November 25, 2004 

Downtown master plan goes public

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

"This is not our plan, this is your plan. You have to identify with it and take ownership of it."

That's the only way a master plan for future growth in the downtown area becomes more than pretty pictures on paper Roland Aberg told a standing-room only crowd gathered at the community center Nov. 17.

Aberg and two other consultants from Hart Howerton, a national group of planners, architects and landscape architects, presented concepts for future downtown development that included moving roads, expanding an alley into an outdoor marketplace, improving entrances to town and implementing traffic-calming measures along U.S. 160.

"Keep in mind these are all conceptual," Aberg said before beginning the computer presentation. "These are initial ideas meant to be honed and changed. It simply provides a basic platform." The presentation focused on an area stretching from the intersection of U.S. 160 and 84 to the elementary school and from Lewis Street to the high school.

They started with the junction to the east and an overall "look" for the community. Pagosa Springs, Aberg said, with the river running through downtown, the hot springs and the treed hills surrounding the community, has the feel of "being within a great outdoor fabric." Because of that, he suggested landscaping that accentuated the natural environment. Pictures of the area near the highway junction showed a bigger town sign, as well as plantings of ponderosa and aspen to enhance the river on one side and the hills on the other.

The same sort of theme - staying away from trees in lines and, instead, bringing the natural landscape closer to the town - was carried throughout the River Walk, the parks and downtown.

Designs showed removing most of the parking above the river in downtown, and making that space more of a promenade area, and then widening the highway to include diagonal parking, medians and additional pedestrian crosswalks.

Other drawings suggested creating an outdoor marketplace in the alley between Pagosa and Lewis streets, moving the pioneer museum downtown and adding displays on geology and natural history, creating a new town square and identifying areas specifically for bed and breakfasts or other lodging.

In Town Park, the consultants, hired by the Community Vision Council, a nonprofit group of business owners and community leaders who began meeting in February of 2004 to discuss growth issues, suggested closing Hermosa Street where it cuts the riverside from athletic fields to create a "great space" possibly including a bowl amphitheater for special events.

Throughout the river corridor, the consultants suggested adding land where it became available so that the public places widened and narrowed through town, encompassing not just the water but the embankments as well. More pedestrian bridges were shown.

The South Pagosa neighborhood, stretching from the highway to the high school with 8th Street as the dividing line, was left pretty much as is. In fact, the consultants advocated preservation of the single-family character to help maintain Pagosa's traditional identity. Combining all of the schools on one campus at the high school site was discussed briefly. A task force to study options for the schools has been formed.

After some comments from vision council members who stressed the need for a united plan to direct growth rather than just waiting for it to happen, the floor was opened for public comment.

One woman applauded the consultants for envisioning the town as part of the broader natural environment. Others were interested in the next step. Some questioned the focus on commercial rather than residential development, and others questioned how a plan could be forged that didn't include a bypass for the highway.

"I can't see the fit," Karen Aspin said. "It's a wonderful idea, but I don't see it becoming a reality if you don't address the traffic problems."

Another woman championed the small business owners and said she was fearful of the impacts of a bypass on downtown.

"Is this setting us up for a big box?" she asked.

Aberg said the plan focused on traffic-calming measures instead of a bypass because of funding discussions with the Colorado Department of Transportation and the debate over its eventual impact on downtown.

"We were trying to think about what we could do now," he said.

J.R. Ford questioned the process, suggesting that it is time to put the plan in the hands of town staff instead of the vision council. He also advocated full disclosure on the part of vision council members.

"There should've been maps here tonight of properties put under contract or owned by members of the vision council," he said, adding that until full-disclosure is made of all interests involved it will be difficult to sell the plan to the public.

Both Dave Brown and Mayor Ross Aragon responded.

"As a member of the vision council, I apologize formally for owning property in Pagosa Springs," Aragon said.

"Everybody has the right to come in here and buy property," Brown said, adding that he owns about four or five acres in the town. What's done with that property, how it's developed and for good or bad has been the goal of the council.

"If people within the community don't buy property here, it seems to me people from the outside will," Brown said. That could leave the community without any say in the process unless they can united behind a vision that works for the benefit of all.

Lee Riley asked the council what pieces of the plan could be implemented first.

Consultant Adam Krivatsy said revamping Lewis Street for several blocks is already part of the town's 2005 capital improvement plan. River restoration efforts are also currently in the works. He challenged the downtown merchant's association and other civic groups to consider support of landscaping efforts or improving the look of the town's eastern entry.

Angela Atkinson, Community Vision Council director, said additional comments or questions can be made online at or by writing to the council at P.O. Box 3997, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Drawings of the conceptual master plan are available for viewing at Town Hall. DVDs of the Nov. 17 presentation will be available to the public Monday at the same location.

Additional public meetings to discuss the master plan will be scheduled, Atkinson said. Following a series of hearings, the plan is expected to be turned over to the town council for development of design criteria and possible implementation.


Matt Aragon picked to fill school board vacancy

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Matt Aragon, a Pagosa Springs native, graduate of the local high school and an established community businessman, has a new job today.

He was selected Tuesday night from a field of six as the newest member of the board of education for Archuleta School District 50 Joint.

Aragon, who said in the questioning process before the selection that he had intended to run for the District 1 seat next November and would stand to return to the board if selected, was named to replace Carol Feazel who resigned to move to California.

The successful candidate had pointed out in his five-minute presentation to the board that his mother, Patty, served on the board for over 10 years and that he and all his five siblings were presented their diplomas upon graduation by her.

The appointee will serve out the balance of Feazel's term and then run for reelection.

The board pointed out its two senior members, Jon Forrest and Clifford Lucero, are term-limited out of office when the November 2005 election arrives, and that the board will have all relatively new faces after that election, with three seats on the ballot.

Aragon's selection was not cut and dried. In fact, the board was impressed by the qualifications of all six candidates for the seat and repeatedly one heard remarks like "imminently qualified," "a wide range of great people" and "any one of the six would be a great addition to the board."

Each of the candidates, after a presentation sequence drawn by lot, made a five-minute presentation on qualifications and desire, while the others were sequestered in the administrative meeting room.

Others seeking the seat were:

-Ray Ball, a resident of the Hinsdale County portion of the district, who holds degrees from University of Northern Colorado and University of North Carolina, has served various capacities in other Colorado School districts, and is a former bus driver in the Archuleta district. He said the district needs to take care, first, of student needs in education, then upgrade buildings and systems, improving both facilities and staff. Most important, he said, "is that every child get an opportunity to be educated to the best of their ability."

- Linda Muirhead, a 24-year resident of the community, a former teacher and junior high coach, a volleyball official and supporter of the Booster Club. She cited administrative experience as a regional representative for sports bodies in New England where she taught and coached. She said her commitment would be to getting children the best education possible "because they are our future."

- Chris Pitcher, a 1997 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School and a 1997 degree winner at Colorado State University. Born and raised here, he cited commitment to community and giving back to the people who had so well prepared him for both collegiate classes and a responsible job in the community as an engineer. "I may be the youngest board candidate you've ever had," he said, "but I don't see that as an issue because I might be closer to the educational program."

- Donna Mundy, a graduate of University of Northern Colorado and Colorado Christian University with four children, three already in the school system. She cited four years teaching experience in the Fruita-Monument school district, and a vested interest in the best education possible for all children.

- Mark Burggraaf, a five-year resident of the school district with an extensive background in service to educational facilities as a consulting engineer who cited questions he would ask if in the board members' shoes. He said, "this is not a school district utopia but one which has demanded a lot of hard work and gotten it." He cited an aging of facilities resulting in increased maintenance costs, unfunded mandates and dealing with a myriad of higher governmental regulations and challenges he is trained to meet.

The board, after hearing each candidate's presentation, took a vote based on a 1-6 ratio with 1 being the top and 6 the bottom of the scale, to select three finalists.

Those were Aragon, Pitcher and Muirhead.

Again they were sequestered and, one at a time, called back to answer a series of questions from the board, including:

1. Briefly explain what first interested you in applying to fill the vacancy on this board.

2. Do you have experience as a board member of any other boards or director?"

3. How could you help this board become more effective?

4. If you could change one thing about public education, what would it be?

5. Have you been involved with our school district through other jobs, activities or functions?

5. Do you have any questions for us?

Aragon, using the same sequencing procedure as in the initial phase, was called first.

Most of his answers were similar to the initial presentation but he added he's regarded "as a problem-solver, one who can relate people to problems and find the right solutions." He repeated his commitment to community, and said "education is the key to this community's future and I want to be a part of that."

Pitcher said he'd been on the receiving end of a good education and wants to help pass that tradition on. He said he wishes teachers were "allowed to teach toward their standards and not forced to teach to the test because all have so much to offer that they are not allowed to use."

Muirhead, the last presenter, said she feels her experience in teaching, coaching and raising children in the system would be beneficial. She said the one thing she would work to change is classroom size because it is "important for teacher and student to be able to relate on a one-on-one basis."

With each of the three finalists in the audience, the board again went to individual private ballots with the same point value, to determine the winner.

That was Aragon, who was immediately sworn in. He will not, however, be able to attend the Colorado Association of School Board's winter workshop next week as the board had hoped, citing a prior commitment which would have him out of town.


Oak Brush land swap plan stirs controversy

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

While public controversy surrounding The Village at Wolf Creek simmers, similar discussions involving a federal proposal in Archuleta County are emerging.

A proposed real estate exchange between the U.S. Forest Service and private land owners Tom and Margie Smith has once again drawn into question the issue of private-property development rights versus overall public interest.

The Smiths are offering two parcels for trade consideration by the Forest Service; one of which is in the Laughlin Park area north of Pagosa Springs. The tract in is on Jackson Mountain Road and comprises roughly 63 acres.

The second parcel offered by the Smiths is in the Spiler Canyon area southeast of town. It is off Kenney Flats Road and totals approximately 160 acres.

The tracts proposed for exchange to the Smiths involves two parcels of Forest Service land in the area known as Oak Brush Hill.

The parcels are adjacent to the Forest Service Job Corps site on Piedra Road (the Job Corps site is not being considered for exchange) and together contain about 330 acres.

As part of a related environmental analysis, the Forest Service recently invited public comments regarding the proposed swap.

A draft version of the analysis is scheduled to be available for additional comments later this winter.

Jo Bridges and Glenn Raby hope to gather as much input as possible.

Bridges is the district ranger for the Pagosa Ranger District; Raby is a district lands and minerals staffer.

Both acknowledge the proposal is sure to stir a variety of emotions, and both are encouraging utmost public participation in the proposal's analysis.

Neither has any personal control or personal stake in the matter, and neither will be charged with making a final decision.

Instead, their responsibility is to "put together a package" that will be evaluated by a regional forester later in the decision process.

"What we're in right now is the 'scoping' phase, and what we're asking for is any issues people have," said Bridges during a Tuesday morning interview.

"These issues are what we use to determine the basis for the environmental analysis, so they are very important to us," said Bridges.

"We pay very close attention to all public comments," added Raby. "Nobody's comments are discarded or discounted."

It is important for those who comment to be specific, said Raby, "Because to just say 'I like it' or 'I don't like it' isn't really all that helpful to anybody."

Likewise, "To not comment at all simply endangers the process down the road," added Raby. "So this is really where pubic input is most important, and people need to know and learn as much about this as they can."

"Sometimes there is the perception that the process is just a vote count, but that's not what it's about," said Bridges.

"Again, we're trying to find out the issues and understand them," she added.

Bridges indicated that thus far, most of the attention has been focused on the potential for development on the Oak Brush parcel.

"But we are encouraging everyone to look at the big picture, to consider the effects development would have on the other parcels as well," said Bridges.

Furthermore, "We're not the proponents of this," said Bridges. "But we do feel it is an important issue, that it's important for the community to evaluate where new development should be occurring."

To that effect, Bill Hodkin has a number of development-related concerns with the proposal, and is one of several Pagosa residents leading a campaign to quash the potential trade.

Hodkin believes the Forest Service is shirking its responsibilities by considering the exchange, "Because I feel the duty of the Forest Service is to protect the land in the best interest of the public, and that's not the case, here."

Hodkin stated he believes the notion of trading 330 easily-accessible acres "right in our back yard" for smaller, high-elevation parcels in relatively remote locations "is simply absurd.

"When are you and I, the public, ever going to get up to those? We're not," said Hodkin.

Hodkin also worries the trade will open up access for developers to over 1,000 acres of adjacent privately-owned land by providing easements which currently do not exist.

"The bottom line is, this trade doesn't benefit the average, blue-collar guy in town who wants to go up there (to Oak Brush) and bow hunt or take his kids for a walk in the woods," said Hodkin.

"To lose Oak Brush to developers would be an absolute tragedy," he concluded.

Others see problems with the trade, especially the potential to provide access to adjacent parcels, yet believe a compromise may be the best answer.

Pagosa resident Ron Chacey toured the sites in question during a Forest Service field trip Friday.

The tour prompted a letter to the editor in this week's edition of The SUN in which Chacey suggests a "win-for-all-involved" solution.

"This could take place by doing the Forest Service trade at the same time as the signing of a public recreation conservation easement on all or part of the Oak Brush Hill parcel ...," says Chacey.

Doing so, says Chacey, "would provide for the developer's access (to adjoining land) and preserve the rest for public recreation.

"Such creative solutions are possible because the developer could be compensated for the donated conservation easement through tax deductions and credits, a GOCO grant and perhaps a small amount of community funding," says Chacey.

Even though they exhibit keen differences in tone, detailed comments such as those from Hodkin and Chacey are the kind Forest Service officials can readily evaluate throughout the analysis.

In the meantime, Bridges and Raby will continue to solicit a high degree of public feedback.

"I would like to stress for people to call and talk to us about their concerns, and we will answer any questions as best we can," concluded Bridges.

How to comment

Comments on this proposal must be postmarked by Monday, Dec. 13, and mailed to Pagosa Ranger District, attention: Glenn Raby, P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Comments received in response to this solicitation, including names and addresses of those who comment will be considered a part of the public record on this proposed action and will be available for public inspection.

Comments submitted anonymously will be accepted and considered; however, those who only submit anonymously will not have standing to appeal the subsequent decision.

For more information, contact Raby at 264-1515 or Bridges at 264-2268.


Five held after dual drug raid successes

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Five Pagosa Springs residents were arrested last week on drug charges following a four-month investigation into suspected methamphetamine distribution in the community.

According to reports from the Pagosa Springs Police Department and the Archuleta County Sheriff's Department, search warrants were executed on two homes, one in the 300 block of North 6th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs and the other on Garnet Court in the Lake Forest subdivision west of town.

Police officers and sheriff's deputies entered the home on North 6th Street about 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19, acting on information obtained through a joint investigation. One subject was arrested at the scene. Three other arrests followed the same evening. A vehicle and a large amount of cash were seized.

Officials entered the home on Garnet Court about 5 p.m. Nov. 20, arresting a fifth subject.

Evidence, including undisclosed amounts of methamphetamine and marijuana, equipment for weighing and packaging drugs, drug paraphernalia and papers, and records and ledgers believe to related to the distribution of methamphetamine, was collected from the homes.

Those arrested included: Catherine Cline, 40; Timothy Cline, 39; Maranda Allen, 27; Jesse Gheen, 24; and Duane Eddie, 26.

Catherine Cline was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, distribution of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Timothy Cline was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Allan was arrested on charges of conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Gheen was booked on charges of sale of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Eddie was arrested on charges of possession of methamphetamine and possession of drug paraphernalia.

The investigation is ongoing.


 Community's star ravaged by vandals

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The star on top of Reservoir Hill will remain dark this Thanksgiving week.

Pagosa Springs Police Chief Don Volger said the star, maintained by the Beta Sigma Phi sorority for the community, was supposed to have been lit Nov. 19. Instead, extensive vandalism was discovered.

Thirty lightbulbs were broken, two electrical boxes were smashed and a pedestal was destroyed.

Volger said the exact date and time of the incident are unknown. Cost of repairs is still being researched.

Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to call dispatch immediately, 264-2131.


St. Patrick's welcomes new rector

By Jan Nanus

Special to The SUN

St. Patrick's Episcopal Church welcomed the Rev. Robert G. (Bob) Pope Sunday, Nov. 21, as it's new rector.

