and expected to fill a void, especially among those who need transportation back and forth between jobs.
Enthusiasm for the expansion, among both the public and the transportation department, has not waned in the meantime, said Sedgwick.
"We continue to get a lot of positive feedback from the community, and we are certainly excited to get Saturday service up and running," said Sedgwick.
Sedgwick also indicated the extended service will be evaluated on a regular basis. If interest in Saturday service diminishes, the commissioners can decide whether to modify operating hours or eliminate service altogether, explained Sedgwick.
In addition to the preparations initiated by Sedgwick, the expansion of service was made possible through funding provisions of the federal Job Access Reverse Commute Grant program.
Funds from the program, which are also known as JARC grants, are primarily aimed at improving a community's ability to provide residents with transportation to and from job sites.
The county has been awarded $85,887 in JARC grants for the operation of Mountain Express since applying for the funds in 2001.
New fire suppression system
first of its kind in the county
By Richard Walter
There are fire suppression sprinkler systems in many Archuleta County structures.
But none like the one being built into the Weddle home under construction in Holiday Acres.
This two-story home, still in the interior framing stage, will have a direct feed pressure fire suppression system operating directly off the home's water supply system.
Fire Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection District said it is the first system of its kind in the county.
All others, he said while inspecting the Weddle site for pressure flow, have hard pipe systems installed after construction.
This system keeps the tubing inside the walls and is instantly activated by a 130-degree sensor in the hidden extinguisher heads.
Doug Lenberg of Durango, assisting in the inspection, said this new system, first installed in a Ute subdivision in Ignacio, and later in about 20 new homes in Durango, has a cost factor of about $1.25 per square foot as compared to a regular suppression system with a cost of about $3 per square foot.
Tying the system directly into the all-house water line ensures totally enclosed free flow and keeps pressure constant.
As construction continues, the heads for each specified area will appear as slight drops from the ceilings.
To date, they said as they prepared for a flow test, only Colorado and New Mexico have codes allowing this type of installation.
Sensor units in each room are independent of one another and will activate separately, depending on degree of heat emitted and the source of that emission.
The 30-second test showed a flow of nearly 17 gallons per minute through a single suppression head, enough to extinguish a blaze in a 20 by 20 foot area.
Grams said the new technique appears to be the model system for new construction and was impressed by the pressure of flow.
The Weddle home will feature 28 suppression heads, 14 on each floor, all interlinked through half-inch tubing and presenting constant flow pressure at each outlet point.
The system keeps fresh water moving from the manifolds to the fittings each time water is drawn by any cold water plumbing fixture (faucet, toilet, etc.) assuring the suppression system is always activated - unless water to the home, itself, should be shut off.
Rarely, installers said, will more than two heads activate at once because the single head nearest the fire will normally accomplish extermination of flame.
Pagosan victimized by on-line scam
By Tess Noel Baker
The information superhighway still has its rough spots - scams that can trip a person into giving up all of their personal and financial information.
One Pagosa resident was recently victimized by such a scam - a PayPal scam.
PayPal is a well-known online payment service. Scammers create Internet or e-mail messages that replicate the authentic PayPal site in order to trick people into releasing personal and financial information.
Pagosa Springs Police Investigator Scott Maxwell said the Pagosa resident's credit card information, Social Security number and bank account information was compromised by such a scam. Luckily, the authentic PayPal site somehow learned the information had been compromised and alerted the person who was able to cancel the credit cards and change the bank account number before any harm was done.
"Apparently this is a pretty common scam," Maxwell said. When one copycat site is found and shut down, a new one takes its place.
PayPal scams are presented in two versions - a Web site version and an e-mail version. According to www.fightidentitytheft.com, an identity theft watchdog site, one PayPal scam site that has been found and shut down read like this:
"Dear PayPal user,
Today we had some trouble with one of our computer systems. While the trouble appears to be minor, we are not taking any chances. We decided to take the troubled system offline and replace it with a new system. Unfortunately, this caused us to lose some member data. Please follow the link below and log into your account to make sure your information is not affected. Account balances have not been affected."
One of the e-mail scams tells the customers that PayPal is performing regular maintenance on its security measures and has placed the customer's account on limited access status. To restore the account completely, the customer is required to reenter some financial information. This information includes: name, address, phone number, PayPal login and password, credit card numbers, expiration and security number, Social Security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, bank account number, pin and routing number.
One way to catch some of these scams is to pay close attention to the address bar located at the top of the Internet screen. This is especially important when linking to the Internet from an e-mail message.
For instance, PayPal suggests that users only enter their PayPal password and other information on pages where the URL begins exactly with https://www.paypal.com/. Even if the URL contains the word "PayPal," it may be a scam. For instance, former scams have included addresses like: www.paypalnet.com, www.paypa1.com, www.paypal secure.com.
West Nile Virus draws closer;
health pros give protection tips
Three horses in the southeastern part of La Plata County and one bird in the city of Durango have tested positive for West Nile virus.
San Juan Basin Health Department is encouraging residents to submit birds for testing for West Nile virus. Testing is restricted to corvids that have died in the last 48 hours, including: ravens, crows, magpies and jays (stellar, blue, gray, western scrub and pinon).
Stiff or maggot-infested birds cannot be tested. Call the health department at 247-5702 to report the address where the bird has been found and for further instructions on submitting birds.
Larvacides are still the preferred method of mosquito control. BTI larvacides called "mosquito dunks," a naturally occurring bacteria that is safe for plants, other useful insects, pets and humans, are available at San Juan Basin Health Department. BTI is effective for 30 days.
Altosid briquettes can also be used. They are effective for 150 days and are available through Animas Mosquito Control District.
If you live in an area of heavy mosquito infestation want to spray your property call Frank Ratliff of Archuleta County Weed and Pest Control at 264-6773 for information regarding larvacide application. Pagosa Springs does not have a mosquito control district which sprays.
There has been a rapid increase in the number of human cases of West Nile virus in Colorado, particularly along the Front Range and in the Eastern Plains. San Juan Basin Health Department reminds community members to protect themselves and their families from the disease.
Of every five infected people, only one will have any symptoms of the virus. For those with symptoms, most will have West Nile Fever, a mild illness lasting three-to-six days.
Symptoms start suddenly after a usual two- to 14-day incubation period and include headache, muscle aches and rash. Some people also may have nausea and vomiting.
Only one out of 150 infected people will develop severe neurological disease with meningitis or encephalitis. The risk of severe disease increases with age. In addition to other symptoms, these people will have a stiff neck, more severe headache and vomiting, weakness and other neurological symptoms. Most of these people will be hospitalized for supportive care.
Persons over 50 years of age should be particularly vigilant in protecting themselves from the disease because older persons tend to become sicker if they contract the virus and can die from it.
- dress in light-colored clothes with long sleeves and long pants to avoid mosquito bites
- avoid being outside at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active, and steer clear of shrubs where they hide. If you need to be outside during these hours, use DEET topically and/or Permethrin, which is available from local sporting goods stores for spraying on your clothing
- when using insect repellent containing DEET, always follow label instructions. Products with 10 percent or less DEET are recommended for children
- drain all standing water, no matter how small an amount, including tires, cans, flowerpots, clogged rain gutters, kiddie pools, and puddles where mosquitoes lay eggs. Trim grass and shrubs and don't over water lawns and gardens.
It is not too late to vaccinate your horses against West Nile. Contact your local veterinarian to discuss obtaining the vaccination or other methods you might use to protect your horses.
For more information, call the San Juan Basin Health Department at 247-5702. The "Colorado Health Education Line for the Public" (CO-HELP), (877) 462-2911, will be staffed daily 7 a.m.-11 p.m. with operators providing information on symptoms and infection in humans and animals.
Also see www.fightthebite colorado.com.
Fire restrictions still in effect on public lands in region
By Pamella Wilson
Special to The SUN
Federal and local fire managers have decided to keep current fire restrictions in place for at least another week.
While Southwest Colorado has begun to receive much-needed and much-appreciated precipitation, it has been localized with some areas receiving several inches and other areas receiving considerably less.
