January 13, 2005
Front Page

Mary Fisher on brink of closure; no risk to EMS

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Center will remain open for primary care service until February 15.

Maybe it'll be open until April 1. Maybe it'll be open past that as strictly an urgent care facility. Maybe it won't.

It all hinges on the money, including a property tax check expected sometime after February 10.

"We're giving notice now," Upper San Juan Health Service Board Chairman Pam Hopkins said Wednesday morning. "If we're out of money by Feb. 15 and we haven't come up with a model that shows us it's going to work, we can close down and not risk Emergency Medical Services."

In the meantime, committee members, board members and staff will continue to crunch numbers, work on a long-term plan and search out ways to improve a trickling revenue stream to allow time for restructuring the Mary Fisher Medical Center into a facility that improves local health care service, rather than competes with local physicians.

According to a resolution passed by the board at a special meeting Tuesday night, "This may require closure of the Mary Fisher Medical Center."

The special meeting was called after a review of financial projections for the first quarter of 2005 showed the district continuing to operate carrying a deficit.

Already, the district has dipped $20,000 deep into a second $50,000 line of credit offered by Citizens Bank in order to cover payroll. It has also made a promise to make a best-effort attempt to pay back a $40,000 grant from the Dr. Mary Fisher Foundation used to pay off a line of credit from 2004.

And that's all the bank is offering. Not the $200,000 the board requested at its last meeting. Not without a clear plan for paying it back at least.

"They want to help the district out," Bob Goodman, who is a member of both the district board and the Citizens Bank board, said, "but sometimes lending money doesn't help."

Currently, board member Jim Pruitt estimated, the medical center is losing between $30,000 and $40,000 a month. By shutting it down until a clear plan of action can be determined, he said, the district could save that money while still collecting on charges already made.

Only that's not the only issue.

Contracts with the two family physicians staffing the clinic extend through March 31. Both include three months worth of severance pay if terminated early. Other employees at the clinic must be given notice. And there's nighttime emergency coverage. And impacts on EMS if calls or trips to Mercy Medical Center increase due to closures.

On the revenue side, Medicaid billings which account for somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 percent of the clinic's customers, have stopped because of contract negotiations with a new outsource billing company. Of 339 patients recorded in December, only 129 have been billed, business manager Allen Hughes said.

Accounts receivable remain at around $800,000 because of a switch in billing companies made in September. Accountants estimate about $300,000 of that is collectable. The district still owes an estimated $113,000 in overdue bills - a number that's growing month by month. Actual cash on hand, actual money the board can expect in the bank or has to work with over the next three months is still a number eluding them all.

After about two hours of discussion, Pruitt made a motion to "continue the Mary Fisher Medical Center until March 31 contingent on a review of the cash flow analysis and achievement of break-even status" by Feb. 15.

The motion was approved 4-2.

Board Member Jerry Valade, one of the dissenters, said it was still unclear whether the district could even make it that far.

"What happens then?" he asked. "How do we make payroll? If we don't have the money and we can't make payroll what are we going to do then?"

According to a financial model tracking 2004 property tax returns, the district should receive a sizable check in mid-February. If trends remain the same, it should allow the district to squeak by. However, the exact amount of that check won't be known until after Feb. 10.

Meanwhile, the long-term plan hinges on a feasibility study to start at the end of the month, finding staff for maintaining any future services at the medical center and, of course, financial models.

Sheldon Weisgrau, a consultant with Rural Health Consultants, is expected to arrive in the district Jan. 31 to research the idea of turning the medical center into a Critical Access Hospital - allowing for a focus on emergent care.

The study is required before any medical center can apply for such a status and is being funded through a grant. A final report will take an estimated eight to 10 weeks to draft.

In a final motion before moving into executive session, the board agreed that through the upcoming study, public comment and committee review, they would move forward with a plan to "restructure the Mary Fisher Medical Center into an accredited community medical facility." What shape that will take will be determined over the next few months - and possibly years.

The board comes together again Jan. 18, 7 p.m., in the board room at Fire Station 1 off North Pagosa Boulevard for its regular monthly meeting.

  

Condos, damaged, workshop falls to fire

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

With all the recent rain and snow, fire danger seems like a distant concern. Unfortunately, as charred boards on two local structures prove, it's a terrible reality.

Firefighters fought cold and, in one case, blizzard conditions, to respond to fires that ate through most of a block of condominiums on Talisman Drive and a workshop off Mockingbird Place.

Ashes from a woodstove stored in a cardboard box started a fire that severely damaged two Westwind condominiums Saturday.

Fire Chief Warren Grams said 22 firefighters and six pieces of equipment were used to squelch the blaze in two side-by-side units. The fire spread up a back wall into the second story and attic. Three condos had to be evacuated.

The call came in about midnight, Grams said. When firefighters arrived on scene, flames had already moved into a shared wall. Interior teams fought the blaze in both units. At one point, parts of the ceiling were removed to reach flames.

Grams said, although the fire was contained in the rear of the structures, a bathroom in each unit and a utility room were destroyed. Both units sustained serious smoke and water damage.

"The occupants will be able to save some of their personal effects, but a lot of things are blackened by the smoke," he said. Two nearby units also sustained smoke damage.

Firefighters cleared the scene at 3 a.m., but a spot fire brought them back an hour later. They finally returned to quarters about 6 a.m. Sunday.

Ashes improperly disposed of or improperly stored have caused a number of structure fires like this one over the last few years, Grams said. He cautioned people to always store ashes in a metal container until they are completely extinguished.

Tuesday night, firefighters were called out of their beds into the snow again. This time, it was 11:25 p.m. and a workshop was on fire on Mockingbird Place off North Pagosa Boulevard.

"The first firefighter and engine arrived at 11:35 p.m.," Grams said. "The building was fully involved and collapsed four or five minutes later."

Volunteers were additionally hampered by a "blinding snowstorm," preventing anyone from going more than 15 miles per hour on snowpacked roads. Twenty firefighters and six vehicles eventually assisted.

Grams said the two-story workshop with office space on the top floor was a complete loss. Wednesday morning it was still smouldering, hampering any investigation into the cause of the fire.

 

Vision called 'A plan for the people'

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

The vision is on the table. Now is the time for public action.

Tonight, from 6-8 p.m., the community is invited to the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard to comment on a proposed downtown master plan.

This is a draft plan for the downtown core stretching from the high school to Lewis Street and from the junction of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 to the elementary school. It attempts to address, among other things, traffic concerns, commercial development, continued improvement of parks and rivers, concepts for beautifying entry and exit points in town, parking and pedestrian movements.

It's a plan prepared by a group of government representatives and private business owners to help focus future growth. A plan that remains a working document. A plan that will be turned over to the town following the meeting.

"It's a plan for the people," Mayor Ross Aragon said. "Thursday is the next opportunity for them to come in and be heard. It is imperative we get public comments so that we can make changes where needed and move forward."

Angela Atkinson, executive director of the Community Vision Council, the group that funded the plan, said the meeting will open with brief introductions and a 15 minute general comment period.

From there, smaller groups will be formed to help focus discussion on five different aspects of the plan: commercial corridor/traffic/parking; open space/parks; architectural design/entryways; neighborhood/residential and schools/arts/cultural. People will be allowed to rotate once. Each session is planned to last about 30 minutes.

"By doing breakout sessions we thought we would get more accomplished and be more focused with the discussion," Atkinson said, adding that the goal of this meeting is to begin to grasp the range of public comment and concern.

"We anticipate a number of meetings devoted to the plan," she said.

The hearing will close with reports from each of the five groups and the formal presentation of the master plan to the Town of Pagosa Springs for consideration and possible future action.

Mark Garcia, town manager, agreed structure and scope of future public hearings will depend on the comments received Thursday. At the bare minimum, prior to any formal action by the town, the plan will have to be presented in open public meetings to both the town planning commission and the town council.

Thursday night, all comments will be recorded and notecards will be available. Atkinson encouraged people to organize their thoughts ahead of time and to bring written comments when possible.

Drawings of the draft downtown master plan are available for review at Town Hall and online at www.communityvision council.org. DVD's of the first public hearing on the downtown plan, conducted in November, are also available at Town Hall.

Anyone unable to attend tonight's meeting may send comments to:

- Community Vision Council, P.O. Box 3997, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; or info@communityvision council.org

- Town of Pagosa Springs, P.O. Box 1859, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147; or townadmin@centurytel.net

All comments must be submitted by Jan. 31.

 

 Inside The Sun

 

IHM vision meeting set tonight

The future of existing Immaculate Heart of Mary church structures on Lewis Street will be the topic of a parish vision meeting 6 p.m. today in Parish Hall.

Father Carlos A. Alvarez will open the meeting with information concerning the current goals for accepting historical designation for the church and how this process interacts with the Diocese of Pueblo and the five-year plan for IHM Parish as a whole.

Any and all ideas from the parish and community are welcomed and encouraged.

After opening comments, smaller groups will be formed and moderated to facilitate the gathering of ideas and concerns on how to obtain the historical status and exactly what this means to the local parish.

There are a number of important issues to be discussed during this meeting including parking, restrooms, structural stability, financing and growth to name a few.

Catholics and non-Catholics alike who have an interest in preserving the church structure for the future are encouraged to attend or drop off written comments at the Parish Center, 462 Lewis St.

 

New commissioners seated; Lynch retains chair

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

A new era in Archuleta County government has begun.

At 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Ronnie Zaday and Robin Schiro officially joined Mamie Lynch on the county board of commissioners after being sworn in by District Court Judge Greg Lyman.

Schiro replaces Bill Downey as commissioner representative from District 1, while Zaday takes the District 2 commissioner's seat formerly held by Alden Ecker.

The courthouse proceedings marked only the second time in state history a local governing body comprised entirely of women has been seated.

In 1960, the town of Hooper in Alamosa County became the first Colorado municipality to feature an all-female board, including the mayor, clerk/treasurer and all town board members.

After the ceremony, Lynch congratulated her new fellow board members and indicated she looks forward to forging "a professional, working relationship" with each.

Zaday and Schiro expressed similar optimism, as well as gratitude for the chance to serve the residents of the county, an opportunity that came at 1 p.m., when the new board convened for its first meeting of the year.

The commissioners' first order of business was to nominate a board chair. Lynch was the unanimous choice, and will to continue to serve as such for 2005. Zaday will serve as vice chair.

Second on the agenda was a motion to adjourn to executive session with legal counsel "for the purposes of receiving legal advice on specific legal questions."

After reconvening into open session roughly an hour later, the board conducted the following business.

Board meeting times

The board restructured its meeting schedule slightly for this year; regular meetings will continue be held the first and third Tuesdays of each month in the courthouse meeting room, but will not begin at 9 a.m.

Instead, the board will meet at 1 p.m., with special meeting dates and times to be considered as necessary.

On a related note, the board will not meet Jan. 18, but has scheduled a special meeting for Jan. 25, 1 p.m.

Official meeting agendas will be posted outside the courthouse meeting room, outside the county treasurer's office and on the county Web site at www.archuletacounty.org.

Public meetings

Public meetings scheduled within the next two weeks include:

- Consideration of Jaycox Gravel Pit conditional use permit application - Friday, Jan. 21, 7 p.m. in the courthouse meeting room.

- Discussion of landfill fees and Chromo transfer station closure - Tuesday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. in the courthouse meeting room.

Work sessions

Upcoming work sessions scheduled this week include:

- Discussion of future land use codes with personnel from county planning and road and bridge departments - Wednesday, Jan. 26, 1:30 p.m. in the courthouse meeting room;

- Discussion of merit raise implementation policy with department heads and elected officials - Wednesday, Jan. 26, 10 a.m. in the courthouse meeting room;

- Work session with county emergency management staff - Wednesday, Jan. 26, 3:30 p.m. in the courthouse meeting room;

- Discussion of appointments to the airport advisory committee - Thursday, Jan. 27, 10 a.m. in the courthouse meeting room;

- Work session with Pagosa Fire Protection District personnel - Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1:30 p.m. in the courthouse meeting room.

Other business

In other business this week, the board:

- announced Bill Steele, county administrator, is on medical leave until further notice; Kathy Holthus will serve as interim county administrator in Steele's absence;

- approved a resolution designating depositories for county funds;

- authorized the signing of county warrants;

- approved commissioner appointments to various committees and boards, including the appointment of Zaday to the San Juan Water Conservancy District board of directors;

- appointed the county administrator as this year's budget officer;

- approved an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Pagosa Springs regarding Law Enforcement Assistance Funding grants;

- approved appropriation of Job Access Reverse Commute grant funds for 2006;

- at the request of Upper San Juan Health Service District, approved sponsorship of a Southwest Regional Emergency Medical and Trauma Advisory Council funding agreement.

PAWS sets 2005 capital investment, connection fees

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Fee schedules were the main order of business this week for directors of the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District.

Adopted Tuesday night was the 2005 schedule for district capital investment and inclusion fees, as well as charges for water and wastewater connections.

"The fees are in line with the district financial plan adopted by the board two years ago," explained Carrie Campbell, district general manager.

While fees have held steady and even decreased in the past, typically, said Campbell, the fees will reflect an inflation factor of 3 percent over the previous year.

"And that is generally the case again, this year," Campbell concluded.

The following is a breakdown of major elements listed in this year's district fee structure. (No changes were made to the district's current rate structure for water and wastewater service.)

Capital investment fees

With regard to the capital investment fee for water, residential customers will be required to pay 97 cents per square foot (based upon square footage listed in county-issued building permits) in 2005; last year's mark was 94 cents per square foot.

Commercial customers will be charged $1,940 per equivalent unit, up from the $1,880 rate charged last year.

This year's capital investment fee for wastewater stands at $1.46 per square foot for residential customers (up from $1.42), while commercial establishments will be charged $2,920 per equivalent unit (up from $2,840).

Inclusion fees

While the 2005 application fee inclusion into the district for water or wastewater service holds at $600, actual inclusion fees for water and wastewater are up from last year's figures.

The inclusion fee for water stands at $3,333, up from 2004's price tag of $3,198, while the corresponding fee for wastewater is now $2,483, up from the previous mark of $1,770.

Connection costs

Costs for single-family connections to water meters (only) this year are set at $825 for a 5/8" by 3/4" meter.

Single-family cost for water and wastewater connection is $1,065, which includes a 5/8" by 3/4" water meter and a 4" wastewater tap.

Customer survey

At the request of board member Windsor Chacey, staff agreed to begin development of a customer satisfaction survey.

The survey is tentatively scheduled for distribution in late February, and will be included in customer billing statements.

Look for updates on the survey in future editions of The SUN.

Lake levels

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

- Lake Hatcher - nine inches below spillway;

- Stevens Reservoir - 100 percent full and spilling

- Lake Pagosa - six inches below spillway;

- Lake Forest - eight inches below spillway;

- Village Lake - four inches below spillway.

For updates and more information on district operations, visit the district Web site at www.pawsd.org.

 

Junior high honor roll paced by 27 perfect marks

Nineteen seventh-graders and eight eighth-graders lead the Pagosa Springs Junior High School Honor Roll for the second quarter.

Seventh-graders with perfect 4.0 scholastic achievement in the list released Friday by Chris Hinger, principal, included:

Julia Adams, Riley Aiello, Jacob Anderson, Gary August, Seth Blackley, Jessica Blum, Chistopher Bradford, Ashley Brooks, Megan Bryant, Casey Crow, Taylor Cunningham.

Also, Victoria Espinosa, Emily Greer, Kala Matzdorf, Katarina Medici, Amanda Oertel, Sierra Shepard, Josie Snow and Wesley Vandercook.

Eighth graders recording perfect marks were Anna Ball, Joseph DuCharme, Rachel Jensen, Zel Johnston, Stephanie Lowe, Jennifer Mueller, Julia Nell and Gabrielle Winter.

At the same time, 41 seventh-graders and 49 eighth-graders were named to the A-B honor roll with no single grade lower than a B.

Seventh graders so listed include Bridgett Brule, Michael Flihan, Michael Heraty, Paul Hoffman, Kara Hollenbeck, Amber Lark, Haley Malesic, Rebekah Riedberger, Sarah Sanna.

Also, Nicola Shaw, Ashley Taylor, Denise Bauer, Jessie Bir, Jordin Frey. Kiaya Humphrey, Tamra Leavenworth, Waylon Lucero, Sierra Olachea.

Also, Sarah Smith, Katherine Sturm, Mary Brinton, Jonathan Hudson, Beth Lucero, Douglas Rapp, Ryan Stahl, Carlee Tamburelli, Amie Webb-Shearston.

Also, Preston Dale, Michael Gallegos, Joshua Jones, Casey Meekins, Nahtanha Sell, Jayla Shenefield, Shevi Tunnell-Hunt, Magaly Bejarano, Edgar Torres.

Also, Jordan Caler, Richard Goebel, Kale Hanavan, Samara Hernandez and Taylor Shaffer.

Eighth-graders on the A-B list were Dylan Burkesmith, Jacob Faber, Eric Freudenberger, Aniceta Gallegos, Sackett Ross, Bailee Ruthardt, Blake Bahn, Alex Baum.

Also, Jordan Boudreaux, Dylan Caves, Zane Gholson, Kelsey Hanavan, Jaclyn Harms, Ryan Hujus, Jessica Martinez, Raesha Ray, Clark Riedberger, Leah Silver.

Also, Nathan Trowbridge, Jackson Walsh, Kyle Aragon, Kyle Brookens, Allison Hart, Jacob Haynes, John Jewell, Alexa Midgley, Kyle Monks, Andrew Portnell.

Also, Betsy Schur, Kade Skoglund, Bonnie Hester, Audrey Legg, Casey Griffin, Samantha Hurlburt, Ashley Iverson, Jennifer Low, Thomas Patane, Gregory Rapp.

Also, Myron Voorhis, Cherese Caler, Benjamin Gallegos, Teale Kitson, Bruno Mayne, Shasta McMurry and Caleb Pringle.

 

Task force recommends vision for school district

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A school district/Community Vision Council task force has recommended the district commit to moving the junior high and intermediate schools and the district administrative offices from their downtown location.

At the same time, the panel recommended Tuesday that the board of education of Archuleta School District 50 Joint "diligently pursue" securing the town's maintenance yard property off 5th Street and adjacent to the high school parking lot.

That site would then be utilized as a new location for the planned bus garage and maintenance building for the school district. An earlier planned use site south of the high school has been found inadequate.

The action came less than 48 hours before the conceptual master plan for downtown Pagosa Springs is to go before the public 6-8 p.m. today in the community center.

The resolution was presented by Lisa Scott, signed by herself and district maintenance supervisor Steve Walston as committee members, and later, supported by Superintendent Duane Noggle, also a member of the panel.

Explaining the path leading to their resolution, Scott said three meetings were held and discussion of multiple alternate possibilities was "sometimes hot and heavy."

She said the panel examined each of the four school buildings in the district and evaluated their pluses and minuses.

For study purposes, she said, the high school was seen as "adequate, new, meeting the demands and basically not part of the study plans."

The elementary school, was rated "adequate for the near term" but the panel said alternative options should be considered at a later time.

The report noted the main concern - bus garage and service - and severe traffic flow limitations, would be addressed with relocation of the maintenance facility. It was also noted the structure has some fire code violations which need to be addressed.

The intermediate school - the original structure on the downtown campus - was found to have inadequate bus and parent drop and pickup; hampered access to Town Park playing fields for physical education classes and team sports, requiring students to cross U.S. 160; inadequate recess, playground and open areas; inability to enforce closed campus because of location within town limits on a major highway boundary; and difficulty to upgrade and modernize (especially plumbing and electrical).

At the same time, the panel cited the low operating cost for the building with geothermal heat and the fact it is structurally sound and well-maintained. In fact, the final recommendation reference the building is that it "should be preserved as an historic site."

The junior high school structure is plagued by poor roof conditions, and has fire code violations, the panel reported. But they conceded it does have some desirable assets - science rooms/labs, two gymnasiums, etc.

The resolution was accepted by the board as indicative of the feeling of the panel majority, noting there was at least one dissenter who was not present when the final report was drafted.

Scott said the resolution was approved by the committee Jan. 5. She said some potential new sites for schools were examined, including district-owned property in the Vista subdivision, but no recommendations on site selection were made.

That, she said, should be the duty of a school board long-range planning committee. Nor, she said, were there any decisions reference financing for new school facilities.

She called the report "a conceptual plan developed by a great group with good attendance and with great dialogue regarding all aspects of long-range goals based on anticipated population increases as a result of inevitable development."

In answer to a question from Mike Haynes, board president, Scott said the town council has not yet adopted the master plan outlined last week, "but will do so before the end of the first quarter."

"It will change from a concept to a master plan," she said. "Within 18 months," she said, "it should be one of several components of a 15- to 20-year move into the future."

Noggle told the board the initial reaction of panel members was "very contentious" but in the end, "by last week, most felt if the town is to grow, the downtown area must be targeted and the current facilities are not adequate for expansion to serve a growing school population. It would be difficult to handle additional enrollment at the intermediate school, and slightly easier, but with a less secure structure, at the junior high."

