High school bond refinancing saves district $500,000
By Richard Walter
After waiting more than six months for a favorable change in interest rates, Archuleta School District 50 Joint has refinanced the 1996 bond issue for construction of the high school, a move which will save the district nearly $500,000.
Details of the transaction were spelled out for members of the board of education Tuesday by Terry Casey of RBC Dain Rauscher, Inc., the agency which handled the transaction.
In effect, the district sold new refinancing bonds to pay off the balance on the original issue at an interest rate of about 4.5 percent.
The refinancing bond sale was completed on the open bond market Jan. 29 with a total issue of $10,541,743. Included was a reoffering premium totaling $1.2 million, an underwriter's discount and a bond insurance premium.
Bond payments, including interest, will be due on the first days of June and December each year through 2020.
The issue was designed, however, so the district can optionally redeem bonds at dates earlier than maturity after the year 2013, should the board then seated find itself with surplus funds. That would save even more over the life of the bonds.
Casey pointed out there was vastly divergent interest in the bonds, most based on a Moody's Investors Service insured bond rating for the district of Aaa.
"You'd be hard pressed to find any other district this size getting a better Moody's rating," he said.
With those factors, he pointed out a pie chart indicating 69.39 percent of the refinancing bonds were purchased by banking interests; 9.48 percent were purchased by retail investors; 2.4 percent by trusts as long term investment; and 18.99 percent was underwritten.
The given, Casey said, is that the district is going to save roughly a half million dollars in interest it won't be paying.
He told the board he has heard from many sources, both local and in the state financial community, how successful the high school operation funded by the original bonds has been.
"Investors look for success stories when deciding where their funds should go, and they found it in this district's operation," he said.
"You run tight ship and live up to your own financial obligations in a way many school districts do not," he added.
The new bonds are in $5,000 amounts with an average life of 11.25 years and an average coupon rate of 5.11. The net interest cost is 4.043 and true interest is 3.803 averaged over the life of the issue.
The original 1996 bond issue approved by district voters totaled $12.02 million and approximately $2 million of that bonded indebtedness has been discharged through regular bond payment.
That, Casey said, was another plus factor in his firm being able to attract a wide range of bidders for the refinancing issue.
"When it is evident the district is regularly paying bonded debt," he said, "investors are much more inclined to enter the market."
Unless waived by the registered owners of any bonds to be redeemed, notice of redemption is to be given by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., as paying agent in the name of the school district.
"When the individual taxpayer asks when he'll see personal benefit from the bond savings," Casey said, "there is no set answer.
"It will depend on assessed valuation and how the state deals with TABOR, Amendment 23 and Gallagher changes," he said.
"This has given the district a real saving," he added. "How you utilize it in adjusting the mill levy is up to you."
Two arrested; 14 area burglaries investigated
By Tess Noel Baker
A rash of burglaries in the county has led to two arrests, but the search for suspects and lost property continues.
Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Detective George Daniels said the ongoing investigation has pinpointed 14 burglaries that may be related. Summer homes left vacant for the winter seem to be the primary target.
Because these homes are unoccupied, it's difficult to pinpoint exactly when the burglaries took place.
"Typically, a caretaker or passerby will notice something and contact us or the owner," Daniels said. One of the burglaries was reported in November, two in December and the rest came to light in January or February. Homes have been hit around the county and, Daniels said, it's possible additional homes have been targeted the department isn't aware of yet because no one is around to report it.
According to reports, electronic equipment, power tools, winter clothing, firearms and jewelry have been taken from the homes. Damage to the homes themselves has been minimal.
Daniels said a rifle and some physical evidence have been recovered during the investigation, leading to the arrest of one adult and one juvenile, both of Pagosa Springs. The name of the adult was not released due to the nature of the ongoing investigation.
A Crime Stoppers reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest of a suspect or suspects in this case. Anyone with information regarding the suspects or knowledge about the stolen property is asked to call Daniels at 264-8470 as soon as possible.
Cumulative voting not allowable
By Tess Noel Baker
"No weighted voting or cumulative voting is ever allowed for a special district board."
That was the legal opinion offered by Upper San Juan Health Service District attorneys Collins, Cockrel and Cole, of Denver, in response to a request for clarification on voting procedures by board chairman Charles Hawkins.
Hawkins' request was made following some confusion surrounding the appointment of two new board members Jan. 27. The board considered eight applicants for the positions. Three of eight were nominated and then a discussion of election procedures ensued.
Board member Richard Blide asked if the vote would be cumulative, an option offered in Robert's Rules of Order, a guideline for parliamentary procedure. According to the 2001 Random House Webster College Dictionary, cumulative voting is, "a system that gives each voters as many votes as there are persons to be elected from one representative district, allowing the voter to accumulate them on one candidate or to distribute them."
Board secretary Patty Tillerson, who was in charge of the election said, "Yes," to Blide's question about cumulative voting, but then instructed everyone on the board to, "vote for two."
That caused a misunderstanding. Three members of the board cast a simple vote, which each person voting for two of the three candidates nominated. Two members of the board, Blide and Ken Morrison, voted cumulatively, casting two votes for the same person.
When counting the votes, Tillerson threw out one vote on each of Blide's and Morrison's ballots. Dean Sanna and Lorie Woodmansee were declared the appointees.
During discussions, Hawkins informed Blide the board was governed by special district law, not necessarily Robert's Rules. That statement was supported by the opinion written by legal counsel which stated, "Clearly, the board does have the ability to adopt, amend and enforce bylaws, and rules and regulations, such as Robert's Rules of Order if the board so chooses. None of these can be 'Š in conflict with the constitution and laws of this state for carrying on the business, objects and affairs of the board and of the special district Š' 32-1-1001 (1)(m), C.R.S."
Locks of Love
By Tess Noel Baker
Chocolate. Hearts. Flowers. Candy. Jewelry. These are some of the traditional Valentine's Day gifts.
But this year, Pagosa residents have the chance to give an even bigger gift - hair.
Stylists at Snips, a salon in the Pagosa Country Center west of downtown, have scheduled a Feb. 14 fund-raiser for Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization centered in Florida which uses donated hair and money to provide hair pieces - wigs - to financially disadvantaged children under 18 with medical hair loss.
Four stylists at Snips will donate their time from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Hair cuts will be half price and all proceeds will be donated to Locks of Love. All cuts will be walk-ins only.
Those willing to cut off 10 inches or more of clean, chemical-free hair may also donate their locks to the cause. Stylists will determine if hair is of a quality right for donation.
Cindy Carothers, a stylist at Snips, has applied to Locks of Love for a hair piece for her son, Garrett. A little over a year ago, Garrett was mauled by two dogs while walking home from a friend's house in the Vista Subdivision. He received bites over 80 percent of his body and lost part of his scalp in the attack. His hair will never grow back.
Carothers said her son will someday undergo surgery to attempt to repair his scalp, but it will be an intensive process requiring stretching his skin with balloons, then removing the new skin and reattaching it.
"He's told us, 'I just don't want to be poked anymore,'" Carothers said. So, they decided to defer the surgeries and mom went online to look for a wig which might allow Garrett to walk around without a bandana or hat. She came across Locks for Love and decided to apply. The idea for a fund-raiser was not far behind.
"I thought this would be a great way for us to give back," she said.
Local teen-ager Katelynn Little agreed, and decided to make her donation a little early. Over a week ago, she had Snips stylist Shanna McMillan cut off 10 inches of her hair which she'd had styled long since seventh grade.
"I thought there were a lot of kids out there with something - a lot of kids with leukemia and things that make them lose their hair," she said. "I thought I could help."
Her mother, Joyce, was the first to tell her about Locks of Love.
"She was asking for her ends to be trimmed anyway," Joyce said. "I told her about this and she said, 'Cool.'"
The day before the appointment, Katelynn admitted to being a little nervous. "I went back and forth a lot." In the end, she did it and is happy with the results.
"All my friends like it better short," she said.
And, her sacrifice could help someone else.
"It's a neat idea that the community has a chance to help Garrett out," Joyce said. "He has a long, hard road ahead of him. If this is something that will help his recovery, why not?"
According to information produced by Locks of Love, their goal is to help all children with medical hair loss, including those suffering from alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder causing hair follicles to shut down, ectodermal dyspasia, another condition resulting in permanent hair loss, serious burns and cancer.
Hairpieces provided by Locks of Love are vacuum-fitted and custom-made for each child's head. Each one is made from human hair and does not require adhesives which can irritate the scalp, or fail, causing the wig to fall off. Hair pieces arrive long and can be styled to fit the recipients face. Retail prices for these prostheses start at $3,500. Locks of Love offers them to qualified families free, or on a sliding scale. Each one requires six to 10 ponytails to make because only the longest hairs are used, and the process itself uses up about two inches.
According to the brochure, "having a hairpiece is certainly not a cure for any of the conditions suffered by our recipients, it can help ease some social discomforts. Appearing different from the rest of the kids at school is difficult enough, even with hair. Locks of Love meets a unique need that goes beyond superficial beauty. The children who receive these hairpieces have lost more than their hair; they suffer from a loss of self. Providing a hairpiece can help restore some of the normalcy to their everyday lives that most of us take for granted."
Should Garrett Carothers be accepted into the program, it will take about four months for him to receive the hair piece after fittings are complete.
Cindy said her son talks about maybe getting his "hair-do" sometime this summer. Hopefully in time to do some swimming, something harder to do with his hat or bandana.
To learn more about Locks of Love, visit their Web site at www.locksoflove.org. Any other salons wishing to participate in the fund-raiser, or schedule their own, may call Cindy Carothers at Snips, 731-6500.
Date High Low Precipitation
Type Depth Moisture
Warmer weather expected by early next week
By Tom Carosello
Nose-diving temperatures and intermittent snow showers that have called Pagosa Country home of late are scheduled to depart before the weekend.
However, according to the latest forecasts for the Four Corners region, a temporary return visit may occur as soon as Saturday night.
"Any cold air aloft and accompanying snow showers left over from midweek should thin out as (today) progresses," said Ellen Heffernan, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.
"By Friday, a high-pressure ridge should be in control over southwest Colorado, along with warmer, drier conditions that should continue into Saturday," she added.
