December 1, 2005

Front Page

Salazar takes stand on Village

at Wolf Creek

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

After numerous inquiries, conversations with the developers and written responses from the U.S. Forest Service to a series of questions, U.S. Rep. John T. Salazar is voicing strong opposition to the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

The congressman's opposition to the controversial development came in a press release distributed Nov. 25, and in it the congressman said: "I've taken the time to meet with the involved parties, ask questions, and gather information about the proposed development. With the Forest Service's latest answers, it has become even clearer the proposal would require many special concessions, without the promise of any real gain for the greater community."

In September, Salazar sent a request to the Forest Service asking for formal written responses from the agency on various aspects of the development and the Environmental Impact Statement process.

Salazar said his office has a good, working relationship with the Forest Service and that he had ultimately received answers to his questions, but that when all the factors are added up, the project's impacts outweigh any possible benefits.

"At the end of the day, I just don't see how a project of this scope and size can continue," Salazar said.

Salazar said numerous concerns led him to this conviction. Among them he said, are major concerns about the project's impact on water rights and water quality in the San Luis Valley, and the untold socioeconomic pressures the project will bring to bear on surrounding communities.

Salazar said he thinks Rio Grande County will bear the brunt of the burden and that a massive influx of minimum wage, or low wage workers with limited housing options will put a severe strain on key social services such as schools, health care, and food stamp programs.

In addition, Salazar said he believes the project would severely damage or destroy the environmental integrity of Wolf Creek Ski Area and could economically ruin the Pitcher family - owners of the ski area.

Salazar said the Pitchers had been responsible stewards and deserved better than that.

"Wolf Creek Ski Area has been a jewel to the area for years and a project of this magnitude will actually destroy the family running the ski area," Salazar said.

However, Salazar said the most compelling factor driving his opposition is the developer's unwillingness to negotiate or to offer a scaled-down plan that might be more palatable to the communities and interests the development would affect most.

"I met with the developers in D.C. and asked them if they would be willing to compromise and they are absolutely not willing to negotiate," Salazar said.

Bob Honts, of Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture, the developer of the project, said he had met with Salazar during the summer and said they had "a thorough discussion of the issues involved."

Honts said that, during the conversation, Salazar argued that a reduction in project scale and density would reduce or eliminate opposition, although Honts did not agree.

Honts said there are individuals and groups, such as Colorado Wild, who are opposed to the project regardless of its scale. He said he was willing to discuss the possibility of mitigation measures, but would not bring the project back to square one and a new plat approval.

Honts said to do so would cause a delay of another three or four years and that after 16 years of planning and expenses, he and the project's backer, Billy Joe "Red" McCombs, do not want to wait any longer.

"Are we willing to go back and change our plans and start all over? Probably not," Honts said.

Phase one of the project calls for 24,000 square feet of hotel commercial space, 135,100 square feet of non-hotel commercial and restaurant space, 161 multifamily units, 160 hotel units and 140 mixed-use units.

Full buildout would provide 2,200 residential units, more than 500,000 square feet of commercial space and as many as 10,000 inhabitants.

Salazar said he supports economic development but not at the expense of the Coloradans he is charged to represent.

"The development brings the threat of dangerous roads, contaminated water and harm to the very wildlife and landscape that makes this area so unique. I will not support a project that hurts the community I represent," Salazar said.

  

Dog owners reminded of local regulations

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Your adopted pet, Fido, has become a valued member of the family. He's housebroken and affectionate, plays gently with the kids and, as dogs go, is well-behaved ... most of the time.

But there are those rare occasions when Fido grows restless or even a tad mischievous. Perhaps, while confined to the fenced backyard, he barks incessantly at a squirrel foraging nearby. Or, maybe he's found his way through a small hole in the fence and, following his nose, has wandered into traffic on a neighboring thoroughfare.

Fido eventually returns home a little wet and dirty, but otherwise unscathed. To your knowledge, he hasn't caused anyone harm during his absence, yet when a local animal control officer knocks at the door and hands you several citations, you're taken completely by surprise.

Such is life for dog owners in Pagosa Springs, the Pagosa Lakes area, Archuleta County and all of our surrounding national forests.

Even while no formal "leash laws" are on the books, any person or entity owning, keeping, harboring, possessing, or having custody or control of a dog is considered its owner, and owners are required to have dogs under control at all times.

As the human population of Pagosa Springs and the surrounding county has continued to rise, so too, has the number of domestic pets. As a result, Archuleta County adopted Resolution 2002-31 in April, 2002, which combined and revised existing regulations requiring vaccination, control and licensing of dogs. The town of Pagosa Springs and the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association (PLPOA) have adopted similar animal control provisions, and have even added a few rules of their own.

Resolution 2002-31 begins by defining a dog under control as one that is: on a leash of sufficient strength to restrain the dog; or is confined in a building, fence, enclosure, motor vehicle, or other structure in such a way that it does not escape; or is on property possessed by its owner and is confined thereon in such a way that it does not escape, or is in the presence of its owner; or is within sight and hearing distance of its owner and, upon command, returns to the immediate vicinity (within four feet) of such person.

The resolution continues by defining a dog "not under control" as one that inflicts damage or injury by biting, jumping upon, or harassing, chasing or attacking persons, vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, livestock, other domestic animals or wildlife.

According to the resolution, "a nuisance dog shall mean loud, habitual and persistent barking, howling, yelping or whining by a dog, sufficient to interfere with any person in the reasonable and comfortable enjoyment of life or property." Nuisance dogs are not considered under control of their owner.

Other definitions include "running at large," which is any dog not under control, and "vicious dog," which is a dog that bites or attacks a person or other animal without provocation, or a dog that approaches any person or other animal in a vicious or terrorizing manner in an apparent attitude of attack, on any public or private property.

Exceptions to vicious dogs are those engaged in protecting a person under attack or molestation, or those protecting their owner's property or vehicle from unlawful entry.

Another important requirement under Resolution 2002-31 stipulates that all dogs be vaccinated against rabies. Any dog brought into Archuleta County from an outside jurisdiction must have been inoculated at least 30 days prior to arrival, and puppies have to be vaccinated by three months of age. Vaccinations must be kept current, and owners may be required to present evidence that their animals have been vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian.

To back up Resolution 2002-31, any peace officer or designated animal control officer is authorized to enforce its provisions. First-time offenders for minor infractions usually receive warnings, but may be fined a minimum of $25. A second offense commands at least $51 in fines, and third or subsequent offenses will cost owners between $150 and $300, and possibly 90 days jail time, per violation. In most cases, dogs at large are impounded, and owners are assessed impoundment and boarding fees.

Any violation resulting in bodily injury to a person is classified as a class 2 misdemeanor and is punishable by fines of $250 to $1,000, three to 12 months imprisonment, or both.

However, according to Archuleta County Sheriff's Deputy Richard Valdez, Fido and friends are relatively well-behaved. While the department receives more than 100 dog-related calls or complaints a month, only eight or 10 actually result in citations, and few are considered serious.

"The number of violations seems to be dropping as more people are aware of the regulations," Valdez said. "Dogs running loose are the majority of complaints, but that may, or may not, even be a violation. We don't have an actual leash law in Archuleta County."

The PLPOA has adopted virtually the same regulations as the county, but has added a few minor requirements involving owners cleaning up after pets in common areas. The town too, has similar provisions, and even the U.S. Forest Service requires dog owners to keep their pets under control when on forest lands or in designated wilderness areas.

It's true, Fido is a good dog and steers clear of mischief most days, but even he can wind up in trouble now and then. If that happens and he turns up missing, contact the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, 731-4771. If Fido is in their custody, you may be subject to fines and nominal fees, but rest assured, he's in good hands. The Humane Society, located on Paws Ct., 1.9 miles up Stevens Lake Road (off of Piedra Road), is a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to providing a safe haven for lost and abandoned animals.

 

Bus service fare up, schedule trimmed

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Transportation Department has announced a schedule change and 50 cent fare increase for its Mountain Express bus service.

The changes will be implemented Dec. 13 and, once in effect, riders will pay $1 for a one way passenger fare. Exact change is required.

In addition, under the new schedule, Mountain Express will shorten its operating time. The new schedule will provide service until 6:30 p.m. on weekdays rather than the 8 p.m. cut-off time provided under the old schedule.

Dave Sedgwick, director of transportation for Archuleta County, said the decision to shorten service hours and increase the fare was made in an effort to streamline operating procedures and to absorb increases in fuel and other operating costs. He said the trade-off was that passengers would enjoy more consistent service hours with key runs and stops during peak commuter times.

Sedgwick added that the upcoming fare increase is the first fare increase levied since 1999.

According to the new schedule, Mountain Express will run Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. There is no service on Sundays.

Sedgwick said Mountain Express operates on a fixed route from the east end of town, with a stop near the San Juan Motel, and travels westbound, through downtown Pagosa Springs, to the west side and the Pagosa Lakes area, then on to Turkey Springs, making 21 stops along the way.

The bus is equipped with a lift for wheelchair access and can accommodate up to two bicycles, on a first-come, first-served basis.

The new schedule, with a complete listing of bus stop locations, can be obtained on the bus itself, or from numerous locations around town such as the Pagosa Springs Town Hall, the Archuleta County Courthouse, the community center, the Chamber of Commerce Visitor's Center, and from local businesses and hotels. A large-print version will be available for the vision impaired and a full schedule can be read on-line.

To view the schedule, log on to the county's Web site at www.archuletacounty.org. Once at the home page, click on "county departments," then on "public transportation."

 

 Inside The Sun

Marines work to help needy children

Since 1947, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Units, assisted by Marine Corps League Detachments nationwide, have conducted toy collection and distribution campaigns for the benefit of needy children in their communities.

The 2005 campaign is presently underway for the second year in Pagosa Springs, and will continue through Dec. 22.

Collection boxes are presently available at Alco, Navajo Trails Laundry, Moonlight Books and Ponderosa Do-It-Best. The support of these local businesses plays a key role in the success of this program.