He told the board cost of new facilities is beyond the capability of school district taxpayers. "The town and county," he said, "need to enact impact fees to realize the plans."

He said, "I do not believe the school district taxpayers should carry the full burden of land acquisition and construction costs," noting many live outside the main areas targeted for growth.

"On the whole, however," he said, "I support the recommendation forwarded tonight."

In answer to another board question, Scott said the earlier proposal for a united campus for all school facilities "was just one idea thrown out for examination. We were not there to decide 'yes' or 'no' but to generate discussion."

Haynes expressed concern that at all the meetings he has attended the participants were, by and large, the same ones every time.

"I think we need a lot of other people to comment to have a real barometer of community feeling before we commit fully to moving everything," he concluded.

 

Restructured women's support group meeting; children's program available

The Archuleta County Victim's Assistance Program has announced the Women's Support Group has been restructured and will be meeting on a new day and at a new time.

Now called Women In Support of Each other (WISE), the newest addition to the program is a children's group.

The group will meet at the same time and be led by a teacher trained in the dynamics of children who witness violence. Children 3-13 are welcome to participate while mothers are in WISE.

Women in Support of Each other is for those who have experienced some type of gender violent crime or childhood abuse. The group will meet 5:30-7 p.m. the second and fourth Thursdays of each month. Refreshments are provided for both groups.

There is no charge for either group because they are supported by grants through the Archuleta County Victim's Assistance Program.

All women in the county who have experienced some form of gender violent crime are invited to attend and participate - and bring their children for the youth group.

WISE is designed to provide support, education and skill building concerning issues related to sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, stalking, harassment and other such gender violent crime. There is no requirement that the incident has been reported. In fact, the abuse may have occurred at any time in the woman's life. The group provides local support for women who may not be able to access other services in a safe setting where they can explore and learn skills for coping with their experience as victims.

Participants will learn about the dynamics of domestic violence, patterns of abuse, how to maintain safe boundaries, relationship and communication skills. They will be asked to increase their level of self awareness and subsequently reduce their risk of re-victimization. The group is not designed as therapy, but is focused on education and skill building.

The children's group meets in a room next to where the WISE group is in session. Children will participate in both structured and unstructured play activities designed to encourage expression of feelings and appropriate behaviors.

Activities will be age-appropriate and provide the opportunity for interaction between children. A light, nutritious snack will be provided.

There is no requirement for regular attendance, however, group participants have found that by coming frequently they are able to learn new skills and manage difficult relationship issues better.

The WISE group is facilitated by Sarah "Sam" Conti, a licensed professional counselor who has led the group for over 10 years and has extensive training working with victims of abuse, crime and violence.

Conti is an Approved Domestic Violence Treatment Provider and has training and experience working with women who have experienced such trauma in their lives.

The children's group is facilitated by Debra Ewing, a licensed special education teacher currently with Southern Ute Academy. She, too, has extensive training and experience working with children who have special needs and challenges in their lives. She is especially qualified to assess developmental issues and social/emotional needs in children.

For more information about WISE, call Conti at 731-2114 and leave your name and number for a return call. For more information about the children's group, call Ewing at 731-9110.

 

School district prepares new snow day, delay policy

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

A snow day called Monday by administration of Archuleta School District 50 Joint was based on available data concerning uncleared roads and a feeling of potential danger to students.

That was part of an explanation delivered to the public Tuesday by Superintendent Duane Noggle.

He told the board he and Dolly Martin, transportation supervisor, made the decision after conferring with state, county and town officials on snow-plowing efforts throughout the district-operated bus routes.

There were several problems emanating from the decision.

Key was the fact no one was available at the radio station before 6 a.m. to get the message out to the public and the first bus always leaves at 5:45 a.m.

In some instances, bus drivers were already out before they knew a snow day had been called. In other instances, parents who were not advised, delivered children to schools or to school bus stops.

As a result of the confusion arising Monday, the district board of education adopted, on Noggle's recommendation, a new "delayed start" schedule designating two-hour class time delays on severe snow days.

"Monday's decision was a 'good call,'" Noggle said. "But a delayed schedule plan will make such actions easier."

He said district personnel in future will have a decision ready by 4 a.m. should existing and forecast weather conditions dictate.

"It is a huge job to try to anticipate heavy snow compounded by freezing rain and forecasts of hazardous conditions," he said. "We would much rather err on the side of safety than have students injured."

Noting there was nothing in existing school policy allowing for delayed schedules, he said they should be utilized "when it is too dangerous to travel or weather conditions are to severe to have children waiting outside."

Citing normally improving conditions after daylight, he said the two-hour delay, in most cases, will be adequate. "But that doesn't mean there will never be another snow day." For example, he said, "as late as 4 p.m. today (Tuesday) some roads in Lake Hatcher area still were impassable".

When the delayed schedule is enacted, he said, it is the administration's recommendation that parents send students on buses, not transport them themselves.

"Studies have proved," he said, "that school buses are much safer than private automobiles and our drivers are professionals, trained for all operation in all conditions."

Such actions would also ease traffic congestion, he said, because buses would be started after rush hour and crews would have more time to make roads passable.

Under the delayed start, no breakfast would be served in the schools but after-school activities would go on as scheduled, unless later decisions are made.

The delayed start would have classes begin at 9:50 a.m. at the high school, 9:55 at the junior high, 10 a.m. at the intermediate school and 10:10 a.m. at the elementary school.

Mike Haynes, board president, endorsed the delayed start proposal but added, "we need to find a better way to get the word out to all residents involved, parents and school personnel alike."

The board, without formal vote, advised the administration to go ahead with the delayed start and get something into written form for inclusion in school policy.

  

Rotary opens tsunami relief fund; new law OKs 2004 deductions

The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club is doing its part to help in the relief efforts for the Tsunami Victims.

An account has been set up at Citizens Bank in Pagosa Springs to accept donations.

Jann Pitcher, president of Pagosa Springs Rotary Club said, "When you think of how fortunate we are to live here in this beautiful area and how devastated that beautiful region of the world is today, it makes my heart ache. Rotary International is all over the world helping those in need. Won't you donate to the relief fund today?"

The Internal Revenue Service has alerted taxpayers who itemize deductions that they may claim on their 2004 tax return charitable donations made this month for relief of the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami.

A new law enacted Jan. 7 allows these donations to be deducted as if they were made on Dec. 31, 2004.

"There are no extra forms to fill out or any additional burdens for taxpayers," said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. "As long as you send your check by the end of the month, the donation will be treated just like it was still 2004."

The new law only allows for cash contributions made specifically for the relief of victims in areas affected by the Dec. 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean. The new law gives taxpayers the option of deducting the contributions on either their 2004 or 2005 returns, but not both.

The IRS advises taxpayers to be sure their contributions go to qualified charities and notate in the memo field of checks they send that it is a contribution specifically to help tsunami victims.

 

 

Open forum Jan. 18 will examine 'Crime, A Community Concern'

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

It's the law.

But many - if not most - victims of crime do not know they have important rights that may influence restitution due them, or the sentence imposed on the perpetrator.

In fact, unless you have experience with the criminal justice system because you were charged with a serious crime, odds are you don't know how the system works.

That could change Tuesday, Jan. 18. At the initiative of Archuleta County Judge Jim Denvir , a session titled "Crime is a Community Concern" will bring together a group of experts from the Sixth Judicial District to explain how the system works in an 8:30 a.m.-noon forum in the commissioners' meeting room in the county courthouse.

"We have two goals," Judge Denvir said. "First, to provide information on the criminal justice system that everyone needs to know; and second, to open discussion on future volunteer participation to make the system work better."

This session is open to the public and there is no obligation to volunteer for future participation in court support programs, Denvir said.

In addition to the judge, presenters and discussion panelists will include District Attorney Craig Westberg; Carl Smith, Pagosa Springs assistant police chief; Chad McInnis, supervision parole officer; Sherry Dyer, outgoing Victims Assistance coordinator for the judicial district and Jane Foy, incoming coordinator; Carol Little, assistant victim's assistance coordinator; and Liz Wantusiak, assistant director of the Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program.

Why the interest in volunteers?

Where volunteers have been gradually integrated into the system, Denvir said, data shows a dramatic drop in the number of repeat offenders and, long term, a much lower crime rate.

"It's time for us to talk about involving the community in the fight against crime," Judge Denvir said, "because of the increase in drug-related crime here - but also because cuts in state funding are squeezing all budgets."

Steve Brittain, court administrator for the Sixth Judicial District, analyses the impact of funding cuts and says the court system is functioning at 87 percent of demonstrable need, based on case load. That results, he said, in a loss of 4.5 full-time-equivalent clerks, 1.5 full-time-equivalent probation officers and one clerical position.

"Join us Jan. 18," invited Judge Denvir. "Let's take a look at the problems and see what we can do."

 

 Outdoors

Comment period on state park draft plan coming to end

The final phase in developing Colorado State Parks Five Year Strategic Plan, 2005-2009, is coming to a close, with comments about the plan due from the public by Friday, Jan. 21. The draft strategic plan is available online at www.parks. state.co.us.

"We encourage anyone who uses Colorado State Parks or who has an interest in the future of public lands in Colorado to take a look at this important document. Many people worked extremely hard putting this together, but it is vital for the public give their input and make sure the plan incorporates all customers and all potential visitors," said Colorado State Parks Director Lyle Laverty.

Seven goals were developed in the draft strategic plan that were based on local and national recreation research, employee feedback, and public comment. The strategic plan goals include:

- sustainable outdoor recreation and education;

- natural resource stewardship in and around park lands;

- human resources;

- financial stability;

- customer service and marketing;

- partnerships;

- planning.

This document will serve as a blueprint for the overall direction, priority setting and policy analysis for state parks in the next five years. Those without Internet access can obtain a copy for review by visiting Navajo State Park or by calling (303) 866-3437.

All comments must be received by Jan. 21, 2005.

 

Avalanche training course set

A Level 1 avalanche course will be held 6-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 at Pagosa Springs Community Center and Wolf Creek Pass.

The event is cosponsored by Switchback Mountain Gear and Wolf Creek Backcountry.

The course provides an excellent opportunity to learn or update the skills and knowledge central to traveling in avalanche terrain.

Participants will practice route finding and decision making in avalanche territory, interpreting and using avalanche bulletins, planning and preparation for a winter backcountry tour in the mountains, companion avalanche rescue, and consider factors contributing to avalanche release.

The course is viewed as an ideal first effort for those new to travel in avalanche terrain and an excellent review or upgrade for anyone who has some knowledge and desires a "tune-up".

Participants will spend approximately six hours in classroom instruction Friday night and Saturday morning, and 12 hours Sunday in the mountains.

Students must have the ability to travel in the backcountry on skis or snowshoes. Cost for the course is $195.

To enroll, visit Switchback, 456 Pagosa St., or call 264-2225.

  

Snowmobile registration mandatory

With falling snow comes winter recreation and a reminder that it is necessary to register your snowmobile for use on Public Lands.

The San Juan Mountains Association (SJMA) offers Colorado state-regulated snowmobile registrations for $20.25 at the San Juan Public Lands Center (forest service and Bureau of Land Management Office).

The office is at 15 Burnett Court in the Durango Tech Center, a half mile west of Camino Del Rio on U.S. 160, then north into the Tech Center Drive.

All Colorado residents and nonresidents must register their snowmobiles for use on Public Lands in Colorado. Registrations are valid through Sept. 30, 2005.

The San Juan Public Lands Center also provides information, maps and publications for winter recreation opportunities on Public Lands in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah.

For more information, call SJMA at 247-4874.

  

Youth shooting club sets Jan. 23 intro session

The Pagosa Pathfinders Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) shooting club will host an introductory meeting Jan. 23 for youth 8-18 and their parents.

Anyone interested in participating in the 2005 YHEC events and joining club is welcome.

The meeting will be 2:30 p.m. in the Liberty Theatre.

For more information, call 264-4717.

  

Endangered wildlife protection grant bid cycle is open

Projects aimed at conserving Colorado's threatened, endangered, and declining wildlife species are the focus of a new round of funding under a competitive grants program administered by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The Division is now accepting proposals for the 2005 funding cycle of the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Grant Program. The competitive grant program, which is funded through the federal State Wildlife Grant Program, is open to projects from across the state that support wildlife conservation efforts.

Submitted projects should focus on species and habitat conservation, particularly for threatened, endangered or declining wildlife species. The DOW has set aside $200,000 for the conservation grants, with the goal of making the funds available for projects starting this summer. The deadline for 2005 grant applications is Feb. 15.

"Our wildlife conservation efforts hinge on the valuable support we receive from many organizations, both large and small, throughout Colorado," said Jim Guthrie, the DOW's financial initiative program manager. "This grant program has helped us build new initiatives, expand resources dedicated to our state's wildlife, and meet high-priority goals set in the DOW's strategic plan."

Local governments, land trusts, private conservation groups, and agricultural organizations are among those who can apply for the funds. Qualifying projects include those focused on species conservation, and education projects closely tied to a species conservation effort. A $50,000 cap has been set for any single project.

Guthrie said the intent of the grants is to fund several projects around the state, not just a single initiative such as a large conservation easement acquisition. While funds are assured for the current round of applications, successful completion of projects should not depend on the future availability of program funding, Guthrie added.

"We expect the selected projects will draw in additional financial support and volunteer help, and will help move some good ideas from the drawing board to reality," he said.

Eight projects received support through 2004 grants, including habitat improvements on open space lands in Boulder and Broomfield, shortgrass prairie habitat work in Bent County on the Eastern Plains, wildlife surveys near the town of Crestone in the San Luis Valley, and the fabrication of small structures that will reduce bird drownings in livestock water tanks. Funding for individual projects ranged from $8,000 to $50,000.

Projects submitted for funding this year should be consistent with at least one of the following four high-priority goals of the DOW's Strategic Plan:

- habitat to support broadest sustainable wildlife populations;

- conservation partnerships with private landowners;

- protect and enhance species at risk of becoming threatened or endangered;

- implement recovery plans.

Guthrie said projects that do not fall under the high-priority achievements categories, but are consistent with other Strategic Plan goals, will be considered. The DOW's 2002-2007 Strategic Plan is available at www.wildlife.state.co.us.

Funding applications for 2005 allocations must be e-mailed or postmarked by Feb. 15, and submitted to Jim Guthrie at the Colorado Division of Wildlife Headquarters, 6060 Broadway, Denver, CO 80216, or e-mailed to jim. guthrie @state.co.us.

A review panel made up of DOW personnel and outside experts will meet in early March to rank submitted proposals. On March 15, senior DOW staff will review their recommendations and approve a final project list. Selected applicants will be notified by March 25.

To obtain more information about the Colorado Wildlife Conservation Grant Program and to access specific details on eligibility and how to apply for grants, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/habitatfunding_programs/cwcg.asp.

  

High Country Reflections

A big cat imposes reality check on the neighborhood

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

It was late afternoon, New Year's Eve, and as I slowly backed out of my office parking lot, a friend and neighbor, Chuck Nyre, suddenly appeared on foot and trotted toward the Jeep. He obviously wanted to tell me something, so I quickly stopped and rolled down my window.

"Hey, there was a lion kill on our road this morning," he exclaimed, the excitement in his expression mounting with every word.

Somewhat bemused, I simply asked, "A lion kill?"

"Yea, it was just off the road by Mary's house. I think it got a coyote, or a dog, or something, but you can see in the snow where it dragged its kill across the road and up the hill a ways. I was on my way to work when I discovered it."

"You're sure it was a mountain lion though, huh?" I queried, as if still unclear.

"Oh, it's unmistakable. If you drive by and take a look on your way home, you'll see the tracks, but you'd better hurry. It'll be dark soon, and I think it's supposed to snow a few inches tonight. By morning, everything will probably be covered."

We talked a minute more, and as Chuck's story gradually sunk in, I considered the possibility that another neighbor's pet might have fallen prey to the fearsome feline. Naturally, my first thought was for the safety of the locals and their animals, but an underlying concern for the welfare of the cat also swelled within me, as I contemplated the likely response to perceived predator threats by a community doubtless fearful of another attack.

However, in view of our neighborhood and its handful of residents, it occurred to me that half are seasonal, and the rest have dogs, none of which roam freely, or are left unattended. So, as I headed for home, my trepidation toward what the lion might have taken turned to grave interest in where the fracas actually ensued.

A few minutes from the house my cell phone rang, and Jackie asked if I'd be there soon. She too, had left the office just a moment before me, but my delayed arrival left her thinking I'd developed problems of some sort. After assuring her that things were fine, I asked that she be in the driveway when I pull in, so I could quickly show her something before dark.

For the past two winters "home" has been a quaint country cottage at the north end of a primitive gravel road off the main highway south of town. At the opposite end of the road, roughly half-a-mile away, Chuck and his wife, Bonnie, live on a couple of acres set neatly between a small crystalline stream and the base of a steep, heavily-forested slope. A few other residences, including Mary's, are scattered along either side of the lane, but the surrounding countryside remains relatively wild and untouched. For exercise, Jackie and I walk the route to Chuck and Bonnie's, and back, on a fairly regular basis.

I rounded the circular drive near the front of the house with only 20 minutes to spare. A thick layer of clouds darkened the sky, and the evening air felt heavy with moisture as a Pacific storm steadily approached from the west. But amid swirling breezes, with the temperature falling and daylight quickly fading, there Jackie stood, as requested, at the end of the walk near the top of the drive.

The jaunt to Mary's took little more than a minute but, en route, Jackie's curiosity compelled her to ask where we were going. Of course, Chuck had described the setting and what to look for, he'd even suggested, "You can't miss it." But, without knowing the exact nature of what we'd find, or how gruesome the signs might be, I thought it best to prepare her for what would almost certainly be the harsh reality of nature.

"Just as I was leaving the office, Chuck came by and told me that a mountain lion had killed something out here this morning," I explained. "He said the tracks were obvious, and it was all pretty interesting, so I thought we'd take a look before it snows."

"Wow, did he see it happen?" she asked.

"No, he discovered the aftermath around 7:30 on his way to work. It might've even happened before daybreak."

About then, we passed Mary's house where the unambiguous scene suddenly materialized. I parked the Jeep in the center of the snow-packed road, and, between a heavily-wooded hillside to the west and a small open meadow to the east, we stepped out to view the evidence.

There in the opening, not 30 feet away, the point of contact was readily obvious. The disturbance and discoloration of the snow, the long meandering series of canine prints leading up to it, and the deep erratic depressions in the snow leading away were all plainly apparent. A closer look revealed two distinct sets of large, clearly-visible cat tracks, the well-spaced ones showing its approach from the cover of the forested slope, the others straddling the depressions back in the direction of the hill.

We wandered around the site for several minutes, and under rapidly-fading light, I kept glancing in the direction of the forest. In that particular area the pitch is quite steep for 30 yards or so, but then it levels off temporarily, before again rising sharply, several hundred feet. No doubt, the lion had dragged its quarry up to the level area, and under the cover of thick brush, ate its fill. But with darkening skies and the impending storm, not to mention a lingering air of danger, Jackie and I returned home.

New Year's Day began with partly cloudy skies, mild temperatures, and calm southerly breezes. Only a fraction-of-an-inch of snow had fallen overnight, so Jackie and I decided to walk to the far end of the road and back before breakfast. Of course, as we did, we happened upon the kill site again, and as Chuck predicted, the new snow was just enough to obscure the tracks and effectively conceal all clues to the previous day's event.

But walking on, we eventually encountered Chuck and a couple of friends chatting near the end of the lane. They had apparently just returned from the level area above the kill site, and upon our approach, confirmed that a large coyote had succumbed to the big cat's prowess.

Certainly, the knowledge that none of our neighborhood pets had been lost was reassuring, but admittedly, I was equally relieved by the fact that an utterly natural drama had presumably unfolded, and at least for now, another magnificent and essential predator might be spared the angry wrath of an encroaching human society.

Of course, we in the neighborhood are looking over our shoulders a bit more nowadays, especially at night.

 

Letters
Fort Lewis history

Dear Editor:

I am an avid reader of The Pagosa Springs SUN, and especially the historical articles by John Motter. However the article on Fort Lewis: From Army camp in Pagosa to college in Durango has several crucial errors.

Fort Lewis first started offering college courses in the early twenties and Archie Toner was one of those students (1922); not much later his sister Lilly Mae Toner, Cornelia Ford and Ray Macht were also students. However, Fort Lewis was only offering college courses at a two-year level. It wasn't until l952 that Fort Lewis offered Associate of Arts degrees.

Fort Lewis College became an independent college in l948 as a Junior College under the Colorado Board of Agriculture. It remained such until l962 when legislative action granted it authority to offer degrees as a four-year institution. The first graduates to receive degrees other than Associate of Arts came in December, l963. However the first graduating class to receive upper level degrees from Fort Lewis was in May of l964 with 57 graduates (including those receiving degrees in December, l963).

In l952, under the recommendations of Charles Reid, and actions by Dr. Charles Dale Rea and the Colorado Board of Agriculture, Fort Lewis was authorized to award graduates from the Junior College an Associate of Arts degree - the first in the college history. Previously they offered college level courses, but to earn full credit for a degree students had to transfer to an upper level college for awarding of degrees.

