Boy, 6, critical; flash flood takes
tent into Navajo
By Tess Noel Baker
A Pagosa Springs boy remains in critical condition after being swept into Navajo Lake by a flash flood Aug. 13.
Casey Mudroch, 6, remains in the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Denver. He is expected to survive.
"We want to thank Liz (Marchand), Marissa (Marchand) and Jenni (Johnston) because they saved our son's life," Casey's mother, Denise, said in a phone interview from the hospital Wednesday. "They're our heroes forever. He wouldn't be here without them."
Casey was camping with family friends in Cottonwood Canyon, a ravine approximately seven miles south of the Navajo State Park boat ramp on the west side of the lake when the accident occurred.
Pagosan Liz Marchand said she and the kids arrived at the boat ramp about 4 p.m. that evening for a one-night campout. With her, she had her three kids, Austin, 6, twins Maria and Mikaela, 7, her stepdaughter Marissa, 15, her friend, Jenni Johnston, 19, Casey and Ivey, 9.
They arrived at the campsite on the New Mexico side of the lake about 5 p.m. It was a spot where they had camped many times. For the next several hours, they fished, skied, played in the water and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows for dinner. A quick storm sent them scurrying to the tent. However, it passed. About 9:15 p.m., they all called it a night. Although it wasn't raining, lighting and thunder could be heard.
"It was about 9:40 and everyone was asleep," Marchand wrote in an account of the night's details. "I was awakened by a sound unlike anything I had ever heard and yet I knew what it was. I sprang up and as I put my hand on the zipper of the tent door, we were already turning and sliding down to the lake."
Marchand and the two older girls, Jenni and Marissa, got out as the tent collapsed into the lake. The three managed to pull the tent over to the bank, but couldn't pull it out of the water. Marchand was holding on to the tent door and screaming at the others. Ivey, Austin, Maria and Mikaela all managed to climb out and get to higher ground.
"'Casey' I screamed over and over," Marchand wrote. "He wasn't there." She told the older girls they had to keep a grip on the tent and started pulling bedding out to try and find the boy.
"I was frantic and still the water was coming and pushing us further into the lake. I was in over my waist and started taking deep breaths, closing my eyes and going down into the opening of the tent. On the third time, I felt him on the bottom and I was overwhelmed by despair."
Marchand pulled him out and began CPR as soon as she could. The boy's "face and body were covered in sand and mud." He began to throw up lake water.
Marchand said she felt Casey's best chance lay in getting him to the boat ramp. However, their ski boat was out in the lake on the other side of the cove. Marchand turned the CPR over to Jenni and Marissa and used an air mattress she'd pulled from the tent as a raft to get to the boat.
"Debris was everywhere in the water," she wrote. "It was thick with mud and foam and tree limbs."
The boat, also covered in mud, started immediately. Marchand collected the others and headed for a nearby houseboat she'd seen earlier. In the boat, Marissa and Jenni continued to work on Casey.
A Monte Vista family on the houseboat tried to call emergency services on a cell phone with no luck.
"I asked them to take my children so I could get to the marina," Marchand said. The younger ones were cold and wet. She estimated it would take another 15 minutes to get to the boat ramp even though the lake was "like glass." On the way to the ramp, she used a cell phone to call 911 over and over.
"Finally, the time started rolling and as calmly and as quickly as I could, I said I needed an ambulance at the Arboles marina. That we were doing CPR on a 6-year-old. That there was a flash flood. The call was lost. I kept calling back. I didn't know if an ambulance was coming or not."
It was. When Marchand arrived at the ramp, she was met by a pair of first responders. Casey, at that time, was breathing.
"I asked Dave (one of the emergency people on-scene) what time we had gotten to the marina and he said 11:45. I looked at my watch. The crystal was broken and it was filled with lake water. It was stopped at 10:15."
From the boat ramp, the Ignacio ambulance service took Casey to an Air Care Helicopter for a flight to Mercy Medical Center. His parents met him there.
Marchand returned to the houseboat where Priscilla and Ken Burk, and family, had cared for the other children. They were all showered, changed and sleeping.
"I asked her if there were four of them and she said yes," Marchand wrote. "I cried and felt overwhelmed as I touched them and held them and woke them up. I told them how very brave they had been and that I loved them."
An ambulance took Casey from Mercy Medical Center to the airport for a flight on a fixed-wing craft to Denver. Another ambulance transported him from Centennial airport to Children's Hospital.
"He's going to be really upset when he wakes up and realizes he missed all these rides," his mother said.
Although he's still critical, Mudroch said the doctors' prognosis is good. "From everything they say, he will recover, it's just going to be a long recovery."
In the end, how long will be up to the 6-year-old. "He's very strong," Mudroch said. "He's a fighter. Both she and husband, Jim, said they'd like to thank all the emergency personnel involved in transporting Casey to the hospital for their tremendous efforts, as well as their family and friends for the ongoing support.
"We've received an incredible outpouring of support from friends and family across the nation," Denise said. "It's been invaluable. We've had people here with us constantly."
Fire restrictions eased; county bans hold
By Tom Carosello
Effective today, all fire restrictions on San Juan National Forest and San Juan Field Office-Bureau of Land Management lands in southwestern Colorado are rescinded.
According to Forest Service officials, recent monsoon rains have increased moisture content levels in fire fuels across much of the region, thereby lowering the risk of catastrophic wildfire.
"Firefighters have responded to over 440 fires in southwestern Colorado this year, but only nine of those have been human caused," said Mark Lauer, fire management officer for the Forest Service and BLM.
According to Lauer, human-caused fires have burned roughly 38 acres this summer while fires resulting from lightning strikes have torched nearly 6,000 acres.
"We really appreciate how well the public responded to the new fire restriction zones we implemented this year and the care they took when they did build fires," added Lauer.
Despite the lifting of restrictions, officials are still urging people to use caution and common sense when considering campfires within Forest Service boundaries, especially since some areas have received only moderate amounts of rainfall and are still relatively dry.
For instance, the fire danger for the Pagosa Ranger District continues to be described as "very high."
Also, tracts of forest land affected by beetle kill are highly conducive to wildfire, and campfires within such areas should be given special attention or avoided altogether, if possible.
Some additional fire safety tips provided by the Forest Service include:
- Always put out campfires completely every time you leave camp. Pour water on the ashes and stir until there is no smoke and ashes are cool to the touch
- Dispose of cigarette butts in an ashtray or other appropriate container
- Make sure chain saws have working spark arresters, and keep water, a shovel, and fire extinguisher handy when cutting firewood
- Park your vehicle in areas cleared of vegetation, not over dry grasses.
For more information, contact the San Juan Public Lands Center at 247-4874 or the Pagosa Ranger District at 264-2268.
On a related note, according to Chief Warren Grams of the Pagosa Fire Protection District, countywide fire restrictions implemented in late June will continue to be in effect until further notice.
However, Grams indicated he and Sheriff Tom Richards are considering the possibility of easing restrictions as well.
"We have to talk to the commissioners before we can release any restrictions," said Grams, "We'll probably reach a decision during next Tuesday's board meeting."
Three element use tax question ready for November ballot
By Tess Noel Baker
Archuleta County commissioners approved a resolution Tuesday formalizing their decision to submit three "use tax" issues in one ballot question to be decided by voters in this year's Nov. 4 general election.
In addition to outlining the proposed establishment of a 4-percent tax on construction materials, oil and gas production equipment and motor vehicles purchased outside the county's boundaries, for clarity the resolution lists specific examples of items that will not be subject to the tax.
The following are a few of the exemptions listed in the resolution:
- the storage, use or consumption of any tangible personal property which is subject to a retail sales tax
- the storage, use or consumption of any tangible personal property purchased for resale in the county either in its original form or as an ingredient of a manufactured or compounded product, in the regular course of business
- the storage use or consumption of tangible personal property and household effects acquired outside of the county and brought into it by a nonresident acquiring residency
- the storage or use of a motor vehicle if the owner is or was, at the time of purchase, a nonresident of the county and he or she purchased the vehicle outside of the county for use outside the county and actually so used if for a substantial and primary purpose for which it was acquired and he or she registered , titled, and licensed said motor vehicle outside the county
- the storage, use, or consumption of any construction and building materials and motor and other vehicles on which registration is required if a written contract for the purchase thereof was entered into prior to the effective date of the use tax; and
- the storage use, or consumption of any construction and building materials required or made necessary in the performance of any construction contract, bid, let or entered into at any time prior to the effective date of this resolution.
Utilized by several counties in Colorado, "use taxes" are aimed at recouping what is essentially "lost" sales tax revenue resulting from purchases made outside county lines.
If the proposed use tax initiative is approved by voters, the resolution approved this week by the commissioners will call for the county and town of Pagosa Springs to split the resulting net proceeds equally and divert the revenues to projects that will benefit the general public.
Current estimates for such proceeds total approximately $1.6 million in additional tax revenues.
Also included in the resolution is the notion that if the measure passes, the county - acting as the "collection agent" for the bulk of the proposed taxes - will be awarded, as compensation for collection/administration duties, a percentage of the gross revenue generated from the new taxes.
The goal will be to collect the percentage that recovers the cost of performing such duties, but under no circumstances will that amount be allowed to exceed 10 percent of total gross revenue.
In addition, the resolution mandates that 90 percent of the county's net share of funds will be allocated to its Road Capital Improvement Fund while the remaining 10 percent will go to a fund to be known as the "Archuleta County Parks, Recreation and Open Space Fund."
Finally, in conjunction with the resolution, the board recognized an Aug. 15 memo from Mayor Ross Aragon indicating the town board of trustees has decided to allocate 65 percent of its potential share of revenue to "streets, roads and mutually beneficial projects in cooperative efforts with the county."
Of the remaining 35 percent of the town's share, 10 percent is earmarked for trails, parks and recreation while 25 percent will be aimed at "growth related issues and economic development."
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Showers expected to return by weekend
By Tom Carosello
Calm conditions and relatively clear skies have prevailed since some of the heaviest rains of the season swept across Pagosa Country early in the week.
However, a return to the monsoon weather pattern is only a day away, according to the latest forecasts from the National Weather Service.
"The chance for rain will once again jump up significantly, probably to around 40 percent, starting tomorrow," says Chris Cuoco, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"Localized heavy rains should be expected into Friday night, and an even better chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms is predicted for Saturday," added Cuoco.
"Then on Sunday the chance of precipitation drops back down to around 30 percent, and that will fall to around 10 or 20 percent for the beginning of next week."
According to Cuoco, a slight chance for rain is included for today's forecast as clouds are expected to increase throughout the afternoon and into tonight.
High temperatures should range from 75-85, while lows should fall into the mid-50s.
The chance for rain Friday will increase as the day progresses, and widespread showers are predicted by late afternoon. Highs should hover around 80 while lows should dip into the upper 40s.
Saturday's forecast calls for mostly-cloudy skies, a 40-50 percent chance for showers or thunderstorms, highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s.
For Sunday, morning clouds should give way to partly-sunny skies by afternoon. Highs will once again stretch into the 80s; lows are expected to fall into the mid-50s.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday all call for partly-cloudy skies, a slim chance for scattered showers, highs in the upper 70s to mid-80s and lows in the mid-40s to low 50s.
The average high temperature recorded last week at Stevens Field was 79 degrees. The average low for the week was 48. Precipitation totals for the week amounted to approximately six-tenths of an inch.
Although fire restrictions on Forest Service lands have been lifted, the Pagosa Ranger District continues to list the current regional fire danger as "very high." 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 40-70 cubic feet per second through town last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of August 21 is roughly 125 cubic feet per second.
Youth soccer, adult coed volleyball action planned
By Joe Lister Jr.
The Parks and Recreation Youth Soccer League is taking applications for young soccer players, coaches and sponsors, with the deadline for sign-up Aug. 26. Registration forms will be passed out at the public schools Monday or can be picked up at Town Hall. They must be returned to Town Hall by 5 p.m. the following day.
Late registrations will be put on a waiting list.
Adult coed volleyball
We will sponsor an open gym night starting Aug. 25 for all adults wanting to start practice and put their teams together for the 2003 fall season.
Open gym will be in the community center gymnasium at 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Come enjoy the open gym volleyball time.
For more information on soccer or volleyball, call Chris Corcoran, recreation supervisor, at 264-4151, Ext. 232.
The annual GoCo grant applications are due by Sept. 2.
We are in the process of gathering letters of support, projecting costs of full build out, as well as getting cost estimates for a three-phase build out.
Anyone wanting to talk or hear about the application is welcome to call or come by Town Hall and visit with me. We are looking for letters of support from anyone interested in writing the GoCo board. Letters must be delivered to the parks and recreation office at Town Hall before Aug. 28.
We are also still looking for financial backing, so anyone wanting to pledge prior to our grant application, is asked to call 264-4251, Ext. 231.
Free fire wood
There is still some fire wood to be taken off Reservoir Hill. Please contact the parks and recreation office before we close the park Aug. 27.
Men's softball season has come to an end, in one of the most unusual finishes in Pagosa softball history.
The league tournament was extended by the number of rainouts and trying to get teams together to finish championship play, made tournament directors' jobs very difficult.
My hat goes off to Chris Corcoran, to Sue Jones and to the team captains for finishing out the tournament in a very civil and diplomatic way: They flipped a coin to determine the winner of the tournament.
After seeing lightning hit and take out the electricity, the above-mentioned parties decided since teams were starting to break up due to people leaving for college, and working around the rainouts, that it would be decided with the flip of a coin.
Winner of the league coin flip, and thus 2003 tournament champions is Davis Engineering/Paint Connection.
Jann Pitcher Real Estate was second and U Can Afford Landscaping third.
We will never know who would have won the title game, but what we do know is that no matter what happens in future, Men's Competitive Softball League has never finished with the sportsmanship and integrity of the teams of 2003.
Thank you, for your cooperation team captains; we will see you all next year.
Radio Shack defeated JCPRE for the coed league tournament title. Way to go teams; we saw a great improvement in skills and sportsmanship.
Pirate golfers improve through three outings
By Richard Walter
They haven't been winners yet, but the Pagosa Springs High School golf team has let foes know they're a force to be reckoned with this season.
Coach Mark Faber's squad opened the pre-school grind in Durango at the Dalton Ranch course Aug. 13.
Faber said the 16-team field in that tournament "was probably the best field we'll see all season."
And he was therefore quite pleased with his team's 274 total for an eighth-place finish.
The team takes five players to each tournament and uses the best three scores for team totals and placing in competition.
Tom Huckins paced the Pirates on the Dalton layout with a 76 on the par 72 course. It was a finish he was to repeat in each of the following two tournaments.
At Dalton, Ty Faber was second for Pagosa with an 81, Jake Mackensen had a 90, Casey Belarde a 97 and Steven Sellers finished at 99.
Grand Junction's Eric Winder was the top individual finisher, at 68, and Rifle took the team title at 226.
The following day the Pirates were one of 19 teams in a tournament at Durango's Hillcrest course and for some reason "played down to the opposition" Faber said.
"We finished 15th in the field, shooting a 254 on the par 70 course," Faber said. "We seemed unsure of our club selections in a number of instances, and maybe were tired from the competition the day before."
However, he added, "We've been pushing for consistency in practice and we did not get it on this date."
Huckins again paced the Pirates, firing an 80. Ty Faber had 86, Mackensen an 88, and Sellers and Belarde both came sin at 91.