Fire managers continue to monitor fuel conditions on public lands, and are also checking with the National Weather Service on long-range forecast potential to see if fire restrictions can be lifted in the near future.
"We really appreciate how careful the public has been with fire this year," said Mark Lauer, fire management officer for the San Juan Public Lands.
"Firefighters have responded to more than 350 fires this season and more than 95 percent of those have been caused by Mother Nature, not by humans."
Fire managers want to be relatively confident that the area is not moving back into a warm, dry spell and that rains will continue before lifting the restrictions.
However, in the meantime, the following restrictions still apply to San Juan National Forest and BLM lands, including Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, in Zone 1 or the lower-elevation zone.
On the east side of U.S. 550, Zone 1 includes all Forest Service lands outside of the Weminuche and South San Juan Wildernesses.
On the west side of U.S. 550, Zone 1 includes Forest Service lands in the lower Hermosa, Junction Creek, La Plata Canyon, Echo Basin, Haycamp Mesa, McPhee Reservoir, Narraguinnep, and Glade areas. Visit a local Public Lands Office for a more detailed description and/or map.
Restrictions include: Campfires are allowed only in permanent fire rings or fire grates within developed recreation sites; smoking is allowed only inside an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area cleared of vegetation and at least 3 feet in diameter; the use of explosives, welding or acetylene or other torch with an open flame is prohibited; and fireworks, as always are completely prohibited.
In addition, campfires are completely prohibited in the following campgrounds:
- McPhee Reservoir: McPhee and House Creek Campgrounds
- Dolores River Canyon; Metaska Picnic Area; Cabin Canyon, Ferris Canyon, and Bradfield Bridge Campgrounds; and Box Elder Recreation Area
- Dolores Canyon Rim: Dolores River Overlook
- Mancos Area: Target Tree and Transfer Campgrounds
Archuleta, La Plata, and Montezuma Counties also have restrictions on open burning in effect, though burning may be allowed on a case-by-case basis.
Fire restrictions also remain in effect in Mesa Verde National Park.
For more information, call 247-4874 or visit the Southwest Colorado Fire Information Clearinghouse at www.southwestcolorado fires.org.
Monsoon spurs trout activity in area reservoirs
By Tom Carosello
Monsoon rains have officially begun in Pagosa Country, and while heavy runoff temporarily reduces visibility in area tributaries, reservoir anglers are benefitting from supplemental flows and the cooling effects brought on by afternoon rains.
Dawn and dusk continue to be the most active times for cold-water species, but trout will briefly move into the shallows to feed when spurred by increased oxygen levels and lower water temperatures resulting from periods of heavy rain.
Unless completely blown out by runoff, streams and rivers will continue to offer steady action throughout the rainy season as well, especially during intermittent days when clarity returns to near normal.
Flash flooding is always a potential danger during monsoon season - anglers should avoid areas that are prone to excessive runoff and vacate narrow canyons at the first sign of approaching thunderstorms.
The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:
- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,007 feet and water temperature is in the 70s. Catfish continue to be 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 40-50 cubic feet per second but will spike with runoff. River is off color at times, but successful anglers are using spinners, flies, salmon eggs and streamers to catch rainbows and an occasional brown.
- Echo Lake - Aquatic plant growth is hindering shoreline anglers in shallow areas, but largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch are being taken on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Trout have reportedly been more active in the past two weeks and will hit flies, marabou jigs, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, cheese and PowerBait.
- Williams Creek Reservoir - Anglers seeking rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are reporting fair to good catches with live bait, PowerBait, light jigs in orange and yellow, and spinners in gold, silver and bright fluorescents. Kokanee fishing continues to be described as slow.
- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing is good near the creek inlets and improving in the deeper areas of the lake. Brook trout are reportedly 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 isolated stretches is fair to good.
- Piedra River - Clarity is affected by afternoon runoff, but river is fishing well in most sections. 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 may be off color depending on rains, but brook trout and cutthroats continue to hit attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners in the upper sections near the falls.
- Williams Creek - Fishing pressure has eased a bit near the campgrounds, but fishing in more remote sections of the creek continues to prove worthwhile. 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.
Cowboy poet Bob Huff performs Saturday night at Williams Reservoir
By Phyllis Decker
Special to The SUN
Bob Huff, cowboy poet, will share stories of the trail Saturday night.
Author of "Tracks Along the Trail, Cowboy Poetry from the San Juan Mountains" and "More Tracks Along the Trail," Huff and his wife, Mary Ann, live on 75 acres along Martinez Canyon north of Pagosa Springs. Before retirement, Huff was a university professor and administrator in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Since retirement, he keeps a few yearlings, enjoys his horses, and is active at cowboy poetry gatherings.
In his spare time, he has been a great help as a volunteer for the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest. He helps pack equipment and supplies into backcountry trail crews and keeps an eye on the range. Huff says he gets to ride in nice places and watch other people work. He helped lay out and now maintains a ski trail in the Turkey Springs area.
And he shares his cowboy poetry. Those who attend will hang on to his words with anticipation, laugh, reminisce, sigh and perhaps get a tear in the eye.
Enjoy the evening with Huff Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Teal Boat Ramp overlooking Williams Reservoir north of Pagosa Springs.
Dress warmly and bring a chair, blanket, and flashlight. Allow 45 minutes for the drive from town, so you can enjoy the views. For more information call Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.
Leftover big game licenses will go on sale Aug. 12
Limited leftover big game licenses for the 2003-2004 Colorado big game seasons will go on sale at all Division of Wildlife offices across the state beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 12.
Leftover licenses from the limited license drawings earlier this year will be sold.
For a list of the licenses, visit the DOW Web site at wildlife. state.co.us//leftoverlicenses/list.pdf, or visit a DOW service center. Licenses remain for fall turkey, antelope, bear, deer and elk.
"As we transition into a new licensing system it is very important that hunters make sure their license records are updated, especially for the leftover license sale," said Steve Yamashita, northwest assistant regional manager for the DOW. "The best way to do this is stop by or call a local office prior to Aug. 12 and talk with a customer service representative."
Hunters' records are kept in the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Information System. License buyers who have changed an address, name or driver's license or who have duplicate records in the system should contact the DOW before the leftover license sale.
In addition, some DOW offices will be open prior to 8 a.m. on Aug. 12 to update records before licenses are sold.
Leftover licenses will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis across the state, except at the Denver, Brush and Fort Collins offices where randomly-numbered wristbands will be issued to customers to determine their place in line.
The wristband procedure negates the need for customers to arrive in the pre-dawn hours at these popular offices to secure a place in line. The first group of wristbands will be issued starting at 5:30 a.m. in Brush and 6 a.m. in Denver and Fort Collins. A second group of wristbands will be issued at all three offices beginning at 7:45 a.m.
For those who will not be able to visit a DOW office there are mail-in applications that will be served beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 12. Application forms are available on the site at wildlife.state.co.us/leftoverlicenses/application.pdf.
Customers who are planning on purchasing a license should bring: driver's license, hunter education card, Social Security number, their conservation certificate number or their customer identification number, and the hunt code.
Those who attend the sale will be allowed to purchase one pronghorn license and up to four deer and four elk licenses. Season participation and bag limits apply to all leftover licenses. If purchasing a license for someone else, the buyer must bring the following for the hunter:
- a clear copy of both sides of a driver's license
- a clear copy of both sides of a hunter education card
- Social Security number
- conservation certificate number or their customer identification number
- the hunt code.
Payment will be accepted in the form of cash, personal check, money order, or a Visa or MasterCard.
Customers will be required to wait outside and should dress for the weather. The DOW will have extra help for the office on that day in order to meet the huge demands for licenses, but customers should prepare to wait between four and seven hours.
Hunters should be aware that over-the-counter licenses for archery either sex elk, archery pronghorn antelope and rifle bull elk are available.
Parents can help relieve a child's stress at school
The first few weeks of school can be anxious, stressful periods as students adjust to the changes that come with each new school year. They make a host of decisions as they adjust to a new academic and social climate, and possibly even to a new school.
Parents can help their children deal with the stress of a new school year, says Lisa Boyum, Ph.D. , a pediatric and adolescent psychologist at National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.