"Then another cold air mass could move into the region by late Saturday or early Sunday, though the strength of the system is still uncertain at this point," said Heffernan.
"But I'd guess the chances for light snow are a possibility through Monday, with mainly clear conditions taking over again by Tuesday," she concluded.
According to Heffernan, morning clouds and scattered flurries today are expected to give way to clearing skies by midnight.
High temperatures should range in the 20s, while lows should range from zero to minus-10.
Partly-cloudy to mostly-sunny skies are expected for Friday and Saturday, along with highs in the 30s and lows ranging from the single digits to around 20.
The forecasts for Sunday and Monday call for mostly-cloudy conditions, a 20-percent chance for snow, highs in the 30-40 range and lows from 5-15.
Higher temperatures and sunshine are expected for Tuesday and Wednesday; highs are predicted in the upper 30s to low 40s, while lows should fall into the teens.
The average high temperature recorded last week at the Fred Harman Art Museum was 37 degrees. The average low was 3. Snowfall totals for the week were unavailable at press time.
Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 117 inches, a midway depth of 109 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 297 inches.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "moderate" below timberline and "considerable" near and above timberline.
The latest reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture describe regional drought conditions as "moderate."
According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan River Basin is 115 percent of average.
San Juan River flow south of town ranged from approximately 20 cubic feet per second to 55 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of Feb. 12 is roughly 55 cubic feet per second.
Youth basketball champions crowned
By Joe Lister Jr.
The 2004 youth basketball league came to an exciting end Saturday in the Pagosa Springs Community Center gymnasium.
The 9-10 championship game was played between the CarQuest Jazz, coached by Dawn Ross, and Lucero Tire Nuggets, coached by Clifford Lucero Jr. pitting the No. 1 seed (Jazz) and the once beaten Nuggets.
The Jazz kept their season mark perfect in a tough-fought game, to take the championship.
In the 11-12 classification we had the top-seeded Cat Creek Trucking Sonics vs. third-seeded Jones Mechanical Nuggets who seemed to be peaking at the right time.
The Sonics pulled off a thrilling 28-25 victory. Both teams had great runs, with the Nuggets having a couple of shots at the end to tie the score. The attempts fell short, however, giving the Sonics the 2004 championship.
Over 150 spectators enjoyed the two championship games, with cameras and video equipment in hand.
Myles Gabel and staff helped put together a great tournament, complete with warm-up music, introductions, and color programs. Myles tried to make the day special for all finalists and their families.
With the first- and second-place medals around the necks of the proud young athletes, everyone seemed to leave with a smile and a sense of accomplishment.
Thank you, all volunteer coaches and sponsors for making this season a great experience for all.
Adult recreational basketball is under way with 17 teams making up three divisions.
Mens Recreational League is playing on Monday evenings, the Women's League on Tuesday nights, and the Men's Competitive League has games scheduled Wednesdays. All games start at 6 p.m.
Please come watch some basketball. We will keep you posted on the March schedule, along with tournament dates, later.
The pond behind Hunan's Restaurant is in the best shape it has been since before Christmas. The parks crew has spent countless hours in trying to make up for the snowfall that came at the first of the year.
Snow and then cold temperature are not the best conditions for good smooth ice, but we have tried hard to have the surface good for skating.
We are glad the ice is better now, so go have some winter time fun.
Faber fabulous in 74-37 Pagosa win over Monte
By Tom Carosello
They say nobody's "a perfect 10."
But Pagosa senior point guard Ty Faber nearly disproved that theory last weekend during Pagosa's 74-37 home win over Monte Vista.
It may be entirely coincidental that Faber, who dons the No. 10 jersey each game for Head Coach Jim Shaffer's top-ranked cagers, came within a free throw of recording a perfect outing against the San Luis Valley version of the Pirates.
But some witnesses to Saturday's Intermountain League contest aren't likely to dismiss the correlation between jersey number and a flawless performance from the field as pure chance.
Especially the opposition, who watched Faber can eight shots on eight field-goal attempts - including six treys - en route to finishing with 23 points and leading undefeated Pagosa to its 16th victory of the season.
Faber got started early; after Pirate senior Clayton Spencer took the tip, teammate David Kern hit Faber at the top of the arc and Pagosa took a 3-0 lead on the resulting trey.
Monte's Clinton Medina responded with a three, Faber countered with a scoop layup, then Monte's James Bearss gave the visitors a 7-5 advantage with a put-back following a deuce from teammate Kyle Jones at the five-minute mark.
Ryan Goodenberger tied the game with a baseline jumper, then fed Craig Schutz for two in the paint to put Pagosa on top 9-7 at 3:04.
The home team began to outpace Monte from then on as Goodenberger and Schutz added markers from the line, Caleb Forrest tipped in two and Jeremy Caler tallied a three-point play to make it 17-9 with a minute left in the first.
Monte got a late charity toss from Jones, but trailed 20-10 at the end of the frame after Faber's second three ball of the period found twine in the final seconds.
Jones completed a three-point play to open scoring in the second stanza before Goodenberger sank two free throws, then Monte made it 22-19 after Bearss and C.J. Medina combined for six straight.
Pagosa maintained a slim lead behind a deuce apiece from Forrest and Schutz, but Monte crept to within two at 26-24 after a deuce from Bearss and a three from Clinton Medina.
It was as close as Monte would get; Faber's third trey hit home at 2:45, then an intentional foul call on Monte's Chester Hatton put Forrest on the line for two more and Pagosa led 31-24 with under two minutes to play.
Kern fed Spencer for two down low, then Faber struck for his fourth trey of the night before giving his team a 14-point lead by plucking a teammate's deflected jumper out of midair and banking it home at the buzzer to make it 38-24 at the half.
Faber was no kinder to Monte in the third; his fifth trey seven seconds into action made it 41-24 and was followed by a combined six from Goodenberger, Spencer and Forrest.
Monte fought back to 47-30, but Faber's sixth trey at 4:40 reestablished a 20-point gap and a subsequent three-point play from Forrest soon had the hosts up 53-30.
Neither team would score during the back-and-forth final minutes of the quarter until C.J. Medina managed a deuce with 20 seconds left; Pagosa led 53-32 heading to the fourth.
Spencer hit for five straight to open the deciding quarter before Faber went to the line at 6:09 and sank the front end of a single bonus to make it 59-32 Pagosa.
Faber's second attempt from the stripe would prove to be his lone miss of the evening, but Spencer grabbed the offensive board and laid in for a 61-32 lead.
The difference grew to 70-34 after Pagosa's Coy Ross added a free throw, then fed twice to Craig Schutz and once to Jordan Shaffer to answer a jumper from Jones midway through the period.
Then Pagosa's Casey Belarde dropped in a charity toss and followed up with a dish to Jordan Shaffer and Monte trailed 73-34 with a minute to play.
Casey Schutz matched a free throw from Monte's Mitch Schaefer for Pagosa's final marker, the visitors got a late deuce from Hatton, and the contest ended with the scoreboard reading 74-37 in favor of the home team.
Faber led all scorers with 23 points, added five boards, four assists and a steal and committed no turnovers. Forrest and Craig Schutz totalled a dozen points each for the winners, followed by Spencer who pumped in 11.
Of Pagosa's 42 rebounds on the night, Spencer pulled down 10, Forrest eight and Craig Schutz seven.
With respect to Faber's standout performance, "He was obviously most of our offense tonight, took good care of the ball and did just a fabulous job at the offensive end," said Shaffer in a postgame interview.
"He's the reason we were ahead at halftime after we played poorly at the defensive end for most of the first half," he added.
"Then he got us going early in the second half, and we did a better job getting after them defensively and were able to do some good things in transition," he said.
Regarding tonight's 7 p.m. home showdown with IML rival Ignacio, "It's going to be interesting," said Shaffer.
"It's our last home game of the regular season and we're looking forward to it. I don't think motivation is going to be a problem," concluded Shaffer.
After hosting the Bobcats tonight, Pagosa will travel to Bayfield tomorrow to take on the Wolverines. Game time in the Bayfield High School Gym is set for 7 p.m.
Scoring: Forrest 4-11, 4-4, 12; Goodenberger 1-5, 4-6, 6; Craig Schutz 5-9, 2-5, 12; Casey Schutz 0-0, 1-2 1; Spencer 4-12, 3-6, 11; Kern 0-1, 0-0, 0; Faber 8-8, 1-2, 23; Caler 1-6, 1-2, 3; Belarde 0-2, 1-2 1; Ross 0-6, 1-2 1; Rand 0-1, 0-0 0; Przybylski 0-0, 0-0 0; Shaffer 2-3, 0-0 4. Three-point goals: Faber 6. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 13. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 42. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 12.
Pirates double up physical Falcons for 62-31 IML win
By Tom Carosello
Block in the back. Unnecessary roughness. Illegal use of hands.
In the past, such terminology has been exclusively reserved for rule-bending participants competing on the gridiron.
As of late, it's become an apt description for what Head Coach Jim Shaffer has watched his Pagosa crew endure on the basketball court.
But black-and-blue game plans have only served, thus far, to establish a common theme for Pirate opponents this season - defeat at the hands of the No. 1 team in the state.
And, as Pagosa demonstrated in its 62-31 win over visiting Centauri Friday night, such tactics aren't likely to upend the Pirates any time soon.
Centauri took the tip and the lead on a layin from Jordan Norton before Pirate junior Caleb Forrest was hacked on a drive and hit one of two from the line to make it 2-1 Falcons with a minute burned.
After a scoreless lull in which both teams struggled against the press, Forrest took a steal the distance for a reverse jam, but the effort did not result in points as a late whistle signaled a foul before the shot had been charged to Centauri.
Nevertheless, Forrest soon had Pagosa up 3-2 with a layin off a dish from Clayton Spencer, then tapped a lob from Ty Faber off the glass to give the Pirates a 5-3 advantage at 4:45 after a free throw from Norton.
Then a steal and assist from Faber netted a turnaround jumper for Jeremy Caler, Norton countered with a deuce, and Faber hit Luke Brinton for two inside to make it 9-5 Pagosa with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
Ten seconds later Faber added a point from the line after a steal, then David Kern connected on a baseline trey after a Falcon turnover and Pagosa led 13-5 at 1:49.