While Marines and local community organizations organize, coordinate and manage the program, the ultimate success depends on the generosity of the people who donate toys. New unwrapped toys may be dropped in the collection boxes at the locations indicated above. Cash donations may be mailed to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, P.O. Box 1947, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA 22134, an IRS-recognized 501(c)(3) tax exempt not-for-profit charity.

For additional information, contact Robert Dobbins at 731-2482.

 

Police arrest suspect in house break-in

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs police officers responded to a report of an open door at a house located on the 100 block of Pagosa Street at 6:15 p.m. Saturday night.

Upon arriving at the location, responding officers found two broken windows, one of which would have allowed access to the front door interior, according to a Pagosa Springs Police Department report. The officers also discovered a set of footprints in fresh snow leading to a locked back door. No other tracks were present.

The officers entered through the unlocked front door and encountered Dennis Van Winkle, a 51-year-old male from Colorado Springs. The alleged suspect denied breaking the windows but said that he "was cold and was looking for a place to stay warm." The suspect was taken into custody and charged with first-degree criminal trespass. An officer reported the residents of the house were out of town at the time of the incident.

 

Kiwanis offers chili supper for holiday warm-up

By Frank Schiro

Special to The SUN

Certain things just seem to conjure up thoughts of the holidays - the lighting of the community Christmas tree, watching the annual Parade of Lights, listening to the Community Choir perform seasonal songs, and enjoying a warm bowl of chili on a cold winter's eve.

The Pagosa Springs Kiwanis Club is prepared to bring at least one of those nostalgic events to life for the enjoyment of Archuleta County holiday gatherers.

The entire community and visiting friends are invited to join local Kiwanis members at their annual Holiday Chili Supper. Warm chili and drinks will be served up to all guests 4:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9 and 10 at the Pagosa Springs High School. The supper should provide a heart- and tummy-warming start for enjoying the parade of lights Friday evening at 6 or the Pagosa Springs Community Choir Concert on either night, directly after the chili supper concludes at 7.

The minimal charge of $6 for adults or $4 for kids covers an ample amount of chili and a drink for all guests and, more importantly, provides funds that go toward local Kiwanis Club efforts to help area kids. Some funds are used for activities such as buying books to support the Reading is Fundamental program at Head Start in March.

Other moneys will be applied to supporting the Week of the Young Child in April. Still other dollars will be allocated towards the three or more scholarships that are given to graduating Pagosa high school seniors who are pursuing technical or non-traditional studies.

Some of the money may go toward helping local kids attend music, sports or leadership camps. The more funds raised, the more exciting and supportive activities can be pursued to benefit Pagosa's kids.

So, all Pagosans are encouraged to come out and get a great start to their holiday celebrations. Enjoy some of the activities and traditions that mean so much to all of us at this time of the year. What better way to start this season of giving than to enjoy some great, hot chili and give something to the children of the community at the same time?

Remember, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, from 4:30 to 7 at Pagosa Springs High School - $6 for adults and only $4 for kids. And, if helping kids is something you enjoy, you might even want to consider joining Kiwanis. That is what this special service organization is all about.

For more information on Kiwanis and to find out how to be more involved, the club welcomes anyone interested to join them at one of their lunches that are held every Thursday at noon at the Hog's Breath. That's where local community men and women who care about reaching out to Pagosa's kids meet. Why not be one of them?

 

Pagosa Ranger district honors 2005 volunteers

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

Officials of the Pagosa Ranger District of the San Juan National Forest recently recognized the extraordinary work of this year's more than 200 Forest Service volunteers.

Gathering at the Pagosa Springs Community Center on the afternoon of Nov. 18, District Ranger Jo Bridges joined Geologist and Lands Specialist Glen Raby and Interpretive Services Specialist and Volunteer Coordinator Phyllis Wheaton, in thanking 248 volunteers for their combined contribution of 13,755 hours of work in the district this year. The estimated monetary value of their work is $388,029.

Private citizens and other volunteers from Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Friends of Native Cultures, Pagosa Area Trails Council, and San Juan Mountains Association fulfilled a wide range of duties throughout fiscal year 2005. Tasks included office business and finance, grazing allotment monitoring, road maintenance and trash pick-up, trail clearing and maintenance, cultural sites stewardship, distribution of hiking and trails information, wildlife and wetlands monitoring, conducting tours and working special events.

In a show of appreciation, Bridges, Raby and Wheaton served coffee, snacks and ice cream to attendees, then presented awards and certificates to all who participated.

The annual volunteer program is critical to operating and maintaining our national forests, and one the Forest Service relies on heavily. Forest-wide in 2005, 1,174 volunteers contributed 39,666 hours, with an estimated value of $1,100,000.

 

PLPOA board votes down fishing proposal for Hatcher

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

At its Nov. 10 meeting, Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors rejected by a four-to-three margin a proposal for new Hatcher Lake fishing regulations presented by the PLPOA's Lakes, Fishery and Parks advisory committee.

Currently there is a limit for trout (three fish per day limit) and bass (two fish per day limit), the "gold medal" fish of Hatcher Lake. The new regulations would have restricted the take of trout and bass to one fish of either species per day.

"Pagosa is growing so fast there is more pressure on the lake than there used to be," said Larry Lynch, the PLPOA department of property and environment manager, "and it's getting tougher and tougher to catch the larger trout and bass."

Hatcher is one of four fishing lakes stocked by the PLPOA, along with Pagosa, Village and Forest lakes. Using income from PLPOA-specific fishing permits for residents and their guests, the property association spends over $50,000 per year stocking five tons of trout and bass annually into the four lakes.

Although there are plenty of fish in Hatcher, including yellow perch, blue gills, sunfish and suckers, several of the species are considered undesirable. Even without a bag limit, prolific species such as yellow perch can overpopulate the lake. The larger predatory trout and bass help control the populations of the other species, according to Walt Lukasik, PLPOA general manager.

The theory behind the proposal was to keep the trout and bass in Hatcher Lake so they can grow to larger "trophy sized" specimens so people fishing "can have one lake with a pretty good chance" of catching a 24-inch rainbow or a six-pound bass, said Lynch. Another requirement in the proposal would have required the use of artificial flies and lures instead of live bait, which can make "catch and release" fishing problematic when the fish typically swallow the live bait, said Lynch.

Although the proposal did not pass, Lukasik believes it is "probably a subject that will come back again" to the PLPOA board, as fishing pressures increase.

Walter Green announces candidacy

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

In a recent press release, Walter L. Green announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination to the Archuleta County District 3 commissioner's seat.

According to the press release, Green's campaign platform is, "Taking care of Archuleta County's business."

In the release, Green said: " A priority for me as your County Commissioner will be to continue efforts to secure a blueprint of planned growth and to see that the taxpayer's dollars are spent efficiently on the infrastructure to provide basis services for our residents.

"I feel much of our concern revolves around the desirability of life we enjoy here. We are victims of our own success. There is a demand for our small town life-style and it is being filled by new residents everyday and will continue in the future.

"Our challenge is in the future. Will we recognize the county we have chosen as our home? Only time and effective planning will provide the answer. Now it is imperative that we as citizens participate in this process as it is important that we preserve the heritage and culture that we all cherish in Archuleta County.

"There are many challenges facing our community. I am ready to accept the challenges and to make every effort to bring harmony to our county government. I am committed to this goal. I look forward to hearing your views and concerns as the election process continues."

In the release, Green said he his currently organizing his campaign committee. For more information you can contact Green via e-mail at: (walter@walterlgreen.com), by mail at P.O. Box 5856, Pagosa Springs, Co., 81147 or by phone at 264-6904.

The election for the Archuleta County, District 3, commissioner's seat will be held in November 2006.

Essay contest winners announced

By Mary Kaye Marquez Mayo

Special to The SUN

The sixth annual Reuben R. Marquez Patriotism in Writing Contest winners were honored at the American Legion Post 108 on Veterans' Day.

After the veterans conducted the flag-raising ceremony, the attendees moved inside to hear the results of the contest.

This year's honorable mentions were Misha Garcia, Daniel Horning and Katrina Weiher. They each received a cash prize of $5 and a certificate of award. Third-place winner was Elijah Olachea who received $25 and a certificate; second-place winner was Katie Vowles who received $50 and a certificate.

The first-place winner was Kimberly Canty who received $75, a certificate and will have her name engraved on a winner's plaque. All contest winners are students of Mr. Jack Ellis, English teacher at Pagosa Springs High School.

The contest is sponsored by Mrs. Ruth Marquez in honor of her late husband, Reuben, who was a World War II veteran and a dedicated diarist and correspondent. The purpose of the contest is to promote patriotism among the youth of Archuleta County and encourage the art of writing. The contest began on Veterans' Day 2000, and was featured in a Denver Post article about Mr. Marquez written by Jim Sheeler.

At this year's ceremony, emceed by Mr. Marquez' daughter, Ruth West, grandchildren Andrea Fautheree and Natalie and Joseph West shared songs, poems, and/or personal thoughts about patriotism as did Ruth's husband, Bob. Ellis spoke about his late father, also a veteran; Mrs. Marquez handed out prizes, and Kimberly Canty read her first-place winning essay, "Patriotism: The Steady Dedication of a Lifetime."

 

Patriotism: The Steady Dedication of a Lifetime

By Kimberly Canty

I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." This quote by Adelai Stevenson, a United States ambassador and two-time nominee for president, suggests that patriotism is a lifelong process, and that it matures over time. Through the years, our patriotism grows and deepens, and we gain a better understanding of what it means to be patriotic. Patriotism is not random or intermittent, but a solid and constant practice that develops from experience.

We display our patriotism in many different ways as we learn and grow. As children, we place our small hands on our hearts and recite the Pledge of Allegiance, excited to have memorized the whole thing. We wear red, white and blue on the Fourth of July, and we look forward to 7/04 as being a big summer party. Our patriotism is very much on the surface and the feeling hasn't yet taken root in our souls. As we grow into our adolescent years, we learn the words of the National Anthem, and we sing along as we state into the flag before sports games and competitions. From our schooling, our parents, and our increased experience in society, we begin to understand the meaning of the words that we've thus far merely memorized, and we gain an appreciation for the National Anthem and the Pledge as well as the circumstances under which they were written.