"The first and most important step is listening to your child," said Dr. Boyum. "It underlies everything else. Sometimes listening is enough to initiate the changes you want."
Dr. Boyum has several tips for parents who want to help their children cope with the stresses of school:
- Break bread together. Eating together is extremely important and helpful on many levels. It gives parents and children a chance to talk about the day and the issues that came up. Just talking about a particular concern can often help children find the answers they need.
In addition, interactions at the dinner table help children practice their communication and social skills. Good dinner conversations also help parents better monitor what their children are doing and the issues they are facing. Research has shown that students who eat regular meals with their families have better social skills, do better in school and, according to their teachers, are better socially adjusted.
- Create opportunities to listen. In addition to mealtime it is valuable to create other opportunities for your children to share things that are on their minds. Regular, predictable activities with their parents, such as driving to school, walking the dog, or washing the dishes, give children opportunities to talk. Children often feel more comfortable bringing up difficult topics if the activity has a finite length that limits potentially unpleasant conversations.
- Don't rush your answer. Many parents want to respond immediately to a child's questions and concerns. In fact, they often dive right in, interrupting the child to offer advice or analysis. But that can irritate a child who thinks a parent is lecturing rather than listening. "It can be okay not to have an answer immediately," said Dr. Boyum. "It's more important to let the child get things out." If you don't have the answer, let your child know you have heard him or her and want to think about it before coming to any conclusions.
- You're not alone. Reassure your child that he or she is not the only student worried about how his or her clothes look or getting to class on time. Other students are struggling with the same worries. It can help even more if you have a story about your own fears and mistakes when you were a student.
You survived them, and so will your child.
Class of '94 planning a 10th reunion
The Pagosa Springs High School Class of 1994 is planning its 10-year reunion next summer.
As with most reunions, planners need to have former classmates let them know where they are and if they plan to attend.
Dates, times, locations and other information will be determined when organizers have an idea how many classmates will be attending the reunion.
Anyone interested may visit the Web site at www.crosswinds.net/-pagosahigh94/ e-mail at phs94@ hotmail.com, or call Candida Martinez at (719) 597-3068 or Karen Oxley at (970) 481-6316 for more information.
We can thank our county commissioners for passing a much-needed noise ordinance. I think it should serve us well. The citizens who participated in the process deserve kudos, as well. It took a collaborative effort to achieve this success.
Richard Walter's article on the noise ordinance contained an error I would like to address. His statement was, "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." This is incorrect, in that it is only a reference to partial exceptions made for construction, demolition, and fire maintenance projects on weekdays.
To summarize the effects of this law on a person who lives in a subdivision, or within 500 feet of a permanent residential building, the following maximum permissible noise levels apply:
Maximum noise on weekdays from 7 a.m. to next 7 p.m. is 55 decibels, and from 7 p.m. to next 7 a.m. is 50 decibels; on weekends, the timeframes for those maximums shall be shortened to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. In the case of a complaint, these sound measurements would be taken at a distance of 25 feet from the noise source. There are exceptions and one should review the new law to fully understand what noisemaking will be considered acceptable.
I don't have an example of what 50-55 decibels of noise would be, but Sue Walan, the county engineer, took some sound readings and said that a quiet office or quiet rural road was the equivalent of 35-40 decibels, while downtown traffic or a passing automobile measured from 10 feet away gave a reading of 70-75 decibels. Construction site earthwork at 5 feet away ranged from 90-105 decibels.
For visitors, newcomers, and history buffs, the noise ordinance is just one of the "visions" expressed by the many Archuletans who participated in the 22 public workshops, resulting in an Archuleta Community Plan, adopted in spring 2001. In June 2001, the county commissioners chose junk/nuisance, right-to-farm, and noise as their top three priorities for community plan implementation. The planning department selected lighting, signage, and landscaping as their priorities. Last year, the planning department succeeded in getting both the lighting and signage ordinances adopted by the commissioners. In January 2002, Attorney Weiss stated in a Board of County Commissioners meeting, that a junk/nuisance ordinance was only a couple weeks away from commissioners' review. To date, and to the best of my knowledge, the noise ordinance is the first commissioner-initiated effort toward community plan implementation that has materialized.
I appreciate this successful beginning effort, and hope all interested citizens will renew their individual efforts toward ensuring a sustainable future for our community. Please call our commissioners at their new phone number, 264-8300, and thank them for this achievement, and let them know what you feel should be next on the community plan implementation priority schedule.
We moved here to beautiful Pagosa Springs several years ago for a number of reasons, one very important reason ... healthy environment. Healthy environment includes clean air, many outdoor activities, beautiful lakes, streams and rivers to fish in ... with the exception of one lake.
Village Lake is ostensibly full of trout, bass and other species of fish, but how can that be possible? Fish cannot thrive in a mudflat; they may exist, but most definitely cannot thrive in the existing environment.
The poor creatures are wallowing in mud, not swimming freely in a healthy amount of water, due to the fact that this lake has been allowed to reach a disgusting minimum level of 60 inches below the spillway. In addition to the negative impact on fishing, the low lake level has also impacted the habitats of other local wildlife.
Isn't that why most of us chose to live here? For the unsurpassed beauty, the healthy environment, the outdoor recreation, the wildlife? We understand that aesthetics is on the bottom of the list for PAWS ... we do truly understand this. We understand that drinking water and water for home use must come first and that irrigation water comes second, aesthetics last.
But surely health should fit into the plan as well. How healthy is it to have a lake that is so dangerously low that it smells of rotten, dead fish and sour silt and sludge? The waterfowl, especially the ducks, are constantly becoming entangled in old discarded fishing lines and other debris that was once at the bottom of the lake but is now on dry land, as the water has receded.
Sure, the debris can be cleaned up and those of us who live near or on the lake do clean it up. But we cannot clean up silt and sludge and the rotten sour smell. We also cannot clean up the infestations of mosquitoes, which, as we are all aware, can create quite a health hazard with the West Nile Virus. The only thing to remedy these problems is to pump water into the lake to bring it to a reasonably healthy level, as are all of the other lakes.
Our entire community is impacted by this problem. Imagine that you are a tourist staying here in one of the many timeshares on this lake; what would your reaction be? Sure, you could play golf, but not everyone plays golf. Many of these tourists like to fish, and even more like to just enjoy looking at the lake and taking a stroll around it. Even the golfers have to look at it and smell it as they play in the area.
We talk with many of these tourists as they walk by where we live, and we hear them voice their disgust with the pathetic condition of the lake; no, they won't be back. Nor will they recommend Pagosa to friends or relatives. This impacts the overall economy of Pagosa, as tourism is a major source of revenue.
Terry and Marsha Baker
Editor's note: According to Joe Fowler, a San Juan Basin Health epidemiologist, shallow water, measured in inches is a better environment for mosquitos to breed than deeper, or moving water. Depth readings at Village Lake show varying water depths, from inches to several feet. Fowler said, even if a lake were full, mosquitos breed in the shallow water at the edges of the lake. He indicated that, with any standing water, low water or not, use of a larvacide is recommended for mosquito control.
As for the loss of valuable tourist dollars due to a low water level in Village Lake, we are comforted by the fact there are several, albeit lesser, tourist attractions in the area.
Whatever happened to common sense in Pagosa and Durango? I read with dismay about a girl who almost died from snake bites because adequate medical services are unavailable short of New Mexico.
In Durango, they are firing doctors while patients are going begging for medical services.
Judging from the letters in The SUN it is obvious that the doctors and medical providers in Pagosa are unhappy. Without these people, we have no local medical facilities.
So, why don't we get a plan from these people and then execute it? My guess is the medical providers feel they are overworked and underpaid. An overworked doctor is no bargain.
Doctors need time to keep up with the advances in medicine. And they are probably making a lot less than a third string tackle for the Broncos.
So, if we need to subsidize the local medical facilities, so be it. Our county commissioners are more than willing to tax everything and everybody to subsidize about everything else.
Country club docs
I was interested by the recent comments of certain people calling the physicians at Pagosa Family Medicine greedy country club doctors (Pagosa SUN July 31).
