March 25, 2004 
Front Page
Transmission line failure darkens region

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Dinner by candlelight is a romantic notion.

But then you realize the rest of the visible world is trying desperately to achieve the same flickering effect.

Not by intent, but by default.

Give an entire geographical service area a power outage and you start the phones ringing from all directions.

It happened to Pagosa Springs and most of the rest of southwest Colorado late Tuesday when the power suddenly went off.

While there had been lightning in the general area earlier in the day, there was no early indication that weather might be the cause, though it cannot be discounted said a spokesman in the National Weather Service's Grand Junction office.

This writer was returning to Pagosa Springs from an assignment in Durango when the power ceased at 5:54 p.m.

I had gone through the traffic signal at the bottom of Farmington Hill and the lights were working. Less than a mile later, I saw people staring at and fumbling with gasoline pumps, obviously wondering why they were getting no fuel.

As the trip eastward began to darken, it was obvious the entire area was without power. Squad cars manned key intersections at the cutoff to Durango-LaPlata airport, in Bayfield and Pagosa Springs and most drivers halted for the non-working lights as if they were a four-way stop. There were, however, a few who just kept going.

KSUT, the National Public Radio outlet in Ignacio, working off a private generator, kept listeners informed of the extent of the outage during the drive home.

David Waller, a spokesman for La Plata Electric Association, the power delivery system for the entire area, said the outage was the result of a problem with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association Inc.

Waller said, "100 percent of our system was out and we had no control over it."

Power was back on in areas west of Durango in less than an hour, but for Pagosa area residents, the lights weren't completely back until the final lines were recharged about 7:30 p.m.

Tri-State, headquartered in Denver suburban Westminster, declined comment on the outage Wednesday, saying the investigation of the problem was still ongoing.

Waller said the longer restoration time in the Pagosa area was due to an issue with Tri-State transmission lines which deliver power to several substations in the area.

The balance of the outage area, he said, was back in service in much quicker order.

Waller said he believes the initial problem originated in the area west of Durango, then mushroomed eastward until all 35,000 metered consumer sites were darkened.

The spread affected customers from the New Mexico state line and from Hesperus/Mancos to the base of Wolf Creek Pass east of Pagosa Springs.

"We really don't know the cause," Waller said. Tri-State, he noted, will probably take two or more days to specifically pinpoint what went wrong and where.

Tri State was able to restore the flow of power, he said, "but I don't think they have any idea yet why it went off.

"When they have a power outage of this magnitude," he said, "it's a bigger deal than when we have a localized one."

Downtown Pagosa Springs, when I arrived, was a mass of moving lights, darkness seeming to swallow their glow, giving an eerie feeling of having been thrust into a combat zone after a pitched battle.

When the power flickered back on, then went normal, even the cat seemed to realize it was more than just an early sunset she'd lived through. She stared at a lamp in the living room as if it were a beacon.

Then, she reassumed her perch in the recliner, eyes focused on the lone light source as if willing it not to go out again.

 

'Village at Wolf Creek' proposal unpopular with Pagosa crowd

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

"A rising tide will lift all boats."

Such was the analogy offered by Bob Honts, chief executive officer and managing venturer of The Village at Wolf Creek, when asked what economical impacts he feels the pending endeavor would have on neighboring communities.

Honts' response was one of many given to a Vista Clubhouse crowd of over 150 attending a two-hour "public scoping" meeting conducted Thursday night by the U.S. Forest Service.

If developed according to current plans, The Village at Wolf Creek would occupy roughly 290 acres of private land in the Alberta Park area, entirely within Mineral County and adjacent to Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The resulting community would include 1,200 hotel rooms, 222,000 square feet of commercial space, 129 lots for single-family usage and 1,643 multifamily units.

Thursday's session was aimed at gathering public comments regarding an application submitted to the Forest Service by the project's funding entity, described as the Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, requesting transportation and utility easements for the proposed development.

The application focuses mainly on a 250-foot strip of Forest Service land that separates the property in question from U.S. 160.

If approved, the application "would permit a perpetual easement through federal lands for year-round permanent road access, obtain or modify utility easements, and modify easement terms for Alberta Lake access" without restricting public access to Forest Service land.

Public comments concerning the application, to be included as data evaluated in a forthcoming environmental impact statement (EIS), will be accepted in writing by the Forest Service until April 15.

"The analysis for this project is just starting, and we definitely don't have all the answers right now," said Tom Malecek, district ranger with the Divide District of the Rio Grande National Forest, while encouraging the crowd to participate in the process at the onset of the meeting.

Likewise, "It's important that you express your local knowledge," said Chuck Pergler, a senior project manager with Tetra Tech Inc., an environmental services firm based in Pasadena, Calif. hired to manage the Forest Service EIS.

"You're here to help us plan and to make the right decisions," added Pergler, shortly before turning the microphone over to Honts, who recounted the history of the proposed initiative and provided a number of project details.

Honts, who has been involved with the project since 1998, said the proposed site was acquired in 1986 as the result of a land swap between the Forest Service and Leavell Properties Inc., a corporation headed by Texas billionaire Red McCombs and the late Charles Leavell.

In exchange for roughly 1,600 acres in Saguache County owned by Leavell Properties Inc., the Forest Service agreed to trade the acreage in question to McCombs and Leavell "provided the development would complement the existing Wolf Creek Ski Area."

But plans for development of the area did not take large strides forward, said Honts, until August 2000 - when a conditional resolution granting preliminary plat approval for the development was unanimously approved by Mineral County commissioners.

In summary, "The land use and development plan is up to the county," explained Honts, while using terms such as "public park style" and "pedestrian village" to describe the plan's character.

Honts stated the village would include underground parking for all but service-related vehicles, a transit facility featuring an antique-style locomotive fueled by compressed natural gas, architectural styles compatible with the rustic surroundings and open space equalling about 50 percent of the total land area.

Except for law enforcement, which would be handled by Mineral County, all public services, said Honts, would be independently funded and available on site.

In addition, Honts said the village is designed to use about 50 percent of the resources a community of the same size would normally consume, stating it could serve "as a showplace of energy efficiency."

Honts also described the potential tax revenues for Mineral County resulting from the project as "a huge, huge financial benefit," adding that nearby communities could profit as well because "we'd like to hire local folks as best we can."

Lastly, said Honts, while certain details are still pending, "Access is already guaranteed ... we will develop the village."

Honts' enthusiastic sentiments, however, were not popular with the crowd on hand; the overwhelming majority of opinions expressed by the public Thursday were largely critical of the venture, which Honts described as having a maximum development timeline of 25 years.

Most who spoke in opposition reiterated a great deal of concern related to, among other issues, the potential for negative impacts on the area's aesthetics, wildlife, traffic, air quality and watersheds.

Jeff Berman, executive director for Colorado Wild, echoed such objections, referring to the village as "simply an impossible proposal" and likening the concept to the ill-fated Piano Creek Ranch endeavor.

Berman encouraged the crowd to "look at all of these claims very critically," concluding, "This is not a done-development proposal."

"Do the math," said another attendee, questioning the impact the village would have on back-country enthusiasts' ability to roam crowd-free through the surrounding countryside.

Another labeled Honts' notion suggesting the village would augment the economies of adjacent communities as "obscene," while others questioned the feasibility of such an establishment at an elevation of over 10,000 feet and wondered aloud how the proposal ever gained approval at the local level.

"I think we need to go to Mineral County and sit in on some of the meetings," mused one participant.

Despite the apparent disdain for the project, "I believe the legalities are approved," concluded Honts near meeting's end, before insisting the proposal has the support of many who frequent the area, as well as Wolf Creek Ski Area associates.

However, Davey Pitcher, president of Wolf Creek Ski Corporation, conveyed a less enthusiastic view of the proposal Monday during a telephone interview.

Citing "the many proposed changes that Mr. Honts continues to put forth" as one of many factors contributing to Wolf Creek's current stance, "We feel a full public review is in order," said Pitcher.

"We're concerned that he claims we're 100-percent behind it," added Pitcher, "since we're not sure, to date, what his real plan is anymore."

What started out as a plan for a relatively small development, said Pitcher, "has become a city.

"We advocate participation in the due process, not only at the federal level, but county and local levels as well," said Pitcher, adding he believes the development could have "significant impacts" on the surrounding communities and landscape.

Finally, "We won't speak for the village, and we don't want Mr. Honts to speak for Wolf Creek Ski Area," he concluded.

The Forest Service expects to have a draft EIS concerning the proposal prepared by sometime this summer, with a 45-day window for public comment to follow.

However, Malecek indicated the Forest Service will take as long as necessary to analyze concerns; "That's why a precise timeline has not been set on this," he concluded.

Anyone who would like to offer an opinion on the road and utility easement application for the proposed Village at Wolf Creek can send comments (postmarked by April 15) to the Forest Service at: District Ranger, Village at Wolf Creek EIS, Divide Ranger District, 13308 W. Highway 160, Del Norte, CO 81132.

Comments can also be provided to Mr. Steve Brigham, National Environmental Policy Act coordinator, by phone, (719) 657-3321, fax, (719) 657-6035, or by e-mail to mailroom_r2_rio_grande@fs.fed.us.

For more information and updates related to the proposal, visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/ and click on "bulletin board."

 

A Sixth arrest made in burglaries

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A sixth suspect in a burglary ring that hit summer homes while residents were away for the winter has been arrested.

Archuleta County Detective George Daniels said Jake Cates, 19, of Pagosa Springs, was arrested March 19 in Corpus Christi, Texas. He joins three others being charged with burglary.

Travis Plantiko, 23, Jose Valdez, 21, and Chad King, 19 have also been arrested. Plantiko is from Pagosa Springs. The other two were living in Chama most recently.

In addition, a 17-year-old juvenile has been charged with receiving stolen property and Juanito Gurule, 24, of Pagosa Springs, has been charged with felony possession of a firearm in the same case. An arrest warrant is pending on a female juvenile.

The investigation is ongoing.

The first report in this string of burglaries was filed in November. More followed in December, January and February bringing the total to at least 17. Daniels said more victims may be added to the list as people begin to arrive back in town for the summer season.

According to reports, items such as electronic equipment, power tools, winter clothing, firearms and jewelry were taken from the homes. A Ford Explorer, valued at $25,000, was locked inside a garage when it was stolen. It was recovered earlier this month in Lakewood. A knife was recovered this week.

A Crime Stoppers reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects in this case. Anyone with information regarding the suspects or stolen property is asked to call Daniels at 264-8470 immediately.

 

Area bracing for new threats of West Nile Virus

By Tom Carosello

and Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writers

Spring is in the air throughout Pagosa Country; so are insects.

And the emergence of one species - Culex tarsalis, a mosquito infamous for the transmission of West Nile Virus - carries the potential for deadly consequences.

It is a medium-sized species that breeds in almost any source of standing water, including irrigated fields, old tires, hoof prints, tree holes and any puddle of water that lasts for more than a few days.

Culex tarsalis develops rapidly and produces multiple generations, especially during summer months, when egg-to-adult development can occur in as few as four to 10 days. Without control efforts, local populations can reach huge numbers in a short time.

According to statistics obtained from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Culex tarsalis was responsible for infecting 2,945 Coloradans with West Nile Virus in 2003, with 55 cases resulting in fatalities.

Although occurrences of West Nile Virus in horses were verified in Archuleta County last year, no human cases were confirmed.

However, considering the fact 14 human infections were reported in neighboring La Plata County last year, the question of human cases in Archuleta County this year may not be one of "if," but "when."

In response to the growing demand for control efforts, local entities are aiming to reduce mosquito populations and broaden public knowledge of West Nile Virus.

In an effort to stem the spread of the virus, the Town of Pagosa Springs has initiated a program to help residents kill mosquitos when they are most vulnerable - in a larval stage and confined to shallow bodies of water.

To help reduce mosquito numbers, the town is offering two free mosquito "dunks" to town residents. Each dunk (a small briquette) contains enough "Bti," a bacterium toxic only to mosquito or blackfly larva, to treat 100 square feet of water.

Julie Jessen, administrative intern for the town said, according to studies, Bti is not toxic or pathogenic to birds or freshwater fish.

In fact, one study comparing the acute oral toxicity levels of common materials showed Bti was less toxic than sea water or table salt. However, it should not be applied directly to treated, finished drinking water reservoirs or receptacles.

Each dunk is effective for a 30-day period, and additional dunks can be purchased at local hardware stores.

To learn more about the town's program, stop by Town Hall and pick up a pamphlet or call Jessen at 264-4151, Ext. 226.

For situations requiring large-scale applications of Bti, residents can contact the county weed and pest control department at 264-6773.

In addition to Bti and a number of informational brochures on mosquito control, the department also carries another effective larvicide, a product called Altosid.

Frank Ratliff, county weed and pest director, recommends residents spend ample time exploring the different options.

"I like to meet with people to make sure they understand what works best and where," said Ratliff. "There are a lot of different factors involved with each treatment.

"For example, Altosid is available in different forms - granules and pellets - and each has a different rate of release," he added.

"And horses will sometimes eat Bti briquettes if they are not weighted down in deeper water, because they have a corncob base," said Ratliff. "It doesn't hurt the horses, but you lose your control capability, of course."

With regard to widespread spraying, Ratliff indicated such measures are not currently on the department's agenda.

Due to excessive costs and the degree of difficulty involved, "I just can't see that it's feasible here, at this point," concluded Ratliff.

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association is also spearheading efforts related to public awareness of West Nile, but does not currently plan to include chemical treatments to area reservoirs as part of its control plan.

According to Larry Lynch, PLPOA property and environment manager, an informational meeting to address the issue has been scheduled for April 28, 7 p.m. in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

With regard to chemical agents, "We don't feel it's going to be necessary to treat the reservoirs because of their large size, wave motion and established fish populations - which add a predation factor," said Lynch.

In addition, "The experts have told us the lakes do not harbor large populations of the Culex species," concluded Lynch.

Finally, the virus is also expected to take its toll on local equine populations, and area veterinarians are suggesting horse owners start the vaccination process immediately.

"If your horse had the West Nile vaccine last year, you need to booster them now," says local veterinarian Kitzel Farrah. She treated the equine cases in Archuleta County last year.

"If your horse has not received any West Nile vaccine in the past, we are recommending a series of two vaccines three weeks apart this spring," she added.

Then, "Because we expect this year to be the most deadly year, we are recommending all horses be boostered again in midsummer," she concluded.

According to Farrah, dogs, camelids and other species have been diagnosed with West Nile, though susceptibility and severity is greatly reduced.

To guard against infections, Farrah recommends horses be sprayed with insect repellant. Dogs, said Farrah, can be given a product called Advantix, which protects them from mosquitos, as well as fleas and ticks.

Prevention

Federal health officials maintain the only way for humans to contract the virus is to be bitten by an infected Culex tarsalis mosquito, concluding the virus is "maintained in a bird-mosquito-bird cycle ... person-to-person transmission does not occur."

Though vaccinations are available to protect horses against life-threatening illness resulting from the disease, no such safeguards currently exist for humans.

The state health department recommends the following measures to lessen the risk of exposure to West Nile Virus:

- Limit outside activity around dawn and dusk, when mosquitos feed; this is particularly important for elderly adults and small children

- Wear protective clothing such as lightweight long pants and long-sleeve shirts when outside

- Apply insect repellent to exposed skin when outside. Repellents containing DEET are effective, but should be applied sparingly. (Products with 10 percent DEET or less are recommended for children)

- Make sure that doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.

- Drain all standing water on your property, no matter how small the amount

- Stock permanent ponds or fountains with fish that eat mosquito larvae. Change water in birdbaths or wading pools and empty flowerpot saucers of standing water at least once a week

- Check around faucets and air conditioner units and repair leaks or puddles that remain for several days

- Make sure roof gutters drain properly and remove any standing water under or around structures or on flat roofs

- Remove items that could collect water such as buckets, empty cans and food and beverage containers

- Eliminate seepage and standing water from cisterns, cesspools, septic tanks and animal watering tanks

Symptoms

According to the state health department, most people who are infected with West Nile Virus never exhibit symptoms or become ill.

For those who do become ill, symptoms usually occur 5-15 days after becoming infected and include fever, headache, body aches and occasionally skin rashes and swollen lymph nodes.

In serious cases, the disease can progress and cause encephalitis and/or meningitis. Symptoms associated with these more severe conditions include persistent headaches, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, tremors, muscle weakness and convulsions.

Persons with severe symptoms should seek medical attention immediately.

In horses, symptoms of West Nile Virus include fever, stumbling, lack of coordination, weakness of limbs and/or partial paralysis. Persons who believe their animals are infected with West Nile should consult with a veterinarian to determine if blood tests are needed.

For more information on West Nile Virus, call the San Juan Basin Health Department, Pagosa office at 264-2673, or visit the Internet at www.fightthebitecolorado.com or http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile.

 

Inside The Sun

 

Shine our spurs and head out to Casino Royale

By Beth Porter

Special to The PREVIEW

Got yer spurs shined up for Saturday night? Yep, Saturday's the night when folks will be having a rootin' tootin' good time as Pagosa Springs Rotary Club hosts the Casino Royal at Montezuma Vineyard and Restaurants.

Not into gambling? Not to worry: You'll see plenty of your favorite cow hands to catch up with. Bluegrass Cadillac will be playing live music; you can probably take a spin or two if you've a mind. The hors d'oeuvres will be lip-smacking good and there's a cash bar for adult beverages.

If you'd prefer, make reservations to dine at The Cellar, Montezuma's fine dining room. After dinner, it's a built-in party right outside the door. Of course, should the gambling bug bite, there's blackjack, poker, roulette and craps to test your luck.

Plus it's a great chance to break out your western duds, from denim to diamonds. You'll sparkle against the stunning backdrop of Montezuma. Do a little roundup at the silent auction. Items include a Weber BBQ grill, dinner for two at JJ's Upstream Restaurant, a trail ride for two from Poma Ranch, and lots more. Bid on tanning sessions, gift certificates, hair styling, Oakley sunglasses worth $190, gravel, home accessories, golf for two from both Pagosa Springs Golf Club and the Rio Grande Club in South Fork, remote control cars, an XM satellite radio, Killwell Fly rod worth $300, other fishing supplies, and much more.

Items range in value from $15 to $400, so there's something for everyone.

Auction items were donated by Aaron's Fitness and Strength Training, Big O Tires, Boot Hill Feed and Tack, City Market, Doors and More, Goodman's Department Store, Annie and Elizabeth at Head to Toe Salon, Jerri and Lois Hill, Jody Cromwell/Design Elements, Jump River Mercantile, Marion Francis, Ponderosa Do it Best, Radio Shack, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park, Shear Talk, Ski and Bow Rack, Slices of Nature, Steve Potter, Strohecker Asphalt, Summit Ski and Sports, Superior Car/Home Audio and Video and Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The $50,000 you get in funny money won't go to waste, either. Use it to buy raffle tickets for lots of good stuff from lots of folks.

Just by buying your ticket you have a chance to win a horseback trip for two for two days and one night camping in the San Juan Mountains. Your guide can take you to the best spots for fishing, for a photo safari, sightseeing and more. Breathe that incredible mountain air and let the magnificent wilderness treat you to the experience of a lifetime. This grand prize is sponsored by Poma Ranch/Matt Poma. Arrangements must be made in advance, some exclusions may apply.

Get your tickets today, from your favorite Rotary member, at the Chamber Visitor Center, Montezuma Vineyard and Restaurants and at the door. Tickets are $50 per person, and all net proceeds are returned to our community through Rotary-sponsored events and grants.

This event is made possible by the following sponsors: Montezuma Vineyard and Restaurants, Century Tel, Citizens Bank, Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, KWUF Radio 1400 AM and 106.3 FM, Old West Press, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Bank of Colorado, Edward Jones/Bob Scott, Upper Mesa Ranch, Wells Fargo Bank, Aaron's Fitness and Strength Training, Bank of the San Juans, Big O Tire Store, Colorado Dream Homes, Davis Engineering Services, Elk Meadows River Resort, Sundial Chevron and Dial Oil, Four Corners Distributing, LaPlata Electric Association, Mountain Snapshots, The Lighting Center, The Rio Grande Club, Timothy Miller Homes and Vectra Bank Colorado - and all of you who donate silent auction and raffle items, plus everyone who attends.

 

5-ring circus will perform twice to benefit community center

In America today, there remains only one big-tented circus, which manages to maintain the traditional demanding schedule of one-day stands.

It's the 2004 edition of Carson & Barnes 5-Ring Circus, bringing its hundreds of performers and animals to Pagosa Springs for shows 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. April 15.

The event is sponsored by the Town of Pagosa Springs as a fund-raiser for community center events.

Jim Miller, town maintenance supervisor, is chairing the committee coordinating the event, with community center director Mercy Korsgren as planning coordinator.

Mayor Ross Aragon said he feels the circus proceeds will be a major contributor to the community center. The show site will be the open area north of the center.

Carson & Barnes brings its city-block long "Biggest Big Top on Earth" to as many as 230 towns and cities each season, moving to a new site nearly every day, seven days a week. Emphasis is on bringing this type of family entertainment to communities of America where local civic organizations often share in the advance ticket sale proceeds.

While other circuses have reduced their size, Carson & Barnes has expanded and is the only organization still capable of moving a huge show and some 80 vehicles (trucks trailers and RVs) every 24 hours.

The four-generation Miller family has successfully owned and operated Carson & Barnes for 67 years. The late D.R. Miller, founder and known as "Mr. Circus" was recently inducted into the "Circus Ring of Fame" in Sarasota, Fla., and the "Circus Hall of Fame" in Peru, Ind.

His legacy of American entertainment is being carried on by his daughter, Barbara Miller Byrd and her husband, Geary, and his granddaughters' families who are involved in the day-to-day hands-on operation and movement of the complex, multifaceted community.

Carson & Barnes is circus history and magic recreated before your eyes. Elephants still help erect the big top and the general public is invited to set-up circus morning to watch. More than 100 exotic and domestic animals are unloaded, fed and watered as soon as the huge transports pull onto the grounds.

Earlybirds can watch as the first units of the 80-vehicle caravan begin arriving about an hour after dawn and continue to file in most of the morning.

Four hundred stakes, 1,234 poles and several miles of cables and ropes are laid out and prepared as the crew and trained elephants push, pull and lift the 300-foot Big Top of the shining polyvinyl auditorium 40 feet into the air.

Performers are artists from around the world, including the United States, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, Russia and Italy. Acts consist of aerial, trapeze and acrobatic teams, jugglers and clowns, along with performing elephants, lions, tigers, camels, dogs and horses.

A highlight of the show is the Grand Spectacular Parade, which this year features a Spanish theme with beautiful handmade costumes and animal blankets. Seating is available for 2,200 per show.

The Carson & Barnes Circus and the Miller/Byrd families have established the Endangered Ark Foundation to provide for endangered species, and operate a breeding program for the extremely endangered Asian elephant.

This facility had its grand opening and dedication last year. The five-year-old baby elephant, Jennie, who performs center ring, is the first live birth from the circus' breeding program. A recent arrival is a 340-pound bouncing baby boy elephant named Obert, born in August 2003.

Advance general admission tickets are now available at the Shell Station on N. Pagosa Boulevard, Bank of Colorado, The Corner Store/FINA and Wells Fargo Bank; and downtown at Chamber or Commerce, Bank of The San Juans, Pagosa Springs Community Center and Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs at special discount prices.

Or, go on line and get tickets at www.carsonbarnescircus.com.

On circus day advance general admission tickets can be upgraded to preferred seating for an additional charge.

 

PAWS to adopt new rate structure April 13

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District customers have exactly 20 days to offer comments and feedback on the district's new rate structure proposal.

April 13 is the target date for adoption of the new rates following actions taken during Tuesday night's meeting of the district board of directors.

The district's current rate structure, adopted last summer, includes a monthly service charge of $5.50 and "usage tier" charges based on the "more-use equals higher-charges" premise.

For every thousand gallons up to 8,000 gallons, the district charges $1.85 per thousand gallons.

For usage between 8,000-20,000 gallons, a charge of $3.70 is in effect for every thousand gallons, and usage beyond 20,000 gallons carries a price tag of $4.50 for every thousand gallons.

For wastewater/sewer service, the district charges a flat rate of $15.50.

Consideration of a rate increase, a notion discussed at several board meetings in the past three months, has centered on the district's need to keep pace with rising fixed costs.

For example, spikes in district operating costs for 2004 range from 6 percent (chemical purchases) to 550 percent (water tank maintenance).

Another factor in the need to keep pace with growing district expenses relates to revenues from water sales, which were lower last year than anticipated.

Tuesday's board session focused on adjusting rates in a fashion that fairly and evenly distributes the rate-revenue burden among district customers, whether they reside here year-round or seasonally.

The consensus among board members was that a $1 increase to the monthly service charge and modest increases to "usage tier" charges best accomplishes that goal.

In summary, "Those who live here three months a year should contribute as much as those who live here 12 months a year," said board member Bob Frye.

To that effect, a motion was passed that envisions a slightly different structure than rate scenarios given board review earlier this year.