The actions to move Fort Lewis College to Durango was started by Dr. Rea in February l953. Fred Kroeger was very instrumental in helping Dr. Rea with these actions, also some students were involved in helping with research and administrative tasks (I happened to be one of those students). These actions became a reality in l956.

Fort Lewis gained full independence from the Colorado Board of Agriculture on July 1, 2002 with its own board of trustees.

Franklin W. Anderson

Fort Lewis Alumni

Executive Board

 

What will he say?

Dear Editor:

January is the month when we are able to look back at the year just ended and forward to the months ahead, setting goals and making plans. And so, especially following the national election and changes in Congress, it is fitting that the president will soon outline for us what we can look for in near future.

Looking back to last year, there was a lot of controversy over two incidents involving the placement of religious monuments in public places: namely The Ten Commandments in a Wyoming park and an Alabama courthouse.

While initially opposed to this, I could change my mind if the law would be permanently etched first on a wall in one very special location, the Oval Office, where the quasi-Christian neo-conservative leaders of our nation might be influenced by them and learn that Oval Office immorality involves activities other than sex (Freud might disagree!).

Beginning at the bottom of Moses' list are two commandments which begin, "You shall not covet...". In the past when democratic regimes in Latin America have sought to control the use of their countries' resources for the benefit of their own citizens, rather than American corporations, the U.S. government has become involved in their removal as well as the "termination" of fairly elected presidents. In my lifetime, this has occurred in Guatemala, Equador, Chile and Panama. Two years ago this administration was "indirectly" involved in a failed coup in Venezuela, the nation which supplies most of our imported oil. This year can we expect a requiem mass for Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president?

"You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." In the 21st century who is not our neighbor? After what has happened following our leaders' false statements, refuted by our own government, regarding biological and other weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, what will they tell us concerning Iran and Venezuela and their oil? Why has America adamantly refused to participate with EU countries in negotiations with nuclear Iran? Will our president tell us again, without proof, that we must deal with an imaginary threat to all mankind? And to this end, what of their promises that they won't reinstate the military draft?

"You shall not kill." What religion countenances a shock-and-awe tactic against innocent civilians in a nation which isn't attacking anyone? A rough estimate places 100,000 non-combatant men, women and children killed, and thanks to technology, without an American seeing or feeling anything. Heaven only knows the number of wounded or maimed. Do we pray for them, too, in our churches and in our own quiet times? Do we dare believe that sending money to help tsunami victims cancels out this guilt?

Until we recognize the blood on our own hands and meaningfully repent, I believe that a just God should only scorn the audacious American president who will, no doubt, cynically tack onto the end of his address an appeal for Him to bless this nation.

Henry R. Buslepp

 

On duty at sea

Dear Editor:

My name is Derek Bell, and I am currently stationed onboard the USS Henry M. Jackson (SSBN 730) which is homeported in Bangor, Wash.

I would just like to thank you, and everyone in the community for your continued support with all of the messages that you publish for those of us stationed away from out families.

It really does make a difference to know that we, the U.S. military, are thought about during the course of our duties. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Yeoman Second Class (SS) Derek A. Bell, United States Navy, USS Henry. M. Jackson (SSBN 730)

 

No plows

Dear Editor:

Having lived here for 19 years and never experiencing serious problems with snow removal on my road, it is disturbing that we haven't seen a plow since the middle of last week.

Trying to drive through 10 inches of slush is not fun. Others are totally snowbound.

Maybe it's time for some big- time changes at R&B?

Sincerely,

Pat Curtis

 

Librarian retires

Dear Editor:

Sometimes words cannot fully express certain feelings. This is just the case today.

Lenore Bright has worked tirelessly making our public library what it is today. She will retire this week. Anyone who has lived here a while realizes where the library once was housed in two small rooms at the old Town Hall and where it is now.

Without Lenore's guidance and dedication and perseverance, our town would not have the library it has today. After 24 years of library service to the people of Archuleta County, 21 of those as director of the library, she will retire.

Over those years, Lenore kindled her love of books in our children when she read to them, many of whom have grown and have families of their own. She has fought for open inquiry and freedom of expression; she has stood for everything good and just and wise that must be available in a public library. Lenore's effort, vision and organizational skills brought the wish and need of a real library to a reality. And, I might add, she has made our little library one of the best in the state.

I speak on behalf of the library board when I say these words of appreciation: Lenore has made a world of difference to our community. She will be missed but loved by all - for the lives she's touched.

Thank you, Lenore.

The board of directors

Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library

Jack Ellis

 

Thanks plowers

Dear Editor:

This past week we have had a lot of snow. The snow is a blessing for the Pagosa area.

It has also meant a lot of shoveling and plowing. I feel we should give a word of thanks to the snow plow drivers of Archuleta County, Pagosa Springs and CDOT.

Even though our driveways get plowed in on occasion, if it was not for their commitment to early hours and overtime work we would be in real trouble.

So, thanks to the snowplowers.

Raymond P. Finney

 

Oak Brush update

Dear Editor:

Pagosans for Public Land wishes to thank all of those who responded to the proposed USFS land exchange of Oak Brush Hill, regardless of your opinion. The initial report is that the response from the public was significant.

As an update, Pagosans for Public Land submitted to the Forest Service petitions signed by almost 400 people opposing the exchange. Additionally, anecdotal comments suggest that possibly as many as 200 plus individuals submitted written letters and comments during the scoping period.

These numbers are very significant given the size of the community of Pagosa Springs and hopefully will send a very clear message to the Forest Service that this exchange is not in the best interest of the public. After all, it is us, the public that "own" Oak Brush Hill, and the overwhelming public position seems to be to keep "our" property public.

Again, thank you all for getting involved. Pagosans for Public Land will continue our efforts to preserve Oak Brush Hill for you and your families to use long into the future. Should you like to become involved in the effort, please e-mail whytrade@aol.com and let us know.

Clyde Grimm

 

Social Security

Dear Editor:

President Bush is endangering my retirement and the retirements of millions of Americans by taking the first step in his plan to dismantle Social Security.

Recently, White House sources revealed their plan to cut promised benefits to retirees by nearly a third. And these cuts are guaranteed - whether you opt in to the Bush plan or not.

For those entering the workforce today, that means more than a 25-percent cut in the retirement benefits they're counting on; for their children, it guarantees a 46 percent cut.

The Bush White House gives the kiss of death to any and all programs, businesses, people, organizations that they decide to "reform." From education, to Medicare, to the war in Iraq, they've bungled everything they've touched. Don't let them do it to our Social Security.

Go travel to a third world country and see what life is like without Social Security, and perhaps you'll understand why ours is so important.

Sincerely,

Nathan Morris

Durango

 

Wrong crossword

Dear Editor:

Why do I run into the Chamber breathlessly on Thursdays to grab a "Sun"? Because I might improve my wayward thinking?

You never know if an issue will contain a priceless rumination from one or all of our big three local right wing/religious(Christian)/"ultra intelligent" mega mouths!

Actually, the real reason for excitement on Thursday is the promise of vocabulary improvement. For example "knees-woody projections." My circle of word-loving friends anxiously await the answer. What a week to do this to us. We're way too sharp to be tricked by you running the same crossword for two weeks in a row. The "Sun's" Crossword should be Job One ... forget the Letters to the Editor.

Wynn Wasinger

Editor's note: Were we to forget the letters to the editor, we would miss meaty missives such as yours. While you are correct about our mistake with the crossword puzzle (please accept our apology) you are wrong about the "right wing ...mega mouths." There are five of them.

 

Community News

The evolution of the artist

By Erin K. Quirk

PREVIEW Columnist

How many people have ever looked at a piece of abstract art and made the following remark:

"My 7-year-old could draw that."

Pagosa artist Shaun Martin has an interesting perspective on why people say that. He also has some ideas on what abstract art is, why it's compelling and why he changed his whole style to do it.

Martin, a 10-year Pagosa resident, is a painter, a musician and a creative writer. He is proud to be a full-time working artist because for him there is nothing else. Martin is passionate about music of many kinds from African drumming to Pearl Jam. As a guitarist, he will just follow chord progressions wherever they lead him. As a writer, Martin plumbs the depths of human struggle.

But, he'll tell you, as a painter he was stifled by his own style which was made up of landscapes and still-lifes. Martin painted from photographs, but as he felt the urge to move a tree or change a shadow, he couldn't. For him, the photos were a crutch. In his other mediums, Martin said he was good at getting out of his own way and following his creativity, but not in his painting.

"I needed to totally get rifty, to put the photos away and go with it," he said. "It's scary. I'm totally in an area I don't know."

About a year and a half ago, Martin started tossing acrylic on canvas and paper. After it dried he'd get after some of them with a drill bit or a screwdriver or a brush and then more acrylic. What has come out of the process are abstract pieces, some earthy and stirring, some musical and bold. But most importantly, they're honest, and Martin is pleased.

"I'd rather have an expression of what's inside than a technique," he said about those recent pieces, some of which he exhibited last month at Steamworks Brewery in Durango.

Martin doesn't claim to be an art critic or necessarily qualified to explain the term "abstract," but there is a clear love for the style in his voice and his pieces.

"It's fun to take a regular object and manipulate it," he said.

"What you have then is just the essence of something. You sort of get it and you sort of don't."

Martin believes that sometimes people don't appreciate abstract art because they are always looking for order, or they have to know absolutely what it is - hence the seven-year-old remark. On the flip side he loves it when someone says, "I don't know why I like that, I just like it." The latter is, to him, what all art should be about, regardless if it is abstract or realism or music or poetry.

One piece called "Shaking a Rattle at the Sky" shows an abstract hand holding a rattle with a moon nearby. The piece was named after a line in a Paul Simon song and Martin thinks it represents some sort of celebration. Others might see stairs in the piece and think of a mother ascending them. But therein lies the beauty, the content and the resulting emotion is really up to the viewer.

Another piece called "Tribal Swing" was inspired by some drumming perhaps from a Talking Heads song. The dominant color is purple and Martin says he hinted at a trumpet in the scene. But someone else might not see a trumpet at all.

In most of these pieces there's either a feeling of boisterous motion or of deep stillness.

In another piece entitled "Seated," the figure is still and almost shrouded, yet without a hint of melancholy because of the bright yellow sky and what might be candles behind it.

Higher Grounds Coffee Shop, just up the road from Fairfield, is currently home to six other of Martin's works. What's surprising about these pieces is that they look as though they came from a different artist. While still abstract, they are brighter, bolder, and more geometric and studied. Three of them focus on jazz musicians and are clever compliments to each other as the band members are on different canvases.

"When I look at them, they look like music," Martin said. "They look like they should have a soundtrack."

Martin attributes the style difference to his continuing evolution. He said he intended the pieces to be simplistic, but because the style was new to him he kept working on them. The pieces changed and so did he.

"I'm still experimenting, and getting better results," he said.

One of the major influences in Martin's life and art was a seminar he attended 1993 and has revisited since. The seminar focuses on emotional, spiritual, physical and financial growth through examining our programming as human beings. The seminar helps its students explore areas in their lives critical to personal and professional success.

"We all want the same stuff," Martin said citing love, acceptance, friendship and success as examples. He said he came away from the seminar fully changed and added that the program helped him appreciate that everyone has their burdens - a topic that has surfaced in his writing.

"It changed me as a person and I made a decision to change as an artist," he said. "I'm much less concerned if people get it or not. In the past I've been way too concerned with how (my work) is received."

For now Martin is mostly concerned with traveling back to the place where he created his last favorite work. While the outcome is never the same, getting to the point where something new and valuable is created, is. It takes hard work and time and practice but Martin doesn't want it any other way.

"I just have these huge ideas," he said. "I think, let's just get some of it out."

  

Wide-ranging topic array set for Life-Long Learning series at Fort Lewis College

By Chris Aaland

Special to The PREVIEW

From endangered languages to political cartoons and historic postcards, from China's impact on the global economy to U.S. military history and intervention strategy, and from collaborative health care decision-making to stem cell research and emerging diseases, this semester's Life-Long Learning Series will cover a wide-ranging array of topics designed to appeal to diverse local audience interests.

And, once again, some of our region's most noted experts on these and other topics will present the free Thursday evening lectures at Fort Lewis College, including: Gen. Ronald Fogleman, United States Air Force (retired); microbiologist John Ninnemann, dean of the School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Fort Lewis College; prize-winning political cartoonist Judith Reynolds; and senior cyber entomologist Patrick Riley.

"The Fort Lewis College Life-Long Learning Series is truly an intellectual gem," said President Brad Bartel. "The series provides exciting and knowledgeable speakers on important topics. Since most of the speakers are either local citizens or faculty from Fort Lewis College, it gives the public an appreciation of the talent existing right here in Durango."

The majority of lectures will be held in 130 Noble Hall, with the exception of Tom MacCluskey's "Cool Jazz and West Coast Cool Jazz in the 1950s," which will be held in Roshong Recital Hall Jan. 20, and Reynolds' "Speak Muse: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Art of Political Cartooning," which will be held in the Center of Southwest Studies Lyceum on Feb. 10.

All lectures will begin at 7 p.m. with the exception of Reynolds' political cartooning discussion, which begins at 7:30.

A different lecture will be held each Thursday evening from Jan. 20 through April 21. No lecture will be held March 10, which falls during Fort Lewis College's spring break. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Fort Lewis College offers the Life-Long Learning Series on subjects of interest to residents of the Four Corners region. Now in its ninth semester, the series of 13 free lectures and panel discussions is coordinated by the Professional Associates of Fort Lewis College.

Comprised of recognized leaders in the arts, business, education, health and the sciences, this group seeks to improve the quality of life for area residents by using Fort Lewis resources to interact with the community and in turn benefit the students of the college.

The complete Winter 2005 Life-Long Learning Series includes:

- Jan. 20 - Tom MacCluskey, "Cool Jazz and West Coast Cool Jazz in the 1950s"

- Jan. 27 - Panel discussion by Joe Donovan, Deborah Walker, Kim Martin and Ali A. Sabeti of "The Impact of China's Development on the Global Economy"

- Feb. 3 - Tekla Miller and John Lyons, "Reforming the Prison System: Who Really Goes to Prison and Why?"

- Feb. 10 - Judith Reynolds, "Speak Muse: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Art of Political Cartooning"

- Feb. 17 - Joseph C. Gambone, "How to Talk with Your Doctor - the Art of Collaborative Decision-Making"

- Feb. 24 - Chuck Yoos, "The Junior Trimester Abroad: Cultural Assimilation as an Aerobic Activity"

- March 3 - Glenn Rodey, "Stem Cell Research: The Colliding of Science, Ethics, Beliefs and Politics"

- March 17 - Patrick Riley, "Having Fun with Google: An Interactive Demonstration of How to Search the Internet"

- March 24 - John Ninnemann, "Emerging Diseases in a Changing World"

- March 31 - Andrew Gulliford, "San Juan Sampler: Selections from the Nina Heald Webber Southwest Colorado Collection"

- April 7 - Shaila Van Sickle, "Endangered Languages: Going, Going! Gone?"

- April 14 - General Ronald Fogleman, "Transformation of the U.S. Military: Past, Present and Future"

- April 21 - James Callard, "Continuity and Change: Intervention in Vietnam and Iraq"

For more information on the Life-Long Learning Series or the Professional Associates, contact David Eppich in the Fort Lewis College Office of External Affairs at 247-7400 or by e-mail at eppich_d@fortlewis.edu.

 

FLC art faculty exhibition set

By Rita Cordalis

Special to the PREVIEW

Recent works by the art faculty will be exhibited in the Fort Lewis College Art Gallery through Thursday, Jan. 27.

An artists' reception is scheduled from 5-7 p.m. Friday.

The Fort Lewis College Art Gallery is located in 100 Art Building, on campus southwest of the Community Concert Hall. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. each Monday-Friday. Admission to the gallery is free.

For more information, call 247-7167 or cordalis_r@fortlewis.edu.

 

Music faculty members

set piano, violin concert

By Chris Aaland

Special to The PREVIEW

Mikylah Myers McTeer and Lisa Campi, assistant professors of music, will perform works for violin and piano in the latest concert in the Alexander Murray Faculty Recital Series 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16 in Roshong Recital Hall in the Sage Hall building at Fort Lewis College.

The recital will begin with Myers McTeer performing Eugene Ysaye's "Sonata No. 2 in A minor, Op. 27, No. 2" for solo violin.

"The Belgian violinist Eugene Ysaye was one of the great virtuosos in music history, and was also my violin teacher's, violin teacher's, violin teacher!" exclaimed Myers McTeer. "He wrote fewer than 30 pieces in his lifetime, including six sonatas for solo violin, the second of which I will be performing.

"He dedicated each of the sonatas to different violin virtuosos," Myers McTeer explained. "The second sonata was dedicated to Jacques Thibaud, the exceedingly charming French violinist. Thibaud was apparently obsessed with the prelude of the J.S. Bach "E major partita No. 3," and would always use the music as a warm-up. Because of this, Ysaye's second sonata begins with a quote from the opening of the Bach partita, but then soon explodes into a fury of different notes.

"A different 'obsession' emerges within the movement, and permeates the entire work - a constant quoting of the "Dies Irae," or "Day of Wrath," an ancient Gregorian chant. Ysaye's sonata is incredibly virtuosic and beautiful."

Campi will join Myers McTeer on piano for the "Sonata for Violin and Piano in A major, op. 13" by Gabriel Faure.

"The Faure sonata was written by the French composer early in his career, when he was studying under another great composer, Camille Saint-Saens," said Myers McTeer. "The work is a sunny expression of beautiful melodies."

The duo will then tackle Bela Bartok's "Sonata No. 2 for Violin and Piano."

"Bartok's second sonata was composed in 1922, and, along with his first sonata for violin and piano composed the year prior, is considered to be one of Bartok's most complex compositions," said Myers McTeer. "Within the sonata one can hear the influences from Schonberg, Stravinsky and Debussy, while Bartok also integrates his famous use of Hungarian folk music."

The recital concludes with "Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, op. 28," written by Saint-Saens.

"Saint-Saens wrote his 'Introduction' and 'Rondo Capriccioso' for the famous Spanish violin virtuoso Pablo de Sarasate," said Myers McTeer. "The work is written in a Spanish style and is full of splashy violin pyrotechnics."

Campi and Myers McTeer form two-thirds of the Red Shoe Trio, which will perform a Feb. 13 date as part of the Alexander Murray Faculty Recital Series. The trio (cellist and Associate Professor of Music Katherine Jetter Tischhauser is the third member) will also perform a regional tour this winter with dates in Albuquerque, Pagosa Springs, Del Norte and Grand Junction.

Campi teaches piano, theory and history at Fort Lewis, has performed throughout the country, and has given lecture recitals for such organizations as the National Music Teachers Association. She is also the founder and artistic director of the Four Corners Piano Competition.

Campi has played recitals for the Scotia Festival of Music in Nova Scotia, the Chautauqua Institute in New York, and has been featured on the radio throughout North America. She serves as conservatory faculty for the Music in the Mountains Festival and performs as keyboardist with the San Juan Symphony Orchestra.

Myers McTeer teaches violin, viola and chamber music at Fort Lewis and is concertmaster of the San Juan Symphony. She has performed internationally as a soloist, chamber musician and orchestral player in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.

An award-winning chamber musician, Myers McTeer was the violinist of the Moores Piano Trio. The ensemble was the silver prizewinner at the 2000 Carmel Chamber Music Competition and a finalist in the 2000 Coleman Chamber Ensemble Competition. The Moores Piano Trio was one of five groups selected nationally to perform at the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival in Michigan.

General admission tickets for the Alexander Murray Faculty Recital Series cost $15 for adults and $5 for students and children. Tickets can be purchased at the Community Concert Hall box office (open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays), online at www.durango concerts.com, or by calling 247-7657.

For more information, contact Myers McTeer at 970-247-7439 or mmcteer_m@fortlewis.edu.

 

Hot Strings concert at FLC will benefit tsunami relief

By Dan Park

Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Hot Strings, a band that literally grew up in Pagosa Strings, will be the headline act at the Fort Lewis Concert Hall 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21.

Concert hall manager Gary Pennington was instrumental in promoting a Hot Strings concert. His vision of the community concert hall includes promoting community talent. The band announced this week it will send all proceeds from the concert to the tsunami relief efforts in Indonesia.

The Pagosa Springs branch of Wells Fargo, and the Pagosa branch of Bank of Colorado have each donated $200 to be sent along with the Hot Strings proceeds. The funds will be sent to UNICEF which is more focused on children's needs in the aftermath of the tsunami.

The concert is jointly sponsored by the FLC Concert Hall, and Fort Lewis student organization S.P.O.T. Ticket prices are $10 general admission, $8 FLC staff and $5 for FLC students.

It won't be the first time the band has played the venue; they opened for Allman Brothers alum Dickey Betts last fall, and they also competed there in the concert hall's own "Spotlight to Stardom."