Winder, of Grand Junction, again was the individual winner, taking his third consecutive tournament with an even-par 70.
With a gleam in his eye, Faber got down to discussing the Pagosa Invitational Aug. 15.
First, he said, Sellers and Belarde "really stepped up. It might have been the home course or friends and family in the gallery, but each put on a drive that showed what they can do in the clutch."
Huckins paced Pagosa again with a 79. Sellers improved to an 80 and Belarde brought his score down to 81. Ty Faber, meanwhile, went up to an 84 and Mackensen to an 88.
Overall, Pagosa finished third in the 11-team field on its home course at Pagosa Springs Golf Club.
"Huckins has been a consistent performer and a pleasant addition to the team," the coach said and the surge by Sellers and Belarde holds hope for the future."
Faber has played "up and down" his coach said. "At one point on the tough Dalton layout he was 3 under and on our own course he was in contention at 1 over until seeming to lose his concentration."
The Pagosa tournament for individuals came down to players from Palmer and Palisades tied at 74 and for the first time at Pagosa, a playoff round was necessary.
The two stayed tied through the first three holes before Palisade's finalist won the round on the fourth.
"What a great way to end a very good tournament," said Faber.
Looking ahead, he said "it's time for us to step up our game. We need the consistency shown by Huckins, the progress by Belarde and Sellers to continue, and both Ty and Jake to steady their performances."
Each of them is capable, he said, of being a medalist but they need to put their games onto a consistent performance basis.
"We need to be in the 230s as a team to be fully competitive," the coach said.
And, he added, "There's no reason we can't do it. I'm excited about where we're headed. Our goal is to take a full team to the state playoffs and I have seen no reason why we can't if we just tighten up our play a little."
This team, he said, is improving daily. "Our goal is doable, we're not that far off."
One major benefit of playing at home for the first - and only - time this season, he said, was the number of family members and friends who came out to see the squad perform.
"A home crowd always keys up performers, and maybe we need to find a way to take some of those people on the road with us," he said.
The road is where they'll be from now on.
They were in Delta yesterday and are playing the Montrose invitational today. A scheduled appearance in Cortez has been canceled, so the squad will play the Ridgway course on their way home from the upper Western Slope.
"As long as we're in that area anyway, I thought we ought to take advantage of a chance to play a course we'll see later is the season."
Faber said all of the visiting players and coaches were impressed with the field conditions at Pagosa Springs Golf Club and thanked club management for staging an top-notch tournament.
"We couldn't put this team in action without them," he said. "They let us use the layout free for practice and our invitational is becoming a draw to teams from across the state."
The balance of the Pirates' season has them in Alamosa Sept. 3 (with the junior varsity playing the regularly scheduled varsity tournament in Monte Vista the same date); Kirtland, N.M., Sept. 5; Ridgway Sept. 8; and Crested Butte Sept. 12.
Regionals are Sept. 16 at Desert Hawk in Pueblo and state finals are back in Alamosa Sept. 29 and 30.
Harriers open season at Front Range meet
By Tess Noel Baker
Seven days and counting. That's how long Pagosa's cross country team has to prepare for their first meet of the season.
So far, so good, Head Coach Scott Anderson said. "Practice is going really well. As always, they're a great group of kids."
Eighteen high schoolers are out for the team so far. That includes, on the girls' side, three of five members of last year's sixth-place state team - Emilie Schur, Heather Dahm and Jenna Finney - as well as several new runners.
"We're working on getting faster and better conditioned," Anderson said. For the first time, the team took two days to travel to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument for some preseason team building.
"The goal was basically to get everyone to work together as a cohesive unit - to be supportive of one another," Anderson said. "It was a very successful trip in that aspect."
The distance runners will open their season Aug. 28 in Colorado Springs on the Vineyards Golf Course - also the site of this year's state meet - in a meet sponsored by Harrison High School.
"This is the first time for us to go to this meet," the coach said. "We're very thankful for the opportunity to preview it because we have high expectations. We wanted both sides to see what they would be running on at the end of the year."
From there, the Pirates will return home for the Wolf Creek Invitational Sept. 6 near the ski area. Then it's on to New Mexico for two weeks. The team will compete Sept. 13 in Aztec and Sept. 20 in Shiprock.
They're back to running on Colorado's hills Sept. 27 in Bayfield taking on league and regional competition. The Chicken Creek Ski area near Mancos will be the next stop, Oct. 4.
Postseason competition heats up for the runners Oct. 10 with the league meet in Monte Vista. The regional meet is set for Oct. 18 in Buena Vista. State will be Oct. 25 in Colorado Springs.
Kickers slog their way up Wolf Creek's slope
By Richard Walter
Lightning glinted off the low-hanging clouds and what had, moments before, been a strange mountain stillness was suddenly a Wolf Creek downpour.
For nearly 20 minutes the rain washed down the highway as the Pagosa Springs High School soccer team approached from town.
By the time they arrived Tuesday morning at the Treasure Falls area, the rain had stopped.
And, moments later, the annual Wolf Creek run by the squad had begun.
No more rain, the sun beginning to rise, and a squad of high school athletes beginning a several thousand foot climb to the summit of the roadway.
Truckers heading downhill looked twice as the group chugged upward. One sounded his air horn in salute.
At a spot just above the San Juan Overlook, the team halted for water and a quick stretch, but only briefly. Then Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason had them on the move again, the elusive summit closer with each stride. "Only 27 minutes to here," he said. "We may set a record."
It is more a team-building event than a training gimmick, the coach has said. It is camaraderie, pulling together for a common goal.
"And that," Kurt-Mason said, "is what soccer is all about. Teamwork, enjoyment with a little stress go together to make one player understand another."
And so the team ran, pushing ever closer to the actual first-time confrontation on the playing field with someone other than teammates.
That will come Saturday when they move onto the Golden Peaks Stadium field to host scrimmages with five other high school soccer squads.
Durango and Bayfield will be there. Cortez and Center have pulled out. Kurt-Mason said Kirtland and Bloomfield have been invited as replacements.
After that it will be a scrimmage Tuesday in Aztec and then the naming of the varsity traveling team for the overnight road trip double header the next weekend.
Kurt-Mason expects Bayfield to be tougher this year and the Wolverines gave Pagosa a tough test last year.
As usual, he said, Ridgway will be a contender in the league, but Telluride may have a down year.
Center, as always, is a question mark. Kurt-Mason said the San Luis Valley squad has cancelled all games against out-of-league opponents.
Crested Butte, which upset Pagosa last year in the northern community, will be one of the early tests for the Pirates this year.
Pagosa opens on the road against Colorado Springs Christian in a 4:15 p.m. contest April 29, stays overnight there and plays Manitou Springs at 10 a.m. the following day.
The next weekend will offer another overnighter double exposure for the squad.
They play Crested Butte in Crested Butte at 6 p.m. Sept. 5 and, in a change from the revised schedule announced last week, will stay overnight in the area and play Salida, in Salida, at 1 p.m. Sept. 6.
Kurt-Mason lost a raftload of seniors from last year's playoff squad, but has two of the state leading scorers, Kyle Sanders and Kevin Muirhead, back.
Caleb Forrest returns in goal and Kurt-Mason said both offense and defense have been improving on a daily basis in practice.
One worry is the health of standout defender Ryan Goodenberger who has pulled a groin muscle. He could not make the Wolf Creek Run and is day-to-day in practice.
Several others are nursing bruises and abrasions, but nothing threatening to keep them out of action.
Kurt-Mason said he's reasonably sure who most of the varsity players will be, but several junior varsity players from last year and a couple of newcomers are challenging for positions.
Lady Pirate volleyball team starts season at home Aug. 28
By Karl Isberg
When the Lady Pirate volleyball team takes the court next week, they will put a great Class 3A tradition to the test against one of the toughest schedules in the program's history.
Coming off one of few average seasons during a decade of success, the 2003 team will seek to rise back to the 3A heights with a squad composed primarily of juniors.
The Ladies fought through a difficult season last year with a young team that tied Bayfield for the Intermountain League title. Losses to Bayfield and Centauri at the district tournament, however, ended the year without the expected trip to regionals and the state tourney.
To get back to Denver this season, the Ladies will need to fill spots on defense left empty by graduation, develop productive leaders, stay free of injury, and defeat some formidable opponents, both within the IML and without.
The schedule kicks off with a home match Aug. 28 against 4A Cortez. The two teams have enjoyed a heated rivalry since 1994, trading victories as each produced one powerhouse after another.
William Palmer comes to town Sept. 5. The 5A team from Colorado Springs made its inaugural visit to Pagosa Springs last year and eked out a victory against the Ladies.
Farmington High School is next on the agenda, showing up in Pagosa Springs for a match the next night, Sept. 6. The Ladies were edged out in the tie-breaker of a five-game match at Farmington last year and have a score to even with the Scorpions.
Intermountain League action starts at home Sept. 12 against Monte Vista and continues the next night at home against Centauri. Bayfield visits Sept. 16 for the first match in a home-and-away series against Pagosa.
It is not until Sept. 18 that the Ladies take to the road, making the trek to Kirtland, N.M. for action against the Broncos.
Two days later, on Sept. 20, it's back to the home gym to meet 4A Alamosa in the morning and 4A Montrose in the early afternoon.
Ignacio comes to town Sept. 23 and the home schedule ends Sept. 27 as Durango arrives in Pagosa trying to avenge an embarrassing loss to the Ladies last season in Durango.
From that point on, it's one road trip after another until the end of the regular-season schedule.
First, the Ladies travel to Monte Vista Oct. 2. It's off to Bayfield Oct. 7 then to the Fowler Invitational Tournament Oct. 11. This marks the sixth year the Ladies journey to the plains to meet perennial 2A power Fowler and 3A Lamar - a team that has developed an edgy on-court relationship with Pagosa at Fowler and in regional and state tournament play.
Also at Fowler this year will be 3A La Junta and 4A Fountain-Fort Carson. One other team will likely be added to the tournament roster.
The IML schedule wraps up with road games at Ignacio (Oct. 16) and at Centauri for the traditional end-of-year barn-burner against the Falcons, Oct. 18.
The district tournament will be held at Bayfield this year, Oct. 25. Regional action, with sites yet to be determined, is set for Nov. 1 and the state tournament at Denver is Nov. 7 and 8.
To advance beyond the regular season, the Ladies will need to deal with their IML opponents.
Last season looked at the outset to be Bayfield's year. A senior-laden Bayfield team posted an impressive 13-0 record, defeating Pagosa, at Pagosa, early in the league season. The Lady Pirates brought the flight to a crashing halt, smacking Bayfield at Bayfield, then the Wolverines were defeated by a Centauri team that caught fire at mid-season. Bayfield finished the schedule with two league losses, as did the Lady Pirates.
Bayfield advanced to regional competition, beating the Lady Pirates at the district tournament, but lost out at regionals, finishing the year with an excellent 20-4 record.
Whether Bayfield can compensate for the loss of all of its starters remains to be seen, but the team returns several players who saw spot duty on the varsity last year.
"Bayfield won the junior varsity tournament last year," said Lady Pirate coach Penné Hamilton, "so they have some decent players moving up to their varsity. They also have a very good freshman setter and a good setter can make a big difference. They have a new coach this year; she is young and enthusiastic and I think she'll do a great job for them."
Centauri ended the year as, arguably, the best team in the IML. The Falcons went out to a 7-0 record before Pagosa cruised into La Jara and ended the run. The Falcons got their revenge with a win at Pagosa, then defeated the Ladies at the district tournament in three games to advance to regionals. Like Bayfield, the Falcons failed to advance past the regional tournament.
Centauri, too, lost key players to graduation (seven seniors) but returns a solid core of players and invariably puts an extremely competitive team on the court. If the past is any guide, the Falcons will continue to improve up to post-season play.
"I think Centauri will probably be shorter than they've been for a couple seasons," said Hamilton. "I saw them play at a (summer) tournament at the University of Northern Colorado and they did well. I don't know a whole lot about them at this point, but they're always a contender in the league."
Coach Melanie Taylor returns to the helm at Ignacio and the
Bobcats should respond well to the spicy veteran's energetic style. Last season, the Bobcats lost both regular-season matchs to Pagosa but advanced to the district tournament with typically spirited play. The Bobcats, like Pagosa, tend to schedule non-league opponents from larger programs and the experience, while difficult, seems to serve the team well when it comes time to play teams from the IML.
"I think Ignacio could be the one of the toughest competitors in the league this year," said Hamilton. "They're short, but they have Carol Lee Jefferson back and, if she connects, she can pound the ball."
Monte Vista improved steadily during the past three years, but lost coach Rebekah Harrison. The Pirates finished 9-10 last season, 1-7 in IML play, and gave league opponents a run for their money on several occasions. The team returns valuable players to the court this year and could figure in the race for the league crown and places in post-season tournament action.
"I don't know much yet about Monte," said Hamilton. "It's difficult, though, losing a coach while you're trying to build a successful program. It's hard to be consistent when you're always changing."
On their part, the Ladies ended the 2002 season 12-10 overall and 6-2 in IML play. Last year's team mixed talented, but raw sophomores with several battle-hardened seniors. The youngsters who served at the net return a season smarter and, in some cases, taller. Last year's senior strength in the back court is missing and needs to be replaced if the team is to deal with dramatic changes in the way the sport will be played this year.
Mistake-free ball will be the order of the day for winning teams as Colorado high school volleyball moves to a rally-score format this season.
In rally scoring, every serve produces a point where once a sideout produced only the exchange of serve.
Where, previously, any serve that touched the net resulted in a sideout, this season a serve that hits the net but falls over to the defensive side is in play.
All matches will be decided on the basis of best three of five games, with the first four games played to 25. A fifth game, if necessary, will be to 15. All games must be won by a two-point margin.
Winning teams will have to put a premium on technique and consistency.
Hamilton looks forward to the changes.
"What I've noticed," said the coach now in her 18th year at the helm of the Lady Pirate program, "is it has raised the level of play. And we have to rise to that new level. Our athletes have to commit to rally scoring - commit to every serve, pass and hit. If not, if that intensity is not there on every exchange, it will hurt us."
According to Hamilton, her team "has to try to perfect the game. We need to be darned near perfect in order to win consistently. We need to be the team that forces opponents to be truly perfect in order to compete with us."
The Aug. 28 season opener against Cortez starts with a junior varsity match at 5 p.m.
Pirate gridders are ready for preseason scrimmage
By Tom Carosello
They've been at it for almost two weeks now.
Wind sprints mixed with a little weight lifting. Offensive formations. Defensive formations. Wind sprints.
Screen plays. Option left, option right. Field goals. Punt formation.
More wind sprints.
After opening practice Aug. 11 and lining up across from one another for contact drills during the past week, members of the Pagosa Springs High School varsity football team are undoubtedly anxious for the chance to "exchange pleasantries" with someone other than a fellow teammate.
The Pirates will get that chance Saturday when Head Coach Sean O'Donnell's squad heads south to Farmington for a 6 p.m. scrimmage with Piedra Vista High School.
The Pirates have several key players returning from last year's team that posted an overall record of 8-3 en route to winning a fourth consecutive Intermountain League title and advancing to the final eight in the Class 2A playoffs.
However, the loss of 11 seniors from that squad leaves competition for playing time wide open in a number of areas, and O'Donnell expects Saturday's scrimmage to provide a good indication of who should take the field in the Pirates' home opener against Alamosa Aug. 29.