Though subject to further modifications, the latest proposal would result in a monthly service charge of $6.50 for water service and the following usage tier charges:

- $2 for every thousand gallons up to 8,000 gallons

- $4.10 for every thousand gallons between 8,000 and 20,000 gallons

- $5.20 for every thousand gallons exceeding 20,000 gallons.

The new wastewater charge, proposed last month at $17.50, would remain unchanged.

According to Carrie Campbell, district general manager, the scenario will continue to be reviewed in the coming weeks.

Rates adopted at the April 13 board meeting will most likely take effect in June, said Campbell, while the subsequent charge adjustments will appear on district billing statements mailed in July.

Lake levels

According to the latest readings provided by Gene Tautges, assistant general manager, district reservoirs were at the following levels early this week:

- Lake Hatcher - 100 percent full and spilling

- Stevens Reservoir - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Pagosa - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Forest - 100 percent full and spilling

- Village Lake - 100 percent full and spilling.

 

The signs of spring runoff bring water safety cautions

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Listen carefully around downtown Pagosa Springs and it's possible these days to hear the sound of spring - the rushing of water as runoff begins in earnest.

It's a sign of warmer weather and one that brings to mind ideas of water sports. It should also be a reminder of water danger and safety measures to insure fun instead of fear on the water.

For those who need a more black and white reminder, Sgt. Karn Macht, Upper San Juan Search and Rescue coordinator, gave these tips.

Water this time of year is cold, and users must be aware of the danger of hypothermia. A two degree drop in a person's core temperature can kick off serious medical problems. Everyone who is going to be in the water should wear proper clothing such as wet or dry suits.

Everyone should wear a life jacket or some other type of personal flotation device. Make sure it fits and is rated for the appropriate water activity. All buckles should be securely fastened at all times.

"An unsecured personal flotation device is like not having one at all," Macht said. Two feet of running water can knock an adult down, so think ahead and be prepared."

Be aware of debris. Spring runoff will carry various debris, such as logs and branches down rivers and streams. The obstructions made by these can shift the channel and change the structure of areas in the river. An area that was safe a year ago may be drastically different now. Specific routes should be scouted first.

Loose and wet rocks can cause dangerous footing.

Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back. If possible, don't go alone.

With these tips in mind and a little common sense, everyone should have a safe summer on the water.

Macht said those who have a mishap and must abandon their water craft should call Archuleta County Dispatch at 264-2131 as soon as possible. In the past, several reports of abandoned craft were called in by helpful bystanders only to have search and rescue teams discover the owners were safe on dry land.

"Search and Rescue must treat every report as a serious call," Macht said. "We would like to avoid unnecessary missions that have the potential to endanger our volunteers."

However, in the case of an emergency, search and rescue members are available at any time by calling 9-1-1.

 

State launches campaign to 'Stamp out Domestic Violence'

A statewide campaign was launched last week to "Stamp out Family Violence."

Gov. Bill Owens and members of the state legislature kicked off the event with a rally and press conference in Denver.

State Rep. Cheri Jahn read a legislative resolution, sponsored by herself and Sen. Norma Anderson, showing strong support for the prevention of domestic violence in Colorado and supporting the 45-cent Stop Family Violence stamp.

Colorado's is the first state legislature in the nation to issue and official state resolution supporting the federal SFV stamp.

The stamp was first issued Oct. 8, 2003, after legislation authorizing it passed Congress, sponsored by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Ignacio.

The extra 8 cents from each stamp sold goes to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to support domestic violence prevention programs and shelters.

Since the first issue, sales of the SFV stamp have exceeded $4 million, including over $115,000 in Colorado. More than $700,000 has been raised to support domestic violence programs and shelters across the country.

Gov. Owens said, "Colorado is proud to support this stamp and take a strong stand against domestic violence. We must do everything we can to stop domestic violence and protect its innocent victims, including many children, women and the elderly here in Colorado."

Jahn, who is very involved as an advocate/counselor for domestic violence victims added, "You can make a difference in stamping out this tragic crime, which affects people of all genders, ages, economic and educational levels, races and backgrounds. By using this stamp on your mailings, you not only help these victims, you create more awareness and public support."

Some facts on domestic violence may surprise you:

- the effects are felt regardless of age, race or economic status. In 1999, according to a report by U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were more than 790,000 crimes of intimate violence in the U.S. and women accounted for 85 percent of the victims

- studies note 3-10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually and a 1998 study found more than half of all female victims of domestic violence live in a household with children under age 12

- children who witness domestic violence are more likely to exhibit behavioral and physical health problems including depression, anxiety and violence toward peers, and are also more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs and alcohol, run away from home, engage in teenage prostitution and commit sexual assault crimes

- domestic violence cases, besides the health and psychological and social trauma on victims, cost the nation billions of dollars annually in medical expenses, police and court costs, shelter and foster care, sick leave, absenteeism and non-productivity

- nearly a third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives

- in 2000, more than half a million American women were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner. On average, more than three women are murdered daily in the U.S. by husbands or boyfriends. In 2000, a total of 1,247 women in the U.S. were killed by an intimate partner.

 

Elderly being surveyed on needs, quality of life

Older adults throughout Southwest Colorado are being asked by telephone interviewers for their opinions on health needs, transportation and nutritional needs, and their quality of life.

Since only a small portion of households in the state will receive interview calls, each respondent's feedback is considered very important.

Survey responses will be used to help improve the health and wellness of residents in the state.

Local, state and county officials will use the survey results to guide future budget and planning decisions. The San Juan Basin Area Agency on Aging will use the results to help determine the types of services to be provided older adults in Archuleta, Dolores, LaPlata, Montezuma and San Juan counties.

Public and private organizations, too, will use the results to guide funding and policy-making decisions.

"This survey will help us put our dollars where they will do the most good," said Sally Johnson, SJBAA Region 9 director. "While we are proud of the excellent services already offered to our seniors, the Statewide Strength/Needs survey will give us valuable information on our strengths and areas where new or enhanced programs can be added."

Scientific sampling and weighting of responses from each county will ensure accurate and reliable results. The telephone interview will be anonymous and available in both English and Spanish. Residents will not be asked for Social Security numbers, credit card information, bank account information or any other identifying data.

The final report will be complete in late summer and will be made available to the public.

 

Health savings accounts plan advances

Rep. Larson's Report

This week the house Business Affairs and Labor Committee heard one of the more significant bills on health care that will be heard this year.

I am anxious to see this bill through and then to monitor how it is utilized. For years I have supported medical savings accounts but felt there were too many barriers in the way. That is changing.

Late last year Congress passed, and President Bush signed, the Medicare Modernization Act which includes the creation of Health savings accounts (HSA). The Business Affairs and Labor Committee passed SB04-94 last Thursday to amend Colorado law to allow Coloradans access to HSAs.

HSAs allow employers and employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to an account for qualified healthcare expenses. Doctor visits, pharmaceutical costs, deductibles and copays and most healthcare related expenses can be paid from the HSA.

Health savings accounts must be combined with a high deductible health plan to make sure individuals have coverage for necessary care beyond the occasional doctor's office visit. A typical HSA might combine a $1,500 deductible health plan, sponsored at some level by the employer, coupled with an employer and employee funded HSA. The employee would use the HSA to pay for healthcare needs up to the $1,500 deductible then rely on the insurance policy. Once the account is opened, the funds belong to the individual and are portable from job to job.

HSAs will also encourage individuals to save for their current and future health care needs. Individuals will be allowed to contribute pre-tax money to their HSA, spend the money from the account tax free for qualified expenses, and importantly, roll unused savings forward from year to year. The proceeds of the HSA can also earn interest tax free, thus growing to cover future healthcare costs.

SB 04-94 and health savings accounts are the most significant healthcare reforms the state has seen in years and will provide employers another more affordable option as they struggle to provide health coverage to their employees.

On Friday morning the House debated a relatively simple bill regarding court marshals that sought to make them peace officers. As it left the House, HB04-1218 required that these individuals be P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards and Training) Board certified since the bill also gave court marshals the ability to arrest and detain citizens.

When the bill came back from the Senate, a very significant change had been made stating that municipal court marshals, "shall be certified by the P.O.S.T. Board or receive the training required for a reserve office ..." Naturally, the courts will opt for the lower standard since P.O.S.T. certified officers cost more. Every other law enforcement entity in Colorado with authority to arrest and detain citizens must be P.O.S.T. certified but now court marshals will be exempt.

The most significant issue was that current law only authorizes reserve officers to work under the authority of the authorizing jurisdiction. Since municipal courts are not recognized in Colorado statute as an authorizing entity for peace officers then obviously reserve officers could not be utilized.

What was particularly disturbing about this debate was the number of legislators who had committed to support the sponsor and then, when finding out the bill was clearly substantially flawed, supported it anyway!

I am increasingly discouraged by observations such as this, where commitment to a bill sponsor (who may or may not have told them all sides of the issue) carries more weight than that legislator's responsibility to their constituents and the state as a whole in allowing them to vote for a bill they know is wrong and simply bad legislation. Yet another example of why citizens have become jaded about politicians.

 

'Ditch Bill' delays have farmers worried

Sen. Isgar's Report

Most of us recognize the importance of keeping farmers and ranchers on the land. The benefits they bring of open space, wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and positive economic and social impacts are numerous.

A key component of keeping them in business is assuring them access to their water rights, many of which originate on federal land.

This issue came up last week at the Capitol, and I think it is important for people to understand the issue.

With the enactment in 1976 of the Federal Land Policy Management Act (FLMPA), irrigators needed a way to document their entitlement to retain water facilities already in place on national forest land without obtaining renewable U.S. Forest Service (USFS) special use permits.

These special use permits would require additional fees. Therefore, in 1986, Congress adopted the "Ditch Bill" as an amendment to FLPMA to offer an exception to the Special Use Permits. A Ditch Bill easement is to be issued as a permanent easement based on a non-discretionary action by the USFS. However, this would later change.

In 1999, after issuing approximately 300 Ditch Bill easements out of 1,200 applications, the USFS sent a new draft Ditch Bill easement format to water users in the San Juan National Forest, effectively changing the permanent easement into one that was renewable, and allowing opportunities for the USFS to demand bypass flows.

However, this was one of many issues in this draft easement format that changed the language and intent of the Ditch Bill. In response, an ad hoc group of water practitioners from across the state prepared letters describing extensive, specific changes needed in the draft easement to comply with the intent of the legislation.

They met with regional U.S. Forest Service officials in August 1999 and were told that they would hear back, probably in November 1999, after the Washington, D.C. USFS office had reviewed an upcoming Solicitor's Opinion on bypass flows.

Nevertheless, the group received no response from the USFS and was able to obtain the 1999 Solicitor's Opinion only through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Attorney General. Another letter from the Director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources in 2002 also went unanswered.

In 2003, water practitioners' fears were realized when the USFS, in the San Juan National Forest, requested a 3.0 cfs bypass flow for restoration work on a ditch in Archuleta County by a party entitled to a Ditch Bill easement. In response to this request, the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) and the Colorado Attorney General's office, in cooperation with water users, requested that the USFS join them and a group of water user stakeholders in a collaborative process to develop acceptable Ditch Bill easements.

On March 17, 2004, I asked Rick Cables, the regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region, during a meeting of the Joint House/Senate Ag Committee, to address the Ditch Bill issue. He reported that he expected Ditch Bill policy to be issued by the Washington USFS office within the next several months.

Because of CWCB concerns with a top-down national Ditch Bill policy, instead of a policy developed through a collaborative process, Department of Natural Resources Director Russell George will join Cables in seeking a more collaborative process from the Washington USFS office.

In the meantime, the Joint Ag Committee will propose a joint resolution in support of these Ditch Bill efforts.

 

Child care prelicensing class set

A free 13 1/2-hour pre-licensing class is being planned for anyone interested in becoming a licensed home child care provider.

Classes are planned Saturdays, May 8, 15 and 22, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day.

The class will include CPR/first aid May 15, universal precautions May 8, and other topics required for licensing.

Classes will be at the Early Childhood Training Center, 1315 Main Ave., Durango.

For more information and/or to receive a registration packet, contact Barbara Dodds at 259-2094.

 

Farmington firm gets architectural contract for school service building

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A Farmington architectural firm has been selected to design the new maintenance and transportation complex for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

The facility, to be constructed on land lying southeast of the Worthe Crouse Vocational Arts Building at the high school site, will house maintenance facilities, transportation repair and maintenance and bus parking, and shipping and receiving for all four schools in the district.

The board of education voted unanimously in a 7 a.m. meeting Tuesday to award the architectural pact to Rodahl & Hummel, one of three finalists from a field of five interviewed.

The recommendation for selection came from Steve Walston, district maintenance supervisor, who had personally checked the performance records of all the finalists.

The other two of the final three were Reynolds Knight Anderson and Fawley Bryant.

Walston said he did spread sheet layouts for all three firms based on their specific interview answers and determined his final choice on that compared data.

Perhaps the most important factor, he told the board, was that Rodahl & Hummel proposed a lower percentage of total cost fee - 6.8 percent ... "if you had a $1 million project," he said in answer to a question from the board, "it would mean a fee of $68,000."

Director Clifford Lucero told fellow board members he was impressed that the firm, would use local subcontractors and labor where possible and available.

"We've always made that an issue in our projects," he said. "We want local people to be trusted with competitive jobs."

Walston told the board the architectural recommendation comes on the basis of many detailed comparisons by previous users of their services, notably the Aztec, N.M. school district, where the firm is involved in ongoing projects in excess of $11 million.

"They have many good, performance related examples of praise in their documentation," he said.

"They have significant experience in exact like-kind facilities for both schools and the private sector," he added.

Among other factors in the decision was that both the mechanical and electrical engineers now working at the elementary school would be utilized by Rodahl & Hummell.

Director Jon Forrest told the board, "I am a builder, but have no clue how to bid something like this. Employing someone who knows the field should be of extreme benefit to us."

Walston told the board he will now look at facilities designed by the firm selected not just for schools but commercial projects like a major facility for Giant Oil, for example.

That, he said, would tie in with the oil change, undercarriage maintenance pits needed in the transportation portion of the new Pagosa facility.

What we'll probably do is have a two-week back-and-forth feedback with the architects," he said and "then we'll be looking for drawings expressing those ideas."

In other action, the board approved spending $500 to have Colorado Association of School Boards expert Randy Black conduct back-to-back evening-morning sessions for the board on personnel evaluation and policy procedures.

The visit had been approved earlier, but board members at that time had not been aware there was a cost involved; assuming such services were a benefit of CASB membership.

Assured by Nancy Schutz that funds for such training sessions are available, the board approved the expenditure.

Finally, directors spent 54 minutes in executive session discussing a "personnel matter," after amending the prepared agenda to allow for the session.

 

Educational series for people dealing with or facing cancer

The American Cancer Society and the La Plata Breast Health Task Force Present "A Celebration of Life."

This is an educational series for people facing or dealing with cancer.

The discussions and presentations will be held each Tuesday through April 13.

All presentations will be given by local medical professionals.

The final session will feature a panel of cancer survivors.

March 30

"Understanding the Side Effects of Chemotherapy" and "Maintaining a Healthy Diet during Chemo."

April 6

"The Living Will and Durable Power of Attorney" and "Financial Issues."

April 13

"Surviving the Challenges" and "Relaxation."

All sessions will be 6-8 p.m. in the Dr. Patrick Luter Cancer Center at Mercy's North Campus, 3801 N. Main, Durango.

The sessions are free but you must register at Durango's American Cancer Society or call 247-0278.

 

IRS lists 12 scams defrauding taxpayers

In an update of an annual consumer alert, the Internal Revenue Service urges taxpayers to avoid falling victim to one of the "Dirty Dozen" tax scams and a variety of other schemes.

In the new 2004 ranking, several new scams have reached the top of the consumer watch list, including abusive trusts and the "claim of right" doctrine.

In addition, the IRS has taken a new step this year and issued 10 new pieces of legal guidance involving scams in the "Dirty Dozen" and other tax schemes. The new guidance debunks the schemes and provides new legal details to help tax practitioners and taxpayers.

"At the IRS, we're augmenting our enforcement resources to attack schemes and scams.  While we're actively targeting promoters, taxpayers themselves should be wary of anyone who promises to eliminate their taxes," said IRS commissioner Mark W. Everson. "Don't be fooled by these outrageous claims. There is no secret way to escape paying taxes."

The IRS and other federal agencies are aggressively pursuing and successfully prosecuting promoters of these schemes and many of their clients for fraud and tax evasion. Participation in these schemes can result in imprisonment, fines and repayment of taxes owed with interest and penalties. Even innocent taxpayers involved in these schemes can face a staggering amount of back interest and penalties.

Taxpayers who suspect tax fraud can report it to the IRS at 1-800-829-0433. More information on tax scams and schemes is available by visiting "The Newsroom" section of IRS.gov.

The IRS urges people to avoid these common schemes:

1. Misuse of Trusts.  Promoters of abusive tax transactions are increasingly urging taxpayers to transfer assets into trusts. The promoters promise a variety of benefits, such as the reduction of income subject to tax, deductions for personal expenses paid by the trust and reduction of gift or estate taxes.

Taxpayers should be aware that abusive trust arrangements will not produce the tax benefits advertised by their promoters and that the IRS is actively examining these types of trust arrangements. More than a dozen injunctions have been obtained against promoters, and numerous promoters and their clients have been criminally prosecuted. Before entering any trust arrangements, taxpayers should seek the advice of a trusted tax professional.

2. "Claim of Right" Doctrine.  In this emerging scheme, people file returns and attempt to take a deduction equal to the entire amount of their wages. The promoters advise them to label the deduction as "a necessary expense for the production of income" or "compensation for personal services actually rendered." The deduction is based on a complete misinterpretation of the Internal Revenue Code and has no basis in law.

3. Corporation sole. Participants in this scam apply for incorporation under the pretext of being a "bishop" or "overseer" of a one-person, phony religious organization or society. The idea is that the arrangement entitles the individual to exemption from federal income taxes as a nonprofit, religious organization as described in tax laws.

When used as intended, Corporation Sole statutes enable religious leaders - typically bishops or parsons - to become incorporated as individuals as a way of separating themselves legally from the control and ownership of church assets. But the rules have been twisted at seminars where promoters charge fees of up to $1,000 or more per person. Would-be participants are mistakenly told that Corporation Sole laws provide a "legal" way to escape paying federal income taxes, child support and other personal debts.

4. Offshore Transactions. Some people use offshore transactions to avoid paying United States taxes. Use of an offshore bank account, brokerage account, credit card, wire transfer, trust, offshore employee leasing or other arrangement to hide or underreport income or to claim false deductions on a federal tax return is illegal.

A taxpayer involved in these schemes could be subject to payment of taxes, interest, penalties and potential criminal prosecution. This was the top scam in the 2003 "Dirty Dozen." A special program last year has yielded more than $170 million in taxes, interest and penalties, and the IRS and the states continue to aggressively pursue taxpayers and promoters in this area.

 5. Employment tax evasion. The IRS has seen a number of illegal schemes that instruct employers not to withhold federal income tax or other employment taxes from wages paid to their employees. These schemes are based on an incorrect interpretation of "Section 861" and other parts of the tax law and have been refuted in court. Recent court cases have resulted in criminal convictions of promoters.

Employer participants could also be held responsible for back payments of employment taxes, plus penalties and interest. Employees who have no withholdings are still responsible for payment of their personal taxes.

6. Return preparer fraud.  Unscrupulous return preparers can cause a lot of problems for taxpayers who use their services. Abusive return preparers derive financial gain by diverting a portion of the taxpayer's refund for their own benefit, charging inflated fees for the return preparation services, and increasing their clientele by advertising guaranteed larger refunds. Taxpayers should choose carefully when hiring a tax preparer - no matter who prepares the return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for all of the information on that return.

7. Americans with Disabilities Act.  Another scheme seen for several years involves the purchase of equipment and services that the promoter alleges meets the strict criteria of the Disabled Access Credit, which was created with the passage of the "Americans with Disabilities Act." A minimal payment is made and a non-recourse note signed. The investor then provides insignificant services to complete the purchase agreement. This scheme is based on an incorrect interpretation of law and an over-inflated value of the services rendered.

8.  African-Americans get a special tax refund. Thousands of African-Americans have been misled by people offering to file for tax credits or refunds related to reparations for slavery. There is no such provision in the tax law. Some unscrupulous promoters have encouraged clients to pay them to prepare a claim for this refund. But the claims are a waste of money.

Promoters of reparations tax schemes have been convicted and imprisoned. And taxpayers could face a $500 penalty for filing such claims if they do not withdraw the claim. Related scams include claiming an illegal tax credit by misusing Form 2439, "Notice to Shareholder of Undistributed Long-Term Capital Gains." The slavery reparations scam was at the top of the 2002 "Dirty Dozen," and, although claims have fallen considerably, the IRS continues to see activity in this area.

9. Improper home-based business. This scheme purports to offer tax "relief" but in reality is illegal tax avoidance. The promoters of this scheme claim that individual taxpayers can deduct most, or all, of their personal expenses as business expenses by setting up a bogus home-based business. But the tax code firmly establishes that a clear business purpose and profit motive must exist in order to generate and claim allowable business expenses. This scam has been around for years, but the IRS continues to see activity in this area.

10. Frivolous arguments. Frivolous arguments are false arguments that are unsupported by law. When a scheme promoter says "I don't pay taxes — why should you" or urges you to "untax yourself for $49.95," beware. The ads may claim that the promoter knows the "secret" for never paying taxes again, but that's just plain wrong. The U.S. courts have continuously rejected this and other frivolous arguments.

Unfortunately, people across the country have paid for the "secret" of not paying taxes or have bought "untax packages." Then they find out that following the advice contained in them can result in civil and/or criminal penalties. Numerous sellers of the bogus schemes have been convicted on criminal tax charges. More than a dozen injunctions have been issued.

11. Identity theft. Identity thieves use someone's personal data to steal his or her financial accounts, run up charges on the victim's existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim's name and even file fraudulent tax returns. The IRS is aware of several identity theft scams involving taxes or the IRS. In one example, fraudsters sent bank customers fictitious bank correspondence and IRS forms in an attempt to trick them into disclosing their personal and banking data. In another, abusive tax preparers have used clients' Social Security numbers and other information to file false tax returns without the clients' knowledge. For taxpayers, it pays to be choosy about disclosing personal and financial information. And the IRS encourages taxpayers to carefully select a reputable tax professional.

 12. Share/borrow EITC dependents. Unscrupulous tax preparers "share" one client's qualifying children with another client in order to allow both clients to claim the Earned Income Tax Credit. For example, one client may have four children but only needs to list two to get the maximum EITC. The preparer will list two children on the first client's return and the other two on another client's tax return. The preparer and the client "selling" the dependents split a fee. The IRS prosecutes the preparers of such fraudulent claims, and participating taxpayers could be subject to civil penalties.

Beyond the "Dirty Dozen," the IRS sees many more tax schemes. In one, a telephone caller says you've won a prize, and all you have to do to get it is to pay the income tax due - to the caller. Other scams can play off recent news events, such as one last year targeting members of the military.  

"Taxpayers should think carefully before paying for services or signing important documents," Everson said. "Don't be a victim of these scams or others that promise the moon. They carry a high price."

 

Review Earned Income Credit rules to maximize refund

By Jean Carl

IRS Media Relations

Special to The SUN

As the clock ticks down to April 15, working families who earn less than $35,000 should take a moment to review the rules for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). For eligible taxpayers, the credit can mean bigger tax refunds.

A recent study by the Brookings Institution confirmed what we at the Internal Revenue Service already knew: People who qualify for the EITC are a diverse group. The EITC taxpayers are almost evenly divided between urban and rural communities. They could be people in your community.

The Earned Income Tax Credit was created in 1975 as an offset for other federal taxes paid by low-income workers. Initially, it was limited to people with children. In 1993, it was expanded to low-income workers without children.

But we find that folks often make errors.

The law is complicated. That's why we're encouraging everyone to review the rules. Also, we're providing resources to help taxpayers get the information they need to prevent mistakes.

Know the rules

We are doing what we can to make it easier and to make more help available. But taxpayers should carefully study the rules. Don't guess if you are eligible, know. Here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

This year, the maximum credit is $4,204 for a family with two or more qualifying children, $2,547 for a family with one qualifying child and $382 if there are no qualifying children.

For the 2003 tax year, income limits have increased. Taxpayers must earn less than $33,692 if they have two or more qualifying children, less than $29,666 with one qualifying child or less than $11,230 if there are no children. Income limits are $1,000 higher if a married couple files jointly.

If you meet those income limits, it may pay for you to look at other EITC rules. Those eligibility requirements are available at many places. You should seek out help if necessary.

Help is available

If you have computer access, you also can visit www.irs.gov. Our popular Web site has an entire page devoted to the EITC. Taxpayers also can order helpful publications such as Publication 596, Earned Income Credit, by calling (800) 829-3676 or download publications from the IRS Web site. IRS toll free telephone assistors are available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-10 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at (800) 829-1040.