If greedy country club doctors come into the office at 6 a.m. and often leave as late as 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., then obviously Drs. Pruitt and Piccaro are greedy country club doctors.
If greedy country club doctors call patients who are in serious distress every hour on the hour late into the evening, then Pruitt and Piccaro are greedy country club doctors.
If greedy country club doctors' livelihoods are dependent on how hard they work and are not subsidized by county taxes, then it is obvious that the above-mentioned physicians are greedy country club doctors. If there is a country club in Pagosa, I sure don't want to belong.
As a lifelong testament to modern medicine, I have spent too much of my life going to physicians who specialized in only one part of the body or another. It wasn't until my husband and I moved to Pagosa that I had one physician who coordinated everything: Jim Pruitt, board certified family practice physician.
He is a remarkable doctor who never ceases to astound his patients with his knowledge and caring.
John Piccaro, also a board certified family practice physician, has proved himself to be an outstanding and deeply caring professional.
So why would some people who have never been physicians tell lies about these two fine men? Why would people who have never seen these men in their professional capacity tell lies about them?
Obviously the answer is to tarnish their professional and personal reputations. Perhaps Drs. Pruitt and Piccaro might want to check with an attorney about bringing civil suit for slander against these people.
My! My! What would they say at the country club?
Judith S. Esterly
At a recent PAWS meeting, Gene Tautges (assistant general manager) made a presentation to the board of directors detailing use of "gray water" for irrigation purposes. The idea was to upgrade our existing treatment plant in order to reuse our wastewater.
This involves the reprocessing of wastewater to meet the newest state standards allowing it to be used as irrigation water. Many cities in the U.S. have been using this process for years as a means to conserve water.
Using "gray water" is cheaper than pumping water for irrigation use from the San Juan River. Yet, after the presentation was made and discussions were held, the board chose not to go forward with the proposal at this time. We are in the second year of drought and needing to conserve every drop of water possible. Did the board miss another "golden opportunity" to be proactive in planning for the near future?
Editor's note: According to Carrie Campbell, district general manager, the PAWS board determined there were not funds available in this year's budget to proceed with the project. The board intends to consider the idea in discussions concerning next year's budget.
As many Pagosa fighting men return home from war in Iraq, I believe it is time to reflect upon their incredible accomplishments and the work they have done and the change they have enabled for this nation and others.
Though only a little more than half over, this has already been an historic year - a year marked by great progress in our global war on terror. Al Qaeda is weaker, still a threat, but decidedly weaker. Afghanistan is free. And Saddam Hussein no longer rules Iraq, thanks in large part to America's war-fighting teams. Now, those who commit terrorist acts or sponsor them know full well the United States will hunt them down and bring them to justice.
Cpl. Chuck Kelley, USMC, now one of Pagosa's youthful fighting veterans, set a course for Kuwait before Thanksgiving 2002. Setting sail as part of a very daring U.S. Navy/Marine Corps team with a cutlass in his teeth, ready to do his nation's bidding on arrival. After crossing the Kuwait border and fighting his way to Baghdad and on to Karbala, he was proud to wear the "cloth" of his country as he battled terror across Iraq.
The stories of bravery and grace under fire are still coming in, and they only serve to prove that this generation of our country's finest are every bit as dedicated to the ideals for which this country stands as those who stared down Hitler, who took the war to Japan and who helped win the Civil War.
Yet, even as I marvel at young Cpl. Kelley's humility and boldness, I marveled, too, at the realization that many in our military share those same qualities. They are out there standing watch for freedom right now, quietly, purposefully - and they are all heroes. Sometimes, just those thoughts make it hard to swallow the lump in one's throat.
I'm certain all Pagosans share my deep pride in each of them. So, when you meet one of these Patriots, please give them a handshake or a pat on the back and tell them know how you feel. I think you'll be surprised at the lumps you put in their throats.
Welcome home Chuck; Well Done, Marine!
On the complaint of three members (out of 800 or so), the management of the Archuleta County Senior Center has informed the membership that, henceforth, they cannot ask the blessing of the Lord before luncheon.
To partake of a meal without thanking God runs against the beliefs and practice of the great majority of the members who have been doing this for over 40 years.
It is about time that the minority rein in their self righteousness for the general good, and not create controversy in an otherwise tranquil and congenial setting.
After all, the seniors' group also pledges allegiance to the flag each Friday, which also has reference to the Almighty. So what may we expect from these few?
While I still can, I say God bless the senior center; God bless America.
Billie White Evans
Shame on you
My husband and I attended the meeting July 15 of the board of directors of the Health District at which we were stunned by their vote against privatization of the physicians at the Dr. Mary Fisher Clinic.
They had previously seemed to favor the proposal which had been offered by Dr. Mark Wienpahl, Dr. Jim Pruitt, Dr. Bob Brown, Nurse Practitioner Susan Kuhns and J.R. Ford. But, quite suddenly, with very little public discussion, the vote was 5-2 in favor of letting the board restructure the Mary Fisher Clinic and run it with staff hired from all over the place.
Those five board members have made a tragic mistake affecting the lives and peace of mind of so many of us, not to mention the medical professionals we have all depended upon for so many years.
As we left that awful meeting, I saw people crying. None of the five board members were crying, but EMTs in full uniform and former nurses of the clinic who know us all so well could not hide their sadness at what transpired that night.
Shame on you five directors.
With apologies to Alfred, Lord Tennyson ...
Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
Into the valley of the San Juan
Strode the concerned citizens.
"Forward, the Citizens' Brigade!
"Stop the Industrial Plants!" they said:
From polluting our rivers.
Into the valley of the San Juan
Strode the 600 voters.
"Forward, the Citizens' Brigade!"
Was there a voter dismay'd?
Not tho' the BoCC knew
The Planning Dept. had blunder'd:
Their's not to make reply,
Their's not to reason why,
Their's but to approve and cry:
Into the valley of no Zoning
Strode the Concerned Citizens.
Asphalt plant to right of them,
Batch Plant to left of them,
Gravel Trucks in front of them
Belch'd and thunder'd;
Shot at with rock and smoke,
Boldly they stood and well,
Into the mouth of Hell
Facing the polluted wells,
Strode the six hundred voters.
Oh, how the tourist left
Oh, how the revenue fell
And the jobs soon went after.
They polluted our water & wells
Killing our fishes.
Stand up and fight this smell
Make our voter numbers swell
Lets all vote and vote well
Bring on the Zoning
When can their glory fade? O the wild stand they made!
All the commissioners wondered.
Honor the charges they made,
Honor the Citizens' Brigade,
Please pass Zoning.
In answer to recent letters from an organized group of folks intent on dismantling the operations supported by the Upper San Juan Health Services District, my comment is this:
"Consider the source, my friends."
Working to increase quality health care access to all citizens of Archuleta County, I am yours sincerely,
I have been following the health services crisis and have attended a few of the board meetings and special meetings. I feel that the decision not to embrace the six-point plan and the proposal by Dr. Wienpahl and J.R. Ford was based on unsound financial advice, and I urge those who voted against it to do some careful research and reconsider your vote.
The concerns of the local physicians cannot be ignored. Medical input is needed in all district decisions, and we need to integrate health care in the community - not compete one against another.
There is also a need to subsidize indigent care (as we do now), and the burden of that care should not rest on one private or public clinic. Twenty-four hour care is vital to this community. Both of these concerns were addressed and planned for under the proposal.
The board of directors is under increased scrutiny by the community. Now is the time to rise to the occasion and act responsibly to solve the current problems.
Lynda Van Patter
Keep an eye on long distance costs
By Laura Bedard
We had a surprise visitor last week - Sen. Isgar came to have lunch with us and ended up having a water gun fight with Musetta and Laura. We always enjoy his visits, however soggy we become.
The Office of Consumer Counsel released a chart comparing state-to-state and in-state long distance rates for residential consumers in Colorado. The rate chart also compares calling card rates and the various additional fees charged by some companies.
