County, town agree on 4% use tax proposal
By Tom Carosello
Archuleta County commissioners upheld their July 29 decision to group three "use tax" issues in one ballot question as part of a motion Tuesday specifying how the county will allocate any new potential tax revenues if the initiative gets the nod in this year's general election.
The commissioners' decision echoed a Monday afternoon work session with members of the town of Pagosa Springs Board of Trustees that put to rest the notion of splitting one or more of the issues into separate ballot questions to be voted on individually.
As a result, voters will be asked this fall to decide whether or not the establishment of a "blanket" 4-percent tax on construction materials, oil and gas production equipment and motor vehicles purchased outside the county's boundaries is a worthwhile venture.
Implemented in a number of counties in Colorado, such taxes are aimed at "recovering" what is essentially "lost" sales tax revenue resulting from purchases made outside county lines.
If approved by voters, the current verbal pact between the county and town (expected to be formalized through an intergovernmental agreement at a later date) is to split the resulting net proceeds equally and divert the revenues to projects that will benefit the general public.
Initially, there were concerns from some members of the town board that inclusion of the motor vehicle tax in the ballot question - a tax on vehicles purchased outside the county that will be registered here - might hinder the question's passage.
However, opinions were altered somewhat during Monday's work session after an analysis of 2002 vehicle registrations revealed if such a tax had been in place last year, the two entities would have shared roughly $650,000 in additional tax revenues.
Further calculations revealed that figure, when combined with rough estimates of $200,000 resulting from the sale of building materials and $750,000 from oil and gas-related equipment, amounts to an estimated $1.6 million in potential revenue gains.
As a result, by the end of the session the majority of opinions expressed supported the idea of seeing what was described as "the whole package" on the ballot come November.
Where the money will go
While last month's action by the commissioners stipulated that 100 percent of the county's potential share of revenues would be dedicated to the Road Capital Improvement Fund, a few minor changes in allocation are now on the drafting table following this week's work session and board meeting.
One amendment is the notion that if the measure passes, the county - acting as the "collection agent" for the proposed taxes - will be awarded, as compensation for collection/administration duties, a percentage of the gross revenue generated from the taxes.
The aim is to collect the percentage that is equal to the cost of performing such duties, but under no circumstances will that amount be allowed to exceed 10 percent of total gross revenue.
In short, "We're certainly not wishing to collect any more than it costs to administer (the project)," explained Commissioner Bill Downey.
During Monday's work session, the town board verbally indicated it was amenable to such a measure and agreed to the notion that the town and county will evenly divide the remaining net revenues.
Another change included as part of the motion carried this week by the commissioners is the decision that 10 percent of the county's share will be dedicated to "joint public use facilities," specifically parks, recreation and open space (and corresponding upkeep).
Finally, it was agreed that the remainder - or bulk - of the county's share will be earmarked for the Road Capital Improvement Fund.
The town is currently finalizing its plans regarding the allocation of its share of funding, and details regarding its decision will be made public as they become available.
Common sense is best West Nile Virus defense
By Tom Carosello
While Colorado continues to lead the country with over 200 reported cases of humans infected with West Nile Virus, as of Wednesday evening there were no confirmed occurrences of the disease in Archuleta County.
Although the potentially-deadly virus has spread to at least 44 states since first being discovered in New York City in 1999, federal health officials maintain that less than 1 percent of people who contract the disease after being bitten by infected mosquitoes are at risk of becoming severely ill, and even a smaller percentage are likely to die as a result of infection.
According to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, in Colorado only one species of mosquito - Culex tarsalis - transmits West Nile, and the report notes that a very small percentage of the insects actually carry the virus.
In addition, the report states the only way for humans to contract the virus is to be bitten by an infected Culex tarsalis mosquito, concluding the virus is "maintained in a bird-mosquito-bird cycle ... person-to-person transmission does not occur."
The report also indicates the medium-sized species breeds in almost any source of standing water, including irrigated fields, old tires, hoof prints, tree holes and any puddle of water that lasts for more than a few days.
While vaccinations and booster shots for horses are available from veterinarians to protect against life-threatening illness resulting from the disease, no such safeguards currently exist for humans.
However, according to Joe Fowler, an epidemiologist with the San Juan Basin Health Department office in Durango, traditional mosquito control measures and common sense serve as good defenses against infection.
"We're talking about fairly simple stuff here," says Fowler, "Basically, people should try to eliminate, reduce or avoid environments that are conducive to mosquito breeding whenever possible, and take additional precautionary measures when avoiding such areas isn't feasible.
"I know it sounds like we're being redundant - 'Eliminate standing water around your home, wear insect repellent, long-sleeved clothing, etc.' - but these steps are very effective when followed on a regular basis," added Fowler.
While state health officials acknowledge no surefire method exists to guarantee people living near mosquito habitat will not be bitten, the state health department recommends the following measures to lessen the risk of exposure to West Nile Virus:
- Limit outside activity around dawn and dusk, when mosquitos feed; this is particularly important for elderly adults and small children
- Wear protective clothing such as lightweight long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outside
- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin when outside. Repellents containing DEET are effective, but should be applied sparingly. (Products with 10 percent DEET or less are recommended for children)
- Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens. Repair or replace screens that have tears or holes
- Drain all standing water on your property, no matter how small the amount
- Stock permanent ponds or fountains with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Change water in birdbaths or wading pools and empty flowerpot saucers of standing water at least once a week
- Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days
- Make sure roof gutters drain properly and remove any standing water under or around structures or on flat roofs
- Remove items that could collect water such as buckets, empty cans and food and beverage containers
- Eliminate seepage and standing water from cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks and animal watering tanks
- To prevent standing water in lawns and gardens, avoid over-watering.
According to the state health department, most people who are infected with West Nile Virus never exhibit symptoms or become ill.
For those who do become ill, symptoms usually occur 5-15 days after becoming infected and include fever, headache, body aches and occasionally skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
In serious cases, the disease can progress and cause encephalitis and/or meningitis. Symptoms associated with these more severe conditions include persistent headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness and convulsions.
Persons with severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.
In horses, symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of limbs and/or partial paralysis. Persons who believe their animals are infected with West Nile should consult with a veterinarian to determine if blood tests are needed.
For more information on West Nile Virus, visit the Internet at www.fightthebitecolorado.com or http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.
Impounded horses saga dragging on
By Tess Noel Baker
Deciding the fate of 13 horses impounded by the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department has taken 10 months and the saga isn't over yet.
Some have been adopted, titles signed over by the original owner on July 24 with an "as is warranty" attached. Two have been returned to the original owner. Two others were auctioned in court. Ownership of two more remains embroiled in a civil dispute.
"The way it was handled from day one made many of the problems inevitable," Dennis Eamick, attorney for the original owner, said. "There's likely to be many loose ends for years to come."
The 13 horses, owned by Christine Heinrich, of Pagosa Springs, were impounded in September of 2002 after a veterinarian found evidence of neglect.
Undersheriff Bob Grandchamp said representatives of the Large Animal Support Southwestern Slope Organization - a nonprofit group that works to rescue abused or neglected animals - first reported the possible neglect. They began to pursue purchase of the horses. However, the two sides couldn't agree on price and, at one point, Heinrich considered sending the horses to a sale barn. Grandchamp said a deputy was sent to the property to keep the peace. The sale didn't happen and a veterinarian was sent to evaluate the horses.
Thirteen of about 36 horses were determined to be in critical condition.
According to Archuleta County Sheriff's Department reports, the horses were emaciated, little or no water was available in the pens and barbed wire lay exposed in several places causing a safety issue.
As a result, those 13 horses were taken into protective custody by the sheriff's department. Grandchamp said the department did not have the facilities to care for the horses while the case played out. Instead, he asked members of LASSO to care for them in the interim. They agreed. At the time, he said, he thought the case would take no more than a couple months.
According to court documents, Heinrich was charged with one count of cruelty to animals, failure to provide, a Class 1 misdemeanor. She accepted a plea agreement and received a deferred judgment. As part of that agreement, two of the horses were returned to her.
Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir ruled that the remainder of the horses were to be sold at public auction with the proceeds going to help defer the costs of care while they were in custody. However, about that time, some of the herd contracted a contagious disease, shingles, and couldn't be sold. When they could, Grandchamp said, the market for horses had dropped very low. Three different auction companies across the state said the best they could hope for was 25 cents on the pound.
At that point, the court agreed to allow nine of the horses to be adopted. Two were auctioned off in court Feb. 26 to give Heinrich a chance to get them back. She was outbid and the horses went to two different owners.
Heinrich was ordered to sign over titles on the remaining horses so they could be adopted out.
At that point, Eamick entered the picture in Heinrich's corner. Eamick filed a motion asking the court to revoke the plea agreement with Heinrich, alleging misconduct by the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department and the district attorney's office.
Following a hearing June 5, Denvir ruled against the motion "because they had an opportunity to raise those concerns before she entered the guilty plea and because it could be raised as a civil issue."
Once again, Heinrich was ordered to sign over title. She did not.
Eamick said Heinrich had not seen the horses in 10 months and could not in good conscience sign documents on horses she couldn't identify.
At a hearing to revoke the deferred judgment because of her refusal to sign, Denvir said it was not necessary for Heinrich to see the horses because she was giving no guarantees to condition or bloodline.
After some discussion, he allowed Eamick time to write a short "as-is warranty" to attach to the title as a notice to purchasers. Heinrich signed the documents shortly thereafter.
In a later interview, Eamick said Heinrich is still considering finding a lawyer to handle a civil suit.
"There are two legal procedures that could have been followed in this case: civil and criminal," Eamick said. "They didn't follow either one. There was no arrest warrant. There was no search warrant. There are two questions to be answered; was it really neglect, and was it handled right if it was neglect?"
In another twist, a little over a month ago, LASSO filed a suit against the county and Heinrich for $29,000 in costs for caring for the horses, including labor.
Grandchamp said prior to the suit, the county agreed to pay LASSO $3,600 in veterinary bills and $4,200 for hay because the case dragged out so much longer than anticipated. Then, he said, they were billed for the rest, including labor, by the nonprofit group.
Both Eamick and Archuleta County Attorney Mary Weiss planned to file motions to dismiss the suit for failure to show a claim. A initial hearing began Aug. 12 in district court. The hearing has been continued until Sept. 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Grandchamp said as a result of this case, a new policy has been put in place. Under the policy, when a case of neglect is reported to the county, an animal control officer is sent to investigate. If problems are found, the officer will give the owner of the animal a 30-day written warning. A check of the situation will be made in 15 days. If, at that time, no improvements to the animal's condition are made, a veterinarian will be called in to assess the situation.
Since the beginning of the year, Grandchamp said, animal control officers have investigated seven or eight reports of neglect, including one on cattle.
"By working with the owners we have been able to solve the problem," he said. "We haven't taken any more into custody."
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Showers, cooling trend forecast
By Tom Carosello
Widespread monsoon rains provided temporary drought relief to portions of Pagosa Country last week, and forecasters are predicting a good chance for more localized showers in the next few days.
According to Paul Frisbie, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, this week's monsoon activity may be enhanced by a low-pressure system creeping into the state from the east.