The Hot Strings began their musical journey 10 years ago. The three original members were Carson Park, (fiddle) Jared Payne, (guitar), and Josiah Payne, (mandolin).

In April 2004 the band welcomed its newest member, bass player Lech Usinowicz. Shortly after his induction the band began "woodshedding" on music for their new CD "Uncharted," to be released in early summer 2005.

To date they have played such prestigious venues as Four Corners Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival and the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kan. Currently three of the members, (Jared, Josiah and Lech), are students at Fort Lewis College. Carson is finishing up his senior year at Pagosa Springs High School.

The concert at Fort Lewis will serve as a coming out party of sorts for this new configuration of the Hot Strings, and a look into the future of their music. The nearly all original material draws from bluegrass, jazz, blues, reggae, classical, and Newgrass music to form a very original sound.

The Hot Strings extend a warm invitation to the hometown crowd to come and share an evening of music in Durango, and to generate some much-needed funds to be sent to victims of the recent tsunami.

 

Learning efficiency seminar this weekend

A seminar presenting information based on God's design for learning will be given in Pagosa Springs Friday and Saturday by Tom Hunsberger, learning efficiency specialist.

This seminar will prepare individuals to assist learners to be better prepared for the learning process regardless of the learners' current academic situation.

Hunsberger has taught public school for 30 years with extended experience in special education.

There is no charge for this seminar, sponsored by Pagosa Area Christian Home Educators, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day at Community United Methodist Church.

For further information contact Margaret Soniat at 264-4807.

 

Teams being formed for 9Health Fair 2005

By Pauline Benetti

Special to The PREVIEW

The 26th annual 9Health Fair in Pagosa Springs is a way off yet; to be exact, it's not until the first Saturday morning in April - the second.

However, people are beginning to think and plan already, specifically, Sharee Grazda, site coordinator, and the Pagosa Springs 9Health Fair core team.

Sharee is looking for people interested in serving on the core team; her objective is to create a team with positions several people deep so the flow from year to year is smooth and continuity is assured. Anyone interested in working on one of the most worthwhile community projects in our county would find this team a good one to join.

A look at data from last year's fair gives some indication of the importance of the fair to the community. For example, 601 individuals (58 percent women) made an investment in their health by taking the blood chemistry analysis, perhaps the single most important offering; however, the list of additional offerings is very long - and will be elaborated in future articles. Total attendance was in excess of 601 since a good number of people come for one or more of the other offerings without the blood work.

In the area of heart health, specifically cholesterol, the data indicates that more people register in the high range than in the normal; 133 males and 216 females were high while 117 males and 135 females were within range. Triglycerides results were better; 69 men and 87 women were high, while 181 men and 264 women were within range. However, eight participants (four men and four women) were so high that they reached the Alert High classification.

The data for PSA testing in men reveals that three out of the 198 participants were high in the count that indicates a potential prostate problem. We have no way of knowing whether these high and high alert notifications came as new information or not. However, we can suspect that for some it was new and the knowledge enabled them to seek information and/or treatment to improve their health.

Interested in assisting in this community outreach? It's all done by volunteers wanting to help their families and neighbors to live long and prosper. Call Sharee Grazda at 731-0666 for more information.

 

Unitarians reschedule snowed-out annual meeting this Sunday

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service on Sunday, Jan. 16, led by Merilyn Moorhead, will be based on a sermon originally delivered by the Rev. Christine Robinson, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Albuquerque.

Entitled "Anyway," it will be presented here by Glenn Bergmann, who will also lead a discussion following the program. Also, the annual meeting of the Fellowship, cancelled last week due to the weather, will be held after this 10:30 a.m. service at 11:30 a.m.

The sermon's subject matter deals with how established UU principles relate to the new administration and its policies.

Rev. Robinson offers suggestions as to how Unitarian Universalists can use their beliefs and roots in the democratic process to move forward in the new year with continued purpose and renewed focus.

The service and children's program, followed by the annual meeting, will be held in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, in 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.

All are welcome to both the program and the meeting, but only members of record may vote.

  

Local retiree wins United Way hunting trip

By Kathi DeClark

Special to The PREVIEW

The winner of the 2005 Hunting Trip with Big Bones Outfitter is a local resident, Neil McDonald.

When Dennis Schutz of Big Bones Outfitting called and told him he had won the $7,000 trip, Neil said, "If I could have picked a Christmas gift, this would have been the perfect one."

He continued, "My older brother and I were in the Sports Emporium and he chided me into buying a ticket. I never win anything. He said 'Come on, it is for a good cause.' I would never be able to afford an exclusive hunt like this one. I am really looking forward to it."

Neil McDonald has lived in Pagosa Springs for five years. He and his brothers had hunted in Pagosa for 13 years prior to moving here.

When he retired in California, he decided to move to Pagosa to take it easy, hunt and fish. Now his dream has come true, thanks to United Way.

 

Inquiring Minds to trace the hymn 'Amazing Grace'

By DeAnna Hoyle

Special to the PREVIEW

A group of local citizens known as AIM, Archuleta Inquiring Minds, will begin the new year with another film and discussion Monday, Jan. 17.

Being that we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. that day, we hope the film will spur conversation among inquiring minds.

The hour-long film titled "Amazing Grace," hosted by Bill Moyers, is the selection for this month. It explores the history of the popular hymn "Amazing Grace," who wrote it and why. It promises to be informative and touching.

The movie is open to the public and will take place at Unit 15 in Greenbriar Plaza. The free showing begins at 7 p.m. with discussion and refreshments afterward.

Turn East on Greenbriar Drive off North Pagosa Boulevard near the fire station, then left into parking lot.

Archuleta Inquiring Minds is a group that formed before the recent elections and showed several independent films that were very well attended by locals.

The group has plans to meet monthly and all those interested are encouraged to participate in the planning of each month's events.

A freewill donation will be taken to help with cost of space rental and advertising cost. Come and join other inquiring minds, see a great film and begin 2005 with a parachute mind - one that works only when it's open.

 

Local Chatter

Loaves and fishes program off to good start

By Kate Terry

SUN Columnist

Loaves and Fishes got off to a good start last Thursday. Considering that this was the first time for this soup kitchen, Pagosa Springs' first, the turnout was pretty good. Probably some 60 people were served.

Remarks made included they loved it, there was good service, good food, a nice friendly atmosphere and good companionship. And this is what the sponsors were glad to hear, for this is their intent.

Loaves and Fishes doesn't have a sponsor per se - just a group of women interested in providing a free lunch every Thursday, 11:30-2 p.m. at the Parish Hall during the months of January, February and March. But individual churches and other organizations will host each kitchen session. The food donations have been great and City Market is to be highly thanked for providing all the meat and breads.

There is no charge for Loaves and Fishes, but if one wants to contribute to it - as far as a meal - then send the contribution to Wells Fargo Bank in charge of the Loaves and Fishes account.

The menu will change each week and all are welcome. And as one person said, "This was the first day and the second will be better and the third even better."

The menu Thursday included two kinds of soup, ham and cheese sandwiches, a salad and cookies. And of course something to drink.

One of the sponsors of Loaves and Fishes is in Paris, France, this week and she says that she will be bringing back some gourmet items for the next Loaves and Fishes.

Fun on the run

- Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a pair of curtains.

Well pull yourself together then.

- Doctor, Doctor, everyone keeps ignoring me.

Next please!

- Doctor, Doctor, I keep thinking there is two of me.

One at a time, please.

- Doctor, Doctor, some days I feel like a teepee and other days I feel like a wigwam.

You're too tense.

- Doctor, Doctor, I keep thinking I'm invisible.

Who said that?

- Doctor, Doctor, my little boy has just swallowed a roll of film.

Hmmmm, let's hope nothing develops.

- Doctor, Doctor, I can't get to sleep.

Sit on the edge of the bed and you'll soon drop off.

- Doctor, Doctor, I feel like a pack of cards.

I'll deal with you later.

- Doctor, Doctor, my son has swallowed my pen, what should I do?

Use a pencil until I get there.

 

Senior News

Reflexology and Dawnie's birthday provide memories

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

By Laura Bedard

SUN Columnist

We had a good gathering for Bodil's presentation on reflexology and naturopathy. She will be back next month to do a couple more talks. Keep reading the Senior News to discover the topics.

There were also a lot of goodies, hugs and flowers for Dawnie's birthday Jan. 7. She has cooked for the county for many years and has, of course, accumulated a lot of friends and fans. You can still wish Dawnie a great year when you next come in for lunch.

In spite of the weather in Pagosa Springs Jan. 6, we made it to Arboles to serve the noon meal. Archuleta Seniors, Inc. board member Jim Pearson, accompanied Musetta and sold several memberships while there. Jim also invited the folks to attend the board meeting Jan. 14 which will be held at the Silver Foxes Den in Pagosa Springs at 1 p.m. If you live in the Arboles area and are interested in representing your folks by serving on the board, please contact Musetta at 264-2167.

We all need to be "goofy" every once in a while; in January we'll do it on Friday the 14th by wearing the goofiest hat we can find. You can decorate one, create a new one or just wear one you think is dumb. A prize will be awarded to the Goofiest Hat winner.

Remember that we will be closed Jan. 17 for the holiday, but we will be back Tuesday. That's a good thing, as we will be going to Sky Ute Casino Tuesday.. You will be picked up by the Sky Ute bus at 1 p.m. and be returned here to the center at about 5:45 p.m. Sign up in the dining room.

We have a lot going on Jan. 19. First, the White Cane Society Support Group will meet at 11 a.m. This is for people who are visually challenged and might need vision aids or advice.

We will also have Doug Purcell here to tell us all about the elusive mountain lion who lives with us here in the San Juans. Meet Doug in the lounge at 1 p.m. and, if you "hasta" play canasta, join the group at 1 p.m. in the dining room.

Our free movie on the Jan. 21 is "Cocoon." It's a pleasant fantasy about old folks becoming young again and what they decide to do with this opportunity, It's at 1 p.m. in the lounge and popcorn is only 25 cents.

Plan ahead for February. We will be celebrating Mardi Gras Feb. 8. Last year we made masks and dressed up in bright colors and ate a king's cake to celebrate Fat Tuesday.

This is a big celebration in parts of the US, and in the middle of winter it's a good reason to party!

February is National Heart Month. About 1.25 million people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks every year, and about half of these occur in persons who are already known to have coronary heart disease. For men and women with CHD, the risk of a heart attack is five times higher than for people of the same age and sex who do not have CHD.

CHD is a type of heart disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries that feed the heart. When the coronary arteries become narrowed or clogged by fat and cholesterol deposits, not enough blood can get to the heart. Dietary and lifestyle changes can decrease your risk of developing CHD. For example, by lowering your cholesterol, you can reduce your risk of having a heart attack.

- From Colorado Department of Human Services

In an effort to aid tsunami victims you may make a monetary contribution right here in Pagosa Springs, at the Den. In a phone conversation with Lee Ann from the Red Cross she reported they will designate $400 million to the tsunami disaster in two phases - immediate relief and long term in five areas: food and safe water, health care and disease prevention, immediate family supplies, mental health counseling, and disaster preparedness and prevention measures.

I have confirmed that 100 percent of all contributions will go directly to this cause. What a difference we can make. Stop in between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to make your monetary contribution. Checks are made out to the American Red Cross. Further details regarding the relief efforts are available at the Den.

Events

Friday, Jan. 14 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Goofy Hat Day, noon; Archuleta Seniors, Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 17 - Center closed

Tuesday, Jan. 18 - Yoga in Motion, 10 a.m.; basic computer, 10:30 a.m.; massage and healing touch, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Sky Ute Casino trip, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Jan 19 - White Cane Society Support Group, 11 a.m.; mountain lions with Doug Purcell, 1 p.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 21 - Qi Gong, 10 a.m.; Free Movie Day, 1 p.m. "Cocoon."

Menu

Friday, Jan 14 - BBQ chicken, boiled potatoes, broccoli, whole wheat bread and pears.

Monday, Jan 17 - Center closed.

Tuesday, Jan. 18 - Hamburger, split pea soup, coleslaw and banana.

Wednesday, Jan. 19 - Chicken stew/vegetables, corn cobbettes, garden salad, plums and cornbread.

Friday, Jan. 21 - Pork chop suey, brown rice, cooked cabbage, banana pudding and cookie.

 

Chamber News

Snush mars roadways and Mardi Gras has new location

By Mary Jo Coulehan

Sun Columnist

OK Pagosa, how about that snush?

That's the combination of snow and slush that we have had this past week.

In any event, it is moisture and, boy, are we grateful. My neck and shoulders indicate that I was out shoveling a lot, but nowhere near the amount of time that the town and county employees were out trying to keep Pagosa moving. Thank you so much for your efforts.

Mardi Gras madness

I can tell you that Boudreaux and Thibodaux are none too happy about this weather. They done tol' me that they could have stayed in Louisiana for this rainy weather and, as for the snow, it sure does interfere with their fishin'!

But, they are stickin' around to help me plan this Mardi Gras function. As a matter of fact, Boudreaux was riding along U.S 160 the other day when this truck passed by with some pigs in it, and one of the pigs fell out. He stopped to pick up the pig and a state patrol officer drove by and stopped and said, "Boudreaux, what are you doing with that pig?" Boudreaux said that maybe he could catch up with the truck and give the man back his pig. The state trooper told Boudreaux that the man was long gone so why don't you take the pig to the Wildlife Park on U.S. 84. So Boudreaux left with the pig.

The next day the same state trooper saw Boudreaux on the highway with the pig and said "Didn't I tell you to take that pig to the Wildlife Park on U.S.84?" Boudreaux said, "Officer, I did. We had so much fun that I think we're going to go to Disneyland next!"

I hope Boudreaux and Thibodaux have more sense when it comes to helping me plan this Mardi Gras party.

I have given them their first challenge: I wanted to see if they could think on their feet, so I changed the venue where the Mardi Gras Ball is going to held. Due to some scheduling conflicts, the party is now being held at The Pagosa Lodge.

The Chamber has held the annual meeting at The Lodge for years, and we are pleased that they have space to accommodate our function. With a new chef at The Pagosa Lodge, and reports coming back so favorably on the food, we are really looking forward to a fabulous Cajun fare of chicken and sausage gumbo, fried catfish, crab cakes, spicy chicken strips, pralines, and more.

Don't forget we will also be having king cake and hidden in one of the pieces will be a specially marked tiny baby doll giving the recipient a free Chamber membership for one year.

There will also be a cash bar and beer and wine stations for your convenience. I am looking forward to seeing all the costumes and awarding a prize to the best male and female costumes.

Scott Allen of Mountain Snapshots will be present to take photos of everyone in their finery. What a great keepsake.

We will honor the Citizen of the Year, Volunteer of the Year, Pagosa Pride recipients, and give a special award.

We will say good-bye to our outgoing board members Sally Hovatter (our current president), Bob Eggleston and Don McKeehan. You will also have one last chance to vote for three new board members.

The Mardi Gras Ball/Chamber annual meeting will be held Saturday, Jan. 22. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. with the program section of our function starting around 7:30 p.m. If you would like to continue the evening festivities after the ball, Montezuma's Restaurant is offering all Chamber attendees a 20-percent discount on all bar drinks. Music by The Dutton Ditch Blues Band starts at 9 p.m.

Tickets are available at the Chamber for $25, in advance. If you wait until the day of the function, tickets will be $30. We can take credit card payment for advance tickets.

Mark this great evening of fun down on your calendars and start putting your costumes together.

If costumes are not really your thing, we will not make you wear one, but we will be giving out masks and beads at the door when you register.

If you know you will not be able to attend the Mardi Gras meeting, stop by the Chamber and vote for three of the six candidates up for election to the Chamber's board.

Candidates this year are Don McKeehan, Judy James, Robin Auld, Mike Branch, Joe Steele and Jody Cromwell. We thank them for submitting their names and for wanting to serve for a three-year term. There is only one vote per business, so make it count.

Here are some more events taking place the next couple of weeks.

Now that there is a ton of snow at Wolf Creek, don't forget the Martin Luther King Jr. race Sunday, Jan. 16, and Local Appreciation Day Jan. 19 with lift tickets for $22.

For more information on area events, check our Web site at www.pagosaspringschamber.com. You can check out upcoming dates as well as register your organization's functions online. We have had a very good response to this added service since its debut.

This is not really an event, but here is some newsworthy information regarding one of our members. Michael DeWinter and The Plaid Pony have moved out of the location in the Mountain Run Center to a temporary location. For a little while they will be at 10 Solomon Drive behind the Corner Store, in the old Loredana's Restaurant space. Their phone number of 731-5262 will remain the same throughout all the moving, even until they get to their permanent location in the Citizen's Bank Plaza. Good luck Michael with all the relocation. We'll let you know when the permanent home is ready.

Membership

With one new member and nine renewals we have lots to talk about.

This week we welcome Secretarial Solutions with Amber Anderson. Amber's secretarial services include producing business cards, newsletters, typing, phone services, video-DVD transfers, photo and video editing and creation, she is a notary and can really organize your office. For more information on how Secretarial Solutions can assist you and your business, please call her at 731-2363.

Joining us again this year are associate members Gary and Wanda King. If Wanda wasn't so busy with grandchildren, I would talk her into being a diplomat here at the Chamber. She would be a natural. Welcome back Gary and Wanda.

If the Dumpster wasn't in the way, I could look out my window every day and see our next renewal - Juan's Mountain Sports.

Mr. "I Sell Pagosa" Lee Riley joins us again this year.

A big welcome back to Bill Goddard at The Choke Cherry.

Keeping us safe and always there to help with education is Warren Grams and the Pagosa Fire Protection District. This organization is out and about doing business and new building inspections as well as fighting fires. For more information on fire prevention or related services, call 731-4191.

"Since 1900" Goodman's Department Store has occupied the corner of 4th and Pagosa streets. Bob Goodman renews as a chamber member.

Boudreaux visited our next renewal with his pig - The Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park. While Vimmie stays busy with the park, Dick is usually out with their second business, Lobo Outfitters, also located at the Wildlife Park.

And rounding out the renewals this week is another associate member, Lauren Huddleston.

 

Veteran's Corner

 

DD 214, in various forms, required for most benefits

Andy Fautheree

SUN Comumnist

I would venture to say at least half the veterans I see in the normal course of conducting Veterans Service Office business do not have their military separation papers, normally called a DD214 in its various forms. This is the form that is required to apply for nearly all VA benefits and claims.

The same form is often needed for VA survivor's benefits. Proof of service is the reason for this requirement. If the surviving spouse is applying for a VA benefit based on the deceased veteran's service connected disability benefit than the proof of military service is already a matter of record.

Proof of service

If it is the veteran himself applying for a VA benefit for the first time proof of military service is required. Once the proof is in the hands of the VA it becomes a permanent part of the veteran's record and does not need to be resubmitted.

VA benefits requiring proof of service can include applications for VA health care, Home Loan Guarantee Program, and Disability and Pension claims.

Simple application

If the veteran does not have a copy of his or her military discharge papers (DD 214) we can send off for a certified copy from the National (Military) Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, Mo. The form to use for this purpose is Standard Form 180 (SF180). Coincidently, this same form can be used to apply for replacement of all earned military decorations, since the DD214 usually confirms military duty, combat, unit citations and outstanding awards.

However, the application form is sent to a different location depending on the branch of service for the veteran. A surviving spouse or family member can also send for these records for a deceased veteran.

Assistance available

I have this form, along with all up-to-date VA forms, in this office and I will gladly assist in filling out the form. SF180 can also be found on the VA.Gov Web site, however you would still need to sign and physically mail the form in to the NPRC. They do not accept electronic signatures at this time.

Sometimes the records are not available. There was a fire in 1973 that destroyed many records at the NPRC. In this case the NPRC will send you a form requesting information on military unit and duty stations to possibly reconstruct the records from other sources. I also have those forms on hand.

Medical records

Military medical records are also available from the NPRC. However, if the veteran has filed a claim in recent years, military medical records are "on loan" to the VA and do not need to be supplied for additional claims benefits.

The VA prefers to obtain official military records themselves. That way they can substantiate the source. However, it is always a good idea to have those records yourself in case they are not able to obtain them on your behalf, which sometimes happens.

Battlefield records

In a recent case from this office it was found that battlefield medical records or other combat related medical records were not a part of the regular medical records. We had to send for these separately giving as much battlefield information, dates, field hospital locations as possible so they could be reconstructed. The records were ultimately obtained and became part of the VA claims record to substantiate the claim.

Plan ahead

Obtaining military records usually takes from one to six months or so. It is a good idea to plan ahead and obtain these records early if you plan to apply for any VA benefits.

Share-A-Ride

Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the "Share-A-Ride" (SAR) program. Help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction, to the same VA facility. Give me a call if you can provide transportation or need transportation. I will keep a calendar of who is going where to coordinate this important program.

Durango VA Clinic

The Durango VA Outpatient Clinic is at 400 S. Camino Del Rio, Suite G, Durango, CO 81301. Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

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, e-mail afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, Friday by appointment. Bring your DD Form 214 (discharge) for registration with the county, application for VA programs, and for filing in the VSO office.