The OCC cautions that these rates and the various additional fees are subject to change and consumers should call to confirm the rates before signing up with a particular company and plan. Also, the rate comparison does not include all companies, or are all calling plans of the companies included in the chart. The OCC also warns that some companies charge additional fees, that mean higher long-distance rates. Also, consumers should avoid the major companies' "basic rates."
To obtain a copy of the OCC's long-distance rate comparison chart, Helpful Hints, and additional consumer information in OCC Consumer News, call, write or e-mail the office at: Office of Consumer Counsel, 1580 Logan St., Suite 740, Denver, CO 80203, (303) 894-2121. You can also review a copy here at the senior center.
On July 29 the Jack Hanson Trio came to play at the center. Everyone enjoyed the big band music and there was a bit of singing and dancing going on. This was an unexpected pleasure, but we have the Trio scheduled to come back on Aug. 29 for our ice cream social and singalong. You will not want to miss this event.
Walkin' with George
"We all get a kick out of Little Lena's Brooklyn accent. The other morning on the bus she said, 'George, look at the boid.' I said, 'Lena, that's a bird, not a boid.' She said, 'Well that's funny - it choips like a boid!'"
End of no-fault insurance
The no-fault auto provisions will not be reviewed whenever policyholders hit their next renewal date. The no-fault provisions remain in effect until the current policy ends, or until the consumer opts to cancel the old policy and get a new tort version. So we are likely to see many no-fault policies over at least the next six months.
If the consumer doesn't pay for extra medical coverage - an option under the new auto policies - and that consumer is at fault in an auto accident, their Medicare will pay primary on their medical bills per normal Medicare coverage rules.
If the consumer opts to pay for extra medical coverage, then that medical coverage will be primary for injuries in an auto accident caused by that consumer.
If the consumer is in an auto accident that is the fault of another driver, then that at-fault driver's auto liability coverage is the primary payer. Medicare will want at-fault driver's liability insurance to pay the bills.
If there is slow payment or a dispute about who is at fault, and payment of the health bills is not likely to happen for more that 120 days; the Medicare manual says Medicare will make a conditional payment, but it will want the Medicare money back if an auto insurer eventually makes a medical payment.
On Aug. 12 our dietician Myra Miller will be speaking about osteoporosis in our lounge at 12:45. Find out how to prevent it.
Seniors will be going to Durango Aug. 14. Suggested donation for this "shop till you drop" trip is $10. Sign up ends Aug. 12.
We have a chair lift available that goes up stairs. You must attach it yourself, but if you need it give Sandra Walker a call at 264-9347.
We have two $25 Marianni's gift certificates for sale from Seniors, Inc. to benefit Oktoberfest.
ElderLaw News has quarterly newsletters. This month's newsletter has long-term care insurance information. You can stop in and read up on this topic.
Visitors and guests
We saw Denny and Wayne Albin, Myrtis and LG Fitzgerald and Rich and Barb Ferrick for lunch last week, as well as Nancy Giordano, David Hopkins, and Bill and Barbara Friday. We were also surprised to see Shirley and John Finn, who were just passing through. Tandy Phillips is playing bridge here after lunch, and Ron Arrington has been stopping in to visit as well. We were happy to feed the Jack Hanson Trio and Ann Graves, and we got to meet Neva and Wilber Sullivan. Last but not least, we saw John and Carolyn Walker and OJ and Martha Thompson. What a lovely crowd we have in the summer.
Aug. 8 - Liver and onions, mashed potatoes, green beans, roll and cherry cobbler
Aug. 11 - Baked fish fillet, boiled potato, stewed tomatoes, muffin and cinnamon apple sauce
Aug. 12 - Chicken salad, vegetable soup, bread stick and mixed fruit
Aug. 13 - Braised beef, mashed potatoes, broccoli, roll and pineapple
Friday - 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 Medicare counseling; 11 veterans benefits; 1 p.m. free movie - "A Beautiful Mind"
Aug. 11 - 9 a.m.-noon CanastAholics play; 1 p.m. bridge for fun
Aug. 12 - 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class; 12:45 p.m. osteoporosis with Myra Miller
Aug. 13 - 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 1 p.m. line dance
Aug. 14 - Durango trip
Veterans need to update VA health information
By Andy Fautheree
Many veterans have been coming forth in the past few weeks to report their financial information for the VA health care system.
Update is important
As I have reported here lately, I urge all Archuleta County veterans to update their VA health care information.
As of Jan. 17, 2003, all veterans enrolled in VA health care in Priority Category 7 and 8 are required to provide this information.
Typically, it is due on the veteran's anniversary of enrollment in VA health care. If you're unsure, best bet is to stop by the office and I will help you fill out the form.
Veterans with a compensable service-connected disability of 10 percent or more are not required to provide financial information. However, most of our local veterans do not have service-connected disabilities, and must complete the form.
Frequently I find the veteran has not updated this information for several years, and was never asked to by the VA. However, in the eyes of the VA, this is not an acceptable reason for not complying with this requirement. The old "Catch-22" problem.
I have the original applications on hand for many of our veterans here in the office. Many of them are stored on my computer system. It only takes a few minutes to update the information and I will fax it to the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque.
Could be dropped
Failure to provide this information could make the veteran ineligible for VA health care appointments until the information is provided. In the most extreme cases, a veteran might be dropped from active VA health care patient status and have to re-enroll.
It wouldn't pay to be dropped from the VA health care system under the current guidelines. Some veterans may not qualify to re-enter.
Prior to Jan. 17, veterans did not have to provide their financial information and could still get in. But, after that date, all veterans without service-connected disabilities and with certain higher incomes may not be eligible to enroll.
Those enrolled before Jan. 17 are grandfathered in the system, and can remain in VA health care, even though they have higher incomes. But, they still have to provide a financial Means Test to continue to receive VA health care benefits.
I met many of our local veterans at the Archuleta County Fair last week.
Quite a few of you stopped by my Veterans Service Office booth. It was nice to see old friends and meet new veterans there.
I had my laptop computer and printer on hand and was able to help quite a few veterans fill out the forms for their VA health care, right on the spot.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta 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 from 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.
Welcome Rocky Mountain Championship Cutting Horse participants to Pagosa Springs
By Sally Hameister
We hope you will join us at the fairgrounds tonight to welcome our cutting horse event guests and to enjoy a delicious dinner and music.
This event is brought to you by the town of Pagosa Springs and Habitat for Humanity with all proceeds benefiting the Habitat organization.
As you will see with all the ads and the PREVIEW cover, the Rocky Mountain Championship Cutting Horse Event is being held at the Galles Ranch sponsored by Galles and UBS Aug. 6-14, and tonight was designated as the night for all of Pagosa to come out and meet these folks, welcome them to our fine community and benefit Habitat for Humanity all at the same time.
These folks will be eating, sleeping, shopping and recreating in Pagosa throughout their stay, so we want to make them feel as welcome as the flowers in May.
Join us at 6 p.m. at the fairgrounds for great food and entertainment. You can buy tickets at the door or stop at the Chamber anytime before 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $6 for children.
Jac Constant, local country western performer, will provide the entertainment for what promises to be a very nice event. Please call 264-2360 for more information.
Ride the Weminuche
We didn't want you to get bored or go into withdrawal after the county fair, so plan on attending the Ride the Weminuche Trail Ride and lunch this Saturday sponsored by 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.
The price of admission includes a two-hour ride, a lunch featuring brisket, chicken, ribs and beans, a live auction and music, followed by yet another two-hour adventure.
You are invited to join this group for just lunch if you choose to enjoy the great company and breathtaking views surrounding the Poma Ranch 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 946-2057.
Habitat benefit canceled
Due to extenuating circumstances, Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County has decided to postpone the benefit dinner/dance planned for Aug. 16 at Hart's Rocky Mountain Retreat.
I'm sure one of the reasons for the postponement was that everyone looked at their calendars for August and decided we probably couldn't sustain another event.
The great thing about this is that they will probably reschedule for sometime after the first of the year when we all will be looking for something fun and exciting to do. Stay tuned to this column to learn about the new date.
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 located on Port Avenue 1-5 p.m. Friday 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, please call Mary at 731-5121 or Patti at 731-5213.