"We're still looking hard at the offensive and defensive lines and trying to get a feel for who fits where," said O'Donnell, "By Monday I'll have a better idea of how we're going to line up against Alamosa."
One position that is not up for grabs is quarterback. Well-versed senior field general David Kern returns as the starter for the second consecutive year and will direct the Pirate offense.
Another lock is senior wideout Jeremy Caler, a returning starter who will be called upon to lend experience to Pagosa's receiving corps.
The Pirates should also be solid when executing field goals, extra points and kickoffs as sophomore Daniel Aupperle is expected to revive his role as the starting place kicker.
Look for a complete offensive/defensive breakdown of this year's team in the Aug. 28 edition of The SUN.
Precautions advised in use of new track
By Richard Walter
It is nearly done. The final touches need to be added to the pro track at Pagosa Springs High School's Golden Peaks Stadium.
But most of the installation work has been completed.
Lane marking was the last remaining major part of the project and it had been delayed by wet weather until Tuesday.
The rubberized synthetic surface requires very little maintenance, said a spokesman for Fisher Tracks, which installed the track.
Still, a special fence has been erected to keep unwanted elements off the surface.
Specifically banned, because of the damage they can cause to the surface, are roller blades, bicycles, scooters, heavy equipment, cars, four-wheelers, dirt bikes, horses, etc.
Now it might seem that those would be understandably missing, but the installing firm said all have caused damage to tracks in the past.
The surface is constructed to facilitate human runners, not to be battered by sharp hooves or the cant of vehicles making sharp turns.
Construction has been completed in time for the facility to host a six-team soccer scrimmage Saturday, with a special surface being installed to allow players to cross the track to reach the field without damaging the surface with sports cleats.
The installers even prefer that cheerleaders keep off the track surface. A maintenance information sheet provided the school district says:
"Cheerleaders, especially those with and aggressive program, can really wear out areas of the straight away in a short period of time. The resilient surface is not designed for the twisting and turning done by cheerleaders. It is advisable to move them off the track or to provide track protection in the form of mats if they must use it."
Joggers, the contractor said, should be kept off the inside lanes, noting 90 percent of the wear on any track is in lanes 1 and 2. To provide even wear on the track, lanes should be alternated for practice as should be starts, hurdles, hand-offs and distance work.
The track is a major school district investment and is designed to facilitate a growing track program.
Fisher Tracks representatives said some uncommon incidents have caused them to issue warnings about mowing, moving equipment, and parking of ambulances.
"The dragging of bleachers, football benches and other equipment across unprotected surface has resulted in tears and missing pieces, especially at the edges of the surface.
"Lawn mowers have been refueled on track surfaces so as not to spill anything on the grass. Ambulances have been permitted to sit on the track during a game, some leaking transmission fluid. Gasoline and other petroleum products are very harmful to the synthetic surface."
Homecoming parades, too, should be kept off the tracks.
School officials want students and the public alike to enjoy the performances which will take place on the track beginning next year.
And, they ask the help of everyone in keeping the track surface in shape for the athletes it was designed to serve.
PLPOA donation to health
district remains 'tabled'
By Richard Walter
What is meant by 24/7 health care service?
What's the difference between paramedics and EMTs?
What did a former Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors understand it was doing when it agreed to a $50,000 donation over 10 years to the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation?
The answers to these questions and more are as myriad as the number of residents attending the Aug. 14 board meeting.
To set the stage, one must understand the upheavals in health care of the recent year have had a marked impact on board members. Earlier this year, they tabled a motion to continue with the $5,000 annual donations pending a clearer picture of where health care is going in the community.
The issue was on the agenda again last week, immediately after a scheduled presentation by Charles Hawkins, chairman of the Upper San Juan Health Service District board. Seated behind him in the audience was Dee Jackson, the district manager.
Hawkins, himself a resident of Twin Creek Village in the Pagosa Lakes community, began his presentation saying he remembered when the pledge ($50,000 over 10 years) was made.
He said PLPOA and other entities throughout the community were contacted for support and "promised EMTs on site, in quarters, with 24/7 service."
Noting the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation and health service district are separate, distinct entities, he said, "I'm here to let you know we represent a lot of people - more so than the county knows - apparently."
"I'm not here to discuss our decisions; there would be no sense in it. What has been done has been done," he said.
"We are," he added, "at this point well ahead of projections for reorganizing Mary Fisher clinic. There is a new doctor there, Mark Wienpahl is still there and is seeing patients. I meet with him at least once a week and I have offered to rent a portion of the clinic to him for a private practice. (Wienpahl announced his departure from the clinic after the meeting date). The new doctor is working out well; we are getting good results and good reports back."
And, he said, "We will have an overlap around Sept. 1 when a new woman doctor comes on board. Both new doctors will be on hand as locums (working on a temporary basis)."
He said there are indications both would like to move to Pagosa full time and "we'd like that to happen.
"We're only utilizing a small portion of what could be done in the Mary Fisher clinic building," said Hawkins. "There are specialists in Durango willing to come here but who can't afford to rent special facilities. If we lease clinic space to them it would mean more revenue for the district.
"In the long-range planning," he said, "we want Mary Fisher clinic to offer a wide variety of services and keep down the number or routine patient trips to Durango.
"Not discrediting any of the previous staffs," he said, "We had some who would not adapt to change."
"The staff that stayed on, along with new hires," he said, "have put us at full staff in administration and nursing and everyone is working together. We have performed on your behalf and you'll see more performance," he said.
He said EMT service "is extremely fine. There have been and are some procedural problems on both the emergency and clinic staffs, but the state is monitoring what we are doing and we are following its guidelines for where we should be."
PLPOA board president Tom Cruse raised the question of intent by the board which approved the $50,000 donation in 1998. Was it to ensure 24/7 EMT coverage? Or was it to ensure ongoing health care?
Hawkins said it is his understanding the motion was to fund housing for EMTs on site in order to provide 24/7 coverage.
Director Fred Ebeling asked how the present district and former Dr. Mary Fisher clinic are connected, noting it was not the clinic, but Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation which sold shares to the public and to which the PLPOA donations were to be made.
Hawkins said he was a member of the foundation board at the time and it was "the board's opinion we had reached a point where we sought a management company to run the clinic. It was too big and too complicated for a volunteer effort."
It was at that point, he said, "that the district said 'We can do it.'"
Now, he said, the district and Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation are two completely separate entities. "The foundation raises money to promote health care. Each has a separate job. The clinic was sold to the district and it became the role of the district to operate it."
Since shares in the foundation had been sold to the public, said Ebeling, "it would appear the clinic might have unlawfully sold itself to the district. I'm an original stockholder, and to my knowledge no meeting of stockholders was ever called or held to approve such sale."
Director Gerald Smith asked Hawkins when residents can reasonably expect standards for EMTs and physician services to reach 24/7 operation. Hawkins said EMT service is at that level now.
As Smith pressed for more detail, Hawkins said limited on-call physician service is available now. "And by early September, when we have two new doctors serving our residents, we'll be contracting for two days on call. By mid-September, we should have full on-call services.
"It is our intent," he added, "as soon as possible to restore walk-in services on weekends."
Pat Curtis, a former board president, said he was in that position at the time the motion was passed and that the wording "which was read from the minutes, appears to have been in error.
"It wasn't to go to what was then the hospital district," he said. "It was to go to the foundation which would then loan it to the district ... the intent was for the district to have the funds to build."
From the audience, Judy Esterly said her original opposition to the donation was that it should not the role of the association to support efforts of a taxing entity.
"Bill Bright (former district manager) came to the board and asked for $50,000. This conflict is what we got from that."
Next to speak was Dan Keuning, nurse practitioner with the clinic until the recent shakeup and now with Pagosa Family Medicine Clinic.
He noted EMS coverage, which exists, is not the same as paramedic coverage. "It is a different and less complete level of service. And," he argued, "24/7 physician coverage is not currently available from local providers. There are care gaps there," he said.
Nan Rowe, saying, "I don't want to debate recollections, but have a different memory of what was done with the pledge motion," spoke next.
"I was president when the agreement was made and Mr. Curtis followed me. I recall the motion actually was made to fund a structure to house 24/7 EMTs, not to make the district the health service manager."
When Cruse asked if it was considered a loan, she answered, "not to be paid back, but to help provide 24-hour emergency coverage for all residents of the area.
"Because we were the donors on behalf of a huge group of property owners," she said, "we pledged to follow through with a document which carefully considered how the money would be used."
Bohl argued all the data indicate the board (PLPOA) erred in giving funds to the district, not the foundation. "If that were the case," Hawkins agreed, "there may have been misnomer involved, but not lack of intent.
"The foundation provides no medical coverage whatsoever," he said.
Smith, saying "We, too, serve a constituency which wants and demands 24-hour medical services.
"Our people want safety and security," he said. "Medical service means what you (Hawkins) describe as the district's goal. I will not vote for this extension until such time as we see real clear and concrete evidence stability has been achieved."
Maybe, he said, "we should put the fund donation to a motion which reserves payment until proof of ability to provide is established."
Director Pat Payne said, "You're asking our property owners to pay for something they're not getting ... when we can be assured, we will get what was promised, we should vote."
Cruse told the board, "We have to be very careful when we try to understand what a previous board thought they were doing. The fact the hospital district has itself wrapped around 16 axles in different directions is not our worry. An earlier board approved it with concerns and limits."
Ebeling noted "Two former board presidents have told us differing memories of what was intended. Medical service, in my opinion, is not limited EMT service and limited hours.
"I think we should reserve payment until all these issues are straightened out," he said.
Esterly, again from the audience, said, "a valid contract was supposed to have been written and apparently was not. I ask that the board not vote now."
Finally, after it was announced that Bud Brasher, president of the foundation is to meet with the board next month, the directors decided to leave the proposal in 'tabled mode' until we know who is doing what and when."
Ad hoc health survey panel urged for PLPOA
By Richard Walter
Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association was asked last week to form an ad hoc committee to survey quality of health care in the community.
Bobra Schaeper, in a prepared statement to the board of directors said:
"In view of recent upheavals in our health care services, I would like to request the formation of an ad hoc committee to study the health care situation here in terms of adequacy, loss of personnel, credentials of new personnel, and whether our tax dollars are being spent in our best interests.
"Many of the problems we are facing here are also occurring nationwide. I would like to also suggest that we place an invitation in the September newsletter to all members interested in joining this study."
Director Fred Ebeling, noting the health services district encompasses much more than just association subdivisions, said, "I don't think we, as a Pagosa Lakes group, should insert ourselves into the situation."
Director David Bohl said, "Anything the association did using the word 'medical' right now would be debatable and inflammatory."
Director Gerald Smith suggested, "Our constituents would be likely to tar and feather us if we got into this situation."
Finally, director Tom Cruse, board president, asked Schaeper to come back with a more explicit proposal formally noting what constituent opinions would be sought.
"It is not our job to sit as an independent judge," he said. "But it would seem important that the people have a chance to rate their priorities. I want to see what Mrs. Schaeper can put together in a more formal format."
Schaeper, saying "the community is being torn apart by this issue," agreed to submit a more firm proposal.
Dogs, illegal fireworks plaguing Meadows
By Richard Walter
"Are illegal fireworks and roving dogs what we have to live with?"
That question closed a complaint to the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners board of directors Aug. 14 by Mojie Adler of Meadows 4.
Coming at the beginning of the public comments section of the agenda, it followed closely a somewhat encouraging year-to-date report on the operations of the county's new animal control department.
Walt Lukasik, general manager, told the board the totals for the year to Aug. 1, in Pagosa Lakes alone, included 72 reports filed, 50 dogs impounded, 94 verbal warnings, 24 written warnings and 21 summons issued.
"The process is working well; we're very pleased," he said.
Adler, however, brought to the board a story of two dogs roaming her neighborhood, a story they've heard before.
Lukasik confirmed the dogs are there, and one has been picked up several times. In fact, Adler said, "the owners have paid several fines for the dog but keep letting it out.
"The parents say the kids let them out, that they want to play with them," she said.
Director Tom Cruse, board president, said, "I'm getting tired of hearing about those two dogs. They've been on the loose for a long, long time. Have they been declared dangerous dogs?"
He suggested the general manager contact the sheriff's office to seek control of these specific animals while praising the operation, in general, to date.
Animal control officers told The SUN there is no limit in the number of times an animal can be picked up and reclaimed if the court-ordered fine is paid. "If the fine is paid 15 times, the dog will be released to the owners 15 times," one officer said.
According to Adler, Aug. 8 was July 4 revisited in her neighborhood with all the high colorful bursts and explosions to match.
In a time when fire of any kind is prohibited because of drought,
"these fireworks could have started a blaze that burned the entire neighborhood," Adler said.
She said the sheriff's office promised to investigate the source of the fireworks but added she has heard nothing since.
Nurse practitioner to serve inmate health needs
By Tom Carosello
"Stability" was a leading factor in the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners decision Tuesday to opt for a change in the provision of medical services to county jail inmates.
As a result, the Upper San Juan Health Service District will no longer provide such care, and Susan Kuhns, a nurse practitioner charged with the responsibility while formerly employed by the health district, will assume the role.
This week's decision by the commissioners came as a follow up to their Aug. 5 meeting in which Bill Steele, county administrator, told the board the health district was apparently "in default" of the terms of a medical service agreement reached between the two entities in mid-February.
That contract stipulated, among other things, the district "on a weekly scheduled basis ... shall provide scheduled appointments to the inmates of the Archuleta County Jail."
During that meeting, "That has not happened last week, nor the week before that," Steele told the board, "Technically, that is a violation of the contract."
Following that revelation, the board took action to ratify a letter outlining the violation that was sent to Dee Jackson, district manager, and granted Steele's request that he be authorized to begin negotiating a similar agreement with other health care professionals in case the situation could not be resolved within the contract's stipulated 10-day "grace period."
At this week's meeting, after informing the board "it was discovered that the contract had not been executed by the district for this year," Steele presented the commissioners two new proposals for inmate care service for the remainder of the year.
The first proposal was offered from the health district and presented by Jackson, the second was from Kuhns, who was also present.
"My plea is to first of all modify the policies I was given," said Jackson, suggesting a workshop to address the issue, "I want the county to have good medical services."
Citing instances of visits to the jail during which district personnel apparently noticed expired medications and medical equipment "in plain view" of inmates during examinations, Jackson explained that she feels the original agreement with the county conflicted with state law.
Thus the reasons for "not executing" the contract, said Jackson, telling the board that she feels such "conflicts in protocol" have the potential to result in a liability suit.
Additional suggestions in Jackson's proposal for inmate care, listed in an e-mail to Steele read, in part, "It would be up to us as to who is available to do the work," and, "I would like to negotiate coming to the jail every week for appointments. We will accept the ($950 monthly) fee as is, if we can negotiate the time spent at the jail."
Jackson's proposal also included the notions of gender-specific providers and examining inmates "at the clinic with some added security measures if we could work with you."
In response to why she felt inmates should be transported to the clinic on occasion, Jackson responded that "to pull a physician out for two hours" could result in approximately $650 of lost revenue the district might otherwise receive.
"Is there a sizable economic loss to the district at the $950 monthly rate (the contract) had previously been?" asked Commissioner Bill Downey.
"I don't believe it's a total economic loss because it's more of a 'PR'; we want to help the county."