"Typically, these types of upper-level systems move in from the west, but we're fortunate to have one trekking in from the east because there is a good chance this trough will combine with the monsoon to boost rainfall totals across much of the state," said Frisbie.
"Another effect associated with this kind of system is the possibility of a cooling trend," added Frisbie. "High temperatures in southwest Colorado may only reach the upper 70s to low 80s for the next several days."
According to Frisbie, partly-sunny skies this morning will be replaced by mostly-cloudy conditions by afternoon; the chance for rain is listed at 40-percent.
High temperatures are expected in the low 80s, while evening lows should fall into the 50-60 degree range.
Friday's forecast calls for mostly-cloudy skies, a 40-percent chance for rain, highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s.
The forecasts for Saturday and Sunday predict partly-cloudy skies, a 30-percent chance for afternoon thunderstorms and highs in the upper 70s. Lows should dip into the 50s.
Monday and Tuesday call for continued cloudy skies, highs in the upper 70s to low 80s, a 30-percent chance for rain and lows in the mid-50s.
A 30-percent chance for rain is included in Wednesday's forecast; highs are expected in the mid-80s while lows should fall into the upper 40s.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 83 degrees. The average low for the week was 51. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to approximately four-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 "high" and lists grass and ragweed as the current dominant pollens.
San Juan River flow ranged between approximately 40-60 cubic feet per second through town last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of August 14 is roughly 140 cubic feet per second.
Interest weighed in flag football league
By Joe Lister Jr.
Anyone interested in starting an adult flag football league is urged to call Chris Corcoran at Town Hall.
We are trying to establish a suitable level of interest and plan an organizational meeting if enough interest is shown.
We think we must have a minimum of four teams to run a successful league.
If you are interested, call 264-4151, Ext. 232.
Free fire wood
Anyone interested in getting free fire wood this year is asked to call Town Hall and ask for a permit and a key to enter Reservoir Hill Park. There is not as much wood available this year as in the past.
Reservoir Hill will be open today through Sunday; this is the only weekend that wood can be gathered. Call Joe Lister Jr. at 264-415, Ext. 231.
Soccer sign-up sheets will be passed out to children in kindergarten through sixth grade during the first week of school.
Fill out the forms and return them to Town Hall as soon as possible. Youth soccer will begin the first week in September.
We will take soccer registrations until 5 p.m. Aug. 29. Forms must be returned so we can organize teams, coaches and the draft.
Come join us as we move back on Reservoir Hill for the eighth annual Four Corners Folk Festival. We are excited to have the festival back atop the hill, one of the most beautiful venues in the state.
Call the Chamber of Commerce for more information, concerning this year's festival.
Adult softball tournaments , both coed and men's open league, are under way.
Radio Shack was pitted against Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate Tuesday. Radio Shack was undefeated in the winner's bracket. In order for Pitcher to win it all they had to defeat Radio Shack twice, always a tough task in tournament play.
We have run into some postponements.
In men's open action we have Davis/ Paint Connection waiting for the winner of the lower bracket game between Jann Pitcher and U-Can-Afford Landscaping. That winner will be in the same boat as coed Pitcher and will have to beat Davis/Paint Connection twice to win it all.
Games may be played tonight, so come by and enjoy 2003 tournament championship play.
We are accepting 2004 pledges for the proposed sports complex and stand a great chance of receiving outside grants with matching funds and partnerships throughout the county.
Any pledge made can be for one to three years and be paid annually.
Our goal is to have at least $75,000 per year put in a capital improvement/grant-match fund, that can be used for the next three years. We believe the complex can be built in phases with the athletic fields portion of the project ready for the fall of 2004, if the right grants are obtained.
I attended a fund-raising seminar put on by Robert Gallegos of Las Vegas Parks and Recreation and he shared many innovative ideas with all in attendance.
Call me if you are interested in our fund-raising activity.
Varsity named, PSHS golf squad already in tournament action
By Richard Walter
One tournament under their belts, one underway right now and another on tap Friday.
That's the early season grind for the Pagosa Springs High School golf team.
Coach Mark Faber named his early season varsity Tuesday, after a head-to-head shootout on the Pagosa Springs Golf Course Monday evening.
That competition over nine holes was marked by Ty Faber's 1-under 35 and Tom Huckins' 38 for the two best scores.
Others securing varsity spots are Casey Belarde, Steven Sellers and Jake Mackensen.
The squad competed Wednesday in a tournament on Durango's Dalton course and are in competition today at Hillcrest in Durango.
They will host the annual Pagosa Invitational Friday with first tee-off at 9:15 a.m. and at least 14 schools visiting from as far away as the Colorado Springs and Grand Junction areas.
"I've been very encouraged by play in the first 10 days of practice," coach Faber said.
"Our goal, our quest is to get a team to state, not just one or two individuals," he said. "And this could be the group which jells and produces the dream."
Still, he said, he warned the five selected that "varsity is not a guarantee. There are players on the junior varsity who can challenge on any given day. Those who play the best will play that week, no matter who they are."
Since the club plays only one home tournament each year, the only chance fans will have to see them in action will be Friday.
Faber urged the community to come out and see their youngsters in action.
"These students are playing for their community, and would get a boost with a large local gallery watching them in action," he said.
To show off the local contingent to fullest extent, he and Tom Riedberger, assistant coach, will field a junior varsity team in the tournament in addition to the varsity.
"That way," he said, "we'll get at least 10 players some on-course competition and give the families a chance to see them in action."
Results of this week's contests will be detailed in The SUN next week.
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 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).
Three home games added to soccer schedule
By Richard Walter
A number of schedule changes and tough practices this week set the stage for Pagosa Springs soccer action.
Three games have been added to the regular schedule for the Pirate kickers, in addition to confirmation of a six-team scrimmage at Golden Peaks Stadium Aug. 23 and a scrimmage in Aztec Aug. 26.
Added to the lineup are home games at noon Sept. 6 against Salida, 4 p.m. Sept. 18 against Bloomfield, and 4 p.m. Sept. 25 against Farmington.
Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason, pushing his charges in two-a-days all week, said he's been impressed with the off-season conditioning of varsity hopefuls.
"And," he said, "I see some great improvement in skill levels, particularly on defense.
"We will score well," he said, "but I felt defense might be a worry early. Now, I don't think it will be, based on what I've seen to date this week."
With two dozen hopefuls treading the practice field, he feels depth could be a factor for the team and was pleased that a six-game junior varsity schedule has established.
"The more game action the younger players get, the more ready they will be to challenge for varsity playing time.
The Jayvees, coached by Dorman Diller, will travel with the varsity to Crested Butte Sept. 5, host Salida Sept. 6, Crested Butte Sept. 12 and Bloomfield Sept. 18, got to Bayfield Sept. 23 and play Bayfield at home on Oct. 7.
Kurt-Mason said he will not name the varsity until after the Aug. 23 and 26 scrimmages. That means those making the opening road trip to Colorado Springs Christian and Manitou Springs Aug. 29 and 30 have just 12 days to make an impression on the coaching staff.
Three Pagosa Porpoises score in state meets
By Steve Kitson
Special to The SUN
Three swimmers from Pagosa Lakes Porpoises went to Silver State and state championships last week.
The meets require qualifying times to enter.
State championships were held in Fort Collins. Swimmers attending this meet are the top swimmers in the state.
Pagosa's Chris Nobles, Aaron Miller, and Teale Kitson qualified for this meet but Teale Kitson is the only one who swam, bringing home third in his 100-meter backstroke and sixth in his 200 freestyle scoring 51 points.
Kitson is ranked as one of the top 15 swimmers in Colorado in the 9-10 age group.
Silver State Championships were held in Lakewood. This meet is for swimmers who didn't qualify for state championships.
Mackenzie Kitson, Della Greer, Keegan Caves, Dylan Caves, Michael Caves, Austin Miller, Chris Matzdorf and Matt Nobles qualified for this meet but only Greer and Kitson competed.
Greer dropped almost two seconds in her 200 back and also successfully dropped time in her 100 back, 100 free, and her 50 free. Kitson dropped time in her 100 back and 100 free.
MS Challenge Walk scheduled Sept. 5-7
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Colorado Chapter, will hold the state's inaugural MS Challenge Walk, a three-day, 50-mile event, in September.
On Sept. 5-7, hundreds of Coloradans will take on the challenge of walking from Colorado Springs to Denver to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis.
There will be rest stops every three miles with refreshments and medical support. Meals and indoor lodging are included. Participants receive a complete manual with fund-raising information, a training program to get in shape, and T-shirts.
The Colorado event is one of nine Challenge Walks being held across the country.
"We are so thrilled to bring this opportunity to Colorado," said Dianne Williams, Colorado chapter president. "It's a very unique event where the participants really get to know one another over the course of three days - together they share walking for the cause and the victory of completing the challenge."
Volunteers are needed to help with the MS Challenge Walk: crew volunteers participate in the entire weekend and are an integral part of the event; shift volunteers come for a scheduled period of time and choose from a variety of positions
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the brain and spinal cord. The society is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastating effects of MS.
The Colorado chapter serves 6,300 people with MS and their families through educational programs, counseling and support groups, information and referrals.
For information, visit the Web at www.fightmscolorado.org or call (800)-FIGHT MS.
Women golfers shoot 'good, bad and ugly'
By Lynne Allison
Special to The SUN
"The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," was the interesting format Aug. 5 for the Pagosa Women's Golf Association league day outing.
Points were awarded on the following basis: 9 for eagle, 6 for birdie, 3 for par, 1 for bogey, minus 2 for double bogey and minus 3 for triple bogey.
The players were awarded 100 percent of their handicap and those with the most points won.
That meant Sheila Rogers 71 put her in first; Jan Day was second at 68; Julie Pressley and Jane Stewart tied for third at 66. Following were Jan Kilgore at 65, Barbara Sanborn at 63, Lee Wilson 57, and Loretta Campuzano a 56.
The PWGA league club championship round is slated Aug. 18-19.
Born Jeroldene Dunagan on Mother's Day, May 10, 1931, in Pagosa Springs, our beloved mother passed peacefully from this world on Aug. 6, 2003, in the presence of her children.
Daughter of the late Everett and Ilamae Dunagan and preceded in death by her loving husband Joseph, she is survived by her four children: Tim, Terry, Ted, and Katie O'Neill; brother Charles Dunagan of Aztec, N.M.; two grandchildren, Danny and Brad O'Neill; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Jerry moved to San Francisco in 1952 after attending vocational school in Omaha, Neb., and landing a job with United Air Lines. She married Joseph M. O'Neill (also a United employee) on Dec. 31, 1955. They settled in San Mateo, Calif., where she took on a new job as Mom in December, 1957. Together they raised a family of four children.
She was a loving, caring person who in the course of raising her own family became "Mom" to many others whom she touched with her kindness.
She will be greatly missed by her family, her dog, Gus, and her many friends.
Mom said that everything important in her life happened on a rainy day, including the birth of her four children, and that the rain was from angels in Heaven crying tears of joy. Although the weather on the San Francisco Peninsula was clear on Aug. 6, 2003, we're sure it was raining somewhere.
A memorial service was held 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2003, at St. Gregory's Catholic Church in San Mateo. In lieu of flowers, a donation to a charity of choice is preferred.
Lifetime resident Epifanio P. Trujillo died in his Pagosa Springs home Monday, Aug. 11, 2003. He was 55 years old.