The Chamber wishes to extend a special "thank you" to Sheila Hunkin for her help recently stuffing 750 discount coupon packets for us to pass out to all the Galles cutting horse participants.
Unless you have done such a thing, you have no idea what a backbreaking task that can be. Basically, imagine walking around a table 750 times and picking up 35 items each time. Poor Doug had a sore back for a few days after that last stuffing. Thanks, Sheila - don't know what we would do without you.
The Knights of Columbus announce their first-ever Duck Race and Picnic to be held 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 16 in Town Park.
This family event 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. Please call 731-0253 or 731-3741 for more details.
As we usher in the month of August, it is our distinct please to usher in five new members and two renewals. I also welcome the cooler temperatures we've experienced recently as well as the marvelous moisture.
We are delighted to welcome Brenda Decker this week who brings us Waggin' Tails Pet Grooming, 180 South 6th St. (former location of the Humane Society Thrift Store).
Brenda specializes in animal grooming with all breeds of cats and dogs. I can personally testify that she does a terrific job because Ms. Lindsay (my mutt) recently spent a day at the Waggin' Tails Doggie Day Spa, and she looks like a million bucks and is way cooler with her summer "do." She looked and smelled like heaven. Please give Brenda a call at 264-9529 to see what she can do for your canine or feline friend.
We next welcome Jennifer Martin with The Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs, 1860 Majestic Drive. The mission of this organization is to enhance the lifestyles of individuals, families and youths through cultural awareness, physical activity, creativity, education and the arts. Their services include a childcare center, gymnastics and dance facility and an after-school program. Please call Jennifer if you would like to learn more about The Rising Stars of Pagosa Springs at 731-6983. We are grateful to member Amy Hill who owns and operates Alphabet Soup Day School for recruiting Jennifer to our membership and will send off a free SunDowner pass for her efforts.
We are happy to welcome another animal-related business at 239 Scenic Ave., HorsePower Equestrian with Elaine Nash-Putnam at the helm. Elaine offers large stalls and runs, heated waterers, paddocks, a pasture and pond. Along with top-quality care, you will find awesome views, great riding and a certified equine appraiser. HorsePower Equestrian is located a half mile west of Pagosa on U.S. 160 and can be reached by phone at 731-2402. We thank our former board president, Mark DeVoti for recruiting Elaine and look forward to seeing him at our next SunDowner at the Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park at the end of the month. Thank you, Mark - it almost makes me want to take back all those things I've said about you - almost.
Busy guy Bill Hudson, joins us next with Pagosa's newest nonprofit arts organization, Artstream Cultural Resources. Among the programs already in place are Concerts International, the Whistle Pig Concert Series and the Gypsy Moon Ensemble, a children's performing group. The mission of this group is to develop educational arts resources and projects for children and adults, to support performers and artists working outside of mainstream markets and to enrich our cultural life by presenting performers and arts events. To learn more about Artstream Cultural Resources, please give Bill a call at 264-2491.
A warm Chamber welcome to Steve Dale who brings us Combined Resource Group, LLC, with offices located in his home. This organization offers high-speed Internet available anywhere as well as satellite television and structured cabling. To learn more about these state-of-the-art services offered by Combined Resources Group, give Steve a call at 731-9070 or toll-free at (866) 372-8489.
Our renewals this week include Marianne Poirier with JEM Jewelers, Inc. and our Associate Member renewal, valued Diplomat and long-time Chamber friend, Jean Sanft.
Helpful health tips in new Tufts publication
We welcome another nationally known author to Pagosa Springs. Pam Bono and her husband Robert have moved here to pursue their publishing company, "Pam Bono Designs." The Bonos create and publish quilting books. The books cover designing, making and embellishing quilts of all types.
They give step-by-step directions that are easy to follow on a variety of projects.
Pam donated two of her books to the library, "Baltimore in Bloom" and "Quilts a la Carte." The books are published by Leisure Arts. We will have more of their books in our collection as they are published.
The Bonos moved to Colorado from Missouri, first settling in Durango. We are so happy they have chosen to move to Pagosa. We are finagling to see if we can't get Pam to do a trunk show as one of our library fund-raisers. Keep tuned.
Exercise for arthritis
The Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter for August has a definitive article on several safe but significant strength training exercises to do at home that have reduced pain up to 43 percent. It is especially helpful for people with knee or hip arthritis. These look very good but, as always, check with your doctor. Copies may be made of these exercises.
Another Tufts article covers the proper precautions before traveling abroad. It states that what you eat and mosquitoes are more likely risks than terrorism.
Carry antimalarial pills if going to Africa, Central and South America. Get hepatitis A shots for practically any destination. Even knowing to wash your hands before and after peeling fruit would help cut down on common infections. The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) offers a directory of English-speaking physicians in various countries. There is an e-mail address and phone number in the report. Other tips are in the report. Copies may be made.
One last Tufts tip: "There's no harm in drinking ice-cold water when you exercise. Cold fluids empty from the stomach faster than warm ones so they're faster at replacing water lost through sweating. That can have an immediate effect of cooling off the body's core." This according to William Evans, a nutrition expert.
Don't forget the Friend's Book Sale will be coming up Aug. 15, and the public sale Aug. 16. Join the Friends to get an invitation to the private sale.
Thanks for materials from Merriam and David Paul, Cristy Holden, Margaret and Jim Wilson, Jean Brault, Cecil and Barb Tackett, David Rhea, Vivian Rader, Nancy Strait, Elaine Lewis, Julie Gates and Ray Laird.
Hungry? Why wait? Take a trip down to The Lunch Box and grab lunch or a snack.
The Lunch Box is owned and operated by Kelley Jackson Cruz and her husband Pedro Cruz. They moved here last summer from Florida with their four children, Jeff, Dani, Gannon and Dawson.
Wraps are the house specialty but they also offer subs, soups, salads and more. All food is homemade.
Hours are Monday-Friday 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and they will soon be open for breakfast.
The Lunch Box can be reached by calling 264-5877.
West Aaron Jackson and Sarah Marie Denny were married July 14, 2003 in Las Vegas, Nev. Sarah is the daughter of Richard and Kelley Denny of Las Vegas and Jacalyn and Murray Wilson of Las Vegas. She is a 2002 graduate of Silverado High School in Las Vegas. West is the son of Carolyn Clark of Salida, Colo., and Jerry and Kathy Jackson of Pagosa Springs. He is a 1999 graduate of Pagosa Christian School. The couple will reside in Las Vegas where Sarah is a student at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and West is stationed at Nellis Air Force Base.
Eleven students from Pagosa Springs high schools were named to the Fort Lewis College dean's list for the fall 2002 semester.
Ten former Pagosa Springs High School students who earned dean's list honors (with majors) included: Carmin Cox, business administration-agricultural business; Robin Davis, major not declared; Damien Fatur, student constructed major; Andrea Firth, English; Tara Franklin, accounting; Angela Gallegos, English education; Corrilee Patterson, music education; Kellilyn Patterson, major not declared; Mike Pierce, business administration-marketing; and Hank Wills, engineering.
Michael Arries, a former Pagosa Christian School student, also earned dean's list honors in accounting.
To be eligible for the dean's list, a student must attain a grade point average of 3.4 or higher in not less than 14 hours of graded credit, and must have completed all work for which they are registered by the end of the semester.
Walk Back in Time
A trek into Pagosa history
By Tess Noel Baker
"I came around the corner and suddenly I wasn't taking a walk in the woods. I walked around the corner and I was just charmed."
That's how Pagosa Ranger District Interpreter Phyllis Decker described her first glimpse of the Murray ranch as she was researching A Walk Back in Time, an interpretive program sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service.
The ranch was the piece de resistance of the walk, the final trophy for participants. Come around a bend on a rough forest road and suddenly the trees part to reveal an open meadow above the river. A log house, untouched since the 1940s, stands gray and weather-beaten on top of a small hill. Wooden fences separate holding areas for cattle. The remains of some outbuildings lie among the prairie grasses. The scene almost begs passersby to stop, look and imagine the people who lived here once upon a time. But they're the end of the story.