Conversely, Kuhns' proposal suggested she be allowed to revive her role as medical director for the jail in conjunction with Dr. Mark Wienpahl serving as what Kuhns described as the "backup," or "collaborating physician."
While Kuhns acknowledged she had previously discovered some expired medications at the jail, she said none were kept that were expired to the point where they would pose a risk to inmates.
Kuhns also acknowledged the need for an update regarding appropriate protocol for inmate medical service procedures, and indicated Wienpahl "agreed with me that the contract does need to be reworded since it is so specific and I will speak to the jail about this too."
Following a brief review of both proposals, Commissioner Mamie Lynch's motion to enter into a contract with Kuhns for inmate health services - contingent upon proof of proper insurance and evidence of Wienpahl's agreement to serve as collaborating physician - got a "reluctant second" from Downey and carried unanimously.
Lynch's motion also stipulated that the contract be effective through the end of the year and that a new contract for the provision of such service in 2004 be put out to bid in November.
Afterward, Downey explained his reluctance to second the motion, stating, "An individual being responsible for this creates Š a certain amount of instability."
However, "On the flip side, the district itself has shown a fair amount of instability," said Downey.
"I'm a strong supporter of the health district and always have been ... this should not be taken as a lack of support for (the district)," concluded Downey.
Lynch concurred, but citing what she called "a lack of continuity of services" for the jail, "I feel good about where this could go today," said Lynch.
While indicating he is also supportive of the district, Alden Ecker, board chairman told those in attendance, "I too have problems with all of this."
As the year nears its end, "We will be scrutinizing this a lot closer," concluded Ecker.
Habitat is seeking applicants for 13th home in community
By Richard Walter
Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County, with a twelfth home under construction is looking for applicants for the thirteenth.
Karol Novak, director of family nurture for the program, said there are some specific qualifications applicants must have.
First is recognizable need, such as currently residing in a substandard home. Second is a family income below $20,000 annually.
The applicant must have been a resident locally for one year and have children dependent upon them for housing and sustenance.
Habitat will consider those with some outstanding debt if it is justifiable for education, health and limited credit card use for family necessities.
The applicant must have been on the same job for a minimum of six months, and must be able and willing to put at least 500 hours of sweat equity into the construction of their new home.
Applications will become available Sept. 1 at the Department of Social Services office on the north side of Pagosa Springs Town Hall on Hot Springs Boulevard just north of Apache Street. Applications must be returned by noon Sept. 30.
New to the list of qualifications this year, in order to prevent anyone with a criminal record for benefitting, is mandatory clearance of a report by Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Homes constructed in the Habitat program are 1,045 square feet and basically three-bedroom, but expandable to four small bedrooms. The average cost of a home built in the program is $60,000. They are sold to family partners without profit through interest-free mortgages.
With principal, interest and taxes, the homes normally carry payment of $400 per month.
Applicant ability to meet that level will be weighed in the review process of all applications received.
Habitat's credo as it seeks to build a strong, healthy community, is "Not a handout; a hand up."
It works to provide safe and healthy environments for family partner children; works to build self esteem and to enhance the lives of community members through home ownership; and to strengthen the sense of community among all of its members from donors, to volunteers, to family partners as they help build and then occupy the homes.
Portion of N. Pagosa Blvd. closed Aug. 19-22
North Pagosa Boulevard will be closed to all through traffic Aug. 19-22 between the north and south ends of Coronado Circle near Martinez Mountain Estates Unit II.
The closure is necessary so that Archuleta County Road and Bridge Department personnel can replace three culverts at the location.
While the remaining portion of North Pagosa Boulevard will not be affected, it is recommended that residents traveling to and from the Lake Hatcher and Highland areas use County Road 600 (Piedra Road) as an alternate route.
Lake Forest 'settlement' fund
use restriction questioned
By Richard Walter
Some residents of Lake Forest Estates want leftover Fairfield settlement funds totaling about $153,000 to be used exclusively in that subdivision.
Noting similar distributions for Ranch Community and North Village Lake, George Esterly told the board of directors last week the Lake Forest funds should stay in Lake Forest.
The drawback is that the court settlement insists there be 100 percent property owner agreement on how the funds are to be used.
And, a legal counsel's opinion tells the association's board of directors the funds could be used outside the area if full agreement is not reached.
Esterly asked the board to create a committee to survey the entire Lake Forest community on preference for fund use, and disputed the counsel's interpretation of the court order, saying it "requires the funds to be spent in the community (subdivision) only."
The entire discussion stemmed from a letter proposed for mailing to all property owners in the subdivision by Walt Lukasik, association general manager.
Esterly felt the letter is too long, too confusing and would not get great response.
He said he can provide a list of people willing to call others and serve on a committee. "We can contact everyone who lives here and have people calling all those registered property owners who do not," he said.
"There are not many dollars available and no major project could be tackled," he said. "But the funds could be used as a cash equity base for GoCo grants for projects in Lake Forest."
Tom Cruse, board president, said, "In all prior occasions there was no hint of using funds outside the community. Why should this case be any different?"
Director David Bohl said the difference is that the judge, with reference to Lake Forest, required 100 percent agreement on use."
Lukasik was directed to shorten the letter and reintroduce it next month for action.
County OKs plan for Antelope Drive LID
By Tom Carosello
Plans for the potential development of a second local improvement district in the Ranch Community were given approval Tuesday by the Archuleta County Board of Commissioners.
Based on mail survey results presented by Bill Steele, county administrator, a majority (18 of 35) of property owners living along Antelope Drive are in favor of initiating improvement plans for the thoroughfare.
As a result the board adopted a resolution describing the proposed range of work to be performed if the project moves forward.
A second resolution approved by the board set a public hearing for the proposed improvement plan, described as the "Antelope Drive Project," for 7:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in the courthouse meeting room. Total cost for the project is estimated at $227,936.
Last week the board approved similar plans which may serve as the foundation for another local improvement district in the Ranch Community. Cost for that initiative, described as the "Hackamore Place Project," is estimated at roughly $32,500.
A public hearing regarding the Hackamore Place Project is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 23, also in the courthouse meeting room.
If the consensus among the commissioners is to continue with the projects following the public hearings, resolutions authorizing the improvements will be considered by the board.
If the resolutions are approved, all persons who own property on the roads will be required to pay a share of the cost, and lot owners will have the option to pay their portion in one lump sum or in up to five annual installments.
The cost breakdown is a current estimate of $1,442 per lot for 12 lots in the Hackamore plan, and 35 lots at an estimated $3,461 each for the Antelope project.
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 asserted against Fairfield Communities Inc.
However, initiation of the projects will ultimately be contingent upon the proper amount of funding being secured for each.
When the required funds are in place, 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 projects.
Both plans have been in the works since April, when Kathy Holthus, assistant county administrator, first informed the commissioners of the PLPOA's intent to upgrade the roadways.
DUI checkpoint planned Aug. 22
The Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, in conjunction with the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Colorado State Patrol, will conduct a sobriety checkpoint Aug. 22.
Purpose of the checkpoint is to maximize the deterrent effect and increase the perception of "risk of apprehension" for motorists who might operate a vehicle while impaired by alcohol, drugs or both.
The checkpoint will be located in the area of U.S. 160 and County Road 600 (Piedra Road).
New director, staff ready for new year at ACHS
By Tess Noel Baker
It's a new year and a new staff for the Archuleta County High School.
The director, Doug Bowen, can't wait to get started.
"My staff is going to be wonderful," he said. "They are very experienced in alternative education, and I'm looking forward to implementing new programs to better assist Pagosa's youth."
Bowen comes to the high school from the Pagosa Springs public schools where, at various times, he served as a vocational business teacher, high school counselor and a teacher in the junior high day treatment program. He also coached basketball, wrestling and was the advisor for Future Business Leaders of America. In addition to teaching, Bowen holds licenses in securities, life insurance, annuities and is a certified home inspector.
Bowen said his diverse background will be an asset in his new position.
"I left teaching for a few years and missed working with young adults," he said. "This gives me a chance to work with and help a different population of kids than I have worked with in the past."
Besides assuming administrative duties for the school, Bowen, along with three others, will teach.
The school's remaining staff includes: fulltime teacher Mary Ann DeBoer and part-timers Jim Mathison and Lynell Wiggers.
DeBoer returns to teaching after several years of owning a business and working in the mortgage field. She has 10 years of teaching experience, including seven in an alternative high school setting. DeBoer holds bachelor's degrees in environmental education and secondary science education.
Mathison makes the move to daytime teaching from the education center's evening GED program. He has over 30 years of experience working with alternative programs including a stint as the principal of the alternative program at the Cherry Creek School District in Denver. Mathison is also an experienced counselor.
Wiggers has lived in Pagosa Springs for 21 years. Since coming here she has helped run two businesses, served as a substitute teacher, yearbook advisor and Title one/special education paraprofessional for Archuleta County School District 50 Jt. She also worked for Summit Christian Academy. Wiggers has an undergraduate degree in family and consumer science and is working on a master's degree in special education. Besides teaching an elective for the Archuleta County High School, she will coordinate the GED program.
DeBoer said students coming into the Archuleta County High School will notice some changes this year.
"We're shifting our program to an individual curriculum," she said. "The kids will be given work challenging to them at their level, geared toward their interests yet still meeting state standards."
As part of that plan all students must meet with staff prior to the first day of school to design their individual program. Students can't just simply show up on the first day of school, she said.
"What this approach really means is that each kid will be responsible for their own education," she said. "They must accomplish a certain amount of work to receive credit."
Another new requirement will be a reading improvement course for those students who score low on reading on their entrance exams.
Pagosa's alternative high school offers the opportunity for students to earn a high school diploma or a GED. Openings for students for the 2003-04 school year are still available. Anyone interested should contact the Archuleta County Education Center, 264-2835, for more information and an application.
PLPOA adopts new pay scale classification
By Richard Walter
After debating nearly an hour in a pre-meeting workshop Aug. 14, the board of directors for Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association adopted without discussion an eight-classification pay scale chart.
Saying the current staff is "outstanding and above average," director Tom Cruse, board president, added, "we need to make sure there are ways for new employees to work their way up."
Director Dave Bohl had prepared charts indicating probable percentage increases in wage levels by job classification from entry level to position cap.
Workshop discussion centered on whether there would be too much at the bottom and top and too little in the middle in terms of differential between pay grades.
Bohl, arguing for step increases, said they eliminate politics in granting pay hikes because everyone knows what the steps are.
Cruse objected to specific steps, saying raises should be keyed to performance record. "We should, however, be creative in the use of bonuses," he said.
Director Pat Payne argued, "We're a relatively small employer and I see nothing wrong with what we have now."
Director Fred Ebeling noted the organization's operation calls for an employee review at six months, one year, and each year thereafter performance is reviewed. "Steps don't say anyone will get a raise," he added. "Everyone knows what the steps are."
Walt Lukasik, general manager, said high and low levels based on performance exclusively "are fine, but longevity in position is a problem because the longer one is here the more vacation and sick leave eligibility there is."
All have to be factored into the pay status, he said.
Director Hugh Bundy agreed with Cruse. "We need to keep it simple yet design it so our people are paid what they're worth, at every level of experience and performance."
Director Gerald Smith, apologizing for being late to the session, delivered a prepared statement calling for "fair play plans based on comparables to the professions involved and the communities of employment.
"To be equivalent, or comparable, we need the survey data already garnered," he said. "But at the same time, to be fair, and be perceived as fair by our employees (and the community from which we will draw future employees) we need to be logical and most of all consistent; which means document how we come about making decisions regarding placement in the grade or whatever we call it, the band, the range ... and how we decide on merit amounts when raises for merit are bestowed within the range, or band."
He said the association board, before adopting the recommended scales, "needs to include in the package the policy and procedures by which we as a 501-C corporation administer the program. This should be embodied in our personnel policies handbook and made known to all."
The unanimous vote of approval in the regular board meeting gives, in general, specific entry level and cap salaries with percentage increases in between.
They range from entry level of $8.85 per hour for part-time employees with a cap of $12.30 per hour.
Maintenance, secretarial and bookkeeper personnel would have an entry level of $10.24 per hour ($21,300 annually) and a cap of $15.87 per hour ($33,000 annually).
Administrative assistants and inspectors would have an entry level of $12.98 per hour ($27,000 annually) and a cap of $18.27 per hour ($38,000 annually).
All the other positions are salaried, not hourly.
Department managers would have a entry level figure of $16.59 per hour ($34,500 annually) and a cap of $25 per hour ($52,000 annually).
Entry level for accountants would be $17.31 per hour ($36,000 annually) and a cap of $25.48 per hour ($53,000 annually).
The general manager scale would have a $25.96 per hour ($54,000 annually) entry level scale with a cap at $37.50 per hour ($78,000 annually).
Nothing in the new scale would prohibit merit bonuses at the discretion and recommendation of the departmental supervisor, but would require such actions be for exemplary and outstanding services to the organization.
Staff says health district taking positive steps
By Tess Noel Baker
The Upper San Juan Health Service District is doing fine and ahead of schedule in reorganizing the clinic.
That was one of the comments made by Board Chairman Charles Hawkins at the start of the regular Upper San Juan Health Service District meeting Tuesday evening.
Staff reported that the front office positions at the clinic had been filled. District Manager Dee Jackson said four applications for the open radiology technician position had been received; two were scheduled for interviews. A bilingual female physician who has expressed interest in possibly considering a full-time position will be working at the clinic Sept. 2-19. Jackson said she is also talking with a physician and nurse practitioner from Durango who are interested in part-time positions.
To help maintain patient privacy and security for the district, keyless entry has been installed at the clinic. It will also be installed at EMS.
Hawkins said, in addition, an emergency phone has been installed outside of the clinic doors to assist anyone needing medical assistance when the clinic is closed. The phone, which operates in English or Spanish, automatically rings through to Archuleta County Dispatch. At EMS, Operations Manager Kathy Conway said another paramedic could be on board by October.
John Farnsworth, district accountant, said due to the hard work of the temporary physician and staff at the clinic, the numbers from July were actually above projections given to the board last month.
"We hit July 31 with $50,000 more than expected," he said. Still, revenues are down across the board.
According to a list of key indicators presented to the board, patient fees at the clinic are down 47 percent compared to July of 2002. At EMS, ambulance fees are down 29 percent when put against last year's numbers. Meanwhile, Farnsworth said, total expenses are up at both the clinic and EMS.
Insurance and malpractice costs are up substantially, he said. In the past, the insurance status of the district had not been listed correctly with the provider. That, he said, kept costs lower, but was inaccurate.
On the revenue side, he said a slower tourist season combined with the turmoil at the clinic have depressed revenue numbers.
And revenue isn't the only bump in the road.
Emergency Medical Services is undergoing an operations audit and a DEA audit. They've also discovered a waiver filed improperly with the state for a certain emergency procedure.
On-call coverage needs some tweaking - especially during weeknights. The search for permanent doctors, including a local doctor to take over physician advisory duties, will take more time. EMS has lost the employee stationed as a first responder in the Chimney Rock area and is having trouble finding a replacement.
Dan Keuning, nurse practitioner, and Dr. John Piccaro, both of Pagosa Family Medicine Center, a private family practice, raised concerns about the quality of the locum doctors and the backup available for EMS with no doctors on call at times. There was some discussion regarding the job of the EMS physician advisor - now located in Cortez.