In a special service, the congregation celebrated Interim Rector Rev. Kelsey Hogue's service to the church as well. Rev. Kelsey has been instrumental in supporting the growth, service, and outreach of the community of St. Patrick's since his arrival in February of this year. He has been commuting from Grand Junction for 10 months in order to serve the needs of the St. Patrick's church family.

The church demonstrated their appreciation by giving him and his wife, Debbie, a certificate for a weekend at a bed and breakfast.

Rev. Bob Pope brings a wealth of experience to St. Patrick's. He was a professor of history at the State University of New York at Buffalo for 27 years, retiring in 1995. During this tenure he accepted interim assignments at various churches in Buffalo, Hamburg, Lockport, and Tonawanda, N.Y. He has served in the Diocese of Colorado as interim priest at St. Marks, Durango, in 2002.

St. Patrick's appreciates Rev. Pope's willingness to come out of retirement to serve the needs of the parish. They look forward to a continued supportive presence in the Pagosa Springs community through service and outreach.

All who wish to meet Rev. Pope are welcome at 9:30 a.m. Sunday services. St. Patrick's Episcopal Church is at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.


PAWS, golf course reach irrigation agreement

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

After two years of legal squabble, the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and Pagosa Springs Valley Golf Club have finalized a new, raw-water irrigation pact.

The agreement was struck Nov. 11 and lays to rest a variety of disputes over stipulations of prior irrigation contracts which arose during the record drought of 2002.

The following is a general breakdown of contract provisions agreed upon by both parties.

- Measurement - Pagosa Golf will pay for the actual number of acre-feet used by Pagosa Golf as measured by meters (to be installed at the expense of the district), or if meters are not installed, as estimated by Pagosa Golf.

- Delivery - The district will provide a minimum of 300 acre-feet of raw water annually for the exclusive use and benefit of Pagosa Golf, including during a drought, from any and all district water sources and supplies.

The district shall deliver Pagosa Golf's water to Village Lake. Satisfaction of the district's delivery obligations shall be determined by the amount of raw water used by Pagosa Golf as described above.

As to the 300 acre-foot minimum, Pagosa Golf will not be subject to any district conservation plan, prioritization of water use, or drought surcharges other than charges included in permanent fees and price adjustments applied to all treated water customers as described in the "Price Adjustment" portion of the contract.

The district will keep sufficient water in Village Lake during the irrigation season to allow Pagosa Golf to pump and irrigate.

Pagosa Golf may purchase more raw water at any time unless drought restrictions are placed in effect on all customers of the district.

- Price - Pagosa Golf will pay the base price of $50 per acre foot during the 2005 irrigation season for the first 400 acre-feet of water it uses for irrigation, 150 percent of the base price for the next 100 acre-feet of water used for irrigation and 200 percent of the base price for each acre-foot of water used for irrigation thereafter.

- Price adjustment - In future years, the base price will be adjusted to reflect the same percentage increases or decreases established by the district for all treated water customers.

The percentage increases or decreases shall be determined on or about Jan. 2 each year by computing the change from the previous Jan. 2 in the monthly fee charged to domestic water customers for 8,000 gallons, including the combined water service charges and water volume charges.

- Billing procedure - The district shall invoice Pagosa Golf on or about July 1 of each year for water used during the current irrigation season through June, and again on or about Dec. 1 for water Pagosa Golf used during the irrigation season after June.

Pagosa Golf shall pay any such invoices within 30 days of receipt.

Language in the latest contract between the two entities also indicates it "wholly replaces the 1991 Fairfield Agreement (as it pertains to Pagosa Golf), the 1998 Golf Course Contract and the temporary agreement with regard to Pagosa Golf ..."

Finally, the contract also states "the district acknowledges $30,000 of protested past payments made by Pagosa Golf to be applied against future Pagosa Golf payments at the rate of $6,000 per year for five years beginning in 2005."


County auctions 419 properties at annual tax lien sale

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Courthouse was buzzing with bids Friday as over 400 properties went to auction during the county's annual tax lien sale.

According to Kelly Evans, a clerk with the county treasurer's office, this year's event was marked by a relative decrease in properties that made it to the auction block.

"We originally advertised 670, and then 419 actually went to sale," said Evans.

"That's fairly low," she added. "Because in an average year we probably see 500 to 600 properties go to sale."

All property taxes unpaid by early October each year are advertised by the county for a three-week period in The SUN, along with a notice to delinquent taxpayers advising payment prior to the date of sale.

Prospective tax lien buyers must register with the treasurer's office to participate in the sale, which is conducted as an auction.

Prior to the sale, potential buyers are encouraged by the treasurer's office to research properties for information regarding possible access restrictions, covenants and availability of water and sewer services.

Bidding begins at the amount listed in the pre-sale advertisements and subsequent bids rise in increments of at least one dollar.

All winning bids must be paid via money order, cashiers check or cash on the day of sale, and all sales are final.

The sales are required annually of every county by state law and include delinquent real estate tax lists comprised mainly of homes and raw land.

"What is not included," explained Evans, "are taxes related to areas such as gravel production, mineral rights and mobile homes which are taxed separately from the land."

As for the bulk of this year's delinquent tax lists, "We had mostly raw land go to sale," concluded Evans.

A tax lien sale does not convey ownership of a property, but after a property goes to sale, the owners of the property in question are required to pay investors at the rate of 12 percent per year until the delinquent taxes are redeemed.

Until a treasurer's deed is issued, the lien holder has no right to the physical property, only the right to be redeemed with interest upon the property owner's payment of the delinquent taxes.

At any time after three years from the date of sale, the lien holder may apply for a treasurer's deed by submitting an application to the treasurer's office.

All unpaid taxes or subsequent tax liens must be paid prior to a lien holder's application for a treasurer's deed.

According to the treasurer's office, the deeding process usually requires four to six months.

Once a deed is issued, the applicant is advised to begin a "quiet title" proceeding through the aid of an attorney.

If the title is not quieted through the judicial system, it will automatically be quieted nine years from the date the deed was issued.


HUD/FHA hike mortgage limits for the county

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has raised the Archuleta County mortgage limit to a new high for the area as of Nov. 1

Calling it a direct response to the current upward trend in home prices, the department announced purchasers may now borrow up to $200,250 for a one-unit, single family home in the county using a loan insured by Federal Housing Administration.

The previous limit was $160,176 for a similar home.

Median home prices in Archuleta County have increased dramatically within the last few years, the department said.

In many cases, the department said, it is finding purchasers well-qualified from the standpoint of income and credit, but lacking sufficient funds for the size of downpayment required on a conventional loan.

Since the FHA program requires less of a down payment, it affords more consumers the opportunity to purchase their dream home.

The increased limits effectively open the market to more of those consumers. Local housing and mortgage professionals were instrumental in gathering data on Archuleta County housing prices and delivering the research to HUD to effect the change in loan limit.

John Carson, HUD regional director, said, "Home ownership plays a vital role in creating strong communities by giving families a stake in their neighborhoods and helping them build wealth. Increasing mortgage limits and providing more relaxed requirements for FHA loans removes two major obstacles for many first-time home buyers."

HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing home ownership, particularly among minorities, creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans, supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS.

The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforcing the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available in the Internet at y españ

Coats, clothing and food boxes given 130 families; 400 seek Christmas aid

Operation Helping Hand combined efforts with Pagosa Springs Rotary Club to distribute warm coats and clothing along with food boxes and turkeys to more than 130 families at the Extension building Nov. 19.

Organizers appreciate the assistance and donations from the community that made this possible.

For Archuleta County's less fortunate citizens, more holiday help is on the way.

According to Operation Helping Hand organizers, more than 400 people have registered for Christmas season assistance from the program.

Program organizers coordinate the charitable work of area civic clubs, churches, businesses organizations and individuals. Since 1989 Pagosa Springs' civic organizations and church groups have united to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure as many holiday season needs and wishes as possible are accommodated.

Helping less fortunate

Operation Helping Hand assists our less fortunate neighbors throughout the county during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. Some families and individuals seeking help from this program are victims of domestic violence, as well as children of single parents, physically or mentally challenged residents, or senior citizens living on a limited income.

Families seeking assistance for Christmas may pick up an application at the Department of Social Services, with offices at Town Hall. Forms should be completed and returned by 3 p.m., Dec. 6. For more information, call the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 400 requested items on paper stockings at both City Markets, as well as at Wells Fargo and Sears.

These requests range from socks and underwear to snow boots, pants and coats.

To fill one of these requests, remove a stocking from one of the boards, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family.

Deliver your gift to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center by Tuesday, Dec. 14. Please help us fill our neighbors' empty stockings.

Secret Santa Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There is a special Christmas tree in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are also toy requests posted on boards at both City Market locations, and at Sears and Wells Fargo.

There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, Tonka trucks, cassettes and CD players.

Last year over 150 children asked Santa for toys. You can be a Secret Santa by choosing an ornament from one of the above mentioned locations and deliver your newly purchased, wrapped toy to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard; Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or the recreation center by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Toy outreach

This branch of Operation Helping Hand provides an opportunity for children to get involved in the program. Parents may help their children select a toy or toys for donation they no longer use, but which are still in good condition. Used bikes, Nintendos, stereos and CD players are especially high on the wish lists of many young people. Volunteers are assisting with this portion of the Operation Helping Hand program by collecting and cleaning items.

Donations should be brought to the sites listed earlier by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Kiwanis Club and The Key Club - something old, something new

The Kiwanis Club and The Key Club of Pagosa Springs assist with this portion of Operation Helping Hand by sorting items, and assisting program recipients with locating items they need.

Organizers receive numerous requests for used furniture, bunk beds, blankets, pots and pans, dishes, silverware and electric blankets. These items can be "used, but still usable."

Deliver your donations to the same sites listed above by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Bucks for Bikes

Each year, the Pagosa Springs Area Association of Realtors raises donations to purchase new bikes for children through their Bucks for Bikes program.

Eligible children must qualify through the Helping Hands program. Last year the community raised enough money to purchase 53 new bikes for children between the ages of 5 and 16. This year the goal is to raise $4,000 for this project.

Businesses and individuals are invited to contribute to the program before December 8. Donations can be mailed to Brent and JaNae Christians at: Bucks for Bikes, c/o Galles Properties, PO Box 4867, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or drop your donation off at Galles Properties in the Country Center next to Radio Shack. Make checks payable to "Bucks for Bikes." Contact Brent or JaNae Christians at 731-6250 for more information.

Community United Methodist Church Snowflake program

Volunteers at Community United Methodist Church are participating by assisting families with their holiday needs in cooperation with Operation Helping Hand.

Christmas Food Boxes

Food donations are always needed for Christmas dinners.

It is the goal of Operation Helping Hand volunteers to provide the ingredients for a holiday dinner to those who otherwise would go without this holiday season. Nonperishable items may be placed in containers which will be located at both City Market locations by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

You can also help by purchasing a City Market gift certificate and bringing it to the Pagosa Springs SUN or mailing it to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. These certificates will be used to purchase turkeys and other perishable items.

Questions about Operation Helping Hand should be directed to the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Monetary donations should be made out to Operation Helping Hand and deposited in account 6240417424 at Wells Fargo Bank or account 20014379 at Bank of the San Juans. Donations may also be mailed to Operation Helping Hand, P.O. Box 1083, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Aspen management vital to forests; workshop set

By Lesleigh Keetch

Special to the PREVIEW

We all enjoy an afternoon drive to view aspen colors in the fall. In fact, the San Juan National Forest at the peak of autumn could be considered one of the best places in North America to view color change.

Have you ever considered how aspen grow and what makes them so prolific in southwestern Colorado?

Aspen trees do not usually regenerate from seeds. Aspen in the West have survived for thousands of years by suckering. Suckering is the term for growth from existing roots.

The ability to sucker enables aspen to grow in clones. Some clones in the southern Rockies may be a million years old making them among the oldest and biggest living organisms on earth, according to Charles Kay in his article "Is Aspen Doomed?"

The regeneration of aspen occurs after natural or human-caused disturbances stimulate the roots to sucker. The presence of aspen indicates a long history of disturbance. Native Americans used fire to manage plant communities historically. In more modern times, we have used mechanical harvest to stimulate aspen regeneration.

In 2001, the Missionary Ridge fire burned hot enough and extensively enough to kill and later regenerate aspen outside of Durango. Controlled burns are also a natural means of regeneration.

There is solid evidence that aspen may be declining due to a variety of reasons, most notably fire suppression and subsequent competition from conifer trees.

Modern day aspen management enables land managers to utilize industry as a tool to maintain aspen on the landscape. Industry, such as aspen paneling maker Wall Wood and excelsior producer Western Excelsior, take the raw aspen material and make products for everyday use. Disturbance of aspen clones on rotations of 130 years or so provide better forest scenery along roadsides and for 30 to 40 years provide maximum forage for wildlife, according to John Jones and Wayne Shepperd in their article "Rotations."

Aspen is a keynote species, notes Robert Campbell and Dale Bartos in "Aspen Ecosystems: Objectives for Sustaining Biodiversity." This means its removal would result in a fairly significant shift in plant composition and sometimes even the physical structure of the environment.

Maintaining aspen is important because these communities are high in biodiversity. Kay explained that as we attempt to manage our western forest ecosystems, we need to remember that if aspen stands decline, the ramifications will extend far beyond the loss of a single species of tree.

On Thursday, Dec. 2, local sponsors will hold a workshop at the Strater Hotel in Durango titled "Aspen Management in Southwestern Colorado: Ecological, Economic and Aesthetic Considerations."

This community workshop will draw insights from a number of local and regional authorities on various aspects of aspen ecology, function and management. Many issues relevant to aspen management will be presented, such as big game browsing pressure, conversion of aspen to conifer, vulnerability of businesses that utilize aspen and much more.

Sponsors include the San Juan National Forest, Montezuma County Federal Lands Program, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Colorado Wild, Mountain Studies Institute, Colorado Timber Industry Association, Rocky Mountain Experiment Station and the Colorado State Forest Service.

The workshop is free to residents of southwestern Colorado.

Call (970) 565-6061 for registration information.


State seeks river otter sightings on the Piedra

Wildlife observers can help track the progress of the state's river otters by reporting sightings at a new Web page launched recently by the Colorado Division of Wildlife).

The River Otter Observation Form went live on Sept. 30 on the DOW Web site. Since then, members of the public have submitted one to two forms per week, said Pamela Schnurr, a DOW species conservation specialist based in Grand Junction.

Biologists currently have no reliable way to estimate river otter population numbers around Colorado, so sightings by citizens who are in the backcountry to fish, hike, raft, and otherwise enjoy the outdoors can really help researchers track the species.

One of the sites where sightings are expected is the Piedra River in Archuleta County.

"We've got otters expanding all over the place, so it's pretty exciting," Schnurr said. "We are not using this data to say the species is recovering, but rather to direct where more intensive surveys should be done to monitor the species' status."

The state's goal is to see river otters occupying a minimum of 75 miles of contiguous stream length in three separate river drainages, she added.

Colorado's river otter population is making a comeback about a century after the native species was extirpated from the state. Before they were first reintroduced to the state in the 1970s, the last confirmed sighting was made by a trapper in the early 1900s in the lower canyon of the Yampa River below Craig.

As part of efforts to return river otters to Colorado, wildlife biologists released about 115 of the mammals at five separate sites around the state between 1976 and 1991.

Recovery sites include the Piedra, Gunnison, and Dolores rivers in southwest Colorado, Cheesman Reservoir on the South Platte River southwest of Denver, and streams in Rocky Mountain National Park. In addition, Utah released 67 river otters into the Green River near the Utah-Colorado border, and otters from that release have made their way into Colorado in both the Green and Yampa rivers.

Schnurr said the otters appear to be expanding their range substantially from the original release sites, hunting year-round for crayfish, channel catfish, suckers and other prey along major rivers. Last year, the Colorado Wildlife Commission downgraded the river otter's status from a state endangered species to a state threatened species. Despite the status change, however, river otters are still protected under state law and cannot be trapped or killed.

The DOW has had a river otter sighting database for years, but the process was not as user friendly as biologists would have liked. The new system enables citizens who believe they have spotted a river otter in the wild to fill out an online form that asks for specific information, including the location of the sighting, physical descriptions, and animal behavior. The online form also includes photos of river otters and animals commonly mistaken for them.