 

Library News

Library director retiring

By Lenore Bright

SUN Comumnist

Last week I was startled to read that Dave Barry, the columnist, was announcing that he was retiring before someone said to him, "You're not as funny as you used to be."

He would have found that hard to take.

I know how he feels and so I am going to follow suit.

For health reasons I am retiring as library director. I took the job over 22 years ago, and it is time to pack it in.

Someone will be taking my place to keep you informed about issues. It will be an exciting year with the new building plans and new directorship, and I will be watching with great interest and fondness.

I want to thank all of the wonderful people who've helped make the library what it is today. What a jolly ride it has been. And finally, thanks to the staff at The SUN for giving us the opportunity to share the library news.

  

Arts Line

This is the weekend for 'Strictly pasta' class

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnist

Join Diane Bouma and Fran Jenkins 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday for "Strictly Pasta: The Art of Italian Cooking," at Bear Mountain Ranch.

Emphasis in this culinary class will be on pasta made by hand and machine with appropriate sauces. Six dishes will be prepared. There will be a tasting of Parmesan cheeses and appropriate wine, provided by Plaza Liquors.

Cost is $45 for PSAC members and $50 for nonmembers. Space is limited to 24 people, so make your reservation, as this class is almost sold out.

Reservations can be made by calling PSAC at 264-5020 or e-mail psac@centurytel.net. Or you may mail your reservation with payment to: PSAC, P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO, 81147.

Diane is a personal chef and certified culinary professional at Bootjack Ranch and formally worked at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif. Fran is a Certified Culinary Professional with the International Association of Culinary Professionals and has taught numerous cooking classes.

Class rescheduled

Due to a scheduling conflict Randall Davis has changed January's class previously scheduled Saturday until the following Saturday, Jan. 22.

If you have never attended one of his classes, it's a treat to see what you can produce in a day under his guidance.

This class is for those who think they can't even draw a stick man, as well as those who have been drawing for years. All you need to bring is a note pad, a couple of drawing pencils; preferably a mid-range No. 2 or No. 3 in a bold lead and in a hard lead, an attitude to enjoy the day, lunch and, of course, in my case, an eraser.

It's best to make a reservation through PSAC, 264-5020. Space allowing, walk-ins are welcome.

Photo Contest

There's something for everyone in the annual PSAC photo contest: cute kittens, a fun family photo or the grand landscape.

With a submission deadline of 5 p.m. Feb. 2. It's not too early to begin preparing your prints.

A generous list of categories ensures that you will have a photo to submit to this annual contest. Categories are: domestic animals, architecture, autumn scenic, general landscape, patterns/textures, sports, flora, people, up close, winter scenic, black and white, wild animals, sunrise/sunset, special techniques (any type of manipulation), open (any picture that doesn't fit other categories).

Dozens of local photographers participate each year, and any photo has a chance for a ribbon. It doesn't seem to matter if it's a simple matted print or a high-end framing job on a big enlargement. Judges tend to look at the overall impact of the photo.

Each exhibitor may submit a total of three photos, but no more than two in any single category. Contest rules and information are available at Moonlight Books and at Mountain Snapshots.

The annual photo contest is a highlight of Pagosa's art scene. And, the opening reception scheduled 5-7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5 has turned into quite a social event. Put the date on your calendar now.

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).

New honors

Congratulations to PSAC members Jeanine Malaney and Sabine Baeckmann-Elge.

Jeanine was recently accepted into her first juried exhibit, the Four Corners Commission at the Durango Arts Center; 77 artists submitted 157 pieces, from which 73 were chosen. The exhibit is running through the end of January. Her fabric art is 50-inches by 42-inches and titled "Mt. Wilson Beams on Alta Lake." She will be displaying at our arts center the month of June.

Sabine's design was one of 25 selected by the San Juan Mountains Association's "Pumas on Parade" project. She will reproduce the design on a life-size puma statue and the finished puma sculptures will be showcased in a parade and then displayed in prominent locations around the region (Pagosa Springs is on the list).

The project is designed to raise awareness for the region's wildlife.

Library seeks artists

The Pine River Library (Bayfield Library) welcomes artists of all ages to display their artwork there.

Painting, drawing, photography, fabric art, wall quilt, weaving, tapestry, jewelry, beadwork, sculpture, pottery, ceramics, woodwork, glass art, stained glass, metal art, and silversmith are welcome.

If you wish to display your artwork, call Chrissy Moiseve at 884-2222. She will be happy to fax you an art display request form, and will discuss any of their requirements or questions you may have.

They still have some display space available now. Therefore, any work received by Friday, will be displayed for the remainder of the month and all of February.

Works are replaced every two months. So artwork to be displayed the months of March and April must be received no later than Feb. 28. Artwork displayed may be available for sale, and while the library staff is not involved in the sale of artwork, they will refer queries about the purchase of artwork to the artist. There is no fee charged to artists.

This project encourages the artistic and cultural interest of the community by providing a showcase for local artists.

FLC workshops

Fort Lewis College office of Extended Studies is offering a bevy of classes this winter. Contact the Extended Studies office for more information at 247-7385 or e-mail extstudy@fortlewis.edu.

Below is a short list upcoming classes:

- "Marketing on the Cheap: How Small Businesses Cut Costs by Writing Their Own Promotions," Jan. 22, and Feb. 12.

- "Grant Writing," Jan. 22.

- "Expressive Writing," Jan. 25-March 15.

- "Fiction Writing," Jan. 25-March 15.

-"Writing Personal Essays," Feb. 7-March 14.

PSAC Calendar

All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft space in the Pagosa Springs Community Center, unless otherwise noted.

Jan. 15 - Art of Italian Cooking at Bear Mountain Ranch, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Jan. 22 - Drawing with Randall Davis at the community center, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $35 per student.

Jan. 25 - PSAC board of directors meeting at the community center, 5 p.m.

Feb. 5 - PSAC Photo Contest, opening at Moonlight Books, 5-7 p.m.

March 9-11- Intermediate watercolor workshop with Betty Slade, "Seasons in Poetry," community center 9 a.m-3 p.m., $120 per student

March 17-18 - Beginning oil painting, "Nuts and Bolts of Oil Painting," with Betty Slade, community center, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. $80 per student

April 14-15 - Oil painting, "Nuts and Bolts Two," with Betty Slade, critiquing work from March class and new paintings, $80 per student.

May 12-13 - Oil painting, "Nuts and Bolts and More," with Betty Slade, continuing work in progress and learning. More painting techniques and beginning new paintings, $80 per student.

June 23 - 2005 PSAC annual meeting.

July 24 - PSAC Home and Garden Tour.

PSAC supports all art activities in Pagosa. For inclusion in Arts line, send information to PSAC e-mail (psac@centurytel.net). We would love to hear from you regarding suggestions for Artsline. Events in surrounding areas will be included when deemed of interest to our readers.

 

Food for Thought

The moron stumbles, but meat loaf saves the day

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

I'm a moron.

I've noted this fact many times: My friends know it, as do regular readers of this column.

It bears repeating.

The characteristic is most obvious when I am forced to deal with practical problems.

Due to an ill-formed liberal arts education and time spent in the suffocating atmosphere of the academy, I know some rip- snorting words. I can hop around a discussion of Kant's categorical imperative like a meth-addled waterbug, regale you with anecdotes about ancient Greek thinkers (Pythagoras and beans, Diogenes and sun tanning, Arete and an ill-advised love for her son, Nietzsche perched in a tree). I can spew all sorts of rot about Schiele and Munch, Pollack and Rothko, (Schiele - precious, packing a juicy line; Munch, just too darned Norwegian). Want to hammer out a few points about Husserlian phenomenology or the French Symbolist poets? Need to know something about Suetonius, some juicy tidbits about the Caesars (Caligula did what?)?

I can oblige you, and make a heck of a show of it.

Inside the three-cocktail zone, it can be pretty entertaining.

But, ask me to program the thermostat on my furnace?

I'm an idiot.

Ask me why my truck refuses to start.

I'm a dolt.

Purchase a new computer and that snazzy iPod? Set them up, get them working?

You gotta be kiddin'.

I possess the practical skills of a chimpanzee.

Well, maybe not that advanced.

A chipmunk, perhaps.

A newborn chipmunk.

I dealt with all three of these distressing situations last week .

Thank goodness I have friends, otherwise I'd be sitting alone in a darkened room, drooling, whimpering, sucking my thumb, occasionally crying like a baby.

It started with the furnace. My pal Jerry recently installed a new furnace at the homestead and I requested a new thermostat. The other day, he left the thermo in a box asking me to look it over, tell him if it was what I needed.

I called Jerry and informed him the thermostat appeared to made of plastic and wire. He offered to come over, install the thermostat and show me how to program it.

Thank goodness he did. Had I followed my interpretation of the instructions (as far as I could tell, they were written in Serbo-Croatian) the ambient air temperature inside my house would have hovered near 110 degrees. Until the furnace blew up and burned the house to the ground.

Once Jerry demonstrated the process, it was obvious a small child could set the thermostat.

It was also obvious I am nowhere as bright as the average small child.

The point was reinforced when I got my iPod as a holiday gift.

My problem began when I couldn't figure out I needed to charge the batteries. I was ready to send the pod back to the manufacturer with a nasty note lambasting the exportation of jobs to mainland China, until my daughter pointed out the unit is an electrical device. Needs juice. Batteries.

I got the batteries charged, then my friend Shari had to show me how to load music in the machine.

Twice.

Though I wrote everything down the second time Shari took me through the drill, I can't seem to make the system work when I'm left on my own. I admit some of my difficulty is related to extraordinarily poor penmanship, but I'm trying to figure out how to talk Shari into coming over to my place to lend me a hand - as in, do it for me.

Until then, all I've got on my pod is "Party's Just Begun," by Nelly Furtado and a 45-second snippet of Mozart's "Concerto in G Major, K 313." That's entirely too much Nelly Furtado and nowhere near enough Mozart.

As I mentioned in a previous column, the acquisition of an iPod requires a new computer to access music sites and purchase material to load in the pod.

I did it; I bought a new iBook G4 with a 14-inch screen.

It's an attractive device. Sleek. Light.

I have no idea how it works. I can turn it on, but I can't make it do anything. I staggered around the operating system for a couple days with no success; it's called something like the "Max Super Cougar Mega Dock Seven." You push a key or move the wireless mouse and things start flashing on the screen, files dissolve and zip all over the place.

I have no idea what's going on, and every few minutes the computer gets agitated and warns me that, with one more move, everything will turn to cyber waste. I worked four hours trying to set up an e-mail account until the computer reminded me I needed to plug it into a phone line. Even then, all I got on the Net was a site for a T-shirt company in Portillo, Chile, and you can own only so many shirts with Che Guevara's image on them.

I can't prove it, but I swear the computer laughed at me when I tried to create a new word processing document. I know for sure, when I attempted to use the spreadsheet program, a voice from the computer told me I was about to erase the hard drive.

The computer has a Chinese accent.

I reveled in my small victories.

I learned to play a simple video game installed in the computer hard drive. Maybe I can work with the computer a week or two and grope my way to intuitive solutions. If not, I'll call my friend Terri and beg for help.

I figured out how to turn the iPod on and off and, at last, discovered where the earphones plug into the unit.

The air temp in the house seems to remain at a reasonable level. No explosions, no fires.

I was on track to reestablish a moderately positive self image.

Then, the truck.

Thursday begins as most of my days begin: I go out and start the truck to let it warm up while I eat breakfast. I drive downtown to the office. I park the truck.

That's all she wrote.

When I get in the truck at noon and turn the key nada. The thing makes noises, but nothing productive happens.

I solicit the help of the guys at work - they know something about trucks, engines, wheels, the like. Todd, Robert and Tom accompany me to the scene of the disaster.

With some clues, I am able to find the hood release.

I can't believe what's under that hood! Have you ever looked at the stuff located at the front of your car or truck? Amazing. It's almost like a machine of some sort.

The guys get into the engine compartment and start fiddling around. They take off a large round thing and tinker around with a smaller round thing and have me try to start the truck again.

No go.

"Ah, who knows," says Todd, shrugging his shoulders. "Could be something simple like a fuel filter. Could be something bigger like the fuel pump and if the pump is located inside the gas tank, wooweee, that's big trouble."

He seems amused when I ask him where the fuel tank is.

"Could be all sorts of other things. You'll have to call Buck."

That's when I know it's a meaningful problem; when I have to call my favorite ace mechanic, Buck, I've got trouble on my hands. It's like being in the bottom of the ninth inning and calling in the best reliever on the team to save the game. It's your last hope.

It takes me a while to figure out how to close the hood of the truck then I place the call.

Buck is busy; he gets to the truck the next day.

"Cleaned the rotor cap," he says. "Points, things like that." Buck doesn't waste words.

"Oh, yeah. I never thought of that."

"Bet you didn't. Runnin' now."

"Yeah, the rotor cap, the points."

"Been a while since you had a tune-up, hasn't it?"

"Well, no. I went and saw Becky about two weeks ago and got a massage."

"The truck."

"Tune up?"

"Need to replace the parts: new points, plugs, wires, stuff like that. I'll call you this week."

"Now, let me get this straight, we "

Buck hangs up on me. He's a busy man.

I spend most of the day Saturday feeling like an inept lowlife.

Heavy snow is falling outside. When the computer warns me of yet another doomed attempt to forge a productive relationship, I gaze out the window at the huge flakes and a large berm of snow in front of my driveway.

I am both incompetent and depressed.

I need a tonic.

Meat loaf.

I call Yale and make a reservation.

Yale makes the best restaurant meat loaf in the business, at Isabel's. I've tried just about everything the man has put on his menus over the years, and I've never been disappointed. But, about a year ago, there it was: meat loaf, served atop mashed potatoes, glazed with a sweet, spicy sauce, topped with a crown of deep-fried onion.

Mercy.

It was what I needed Saturday. Along with two glasses of syrah.

It brought me back to ground zero.

As I savored the loaf, my head cleared and I realized: I know food, I can eat and I can cook.

I remembered that any time my ineptitude is revealed by a breakdown of equipment or some common demand, I can redeem myself in the kitchen, producing some serious chow.

The snow is still falling Sunday. The meat loaf fix of the night before has me on the comfort-food track and I plow through the snow drifts to get to the store. I'm whipping up a version of chicken and dumplings - the perfect restorative (which, incidentally, is the meaning of the French word, "restaurant").

Simple business: chicken - the tasty dark-meat cuts - sauteed, as are sliced onions, diced carrot and celery, a teensy bit of diced turnip, some sliced mushrooms.

The combo is set awash in chicken stock with a bit of chicken demiglace added in the company of a major mess of minced garlic, chopped parsley and some tarragon. It simmers over low heat for a couple hours, stock added as necessary and in goes diced yam and a bit of diced potato and they are cooked until fork tender. There's half a pack of frozen peas in the freezer. In they go.

I blend a crude dumpling dough - flour, baking powder, salt, pepper, minced parsley, some tarragon (the dumpling should taste like something, shouldn't it?) and butter. I rub the butter into the dry ingredients then add enough whole milk to produce a stiff dough. Blobs of dough are plopped atop the simmering chicken mix and the pot is covered for a while, until the dough is steamed through and the flour from the dough has thickened the sauce below.

No mystery to a simple green salad, topped with a dressing combining pulverized roasted garlic, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and a teaspoon or so of coarse mustard. Add julienne of a particularly tasty hard salami, a few cherry tomatoes, several oil cured olives, curls of Parmigiano-Reggiano, and the show is on.

I forget the devices of my undoing. In fact, you can have Schiele and Husserl. Give me a saucier, a saute pan, an oven, some glace de viand, and I am back with a vengeance.

A stumblebum no more.

Until the truck won't start again.

 

Extension Viewpoints

 

Four Corners bull test is underway

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Jan. 14 - Colorado Kids Club meeting, 2 p.m.; beef project meeting, 6:30 p.m.

Jan. 16 - Oil painting project at Evi Minor's studio, 2-5 p.m.

Jan. 17 - Office closed for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Jan. 18 - 4-H Council meeting, 6 p.m.

Jan. 21 - Cloverbuds at community center, 1:30-3 p.m.; rabbit project, 2 p.m.; entomology project, 2-3:30 p.m.; poultry project, 3 p.m.

Check out all posted project and club meeting dates at www.coopext.colostate.edu/archuleta/calendar.htm.

The 55th annual Four Corners High Altitude Bull Test recorded 56-day weights Jan. 3.

Bulls are entered in a 112-day performance test conducted by the Four Corners Beef Cattle Improvement Association.

The test is being held at the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station - San Juan Basin Research Center in Hesperus. The 131 bulls on test averaged 2.81 pounds per day for this 28-day period. High performing cattle will be determined using a TestRatio that consists of 60 percent Gain Ratio and 40 percent WDA Ratio.

The high performing bull is a Red Angus owned by LPB Red Angus (Farmington, N.M.). The 28-3 bull is gaining 3.66 lb/day, has a WDA of 2.90 and a test ratio of 146. Other high performing bulls within breed include the 8-2 Polled Hereford owned by Monroe Cattle Company (Scipio, Utah). He is gaining 3.36 lb/day, has a WDA of 2.97 and a Test Ratio of 138. 25-6 is an Angus bull owned by CSU-Beef Improvement Center (Saratoga, Wyo.) with an ADG of 3.59, a WDA of 3.11 and a Test Ratio of 134. The high gaining bull in the Crossbred/composite category is 30-2, owned by Fuchs Herefords (Del Norte). He is gaining 3.79 lb/day with a WDA of 3.30 and a Test Ratio of 124.

The high performing sire group is owned by Monroe Cattle Company (Scipio, Utah). The three Polled Hereford bulls out of 23C Devo Quest 900 are averaging 2.89 lb/day, 2.96 WDA and a 124.5 Test Ratio within the breed. Additionally, B/R New Design 323-9150, Redd Ranches (Paradox, Colo.), has five Angus/Gelbvieh sons averaging 2.75 lb/day, a 2.63 WDA and a 93 Test Ratio. JK Angus (Craig, Colo.) has three Angus bulls out of Millcreek Master that are averaging 3.20 lb/day, 3.07 WDA and 117 Test Ratio.

Test bulls will be weighed again at 84 and 112 days. All animals will be examined for breeding soundness, scrotal circumference, pelvic area, carcass ultrasound and pulmonary arterial pressure at the end of the test.

Additionally, the Four Corners High Altitude Heifer Development Program has 111 heifers entered. The Calf to Carcass Program continues with nine steers being fed to a pre-determined backfat of .4 inches.

The 55th annual sale is April 2, 2005. Call (970) 385-4574 for information or visit our Web site at http://oldfort.fortlewis.edu/4-corner.htm.

Animal identification

In an effort to improve livestock biosecurity and, in the event of an infectious animal disease discovery, trace livestock back to their origin within 48 hours, the Colorado Department of Agriculture has implemented an Animal ID Pilot Project.

A meeting will be held at the LaPlata County Fairgrounds in Durango, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 19. Currently, 30 livestock producers who produce beef, sheep and elk are evaluating various technologies and the practical mechanics of tracking information on individual animals in their operation. It is expected this will provide important feedback to those involved in determining the details of how animal identification programs will ultimately be implemented in the United States.

In order to address livestock producers' questions regarding Colorado's ID pilot project, and to provide individuals with an opportunity to participate in the pilot ID project, a series of town hall meetings will be held across Colorado this month. During these meetings producers who are participating in the Pilot Project will be on-hand to discuss the process of implementing individual animal ID in their operation, and share their experiences with individual animal ID.

Additionally, representatives from Allied Industry Organizations, Colorado State University and the Colorado State Veterinarian's Office will be on hand to address questions relative to the project and the National Animal Identification Program. During these meetings, procedures for registering livestock production premises will be discussed and producers will have the opportunity to register their premises if they so desire.

The goal of the town hall meetings is to provide producers with the opportunity to speak one-on-one with producers who are currently participating in the pilot project and to hear a first-hand overview of how animal ID actually works in their operations. Additionally producers will have the opportunity to receive their premise registration and begin to participate in the animal ID program. In an effort to reach-out to producers, these meetings will be conducted on a regional basis, providing several opportunities for individuals to attend.

Pagosa Lakes News

Many uses of our wonderful snow

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

An article in the Wall Street Journal talked about Saudi developers bringing artificial snow engineers to a mountainside in the southern Aseer region to determine if it will hold the white stuff.

"The idea is to have a snow village," says Ziyad Ahmed Zaidan, president of the Idea Network in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, "with tobogganing and other winter sports. The moment you can create snow, you have infinite uses."

Indeed, for us, we too have infinite uses for our God-given snow. Recent heavy snowfalls have brought winter sports enthusiasts out. At Wolf Creek Ski Area, I admit it's a wonderful thing to see "sideways aiming" folks carving turns on a single board and ordinary, "forward-facing" folks heading downhill on two long boards. But I've been awed by cross-country skiers gliding by moonlight and super-charged hockey players schussing on ice skates.

Since I'm not able to play in the white stuff this winter as a result of foot surgery, I've toyed with other options. How about sending some snow to Saudi Arabia in exchange for some of their oil?