Conway said the district was in an unusual position in the past in that the physician advisor was a local doctor and available to answer questions when the EMTs were out with a patient. Actually, she said, the traditional role of the physician advisor is more along the lines of quality assurance. The advisor reviews trip sheets, writes protocols, updates training and other like duties. Advising EMTs with a patient is left up to the patient's doctor or an on-call physician.
Currently, EMS relies on local doctors, weekend locums and Mercy Medical Center to answer questions when needed.
Items expected on the district's agenda for the coming months include: a new vision statement, review of job description and customer service survey and training for clinic employees.
Dr. Mark Wienpahl will forgo new private practice, joins local physicians
By Tess Noel Baker
After being given the option to stay or go, Dr. Mark Wienpahl is leaving the Upper San Juan Health Service District to join Pagosa Family Medicine Center.
"I feel my patients will get the best care at this time at the Pagosa Family Medicine Center," he said. "We have always maintained close collaboration, sharing calls, to some extent sharing patients who have gone back and forth. We are all three family practice-trained with very similar residencies. Dr. (Jim) Pruitt and I have both been here longer than 20 years and over time have gotten closer and closer together."
Wienpahl is the last member of the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center's former staff to leave the clinic. He, along with all of the other clinic employees, turned in their resignations in April, stating that the district board had turned a blind eye to management problems too long.
After several months of negotiation, the district board rejected a plan that would have kept Wienpahl and two other providers at the clinic in a private setting in favor of restructuring the clinic all together. Wienpahl was invited by the district board to stay.
Wienpahl said he also considered opening his own practice. In the end, he said, it was too much of a long-term financial commitment. In addition, he said, he felt his patients would be best served by working in cooperation with other local physicians.
"I've worked hard to foster cooperation among providers and clinics here," he said. "At this time, I feel I can best take care of my patients in that setting given the current direction of the health district."
Wienpahl will make the transition in the next month, joining Pruitt, Dr. John Piccaro, and nurse practitioner Dan Keuning.
Piccaro said the center hopes to add one more physician by the fall, a situation that would allow them to provide 24/7 on-call coverage for their patients.
Blood draw set Aug. 28 in Pagosa
United Blood Services will conduct a blood draw 1-6 p.m. Aug. 28 at Community United Methodist Church of Pagosa Springs, 434 Lewis St.
Identification is required of all donors and you can sign up for blood drives online at www. unitedbloodservices.org.
United Blood Services is your community blood center for the Four Corners and is headquartered at 146 Sawyer St., Durango.
'Cold snap' a prelude to fall fishing season
By Tom Carosello
Pagosa Country fisheries got a break from the heat last week as monsoon rains and nighttime temperatures that fell into the upper 30s combined to lower water temperatures in area streams, rivers and reservoirs.
Although the hours near dawn and dusk may have felt more like mid-September than mid-August to many anglers over the weekend, occasional summer "cold snaps" serve as a reminder of what can be expected with the approach of the fall fishing season.
While sustained lower temperatures result in sporadic catches of warm-water species such as bass and sunfish, cooler water boosts activity levels among trout and other cold-water species.
Autumn is especially significant for three resident species of cold-water fish; it is the preferred spawning season for brook trout, kokanee salmon, and brown trout.
During the spawn - which usually runs through late October - large brook and brown trout become extremely territorial and will strike a spinner, jig or streamer simply because it has entered their home turf.
Though the spawning season is still several weeks away, anglers should begin scouting now for habitat that may provide the chance to hook up with some of the year's biggest browns and brookies.
The following is a breakdown of conditions at some regional fishing hotspots:
- Navajo Reservoir - Surface level is listed at an elevation of 6,003 feet and dropping. Four-wheel drive vehicles are recommended for boat launching at Navajo State Park. Water temperature is in the 70s. Catfish are being taken during the night on blood/stink baits. Fishing for smallmouths, largemouths crappie and northern pike is reported as fair.
- San Juan River (through town) - Flows are averaging about 45-55 cubic feet per second but will spike with runoff. River is often running off color due to afternoon rains, but anglers using spinners, streamers, salmon eggs and flies are reporting decent catches of rainbow trout.
- Echo Lake - Lake is clear and rising slightly due to runoff. Largemouth bass, crappie, small sunfish and perch are being taken on live bait, ultralight jigs and small plastics. Some anglers are catching catfish after dark using nightcrawlers. Trout are active early and late, hitting flies, flashy spinners, salmon eggs, worms, and PowerBait.
- Williams Creek Reservoir - Anglers seeking rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout are reporting fair action with live bait, PowerBait, surface flies, streamers, small marabou jigs and metallic spinners. Kokanee fishing continues to be slow.
- Big Meadows Reservoir - Fishing is good near the creek inlets and fair 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 - Has been murky due to runoff, but is fishing OK when the water clears. 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, with small browns and rainbows occasionally being taken on flies and small jigs and spinners.
- Fourmile Creek - May be off color depending on rains, but brookies and cutthroats are taking attractor-pattern flies and lightweight spinners in the upper sections. A few rainbows and browns are being caught in the lower portion.
- Williams Creek - Hike-in fishing along isolated 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 farther downstream.
West Nile case confirmed in La Plata County
By Paige Newman
Special to The SUN
San Juan Basin Health Department reported Aug. 18 that a 27-year-old male is the first confirmed case of West Nile infection in a La Plata county resident.
Additionally, a visitor from the Denver area was recently diagnosed with West Nile infection in Durango, but it is believed that the individual contracted the illness somewhere on the Front Range.
Four out of five people who contract West Nile never experience any illness. Those who develop West Nile usually experience a sudden fever accompanied by any of the following: headache, fatigue, lack of appetite, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and eye pain.
Individuals with mild symptoms usually begin to improve within three to six days of onset. However, people with concerns about symptoms should contact their physician.
For more information, call the Infoline at 385-INFO, Ext. 2260 or San Juan Basin Health Department at 247-5702.
Continue to pray
Well I have gone full circle, since first arriving here in 1987.
It was that year that I wrote my first letter to the editor of a very liberal rag most of us affectionately referred to as the "Mountain Cry Baby." My letter was in response to an editorial that had been written, complaining about a prayer of blessing offered at a Pagosa Springs High School sports banquet.
It seems that public officials, liberal lawyers and politicians continue to take the cowardly approach to the so called "separation clause" of the First Amendment. Let me once again quote this Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or the prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or prohibiting the freedom of speech."
Separation, church and state do not appear anywhere in the constitution. Those words, having been repeated often enough in the last 30 years only, were actually written 13 years after the Constitutional Convention by a sitting president who was in fact never part of that convention, who was in fact, ambassador to France at the time the convention was in session; Thomas Jefferson, writing a response to a letter he had received from a group of Danbury Connecticut Baptists who had heard a rumor that the state legislature was going to make the Congregationalist denomination the state religion.
His response, quoting one of the early Baptist founders, was that there was a "high wall of separation, that separated the garden of the church from the wilderness of the world," but that it was a one directional wall only, protecting the church from the world. There would be no state sponsored denomination.
Though not a conventioneer, Jefferson nevertheless understood the original intention the founders had, was in never again allowing government to establish a "state religion," understood to mean a "state denomination" as had been the case under the heavy hand of the English Parliament and King. Forty-eight of the 52 founding fathers were orthodox in their Christianity and by the overwhelming volume of their writings were in fact, creating the first Christian Constitutional Republic, warning us that if we ever ceased remembering and giving thanks to the "God, who orders the destinies of nations," that our republic, our liberties and prosperity, would soon cease to exist.
To the seniors at Pagosa Springs Community Center, you continue to pray, even if you are the last who believe. You paid for that right with your service to our country, your devotion to your God and your love for freedom. Ms. Evans should be applauded for her standing up to the bullies. "No king but King Jesus."
On Aug. 14, health district board chairman Charles Hawkins addressed the PLPOA Board of Directors regarding the status of health care in the district. In response to a direct question by a board member regarding status of 24/7 ambulance service, Chairman Hawkins said there is 24/7 coverage, there are four ambulances and crews for those ambulances.
Fast forward three days to Sunday, Aug. 17. In the early evening an ambulance call is made to send an ambulance to a scene where a man has fallen, cut his head and is bleeding. A deputy goes to the scene. One ambulance, with a crew, is on the way to Durango. A page goes out for another ambulance and nobody responds.
Several minutes later a unit calls dispatch to see if anyone had responded to the page; dispatch says no. Shortly thereafter an ambulance rolls to the scene with a crew of one, not the required three.
Sometime later a request is made to have the deputy drive the ambulance with the patient to Pagosa Family Medicine. The ambulance and the EMT later returned the deputy to his vehicle at the scene of the accident.
Certainly, two ambulances, one with a one-man crew, could hardly be called 24/7 coverage. What would have happened if a third or fourth call had come during this time?
When a board member is questioned on the status of health care in the district, I think the public deserves an honest appraisal, painful as it may be, of where we are rather than getting sugar coated stories of where we would like to be.
Benefit of love
My wife, Jayebird, is the love of my life.
We have been married for over 30 years and have had many ups and downs. There has been much joy - and unfortunately - much sorrow. Our dear son, Tait, was autistic and had severe renal problems.
Jayebird's biggest challenge in life at that time was taking care of our hyperactive bundle of trouble for over two decades. Tait gave us a great deal of joy, and of course his condition was the source of much frustration and anguish.
Jaye never questioned her role as his mother and accepted her difficult duties with pride and determination. Tait died seven years ago, just weeks after his 23rd birthday. The experts had told us he would not live to be 12. Jaye never believed them and was a pillar of strength for both son and husband.
We have lived in many interesting places, but the one locale that is dearest to Jaye's heart is the isle of Maui. Life in paradise was a dream for us and, in her heart, she is still merrily dancing, kicking sand on the beach and smiling the salty air. Of course we lived off the beaten path "upcountry" above Makawao. We would gaze down at the majestic blue Pacific and breathe in the scent of the towering eucalyptus trees and the fragrant hibiscus blooms. Alas, our son needed us, so at her insistence, we gave up the dreamland called Hawaii and reluctantly moved back to the mainland. Jaye unselfishly sacrificed paradise for the sake of our son.
Jayebird is a very mysterious woman. Some people in Pagosa question her very existence as though she were a figment of my romantic imagination. She may be an enigma and somewhat reclusive, but I assure you that she is real. In fact, she is the most "real" human being I have ever met.
You can imagine the terror I felt when I found out she had experienced a heart attack. That Saturday night I had been playing a gig out of town. At two in the morning, after hearing the news, I rushed to Durango to be by her side. On Sunday they flew her to the Heart Hospital in Albuquerque where she had open-heart surgery on Monday morning. A surgeon replaced her congenitally defective aortic valve without a hitch - an operation exceedingly more expensive than the "valve jobs" I've had on my Harleys.
Now we have been informed than many of our wonderful Pagosa friends are staging a benefit for the Bird Aug. 23 at the 19th Hole Club. This outpouring of love and compassion is greatly appreciated by Jayebird and me and has deeply moved us. We hope to see all of you there where we can personally thank each and every one of you for your boundless love and compassion.
Jaye's heart (with the brand new valve) is soaring.
The Aspen Springs Metro District is considering building a central water system. The engineer report estimates a cost of $20 million to provide water to all 2,800 lots. The proposed bond would take 20 years to repay with an approximately $600 yearly assessment per lot. There are approximately 400 improved lots in the entire six-unit subdivision that would be the initial customer base.
Simple math tells us this will cost $50,000 per customer to build this system. I have never seen an engineer preliminary report that didn't end up costing much more when the project was built, so the $20 million may not be accurate to begin with.
The water source will be from deep-water wells but the project engineer states in his report that "in his opinion there is not enough water available."
Most of the property owners will not be allowed to vote on this issue, only registered voters who live in the precinct so approximately 700 voters will decide this issue for the approximate 2000 property owners. A lot of these owners will not or cannot pay this assessment so there will be many of these lots ending up on county held tax liens paying no school tax or other much needed tax revenue.
I want water piped to my house, as much as anyone does, but this water system is not feasible for Aspen Springs at this time. When the customer base is large enough to support this project with a reasonable special assessment, I will support this project but not now.
There has been a citizens advisory committee formed to help the directors and citizens transfer information, but unfortunately, they decided to not make their phone numbers public so I don't know how effective they will be if you cannot contact them. I am on this committee representing Unit 5, and also own property in Units 4 and 6. I welcome your comments, both pro and con and questions if you own property in these units or in Aspen Springs and will pass these on to the directors. Please e-mail if possible. The best way to make your opinion known is to come to the metro board meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. This proposal will cost a lot of money and you will be the payers so get involved.
Jerry L. Evans
Primarily the major lakes in the Pagosa Lakes development are water storage reservoirs for providing raw water when needed: such as in the drought conditions we are currently experiencing.
The purpose and function of a reservoir is to be drawn down when its stored water is needed. This is what is occurring in Village Lake, which is an irrigation reservoir and not a basic part of the domestic water reservoir system.
Village Lake residents are complaining about the low water level and urging pumping of water from the San Juan River into it.
The cost of such pumping is significant. The several thousand domestic water customers of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District should not bear the cost of pumping water into Village Lake for the aesthetic desires of the relatively few people who live on that lake.
If the irrigation users wish to pay for pumping into Village Lake, all well and good; but sticking that cost to the majority of the domestic water users is not equitable.
An alternative would be for residents who want water pumped into Village Lake to form a Public Improvement District for the purpose of lake maintenance as provided for in Colorado Statutes section 30-20-501 et seq.
Sincerely in fairness,
Fred A. Ebeling
A note to Mr. Rhoton of Amarillo Texas:
You asked in your letter if anyone cares about the decent responsible citizens who want to come and enjoy the San Juan Forest.
Yes, of course we do, and that is why we are so very glad you're not coming.
Your letter indicates a complete, selfish ignorance of the dangers of forest fires which wouldn't destroy your home but ours. Lightning strikes didn't start the Hayman fire, a "responsible" forest service worker did.
Lighting didn't start the Missionary Ridge fire; a "responsible" motorist with a cigarette did. Please Sir, go somewhere else, we will all feel safer.
Amendment 1 of our Constitution says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to reasonably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
The seniors were peacefully assembled at the senior center, they are in the process of having their free exercise of religion prohibited, and their freedom of speech is also in the process of being abridged.
The county officials should not only ignore the tyrannical Nazis behind this, they should sue the ACLU for violation of the RICOH act (terrorism), harassment, breaching the Constitution without legal amendment, and interfering with county business - and send them the bill. Our property tax should not be going to support these criminals. Our Constitution is the "higher legal authority," not some bureaucrat with ulterior motives who can't/won't work and who is influenced by the ACLU.
Judge Roy Moore, along with the rest of America's true judges, should also put a copy of the American Constitution on the courthouse walls. This should likewise be done in public schools. Is he the only public official who backs his promise to uphold and defend the Constitution. If so, all the rest are in contempt of our country and are not doing their jobs.
There is no such thing as violating the separation of Church and State because such doctrine exists only to those who can't stand the Constitution and, therefore, America.
No praying in public thoroughfares or on public land unless you're a Muslim terrorist, they say.
Our wonderful Senior Center is open to all individuals whatever their nationality or religion. I have been traveling for almost four years and have visited many Senior Centers across the country. I think Pagosa's is one of the five best in the nation.
However, I have not visited one senior center that prays before meals (even Durango). The Pagosa Senior Center, out of respect for differing religious beliefs, has substituted a moment of silence before lunch instead of a Christian prayer. They are to be congratulated for making this tough decision.