 

Open house set April 3 to explain Chimney Rock volunteer openings

As the new season begins at Chimney Rock, the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association invites the public to an open house, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 3, at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street. Volunteer opportunities and Chimney Rock's many fascinating projects will be explained.

Opportunities are available for those who like to work indoors or outdoors and activities can be structured to fit most time scheduled. Assistance is needed in many areas.

Some of the volunteer opportunities include:

- becoming a Chimney Rock cabin host or tour guide

- aiding with special events such as full moon programs and lunar standstill events

- assisting with school tours, Life at Chimney Rock programs, pottery and basket-making classes, geology seminars, solstice and equinox events, and various other programs

- supporting the office with mailings, fund raising, etc.

- helping with maintenance on the Chimney Rock site

- volunteering for Friends of Native Cultures events such as the traditional dances.

For more details, contact the Web site at www.chimneyrockco.org.

 

Outdoors

 

High Country Reflections

Cabin fever isn't just a winter phenomenon

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

Without a doubt, Rocky Mountain winters are long. Days are short, the nights are cold, and by mid-March, when the snow is roughly neck deep and still coming down, weeks can sometimes seem like months.

It's also about the time a strange and virulent disorder pervades the countryside, and a certain testiness settles in among human inhabitants, which certainly wasn't apparent just a few weeks before. It's widely anticipated, yet largely inescapable. It's cabin fever.

Of course, I'm not referring to the inevitable boredom an energetic young child feels when all daily interests have apparently been exhausted, and sitting, reading, or, God forbid, even napping are all that seems left to indulge in. That's more a spontaneous restlessness that occurs any time of year, often coming and going with the onset of a mild illness, or temporary changes in the weather that customarily restricts one to the indoors for a day or two.

The cabin fever I speak of is a serious seasonal affliction, which takes hold of the spirit, causing anxiety, restlessness, and real fluctuation in the mental and emotional stability of its host. Usually a result of unremitting foul weather and lengthy indoor confinement, it comes on slowly, over a period of weeks or months, and characteristically erodes one's general attitude and overall peace of mind. While recurrent, and to some extent controllable, most of those afflicted are convinced that their very survival hangs on the early return of moderate weather, and a resumption of regular outside activities.

I was born and raised in western Illinois, and as a young outdoor adventurer, came to know cabin fever at an early age. There, as November skies invariably cloud over, a stiff north wind, coupled with the ever-present humidity, starts local meteorologists emphatically talking "wind chill." Measurable snowfall rarely amounts to more than a few inches, and is typically heavy and wet, or hard and crusty. Meanwhile, if the sun appears at all in the next several months, it hangs low in the southern sky, offering only slanting rays and little warmth. In Illinois, as winter settles in, curling up next to a fire with a good book is most appealing.

Winter weather notwithstanding, Midwestern topography is largely flat. A few small ski areas afford short runs on gradual icy slopes, but ticket prices seem disproportionately high, particularly when waiting in crowded lift lines can consume the better part of a day. Of course, there's always sledding or tobogganing, but again, walking back up even short hills takes far more time and effort than sliding down them.

Under the right conditions, cross-country skiing is fun and good exercise, but available public lands are seriously limited, and "the right" snow conditions seldom exist, or last very long. Therefore, with reasonably lousy weather and a relative lack of viable outdoor activities to choose from, it's no wonder most Midwesterners spend much of their winter days reading or watching television.

Admittedly, even in the mountains where winters consistently offer ample sunshine and great snow to play in, there's a certain romance attached to the warmth and security a cozy cottage and roaring fire offer on a cold snowy afternoon. In fact, after months of rigorous outdoor activity, whether fishing, hiking, rock climbing, or river-running, simply gazing out a window as the snow gradually piles up to the sill is often a nice and therapeutic change of pace.

Nice and therapeutic that is, until such time when the calendar finally claims it's spring, yet the intensity of recent snowstorms has actually increased to a point where accumulations now far exceed the height of the aforementioned window sill.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining at lower elevations, and in its warmth, trees are budding and the grass is turning green. Flowers are springing up, many song birds and migratory waterfowl have returned from a long winter hiatus, and people are fairly jovial, as winter's icy grip is quickly fading into memory.

At this point, I suppose I should mention that cabin fever, or seasonal blues, the shack nasties, whatever you want to call it, is not just a wintertime phenomenon. Keep in mind, we're talking confinement, which may or may not have anything to do with prolonged periods of precipitation.

Like most people I know, I've always been a big fan of summer. I love warm sun-drenched days and bright moonlit nights. I enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, and observing wildlife. In fact, I've often said, "if summer was year-round, and I never saw another snowflake, I'd be quite content for the rest of my life."

Of course, that was before moving to the Arizona desert.

A few years ago my wife, Jackie, and I left Colorado and went to Phoenix for a variety of what, at the time, seemed like very valid reasons. We have lots of family there, opportunities for career advancement offered promise of future prosperity, and then there was the no-more-snowflakes thing. I thought to myself, "imagine, perpetual summer. No need for turtlenecks, boots, and gloves, and no more windshield scraping." I even made light of bequeathing my industrial-strength scraper/snowbrush to a friend we left behind.

It was about mid-day, July 1, when we drove into the "Valley of the Sun," and without a cloud in the sky, the mercury hovered around 113. For the next five hours, in the heat of the day, we unloaded our truck and U-haul trailer. Throughout, perspiration flowed from our bodies through pores that, until then, we never realized existed. By evening, after several bottles of water and three sodas each (Jackie usually hates soda), the truck and trailer were empty, and so were our energy reserves. It was time for a cool shower.

Over the next four years, we would repeatedly discover that "cool" showers are only a concept and not reality during a desert summer. Apparently, while water lines are buried roughly four feet, the overwhelming heat baking the earth's surface penetrates at least that far, and for about five months out of the year, enclosed air-conditioning or a good swimming pool are the only practical means of cooling off. Thus, we have summertime cabin fever.

If anything, cabin fever is worse in the harsh desert environment than here in the mountains. The parched air and unrelenting sun will dehydrate you quickly in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, and nights offer little relief. I remember watching meteor showers one evening, when the thermometer read 97 degrees Š and it was just after midnight.

I won't deny the fact that cold and snowy, high-country weather tends to lose its appeal after a few months, but now that it's late March, I am rediscovering the joy in the anticipation of spring. Days are growing longer, the sun feels warmer on my face and, while more snow will almost surely fall, it certainly won't last. Besides, I can always dress for it, and even go out and play in it. In the hot desert sun, one can only get so naked.

Perhaps cabin fever is really just a matter of perspective.

 

Internet link can aid hunter applications

By Tyler Baskfield

Special to The SUN

People who plan to hunt in Colorado this fall can now apply for 2004 big game licenses over the Internet.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is implementing the online application system as part of ongoing efforts to improve customer service.

In the past, people who wanted to apply for limited big game licenses needed to fill out paper applications and send them through the mail or drop them off at the Division office in Denver. While hunters still have the option of using paper applications, this year they also have the ability to apply for limited big game licenses over the Internet by using the Web site http://.wildlife.state.co.us, or by accessing the Total Licensing System page directly at http://wildlife.state.co.us/total_licensing/.

The ability to apply for limited licenses on the Web site will streamline the process for the more than 350,000 annual big game applicants who choose to go to their computers instead of the post office.

"This is part of our efforts to improve the application process and enhance customer service," said Henrietta Turner, license administration manager for DOW. "Not only does this service help safeguard customers from errors on their applications, it also makes the process much more convenient for our customers."

Customers are taking to the new system quickly. The DOW has received more than 500 Internet applications per day since implementing the new system recently, and customers are pleased with the ease of the process.

"I wanted the DOW to know that I was very impressed with this system," said Kevin Sailor of Brighton, who used the system to apply for several different species of big game licenses. "It was very user friendly, and was much quicker and easier than having to complete six handwritten applications, plus I saved over $2 in postage. This was a huge improvement in customer service. Thanks."

For all the convenience of the new system, there are a few intricacies customers need to be aware of. Customers will have several choices when they purchase a license including: "Purchase a 2003 license," "Purchase a 2004 license" and "Apply for a license." Customers who want to apply for a 2004 big game license need to select the "Apply for a limited license."

The "Purchase a 2004 license" option is for customers who wish to buy an over-the-counter license such as an annual fishing license. Over-the-counter big game licenses will not be available for purchase over the Internet until mid-July.

There is some additional information that may be helpful to customers to know before they apply online, including:

- customers can only submit two applications per transaction. However, they can always apply for more species with additional transactions

- nonresidents will not be allowed to apply for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, moose or mountain goat licenses over the Internet

- nonresidents who do not have a driver's license must get a customer identification number (CID) before they apply. This can be done by calling the DOW customer service center at (303) 297-1192. All nonresident customers need to have a CID number or driver's license before they apply online

- hunters applying as residents over the Internet will need to have a driver's license number. This will be used as proof of residency. Youths, military personnel, and students without a Colorado driver's license number will not be able to use the Internet to apply for a resident license

- just as with paper applications, those who apply over the Internet will also need to submit their Social Security number

- there are several states that issue hunter education cards without numbers. Customers from these states should select the state that issued their card from the scroll down list and enter the post office abbreviation of the state and the year the card was obtained in the hunter education number boxes. For example, if an applicant's hunter education card is from Pennsylvania and issued in 1995, the applicant would enter PA1995 as his or her card number and PA as the issue state

- if customers use the Internet to apply, they should not submit the same application on paper. Dual applications will be treated as an error and will be removed from the draw

- customers should be prepared to print a final, printed conformation of their application before they go online

- just because customers receive confirmation of their application, it does not mean that they drew their license. The draw will take place after the application deadline of April 6. Draw results will be posted on the DOW Web site in late June

- the deadline to submit both paper applications and Internet applications for 2004 limited big game licenses is midnight on April 6. Hunters who plan to use the Internet to apply should submit applications well before April 6 in case there are complications or they need additional information to submit an application.

"We want people to submit their Internet applications as early as possible," Turner said.

"While the new system has worked smoothly to this point, anytime customers go through a process for the first time there is always a chance for complications. This system was designed to make this process convenient for our customers. We would hate to see any hunter unable to enter the draw because they had a problem and ran out of time. We are encouraging customers to call and get help from our customer service center if they have questions," she added.

Hunters who want to reach the DOW customer service center should call (303) 297-1192).

 

Late season successes made the 2003 elk hunt third best in state history

Poor hunting conditions brought on by warm, dry weather during Colorado's 2003 big game seasons were offset by near-record elk license sales and good late-season success, resulting in the third largest elk harvest in state history.

Hunters killed 57,300 elk during the 2003 season compared to 61,200 in 2002. The dip was most notable during the four regular rifle seasons, with the regular-season harvest declining 15 percent, down from 42,200 in 2002 to 36,100 in 2003. For their part, archery hunters killed 4,700 elk in 2003, a 22 percent increase over the previous year. Hunters with late-season licenses or licenses for special hunts - such as the Ranching for Wildlife program - harvested 13,800 elk, or 12 percent more in 2003 than in 2002.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife issued nearly 247,000 elk licenses last year, an increase of 17,000 from the previous year. The 2003 total was the most since the record year of 1998, when hunters purchased 254,000 elk licenses. The success ratio dipped from 27 percent in 2002 to a still-respectable 23 percent in 2003.

Meanwhile, the deer harvest increased slightly from 36,100 in 2002 to 37,600 in 2003. The success ratio for deer hunters fell slightly from 45 percent in 2002 to 43 percent last year. The agency sold more than 88,000 deer licenses, the most in five years.

"While we didn't reach our harvest objective of 65,000 elk, hunters harvested more than we anticipated last fall when the hunting conditions appeared to be so unfavorable," said John Ellenberger, the DOW's big game manager.

"And the success for late-season hunts is important because those hunts are designed to reduce elk numbers or change elk distribution in problem areas," Ellenberger explained.

Colorado has more than 270,000 elk based on the DOW's post-hunt estimates, the most of any state in the United States or province in Canada.

The recovery of Colorado's elk herd is one of the 20th century's outstanding conservation success stories. Wildlife officials estimate there were fewer than 2,000 elk left in Colorado a century ago, the result of market hunting and habitat loss that occurred during the settlement of the West.

In areas where the elk population is above the long-term objective, the DOW issued additional antlerless licenses to help reduce the size of the herds.

"Having a large elk harvest for the third time in the last four years validates the Division's efforts to reduce the elk population, particularly in those areas where our long-term objectives have not been met," said Ron Velarde, the DOW's northwest regional manager. "We recognize the concerns that ranchers and farmers have expressed about the size of the elk herds in some areas and these harvest numbers demonstrate that we are aggressively working to meet our herd objectives."

Hunters killed more than 5,300 pronghorn antelope, a reduction of nearly 700 from the 2002 total of 6,000. The annual pronghorn harvest has fallen steadily for the past seven years, largely due the persistent drought that has gripped Colorado and much of the U.S. West.

 

BLM seeks to fill vacant spots on advisory councils

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking nominations to fill upcoming vacancies on three Resource Advisory Councils (RAC) in Colorado.

These councils provide advice and recommendations to BLM on the use and management of 8.4 million acres of public lands in the state.

In 1995, BLM established councils in Colorado representing three geographic areas: Northwest, Southwest, and Front Range. Members give advice to BLM on the broad array of resource, social, and economic issues that confront land managers and local communities.

Councils operate on principles of collaboration and consensus. Members are sought who are committed to working together with other interests for the long-term benefit of public lands and the people who enjoy and rely on them.

Nominations are being accepted through April 19 to fill the positions of several members whose terms of appointment will expire this August.

Council members must be residents of Colorado. Each year, one-third of the membership is up for renewal or replacement. Terms are for three years. Each council consists of 15 members, selectively balanced and representative of three general interest groups.

Group 1 - holders of federal grazing permits/leases; representatives of mining, timber, off-road vehicle use and commercial recreation.

Group 2 - representatives of recognized national or regional environmental or resource conservation organizations; archeological and historical interests; wild horse and burro groups; and dispersed recreational activities.

Group 3 - state, county, or local elected officials; employees of state agencies responsible for management of natural resources, land or water; representatives of Indian tribes; academicians involved in natural sciences, and the public at large.

Colorado's Southwest RAC has vacancies in all three categories.

Qualifications for RAC membership are based on the nominee's:

- education, training, or experience to give informed, objective advice on an industry, discipline or interest

- experience or knowledge of the geographical area the council serves

- demonstrated commitment to collaboration in seeking solutions to resource management issues.

BLM provides training on resource science and management issues to all council members.

Members serve without monetary compensations, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses.

Members are expected to attend RAC meetings called by the designated federal officer. Meetings usually occur no more often than every other month. Location of the meetings could vary throughout the state, and may include tours. Meetings will normally be held Monday through Friday, and may last more than one day.

Individuals may nominate themselves or others. Letters of reference from the interests or organizations the nominee wishes to represent must accompany the nomination form.

In addition, each nominee must submit a completed Background Information Nomination Form and should have a demonstrated commitment to collaborative resource decision-making.

The nomination period will close April 19 as announced in the Federal Register on March 5. For additional information, please contact:

BLM Northwest RAC, Attention: Steven Hall, 2815 H Rd., Grand Junction, CO 81506. E-mail steven_hall@co.blm.gov or call (970) 244-3052.

 

Mulemanship clinic slated April 16-18

The Four Corners Draft Horse, Mule and Carriage Association will host its annual Brad Cameron mulemanship clinic April 16-18.

The clinic will be in Wild Horse Equestrian Center's indoor arena at 6203 Colo. 151, Ignacio.

Early-bird discounts apply if registration is completed by April 1. Colt starting class fee is $400 (early bird $350); mulemanship fee is $300 (early registration $250).

For more information and to register, call Ron-D-View (clinic host) at 563-9270 or e-mail at rondviewoutfitting@durangolive.net.

 

DOW starting work on state gray wolf management plan

The Colorado Division of Wildlife is in initial stages of developing a Gray Wolf Management Plan this year and will gather input from the general public before appointing a multi-disciplinary work group to draft a statewide strategy.

Colorado is part of the gray wolf's native range, but wolves were eradicated from the state by the mid-1930s. Over the past decade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reintroduced gray wolves into Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona, and some observers believe it is only a matter of time before wolves start migrating into Colorado from the north and south.

Researchers say dispersing wolves - especially single male wolves - can travel long distances. To prepare for any future wolf migrations into Colorado, the DOW will gather input from the public during a series of forums this year and set up a multi-disciplinary work group that will develop a draft Wolf Management Plan by the end of August.

"Wolves are a controversial species, and we want everyone to have the opportunity to express their opinions about wolf management in Colorado," said Gary Skiba, multi-species coordinator for the DOW's species conservation section.

Skiba said the working group in charge of developing a formal plan would include members of livestock, sportsmen, environmental and non-governmental groups, as well as representatives from local and state government agencies. Once the group draws up a draft, it will be made available for public comment for a 60-day period.

The Wolf Management Plan is expected to be in place by the end of 2004. The plan, which must receive final approval from the DOW director, will build on preliminary guidelines already set up by the DOW with regard to how residents and wildlife officers should respond to reports of wolf sightings.

Another consideration in Colorado's bid to establish a formal Wolf Management Plan is an effort by federal officials to de-list certain gray wolf populations from protection under the Endangered Species Act by the end of the year.

Colorado falls into two different USFWS regions dictating wolf management in the contiguous United States. The region north of Interstate 70 falls in the Western Distinct Population Segment (DPS) and the region south of the highway in the Southwestern DPS.

The USFWS plans to delist Rocky Mountain gray wolves in the Western DPS, giving Colorado and other states control over the predators. Once that happens, the state will have complete management control of wolves, but only north of I-70.

Wolf management in Colorado south of I-70 will be handled differently because the Southwestern DPS - which covers the range of Mexican gray wolves reintroduced into New Mexico and Arizona - would remain under the protection of the federal Endangered Species Act.

Citizens interested in receiving additional information and providing input on wolf management should visit the DOW Web site to learn when and where public forums and other opportunities to provide input will be provided over the coming months.

For more information about Colorado's current wolf management guidelines and the USFWS map of Distinct Population Segments, visit the following Web sites: wildlife.state.co.us/species_cons/GrayWolf/ or midwest.fws.gov/wolf/fnl-rule/status-map.pdf

 

DOW pilots get a bird's eye view of wild game patterns

Most airmen try to avoid wildlife, but Colorado Division of Wildlife pilots earn a living by tracking herds of elk, deer and pronghorn antelope as they migrate from summer to winter ranges, as well as flocks of waterfowl roosting around the state.

To accomplish these and other tasks, wildlife pilots have had to rethink everything they learned in flight school, literally tossing aviation decorum - but not caution - to the wind.

After 17 years with the DOW, pilot David Younkin still recalls his first on-the-job challenge. As a new employee, a wildlife officer asked him to fly a tank of trout up to Lake Agnes near Cameron Pass in northwest Colorado.

Younkin remembers flying into a dramatic volcanic cirque, surveying the rugged terrain and returning to base convinced his colleagues were pulling a practical joke on him. He could not see himself swooping to within 200 feet of the lake to drop the fish before pulling out smoothly, all for the sake of stocking a high-mountain pond for backcountry enthusiasts.

"I brought the fish back. I said, 'You guys aren't really serious. You don't want those fish in those holes.' A former pilot assured me that, yeah, it could be done," Younkin said. "It was the hardest thing to do, to make yourself fly into those places. You were taught all your career you just don't go there."

Like other natural-resource agencies, the DOW has used small aircraft since the post-World War II era to conduct animal surveys and assess wildlife habitats as part of its mission to manage Colorado's diverse wildlife populations.

The agency maintains a fleet of single-engine, fixed-wing Cessna 185 "taildraggers" and employs four full-time pilots. Wildlife managers who oversee the program say flying missions are the most practical and cost-effective way to gather data to gauge the health and well being of wildlife. Without aircraft, biologists would not be able to track species over wide areas or reach far-flung mountain habitats once accessible only after days of hiking with pack mules - or not at all, they add.

"If it wasn't for our pilots and our hatchery guys, most high mountain lakes would be barren. There wouldn't be any fish in them at all," said Steve Puttman, northeast region senior fish biologist for the DOW. "It's a wonderful tool. There are a lot of things we would not be able to do without our planes."

Among other things, data gathered in flight can indicate whether certain species have declined or whether herds are migrating to new areas due to human encroachment, habitat loss and other factors. Midwinter bird counts can tell state and federal biologists which species migrate to Colorado and where they roost. Aerial surveys can help wildlife managers determine how wildfires affect habitats.

In recent years, pilots have tracked radio-collared elk and deer for biologists who are studying chronic wasting disease (CWD), a fatal brain-wasting disease afflicting some Colorado herds. Pilots fly over the Western Slope regularly to check on the progress of Canada lynx that have been reintroduced to the state, reporting any movements or deaths. Scientists studying how the mosquito-borne West Nile virus is affecting sage grouse rely on the pilots to monitor radio-collared birds.

Rick Kahn, a wildlife management supervisor in the DOW's terrestrial section, oversees four senior terrestrial biologists who in turn oversee four full-time pilots.

Kahn said flying missions are challenging, putting airmen and planes to the test. Pilots log an average of 600-700 hours of flight time per year in a notoriously tempestuous climate.

Besides species inventory and tracking work, pilots must transport personnel and equipment to remote locations, assist with law-enforcement patrols, and participate in search-and-rescue missions. They must also take an avid interest in wildlife management, working long hours alongside biologists and wildlife officers.

Above all else, however, pilots must be highly skilled Cessna 185 aviators. Used by bush pilots around the world, the small aircraft evoke the nostalgia of early 20th century flight, their snub-nosed bodies angled by a small third wheel under the tail.

"We're looking for pilots who have experience in these kinds of planes and in flying in mountainous terrain. They are just a different kind of plane. They handle differently and they require a different kind of expertise," Kahn said.

In November, Younkin marked a piloting milestone, logging 20,000 hours of flight time. He says global positioning system (GPS) equipment and other advanced tracking technologies have made his work easier, helping him locate habitats and radio-collared animals.

In the end, he and other pilots always have the last word on taking to the skies and never feel pressured to put themselves in risky situations. Younkin is comforted by the fact that his 1977 Cessna 185 has a 300-horsepower engine and can fly to 18,000 feet, driving him over high peaks and through bouts of turbulence.

"Probably the biggest consideration is wind in the mountains. In winter time, you have extremely strong winds blowing across the mountains," he said. "The Cessna 185s are, in my estimation, the only airplane going in which we can do what we're doing at a reasonable cost. With the way these animals move around, there's just no feasible way to do this on the ground."

The program has not been without its share of tragedy, however, with accidents claiming the lives of three employees over the past 25 years. In 2002, veteran terrestrial biologist and wildlife pilot Jim Olterman was killed when his plane crashed in strong winds during a trout-stocking mission in southern Colorado. Investigators believe exceptional crosswinds contributed to the crash.

In an early-1980s accident, a pilot and another employee were killed in a crash as the plane made a sharp turn during a law-enforcement patrol over the Eastern Plains.

"It's dangerous work. Unfortunately, that's part of the game. However, we have improved our airplane maintenance and have emphasized safety for both our pilots and passengers in an effort to keep accidents from happening. The thing is to keep learning from these types of situations and move forward," Kahn said. "We're trying to minimize the risk pilots take. Any time you get in a plane there are inherent risks and the DOW is trying to keep the risk factor as small as possible."

Efforts to improve pilot safety include upgrading the screening process for contract and full-time pilots. Kahn said the testing process for pilots is as rigorous as it's ever been. In addition, the DOW has eliminated some high-altitude lakes from its stocking list and plans to stock some of the ponds by transporting fish by horseback. The trips are laborious, but aquatic biologists and wildlife officers are committed to stocking high-mountain lakes for Colorado's active backcountry enthusiasts. For many anglers, hiking to their favorite fishing spot is part of the attraction.

Bruce Watkins, a senior terrestrial biologist for the DOW's southwest region, said biologists rely on pilots to do a lot of routine telemetry work on their own, but accompany them during inventory work, allowing pilots to focus on flying and not counting.

"It's not a type of flying that the average pilot does," Watkins said. "If this were Kansas, it might be a different situation. Mountain flying is always riskier. There are unpredictable situations. You always have to be aware of your surroundings and the weather."

 

Training session set for certified weed inspectors

Those interested in inspecting for the Colorado certified weed-free forage program are invited to attend a training session scheduled for April 6 in Monte Vista.

Coordinated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the certification program is open to anyone interested in contracting with the department on an as-needed basis.

To qualify for certification, individuals should have a working knowledge of weed identification. Training includes instruction on weed identification and field inspection procedures as well as information on rules and regulations.

The program is designed to stop the spread of noxious weeds throughout Colorado. Established in 1993, the program certifies about 40,000 acres each year with the help of more than 100 contracted inspectors who are paid $15 per hour and 24 cents per mile.