This walk back in time actually began at the site of a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps camp located at the end of the Blanco River Road approximately 11 miles south of Pagosa Springs on U.S. 84. Participants left their vehicles at what is now a picnic ground and set off on foot for a three-mile, round-trip walk.
Along the way, Decker took the six travelers back through Pagosa's logging and ranching eras with a few detours even farther back.
The first stop came soon after the group passed through the gate blocking motorized travel.
From there, they could look down on the banks of the river where several buildings once stood housing The Civilian Conservation Corps camp. The CCC was one of many "New Deal" programs started by the federal government to help pull the country out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. The goal was to put people back to work.
In the early days, Decker said, participants in the corps were paid $30 a month. Twenty-five dollars was immediately sent home to family. Participants in the program served six months to two-year terms in more than 4,000 such camps throughout the country. In Archuleta County, the camp operated for about five years beginning in 1933.
"I can't find anything that mentions it after 1937," she said.
The main camp buildings were constructed on pine slats with the bark still attached. Barracks were tents, and the officers' quarters were actually located across the river from the other camp buildings.
Apparently, participants stayed at the base camp, but went to smaller, satellite camps throughout the area to work. Projects included: erosion prevention, road building, fire prevention, fire fighting and trail building. Decker said it's likely members of the corps even built the original forest service building at 2nd and Pagosa streets and several of the area forest service fire lookouts.
Forest Service Archaeologist Gary Fairchild said he believes the CCC workers constructed two footbridges along the Piedra River trail which still span the river today. One was built in 1934. The other in 1936. Currently, he is looking into the possibility of attaching a historical status to both.
"I think they ought to be listed on the historical register because the architecture is so incredible," he said.
The educational level of those involved in the CCC spanned a wide spectrum, Decker said. Some were illiterate. Others had college degrees. Most probably fell somewhere in the middle.
As the modern day hikers took off from the camp for the rest of their walk, Decker pointed out a point where the forest changed - where larger, older ponderosas towered above the forest floor. Loggers had apparently left some of the area untouched. In general, she said, the logging companies could only reach about three miles away from the railroad. Otherwise, it was too difficult to transport the downed timber.
The trees that are left tell their own story if the signs are read, Fairchild said.
Come across a tree with a three-sided square scarred into the trunk at about chest level and it could be a sign of "cultural modification."
The scarred squares are indicative of sites where Native Americans once harvested the cambium in the trees for use as a cooking condiment.
Other markings can be found in stands of aspen in some areas of the county, Fairchild said. The white bark was a favorite canvas for the Hispanic sheepherders traveling through the area starting in the 1600s. Carvings can range from initials and names to figures - usually of women. A grant from the Colorado Historical Society allows archaeologists to spend time recording the carvings for preservation.
After these detours, the hikers took a short walk down to a former sawmill, paused for pictures of a butterfly and then rounded the bend to the Murray Ranch for the end of the story.
Decker said her research shows the first 160 acres of the ranch was homesteaded by John Benson in 1903. Over the next 60 years or so it was used for a variety of purposes, including: logging, cattle, subsistence, sheep and limited farming.
The story revolves around a famous squatter and horse trader as well as a man who built a house, married a woman with nine children and lost the house to a flood all in the same year.
It's fascinating Š and best told in the shadow of the rotting buildings with camera and imagination close at hand.
Decker said the next Walk Back in Time is set for Aug. 30 at 9 a.m. Anyone interested should meet at the picnic ground located 2.5 miles in on the Blanco River Road. The program is free and open to the public.
Interpretive programs like the Walk Back in Time are being offered throughout the summer at various locations across Pagosa Country. For an updated calendar, check Kate's Calendar in this week's PREVIEW or call the Forest Service at 264-2268.
The Old Spanish Trail Ša link to county history
By John M. Motter
Long before Horace Greeley proclaimed "Go West, young man!," before the Oregon Trail or the 1849 rush to Sutter's Mill in California, even before the Santa Fe Trail, there was the Old Spanish Trail.
The great thing about the Old Spanish Trail as far as I am concerned, is at least one branch led through today's Archuleta County.
Folks who have lived around a bit know there are a plethora of old Spanish trails with a variety of names. Californians like to talk about El Camino Real, the King's Highway. Texas has two or three old Spanish trails including the Nacogdoches to San Antonio Trace and others.
For at least a couple of centuries, New Mexico's only connection with the outside world was a tortuous journey from Santa Fe to Durango, Mexico, a portion of which was known as El Jornada del Muerte, the Journey of Death. The Journey of Death was a stretch of the road approximately between Socorro and El Paso where the Apaches elevated the art of looting wagon trains to a high science.
I like to think the Old Spanish Trail which ran through Archuleta County was THE Old Spanish Trail. The Trail connected Spanish New Mexico with Spanish California. Of course there were several choices of routes. We'll talk about those choices before we're through.
First, let's take a peak at the old road through the eyes of major chroniclers, the historians Leroy and Ann Hafen in their book, "The Old Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to New Orleans."
"The Old Spanish Trail was the crookedest, most arduous pack mule route in the history of America," they wrote.
"Envisioned and launched in the late 1700s to serve as a connecting link between two of Spain's colonial outposts, the Trail reached its short-lived heyday in the 1830s and '40s, when annual caravans packed woolen blankets from New Mexico to trade for California horses and mules."
At the ends of the route were two old pueblos, the Hafens say, Villa Real de Santa Fé de San Francisco (Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis) and El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles (Town of Our Lady the Queen of the Angels. Santa Fé was 171 years old when Los Angeles was founded.
The Hafens borrow from another historian, George F. Ruxton, for a description of a mule team.
Ruxton wrote: "Muleteering is the natural occupation of the Mexican. He is in all his glory when he is traveling as one of the mozos of a large atajo - a caravan of pack mules; but the height of his ambition is to attain the rank of mayordomo or capitán - the brigadero of Castille. The atajos, numbering from fifty to two hundred mules, travel a daily distance - jornada - of twelve or fifteen miles, each mule carrying a pack weighing from two hundred to four hundred pounds. To a large atajo eight or ten muleteers are attached, and the dexterity and quickness with which they will saddle and pack an atajo of one hundred mules is surprising. The animals being driven to the spot, the lasso whirls around the head of the muleteer and falls over the head of a particular mule. The tapojos is placed over the eyes, the heavy aparejo adjusted, and the pack secured, in three minutes. On reaching the place where they propose to encamp, the packsaddles are all ranged in regular order, with the packs between, and covered with petates, a trench being cut around them in wet weather to carry off the rain. One mule is always packed with a metate - the stone block upon which maize is ground to make tortillas, and the office of the cook is undertaken in order by each of the muleteers. Frijoles and chile colorado comprise their daily bill of fare."
Another first person account of the trade between New Mexico and California was written by a Frenchman, Duflot der Mofras in 1841: "Caravans travel once a year from New Mexico to Los Angeles. These consist of 200 men on horseback, accompanied by mules laden with fabrics and large woolen covers called serapes, jerzas, and cobertones, which are valued at 3 to 5 piasters each. This merchandise is exchanged for horses and mules, on a basis, usually, of two blankets for one animal. Caravans leave Santa Fe, New Mexico, in October before the snow sets in, travel west Š and finally reach the outlying ranchos of California from where the trail leads in to El Pueblo de los Angeles. This trip consumes two and one-half months. Returning caravans leave California in April in order to cross the rivers before the snow melts, taking with them about 2,000 horses.
"The expedition that reached El Pueblo in November, 1841, included in addition to some 200 Mexicans, 60 or more North Americans."
American fur trappers used the Old Spanish Trail starting with the 1820s, as did a number of California settlers.
In general, the Old Spanish Trail contained an eastern and a western branch. The eastern route loosely followed the Rio Grande River into the San Luis Valley, crossed Cochetopa Pass northwest of Saguache, and rejoined the western route in western Colorado or eastern Utah.
The western route generally followed the Rio Grande and Chama rivers to Abiquiu, the jumping off point. Between Abiquiu and the Dolores River near Dolores, several optional routes were used. The Dominguez-Escalante Party in 1776 generally followed the Chama River north to El Vado, cut across the Jicarilla Apache Reservation to Carracas, then turned westerly until reaching the Dolores.