Centauri's Kenny Schell hit a late jumper to cut into the margin, and the opening frame ended with the Pirates in front 13-7.
The second quarter was all Pagosa - Centauri was held scoreless for the first six and a half minutes of the stanza while the Pirates got going at the offensive end.
Spencer tallied four straight, then Ryan Goodenberger fed Forrest and Caler in succession for four more and Pagosa led 21-7 with under five minutes left in the half.
With the defense in control, Forrest hit both ends of a single bonus, Faber slashed through the key for two, and Goodenberger found Kern in the lane for a jumper as the gap swelled to 27-7 with 2:50 to play.
Norton ended the Falcon drought with a deuce at 1:35, and the only damper in the quarter for the Pirates came when Brinton went down momentarily after being tripped up along the home sideline.
Brinton was helped to the locker room for examination and would not return to action, though it was later revealed his injury - a deep knee bruise - is not severe.
Craig Schutz stepped in to shoot the resulting double bonus after play resumed, knocking down one of two to give Pagosa a 28-9 lead with 1:30 remaining.
Centauri spent nearly all of the final 90 seconds searching for an open shot, and eventually settled for a pair from the line from David Mondragon with six ticks left; Pagosa led 28-11 at the half.
The Falcons were able to trim the lead to 28-15 during the sloppy first minutes of the second half before Kern hit Otis Rand in the paint to stretch the lead back to 15.
Centauri answered with two charity tosses from Jordan Clay, but could not score again in the period and trailed 39-17 after Spencer and Forrest combined for the Pirates' final nine points of the quarter.
Norton tallied a three-point play to open the final stanza, but two free throws apiece from Forrest and Goodenberger pushed the lead to 43-20 at 6:59.
The Falcons answered with four straight, but the Pirates responded with a quick-strike fast break that brought the home crowd to its feet.
After Mondragon scored to make it 43-24, Faber pushed the ensuing inbound ahead to Forrest, who flipped a no-look pass behind his head to a trailing Kern.
Kern caught the deflection in stride and muscled in a layup from the right side, then buried the resulting free throw to complete a three-point play that gave Pagosa a 46-24 lead at 6:20.
The series seemed to sap the Falcons' enthusiasm, and Forrest extended the lead with a deuce and two free throws after a hard foul from Norton, and Centauri trailed 52-26 after a layin from Caler at 3:05.
Pirate freshman Jordan Shaffer scored six straight, Rand hit two from the line, and Paul Przybylski added a pair of late free throws as Pagosa improved to 15-0 on the season (4-0 IML) with the 31-point win.
Forrest paced the Pirates with 20 points, followed Kern and Spencer with eight apiece and Caler with six.
Faber recorded five steals and five assists in the win, while Goodenberger added four apiece in each category.
"Our defense did a nice job of getting after people tonight," said Shaffer after the game. "They got a few offensive boards, but overall they really didn't get a lot of good looks," he added.
"Offensively, they (Centauri) made it an ugly game - they'd rather have us at the line than give up an easy basket, but that's just the way they play," said Shaffer.
Commenting on the physical nature of the contest, "I know it's hard for our kids to maintain composure sometimes when they're getting clubbed as much as they have been," concluded Shaffer.
"But when all was said and done, we won by 31 points and acted the way we're supposed to act, so I have to give our guys a lot of credit."
The Pirates hook up with IML rival Ignacio tonight for the final home game of the regular season, then travel to Bayfield tomorrow to face the Wolverines. Game time for both contests is set for 7 p.m.
Scoring: Forrest 4-9, 12-14, 20; Goodenberger 0-1, 2-2, 2; Craig Schutz 0-0, 1-2, 1; Casey Schutz 0-0, 0-0 0; Spencer 3-8, 2-3, 8; Kern 3-3, 1-1, 8; Faber 1-4, 1-2, 3; Caler 3-4, 0-0, 6; Brinton 1-3, 0-0 2; Belarde 0-1, 0-0 0; Ross 0-1, 0-0 0; Rand 1-1, 2-3 4; Przybylski 0-0, 2-2 2; Shaffer 2-3, 2-2 6. Three-point goals: Kern 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 19. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 25. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 16.
Pirate grapplers edged by Ignacio; host wrestling regional Friday and Saturday
By Karl Isberg
It was tight - 34-32, after the actual final score was tabulated - but the Ignacio Bobcats cemented their Intermountain League wrestling championship Feb. 5 with a dual meet victory over the Pirates in Pagosa.
Whether the same pattern will hold true tomorrow and Saturday at the regional tournament remains to be seen.
Prior to the dual, Pirate coach Dan Janowsky guessed the evening would be marked by coaching strategies that moved wrestlers to different than accustomed weight classes.
The prediction proved true as both Janowsky and Ignacio's Chris DeKay maneuvered for maximum points.
The first few matches of the evening, however, saw Pirates and Bobcats in their regular slots and the evening started well for Pagosa.
Michael Martinez continued to dominate at 119 pounds.
Martinez controlled the match and missed bonus points for a technical fall when a last-second takedown was not awarded. The Pirate opened the meet with an 18-5 major decision.
Daren Hockett followed with a decisive performance at 125. The junior overwhelmed Julio Saenz, pinning the Bobcat in the first period of the match.
Ky Smith was very effective at 130. He handled Joey Gomez easily, posting an 11-2 major decision.
"Ky is making steady improvement," Janowsky said of the sophomore.
Raul Palmer had a difficult experience with Ignacio's Frank Valencia at 135. Palmer forced a convincing lead on Valencia before finding himself on his back and in trouble. Palmer stayed on his back and was in jeopardy for more than a minute during the second period but fended off disaster to win the match 9-6.
At 140, James Gallegos faced Adrian Abeyta, one the Bobcats' most accomplished athletes. Abeyta, normally at 135, moved up to face Gallegos and used every trick in his considerable book. Gallegos fought well but, while he was close to scoring near the end of the action, he lost a 3-0 decision.
Ignacio had its first points.
Manuel Madrid came back strong for the Pirates at 145. Madrid got the lead then held on for an 11-9 decision.
"This was one match where the shoe was kind of on the other foot," said Janowsky. "The Ignacio kid had a dangerous style of wrestling and Manuel had to be careful. We got the lead and protected it. It was a good match for Manuel and he did what he had to do to win it."
Aaron Hamilton, the Pirate regular at 145, moved up to 152 and received a forfeit. Points for the forfeit were not put on the scoreboard at the time, but were added after the match was over.
At 160, Janowsky sent Kory Hart out to face Jordan Bulwan. Hart normally fights at 152, but recent opponents have given the Pirate little in the way of competition. With the regional tournament looming, both Janowsky and Hart thought the match with Bulwan would be good preparation for post-season action.
"Kory asked for the challenge," said the coach.
And he got it. With the exception of the surrender of a three-point near fall when Hart was caught in a headlock by Bulwan, the match was even, with the Pirate getting the better of the action against his bigger opponent much of the time.
"Kory was in a dominant position a lot of the time," said Janowsky, "but couldn't produce the points." Bulwan got a 7-1 lead and Hart could draw no closer than 7-4.
At 171, sophomore Matt Nobles fought Matt Olguin well through the first period and a half, before Olguin evened the score for a loss to Nobles the previous week, pinning the Pirate in the second period.
Marcus Rivas met one of the area's better wrestlers in a match at 189 - Ross Melton, Ignacio's regular 171-pounder - and dropped a 10-2 decision.
Likewise, James Martinez stepped into the ring at 215 with one of the better 189s around - Gunnar Simon. Martinez, the sophomore, was pinned by the senior Bobcat in the third period.
Joe Romine received a forfeit for Pagosa at 275.
While the scoreboard didn't show it due to the miscalculation of points, the meet came down to the final match, at 103.
Orion Sandoval fought as if he knew what was riding on the bout. The Pirate sophomore battled aggressively and built a lead. Sandoval's aggression worked against him at that point and he was caught in a headlock by Ignacio's Cody Haga and pinned.
"Like a lot of our other kids, Orion got the lead," said the coach. "He was fighting to win the match, got overaggressive and got caught in that headlock. But, that's how you learn. Orion's made phenomenal progress; he improves daily and this will be a lesson."
Hopefully a lesson that can be applied as Sandoval and his teammates compete tomorrow and Saturday in the regional tournament at the PSHS gym - the first regional qualifying tourney to be held here.
There will be 13 teams at the tournament with wrestlers vying to place in the top four in their weight classes, earning a trip to the state tourney in Denver, Feb. 19-21.
Pagosa and the four other IML teams (Ignacio, Bayfield, Centauri and Monte Vista) will be joined by Florence, Trinidad, Platte Canyon, St. Mary's, Colorado Springs Christian, Manitou Springs and two, new schools from the Denver area - Cherokee Trail and Rock Canyon. Both schools are built to grow in size and class but, this year, are competing at 3A with freshman and sophomore athletes.
While the top four finishers at each weight will go on to state, the top six finishers will be determined in order to help crown a tournament champion.
"I think we'll be competitive for the top spot," said Janowsky of a team that has proven more successful in tournaments than in dual meets.
"It should be real even among several teams," he said. "Florence has a full team as does Trinidad, Ignacio, Monte Vista and Centauri. The other teams will all bring some strong individuals. I think we should compete everywhere. If we get some draws and we wrestle well, we should be close to the top."
Preliminary rounds begin Friday at 3 p.m. Action resumes Saturday at 10 a.m.
Ladies trounce Monte for 'team victory'
By Richard Walter
The Monte Vista Lady Pirates had a pair of three-point field goals in the first period Saturday, neither coming from the logical suspect, Tabitha Guitterez.
But sophomore point guard Liza Kelley answered with a trey for Pagosa's version of the Pirates and got backup scoring from Bri Scott, Lori Walkup and Emily Buikema to fashion a 12-8 first quarter lead and Pagosa was never to be headed.
In fact, coach Bob Lynch got a balanced scoring attack throughout the game from his Pagosa squad as 11 of the 12 suited for the game hit the scoring column.