The session will take place at the Monte Vista Co-Op, 2607 U.S. 285 N., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on the weed-free forage program, contact Don Gallegos or Terry Gander at (303) 239-4149.

Those interested in inspecting for the Colorado certified weed-free forage program are invited to attend a training session scheduled for April 6 in Monte Vista.

Coordinated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the certification program is open to anyone interested in contracting with the department on an as-needed basis.

To qualify for certification, individuals should have a working knowledge of weed identification. Training includes instruction on weed identification and field inspection procedures as well as information on rules and regulations.

The program is designed to stop the spread of noxious weeds throughout Colorado. Established in 1993, the program certifies about 40,000 acres each year with the help of more than 100 contracted inspectors who are paid $15 per hour and 24 cents per mile.

The session will take place at the Monte Vista Co-Op, 2607 U.S. 285 N., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on the weed-free forage program, contact Don Gallegos or Terry Gander at (303) 239-4149.

Those interested in inspecting for the Colorado certified weed-free forage program are invited to attend a training session scheduled for April 6 in Monte Vista.

Coordinated by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the certification program is open to anyone interested in contracting with the department on an as-needed basis.

To qualify for certification, individuals should have a working knowledge of weed identification. Training includes instruction on weed identification and field inspection procedures as well as information on rules and regulations.

The program is designed to stop the spread of noxious weeds throughout Colorado. Established in 1993, the program certifies about 40,000 acres each year with the help of more than 100 contracted inspectors who are paid $15 per hour and 24 cents per mile.

The session will take place at the Monte Vista Co-Op, 2607 U.S. 285 N., 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information on the weed-free forage program, contact Don Gallegos or Terry Gander at (303) 239-4149.

 

Boating safety tips make for a fun summer

The boating season has begun, and to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience it is important to remember a few basic safety tips:

- wear your life jacket - nine out of 10 drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket

- don't drink and boat. Just like operating a car, boating while alcohol impaired is against the law

- don't overload your boat. Always follow the maximum capacity regulations for your boat and make sure you have all the required safety gear (i.e. lifejackets, fire extinguishers, and sound producing devices) on board

- know before you go. Keep tabs on the weather forecast and be aware of changing weather conditions

- keep a lookout. Be responsible not only for your own safety but the safety of others

- take a boating safety course. Signing up for a boating safety course is a great way to avoid danger in the water, call (888) 593-BOAT.

More than 600 deaths occur each year due to boating accidents, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. Over 85 percent of those fatalities could have been avoided by wearing a life jacket.

Federal and state boating regulations require all children under 13 to wear a Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (PFD) at all times.

Each boat must have one PFD for each person on board, with boats over 16 feet also carrying a throwable PFD.

Each year over 104,000 boats are registered through Colorado State Parks with fees from registration helping to fund the Colorado State Parks Boating Safety Program.

For more information on federal and state boating regulations, approved PFD types, boat registration, safety courses and current park boating conditions, visit Colorado State Parks Web site at www.parks.state.co.us.

Colorado state parks currently open for boating include Navajo State Park.

 

April 12 workshop will trace genetic tests for scrapie

The Colorado Department of Agriculture invites sheep producers to attend a second round of workshops on genetic testing for resistance or susceptibility of scrapie.

"We had a good response to the first set of workshops and want to get the word out to even more producers," said Ed Kline, of CDA's Animal Industry.

"Scrapie can have devastating effects on a flock if not contained, and education is the first step towards controlling this disease."

Scrapie is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats. There is no cure and there is no treatment for scrapie. Symptoms include weight loss, behavioral changes, loss of coordination, itching and rubbing, and weakness.

It is estimated that U.S. producers incur between $20-25 million annually because of the disease.

The nearest meeting will take place at La Plata County Fairgrounds, Extension Building, Durango, 7 p.m. April 12.

All workshops are open to the public at no cost. Topics of discussion include genetics education, United State Department of Agriculture funds available for ram testing, and the importance of scrapie eradication.

For more information on the workshops, contact Ed Kline at (303) 239-4161 or by e-mail at ed.kline@ag.state.co.us.

 

Cattlemen's banquet is April 17

Tickets are currently on sale for the La Plata-Archuleta Cattlemen's annual banquet and dance April 17 in the Fort Lewis College Ballroom with the social hour beginning at 6 p.m.

Prime rib will be the main dish, there will be a silent auction, a raffle of the CowBelles Brand Quilt, a live auction for a brand quilt and a stock brand first recorded in 1949.

Tickets are $25 and are available at Boot Hill in Pagosa Springs. For more information call 247-2816.

 

Physician assistant sent to Pagosa by federal program

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"This is exactly what I want to do."

That's what Pascale Lecuire said about receiving orders to work in a Pagosa Springs family practice clinic in February as a Ready Responder.

She is a physician assistant and a commissioned officer in the U. S. Public Health Service Corps. She is paid by the federal government to work in Pagosa Springs for three years. She will also attend four weeks of advanced disaster training each year to prepare her to be deployed anywhere in the region in the case of a large-scale medical emergency.

The Ready Responder program was created following the attacks of 9-11 to put primary clinicians in medically underserved areas across the country in case of an emergency. In addition to physicians and dentists, the Ready Responder program has expanded to include physician assistants and family nurse practitioners.

Lecuire happened to be in the right place at the right time. She was working in a family practice clinic on the east coast on her final rotation prior to graduation. The doctor she worked with happened to be a Ready Responder and told her about the program. She applied and received her commission. From there, she interviewed in three different places. The Pagosa Family Medicine Center was the match.

"I know that I am going to learn so much with the hospital 60 miles away," she said.

Dan Keuning, a family nurse practitioner at Pagosa Family Medicine Center, said he learned of the Ready Responders online. Keuning is the recipient of a National Health Service Corps loan, a two-year program aimed at putting health care workers in underserved areas permanently through a loan repayment program. Keuning is not a commissioned officer and is paid by the private clinic, but he receives updates and news from the National Health Service Corps through the Internet. That's where he spotted information about the Ready Responders and the fact that they were looking to place someone in Colorado.

In late October, Keuning applied for a grant and received approval in two weeks because of Pagosa Springs' classification as a medically underserved area. As it turned out, Lecuire is the first Ready Responder to be placed in Colorado.

Until interviewing, Lecuire, of Arlington, Va., had never set foot in Colorado.

"I drove cross country with my mom with the essentials," she said. "The movers moved the rest."

So far, so good.

"I love it," she said. "It's great. I don't think I've ever been in a town where everybody was so nice."

Her mother was fairly impressed as well.

"I think they're planning many visits," she said.

However, she hasn't had the opportunity enjoy the beautiful location much. The staff at the clinic is keeping her busy. She is getting oriented, learning how the place runs and feeling for her place.

Keuning said in the long-term Lecuire will focus on chronic disease management, expansion of the prenatal and well-baby services and learn the ins and outs of rural medicine including acute and emergent situations.

"I think it's a great opportunity," Lecuire said. "It's a way to serve your country and I was really lucky to get Pagosa Springs."

Lecuire's first two-week emergency training is set for the last two weeks in April.

 

AARP Driver Safety Program set April 21-22

The AARP Driver Safety Program for drivers 50 and over will be held April 21-22 in Pagosa Springs.

To enroll, call Bob Newlander at 731-2479.

The program has been revised to include new defensive driving techniques to deal with the ever-increasing number of cars on the road.

Review and learn new rules of the road, and how to adjust to age-related changes in vision and reaction time.

Those who complete the course will earn certificates for auto insurance premium discounts.

You do not need to be a member of AARP to attend.

 

Special child care course set April 21

Do you have a child or work with a child who has special health care needs?

Come to the Family and Community Training sponsored by Family Voices of Colorado and San Juan Basin Health 9 a.m.-4 p.m. April 21 at Doubletree Hotel in Durango. This free learning opportunity will help you better understand the complex service and support systems that impact care coordination, access, management and advocacy on behalf of children with special health care needs.

To register, contact Jolene at (800)881-8272 or jgoerend@ cpco.org.

 

Two blood draws slated in Pagosa

United Blood Services has scheduled two blood draws in Pagosa Springs in early April.

The first, 2:30-6 p.m. April 6, will be at Pagosa Springs Headstart, 475 Zuni St.

On Friday, April 9, the unit will be at Mercy Medical's Pagosa annex, 35 Mary Fisher Circle, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Identification is required for all donors to UBS, the community blood center for the Four Corners.

Potential donors may sign up for drives in advance by visiting www.unitedbloodservices.org.

 

Check the benefits offered by 9Health Fair

By Sharee Grazda

Special to The PREVIEW

Spend Saturday morning, April 3, with the 9Health Fair at Pagosa Springs High School. Here's what you will get for your effort:

- free health screening

-low-cost blood chemistry analysis ($30)

- low-cost prostate specific antigen screening ($25)

- colorectal kit ($5)

- interactive health education exhibits and information centers

- the possibility of early detection of a medical problem

- the opportunity to talk to a medical professional about your screening results

- referral by a medical professional if your results are outside normal range

- support in learning how to develop a positive life style.

Everyone 18 or older should take advantage of the chance to assume responsibility for his/her own health.

Two screenings will focus on eyes and ears:

- vision screening - professionals will evaluate your ability to see near and at a distance and determine if corrective lenses are appropriate or adequate

- hearing - do people seem to be mumbling more these days or is it your hearing? Get the answer with a hearing screening.

Considerable attention will be devoted to cancer prevention:

- colon cancer screening - the colorectal kit is available here; a volunteer will be on hand to answer questions

- breast cancer screening - women of all ages can learn proper self-examination techniques here; this is still the best procedure for early detection

- oral screening - a medical professional will be available to help identify persons at risk for oral disease and provide information on oral health.

Here are some special instructions for taking the blood chemistry analysis:

- you must fast for 12 hours with these exceptions: drinking water is highly encouraged and tea or coffee is permissible if served without sweetener or cream. Those on medication should take their scheduled medicines as usual. Diabetics should not fast. If you enjoy late snacks, eat your last meal or snack a little later than usual and arrive later in the morning

- if you are planning on having blood work, please wear loose clothing, short sleeved shirts, or shirts/blouses with loose fitting sleeves.

If you can't make the Pagosa health fair, there are approximately 160 sites statewide; the ones closest to us are Durango, April 17, and Bayfield, April 24. For more information and for additional sites call (800) 332-3078 or log on to www.9HealthFair.org.

The 9Health Fair is a program of Nine Health Services, Inc., a nonprofit organization endorsed by the Colorado Medical Society. Local support includes over 200 volunteers, and numerous businesses and service clubs such as the Rotary Club, Telephone Pioneers and Colorado Mounted Rangers.

Organizers remind participants that they should bring old eyeglasses, laser and inkjet printer cartridges and cell phones. The Lions Club and the United Cerebral Palsy will put donations to good use.

For more information call site coordinator Sharee Grazda, 731-0666 or medical coordinator Pam Hopkins, 264-6300.

 

Judge, police chief at UU forum

This Sunday, March 28, at 10:30 a.m., Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir and Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger will be the initial speakers in a series of forums exploring the issues of alcohol abuse and rehabilitation, sponsored by The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.

This series will be continued on the fourth Sunday of April, May and June.

The Fellowship is now meeting in its new permanent home in Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza, which is located on Greenbriar Drive, off North Pagosa Boulevard. Unit 15 is on the east (back) side of the commercial plaza. Turn east on Greenbriar Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big new sign.

All are welcome.

 

Letters

Myopic vision

Dear Editor:

I want to thank Bob Honts for clarifying an apparent misconception I had about the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

I always thought our children would be better served if we kept that area in its natural, pristine state. But after informing me of my myopic selfishness, he broadened my vision by pointing out that his project is for the betterment of all the people of America.

After all, what better way to get people from across the country to enjoy our national forest than to put a strip mall atop the continental divide to entice them to the great outdoors.

Thanks, Bob, for a "better" America.

But wait! Now I hear my kids saying, "Go eat worms, Bob."

Go figure.

Simply perplexed,

Mark Bergon

Senate candidate

Dear Editor:

What more can I say except "Thank you!" to all those who attended the public meeting with Mike Miles at the Greenbriar Center Thursday evening.

Your attendance and input made it a great success. No shortage of questions voicing concerns in all areas made this truly an open meeting.

From the many positive responses Norma and I received, Mike deeply impressed everyone with his honesty, openness and direct answers, his insight from experience, plus great dedication to true American democracy. So many who barely knew his name before said to us, "We like him!"

Many thanks, especially to Mitch Appenzeller, Kerry Dermody, Ann Graves, Barbara Jacobs and Lynda Van Patter for the delicious snacks they brought - a real banquet - and to Phyl Daleske for helping with the cleanup.

All in all, it was an exciting evening, an uplifting experience when it seems so much is going wrong. Everyone benefitted from the few hours we had with this truly grassroots Senate candidate. We look forward to another visit from Mike Miles before the primary election.

Henry Buslepp

What is the cost?

Dear Editor:

With most states facing drastic budget deficits, governments are examining expenditures and looking for efficient ways to save money within the state.

One of the greatest cost savings to the state is getting people to buckle their safety belts on each and every ride. This simple, habitual action can not only save lives, it can save significant amounts of money each year.

According to "The Economic Impact of Motor Vehicle Crashes, 2000," the cost of motor vehicle crashes occurring in 2000 totaled $230.6 billion. This is equal to approximately $820 for each person living in the United States, and translates to increased taxes, health care, and insurance costs borne by society rather than by crash victims.

On average, inpatient hospital care costs for unbuckled crash victims are 50 percent higher than for those who are belted - and society bears 85 percent of those costs, not the individuals involved.

Private insurers pay half of all motor vehicle crash costs, individual crash victims pay approximately 26 percent, and third parties, such as uninvolved motorists delayed in traffic, charities, and health care providers pay about 14 percent. Overall, those not directly involved in crashes pay for nearly three quarters of all crashes, primarily through insurance premiums, taxes and travel delay.

Buckling up is still the most effective and immediate way to save lives, reduce injuries, and reduce economic costs from crashes on America's roadways. Because we are all personally and financially affected when even one person does not buckle up, we all must be a pat of the solution.

It's simple - make sure every passenger is buckled up on every trip.

Louis R. DeCarolis

U.S. Department of Transportation

Forest defense

Dear Editor:

I attended the proposed Wolf Creek Village open house meeting March 18 to hear the latest rendition of the proposed development and to observe how our local residents might react.

Though disturbed by the proponent's plan for the Alberta Park area - which I am personally opposed to - I found myself surprised and disgusted by the rude and ignorant behavior of those directing their animosity toward representatives of the Forest Service.

Let's begin with the facts. None of the Rio Grande National Forest staff in attendance that night were working on that forest or in any way involved in the land trade that took place in the mid-1980s. Now, those individuals, including the District Ranger who is very new to that position (and whose duties relative to this project are but a small fraction of the scope of such a multi-functional job), are compelled by law to objectively and professionally facilitate the analysis of the proposed federal action.

For some of the attendees to prejudge that those Forest Service individuals are in any way supportive of, or worse, in bed with the proponent reflected an ignorance that embarrassed me and embarrassed the community. We should be putting our energy into ensuring all environmental and socioeconomic issues are comprehensively evaluated, not attacking the integrity of people who are trying to perform their jobs in a neutral and objective manner.

And again, though I'm personally opposed to the project, to portray that nothing good came of the land trade is erroneous. One of the greatest threats to our public lands is the continued fragmentation that is occurring from development of private lands, including private inholdings.

As a result of the land trade, the Rio Grande National Forest now has eight separate parcels in the Saguache Creek watershed, ranging in size from 160 to 320 acres — virtually all centering on bottomland and including critical riparian habitat - for a total of 1,631 acres that will not be developed. These were important acquisitions for wildlife, recreational, and wildland purposes. It's just too bad they weren't obtained in a different manner.

I hope that in future public meetings in Pagosa surrounding the Village we'll all observe a more focused, informed, and respectful audience.

Steve Hartvigsen

Village outrage

I am writing to express my outrage at the proposal to develop the Village at Wolf Creek. Reading about what is proposed would seem like a cruel joke being played upon the citizens and wildlife of this area, except that money and political maneuvering seem bent on making it a reality.

At some point the six billion people on the earth will realize that preserving open space and untrammeled places count more than building yet another sprawling, ugly piece of development that trumps greed and shortsightedness over anything of real value.

We Americans in the West have done a wonderful job of ruining one beautiful spot after the next (well, I'm sure that many were actually occurring simultaneously, when you see how quickly we have despoiled so many places).

Is it possible to start looking -right now - at what we have done, and start the process of change? Do we have the collective wisdom, courage and foresight to say "no" to places like the Village at Wolf Creek? I certainly hope so. I think it is a rather sad commentary on humankind otherwise.

Sincerely,

Reid Kelly

Saddam Sharon?

Dear Editor:

Call Saddam a piece of trash if you want, everyone should. To our shame, we refused to condemn some terrible things he did and even supplied some of the equipment used for killing off some of his enemies by rocketing them without much regard for whether innocent people, women, even children would be killed and maimed by the same rockets.

It worked this way: Some people in other parts of his country had a different religion than him. They felt oppressed, done wrong, wanted independence, and tried the only way they could to gain their freedom.

They attacked by blowing up things and people. Yes, they did the exact things we now condemn as terrorism, but what else can you do to get rid of a government that denies you the rights we take for granted.

Saddam and his buddies would guess, the best they could, who the leaders were who wanted out from under his government. In a civilized society, the government would have arrested these people and put them on trial.

After all, these people were not in hiding, just living in areas under his control, moving about like anybody else.

Did he do this? No. Trials are messy. They might allow the accused to justify his actions. More than that, Saddam might not have had enough evidence to convict them. Much easier, he thought, just use his operatives to locate where these opponents are, then send a helicopter and rocket them. Don't even bother trying to arrest them — just kill them. So what if they are on a crowded street and innocents will be killed. Getting these terrorists out of the way is all that counts. Of course this sort of thing violated international law and especially goes against all that we Americans think a legitimate government should do.

Yes, you might even call Saddam something worse than a piece of trash - you could call him a terrorist because he was killing innocent people as well as his opponents.

Uh, oh. I misspelled Saddam's name. The fellow I was talking about is named Sharon - he's done this kind of operation a number of times.

Yesterday he had Israeli helicopters rocket a paraplegic religious leader, killed him and five others while Sharon monitored the bloodletting. And the U.S. refuses to condemn his cowardly attack.

What kind of country is this becoming?

Tom Kyle

Monument vandals

Dear Editor:

American Legion Post 108 has undertaken reconstruction of the monument in front of the Legion. It is to be a memorial to all Archuleta County veterans who served in the Second World War.

A plaque is to be attached for all to see and read. There is a National Observance Day and dedication scheduled May 29 in Washington, D.C. All veterans' organizations in the country will take part.

We have been working to reconstruct the monument here in Pagosa. On Saturday, March 13, several Legion members worked about six hours fixing part of the monument.

It was not complete, thank God.

Sometime during the weekend, vandals tore off all the moss rock that was on the sides of the base and then, not being satisfied with that, continued to break the rocks and scatter them.

It must have been very exciting for them to break up public property. The monument does not belong to the Legion; it is property of the Town of Pagosa Springs.

So, I want to thank the persons responsible. This is the respect shown to the many veterans who gave their lives for freedom and to those still living with injuries that will not heal, scars, and some with pain for life.

Thank you, you are (not) a credit to your community.

Joseph Marion, Legionnaire, Post 108

Tree hugger

Dear Editor:

I'm a tree hugger. Always have been, always will be. I'm proud of it; it's in my make-up, my genes, my upbringing. I was reared to appreciate nature, and I do. With every ounce of my being

It hurts for me to hear of projects that basically rape and pillage Mother Earth, for the "wealth-fare" of only those who would rape and pillage her.

Haven't the town fathers learned anything? Do they care about us and this town or are they so blinded by the probable tourist dollars that they would all a travesty such as the one proposed up at Wolf Creek to be?

Doesn't anyone remember Jim Kent, who came to talk to the town fathers about what happened at Vail? Vail Associates came into Vail and drove all the people who had lived there all their lives out. They couldn't afford to live there anymore. Under the guise of caring about our economy, this will only backfire and we will be out all the wonderful reasons we live here.

Is this another Piano Creek fiasco? Where only the rich get richer and us lowly peons down here will only get poorer. The Village at Wolf Creek will only benefit the wealthy, especially when they have proposed shops of their own. How could this be allowed? The same issues arise as with Piano Creek.

What about the water usage? What about the sewage? What about the traffic? Maybe this is Piano Creek in disguise - getting different people to propose the idea.

Needless to say, I oppose such an ostentatious development to rip our town and our incredible mountains apart. We have to draw the line with those who would be kings, and protect our land, our people, our air and our peace and quiet.

City fathers have to be wise like any father would be and take care of their town like they would their own children.

Please do not allow this project up on Wolf Creek to happen. We have enough needless development going on down here, empty houses, and sky high prices to last us a lifetime.

And by the way, if it weren't for us tree huggers, Mother Earth would be practically nude, pollution would be out of control, and we'd be living in a "Thunder Dome-Mad Max" movie ...

Cyndi Mitchell

Editor's note:

The "town fathers" and our Archuleta County Commissioners have no official role in decisions allowing for development in Mineral County. Your objections would be best directed to the Mineral County Commission.

Used to be

Dear Editor:

Your editorial and Food for Thought column in the March 18 SUN helped to resuscitate a plentitude of harmonious memories for yours truly. It might be said that remembering and interpreting experiences of the past is an integral part of understanding who we are today.

Consequently: It is hard to believe that I used to be a sailor, squid, swabbie, wogdog, shellback, etc., living in amicable harmony aboard the U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers at sea; that is, until the next port of call when some "used to be" passion came into play. But that's another somewhat sleazy saga which did conclude in becoming acquainted with a few Navy flight surgeons on a professional basis.

Presently, I'm just another Crayola in the ever expanding and unzoned Archuleta County Crayon box but have now settled into my permanent Pagosa port-o-call.

So, to hellfire with a state of harmony, it has never proved to be productive anyway. As the current liberal presidential "ketchup" candidate loves to repeat on a daily basis - "Bring it on."

Yes, it's an early spring in the Rockies but life is good in "The Best of Colorado." The piñon pine beetles are beginning to swarm and are winging south; the USJHSD will become vitalized in May; the liberals will fail to take the White House this November; two of the remaining "Three Amigos" will be replaced in the Archuleta County commissioners' office; and Pagosa never sails under false colors - until ya hit the coffee shop.

Then, it's unlimited recollections in the realm of "used to be."

Jim Sawicki

Community News
Senior News

Table massage may help what ails you

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

Bev Brown will be here March 30 with her table to do regular table massages. She has been very popular with our seniors, and you need not undress to feel the benefits of her massage.

Bev will be visit 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m. in the Lounge. She will be here in April as well, so be sure to come in Tuesdays and try out her different types of massage.

It's time to start thinking about the health fair coming up the first weekend in April.

Many people come and take advantage of the free or inexpensive testing our various health care practitioners perform. Musetta and I will be there again this year, telling folks what the Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has to offer. We will be accompanied by Pagosa Fire Protection District personnel, Southwest Center for Independence members, Medicare counselors and the ombudsman from the Area Agency on Aging.

We will all be handing out information and some freebies as well. Our booth will be easy to find, come visit us.

Patty Tillerson will be here April 2 to check your blood pressure. This service is free, and it's always good to know what your blood pressure is reading. Patty will be here 11 a.m.-noon.

Glen Raby will be here April 2 to present, "Bugs and the Drought." We are not sure what kind of weather we will have this summer, but drought conditions have an effect on the local bug populations. Find out what that effect could be at 12:45 p.m. in the lounge.

After getting your blood pressure checked and learning about the local bugs, you can round out your afternoon by attending our senior board meeting. All are invited at 1 p.m. April 2. You might just be interested in knowing what's going on with your board, get involved in Senior Services.

As usual, we will be celebrating birthdays the last Friday of March. If you have a March birthday, you may want to join us for birthday cake with the meal.

George remembers

Old George remembers the past:

"Do you remember Shivarees? When I was young and a newly engaged couple announced their intention to get married there was a shivaree. The couple was given presents of kitchen utensils and all the various things they might need in their married life.

"During the shivaree the bride often disappeared. She would be kidnapped by her friends and kept from seeing her fiancee, sometimes for days. Often the groom's car would be disassembled, decorated or hidden as well.

"Today, couples often celebrate the coming wedding with a wedding shower but you rarely hear of the bride being whisked away. Those were the days!"

Home security

It is a common saying that "your home is your castle." To a criminal, your home may be an invitation to steal. You can prevent burglary by using common sense and asking for help from friends and you local police or sheriff's department.

1. Ask your police or sheriff's department for literature about home security. This is usually available through their crime prevention unit. Study the material.

2. Conduct your own survey of your home. Start on the outside, where neatness counts. Most criminals feel uncomfortable in pleasant and well-maintained neighborhoods. Trim trees and bushes, rake fallen leaves, add lighting to dark area, and keep things in place.