Epifanio was born in Pagosa Springs June 4, 1948, to Tobias and Maria Rosa Trujillo. He served in the United States Army in Vietnam. He loved music and enjoyed playing the harmonica and guitar.
He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Herman Trujillo.
He is survived by six brothers, Mel and Carlos of Pagosa Springs, Ross of Grand Junction, Fernando of Boutee, La., Armando of Lakewood, Colo., and Joe of Seattle, Wash.; five sisters, Nea Branson of Gillham, Ariz., Mary Bradley of Arvada, Colo., Lucilla Hoover of Houston, Texas, and Becky Everage of Thornton, Colo.; several aunts and uncles and numerous nieces and nephews.
Recitation of the Rosary will be at 7 p.m. today and Mass of Christian Burial at 10 a.m. Friday, both services in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Pagosa Springs. Burial will follow in Hilltop Cemetery.
Pastor Douglas L. Turnbull, 65, of Cañon City died at home July 30, 2003, after a 10-year battle with Parkinson's Disease and cancer.
He was born Sept. 16, 1937, in Kemp, Okla., to Myrtle and Douglas Turnbull.
He worked at the Colorado State Correctional Facility from 1964 to 1972, going into the ministry in 1970 and pastoring churches in Cañon City and Las Animas. He retired from Parkview Baptist Church, Las Animas in 1994 because of his health.
Pastor Turnbull enjoyed both fishing and traveling.
He is survived by his wife of 43 years, Barbara; children Michael (Erica) of Denver; David (Joan) of Cañon City; sisters Geraldine (Ray) Pittman, Kathleen (Rockey) Wells of Cañon City, and Rosemary Bollig of Pagosa Springs; a grandson, David Douglas Turnbull of Longmont; and three step-grandchildren, Kristina Peterson and Amy and Robert Seiberlich of Cañon City.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
A memorial service was held Aug. 4 at the First Southern Baptist Church in Cañon City with the Rev. Bill Irwin officiating.
In lieu of flowers memorials were asked in his name to Friends of Hospice, P.O. Box 1796, Cañon City, CO, 81215.
Arrangements were by Charles Anthony Funeral Home.
'Test drives' continue for new town sign code
By Tess Noel Baker
Pagosa's new sign code, adopted in May, has been taken for its first few test drives.
The result: four variances approved by the design review board - with conditions. (The design review board is made up of members of the Town of Pagosa Springs Planning Commission.)
Three of the four were granted at the regular planning commission Aug. 12. These included signs at Ace Hardware-Circle T, Ski and Bow Rack and The Springs Resort.
In each case, board members present, Mayor Ross Aragon, Tracy Bunning and Judy James, said it was important to treat everyone equally. However, they agreed, it was also important not to cause undue hardship to business owners who bring needed sales tax dollars into the community.
In the case of Ace Hardware-Circle T, the problem was a freestanding pole sign that was nonconforming in both height and area. The sign was permitted and erected in January, in the midst of the sign code discussion.
At that time, Town Planner Tamra Allen said, no decision had been made on height restrictions.
Owner Terry Smith asked the board for a little time to recoup his investment in the sign before making any changes. He said removal and replacement would run him about $8,000.
"I support the main directives of the sign code," he said. "I have no problem coming into compliance, I'm just asking for a little time." In a show of cooperation, Smith removed all supplementary signs and banners from the building.
The board granted his request, allowing Smith five years to bring the sign into conformance.
They agreed to give variance applicants Matt Mees and Bill Dawson three years to bring the blue and yellow "Springs" sign into conformance. They also approved a separate variance for a new sign planned along Hot Springs Boulevard.
The request for a new Springs sign permit was necessary after the town removed the old sign to prepare for reconstruction of Hot Springs Boulevard. The new sign design came up against barriers in height and setback. The sign code sets a maximum on height of the sign and associated structure at 15 or 20 feet depending on the zoning district. The new sign was proposed at 21-25 feet high.
"The town took the sign down for road work," Dawson said. "We're proposing it go back in the same spot."
After some discussion, the commission voted in favor of allowing the new sign - calling part of its design an "architectural feature" which removes it from height consideration. They also waived the setback issue.
As part of the compromise, Dawson and Mees agreed to keep the sign height to 21 feet and to take down the blue and yellow sign within three years.
The third variance Tuesday was granted to Larry Fisher of the Ski and Bow Rack. Fisher said because of easement issues, his proposed addition had run way over budget. Not only that, but construction, which was supposed to be finished June 1, remained stalled because he couldn't get a building permit from the town due to the sign nonconformance. The town did give him permission to go ahead with the foundation while the sign issue was debated. Fisher's sign is non-compliant in just about every aspect.
"Just changing the sign face alone would cost me $7,000," he said. Fisher asked the board to grant him a two-month variance, allow him to finish his construction and then withhold the Certificate of Occupancy until the sign issues could be worked out. He also wanted the time to discuss options with an attorney.
"I'd like to get this thing going without it costing me more money than it already has," he said. The two-month variance was granted.
The fourth sign code variance was granted at the July planning commission meeting. In that case, the commission ruled that a windmill proposed for incorporation into the Jump River Mercantile sign constituted an architectural feature.
Several triggers are in place in the code to require business owners to bring nonconforming signs into conformance. These include:
- approval of a new sign permit
- approval of any building permits, including exterior expansion or remodeling
- change of ownership on the property
- alteration of the sign. According to the code, "no nonconforming sign shall be altered in any manner unless the alteration of the sign would result in the decrease of nonconforming features as specified within the sign code."
The code gives sign owners a total of five years from the date of adoption of the code to bring all nonconforming signs into conformance. After that, owners of nonconforming signs will be given 30 days notice to remove the signs.
Four elements are involved in conformance: height, area, landscaping and opaque surfaces.
Allen said the town building inspector and code enforcement officer has been working with local businesses to get all of the signs in town permitted. As permits come in, signs are being entered in a database. Once that task is complete, town staff will review the signs and notify owners of any nonconformance.
"We've had a really good response on the code so far," Allen said. "Most people feel it is well overdue."
County OKs concept for Ranch Community LID
By Tom Carosello
Conceptual plans for what may result in the formation of a local improvement district in the Ranch Community were given approval Tuesday by the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.
Based on survey results presented by Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, which indicate a majority of residents living along Hackamore Place are in favor of improvements to the thoroughfare, the board adopted a preliminary resolution outlining the scope of the work to be performed if the project becomes reality.
An additional resolution approved by the board set a public hearing for the proposed improvement plan, described as the "Hackamore Place Project," for 7 p.m. Sept. 23 in the courthouse meeting room. Total cost for the project is estimated at roughly $32,500.
If the consensus is to move forward following the public hearing, all persons who own property on the road will be required to pay a share of the cost - 12 lots at a current estimate of $1,442 per lot - and each will have the option to pay their portion in one lump sum in or up to five annual installments.
The remaining balance will reportedly be provided by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association through funds obtained as part of a settlement resulting from various past claims the association pressed against Fairfield Communities Inc.
If the proper amount of funding is secured, the county will request and award bids for the work, and serve as project administrator while ensuring the work is done according to county specifications, but will bear no fiscal responsibility for the project.
The plan has been in the works since April, when Holthus first informed the commissioners of the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association's intent to upgrade Hackamore Place and Antelope Drive.
Plans for an Antelope Drive local improvement district will be revisited following a second certified-mail survey to lot owners who did not answer the initial request for a response.
Results of the initial survey to all who own property along Antelope Drive include 13 votes in favor of improvements, five votes against the plan and 17 "no answers."
$20,000 damage in Loma Linda fire
By Richard Walter
Donald Smith and his dog were awakened by an activated smoke detector early Saturday and found heavy smoke permeating their Loma Linda home.
Fire, which started in the lower level garage, was reported at 2:20 a.m., said Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection district.
Five engines, seven vehicles total, and 21 firefighters responded to the scene, 1150 San Juan Street.
Grams estimated damage at $20,000 but said firefighters were able to limit the blaze to the garage area.
They did, however, have to break through the garage door to get at the fire because a side access door was locked, as was the garage.
Grams said damage included some scorching of a truck in the garage, and meltdown of other goods.
Cause of the blaze is under investigation.
He said the blaze was extinguished, the area secured and cleanup completed by 5 a.m.
In a Friday afternoon incident, firefighters responded to a 3:05 p.m. lightning strike at 3001 County Road 400 (Fourmile Road).
One tree was ablaze along with the brush below it, Grams said. Eleven firefighters and their equipment had the blaze controlled and secured the scene by 6 p.m.
Phyllis Decker, of the Pagosa Ranger District, said district crews continue to pick up two to three single-tree fires with each storm that passes through the area.
With the frequent storms, the threat of growth of fires has been reduced, she said. However, some of the heavy fuels remain dry.
"The fire danger continues," Decker said, "but the spread potential has been reduced."
Board of ed approves use of funds in partnership
By Richard Walter
School and town sharing concerns took a new step Tuesday when the board of education for Archuleta District 50 Joint committed $60,000 over three years to a proposed joint county-town-school district matching grant fund.
The action came after a presentation by Joe Lister Jr., parks and recreation director for the Town of Pagosa Springs.
The money was authorized to be drawn, with a letter of confirmation of the action for presentation with grant applications, from the school district's Whit Newton Fund.
The action came after Randall Davis, board president, suggested the cooperation idea was a good one, that all taxing bodies involved could benefit, and that the Newton fund is the logical source for the school share.
Money in the fund was left to the district in Newton's will. More than $250,000 of it is set aside for scholarships. The balance is held for specific measures not covered under board policies.
Lister's presentation detailed plans for a 16-acre park development east of the current Golden Peaks Stadium facility.
It would involve application for a Great Outdoor Colorado (GoCo) grant this fall.
Lister told the school board the idea is to have the three governmental agencies each deposit $20,000 annually during the three-year agreement.
Those funds would then be available for GoCo matching grant applications or bids for other grants, he said.
If the big grant for the parks development were denied, he said, the fund would still remain available for backing up other grant bids by any one of the partner bodies.
He said the initial parks grant bid will be for $250,000 to finance the first phase of a $1.2 million overall project. The success of the grant bid, he has been told, is heightened when the matching grant balance is near one third.
He said the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club has committed to $5,000 a year for the three-year period and a presentation to county commissioners was favorably received and approval is pending budgetary formulation.
Lister told the school board the plans would benefit the schools by increasing a joint project participation which already involves use of school fields for town programs.
"We envision paving two school-owned lots and providing 250-280 parking spaces serving both school and town facilities," he said.
Also shown on the drawings he provided is a long-discussed joint town and school garage and maintenance facility at the south end of the project across from the high school baseball field.
When Superintendent Duane Noggle asked what had happened to earlier plans to have the facility at the north end, Lister said it was moved to keep the noise away from the residential neighbors, and to reduce some of the traffic on South 5th Street.
He noted the two districts already partnered in a raw water feed from San Juan River to the school athletic fields, and that the same line would be used for the park development.
And, he pointed out, the soccer field included in the plan would be a standard Colorado High School Activities Association-approved facility, giving the school district additional area for a growing athletic program.
Lister said a current school district drainage problem from the high school site would be addressed with a "natural streamlike" drainage system flowing through the center of the project.