No, I'm joking. That's not an option. What I'm seriously doing instead is a slow and gradual build-up program to get my body ready for next winter.

Now fishing I can do.

Bring out the lawn chair, fill the thermos with hot water, my favorite drink, and I'm ready to roll. Look for me at the winter perch tournament next Saturday if you get cold. I'll even share my hot water with you.

Tickets for the tournament and all the necessary details are available at the recreation center.

There will be a Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association meeting at 7 p.m. today in the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

The meeting is open to all members and observers. Public comments are heard at the beginning of the meeting.

The following agenda for the meeting was approved by PLPOA:

- call to order;

- approval of agenda;

- approval of minutes of Dec. 9, 2004 board meeting;

- general manager's report;

- public comments;

- treasurer's report: Written report from treasurer Euhling to be distributed;

- Committee reports: Recreation Center, minutes from Jan. 3 meeting; Lakes, Fisheries and Parks and Ad Hoc Lake Study committees - no meetings since last board meeting; ECC agendas and minutes included for information. ECC board liaison Ray Finney's report included;

- old business: none anticipated;

- new business: appointment of a new committee member; approval of a 2005 retainer agreement with counsel, Orten & Hindman ; affirmation of eight DCC unprotested fines. Notice of violations and hearing are attached for review;

- Correspondence: letter from Lake Hatcher property owners enclosed.

Births

Aniya Chavez

Nacona Martinez and D.J. Chavez would like to announce the birth of their daughter, Aniya Chavez. She was born at Mercy Medical Center Dec. 30. She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces. She was welcomed home by her sisters and brother, Trista, Shelby and Lane Chavez, and by her grandparents, Joseph and Carrie Espinosa and her aunts and uncle, Victoria, Sienna and Joseph (Jr.) Espinosa

 

Obituaries

Reynaldo Atencio

Reynaldo (Butch) Antonio Atencio, 56, who was born and raised in Pagosa Springs, died Jan. 4, 2005 at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Albuquerque.

He was born in Pagosa Springs Aug. 6, 1948, to Jose and Mary Atencio. A U.S. Army veteran who joined the service in 1967, he severed two tours of duty.

He worked at sawmills in the area and was an avid hunter and fisherman.

Survivors are a son, Adam, of Albuquerque; a brother, Paul, of Denver; and sisters Nardy Lattin of Farmington, N.M., Jenny Bell, Trudy Gomez and Dolores Atencio, all of Pagosa Springs, and Deliah Gutierrez of Ogden, Utah. He was preceded in death by his father, mother, four brothers and two sisters.

Funeral services were held Saturday in Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church and burial was in Hilltop Cemetery, Pagosa Springs.

 

Mack Henson

Maxie Aquilla (Mack) Henson, 85, who, with his wife Jean, opened Fun Valley on the east side of Wolf Creek Pass at the end of summer 1959, died Dec. 26, 2004.

Born in an oil field tent, Mack was the third of five children of Claude and Olive Henson, native Texans born in the 1800s.

Mack dropped out of school in Seymour, Texas, at age 12 to help support the family during the Great Depression. Curious and an adventurer, he and his brother, Shorty, had hopped freights to California, worked in construction, picked grapes and worked as cooks' helpers by age 15.

At 16 he went to work as a short order cook and for the rest of his life would be involved in the restaurant business one way or another.

He later sold magazine subscriptions door-to-door across the mid western United States in the Dust Bowl era, worked a feed mill night shift and ran a roadside produce stand during the day, living in a converted chicken coop behind a nearby diner where Roma Jean Richards worked as a waitress. They were married in 1941. He got a contract as a construction foreman for a military camp in Leadville, Colo., but was drafted into the army a few months later.

In 1959, he made a deal with General Electric to open coin operated laundries featuring GE machines nationwide. The first three were scheduled to open in Alamosa, Monte Vista and Del Norte in the San Luis Valley.

In February that year, Mack and Jean drove up to Wolf Creek Pass and passed a beautiful ranch along the banks of the Rio Grande River five miles west of South Fork. It was for sale, and instead of signing the laundry contract, they signed to buy the ranch known today as Fun Valley.

Early features were a miniature golf course, a trout fishing pond and horse rentals. By the end of the first year Mack had his outfitter guide license and established a camp for hunters.

Lakes were built in 1960 and a liquor license issued, the first of its kind in Rio Grande County, and the Fun Valley Steakhouse and bar were opened. Professional entertainers were brought in to perform. A motel was added in 1961 and a roller skating rink and rental cabins the following year.

Expansion continued in the 1970s with a "Funatorium" and a square dance barn. Through the 1970s and 1980s the Hensons ran the operation every summer, spending winters in Las Vegas and Mexico.

Mack's 80th birthday was celebrated at Fun Valley July 10, 2000, with 2,000 people lighting candles and singing "Happy Birthday."

In recent years, Mack and Jean could be seen cruising the grounds of Fun Valley in their golf cart, greeting customers and children and spreading happiness to all.

 

Stanley G. Tyre

Stanley G. Tyre passed away at his Pagosa Springs home on Dec. 28, 2004.

Born March 12, 1919, in High Springs, Fla., he was the son of Chambers McKibbee Tyre and Agnes Jeanette Stanley Tyre. He attended public school in Eustis, Fla., and graduated from the Bolles School in Jacksonville in 1937. He later attended the University of New Mexico. He was a navy pilot and World War II veteran.

A retired citrus grower, he had kept a summer residence in Pagosa Springs since 1978.

Survivors are a son, Bruce, two daughters, Melinda and Donna; two sisters, a granddaughter and three grandsons.

 

Rome memorial

A memorial service for Gary Rome will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 15, at Restoration Fellowship Hall, 264 Village Drive.

 

Business News

 

The Springs Resort sells: plans readied for 31 acres of downtown property

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Thirty-one acres of vacant land in the middle of downtown, bordered by the river.

That's what locals Matt Mees and Bill Dawson retained following the sale of The Springs Resort to Nerissa Whittington and Keely Whittington-Reyes, owners of Gulfstream Worldwide, and part-time residents of Pagosa Springs. According to county land sales documents, it was about a $14 million deal.

Dawson and Mees sold everything from the Riverwalk to Hot Springs Boulevard, including the pools, the hotel and a center retail building. They retained about 31 acres, plus an estimated 80 percent of the water rights.

Basically, Dawson said, the 50 hotel rooms, the pools and retail space finishes that portion of the project. The next step is planning for the remainder of the property.

"We've done a number of plans," Dawson said, "and rejected one after the other, but keeping the parts we liked." In September, Mees and Dawson hired Design Workshops, of Denver to create a preliminary master plan for the entire Hot Springs Boulevard corridor from Apache Street to the pedestrian bridge. That's done and has been reviewed informally by town staff and some members of the Community Vision Council.

The preliminary plans include a hotel, expanded spa accommodations and other residential structures, possibly timeshares or townhomes.

"We're looking to create activity downtown so maybe the lights will stay on past 7 p.m.," Dawson said. Adding an additional 50-unit hotel could bring as many as 40,000 people through the community in a year. The retail portion of the design, to possibly include a coffee shop, sandwich shop or restaurant, would support the residents rather than compete with businesses already downtown.

"We don't want to cannibalize our efforts," he said. Another goal is to make the master plan for that area flow with the river restoration and Riverwalk extension planned by the town. To that end, they are part of a committee set to review proposals for a town-backed whitewater and fishing improvement project along a stretch of the river from Apache Street to downtown.

"With the preliminary work done, the rest of this year will probably be spent on design and layout," Dawson said. "Next year we might look at the hotel expansion and spa." Both would cater to "high-end" clientele with hotel room rates expected in the $200-$400 range. The vision for the spa would expand the current offerings to include 10-14 massage rooms, plus private pools and other amenities.

Mees and Dawson purchased The Springs Resort in 1991. According to the resort Web site, at that point it included a boarded up motel and four plastic soaking tubs with garden hoses serving as pool plumbing. Today, 17 pools of various sizes, all fed by the natural hot springs, exist along the river. Mineral water for the pools comes out of the aquifer at approximately 144 degrees F and drops about 20 degrees as it travels through the system that heats the buildings. The temperatures of each pool vary and are posted hourly. Approximately 375-400 gallons of water are cycled through The Springs every day. A hydrologist is available to maintain the health of the hot spring.

The Springs can accommodate 175-200 people comfortably and annual visitors now exceed 150,000.

Dawson said closing on the sale of the current development to the Whittingtons was Jan. 3.

According to a news release prepared by resort staff, "We have a collective commitment to preservation and maintenance, along with Mees and Dawson, of the health and well-being of the world famous Great Pagosa Hot Spring," Nerissa Whittington said. "This is an exciting time for my family and myself, as we return to our second home and the low-impact ecotourism that makes this area unique."

Although heavily vested in New Mexico, the Whittingtons have owned property and a home in Archuleta County for decades.

 

Biz Briefs

SUN announces business page

This week, The SUN introduces a new feature: A business section.

Our new section will feature a column from the Pagosa Area Chamber of Commerce, the Biz Beat and feature articles about some of the unique and interesting things taking place in the Pagosa Country business community.

We also add "Biz Briefs" to the page and offer the opportunity to any and all local businesses and businesspersons to send us information concerning new owners and employees, changes of location, awards and honors, certifications and completion of special training. Submissions must be 100 words or less.

Mail information to Biz Briefs, c/o The Pagosa Springs SUN, P.O. Box 9, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 or e-mail to editor@ pagosasun.com.

 

Urbonas selected president of CDEH

Wano Urbonas, environmental health director for San Juan Basin Health Department, has been selected by his statewide peers as president of the Colorado Directors of Environment Health for 2005.

CDEH is a statewide affiliation for environmental health directors from various counties. It meets quarterly to discuss pertinent and timely environmental health promotion and disease prevention issues with representatives from the Department of Public Health and Environment along with liaisons from the governor's office.

 

Avalanche course set for January 21-23

A Level 1 avalanche course will be held 6-9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 22 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 23 at Pagosa Springs Community Center and Wolf Creek Pass.

The event is cosponsored by Switchback Mountain Gear and Wolf Creek Backcountry.

The course provides an excellent opportunity to learn or update the skills and knowledge central to traveling in avalanche terrain.

Students must have the ability to travel in the backcountry on skis or snowshoes. Cost for the course is $195.

To enroll, visit Switchback, 456 Pagosa St., or call 264-2225.

  

Biz Beat

Rebecca A. Cortez

Rebecca A. Cortez, CMT, owns and operates Ancient Wisdom Massage Therapy, an independent business located in the Moore Chiropractic Wellness Center at 163 Pagosa St.

What was previously Ancient Wisdom Healing Center became Ancient Wisdom Massage Therapy Nov. 1 when Cortez became part of the Moore Center team.

Ancient Wisdom offers a variety of massage techniques, with hot stones and essential oils, as well as ear candling and a variety of body wraps and foot treatments.

Cortez offers reasonable rates and keeps flexible hours. Eligible massage therapy can be charged through select insurance companies.

Call 264-1433 for more information and to make appointments.

 

People
Cards of Thanks

 

Driveway hero

I would like to thank the generous person who has been plowing my driveway (and I think several other driveways) on Midiron Avenue. You always seem to plow when I am not there, so I cannot thank you in person.

It is kind and thoughtful people like you who give this nation and this world hope.

Sincerely,

Pam Bomkamp

 

Casa de los Arcos

Casa de los Arcos would like to thank Harry Young for the donation of his computer, Pagosa Nursery for the beautiful Christmas poinsettias and the Pagosa Baking Company for the Christmas goodies.

Sincere thanks from Molly O'Brien Johnson and all the residents

 

Atencio family

The family of Reynaldo (Butch) Atencio wish to thank friends and neighbors, the Pagosa Springs honor guard and the Rivas family for services during our time of sorrow. God bless you.

 

Great neighbors

We would like to thank our neighbors, Rob and Susan Kay: Susan for interrupting her own shoveling of her drive to help dig out my car when I couldn't quite get out of the driveway to get to work, Rob for plowing our drive with his backhoe this past weekend, and all the other times in the past. You are truly great neighbors.

Jeane Payne and Missy Phelan

Locals

 

Regina Candelaria

A century of life in Pagosa Country

Regina Candelaria will have witnessed an entire century of life in Pagosa Country today.

The key ß according to her son Bernie - good health and a strong faith.

"She sits in her chair and prays the rosary all day long," his wife, Barbara said, "She's been a devout Catholic all her life." She is a member of St. Peter's Church in Arboles.

Now a resident of Pine Ridge Extended Care Center, Candelaria was born in Pagosa Junction and spent most of her life in the Arboles area. Her parents, Anicto and Adalia Gallegos, had three other children, John, Mike and Mila. Regina, the oldest, married M.C. (Manuel) Candelaria and had nine children of her own, two of which, both boys, died in infancy. The eldest of the remaining children, Faustian, died in 1989.

The remaining six include: Delphenia, of Ogden, Utah; Claudine, of Arboles; Angie, of Grand Junction; Manuel Jr. and wife, Doreen, of Bloomfield, N.M.; Jose L., of Arboles; and Bernie and wife Barbara of Aspen Springs. Candelaria also has 14 grand children, 17 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

For many years, the family lived and ranched in the Rosa and Arboles area, at one time owning land that stretched from where Navajo Lake State Park is today all the way to Colo. 151. Jose L. continues to live on the remaining part of the ranch.

The family is planning a private party for Regina Jan. 15.

 

Sports Page

Pirate wrestlers sweep three at Rocky Mountain Duals

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

What better way to warm up for one of the bigger tournaments of the year than to fight three dual matches the night before?

Especially when you have just returned from holiday break.

And 24 hours after a dual meet with a league opponent.

Pirate wrestlers hosted the first action of the year in their home gym Jan. 14 as Taos, Espanola Valley and Bloomfield traveled to town from New Mexico for a series of duals prior to Saturday's Rocky Mountain Tournament.

Taos was first up for the Pirates and the team from the south fell to the hosts 60-15, giving up points with five forfeits.

Daren Hockett kept his unbeaten streak at 125 pounds alive and put the first points on the board for the home team in what is becoming an accustomed fashion. Hockett got the takedown almost immediately, turned his man and nailed the fall with one minute gone in the match.

Raul Palmer is having a strong season at 135 and, like Hockett, took his man down as action began. Palmer got the pin points at 1:26.

The next Pirate to face an opponent was Matt Nobles, at 160. The junior dominated the first period with a takedown and scored three back points. Nobles scored with an escape at the start of the second period, nailed a takedown then surrendered his only point of the match as his opponent escaped. Another takedown by Nobles followed and the Pirate pinned his man at 3:17.

Bubba Martinez scored next for the Pirates at 215. The junior demolished Brandon Gutierrez, getting the fall with just 45 seconds gone off the clock.

Next up was Espanola Valley and Pagosa captured the dual, 54-15.

The first pirate to put points on the board was Josh Nelson, at 112.

At the end of the first period, the Pirate's chances looked slim. Nelson got a takedown but surrendered a penalty point on an illegal hold. Nelson's opponent got the reverse and nailed a three-point near fall as the period ended.

Nelson took the momentum away, however, escaping to start the second and scoring with two takedowns to his opponent's single escape. With a little more than a minute left in the third, Nelson hit a single leg, got the takedown and went ahead 9-7. A single point on an escape was not enough for the Espanola wrestler to catch up and Nelson got the 9-8 decision.

Raul Palmer was the next Pirate to compete. Palmer fashioned a 16-0 technical fall in masterful fashion, going ahead 11-0 in the first period with a takedown and a series of three, three-point near falls.

Palmer reversed his opponent at the start of the second period and completed the tech fall shortly after with another three-point near fall.

Ky Smith made short work of an Espanola wrestler at 140. Smith got the initial takedown and scored three back points, Following an escape by his opponent, Smith got another takedown and the fall at 1:19.

Martinez went the full three periods at 215, but was in control all the way, taking a 4-2 lead in the first and extending his advantage to 11-4 after two periods. He continued to dominate the action, winning with a 15-7 decision.

Jakob Reding entered the circle to compete at 275 and fought a typically heavy, heavyweight from Espanola. Reding got the first takedown of the match, but gave up an escape and was taken down to trail 3-2 at the end of the first period. The Espanola heavyweight got a takedown to start the second period then, as Reding got to his feet, attempted to throw the Pirate. Reding came down on the mat in an awkward position with the full weight of his opponent falling on top of him. Reding suffered an arm injury, and was forced to cede with an injury default at 2:20.

Against Bloomfield, Orion Sandoval started the Pirates on the road to a 44-34 victory, pinning his opponent at 119 in the third period.

Hockett continued to roll, getting a pin in the first period.

Palmer fought a combative match, finally pinning his Bobcat opponent in the third period.

Smith put pin points on the board, getting the fall against Senan Benally in the first period of their match.

Manuel Madrid finally got a chance to wrestle at 152 and the senior made the most of it, winning with a 9-1 decision.

Juan Martinez, likewise, got a chance to fight at 171 and pinned David Dame in the second period of the match.

Marcus Rivas was finally able to take the mat to do something beside accept a forfeit. The senior got a win at 189 with a 14-6 decision over Josh Benally.

Bubba Martinez finished off the night with another win, pinning Casey Casaus in the first period.

"I thought our guys wrestled pretty well," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "We won a lot of matches in those duals by consistently pressing the action. I'd single out Ky Smith as having made a lot of progress.

"These duals were a great way to get the rust off after the vacation, a good wakeup call. I was a bit concerned how the guys would handle the stout practices and the strain of the duals, but they did well. Now, we need to fine-tune our conditioning. We've got the base. We always look for that edge in conditioning so we can use it in the third period in difficult matches at the end of the year."

The Pirates travel to Monte Vista for an Intermountain league dual tonight, with action beginning at 5 p.m. They will also dual Florence at Monte Vista.

Saturday, the team motors over the pass again to the Alamosa Invitational, traditionally one of the toughest tournaments of the year.

This year, Pagosa will be the only 3A team at the tourney and will face numerous ranked opponents in the nine-team meet, including the hosts, Delta, Montrose, Thunder Ridge, Rampart and Aztec, N.M. Matches at Alamosa begin at 9 a.m.

  

Pirates win first IML dual meet of season

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Ah, the wrestler's life.

Never easy, sometimes downright difficult.

Such was the case for Pirate grapplers as they returned from a long holiday break to face high-tempo practices then competition three days in a row during the first week back.

After several days of tough work in the wrestling room, the Pirates traveled to Ignacio Jan. 13 for an Intermountain League dual meet against the reigning IML champs.

With a 42-24 victory over Ignacio, the Pirates got a leg up on a run at this year's league crown. The championship is determined in a round-robin format with dual meet action against each of the other four teams in the IML.

As of the weekend, Pagosa and Monte Vista were 1-0, Ignacio and Centauri were 0-1, Bayfield had yet to dual another IML team.

The meet at Ignacio began at 130 pounds, where Pirate Paul Hostetter got Pagosa on the scoreboard first with a 13-7 decision over Kenny Guffey.

Raul Palmer fought and won one of the toughest matches of the meet, at 135. Palmer went against Ignacio's Travis Darling, lost back points early in the match and had to fight his way back. He did just that, winning a narrow 8-7 decision.

In yet another difficult battle, Ky Smith dropped a close 17-15 decision in overtime at 140 to the Bobcats' Jacob Appenzeller. The battle went back and forth and Smith, down by three with 10 seconds left in regulation time, forced the match into the overtime period with an escape and a takedown.

Manuel Martinez put more points on the board for the Pirates at 145, getting the 5-2 decision over Ryan Johnson.

Paul Armijo got his first start of the season at 152. The junior made good on the opportunity, hammering out a decisive 22-6 major decision over Mike Rowe.

Matt Nobles lost to Ignacio's Jared Jones at 160 and Juan Martinez dropped a 9-5 decision to Matt Olguin at 171.

Ignacio forfeited at 189, 215 and 275.

Shane Lloyd lost to Ignacio's Cody Haga in a match at 103.

Josh Nelson upped the score for Pagosa, pinning the Bobcats' Nick Naranjo at 112.

At 119, Orion Sandoval scored a 15-9 decision over Ignacio's Lucas Jones.

The Bobcats forfeited to Daren Hockett at 125 to end the meet.

"We got it," said coach Dan Janowsky of the dual meet victory, "and we got it in their place. They always put up a fight, and they're even tougher in their gym. And coming off the break things are always tricky, so it was good to get this one under our belt. The IML is tough, and we have more rebuilding to do than anyone but Ignacio. We needed this win."

Tonight, the Pirates have a chance to run their IML record to 2-0 as they travel to Monte Vista to dual the hosts and 3A Florence. The Pirates' dual with Monte will constitute the year's IML match for each team. Action begins at 6 p.m.

Saturday, it's off to Alamosa for the Alamosa Invitational. The nine-team tourney begins at 9 a.m.

 

Winter can't stop wrestling action at the Rocky

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Heavy snow.

Barely passable roads.

The annual Rocky Mountain Tournament was set for Saturday at the PSHS gym.