3. Look at the home itself. Doors and windows are common entrances for burglars. Your law enforcement agency can tell you how to make sure these are strong and well-enforced. Don't forget to check the security of air-conditioning window openings and garage doors.

4. Is your home safe when you are away? Make sure the lawn is moved regularly.

Never allow trash or newspapers to pile up. Install a few timers that will turn some of the inside and outside lights on and off at irregular intervals. You might even ask a neighbor to park his or her car in your driveway while you are away.

Another option is to hire a house-sitter.

- Excerpt from AARP

Volunteers needed

We are currently looking for several volunteers to provide assistance on our senior bus approximately once a week.

Duties may include assistance from the home to bus, carrying groceries and assisting with grocery shopping.

A background check will be completed on all applicants. Help brighten the day of a senior today by helping out! Call 264-2167 for more information.

Another great way to volunteer is to deliver home delivered meals. A lunch meal is delivered Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday year round to our home-bound folks. Volunteers must have a vehicle and be willing to dedicate approximately an hour and a half on a chosen day. We welcome all volunteers including businesses.

Perhaps your business would like to sponsor one day a week? Training will begin in June with routes beginning in July. A background check is required for all volunteers. Call or stop by the senior center for more information, we look forward to hearing from you.

Events

Friday - Qi Gong, 10 a.m. MicroSoft Word, 10:30; celebrate birthdays, noon

March 29 - Tai Chi Chih, 10 a.m.; Medicare counseling, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; Bridge for Fun, 1 p.m.

March 30 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; advanced computer class, 10:30; massage, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

March 31 - Beginning computer class, 10:30 a.m.; Canasta, 1 p.m.

April 2 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; MicroSoft Word, 10:30; blood pressure check, 11; "Bugs and the Drought" with Glen Raby, 12:45 p.m.; senior board meeting, 1 p.m.

Menu

Friday - Mashed potatoes/gravy, spring blend vegetables, roll and plums

March 29 - Enchilada casserole, stewed tomatoes, tossed salad, applesauce and crackers

March - Chili beans, vegetable salad, corn bread and peaches

March 31 - Stromboli, zucchini, tossed salad and pineapple

 

Chamber News

Sure an 'twas a fittin' day for wearin' o' the green

By Sally Hamiester

SUN Columnist

We couldn't have been more pleased with our St. Pat's Parade and everyone seemed to enjoy it at least as much as we did. The participants were very enthusiastically green, and the many spectators were most appreciative of all the entries.

We had a grand old time and hope you did as well. We want to congratulate our winners and encourage them to not to spend their considerable winnings all in the same place.

The Humane Society's was chosen as Best Float; Keyton Nash-Putnam was selected as the Most Green entry and brother, Honor Nash-Putnam was voted the Most Bizarre entry.

We are grateful to our county commissioners - Mamie Lynch, Alden Ecker and Bill Downey - for donning the green hats and acting as judges once again. We count on them every year to perform this task and they always accept most gracefully. We also thank the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Colorado Mounted Rangers, Troop F, for all the extra time and effort required to organize and control a parade to ensure everyone's safety. We are eternally grateful to these folks for always being there for us and executing their duties in such a cheerful fashion.

Thanks to Will Spears and the entire KWUF gang for providing the great Irish tunes for us during the parade, and, of course, to Doug O'Trowbridge for organizing the whole blasted thing and participating in the parade with the newest Trowbridge family member, Jewel, in tow.

Board director Scott Asay was good enough to allow us to use his way-too-cute green jeep as our entry, and directors Sally Hovatter, Angie Gayhart, Patti Renner and Nan Rowe were gracious participants and decorators, along with Noah Asay, Scott's son, who offered tremendous moral support throughout. I am so happy that Mother Nature was so good to us this and allowed us to hold this parade and am grateful to all who participated.

Casino Royale

I can only hope that you are ready for "The Stampede" that will take place Saturday night when our local Rotary presents the fifth annual Casino Royale at Montezuma's Restaurant and Vineyard located on Navajo Trail Drive.

The fun begins at 6 p.m. and continues until 11, and you are invited to wear "cowboy formal" or some reasonable facsimile thereof. Tickets for this rip-roarin' evening are $50 and include $50,000 play money for blackjack, craps and other games, hors d'oeuvres and dancing to our ever-lovin' local strummers and singers, Bluegrass Cadillac. I'm guessing that you will be able to execute your finest two-step in true Western fashion to their music.

A cash bar will be available, of course, and all proceeds will benefit local community projects and scholarships. I'll give you one last really, really excellent reason to attend: Renae Karlquist and I will be on hand in our very best "Old West Saloon Duds" to greet and welcome you to the festivities. Tickets are available at the Chamber of Commerce, Montezuma's and from any friendly, local Rotarian.

ITB info

We had a quick note from Colette Ratcliff, the International Tourism Representative for Colorado Tourism Office, on the recent Berlin Travel Show in which Pagosa Springs was represented. Basically, she was extremely pleased with the show and attendance and distributed all the Colorado brochures in our booth. She will be sending a full report soon but predicts we should see a definite increase in the number of international visitors this summer as a result of our presence in Berlin.

Ross tournament

It's that time of year once again for the annual Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament that always generates such terrific interest and participation in our area. Get that team together pronto because April 1 is the deadline for the first 30 qualifying teams to make their nonrefundable $100 deposit to participate in the tournament.

Dates for this year's event are April 15-18 with all proceeds benefiting a scholarship fund for the local youths of Pagosa Springs and Ignacio. There will be the three divisions - Open, 6 feet and under and 35 and over, with a $200 fee per team.

Prizes will be awarded to first, second, third and fourth place teams, an all-tournament team, tournament MVP, Mr. Defense, Mr. Hustle, slam-dunk contest, three-point shootout and many door prizes.

For more information on this popular Pagosa event, please call Troy Ross at 264-5265.

Food for Friends

You still have time to donate your nonperishable food items to the Curves 30 Minute Fitness and Weight Loss Center annual drive to benefit our local food banks.

April has quite the collection currently going in the local Curves located at 117 Navajo Trail Drive behind the Hogs Breath, but needs more to reach her 2004 goal of 2,000 pounds. Last year she exceeded her goal by over 200 pounds and hopes to achieve at least that this year. I was in there just this morning, and we need to get in gear to help April out.

"The Food for Friends promotion allows the franchises to help women reach their fitness goals while simultaneously giving back to the community. Our goal this year is to collect 2,000 pounds of food," said April. Let's all pitch in and help April exceed her goal this year. If you have questions, please give her a call at 731-0333.

Recipe search

The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs is looking for cooks to provide good recipes for its upcoming cookbook which will boast the "best of Pagosa Springs" in appetizers, beverages, soups and salads, vegetables and side dishes, main dishes, breads and rolls, desserts, cookies and candy, "this and that" and pet treats.

If you have some memorable recipes that have been passed down through your family for many generations or just some irresistible, taste-tempting treat you would like to share with others, please pick up a recipe submittal form at the Humane Society Thrift Store, Moonlight Books or the Chamber of Commerce.

Because the book will include only about 250 recipes, there is no guarantee that all submitted recipes will be used. Please submit no more than two recipes and include your name, address and phone number in case the humane society folks have questions. You may submit your recipe(s) electronically if you wish at hspscook@earthlink.net. The deadline for submission is April 15 and you may return them in person to the Thrift Store or mail them to P.O. Box 146, Chromo, CO 81128. If you have questions, please call Lynn Constan at 264-5451.

9Health Fair

This year's 9Health Fair will be held April 3 and will be held as always at the high school, 8 a.m.-noon.

This year it is a goal of this organization to find sponsors to cover the costs of screenings for the uninsured population to encourage increased participation in that group. Screenings vary in price from $30 for a blood analysis, to $25 for a prostate cancer screening and $5 for a colorectal kit. If you would like to become a sponsor, make out a check for the level you wish and take it to Bank of Colorado, 205 Country Center Drive, by the deadline Friday.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer at the 9Health Fair in a nonmedical role can call Sharee Grazda at 731-0666; in a medical role, call Pam Hopkins at 264-6300.

2004 Home Show

The Builders Association of Pagosa Springs is proud to announce its 2004 annual Home Show to be held at the fairgrounds April 3-4.

This is always such a fabulous event with so many interesting booths offering anything and everything you would want to know about homes and the myriad items that you might want to put in, on or around them.

This year's event should be the biggest and best ever with a hot tub raffle and a brand new Dell computer going to some lucky attendee. If you need booth information or would like to volunteer your services, call Steve Schwartz at 731-9168.

At the very least, plan to attend this always fascinating event.

Membership

We cheerfully welcome two new members this week and 14 loyal renewals. We can't thank you enough for your support and confidence and pledge our solemn word to keep your success and welfare foremost in our minds and hearts as we go about our Chamber work.

Marla Hubbard joins us this week with Let'er Rip Alterations at 510 San Juan St. right next to Monograms Plus Leather. Marla also brings along with her a great sense of humor because I had laughingly threatened her with "Guido" coming after her and she loved it. Marla brings with her 33 years of experience, 5 1/2 of which were spent in apprenticeship with Lord and Taylor Associates. Marla does it all - professional men's tailoring, custom sewing, formal to casual alterations, curtains, pillows and much more. She also works with leather and suede. Marla encourages you to bring in your ideas and she will make it sew. For more information, please give her a call at (970)799-0833.

We next welcome Christine Marin, a certified massage therapist with The Spa at Pagosa Springs. Christine combines Swedish, Lomi Lomi, Thai and Shiatsu for a deeply soothing experience: "Customized bodywork for the discriminating Soul." Herbal wraps and facials are available as well. Give Christine a call to learn more about her services at 264-5910. We are grateful to another member, John Farnsworth, for recruiting Christine and will send off a free SunDowner pass with our thanks.

Renewals this week include John Smith with Coldwell Banker, The Pagosa Group; Jeannie Sinkey with Mountain Landing Guest Quarters; Dale and Betty Schwicker with B & D Enterprises with offices located in their home; Ed Strickland with Strickland Remodeling; Steve and Judy Cain with Indian Head Lodge on Williams Creek Road; Mike Barr with Affordable Kitchens; Eddie Vita with Conoco East and Conoco West ; Michael and Becky Shields with Jump River Mercantile; Pam Simmons with Pagosa Springs Enterprises; Fred Schmidt with the San Juan Motel; Mary Marugg with Sonlight Christian Camp; David Conrad with Millennium Renewables and Lynn Selwa with Excel Communications, Independent Representatives. We thank each and every one.

 

Library News

Friends of the Library garage sale is Saturday

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

The bluebirds are back and that's a sure sign of spring and garage sales. The big one is this Saturday in the Extension Building at the fairgrounds on U.S. 84. Doors open at 7 a.m. and the sale will run until noon.

This event is sponsored by Friends of the Library, and proceeds will go to the building fund. Come and browse the many booths to find numerous treasures you probably can't live without.

Library survey

We are doing a survey concerning plans for the library addition and renovation. Your suggestions are welcomed and will be shared with the trustees, and the architect. Please come by and fill out a survey. This is your chance to let us know what you need and want in the way of library and information services.

Plans already underway call for a glassed-in children's area big enough for story hour, arts and crafts, etc.; a separate teen area; a quiet reading area far away from the usual noisy activities; more audiotapes and CDs are on the list.

New material

Mesa State College puts out a "Journal of the Western Slope." This issue tells about the Ridgway Branch of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad and the Paradox Basin north of Nucla. If you have not had the pleasure of taking the easy route to Grand Junction via Nucla, you have a wonderful surprise ahead.

The journal reports this area had a long period of occupation ranging from Paleo-Indian, archaic, formative and proto-historic times. It is hoped the National Historic Preservation Act can be called on to protect this important region. Those interested in archaeology will enjoy this new information. For the train buffs, the article about the D.& R.G. railroad from Ouray to points north tells about the branch that depended on ore from the high-country mines but now draws tourist dollars as a historic attraction. Two great stories. You may wish to look through other Western Slope journals in the Hershey Collection.

The Hershey Collection

For newcomers, our Hershey Collection of Materials covers the Southwest and has information about the history, flora and fauna of the area.

College data online

According to the American Library Association, there are close to 7,000 colleges and universities in the country on a direct Internet link called IPEDS.

The link offers information about cost, financial aid, accreditation and other important issues for the participating schools. If you want the address, please ask at the desk.

A fond goodbye

It is with heavy heart we say goodbye to our good friends, Dick and Ann Van Fossen who will be moving back east. Ann has been a staff member for many years, and both Ann and Dick have been library volunteers. They will be missed.

Donations

A better list of building fund donors will be coming next week. Thanks for materials from Margaret Rouke, Drue Hartong, Maggie Hart, Betsy Chavez, Carla Shaw, Charlene Baumgardner and Susie Kleckner.

We rely heavily on our patrons for donations of books, books on tape and now - books on CDs. If any of you can part with these, we will start on enlarging that collection. As always, thanks so much to all of you who are so generous.

 

Veteran's Corner

9Health Fair a good place to update your VA records

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

The 9Health Fair is coming to Pagosa Springs this year April 3.

It will be held at the Pagosa Springs High School, 8 a.m.-noon.

I plan to be there with a Veterans' Service Office table to assist veterans with information on VA Health Care and other VA benefits.

I will have my old laptop computer there and can fill out VA application forms right on the spot. I can explain VA benefits and eligibility to you while you wait your turn for the screening tests.

Bring DD214

If you have never been to the VSO or seen me about VA benefits before, I urge you to bring a copy of your official military discharge paper called the DD214 with you to the 9Health Fair. This is the key to applying for almost all VA benefits.

Lost your DD214 or don't know where it is? That's OK, too. We can apply to the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Mo. for a copy of your military records.

In some cases good copies are not available and they will issue a substitute. In all cases, copies of these records they send will have a certification stamp on the form and it is recognized by any agency for any benefits that might call for military service records.

The application is a one-page form called SF (Standard Form) 180. I can fill one out for you at the 9Health Fair.

Means test important

Many veterans already enrolled in VA Health Care must complete a "means test" financial report every year on their enrollment date.

This will determine your priority level to determine eligibility for co-payments or free VAHC service. If your income is very low you may not have to make co-payments for services and prescriptions.

We can also fill out this VA form for you at the 9Health Fair clinic. You will need the adjusted gross income for you and your spouse, out-of-pocket medical expenses for medical, dental, health insurance and co-pays, etc. This can also include the $66 deductible for Medicare if you have included that amount in your income.

The form also calls for cash assets in your checking and savings, etc. and any other large valuable assets. It asks for the value of any real estate property you own, not counting your primary residence. It gets right down to the nitty-gritty of your financial situation, but it is required to stay current in VAHC.

Could change status

Failure to file an annual means test could result in the veteran being denied services or charged for co-pays when they may not need to make them. I recently encountered one of our Archuleta County veterans, on a very limited income, stopping by the office and showing me bills from the VA for health care services and prescription drugs.

I knew his income was well below the income thresholds and that he should not be required to make co-payments. When I called the Albuquerque VA Medical Center on his behalf I found they had changed his co-pay status because he had not completed a means test for over a year.

Dropped from VAHC

In some cases I have found that veterans who have not supplied the required financial means test for longer periods, such as two or three years, have actually been denied any further VAHC services.

It is also very important for veterans to maintain their active VAHC patient status with a minimum of a complete physical screening at least once a year. Sometimes veterans do not have any health conditions and do not continue to visit the VAHC facility after they initially enrollment examination.

If the veteran is not seen for two to three years they could be dropped from active patient status. Once dropped, it may be more difficult to get back in the VAHC system. Even if you are eligible, availability of VAHC services is still dependent on patient loads at many VA clinics and hospitals. If your priority status is very low, and you are dropped from the active system, you may have to wait in line behind veterans with higher VA priority ratings.

Maintain your health

Health care is one of the most important benefits we all need. With the rising cost of private health care it is even more important for eligible veterans to maintain their VAHC eligibility.

The 9Health Fair in April is a great way to get a great low-cost health screening. I will look forward to meeting and assisting all of our Archuleta County veterans. Be sure and stop by my table and say hi.

For information on these and other veterans' benefits please call or stop by the Archuleta County 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 afautheree@ archuletacounty.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.

 

Arts Line

Summer full of art activity is planned

By Doris Green

PREVIEW Columnist

My favorite quote is: "If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains, you're lucky enough."

Among many things to be thankful for, we certainly are lucky to have an active arts community in Pagosa Springs.

Looking to the summer, we have creative workshops planned for our youth. Summer Youth Art Workshop is June 1-30, 9 a.m.-noon, Monday through Friday in Pagosa Springs Elementary School.

Instructors are Terrie Garcia for Clay 'n Around: Everything your heart desires; Susan Hogan, teaches drawing and painting; Lisa Brown provides Multicultural Art, Just for Girls; and Mark Brown teaches Crafts for Boys.

Cost is $300 per student with a 10-percent discount for registration by May 7. Call 264-5020 to make reservations.

A teen acting workshop taught by Felicia Lansbury Meyer is scheduled June 7-25 (Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays) in the arts and crafts space at the community center. Read future Artsline columns for description, costs and other specifics for the class.

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council extends a special thanks to Belinda LaPierre for handling our operations during the winter months.

Belinda resigned due to health problems which, hopefully, are in the process of being resolved. She loves the arts and will be active on a voluntary basis to the extent her health will allow. Should you wish to send her a note, mail it to PSAC, PO Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Mark your calendar for the Durango-Silverton and Chama-Antonito Cumbres Toltec narrow gauge train photography and water color exhibit April 1-28. It features Jeff Ellingson, Jay Wimer and John Cocker. Opening night is April 1 with a reception 5-7 p.m.

The Art of French Cooking class, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. April 10, will feature Fran Jenkins and Diane Bouma at Bear Mountain Ranch. The class is limited to 20 people and is filling up. If you haven't registered, call 264-5020. Cost is $50; $45 for PSAC members.

The Basics of Watercolor for Absolute Beginners, with Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett, is scheduled April 7-10 at the community center. Call the number above for reservations. Cost is $130; $123.50 for members.

Events calendar

April 1 - Reception for train art exhibit at gallery in Town Park

April 1-28 - Train exhibit

April 7-10 - The Basics of Watercolor for Absolute Beginners

April 10 - The Art of French Cooking

April 14 - Watercolor Club meeting

April 17 - Denny Rose watercolor class

May 6-19 - High school (advanced class) art exhibit

May 20-June 1 - Cartoon art with Bonnie Davies

June 1-30 - Summer Youth Art Workshop

June 7-25 - Teen acting workshop with Felicia Lansbury Meyer

June 29-31 - Expressing Yourself in Mixed Media, with Amy Rosner

July 1-28 - Joye Moon exhibit

July 5-8 - Unleashing the power of water color with Joye Moon

July 15-31 - Batik and screamers (papier maché) workshop

Aug. 5-31 - Watercolor class exhibit, Denny, Ginny and gang

Aug. 16-21 - Botanical drawing and painting workshop with Cynthia Padilla

Sept. 11-12 - Colorado Arts Consortium convention in Pagosa Springs

Sept. 17-19 - Juried art exhibit for PSAC members

October - Woodworking exhibit.

 

Young performers in spotlight at Night of Young Child

All you youngsters who like to perform, your chance is coming.

Night of the Young Child is all about children performing for children.

The only qualification is that you be between 16 or younger.

The event will be held in the high school auditorium.

For more information, call Lynne Bridges at 264-5513.

 

Dance club director, partner win two major competitions

By Marie Layton

Special to The PREVIEW

Deb Aspen, director and instructor of In Step Dance Club, is kicking her heels high with recent wins in the Arthur Murray Winter Showcases in Albuquerque and Denver.

Partnered Feb. 15 with gold-level dancer Charles Jackson of Albuquerque, Aspen placed first and second in the Foxtrot, County Western Swing, Salsa and Rhumba freestyle dances. In the Silver IV and Gold I level category solo dances, (meaning the couple is dancing without any other dancers on the floor) the duo awed the crowd in their matching custom-made bolero couture.

The internationally popular tune "A Chili Cha-Cha" is the inspiration for their quick tempoed Cha-Cha. This dance is filled with unexpected difficult moves for a couple who teamed up only last year.

Their finale, originally called the "A Death Drop" was euphemistically renamed the "A Drop-Around" due to an embarrassing crash during practice before Jackson's instructor.

Aspen and Jackson's second solo, the growingly popular East Coast Swing, to the song "Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison, brought back the reminiscent sock-hop days with their true-to-the era costumes and the music.

The crowd-pleasing couple brought down the house when they surprisingly ended the Swing with Aspen flipping over Charles' back.

This winning couple repeated their performances and achievements the following weekend in Denver and received the coveted Top Silver Couple Award. Congratulations Aspen. We are pleased and honored to have such a consummate dance instructor for the Dance Club.

In July the couple will take their dances national by competing in the Arthur Murray Unique Star Ball in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Anyone attending the dance club's lesson April 29 will be treated to exhibition dances where Jackson¼ has hinted that he may talk Aspen into flipping over him.

By popular request

Part II of the romantic rhumba class schedule:

- April 9, 15 and 22 - 7-9 p.m.

- April 29 - 7-8:30 p.m. Video presentation of recent competition, 8:30 p.m.; live dance exhibitions, 8:40; Rhumba Rumble Party and Dance, 9 p.m. BYOB and snacks.

All sessions will be in the PLPOA Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

Dues: $20 single, $30 couple. Singles without partners are welcome.

For questions or comments, call Aspen at 731-3338.

 

Programs for youngsters a boon from Music in the Mountains

By Carole Howard

Special to The PREVIEW

When someone mentions Music in the Mountains, you probably first think of the wonderful classical music concerts which bring world-class musicians to Pagosa Springs in the summertime.

Equally important as these events, though, are the programs for young people, which include bringing musicians to Pagosa schools to work with youngsters involved in music programs, sending our children to a Taste of Music concert in Durango, and providing scholarships for Conservatory Music in the Mountains programs at Fort Lewis College.

As well, for the first time Music in the Mountains will host a free outdoor family and children's concert in Town Park this summer.

"These events give our youngsters the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with musicians who are eager to share their knowledge and love of music," said Jan Clinkenbeard, chairman of the Pagosa Springs steering committee which is organizing local Music in the Mountains events.

Hands-on interaction between young students and professional musicians forms the fundamental building blocks for the Music in the Mountains Goes to School program, now in its fifth year. Last school year more than 4,000 elementary and secondary students from Pagosa Springs, Durango, Mancos, Cortez, Ignacio and Farmington enjoyed new music experiences that included hands-on instruction and attendance at "Taste of Music" performances held at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College in Durango.

This year's concert takes place April 16 at 10:15 a.m. More than a hundred Pagmosa students from the fifth grade will be bused to Durango for this special musical event.

The Goes to School program is funded by grants and generous contributions, including a donation from the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club.

April 22, noon-1:30 p.m. Linda Mack, the Fort Lewis vocal department chair, will come to the Pagosa Springs High School to do a vocal workshop with choir students and those involved with "Fame," the high school musical. "We are expecting this to be an exciting and positive experience for the students," said Melinda Baum, school program liaison for Pagosa's Music in the Mountains. "It's especially timely because April 22 is opening night for our show."

The Conservatory Music in the Mountains programs take place at Fort Lewis College in July and August. Scholarships to attend are available to talented youngsters of all ages who apply by April 20. More details are available at www.music-inthemountains.com/conservatory. Application and scholarship forms can be ordered by calling Music in the Mountains in Durango at 385-6820.

Another special experience for children is called Kids with Strings Attached, a program July 26-31 designed to introduce the violin to children and parents with little or no musical experience. For information on tuition, which includes violin rental, call (972) 503-8486 or see admin@newconservatory.org.

On a broader scale, music lovers young and old are invited to a free concert for children and their families at Town Park July 29 at 11 a.m. Highlight of this event will be "Peter and the Wolf," a work created by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev to teach his children about the symphony. Each character in the story - Peter, his grandfather, the wolf, a cat, a bird, a duck and some hunters - is represented by an instrument or instrumental family and will be acted by local children. To help the kids enjoy this experience even more, chief librarian Lenore Bright will include "Peter and the Wolf" in the children's summer reading program.

"Research has shown that early introduction to music helps young people perform better in their core classes and also encourages them to become concert-goers and performers," Clinkenbeard said. "Best of all, the children have fun while they are learning about music and experiencing great performances."

The organizational work for Music in the Mountains in Pagosa is done by Clinkenbeard and her local volunteer steering committee composed of Melinda Baum, Sally Hameister, Mike and Lauri Heraty, Carole Howard, Crystal Howe, Teresa Huft, and Bob and Lisa Scott.

To get on the mailing list for these and future Music in the Mountain events, call 385-6820 in Durango and specify that you want to be on the Pagosa Springs mailing list.

 

Whatever your reason, it's easy to get hooked on quilting

Maybe there's a baby in your life who needs a handmade gift.

Perhaps you need something else to ward off the night's chill. Or maybe you just want to take up a new hobby.