Part of the facility, he said, could be utilized as an outdoor classroom for biology and earth sciences at the high school.
He said the three-body program will require an intergovernmental agreement with specific wording regarding donations, use and future grant bid-matching fund procedures.
He said the grant program can save as much as a third of total cost of any project by any of the partners if the matching fund base is present.
"It seems to be an influence in all conversations I've had with GoCo and with other applicants," said Lister. "They look more favorably on projects which appear to have cash on hand to back their commitment."
David Hamilton, high school athletic director, and a member of the town's parks advisory committee, said the plan was designed to benefit everyone - the taxing districts and the taxpayers and users of the facilities.
"We have a landlocked athletic facility now," he said. "Moving part of the soccer program to the new park would free other areas for practice fields, particularly for football."
Right now, the football team practices on the outfield areas of two adjacent softball fields, often necessitating offense using one field and defense the other, with little chance to go head-to-head on a full field layout.
Any such development, pointed out Kahle Charles, elementary school principal, must have Division of Wildlife approval ... clearance from interference with habitat and for migration corridors.
"We learned that with our bid for a grant for playground development," he said. "Our grant application is still pending that inspection and approval."
Lister concluded his presentation saying, "This area is growing too fast for any one unit to be able to provide the facilities for all the activities people seem to want.
"Grant bidding is a competition statewide. Partnerships like the one proposed can go a long way toward influencing approval, and a better chance on future projects, too."
Asked by Davis what the schools, specifically, would realize from participation, Lister answered, "A $150,000 (estimated) soccer field, a regulation size softball field, improved site drainage and continued participation in the raw water irrigation program."
He said in-kind services by all the partners can reduce costs for many projects. The county and town can provide earth moving services at a far lower cost than contractors, for instance.
Director Clifford Lucero agreed.
"This is a great idea. We need to find a way to do this. There is a desperate need for sports facilities in this area. We have a chance to be part of making it happen.
"I see it as a win-win solution," he said.
Director Carol Feazel agreed, and seconded Lucero's motion to use Newton funds for the partnership.
The ensuing board vote was unanimous approval.
School board election petitions due Aug. 29
By Richard Walter
Petitions are now available in the Archuleta County Clerk's office for anyone wishing to be a candidate for election to the school board of Archuleta District 50 Joint.
Seats to be filled on the board are for Districts 2 and 3.
Mike Haynes currently holds the District 2 seat, having been appointed in April to replace Russel Lee who resigned.
In District 3, Randall Davis, current board president, has been term-limited and cannot run for reelection.
To place his or her name on the ballot, a candidate for the school board must be a registered voter and a resident of the school district for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election.
In addition, the candidate must be a resident of the board district in which candidacy is declared. Election ballots, however, are counted on a districtwide basis.
One person, Sandy Caves, already has made known her intent to seek the seat being vacated by Davis. Haynes has indicated he will run for election to the post he now holds by appointment.
District 2 encompasses roughly the western area of the school district, from County Road 700 north to U.S. 160, then east to Trails Boulevard to North Pagosa Boulevard, and then to the Hinsdale-Archuleta county line.
District 3 encompasses the area north and east of the town of Pagosa Springs including the northern part of the old town limits west to Piedra Road and then north along County Road 400 to the county line. Both sides of U.S. 160 east of Pagosa Springs and areas north of Rio Blanco are also in the district.
For specific locations, contact the county clerk's office at 264-8350 or the school district's administrative offices at 264-2228.
A prospective candidate must acquire a minimum of 25 signatures from registered voters who live within the boundaries of the school district, not just the board district. All petitions must be filed in the county clerk's office before closing on Aug. 29.
For a look at board member qualifications and elections, contact Colorado Association of School Boards at (800) 530-8430 or visit www.casb.org/.
Computer program glitches delaying CSAP evaluations
By Richard Walter
Disaggregation of Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) scores released July 31 is being delayed by computer programming glitches.
But, Superintendent Duane Noggle told the Archuleta District 50 Joint board of Education Tuesday, hard copy has been received and it is being correlated for specific principals and should be available to them in a week.
Still, he said, it is hard to look at the core scores and relate them to specific groups (disaggregating) to determine where district strengths and weaknesses lie.
"It is obvious," he said, "that scores by cohort groups (i.e. those tested at one grade and then at other higher grades) are consistently rising. Initial analysis indicates they are doing very well in progression."
He cited the current freshman class, tested as eighth-graders last spring, and a class that performed very low when initially tested three years earlier.
"This class came up 17 percentage points in the second year of testing. Even after a slight drop percentagewise in the most recent testing, they still show an increase in progression of about 10 percent."
As reported last week, math remains a concern statewide and as much or moreso here.
"Still, there was improvement at the elementary levels where the new Trailblazer program was instituted last year," said Noggle, "and we have pending a grant application for a math staff development program."
He said, "Trailblazers appears to be a strong building block at the lower levels and we anticipate improving scores as the students advance."
In conjunction, the district is starting a diagnostic testing program online which will gauge student achievement levels and automatically adjust tests to their capability. Thus, a third-grader reading or writing at sixth-grade level would be tested at the higher level. A student reading at a level lower than grade would be tested at the lower level with a program improvement analysis transmitted.
At the same time, Kahle Charles elementary school principal, noted his building is piloting a new reading program that "has teachers excited."
"It meets the 'No Child Left Behind' mandate and coincides with a new writing program we're introducing this year."
Noggle said all districts expect CSAP scores to rise and dip but "we all want the trend line to constantly increase."
Still, when authorities estimated a base testing body of 10,000 to 20,000 is needed to determine an adequate score ratio, it is not good testing to rate relative scores on basis of 100 to 120 students, he said.
In other action Tuesday, the board saw a short slide presentation on the summer projects which have ended or are nearing completion, much of it at the elementary school and the athletic fields.
Five elementary classrooms were remodeled, with portable walls removed and additional electrical outlets installed.
The project included addition of 19 computers and a server for the school.
Dolly Martin, transportation supervisor, was directed to notify all parents who received mileage money in lieu of transportation of children to school in the past that the program is no longer available.
That action was approved by the board last month. It was not a mandated program but one the district provided as a service for those living long distances from a school or bus stop.
Martin said there had been no reaction to news stories about the decision but that she felt the parents "should be notified as a courtesy, if the board agrees."
School staffing moves approved
By Richard Walter
Orientation for new members of the Pagosa Springs school staff will be held Aug. 20, with the balance of the staff due back the following day, beginning with a 7 a.m. breakfast.
And the staff is nearly complete with actions taken Tuesday by the board of education for Archuleta District 50 Joint.
In that action, the board accepted two late resignations and ratified five new employees and a number of substitute teachers.
Resignations were those of girls' junior high basketball and volleyball coach Ruby Honan and of Elizabeth Honan as C-team basketball coach.
Ratified were the following:
Olin Garrison as a part-time physical education teacher/coach; Emily Neder as a part-time seventh- and eighth-grade computer science instructor; Heidi Keshet as sixth-grade computer teacher; Nicole Lepeke as the Intermediate School's School within a School teacher; George Reed as transportation mechanic; and Dan Loper as Summit Christian Academy Title 1 aide.
The names of substitute teachers were not revealed in the omnibus personnel memo but two were added to it before the board passed Director Carol Feazel's motion for approval.
Chris Hinger, junior high principal, said the volleyball coaching vacancy has been filled and that he is close to filling the basketball slot.
"That is a position where we need some consistency," he said, "and a melding of program with that at the high school."
Still on staff-related issues, the board was told the new personnel handbook should be completed by Aug. 21 and sent to the publisher shortly thereafter and, on a motion by Director Mike Haynes, adopted an amended sick leave banking policy which had been under consideration for several months.
Finally, directors were introduced to Janet Havens, temporary administrative secretary working while Robynn Bennett recovers from back surgery, and to Steve Walston, the new maintenance director, who finished his orientation for the position last week.
County adopts new rural land-use plan
By Tom Carosello
Archuleta County has adopted new documentation that will give rural property owners greater flexibility when considering land-use and development options.
Following a brief public hearing Tuesday night that included a review of the "rural land-use process" (RLUP) by Marcus Baker, associate county planner, the board of commissioners gave the concept full support and unanimously carried a motion to make the document effective 5 p.m. Aug. 19.
Baker originally presented the conceptual RLUP to the Upper San Juan Regional Planning Commission in late April. After minor adjustments were made to the draft in the following weeks, the planning commission recommended approval to the county commissioners June 25.
The end result is a document that is an adaptation of a similar process created and currently implemented in Larimer County.
Proposed as an alternative to the practice of dividing hundreds of acres into 35-acre parcels, the RLUP option calls for consideration to be given to protecting the "county's rural character," as well as area wildlife habitat, view corridors and historic and archeological sites, by scaling down the size of parcel splits.
The RLUP includes the notion of a greater density of smaller lots within "cluster" areas on appropriate large tracts while preserving the resulting majority (preferably a minimum two-thirds) of open space as "residual land" for a minimum duration of 40 years.
As defined in the RLUP, residual land is "an area designated and protected from activity that would significantly alter its ecological integrity, balance or character, including environmentally sensitive areas and areas in agricultural uses."
In short, additional language within the document states "the Rural Land Use Process will be driven by incentives and benefits for both the landowner and the public ..."
Another potential benefit is that the process has been streamlined to keep accompanying timelines relatively brief.
According to Baker, keeping the application process short is necessary to make the option attractive for landowners who might otherwise consider the traditional 35-acre land splits, which require no review or approval from the planning department.
Thus far, said Baker, the RLUP option - which is strictly voluntary - has garnered favorable reviews from landowners, developers and real estate professionals.
"We've had really good feedback," said Baker, "Everybody's been supportive of this, and to be honest I haven't received a single complaint."
While subject to a nominal fee schedule (yet to be determined) and applicable only to single parcels at least 70 acres in size or two or more noncontiguous parcels (each at least 70 acres in size) for single-family residential purposes only, the process is generally outlined as follows:
- The process initiates when a landowner contacts the planning department to discuss the intent to preserve, sell or develop all or part of his/her land and to determine if the process can be realistically applied
- If feasible, a preliminary plan will be developed by the landowner with assistance from the planning staff. Afterward, planning staff will prepare a memorandum describing the plan to be reviewed by the landowner. If the landowner approves the memorandum, he/she will sign it and pay the necessary fees in order for the planning department to forward it to the proper agencies/authorities for comments and suggestions (San Juan Basin Health Department, Division of Water Resources, etc.)
- Following the receipt of referrals, the planning department will schedule a site visit with representatives of a land trust, volunteers and the applicant to enable all to provide additional input regarding the proposed site
- When the planning department determines the plan meets the proper objectives, it will schedule a pubic meeting with the planning commission for review and discussion of the plan. Following its discussion, the commission may recommend to the board of county commissioners to approve the plan, disapprove it, or approve it with conditions. (The planning commission can also choose to table the request for a future meeting date.)
- After a decision has been reached by the planning commission, planning staff will schedule a public meeting with the county board
- If the plan is approved by the county board, the landowner/applicant will have one year from the date of approval to submit the necessary final plat and developmental agreement to the planning department
- All final processing and improvements requirements are subject to the appropriate, corresponding county land use regulations; when all documents are determined to be in compliance, the planning department will present them to the county commissioners for final review and approval.