The final was a 60-36 win for Pagosa with balanced scoring and another exhibition of bench depth playing a major role.
Guitterez did get a trey - in the second period - but got little support from teammates. Brandy Archuleta had a pair of free throws and Stephanie Wright added one of two from the stripe. Those five points were offset by a seven-person attack for Pagosa.
Scott added her second free throw, but was not to score again. Walkup drilled a pair of breakaway layups, Melissa Maberry had a 12-foot jumper, Caitlyn Jewell a wheeling offensive rebound putback, Laura Tomforde converted a short jumper, Emily Buikema scored on an assist by Kelley, and Caitlin Forrest brought the crowd to its feet with a whirling left-handed hook shot.
When the halftime buzzer sounded, Pagosa was up 27-14, the rout was on, and the bench players were prepared to take over the show.
Jessica Lynch, opening the second half at point guard with Kelley having picked up three fouls, quickly made her presence felt with a trey.
Guitterez answered with back-to-back deuces on a short jumper and a layup off her steal of a Pagosa inbound pass.
A Monte run?
Not to worry. Maberry drilled a trey of her own from the left side and Tomforde ripped down an offensive rebound and poured it back in.
Then the big girls got into the act. Jewell, the 6-2 center hit a free throw and a pair of field goals and added two field goals. Buikema, a 5-10 sophomore high post, hit a pair of turnaround jumpers and added two from the stripe, one coming on a 1-2 effort following a technical call on the Monte Vista bench. And Forrest added a free throw as Pagosa pulled out to a 45-26 lead at the end of three.
Monte Vista got a deuce from Guitterez and a trey from Angelica Salvio along with field goals from Rachel Cannon and Stephanie Wright in the fourth, but Pagosa's depth made the period a 14-10 affair.
Maberry hit again, a 10-foot jumper from the right side, Kari Beth Faber added a free throw, Jewell three short shots inside, and China Rose Rivas, in her longest varsity playing stint of the season, added five points on a pair of field goals and a free throw.
Coach Lynch was ecstatic about the play of his bench, noting "they not only kept the lead but built it up."
And, he said, "Emily (Buikema) had her best combination offensive-defensive game of the year with 10 points and 10 boards. Jewell got strong in the second half for 11 of her team leading 13 points, and Rivas gave us a boost just when we needed it. She didn't miss a shot."
Buikema was a demon on the boards for Pagosa, hauling down 10 rebounds with Maberry adding seven, Jewell, five, and Scott, Walkup and Forrest each had four.
Pagosa shot 23 of 52 from the floor for a .442 percentage, and 10 of 19 from the foul line for .526.
Monte Vista was only 13 of 45 from the floor for .288 percent and 7 of 15 from the line for .466.
The obvious sign of game control came in team rebounds where Pagosa had a 46-16 margin.
Pagosa also recorded five steals, 11 assists and a pair of blocked shots, both by Buikema.
Pagosa welcomes Ignacio at 5:30 p.m. today and will play Bayfield at 5:30 p.m. Friday in Bayfield.
The victory put Pagosa's record at 12-4 for the season, 4-1 in league play.
The league tournament, foes and times to be announced, will be played at Centauri Feb. 27 and 28, paving the way for the state's version of March Madness culminating with state championship games March 13 at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.
Scoring, P-Scott, 1-7, 2-5, 4; Lynch, 1-2, 3; Kelley, 1-4, 3; Walkup, 3-6, 6; Reinhardt, 0-3, 0; Maberry, 3-7, 1-2, 8; Faber, 0-1,1-2 1; Jewell, 6-6, 1-1, 13; Rivas, 2-2, 1-1, 5; Tomforde, 2-2, 4; Buikema, 4-7, 2-6, 10; Forrest, 1-3, 1-3, 3. MV- Archuleta, 0-2, 2-3, 2; Duran, 0-5, 2-2, 2; Guitterez, 4-9, 1-2, 10; Kramer, 4-10, 0-0, 9; Miles, 0-8, 1-5, 1; Romero, 2-4, 5; Salvio, 1-1, 0-1., 3; Canon, 1-2, 2; Wright, 1-2, 1-2, 3. Total fouls, P-18, MV-16. Total turnovers, P-17, MV-13.
Second quarter disaster spells doom for Ladies
By Richard Walter
Throw out the second quarter, please.
Without it Pagosa would have had a 44-43 victory over Centauri and undisputed possession of first place in the Intermountain League.
But, as Pagosa's Lady Pirates learned Friday, you have to play four quarters and they failed to show up for the second.
After racing out to a 14-7 lead at the end of one period, fans felt their Pagosa entry was ripe for a victory over the perpetually strong Falcons from La Jara.
Junior Bri Scott, as has been her wont in recent games, put Pagosa on the boards early with a long trey. Little did anyone know it would be her only successful field goal attempt in 10 tries as the game wore on.
Sophomore point guard Liza Kelley also had three in the period, all from the charity stripe when she was fouled shooting a three and awarded three free shots.
And there was an early indication of inside strength for Pagosa with Caitlyn Jewell, Emily Buikema and Caitlin Forrest all converting from close range.
Jewell and Kelley, however, each picked up a pair of early fouls and had to play conservatively the rest of the half.
Centauri, meanwhile, was getting a pair from Krista Decker to go with two inside field goals and a free throw from Kiley Mortensen for their seven in the period.
But the second period started off with Falcon coach Dave Forster bringing in Lacey Cooley, who already had taken more than 50 three-point shots in the season.
She soon showed why, drilling a pair of long treys even though Pagosa coach Bob Lynch had cautioned his players she would shoot from that range until they stopped her.
Scott got a pair back on two shots from the charity stripe, Kelley added a field goal, Jewell a free throw and Pagosa's scoring machined had frozen up.
Centauri, meanwhile got four more from Mortensen on a basket and two free throws, Janette McCarroll and Amanda Gylling also cashed field goals and Reza Espinosa, Afton Witten and Kory Williams all hit from the line.
The result, an 18-5 edge in the quarter for Centauri and a 25-19 lead at the halftime break.
Pagosa tried valiantly to climb back into the contest in the third, keyed by the inside play of Buikema who scored eight on four field goals. The Pirates added eight more on single field goals by Kelley, Lori Walkup, Laurel Reinhardt and Jewell.
Espinosa led a Centauri answer to the Pagosa charge with two treys and a charity toss while McCarroll matched her seven points with two field goals and three from the stripe while Ashley Dunn and Mortensen each had a single field goal.
Pagosa trailed 43-35 after three.
Walkup tried to take the team on her shoulders with a 10-point fourth quarter output including four field goals and two from the line.
But, as coach Lynch would say afterward, "When you're on a run like Lori started, you have to play defense, too. You can't just trade scores and that's what we did."
McCarroll added four points and Mortensen two, as each ended the night with 13. Dunn chipped in with four, Cooley and Decker each had a field goal and Williams and Espinosa both had a pair from the line.
The key to the Pirate downfall came in shooting percentage when they managed only 18 of 47 from the floor for a .387 mark and converted only 11 of 17 from the line for .647.
Centauri actually made one less field goal than Pagosa, but four of theirs were treys, and they took eight fewer shots from the floor. Their 17 for 39 production was a .433 percentage.
And, the Falcons were 17 of 28 from the free throw line for 60 percent.
The battle of statistics is also sometimes misleading. For example, Pagosa outrebounded Centauri 31-21 with Buikema, Jewell and Walkup each pulling down seven while Mortensen was the game leader with eight. Pagosa had two blocked shots, one each by Jewell and Buikema while Centauri had one, by Mortensen.
In the long run, however, it was the second quarter which will come back to haunt Pagosa which went just one for 12 from the floor in the period
The two teams will clash again Feb. 20 in La Jara with a scheduled 5:30 p.m. start time in the last regularly scheduled league game. The league tournament also is scheduled in Centauri, foes and games dates and times to be announced.
The loss put Pagosa's season mark at 11-4, 3-1 in the IML. The squad will face always dangerous Ignacio at 5:30 p.m. today in the Pagosa Springs High School gym, and travels to Bayfield for a game at the same time Friday.
Scoring, P-Scott, 1-11, 2-2; 5; Lynch 0-3, 0; Kelley, 2-6, 3-5, 7; Walkup, 5-7, 40-4, 14; Reinhardt, 1-2, 2; Maberry, 0-1, 0; Jewell 3-6, 1-4, 7; Buikema, 5-6, 1-2, 11; Forrest, 2-5, 4. C-Cooley, 3-4, 8; Decker, 2-4, 4' Dunn, 3-4, 6; Espinosa, 2-10, 4-6, 10; Gylling, 1-1, 2; McCarroll, 4-6, 5-8, 13; Mortensen, 5-8, 3-8, 13; Witten, 0-1, 1-2, 1; Williams, 0-1, 1-4, 1. Total turnovers, P-19, C-5. Total fouls, P-21, C-20.
I am bemused and amazed by what I read in the SUN. Bemused by Karl's sermon on the media and the values of the American public.
Amazed by the statement in a letter to the editor that "120,000 illegal guns enter the country (England) each year."
I can't help wonder how a gentleman in Pagosa can count the illegal, and presumably hidden, weapons entering England when I can't even count the dead piñon trees on my own property in Arboles.
I imagine this gentleman instantaneously flitting from every port in England with a gun detector of his own design that he refuses to make known to Scotland Yard. It's a pity a gentleman of such talent, no doubt exceeding that of 007 by several orders of magnitude, did not offer his services to the British Secret Service as he no doubt would have found Iraq's missing Weapons of Mass Destruction.
Or could it be the gentleman did not actually count the illegal guns entering England and he obtained his information from the media or the government and he's just parroting their lies and nonsense.
I submit that the illegal guns in England is far less a threat to American freedom than the trampling of the truth by our government and the media lackeys.
But then, I'm an antediluvian troglodyte who was taught by my Dad that "telling just one lie brands you as a liar for the rest of time."
This letter concerns the practice of offering "Locals Appreciation Days" that are half price.
I think this is a great idea. Let's appreciate the locals who keep the Pagosa area going. Let's appreciate the volunteers at the fire department who give their time and risk their lives for us.