The center is respecting the rights of others to pray (or not pray) as they see fit. By having only a Christian prayer before lunch, we discount people who believe differently. Christians make up only one-third of the worlds religions. What about Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, etc. who are also U.S. citizens?
Let us respect the diversity that makes this country great, allow room for differing opinions, realize that one's religious beliefs are not the only ones, and most of all, not force them on others. After all, that is the Christian way.
By the way, the senior center operates in a government facility. What happened to separation of church and state?
Plan for future
Thank you so much for responding to the two letters concerning the Pagosa Lakes water issues. We noticed that these were the only two letters that received an editorial comment in the Aug. 7 issue of the Sun. (This must indicate that it is an important issue for this community.)
Those citizens in attendance at the July 22 PAWS meeting, heard the assistant general manager announce an estimated $600,000 surplus of funds from the Vista Waste Water Project. In his presentation, he described that this surplus presented a real opportunity to reuse every drop of water available in this community.
Now is the time to plan for the future and the growth that lies ahead for this wonderful community. Unfortunately, the district general manager and the PAWS board, voted against proceeding with a "Gray Water Project" at this time.
We would like to congratulate Gene Tautges for his forward planning and futuristic thinking. Gene suggested, that to proceed with this endeavor now would realize a substantial savings because the manpower and equipment are already on site. We need more of this kind of future planning. Let's avoid the familiar dance of "one step forward, two steps back."
This $600,000 surplus is more than "seed money" to begin the "Gray Water Project." This kind of project would benefit Pagosa Springs a hundred fold. Gene Š don't stop presenting these opportunities for our community. We are behind you!
John and Teri Hoehn
Editor's note: It is incorrect to assume an editor's note to a letter confers on its content some sort of legitimacy or recognizes any degree of importance to the community at-large. Editor's notes are most often attached to letters in response to possible inaccuracies or omissions.
After attending the Aspen Springs board meeting on Aug. 11 and hearing what the board had to say about the water issue, I am alarmed and concerned about the direction some of the board members are trying to push on Aspen Springs landowners, in the form of a $20 million bond. There are under 400 homes that would benefit from the bond, yet every lot owner would have to pay $600 or more a year for 20 years, with no guarantee of water; ridiculous!
A couple of facts really put a burr under my saddle:
No. 1) To ever consider a $20 million bond at the time goes against the recommendations of the engineers reports in the Harris water engineers memorandum of Jan. 3, last sentence of the second paragraph, and I quote, "The major assumption is that enough wells can be drilled to serve the entire Aspen Springs need which will probably not be possible;" also a Harris Report titled, "Central Domestic Water Supply Project Preliminary Engineering Report" in Chapter VII titled Recommendations:
No. 2) "Drill at least one deep well to test quantity and quality."
At the board meeting Aug. 11 I made a suggestion to drill a test well and use it as a pump station. This would accomplish the test results Harris suggested and if in fact the water were good enough, would pay for the well.
One board member had the common sense to propose a second bond issue, a small mill levy for two years to pay for the test and/or pump station, and possibly help fund additional wells.
Wow, what a good way to start out.
I urge every Aspen Springs property owner to attend monthly meetings at the metro building. First Tuesday of the month, the advisory committee. Second Tuesday of the month, the metro board meeting.
Fill out and return your survey sheets by Sept. 1.
Vote, vote, vote on the bond issues but be careful and understand what you are voting for.
The recently completed set of bookmarks created by local artists for the benefit of our library are a real tribute to the community of Pagosa Springs.
Not only do they depict many beautiful aspects of our local community, but they also are a tribute to the many contributors who care enough about our library and the citizens of Pagosa Springs to support the expansion program.
In addition to being works of art and collectors items, they make wonderful gifts that can be included in letters, thank you cards, gift books, etc. They are an inexpensive way to promote our community while really benefiting the library expansion program. I would urge everyone to take advantage of these small but elegant works of art if they have already not done so.
In reading of the problems at the senior center, I understand a law suit may be in the works.
Why go to that trouble and expense when a simple vote could handle the so called problem?
Simply set a date and time and have all those members of the senior group show up and vote. I have always believed in "the majority rules" method.
One side wins, and life goes on until time for another vote.
I firmly believe that if it's not broken, do not fix it. Grace before meals has been around for hundreds of years. If you don't like to hear it, don't listen. People have also been tuning out words for hundreds of years as well.
Mary Lou Sprowle
I am saddened that the very public conflict and unrest within the health service district has apparently brought additional personal distress to one of our most selfless workers, Dr. Bob Brown. Here are the facts as I see them.
Dr. Brown has a personal struggle that many of us face, or deal with within our families. This is inappropriate substance use. Whether it relates to alcohol or drugs, or even to food, as in an eating disorder, the issue can last for years. It is often best dealt with, in part, "One Day At A Time." Often, it is most difficult to really confront the issue until one falls over the line.
So, last fall, Dr. Brown admitted he had a problem. He accepted and shouldered the personal disgrace and sought help and treatment. Through sacrifice and soul searching and expense, he has done well with it.
Dr. Brown hurt no one but himself and his family by his actions, as far as I know. We at the clinic never observed him under any influence. We never saw one bit of evidence that his personal actions interfered with his medical care of his patients. He did what he did on his own time.
None of this is offered as any excuse for Dr. Brown's actions. Physicians hold a highly responsible role in the community; we must be diligent to earn your trust and respect. But we are also human and have personal lives. The stress can be high, and has been higher than usual in this past year.
It is my understanding that charges such as have been brought here are unusual in a case such as this, where no apparent damage, other than personal to himself, has been caused. Dr. Brown has dealt with his issue in the manner prescribed by the state licensing and examining authorities. I fail to see how criminal action against him will benefit our community or any individual.
Dr. Brown is an excellent physician whom I greatly respect. I have taken my children to him and would do so again without hesitation. I sincerely thank Dr. Brown for the quiet contribution of all his reliable hard work of the highest quality given this community. I hope he can give more, as he would so like to do.
Dr. Brown has advised me he would be happy to discuss this issue on a personal basis with any friends or patients.
Mark Wienpahl, M.D.
Beautiful weather means a great picnic
By Laura Bedard
Our picnic in the park was successful again.
We had beautiful weather, great food and a small water gun fight, and I'm pleased to announce that Musetta won the wet T-shirt contest (Stella nailed her with a gallon of ice water down her back).
We want to give a big thank you to Shirley Graboff for donating a beautiful piano to the senior center. We also want to thank Les Fitzgerald, Jack Payne, Charlie Walls and Dan Wollenweber for moving the piano.
I want to correct an error made in last week's Senior News. We have two new talks in September on physical therapy and fall prevention, and guided meditation. I stated they were happening in August, but the talk on fall prevention is Sept. 24 and Darcy's guided meditation is Sept. 23.
Tomorrow, we are pleased to have Phyllis Decker from the Forest Service talk about "Wonders on the Wing - Migratory Song Birds." Phyllis will speak at 12:45, after lunch. We were scheduled to have a talk about volcanoes, but that will happen Sept. 22.
That isn't all the excitement scheduled Aug. 22. We are also pleased to have our own Bill Downy here for lunch, to regale us with cowboy poetry, and some of it is his own creation. Come hear some commissioner cowboy crooning during lunch.
There is a Healthy Aging and Wellness Fair at the Durango Senior Center Aug. 22 as well. It goes 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with over 20 exhibitors offering health screenings, financial planning, legal, medical and educational information. There are door prizes and live entertainment. Check it out.
The OIB program (Older Individuals who are Blind) is a service offered through the Southwest Center for Independence that allows severely sight-impaired and blind seniors to retain their independence. They go into the home of individuals and assess the need for adaptive equipment, mobility training, home modifications and peer support. They have applications for free services with the Colorado Talking Book Library, handicapped parking and directory assistance.
The goals they help these people set and obtain include communication, consumer and legal rights, daily living and self-care, education and training, employment, equipment/assistance devices, finances/benefits, health care and nutrition, housing mobility, personal assistance, self-help and personal growth, social recreation and transportation.
While they don't provide all of these services, they can help set them up in conjunction with other agencies. Many services are available through our senior center. For more information, call Mary Kay Taylor at the SW Center for Independence in Durango at 259-1672. Mary Kay will also give a talk at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center Sept. 3 at 12:45 p.m.
We at the senior center would like your help. If you bring in your used printer ink cartridges to us, we can receive a package of paper from Office Depot. Any printer ink cartridges will work - please drop them off at the senior center office.
Visitors and guests
It was a treat to see Loretta Hildebrandt today, especially since she keeps a good eye on Windell. We also got to see Steve Kish, Helen Miller, Bob Mason, Ernie and Viola Pitschell, Ray and Char Revel, Fran Shelton and the Tiptons. We also fed Judy Wood, Charlie and Juanita Wall and Terry and Anita Torres.
At our picnic, we got to see Andrea Allen, Donna Cooper, Wendell and Sue Deen, Les and Gloria Hurth, Glenn and Justine Nissen, Carl and Joan Quimby and Jim Pearson. We were also pleased to see Raymond and Patsy Wegner and Doris Kamrath brought her daughter, Susan.
Friday- 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m. Medicare counseling, blood pressure check; noon, cowboy poetry by Bill Downey; 12:45 p.m. Wonders of the Wing - Migratory Song Birds, Phyllis Decker
Aug. 25- 1 p.m. bridge for fun
Aug. 26- 9:30 a.m. yoga; 10:30 a.m. advanced computer class
Aug. 27- 10:30 a.m. beginning computer class; 1 p.m. line dancing class
Aug. 29- 10 a.m. Qi Gong; 11 a.m, Medicare counseling; noon, Jack Hanson Trio will play for lunch and ice cream social and sing along; 12:45 p.m. senior board meeting; noon, celebrate birthdays, Spirit Day - wear your T-shirt.
Aug. 22 - country baked steak, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, whole wheat roll, and peaches/ice cream
Aug. 25 - pasta primavera, tossed salad, whole wheat onion roll and blueberry cobbler
Aug. 26 - chicken/noodles, vegetable medley, biscuit and plums
Aug. 27 - chef's salad with turkey and cheese, cauliflower, muffin and apricots
Aug. 29- green chili stew, stewed tomatoes, crackers, fresh orange and gingerbread.
DD214 called a veteran's most valuable document
By Andy Fautheree
One of the most important documents a veteran needs for VA benefits is the DD214.
This is the form you received when you were discharged from the military.
No, not the fancy Honorable Discharge certificate. That certificate and $1 will probably get you a cup of coffee somewhere, and it's nice to frame and hang on your living room wall.
But it won't qualify you for VA benefits.
If you were in the service after WW II it is typically Form DD214 down in the lower left hand corner. But I have also seen it at the top of the form. It has changed in format many times over the years, but it is still called DD214.
If you were in the service during and prior to WW II, it is frequently called 53-55. Sometime after WW II it was changed to DD214 and has remained the same form every since, regardless of which branch of service you were in.
The DD214 contains most of the essential information about your military service. It tells when you entered active duty and were discharged from active duty, your military service number, date of birth, where you served, wartime records, medals and ribbons, and type of discharge.
In many cases there are two types of DD214s. One type is the full document, "undeleted" version, which shows the type of discharge you received, i.e., Honorable Discharge, Discharge Under Honorable Conditions, Bad Conduct Discharge, etc. There is also a deleted version that shows all the information as mentioned above, except it does not show the reason for discharge.
For obvious reasons a veteran may want to use a "deleted" version if they have a less than honorable discharge. And, that is the veteran's right under the Privacy of Information laws.
Veterans discharged in recent years were often given both kinds of DD214 upon their separation from active duty. It is their choice, which one they use to establish veteran status or apply for VA benefits. However, many VA benefits are not available if the veteran was discharged for bad conduct or other types of service.
Suppose you have lost your original? In most cases we can send back to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis with a simple request form SF-180 and obtain a certified copy of your discharge record. We can request an "undeleted" or "deleted" version of the DD214. The request must be made by the veteran himself, or in the case of a deceased veteran, by next of kin. If the veteran is unable to write or is otherwise incapacitated, a simple witnessed mark is sufficient in most cases.
There was a fire at the NPRC in St. Louis in 1973 that destroyed many military personnel records. In those cases NPRC will make all attempts to obtain military service information from other sources, and will issue a NA Form 13038 that will serve as verification of military service. All documents issued by NPRC have the official stamp as an original document, and is satisfactory for all uses that require a DD214 or equivalent.
A certified copy of the DD214 is not required for many VA related benefits, such as VA health care. However, a certified copy or original is required by Social Security when applying for retirement, or other benefits.
When applying for benefits at this office, I like to work with the original DD214 if possible. Often veterans bring in a very poor photocopy that is faded, yellowed, and many years old, that makes it difficult to obtain a clear copy for VA purposes. Every time a copy of a copy is made, the quality gets worse. I urge veterans to safeguard their DD214 and work from the original if at all possible.
Another service this office will perform for veterans is to register the DD214 with the county clerk's office. If the original is ever lost, a copy can be obtained from the clerk's office. If the clerk's office made their recording from the original DD214, they can certify the copy. However, if the copy of the DD214 was only a photocopy, they cannot certify it, only print it out as a copy. This is certainly another important reason to use the original DD214 when possible.
There is no charge for recording DD214s by the county clerk's office. This is a no fee service prescribed by Colorado state law.
For information on these and other veterans benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the Archuleta County Courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is afautheree@ archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 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.
Auction for the Animals moves to new venue
By Sally Hameister
The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs invites you to attend the ninth annual Auction for the Animals Friday night at a brand new venue: the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.
This is always a terrific event and one of those great opportunities to see everyone and catch up with folks you may not have seen for awhile. The silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m. and ends at 7:30. A live auction begins at 7:45 and continues as long as need be.
Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Humane Society Thrift Store, the Chamber of Commerce, WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Co. and Moonlight Books and Gallery. Purchase them before Friday night because you will pay $25 as opposed to the $30 at the door for those who intend to drink wine and/or beer. For those who won't be drinking, pre-event purchase price is $15 and $17 at the door.
You can always count on some awesome items up for bid, and this year is certainly no exception. How about a Weber Genesis Gas BBQ donated by Ponderosa Do-It-Best, a Chinese gold panda pendant with matching earrings designed by Summer Phillips or a Level One weekend clinic with kit from Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship. For those of you who collect sports memorabilia, there will be limited edition autographed prints from John Elway, Troy Aikman and Dan Marino. Local artists Rick Unger and Pierre Mion have donated signed prints, in addition to a collectible print from Fred Harman. Autographed books, CDs, videos and such will also be available to you for just the right bid, as well as a Choke Cherry gourmet basket, a gold commemorative coin celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Mexico constitution and 10 ski passes for the Wolf Creek Ski Area. Wow, I'm pretty sure you can find a number of goodies you would love to have. Hope to see you all there on Friday night.
You have until Sept. 25 to bring us your inserts for our quarterly newsletter, The Chamber Communiqué.
Bring 750 copies on unfolded 8 1/2-by-11 paper and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there.
This is about the most economical way of marketing your service or merchandise that we know, and you can even make your copies at the Visitor Center for five cents each if you need to. It's a pretty painless way to save some dough and get the word out about your new merchandise, new location or new services that we know about.
Deadline for inclusion is the end of the business day, Aug. 25. We encourage colorful paper to capture attention. Give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions concerning the newsletter.