Since the process is voluntary, in the case that a final development plan cannot be agreed upon by the landowner and the county after negotiations begin, either party will have the option to back out at any time.
For more information on the RLUP, contact planning staff at 264-5851 or stop by the planning department office at 527 A, San Juan St.
Former area physician faces charges
By Tess Noel Baker
A former area physician has been charged with drug possession.
According to documents filed in district court, Dr. Bob Brown, of Pagosa Springs, has been charged with one count of possession of a schedule 2 controlled substance, a Class 4 felony, and one count of unlawful use of a schedule 2 controlled substance, a Class 5 felony.
Brown was an employee of the Upper San Juan Health Service District and worked at the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center until July 15. He terminated employment there after the district board voted to reject a plan to privatize the medical center and, instead, move ahead with restructuring the center under the district's direction.
According to Pagosa Springs Police department reports, a possible theft of drugs from the medical center was reported April 6.
Officer Chuck Allen said an investigation into the incident revealed that drugs had been diverted for personal use. Dave Brown, an investigator with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, assisted with the case.
Results of the investigation were turned over to the district attorney for filing. The investigation is ongoing.
The complaint against Brown was filed by Assistant District Attorney Andrew Hughes Aug. 6. A summons is expected to be issued later this week.
Lower Blanco property owners meet Aug. 30
All property owners in the lower Rio Blanco valley are invited to attend the 2003 annual meeting of the Lower Blanco Property Owners Association, Inc.
A potluck lunch and business meeting are planned 11:30 a.m. Aug. 30. Participants are asked to bring a favorite dish to share with others, and the association will furnish drinks and eating equipment.
The meeting will be held in the Archuleta County Extension Building on U.S. 84. Join in the discussion on change or preference for future annual meeting dates.
Scheduled for the meeting is an address from Don Schwindt, area representative as a director on the Colorado Water Conservation Board.
Also, T.J. Fitzwater, detective sergeant with the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, will give a presentation on how to make homes safer as seasonal residents prepare to leave for the winter.
An update of the Rio Blanco River Restoration Project will also be presented. Property owners are urged to take this opportunity to get to know their neighbors, socialize and provide input to the association.
Charity golf tournament for 'Rising Stars' Aug. 30
A charity golf tournament and silent auction to benefit The Rising Stars will be held Aug. 30 at Pagosa Springs Golf Course.
In the inaugural two-person scramble, participants will support a Rising Stars program which will include Discovery Junction child development center, Pagosa Springs Gymnastics, San Juan Dance Academy and martial arts.
The organization will also soon be a family center offering after-school care, music and art lessons, parenting classes and much more to come.
Entry fee for the tournament will be $75 per person, with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start planned.
The entry fee includes green fees, cart fees, lunch and two drinks. All net proceeds will benefit The rising Stars programs.
Flights will include parent-child (any age), mixed doubles, ladies and mens.
There will be prizes for specialty shots, beat the pro, longest putt, and awards for first and second place. A silent auction and raffle are also part of the fare.
Those interested may sign up at Pagosa Springs Golf Course for further information, call Jim Amato at 731-4888 or fax 731-2303.
Beaver ponds prove worthwhile for summer anglers
By Tom Carosello
Heavy rains augmented water levels in Pagosa Country fisheries as the monsoon pattern of afternoon thunderstorms continued across the Four Corners region during the past week.
Though nearly all area streamflows continue to lag below historical averages, the much-needed moisture is prolonging the summer fishing season on some streams and rivers that were virtually unfishable at this time last year.
Beaver ponds are also benefitting from recent precipitation; many have been rejuvenated since the onset of monsoon rains and are gaining popularity among anglers seeking less-crowded fishing conditions.
Common along many of the region's smaller tributaries, beaver ponds often harbor decent populations of aggressive trout.
At higher elevations, brookies and cutthroats are the predominant inhabitants. At lower elevations, rainbows and browns are the main catch.
While trophy fish are rarely encountered in the small bodies of water, for the angler in search of quantity instead of quality, beaver ponds are a worthwhile choice.
The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:
- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,005 feet and dropping. Water temperature is in the 70s. Catfishing continues to be good; fish are active day and night, regularly hitting blood/stink baits. Fishing for smallmouths, largemouths crappie and northern pike is reported as fair.
- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are averaging about 40-50 cubic feet per second but will spike with runoff. River is off color following afternoon rains, but successful morning anglers are using spinners, flies, salmon eggs and streamers to catch rainbows and an occasional brown.
- Echo Lake - Lake is clear and has risen a few inches with runoff. Largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch are being taken on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Some anglers are catching larger bass near dusk using buzzbaits in the weedy shallows. Trout have become less active but will occasionally hit flies, marabou jigs, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, cheese and PowerBait.
- Williams Creek Reservoir - Anglers seeking rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are reporting decent catches with live bait, PowerBait, surface flies, streamers, small marabou jigs, and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing is reportedly slow.
- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing is good near the creek inlets and steady in the deeper areas of the lake. Brook trout are still 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 reportedly fair.
- Piedra River - Water clarity is affected by afternoon runoff, but river is fishing OK in most sections. Browns and rainbows are the predominant catch and are hitting flies, streamers and flashy spinners.
- Middle Fork, Piedra River - Extremely low flows unless affected by rainfall. Fishing is slow, 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 in more remote sections of the creek continues to prove worthwhile. Flies and small spinners are working for brookies, cutthroats, browns and rainbows near the dam, while browns and rainbows are the main catch near the confluence with the Piedra River.
Although I do not take meals at the Senior Center, I would like to respond to Ms. Evans' letter in last week's edition (Blessing denied, Aug. 7, 2003).
Let me first state that I consider myself a Christian-type, i.e., I don't claim the title of Christian because I don't believe that is something any person can confer on himself or have conferred on him by someone else.
For me it is not a reward to be received in this phase of my life, but something of far greater value if granted by our Lord at the end. Two thousand years ago St. Paul wrote of his own human frailty and our ultimate dependence upon His grace alone. Later, thanks to Huss, Luther, Calvin and others, this became an intrinsic part of the foundation of Protestantism.
As a sojourner in this land I fully agree that it is fitting and proper to give thanks for all we have received. However, there is a difference of opinion of how this ought to be done.
It has become customary for us to bow like pagans, fold our hands and acquiesce to the words of a leader. As far back as the Exodus, the fearful people preferred to have Moses speak to God rather than speak to Him themselves. Are we, too, afraid?
By praying words which are not our own, thoughts which do not come from our own minds and hearts, or even worse, simply repeating rote sentences which have effectively become like empty slogans are we are not turning away from God who wants to hear from us?
Jesus was specific about this (Matt. 6:5-7), "When thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to your Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall recompense thee."
Many years ago in a Presbyterian publication a writer wrote about what he called the "tyranny of prayer," in it the sense that an event such as a graduation, inauguration, meeting or even a game should be preceded by an invocation, as though God were not there yet, in order to make it "legitimate" in our society.
The tyranny lies in the fact that everyone feels obligated to say amen to someone else's words, words with which they may not identify or understand. His suggestion: If you want to pray, pray alone before the event.
The Lord will know your heart.
In response to Billie White Evans' letter of 8/7/03 regarding the pre-lunch prayer at the Senior Center, she neglected to say that there would instead, be "moment of silence" for all present to give thanks in their own way.
Since, even in Pagosa, everyone is not a Christian, I applaud this expression of tolerance for diversity.
Isn't this one of the principles upon which our country was founded?
We spent lots of hours at the Archuleta County Fair and it was just great, from the Lee Sterling Chili Taste to the demolition derby.
The food served at the 4-H barbecue dinner was just delicious and plenty of it.
I just wanted to say thanks to Dick and Bonnie for keeping the Rotary Park on West 160 cleaned up.
And, I have wondered for a year when the "temporary" traffic light at 160 and Piñon was coming down or would be made permanent.
Talk about the tail wagging the dog.
If these three people choose to exercise their right to ban organized prayer, I would suggest the other 700-plus exercise their constitutional right to free speech and stand up and offer prayers or a hymn every 15 or 20 minutes. It sure would make afternoons at the senior center pretty interesting. Go for it, seniors.
Once again its summer and I'd like to return to Pagosa Springs where I have been coming for the past 35 years. Once again I won't be coming to Pagosa Springs because of the fire restrictions.
Does anyone care about decent responsible citizens you want to come enjoy the San Juan Forest? Does anyone care about the revenue to the town that is lost. No horseback rides. No rafting trips. No eating at the restaurants. No purchases at the sporting goods store, the grocery stores, or the gas stations.
Look at the ranger updates and you know where the fires come from. It's lightning, not people like me.
I will once again go somewhere else where it's just as dry but where they still believe that citizens have the right to act responsibly and have a camp fire. I really do miss Pagosa Springs.
Maybe next year.
J. Shane Rhoton
To whom it May concern:
This is an open letter to some misguided souls.
Our family sustained a tragic loss when a careless driver took our Cassie from us. She is buried at Hilltop Cemetery.
For some reason, someone has been taking the things left on her grave by family and friends.
We do not know their reasoning in doing this, but we pray they would stop and think of the pain they are continuing to inflict upon our family.
We are left behind to grieve, and this constant thievery is too much.
Please do not take the things we leave there.
My 65th birthday:
I moved to Pagosa Springs six years ago with my wife from a big city with state of the art medical care to a small town with no hospital and few doctors.
As the years passed I realized how lucky we were to be part of such a wonderful community. I remember my wife and I discussing our plan if either of us had a heart attack.
Frankly, Pagosa would have been way down the list. Yet, here we were on July 23 celebrating another year together. It was later that evening before going to bed I experienced chest pains, nausea and sweating. My wife immediately called 9-1-1.
They arrived promptly and transported me to Pagosa Family Medical Center. Dr. Jim Pruitt and an EMS medical team worked to stabilize my condition. Five bypasses later I was told the clot-buster drug that saved my life had only been approved two months earlier.
On behalf of myself and my wife, I would like to thank Dr. Jim Pruitt and the EMS crew for quick action and medical expertise. We thank you and Pagosa Springs thanks you for your dedication to the medical profession and our town.
Dick and Kay Redfield
As I drive through the Pagosa Lakes area reviewing the condition of the various lakes, I am appalled and concerned about the standing water in the coves. The most serious are Village Lake and Piñon. Breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus, which our state is already experiencing.
This virus is very deadly; my nephew died only five days after being bitten in Ohio. Many other members of our family were also bitten during this family reunion, but the deadly mosquito chose him. We must not take this virus lightly. All of the responsible parties are exposing us to liability from the thousands of vacationers using the timeshares, golfers, local fishermen and homeowners along these shores.
Piñon Lake is owned and maintained by Pagosa Lodge, but the other lakes are the responsibility of PLPOA and PAWS. PLPOA is responsible for the lake's bottom, vegetation and animals living in and on these waters. PAWS has the responsibility of the water levels in these lakes. Everyone knows keeping the lakes equally filled with water and dredging eliminates the breeding grounds for mosquitoes along with spraying for mosquito abatement.
Money always seems to be the answer when questioning either of these entities, whether it is pumping costs or cleaning up the lakes.