Adept swimmers and aquatic hunters, otters are long, slender members of the weasel family, ranging from 3 to 4 1Ž2 feet in length. Their powerful, cylindrical tails, which thicken at the base, comprise about one-third of the animals' body length. Otters' webbed toes and water-resistant fur enable them to spend a lot of time in water. While they are prized by wildlife observers for their playful water gliding, they can easily be mistaken for other similar species.

"It's really easy to confuse otters with beavers, muskrats and mink, so it's important that we are confident with the sightings," Schnurr said.

Wildlife observers who submit forms at the DOW Web site will also be asked whether they snapped photos of the animals they spotted in the wild.

"We encourage people, if they do see otters, to take pictures. A photo, particularly with a time/date stamp, will rate the sighting as positive," Schnurr said. "Otherwise, the sighting will be rated as 'probable' or 'possible' based upon the report."

To access the DOW River Otter Observation Form Web Page, click on

For more information about Colorado's river otters, visit: or


Angler Roundtable set Nov. 30 in Cortez

The Colorado Division of Wildlife will hold an Angler Roundtable in Cortez on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

The meeting will begin 7 p.m. in the Cortez Conference Center, 2121 E. Main St. Members of the public, especially those who fish in the area, are invited to attend the meeting and provide input.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission reviews statewide fishing regulations every five years. While emergency changes can be made at any time, the five year fishing regulation process is the best opportunity for anglers to have input on fishing regulations.

A series of public meetings, called "Angler Roundtables," are being set up across the state to solicit public comments on existing and proposed regulations. Comments and suggestions from those meetings will be compiled for an initial presentation in front of the Wildlife Commission in March 2005.

Additional meetings may be held to gather comments on draft regulations during summer 2005 with final approval expected from the Wildlife Commission in September 2005.

Topics to be discussed at the Cortez Anglers' Roundtable include potential changes to specific water and statewide fishing regulations for 2005, fishing issues updates specific to the San Juan and Dolores River basins, and fish stocking plans for 2005 in the area.

In addition, time will be available to ask questions related to other fisheries issues.

For more information contact Mike Japhet at the DOW Durango Service Center, (970) 375-6748.


DOW begins fishing regulations review

The public will be able to weigh in with their viewpoints as state wildlife officials begin reviewing fishing regulations.

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) has begun a comprehensive review of fishing regulations for the years 2006-2010.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission reviews fishing regulations once every five years. The three-step review process covers issues, draft regulations and final regulations.

During the process, the angling public is offered a variety of opportunities to comment on the rules and regulations that govern fishing in Colorado. In addition, the DOW has the opportunity to suggest new regulations, revise current regulations, or remove outdated regulations from the books.

As part of the first step of this review process, the DOW will present regulation issues to the Wildlife Commission at the panel's March 10-11 meeting in Denver.

Before then, however, the public will have ample opportunities to comment on existing or new fishing regulations during a series of angler roundtable discussions scheduled to take place around the state in November and December.

During the roundtable discussions, anglers will be able to visit with DOW staff and express opinions about fishing regulations and fishery-management issues. All public comments will be recorded and become part of the 2006-2010 fish regulation process to be reported to the Wildlife Commission.

Locations and dates for angler roundtable meetings in the Southwest Region are:

- Alamosa: 7 p.m., Dec. 1, Clarion Hotel of the Rio Grande, 333 Santa Fe Ave.;

- Montrose: 7 p.m., Dec. 7, Montrose Pavilion;

- Cortez: 7 p.m., Nov. 30, Cortez Conference Center, 2121 E. Main St.

Within several weeks, the DOW will have an open-ended comment link on the DOW fishing Web page, where interested anglers will be able to submit comments via the Internet.

Comments or questions may also be directed in writing to the Colorado Division of Wildlife Aquatic Section, Attention: Chapter 1 Review, 6060 Broadway, Denver, 80216, or by phone to Sportfish Program Manager Robin Knox, at (303) 291-7362.


Tip leads to probe, 47 charges of falsifying license applications

A Montrose man faces 21 felony and 26 misdemeanor charges for allegedly falsifying hunting license applications.

Robert Matthew Sunn has been charged with intending to defraud the State of Colorado by applying for numerous hunting licenses under false names and using false information.

Sunn, 29, allegedly applied for deer, elk, and antelope hunting licenses using false names in 2003 and 2004. Additionally, he is charged with falsifying dates of birth for his infant sons in order to fraudulently obtain preference points for deer, elk, and antelope between 2001 and 2004.

Sunn is also charged with falsely claiming to own property and hunting without a license.

If convicted on all of the charges, Sunn could be sentenced to serve up to 63 years in prison and could be required to pay thousands of dollars in fines. Sunn also faces being permanently banned from hunting in Colorado and 18 other states through the Wildlife Violator Compact. He is scheduled to appear in Montrose County Court at 11 a.m. Nov. 18.

"It's easily one of the biggest cases of suspected license fraud I've ever heard about," said Montrose Area Wildlife Manager Bill deVergie, who headed up the investigation using a mix of detective work and high-tech computer sleuthing.

An anonymous tip about a single alleged violation led deVergie to dig into Sunn's hunting history. Using the DOW's extensive computer database system, deVergie was able to uncover numerous suspected violations.

"Obviously, help from the public is important in these cases," deVergie said. "That's why Operation Game Thief was set up and why we're so committed to paying rewards for information that helps us catch people trying to cheat the system."

Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling Operation Game Thief, a DOW program that pays cash rewards to citizens who turn in poachers. OGT is toll free statewide at (877) COLO-OGT.

The DOW uses two computer programs to manage information. The Total Licensing System (TLS) and the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Information System (CORIS) help the wildlife agency track millions of sportsmen. The two programs employ cross-references and store hunter information on a database, making it easier for sportsmen to apply for and obtain licenses, but also making it easier for wildlife investigators to track potential criminal activity.

"The TLS computer systems really makes it easier for sportsmen to apply for hunting and fishing licenses without worrying about math errors, poor penmanship, or confusion with regulations," said Henrietta Turner, DOW license administration manager.

But the same functionality that makes things easier for sportsmen also makes defrauding the system much more difficult.

"We now have the ability to follow trends over time and track possible fraudulent behaviors across the state," said deVergie. "Previously someone might have slipped under the radar by altering an application slightly or hunting in different areas. Now when we flag a file in Fort Collins in 2003, we automatically get that information when we pull up the file in Grand Junction in 2007."

DOW Law Enforcement Chief John Bredehoft said the officers involved in this case did a tremendous job of developing information from a number of sources.

"These types of violations not only cost our state in relation to license fee dollars lost, but also in the high cost of investigating serious fraud crimes, as they can be very time consuming. That ultimately takes away from the funds that would go to protect Colorado's wildlife," he said.


DOW issues five-year game season schedules

The Colorado Wildlife Commission has approved a new big game season structure for the next five years that includes four deer and elk rifle seasons, and archery and muzzle-loading seasons similar or identical to those in effect this year.

The new season structure will go into effect next year and continue through 2009.

The first rifle season, for elk only, will begin the first Saturday after Oct. 9 and will last five days. Like this year, only limited licenses available through an application process or as leftovers will be sold.

The second season, for both deer and elk, with unlimited bull elk licenses available in many units - will begin the following Saturday and last nine days.

After a five-day break, the third season - also for deer and elk with unlimited bull licenses - will begin and will last seven days.

The fourth season will last five days and begin the Wednesday following the end of the third season, providing a four-day break between seasons. Both deer and elk licenses will be limited in number.

The four-day break between the third and fourth seasons is new, as is the requirement that all licenses be issued through a limited drawing or as leftovers, should any be available.

Archery dates

The archery deer and elk season will remain the same, with a 30-day hunt beginning on the last Saturday of August.

Muzzle-loading season will begin on the second Saturday of September and last nine days.

There will also continue to be a limited September bear hunt for rifle hunters beginning Sept. 2, and it will last for 28 days. During the regular rifle seasons, bear hunters will still need to hold a deer or elk license for the same unit in which they hunt bears.

Pronghorn changes

Beginning in 2005, the pronghorn rifle season will begin the first Saturday in October, with the flexibility to allow some units to have different opening dates to avoid pronghorn hunting during regular deer and elk seasons.

Under the current season structure, pronghorn hunting begins on different dates in different parts of the state.

"This season structure provides hunters with a variety of opportunities, while allowing wildlife managers to reach harvest objectives for big game," said John Ellenberger, the Colorado Division Of Wildlife's big game manager.

Turkey seasons

The Commission also approved dates for wild turkeys for the 2005 spring and fall seasons. The spring season will open April 9 and close May 22 for unlimited turkey licenses and for most limited units. The fall season will begin Sept. 1 and close Oct. 2 for unlimited licenses and most limited units.

Lion quota cut

The Commission also reduced to 567 the quota for the maximum number of mountain lions that can be harvested in 2005, a significant reduction from the 2004 quota.

DOW wildlife managers recommended the reduction to more accurately bring the quota in line with the annual lion harvest, and to assure that in exceptionally good hunting years the harvest does not climb above the agency's management objectives.

The actual number of lions killed by hunters has typically been less than half of the state's current quota of 790, and in some game management units the lion harvest has consistently been well below the quota for the unit. Colorado's mountain lion population is estimated to be between 4,500 and 5,500, and the annual harvest has been about 350 and 400 in recent years.

"In four out of five years, the lion harvest will still remain in that range, even though the quota will be much lower," said Jerry Apker, the DOW's carnivore manager. "But in about one of every five years on average, when hunting weather provides ideal hunting opportunities, the harvest could exceed our objective in some units if we keep the quota at the current level."

The Commission rejected a request from Sinapu, a Boulder-based carnivore advocacy group, to set a "sub-quota" for female lions to protect them from over harvest. Apker said the lower overall quota plus a voluntary effort by lion hunters to reduce the number of female lions taken each year should combine to keep the female lion harvest within DOW objectives.

"Our management objective is to manage lions for a sustainable population statewide," Apker explained.

Wolf rules

The Commission also adopted a regulation allowing ranchers to kill wild wolves that attack their livestock in locations north of Interstate 70. The new regulation, which was endorsed by a DOW wolf working group that is now developing recommendations for a wolf management plan, makes Colorado's regulations consistent with those of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The previous regulation had required that the DOW first issue a permit before wolves depredating on livestock could be killed. The federal regulation does not require a permit.

Killing a wolf south of I-70 continues to be illegal under both federal and state laws, even if the wolf attacks livestock.

Wolves were eliminated from Colorado by the 1930s through federal and state bounties. But the successful Yellowstone National Park introduction of gray wolves has resulted in dispersal of individual animals. Last summer, a wild female wolf born in the park dispersed south into Colorado and was killed on I-70 near Idaho Springs when it was hit by a vehicle.

Wolves remain an endangered species under Wildlife Commission regulations. But federal regulations classify wolves as threatened north of I-70 and endangered south of the interstate, reflecting different status for northern gray wolves in and around Yellowstone National park compared to the less numerous Mexican wolves that have been reintroduced along the Arizona-New Mexico border.

An endangered species may be killed under both state and federal law in the defense of human life.

The regulation change also allows the accidental take of state threatened fish species so long as the fish is returned to the water immediately.


Trade solution

Dear Editor:

The National Forest Service took a few folks on a tour of Oak Brush Hill, the 330-acre piece of National Forest on Piedra Road, for which they have a proposal to trade for 62.5-acre Laughlin Park and 162-acre Spiler Canyon, plus a few small mining claims in another county.

Due to the snowstorm on Saturday others did not get a chance to visit all these sites. Perhaps there will be additional chances for touring these sites and I would recommend that you do so if you are able.

Most folks can agree that Laughlin Park and Spiler Canyon are worth returning to the National Forest. Also, with Oak Brush Hill being an island piece of National Forest, it is understandable that the Forest Service might be happy to trade away a parcel that is of little interest to them. While it may be questionable as to the relative values of the two sides of the trade, presumably before completed, the Forest Service will be sure that the trade is equalized using appraisers.

I will describe a possible solution at the end of this letter, but first, I see some problems with this trade. Many people in the area have paid extra for their property due to it being adjacent to National Forest, and now that may be taken away without them being compensated. Also, there is considerable use of this very accessible and exciting piece of the forest right in everyone's back yard. It is currently regularly used by the community as a recreational area along with it being valuable elk and deer habitat.

The ramifications of this proposed trade come from the fact the proposed recipient of these 330 acres is a developer who will add it to his existing 1,600 acres that are behind and adjoining the Oak Brush Hill property. This developer has indicated that one of the purposes for his proposal is to acquire better access to the development he plans to make on his current holdings.

My suggested solution could be a win for all involved. The Forest Service could have their trade; the community would continue to have a public recreation area; the wildlife would retain most of its habitat; and the developer would have his improved access, no financial loss, and a public recreation area next door to his proposed development.

This could take place by doing the Forest Service trade at the same time as the signing of a public recreation conservation easement on all or part of the Oak Brush Hill parcel, which would provide for the developer's access and preserve the rest for public recreation. Such creative solutions are possible because the developer could be compensated for the donated conservation easement through tax deductions and credits, a GoCo grant, and perhaps a small amount of community funding.

All it takes is a willingness on the part of all parties involved to investigate these possibilities and create an acceptable solution for all.

Ron Chacey


Free expression

Dear Editor:

I am very happy to have spent my high school years in Pagosa Springs. I am always telling the people I work with how wonderful the area and people are.

I've noticed that the people in Pagosa just seem to be a bit nicer than anywhere else I've lived. So when I read the letter "Adult Behavior?" by Michael Spitler, I was deeply saddened.

Our country is based on freedom of expression. It is protected by the United States Constitution and countless men and women who have served and are serving in the Armed Forces. It is one of the pillars of our society. It is one of the things that separate this country from many others. It is a necessity for a democracy to have free and open discussions about issues.

What those high school students were doing on Election Day was freedom of expression - the same as any newspaper, magazine, or any other form of communication. It encourages me that those kids stood up for what they believe in. I may not agree with them, but I respect them.

As immoral as it may seem, when those drivers screamed obscenities and made obscene gestures they were also exercising their freedom of speech. However, their actions were despicable.

To yell obscenities at young people who are peacefully organized and participating in the political process is reprehensible. Could they not use their massive intellects to come up with reasons why their candidate is so much better? I guess not.

I imagine that those drivers felt strongly about the election and are happy that the Kerry/Edwards campaign lost the election. Maybe they even feel that their actions helped out. If so, please write a letter and enlighten the rest of us why that was necessary. I'm obviously not bright enough to understand.

Explain to those kids what was so wrong in what they were doing. Make sure you sign your name to that letter - so everyone can make sure to acknowledge your superior intellect. I don't imagine that we'll hear from you. If someone is that cowardly, I doubt they'd have the courage or maturity to step forward and stand up for their beliefs - like those young people did.

For me, I am still proud to say I lived in Pagosa Springs. It is a wonderful place. It is beautiful and peaceful. The people are nice and friendly - except for a few idiots.

Robert Gomez


Lack of unity

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the, "Roads for the future target for PLPOA advisory committee", article printed in the Nov. 18 edition of the Pagosa SUN.

I have sat quietly for a little over a year in this community listening to the controversy over roads and their maintenance or the lack of maintenance, which ever you prefer. It is obvious that the road system in this county is in dire need of a good comprehensive long-range maintenance plan.

What seems not to be so obvious is that developing this plan is the responsibility of every entity and citizen of this county. Something I have yet to see here are those entities and this community coming together to resolve issues such as this. If we are to be successful in our endeavor to resolve the problems facing this community we must become and function as a unit, not have PLPOA functioning on its own and the county on its own and the town on its own. In my opinion there is a daunting lack of unity in the entire community.

I am here to tell you folks if this community does not come together and start resolving the issues facing us as a unit, this beast gobbling up Colorado called growth will overrun our community, too. The back biting negative display that took place at the PLPOA board meeting on November 11 is a prime example of the behavior I believe we need to eliminate.

My offer to the PLPOA Road Advisory Committee and the PLPOA Board was one of education, information and assistance. There are no underlying schemes to gain support for my road plan and, I would like to point out that this is not my plan. It is the community's plan. The road plan was not developed from my philosophies; it has been developed from industry maintenance methods that have been proven to work efficiently and effectively over the past 30 years.