Call it off?

Never.

Would enough of the opponents arrive to ensure some quality competition?

Of course.

All but three of the 15 teams scheduled to travel to Pagosa braved the weather and the tournament went on.

At the end of the day, action was abbreviated, with battles for fifth place cancelled in order to put teams on the road before dark, but from 10 a.m. to late afternoon, fans got their fill of high-quality action.

At tourney's end, Alamosa, a traditional 4A contender, was atop the standings with 239.5 points. Three Intermountain League teams followed in the standings: Bayfield with 137.5, Ignacio with 132.5, and Pagosa, in fourth, with 106.

Daren Hockett remained unbeaten this year at 125 pounds, winning the tourney title and being named Outstanding Wrestler in the lower weight classes.

Hockett started his day following a first-round bye, by pinning Rhett Breed of Durango at the 1:37 mark of their match.

The Pirate faced one of his more difficult opponents of the season in the semi-final match when he battled Kyle Francis, of Monte Vista. Both wrestlers were quick, both attempted several shots in the first period and it was Hockett who succeeded first.

Francis narrowed Hockett's lead to 2-1 with an escape, but the Pirate responded with another takedown at period's end.

In the second period, Hockett started in the down position and Francis worked hard to thwart Hockett's attempts to escape. Two stalemates were called in the early going. Francis finally managed to turn Hockett, scoring two points on the near fall as the buzzer sounded.

Hockett started down in the third period. The Pirate reversed Francis then got a penalty point on an illegal hold.

Hockett's opponent would score only one more point with an escape. The Pirate nailed one last takedown late in the period to seal the hard-earned 7-4 decision.

In the tourney final, Hockett met Tom Valdez, of Alamosa, who took third at last year's 4A state tournament. It was no contest as Hockett demolished Valdez 10-1 to win the class.

Valdez and Hockett struggled in the first period and, with five seconds remaining, Hockett got two points with a takedown.

The wrestlers started in the neutral position in the second period and, after sensing and fighting off a headlock, Hockett took Valdez down again. The Maroon escaped and Hockett finished off the period with another takedown.

Starting down for the final period, Hockett reversed Valdez for another two points to complete the scoring.

Pagosa's Raul Palmer took third at 135.

Palmer drew a bye in the first round then forged a 10-6 decision over Travis Darling of Ignacio

Palmer's only loss was to Jeremy Trujillo, of Alamosa, 11-6 in the semifinal.

The Pirate earned third place, pinning Charlie Erickson of Durango at the five-minute mark. Palmer was in control throughout the third-place match, gaining a 5-0 lead in the first period with a takedown and a three-point near fall.

Starting down in the second period, Palmer escaped, took his man down and got three more back points.

A minute into the final period, Palmer turned his opponent and got the fall to boost his season record to 20-3.

Three Pirates won two matches each.

Ky Smith pinned Ronnie Goodman of Durango in the first period then forged a 6-4 decision over LeCoy Jack of Kirtland Central.

Manuel Madrid fought at 145 and pinned Cole Myers, an unattached athlete, in his first match. He went on to pin Joe Filario, of Bloomfield.

Matt Nobles took two matches at 160. Nobles pinned Carlos Lopez of Center and Kurt Mantz, of Monticello, Utah.

Several Pirates won single matches at the Rocky.

Justin Moore got a victory at 152, scoring a 14-3 decision over Robbie Gonzalez of Center.

Reynaldo Palmer beat Daniel Dame of Bloomfield 6-1 in a match at 171.

Marcus Rivas found himself down six points to Alamosa's Aron Martin at 189, then fought back to pin the Maroon at 5:49.

Bubba Martinez lost a tough 3-2 decision at 215 then rebounded to pin Brandon Gutierrez of Taos.

"In a way, the final results were anticlimactic," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "We drew tough guys right out of the box and it set us back a bit at the start in terms of team points. We were making a run at it, but without the fifth-place matches, we didn't get the opportunity to show our stuff. But, by that time, we'd had plenty of wrestling."

Janowsky was pleased with the progress made by his athletes the first week back after the holiday break and sees qualities in the team that will bode well as the season comes to a close.

"Every match makes a difference," he said. "The guys are working hard. It's easy to get a lead and sit on it, but our guys continue to wrestle hard to the very end. They have a lot of pride.

"This is a special bunch of guys. Every one of them is in there to force the issue as long as they can. They fight with all their heart, until it is over."

The schedule is stacked from this point to the regional tournament the first weekend in February. The run to the wire begins tonight, 6 p.m., at Monte Vista with duals against the hosts and Florence then continues Saturday at the Alamosa Invitational, starting at 10 a.m.

 

Panthers deal Pirates first loss in 58-45 win

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Pirate head coach Jim Shaffer predicted it would happen, eventually. Saturday night, it did.

For the first time in nearly two years, Pagosa Springs lost a regular-season basketball game, falling on the road to the powerhouse Montezuma-Cortez Panthers by a final margin of 58-45.

With respect to the Panthers, who are listed as high as No. 4 in Class 4A polls, "With Cortez, it's easy to see why they're ranked where they're ranked," said Shaffer after the loss.

"They're quick, disciplined, can shoot the lights out and they're as well coached as anybody in the state," Shaffer added.

And chances are the modest band of Pirate faithful who made the slushy trip to Cortez for Saturday's contest wouldn't disagree.

There were a few instances of what could be described as home-court advantage, but in the end, despite 29 points from senior Caleb Forrest, the road-weary Pirates succumbed to a superior performance by a highly-talented Panther squad.

After taking the tip, the Panthers went on top 2-0 with a deuce from Ryan Mortensen, but a combined six from Forrest and Craig Schutz to keep pace with four from Cortez's Tyler Billie had the score tied at 6-6 with nearly four minutes gone in the first quarter.

Both teams saw the lead in the following minutes as Craig Schutz hit one of two at the line, the Panthers answered with five straight and Forrest and Craig Schutz matched the run with five to give Pagosa a 12-11 edge at 1:50.

Mortensen put the Panthers back in front with a late deuce, but the first quarter ended with Pagosa leading 15-14 after a trey from sophomore Jordan Shaffer with four seconds to play.

Pirate senior Otis Rand hit Craig Schutz inside for a three-point Pirate advantage early in the second frame, but Billie countered with a trey seconds later to make it 17 all.

With calls growing hard to come by at both ends, Ian McLaren hit a jumper to put Cortez up two, then Forrest and Mortensen each buried treys from the top of the arc and Cortez led 22-20 at 2:52.

Forrest pulled the Pirates even with a pair of free throws at 2:38, but Pagosa went cold thereafter and the half closed with Cortez up 31-22 after a 9-0 run.

Then the Pirates got a brief boost as Forrest inked six straight to open the second half, and Pagosa trailed by just three at 31-28 with 6:15 remaining in the third quarter.

But the Tigers answered with five straight, then took a 38-29 lead after Chris Durnin scored with a put-back to offset a free throw from Shaffer with under four minutes to play in the quarter.

The Pirates got a bucket each from Casey Schutz and Forrest in the final 3:48, but the Panthers continued to work patiently, converting open looks and scoring easily on several inbound plays.

By the end of the period, Cortez had extended the lead to 46-33.

The Panthers widened the margin to 53-35 in the opening minutes of the fourth, with Pagosa getting one apiece at the line from Craig Schutz and Forrest.

A pair of free throws from Shaffer, a baseline jumper from Forrest and a charity toss from Rand cut the lead to 53-40, but Mortensen's deuce at 1:50 ended any hopes of a late Pirate rally.

Forrest completed a three-point play and canned a final two at the line for Pagosa with 48 seconds left, but the Panthers tacked on three additional free throws before the horn sounded with Cortez on top 58-45.

Forrest led all scorers with 29 points and grabbed seven boards, while Craig Schutz added seven points and six rebounds.

Przybylski led in the assists category with seven, followed by Casey Schutz, Rand and Hilsabeck with two apiece.

Despite the loss, Shaffer had good things to say about his team's performance.

"Given the circumstances (a 2 a.m. return from Aztec the prior night), I thought we played pretty well," said the coach. "We had some miscues, but they were things we can correct."

For instance, the Pirates shot just 14-22 from the line and 14-35 from the field.

"And we've had balanced scoring all year long, but Caleb gets 29 and nobody else is in double figures - that's not normal for us," said Shaffer.

"But I think the key to the game was when it was tied 22 all and we let them go on a 9-0 run to end the half," he added. "And that's my fault; I probably should have called time-out to slow things down a little."

In conclusion, "You never want to lose, but if we have to we'd rather lose now than later," said Shaffer. "We just have to bounce back and get ready for another tough weekend."

The loss dropped Pagosa's season record to 8-1 heading into continued competition against quality opponents.

The Pirates travel to Kirtland, N.M. tomorrow to face a Bronco team bent on avenging a 55-43 loss in Pagosa Dec. 18.

Saturday the Pirates host offensive-minded Class 4A Alamosa in the first home game of 2005.

Game time for both contests is 7 p.m.

Summary

Scoring: Forrest 10-17, 8-10, 29; Craig Schutz 2-9, 2-4, 7; Casey Schutz 1-2, 0-0, 2; Hilsabeck 0-1, 0-0, 0; Przybylski 0-1, 0-0, 0; Shaffer 1-6, 3-6, 6; Rand 0-0, 1-2, 1. Three-point goals: Craig Schutz 1, Forrest 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 24. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 14.

 

Pirates erase early deficit for 61-55 win over Aztec

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

The first contest was all but over by halftime; the re-match was decided late.

When Pagosa Springs beat Aztec, N.M. 71-41 in the Wolf Creek Classic title game Dec. 12, Pirate head coach Jim Shaffer remarked that the Tigers were a far better team than the final score indicated.

The Tigers proved as much Friday on their home floor, playing inspired basketball on the way to a 20-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

But thanks to resilient defense, some clutch free throws in the final minute and 48 combined points from Pirates Caleb Forrest and Craig Schutz, Pagosa was eventually able to leave town with an 8-0 record and 61-55 win.

After Forrest controlled the tip, the Pirates seized control early and led 4-0 after an opening trey from Craig Schutz and a charity toss from senior Otis Rand.

Then Aztec's Frederick Green posted five points during a 7-0 run and the Tigers held a three-point advantage with just over four minutes to play in the first period.

Forrest added a deuce inside and a pair of free throws to keep Pagosa within one after a jumper from Aztec's Zant Doty, but five straight from Aztec's Jack Bishop out the Tigers in front 14-8 at 1:45.

Craig Schutz knocked down a pair at the line to cut the lead to four, but the Tigers rallied for six unanswered points and led 20-10 at the horn.

Turnovers prevented both teams from converting early in the second stanza until Craig Schutz canned a baseline jumper to make it 20-12 Aztec at 6:25.

But a somewhat porous Pirate defense enabled the Tigers to strike for six straight, and Aztec led 26-12 at 5:05.

After a Pirate time-out, however, Pagosa buttoned up on defense and began to catch fire from outside.

Consecutive treys from Craig and Casey Schutz cut the lead to 26-18, then a steal by Casey Schutz resulted in a trip to the line for Forrest and the pair of subsequent free throws made it 26-20 at 3:41.

Aztec began to struggle with the Pirate press, and a Tiger turnover led to a put-back from Craig Schutz, then a steal and assist to Forrest from Kerry Joe Hilsabeck narrowed the gap to 26-24 with under three minutes to play in the half.

The Tigers responded with eight straight, going on top 32-24 at 1:05, but a drive from Forrest and a coast-to-coast deuce and two free throws from Craig Schutz cut the margin to two with 30 seconds on the clock.

Then Green sank one of two at the line with three ticks remaining, and the half ended with Aztec clinging to a 33-30 lead.

Forrest opened the second half with a putback to get the Pirates within one, but four straight from Aztec's Slate Stout stretched the lead to 37-32.

Two free throws from Rand and a deuce in the paint from Casey Schutz again cut the margin to one for Pagosa, then a Tiger three ball put Aztec up 40-36 at 3:45.

But the lead would not hold; Forrest trimmed the margin to 40-38 with two in the lane, then jammed home an assist from Paul Przybylski to knot the score at 40 with 2:41 to play in the quarter.

Forrest extended the lead to 44-40 by converting assists from Jordan Shaffer and Hilsabeck, then Bishop ended the Pirate run with a deuce to make it 44-42 late in the stanza.

But Shaffer was fouled on a put-back after pulling down an offensive board with two seconds to play, and his free throw to complete a three-point play had Pagosa in front 47-42 heading to the final frame.

Aztec failed to convert its initial possession of the fourth, and a wrap-around pass from Hilsabeck to Forrest boosted Pagosa's lead to 49-42 one minute into play.

But the Tigers would not go quietly, and Aztec surged for six consecutive points to cut the advantage to 49-48 inside the five-minute mark.

A deuce from Craig Schutz temporarily gave the Pirates a 51-48 edge, but a three-point play from Aztec's Corey Hales evened the score at 3:23.

The Pirates got breathing room via a tip from Forrest and a layin from Craig Schutz, then a steal by Rand netted two on the break for Craig Schutz and Pagosa led 57-51 with two minutes remaining.

Then Stout cut the margin to four with a deuce, and the Pirates began to spread the floor and melt the clock.

The Tigers were forced to foul, but eventually got the ball back after a Pirate back-court violation, and a deuce from Stout made it 57-55 with a minute to play.

But Aztec would get no closer; Craig Schutz buried both ends of a one-and-one with 52 seconds to play, then hauled in a Tiger air ball with under 30 seconds remaining.

Casey Schutz was fouled on the resulting possession with 14 seconds left, and after both of his charity tosses fell true, Aztec trailed by six.

Then an apparently disgruntled fan temporarily postponed the outcome by hurling a snowball onto the court, but the contest soon ended 61-55 in favor of Pagosa.

Forrest and Craig Schutz each booked 24 points in the win, while Casey Schutz added seven.

Hilsabeck led in assists with six, followed by Przybylski with three and Rand with two.

Commenting on the victory, "Since we had only practiced a few days after the break, I knew going into this game any kind of win would be a good win," said Shaffer.

"We knew they were a better team than they showed in the Classic, and they didn't have a layoff, so we knew it would be tough," he added.

With regard to how his team responded to a three-week lull in competition, "I thought we looked a little rusty at first," said Shaffer.

"But then we picked it up on defense, got a couple of key threes when we were down 26-12, and we kind of got things turned around," said Shaffer.

"Bottom line is we came back against a very good basketball team on the road, so this was a quality win," he concluded.

And the schedule doesn't get any easier for Pagosa this week - the Pirates face Kirtland, N.M. on the road tomorrow, then host Class 4A Alamosa Saturday for the first home game of 2005.

Game time for both contests is 7 p.m.

Summary

Scoring: Forrest 10-14, 4-5, 24; Craig Schutz 8-14, 6-6, 24; Casey Schutz 2-5, 2-2, 7; Hilsabeck 0-1, 0-0, 0; Przybylski 0-1, 0-0, 0; Shaffer 1-3, 1-2, 3; Rand 0-1, 3-4, 3. Three-point goals: Craig Schutz 2, Casey Schutz 1. Fouled out: None. Team assists: Pagosa Springs 14. Team rebounds: Pagosa Springs 27. Total fouls: Pagosa Springs 11.

 

Aztec sweeps Pirates with 56-42 home win

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

Paced by a pair of guards who consistently beat the Pirate defense downcourt - scoring 18 and 19 points - Aztec completed a season sweep of the Pagosa Springs Pirates Friday with a 56-44 victory in the Tigers' den.

Coach Bob Lynch's Pirates had no defensive answer to junior Wynter Carlyle and her sophomore running mate Patricia Malouff, particularly in the second half.

The first half was a give-and-take affair with the teams exchanging leads.

Pagosa, in fact, had the early advantage with junior forward Emily Buikema scoring first with an offensive rebound of a Liza Kelley shot and a successful putback.

Aztec's sophomore center, Rayla Doty, knotted the score with a driving bank of a fast break lead from Carlyle.

Caitlyn Jewell gave Pagosa a 4-2 lead off an assist from Caitlin Forrest and Bri Scott upped the Pirate margin to 7-2 with her lone trey of the night in nine tries.

But before the period was over Aztec had rebounded to a 12-9 lead with four from the stripe by Carlyle, fouled twice on breakaways, one by Charity Gillespie, and five points on a long trey and a driving lay-up by Melissa Vandruff who ended the night with 14 markers for the homestanding Tigers.

Paced by senior forward Lori Walkup in her best performance of the year - 11 points in the frame - Pagosa surged to an early second period lead but by the half trailed again by four at 27-23.

Walkup had the period's first six points, two driving layups and a pull-up 12-footer to give Pagosa a two-point lead.

Carlyle got five of the six back with a free throw and two fast break uncontested layups and another fast break basket on which she was fouled and hit the charity toss.

Walkup drilled a trey from the left wing but Doty answered inside and was fouled, hitting the free throw for a three-point play. Walkup and Buikema put Pagosa back up with a pair of deuces but Gillespie, Doty and Vandruff answered with in-the-lane points for Aztec.

Then Malouff and Carlyle added two more free throws apiece and the die was cast.

Scott, who had been silent in the second period as Walkup went on her scoring spree, picked up the pace with nine in the third period but got little support.

Meanwhile, Malouff and Vandruff combined for 13 Aztec points, all but one basket - a trey by Vandruff - on fast breaks beating the Pirate defense downcourt.

Carlyle chipped in four more of her own, the second one giving Aztec the lead at 36-35.

Kelley, Walkup, Jewell and Buikema scored in the period for Pagosa, but it was too little, and soon to be too late.

Pagosa, in fact, had only six points in the final stanza, both on treys, one by Kelley and one by sophomore Jessica Lynch.

Aztec, however, kept right on attacking the Pirate defense with fast break after fast break.

The result was nine more for Malouff, two on drives on which she scored and was fouled; four more from Carlyle on similar plays, and two each from Doty and Vandruff, Doty's coming at the stripe.

Pagosa's fourth period turned into a futile three-point attack - not a single shot taken from inside the foul line extended.

For the game, in fact, Pagosa was just four for 20 from downtown with no player hitting more than one.

Surprisingly, even without a single rebound in the fourth period, Pagosa out-boarded their foes 26-21 with Kelley and Buikema each grabbing six.

On the night, Pagosa was 18 for 61 from the floor, a paltry .295 percentage. In an earlier 62-52 loss in the Wolf Creek Classic, Pagosa had been 19 for 62 from the floor.

Still, with all the Tiger breakaways, the game was decided at the free throw line where Pagosa made only five appearances and hit just one.

Aztec, on the other hand, was sent to the stripe 20 times and hit 12 of them. The Tigers were three-for-four from three-point range and 16-for-31 from inside the circle. Pagosa had 18 fouls, Aztec only nine.

Jewell, Walkup and Kelley each had a pair of steals for Pagosa while Malouff had five takeaways for Aztec.

The other major factor was the turnovers: Pagosa had 16, 12 coming in the second half, while Aztec had only six for the game.

The loss dropped Pagosa's record to 5-3 on the season with a game this week on the road 5:30 p.m. Friday at New Mexico's Kirtland Central and a home game the following day, at the same time against Alamosa.

Summary

Scoring: P-Lynch, 1-1, 0-2, 3; Scott, 1-9, 4-1, 1-2, 12; Kelley, 1-6, 2-6, 0-3, 7; Walkup, 1-6, 4-6, 13; Maberry, 0-1, 0; Jewell, 2-3, 4; Buikema, 3-5, 6; Forrest, 1-5, 2; Faber 0-1, 0. A-Carlyle, 5-7, 8-9, 18; Doty, 2-5, 3-4, 7; Gillespie, 1-3 1-2, 3; Malouff, 0-1, 7-11, 4-6, 19; Vandruff, 2-2, 4-5, 14.

Bandits baseball traveling team tryouts Sunday

Tryouts for the 11- and 12-year-old Bandits traveling baseball team will be 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 16, in the junior high school gymnasium.

Each child must bring a parent and a baseball glove.

For more information, call Craig Vrazel at 731-3721 or 946-3338.

 

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Youth basketball begins, adults set for February

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

Opening day for youth basketball was Jan. 8. Schedules are available at Town Hall and are listed on our Sports Hotline. We are looking forward to some great competition. For more information concerning youth basketball, call 264-4151, Ext. 232 or call the Sports Hotline at 264-6658

Coaching information

Coachyourkids.com was started by a young father who saw a need for good information and products for parents and volunteers who find themselves coaching (willing or otherwise) a youth sports team. To access information for your particular team contact Coachyourkids.com. Remember, if you have coaching experience or would like to learn how to coach and spend quality time with your children please contact us at m.gabel@centurytel.net

Open basketball

Our 2005 adult basketball leagues will start in February. The managers' meeting for adult basketball will take place 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, in the Town Hall conference room.

We are planning open gym nights throughout January. Start putting your teams together now for this exciting, adult league. Men's and women's recreational and competitive leagues are now forming; new teams are welcome Call 264-4151, Ext. 232 for more information concerning open basketball.