In our older teenage years, we leave home and start a life of our own. We learn responsibility, we learn the necessities of life, and we realize firsthand all the freedoms and securities that we partake of. Our pride for our country grows because we are now taking a real part in shaping it. It is this time in our lives that the forces of war become more evident to us. As friends leave to war and die in war, we begin to realize the consequences of worldwide confrontation. We quickly gain an immense respect for those serving in the armed forces, protecting our lives and our liberties, and we feel a heightened sense of gratitude for the sacrifices they continually make. We recognize that the faces of the soldiers are real people, because we can see that they are kids like us that, too, have dreams and aspirations for their futures - the futures that they are so honorably risking. We owe a great deal to those courageous warriors; those who give up so much in the hope that they can secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for people whom they have never even met.

Adulthood comes next with solemn obligations and vast accountability. As we strive to be the "grown ups," our knowledge of laws and our involvement in society fortify our patriotism. We lead normal, busy lives, while trying to serve our nation as well. We vote, run for political office, and fulfill our job duties. We support the government, whether we agree with it or not, and we try to teach our children how to be patriotic. We pay taxes and serve in the military, and we worry about what the country will be like when our children become adults. With the experience that we have thus far gained, our sense of patriotism increases. We have seen the country go through its "Golden Ages" and its "Depressions," and we have stuck with it through all of them. We have real roots of our own in the land, and it therefore feels as though it belongs to each of us personally.

Then follow our senior years, when many reach the deepest level of patriotism. The people who built the country are possibly more attached to it, which is perhaps why some senior citizens have a deeper respect, appreciation and sense of patriotism than younger people. Those who have been through wars and trials are plagued with memories and recollections, many of which are not very pleasant. It can change their lives forever, resulting in a scarred portion that they never talk about. Willing to give up a part of their time here to serve their country and their fellow citizens, each is affected and not one is left untouched. It may be this scar, however, that makes them more patriotic. They have dedicated their lives to their country, and they feel ownership and possession because they have given so much.

Perhaps the greatest display of patriotism, no matter what age, is the departure to war. The Greek philosopher, Plato, stated the following: "If [your country] leads you to war, to be wounded or to die, this you must do, and it is right; you must not give way or retreat or leave your post, but in war and everywhere you must do whatever city and country commands." We are indeed privileged to have so many brave American men and women who leave their homes and families to protect and serve, and to do whatever their country commands. Over the course of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the War on Terrorism (Afghanistan and Iraq), over 629,072 Americans have sacrificed their lives to serve their country and fulfill their duties. This sacrifice is what President Abraham Lincoln called "the last full measure of devotion," in The Gettysburg Address. They, as well as the survivors of those and other wars, are patriotic in a sense that we may never be able to understand. We may not be able to fathom the love for one's country and the devotion to it the way that those who give literally everything do. We citizens who have a comparatively easy life should thank the Lord above each and every day for the men and women in the military.

All around us there are shining examples of patriotism. From old to young, from the patient teacher in the classroom to the valiant firefighters of 9/11, we have many heroes among us. I am truly grateful and eternally indebted to all those who built this wonderful country, as well as to those who continue the process today. It is them and their work that brings tears to the eyes and warmth to the heart. Because of all they have done and continually do, I am honored to be an American, and to be a part, even in the smallest way, of this great nation. Patriotism is not a chore, or even a duty, but rather a privilege. As we carry out the solid and constant practice of patriotism, the leave we feel deepens and strengthens, and we learn more and more what it means to e an American, and we learn just how blessed we are.

 

Winter weather: tune the skis, take care with wood stoves

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs received only 0.27 inches of precipitation for November, much less than the 90-year (1906 to 1998) monthly average of 1.39 inches of precipitation, or 10 inches of snow. Last week's temperatures ranged from the mid-50s F. to 5 degrees F., with the low reported on Monday morning.

Many of the November storms hit northern Colorado but fizzled by the time they reached Pagosa, with northern ski areas such as Vail reporting 98 inches of snow on the slopes, compared to a year-to-date accumulation of 37 inches at Wolf Creek Pass.

But things should be changing in the upcoming weeks. The high pressure system that has recently dominated the region is weakening, and winds are expected to shift and blow in from the south/southwest, bringing a moist air mass that is moving in from the Pacific. We should be getting more snow beginning Friday and continuing over the weekend if all goes well in the troposphere. Skies will then clear for a cool and windy work week with highs mostly in the 30s, then building again with warmer temperatures towards the end of next week, cumulating in another weekend storm. Time to get the skis tuned up!

For those of you with wood stoves adding warmth to your home, be sure to inspect the operation of your wood stove for the season. Wood stoves warm primarily by providing radiant heat from hot exterior metal surfaces (around 400 degrees F.). Inside the stove, temperatures typically exceed 1,100 degrees F., requiring operational care. First, check the clearances in the chimney connection through the roof, making sure there has been no corrosion in the flashing and stovepipe heat shields. A safe chimney installation requires at least a 2-inch clearance from combustible material.

The National Fire Protection Agency also recommends an annual cleaning for creosote, the flammable by-product of incomplete combustion that builds up on the interior of the stovepipe.

Proper operation of a wood stove improves efficiency and reduces creosote problems. A small, briskly burning hot fire with dry, well-seasoned wood is best. Add small amounts of wood at a time and operate the draft control in at least a half-open position. Overnight burns, where the firebox is loaded with wood and the draft restricted for a long duration burn, creates more creosote build-up. When loading the firebox for an overnight burn, set the draft controls wide open for the first 20 minutes to establish a hot fire and then restrict the draft.

Combustion of creosote in your stovepipe is most likely to occur during a very hot fire in your stove, which can occur when burning paper such as Christmas wrappings. A chimney fire is not difficult to detect. It involves flames and sparks shooting out the top of the chimney, a roaring sound similar to a jet engine, and a red hot stovepipe which may throb or vibrate. Although a chimney fire generally has a short duration, it can be intensely hot with temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees F., potentially damaging the stovepipe and causing a house fire.

In case of a chimney fire, have a 10-pound ABC fire extinguisher nearby and shut off all oxygen to the stove. Call the fire department and carefully observe the chimney, attic and outside of the house for fire. When a chimney fire is extinguished, inspect the chimney for damage, especially the area around the stovepipe where it goes through the roof for any smoldering fires that may later re-ignite. Have the stove professionally inspected before using it again to ensure that nothing is damaged compromising the safety of the system.

Fun weather facts of the week: Depending on air temperature, the same amount of moisture in one inch of rain could equal anywhere from two inches of wet slushy snow to as much as 40 inches of dry fluffy snow. Almost every place in the United States has seen snow, with only the Florida Keys remaining flurry-free.

 

Youngster detained in alleged assault

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs Police Department received a call at about 4:30 Monday from a father of a student at the Pagosa Springs Junior High School, reporting his son had come home from school with a wound in his arm.

Based on the victim's report to the police, during art class a juvenile suspect had walked up to the victim while he was working on a project and stabbed him, for no apparent reason. A report from a witness indicated that, prior to the stabbing, the suspect had thrown a pencil at the victim.

The police report said the art teacher sent the victim to the nurse, where he was treated for a 1/4 inch stab wound, and that it was not clear what happened to the suspect.

The suspect did not return home after school. Around 11:30 p.m. the police received word on the suspect's whereabouts and subsequently the youngster was contacted in the Vista subdivision west of Pagosa Springs. The suspect was apprehended and charged with second-degree assault and transported to DeNier Youth Services Center, a detention center in Durango.

Duane Noggle, school district superintendent, said that junior high school principal Chris Hinger "followed appropriate protocol." He said once an incident is determined not to be life threatening, the protocol is to then question witnesses. Noggle said because the incident happened at 3:30 p.m., "access to witnesses was problematic because of the time of day when buses were leaving at the end of school."

Noggle said "We regret the incident, and are currently reevaluating storage of equipment that could be dangerous in art class." He said the monthly District Accountability Committee meeting Wednesday already had a "School Safety Plan" item on the agenda.

Fund established to aid local infant

A fund has been set up at Citizens Bank in Pagosa Springs for Trey Lloyd, the son of Kenny and Pam Lloyd of Pagosa Springs.

Trey is 18 months old and has been diagnosed with leukemia. He spent time at St. Luke's Presbyterian Hospital in Denver, is now staying in Denver and undergoing daily chemotherapy and other treatments.

Any other correspondence will be graciously accepted at (970) 731-5740.

 Outdoors

Landowners can order trees and shrubs

The San Juan Conservation District is taking orders for high-quality, reasonably priced seedling trees and shrubs to be planted especially for conservation planting.

Conservation plantings include windbreaks, hedgerows, living snow fences, dust and visual screens, wildlife habitat enhancement, soil stabilization, reforestation/afforestation projects and Christmas tree plantations.

The seedlings are grown in Fort Collins at the Colorado State Forest Service nursery and are then sold and distributed by cooperating Conservation Districts in southwest Colorado.

To participate, landowners need to own at least two acres of land, use the seedlings for conservation purposes and not landscaping, and agree not to resell seedlings purchased through the program as living plants.

The seedlings are available as either bare root or potted planting stock, and include a wide variety of native and introduced coniferous and deciduous trees and deciduous shrubs.

All bare root stock is sold in bundles of 50 seedlings of the same species and are $30.40 per bundle, plus tax. The potted stock is sold in containers with 30 seedlings of the same species, and sells for $39.20 per regular container plus tax and $26.28 per container, plus tax, for small potted seedlings.

Order early for best selection. The trees will be available to pick up around the middle of April.

Landowners can obtain a seedling order form from the San Juan Conservation District located at 505A Piedra Rd. or the CSU Cooperative Extension Service at the Archuleta County Fair Building.

For more information, call the San Juan Conservation District at 731-3615.

 

Catch and Release

A fine day of fishing ... in a snowstorm

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

It's mid-October and a typical autumn day in northern New Mexico. The weather in the Sangre de Cristos is capricious - blazing sun one moment, then great stacks of cumulous clouds shading the ground the next. The wind blows in tumultuous, intermittent gusts down Las Vegas' nearly deserted streets. There is an edge to the wind and uncertainty in the weather. The sun is just a tease, and however pleasing, its warmth is temporary. A storm is brewing.