The plan that was developed by the county has been available for all to see and comment on. This plan has been an open book from day one. The county has encouraged everyone to participate in the process of developing the road plan. Yet, only a few have participated.

We need to bring all of this negativity to an end and start working together in a positive manner. Let's ask the leaders of our governing entities and the community to unite in their efforts to resolve the issues that affect us all.

Dick McKee


Courage needed

Dear Editor:

CVC or not to CVC?

"Given the inevitability of increased growth to the area, the Community Vision Council recognizes the need to guide growth in a way that preserves the intrinsic qualities of Pagosa Springs. Through a combination of positioning and planning strategies the CVC seeks to encourage a healthy economy while sustaining the unspoiled natural environment of the region and a vibrant and diverse community."

This was the central message delivered last Tuesday and Wednesday evenings by the recently formed Community Vision Council. The group, comprised of both private citizens and the town, has audacious plans for our Downtown Pagosa Springs.

The proposal identifies the downtown as the engine of our community's future growth and economy . Additionally, it suggests the San Juan River and our being surrounded by National Forrest as unique aspects of the community to feature. Also recommended, are setting aside room for adequate parking, parks and a town square to ensure a pedestrian friendly, welcoming downtown that will continue drawing visitors and tourist dollars while maintaining our small town charm.

Many questions come to mind: Will the people in the proposed zone of development be forced to move? Will it raise the cost of housing? Whose agenda is this and who will be the beneficiaries? Why is this being put forth now and should we worry?

We should indeed be worried. All towns faced with growth have the obstacle of varying and opposing views which often leads to indecision and prevents planning. Thoughtfully addressing future growth before it happens prevents a vacuum in which unmanaged development proliferates. That there is a plan that initiates a dialogue between the various groups represents a major victory.

Yes, certainly, there are issues that demand attention, care and collaboration. That is why this is called a proposal. It is a suggestion put forth to facilitate discussion and adjustment. One of the next steps is to circulate the "proposal" to see if homeowners, businesses, individuals and groups can come together and arrive at a plan that meets both the vision and the needs of the community at large.

That we have able and competent individuals willing to facilitate and advance this process is indeed a blessing. We need to gather round, roll up our sleeves, voice our opinions and work to support this or some variation of this vision. As the Mission statement reminds us, "Growth is inevitable."

Change and growth takes courage. To manage or not manage our town's future growth is the question. Let us have the strength to face that challenge and seize this opportunity now so we have a town we will still love in the future.

Mike McTeigue


Wiped tears away

Dear Editor:

Dear young people who arranged the breakfast for the veterans: It was my pleasure to attend, and I was amazed at how I was treated.

Your were so nice and polite, and as I read the things you wrote about freedom, I'll have to admit it I wiped away a lot of tears.

Who would not want to fight to protect young people such as you?

A special thanks to all of you - you made my day.

Tom Reynolds


Where's the 'we'

Dear Editor:

Why aren't we important?

How does a decision by the USFS get made? I don't need to know all of the mechanics of the process, I only wish to know whose interests are paramount in the decision.

You see, I always thought it was me and you. I thought we were the public for whom the beauty and recreational opportunities of the National Forest was reserved. I thought those decisions were made to benefit the greatest number of us.

How many of us will benefit from a couple of "landlocked" parcels among thousands of acres of land to which we already have access; or how about a few obscure mining claims that we shouldn't be playing around anyway? Contrast this with 350 pristine acres to which we (hundreds of us) have ready access and enjoy on a monthly or weekly basis.

Oak Brush Hill is our little piece of paradise right in our neighborhood. Please, don't let the Forest "Service" take away our joy and wonder to line the pockets of a wealthy developer.

Write to the U.S. Forest Service, Pagosa Ranger District, ATTN: Glenn Raby P.O. Box 310, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Glenn Rutherford


Dismal outcome

Dear Editor:

There is a quote that is gaining in popularity which says:

"Those who cast the votes decide nothing. Those who count the votes decide everything."

The election of 2004 has left many of us in a state of total shock and despair. It is undisputable that millions of people participated in a huge and genuine movement for a new president and a fresh start.

So, how is it that this very hopeful momentum ended in such a dismal outcome? Do we really think this many Americans actually prefer things the way they are? Do we really believe vast assemblies of conservative religious groups just sprung up over night.

When I ask for real answers I see the undisputed facts over the voting software and machinery installed for this election. Diebold, a wealthy Ohio-based company and a known benefactor of the Republican party, invented the voting machines that were employed in over 50 Ohio counties.

A similar scenario creates the very same set-up in Florida. There are thousands of published articles pointing to the outright mistakes of the new voting machines, in many cases arriving pre-programmed with thousands of "test" votes. With no paper trail and no way to find any stored data, how can we possibly expect that this election could have been fair.

We would not put our money into an ATM known to be unreliable, but we cast our vote into a known abyss. Do we not feel our vote is at least as valuable as our savings?

Ironically, Diebold makes very reliable ATMs, so why make unreliable voting machines? If we no longer value integrity and honesty, then how do we expect freedom to be maintained?

Tai Vautier

Russ Hill Bazaar continues at CUMC

By Lori Moseley

Special to The PREVIEW

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas at Community United Methodist Church.

The 41st annual Russ Hill Memorial Bazaar is underway. Daily, 40 to 50 workers volunteer their time and talent.

The bazaar covers a four-week period and raises money to support church and mission work and various charitable organizations in Pagosa Springs.

Area residents are welcome tovisit the workers as they create wreaths and table arrangements. Volunteer workers from the community are always welcome.

The wreaths are produced thanks to the mechanics of wreath-making machines that clamp fresh greenery onto wire rings. Dedicated artisans decorate the wreaths and create lovely table arrangements.

The church bazaar desks will be open 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays. The church is at 434 Lewis Street in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Last year over 700 wreaths and 175 table decorations were made and shipped all across the county and to many international destinations. So bring you Christmas list over to the church and order these special gifts that are uniquely Colorado.

Prices for basic wreaths of pine cones and red velvet bows are $29 (8- inch inside width) and $27 (14-inch inside width). Table arrangements begin at $15. Stop by the church and see a display of the items so you'll know what you're ordering.


Bleak decadence of 1930s Germany spawned 'Cabaret'

By John Graves

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Film Society will meet Tuesday, Nov. 30, to screen and discuss the classic movie musical "Cabaret."

This is not your ordinary screen musical - it breaks with the old cliché that musicals are just meant to make you happy. Despite some of the most stunning solo and ensemble performances in musical cinema history, the story is set in the bleak decadence of Germany in the 1930s.

Sally Bowles, a cabaret singer-dancer, is played by Liza Minelli in an Oscar-winning performance, as a girl who's bought what the cabaret is selling: laugh and sing, and live forever in the moment - and take nothing seriously, not even the rise of Nazism.

She gets involved in a triangular relationship with a young English language teacher (Michael York) and a young baron (Helmut Griem), a situation which helps define the movie's feel of moral anarchy and the desperation in the cabaret itself.

Joel Grey, winning the Best Supporting Actor Award, plays the bizarre, yet poignant, master of ceremonies. Bob Fosse's direction also won an Oscar in 1972. In all, "Cabaret" won eight Academy Awards that year (but lost to "The Godfather" for the Best Picture award).

This meeting will start at 7 p.m. and will include a brief discussion on the future of the film society, as related to film selection and the utilization of recent developments such as DVD subscription membership organizations.

It will be held in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, in Unit 15, Greenbriar 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 sign.

A new look at the amazing facts about Chimney Rock

By Ron Sutcliffe

Special to The PREVIEW

The sky up at the ancient Chimney Rock Great House Pueblo just looks bigger.

It may have something to do with the high questa (sloping mesa) mountain top. Maybe it's the far off views of the San Juan Mountains to the east, the KD Mountains to the west. It may have something to do with the suspended richness of forested lands in every direction or the lack of appreciable rural subdivisions within eyeshot.

More than likely, the sheer cliffs in every direction except the trail that you just walked up added to the feeling of grandeur.

The walk up to the Great House Pueblo and the historic fire lookout tower is exhilarating. This comes without the high alpine shortness-of-breath feelings associated with mountain-top walks elsewhere in the Pagosa Springs area.

If you look real hard from the intersection of Piedra Road and U.S. 160 in Pagosa Springs, you can see Chimney Rock hanging just below the horizon line almost due west. There it is, just below the backdrop of the KD Mountains.

It's amazing that the elevation on the mountain-top questa next to the twin spires of Chimney Rock and Companion Rock is pretty close to the elevation of the Piedra Road and 160 junction! The lookout tower is only about 100 feet higher in elevation than the Harman Museum.

We who live here in Colorado's southwest should literally thank our lucky stars for the sky views we can enjoy. Being able to look up and see the stars in the Milky Way is a treat that not too many Americans can boast of their hometown now.

Once you climb to the mountain-top questa at Chimney Rock, nothing stops your view of the stars all the way down to the mountainous, but uniform, horizon line. You can see the brighter stars as soon as they pop up over the San Juan Mountains in the east. You can also watch these same stars disappear into the KD Mountains to the west if you have all night to stargaze.

One very wonderful thing about the sky atop the Chimney Rock questa is everywhere you look, the sky is there. Well, almost everywhere. You wouldn't want to miss oooing and ahhing at the 928-year-old Chacoan Great House Pueblo there at your feet.

Next are those two big rocks over in the northeast.

They stick up into the unbroken skyline like two big fingers in a mythical, celestial honey jar. Nothing else breaks the skyline on the mountain-top questa except the lookout tower itself.

Questions circle around every visitor's brain. What would make these ancient folks want to build a structure this big so high up on a mountain? Why are the walls so much more rectangular and straighter than the other buildings below? There is some thought within the academic community that suggests that the main draw for the Chacoan builders was the sky itself.

Dr. Kim Malville, an astronomer from the University of Colorado, has proposed that the major north walls of the mountain-top Great House Pueblo align with the summer solstice sunrise; that this alignment carries down the mountain to the southwest to another site where a big circular hole or bowl was drilled into solid bedrock.

Malville further proposed that the same circular stone basin forms yet another line with a point on the south wall of the Great House, which leads to the place on the horizon where the supernova of 1058 AD appeared. This supernova was bright enough to be seen during the daytime for up to one month, approximately 18 years before the start of construction of the Chimney Rock Great House Pueblo.

Then there is the moon Š

The moon rises and sets everyday just as the sun does. Sometimes it's showy and sometimes it's shy. Just depends Š half the time the moon rises during the daytime and the other half, the moon rises at night. A full moon rises pretty close to the time when the sun is setting. A new moon rises pretty close to the time when the sun is rising. Half the time the moon is crescent-shaped and half the time, it's gibbous (or bulging shaped). Half the time the Moon rises in the northeast and half of it the Moon rises in the southeast. Whoa, this critter sure is slippery!

Sometime, somehow, during all of these different faces, phases and cycles, the moon manages to rise in between the twin spires of Chimney and Companion Rocks as viewed from this most amazing Great House Pueblo. It does this only for about 18 months every 18.6 years.

What on earth is going on here?

Malville has proposed that the ancient builders of the Chimney Rock Great House knew about this rather obscure 18.6-year lunar cycle and that the ancients purposefully incorporated this knowledge into their planning and building of the structure.

What's up with this moon cycle anyway? How are ancient folks who didn't have writing or telescopes supposed to figure this out?

Most people, even in our modern society, do not know much about the moon other than what phase it's currently in. We generally know that the moon orbits around the earth and we only see one side of it.

A few more folks might be aware that the time it takes the moon to go through all its phases is about 29.5 days. We are vaguely aware that this cycle is where our modern calendar "month" comes from.

Most of us have some inkling of understanding of moon patterns. If you wanted to predict where and when the moon would rise, you could do it in two distinctly different ways.

The first and most modern way would be to take scientific measurements of the whole of the eastern horizon where the moon would have opportunity to rise during its lunatic journey. Then you could crunch these numbers until they fit with another set of numbers. This second set of numbers would be gathered by computer astronomy software or via the Internet. Once these two sets of numbers were "talking the same language," then you could pick any moonrise event to predict numerically. Once you had these prediction numbers, then you could go out with your scientific instruments again, point your telescope toward the predicted moon path and wait for the moon to appear at the predicted time.

The second way to predict where and when the moon will rise is to watch and memorize. You wouldn't be memorizing specific locations of moonrises only. You wouldn't be able to predict things until you had watched for many, many moons. You'd be memorizing the stars where the moon is during the nighttime. You'd be watching for the shifting pattern of successive moonrises on the eastern horizon. You'd be doing this a lot.

When you finally got familiar enough to start predicting the next moonrise location and time, you would have probably been doing this observing practice long enough to start noticing a new pattern. This new pattern is the 18.6-year pattern that allows the moon to rise between the twin spires of Chimney and Companion Rocks only during that relatively short 18 -month window.

This second method is called a naked-eye, horizon-line observation (or more correctly, series of observations). This is the method that would have been available to ancient people. While the accuracy of this second method is questionable, the reasonableness of the scheme is sound. All you need is determination and a lot of time. This must be why modern archaeoastronomers (folks who study the astronomy of ancient cultures) almost always opt for the instruments and computers. Who's got that kind of time in this rat race?

Chimney Rock presents a wonderfully complex and mysterious story. Since the ancient inhabitants did not leave written records, there is basically no way to scientifically prove that they were aware of this lunar cycle knowledge or that they intentionally incorporated such knowledge into their structures. But if you allow your imagination to go and play "what if," then a rich treasure opens up to think upon.

This is but one of the many mental and spiritual pleasures that folks who volunteer at the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area seem to be emanating. There is something that brings so many volunteers together to help run so demanding a program. There is something in the air at Chimney Rock that is addictive.

Watch out or you, too, may be bitten, smitten. You'll end up devoted to the site, the people, and the programs. You may start beaming with a love of site that is obvious to those who visit.

Please come and join in with us to help maintain and run the site. We need your help now more than ever. All the programs at the Chimney Rock Archaeological Area are run by the nonprofit Chimney Rock Interpretive Association (CRIA). This program receives NO funding from the USDA Forest Service for operation expenses, and very little for other expenses.

If you're interested in donating time or finances to CRIA, contact us at 264-2287, e-mail chimneyrock@ chimney, or by mail at Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, PO Box 1662, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147. Our Web site, chimneyrockco. org, also has information about CRIA. We need you!


Take PCC courses in Pagosa Springs

Pueblo Community College will offer several courses in Pagosa Springs for the spring 2005 semester beginning Jan. 10 and ending May 7.

All classes will be held in Pagosa Springs High School.

Courses being offered include Bio 105 - Science of Biology, 6-7:15 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, with a lab 7:30-9:25 p.m. Thursday; ECE 240 - Administration of Early Childhood Programs, 6-8:45 p.m. Monday; and PSY 102 - General Psychology II, 6-8:45 p.m. Wednesday.

The biology and psychology classes transfer to Fort Lewis College for general education credit.

In addition, PCC offers several courses on line. Preregistration for these classes is now open. Financial aid is available for eligible students.

For more information, contact PCC in Durango at 247-2929.


Second caroling and cake walk event slated

By Mercy Korsgren

Special to The PREVIEW

The second annual Community Center Christmas Caroling and Cake Walk will be held at the Pagosa Springs Community Center 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 15.

This event will be good old fashioned family holiday fun - an event not to be missed.

The evening will begin with folks gathered around a 12-foot Christmas tree inside the multi-purpose room to watch the lighting of the tree. Then, there'll be the Christmas caroling and a cake walk contest to be done alternately while kids get a chance to visit with Santa to tell him what gifts they wish to have.

A local photographer will be available for those who wish to have their children's pictures taken with Santa.

This event will be a success with the help, support and participation of the community. We invite interested singers and musicians, both individuals and groups, to join the fun and lead the carolers in singing holiday songs.

We also need donations of cakes for contest prizes. Volunteers are always welcome.

An event without food is no fun. So, we also invite a couple of nonprofit organizations to provide free food for the evening. Hot drinks and cookies are always popular. This may be an opportunity to advertise your organization.

We look forward to hearing from you. Call the community center at 264-4152, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

This event is free for everyone to enjoy the holiday season.


Lend a Helping Hand to your friends and neighbors

Operation Helping Hand assists our less fortunate neighbors throughout the county during the Christmas season.

Some families and individuals who seek help from this program are victims of domestic violence, others are children of single parents, physically challenged, mentally challenged or senior citizens living on a limited income.