My answer to PAWS would be that we are going to be paying 50 percent more in new water rates ($5.50 plus a reduction from 10,000 to 8,000 equivalent units) let alone the new bonds that were passed last year for capital improvements. This is not a new problem; we had the drought last year.
My answer to PLPOA when I'm told no money in the budget, why isn't the maintenance of the lakes budgeted? If we need additional funds, why was the annual maintenance fee reduced? Why the reduction in out annual maintenance fees the last several years? Could this difference have been put into a reserve for the lakes maintenance?
The name of our community is Pagosa Lakes, let's get with the program.
Mary M. Sealy
Editor's note: Repeating the content of a note to a letter last week - an epidemiologist working with San Juan Basin Health Department stated that mosquitos breed in shallow water, even if that shallow water is at the edge of a lake with a high water level. He further asserted that treatment of those breeding areas with a larvacide is the recommended defense against the insects.
Last Picnic in the Park of the year will be Friday
By Laura Bedard
Picnic in the Park is happening Aug. 15 at noon in Town Park.
Our picnics have been hugely successful, when the weather cooperated.
Tomorrow, we will have barbecued chicken, salad, rolls and fresh fruit for lunch and some people are bringing water guns or board games for fun.
People age 59 or younger only have to pay $4.50 and the suggested donation for seniors 60 and over is $2.50. This is the last one for the summer; come picnic with us.
Speaking of picnics, Billie and Sidney Evans threw a picnic for all Seniors, Inc., members Aug. 7. It was at her ranch and what a beautiful spot it is. Phyllis Decker came and talked about the early pioneers of the area, which was quite fascinating.
We are trying to get Phyllis to talk to the seniors again about Pagosa's early settlers, as everyone wanted to hear more. Keep reading this column to find out when Phyllis will talk again.
We are offering a couple of new classes that aren't in the Senior Newsletter. At 12:45 p.m. Aug. 24 we are pleased to have a physical therapist talk to us about how to improve our balance and gait. Nathan Trout will also tell us how to prevent falls and about other safety issues. This should be a very good talk; come learn how to keep an even keel.
At 12:45 p.m. Aug. 23, Darcy Christenson will lead a guided meditation designed to make you feel good. This technique has been proven to reduce stress, some come in and try it out.
During our Aug. 5 lunch, we had cake and sherbet for dessert to celebrate our one-year anniversary in the community center. We all remember how hot it was during the move and the open house celebration last year, but we are now settled and still happy to be here.
The Colorado Lottery is looking for help to assist us in educating our community about a scam that continues to resurface in Colorado. The scam involves claiming of so-called "winning lottery tickets." As part of the scam, elderly Spanish-speaking people are targeted and defrauded of large amounts of cash. Over the past two months, a traveling gang of con artists has struck across Colorado, from Denver to Pueblo, Loveland, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs and Longmont. The amount of money conned in this scam varies from a low of $200 to as much as $30,000.
The Colorado Lottery never requires a "good faith" showing of cash up front. Confirmation of winning tickets can be conducted at lottery offices for free. Undocumented immigrants can claim any Lottery jackpot as long as the ticket isn't stolen property. Their winning jackpot check will include deductions at the highest tax rate of 35 percent.
Lottery security officials are working with local police agencies to spread the word. If you have any questions regarding the scam or need additional information, call the Lottery offices at (303) 759-6829 or (303) 759-6839.
For the past week or so, Musetta has been drawing numbers to determine which tables get to go first to eat. While it was initiated so people wouldn't have to stand in line a long time, it still evoked some good natured ribbing - what do I have to do to be at the first table in line? Last Tuesday, a jolly jokester pulled a good one on Musetta by emptying her can of numbers and putting in only the number of his table. Everyone got a good laugh, and it worked - his table went first that day.
Walkin' with George
"Walking is a good time for thinking and I think it is time for us to pay Dawnie and her kitchen crew a compliment - they are great! I just learned recently that they also supply Meals on Wheels and food for the jail.
"The other day Kurt was delivering to the jail and he told me there were three deputies trying to dislodge an inmate. His sentence was up - he could go at any time - but they couldn't get him out of the cell. He was screamin' and hollerin', hanging onto the bars for all he was worth. Kurt finally found out he didn't want to leave until he'd had lunch."
Visitors and Guests
We are always happy to see the Seeds of Learning kids come the first Tuesday of every month to sing for us at lunch time.
Hilda Campos has been coming in to help us and eat with us, and we are always happy to have help.
We fed Mary Foreman, Marcia Marquez and got to meet Lorna Ogden for the first time last week. We are also feeding some strong young workers who discovered our good meals - Torey Powers, Chris Tressler, and the leader of the group, Jace Johnson.
Also seen this week were the Thompsons and Dave Swindells. What a happy group.
Friday - 10 a.m., Qi Gong; 11, Medicare counseling; noon, picnic in the park
Aug. 18 - 9 a.m.-noon, CanastAholics class; 1 p.m. bridge for fun
Aug. 19 - 9:30 a.m., yoga; 10:30 advanced computer class; 1 p.m. trip to Sky Ute Casino in Ignacio
Aug. 20 - 10:30 a.m., beginning computer class
Aug. 15 - Barbecue chicken, vegetable salad, cantaloupe and roll
Aug. 18 - Spanish meatballs, parsley potatoes Brussels sprouts and fruit cup
Aug. 19 - Tuna melt, tossed salad, tomato soup, fresh apples and Jello
Aug. 20 - Pizza, four bean salad, apricots or other fruit.
New phone numbers for VA office
By Andy Fautheree
I would like to make a couple of important announcements that will affect local veterans services.
The Archuleta County Veterans Service Office has new phone numbers, 264-8375 for voice, and 264-8376 fax. Nothing else has changed, same location in the basement of the courthouse next to the driver's license office. The whole county phone system is undergoing changes. You will still be able to use the old number for a while.
VSO closed dates
Also, the Veterans Service Office will be closed Aug. 28- Sept. 19. I'm sure many of you are aware, I will be in England during that time with the United States NRA team to compete for the Long Range Black Powder Cartridge World Championship matches. I will be back on the job Sept. 22.
If you need to schedule the VSO veteran transport vehicle for your VA health care appointments you can contact Jan Santopietro in the Archuleta County Commissioner's Office at 264-2536, Ext. 1135. She will have the existing vehicle schedule and the list of approved veteran drivers and volunteers. Please hold your VA benefit related questions for my return if possible.
The phone number of the Durango VA Clinic is 247-2214. You can call them for your VA health care appointment scheduling, or if you want to transfer your VA health care from another VA facility. For other VA health care benefit needs including new enrollments and financial means tests, please wait for my return.
VA phone number
The phone number for the Department of Veterans Affairs is (800) 827-1000. This is the national number, which will connect you with the Denver Regional Claim Center. They can answer many questions on VA related matters. You will need to provide them with your complete Social Security number and name, to obtain information of a personal nature. They also answer general questions.
I will look forward to being back on the job Sept. 22 to help you with your VA benefits.
For information on these and other veteran's benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is email@example.com. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Join the Knights Saturday and race a duck
By Sally Hameister
We're hoping you plan to attend the Knights of Columbus Duck Race and Picnic in Town Park Saturday, Aug. 16, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
This family event in the park will feature a barbecue, music, games for the kids, a raffle for prizes and big money for winners in the duck race.
The musical program will feature our own Father John Bowe, beloved Pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. Those of you who know and love Father John also know he is an accomplished pianist and is sure to provide you with a lively program of wonderful music.
You could walk away with some impressive prize money, to wit, $1,000 for first prize, $500 for second and $100 for third, and that could buy a whole lot of school supplies or whatever. All proceeds will 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.
It's more than a little frightening to announce it's time for you to bring us your inserts for the September Chamber quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué. It's frightening only because that means the summer has ended far too quickly, and it's time to be waxing those skis. But I digress - please bring 750 copies of your insert on unfolded 8 1/2" x 11" paper and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there. You will be hard pressed to find a more economical way of marketing your service or merchandise than the inserts, and you can even make your copies at the Visitor Center for five cents each if you need to. Watta deal. The deadline for inclusion is end of day Aug. 25 and we encourage colorful paper to capture attention.
Please give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions concerning the newsletter.
While we're on the subject of fall's imminent arrival, I must remind you to put aside the weekend of Sept. 19, 20 and 21 to celebrate our annual Colorfest/Balloon Rally. This year promises to be perhaps the most colorful one ever with our "Caribbean Colorfest 2003" theme.
I won't give it all away, but encourage you to imagine parrots, hibiscus, palm trees, beachcomber hats and wine glasses that you won't even begin to believe.
I haven't even touched upon the wines and cheeses that will be available to you the evening of the Wine and Cheese Tasting along with a few sweets and other surprises.
We are also delighted to announce that Bluegrass Cadillac will perform during our Saturday picnic this year for the first time at a Chamber event and we are very excited to welcome them. This well-known Pagosa group includes Randall Davis, Robin Davis, Clay Campbell and Kevin Dunn, and these talented guys have been bringing bluegrass to our community for years.
I'm sure that Liz and Mike Marchand of Reach for the Peaks and Rocky Mountain Balloon Adventures will have much to share in the future about the balloonists who will conduct the gorgeous ascensions taking place that weekend. I'm also guessing that, as always, the balloonists will be welcoming any and all crew members to their team. At any rate, stay tuned for more on this year's Colorfest weekend.
Annual book sale
One of my personal favorites is coming up this weekend, and I hope you will plan to attend and score some amazing book bargains while enjoying good company.
If you are a Friend of the Library, you are invited to their annual meeting this Friday night at the Extension building on U.S. 84 beginning at 6 p.m. Annual memberships are payable at the door, and you would be quite the hero if you would bring along an hors d'oeuvre.
There will be a short business meeting after which you are invited to refreshments and libations and the best lil' ol' book sale in the nation. At the business meeting, current information will be forthcoming about the new library addition, and I will be anxious to hear an update on that one.
If you have friends who would like to become Friends of the Library, by all means, brings them along.
Family memberships are $10, individuals are $5, students are $2 and a lifetime membership is $100. I can't think of a better way to spend your money that an investment in our remarkable Rudy Sisson Library which encourages and facilitates not only literacy but the love of reading for those of all ages.
If you would like a little taste of Bluegrass Cadillac, you can head to the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse at 7 p.m. Aug. 18, and check out the group who will be playing at our Colorfest picnic.
The timing here just couldn't have been better for you to get a preview of this wonderful bluegrass group that enjoys such great popularity here in Pagosa. Randall, Robin, Clay and Kevin will perform in a wonderfully intimate concert setting at the clubhouse and invite you to join them for an evening of bluegrass brought to you by Concerts International.
By the way, Robin Davis just won first place in the mandolin contest at the Rocky Grass Bluegrass Festival and was awarded a top-of-the-line Gibson mandolin. Please call 731-3117 for more information.
Four Corners folk fest
You can't have missed all the great info that Crista and Dan have put out concerning this year's Four Corners Folk Festival which will once again be held back up on Reservoir Hill. Folks have become extremely fond of that site, and we're all very pleased that it will be back up there again.
This event began when I joined the Chamber, so we're both celebrating our eighth anniversary - but I won't be celebrating nearly as extravagantly as they are with all the amazing talent they're bringing in Aug. 29-31.