An alternate route involved turning west just north of Abiquiu and crossing the Continental Divide to pick up Cañon Largo. Cañon Largo reaches the San Juan River near Blanco, New Mexico. From that point the trail again pointed to the Dolores River.
A third route followed by Army Capt. Macomb in 1859 crossed Archuleta County by first going to Pagosa Springs, then turning west and going to the Dolores River.
In any case, decades before settlement came to Pagosa Country, Indians, Hispanics, trappers, and other adventurers rode horseback through the virgin countryside. I wish I had been one of them.
Control growth, needs
It's the proverbial good news, bad news. An article in a metropolitan daily last week revealed the county will grow 3.8 percent 2000-2005 compared to 1.6 percent statewide, the second highest projected growth rate in the state. This is good news to all of us who secure a living by profiting from the arrival of newcomers. It is bad news to those of us who cast a critical eye on the problems faced by county residents.
Growth is positive when one considers how important its attendant industries are to our local economy. This fact has never been lost on the residents of the area. A note in Shari Pierce's column taken from the newspaper 90 years ago shows Pagosa was expected to grow to 3,000 to 5,000 in population with the arrival of the railroad. Growth was expected to be accompanied by the "improvements and business opportunities that will attract and hold a large population."
That growth never materialized 90 years ago, and Pagosa's population fell far short of that goal. But, recently, spurred by an influx of people leaving their former homes, lured by the beauty of the area and by the growth of the tourism-based economy, the county has finally satisfied the prediction
Real estate, construction, building materials, home furnishings, the industries that furnish the necessary stuff of everyday life - groceries, gas, and the like - all flourish as growth continues. We have been able to "attract and hold a large population." We all reap the rewards.
On the other side of the issue, however, is the fact that the problems so prominent in our news stem from growth and from our inability to keep up with the demands that accompany it.
Entities that provide essential services such as medical and emergency medical care, road maintenance, water, education, are always behind, sometimes painfully so, in the race to keep up with increased workloads, elevated expectations. In some cases, our expanding needs have pulled entities forward at too great a speed, exceeding the capacity of staff and budgets to make the necessary adjustments. In other cases, there is simply not enough money to keep pace, no matter how enlightened the leadership.
Options are available and we must remind ourselves to keep them in mind, put them into practice. Two are public, another personal.
First, we can find ways to fund implementation of programs to meet our reasonable demands. A use tax proposal to be put before the voters in November by the county is, perhaps with some modification, a good example. If passed, the funds will be used to supplement a county road budget that is never enough to satisfy a fussy public. As long as growth continues, and as long as we persist in constructing homes in a market already flooded with available dwellings, revenues produced by the taxation of materials purchased outside the community can be put to good use.
Second is implementation of zoning - a traditional means of controlling and shaping growth and its impacts. While it is an effort that is late (it should have happened 90 years ago) there is still benefit to be gained.
On the personal side, let's temper our expectations. Too many people flee here, bringing their problems and their needs. They expect the move to solve the problems; they anticipate their needs will be met. In truth, this is a rural mountain community; it cannot - it should not - provide services and amenities to equal those in the urban environment. We have to learn to live with this, or leave.
We should not stifle growth; we must learn to control it and benefit from it. And work constantly to craft expectations in light of a desire to maintain Pagosa Country as the place whose rural charms drew us here in the first place.
Who qualifies for Arlington?
By Richard Walter
Entombment of the late comedian Bob Hope in Arlington National Cemetery would not be unusual.
Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Ignacio has proposed making an Arlington site available to the Hope family for the burial of "a true American hero, a man who entertained troops in war zones without concern for his own well-being."
First, what is Arlington?
It is already the final resting place for more than 260,000 persons, with an average of 20 funerals per day conducted every weekday. It lies on a 200-acre site surrounding Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee mansion, which was designated a military cemetery in 1864.
Veterans from all the nation's wars, from the Revolution through the Persian Gulf War and Somalia are buried there. Pre-Civil War dead were reinterred after 1900.
Arlington is second to Calverton National Cemetery on Long Island in number of burials and is home of The Tomb of the Unknowns, made from Yule marble quarried in Colorado. Currently, three unknown servicemen are buried there, one each from World War I, World War II and the Korean Conflict. A Vietnam unknown was disinterred in 1998 and identified. That crypt will remain empty.
In addition to in-ground burial, Arlington has one of the larger columbariums for cremated remains in the country. Four courts with 5,000 niches each are in use and ongoing construction will allow for 100,000 remains.
Hope would not be the first entertainer to be interred there.
Actor Audie Murphy, a World War II Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, is interred there. Musician, bandleader and Army officer Glenn Miller is there, too.
Among the women buried there are Fay Bainter, an actress from the era of silent films, and wife of Navy Lt. Cmdr. Reginald Venable. Also there is novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart, the first woman war correspondent, writing for Saturday Evening Post in World War II; Margarite Higgins, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, who was the only female correspondent during the Korean War; and Constance Bennett, an actress in more than 50 films, who was married to a brigadier general.
Many prominent medical figures also are in Arlington, such as Anita Newcomb McGee, first woman army surgeon and founder of the Army Nurse Corps; pioneer bacteriologist Walter Reed; and Lt. Col. Albert Sabin, inventor of oral polio vaccine.
Editors, publishers and news bureau chiefs also are buried there along with many novelists, including Samuel Dashiel Hammett who wrote "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man" and was jailed during the McCarthy era as a supposed communist threat.
Officers with 5-star rank buried in Arlington are Adm. William D. Leahy, Gen. George C. Marshall, Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Gen. Omar N. Bradley and Adm. William F. Halsey.
They are joined by one of only two 6-star officers in history, General of the Armies John J. "Black Jack" Pershing. The other 6-star recipent was General of the Armies, George Washington, buried at Mt. Vernon, Va.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of August 8, 1913
Pagosa's hot springs knock rheumatism; the cold springs swat stomach trouble; the two combined cure many other ills. Pagosa has the world's premier curative waters and with a standard-gauge road direct across the range and accommodations to suit the rich as well as those of moderate means this town would easily become the nation's favorite mountain resort.
Pagosa Springs will have a population of 3,000 to 5,000 within five years. We predict that because we believe that before five years has passed the town will be on a broad-gauge railroad and have improvements and business opportunities that will attract and hold and maintain a large population.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 10, 1928
About thirty-five members and others were present at the Archuleta County Booster's Club banquet and meeting held at the Metropolitan Cafe Tuesday evening. A splendid feast was provided and followed by a business session, from which many community benefits will no doubt result.
Sunday at the ranch home of Judge and Mrs. F.A. Byrne was a most enjoyable occasion. After church services a number of their friends gathered there with well-filled baskets. The dinner was spread on the tables beneath a beautiful grove of pines. All present did ample justice to the good things which had been prepared. There were about forty present, and late in the afternoon all departed hoping there might be more such occasions.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 7, 1953
School will start August 31st, according to an announcement this week by A.D. Hahn, superintendent of schools. Junior and Senior high school registration will be August 27 and 28. All Junior high students must bring with them $2.00 book fee and all Senior high students must bring $3.00 ($2.00 book fee and $1.00 locker fee.)
Work on the bridge improvement at McCabe Creek is continuing this week with the large tubes installed and the filling started. Work should be completed within a few days and will certainly make an improvement in that part of town. Work on the other bridges in town is now complete and when the McCabe Creek crossing is completed, the Town should be pretty well fixed for bridges for some time.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 10, 1978
It was announced this week by Universal Telephone Co. that there would be a switch over of local system operations to new equipment installed this past year. The most noticeable change will changing the prefix from 968 to 264. This change is effective at 12 noon, Saturday, August 19. This change is being made because within two years the nationwide emergency number will be 911 and there will be no prefixes starting with number 9.
The first Quilt Fair presented by San Juan Historical Society was very successful, with more than fifty quilts being shown. Probably the oldest was a "Tulip Tree" appliqued pattern with the date 1889 stitched on the back with the quilting stitches.