Families seeking assistance for Christmas can pick up an application at the Department of Social Services offices in Town Hall. Forms should be completed and returned by 3 p.m., Dec. 6.

For more information, call the message line, 731-3735. A volunteer will return your call, if necessary.

Project Empty Stocking

Volunteers have written over 400 requested items on paper stockings that are on display at both City Markets, and at Wells Fargo and Sears. These requests range from socks and underwear to snowboots, pants and coats.

Secret Santa Tree

This program seeks to provide at least one new toy to each child in need this holiday season.

There is a special Christmas tree in the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center with ornaments for each child registered with Operation Helping Hand. There are also toy requests posted on boards at both City Market locations, and at Sears and Wells Fargo.

There are a variety of requests for toys in all price ranges. Requests include dolls, Barbies, dishes, cars, Tonka trucks, cassettes and CD players. Last year over 150 children asked Santa for toys.

The following is a sample of the many items you will find posted at the above mentioned locations. To fill a request, remove a stocking from one of the boards, then purchase and wrap your gift, attaching the stocking to your package so the gift will be delivered to the correct individual or family.

Deliver your gift to Coldwell Banker The Pagosa Group or Jann C. Pitcher Real Estate on Put Hill, Kid and Kaboodle on Pagosa Street, Mary Fisher Medical Clinic on South Pagosa Boulevard, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association administrative office or to the Pagosa Lakes recreation center by Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Local Chatter

A time, and words, for reflection

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

The Archuleta County Salvation Army started its holiday bell-ringing collections Saturday with stations at both the downtown City Market and City Market West.

Volunteers are needed and if you could - and would - volunteer to be a bell-ringer, please call Jim Haliday at 731-9083.

All the donations collected in the Salvation Army pots during the holiday period in this area are used for those in need in Archuleta County.

A note here for those who don't know (and I just found out) City Market west is in the business complex called Pagosa Country Center and the street running through it is called Country Center Drive.

Thanksgiving wisdom

Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family and it's a time of reflection for some.

These gems might help:

Yesterday is history

Tomorrow is a mystery

Today is a gift

So that's why it's called the present.

And this quote from C.S. Lewis:

"It will not bother me in the hour of death to reflect that I have been 'had for a sucker' by any number of imposters; but it would be a torment to know that I had refused even one person in need."

Thanksgiving is worth all the lessons. Enjoy it.


 Senior News

Holidays are here, buy your 'Perks' now

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We had a good turnout for Myra Miller's "Diet and Arthritis" presentation. Myra is our registered dietician from Durango and has done a number of talks for us. If there is a nutritional subject you would like discussed, call us at the center.

We had a good celebration for Musetta's birthday Nov. 19 (as well as on Wednesday). We are a close-knit family here at the senior center, so birthdays are a good time to honor the folks who work so hard for our seniors.

Last week a bunch of you hopped on the Sky Ute Casino shuttle and headed for the casino in Ignacio, while later in the week others jumped on board our bus and headed for Durango to shop, enjoy a lunch out and get to the doctor. We go once a month to both places, but in December our shopping trip will go to Farmington Dec. 9, as the holidays seem to require that extra shopping.

This year's trip to Farmington will include a yummy lunch and then off to the mall. The suggested donation for the bus fare is $15.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Thanksgiving. We will be closed today and Friday, but will be open again Monday to feed and manage our mature population.

Come on in Monday and meet our Medicare counselors. If you have any questions about the new Medicare drug cards, or any questions about Medicare, our counselors can answer all your questions.

From 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 6 the Medicare counselors will be available to help you sign up for the Medicare drug cards. Don't miss out on the opportunity to receive a discount on the drug card if you qualify.

Our counselors are here to help you determine if you qualify and also guide you through the process of choosing the Medicare drug card that is right for you.

If transportation is difficult, remember the senior bus may be an option for you, providing door-to-door service in certain areas with a suggested donation of just one dollar. Twenty-four hours advance notice is appreciated.

Would you like an opportunity to help kids read? One of our local teachers, Ina Noggle, would like some help from our seniors. She asks you to read with her fifth-graders one on one to help improve their reading skills. She offers convenient times to get together with her kids, so give her a call if you want to volunteer. Her work number is 264-2257 or 264-6222 in the evening.

With the approach of the holidays, we would like to remind you about the best-ever gift that takes all the fuss, muss, stress and bother out of your shopping -Pagosa Perks.

Pagosa Perks were introduced last year and were a big success. They can still be purchased in $10 increments, are good for six months from the date of purchase and are accepted "same as cash" at all Chamber member businesses. We accept them here at the senior center as well. Why not help out your senior parent or friend by buying lunches or transportation for them? You can purchase your Perks at the Chamber of Commerce along with a special gift envelope and a list of Chamber members who accept Perks.

Seniors love free food and transportation, get a Perk pack today.

Chamber News

Know that you are loved!

By Sally Hameister

SUN Columnist

This will be my final official Chamber column and a perfect opportunity to thank each and every one of you for your amazing support over the last nine years. My excellent adventure as Chamber Executive Director has been in large measure a result of your friendship, confidence and acceptance of my various quirks, idiosyncrasies and really loud laugh.

A sizable piece of me will always remain in Pagosa Springs (feel free to conduct a scavenger hunt to find it) and I assure you that I will establish a subscription to The SUN and keep an interested and caring eye on all things Pagosa. No question about the fact that Pagosa is on the precipice of exciting changes and challenges, and I have no doubt that you will each do your part to make this wonderful town even more so.

So, my dear friends, I bid you a very fond adieu and fabulous future. I will leave Pagosa in your capable and loving hands knowing that you will be excellent caretakers of all we hold dear now and in the future. Also know that I will return from time to time to check up on you and hope that you will visit me in my new home in Portland, Ore.

I will leave you with the words of one of the most remarkably kind and generous men I have ever known: Know that you are loved.

Newsletter inserts

If you have been a bit preoccupied these days, allow me to throw you into a frenzy of activity and remind you that today is the deadline for your Chamber Communiqué quarterly newsletter insert. This is a great one in which to appear for the obvious holiday gift-giving reasons. It gives you the opportunity to enlighten all Chamber members about your holiday specials, an open house and the great gift selections available at their businesses.

We encourage you to take advantage of this extremely economical marketing opportunity with the guarantee that it will reach each and every Chamber member.

All you need to do is bring us 750 copies ASAP of your 8 1/2x11 insert on colorful paper and a check for $40, and we'll take it from there. If you have questions, please give Doug a call at 264-2360.

Santa, Parade of Lights

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, Dec. 4, for the official opening of the holiday season in Pagosa Springs - Christmas in Pagosa.

This has to be one of the dearest traditions in the history of Pagosa with the arrival of Santa at the Visitor Center, dozens of cookies baked lovingly by our "Cookie Queen" and board president, Sally Hovatter, hot spiced cider, magical moments captured forever by Jeff Laydon with Pagosa Photography, all our favorite Christmas carols provided by the Mountain Harmony Ladies Choir and the most magical moment of all, the countdown to the lighting ceremony. All of this takes place at the Visitor Center 3 p.m.-dusk Dec. 4, and we hope you will plan to bring all the little ones for what is always a memorable occasion.

The following Friday, Dec. 10, we will present the sixth annual Parade of Lights beginning at 6 p.m. What this one lacks in size it most assuredly makes up in sheer charm. The entries can always be counted upon to be entertaining, colorful, spirited and bright with the lights of the season. Entry forms will be available at the Visitor Center, so please be thinking about what you can create. There is no entry fee and $100 prizes will be awarded to the Best and Brightest in the categories of Business, Organization and Family. Give Doug a call at 264-2360 with any questions.

Snapshots exhibit

Join Scott Allen and the gang at Mountain Snapshots 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4 for a photo exhibit featuring the Jicarilla Apaches of Dulce, NM, at the September opening of The National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC.

Scott was asked by the Jicarilla tribe to photograph this event, and I'm quite sure the exhibit is nothing less than astonishing. You can look forward to beautiful photography, music, food, libations and giveaways that evening, so give Scott a call for more info at 731-4511.

Memorial bazaar

Don't forget to head on over to the Community United Methodist Church to order your beautiful wreath and/or centerpiece for the upcoming holidays. Our Visitor Center wouldn't be complete without one of those gorgeous wreaths hanging over our front door welcoming all who enter.

Proceeds from this project support youth and Christian education programs, contribute to adult education in the community and contribute to Christian camp scholarships, church youth scholarships and community assistance programs. If you would like an order form, stop by the church or give a call to 264-4538. Please act quickly because the orders can be filled and sold only until the volunteers run out of greens.

Microsoft Word classes

The Education Center is offering Microsoft Word computer classes 6-8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday evenings at the junior high school beginning Nov. 29. These classes will run for two weeks, and if you are interested, just give them a call at 264-2835 to register or for more information.

Photography contest

The time for the 17th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest is fast approaching. Now is the time for local photographers to start making their selections and preparing their photos for display.

As always, the show will be held at Moonlight Books starting Feb. 5. and running through Feb. 26.

The opening reception will be 5-7 p.m. Feb. 5. Visitors to the show will not only be able to view works from the immense talent pool that resides in the Pagosa area, but they can also vote for the People's Choice Award. This show never fails to impress, so mark your calendars and plan on visiting Moonlight Books to check it out.

For more information on how to enter the show, drop by Moonlight Books and pick up the rules and regulations.


We have eight renewals to welcome this week. Combine that with some turkey and dressing, and you have a very nice week.

Our renewals include Bernie Schuchart with yet another of his businesses, Cabin Fever Log Homes; Michael Chafin, general manager, The Lodge at Keyah Grande; Mary Przybylski with Holiday Inn Express; Maria Kuros with Econo Lodge; Carl Nevitt with Big Sky Studio of Pagosa Springs; Michelle Huck with the Builder's Association of Pagosa Springs; Mark Mueller with the American Avalanche Association and, last, but far from least, our talented John Graves with the Pagosa Springs Film Society.

Thank you all with warmest wishes for the holidays and upcoming year. Aloha.


Veteran's Corner

Some strange, perhaps true, facts of war

By Andy Fautheree

SUN Columnist

I would like to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all veterans and their families and loved ones.

As we enter the beginning of the holiday season I encourage all of you to keep our military men and women in your kind thoughts. Many are this very minute in harm's way securing our nation's freedom and allowing us to celebrate the holiday season, each in our own way.

They, too, will be veterans one day and join our ranks as those who have honorably served our country in the military.

Stranger than fiction

Thanks to my good friend John Hardardt, former La Plata County Veteran Service Officer, for the following statistics of World War II.

Neither of us attests to the authenticity of this information, but it makes interesting reading.

1. The first German serviceman killed in the war was killed by the Japanese (China, 1937); the first American serviceman killed was killed by the Russians (Finland 1940); the highest ranking American killed was Lt. Gen. Lesley McNair, killed by the U.S. Army Air Corps in a friendly fire incident.

2. The youngest U.S. serviceman was 12-year-old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded in combat and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. (His benefits were later restored by act of Congress).

3. At the time of Pearl Harbor the top U.S. Navy command was called CINCUS (pronounced "sink us"). The shoulder patch of the U.S. Army's 45th Infantry division was the Swastika, and Hitler's private train was named "Amerika." All three were soon changed.

4. More U.S. servicemen died in the Air Corps than the Marine Corps. While completing the required 30 Air Corps missions your chance of being killed was 71 percent.

Guns blazing

5. A B-17 carried four tons of bombs and 1.5 tons of machine gun ammo. The U.S. 8th Air Force shot down 6,098 fighter planes, one for every 12,700 shots fired.

6. Germany's power grid was much more vulnerable than realized. One estimate is that if just 1 percent of the bombs dropped on German industry had instead been dropped on power plants German industry would have collapsed.

7. Generally speaking there was no such thing as an average fighter pilot. You were either an ace or a target. For instance Japanese ace Hiroyoshi Nishizawa shot down over 80 planes. He died while a passenger on a cargo plane.

Tracer rounds

8. It was a common practice on fighter planes to load every fifth round with a tracer round to aid in aiming. This was a mistake. The tracers had different ballistics so (at long range) if your tracers were hitting the target 80 percent of your rounds were missing. Worse yet, the tracers instantly told your enemy he was under fire and from which direction. Worst of all was the practice of loading a string of tracers at the end of the belt to tell you that you were out of ammo. This was definitely not something you wanted to tell the enemy. Units that stopped using tracers saw their success rate nearly double and their loss rate go down.

Whole nine yards

I'm told the phrase "the whole nine yards" refers to the length of the 50-caliber machine gun belt in a fighter plane. "I gave him the whole nine yards," meant the obvious when shooting at an enemy plane and soon came to mean, "I gave it everything I had."

9. When allied armies reached the Rhine the first thing men did was urinate in it. This was pretty universal from the lowest private to Winston Churchill (who made a big show of it) and Gen. Patton (who had himself photographed in the act).

10. Germany's experimental Me-264 bomber may have been capable of bombing New York City but was never put into production.

A lot of hot air?

11. A number of air crewmen died of intestinal gas (polite description). Ascending to 20,000 feet in an unpressurized aircraft causes intestinal gas to expand 300 percent.

12. The Russians destroyed over 500 German aircraft by ramming them in midair (they also sometimes cleared minefields by marching over them). "It takes a brave man not to be a hero in the Red Army" - Joseph Stalin

13. The U.S. Army had more ships than the U.S. Navy.

14. The German Air Force had 22 infantry divisions, two armor divisions, and 11 paratroop divisions. None of them were capable of airborne operations. The German Army had paratroops that were capable of airborne operations. Go figure.

(Continued next week)

Durango VA Clinic

Please call me with your VAHC appointments so we can "Share-A-Ride" with fellow veterans from our area. The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is at 400 S. Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, CO 81301. Phone number is 247-2214.

Further information

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, fax 264-8376, and e-mail is 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.


Library News

Model railroads displayed; book details rail importance

By Lenore Bright

SUN Columnist

We are honored once again to be displaying the trains built by members of the model train club.

This display was organized by Richard Wholf in honor of National Model Railroad Month.

Model railroading incorporates so many different skills that it is truly fun for all ages. This year's exhibit also has a copy of a magazine that one can subscribe to, providing all sorts of information on getting started in this appealing hobby.

We may entice you to begin a lifelong love affair with this hobby that brings back memories of simpler times. As the magazine states, "the time building a railroad is true quality time - the kind another night of staring at the television cannot possibly hope to matchŠ"

Mr. Wholf can be contacted at 731-2012 for information about joining the club.

Railroads, development

Since we are talking about trains, it was rather timely that the latest issue of Colorado Business Review leads off with the subject of how important rail transportation is to our state economy.

The Front Range got its light rail passed in the election. Why can't we start lobbying for similar solutions? The tracks are still there. Ask for a free copy of the Review.

Do you have write stuff?

We have a legitimate contest for aspiring writers. But there is an entry fee of $20 per item.

The Denver Woman's Press Club is launching the "Unknown Writers' Contest" for anyone who has never been commercially published. Entrants must be 18 years or older and Colorado residents.

Deadline is Feb 1. Categories are: Fiction: short story or one chapter of a novel; Poetry: in any form or subject; Nonfiction: can be personal experience or memoir.

Pick up an entry form at the desk.

New book

We hope you've already met Isabel Dalhousie. If not, you must read "The Sunday Philosophy Club," by Alexander McCall Smith.

This is a new series starring the Edinburgh literary sleuth. Smith is the author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series. He is a professor of medical law in Scotland and in his spare time he is a bassoonist in the RTO (Really Terrible Orchestra).


We give thanks for our many blessings. Among those are the generous supporters of your library building fund. The latest donors who have helped: Carol and Bill Fulenwider, Alan and Barbara Sackman, Margaret May, M.E. and Marietta Gordon, Ron Alexander, Sid and Phyllis Martin, Jim and Meryle Backus, Pauline Benetti, David and Mary Helen Cammack, Harry and Alene Cole, Glenn and Cathy Rutherford, Jane and Harry Hanson, San Juan Veterinary Hospital, Drue Hartong in memory of Chuck, John and Ann Graves, Jon and Diane Bower, Don and Melinda Volger, Steve and Leslie Petri, Mary and Richard Bond, Gordon and Cathy Graves, Jack and Catherine Threet, Anita and William Statton, Garland and Jean Woods, John and Joyce Webb, Greg Giehl, Jean and Howard Strahlendorf, Mary and Bryan Sickbert, Glenn and Lynda Van Patter, Michael and Jacky Reece, James and Nancy Cole, Jean and Gautam Shah, John Petty, Duane and Ina Noggle, Ralph and Maureen Covell, Barney and Shari Pierce, Rod and Barbara Preston. Thank you all for your continued support.