When I settle into a window seat at a table in a friend's restaurant, I am like a plant baking behind greenhouse glass. I peel off layers, roll up sleeves and sweat like crazy in the ultraviolet. Eduoard, still in his grubby apron, arrives with a bottle of Muscato, pearls of moisture clinging to the green glass. He pops the cork and pours a round. The liquid is cool and effervescent, and Eduoard drinks like a man who has just spent eight hours laboring in the heat of a kitchen. I drink with equal vigor and the bottle goes around again. It's Sunday, and in our glassed-in microclimate, the weather is perfect, the world is right.

Eduoard disappears and soon returns with plates piled with steamed asparagus, new potatoes and slender filets of broiled wild salmon draped with hollandaise.

The Muscato has the better of us, and we cast niceties aside and plow into the food. We inhale the meal, wipe our plates clean with hunks of bread, then push them away. The bottle goes around again. We sip and ease back in our chairs, digesting like bears in repose, sun and heat pouring through the window.

Dessert follows - a traditional Swiss tart layered with fresh apples and marzipan. We wash it down with double espressos and my empty demitasse barely hits the saucer when Eduoard is up and out of his chair.

He pulls off his apron, tosses it on a nearby chair and declares it's time to go fishing.

There's just one problem; I don't have any gear. I came to eat and left everything at home, including a decent jacket.

Eduoard says not to worry, he's got everything I need and he races off to the car, me buzzed with Muscato, jacked on espresso and trailing far behind.

Eduoard is a man possessed. Every movement, no matter how benign, from shuffling in a pocket for car keys, to removing a kitchen apron, is driven by some internal fire, by the power of a single-minded, almost maniacal intent. He used to chain smoke Marlboro reds with the same fervor, but after kicking the habit, it seems he's gotten worse, or perhaps he's always been this way.

We stop at a hardware store and he marches across the parking lot then blasts through the front doors like a mafioso on a hit. He charges past other shoppers, eyes scanning the shelves. He looks back and tosses a scowl at me, a man nearly half his age who is struggling to keep up.

After blitzing nearly every aisle of the store, he locates the small refrigerator used to keep the nightcrawlers and takes out two styrofoam tubs. I thought we were going fly fishing, but apparently Eduoard has other plans.

We pay, and are on the road again. We drive out of town, make a turn on a Forest Service road and follow it back for about half an hour and deep into the hills. Eventually the road parallels a tiny mountain stream, and after a few more minutes, we find a wide spot, and Eduoard pulls off.

He quickly surveys the stream, grunts with approval and races around to pull gear from the trunk. Head buried deep in its cavernous recesses, he eventually emerges with two short, stubby rods and hands one to me. The base of the rods are thick as pull cues. He demonstrates.

With a flick of his wrist, one of the rods shoots out like a retractable car antenna. He tells me to do the same. I copy the movement, and the rod rockets out, and at full extension must be 12 feet long and stiff as a two-by-four.

"Surf rods," he says in his heavy French accent.

Great. Probably perfect for slinging gobs of bait or big flashy lures off of some Mediterranean beach, but totally impractical for a stream you could easily spit across.

With the demonstration complete, Eduoard is off, plying the waters of deep hole and pulling out brown trout in rapid succession.

With Eduoard streamside, I'm left standing there examining the rod. There is no reel, and for a line there is an eight foot piece of heavy monofilament tied to the rod tip. It flutters in the breeze like a severed utility cable.

I rummage around the trunk and locate a tube of split shot, a few packages of hooks and leaders, and a pair of greasy pliers. I've got a pocket knife, and just need a tub of worms and I'm set.

The storm has arrived and the rain is hammering my shoulders and back. My wool sweater won't be enough to keep off the cold, so I dig further and locate a beat up jacket with deep cargo pockets. It doubles as a fishing vest and I jam my worms and tackle inside and head up stream.

The storm is ripping now, and flurries of big wet snowflakes obscure the landscape. I work the stream, trying runs and holes, jigging the worms down deep. After a few experiments with technique, I retract the rod to about six feet. Playing and landing a trout is a challenge without a reel, but I master the process of setting the hook then launching the rod into the bushes, catching the monofilament in mid flight and landing the trout as though I were fishing with a hand line.

It is pure, simple angling - no high tech gadgetry, no slick reel, no fancy rod, no multi-pocketed vest or waders. It is Huck Finn fishing at its finest and it is absolute bliss.

I try to use the rod's length as an advantage to reach out into the stream, but fly fishing habits die hard, and soon I'm in midstream fishing wet in hiking boots and jeans.

The snow keeps coming and clings to my shoulders. The jacket is past its prime and hangs like a wet blanket. I'm drenched, but after catching and releasing a number of decent browns, I push it all aside and feel immensely satisfied.

Darkness comes and we emerge from separate sections of streamside brush almost in unison, as if on cue. We meet back at the car, and swap stories of our catches.

The effects of the Muscato and espresso are dead and long gone. I crave something hot to drink or a cigarette and curse Eduoard for quitting.

We're trashed, but it has been a fine day of fishing, and we peel off wet jackets and stash our gear and drive back to Las Vegas in the snowstorm and in silence.

 

High Country Reflections

Light, shadow lend depth and clarity to everything

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

I had awakened before dawn and was lying on the daybed reading, when Fraser, our jet-black Burmese cat, suddenly crawled onto my chest for a nap. As he lay there just inches from my chin, his glistening ebony coat sparkled brightly in the soft glow of my reading lamp, and for the moment, parts of him appeared almost snowy white.

At first I thought it odd how the reflection of simple light from each tiny hair could alter his appearance so completely, but then I remembered a photography lesson my brother-in-law, Marty, had given me long ago, in which he described variations of light as being absolute to our visual perception of the world around us. He explained that even the slightest change can utterly transform an object or scene, a message I've considered ever since, and over the years, has contributed much to my broadening awareness of the intense beauty and grandeur of our natural surroundings.

I have long recognized the magnificence of those last slanting rays of a Rocky Mountain sunset which, when cast upon the tallest peaks of a lofty snow-capped range, seem to bathe the alpine landscape in a wash of luxuriant gold, then dazzling orange, and ultimately a deepening lavender, before fading to the cold and sullen gray of the final few minutes before dark. Of course, the mountains are stunning and majestic in any light, but their marked definition and inherent splendor in the brief phase of the alpenglow moves me to heightened and indescribable feelings of joy and admiration.

Such feelings have also come in the several minutes before sunrise, when the land was lighted and visible, yet still somewhat obscured by the last lingering remnants of the earth's shadow. As the great terrestrial rotation slowly advanced, scattered high clouds to the east and overhead steadily progressed through an opposite sequence of vivid and colorful display, beginning first with an unembellished hue of battleship gray, then almost indiscernibly turning from shades of lavender and pink to valiant oranges and gold, and finally, as the sun itself peered over the horizon, into the soft velvety-white more characteristic of daytime billows.

Beauty and symmetry are universal in the physical world, and radiant light allows us their full appreciation. From the smallest mineral-laden stone to the greatest of natural wonders, the disparity between light and shadow lend depth and clarity to everything. The angle of light, its luminescence, and any refraction all shape images and our impressions of them. We view our surroundings, but limitless variations of light define what we see, and influence how we understand and value it.

Any glimpse into the immense abyss of the Grand Canyon, for instance, is a great sight indeed. But the same view on a clear day just before sunset is an exceptional display, exemplified by a broader spectrum of color, slanting rays, and deepening shadows. The same is true of our mountains, high forests, and vast deserts. We gaze upon a picturesque scene time and time again, but each time it seems profoundly different.

I was driving home from Durango one recent afternoon, and as the sun shone brightly through a partly cloudy sky overhead, the surrounding forests were dressed in the warm blush of its direct light. But looking further east, I could see dark and ominous clouds building over Bayfield. From a distance, the cloudbank resembled a giant gray curtain with a wide progression of pure-white vertical streaks at its center. I naturally assumed a snow squall had developed over town, and as I steadily approached the outskirts, the sky ahead grew darker, the snowy-white streaks loomed larger, and it appeared the curtain was rapidly falling on the little community.

I entered Bayfield with the sun at my back, and at once, everything before me seemed awash in a cascade of miniature pearls. Sleet rained down heavily for several minutes, and the tiny bouncing balls accumulated in small heaps everywhere. The golden glow of the air around me gradually faded to pure mother-of-pearl, and nearby hills quickly vanished in the gathering mist.

The sleet eventually turned to light snow, but the localized squall weakened considerably just a few miles past Bayfield. Soon, with the leaden overcast loosening its grip, patches of blue developed and the sun peeked through again. The surrounding countryside, though partly shrouded in layers of heavy gray clouds, reemerged under a thin blanket of white.

As the miles and minutes passed, the sky gradually opened up, and only smaller pockets of precipitation lingered over the highest terrain. Dense fog banks still hovered in the deepest wooded valleys, but the sky was mostly a brilliant blue as the sun slowly dropped toward the western horizon.

Somewhere east of Deer Valley, while passing through thick ponderosa forest, I rounded a bend to the right, and suddenly there it was. Chimney Rock stood tall in the golden glow of the late afternoon sun. Its western flank blazed with a lavish yellow-orange, while its base and the very bluff it rested on had already dipped into shadow. The sky above and beyond was a deep ocean blue, though a few white billowy clouds hung on in sharp contrast.

As another few minutes lapsed, I passed very near the soaring pinnacle, but the direct rays of the golden sun had left it for the day. However, those lingering clouds in the sky above were then on fire with the same salient orange that only a moment before, had so warmly adorned the "Rock" itself.

Chimney Rock is a magnificent geological feature, and its intrinsic beauty and associated value are virtually immeasurable under any light. Of course, the same can be said of Pagosa Peak, Quartz Ridge, or any of our wild and undisturbed mountains, rivers and forested valleys. But as enchanting as these natural places appear, their particular appeal is as diverse as the variations of light that fall upon them.

With such never-ending beauty all around us, isn't that why we live here?