Let's appreciate the people who plow the roads after the snowstorms, the mayor who works for free, the members of the various charities who work tirelessly to make life better for everyone.
Let's appreciate the average Pagosa resident who stops on the road when they see someone who's car is stuck.
Let's appreciate all of these people and many, many more who work both paid and unpaid to make life in Pagosa a little better for us all.
But let's not call it "Locals Appreciation Days" with no ID required. That's just insulting. If you say you are going to appreciate the locals then do it. Don't just use it as an advertising scheme.
In reality, if people have travelled here, it's likely they are here to use a particular business so they will whether it's half price or not.
It would be nice if the locals really felt appreciated, not used.
$7 trillion debt
I'm working on my tax return for 2003, and it looks like I'll be getting a refund. I like that, but I don't like the trade-off, which looks to me like a sharp stick in the eye waiting to happen.
That stick in the eye is not the $501 billion deficit we read about in the papers; it's a $7 trillion debt, according to the Comptroller of the United States, David M. Walker.
"That number ($7 trillion) excludes items like the gap between the government's Social Security and Medicare commitments and the money put aside to pay for them," Walker writes. "If these items are factored in, the burden for every American rises to well over $100,000." (For your share, multiply the number of people in your family times $100,000).
Add to that the cost of Medicare prescription drug benefits. "Preliminary estimates of its long-term cost in current dollars range up to $8 trillion," he writes, "about four times the entire federal budget."
Looking ahead, the odds are very good I will not live long enough to pay off my fair share of this debt; you and my grandkids are going to have to take care of it.
Walker's staff at the General Accounting Office projected current fiscal policies (including our tax cuts) into the future. "Even before the new drug benefit was enacted," Walker writes, "these simulations showed that by 2040 current policy could require a 50 percent reduction in federal spending or a doubling of taxes to balance the budget.
(Interviewed on Meet the Press last Sunday, President Bush said he is leading the country in the right direction, and indicated no forthcoming policy changes.)
"Deficits don't matter," Vice President Cheney said, according to Paul O'Neill, last Secretary of the Treasury. (O'Neill was fired for contending that they do.) In the interest of full disclosure, the Comptroller of the United States has run the numbers and laid them out for all to see. Enjoy.
All quotes above are from Comptroller Walker's article, titled "The Debt No One Wants to Talk About," in the Feb. 4 New York Times.
Michael J. Greene
Show of strength
Strength comes in many disguises with courage lurking secretly beneath the surface, waiting for the opportunity to do its life's work. Much of the time that life's work isn't what people would consider earth-shattering, "saved-the-life-of thousands" work. Nonetheless, saving one life seems simple, and yet, it's no less important.
Such is the case with a friend of mine whose courage saved itself not for just any old bear encounter, but for something much scarier - cancer.
Bears have long been a scary thing for Wanda and even now she jokes about them. Funny, that bears, for some reason, will strike fear into the heart of someone who has just been through weeks and weeks of chemotherapy, now weeks of radiation, and lost all her hair - all this and the uncertainty of surviving two different types of cancer.
One of her coworkers told her, "you couldn't just get one type, you had to get two." I guess fear is relative. So is faith. I guess having faith that you will survive running into a bear isn't on most peoples' minds, but faith in cancer survival is. Fear/faith - two sides of the Susan B. Anthony coin?
We all have our fears and our faith - spiritual or otherwise; rarely do we have to use our courage. We show our strength in many different ways. I have often wondered how people make it through different life situations and question whether I could be as valiant.
Yet, some say we're only given what we can handle. I've said "Poppycock!" many times to that philosophy, because I've seen those who can not handle what they have been given. I admire Wanda for her courage, her strength, and her faith - in handling what she's been given.
She just went back to work part-time, wearing a red and white striped wool hat to hide her bald head. But she doesn't hide her humor about it. She laughs heartily when she tells me about how, on a windy day just one week after her first chemo treatment, she went outside and noticed strands of hair blowing away in the wind, and how tree branches kept grabbing strands of her hair when she went chokecherry picking.
Wanda's not depressed or morbid about her cancer - must be her faith - but willingly and laughingly talks about it. Then she tells me to warn her if I see any bears hanging around.
Courage? Yeh. Courage to laugh in the face of adversity. Strength? Yeh. Strength to get up every morning and face another day of treatment, hoping her faith will help fight her fear, fear of something less tangible than a bear.
And I'll continue to keep my eyes peeled for any bears that might wander too close to where Wanda lives or works. Bears I can handle. But then again, who knows, until one is confronted with one's own personal bears.
We would like to add our support to Marcia Jarvis' letter to the editor regarding the U.S. Forest Service trading the Job Corps site four miles from town on Piedra Road to an out-of-state developer.
We fully agree that this trade will not be of equal value to the citizens of Pagosa Springs who enjoy this gem of a wildlife area right in the town's back yard. Trading this town refuge for land in the middle of national forest some 40 miles away does not serve the best interests of Pagosa Springs residents.
We residents can fully utilize the Job Corps wildlife area to enjoy after work only minutes away for weekend picnics, hiking and hunting trips. We don't think it is reasonable to say all these same people can do the same some 40 miles away.
Keep the wildlife and nature in Pagosa Springs, and keep the Big City Look and urban sprawl in Denver.
We encourage everyone concerned to write the Forest Service here in town and speak up for nature in Pagosa Springs.
This to Ms. Madeliene 'No Breaks' Heath: How can you "take your hat off to all, no matter what job they have, protecting freedom," yet make such an angry, haranguing declaration against a young soldier?
You'll have to make up your mind, Ms. Heath. You're either pro-veteran and pro-American; or, you're not.
What are you really enraged about anyway? Personally, I do not believe that any altruistic young patriot deserves your type of wrath - for any reason.
At any rate, should you happen to have any excess frequent-flier miles built up on your credit card, most airlines are now allowing members of their frequent-flier programs to donate miles to U.S. soldiers flying in from Iraq who need to connect to domestic flights in some major cities. You can get more information about participating airlines online at www.heromiles.org.
So, take off yer chapeau once again Madeleine! Even you can assist our warriors returning home for a few days and they could save some bucks. It might even be more than a dollar.
Most of our service men and women are grossly underpaid and many have families on food stamps but they still hearken to the call of one's country - just so all of us can walk out our front doors with no fear.
There is some confusion in regard to alternative health care versus traditional health care and the fact some practitioners of alternative health care are located in the Dr. Mary Fisher medical facility.
To clarify: These folks are not employees of the health services district, but simply rent their area from the district.
There are many alternative practitioners throughout the community and the family physicians at the Dr. Mary Fisher facility make referrals at your request, when appropriate - the choice is yours.
The physicians at Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center are respectful of patient choice in their treatment. If patients wish to explore alternative treatments instead of, or in conjunction with, drug therapy their questions will be answered with respect.
They will not be discouraged from learning treatments available from practitioners of alternative health care. Choice is up to the patient and their choice is expected during follow-up visits to their family physician.
Obtaining a diagnosis from your family physician should be the first step in your care, followed by a sensible and open discussion regarding your therapy - responsible patient-managed health care should be the goal. Honest answers are your right.
I hope these thoughts are helpful to you.
As a concerned citizen, I am alarmed that our Mercy Home Health and Hospice is being threatened.
As a lot of you know, having been the recipient of the excellent care provided by our home health and hospice nurses, the local nurses have been working under both divisions. By combining the two, the patient load is sufficient to support the three nurses on staff.
It is my understanding that Mercy has (or is in the process of) separated the two entities and is offering the home health portion for sale and the outcome of the hospice part is still undecided.
I am concerned that even though home health is taken over by another entity, will there be enough patient load to support our nurses?
And what about hospice? I know for a fact that there are not enough hospice patients alone to support even one local nurse. If Mercy does continue with hospice, will our nurses have to come from Durango?
One thing about home health and hospice having been combined as far as nurses, is that the local nurses have worked with many hospice patients prior to their being admitted to hospice, and are familiar with the patient and their families.
That alone is a big comfort to patients facing the end of life. Also, our nurses are on call 24 hours a day and make visits in the middle of the night. So, whether Mercy decides to continue with the hospice program or decides to offer it for sale to another entity, the concern is the same.
The care being provided at the present time will be greatly challenged without our local nurses and staff here in Pagosa.
Don't miss Red Shoe Trio's concert tonight
By Laura Bedard
Don't forget the Red Shoe Trio performance at the Community Bible Church 7 p.m. today.
The trio is comprised of Mikylah Myers McTeer on violin; Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano.
This unique performance will be an outstanding example of the arts we enjoy in our community.
Advance tickets can be purchased at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center or at the door. Adults are $10, children 12 and under $8 and seniors with a membership card only $8.
All proceeds will benefit the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and the Ft. Lewis Scholarship Fund.
We are not superstitious here at the center.
We will have a Valentine party on Friday the 13th and will have a prize for the best Valentine bag or box, so bring your best container for cards, as well as your cards to give or cookies or hugs or whatever you want to hand out. The Shady Pines 4-H club is providing cookies as well.
Our free movie Friday will be "Open Range." The movie will start at 1 p.m. right after the Valentine party.
Musetta's daughter, Melissa, will be celebrating her 18th birthday on Friday the 13th. If you see her be sure to razz her a bit.
The Silver Foxes Den will be closed Feb. 16 for President's Day.
At 1 p.m. Feb. 20 we will begin a widow/widowers group. Meet with other folks who have experienced the loss of a loved one, come for lunch if you like or stay for coffee. This group is in the developmental stages and will be tailored to your needs through your suggestions and is for adults of any age.
In preparation for our Mardi Gras party we will be making masks Feb. 17. Materials will be available, but feel free to bring your own stuff to create an interesting "costume" for our party Feb. 24.
Do you need help with unresolved tax problems?
The Taxpayer Advocate Service is an IRS program that provides an independent system to assure that tax problems, which have not been resolved through normal channels, are promptly and fairly handled.
The program is headed by the National Taxpayer Advocate. The goals of the service are to protect individual taxpayer rights and to reduce taxpayer burden. The Taxpayer Advocate independently represents your interest and concerns within the IRS.