The library will be closed Thursday and Friday for the holiday.

Arts Line

Directory of artists, craftspeople planned

By Leanne Goebel

PREVIEW Columnist

PSAC is putting together a directory of local artists and craftspeople.

The publishing date is the end of December.

A letter was sent out to all artists on the PSAC mailing list, stating the information was needed by the end of October. Please disregard that letter. PSAC is accepting information until Dec. 27.

There is no charge for this listing, so get your information to Victoria right away.

Contemporary artist

Are you a contemporary artist?

Do you want to get together with other contemporary artists for exhibitions, performances, happenings and educational events?

If so, contact Jules Masterjohn at 382-0756 and join DECAF (Durango Exhibitions and Contemporary Arts Forum).

Ongoing workshops

Beginning Watercolor with Denny Rose and Virginia Bartlett, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. meets every Monday and Wednesday at the Fairfield Activities Center.

Call 731-8060 to reserve a spot for only $25.

Ideas needed

The calendar of events is getting shorter, which signifies winter's approach.

Submit your workshop ideas, proposals, and recommendations to the Pagosa Springs Arts Council and let's fill out that calendar.

Gallery gift shop

The gift shop at the gallery in Town Park is available to local artisans.

Please consider consigning your original work in our store. Contact PSAC at 264-5020 for more information.

Artist opportunities

"Spirit in Hand" Holiday Exhibit and Sale at the Durango Arts Center, Dec. 14-24, is an opportunity for fine craftspeople and local artists to share their inspired and creative work during the holiday season.

This juried sale in the Barbara Conrad Gallery features works by artists creating original, unique gift items in ceramics, jewelry, fiber, metal, glass, wood, paper, calligraphy, photography, sculpture, printmaking, painting and drawing. Fine craft items are the focus of the sale.

No reproductions or color copies are allowed. Items should range in price from $15-$350. Participants should plan to have a minimum of 12 items in the sale, with additional back stock available.

Contact DAC at 259-2606 or e-mail

Adventure tour

Join artist Cynthia Padilla for a fantastic tour of Costa Rica.

Journal, draw, paint, photograph or just enjoy this tropical paradise March 20-27. The tour departs from Denver and arrives in San Jose.

On day two, drive to San Carlos, visit the Arenal Volcano, and swim in Tabacón Hot Springs. Day three travel north to the Caño Negro Lake and Wildlife Reserve where you will enjoy a boat trip with exotic birds such as osprey, storks and herons.

Day four travel to Santa Rosa Park and stay in a jungle lodge, take a hike or go horseback riding. Day five, journey to the Guanacaste, one of the last tropical dry forests on the planet, stop at Santa Rosa National Park, and then arrive at your seaside hotel. Day six is a free beach day or choose to take a snorkeling excursion. Day seven, return to San Jose for dinner and prepare for your return to Denver on day eight. Sign up anytime.

For more information contact me at 731-1841, e-mail, or pick up a brochure at the gallery in Town Park.


Through Dec. 10 - Outsider Art: Visions from the Edge at Durango Arts Center.

Nov. 27 - Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair at Pagosa Lodge.

Dec. 3, 4 - Magical Madrigal Dinner at community center.

Dec. 9 - John Fielder presentation at Durango Photo Club.

Dec. 10, 11 - Magical Madrigal Dinner at community center.

March 20-27 - Costa Rican Adventure Tour with Cynthia Padilla.

July 24 - Home and garden tour.


 Food for Thought

Bah humbird, another Thanksgiving 'feast'

By Karl Isberg

SUN Columnist

Like it or not, it's here.

My least favorite holiday, foodwise.


Every November, without fail Š the most boring "feast" of them all: That cursed roast turkey with the sawdust-dry white meat, those nearly flavorless side dishes (I don't consider an overabundance of celery to be "flavor"), crumb-ball gravy.

Canned cranberry gunk? The person who thought of that should be whipped and put in stocks for public display.

I've endured 57 Thanksgivings; I can't take it anymore.

When the topic of Thanksgiving dinner comes up, my first impulse is to dash to Leviticus 11, Deuteronomy 14 and thereabouts, to review dietary law. There's gotta be something in there I've missed, some injunction against eating turkey, an ironclad rule to be invoked.

All sorts of things are proscribed - shellfish, pork, rock badger.

There, look: You can't gnaw on ostrich or snack on cormorant.

Why not turkey?

Why did the creator of all that is fail to prohibit the consumption of turkey? You can't eat an eagle, for crying out loud. There's no devouring a hawk of any kind, or a falcon. What happened to turkey? How could this disaster of a creature be missed, considering the whole omnipotence, omnipresence thing?

What a wretch, this genetically mangled food source, the turkey. What an utterly useless thing we've bred here. Generations of turkey ranchers have done the Dr. Frankenstein deed, tinkering with the turkey, producing creatures with breasts like those on an out-of-kilter triple-D pole dancer in a cheap Vegas "gentlemen's club." The DNA has been manipulated to the point turkeys have to be stacked one next to each other in confined spaces so they don't topple over (see dancer, Vegas, previous sentence).

The quality of the Thanksgiving dining experience mimics the life experience of the pathetic bird that serves as its centerpiece: There's no way it can be good.

Don't try any of that "tradition" nonsense on me as a way to excuse this pathetic meal. To begin with, the whole Pilgrim myth is bogus. They were a bunch of dentally-challenged sourpusses with a dismal sense of fashion, and there was no platter at the center of their table bearing a roasted mutant bird. There was no clotty gravy, nor were there any hockey-puck-hard dinner rolls, plucked from the refrigerated case at the market. For sure there was no canned cranberry-flavored gelatin product.

And don't attempt to represent the fare as the "quintessential American food." I reserve that title for things like pemmican, chile verde and enchiladas.

OK, I have a few decent memories from childhood. My Aunt Hazel made a terrific stuffing and monumental twice-baked potatoes at Thanksgiving and, as a young fat guy, I definitely enjoyed stuffing and twice baked potatoes. Ditto with my Grandmother Mabel's oyster stuffing (in this case, ignore Deuteronomy 14 - you know, the gills, the scales, etc.).

But, even with these decent memories, I haven't the resources needed to overcome my dismay as Thanksgiving approaches.

To make things worse, there is trouble brewing at home.

"I love the traditional Thanksgiving dinner," tweets my beloved wife. This comes out of the blue as we eat breakfast. I hate to hear it, since I've been fretting for three days about the dreadful prospect. I've been waking in the middle of the night, plagued by the thought of having to once again choke down a standard Thanksgiving meal.

"Oh, come on," I say. "You can't mean it. It's the worst meal ever."

"Nope," says Kathy. "In fact, it's my favorite. I love the turkey, the mashed potatoes. I really, really like candied yams and Š"

No, I think as I clench my teeth. Don't say it. Please, don't say it.

"Š I can't get enough of that canned cranberry stuff."


I'm despondent, worrying about what is just around the bend. Food is extremely important to me and, with a limited number of years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds left, I don't want to squander time on a traditional turkey dinner. Of course, being totally neurotic, I'll spend a lot of time getting worked up about the chance I'll have to endure the dinner, but there is no way I am letting this meal occur without a fight.

I come up with a plan. A crafty plan.

"What if I can make something better?"

"I'm sure you can. I know you can. But not on Thanksgiving. I want turkey, with all the fixins."

I cringe when I hear the word "fixins."

"I'll make something better, with turkey," I boast, "something so darned good, you'll never want to tie into that traditional crud again." I feel manly when I boast.

I decide to prove my point during the week before Thanksgiving, working with the bird, not against it - let's call it "aikido cuisine."

There is no way I am going to roast a turkey breast and do irreparable damage to that lean, naturally dry meat (dry unless, of course, you inject it with a blend of industrial-strength chemicals the names of which you can't pronounce).

I'll use cutlets. Or, as our French pals call them: paillards.

That's the ticket. Taking this turn, I open a galaxy of options.

To make a paillard, you take a thin slice of raw turkey breast (or veal, or chicken, or any meat for that matter), put it between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound or roll the bejeepers out of it, until is approximately a quarter-inch thick. This sleek baby cooks in a flash, without much chance to dry out if it is monitored carefully.

The meat can be cooked flat, as a cutlet, or rolled up, with goodies contained within.

I'll try a version of each.

Dish No. 1: turkey paillard with a caper sauce.

Dish No. 2: turkey rolls with snappy cheese filling.

Oh, what the heck, I might even try a third option, a variation on No. 1 - turkey paillard with Marsala.

Each recipe will be a snap.

For No. 1: The first step after pounding out the paillards is to marinate them for a while in a mix of olive oil, lemon juice, sage, garlic and lemon zest. Then I'll lightly dredge the cutlets in seasoned flour and very quickly cook them over medium high heat in a mix of olive oil and butter. I'll take the paillards from the pan and deglaze it with a titch of chicken broth, a smidge of dry white wine and throw in a minor mess of lemon zest. When the liquid reduces, I'll toss in a couple tablespoons of rinsed capers (they're briny little devils, so the rinse is important) and swirl in a couple big hunks of butter. Season to taste and back in go the paillards, to be coated with the sauce.

For the Marsala version, I'll deglaze my pan with a splash of chicken broth and a major slug of Marsala, tossing in some mushrooms I've sauteed ahead of time as well as a bunch of chopped parsley. When the sauce is reduced, back in go the paillards. A touch of fresh lemon juice, some butter, an adjustment of seasonings and they're done.

For No. 2, the rolls, I'll start by sauteing some thinly sliced peppers - red, green and yellow - with thinly sliced white onion and, at the finish, some minced and mashed garlic and a sage leaf or two. I'll season a paillard, spread on a layer of herbed cheese (Boursin, perhaps) and some finely minced shallot then roll the turkey into a fat tube, securing the roll with a couple toothpicks. I'll dust the roll with flour and saute in oil and butter until golden. When the rolls are done, out they come. A pan sauce with some dry white wine, a teensy splash of orange juice, parsley and butter will do just fine. Back in go the turkey rolls with sauce splashed all about. Serve the rolls on a bed of the peppers and onion with sauce on top.

On the side, with each dish, in a nod to the standard Thanksgiving lineup, mashed yam (or sweet potato) studded with chunks of sharp white cheddar and blessed with a bit of fresh-grated nutmeg. Perhaps a wee bit of a super-thick reduction of chicken broth, shallot and maple syrup drizzled over the top of the spuds.

Pick another vegetable to tag along -some green beans, steamed until just tender, dressed with butter and fresh-ground black pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice. Parsnip puree, anyone?

Alas, despite my effort, I know I'll be forced to indulge the typical fare. I've been informed I am going to my sister-in-law's for dinner. She is an excellent cook and does the dinner as well as anyone I know. It's just that it's Š the dinner.

What I'll do is snatch the leftover dark meat and mashed potatoes and bring the booty home.

I have an idea. One that might help redeem the lowly and much-abused bird and accomplish my greater goal at the same time.

Turkey croquettes.

I'll mess up the turkey in the processor and mix it with some mashed potato to which I've added sauteed finely minced shallot and garlic - just enough potato to allow the mix to hang together. I'll season the mixture with salt, pepper, a very little bit of poultry seasoning.

Roll a small wad of the mix into a cone, coat the cone with flour, put it into an egg wash, roll it in crumbs, fry it in oil until golden brown.

With it, a bechamel, infused with sage from the whole leaf - the leaf discarded when the bechamel has cooked.

As a partner, along with a simple green salad, in a deconstructionist nod to the standard fare - a simple pumpkin soup: chicken stock, canned pumpkin (not pie filling, just pureed pumpkin) sauteed shallots, some garlic, salt pepper, a dash of nutmeg, a splash of heavy cream, cooked, blended and strained.

Might be tasty, but the nicest thing about this high-intensity weeklong Turkey Extravaganza?

By week's end, Kathy will have OT'd and I won't have to deal with the bird and its miserable companions for another year.


Extension Viewpoints

Celebrate Farm-City week this Thanksgiving

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Thursday, Nov. 25 and

Friday, Nov. 26 - office closed

Thursday, Dec. 2 - Shady Pines meeting, 2 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 3 - Colorado Mountaineers meeting, 2:15 p.m.; 4-H Holiday Celebration, 6 p.m.

Each year, the week leading up to Thanksgiving is recognized as Farm-City Week, which symbolizes how everyone benefits from agriculture. This year the annual event is this week.

"As millions of Americans are preparing to enjoy the bounty of our industry, it's important to appreciate the quality of food in our country as well as the dedicated efforts to produce it," said Don Ament, commissioner of agriculture at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "We spend about 10 percent of our income on food, which is an amazing value compared to many other countries in the world."

With deep agricultural roots, Colorado has a $16 billion agribusiness industry that provides a wide variety of high-quality food and agricultural products to Coloradans and many others across the globe.

In Colorado, 49 percent of the state's total land is agricultural, which encompasses about 32.6 million acres of farms and ranches. Our top five commodities are cattle and calves, dairy products, greenhouses/nurseries, corn and swine.

According to the American Farm Bureau, each farmer and rancher in the United States feeds 144 people. For each $1 spent on food, about 19 cents goes to the farmer. Throughout the year, Coloradans can select from a variety of fresh, locally grown products to feed their families.

Based in Illinois, the National Farm-City Council is a non-profit organization that focuses on promoting the connection between farm families and urban residents.

Composting year round

Archuleta County Cooperative Extension will be selling Earth Machines to those who are interested in making their own compost all year round.

Composting reduces the amount of garbage you generate by 25 percent or more plus creates wheelbarrow loads of compost you can add to your garden, lawn, trees, shrubs and house plants.

The cost will be $35 and features of the machine include:

- a twist-top locking lid allows you to control ventilation;

- ventilation slots that are large enough to let in oxygen but keep out rodents;

- fastens to the ground by twist pegs - for animal and wind control;

- round design allows unit to be turned/lifted to access pile from any direction;

- compact construction to allow for easy set up and transportation;

- sliding door can be secured to prevent animal entry;

- no corners for materials to dry out;

- made of tough high-density polyethylene with UV stabilizers for all season strength and weatherability;

- no special tools required or holes to dig for setup - easy snap together assembly;

- black color for maximum solar heat retention;

- proven 10 year track record - close to 2 million in use worldwide;

- 10 year manufacturers' warranty against cracking, deterioration, warping or any other defect that would diminish the effectiveness or appearance of the composter

- 32-page "Home Composting Made Easy" booklet included.

Drop by the office or call 264-5931 or 264-2388 to learn more about the Earth Machine.


Pagosa Lakes News

It's all about apple pie and proof it keeps the doctor away

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

For me, Thanksgiving is not about turkey and stuffing. It's all about a good apple pie.

We've all heard the saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," and a study conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University indicates an apple a day really does keep the doctor away - thanks to strong antioxidants that fight cell damage.

Rat brain cells exposed to the antioxidant - in this case quercetin - resisted damage much better than those not treated or treated with vitamin C.

On the basis of serving size, fresh apples have some of the highest levels of quercetin when compared to other fruits and vegetables. Skins of apples contain the highest levels of quercetin; red apples tend to have more of the antioxidant than green or yellow ones.

Let's make apple pie the vehicle for increasing quercetin in our diet. Let's eat apple pie for breakfast and lunch as well. And if that doesn't increase quercetin level you'll likely forget what I've just shared. Ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

The Turkey Trot is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day, at 10 a.m. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the recreation center. The choice of a two-mile walk or a five-mile trot is ours to make.

Speaking of trot, another group of scientists said on Wednesday, Nov. 17, that humans were born to run and evolved from apelike creatures into the way they look today, probably because of the need to cover long distances and compete for food.

From tendon and ligaments in the legs and feet that act like springs and skull features that help prevent overheating, to well-defined buttocks that stabilize the body, the human anatomy is, according to these scientists, shaped for running.

My belief is we do it because we are good at it. We enjoy it and we have all kinds of specializations that permit us to run well. The rest of it, the theorizing, I leave to the scientists.