Hiring referees

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department continues to seek individuals interested in officiating youth and adult basketball starting in January. High School students may apply. Compensation is $10-$25 per game depending on age group and experience.

For more information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, please contact me at 264-4151. Ext. 232

Pagosa Springs Parks

Volunteers a vital part of parks and rec

By Joe Lister Jr.

SUN Columnist

The monthly meeting of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Council will be held Jan. 19, 2005 in the Town Hall Conference Room.

The council will hear from Julie Jessen and Jim Miller who met with a wood carver. They will provide background on costs and timing for carving three or four dead trees within the town-owned parks. Sites are near the gazebo in Town Park and on Reservoir Hill on one of the older dead pines we preserved for this purpose.

Jessen will deliver an update on the sports complex, work by Davis Engineering and a time frame for this summer's work.

Myles Gabel will give an update on a facilities-use agreement he is trying to work out between the school district and the town.

I will report of leases on other cell tower sites and the positive and negative aspects of a lease, and will try to get the board to put a policy in place for future years concerning cell sites.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Council consists of the volunteers listed below who act to meet open space and recreational needs of young and old in Archuleta County.

Our volunteers are David Hamilton, Brian Smith, Ming Steen, John Perea, Scott Miller, Kahle Charles and Matt Aragon. Many thanks goes to these faithful volunteers, for their input in all phases of our parks and recreation programs.

Editorial

Kudos: public, private

Lives of the residents of Pagosa Country have been enhanced over the years by the actions of individuals and organizations in both the private and public sectors, performing jobs that make this a better place to live.

Lenore Bright is one of those people.

As of today, Lenore Bright is no longer the director of the Ruby Sisson Library, an institution used and loved by many of us. A community without a viable library is incomplete and Pagosa Country has a dandy - to a great extent due to Lenore's tireless and dedicated work.

Lenore and husband Gil moved here in 1980; Lenore went to work at the library as a volunteer. The library occupied a cramped space at the rear of the old Town Hall at the intersection of Pagosa, Lewis and 5th streets. In 1983, Lenore was named director of the library and soon the drive began to build a new facility. Lenore was at the forefront of the planning and fund-raising that led to the construction of the current facility.

The Sisson Library opened in 1989 and, since, materials and services offered to the public have increased, says Lenore, at least tenfold. Space at the facility can no longer serve the needs of the community and another move is underway to enlarge the library. Lenore has been instrumental in this effort as well.

Lenore's service played on a bigger stage. Decades ago she began lobbying for libraries as one who used and loved the institutions. Once she was director of a library, she served on state and national committees as a library advocate.

After 22 years at the helm, she is ready to leave. First thing on the agenda is to travel with Gil in a southerly direction, where he can play golf.

A good bet, however, is she will be unable to remain detached from the community and from her love - the library. "I'll hibernate," she said, "then see what happens. Libraries are in bad shape everywhere." Which sounds like a call to action. We should be so lucky. And we should all thank Lenore for the incredible job she has done.

Another event occurred recently in the private sector that bears notice: The sale of The Springs Resort geothermal bath and lodging facility. Bill Dawson and Matt Mees sold the property and, in doing so, seem prepared to move on to equally laudable projects on land they own nearby.

What Dawson and Mees did was change the character of the tourist economy in downtown Pagosa Springs. They took our obvious and underused resource - geothermal water - and pushed its use into a new era, to a new level. When they began in 1991, the area now occupied by a world-class geothermal facility was raw ground, a dilapidated motel with a few tacky hot tubs and a restaurant building on the fringe of the property. Dawson and Mees had a vision and, over the years, they made it work, creating an aesthetically stunning recreational destination, constructing a new motel and a grand bathhouse. There is no finer facility anywhere and it is the linchpin in what has become a steady improvement of the downtown commercial area. The duo did what the citizens of the town refused to do by vote in the '80s, and did it better than government could.

If Pagosa Country flourishes, it will do so in large part because of the continued development of lodging and of geothermal water resources for recreational and health purposes. Dawson and Mees led the way during the last decade and we hope projects planned for the property and water rights they retained will be as innovative and as productive as their first accomplishments.

We will all benefit from that work.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

Snowstorms always had appeal

By Richard Walter

Staff Writer

So, I said to no one in general, "How's this for winter, Pagosa style?" I know, I know, the roads were slick, people slid off them and found themselves in need of a tow. In some cases the plow crews were nowhere to be seen until long after the fact. The verbiage filling the air would have made a saint cry. But we've been looking for moisture. Despite the better year in 2004, we are still by all measures in a drought. So, any form of precipitation which may be included in the runoff total this spring and summer is to be welcomed. Yes, it's a temporary blockade to the senses - who asked for this much? Why all at once? Don't look a gift horse in the mouth. The oldtimers will tell you that back in 1918 or ought three or some other year, there was a storm so bad people couldn't get out of their remote valley homes for weeks at a time. Why they even had to dig tunnels to get from structure to structure on the farm but you never heard them complaining. They knew that moisture, properly housed in a pond would sustain their small world the following summer. Even I have seen some humongous winter storms in Pagosa Country. I've driven in them, been forced inside because of them, and been bewildered when others were not thrilled by the chance to zoom down a sledding hill. I've encompassed myself in a snowbank we'd stacked at the bottom to keep us from whipping out into what sufficed as traffic in those days. Yep, we got a lot of snow here when I was in eighth grade. I lived less than a block from the school and it took what seemed like half an hour to get there. The snow was deeper than I was tall and my next door neighbor, a polio victim on crutches, needed a trail broken so he could get there, too. I'd back up and run into the snow bank and make a foot or two progress; then back off and do it over again and again until we both were able to get into the school building. Snow days? Never. Everyone was expected to get to school if it was at all possible. And rarely were there more than a dozen or so who did not make it. Dogs were trained locally to pull sleds and dozens of would-be mushers could be seen around town when a really good snow had fallen. It was also a time for hay rides in the snow. Some farmer would donate a horse and wagon, kids would load it with bales of hay, and around town we'd go, singing (we called it that) all the way. When the snow was over, when the level began to drop, when the ground finally peeked through, it was like losing an old friend you'd rediscovered for a few days. There were times in the 1940s and '50s when, with only U.S. 160 paved, we'd put chains on the cars in October and take them off at the end of March. Most of the driving was done away from the main highway, but when you got on it with the chains, the clatter and bucking of the car made you want them off - for at least a little while. Yessir. Snow has meant our salvation time and again, always bringing a touch of mystery.

 

Legacies

 

90 years ago

Taken from The Pagosa Springs SUN files of Jan. 15, 1915

At the last meeting of the old board of commissioners Jan. 11th there was nothing of particular importance done except the allowance of bills.

Jan. 12th the new board convened and went through the formality of swearing in R.L. Ewell, the new member, election Commissioner Catchpole chairman, appointing John H. Galbreath county attorney at a salary of $480 per annum and Dr. P.F. Greene county physician at a salary of $400 per annum.

The erection of a steel bridge across the San Juan River at some point near the mouth of the Piedra was discussed with New Mexico people south of the river. The plans so far are indefinite but will no doubt mature in the very near future.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 17, 1930

Pagosa Springs was again visited by the fire demon early yesterday morning, when the rear of the J. M. Laughlin store was discovered ablaze about 1:30 o'clock, and when the final toll was taken the Laughlin Store, the Pagosa Bakery and the Little Manhattan Cafe buildings, all of frame construction, were burned to the ground in the principal business block of this city, with a total estimated loss of between $15,000 and $20,000, all of which is partially covered by insurance.

Nothing was saved from the Laughlin Store, the loss being total, but the bakery and cafe proprietors succeeded in removing a few articles of furniture and fixtures before the onrushing flames interfered. Water also caused some damage before the conflagration was over.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 14, 1955

The county commissioners met on Tuesday to wind up the business for the past year and reorganize for the coming year. Terry Robinson was again named chairman of the board and John Stevens vice-chairman. The year-end report showed that the county came through the year in fine shape with around $3,000 carryover in the general fund and approximately $50,000 in the roads and bridges fund. They also have on hand several thousand tons of crushed gravel for road work this coming year. The carryover in the road fund is being accumulated in the event of an emergency in that department. They anticipate that such an emergency is very apt to occur the first spring that there is any high water as there are some bridges that will undoubtedly have to be replaced.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of Jan. 17, 1980

An unusual storm brought rain, high winds, snow, and some nasty traveling to the area this past week. Wolf Creek Pass was closed for several hours because of slides and high winds, the town streets and county roads became slushy, and the snow in most of the county became soggy. This kind of weather isn't unknown here, it just doesn't happen very often.

A check of U.S. Weather records in Pagosa Springs shows very few comparable instances of large amounts of rainfall in January. One winter, 1957, had considerable rainfall in January. It rained for five straight days and precipitation for the month totaled 7.80 inches. There was also just over 24 inches of snow that month.

Features

Technicians donate time to ailing computers

By Tess Noel Baker

Staff Writer

Snow, or snow, or more snow. It made no difference.

By 10 a.m. Saturday morning broken or malfunctioning computers of all makes and models were lined up on a series of tables around a conference room in the Pagosa Springs Community Center waiting for repairs.

Maybe it was a software screwup. Maybe hardware issues. Maybe a virus run amok. Each was sick with an ailment that befuddled the owners enough they'd pack them in the car and brave the weather for a chance at a free fix.

"We've had a couple no-shows, but for the most part they're here," Kurt Raymond, organizer of the now annual computer Fix-It-Free Day said, surveying the room. The only table not occupied by an ailing machine supported four large boxes of donated parts. These came from the computer technicians or the Pagosa Springs Humane Society, and were given away as needed.

"It's really neat how everyone got interested in getting a good feeling from donating their time to a project like this," Raymond said.

Local computer gurus donated their time on a weekend to help people who might not be able to afford having a technician make a house call with their computer problems. Raymond, owner of Raymond Rent-A-Nerd, said it's simply a way for people to use the talents to help others.

"I've felt a call from God to use the talents I have to give back," Raymond said. "I thought about how I could do it and came up with this." Last year, Raymond and some of his employees worked out the logistics and ended up with 11 computer technician volunteers.

The second week in January met their needs because it tends to be a slower time for the computer repair business, yet many people are working with used computers that may be new to them.

"The holidays are generally when people get new computers and hand down their old ones," Raymond said. "It maximizes the chance someone will have a hand-me-down computer they need some help with."

Last year, a total of 25 people signed up for one-hour fix-it slots. Numbers were about the same this year. Technicians: 11. Computers: 26. Of course, a couple in both categories had trouble negotiating the snow. In fact, computers almost outnumbered technicians first thing in the morning.

"We do whatever we can in a reasonable amount of time," Raymond said. People are asked to sign up for a one-hour time slot in advance. Some appointments end up taking more time. Others less. Some problems, like a dead hard drive, simply can't be addressed.

"I had one of those today," Raymond said. "Instead of fixing their old one, I had another used computer and I was able to give that to them." That's not always possible, he added, but it works well when it is. The same thing happens with parts. If used pieces are available, they're free. New parts are also available, but must be purchased.

"Modems are particularly tough, Raymond said. "Typically a used modem doesn't have the driver and it's just easier to sell them a new modem for $25."

Technician Peter Welch said one user carried in a computer and carried home the news it was just too old to fix. The parts needed were no longer available. In another instance, he helped a couple set up Internet and e-mail access. About midday he was taking a stab at defragmenting a hard drive in an attempt to repair a problem with Microsoft Word. "It's quite a mixture."

Carol Turner, one of the clients, said she'd had one person out to look at the computer already with no luck.

"They said they couldn't fix it," she said. "I thought I'd come in here and get some new people with some new ideas."

She wasn't quite ready for an upgrade. "I still have albums, what can I say?"

Louis Perez said the computer he uses to e-mail his children and other relatives in San Diego was slowing down. He'd brought it to the fix-it day a year ago for a memory upgrade and was so happy, he decided to bring it back again.

"I just pick up the brains and take it to them and they fix it," he said. Besides that, he added, the fix-it-free day helps keep the technicians on their toes, "It brings up their skills," he said, teasing the tech in front of his terminal. His kids can't believe a small town provides such a service.

After last year, Raymond said, the technicians were so excited about the program, they could wait for the next one.

"They were a little disappointed when I told them it would be a year," he said. "It's a neat camaraderie for us computer geeks. It gives us a chance to get together and share notes."

Some of the other illnesses plaguing computers Saturday were spyware infestations, printer problems, memory and antivirus software needs and basic troubleshooting issues. Technicians worked from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. with just a couple stops for some goodies donated by Daylight Donuts and KFC. The Pagosa Springs Community Center also donated the space for the event.

 

Safety check needed on area roofs

After the rains atop the snow last weekend, safety officials are advising area residents to check their roofs for stability.

Russell Crowley, county emergency services director, said everyone should examine their home's roof.

The weight of water saturated snow can be dangerous, he said. Both the county and town have regulations requiring structures to provide support for 65 pounds per square foot of snowfall-rainfall mix.

If doors don't close as they should, or there are telltale signs of moisture on ceilings, you may be harboring a problem. Check your attic for leaks or sags, too. And, if you have a steep roof that dams at a lower level, check the joint for infiltration.

And if you find a problem, use care in removing the extra weight by stabilizing your ladder or platform while shoveling. Or, call a professional to clear snow from the roof.

 

Blood draw slated here Jan. 27

Recycle Life -- give blood.

That is the plea from United Blood Services as it looks toward the only scheduled local draw here in the second half of January.

Donors will be 2-6 p.m. welcomed 2-6 p.m. Jan. 27 at Mountain heights Baptist Church, 1044 Park Ave.

Remember that current identification is required of all potential donors.

And, you can sign-up for drives at www.unitedbloodservices.org

 

Regional science fair judges needed

The San Juan Board of Cooperative Services is looking for volunteers to help with judging and other aspects of the 47th annual San Juan Basin Regional Science Fair to be held Thursday, Feb. 17, at the La Plata County Fairgrounds in Durango for students in sixth- through 12- grades from Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan Counties. For more information, contact Sheila Weahkee at 247-3261, Ext. 222, e-mail: sciencefair@sjbocs.org, or visit www.sjbocs.org/prog_science_fair.php.

 

Pagosa's Past

 

Wolf Creek Pass heralded huge changes in 1916

By John M. Motter

SUN Columnist

The opening of Wolf Creek Pass in 1916 heralded the arrival of huge changes in Pagosa Country in particular and the Four Corners area in general. That opening will be the subject of this column for the next few weeks.

I'm not going to jump into the middle of the "which came first, the chicken or the egg" argument and say the opening of Wolf Creek Pass was the catalyst which launched modern times in the area. Frankly, I'd hate to have to define "modern."

I will take enough of a jump, however, to point out that an operating Wolf Creek Pass certainly facilitated modernization of this region as modernization went in 1916.

Travel north and east from the Four Corners has always been dictated by the need to surmount at least two significant mountain ranges. Since the seat of government is located in Denver on the other side of those mountain ranges, communication between here and there, especially eyeball to eyeball, is difficult. In the past, it was almost impossible.

No high mountains or tortuous mountain passes separate Pagosa Country from Santa Fe and points south in New Mexico. Consequently, it has always been easier for locals to reach larger and better commercial outlets by going south.

This might be a good time to look at the routes into and out of Pagosa Country prior to Wolf Creek Pass or the entry of the railroad in 1881.

I'm going to skip Indian trails and begin with Hispanics who have lived in nearby New Mexico since the 16th century. It's quite likely that the first Hispanics entering Pagosa Country were guided by Indians. It's also quite obvious that those Hispanics came from the south following existing Indian trails.

The best known of those trails followed the Chama River Valley northward from that river's confluence with the Rio Grande River, the location of established Hispanic settlements in the location we identify today as Española. In very broad terms, the route followed today's U.S. 84.

More specifically, the route followed the Chama River from Española to Abiquiu and on to the vicinity of El Vado Reservoir. As so often happens with old place names, El Vado, meaning the crossing, has significance. At that point, the route left the river and crossed today's Jicarilla Apache Reservation until reaching the San Juan River at what we know today as Caracas.

From Caracas, the route followed the San Juan River to its confluence with the Piedra River, and then continued westward until crossing the Animas River south of Durango. Still moving westward, the trail joined the Dolores River then moved northerly, crossing the San Juans and dropping into the valleys of the Gunnison River and, later, the Colorado. The trail ultimately continued westward to Hispanic settlements in California at San Bernardino and Los Angeles. In later years this route, with many versions, was known as the Old Spanish Trail.

A traveler going northward from Hispanic New Mexico to the Four Corners area had a choice of many routes prior to and after the Mexican-American War. The route we have outlined might have been the most common choice.

Other routes, however, followed one of a number of cañons connecting the Abiquiu or Cuba locales with the San Juan Basin. These include Largo and Governador canyons.

Another alternative was to follow the Chama River almost to Chama, then strike out northward crossing the Navajo and Blanco rivers, finally arriving at Pagosa Springs. From Pagosa Springs, the trail led westward sort of following the route of today's U.S. 160.

More next week on trails and roads leading into Pagosa Country leading to the opening of Wolf Creek Pass.

 

Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

1/5

26

21

S

4"

.40

1/6

24

12

S

.25"

.03

1/7

28

2

S

1"

.10

1/8

32

21

S

12"

1.2

1/9

35

30

S

3.5"

.35

1/10

44

32

R/S

.5"/1"

.15

1/11

36

26

S

4"

.40

Copycat blizzard paralyzes county

By Tom Carosello

Staff Writer

Oh, the weather outside has been frightful.

Almost exactly one year after a similar system wreaked havoc in Pagosa Country, another powerful and perpetual January winter storm laid siege to Pagosa Country during the past week.

And, depending on one's perspective, the chain of events the storm's arrival put in motion has been either glorious or grim.

For example, a heavy dose of rain, snow and slush prompted Archuleta School District 50 Joint officials to call off classes Monday, extending the weekend for local youths.

Spurred by continuous snowfall, the snowpack level in the Upper San Juan Basin soared to over 180 percent of average.

At the same time, the treacherous road conditions caused countless travel headaches, paralyzing traffic flows and resulting in dozens of minor fender benders.

The abundance of precipitation also delayed county snow-plowing efforts, frustrating many residents and spawning rumors that county road crews were being denied the opportunity to work overtime during the storm.

But according to Bill Steele, county administrator, the delays were the result of staff shortages at the road and bridge department coupled with the heavy workload (over two feet of snow since last Thursday) brought on by the storm, not a change in county policy.

During Tuesday's county board meeting, Steele acknowledged implementation of a policy in early December that encourages personnel to not exceed 40 hours per week "in make-work situations," instances in which work priorities do not require logging overtime.

However, the policy does not apply to "emergencies" such as winter storms, Steele concluded.

On a related note, Colorado Department of Transportation crews also struggled to keep pace with snow totals this week; depths at some locations near Wolf Creek Pass exceeded 10 feet.

Unstable snowpack required avalanche control measures over the weekend, and CDOT crews used a gas-powered cannon known as an "Avalauncher" to hurl explosive projectiles and induce slides at several locations near the pass.

Due to dozens of triggered and natural slides, "The pass was closed early Sunday morning," said Nancy Shanks, a public relations manager with the CDOT office in Durango.

"The crews were dealing with water content of over 10 inches, so this was heavy, heavy snow," added Shanks.

"And on Wolf Creek, it gets very tenuous because crews have to get right beneath the slide paths in order to hit their targets," concluded Shanks.

Adding to the difficulty was frequent blowing and drifting snow, which choked U.S. 160 near the pass and hampered efforts to reopen the highway for several days.

The closure temporarily cut off access to Wolf Creek Ski Area, which had received 124 inches of storm-related snowfall as of Wednesday morning, and as of press time, the west side of the pass remained closed, while the east side had been open for only a couple of hours.

But drier days are ahead, according to the latest forecasts for southwest Colorado.

Reports provided by the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction suggest a trend toward clearer skies and less-challenging road conditions should begin today.

Any lingering showers are expected to depart by this afternoon, highs are predicted in the mid-20s to mid-30s. Lows should dip to near zero.

Friday calls for similar conditions, with occasional clouds, highs in the 30s and lows in the single digits.

Saturday and Sunday should bring increasing clouds, a 20-percent chance for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the 10-15 range.

The forecasts for Monday through Wednesday indicate mostly-sunny skies, nominal chances for snow, highs in the 30s and lows in the single digits.

The average high temperature last week in Pagosa Springs was 38 degrees. The average low was 20. Moisture totals amounted to just under three inches.

Wolf Creek Ski Area reports a summit snow depth of 142 inches, a midway depth of 124 inches and year-to-date total of 252 inches.

For updates on snow and road conditions at the ski area, visit the Web at www.wolfcreekski.com.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports the current avalanche danger in the southern San Juan Mountains is "high," with areas of "extreme."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture describes regional drought conditions as "moderate."

San Juan River flow through town ranged from a low of about 85 cubic feet per second to a high of approximately 165 cubic feet per second last week.

The river's historic median flow for the week of Jan. 13 is roughly 50 cubic feet per second.