Whatever the case may be, it's easy to get hooked on quilting. Not only does quilting provide an outlet to express your creativity, but you can also get a comfy and cozy blanket out of it.

Quilting has been around for hundreds of years, even well before electricity. A quilt is a series of individually made squares, or blocks, which are sewn together to form a large blanket. Blocks are made of three layers - the two outside layers exposed to the eye (the quilt top and the quilt back) and the inner padding layer (the batting).

You have plenty of leeway with these three layers. The tops can be made of scraps of fabric called patchwork. They can be made with appliqués, where smaller pieces of fabric are attached to bigger pieces. Or, they can be a combination of patchwork and appliqué. The batting can be cotton, wool, polyester or a blend. And the back of the quilt is usually one or two pieces of cloth.

While quilts are unique creations, they fall into two categories. Traditional quilts are made of cloth cut into different shapes of different sizes that fit into a square. Contemporary or art quilts are based on traditional quilts, but are more like works of art. They aren't always in block formats, instead boasting more complicated structures.

The individual squares are then sewn together to make a large blanket. Squares can be added at any time - that's how Grandma adds one when a grandchild is born into her family or how squares were added to the AIDS Quilt, a tribute to those who have died from the disease.

Once all the blocks are sewn together, the layers are secured together by binding them with some thread and fabric.

It's easier than you think to make your own quilt. But before you get started, make sure you have the right supplies. Quilting supplies are generally inexpensive, but make sure you get the right equipment to make the process as efficient as possible. Most supplies can be purchased at a fabric or crafts store. Here are some items you'll need:

Sewing machine

Fabric - buy 100 percent cotton fabric that is washed and pressed (or wash it yourself before you begin quilting). Avoid fabric from sheets or T-shirts because it can bleed in the wash or stretch over time.

Iron

Spray starch - This will make the fabric easier to work with.

Fabric scissors - These scissors are sharp enough to cut through fabric.

Sewing needles

Thread - Get all-purpose, strong thread to match your fabric. It usually has a waxy covering that is gentle on your hands and fingers.

Fabric marking pencils - Traditional No. 2 pencils won't erase on fabric, but fabric pencils will.

Batting - Cotton or polyester works best. Use what you prefer.

Seam ripper -This tool is helpful for beginners. It unstitches seams without hurting the whole block.

Cardboard - You can use a piece if you want to make a square template to help create uniform blocks.

Rotary cutter and spare blades - A rotary cutter cuts fabric. It's especially helpful if you are making a patchwork quilt.

Self-healing cutting mat - Use this mat's grids to align your fabric and protect your work surface.

Safety pins

Sewing pins - These will help keep squares from moving around while you are stitching. Once you have the supplies, it's time to get started. Hit the Web, get a quilting magazine to learn tricks of the trade, or ask a salesperson at your fabric or craft store for some tips.

And in no time, you or someone you love will be snuggling up to one of your handmade blankets.

 

Education News

Each of us needs to be responsive to youth needs

By Livia Cloman Lynch

Special to The PREVIEW

You can make a difference in the lives of children and adults in Pagosa Springs.

This was the theme of the recent Archuleta County Education Center's "Making A Difference 2004" luncheon.

Dr. Lew Hunter, screenwriter, international trainer and author spoke passionately about what each of us can do to help make our community healthier and more responsible.

Hunter urged each one of us to be responsive to the needs of our youth and adults, noting that it often only takes one person to make a tremendous difference.

We would particularly like to thank all of our table captains for their willingness to sponsor a table and ensure the success of our annual event: Bob Eggleston, Marion Francis, John Graves, Sally Hameister, Jeff Laydon, Mamie Lynch, Felicia Lansbury Meyer, Chuck McGuire, Curtis Miller, Jann Pitcher, Glenn Raby, Malcolm Rodger, Lisa Scott, Cynthia Sharp, Kristin Vorhies and Sherry Waner.

A big "thank you" is extended to all 28 of our 2004 luncheon sponsors who helped support the event; we couldn't have done it without them: Alternative Home Builders, Appraisal Services, Inc., Bank of Colorado, Bank of the San Juans, CenturyTel, Circle T Lumber/Ace Hardware, Citizens Bank of Pagosa Springs, Colorado Dream Homes, Colorado Land Title, Custom Homes by Curt Johnson, DeClark Granite and Fabrication, Kerry Dermody, Edward Jones, Great Divide Title, High Country Title, Harmony Works Juice Bar, Jackisch Drugs, KWUF radio, Monograms Plus Leather, Mountain Snapshots, Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate, Rio Grande Savings & Loan Assoc., Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs, The Pagosa Springs SUN, The Tile and Carpet Store, United Mini Storage, Upper San Juan Library District, and Wells Fargo Bank.

The Archuleta County Education Center would also like to say "thank you" to the 200 community members who purchased tickets and attended our March 9 luncheon. When you support the Education Center you support a family of important educational programs in our community.

Please contact the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2935 for additional information on any of our programs. Or stop by our office at 4th and Lewis streets.

 

Mercy Medical scholarship is available

By Katherine Cruse

SUN Columnist

Mercy Medical Center and the Mercy Health Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to a college-bound high school senior from southwest Colorado.

Students graduating from Pagosa Springs High School are eligible.

"We look forward to helping a local student further their education," said Mercy Medical Center CEO Kirk Dignum. "This is an investment in a young person's future and, hopefully, when they're in a position to give back to the community, they'll do so."

Applicants must complete an application, show proof of acceptance to a college, university or other institution of higher learning, and submit a letter of recommendation from a high school teacher, counselor or school administrator. The deadline for submission of completed applications is April 30.

All interested area high school seniors are encouraged to apply.

Application forms can be downloaded from the hospital's Web site, www.mercydurango.org, or can be requested by calling 382-1667.

The scholarship is made available through contributions to a Mercy Health Foundation scholarship fund for college-bound high school students living in southwest Colorado.

 

School Menus

The following menus will be used for the breakfasts and lunches served in the Pagosa Springs public schools March 26 through April 1.

Friday, March 26 - Breakfast: Ham and cheese croissant, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Fish sticks, tossed salad, corn, fruit sherbet cup.

Monday, March 29- Breakfast: Breakfast pizza, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Stuffed crust pizza, tossed salad, corn and cookie.

Tuesday, March 30 - Breakfast: French toast stix, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Bean burrito, lettuce, salsa, cheese, veggie sticks and granola bar.

Wednesday, March 31 - Breakfast: Cinnamon rolls, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Cheeseburger, lettuce, tomato, tater wedges, green beans, and ice cream sandwich.

Thursday, April 1 - Breakfast: biscuit and gravy, cereal, toast, milk and juice. Lunch: Chicken nuggets, potato wedges, corn and pears.

 

Cruising with Cruse

A lesson in spa soaking on Maui

By Katherine Cruse

SUN Columnist

One of the things that makes Pagosa Springs special, as you know, is the hot spring. Back in the late 1800s, Pagosa boosters tried to promote Pagosa as a destination location. Come here for the healing waters! Be rejuvenated!

Don't go to Estes Park or Colorado Springs or any of those other places; Pagosa Springs is the best! Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

The Great Pagosah, THE hot spring, used to be much larger. Old photographs show little bathing and changing huts around its perimeter. That was before the water got siphoned off to heat buildings in town, and before development and a gradual decrease in geothermal activity caused it to shrink. Now the Great Pagosah is a mere droplet of its former self, and you have to go searching to find it.

But that's okay. We've got options for our therapeutic bathing. You can seek out other springs, such as the one up the West Fork or on the Piedra River.

I haven't managed to locate either one, but plenty of other people have so that they can enjoy their hot pool bathing surrounded by the forest.

If you're not interested in driving or hiking long distances or clambering up muddy river banks, you can enjoy the springs right here in town. At The Springs Resort, hot pool bathing is a pretty social affair, perfect for doing with your friends after a hard day on the ski slopes or any other time.

I personally prefer my dip in hot water at the Spa Motel, in the women's bathing pool. This large rectangular tank is indoors, and clothing is optional. There's a dark steam room there too, but I prefer the pool. The water is hot; a sign on the wall says it's 108 degrees. At that temperature, you can't stay in very long.

I read once that people who take cocaine find the first time so amazing that they spend the rest of their addicted lives trying to recapture that feeling. Getting into water that hot seems a similar experience.

But the best part of the women's bathing pool is that after you've been in the hot water for about five minutes, you go into the anteroom, wrap up in your flannel sheet or a big towel, stretch out on one of the padded benches there, and take a nap. Talk about relaxing.

Some women bring their bathroom cabinet and spend a lot of time in the little shower, sudsing and rinsing and grooming away. Others bring their books or magazines and use this private time to catch up on their reading.

On the weekends Native Americans come up, usually in little groups, from Dulce or Aztec or farther away. Women my age bring their aged mothers. The soft murmur of their voices is like a lullaby as I steam away in my flannel sheet. Some of the older women bring a cup, so that they can catch the spring water as it gurgles from the pipe and drink it. What's good for the outside is good for the inside, too, they say.

Once I talked with a woman from Cortez, who told me she learned from her grandmother how to butcher a sheep or other animal, so that she'd always be independent. That's a conversation most of us don't have very often.

Another time I met an older woman from Texas, who was here with her hunting husband. She was soaking in the spring water to get relief from the injuries she'd suffered a few weeks before, when she fell off a ladder at home and broke several bones. Tough gal.

These hot springs experiences are very different from the spa I recently attended on the island of Maui, where I went to meet up with The Chief at a conference.

I had a good time in Maui. What's not to like? Staying at a resort hotel is always special, except for the cost.

One afternoon several of us wives went to the spa at the much pricier hotel down the road, for the baths. We'd have gone for a massage, but the cost was three or four times the going rate in Pagosa.

We registered, paid our money, and were given towels and special sandals and a tour to introduce us to the wonders available there. We were informed that this was a "European-style spa," meaning the accepted dress code was nudity, although women could wear bathing suits "if they so desired." With that intimidating statement, those of us who had brought bathing suits stored them in the lockers.

We traipsed out wrapped in big fluffy towels and the special spa sandals they gave us to wear. Marble floors, spacious rooms, a jug of water with slices of lemon floating in it - we felt pampered even before we got in the water.

We tried everything that was available: the regular hot tub, followed by the cold plunge (wowee!), the sauna, and the steam room. Then the Japanese bath, which was the hottest, although I don't think it was as hot as the spa pool here.

Next there were the specialty baths, the things we had really come for.

These were five huge sarcophagus-like marble tubs, each with a different liquid. There were the chartreuse-green papaya enzyme bath, the special Hawaiian herb bath, the aromatherapy bath, the seaweed bath, and the moor mud bath. The mud bath contained dark greenish brown water and didn't feel muddy at all. We agreed that the papaya bath was the best of the bunch.

After each of these soaking baths, we went into special showers to "wash off the product." These round stalls had several dozen jets that really pelted your body with water. It was rather like going through the brushless car wash at the Conoco station.

Finally, there was a shower that you sit down in. You lean forward and a thick stream of water falls on you from a great height, massaging your back and neck, while other jets of water "massage" your legs.

We spent a long time at the spa. We used countless towels. Afterward we showered and tried all the scented lotions they had. We wafted out, smelling of coconut and vanilla and other heady tropical plants.

I hope that the hot springs operators in Pagosa Springs don't get any ideas from this. I couldn't afford to go.

 

Local Chatter

Local dance fans learn the Rhumba, a dance with history

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

The Instep Dance Club will feature the Rhumba during their April sessions.

Deb Aspen at 731-3338 is the one to contact. Membership is $20 for a single and $30 for a couple. Singles without partners are always welcome. The club meets Fridays at the PLPOA Clubhouse, 7-9 p.m.

The history of the Rhumba is interesting. Deb has contributed this descriptive piece for us.

The true Rhumba is African-based and was usually related to the lower classes due to the lascivious nature of the dance. The native Rhumba folk dance is a sex pantomime with the man being the aggressor and the woman on the defense with much exaggeration of hip movement.

A slower, more refined version of the native Rhumba with a basic diamond dance pattern became a popular dance of the middle-class Cubans. The Rhumba music first migrated to Miami Beach then all the way to New York City. The American Rhumba is a modified version of the Cuban Rhumba. It took over 15 years after its first introduction in the U.S. in 1913 for it to gain popularity.

In the 1930s increased American tourism to Latin America and the publishing of the book, "The Peanut Vendor," by Edward Marks Music Company brought widespread attention to Latin-American music in the U.S. However, the real impresario of Latin music was Xavier Cugat and his orchestra. He appeared in early sound movies and later played at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

The American Rhumba today is characterized by the Cuban Motion, a hip movement achieved by transferring weight from one foot to the other. This hip movement is combined with very smooth steps, giving the dance a sensual appearance.

Fun on the run

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my check with which I endeavored to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the check and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honor it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire salary, an arrangement which, I admit, has been in place for only eight years.

You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account $30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused by your bank. My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways.

I noticed that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, prerecorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I, like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan repayments will therefore and hereafter no longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by check, addressed personally and confidentially to an employee at your bank whom you must nominate. Be aware that it is an offense under the Postal Act for any other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry it runs to eight pages, but in order that I know as much about him or her as your bank knows about me, there is no alternative. Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary Public, and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter than 28 digits but, again, I have modeled it on the number of button presses required of me to access my account balance on your phone bank service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press buttons as follows:

1. To make an appointment to see me.

2. To query a missing payment.

3. To transfer the call to my living room in case I am there.

4. To transfer the call to me bedroom in case I am sleeping.

5. To transfer the call to my toilet in case I am attending to nature.

6. To transfer the call to my mobile phone if I am not at home.

7. To leave a message on my computer, a password to access my computer is required. Password will be communicated to you at a later date to the Authorized Contract.

8. To return to the main menu, and to listen to options 1 through 7.

9. To make a general complaint or inquiry.

The contact will then be put on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service. While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again, following your example, I must also levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement. May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous New Year?

Your Humble Client

 

Extension Viewpoints

Private pesticide applicator training planned

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today - 4-H Oil Painting, Minor residence, 4:30 p.m.; Entomology, Extension office, 4:30

March 26 - Cloverbuds, community center, 1:30 p.m.; 4-H Rabbit, Extension office, 4:30 p.m.; 4-H Clothing, Edelweiss, 2 p.m.

March 29 - 4-H Dog Obedience, Extension office, 4 p.m.

March 30 - 4-H Vet Science, San Juan Veterinary Clinic, 5:30 p.m.

March 31 - Fair Royalty prep, Extension office, 6 p.m.

There will be free private pesticide applicator training 6 p.m. March 29 at the Extension Building.

This training is required for all people who want to purchase restricted use pesticides for home and agriculture use.

Please RSVP to the Extension office at 264-5931 or 264-2388 or e-mail us at csuarchuleta@ centurytel.net

The private pesticide applicator license is required of individuals who use or supervise the use of restricted-use pesticides on land in agricultural production that is owned, leased or rented by them or their employer. This includes farm and ranch land, forestland, nurseries, Christmas trees, orchards and other properties on which agricultural crops or commodities are produced.

No license is needed if only general-use pesticides are used. Private pesticide applicators are required to maintain records of their applications of restricted use pesticides. To become certified as a private pesticide applicator, an individual must obtain a score of 70 percent or higher on the private pesticide applicator examination. Once an individual qualifies by becoming certified, he/she is entitled to become licensed.

Seed potatoes

The Archuleta County Extension Office is now taking orders for seed potatoes.

There are two kinds available, the Sangre (red potato) and the Yukon Gold (white potato).

Currently, we are charging 30 cents per pound for both species. Those of you who are just starting out and are experimenting, it is our suggestion that you order two to three pounds of each species instead of ordering a whole lot of them. This way you can experiment and see if you like them and then order more next year. When orders arrive in at the Extension office each person will be contacted to pick up their order.

If you are interested in ordering seed potatoes please call 264-2388, e-mail us at csuarchuleta@ centurytel.net or stop by the Extension office.

Sheep shearing school

Potential sheep shearers can take advantage of national expertise at the Colorado sheep shearing school April 8-9 at the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss.

The school is being sponsored by Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and will be taught by Charlie Swaim, the technical representative for the Oster Division of Sunbeam. Charlie is a four-time national sheep-shearing champion from Drakesville, Iowa, and conducts sheep shearing schools throughout the United States and Canada.

The school will be held 8 a.m.-5 p.m. both days and the cost is $75 per person. The registration fee includes instructional materials. Meals and lodging are the responsibility of the participants.

We need to have a minimum of 15 participants to hold the school. Please register by April 1.

To register or for more information, contact the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension at (970) 874-2195.

Changing landscapes

A "Changing Landscapes" workshop will be held 1-4 p.m. 4:30 p.m. April 12, at the LaPlata County Fairgrounds in Durango.

The workshop is free of charge and open to the public, and is sponsored by CSU Cooperative Extension and Colorado State Forest Service.

Topics to be covered include the Piñon ips beetle epidemic and other forest insects and diseases of note; clean up, salvage and reforestation of beetle infested areas; wildfire hazard mitigation and revegetation.

Dave Leatherman, Colorado State Forest Service entomologist, will be a featured speaker. Please come to learn more about important issues affecting our forests and woodlands, and to ask questions.

 

Food for Thought

Alive and well in Cyberia Colorado

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

I wrote a column in the '80s describing my hometown as "Siberia with a view."

Change that: I've moved.

Now, I live in Cyberia with a view, and the view is of my computer screen.

I don't get out much anymore, and I don't have to: The only highway I drive is the information highway, cruising the broad avenues on the Net, the Web. On this road, I am fully realized - a giving, compassionate, productive and increasingly attractive and punctual guy.

I've severed the few local social connections I had, leaving the miscreants I called friend behind; I've gone global.

In a virtual world, I am virtually a saint, and those in need are knocking on my e-mail doorway. Everyone is welcome.

I feel wanted, in a comfy, one-dimensional, digital way. People send me e-mails every day seeking my help or wanting to help me. Let me give you a glimpse of my new, rich universe Š

"Dear Friend:

"As you read this, I don't want you to feel sorry for me, because, I believe everyone will die someday."

As I read the opening line of this e-mail, I'm impressed: The writer is sensitive to my feelings and he and I share a notion in common. It may seem a coincidence, but I, too, believe everyone will die someday.

The letter is from Bates Alan. Bates is a merchant in Dubai. To cut to the chase, Bates admits he has not lived his life all that well and, once diagnosed with a terminal disease, he decided to make amends, distributing his considerable wealth to family and friends, and to a host of charitable causes. Bates, furthermore, hopes God is aware of his reversal and will forgive him his many unspecified, but grave sins.

While Allah is likely to be pleased with the change of heart, Bates needs a bit of help moving the show to the final credits. Seems Bates still has $18,000,000 and, because less reverent family members have deceived him (keeping sizable donations intended for charities in Bulgaria) he does not trust family to make good with the remainder of his fortune.

This is where I come in. Bates wants me to give him an account number into which the 18 mil can be deposited, From that point on, I will act as his personal representative, disbursing the dough to the appropriate do-gooders. My take: 10 percent (let's see, divide 18 million by ten and Š).

I'll put in the good word with Allah myself.

Bates, a dying man, ends his missive with a simple "God be with you."

And with you, Bates.

As much as I'd love to pitch in and help Bates, it could be difficult to pull off. There is competition.

Yesterday, Barrister Obarisi Oba ESQ, of O. Oba and Co., Attorneys/Legal Practitioner, Nigeria, e-mailed me a heart-rending request. Barrister Oba, like Bates, needs assistance only I can provide.

It is clear Oba is a fine lawyer. His letter opened: "Dear Friend, compliments of the season." Oba represents the family of the "Late Gen. Sani Abacha, who was the former military head of state in Nigeria." That's a certifiable, major-league client.

Abacha died in 1998, said Oba, and the family's had a bit of trouble dealing with a vindictive government that wants the cash - $75 million. They're that way in Nigeria; who knows why?

Dastardly Swiss bankers have refused service to the Abachas (you know the Swiss - always picky when it comes to handing out bank accounts to shady interests) and only I, Karl E. Isberg, Cyberia, Colorado, can remedy what is becoming a horrific situation for the Abachas. I am needed to establish a joint account into which the Abachas' cash, in three phases involving $25 million each, will be deposited and disbursed by me.

"My clients are willing to give you a reasonable percentage of this money as soon as the transactions are completed," wrote Oba. "You may also discuss your percentage before we start to work."

This is sophisticated stuff. No wonder they picked me as their point man.

"Do not entertain any fears," wrote the good barrister. "As all necessary modalities are in place. (Ahhh, yes, modalities!) And I assure you of all success and safety in this transaction."

A bit of tension appears at the end of the letter, regardless of modalities being in place.

"Please," wrote Oba, "this transaction requires absolute confidentiality and you would be expected to treat it as such until the funds are moved out of this country. Please, you will ignore this letter and respect our trust in you by not exposing this transaction even if you are not interested."

Oops.

The task is tempting, believe me. But, again, complications. Life in Cyberia is anything but simple.

Last night, I received an e-mail from my "Partner to be," Mr. Belo Ige, Director in charge of Corporate and Investment Banking with CONTINENTAL TRUST BANK in Lagos, Nigeria." What's going on in Nigeria?

Seems Mr. Kammera Sangeeta, a representative of the multinational Petrogas Gas Systems made a $29 million deposit in the bank then went and got himself compacted and incinerated in an airline crash in Taipei. Can you believe Sangeeta died with no next of kin?

That's where I come in, according to Ige: surrogate next of kin.

Oh, granted, it sounds strange, but Ige can make it happen. Anything can happen on the World Wide Web. In Nigeria.

All I have to do is forward Ige my name, address, business address, social security number and a few other meaningless bits of information and a bank account will be established where I, the next of kin of Kammera Sangeeta, will receive the cash - 25 percent of which, says Ige, is mine.

"Please observe utmost confidentiality," Belo wrote, "and rest assured that this transaction would be most profitable for both of us because I shall require your assistance to invest my share in your country."

How can I resist this? Ige gets 75 percent of Sangeeta's massive fortune, I get 25 percent; then I get a fee for investing Ige's cash in America! This is reverse outsourcing of the best kind!

I thought about my prospects and decided, why pick only one of these incredible offers? Why not take them all? I, like Bates Alan, Dubai magnate, can worm my way into the Lord's good graces, and become a hero to my fellow man, by spreading my new-found wealth and the wealth of others far and wide.

I'll start with Dr. Paul Shazad, a "Chicago suburbanite."

I got an e-mail from Shazad explaining his plight and his plan to raise cash.

Shazad is no ordinary beggar. He has a Ph.D. (in economics) and he owns an exercise equipment business.

Trouble is, even with his degree, Shazad is in deep financial water Š without his floaties.

Shazad is no deadbeat: he refuses to close the doors of his business, putting his employees at the mercy of a nasty economy. He is "using instead his personal credibility to raise this money. He is not accepting charity." He asks for a $100 "personal loan" from everyone he contacts via the Net. In return, the magnanimous money lender will receive "a personal IOU which is payable within 2 years."

If there is any question about the validity of the arrangement, Shazad, a Ph.D., reminds us "An IOU is a promise to pay back."

Ben Franklin would be proud. This is where my money, and Ige's money, is going. An investment, with IOUs from an American Ph.D. with an American company seasoned with a healthy dose of good-old American daring do.

I'm ready to rock, and I'll be in tip-top mental and physical condition, up to the task here in Cyberia.

I got an e-mail offer from a company that guarantees I will lose up to 10 pounds in seven days - with " no starvation, no exercise, no pills." Sounds ideal to me, since I am now at the computer every waking minute. I am impressed by any method that allows me to lose "up to" 10 pounds now that I am totally sedentary.

Despite the untold riches that will come to me via my work for Ige, Alan and Oba, I intend to maintain legitimate employment, remaining a member (like Shazad) of the hard-working middle class. I have several e-mail offers that promise I can engage in "Multi-level marketing" three to four hours a day, at home on my computer (perfect!) and take in $400-$800 per working day. All I have to be is sincere.

I have that covered.

I also received numerous e-mail offers for substances that will boost my energy to 20-year-old levels and "enhance" my essential male attributes. I'll take massive doses of these. My only problem will be to find someone who is interested in the enhancement.

I will spend four hours each day disbursing funds for Alan, Ige and Oba, then turn my talents to multi-level marketing. While I lose weight. As I am energized and enhanced.

And I will monitor my schedule with my "real looking fake Italian-crafted Rolex watch" that I'll procure on the Net from Cal, the "Division Sales Manager at ATGWS."

With all this work ahead, I need to cut the time spent in the kitchen to a minimum. That means preparing dishes that hold up to the leftover test: Are they as good, or better, the next day?

I need volume as well as quality and that means one thing: casseroles - all the worthy food groups tossed together in one delectable mix.

The building blocks: starches. Potato, pasta, rice. Cheap and easy to prepare.

The glue: sauces - especially tomato and variants that mutate from bechamel.

The critical additives: onion, mushrooms, peppers, garlic, spices, salt, pepper.