I used to run and when I was averaging 50-60 miles a week, I had buns of steel. Easy to understand. Humans lean forward when they run and the buttocks keep us from pitching over on our nose each time a foot hits the ground. Big buttocks are very important and by big I mean strong and firm. Even buttocks that wiggle like bags of fighting ferrets will, in time and with enough running or power walking, tighten up.

Have you ever looked at an ape? They have no buns. To look more like J.Lo and less like an ape, you can start by joining the runners and walkers for the Turkey Trot, then go home to a second helping of apple pie (made with red apples, of course) so you can keep your brain cells sharp.

Have a blessed one with family and friends as you share the time of Thanksgiving. Be reminded that the recreation center is closed on Thanksgiving day.

Give your body a rest.



Kady Renee Archuleta was born Sept. 10, 2004, at Mercy Medical Center in Durango. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 1/4 inches long. Her parents are Julian and Vanessa Archuleta and her big brother Michael welcomed her home. Grandparents are Renee Blythe and Val Montoya, Mike and Connie Blythe, and Julian and Matilda Archuleta.



None this week.


Business News
Trinity Land Consultants LLC.

Guiseppe Margiotta owns and operates Trinity Land Consultants LLC.

Trinity Land Consultants specializes in assisting landowners in addressing the regulatory process to obtain variances, lot consolidations and minor impact subdivisions, and to comply with other Archuleta County development requirements.

Guiseppe, as a landowner's agent, has facilitated the permit process with the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Geological Survey, Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the Archuleta County Planning Department. He is also a Colorado Certified Water and Wastewater Plant Operator and has an extensive background in coordinating the design and installation of subdivision infrastructure.

Trinity Land Consultants LLC. is located in the Bauer Professional Building, 188 So. 7th Street in downtown Pagosa Springs, one block south of Citizens Bank.

For more information, call 264-2025.


None this week.


None this week.



No articles this week.


Pirate boys revving up for 2004-2005 season

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs High School athletics are undergoing their annual transition.

With another fall sports season in the books, gone are the familiar weekend echoes that emanated from Golden Peaks Stadium.

The spirit of competition continues inside the PSHS gymnasium, however, as Pagosa head coach Jim Shaffer has begun to author the latest chapter in Pirate boys' basketball.

Since Nov.13, Shaffer has been assessing this year's crop of talent while directing dozens of Pirate varsity and junior varsity hopefuls through basic conditioning and fundamentals drills.

The 2004-2005 season will mark the fourth year at the varsity post for Shaffer, who has coached the Pirates to a 42-7 record over the past two seasons, a pair of Intermountain League championships and consecutive berths in the Great Eight of the Class 3A state playoffs.

Maintaining that type of success over the course of this year's campaign will undoubtedly be a challenge for Shaffer and the Pirates - with only one starter returning from last year's varsity roster, unlike last season, the Pirates will no longer boast the most-experienced squad in the IML.

But when your lone returning starter is Pirate senior and all-everything candidate Caleb Forrest, the anxiety level tends to drop a few points.

Early favorites to join Forrest atop the varsity roster this season include senior Otis Rand, juniors Craig Schutz and Casey Schutz, and sophomores Jordan Shaffer and Caleb Ormonde.

Junior Paul Przybylski and sophomore Kerry Joe Hilsabeck have been tabbed as the duo who will share point-guard duties for Pagosa.

The remainder of Shaffer's varsity cast will likely be finalized within the next few days.

Look for a complete, detailed breakdown of this year's varsity team in next week's issue of The SUN.

In the meantime, the Pirates' varsity schedule, while subject to change, currently includes the following:

- Friday, Dec. 3, away at the opening round of the Buena Vista Tournament, opponent and game time to be announced;

- Saturday, Dec. 4, away at the second round of the Buena Vista Tournament, opponent and game time to be announced;

- Friday and Saturday, Dec. 10-11, at home for the Wolf Creek Classic. Competition to include Aztec, N.M., Battle Mountain and Gunnison high schools; game times to be announced;

- Friday, Dec. 17, away at Piedra Vista, N.M., game time 7 p.m;

- Saturday, Dec. 18, at home against Kirtland, N.M., game time 7 p.m.;

- Friday, Jan. 7, away against Aztec, N.M., game time 8:30 p.m;

- Saturday, Jan. 8, away against Montezuma-Cortez, game time 7:00 p.m;

- Friday, Jan. 14, away against Kirtland, N.M., game time 7 p.m.

- Saturday, Jan. 15, at home against Alamosa, game time 7:00 p.m;

- Saturday, Jan. 22, at home against Centauri, game time 7 p.m;

- Friday, Jan. 28, at home against Monte Vista, game time 7 p.m.

- Saturday, Jan. 29, away against Bayfield, game time 6 p.m.;

- Friday, Feb. 4, away against Ignacio, game time 7 p.m.

- Friday, Feb. 11, away against Centauri, game time 7 p.m;

- Saturday, Feb. 12, away against Monte Vista, game time 4 p.m.

- Friday, Feb. 18, at home against Bayfield, game time 7 p.m.;

- Saturday, Feb. 19, at home against Ignacio, game time 7 p.m.;

- Friday and Saturday, Feb. 25-26, at home for the IML tournament, opponents and game times to be announced;

- Friday and Saturday, March 4-5, Regional Tournament, opponents and location to be announced;

- Thursday, Friday and Saturday, March 10-12, State Tournament at Fort Collins, opponents and game times to be announced.


Depth to envy, reputation to defend energize Pirates

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Expectations are high for the Pirate basketball team which went to fourth place in the state last year, surprising a number of highly regarded teams along the way.

But it won't be an easy task, said coach Bob Lynch.

"Everyone will be priming for the new wave Pirates," he said, "and we aren't really new wave. In fact the entire starting lineup from last year's squad returns."

That troop includes senior 6-1 center Caitlyn Jewell, senior 5-10 forwards Lori Walkup and Bri Scott, 5-7 junior guard Lisa Kelley and a bevy who worked in and out of the starting lineup last year including leading rebounder 5-11 Caitlin Forrest; 5-10 junior center-forward Emily Buikema, 5-8 sophomore point guard Jessica Lynch; 5-9 junior forward-guard Keri Faber, 5-10 senior Melissa Maberry, a consistent 3-point threat, and 5-6 junior guard China Rose Rivas.

Though he lost no players to graduation last year, Lynch still is missing one who was a key in the drive to state, 5-9 sophomore Laurel Reinhardt who has chosen to focus on cross country and soccer.

But don't think those players have all the jobs locked. Waiting in the wings for varsity action are 5-8 sophomore Kim Canty, 5-10 sophomore Jennifer Haynes, 5-9 sophomore Kristin DuCharme (possibly the strongest player on the floor despite having had recent knee surgery), 5-6 sophomore guards Mariah Howell and Lindsey Mackey and a freshman up from junior high action last year, 6-1 Tamara Gayhart.

Mix in 5-4 freshman Camille Rand, 5-9 sophomore Danielle Spencer, 5-6 sophomore Emily Martinez and a host of others intent on making the squad, and other coaches throughout the Intermountain League might be full of envy.

Depth and youth

With all that depth, it must be remembered many of the veterans, including all of last year's starters, were in state championship volleyball competition and not available for the start of practice until Wednesday last week.

That could give some of the youngsters a better shot at playing time early in the season.

And Lynch is thrilled to have the large turnout. "The earlier we get them the more time they have to learn our program and the better our depth for the future will be," he said. And, he noted, rebounding should be even better than last year because of both more height and the experience factor.

"I see no reason why we should be beaten on the boards by anyone," he said.

Last year's state tourney squad was not a bunch of high scorers, in fact no player averaged in double figures - but six players had more than 100 points, three of them 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.

Maberry recorded 65 points for the season, as did Lynch. Faber chipped in with 11, Rivas had nine and DuCharme had three in her lone varsity appearance.

Where Pagosa did shine last year was on the boards, being outrebounded only three times in 27 games. 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) and Scott with 86 (26 offensive).

Others were Kelley with 49 (14 offensive), Faber with 20, (four offensive) and Lynch with 15, two on offense.

With added growth of several players Lynch sees no reason they can't repeat as board demons and more possessions mean more opportunities to score.

Practice will be a prime commodity because the season opens with a rush.

The schedule

The Pirates are scheduled to host Durango in a preseason scrimmage 9 a.m. Saturday, and then welcome Piedra Vista in a 7 p.m. game Dec. 2 (a contest they are trying to move to the Dec. 16-18 weekend). They then go to Buena Vista for the traditional invitational tournament the following two days. Foes and matchups for that tournament are not yet available.

They return home Dec. 10 and 11 to host the Wolf Creek Classic with Aztec, Gunnison and Montezuma-Cortez coming to town as the foes.

Then (unless the Piedra Vista change is achieved) they have 24 days off during the holiday season, a fact that worries Lynch because of a tendency to lose sharpness when not in action. "We can scrimmage and scrimmage, but it's never the same as meeting fresh competition."

The Pirates return to the court Jan. 4 hosting Bloomfield at 7 p.m.; go to Aztec for a 7 p.m. contest Jan. 7, to Kirtland for a 5:30 p.m. game Jan. 14 and then come home to host Alamosa at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 15. They go back to New Mexico Jan. 20 for a 7 p.m. game against Farmington and then the Intermountain League season opens.

The first league contests are Jan. 22 at home against Centauri and Jan. 28 against Monte Vista, both scheduled 5:30 p.m. starts.

Then its on the road for four games: Jan. 29 at Bayfield (4:30 p.m.); Ignacio Feb. 4 (5:30 p.m.); at Centauri Feb. 11 (5:30 p.m.); and at Monte Vista Feb. 12 (2:30 p.m.).

The balance of the league season will be at home with games against Bayfield Feb. 18 and Ignacio the following day, both scheduled for 5:30 p.m. starts.

And then, for what will be the first time in six years, the Pirates host the IML league tournament Feb. 25 and 26.

Teams advancing from those contests will go to regional action March 4 and 5.

Lynch thinks depth and conditioning will be the key to any success the squad has this year and practices have been intense.

In the early days the squad has been running laps and sprints, working two-on-twos, three-on-three weaves, screens and drop passes, and drilling on positioning at the defensive end.

Observers saw signs many of the girls had been working on their own to improve ball handling techniques and shooting capabilities.

Lynch is expected to carry a varsity of eight or nine, with six swing players working either varsity or junior varsity, depending on performance.

And, he points out, there are many others who could surprise and earn promotions if they live up to expectations.

Parks & Rec

A view of the 'vision' in the eyes of a native

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

After our monthly Parks and Recreation Advisory Council meeting Wednesday, I got the chance to listen to the "Pagosa Vision" presentation. I hope my vision and thoughts are enlightening.

I was born in Pagosa Springs, in 1955, and I have lived in six different decades right here in Pagosa Springs.

I remember in the '60s riding around on my bike, baseball glove on the handlebars, ball and bat in the basket. We looked all day long to get enough kids together to play a game on a makeshift baseball diamond.

Or, I remember shoveling off the junior high basketball courts for a very competitive basketball game.

We went up 1st Street on Rumbaugh Creek or to Cotton Hole for our own outdoor swimming hole - the recreation center of the '60s.

With liability issues, and a definite cultural difference of the day, we can only look at the future with the hope that the visionaries can take into consideration our 2004-and-beyond needs, needs of the people in Archuleta County and the parks and recreation needs of our changing community.

Our county and town leaders take the lead to purchase, build, and maintain the open space, and the facilities that will be the base for our children's and grandchildren's great memories.

I liked all the ideas to make this a quaint little mountain village, but thinking of the economical impact to bring tourists to our town makes sense. We do not have a saw mill, tunnels or a job corps to employ the locals. Tourism is the No. 1 industry in the state and we must protect that industry.

Right now, I still enjoy taking my out-of-town guests to the river, to a little sledding hill. They cannot believe that we have this right in the town limits. Everyone has fun and will bring more guests the next time they come.

With the population boom, we will forever have this business. However, we need to look very closely at building parks, a sports complex and natural hiking trails right here in the town for use by the locals, who will in turn show off all the great amenities in Pagosa Springs, helping to keep our economy healthy.

Our draw is the fact that we are not Vail, Aspen or Telluride. We have our own identity, but like everything else, that looks like it may change, too.


The needs of the recreation department are not being met.

We are growing faster than our facilities. We have had a great working relationship with the schools on use of facilities such as gymnasiums, fields and classrooms.

But, our programs are growing so fast that the ever-so important Dec. 4 decision by Great Outdoor Colorado for grant money to build the first phase of the sports complex is a very important date for this department.

Keep your fingers crossed. Who knows we may be playing soccer and tee-ball on new fields by fall of 2005.


Along the same line, the development of the 16-acre sports complex will ease up some of the daily traffic at the Town Park.

Possible land purchases are being investigated adjacent to Reservoir Hill Park, where we hope to expand and preserve some of the visionary dreams of living in, "a town within a park."


Last week to sign up for youth basketball

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

This is your last week to sign up your child for 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball.

Sign-ups will continue through Nov. 30.

Basketball Skills Assessment Day will be Dec. 4 with the Elks Club Shootout Dec. 11.

Practices will begin Dec. 13 with games beginning Jan. 4. Sign up today.

Open volleyball

In an attempt to continue to offer adult volleyball to the Pagosa Springs community, the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department will hold open adult volleyball 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays. When we accumulate enough participants for a league, one will be formed.

Contact friends and neighbors and sign up now for this exciting sports league.

Hiring referees

The department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating soccer, basketball, volleyball and baseball. High school students may apply.

Compensation is $10-$25 per game depending on age group and experience.

Girl's softball

If you are interested in becoming a part of the future of girl's softball in Pagosa Springs, contact Maddie Baserra at 264-6835.

A group is interested in developing girl's softball in the Pagosa Springs area and is looking for others interested in this goal.

More information

For additional information, or with questions or concerns about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, contact Myles Gabel, Recreation Supervisor. at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Holiday verse

Twas the night of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleep.

I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep.


The leftovers beckoned - the dark meat and white,

But I fought the temptation with all of my might.


Tossing and turning with anticipation,

The thought of a snack became infatuation.


So I raced to the kitchen, flung open the door

And gazed at the fridge, full of goodies galore.


I gobbled up turkey and buttered potatoes,

Pickles and carrots, beans and tomatoes.


I felt myself swelling so plump and so round,

Till all of a sudden, I rose off the ground!


I crashed through the ceiling, floating into the sky

With a mouthful of pudding and a handful of pie.


But I managed to yell, as I soared past the trees -

Happy eating to all!

Pass the cranberries please!

-Author Unknown



What is good for all

Recent news concerning the flow of sales tax revenues to the town of Pagosa Springs is both encouraging and instructive. Accord-ing to town manager Mark Garcia, sales tax revenue year-to-date is up 4 percent. The August figures show an 8-percent increase over August the previous year.

We're on the brink of one of our three traditionally strong vacation periods in the year, bracketed by Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. If the current trends hold, this winter should bring an increased flow of tourist traffic and corresponding increases in business and sales tax revenue to the community. We can reasonably look forward to the same come spring break and summer.

The matter is instructive because it serves to remind us of where much of the money in this community comes from, and indicates what we must focus on in order to ensure we have a strong and competitive local economy.

Following the demise of ranching and the timber industry - the two traditional pillars of Pagosa's economy - tourism became key to our survival. We are reliant on tourist dollars and, as a result, the qualities of our community that attract tourists must be carefully tended to assure we retain our economic viability. It is, after all, the tourist who comes to town, spends his or her money and leaves with the intention of coming back, who is the backbone of this major "industry."

We compete for the tourist dollar with numerous other communities and areas; it is important we act to enhance our desirability as a destination - preserving what is necessary, changing what we can in order to increase our marketability while simultaneously improving conditions for those of us who live here.

There are efforts underway on several levels that demand our immediate attention and participation.

A meeting was held last week by the Community Vision Council, a public/private coalition, to introduce the public to a conceptual master plan for the downtown area. The key word here is "conceptual," and the critical concept beneath the details is the idea we should exert hometown control over processes and products that will inevitably occur - and do so in a way that allows the town to simultaneously achieve a more concrete aesthetic and commercial identity and a higher quality of life for residents.