We will be treated to so many big names in the Folk industry to include our own Pagosa Hot Strings, Eddie from Ohio, Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies, the Laura Love Band - well, I could go on, but I would invite you to check out the Web site at www.folkwest.com or call (877) 472-4672 for info about tickets and such.
You can also come into the Chamber to pick up one of their very attractive and informative brochures with tons of information. We congratulate Crista and Dan on raising the bar on their event every year and making it better and better. I'm just hoping to be an employee in the beer booth again.
Sidewalk Saturday Sale
It took us about a year to realize that we could encourage the folks who attend the festival to drop some bucks while saving some bucks in Pagosa during the weekend with a Sidewalk Saturday Sale.
Now the obvious cool thing about this one is that all of you locals can jump on the same bargain bus and "Shop Pagosa First" during this time and save yourselves some major moolah. Look for the ads in The SUN, but count on shopping from the Choke Cherry Tree on the west side of town to the Ski and Bow Rack on the east side of town and all points in between Aug. 30. I'm guessing that you could save a few bucks on school supplies and school clothes and enjoy visiting with all our local merchants at the same time.
Whistle Pig Concert
Don't bother telling me that you have nothing to do in August because I just won't buy it with all the things that are going on.
The next Whistle Pig Concert will feature mandolin/guitar virtuoso Bruce Hayes who will appear at the Hudson House Aug. 24 at 7 p.m. Bruce is a real favorite and will perform his unique one-man-band original music with great energy.
The $10 donation includes dessert and coffee and/or tea. Please call 264-2491 to reserve seats for this performance or for more information.
We're happy to welcome two new members this week along with five renewals. We continue to clock along at such a nice pace and are grateful to each and every member.
Blair Jackson joins us with Pagosa Inspection Services which provides presale inspections and prepurchase inspections to ensure that houses are in top condition. Seasonal residents can call Blair to check their homes when they aren't here, and I'm sure he'd be happy to check your home while you're on vacation. Please give him a call at (970) 749-4252 for more information. We thank our old friend and owner of Mountain Greenery, Marguerite Jackson, for recruiting Blair to membership and will send off a free SunDowner pass with our thanks.
We're happy to welcome Marsha Tucker as a new Chamber associate member and welcome her involvement in our community. We thank Kathryn Heilhecker for recruiting Marsha and she will receive her free SunDowner pass pronto. Thank you, Kathryn.
Renewals this week include Ron Barsanti with the Crowley Ranch Reserve; Lyn Johnson with Custom Homes by Curt Johnson, Inc.; Dennis Schutz with the Southwest Land Alliance; Jennifer Lindberg with Winning Solutions Inc., d.b.a. Miracle of Aloe; Greg and Dena Schick with Sunset Ranch Cabins and Condos and Ralph and Lyn Frank with our local Subway Stores. Our associate member renewals this week are Joan and Malcolm Rodger.
Our sincere thanks to each and every one of our loyal members.
Friends meet Friday; book sale is Saturday
The two big events are finally here. Friday night is the Friends of the Library annual meeting and private book sale. Doors open at 6 p.m. at the Extension building. Only dues paying members may attend. For more information, call the library at 264-2209. Space is limited and we would appreciate reservations.
Saturday morning, the doors open at 7 a.m. for the public book sale.
The Extension building is on U.S. 84 at the fairgrounds. The sale runs until 2 p.m. when the Rotary members will pick up the leftover books and deliver them to the Humane Society's Pack Rack. Our thanks to the firemen who move the books from storage to the sale, and all of the other Friends and volunteers who help with this annual event.
Other treasure hunts
We know you will find treasures at the book sale. And adventurers come every year to Pagosa country to try to find the fabled gold treasure mine written about in many books.
An old prospector, Tom Alston, found a pick at the headwaters of a creek near Treasure Mountain. Some verified stories tell that men mined gold near there and transported it later on. Indians killed some of the miners before they could get their cache of gold out one year. The stories are delicious and stir thoughts of wealth and adventure. Come to the library and find out about the possibilities of finding treasure in our mountains.
Anyone finding the loot after reading about it at the library must promise to share the wealth so we can finish our planned library addition.
We thank these donors for many more treasures: George Dudley, Elaine Lewis, Raymond Taylor, Betsy Chavez, G. Margiotta, Kathy Bennett, Julie Church, Bill Wiggins, Gerald Wilborn, Glenn Raby, Kari Irons, Jo Hannah, Bob Alley, Jerome Baier, Cristy Holden, Donnie Vass and Dave Chapman.
Catalina Delores True Guthrie was born May 27, 2003 in Durango Medical Center to Catfish and Cheryl Guthrie of Pagosa Springs. Catalina weighed 6 pounds, 5.6 ounces and was 18 3/4 inches tall. She was welcomed home by siblings Amario, Noah, Yasmin and Joshua. Maternal grandparents are Ron and Kathy Trujillo of Pueblo and paternal grandparents Ralph and Delores Guthrie of Boone, Colo. Maternal grandmother is Juanita Gonzales of Del Norte, Colo., and paternal great-grandmother is Lucille Baker of Douglas, Wyo. Catalina was long-awaited and is loved by her brothers and sisters. She is such a blessing and we are so happy she came.
Looking for a new way to relax? Contact Jim and Becky Dorian at San Juan Saunas for information on buying a sauna.
Jim and Becky have come out of retirement for the second time to do what they love: sell saunas. The couple has a great deal of experience in the sauna business and even won a trip to Finland for selling a large number of them.
San Juan Saunas sells saunas, with installation. If you are interested in buying a sauna, but are not sure exactly what you are looking for, call the Dorians and make an appointment to see their 26-foot trailer with four working show models inside.
To make appointments or obtain additional information, call 731-9878.
Molly Jo Driesens and Barry Andrew Wallace were married July 5, 2003, in Pagosa Springs. Molly is the daughter of Jerry and Joan Driesens of Pagosa Springs. She graduated from California Baptist University and is presently employed at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Barry is the son of Bill and Mary Wallace of Dewey, Ariz. He is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and is a firefighter with Prescott National Forest. The couple will reside in Prescott Valley, Ariz.
Robert G. Davis and Dorothy A. Eichvalds request the pleasure of all their friends to share in the happiness of their marriage Saturday, Sept. 20, 2003 at 1 p.m. in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, 451 Lewis St., Pagosa Springs. A reception will immediately follow the ceremony at Vista Club House. No gifts, please. RSVP by Sept. 1 at 731-5662.
Reaching out to Pagosa
New group offers one-time assistance
By Tess Noel Baker
Tables stretch across the room. Four people to a table stare intently at hands of cards or Mah Jong pieces. A buffet at one corner groans under the weight of piles of cookies, stacks of brownies and some decadent lemon cake.
Periodically, winners and losers switch tables and another game begins. By the end of the day these card lovers help raise $835 for the Pagosa Outreach Connection - a group dedicated to assisting community members in need of a little financial boost.
Program administrator Barbara Hendricks, a family advocate for the Archuleta County Department of Social Services, said the turnout was wonderful, just one more indication of what a warm, giving community Pagosa is.
After all, that's the point of the outreach connection - bringing the community together to give people an extra boost over a financial hurdle instead of letting them fall through the cracks.
According to their mission statement: "The Pagosa Outreach Connection is a partnership of individuals and organizations that provide emergency assistance to people in need. Our goal is to empower people and families to move toward independence and self-sufficiency, offering, not a handout, but a helping hand."
It all started when some local church representatives got together with members of the department of social services to explore a federal program focused on combining efforts of faith-based and community-based programs. They attended a regional meeting.
But meetings and discussion weren't going anywhere. At least not fast enough. They decided to take action, pooling resources already available in the community to give everyone equal access to services - basing their efforts on a similar program operating in La Plata County. Hendricks and Kathy Kulyk, both employees of social services, did much of the legwork.
Pagosa Outreach Connection was the result. The organization is made up of representatives of the Methodist, Episcopal and Catholic churches, the Salvation Army, United Way and the La Plata Electric Roundup Foundation. Social services administers the program and screens applicants.
Under the program, people in need are first referred to social services. There, they are screened for programs they might qualify for, such as food stamps or Medicaid.
"If our moneys and resources can't provide the needed help, they would fill out an application for POC," Erlinda Gonzalez, director of Archuleta County Department of Social Services said. She gave the example of a single parent working a minimum wage job whose child must have surgery. Because of the surgery, work must be missed. Then, a child support payment doesn't come through and suddenly the family is in danger of losing their car or home.
"This is a person trying to be self-sufficient," Gonzalez said. "These are the people who fall through the cracks. And we are trying to help people like this. We are trying to help people get off of the system."
A Pagosa Outreach Connection committee meets weekly on Thursdays to review applications and listen to presentations by Hendricks and Kulyk. Aug. 7 was the first meeting. That week, three applications were reviewed. One was approved.
Once an application is approved, representatives of the various organizations involved, both faith-based and community-based, take turns "bidding" on the amount needed. One might offer $100, another $200, another $75 and so on until the bill is filled. All applications remain confidential.
Assistance doesn't necessarily stop with the funding either, Hendricks said. For instance, the person approved the first week has agreed to sign a contract to work with social services to plan a six month budget for themselves.
Each case will be different, Kulyk said, and each situation will be dealt with individually.
Rev. Annie Ryder, of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, said the program will help streamline efforts to help across the community.
"We (the churches) had collaborated in the past," she said. This formalizes it and brings in other groups."
A database of those assisted will be kept at social services to prevent duplicating efforts and keep the program open to the most people possible.
"The need is tremendous," Pastor Don Ford of United Methodist Church, said. "The gap between those who have and those who have not is widening not only in Archuleta County, but in the United States. In this way, those who have are helping those who have not."
These are the people the program is designed to help.
Applications for those needing one-time assistance from the Pagosa Outreach Connection are available at the department of social services offices and at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church and Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church.
Private donations to the program are being accepted and can be sent to: Department of Social Services, P.O. Box 240, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.
Another card party to benefit the program is planned for Oct. 10 from 1-5 p.m. at the Vista Clubhouse. Cost is $10 and refreshments are provided.
"The more people who want to help, the better off we'll all be," Ford said. "We need to get away from 'What's in it for me?,' and start thinking about 'How can I help?'"
Armijo pack train to west crossed county
By John M. Motter
Horse thieves and slave runners formed an exciting part of Pagosa Country's past back in the early 1800s.
Last week we talked about the Old Spanish Trail, that ribbon of commerce connecting New Mexico with California before Pagosa Country was settled.
One of the principle branches of the Old Spanish Trail crossed Pagosa Country. Consequently, the annual mule trains between Abiquiu, New Mexico, and Los Angeles, California, clip-clopped across Archuleta County. Most of the through commerce took place between 1830 and the early 1850s, long before the first settlers came to Pagosa Country.
That portion of the Old Spanish Trail located in Pagosa Country was much older than the 1830 date. Hispanics had been trading with Indians in Colorado, Utah and points beyond much sooner, at least as early as the 1760s. It's safe to believe that, before 1830, Pagosa Country was well known to New Mexico Hispanics.