Duck race results
The Knights of Columbus at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish wish to thank the community for its fantastic support of the duck race and picnic held in Town Park last Saturday. It was an outstanding family day, and 700 ducks were fostered by Pagosa folks with four lucky local winners taking home some significant bucks.
First-place winner was Dale Verrill who took home $1,000 and the $500 second-place moolah went to Kathy McCulloch. Mark Stauth and Kim Brown split the $100 third place prize, and a grand time was had by all.
Clean as a Whistle member DC Duncan will change hats Saturday, Aug. 23, to be a part of the music provided at a special benefit for his wife, Jaye. Much to the dismay and shock of all who know the Duncans, Jaye had a heart attack during the summer and subsequently underwent emergency heart valve replacement surgery.
The benefit will be held at The 19th Hole on North Pagosa Boulevard from noon to closing, with music and drawings all day long. A mere $10 per person will be collected at the door and will include food and music provided by Suzanne and Company, Rio Jazz, the Dutton Ditch Blues Band, Neil Nelson and the Saloonatics, Cellophane and many others. If you can't make it, donations can be made to the Jaye Duncan Benefit Fund at Citizens Bank.
Four Corners folk fest
Don't forget to purchase your tickets for the quickly approaching Four Corners Folk Festival, Aug. 29-31.
Among the many folk music luminaries you can look forward to seeing are our own Pagosa Hot Strings, Eddie from Ohio, Tony Furtado and The American Gypsies, the Laura Love Band - and lots of others that you can check out the FCFF Web site at www.folkwest.com or by calling (877) 472-4672 for info about tickets and such. You can also come into the Chamber to pick up a festival brochure that will most likely cover most of the questions you might have.
With their own blood, sweat and tears, Crista and Dan have created a major event here in Pagosa, recognized nationwide as one of the best of its kind by folk music and festival aficionados. Don't miss it.
Sidewalk Saturday Sale
Although we started this event a year later than the festival, we encourage you to "Shop Pagosa First" at the eighth annual Sidewalk Saturday Sale, Aug. 30, from the far west of town to the far east of town at all our participating member merchants.
Our merchants are looking to relieve themselves of their spring/summer merchandise to make way for the fall/winter things, so it's major savings time for locals and festival revelers alike.
Look for the ad in this and next week's SUN, and keep an eye out for the bright yellow posters you will see in merchant windows announcing the Sidewalk Saturday Sale. School days are about to commence, and I know you can score some major savings by shopping at all our fine Pagosa merchants Aug. 30. Now that I think of it, Christmas isn't all that far off.
Whistle Pig concert
The next Whistle Pig concert will feature mandolin/guitar virtuoso Bruce Hayes at the Hudson House at 7 p.m. Sunday.
His talent and energy make Bruce a popular local favorite and always welcome on the Pagosa scene. A $10 donation includes dessert and coffee and/or tea.
Call 264-2491 to reserve seats for this performance or for more information. Don't miss Bruce Hayes.
The San Juan Conservation District is offering local landowners the opportunity to purchase, at a reduced price, a variety of native seed mixtures for different conservation uses such as erosion control, weed suppression and grazing land improvement.
These mixtures have been developed to provide a low growing ground cover that requires very little watering. A native wildflower mixture is also available for those who want to beautify their property. Biodegradable erosion control blankets are also being offered at a discounted price.
If you have a leaky ditch or pond, you can ask the folks at SJCD about PAM, which is a granular polymer that can be used to seal earthen canals and ponds.
For more information about seeds or PAM, call 264-5516.
It's a fine week at the Chamber when we have the privilege of introducing one new member and 18 renewals. Pretty doggoned impressive for a sleepy little mountain town, wouldn't you agree?
Our new member this week is Ann Marie Castor who brings us All Seasons Lake Lodge on CR 600. The All Seasons Lake Lodge offers two beautifully furnished vacation suites with two bedrooms and two baths. Decks face lovely Lake Pagosa as well as those fabulous Colorado sunsets. All appliances, including washer and dryer, are provided in these two nonsmoking facilities that sleep four. Please give Ann Marie a call at 731-4029 for more information about All Seasons Lake Lodge. Our thanks go out to our friend Elizabeth Young at Head to Toe for recruiting Ann Marie and Elizabeth will receive a free SunDowner pass with our eternal gratitude.
Renewals this week include our old pal, Terri House with the Pagosa Springs SUN; Tim Horning with Southwest Custom Builders; Juanalee Park with Alpen Haus Ski Center; Connie Giffin with Mountain Home Classics, Inc.; Ian Vowles with Mountain Rescue (Unit A); Jerry and Rose Mary Zepnick with Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gift; Shirleen Johnson with Johnson Builders located in Bayfield; Faye Bramwell with Astraddle A Saddle, Inc.; Tammy McDowell with San Juan Timberwrights, Inc.; Byron Greco with Rock House Haven; Linda Delyria with The Tile and Carpet Store, Pagosa, LLC; Jean Taylor with the San Juan Historical Society, Inc.; Jean A. Farrer with The Pinewood Inn; Vanessa Sutherland with J.E. Sutherland Construction; Jon Reed with Sportsman's Supply Campground and Cabins; and Marion Francis with Bank of Colorado.
Our real estate Associate renewal this week is Vickie Appenzeller with Land Properties, Inc. Lisa Scott is our non-business Associate Member renewal with (again) the best reason we've heard in a long time: it would seem that someone in the family never brought home the Chamber mailings, and she decided to take things in her own hands. Absolutely priceless, Lisa - we love it.
Annual booksale nets funds for Sisson Library
Another one in the scrapbook.
Sharee Grazda, the new Friends secretary/treasurer announced a deposit of $4,891.25 from the annual meeting and booksale in our building fund.
More than 50 volunteers helped put on this two-day event. (Plus the many contributors of food.) Over 150 members took care of business in a timely fashion, then moved on to the book buying. Our thanks to all who participated.
The current list of Friends officers: Warren Grams, Donna Geiger, Dick Hillyer, Sharee Grazda, Cynthia Mitchell, Charla Ellis and Mo Covell.
We are sad to announce that Judy Wood is leaving, but glad for her to be moving to be close to her daughter. She will be missed at all of our library functions. Judy served close to 15 years on various Friends committees.
Thanks to Carol Fulenwider, Mo Covell and their helpers for setting up the display of original artwork for the 15 bookmarks. Several of the artists were available to autograph their work.
We will be putting on our final fund-raising push in the next few weeks. If you are interested in getting an invitation to the information meeting, call 264-2209. We will appreciate your help in this important task.
We will be selling bookmarks at the Four Corners Folk Festival and we look forward to telling folks about our plans.
We are an official state document distribution center. They send us quarterly pamphlets and papers on a variety of subjects. This package was full of information for your use.
"Citizens Guide to Colorado Water Law," gives a history of our 140-year-old law. Water scarcity has always been a fact in our state.
The new science of paleohydrology, the study of ancient water structures, has uncovered ditches, reservoirs, and fountains crucial to native peoples. The mounded areas in Mesa Verde are reservoirs to catch the runoff. In the San Luis Valley and northern New Mexico, they've found community irrigation ditches. The oldest continuous water right is the 1852 People's Ditch of San Luis in Costilla County.
This water law book covers all aspects of water from the compacts and treaties to water rights and decrees. This is an important book for anyone interested in the future of our state. It may be checked out - ask at the desk.
Beneficial flood plains
With our drought condition it seems a little odd to be talking about water and floods but the document "The Natural and Beneficial Functions of Floodplains," is a report to Congress on how to reduce flood losses by protecting and restoring the floodplain environment. We've overbuilt with little concern for runoff.
The Missionary Ridge fires cause flash flooding now. What are flood plains and why are they important? This document tells a lot about what needs to be done. It may be checked out - ask at the desk.
There are no barriers to independent study. The consortium provides ways in which students may overcome the boundaries of distance and time. College classes for both credit and non-credit may be taken online from nine Colorado institutions. One interesting subject, the Gerontology Certificate Program, is offered for one of the fastest growing career fields. Since we are seeing first hand the "graying of Pagosa," this is a very timely offering. Ask for the catalog at the desk.
I see we have gained more exposure in a Denver newspaper. I had five salesmen call right after that story came out. I chuckled when I read we were getting lots of "old" folks. I hope we get a few young ones coming, as we need some new strong backs to help move boxes of books at the sale.
Your many material donations made money for the building addition. We thank all of you who help us in so many ways throughout the year. This week's donations came from Frank and Rita Slowen, Judy Armistead, Art and Anna Harris, Richard Hamilton, Jane Hanson, E.G. Colton Jr., Tara and Bill McElhenney and Cristy Holden.
Financial help came from Sue Fryar Ward and Ron Alexander; Ron and Cindy Gustafson in memory of Daryl Streiff. William and Joan Seielstad in memory of Jeroldene Dunagan O'Neill. The Seielstad's also gave a substantial amount to be used as a challenge grant. More on that later.
Carla Victoria Eyre was born at 12:40 p.m. July 7, 2003, in Saint Raphael, France. Kevin and Stephanie Eyre are the proud parents and they are living in Agay, France. Carla's proud grandparents are Glen and Lynda Eyre from Pagosa Springs, and Dr. Gerard and Monique Adhoute of Agay. Carla's proud grandparents are Gretchen Eyre from Johnstown, Colo., Chuck and Kay Heren from Bullhead City, Ariz., and Anna and Pierre Roger Seite from Marseille, France.
Kellen Richard Butler was born July 15, 2003, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango to Joshua and Kimberly Butler. He weighed in at 8 pounds and was 20 inches long. Kellen is welcomed by sisters Daryn and Julian Butler and grandparents Larry and Kathy Dale, of Pagosa Springs and John and Robyn Butler, of San Diego, Calif.
Want to get rid of that spare tire for your high school reunion? Or get buff for your own personal satisfaction? Either way, Aaron Horton of Aaron's Health and Fitness can help you reach your goal of getting into better shape.
Horton and his wife, Judy, moved here with their son, Cannon, from Scottsdale, Ariz. where Aaron worked as a personal trainer.
Horton has taken college classes on nutrition and completed the personal training classes that are necessary to become certified by NESTA.
Located at 565 Village Dr. in the Mountain Run Center Suite H, Aaron's state-of-the-art 1,000 square-foot workout center is fully equipped to provide you with all that's required to improve your strength, stamina and health. Horton is a personal trainer, meaning that all attention will be directed towards you.
Give Horton a call at 731-2577 to make an appointment.
Have you ever walked a mile in someone else's shoes? If you have then it's time to quit putting it off and just buy your own pair. This is a lot easier to get done in Pagosa than you think, especially now that the Garcias have opened A Shoe or Two Plus in the Mountain Run Mall.
Jim and Bernadette Garcia, after a combined 28 years of retail experience, have decided to branch off in a new direction, opening the new store.
A Shoe or Two Plus offers quality shoes at affordable prices. They are able to provide anything from boots to sneakers in adult and children sizes.
Types of shoes carried include Hi-Tech, Dexter ladies and women, Step and Stride, Weebok's for the kids and Shoe Spring - a revolutionary new type of shoe that delivers an 87-96 percent energy return, more than any other on the market. These brands are just a small look at the large selection of shoes.
Located at 565 Village Drive in the Mountain Run Mall, A Shoe or Two Plus had it's grand opening Aug. 16. Jim, Bernadette, and their two kids, Darren and Angelica, invite you to stop in and see what it's like to walk a mile in a new pair of quality shoes.
Anyone who's ever tried to decorate a room with new furnishings, had a dinner party or prepared the dining room for a special night knows the most crucial step to creating the mood they want is the lighting. Though this may be difficult on your own, Mountain Storm Interiors can help.
Tim Sharp's certification by the American lighting association and his considerable work experience allows him to provide customers with the expertise needed to help them select the right design and amount of lighting for their home.
A free, in-home consultation, large in-store stock, computer imaging technology and the best prices from the industry's top manufacturers are just a few things to look forward to when working with Mountain Storm Interiors.
Visit Mountain Storm Interiors at 565 Village Drive, Suite C, in the Mountain Run Mall. Contact Tim by phone at 731-0227 or 946-0746.
Weminuche pioneer's papers published
By Tess Noel Baker
Pioneers. Homesteaders. Mountain men. And women.
From 1862 until 1934, these hardy folk set out to claim the "frontier" for themselves. Some went for gold, some for land. Some for the pure pleasure of escaping the walls of cities for the unknown.
In the early 1900s, this "frontier" still described Pagosa Country. Oh, sure, by this time trains ferried them all the way to Durango. But from there it was still a two- or three-day journey on horseback to the land they planned to claim.
In 1902, two of these pioneers were Edith and Ernest Shaw. They claimed 160 acres in the Weminuche, or "Women-ooch" as Edith first wrote the "folks at home." During their first eight months on the property, Edith wrote to her mother-in-law back in Boston often. The letters survived and have been published by the Center of Southwest Studies in Durango as Occasional Paper No. 5, a 54-page book titled "Edith Taylor Shaw's Letters from a Weminuche Homestead, 1902."
Andrew Gulliford, director of the Center of Southwest Studies, stopped by Pagosa Springs Tuesday to give a short lecture on Shaw's letters and the goals of the center to a group of six gathered in the Parish Hall.
Edith Shaw was born Florence Edith Louise Taylor in Syracuse, New York, Sept. 5, 1875. According to a prologue to the paper written by Jonathan A. Shaw, Edith's grandson, she grew up a city girl who met and married one of the boys next door after a long-time courtship. Embarking on a new life with her husband, she would become a woman of the frontier. A crack shot by some accounts. A horsewoman.
Edith and Ernest Wakefield Shaw married in December 1900. They spent their first winter in Staceyville, Penobscot County, Maine. By June, they'd decided to head for a homestead in Colorado. According to Shaw's prologue, Ernest headed for the frontier to prepare for their trip, returning to Boston to celebrate his first anniversary and collect his bride.
"On March 28, 1902, Edith and Ernest 'started for our new home in the West,' leaving Boston by train with a packet of train letters from their friends to be read on the way. They arrived in Denver on Easter Sunday, March 30, 1902 and the following day they were in Durango."
Durango, at that time was "a small, dusty place," Gulliford said. He asked the group to imagine then telling your bride of a little over a year, a city girl, "Now we're going about five days ride back east. Imagine getting off the train and finding it's just a beginning."
It's important, Gulliford said, to read Edith's letters for what is there and what isn't.
For instance, he said, it's apparent early on they aren't going to make it off the land. The growing season is too short. The winters too deep. But how to tell that to a mother-in-law? "You can't really admit her son made a boo-boo."
Her letters home talk about clothes and magazines, housework, recipes and stitching.
In a letter dated June 2, 1902, she wrote, "Š Let me tell you what I've done today for instance. Rose at 6, got breakfast (and made some nice griddle cakes) then tackled a big washing. Have made a batch of white bread and now steaming brown bread and baking beans and have made a big panful of soda biscuits. All this grub is for us to take with us. Besides that I have sewed a little, done the other housework, and this is my third letter. It is now just 3:30."
The letters also mention learning to ride and shoot, traveling the 32 miles to Pagosa Springs, " Š to first bring back those calves which we had to leave when we came first." Sleeping in a leaky cabin under damp covers. Churning her own butter. Much of her experiences were firsts.