The muscle: meats, occasionally fish (though fish puts a tighter limit on refrigerator time).

The capper: cheese, bread crumbs.

It's like a family style menu at a crummy Chinese restaurant: one from column A, one from column B, five from column C, one from Column D, one to three from Column E.

Example: Rigatoni, cooked very al dente; a bechamel with a bit of nutmeg (fooled you, didn't I? You thought it would be tomato sauce.); sweated minced white onion, garlic and red Bell pepper, sauteed cremini mushrooms with some red chile flakes and a touch of oregano, salt, pepper; sauteed sausage of any kind; freshly grated Parmesan into the mix, a blend of the Parmesan, asiago and breadcrumbs sprinkled on top. The mass is baked in a giant casserole at 350 for about an hour, or until the top is toasty brown and the contents bubbly good.

Three dinners for sure, maybe four - with each return trip to the table marked with a bit more cheese.

Things are looking bright here in Cyberia, Colorado. There's food, fortune, charity, good health and fine Italian-made fake Rolex watches on the wrist.

Anyone interested in some multi-level marketing?

How about male enhancement?

Need help?

Drop me an e-mail, today.

 

Pagosa Lakes News

Adopt-a-street participants lauded; more sought

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

Five years ago the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association began sponsoring the adopt-a-street program. Since that time a number of individuals, couples or groups have signed up to adopt a mile or half-mile section of street in their neighborhood.

The PLPOA would like to thank and acknowledge those participants for helping to keep our neighborhoods beautiful.

The following is a list of those dear folks:

Ray Pack, Bart and Erika Cox, the Dermody family, Gene and Patti Gramzow, John and Cheryl Nelson, Jim and Eva Iwicki, Joe Donovan, Ron and Sheila Hunkin, David and Margie Lucero, Jean Carson, Joseph and Guadelupe Rivas, Chile Mountain Cafe, Russell and Kristin, Linda Sapp, Ella Olson and Scooter, Jim Cole, Jack and Lyn DeLange, Dave and Fran Bohl, Mojie Adler, Jim and Dagmar Huffman, Archuleta County Democrats, Richard and Joyce Beaudry and our Friendly Five - Bob, Lou, Dick, Jim and Gale.

You can adopt from a half to two miles depending on your time and commitment.

If you are interested in adopting a street or roadway, please contact Larry Lynch in the PLPOA office at 731-5635 for more information. The association will post a sign designating you as having adopted the street and will provide trash bags and pickup service.

The trash that is surfacing faster than the crocuses will soon require our attention. That which you see out your windows, on your street, in your neighbor's vacant lot - if it is starting to bother you, then it's time to do something about it. Carry a couple of trash bags with you when you are outside.

Spring is a time of exuberance. The vegetation comes to life, birds return to sing for us and even our body biorhythms pick up a notch or two. Do be outside to enjoy all the new life. Do walk, run, ride your bicycle, skip or fly a kite.

But do not ride your ATV on greenbelt or vacant lots. Your neighbors will not appreciate the noise and the potential damage a motorized vehicle could inflict on the soft ground and greening vegetation. Besides, unauthorized motorized vehicles are not allowed on greenbelts within Pagosa Lakes.

Special Olympics is looking for volunteers in swimming. You do not have to be certified, but you do want to have a desire to help, be cheerful and supportive. If you would like to coach, contact Becky Berg, volunteer coordinator for Special Olympics in Pagosa at 731-3318.

The second annual Pagosa Lakes Eggs-travaganza will be brought to the community April 3, at the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center.

Get the children primed, get them to the hunt which will begin at 9:30 a.m. sharp (be on time). In addition to eggs, there will be clowns, Mr. Bunny and lots of commotion.

The hunt will be broken up into two waves - 0-6 years of age and 7-10 years old.

If we should get a spring shower that day, the Eggs-travaganza will be held the following Saturday, April 10.

 

 Obituaries

Doris Sitze

Doris Ellard Sitze, 84, of Pagosa Springs, Colo., died March 20, 2004 at Pine Ridge Extended Care Center.

Born Jan. 20, 1920, in Clayton, N.M., she was married to Wilbur A. Sitze, who was a teacher at Ritch School in the San Andres mountains of New Mexico. She was preceded in death by her husband and by her grandson, Scott Sitze, both in 1985.

Memorial services will be held 2 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Pine Ridge Extended Care Center in Pagosa Springs, with Pastor Al DeBoer officiating. A memorial service will also be held in Las Cruces, New Mexico at a later date.

Doris was a housewife, mother, and part-time teacher in Sierra County, N.M. in the Derry, Arrey and Truth or Consequences grade schools where her husband was teacher-principal over a period of 37 years. She taught piano to many students in Sierra County during the years she lived there. She also served as pianist and organist in Caballo Community Church and St. John's Lutheran Church in Truth or Consequences. Doris was a member of the Order of Eastern Star Chapter in Truth or Consequences, where she served as Worthy Matron. She moved to Pagosa Springs in July 2000.

Doris is survived by a son, Wilbur A. Sitze, Jr. of Las Cruces, N.M.; a son, Robert Lee Sitze of Harrisburg, N.C.; a daughter, Laura Beth Manley of Pagosa Springs; 15 grandsons and 10 granddaughters; and 16 great-grandsons and 15 great-granddaughters.

Memorial contributions may be directed to the American Cancer Society.

Morris Gheen

Longtime Pagosa Springs resident Morris Allen Gheen died Thursday, March 18, 2004, in Mercy Medical Center in Durango, Colo.

Morris was born March 3, 1955, in Houston, Texas, to Dwight Matthew and Freda O'Dell Gheen. He was 49 years old.

Morris had moved from Houston to Pagosa Springs in 1975, worked as a plumber and in concrete, and enjoyed hunting, fishing and playing softball.

Survivors are his parents in Wimberly, Texas; a brother, Richard Dwight Gheen, of Trinity, Texas; sisters Connie Floyd of Meadows, Texas, Carol Gheen of Cushing, Texas, and Angela Price of Pagosa Springs; a son, Jesse, of Pagosa Springs; two stepsons, Lucas Bealmer of Pagosa Springs and Joby Bealmer of Whitefish, Mont.; and a stepdaughter, Ohea Bealmer, of Pagosa Springs.

A memorial service will be held in Town Park on Hermosa Street 2 p.m. Saturday, March 27, with the Rev. Louis Day officiating. In case of rain, call Pagosa Funeral Options (264-2386) for alternate location. Paul's Place will have a dinner for family and friends later in the afternoon, the exact time to be announced at the service.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent to Bank of the San Juans, PO Box 2830, Pagosa Springs, CO 81157, Acct. No. 20013868.

Contributions will be donated to the Pagosa Springs Sports Complex and used toward construction of a new softball field.

 

 Business News
Biz Beat

Rebecca Cortez

Rebecca Cortez offers massage therapy services in her office located above Liberty Theater on Pagosa Street, and offers a relaxing atmosphere in which to have the massage you've deserved for so long.

After moving to Pagosa in 1998, Rebecca worked for several businesses specializing in massage therapy before deciding to devote all her time to her personal business.

"My philosophy is to work at the level that each person wants," Rebecca says of the many styles of massage and relaxation techniques she utilizes in her practice. Rebecca also incorporates holistic healing ideals into her work.

Rebecca's standard rate is $40 per hour and she offers couples' massages and out-calls as well. Rebecca can be contacted by calling 264-1433.

 

 People
Marriage announcement

Sara Downey, daughter of Jane and Bill Downey, and Robert Kirkham, son of Dot and Jimmie Kirkham, all of Pagosa Springs, were united in marriage Oct. 18, 2003, at First Baptist Church of Pagosa Springs. The couple now resides in Colorado Springs.

 

Honors list

The following students from Archuleta County made the President's honors list at Pueblo Community College's Southwest Center in the fall 2004 semester for attaining at least a 3.8 grade-point average while taking a minimum of 12 credit hours:

Barbara A. Eaklor, Kathleen J. Ferris, and Gregory W. Hudnall Jr.

 

Cangialosi

Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Cangialosi, son of Stephen L. Cangialosi of Pagosa Springs, recently returned from a routine, scheduled deployment on board the USS Peleliu, homeported in San Diego, while assigned to the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), based out of Camp Pendleton, Calif.

During the deployment, Cangialosi's unit conducted humanitarian assistance, security and stabilization missions in Iraq. They also patrolled international waters in the Red Sea and Horn of Africa to deter the transport of terrorist personnel and equipment.

Cangialosi's unit is an expeditionary intervention force with the ability to rapidly organize for combat operations in virtually any environment. MEUs are composed of more than 2, 000 personnel and are divided into an infantry battalion, aircraft squadron, support group and command element. With this combination, Cangialosi's unit supplies and sustains itself for either quick mission accomplishment or clearing the way for follow-on forces.

Cangialosi joined the Marine Corps in July 2001.

 

Cards of Thanks

Caring friends

Raymond and I would like to thank all the good people of Pagosa Springs for their offers of help, prayers and good wishes while Raymond was in hospitals in Durango and Albuquerque.

Mike and Ann Hall, Mike Mobley, Mike Hanlon, Ben and Connie Johnson, Billy and Linda Schoonover, Ralph and Linda Valdez, Dr. Gretchen Pearson and her ladies, Melissa, Nancy and April. To Michelle James and Raymond's daughter-in-law for staying with me in ER in Durango, and sharing her medical knowledge, especially to Dale and Christie Findley of Rio Rancho, N.M., who took care of both of us. Johnnie and Minnie Boyd of Del City, Okla., for their telephone calls and Don and Shirley Wilson of Norman, Okla., for their cards.

Raymond is getting stronger every day in his little log cabin in the mountains.

You don't realize what a caring community we live in until adversity happens to you.

Thank you all,

Raymond and Betty Jane James

Martinez family

We, the Martinez family, would like to let you all know how much we appreciate your prayers, gifts, hard work and kind words.

It was comforting to see all the friends and family support us in this difficult time.

Raynel A. Martinez and family

 

 Sports Page
Defensive-minded Pirate kickers bow to Durango 2-0

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Coach Lindsey Kurt-Mason was "pretty impressed" by his defense Tuesday despite a 2-0 loss for Pagosa's soccer Pirates to Durango.

"We pressed, filled the gaps and stopped open breaks," the coach said after the contest at the Riverview Sports Complex in Durango.

The offense, however, could not live up to the defensive standard and was unable to muster a shot on goal.

While that is true, there also is the fact the team has a number of walking wounded who will make a difference when they get back into action.

Missing Tuesday were senior striker Melissa Diller with an eye injury; junior sweeper Kyrie Beye still recovering from a broken leg; and freshman attacker Laurel Reinhardt, suffering from an upper respiratory infection. Sophomore attacker Jennifer Hilsabeck also has the respiratory ailment but played, although gasping for breath at game's end.

The game started as a midfield scrum with neither squad able to break defensive containment.

Pirate senior keeper Sierra Fleenor made two routine saves in the first five minutes and Durango's Natalie Smith had a shot clank off the cross bar at 6:20.

The initial score came at 9:10 on a penalty shot from 14 yards by Durango's Beth Temple, a drive that went low to Fleenor's left.

Fleenor recorded four more saves in the first half as Durango, like Pagosa, was unable to muster a consistent offense.

The Demons got the second goal at 42:17 and even it was freakish.

Smith got the marker almost by accident, a matter of being where the ball was.

It started innocently enough: Durango had a corner kick. It caromed off a Pagosa defender and found its way clear across the goal mouth. Fleenor thought it had been whistled dead but Smith was standing there and booted it in.

That was the end of the scoring.

Though Pagosa's offense was much more active the balance of the second half, the Pirates could not break through the final defensive wall for a shot.

Key to the Pirate effort was the play of speedy freshman Iris Frye who time and again beat Demon midfielders to the ball, the disruptive midfield play of Britany Corcoran and the teamwork defense of Amy Tautges and Jenna Finney in stopping Demon wing drives while also played offensively.

Kurt-Mason also was impressed with the play of Caitlyn Jewell with just a week of practice since the end of the state basketball playoffs.

She worked at a sweeper position and interrupted a number of Durango attacks.

Emmy Smith, working from a deep sweeper slot, also drew praise from her coach. "No one got behind her all day, he said, and "her play on our offensive outlets was outstanding."

Several others saw action as the Pirates warmed up for Friday's league season opener against Telluride at 4 p.m. in Golden Peaks Stadium.

Rotating in out and out were Esther Gordon, Roxanne Lattin, Brett Garman, Kailey Smith, Kody Hanavan, Mariah Howell, Alaina Garman and Caitlin Forrest.

Diller is expected to be back in action for the Friday contest.

The loss dropped the Pirates' record to 0-2 for the season. After Friday's action, the team will be idle until Ignacio comes to town for a 4 p.m. contest at Golden Peaks April 6.

Summary

Scoring: 9:10, D-Temple, PK; 42:17, Smith. P-0. Saves, P-Fleenor, 9.

 

Pirates drop diamond match 5-0 to Kirtland

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Pagosa's baseball Pirates tried valiantly to open their home season on schedule Tuesday but ended up playing the game in Ignacio and losing 5-0 to Kirtland, N.M.

Several dozen Pirate players, their families, coaches and volunteers from the community had spent all day Saturday and part of Sunday working to ready the Pagosa field.

Huge piles of snow and ice were removed, a new backstop was erected, wiring was installed for in-game field announcements and for music between innings.

Piles of dirt were hauled in for the mound and for building up baserunning areas adjacent to the bases.

But in the end, a broken water line and deep ruts in the outfield prohibited use of the field.

The game was then switched to Kirtland. But Kirtland officials were unable to procure officials and at the last minute it was moved to Ignacio, with Pagosa and Ignacio cooperating to find umpires.

For Pagosa, the game was a "defensive improvement" according to coach Tony Scarpa.

The defense looked good, with only two errors, but "we couldn't muster an offense."

"We had only three hits," he added, and as a result "couldn't use our basepath speed to the extent we will be able to later."

Scarpa noted the Pirates struck out only six times against a veteran lefthander for Kirtland, "and we were playing a bunch of freshmen who are just chomping at the bit for varsity action."

Ben Marshall continued to hit well, Scarpa said, and Casey Hart hit the ball hard "but right at someone every time."

The Pirates, now 1-4 for the season, will go on the road again Saturday, facing Piedra Vista in Rickett's Field in Farmington for a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.

They will try again March 30 to open their home season in a 3 p.m. start. The scheduled opponent: the Durango Demons.

 

State's fourth-place Pirates get IML laurels for four

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The Pirates came out of nowhere to finish fourth in Colorado in Class 3A girls' basketball.

And they should be considered a team to reckon with next year because they had no seniors on the squad.

The success of the team was reflected in the Intermountain League all-conference selections, which listed four Pirates for honors.

Named to the first team were junior guard-forwards Bri Scott and Lori Walkup. On the second team was junior center Caitlyn Jewell and cited for honorable mention was sophomore point guard Liza Kelley.

Coach Bob Lynch, asked to comment on the success of his squad, said the season "went about as well as we could have expected."

He said "we realized early the potential was there, but our coaching job was to make them realize it and then play up to it.

"When we played good teams and lost, it was a drawback until they learned they could be a good team, too. Confidence seemed to grow as things happened to prove to them they were among the frontrunners," he said.

When the Pirates defeated St. Mary's Academy and Faith Christian in the regional tournament at Faith, said Lynch, "suddenly a light went on and they knew 'we can play with the big city kids.'"

The peak game, he added,

was the state quarterfinal contest against Centauri.

"Having beaten the Front Range teams," he said, "our girls seemed more in command of what happened to them and played that way."

Commenting on the future - a future looking bright because of returning and upcoming talent, Lynch said "it's a good problem to have. The more talent, the more girls who will get to play and the more the regulars will get a chance to rest. And, we'll be able to switch up defenses even more."

This was an unusual team in more ways than one. There was no common, regular leading scorer. In fact, the team had no player average in double figures - but had six players who had more than 100 points, three of them with more than 200.

Leading that brigade were Scott (220), Walkup (215) and Jewell (213). Other top scorers were Kelley (172), sophomore post Emily Buikema with 142 and sophomore forward-low post Caitlin Forrest with 128.

Freshman forward Laurel Reinhardt, who closed with a rush at the state tournament, had 84 points for the season; junior forward Melissa Maberry recorded 65 as did freshman guard Jessica Lynch. Junior guard Laura Tomforde had 23, missing several contests with a knee injury. Sophomore guard Kari Beth Faber chipped in with 11, sophomore guard China Rose Rivas had nine, and freshman guard Kristen DuCharme had three in her lone varsity appearance.

Scott was the leader in three-point shots, hitting 31 in 78 attempts. Lynch was 10 for 33, Kelley nine for 23, Walkup eight for 22, Faber one for one and Maberry four for five.

One of the early season problems for the Pirates was inaccuracy from the free throw line, but final statistics indicate dramatic improvement as they fought their way to a 19-8 season record.

Over the season, Scott was 40 of 54, Lynch 11 of 19, Kelley 38 of 50, Walkup 40 of 50, Reinhardt 26 of 54, Faber three of eight, Jewell 39 of 69, Buikema 30 of 54, Maberry eight of 14, Forrest 32 of 65, Rivas three of five and Tomforde five of nine.

Getting the ball to an open teammate for a score is always a key element for any team and as might be expected, Walkup (49) and Scott (43) were the Pirate assist leaders.

Kelley followed with 37 and Lynch with 27. Forrest had 16, Jewell 14 and Buikema 10. Reinhardt followed with nine, Maberry with seven, Faber and Tomforde with four each and Rivas with one.

Steals, too, play a big role because they stop the opponent's attack.

Walkup was far and away the leader in the category with 70, Kelley was second with 46 and Scott third with 29.

Jewell had 24, Buikema 24, Forrest 19, Reinhardt 15, Maberry 12, Lynch eight, Tomforde three and Rivas two.

One of the most important statistics in any season is rebounding and Pagosa was a state leader in the category, being outrebounded only three times in 27 games.

This category might surprise some. Forrest was the top board scraper, hauling down 168, 73 at the offensive end.

Second in the category was Jewell with 137, 60 offensive. She was followed by Walkup with 128 (42 offensive), Buikema with 94 (35 offensive), Maberry with 87 (36 offensive), Scott with 86 (26 offensive) and Reinhardt with 69, 34 offensive.

Others were Kelley with 49 (14 offensive), Faber with 20, four offensive, Tomforde with 15 (10 offensive), Lynch with 15, two offensive, and Rivas with six, three at each end.

Again, as might be expected, the three tallest Pirates, Jewell, Buikema and Forrest, had 27, 20 and 16 blocked shots respectively. Walkup had eight, Scott and Kelley five each and Reinhardt, Maberry and Tomforde each checked in with a pair.

No one escaped the referees' whistles and Pagosa was called for what coach Lynch thought an excessive amount of fouls.

Among starters, Jewell was called 91 times, Kelley 83, Scott 66, Walkup 64 and Buikema 36. Forrest had 43, Reinhardt and Maberry 29 each, Faber 15, Tomforde 13 and Rivas three.

The biggest problem all season for the Pirates was the unforced turnover. They committed 491, an average of nearly 18.2 per game, but cut that in the three state tournament contests to 17, 14 and 11.

The Pirates surprised prep watchers across the state when they captured the Buena Vista invitational early in the campaign, knocking off the highly rated host school in the process. Later, at Rye, they defeated highly-regarded La Junta and Trinidad along with Florence.

Their worst defeat came at home to the Class 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers in their own home tournament, but they also were surprised on the road, bowing to both Aztec and Bloomfield, N.M.

In the Intermountain League, they defeated Ignacio, Monte Vista and Bayfield twice, but bowed to Centauri twice. They lost to

Centauri again in the league tournament, but battled their way through regional action and found themselves face to face with the Falcons from La Jara for the fourth time in the season.

This time they pulled out a six-point victory and advanced to the final four. There they lost to Lamar 61-49 and then to Kent Denver 51-42 in the game for third place, a contest in which they hit only 12 of 51 shots from the floor, their coldest shooting percentage of the year.

Others selected for the all-conference team were Kiley Mortensen and Resa Espinoza of Centauri and Kyra Bartley of Ignacio.

Named to the second team, in addition to Jewell were Tabitha Guitierrez and Mary Beth Miles of Monte Vista, Jennifer Ruybal of Ignacio and Janette McCarroll of Centauri.

Getting honorable mention in addition to Kelley were Whitney Howard of Bayfield and Ashley Dunn of Centauri.

Mortensen was the IML player of the year and her coach, Dave Forster, the coach of the year.

 

Pirate track team takes to new track, begins season Saturday

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Something's different about the Pagosa Pirate track team this year.

It's not its uniforms. Or its colors. Or running through the snow in early season practice.

All that is pretty par for the course.

It's the course itself that's different. Pagosa's junior and senior high track teams are practicing on a real track, part of an $800,000 sports facilities improvement project finished in 2003. For the first time, the team is practicing on marked lanes, on a surface exactly like the ones they will run on in competition.

"Having a real track is going to give our kids so many more opportunities to become better athletes," head coach Connie O'Donnell said. "It's going to make their baton exchanges realistic and it's going to make the events that require a lot of technical work so much easier to compete in. We have really been at a disadvantage in the past, but now we have no excuse but to run fast and jump high."

The only things lacking in the team's new digs are the discus ring and shotput circle. O'Donnell said those should be finished shortly.

The excitement caused by a new track is apparently infectious. Between the junior high and high school squads almost 150 students are out for the sport so far.

"We have about 68 kids out for track this year," O'Donnell said of the high school team. "It's the most that we have ever had and it looks like we can expect more on the way in the next few years - the junior high has about 80 out this year."

In the senior high the numbers include 11 returning state qualifiers and four 2003 state medalists. Altogether, the early season roster boasts six seniors, 15 juniors, 16 sophomores and a whopping 31 freshmen.

Already, they have set some individual and team goals.

"Our team goals for the girls are to win the league and to place in the top 10 at state," O'Donnell said. "Our boys are going to focus on a few individual events, but mostly relays. Our goal would be to win at least two relays at the league meet and try to qualify for state."

The tracksters will take the first step toward realizing those goals Saturday in Alamosa competing against league rival Centauri and a field of 2A teams. Heats begin at 9 a.m.

The team travels to Farmington, N.M. April 8 for the Farmington Invitational.

April 16-17, they are off to Pueblo for the Pueblo Challenge. This meet was added to the schedule last year to allow the team a chance to compete on the track surface used for the state meet.

The Pirates travel to the Bloomfield Invitational April 24, their last New Mexico meet.

Everyone should mark May 1 on their calendars. That Saturday will be the first chance for the Pirates to show off their skills on their home field.

May 8 the team begins post-league play with the Intermountain League meet in Bayfield. The Wolverines will also host the regional meet May 15.

Qualifiers will head to the state races May 21 and 22 in Pueblo.

The tracksters add one new volunteer coach this year: Mikelle Brady, who competed in sprints in college, will be helping out with both sprints and relays here.

Back from last season, J.D. Kurz is coaching distance, Sean O'Donnell heads up shot put and discus and Scott White takes the lead on both the long and triple jumps. Besides head coaching duties, Connie O'Donnell is focusing on the hurdlers and high jumpers.

 

Ninth Ross Memorial tournament April 15-18

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

The ninth annual Dirk and Colt Ross Memorial Basketball Tournament has been scheduled April 15-18 in Pagosa Springs.

Three tournament divisions are planned this year - Open, 6-feet and under, and 35 and over.

The entry fee is $200 per team with a 10-player maximum for each squad and a double elimination format is planned.

Quality referees from the Four Corners area will call all the games in the adjacent junior high and intermediate school gymnasiums at 4th and Lewis streets.

All proceeds from the tournament go to a scholarship fund benefitting youths from Pagosa Springs and Ignacio.

A $100 non-refundable deposit is required by April 1 for the first 30 teams to qualify.

Prizes will be awarded first- through fourth-place teams in each division and there will be an all-tournament team, tournament MVP, Mr. Defense, Mr. Hustle, a slam-dunk contest, three-point shootout and door prizes.

All entering teams will receive an information packet that includes discount coupons for local lodging.

The tournament was established in memory of two Ross brothers who died in a plane crash near Vallecito Reservoir and has traditionally provided scholarships for students from Pagosa Springs and Ignacio, the schools the brothers had attended.

A special memorial presentation will be made during the tournament.

If you didn't get your fill in the collegiate playoffs, if your favorite team didn't go all the way, this is an opportunity for you to get one last basketball fix before the season is officially over.

Many of the teams will feature college players whose seasons have ended.

For more information on the tournament, contact Troy Ross at 264-5265, by fax at 264-2123, or mail to Troy Ross, PO Box 727, Pagosa Springs CO 81147.

 

Special Olympics seeks Pagosa aquatic coach, volunteer session tonight

Special Olympics is gearing up for its spring sports season offering aquatics to adults and children with disabilities.

And, the organization is now looking for an individual who might be interested in coaching the Pagosa Springs Special Olympics Swim Team.