If you have an ongoing issue with the IRS that has not been resolved through normal processes, or you have suffered, or are about to suffer, a significant hardship as a result of the application of the tax laws, contact the Taxpayer Advocate in Denver, (303) 446-1012.
The Southwest Center for Independence is presenting a visual aid and mobility workshop by Carol Inglis, vision specialist 2-4 p.m. Feb. 17. Southwest Center for Independence is at 801 Florida Road, Suite 3, Durango. Carol is with the Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and is a certified rehabilitation teacher. She is also certified as an orientation and mobility specialist, so check out this workshop if it fits your needs.
Want to know more about diabetes? We have packets of information for you from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Stop in today and pick up a free packet.
Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; no Medicare counseling today; Valentine party, noon; free movie "Open Range," 1 p.m.; senior board meeting, 1 p.m.
Feb. 16 - President's Day, center closed
Feb. 17 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer class. 10:30; make Mardi Gras masks. 10:30; senior board meeting report, 11:45; Sky Ute Casino trip, 1 p.m.
Feb 18 - Beginning computer class, 10:30; Canasta-all levels welcome, 1 p.m.
Feb. 20 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11; widow/widower Group, 1 p.m
Friday - Roast pork, mashed potatoes/gravy, Brussels sprouts, bran muffin and apple sauce
Feb. 17 - Baked ham, mashed yams, Spring blend vegetables, roll, and vanilla pudding
Feb. 18 - salmon patty, noodles, mixed vegetables, Waldorf salad and sherbet
Feb. 20 - BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, coleslaw, whole wheat roll and apricots.
Winterfest weekend provided wild wonders
By Sally Hamiester
I understand the balloon ascension Saturday morning was absolutely one of the most beautiful in the history of the festivals and that the glow was magnificent as well.
Congratulation to Liz, Denise, Mike and the whole Reach for the Peaks gang on bringing in our pilot friends for Winterfest weekend and extending our warm Pagosa-style hospitality once again.
I'm sorry I had to miss the ascension and glow but was delighted to make it for the Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race which was the most successful in memory.
We had seven wacky and enthusiastic entries flying down the hill at High Country Lodge and participants and spectators alike had a ball during the event and loved the treats prepared by Leroy Fitz afterward. He was busy grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for the hungry crowd who enjoyed the beverage of their choice along with the good food.
Many thanks to Kathey, Dick and Leroy for hosting this great event once again at the High Country Lodge Best Value Inn and for collecting the many wonderful prizes that were given away in a drawing conducted right after the race. We also thank Larry Melton of Snow Country Adventures for the use of his snowmobile.
Our seven ever-so-adventurous entries were B.J. Evers, Tim Evers, John Mark Haynes, Jeremy Lattin, Mike Ogden, Terry Smith and April Ogden. We are grateful to the following businesses for donating the terrific prizes: Bear Creek Saloon, Studio 160, Ski & Bow Rack, Radio Shack, Frankie's Place, Loredana's, The Springs Resort and Rocky Mountain Lube.
Thanks to Doug and Morna Trowbridge for bringing it all together for everyone Sunday. We're already looking forward to next year and considering having the snow sculpting contest there if we (Dick) can collect enough snow. It would be great fun combine both events at the same place and play in the snow for hours. In the meantime, we thank all those who made the day such an enjoyable one.
Red Shoe Trio
Beginning at 7 p.m. today in Community Bible Church at 264 Village Drive, The Red Shoe Trio (Fort Lewis Faculty Trio) boasting Mikylah Myers McTeer on violin, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano, are prepared to provide a memorable evening for you.
Tickets are available at the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and will also be available at the door. Adult tickets are $10, children 12 and under are $8 as well as seniors with membership cards. All proceeds will benefit the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center and the Fort Lewis College scholarship fund.
Call Musetta at 264-2167 with questions.
Just one more tiny reminder - Saturday is Valentine's Day, and you just don't want to forget.
Some who have forgotten in the past descended into a hole from which they can never hope to emerge, and you simply don't want to be one of those poor lost souls.
This is your prima opportunity to "Shop Pagosa First" and check out all the amazing things our local merchants can offer you in the hearts, flowers, cupid, chocolates, clothing, jewelry, stuffed animals, cards, furniture and just about anything else you can possibly imagine department.
Keyah Grande kudos
How nice to receive two articles about The Lodge at Keyah Grande through our regional clipping service, one that appeared in the Athol Daily News in Athol, Maine, and another that appeared in the Daily Courier in Forest City, N.C., both of which included a picture of the drop-dead gorgeous Lodge.
The article emphasizes the Lodge is the perfect getaway where guests can experience both the highest level of luxury and pampering while maintaining the experience of being in a wilderness retreat. You don't have to leave the 4,000 acres to enjoy on-site activities that include hiking, a skeet and trap range, horseback riding, snowmobiling, ATV trails and hunting/fishing. All this and cuisine prepared by world-class chefs and served on Versace china plus homemade chocolate-chip cookies and milk to soothe you at the end of the day.
We're always happy to share such positive member information that allows more and more folks to read about Pagosa Springs and appreciate the wide range of accommodations and activities we truly offer. As always, we are happy to share the articles if you would like to stop by and see them.
'Lord of the Springs'
Over 100 Pagosa residents of all ages, shapes and sizes are pooling their talents and energies to bring you "Lord of the Springs" so we know we can count on an extremely entertaining evening with this locally flavored classic.
It will be presented at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium on the evenings of Feb. 20, 21, 27 and 28 beginning at 7 p.m.
You can look forward to seeing a 12-foot puppet, dancing hobbits, evil sorcerers, original songs, border guards who check luggage for smuggled snow globes, talking aspen trees, a dramatic battle involving over 50 actors and a surprising resolution that may just explain the existence of the Pagosa Hot Springs.
You won't want to miss this Pagosa Pretenders Family Theatre and Artstream Cultural Resources collaboration that is sure to entertain everyone in the audience regardless of age. Proceeds from the show support family theater in Pagosa and arts and theater activities for school children and adults.
Tickets are $3 for children 12 and under, $7 for adults and $6 for PSAC members. Ticket may be purchased at Moonlight Books and WolfTracks Bookstore and Coffee Company.
We are happy to introduce five new members this week along with 16 renewals. It's quite the fabulous way to begin the week here at the Chamber.
Former associate member, Tom Thorpe, joins us with his business, Top Lab Consulting Services, LLC, located at 151 Boone Cabin Court. Top Lab provides water testing, consulting in water chemistry and water quality, Colorado certified operation of community water systems and consulting or the design and installation of residential septic systems. If you have questions, give Tom a call at 264-5253.
We next welcome Sgt. Karn Macht with the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department Upper San Juan Search and Rescue. Search and Rescue provides rescue service for the citizens of Archuleta and Southern Hinsdale counties and other neighboring counties requesting help. Among the services they provide are high angle rescue, swift-water rescue, ice rescue and medical rescue. These are volunteers who spend many hours training and saving lives with no compensation other than the satisfaction of helping others. You can call 264-2131 with questions. We thank Chamber diplomat Ron Hunkin for encouraging this group to join the Chamber and will send off a free SunDowner pass with our thanks.
We will send Ron his second pass for recruiting Sheriff W. T. (Tom) Richards, Jr. with the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department with offices in the Courthouse located at 449 San Juan St. The protection and welfare of Archuleta County are the focus of this office which can be reached at 264-2131. We're happy to have both of these law enforcement agencies as new members and are especially happy to have them looking out for all of us on a daily basis.
Optimum Health Associates join us next with Edward Norman, DOM, L.Ac., Marianne Calvanese, N.D., Penny Greenwell, L.M.T. and Susan Stoffer, R.N. with offices in the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center. Optimum Health Associates offers affordable, integrated health care options: Naturopathic and Oriental medicine and massage and counseling with conventional medicine. These are skilled professionals working together for you, and you can reach them at 731-8800 for more information.
Welcome to Norman D. Slagle who brings us N.D.S. Carpentry with offices in his home. He can provide this community with most home repairs and specializes in doors, trim, tile, cabinets, sheet rock (hang and texture), decks and punch out. Call 731-3144 for more information about how N.D.S. can help you with your home projects. Our thanks to the reigning Chamber recruiting queen Kathryn Heilhecker who will received yet another free SunDowner pass for her considerable collection.
Our renewals this week include our exceptional sled race hosts, Kathey and Dick Fitz with Best Value Inn and Suites High Country Lodge; Tony Simmons with The Brew Haus; Darin Mundy with Farm Bureau Insurance; Christine with Ensignal; Jack Nightingale with Pagosa Lodge; Moe Janosec with Moe's Maps; Art Million with Sports Emporium; Deanna M. Jaramillo with the town of Pagosa Springs; Laura Webb, director, Pueblo Community College, SWC, Durango; David Brackhahn, manager, FOXFIRE Construction; Larry Sprague with High Plains Nursery in Allison; Lisa Jensen with Loma Linda Subdivision Homeowners Association; Tony and Nancy Gilbert with Elk Meadows River Resort; Sally Bish with Cruise Planners; and Bud Short with Bud Short Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor. We're also happy to renew an associate membership for Dick and Phyllis Alspach with our thanks to Phyllis for her many volunteer hours here at the Chamber as a diplomat.
A miracle Canteen in mid- America
By Lenore Bright
"Once Upon a Town," by Bob Greene, tells the miracle of the North Platte Canteen.
During World War 11, American soldiers rolled through North Platte, Neb., on troop trains en route to their ultimate destinations in Europe and the Pacific.
The tiny town (population 12,000) wanted to offer the servicemen warmth and support, and transformed its modest railroad depot into the North Platte Canteen - a place where soldiers could enjoy coffee, music, home-cooked food, friendly conversation during a stopover that might be only a few minutes long.
Every day of the year, the Canteen was open from 5 a.m. until the last troop train pulled away after midnight. It was staffed and funded entirely by local volunteers who greeted more than six million GIs by the time the war ended. Greene's book is a touching story of a grateful country honoring its brave and dedicated sons.