(Editor's note: Columnist Chuck McGuire was called out of town on short notice last week. As a result, we are reprinting this column, originally in The SUN Dec. 2, 2004.)

 

Letters

 

Revised funding

Dear Editor:

How to measure candidates for the 2006 elections? How about an educational plan that addresses a troubling fact - the financial rewards of attaining a four-year college education coupled with our college's' drive to achieve higher "U.S. News" rankings has largely diminished meritocracy to an economic and cultural class based ladder to success.

Suppose you are a high school student living in Ohio whose parents (along with the state) are suffering periodic unemployment but your SATs are good. What's your chances for college? Very poor at best. The national average is 6 percent (while Dept. of Education National statistics show all income groups at 29 out of 100 eighth-grade students achieve a college degree). Bummer. Well there is still the chance for a Pell grant (primary Federal education need based assistance) or is it a choice of staying focused and after the armed forces maybe getting into a two-year college? Pell Grants have fallen for four-year colleges from 62 percent in 1974 to 45 percent in 2002; whereas they've risen for two-year schools from 38 to 55 percent.

The education dilemma for colleges is how to serve local masters and satisfy the responsibility to educate the nation when sourcing and distributing funds. What about the Lotto? Who's hurt if some funds were dedicated to higher education and restricted to students from families with annual incomes less than $40,000 who buy most of the Lotto tickets.

What if a candidate had a plan for an economic (not racial) class affirmative action educational program by doing some of the following:

1. Set social/political policies to strengthen families with educational goals.

2. Match local K-12 educational focuses to favor state colleges' educational strengths.

3. Examine how to restructure the in-state versus non-resident tuition that favors in-state low income groups.

4. Change college admissions process to require a percentage of lower income students, regardless of waiting lists and other current non-selection criteria, along with graduation requirements.

5. Revise the Pell Grant process to favor four-year schools.

6. Integrate "for-profit" schools as a complement to state schools.

6. Dedicate some state Lotto funds for colleges on a low income student basis.

Who would benefit by an income-based plan? Well, first and foremost the Republican Party, which has become increasingly the party of choice for lower income working whites. Secondly, Democrats who can claim some action-based credibility for their party platform. How about the child in Ohio (and other similar states)? Not to mention Hispanic Americans who have the largest college-age group now coming on stream and the lowest percent of college attendance.

An explanation for this education plan is that America is rapidly slipping versus competing countries in a very real global economic war and (regardless of how much money you have) we need every capable hand.

Dave Blake

 

With foresight

Dear Editor:

It's an interesting time in Pagosa - one of growth and development stimulated by those leaving urban areas for a quieter/simpler life. It's easy to be caught up in growth when there's a quick buck to be made, without considering where it will lead.

I had the privilege this week of watching a documentary film shown at the community center on the ethics and business tactics of Wal-Mart. It's like stepping on a hornets' nest to bring up this subject - for those on a tight budget needing economical shopping and for those who believe the added tax base will bring an economic boon to the town.

Before we move forward without thinking, I encourage everyone in the town and county to get ahold of this film, watch it with friends and neighbors, and really educate themselves as to the implications of what this kind of change means to our community. It's not just Wal-Mart; it's what will happen to small, family-owned business and our sense of personal community when such big-citified businesses take over our economy, and in some ways pit our community against itself.

Points to consider and perhaps mitigate (from this film) if a Wal-Mart type store approaches our town:

- The town may get more tax dollars, but the county will have higher costs for social services, health care and welfare (Wal-Mart is documented for keeping its people on part-time schedules to avoid having to pay benefits and then encouraging their people to access the welfare system).

- Safety and security - what kind of predators will have criminal opportunity in the parking lots (will there be active security)? With the increase of illegal drug activity and other criminal issues in Pagosa does this open the doors for more? How about our teens?

- There are investigations pending on chronic discrimination by Wal-Mart against both ethnic groups and women. Are these job/career opportunities actually what people may think they are?

If we will have foresight, we can manage growth in such a way that our lovely town/county does not turn into homogenous urban sprawl, but retains its trees, its terrain, its beauty, its quaintness and quality of life rare in today's world. It's not just about town and county officials doing their job, but all who live here becoming involved and participating in the process. The grey area that falls between the cracks of thinking someone else will do it’ is a fallacy we had better revise, or lose what we have.

Perhaps we need work at getting some new elected officials, perhaps the town charter should be changed to allow town property and business owners to vote on town issues, perhaps the borders of town should be changed to annex more densely populated areas. Perhaps we should find ways to participate and express some kind of unified voice in Pagosa and Archuleta County that preserves a very precious and rare way of life while it still exists.

Cary Ellis

 

Pro Village

Dear Editor:

I was listening to Alamosa's KRZA radio Friday morning and was shocked to hear the report that U.S. Rep. John Salazar has taken a stand against the Village at Wolf Creek. If the report is true, I am deeply disappointed. A stand against the Village at Wolf Creek is a stand against property rights.

My family lives in Creede, and I lived there until I moved to Alamosa in 1988. I have followed the 20-year process of approvals for the Village. Attorney John Wilder, Mineral County administrators, the volunteers on the Planning and Zoning Board, and the county commissioners worked hard to follow the laws of the land and protect the residents of Mineral County, as well as the public users of the Rio Grande National Forest.

The opponents of the Village are a vocal few, the majority of whom do not live in Mineral or Rio Grande counties. The Village offers real economic development to Mineral, Rio Grande and Archuleta counties.

Before making such damaging statements, it would behoove Rep. Salazar to accept the invitations he has been offered to meet with the residents of Mineral and Rio Grande counties and listen to the facts.

Patricia Skroch

South Fork

 

Ski club

Dear Editor:

Cross country skiing, anyone?

Is there anybody out there who would like to help start a cross country skiing club or any already in-place organization that might like to support the snow trail grooming effort?

We have a situation with the snow trail grooming effort where we have workers with a proven, reliable and successful record with no civic support group. Because of this situation, Pagosa is losing valuable tourist business.

The ski trail grooming effort has been positive for local and visiting skiers for the past dozen or so years. There is no doubt the trails have been a tourist draw with the Pagosa area becoming a destination location for cross country skiers and more recently, snowshoers. They eat, lodge, buy supplies and look just like other winter tourists. If you only see them in town and don't see them on the trail you likely think they are here to ski at Wolf Creek. There are a lot of cross country skiers coming to Pagosa based on past trail grooming work and the snowshoeing sport is currently exploding.

The escalating costs of gas, oil and repair, along with a new need to provide insurance, will bring trail making for locals and visitors to a stop this year if new resources can't be found. It will be a shame for our area businesses to lose this active winter tourism draw.

Dick Cole and I have done the volunteer work over the years with considerable donations of money and time including the several thousand dollar snow machines, maintenance, fuel, etc. We are still willing and able and our machines are in good shape but we need help with the increasing overhead. We also need to start a process that will outlive our ability to do the work.

A ski club can be a real joy. In the past there was an informal club with cookouts, social events, full moon "ski-ins" on the West Fork Ski Trail and other fun events. For a civic organization we can provide strong name recognition and positive promotion. Please call 264-4542 for details or with any interest or ideas.

Norm Vance

Kate's Calendar

Kate's Calendar

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

Today

The monthly meeting of the San Juan Outdoor Club will be held at the Parish Hall on Lewis Street at 6 p.m. Please bring a dish to share and a wrapped gift for a child to the annual Christmas party and potluck. Sign-ups for activities this month include cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Think snow. For information call Sue Passant at 731-3836.

Today, Dec. 2 and 3

"A Christmas Carol" will be presented Dec. 1, 2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee performance Dec. 3 at 2 p.m. All shows will be held at the Pagosa Springs High School Auditorium.

Tickets are available at the Plaid Pony (731 5262) or at the door. Advance purchases are recommended.

Dec. 2

Third Annual Gala Gallery Walk, 5-8 p.m., sponsored by PSAC. Now featuring 12 participating galleries, each with guest artists, refreshments, music and door prizes. Tickets at $8 for PSAC members and $10 for nonmembers available at the Chamber, Moonlight Books and WolfTracks.

Dec. 3

Pi Beta Phi alumnae club holiday potluck luncheon and angel exchange at the home of Carole Howard at 11:30 a.m. For the gift exchange, bring a wrapped angel item (does not have to be an ornament) worth no more than $10. For the potluck, bring an appetizer, salad, side dish or dessert. Carole will supply the main dish. Also, please bring two or three canned or packaged goods each for the Operation Helping Hand food drive. RSVP to Carole at 731-2448 by Friday, Nov. 25. Tell her what you plan to bring to the potluck to avoid duplications.

Dec. 4

Pagosa Singles (40-plus are welcome) monthly dinner meeting, 5 p.m. at Hog's Breath, ordering off menu. R.S.V.P. 731-9129 by Dec. 2.

Dec. 4

The women of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church are having a Christmas Nativity Tea between the hours of 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. The cost is $4. Only 100 tickets will be sold. Call 731-5801 to reserve tickets. See Local Chatter for more information.

Dec. 8

The Mountain View Homemakers will meet with Margaret Rouke who lives at 206 Pine Club Place. The program is the annual Christmas party and gift exchange, and collection of gifts for the Four Corners Safe Home in Durango. Call 731-4858 for more information.

Dec. 9-10

Kiwanis Club Chili Supper, 4:30-7 p.m. at the community center. This is a fund-raising event for the club and money raised will go towards scholarships. Come enjoy dinner, then go straight to the Christmas concert.

Dec 9, 10 and 11

Community Choir Christmas Concert starts at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 4 p.m. Sunday. It's free, though donations will be greatly appreciated.

The concert will be at the community center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Seating is limited, so arrive early in order to get a seat. Concerts are a gift to the community.

Dec. 10 and 12

The Children's Chorale will present a concert at 3 p.m. at St. Patrick's Episcopal Church. They will present the same concert Dec. 12 at Restoration Fellowship Church at 6 p.m.

Dec. 13

The December meeting of the Archuleta County Republican Women will be a Christmas Coffee at the home of Carol Fisher. It will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 13. Republican women interested in issues challenging our local, state and federal governments are invited to attend. Please come and get acquainted. They welcome new members but there is not an obligation to join. Call Barbara at 731-9916 for directions to Carol's home.