In a letter to her father-in-law dated April 20, 1902, she wrote: "I took my first real horseback ride the other day and enjoyed it so much - after I got over the fear. The Newtons had asked us to dinner, so afterward we all got on our horses and rode over their alfalfa field, rounding up the calves and colts to look them over. I didn't want to look like a 'tender foot,' so I was bound I'd ride where the rest did. So when my horse came to brooks and then got ready to jump a ditch, I hung on tight and went with him - galloped, trotted and did everything the rest did and Ernest said I hardly left the saddle at all, which made me feel quite proud. I didn't let on that it was my first real ride and when I finally did tell Mrs. Newton, she actually said she thought I was an old hand, so the bluff worked and I was not even lame after that ride of ten miles."
Just a few weeks later, she wrote again, this time to tell of their wagon trip to the homestead, a four-day journey that required tieing one of the calfs to the top of the wagon load when he became tired, fixing a broken tire and brake, repacking the wagon after it rolled on a steep incline and fording several streams.
"Oh, those mountain roads are dreadful," Shaw wrote. "Some are so rocky that you can't see the dirt at all, and so steep that one wonders how any horse can climb them."
Her brother-in-law, Alfred Victor Shaw, described her in his unpublished memoir like this:
"She was an eastern city girl who knew nothing about wilderness camping such as this. But she seemed to take it all in stride, as I could see when it was my turn to drive the wagon. But we had many mishaps during that lengthy two-day drive to our homesteads, which must have taxed all her physical and spiritual resources to their utmost, and (she) met them with as much courage as any of those wives of the early pioneer of our West. She had my real admiration for her inner fortitude, though she never did know it."
Read today, her letters are a message of how things change and how very much they remain the same.
As fascinating as it is to imagine climbing on the back of a horse and hoofing it over the mountains to arrive in Pagosa Country - it is equally as interesting to read and note the similarities of Shaw's experience and life today despite the touted technological improvements.
Many living here today remain transplants, arriving from a "home" either in the east or west.
Family living far away still tugs at the heart strings - sometimes enough to plead for them to visit, as Shaw did in November 1902:
"If I were you, pretty soon now, as a piece of confidence, of course, I would tell Mr. Shaw of our expectations and of our need of you. I am sure he would help out on the farces. Don't ask help but merely say how much I long for your personal, mental and moral support - alone out here with no woman near, and perhaps he would help you save so much a week towards a ticket." By "expectations," Shaw is referring to her pregnancy.
Recipes are still exchanged. Daughters still ask mothers for advice on children. Winter remains a cause for concern despite "real time 4-WD" and Gortex.
Postage, which Shaw complained about in nearly every letter, is still a consideration when binding up those Christmas packages.
The Shaws stopped living permanently on the Weminuche in 1905. No remnants of their cabin remains. Just words.
Publication of "Letters from a Weminuche Homestead" was made possible by the support of the Robert Linder Family Foundation in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Linders now own the property homesteaded by the Shaws 101 years ago. It is available for purchase at the Pagosa Ranger District offices at 2nd Street and U.S. 160.
Horses and slaves, the basis for an economy
By John M. Motter
Reining to a stop, the caballero peered down into the valley. Stretched below was the Ria Piedra, mixing its pristine waters with those of the San Juan. In later years, the place would be known as Arboles, in Archuleta County.
This was the 1830s, during the spring of the year. No permanent residents lived in Colorado. The western portion of the state, including all of the mountain regions, belonged to Mexico. The eastern plains were part of the Louisiana purchase. Folks in Los Estados Unidos knew little of these remote mountains. Folks in New Mexico knew more. Some of their more adventurous souls had been crossing this part of the country for more than half a century; how much more is a matter of conjecture.
The caballero knew more. He and his compadres were returning from California, a jornado that had begun late the year before in Abiquiu, New Mexico.
And what a journey! From Abiqui, the small part of 30 or 40 men and maybe 200 mules packed to the withers with serapes, fresadas, and other woolen goods had followed the Chama River Valley north as far as El Vado, then cut across the hill country that is now home to the Jicarilla Nation to Cañon Caracas.
They followed that canyon down to Caraque where they hit the San Juan River in what is now Archuleta County. There they turned west, followed the San Juan to its juncture with the Piedra, then on west to Durango, Dolores, Moab, Utah, Castle Valley, the Seiver River Valley, south to the large spring at Las Vegas, Nevada, west cross the bottom end of the Mojave Desert to Cajon Pass, then south to El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Los Angeles - Town of our Lady the Queen of the Angels.
In Los Angeles the woolen goods were traded for horses. The horses were driven back to New Mexico. Horses by the thousands.
Since the 1870s, Americans have been enamored by the feats of cowboys trailing herds of brawling longhorns from Texas to railheads in Kansas. That era of frontier history lasted maybe 10 years. As remarkable as the adventures of those cattle drovers might have been, consider the challenges of driving maybe 4,000 horses from Los Angeles to Santa Fe by way of Utah. In the beginning, no settlements graced the trail, just band after band of Indians, all of whom outnumbered the herders. Deserts and rivers had to be crossed. Sudden storms threatened. At times, in order to avoid starvation, the pack mules were eaten.
Wild horses were so plentiful in California that they were slaughtered by the thousands, just to protect the pastures of domestic stock. Naturally, the Californios were happy to trade with the merchants from New Mexico.
At first the trade was all legitimate, woolen goods for horses. Trapper Jedediah Smith obtained the first horses from California. He drove them up the Pacific Coast, through the redwood forests, and sold them to the British trapping colony located on the Columbia River in Oregon. A horse costing $10 in California might bring $50 in the Rocky Mountains.
William Wolfskill, a native of Kentucky, made one of the first trips to California from New Mexico to California along the Old Spanish Trail in 1830-31. Wolfskill had been trapping and trading in New Mexico and as far west as California (by an Arizona route) for 10 years. Wolfskill remained in California, but he helped pioneer the Old Spanish Trail.
In 1829-1830, Antonio Armijo made a trip to California and returned with an unknown number of horses and mules. Following Armijo's successful trading expedition, annual trading ventures were made until well into the 1850s.
In 1834, one Jacob P. Leese started from California with nine men and 450 horses and mules. Indians took the mounts and Leese gratefully returned to California with his life.
A Frechman, Duflot de Mofras, reported in 1841-1842 that "Š caravans travel once a year from New Mexico to Los Angeles Š consist of 200 men on horseback Š return with about 2,000 horses."
Another source in 1842 reported two groups leaving for New Mexico, one with 300 horses and another with 4,150 animals legally acquired. James Beckwourth, the mulatto Mountain Man, claimed to have driven 1,800 horses over the trail in 1844.
By the 1840s, the method of acquiring horses in California seems to have changed. Instead of trading woolen goods, the New Mexicans resorted to midnight requisitions - horse stealing. Horse thievery got so bad, California government officials considered stopping all trade between the two colonies.
The most famous horse thief was El Cojo Smith, better known as Pegleg Smith, famous as a trapper and mountain man. During his first trip to California in 1829, Smith stole only 400 horses. During 1833, at least 1,000 animals were reported stolen.
Gov. Figueroa of California asked for help from the New Mexico governor in 1833, reporting that "every man coming from that territory is believed to be an adventurer and thief."
New Mexicans were not the only adventurers engaged in horse stealing. American mountain men and Indians joined in. Utes were reported raiding the outskirts of Los Angeles. Reports were common of the theft of herds of horses and mules numbering from a few hundred to several thousand. A California militia was organized in an attempt to stop the bleeding.
The largest band of horses and mules driven over the trail amounted to 4,150, all legitimately purchased by the Workman-Rowland immigrant company and a New Mexican named Vigil, in 1841.
The American take over of California following the Mexican-American War is credited with ending horse traffic along the Old Spanish Trail.
Still, it is not hard to envision our cabellero cresting a hill at Arboles, searching the valley of the San Juan below, then waving his sombrero, urging his compadres to move forward, all is safe. And stirring up a cloud of dust as they trot down the hill, several thousand California horses obediently plunge into the Piedra River, on their way to Caracas, Abiquiu, and the market at Santa Fe.
Such was life in Archuleta County back in the 1830s and 1840s.
Next week we'll take a peek at human contraband, the slave trade on the Old Spanish Trail.
Time to step up
The job of an elected member of a district board is rarely an enviable one. Most members of local government boards serve unpaid and, too often, unthanked. Most directors consider their work a civic duty but, as we are made aware by recent news, if they become embroiled in controversy, they are targets of criticism and often, sadly, of abuse.
Work on the boards is necessary, yet it is difficult to convince qualified residents to volunteer their time to run for office, to serve.
There is a district election coming in November in which it is necessary for qualified candidates to come forward. Archuleta County School District 50 Joint will ask voters to elect two members to its five-member board. It is hard to imagine a matter more important to our community than the current state and future of the public education system.
Two years ago, voters approved term limitation for school board directors. Opinion was voiced that there was a need, on this board perhaps more than others, to consistently introduce new blood, new ideas.
Now, it is time for members of the community to step up.
If the election is to be meaningful, a variety of candidates should step forward to engage in an exchange of ideas that allows the voting public to make real choices when it is time to go to the polls.
There is plenty of fertile ground in which opinions can grow. Squiring contemporary public education is far from easy; no longer do local boards have the lion's share of control over the educational system. The recent past has seen a landslide of mandates from big government burying local school boards; a host of rules and requirements, many not accompanied by sufficient funding, many tied to existing funding, are held like a sword above the head of elected officials.
Differing philosophies regarding standardized testing and its impact (educational and economic) are subject to debate, as are different ideas regarding the style of education and discipline best suited both to meet demands and to best prepare youngsters for life beyond the schoolhouse. Pressure from parents is a fact of life in a school district as is pressure from groups with particular ideological agendas. No meaningful step can be taken without a measure of controversy.
Faced with the reality that the task is difficult, many who loudly express their ideas in other forums back off when it is time to circulate a petition and enter the campaign process.
We need to ask: If we end up with a slate where there is no clash of ideas, where there is no competition for the seats on the board, will we end up with what is best for our youngsters?
To date, one candidate has completed and turned in a petition to be listed on the ballot. Two other persons have taken petitions, but have not returned them. All are viable contenders. We need more - at least four capable candidates in each district race would be ideal. We need several candidates who do not have children in the system, people from the business world and some candidates with experience in education. We need retired residents to bring their perspectives to the mix.
Petitions are available at the county clerk's office. In order to be eligible, a prospective candidate must be a registered voter living within the school district for at least 12 months prior to the election, and a resident of the board district he or she wishes to represent. A petition must contain the signatures of at least 25 registered voters living within school district boundaries. Time is short: Petitions completed in accord with the rules, must be filed at the clerk's office by the end of the day, Aug. 29.
Then, let the races and debates begin.
It's kudos and cowpies time
By Richard Walter
It is kudos and cowpies time.
The kudos salute good or beneficial to the community performances; the cowpies speak for themselves.
First kudo goes to Pagosa Springs
Rotary Club members who picked up an estimated 100 or more bags of trash from the Put Hill roadway Saturday.
As Jim Miller, the town's parks maintenance supervisor pointed out, it was an enormous task and all the community should applaud.
The first cowpie goes to those who, in the ensuing 24 hours, deposited new layers of garbage along both sides of the roadway, in between the bagged debris awaiting pickup.
Second kudo goes to Knights of Columbus members who staged a community party in Town Park and had it spic and span within hours after festivities had ended.
The second cowpie goes to whoever it was who destroyed public property on the River Walk. A small structure below the street-level parking lot has a single, four-seat picnic table bolted into a cement base. Actually, I should say "had." The anchor bolts all were removed and the table tipped on its side, perhaps awaiting the return of the perpetrator and an aide to carry the heavy table away.
Another kudo should go to those who are utilizing the lighted crosswalks to safely cross Pagosa Street downtown.
But this one also carries a series of cowpies.
First, to the state for failure to keep the experimental system in operating order. The crosswalk at the courthouse was inoperative for over a month. Sheriff's dispatch said the state was notified each time a citizen has reported the problem. Action finally came this week.
Secondly, the group of youngsters who lounge on the benches after downtown merchants have closed for the day and take delight in dashing forward to press the button enacting the flashing crosswalk lights - thus unnecessarily halting the ever increasing flow of traffic.
And, a third cowpie for all those who ignore the crosswalks and stroll through the traffic, taking their lives in their own hands, oblivious to the oncoming vehicles. Particularly disturbing in this group are those who cross in midblock as a family, from the two-year-old barely toddling to the great-grandfather, also barely toddling. Some adults in these groups should begin exercising common sense.
Next kudos go to the firefighters from everywhere who have responded quickly and professionally to all the lightning strikes and other fires this summer and prevented major devastation in our area.
Cowpies to those who ignore the ongoing burning ban warnings and go ahead with their clearance projects, ditch line burns and exercise abject stupidity endangering both themselves and others in the area.
Keep in mind that the extreme drought has only been partly alleviated by recent afternoon rains.
A final kudo to all those deeply dedicated teachers involved in helping improve the scores - with the exception of math - of students tested this year in the ongoing Colorado Student Assessment program.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of August 22, 1913
The arrest of Charles Schaad for alleged bootlegging, his change of venue from Justice Loucks' to Justice Cooper's court, Schaad's arrest for an alleged second offense, his acquittal at the trial of the first case, the dismissal of the second case and a third arrest, this time under a charge that brings him in the jurisdiction of the police magistrate, is the story of this week's doings in the anti-bootlegging crusade in Pagosa Springs.
Jim Walker, the bee man, is a visitor from Arboles this week. Mr. Walker reports a harvest of 6,000 pounds of honey already and says this will be greatly increased by the end of the season.
Johnnie Walker, who is ranching on Stollsteimer this year, is growing 14 acres of potatoes.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 24, 1928
S.H. Dickerson is closing out his stock of groceries at cost, but will maintain a cash meat market at reduced prices. In addition to fresh meats, he will handle butter, eggs and fresh vegetables for cash only. Those who desire may purchase coupon books with 5% reduction for cash only.
Buck O'Neal and Dr. Vernon Breedlove came down from East Fork Sunday with an assortment of trout that were the envy of everyone. The largest weighed about 7 pounds and was caught by Vernon, who is having the big native mounted and sent to his offices in Kansas City.
About one hundred participated in the San Juan Pioneer Association basket picnic dinner last Friday at the ranch home of F.A. Byrne.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 21, 1953
The work on the McCabe Creek crossing has all been completed with the exception of the re-oiling of the street. It is a big improvement to the town and will no doubt be a factor in increased safety for motorists during the winter. It does have the affect of increasing the speed with which cars come off Put Hill into the city, but a few stiff fines should handle that.
Some time ago the Volunteer Fire Department lost their new hose clamp in the river near the new bridge Later it was seen there by a town employee. Since that time it has disappeared and the firemen would appreciate its return. Should a hose break at a fire, this is the only means they would have of controlling the hose.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of August 24, 1978
To date August has been one of the driest Augusts in the past 20 years. Streamflows are very low, the high country is extremely dry for this time of the year. There has been little rainfall and the snowpack is for all practical purposes, gone.
The switchover at the telephone company last Saturday, with the prefix changing form 968 to 264 went well and there were no major problems. Local subscribers now dial seven numbers instead of four on local calls and this is taking some getting used to.
Deer and elk are reported as very plentiful in the high country and there is a good possibility that big game hunters this fall will find the best hunting in years in this area.