The magic year of 1829-1830 was the year Antonio Armijo loaded up a pack train of mules with serapes, blankets, and other woolen goods and struck out for California. Armijo left Abiquiu with a party of 31 men on the 6th of November 1829. They returned to New Mexico February 24 of the following year. On their way to California, the Armijo party turned west just north of Abiquiu, crossed the Continental Divide, dropped into Largo Canyon, reached the San Juan River at today's Blanco, New Mexico, then journeyed to the Dolores River near today's town of Dolores and followed what became the traditional route to California.
The Armijo party traded New Mexico woolen goods for California horses and mules. Following the Armijo trip, caravans between the two Spanish settlements were annual affairs involving hundreds of pack mules on the westward trip, and thousands of newly acquired horses and mules on the return trip.
Although the Armijo party followed Largo Canyon, other parties crossed today's Jicarilla Reservation entering at either Stinking Lake or Stone Lake and exiting down Caracas Canyon to hit the San Juan River and today's Archuleta County at Caracas, just up the river from today's Navajo Lake.
On those first trips to California, horses and mules were purchased to be driven back to New Mexico. As it happens, the fur trade in the Rocky Mountains was dying about that time. A good number of the trappers decided to go to California and enter the horse business. Their profit margins improved considerably when they began stealing instead of buying the California horses. Soon, herds containing thousands of stolen horses were being escorted back to New Mexico.
Probably the best profits were made from slaves, many of them Paiute Indians sold to the caravans along the way.
I'll write more about horse rustling and the slave trade later. First, it might be fun, and capture the sense of adventure of the times, to look at the impressions New Mexico made on the first Anglos visiting one of Spain's most remote and colorful colonies. We just might discover the origin of the phrase "The Ugly American." We need to remember that New Mexico was not open to Anglos until Mexico obtained independence from Spain in 1822.
A traveler from Indiana visited Santa Fe in the summer of 1841 on his way to California along the Old Spanish Trail. These are some of his observations :
"The ladies, certainly, are more beautiful in this country than those of the same ranks in America; their jetty black eyes, slender and delicate frame, with unusual small ankles and feet, together with their winning address make you at once easy and happy in their company. Perhaps no people on earth love dress and attention more than the Spanish ladies and it may be said of a truth, that their amorous flirtations with the men are matters to boast of among themselves. They work but little; the fandango and siesta form the diversion of the time. The fandango is a lascivious dance, partaking in part of the waltz, cotillion, and many amorous movements, and is certainly handsome and amusing. It is the national dance. In this the governor and most humble citizen move together, and in this exist all their republican boast.
"The men are honest - perhaps more so than those of the same class in the United States, proud and vain in their blood."
Another visitor described a Santa Fe trader's shop this way in 1839:
"Around the door, outside, sat upon the ground some half dozen ragged Mexicans, men and women, with baskets before them containing grapes, melons, peaches and other fruits, for sale. Stepping over the bare legs of these fruiterers, we entered the store, and found ourselves in an apartment of about fifteen or eighteen feet dimensions. Two sides of the room were covered with calicoes and domestics, and a variety of dry goods and nic-nacs, were disposed in the same manner as is customary in the states. A plain counter stood in front of these shelves, serving to show the goods upon and keep off meddlers, and upon the counter was found our friend, the trader seated smoking a cigar.
"We had scarcely exchanged civilities before a young cavallero on a remarkably large and well-fed mule, with saddle and other gear gorgeously decorated with silver, and little bells and ornaments jingling as he approached, rode up, dismounted, and came into the house. This young Spaniard was the fine gentleman of Santa Fe, the very pink of the aristocracy. We had met him before in company with Gov. Armijo, and found in him a courteousness of demeanor which showed that he had been educated in the more civilized parts of Mexico.
"His sombrero was an enormous, heavy, broad brimmed beaver, with a thick cord of gold wound around it several times in place of the simple ribbon Š
"He had scarcely departed when a barefooted girl came in with a dozen most bilious-looking candles hanging together by a string. These she sold to the shopkeeper for an old rusty steel thimble for her madre Š The old women all understand making candles, and one of them will often spend half a day boiling grease and dipping a dozen, only to realize six pence worth of tobacco from a shopkeeper."
Next week I'll get back to horse rustling and slave trade along the Old Spanish Trail.
With the start of the new school year ahead, it is time to say things that will be taken the wrong way by many readers and be regarded as offensive by some. The comments evolve from this observation: Under the guise of being child-centered, too many parents use their children to compensate for deficiencies in their own lives, lavishing on their offspring unrealistic attention, burdening them with debilitating control, schedules and demands that stifle what is best about childhood.
As school begins, an arena opens to showcase the negative behavior of parents who mistake high-pressure, self-centered activity for nurture.
To those who might fall prey to the urge to use a child as a means in a misguided quest for self-fulfillment, consider advice from one who has been there:
Your child is not always at the top of the class. He or she is susceptible to criticism, and will not always be judged superior, no matter what you think, no matter that you judge your child "gifted and talented." Criticism and occasional failure are neither poisonous nor dark reflections cast on a child's home and parents. Criticism and failure usually result from an accurate assessment of how well a child has performed. A child's lack of success is not usually the fault of the teacher or the administration; it is the fault of the child. No matter how hard individuals and interests work to lower standards so more and more students, and their parents, are judged excellent, the move will never be beneficial - not to the student or parents, not to the community.
Discipline in the school - increasingly difficult, due to pressure from some parents - is not evil. Because a child has learned to manipulate parents does not mean the blindness manifest at home should carry over to the school building. Reasonable discipline is a meaningful exercise for one who will not remain a precious child forever but who will someday have to make his way in a world that does not cherish him, that will not excuse him, that will not accord him accolades he has not earned.
On the playing field, or the court, the flawed, child-centered perspective is often a tragedy, played out when too much of the wrong value is placed on sporting activity.
The reality: Our school system has seen many gifted athletes pass through its halls. It has never seen a great one. Get used to it: What is good or even excellent here is average elsewhere. For a parent to hitch a child's star to the illusion of athletic greatness is, for all but one in a million, a dismal exercise, doomed to failure. Odds are slim a local athlete will achieve more than the worthy goal of earning an education by laboring for an institution of higher learning as an athlete.
Kids should not play a sport to guarantee glory and money. They should not do it to function as a prism that focuses a golden light on the parents. They should do it because they enjoy it; if they do not, they should quit. They do it for the good company of their fellows. They do it to sharpen useful skills: control, endurance, perseverance, good sportsmanship, intensity, a sense of prolonged commitment. Please, parents, for the sake of the child, act accordingly.
Alas, despite advice born of experience, too many parents will continue this year to excuse their children, to attack the knowledge and skill of teachers, to assail administrators, to berate coaches. When this occurs, we need to ask the question: Who, ultimately, pays the price?
In a culture that truly values children, we would care.
Scents a hint something's amiss
By Richard Walter
There is a hint, just a hint, mind you, that summer is beginning to wane.
The one sure sign is skunks, skunks everywhere. The smell gives them away. The holes in the yard attest to their "grubbing" techniques.
Dogs come in after confrontations and are quickly sent back outside until they can be scrubbed down.
Bear sightings have, fortunately, been few and far between as the spotty rains have provided just enough moisture to keep the berries they depend on growing.
Mountain lions, on the other hand, have been spotted in just about every part of the county and at least two have been put down for their attacks on domestic livestock.
Deer, never strangers to the gardens in town, have been more visible than usual as they head for the San Juan and its lifesource waters.
Elk are still in the higher country, but with the first snowfall probably not much more than a month away, will begin moving down to lower country.
Birds, too, seem to be flocking together in larger groupings than in previous years.
And then, there is the scent of manipulation, gassy fumes clouding a speculative natural gas market.
You've all read and heard the forecasts of natural gas shortages this winter and hence, higher natural gas prices. Just last week, in a related field, gasoline prices shot up locally by about 10 cents per gallon.
But the natural gas conundrum is more puzzling. The doomsayers in the Bush administration warned early on that the shortage was mounting. Whenever there is a shortage of any commodity, when demand exceeds supply, there is an increase in price.
But, who benefits?
The key element in discussion of the current "shortage," however, is a question: Who says there isn't enough to go around?
Jeff Nesmith, of Cox News Service's Washington Bureau, took a close look at the situation late last month. What he found belies the Bush "shortage" line of thought.
In the week ending July 26, Nesmith reported, 83 billion cubic feet of natural gas was pumped into American storage facilities, giving the nation, at that point, 1.9 trillion gallons of natural gas stockpiled in preparation for winter. That, Nesmith said, quoting the Energy Information Commission, is 87 percent of the average the nation had in storage between 1988 and 2002.
When Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham declared in May the possibility of winter price hikes, the amount of gas in storage was less than half the five-year average and the market price had soared.
Who benefits if there is a glut of natural gas in storage but rate of delivery is slowed to give indication of a shortage and subsequently the prices are driven higher as suppliers seek to serve their clients? Bush cronies?
The case took even more of a Potomac scent when the Bush administration ordered federal land managers last Thursday to lessen restrictions on federal land use to make way for increased oil and gas drilling throughout the Rockies, including our own San Juan Basin.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of August 15, 1913
The wagon road running over Yellowjacket Divide is to be changed to cross the divide further to the south and at a point 400 feet lower than the present crossing. The new road will leave the old one near the Yellowjacket school house and following up Squaw Creek will cross the divide and the old Sam Snooks ranch and return to the old road a mile or two beyond the summit. There will be a considerable saving in distance, a big saving in grade and better ground for road building.
Henry Born of Born's Lake has recently found a few vines of a mammoth wild raspberry which he proposes to transplant in an effort to produce a superior table berry.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 17, 1928
The Red Cross Chapter of Pagosa Springs has donated its remaining funds, $23.00, to the Women's Civic Club, the sum to be expended for books for the public library only. The club hereby extends public thanks to the chapter for the donations.
Judge Jesse C. Wiley and wife came over to Pagosa from Del Norte yesterday to attend the meeting of the San Juan Pioneer Association and also to visit in Pagosa with their daughter and son, Mrs. Joseph Hersch and Forrest Wiley and their families.
The board of county commissioners met yesterday for the purpose of making negotiations with the landowners for the rights-of-way for the new gravel surfacing project north of Pagosa Springs near Turkey Creek.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 14, 1953
While most fishermen still report fishing as being pretty good game warden Vavak stated that there had been a big decrease in the number of fishermen picked up with more than bag limit catches. The streams are all clear and fly fishing is very good.
The town is on the road to having a pretty efficient water system and one, that for the first time in several years, is adequate. The plan includes the construction of a quarter million gallon storage reservoir on the north side of town; installation of meters; extensions of water mains to serve all residences; looping of mains to give additional fire protection as well as better service; the installation of new fire plugs, and complete revamping of the pump house and settling basins.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 17, 1978
Local schools are preparing for opening, with the first day of school for students being Monday, August 28. Registration of new students is August 24.
The Upper San Juan Basin Emergency Technicians are sponsoring a Western Whoopee barbecue and dance Saturday, August 26. Proceeds are to be used by the EMT's to help pay for radio communication equipment, and other needed supplies. The group is a non-paid, volunteer organization that is highly skilled in emergency procedures and they operated the county ambulance service.
It will be Fiesta Day this Saturday in Pagosa Springs. Special entertainment is planned and local merchants will be featuring some very fine bargains.