We've heard numerous comments during the last week regarding the conceptual master plan, reflecting the full spectrum of opinion - from those in favor, to those adamantly opposed. It's only talk, unless action follows. Meeting dates will be announced soon, scheduled so input can be received by the council and taken under consideration as elements of the plan are adapted. This process provides an opportunity for those with opinions to step up and make their ideas known.

Eventually, plans will make their way to our elected officials. We believe as long as government recognizes it has a wider charge than the private sector - that it is entrusted with the protection of those who do not have the power to protect themselves and should act to produce the greatest good for the greatest number - this partnership between public and the private - can produce widespread benefit. But only if government focuses on its obligations to the wider community.

The same kind of effort to manage growth and development being shown in town should be exhibited countywide. We have a choice in Pagosa Country: to continue to allow things to change in helter-skelter fashion, or to bring our finest sensibilities and ideas to bear to make our home the best possible place it can be, for resident and visitor alike. This is a unique time - the right time for those interested in taking these steps to get involved and make a difference.

Karl Isberg

Pacing Pagosa

A well, some land and a dream

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

There was a deep well on the property which produced pure, clear water unlike any other in the area.

That, alone, made the site a perfect one to raise a family in a new wilderness home.

But with the cabin built, the loft holding the baby's room and a rocker for Helen to sit in while watching her, Harry worried about the upcoming holiday.

They had a roof over their heads, and superb water, but little else in the way of worldly possessions, save the garden carefully cultivated and growing the melons, vegetables and small fruits that hopefully would get them through the winter.

As the grizzled, weather-beaten man took another draw on his corn cob pipe, he tried to picture what life in the valley would be like in the future.

"Seems like we otter have some kinda gov'mnt to watch over us," he speculated to himself. Why, with Ol Josh down at the end of the draw and the Wilhammers just arrived on the tract over the rise with their three young'uns, we might even have to think about buildin' a school and hiring a schoolmarm.

It was a reach to figure anything would ever be more beautiful to the wandering eye than the views he could see in every direction from his home is this valley.

It was only half a mile to the river, fishing, trapping, and the bridge that carried Farnam's mail wagon to the ramshackle building he called a post office.

He looked out at the hides nailed to the shed wall to dry and figured he'd be able to make enough to get them through the winter as soon as he could trail them out to the market downstream in New Mexico.

"Fella could live here forever with all the natchurl resources waitin' to be used," he thought. And with a family he'd have to expand the garden, maybe grow some wheat or oats to sell them folks up the valley with all the horses and cows. "Mite even be able to git us some meat in trade," he thought as his mind quickly considered what might be needed.

"Shucks," he considered, "must be near a hunnert people in the valley already and we shore don't want it gittin' too big."

Man needs a place to call his own, a place to roam and a place to sit and rest a spell when all the thinkin' gets to draggin' down the spirit.

He took a look at Helen hangin' out her wash on the wire he'd stretched from cabin to shed and thought again "what a lukky cuss I am to have a wife like that in this great land. Mebbe them newcomers will come to visit sometime and she'll git to show off all that fancy tableware she had me lug all the way from the Midwest.

"Can't never have too much table settin'" she'd said. "Never know when company'll come a'callin." He began to doze, nodding slightly, as he dreamed of the food on the table, the joy of the little one's first Thanksgiving. A loud roar awoke Harry. Giant metal contraptions were speeding across his land, smoke and fumes hung in the air from buildings everywhere.

It had been a dream. His Pagosa Springs was gone, now a gentrified, privatized wasteland of monumental greed - and Harry cried.


90 years ago

Taken from Pagosa Springs New Era files of Nov. 27, 1914

About the dirtiest gambling that this community has seen for a long time is being pulled off by the flower man. The plea is made that the letter of the law is observed because a dinky prize is had with every whirl of the wheel, but the fact that the dimes of children are eagerly raked in by a husky man makes the evasion of the spirit of the law a despicable dealing. The town marshal should confiscate the flower man's gambling appliances and give the children of Pagosa Springs a chance to get by the tent with a dime.

The bootlegging cases have been set for December 1 and December 2, as reported to us last week. Sheriff Holiday is now summoning a special venire of 24 from which to select jurors to try the cases.


75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 29, 1929

Until health conditions are better in Pagosa Springs and vicinity, no loitering nor congregating will be permitted in the post office. All patrons will please get their mail or transact any such other business as they may have and depart immediately.

Sheriff Matthews departed for Durango Wednesday with Fred Francisco, who is charged with the murder of Pablo Archuleta of Pagosa Junction at Juanita last week, for safekeeping in the La Plata County jail, the new county jail not being furnished with cells as yet.

In the coming 1930 national census, District 8 of Colorado will consist of the counties of Archuleta, Dolores, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel.


50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov. 26, 1954

The annual 4-H achievement banquet was held in the new high school last Saturday night. Jean Macht and Bob Shahan, along with Judy Decker, were honored as the outstanding 4-H members in Archuleta County. In the past year there were 49 club members enrolled in the county with 115 projects being completed.

The American Legion and the Lions Club of Pagosa Springs joined forces last week in an effort to raise funds for a project started by the Lions Club to increase the seating capacity in the new high school gym. The two clubs held a stag night which brought over $300 into the fund. During the past two years the 600 seating capacity has been taxed to the limit at basketball games.


25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Nov 29, 1979

The lighted star and cross were turned on for the Thanksgiving holiday and will remain lighted until after the Christmas holiday. Both are clearly visible from most parts of town and their lighting heralds the start of the winter holiday season.

Snow is piling up on top of the Divide and Wolf Creek Ski Area is reporting almost three feet of snow for a base. It has been cold, seven below zero, and it will be winter time for a few months.

The Archuleta County Sheriff's office spent 20 man hours in rescuing four horses that had been left at the end of the Castle Creek Road at Fish Creek. Snow up to four feet deep was reported in the area and the men went in on snowmobiles to bring the animals out.



Eight-year-old struggles with rare disease

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

A happy child. A good student who likes macaroni and cheese. A little boy with a certain spark who got a bike for his birthday Oct. 27.

That's how 8-year-old Colby Anderson Andreson appears to most of the world. But under his skin, and on it, a war is being waged.

Colby has juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare disease he doesn't even try to pronounce, in which the body's immune system attacks its own tissues and cells. JDM, or JM, results in an inflammation of the blood vessels and muscles, causing a rash and weakening all of the body's muscles.

His mother, Donna Anderson, said Colby was lucky. He was diagnosed early. Lately, he's been at about 4.5 on a scale of 5 - up considerably from a 2.5 when it was all he could do to sit in a chair. Bending over. Running. Even playing outside at recess were impossible tasks at one point.

"He's had his ups and downs," Anderson said. Colby was diagnosed with JDM, a rare disease apparent in only about 5,000 children in the United States, in August of 2002.

His parents first noticed a rash on his elbows and knees, something Donna said they first attributed to playing outside in the summer. But the rash began to spread and prior to leaving for a trip to Boston, they took Colby, then 5, to a dermatologist in Durango who took a biopsy. The dermatologist suggested it could be one of four things, three of which, Anderson said, were bad.

Tests confirmed JDM - one of the three not-so-good options.

"It just plunges you into this whole new world," Anderson said. Although treatable, JDM requires a strict regimen of medication and injections, including steroids, exercise and eating restrictions, constant application of sunscreen and the possibility of infection or osteoporosis. In about a third of cases, children will go into complete remission. Another third will have periodic remissions. The final third face a chronic problem that may even become life-threatening.

Looking back, Anderson said, the signs of muscle weakness were obvious. As a preschooler, Colby had participated in and enjoyed gymnastics, becoming especially adept at making a "bridge" with his back. After the rash appeared, he couldn't do it. A quarter of a mile walk to the beach wore him out completely.

At times, since then, Colby has spent days seated in a chair with toys piled on small tables in front of him. Scissors, silverware and writing utensils can be impossible to manipulate. He even had trouble swallowing meat for a period. His speech degraded. He gained two pounds in two years and remains under 40 pounds.

Although a cause for concern, the weight was a blessing as well, Anderson said. Being a boy who wanted to be out running around, Colby refused a wagon or stroller. Instead, his mother carried him, sometimes even from the school to the car because his muscles simply were too weak to accept the weight.

"All last year he couldn't sit on the floor," Anderson said. "He couldn't go out for recess. Now, the last couple of months he's improved."

Daily, Colby takes a series of medications to help suppress the disease. He also participates in yoga and physical therapy to increase strength in his muscles. After school, he takes a series of vitamins. Once a week, he must have an injection. Once a month he travels to Durango for an all-day infusion. Periodically, he also travels to Denver's Children's Hospital for treatment. The family is headed to the Front Range Wednesday for an injection Anderson hopes will be the last of the new drugs. This one is supposed to help with his osteoporosis, yet another factor of his disease.

Anderson said one of the toughest issues she and Chris Andreson, her husband and Colby's dad, have faced is deciding treatment options are best.

Each of the drugs has its own side effects that can also affect Colby's daily living. Because JDM is an autoimmune disease, the body's own immune system must be suppressed in order to bring the disease under control. That leaves Colby susceptible to colds, flus and other infections.

Twice now, Colby has flown to Bethesda, Maryland to the National Institute of Health to participate in studies there. One even included his older brother, Kyle, who is 10 and does not have JDM. The first time, Colby spent a week being tested.

"They studied every inch of that little body," Anderson said. And, slowly, he's been getting better, getting to do more. Going outside.

"It's an issue to let him go places," Anderson said. The disease leaves Colby's skin very sensitive to the sun, requiring application of sunscreen every day. Kids at play can unintentionally hurt Colby. And sometimes, he simply hasn't been strong enough to participate.

"I just have to trust," Anderson said, praising the parents of Colby's closest friends for their watchful eyes and assistance in helping the second-grader enjoy as much of a normal life as possible. Besides that, Colby's older brother is there to watch over him most of the time.

A concern secondary to Colby's continued recovery and well-being is the financial strain of mounting bills despite the fact that the family has always had insurance.

It simply can't cover everything. Cost of injections, certain therapy and the organic foods he eats must be absorbed by the family.

"Still," Anderson said, "I feel very fortunate. I feel very lucky. I don't want anyone to think I'm complaining."

She praised her son for his optimism, his charm and his overall happy demeanor, admitting it sometimes cracks when he's teased or, like any 8-year-old, he gets in a fight with his older brother.

"Colby does what he can," Anderson said, remembering an incident at last year's elementary track and field day. Colby couldn't participate, and his mom offered to take him out for ice cream. He declined, preferring instead to stay and cheer on the team.

"He loves to sing and dance and run around," Anderson said. "He's coming back. In these last few months the Colby we knew when he was four or five is coming back. The spark is back."

The family believes it will continue that way.

"We believe he's going into remission," she said. "There have been some bumps along the way and we'll have to continue to be vigilant, but we do believe he's going into remission." In January or February Colby will have another MRI to check for sure. If things look good, the family may begin to back off the medication, the ultimate goal.

A bank account to assist with costs associated with Colby's treatment has been set up at Citizen's Bank. Checks can be made out to Colby Anderson Andreson. Anderson said although the family has never felt comfortable being part of a formal fund-raiser, she set up the account at the beginning of the ordeal in order to have a place to put monies from friends and family.

Anderson also encouraged people to contribute to the Cure JM Foundation, a recently-formed all-volunteer organization dedicated to the families of those affected by juvenile myositis. Donations may be made online at or mailed to Cure JM Foundation, 836 Lynwood Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024. Volunteers are needed as well. For more information, call (760) 487-1079.


Pagosa's Past

Winter arrived with fury soon after the troops

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

Troops representing Companies I and B of the Army's 15th Infantry marched into Pagosa Springs Oct. 18, 1878. Company D of the Ninth Cavalry soon followed and not far behind the U.S. military, winter arrived with a special fury.

Winter can arrive anytime in Pagosa Springs. Its intensity can range from light jacket to there's not a coat made anywhere that is warm enough. When the infantry arrived, there were no buildings for troops. Neither were ordinary but necessary supplies available.

Pagosa Springs was new, a community of but a few months, the post office opened just four months earlier in June. Relations between civilians and the army must not have been pleasant. A government directive had set aside one square mile centered on the Great Pagosa Hot Spring as a military reservation dedicated for Fort Lewis. Because squatters were already on the site and had erected some buildings near the hot springs, the government relented slightly, but still did not allow civilians to settle between the San Juan River and Loma (today McCabe) Creek. The Camp Lewis commander, Capt. Hartz, still struggled to prevent a J.W. Warren from building on Army land.

The infantry's job was to erect suitable quarters before winter arrived, an almost impossible task. Nevertheless, trees were felled, logs notched, and 10 enlisted and four officer quarters erected. That took care of the Anglo troops.

Not so lucky were the Buffalo Soldiers, black troops enlisted to serve in the Cavalry. Some members of Company D, Ninth Calvary arrived before their commander, Capt. Dodge. The Ninth Cavalry was one of the famous Buffalo Soldier units. Dodge was on a swing through the southern states recruiting men to fill out his company to full strength and didn't arrive until later when Pagosa Country was in the ironclad grip of a severe winter.

What a shock Pagosa must have been for Dodge's recruits. Just days earlier, they had been exposed to the much milder winter weather of the southern states. In Pagosa Springs at Camp Lewis, Dodge found his men assigned to tents pitched in neat rows along, and very near, the San Juan River. The tent site was the flat behind today's courthouse, perhaps the coldest place in the county.

In those days, recruits were sent directly to the outfit in which they served. There were no boot camps. Recruits received basic training directly from their assigned outfit. And so Dodge's job was to train his troops in snowbound Pagosa Springs.

Needless to say, there were not supplies or services in Pagosa Springs to support more than one hundred troops. Nevertheless, orders arrived from Fort Garland directing Hartz to purchase on the open market, "such amounts of corn and hay as you may find needed for use at your cantonment."

Contracts were let with T.D. Burns of Tierra Amarilla for 75 tons of hay at $20 a ton delivered at Animas City or $45 a ton delivered at Pagosa Springs. Post trader William S. Peabody was also directed to furnish one hundred tons of hay, one hundred thousand pounds of corn, fresh beef on the block, and quantities of seasoned lumber and shingles.

The nearest supply points were Tierra Amarilla located about 70 or 80 miles to the south, and Animas City, more than 100 miles west. Connecting those points with Pagosa Springs were frontier roads, scarcely more than wagon tracks. Only teams and wagons were available for hauling loads. Today either TA or Animas City (Durango) is only about an hour distant over paved highways. In 1878, that distance amounted to a two-day trip, more if the weather was bad.

Needless to say, the acquisition of supplies for Camp Lewis was disastrous. More next week on the establishment of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs.



Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture





































Weekend snow may chase holiday sun

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Turkey day might be a bit breezy, but should come and go relatively snow-free.

The weekend, however, may bring a fresh blanket of white to Pagosa Country.

According to the latest forecasts provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, light breezes and mostly-sunny skies today should continue into Thursday, with the chance for winds to increase to around 30 miles per hour by Thursday afternoon.

The chance of snow both days is listed at 20 percent. Highs each day should top out in the mid-40s; lows should fall into the teens.

Friday calls for partly-cloudy skies, highs in the mid-40s and evening lows ranging from 10 to 15 degrees.

Scattered snow showers are expected to move into the region by Saturday morning. Highs are forecast in the upper 30s to low 40s, while lows should drop to around 10 degrees.

Sunday calls for a continued chance for moderate snowfall, highs in the upper 30s to low 40s and lows in the teens.

Monday's forecast suggests mostly-cloudy skies, a nominal chance for scattered snow showers, highs in the 40s and lows in the teens.

According to readings provided by Toby Karlquist, a weather observer residing northwest of town, the average high temperature recorded last week was 45 degrees. The average low was 26.

Moisture totals for the week amounted to just over six-tenths of an inch.

River flow readings and snowpack totals for the Upper San Juan Basin were unavailable at press The Web Site contains material which is protected by international Copyright and trademark laws. No material may be copied, reproduced, republished, broadcast or distributed in any way or decompiled, except that you may download one copy of the Materials on any single computer for your personal, non-commercial home use only, provided you keep intact all copyright and other proprietary notices. On-line publication, Copyright 2004, The Pagosa Springs SUN. Web page design, Copyright 2004, The Pagosa Springs SUN, Inc.