"Martha Inc." by Christopher Byron is the story of her media empire. The story of Martha Stewart is incredible. From the suburban kitchens of Connecticut to the boardrooms of Wall Street, this is the story of the empire and how it may all end.
This well researched biography will be of interest to Martha lovers and loathers alike.
Last week I told you about the wonderful information in the World Almanac. Now it seems the FBI has warned law enforcement officers to be on the lookout for suspicious persons carrying almanacs. One of the alleged sleeper agents had an almanac with pages marked about dams, rivers, railroads, and reservoirs.
The bulletin to police urged them to watch for anyone carrying an almanac during searches and traffic stops.
When interviewed, the editor of World Almanac, Kevin Seabrooke, reported that all public information in the book is available from the government and elsewhere. None of it is secret.
The library will be closed Monday, Feb. 16, for President's Day.
A special thanks to Don Heitkamp and Bob Henley for removing snow from our roof. We rejoice in the moisture and appreciate every flake. And we also appreciate Barry Thomas and all of the gentlemen who so kindly help us with various snow problems.
Thanks for materials from Kent Davis, the Chamber of Commerce, Carol Fulenwider, Sue Kehret, Monica Archuleta, Linda Warren, Susan Grimshaw, Dick and Ann Van Fossen.
PTSD symptoms in 30 percent of war zone veterans
Veterans I interview for the first time sometimes show symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They may not even realize they have this disorder, but many symptoms they complain of since their discharge from military may be the result of service-connected PTSD.
Studies show PTSD affects 30 percent of war zone veterans, including those who saw combat in WW II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Bosnia.
Sexual trauma disorders
Along this same line are sexual trauma disorders, most frequently associated with female veterans, but also subject to male veterans. Some male or female veterans suffered personal assault and /or sexual trauma while serving on active military duty. They might still struggle with fear, anxiety, embarrassment or profound anger as a result of these experiences.
VA defines sexual trauma as any lingering physical, emotional, or psychological symptoms resulting from a physical assault of a sexual nature, or battery of a sexual nature. Examples are rape, physical assault, domestic battering and stalking.
Difficult to verify
A VA service-connected PTSD compensation claim is often one of the most difficult to verify. Usually, there is little or no specific information in a veteran's documented military history or information that would show they are suffering from PTSD. Remember, the first word in the disorder is "Post," which means "afterward." The veteran frequently develops PTSD symptoms over a period of time after discharge from the military. Most often for compensation purposes, PTSD is the result of horrific military service combat related events.
The worst part for the veteran is that they must recall the very events in detail, called the stressor, that has brought on PTSD disorders - probably not something they want to remember or relive. But it is necessary to have all of the information available to file the claim.
PTSD is such a special area of the VA compensation claims process the VA has many trained PTSD specialists and centers to deal with the problem.
Symptoms of PTSD may include all or part of these: anxiety, anger, substance abuse, withdrawal, communications problems, sleep disorders and nightmares, cold sweats, personal relationship and marriage, employment, and memory lapses, to name a few.
As a trained Veterans Service Officer I look for these kinds of symptoms when talking to or interviewing veterans. The more experience I have in detecting PTSD, the better I am able to help the veteran negotiate through the VA compensation claims processes.
Many of the stressor events that lead to PTSD may be of a very personal association to the veteran and no military record may exist that the veteran had any problems while still in the military. However, "buddy" statements from fellow veterans the claimant served with can often be effective in substantiating the stressor events. Because of the nature of PTSD, the veteran claimant may not remember many details of the event, or fellow veterans who could verify the information.
Most of the larger VA medical facilities in major metro areas, such as Albuquerque VA Medical Center, have special PTSD programs to help veterans who have or may have this disorder. Some Veteran Service Officers specialize in PTSD VA claims.
Help is available
PTSD or sexual trauma is a difficult road to travel alone. If you are a veteran and having problems that may be the result of these disorders, I urge you to contact me so we can go to work on helping you with the problem. Everything we discuss or work on is strictly confidential.
You may have felt you were all alone, that no one cares or understands what you are going through. But, there is help for you and together we can work on getting you that help.
For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Veterans Service Office on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376, and e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. The office is open 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.
Dan and Inez Winter proudly announce the engagement of their daughter, Ashli Anne Winter, to Nathan Stretton, son of Sanford and Brenda Stretton of Pagosa Springs. A July wedding is planned.
Carmen Flores and Manuel Salazar, both of Chihuahua, Mexico, would like to announce their marriage. The ceremony was held Jan. 26, 2004, in Archuleta County and was officiated by the Honorable Judge James Denvir.
Bowl for Kids' Sake
By Tess Noel Baker
Outside, the storm hadn't finished with Pagosa Springs yet. Events were canceled. Offices closed. Plows were still busy.
But inside Pagosa Fun Place Feb. 4, the feeling was warm and fuzzy. A small group of adults and children gathered for the kickoff of Pagosa's first Big Brothers Big Sisters March 6 bowl-a-thon fund-raiser, Bowl for Kids' Sake, even though the bowling alley itself was closed. They stapled sign-up forms, donned T-shirts and ate pizza before heading back out into the cold.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national organization working to match kids with adult mentors.
For 20 years, the La Plata chapter of the organization has tried to help make matches in the Pagosa Springs area. Two years ago, a local part-time staff person, Dearle Ann Ricker, was hired. Matches in Pagosa Springs went from four to 16 her first year on the job and have held steady since.
In January, a Pagosa Springs office opened above Liberty Theater, and Ricker's hours were boosted from 20 to 25 a week. Office furniture, file cabinets and a computer were donated and hauled upstairs with volunteer labor. Now, the first fund-raiser is on the horizon, a fund-raiser mirrored across the country in March. Nationwide, about 500 chapters of Big Brothers Big Sisters exist.
Ricker, said the goal here is to raise $25,000. That will take signing up 84 teams of four to six people each. Each bowler is asked to raise at least $75 in pledges.
It's possible, Ricker said, but people need to get cracking.
"It's not something people can just call up and say your event is tomorrow and I want to participate. You have to have time to go out and get your pledges."
Don Long and Steve Wadley, two retired law enforcement officers helping with the kickoff, encouraged responsible adults with something to give to consider Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"We live in a community where so many retired people bring with them a wealth of information and experience and they have the opportunity to impact young lives," Wadley said.
According to one study completed by Public/Private Venture of Philadelphia, "Children matched with a mentor are 46 percent less likely to use drugs, 27 percent less likely to begin alcohol use, 53 percent less likely to skip school and 33 percent less likely to hit someone."
Ricker said for many years Big Brothers Big Sisters of La Plata County has believed in the organization's mission enough to use resources to support the program in Archuleta County. It's time to give back.
"In a way, we're indebted to Durango," Ricker said. "They've been committed to our town. By fund-raising here, we're showing them we're committed, too."
Pagosa's bowl-a-thon is set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. March 6. The theme is "Love, Peace and Rock-n-bowl" and hourly prizes will be offered for the best 1960s costumes. Prizes for the top pledge earners and door prizes will also be awarded throughout the day.
So far teams representing the Colorado Mountain Rangers, Kiwanis Club, several counselors, Pagosa Office Supply, Key Club, other high school students and clubs, Live Teen, staff at Alco, Episcopal Church Women and the Pagosa Springs police department have signed up to participate. The corporate sponsor is Bank of the San Juans.
Mercy Korsgren, a member of the organizational committee, and an avid bowler, said she participated in the bowl-a-thon in Durango last year and expected Pagosa's effort to go just as well.
"I just want to have fun," she said. "I love to bowl."
Joey Onello, one of the little brothers matched in Pagosa Springs, said the Bowl for Kids Sake events are fun. Last year, bowling in Durango, he might have even had more of his share of fun.
"He was creatively bowling," Big Brother Dan Bugess said.
"I kept slipping on my shoelace," Onello claimed.
Bugess said at last year's event in Durango little brothers and big brothers were matched in teams which gave everyone a chance to get to know each other better, something he hopes will happen here as well.
"I'm ready for more events that bring people involved in the program together," Bugess said. "As we get to know each other, we could call and arrange to do things together."
Bugess was matched with Onello, a third-grader, about a year ago after a fairly extensive application process. Big Brothers Big Sisters case managers screen all applicants carefully, comparing compatibility, backgrounds, personalities and general interests before making a match.
"I had time on my hands, and I don't have children," Bugess said. "My wife just kept suggesting this." After about a year, he took her hints and signed up. Four months later, he and Onello were matched.
"I think it's fun," Onello said. "We get to do a lot of things together." They meet once a week, and sometimes on the weekends to hang out, swim, make things, or sometimes go to the movies. Last weekend, they took a trip on the Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
"It's a special relationship with someone who is really honest and creative," Bugess said. "It's given me a chance to experience what a 10-year-old is like."
Bugess and everyone involved with the kickoff encouraged Archuleta County residents to do whatever they could to support Big Brothers Big Sisters.
"If they don't want to volunteer, if they don't want to bowl, they can just send a check," Wadley said. "Children are our future and people need to remember that."
For more information on Pagosa's Bowl for Kid's Sake, call Joanne Irons, 731-4289, or the main Big Brothers Big Sisters office in Durango, 247-3720.
For more information on applying to become a big brother or big sister, call Ricker at 264-5077 and leave a message.
Mears' roots in Pagosa Country and southwest Colorado run deep
John M. Motter
Among the earliest of Anglos in Southwestern Colorado was Otto Mears.
Members of the Pitcher family living in Pagosa Springs are direct descendants of Mears, who has been described as the "Pathfinder of the San Juans."
Mears was an immigrant from Russia who marched into New Mexico in 1861 as a member of the California Volunteers who helped defend that territory during the Civil War. Mears then marched under Kit Carson in the campaign which resulted in the Navajo "Trail of Tears," walking those people from northwestern New Mexico to southeastern New Mexico on a reservation near Fort Sumner.
From New Mexico, Mears moved on to Colorado and the old town of Conejos, where he opened a store in 1865. One of the original counties when Colorado Territory was organized, at that time Conejos County included the present counties of Rio Grande, Mineral, Saguache, Hinsdale, Ouray, San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, La Plata, and Archuleta.