Dec. 14

The Pagosa Women's Club will hold its annual silent auction and holiday luncheon at JJ's Upstream Restaurant at 11:15 a.m. Musical entertainment will be provided by John Graves during the traditional holiday luncheon. Proceeds from the auction go to various community projects that need funding and support. Members, nonmembers, and guests are encouraged to attend this fun and worthwhile event. For more information, call Mary Webb at 731-1288. Reservations must be made prior to Dec. 12, at noon. Please do not call JJ's for reservations for this event.

Dec. 15

The Woman's Civic Club of Pagosa Springs Christmas party will be held at Betsy Gill's house. She lives at 999 Stevens Lake Road (this is a place change.) Call 731-4725 or 731-9979 for directions. The time is 7 p.m.

Dec. 17

The Sarah Platt Decker Daughters of the American Revolution meets at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center at 10 a.m. Call 247-1965 for more information.

Dec. 18

Pagosa Singles (40-plus are welcome) Christmas party, 4:30 p.m. Bring a white elephant gift. Bring hors d'oeuvres to share and your personal drink.

Call for directions, 731-9129.

Dec. 21

"Old Fashioned Christmas," 6-8 p.m., at the Power House Gym, located behind the Humane Society Thrift Store, by the Town Park ball field. Spend the evening making old-fashioned Christmas decorations, decorate and eat Christmas cookies, sing along with your favorite Christmas carols listen to Christmas stories and spend time with your family, Cocoa and goodies will be sold at the snack bar. For more information, call Kay Dean, 731-5767.

Dec. 31

Community New Year's Eve Dance, 9:05 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at the community center. John Graves, Larry Elginer, Susanna Ninichuck and John's son will provide the music. Watch for more details.

Jan. 12

The Newcomer Club will meet at JJ's Upstream Restaurant at 6 p.m. No reservations necessary. Price is $8 per person. The club is sponsored by the Pagosa Springs Welcoming Service. For more information, call Lyn DeLange at 731-2398. There will be no December club meeting.

 

Community News

Unitarians to consider No Child Left Behind

On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a service exploring the ramifications of No Child Left Behind. In this power-point presentation, Pagosa Springs High School history teacher Doug Hershey will offer an overview of this controversial education program, which was established by the current Republican administration. His wife, Gail Hershey, will be the service leader.

Hershey will explain how test scores are used to evaluate schools, and how funding for the schools is affected by such testing. He will also explain the areas of and reasons for the existing controversies. A discussion period will follow the presentation.

The service and children's program begin at 10:30 a.m. The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall is Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa Blvd. by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

 

Music Boosters' 'A Christmas Carol' opens tonight

By Dale Morris

Special to The PREVIEW

Michael DeWinter wears so many different hats for the upcoming production of "A Christmas Carol" it's a wonder he remembers one from the other.

Not only is he the overall director of the show, but he also plays the role of Bob Crachit, father to Tiny Tim.

Michael has been refurbishing set pieces he designed and built three years ago, in addition to sprucing up costumes and outfitting all of the 37 cast members. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, he spent his time in the kitchen, baking dozens of gingerbread cookies to be sold at the concession stand, along with other "Londontown" goodies.

The level of excitement is rising on the stage, as the other directors - Lisa Hartley, Melinda Baum, and Dale Morris - together with a dedicated crew and cast, make final preparations for an opening night tonight, Dec. 1. We invite everyone to come and share a fun-filled and touching evening with us.

"A Christmas Carol" will be presented Dec. 1,2 and 3 at 7:30 p.m. with a matinee at 2 p.m. Dec. 3. All performances are in the Pagosa Springs High School auditorium.

Tickets are available at the Plaid Pony (731-5262) or at the door. Advance purchase tickets recommended.

 

Full program set for community choir concerts

By Ray Diffee

Special to the PREVIEW

Pagosa Springs Community Choir directors Pam Spitler and Larry Elginer have been rehearsing the choir since early September, with 90 singers from age 15 to 80, preparing a variety of music for the upcoming concerts.

The program will include sacred, secular, gospel and jazz music. The concerts will last approximately 90 minutes and will be performed ay 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9 and 10, and 4 p.m. at a matinee Sunday, Dec. 11. The community center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd., will be the location for this year's concert. Seating will be limited, so it is suggested you arrive early.

The program will include such favorites as 'Silent Night" with instrumentalists Melinda Baum and Joy Redmon on flute; "All is Calm, All Is Bright" with soloist Don Weller; "The First Noel" with soloist, Nancy Smith; "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" with soloists Janna Voorhis and Matthew Brunson; "Mary Had a Baby" with soloist Barbara Witkowski, and Bob Nordmann on saxophone; "Some People See Him" with instrumentalist D'Ann Artis on horn; "What Child Is This" with soloist Sue Diffee; and several other beautiful selections.

The program will open with the "Other Side of the Mountain" quartet from Mountain Harmony Women's Barbershop Group. The Jazz Ensemble will sing "Home for the Holidays" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain." The ladies will sing "A Christmas Song" with soloist Susie Long and the men, plus three ladies, will sing "Star of Glory" with soloist Morgan Anderson.

Want to Honor or do a memorial for a loved one? Honorariums, either "In Honor Of" or "In Memory Of," to be printed in the program, are available. Contact Valley Lowrance by Friday, Dec. 2, at 731-9184 for information.

All of concerts are the choir's gift to the community. Tax free donations are gratefully appreciated.

  

Elation Center presents 'A Classic Christmas'

Elation Center for the Arts announces a holiday concert entitled "A Classic Christmas," beginning at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Highlights of this special evening will be the angelic classical harp of Natalie Tyson, singalong Christmas carols with pianist John Graves, classical trumpet solos by Larry Elginer, Spanish carols with singer June Marquez, Renaissance minstrels Carla and Paul Roberts and other performers.

A Classic Christmas is produced by Elation Center for the Arts, a local nonprofit organization. The concert - which includes a dessert social - follows the organization's recent Pagosa Song Fest, last summer's American Roots Music Festival, and the Ancient Cultures arts-in-education program at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School. Proceeds from the concert will help support Elation Center's efforts in bringing quality community concerts, classes and other cultural enrichment programs to Pagosa Springs.

Tickets will be available at the door. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children under 18.

Please bring a dessert to share, if you wish. Also, volunteers are needed to help with holiday decorations and refreshments. Call 731-3117 for more information.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista Subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard, go north on Vista then left on Port.

 

PSAC Gala Gallery tour tomorrow

By Marti Capling

Special to The SUN

It's your last chance to purchase tickets for the third annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council- sponsored Gala Gallery Tour, 5-8 p.m. tomorrow, Dec. 2. Get them before they're gone at the Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and WolfTracks. They'll be available all day tomorrow, and any leftover tickets can be purchased at Moonlight Books tomorrow evening. The tour is self guided and you may visit participating galleries in any order.

Twelve galleries will be festively decorated and will feature guest artists, refreshments, music and door prizes.

Previous articles have detailed the special offerings of Taminah Frame Center, Rainbow Gifts, Wild Spirit Gallery, Pagosa Photography, The Crucible, Moonlight Books, Puttin' on the Rydz, Soledad's Studio and Gallery, Back Door Collectibles, Lantern Dancer Gallery and Gifts, and Rocky Mountain Wildlife Gallery.

Last, but not least, is Handcrafted Interiors, where owners Cappy White and Monica Green feature the works of several local artisans. Among them is the wood work of Will Dunbar and David Smith, chandeliers by Mike Selinsky, ceramic frogs by Carolyn McCullough, stained glass lamps with wooden bases by Denny Finn, and dolls by Monica and others. Not to be missed is the Old Stone Furniture Co. unique line of mirrors and furniture pieces designed and handcrafted by Cappy. For your entertainment, there will be live music and the traditional gumbo.

Gather up your friends and neighbors and plan to kick off the holiday season by attending the Gala Gallery Walk, and support our local galleries, artists and artisans.

 

Encore Opening for SHY RABBIT invitational

 By Denise Coffee

Special to The PREVIEW

If you missed the gala opening of SHY RABBIT's "Artists' Invitational & Open Juried Exhibition" Nov. 19, you're still in luck. You'll be able to see this amazing show through show closing. 

The Showroom and the Space @ SHY RABBIT will be open 1-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Saturday, Dec. 17.  Artists will be on hand to answer your questions. Private viewings are also available by request. For more information or to make an appointment, please call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com.

In addition to offering weekend hours, the SHY RABBIT will also host an Encore Opening of this very popular exhibition 5-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists in person, and to discuss their artwork and the creative process that inspires them. All are welcome.

This ambitious exhibition highlights the work of four remarkable invited artists, together with juried entries from 15 uniquely talented emerging artists. Close to 50 pieces of art are on display, ranging from large contemporary oil and gold-leaf paintings, to unique, finely crafted bronze sculptures. The juried portion of this show is the product of a call to artists that went out in October and resulted in the receipt of nearly 80 entries from 24 artists residing in Pagosa, Durango, Salida and elsewhere.

After careful review by a jury committee, several works by 15 artists were accepted for inclusion in the show. The committee would like to thank all of the talented artists that submitted their work for consideration, and also acknowledge their valuable contribution to the creative process.

Featured in the SHY RABBIT Showroom are the works of acclaimed photographer, Emilio Mercado, whose work is inspired by master still life painter, Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin (b. 1699). Mercado's light painted photographs capture objects in their purest form.

Additional invited artists are contemporary painter, Sarah Comerford, known for her thought provoking large scale oil and gold-leaf paintings; mixed-media artist, Susan Andersen (MarSan), recognized locally and internationally for her fine assemblage art; and installation artist, Shan Well, known most recently for his impressive "Moments Project" in Durango.

SHY RABBIT is located at: 333 Bastille Drive, B-1 & B-4, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.  For additional information, call 731-2766, or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com.

Keep on dancing this New Year's Eve

By Mercy Korsgren and Siri Schuchardt

Special to The SUN

The Community Center Thanksgiving Dance was a huge success, and over 150 people danced the night away to a variety of music provided by Will Spears.