Anyone interested in volunteering for Special Olympics should call Becky Berg, the new Pagosa Springs volunteer coordinator, at 731-3318. Kathy Pokorney, previous volunteer coordinator, has stepped down due to her busy work schedule, but plans to stay involved.

Special Olympics will hold a volunteer orientation session 6:30 p.m. today in Pagosa Springs Community Center for those interested in hearing more about volunteer opportunities.

Anyone with a disability, from a mild learning disability to a more involved disability, such as cerebral palsy, can learn to compete in aquatics.

"We adapt our programs to the abilities of each individual," said Lynn Martens, area manager for southwestern Colorado.

"With aquatics, an athlete can participate in a more traditional competition such as the freestyle and breaststroke, or those individuals needing more assistance can use a floatation device or have someone physically assist them," she added. "There is even a 25-meter walk competition. Basically, there is competition for all ability levels.

"Working with Special Olympians is truly inspiring," Martens said. "We often hear our coaches say they feel they get more than they give."

For additional information about the program, call Martens at 385-8545.

 

Parks & Rec
Tee-ball clinics start tonight

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

Moms and dads note: No more excuses. This week will be the last week for registration for Tee-ball.

The following schedule has been set for Tee-ballers.

For the first time ever, we will be having coaches-players clinics. These clinics will start today, the first session at 3:45 p.m. for players with names beginning with the letters A-M; this clinic will be followed at 5:30 p.m. for players with last names N-Z.

The second session will be held on Saturday: N-Z at 9 a.m., A-M at 10:45 a.m. All sessions will be held in the community center gymnasium.

All players must turn 5 by April 1, or have been born on or before April 1, 1999.

For additional information please contact Myles Gabel at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Fourth of July

We are in need of volunteers for this year's Fourth of July celebration and these committee leaders would like to get volunteers for the following groups:

Fireworks: Jim Miller, Joe Lister Jr.

Food and beverage: Joanne Irons, Joe Lister Jr.

Entertainment: Joe Lister Jr.

Clean up: Jim Miller, Joe Lister Jr.

Traffic and parking: Dylan Pruitt, Joe Lister Jr.

Games: Myles Gabel, Kate Lister, Joe Lister Jr.

We are looking for any service group, club sport or someone willing to take on a great fund-raiser for their group or service club.

Call me at 264-4151, Ext. 231 with any ideas for this year's festivity, to be held at the Sports Complex .

Baseball sign-up

Baseball sign-ups for 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12 age groups are just around the corner.

We anticipate a mid-April registration with recreational baseball to start sometime in May.

This year there are many club or traveling teams sprouting up. We will provide a competitive league, as usual, with no out-of-town travel. Our cost will be $20 per player with a sponsorship fee of $150.

The recreation department supervisor will assume the role as league commissioner and set up clinics and the all-important drafts to try to ensure evenly matched teams.

Keep your eyes and ears open for registration news; we will try to get all data to the public and private schools in the area.

Circus is coming

Carson & Barnes Circus is coming to town. Proclaimed as the "Biggest Big Top on Earth," it will be in town April 15 on the Spring Inn property south of the Hot Spring.

The town will be assisting with the marketing and set-up of this big event as a fund-raiser for the town's recreation activities or community center fund-raiser.

Please come enjoy the circus and help the town by attending this fun event.

Arbor Day

Each year Arbor Day is celebrated in all 50 states, with each state celebrating at different times. Colorado will celebrate April 3 with the state tree being the Blue Spruce.

As part of our Arbor Day activities, the parks division will help plant a 2004 ceremonial tree in the town park. This year we will plant some sort of shade tree to help provide future park enjoyment. The big cottonwood trees are in the last phases of their existence and we would like to start replacing them so the impact when we do have to remove them is, will be less.

The education center and parks department will partner on an Arbor Day planting April 16 in Town Park. We also will be planting trees in the median on the east edge of town where we have had some damage from the winter.

We are still in the planning stages, but Arbor Day 2004 looks like it will be a success.

 

Fun Races
Lots of men, only three females in ski races

Brandon Poteet of Waco, Texas, skiing in the bracket for boys 12-14, had the fastest time Saturday in the Wolf Creek Ski Area fun races.

Poteet ran the slope in 25.76 seconds.

Top female time, with only three entered, went to Jessica Burlison of Troy, Mo., with a run of 39.48 in the bracket for girls 9-11 years old. Katie Bishop of South Fork was second in the bracket. Wendy May of Dallas, Texas, ran the slope in 47.83 in the bracket for women 21-25.

Poteet finished ahead of Seth Rizzo of Pagosa Springs (28.52) and Caleb Nelson of Creede (32.01).

Darius B. Mrugala Jr. of Burleston, Texas, ran the race in 29.70 in boys' 9-12.

Coleman Nelson of Creede led boys 15-17 in 31.74, with A.J. Loggins of Plainview, Texas second in 32.37 and Dave Hanson of Denver third in 33.86.

Pacing the bracket for boys 18-20 was Ryan Swenson of Phoenix in 27.37. Jason DeCarlo of Louisiana was second in 28.93 and Kylin Smith of Phoenix third in 29.37.

Calvin Clary of College Station, Texas, was the leader among men 21-25 with a run of 31.24. Second was Andy Dunn of Denver in 33.41 and Alex Luten of Dallas was third in 46.46.

Damon Berry of Fort Worth, Texas, captured the bracket for men 26-30 in 28.36 with Brandon Borns of Dallas right behind in 28.56 and Jason Baird of Oklahoma City third in 30.33.

Mens' 31-35 was an all-Oklahoma City contest with Chris Mayo first in 29.53 and Danny Whitmill second in 40.20.

Mens' 36-40 went to Mike Koscielniak of New Mexico in 27.43. Mickey Fox of Wichita, Kan., was second in 29.35 and Darius Mrugala Sr. of Burleston, Texas third in 29.43.

The bracket for men 41-50 went to Paul Dar of South Fork in 29.21 with H.T. Neighbors of Moore, Okla., second in 30.02 and Tim Reidy of Trinidad third in 30.33.

Jim Steele of Oklahoma edged Gerry Riggs of Pagosa Springs 29.01 to 29.63 with John Heidrich of Pagosa Springs and Albuquerque third in the bracket for men 51-60.

In another tight finish, Bryant Lemon of Pagosa Springs took the bracket for men 60 and over in 27.46 with Lee Cox of Durango second in 27.67 and Dick Bond of Pagosa third in 28.36.

Tim Decker of Pagosa had the fastest time for an employee, zooming down in 25.33. (He's not eligible for the awards).

 

 Editorial
Tend our garden

This idea for a development on the other side of the summit of Wolf Creek Pass, this thing called The Village at Wolf Creek- there's a lot not to like about it. Think for a moment: there are 290 acres of privately owned land over there, and developers want to put a village on it.

Some village.

The land, if developed in the manner proposed, will be approximately 50-percent open space. The other 145 acres or so would contain- get this - buildings with as many as 1,200 hotel rooms, 129 lots for single-family dwellings, over 1,600 multifamily units, and more than 200,000 square feet of commercial space.

This is a village? If complete and occupied, its population will exceed that of Pagosa Springs.

There are sound reasons to look askance at this proposal: its impact on the environment and the aesthetics of the area, traffic on U.S. 160, the effect on watersheds, the potential for air pollution in a region known for inversions, the impact on the ski area which, for years, has been the prototype small, family-owned, we're-happy — with-what-we-are business.

Many voiced opposition to the idea at a meeting held last week to discuss an application to the Forest Service for an easement over public land. Some did so in less than civil fashion.

While we consider the development a poor idea, we ask those who spoke so vehemently against the proposal to consider several things.

First, it is wise for anyone who moved to Colorado and to Pagosa Country in the last 50 years (to pick an arbitrary date) to understand they are part of the same problem exemplified by The Village at Wolf Creek. Subdivisions in which they live were once forested, once part of working ranches; their 5 to 35-acre parcels were part of largely uninhabited tracts of land. They are part of a swell of population that has put the entire region at risk. That risk and concerns about damage to the environment did not prevent them from moving here. Any criticism of development, however well founded, should take this into account, if only to moderate poor behavior.

Second: protests can and should be directed to the USFS but it must be recognized decisions rest, in large part, with officials in another county. While we would hope our voices are heard in a county seat many miles away, the decisions are not ours to make. Anyone who respects the ideal of local government must, in the end, acknowledge this fact.

The third point: Our energy and the intensity here should be directed with renewed vigor to creating effective land use planning in Archuleta County. We have little left to protect, and little time left to do it. There are plans in the works - meetings and plans have been covered in this newspaper. The process continues and anyone concerned about the lack of zoning or of comprehensive land use tools, anyone concerned about aesthetic clutter, environmental damage and the potential for abuse of weak regulations here at home, needs to take action. There are elected officials here who will, at some point, be responsible for approving and adopting rules. Some of these officials have shown little concern about land use regulations and have expressed little desire to enact them. Here is where the action centers, with elections coming in November. Here is where questions must be asked; here is where the opinions must be expressed and political action taken.

Let those of us horrified by the prospect of The Village at Wolf Creek make our points, then let's tend what's left of our own garden.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa
Longer days bring out vandals

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

On the off chance you hadn't noticed, daylight is lasting longer and longer with the appreciably warmer weather we've been having.

It makes for great evening walks, except for the sun riding low in the western sky which becomes a major factor in pedestrian safety if you choose to walk that direction.

Spring is now officially with us and while the probability exists of a typical spring snow before long, the whack of bats on baseballs and feet against soccer balls are welcome sounds to many.

And, in less than two weeks - Sunday, April 4, to be exact - Daylight Saving Time returns and we'll all set our clocks forward an hour, artificially creating even later sunlit hours.

For the walker it is a great time of year for evening strolls.

For the most part, the mosquitoes have not yet made a major arrival, flowers are just bursting through the soil, the rhubarb is peaking out of the patch and leaves are springing forth on the trees in the various neighborhoods.

Children are out at play, relishing in what they were unable to do during the long winter and its heavy snows.

People are cleaning up the debris hidden under the layers of white for several months, raking yards, doing modest upkeep on siding, windows, sidewalks, sheds and other portions of their properties.

Fences are being mended, potholes filled, street signs updated, crosswalks repainted as the whole area responds to the new season.

Unfortunately, as indicated in a letter to the editor, it brings out the vandals, too. They have longer to commit their acts against their fellow man.

The seriousness seems absent to them. But ask any veteran what the monument adjacent to the Legion Hall on Hermosa Street meant to them and I'm sure you'll find a number of people feel what was done to the monument - already under remodeling - was a disgrace to the community.

I would urge anyone who saw what was happening, heard what was happening, or knows those involved, to contact local police. As the letter writer pointed out, this was not just a Legion monument. It is owned by the Town of Pagosa Springs, and thus the blow is to all residents of the community.

The Legion maintains the monument and had started an upgrading to be dedicated to all who served and gave their lives for this nation in World War II. The ceremony was to coincide with one in Washington. D.C. May 29, a day designated National Observance Day.

Vandals stripped much of the moss stone from the base, broke it up and scattered portions through the parking lot.

At a time when the nation is once again embroiled in war actions, when Americans are dying daily in the service of freedom, the desecration of a local monument to war dead is an act we neither understand nor can we accept.

Vandalism is never right and, for the most part, has been a relatively small part of the extracurricular scene in Pagosa Springs.

This time it has been made apparent there are those who don't care about sacrifice.

 

Legacies
90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Mar. 27, 1914

Buck O'Neal and associates have taken a lease on the Sullenberger Lake, 5 miles west of town. It is the intention of the lessees to stock the lake with trout and erect a club house. Six row boats have already been ordered for use by the sportively inclined.

Many educators are of the opinion that the school term should be continuous. A half-day term during the warmest weather would not be too strenuous for even a nervous child; and would be the means of eliminating much of the extra work that is done in the fall, reviewing what should have been retained from the year before. At least this is the opinion of - A Parent.

The county has ordered two of the latest model glide road drags for use on the county roads.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 29, 1929

Next Tuesday is the town election, and although there is only one municipal ticket in the field, there will no doubt be a goodly number out to exercise their right of suffrage.

The Archuleta County officers are today moving all county records and equipment into the new court house where all official business will be transacted in the future. What disposition will be made of the old court house building, purchased by Hon. Chas. F. Rumbaugh a few months ago, has not yet been announced by the new owner.

The regular Archuleta County examination for teachers will be held at the new county court house on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, April 11, 12 and 13.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of March 26, 1954

The storm that started on Monday of last week still continues and has certainly been a million dollar one in moisture content for this area. Up until Tuesday evening of this week 2.20 inches of water was contained in the snow and rain that fell and there has probably been another inch since that time.

The work on the city waterworks has resulted in considerable inconvenience the past few days, with water being off at odd hours. It will be nice when the project is completed and a plentiful water supply is available at all times.

The rodeo committee is already receiving inquiries about the big Red Ryder Round-Up July 3 and 4. Indications are that one of the largest, if not the largest crowd ever to visit Pagosa Springs will be here this year.

 

 Features
Women's Civic Club works to support community

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs can sometimes seem like the place people travel to, but never stay. Still, look hard enough and evidence to the contrary becomes readily apparent.

The Pagosa Springs Women's Civic Club was founded 94 years ago to take over the operation of the public library. At the time, club members oversaw a collection of 202 books housed in the basement of the Methodist Church.

That's when the ladies gave their group an official title. According to a club history written in the membership books, the group's roots can be traced back to 1896 when attorney Frank Spickard made his personal library available to a young ladies' literary club. In 1907, Spickard's library was merged with a collection of 48 books donated by a wealthy New Yorker. Pagosa's public library opened Feb. 22, 1907.

For 50 years, starting in 1910, the ladies of the Civic Club ran the library, moving it from the church basement to a log cabin and to Town Hall, then located on the river.

In 1960, the library moved into one room in the town hall building constructed at the corner of U.S. 160 and Lewis Street. The county took over library operations in 1966 and the additional funds allowed for a full time librarian to come on board.

The work of the Women's Civic Club was over. Or was it? The women decided their job had just begun, placing their efforts toward construction of a permanent public library. It would take some time.

To help with fund raising, the Friends of the Library, a second fund-raising arm, formed in 1983. Two years later, the Upper San Juan Library District was created, giving a board of directors a 1.5 mill levy funding base. Together, the Civic Club and the Friends raised over $700,000 for the building which now stands on 8th and U.S. 160. The Ruby M. Sisson Library opened debt-free Feb. 7, 1989.

Still, it wasn't over. The Civic Club continues to meet monthly, continues to fund-raise and continues to dedicate itself to improving the operations of the Sisson Library.

"Our sole purpose is to support the library," club president Dahrl Henley said. It is, in her mind, "just like the heart of the community." She sees it as a place with something for everyone, and the place where children can learn to love the written word. The club has bent the rules a few times over the years, giving a little to other community projects along the way.

Barb Draper, a library employee and a member of the Civic Club, said books and the public library have been a part of her life since she was a child.

"I grew up in a tiny town where the library and the post office were together in the same building," she said. "The librarian was Miss Gay. When you brought a book back, she'd make you tell her what it was all about. She wouldn't let you check out more until you could tell her what the one you had was all about."

The same method might not work today, but the drive to keep people reading is still alive, and supported by the generosity of the Women's Civic Club.

The money for gifts to the library and other projects comes mainly from the group's annual holiday bazaar held in early November.

"It (the bazaar) allows us to give several thousand dollars to the community," Draper said. It also allows for some terrific pre-Christmas shopping. A couple years ago, the group decided to add another fund-raiser, producing a cookbook, trying very hard, Henley said, to come up with "original" recipes, "things you don't usually see in a community cookbook," and some special artwork. They sold out.

The number of active Civic Club members is sitting at about 40. Both Draper and Henley would like to see that grow. For some reason, they said, people are under the impression the Civic Club is by invitation only.

It simply isn't true.

"We want people to know everybody is welcome to come," Henley said. "We need some new ideas and we want them to feel involved in the library."

"We want more people to come and understand what we do," Draper added. "It's mostly social and once a year we work like crazy on the bazaar." That starts in September when members begin soliciting donations, contacting vendors and insuring commitments made the year before are still good.

Draper said club meetings are informal with women of all ages simply coming together to enjoy the fellowship.

"I've enjoyed getting to know the people who lived here so long," she added. "There are pioneer families involved, and everyone is so interesting to talk to."

"I enjoy the friendships," Henley said. "And also that you always learn something from the people who come and talk to us."

Club officers, who serve two-year terms, are: Henley; Liz Schnell, first vice president; Lenore Bright, local librarian and second vice president; June Geisen, third vice president; Kathy McCulloch, recording secretary; and Scotty Gibson, treasurer. Special committees help get the rest of the work done.

The meetings, conducted on the third Thursday of every month at 1:30 p.m., start with a little treat, something to drink and conversation. "The Collect," a short recitation written by Mary Stewart, a member of the Federated Clubs of Longmont, Colo., adopted in 1904, is read.

"Keep us, oh God, from pettiness, let us be large in thought, in word, in deed.

"Let us be done with faultfinding and leave off self-seeking.

"May we never be hasty in judgment and always generous.

"Let us take time for all things, make us to grow calm, serene, gentle.

"Teach us to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.

"Grant that we may realize it is the little things that create differences, that in the big things of life we are at one.

"And may we strive to touch and to know the great, common, human heart of us all and oh, Lord God, let us not forget to be kind."

Then the speaker is introduced with little fanfare. In the last year or so, the group has heard presentations on the 4-H Washington trip, the Peace Corps in South Africa and "Celebrities are Real People, Too." They've enjoyed a couple potlucks, a day set aside for honoring past presidents, a lot of work on the annual bazaar and even invited the husbands to a few things. (Usually when food is involved.) Occasionally, they have taken field trips. A business meeting follows the speaker.

"This is a group with no foo-foo, no fuss," Henley said. "We're just a nice group of ladies."

The Civic Club's next meeting is April 15, 1:30 p.m. at Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Pierre Mion will speak. Club dues are $10 per year. All are welcome. For more information, call 264-2209.

 

Pagosa's Past
Col. Bergman's report found little of interest in Pagosa Country

John M. Motter

Staff Writer

Pagosa Country was not a virgin, unknown wilderness as the Civil War drew to a close during the late 1860s.

In addition to Ute, Navajo, Jicarilla, and probably other tribes of indigenous Indians, the area was well-known to New Mexico Hispanics. Fur trappers had come and gone. Traders between New Mexico and California used the Old Spanish Trail to cross the many mountains and river valleys.

Just before the Civil War started, a number of prospectors including the Baker Party had struck paydirt in the upper Animas River area near Silverton. Some of these folks had gone so far as to build cabins. When the Civil War gained steam, these prospectors headed back east and the cabin sites were abandoned.

Pagosa Country and the San Juan Mountains were gone but not forgotten. When the war ended, some of these folks told about what they had seen. Prospectors returned and the U.S. Army was worried about conflicts between those coming into the San Juans and Indians. One of their responses is contained in a reconnaissance report made by Lt. Colonel E.H. Bergman in March of 1867.

Bergman used Camp Plummer as a base for a trip from that point to the Animas River Valley and back by way of Pagosa Springs. Camp Plummer was located near the fish hatchery at Los Ojos, not far from Tierra Amarilla. Bergman's job was to recommend a site for a new fort further into San Juan Country, maybe near the Pagosa Hot Spring or on the Animas River.

Bergman couldn't have started his journey at a worse time - the 30th of January. He had an escort of 23 men and a guide, Nepomureno Waldez (Valdez?). His opening sentence is as one familiar with the country would expect.

"I journeyed in a direction nearly northwest, over a very broken and frightfully rough country - deep snow, dense forests, and without a road.

"Very little can be said in favor of the country commencing a little beyond Camp Plummer and running up to nearly where the reconnoitering trail strikes 'Rio Piedra' ... about eight miles before the above mentioned river appears a beautiful phenomenon - a boiling spring. The rocky cavity of this spring in circumference, has an almost perfect funnel shape and measures nearly two hundred feet. Several soundings made, proved a depth of 41 feet. The temperature of the water is at least 212 degrees Fahrenheit and is in unceasing agitation. Large bubbles rising from the bottom are violently drawn some inches above the surface of the water and cloudy vapors strongly impregnated with sulfur are rising in large quantities from the same."

Bergman's trip was not very successful and he wasn't much of a scientist. A few years earlier, in 1859, Capt. Macomb with a team of scientists had visited the Pagosa Hot Springs. Macomb has left us a wonderful report. Because Macomb's report was a long time coming, Bergman probably didn't have Macomb's facts at hand. In any case, the water temperature on the surface seems to vary around 145 degrees. The bubbles reported by Bergman were not the result of boiling, but of escaping gas.

As to the depth of the spring, an engineering firm within the last few years was unable to find the bottom. Their sounding instrument descended more than 1,000 feet without obstruction. They simply ran out of line. We still don't know how deep the spring is. In regard to the bubbling, the spring no longer bubbles as Bergman described the phenomena. It is possible that the water pressure in the spring was greater before a number of geothermal wells were drilled by the white population starting about 1900.

In any case, we are quoting Bergman for what he and his troops discovered in the Animas Valley, not for his description of the Great Pagosa Hot Spring. Bergman liked the Animas Valley and suggested that would be the proper place to build the four-company fort contemplated by the Army. We pick up somewhere in the middle of Bergman's narrative.

"About fifteen miles due north through this valley (the Animas above Durango) is a dense pine forest upon a level space, some three miles long by nearly two in width surrounded on three sides by lofty mountains - hundreds of miles from settlements, and in this wild but picturesque region we are astonished to find the signs of civilization and the indication of former presence of white men, in the fragments of household, mining and cooking utensils, agricultural and other implements scattered profusely in wild and lonely confusion through some 50 half decayed log houses - and over a clearing-- representing the city of 'Las Animas.'"

We should note that Bergman had stumbled on to what historians refer to today as the first Animas City, a community built and then abandoned, as we noted at the beginning of this article, by the Baker Party. Nevertheless, we can imagine Bergman's surprise if he had no foreknowledge of Animas City's existence. A later version of Animas City grew in what is today the north part of Durango along the river sort of north of Mercy Hospital. The second Animas City was overrun by Durango after the railroad came to town.

Returning to Bergman's narrative, we find an explanation of his discovery. According to Bergman, "In short, a general panic seems to have seized the whole population, for on the third day of July, 1861, the city was evacuated and left by its former inhabitants to the vicissitudes of the aborigines, who, however, strange as it may appear, have acted very magnanimously, burning but a few log houses, and the bridge across the river above the city; not even carrying off the relics named, which as a general thing are always eagerly sought for, and considered invaluable by them."

More next week from Bergman's report.

 Weather
Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

3/17

59

22

-

-

3/18

63

24

-

-

3/19

66

25

-

-

3/20

71

29

-

-

3/21

69

31

-

-

3/22

70

30

-

-

3/23

67

32

-

.06

Area snowpack wanes; moisture forecast 'not promising'

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

It's no fun being called "below average."

But, for the first time this year, Pagosa Country's snowpack has assumed such a label.

The month of March usually brings an average of 1.74 inches in precipitation to the area, enough to maintain or even boost snowpack percentages in a normal year.

That hasn't been the case this March; soaring temperatures and a lack of significant moisture have resulted in a recent drop in the snowpack level of the Upper San Juan Basin to 94 percent of average.

And the chances for a rebound in the final days of the month are not exceptional, according to the latest forecasts for the Four Corners region.

"We're not anticipating anything major; the chances for heavy precipitation are not promising," said Jim Daniels, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

"There is a storm system pushing across the Great Basin, but it's uncertain whether or not it will stall out over Utah and Arizona or stay on pace to arrive in southwest Colorado sometime Saturday," he added.

"Right now, at best, we're looking at unsettled conditions with a slight chance for showers or thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday," concluded Daniels.

According to Daniels, partly-cloudy skies, highs in the 65-75 range and lows in the 20s can be expected today and tomorrow.

Saturday and Sunday should bring cooler conditions, with highs in the upper 40s to mid-60s, lows in the 20s and a 20-percent chance for rain showers or thunderstorms.

The forecasts for Monday and Tuesday predict occasional clouds, a slim possibility of afternoon showers, highs in the 50s and lows around 20.

A call for sunshine and blue skies dominate Wednesday's forecast, which includes highs predicted in the upper 60s and lows in the 20s.

The average high temperature recorded last week at the Fred Harman Art Museum was 66 degrees. The average low was 28. Moisture totals for the week amounted to six-hundredths of an inch.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit depth of 104 inches, a midway depth of 99 inches and a year-to-date snowfall total of 362 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains ranges from "low" to "moderate" during early morning hours, then increases to "considerable" as the day progresses.

According to the latest SNOTEL data, the snowpack level for the Upper San Juan River Basin is 94 percent of average.

San Juan River flow south of town ranged from approximately 300 cubic feet per second to 1,000 cubic feet per second last week. The river's historic median flow for the week of March 25 equals roughly 160 cubic feet per second.