As a matter of comparison, settlement in the San Juan Basin across the mountains from Conejos did not get serious until the early and mid-1870s. The town of Pagosa Springs probably started in late 1877. And so, 12 years earlier, Mears was setting up shop in the Spanish community of Conejos.
Another prominent Anglo at Conejos was Major Lafayette Head, also formerly from New Mexico Territory.
Mears described Conejos this way: "Things were very backward there at the time. The floors of my store were dried mud, the windows mere holes, and the doors hewed out, so I started in to build a sawmill. There were no tools to build a sawmill except the handsaw I had. A man there helped me, and we made it out of wood and rawhide which holds like iron until it gets wet."
We should be mindful that Mears' formal education ended by age 10 when he left Russia.
Lumber was selling for $80 a thousand. Mears then enlisted Head's help to build a gristmill. He pointed out that Head was in charge of the Indian Commission and afterward was made Lieutenant Governor of the state in 1876, "not that he was able for it, but the Mexicans gave him a big vote." Colorado became a state in 1876.
Another American pioneer of those times, Sidney Jocknick, wrote, "At that time iron materials were very scarce, and as nails cost from fifty cents to $1.00 a pound, everything about the sawmill was constructed entirely of wood, with the exception of the saw, an up and down type. The wooden wheels were tied with rawhide. The gristmill was also built of home materials and the stones were of lava found in the vicinity of Conejos. At the time these mills were built the government paid $20 per hundred pounds for flour, and the lumber was worth $80 per thousand feet at the mill."
After the gristmill was finished, Mears discovered that there wasn't enough wheat in the vicinity to keep it running. Mears solved the problem by moving north to Saguache and raising wheat.
Finding that cutting grain with hand sickles and threshing with sheep was a very slow process, Mears brought the first threshing machine into the San Luis Valley in 1867.
Upon seeing the threshing machine work, the local Mexicans (Jocknick's title) refused to use it. They claimed the machine was stealing their grain.
Mears said, "The government was buying flour for Fort Garland, so I went hunting for a larger place. We went up to Saguache and looked at that country, which was government land, and moved there. A man by the name of Lawrence was interpreter of the House of Representatives in Denver. He was very bright and tried to make that a county, and he succeeded; he got the county through without a soul living there. When the bill was passed, eight officials were named by Cummings, the first governor of Colorado Territory, appointed in 1866. I was treasurer, Lawrence was judge, and the rest were officials of some kind or other. The clerk made a mistake in the spelling of the name whose actual meaning was Blue Spring, and it was spelled Saguache which means absolutely nothing.
"There I started farming and put in two hundred acres of wheat and got sixty bushels to the acre. The soil was very good on account of the rain. Flour went down at that time and the government commenced paying only $5 a hundred, so it would not have paid me to send it back to Fort Garland. I tried to get down the Poncha Pass and in going down I upset the wagons with loose wheat, there were no sacks at that time."
Mears responded by building a road across Poncha Pass so he could sell wheat to the miners near Leadville, California Gulch. That was the beginning of Mears' career as road builder of the San Juans.
This information on Otto Mears was taken from "Pioneers of the San Juan Country, Volume 1."
Time to step up
Not long ago, this time of the year in Pagosa Country was tinted by ennui. Now, the number of activities and events available to residents and visitors is impressive - sporting events, club meetings, concerts, outdoor activities, theatrical productions - and there is rarely a chance, unless one seeks it, to sink into winter despair.
The season also provides opportunities for participants in local politics to vie for public office.
On the horizon is the first election in Pagosa Springs since the town became a home rule community, with three council seats up for grabs April 6. A candidate must be a registered voter and have lived in town for one year prior to the election. Petitions will be available at Town Hall tomorrow and can be circulated beginning Feb. 16. A valid petition will be signed by 25 electors living inside town boundaries and must be turned in at Town Hall by March 8.
On May 4 three major special districts hold elections. Each offers services to a majority of residents in the county.
Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District provides sewer and/or water service to the heaviest populated areas in the county, including the town of Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Lakes subdivisions. Recent drought, water shortages and concerns with water storage have put the district in the public spotlight. Three seats on the board of directors will be decided May 4. Any elector living within district bounds is eligible to run for a seat. Candidacy forms are available at the district office and there is a Feb. 27 deadline for return and filing of forms.
Pagosa Fire Protection District has two four-year seats to be filled May 4. Self-nomination forms are available at the district office. Electors residing in the district are eligible to run, with a Feb. 27 deadline for return and filing of forms.
During the past year, numerous voices have contributed to the din surrounding the controversial Upper San Juan Health Services District board and the problems it has faced. Self-proclaimed authorities and informed opponents alike have made loud and frequent pronouncements at meetings and in our Letters to the Editor section.
Now, it is time for people to put up or shut up, with six seats on the board at stake; it is time to step up and face the scrutiny attendant to an election, to put knowledge and opinions to a public test. It is one thing to indulge in public displays; it is quite another to ask the electorate to pass judgment on you. Agree with the current members of the board or not, we laud those who have remained for their courage and their commitment. Some of them will likely run for a seat on the board. It is time their detractors do the same.
Self-nomination and acceptance forms are available at the district office. They must be returned, validated and filed by Feb. 27.
Finally, the process begins for county commissioner races in two districts.
For those not intending to go through the party caucus process, the petition route is open - for unaffiliated candidates or candidates who wish to petition into a primary.
Prospective unaffiliated candidates in districts 1 or 2 can pick up a sample petition at the county clerk's office and can begin to circulate the petition May 21. It is due back to the clerk by July 5.
Petitions for entry in a primary can be circulated April 5 and are due back June 1. The number of valid signatures needed on either petition as well as other pertinent information is available at the clerk's office.
No doldrums here. Let the races begin.
Unfunded, unequal define NCLB
No Child Left Behind sounds like a marvelous plan.
But it has school officials pulling their hair out as they attempt to meet its unfunded mandates here and around the country.
The New York Times, on Dec. 31, cited one of the double-barreled big problems with the educational theory: High performing schools have little room to advance and differing state programs put even nearby schools which are otherwise equals at opposite ends of the performance scale.
For example, it noted, South Charlotte Middle School is one of the richest in North Carolina and boasts top scores with more than 95 percent of students passing state reading and mathematics tests.
A scant dozen miles away lies a similarly wealthy community, but the students in Fort Mill Middle School can't make the success claim. More than half failed the math test and 75 percent failed reading.
The difference? Fort Mill is in South Carolina.
The story cites two recent studies showing such anomalies are widespread, as states have set widely different standards for measuring student progress under NCLB. The story says three quarters of the children across the nation would fail South Carolina's fifth-grade test while seven of eight nationwide would ace the third-grade exams in Colorado and Texas.
It is obvious that across the country there is no clear agreement on how much students need to know to be "proficient" in terms of the NCLB mandate.
The Times story casts even more doubt on Colorado's tests. It cites Northwest Evaluation Association, an Oregon based organization which studied state curricula saying: "Colorado's reading test was consistently the least demanding in most grades in which it was given, with a passing score that corresponded to a national ranking between the 9th and 18th percentile. Wyoming and South Carolina had passing scores in the 70th percentile and higher in most grades.
One of the requirements of the law is that schools have "highly qualified" teachers at every performance level.
Across the land small rural districts and those in lower income areas are attacking the requirement as financially impossible. They argue they can't compete for the top teachers who can get top dollar at bigger or wealthier schools.
The Christian Science Monitor reported in October that in much of the country "teacher attrition statistics remain downright shocking: Almost a third of teachers leave the field within their first three years and half before their fifth year according to a study by the National Commission on Teaching and America's Future." The report indicated special education and science teachers are twice as likely to quit as, for example, social studies teachers.
New teachers, it said, can be thrown into the most difficult classes and worst schedules with little administrative support and little financial stimulus to stay. Underfunded by $9 billion (National PTA estimate) NCLB leaves American education's future in jeopardy.
90 years ago
Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Feb. 13, 1914
Lowenstein, the clothier, will soon begin work remodeling the exterior and interior of his store, which will include a large, imposing 100-light electric sign. Now, if the other merchants along Pagosa Street will do likewise Pagosa's main thoroughfare will look more like a street in a progressive, wide-awake town.
The Arlington Hotel is being renovated from top to bottom by Mr. Morris and wife of Silverton, who are professional decorators. The dining room in particular, will be very handsomely done in a specially new and tasteful style.
Cards are out for a Valentine party - the game of "hearts" - to be given by Miss Morrison at South Pagosa Hall tomorrow evening.
75 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 15, 1929
A new card catalog system is nearing completion, providing what was hitherto lacking - an accurate list of the volumes owned by the public library. This will enable the reader to ascertain just what books are in the library as well as the precise number by a particular author.
A fair crowd attended the Valentine dance given last evening at the Old Timer's Hall, and all present had an enjoyable time.
The Hugh McGeary Hotel at Allison was completely destroyed by fire on Thursday night of last week.
A son was born Saturday afternoon to Mr. and Mrs. Perry Dutton, who reside at the Rippy rooming house.
50 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 12, 1954
The big story of the week, insofar as weather is concerned, is the one dealing with the comparative moisture contents. The weather has been nice enough that some of the mud is even starting to dry; that is what is not getting into the drinking water.
The Pagosa Springs Volunteer Fire Department held their annual election of officers last Wednesday evening with Bud Patterson again being named as chief. Willie Voorhis was elected Captain. The firemen discussed the purchase of some additional equipment for the coming year and a few improvements to their present truck. The fire loss during 1953 was also talked over and it was felt that in view of water shortages and other factors, the fire department had done very well indeed.
25 years ago
Taken from SUN files of Feb. 15, 1979
There are few elk on the outskirts of town. These animals do venture into town once in a while and are in bad shape physically. They should not be molested or disturbed. There is a penalty for such actions and anyone observing the animals being molested should immediately notify law officers.
Snow has melted and settled until the town is beginning to look somewhat more normal for this time of the year. Streets are starting to clear up from snow, main highways are almost all dry and free of snow and ice, and county roads are in good shape.
Snowfall for the winter on Wolf Creek Pass is at a record level in the past 20 years for this date and stands at 522 inches to date.