Thanks to all the wonderful people who stayed to help put everything away, and a very special thank you to Robert and Margaret Webb, Michelle Mesker and Pam Stokes who took time out of their day to help get everything ready for the dance. It is a huge job to set up the tables and chairs, decorate, and lay out the dance floor. Volunteers are always needed, and they are crucial to the success of this new program. Contact Mercy at 264-4152 or Siri at 731-9670 if you would like to volunteer your time.

The New Year's Eve Dance will take place 9:05 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Dec. 31-Jan. 1. This is your opportunity to dress to the nines or simply come Pagosa style.

Cost is $15 per person or $25 per couple and includes hot and cold hors d'oeuvres, soft drinks, and coffee. We are no longer able to provide champagne for the midnight toast, so bring your favorite bubbly to bring in the New Year. Since the community center dances are BYOB, you must be 21 or over to attend.

Advance tickets will be available until 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, and may be purchased at the community center, WolfTracks or Moonlight Books. There will be no tickets sold at the door. Complete tables of eight to 10 may be reserved in advance at the community center upon presentation of your tickets.

The music for the evening will be provided by John Graves & Company. This band is a quartet of distinguished musicians, and John has confirmed that the group will play a wide variety of music. The band includes John, Larry Elginer, Kim Graves, and Susanna Ninichuck

John Graves & Company not only excel as instrumentalists but also as singers and entertainers. Trumpeter Larry Elginer supplemented his career as high school music teacher, band, orchestra and choral conductor by playing private parties and events with many of the finest musicians and groups in the Los Angeles area. He is now the co-conductor of the Pagosa Springs Community Choir and Jazz Ensemble.

Bassist Susanna Ninichuck has played and sung with bands of all sizes and styles. She also plays a number of other instruments, including keyboard, drums, trumpet and tuba. Also on her resume are stints as a Hollywood stunt woman, actress, choreographer, director and teacher of a course on opera history.

Drummer Kim Graves joined the Los Angeles Professional Musicians Union when he was 11 years old. He played with his dad, John, and other musicians at private parties all through his junior and senior high school years. While attending college, he worked in some big bands which often accompanied celebrity stage shows. He is now an airline pilot living in Phoenix.

Keyboard player John Graves' main career was in the television and film industries, but he has always played several nights a week, or between film assignments, as a single pianist, side man, or band leader. He played private parties for Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, Danny Thomas and John Wayne. He has recorded, been a staff pianist at KLAC-TV and on the first Betty White show, and has accompanied such artists as George Burns, June Christy, Helen O'Connell, Rosemary Clooney, Rudy Vallee, Redd Foxx, Arthur Duncan and Jimmy Durante.

June Marquez at 'A Classic Christmas'

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Have you waited until adulthood to fulfill your artistic dream?

Take some inspiration from June Marquez, a singer who is just beginning to make her dynamic presence felt in the local music scene.

Marquez will be one of the performers at the upcoming concert, "A Classic Christmas," to be held at 7 p.m., Dec. 17, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Marquez has deep roots in southwest Colorado. She was born in Durango, and went to school in Ignacio. In the late 1800s, her great-great-grandfather, Francisco Marquez, was one of the many Spaniards to settle in the Rosa, N.M., which is now covered by Navajo Lake.

Marquez got her first musical inspiration from her mother.

"My mother sang a lot," she said. "She loved to dance and she loved people." In her teens, Marquez sang with her six sisters in a musical group known as the Marquez Sisters, performing at weddings, parties and funerals in the local area.

Her family sponsored regular live music dances at Marquez Grocery, their store in Arboles that included a 3.2 bar. These dances became very popular during the 1970s, when they provided a rare, cultural scene for young Hispanics, drawing audiences of over 100 and featuring bands that played Ranchera music, a style characterized by a traditional, folkloric sound.

Marquez is the mother of three children - Marcus, 19, Naquita, 17, and Eli, 11.  She is an aerobics instructor, personal trainer and has a housecleaning business.  Raising her children as a single mother put a hold on her music, but a few years ago she rediscovered her gift by singing karaoke.  "With the encouragement from some friends, I realized I had something to offer. I was moving people with music, just as it moved me," she said.

Judging by the enthusiastic response to Marquez' performance with John Graves at the recent Pagosa Song Fest, her music career is about to flourish. She intends to continue sharing her musical talents at concerts and other festive events. "I believe music encompasses our being," she says. "It brings about peace, love and happiness." She is also getting ready to do some recording. "One of my musical goals is to make a CD in honor of my mother who passed on five years ago," she said. The CD will include music that reminds Marquez of her mother: Ranchera, gospel and the music of Patsy Cline.

John Graves will accompany Marquez at "A Classic Christmas."

"I feel so grateful to have the opportunity to perform with John," she said. "And I really look forward to learning more blues and jazz from him. It's such a blessing to have him in our community." 

Come hear June Marquez Saturday, Dec. 17. The concert also features Mountain Harmony Ladies' Barbershop Chorus, harpist Natalie Tyson, John Graves, Larry Elginer, Jessica Espinoza, Carla and Paul Roberts.

"A Classic Christmas" is produced by Elation Center for the Arts, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing cultural enrichment program to Pagosa Springs. Please see another article in this week's PREVIEW for more details about the concert.

Call 731-3117 for more information.

 

SHY RABBIT sets January workshop schedule

By Denise Coffee

Special to the PREVIEW

A series of winter arts workshops has been set at SHY RABBIT. The following sessions will take place during January:

- Intuitive Book Art: A Workshop with Susan Andersen, Jan. 14, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at The Space @ Shy Rabbit, 333 Bastille Drive, Unit B-4. Cost is $45.

Reveal directional pathways and unlock unanswered questions from past experiences or dreams. In the Intuitive Book Art workshop, create a very personal, one-of-a-kind book that will forever hold intrinsic value for its maker.

The creative process of intuitive book making exposes a greater understanding of who we are, what path we were created for, and what messages or elements we are missing in our life.

Each book will reflect the individual maker or artisan. Common and uncommon materials are integrated together to create a unique piece of art that will be cherished for more than its esthetic value. The tools needed to create the books will be posted and sent out several weeks before class.  Any artist/individual who would like to participate should come to class with one question, dream, relationship or vision that as of now has not yet been revealed, answered or understood. The workshop is fun, exciting, revealing and surprising - especially for those with inquiring minds.

Class size is limited and it will fill quickly. Sign up early. Registration deadline is Dec. 31 and registration fees are nonrefundable. Please call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com for more information or to register.

- Colorado Lawyers for the Arts, COLA workshops, Arts Business - Act I and Act II, Jan. 15, 9 a.m.-noon, 1-4 p.m. The Space @ Shy Rabbit. Cost is $15 each session.

Arts Business - Act I, 9 a.m.-noon.

A set of three, one-hour lectures covering legally related basic business issues most often encountered by artists. The focus is on issues related to business entity formation, licenses and contracts. These presentations concentrate on establishment of a business entity and formation and regulation of not-for-profit corporations, and on what an artist needs to know about contracts, terms and use of licenses to protect an artist's creative work.

Arts Business - Act II, 1-4 p.m.

A second set of three, one-hour lectures that goes beyond the basics presented in Act I. Act II focuses on the commercial heartbeat of the arts world: intellectual property. An artist's work is known as "intellectual property" (IP), and this unique property is at the intersection of work using the tools of trademark (branding their art, and assuring they are not violating anyone else's trademark) and copyrights (protecting their artistic creation, whether visual art, written materials or music). Also included in this series are the ever-evolving issues surrounding the Internet and its impact on the artist.

The information presented is designed to address a broad scope of issues for artists of all disciplines while also giving new information to attorneys who practice in areas of law that relate to the arts community. CLE credits can be earned by attorneys for attendance.

Class size is limited and it will fill quickly. Sign up early. Registration deadline is Dec. 31 and registration fees are nonrefundable. Call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com for more information or to register.

- Professional Development Workshops: From the Inside Out Artist's Statements: Writing about One's Creative Work, with Jules Masterjohn, Jan. 21, 1-4 p.m. The Space @ Shy Rabbit. Cost is $35.

Bring a finished piece of artwork and learn how to craft an artist's statement. This workshop will explore the uses for an artist's statement, as well as their formats and flavors. Examples of artist's statements will be given as resource materials.

Through the use of slides and discussion, an introduction to the visual vocabulary (line, shape, color, etc.,) design principles (balance, rhythm, etc.) and basic styles or 'isms' of art (realism, abstraction, nonobjective, etc.) will be presented. This introduction offers workshop participants a common vocabulary through which to understand and, thus, to communicate about their work.

Each participant will receive personalized attention while writing his or her statement. At the workshop's end, participants will have all the tools necessary to fully craft their artist's statement.

Class size is limited to 20 and it will fill quickly. Sign up early. Registration deadline is Jan. 7 and registration fees are nonrefundable. Call 731-2766 or e-mail shyrabbit01@aol.com for more information or to register.

 

In Step parties, sets December class schedule

By Deb Aspen

Special to The PREVIEW

The In Step Dance Club's Trick-or-Tree-ee hay ride, potluck cookout and dance party Oct. 29 was a monster-mashing success. Ghoulish guests were greeted by a screaming ghost, a very large hairy purple-people-eating arachnid, and Mr. Bones, a tuxedo-clad, motion-detecting skeleton. With red eyes flashing, he danced and sang his way into the hearts of many a creature, including punk rocker, Liz Parker, as she tried to steal a kiss.

Larry and Bonnie Sprague hosted the ghastly gala in Allison.

The food was peculiarly palatable as the menu included such appetizers as a tombstone cheese roll and deviled eyeballs. Bonnie's Chilling Chili (which received the award for Most Tempting dish) served with Potent Potato Salad, Smelly Foot Salad and Dead Greens filled even the most persnickety of appetites. The Most Clever dish award went to Teri Hoehn for her Dirt Cake (fortified with glow-in-the-dark worms), while perhaps the most popular dessert was Susan Hampton's Kitty Pan Surprise, also voted the Scariest. Other contributions to the delicious delectables were Frightful Finger Cookies, Pumpkin Head Cake and Dripping Blood Punch.

The evening's entertainment came in the form of character rolls played by a gray cat, a scarecrow, a witch, a flapper, a cowboy and a farmer, to mention a few. There was a tiger with flashing black hair and the tiger hunter, who claims he got his prey. But the favorites, as decided by all in attendance were: "White Trash" Wayne Lauffer for best male costume; Lianne Leavick as the Genie for best female; and the best "Its" went to John and Sue Bozek for their "NASA Creatures" costumes.

It was such a hot night of dancing and fun that one witch even ended up "melted" in a puddle on the floor.

Members of the dance club have requested a continuation of Bolero for the first two weeks in December, followed by two weeks of review of the dances we have worked on this year: waltz, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, salsa, Country Western Swing and bolero. The schedule will be as follows: bolero classes 7-9 p.m., Dec 7 and 15; review classes 7-9 p.m., Dec. 22 and 29; practice sessions Dec. 4, 11 and 18.

All classes and practice sessions meet at the PLPOA Clubhouse - 230 Port Ave. Please arrive 10 minutes early to register, as they will begin promptly. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that have smooth or split leather soles. (Something that does not leave black marks or mud.)

For more information call Deb Aspen 731-3338.

The dance club is combining efforts with the Pagosa Springs Community Center where the New Year's Eve Dance will be held Dec. 31. John Graves & Company will provide live music. The cost will be $15 per person or $25 per couple, and profits will go towards buying more dance floor materials for the center. Tickets are available at the community center. Watch for more details.

 

Local Chatter

Christmas Tea planned at St. Patrick's Episcopal

By Kate Terry

PREVIEW Columnist

It will be a lovely event.

On Sunday afternoon, Dec. 4, between the hours of 2:30 and 4:30 p.m., the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) of St. Patrick's Episcopal Church are having a Christmas Tea.

Tea, coffee, cocoa, muffins, scones, tea breads, sandwiches and cookies will be served. Music will be provided by Dawn Hollenbeck, Scott and Christine Woodall, Deb Aspen and Charles Jackson.

A handmade nativity scene will be raffled off. Tickets are $1 and 6 for $5. Cookies will be sold - $5 for six dozen cookies. A winter Afghan will be a door prize.

The cost is $4. Only 100 tickets will be sold, so call 731-5801 to reserve tickets.

Correction (as reported in the Nov. 17 PREVIEW): Chantalle (not Charlotte) Rizzo will be one of the three Pagosa teens who will be playing in the newly organized Durango Youth Symphony that opens with its first performance Saturday, Dec. 3.

Around Town

Easy Boiled Custard Recipe (from "The Best of Four and More Christ Episcopal Church Bowling Green")

This recipe is good, simple to make, and can easily be increased.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 quart homogenized milk

4 egg yolks

vanilla flavoring

Mix sugar, flour and salt and add to milk in a heavy saucepan. Mix egg yolks well and add to milk mixture. Heat, stirring continuously until mixture coats a sterling spoon smoothly. Do not let boil. Add vanilla when mixture has cooled and then refrigerate. Vanilla ice cream added just before serving makes it very cold. Makes about 1 quart.

Easy Eggnog recipes:

Recipe No. 1 (from the "Cunningham Family Cookbook")

1 box vanilla instant pudding mix (regular size)

1/2 cup sugar

5 cups milk

Directions: mix ingredients well and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Recipe No. 2 (from "Decades of Mason County Cooking")

1 quart ice cream (vanilla?)

1 1/2 cups coffee

3/4 cups liquor

1 cup whipping cream, whipped

Bland all ingredients and serve. Makes 5 to 6 one-cup servings.

Fun on the Run

God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference. Now that I'm older (but refuse to grow up), here's what I've discovered:

1. I started out with nothing, and I still have most of it.

2. My wild oats have turned into prunes and All Bran.

3. I finally got my head together; now my body is falling apart.

4. Funny, I don't remember being absent minded.

5. All reports are in; life is now officially unfair.

6. If all is not lost, where is it?

7. It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

8. Some days you're the dog; some days you're the hydrant.

9. I wish the buck stopped here; I sure could use a few.

10. It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

11. If God wanted me to touch my toes, he would have put them on my knees.

12. When I'm finally holding all the cards, why does everyone decide to play chess?

Education News

Free hospitality training at ed center

By Livia Lynch

SUN Columnist

Rural Philanthropy Days of Southwest Colorado is a three-day event to be held in southwest Colorado, June 14-16, representing a five county area.

This event provides an avenue for nonprofits, government agencies and Front Range grantmakers to meet and explore common needs and goals in their communities.

The concept began in the early '90s and, to date, three have been held in southwest Colorado. The Anschutz Family Fund, a Denver-based foundation and the Community Resource Center, a nonprofit whose mission is to empower and train nonprofits statewide, were instrumental in the organization of this concept and remain actively involved in the process.

The last event, held in 2002, generated more than $1.5 million in funds from Front Range grantors in the first year following the event. Thirty Front Range funders, seven state agencies and more than 200 nonprofits attended. We anticipate a higher attendance for this upcoming event as our communities have grown over the past four years, as has our outreach.

The steering committee began meeting in April 2005 in preparation for the event, connecting representatives from Archuleta, Dolores, San Juan, Montezuma, and La Plata counties. I am executive director of the Archuleta County Education Center, and a member of the steering committee representing Archuleta County.

Local meeting

Rural Philanthropy Day co-chairs and coordinator will be in Pagosa Springs Wednesday, Dec. 7, to meet with local nonprofits and community leaders to explain the upcoming event, the philosophy of Philanthropy Days and offer aid in the organization of local subcommittees. The meeting will be held at the Community Center from 9 to 10 a.m. Community participation here in Pagosa will ensure a successful event. For more information, log on to the Rural Philanthropy Web site, www.swcphd.org. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Coordinator Deanna Deveraux at (970) 749-2017.

Hospitality training

The Archuleta County Education Center is excited to bring free hospitality training to Pagosa Springs, starting in January.

The Southwest Colorado Workforce Training Initiative is a regional training coalition of adult education programs, Southwest Colorado Workforce Centers, and local businesses in the Southwest Colorado Region. The project will deliver integrated services to participants to train them through industry-designed certificate programs so they will be employable in the high-demand industries in our region that offer upward mobility to livable wages. The targeted industry for Pagosa Springs is hospitality.

START

The START (Skills Tasks and Results Training) program was developed by the American Hotel and Lodging Association Educational Institute to provide job skill training to clients served by the workforce development system. Graduates of the certificate program will complete classroom and hands on training to master the skills and competencies associated with 12 line-level positions associated with the lodging industry. In addition, they will cover safety and security, guest service and professionalism.

Complete Certificate program length is 180 hours. This program will be offered at the Archuleta County Education Center. The program is offered in shorter (non-certificate) module classes in addition to the entire program. Classes will be held Monday through Thursday, 1:30-4 p.m.

The basic entry requirements for the free program are:

- eighth-/ninth-grade reading level (English) and math level;

- at least 16 years old;

- prior or current soft skills or workforce/employment skills training;

- "hospitality personality" - personable, outgoing;

- interested in a career in hospitality.

Enroll today for free hospitality training. Call the Archuleta County Education Center for more information, 264-2835.

Community Center News

Classes, dances, programs: a busy holiday season at center

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

On Saturday, Dec. 31, from 9:05 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. the center is sponsoring a festive New Year's Eve dance.

This is a BYOB event, hence it is for those 21 years and older. Snacks, hot and cold beverages will be provided by the center.

Tickets are only available in advance and are $15 per person or $25 per couple. The advance sale of tickets will end December 30th at 5 p.m..

John Graves & Company will provide the music. The band will play a variety of music - slow tunes, country western, rock and roll, ballroom dance music and Latin music. The group will include Larry Elginer, John's son and Susanna Ninichuck. This is an evening not to be missed.

Yoga class

Yoga with Richard Harris will be offered today, 11 a.m.-noon.

Yoga provides excellent training in proper relaxation techniques such as powerful, deep abdominal breathing, as well as yoga postures and exercises. Through specific breathing techniques energy is released for both physical and mental rejuvenation.

All are welcome to join this free program. Please bring a towel or yoga mat and dress comfortably. Call 264-4152 for more information.

Scrapbooking  

The final meeting for 2005 will be held Dec. 10. Please come and participate in this fun, creative group. If you have any questions, call Melissa Bailey at 731-1574. 

Aus-Ger club

Twelve club members met at the Buffalo Inn for lunch Nov. 25. At that meeting, Bodil Holstein resigned her presidency because she is leaving town for the winter. Roger Behr is the new president. Call him at 731-0409 for information about the club. The next meeting is scheduled for Dec. 22, at noon, and will also be held at the Buffalo Inn. At that time, a new club secretary and vice president will be chosen.

Computer lab news from Becky

Do you have folks on your holiday gift list who are interested in computers or techie gadgets?

Because I'm always interested in a bargain, and I have been scouring catalogs, newspapers, and of course the Internet looking for deals. Black Friday brought the potential for some truly wonderful buys. For example, I saw a desktop computer system advertised at a large office supply chain in Washington, D.C. for $99. Yes, this was a very basic system and there was a small catch: You had to sign up for a year of America On Line. Nevertheless, the price was great; and the machine could easily handle e-mail and Internet searching. In a small town like Pagosa, your best source for good deals is definitely the Internet. Computer manufacturers count on volume sales at this time of year. One word of caution though, the sales are often short-lived, so you need to be ready to pounce when you see something you like.

In addition to computers, laser printers have also come down in price. Low-end models are now starting at $99 - actually, $49 with a rebate! Of course, if you want color, you'll have to pay more. If you are interested in any type of printer, take into account the cost of ink cartridges, special paper, etc. It might even be worthwhile to figure out the per sheet cost. Keep in mind that when a manufacturer lists the number of pages a cartridge will print, they are often estimating based on only 5 percent of the sheet of paper having printing on it. Seldom will you print just 5 percent of the paper's surface area.

Another hot tech gadget that has come down dramatically in price is the digital camera. Four megapixel models now are well under $200. A 4 megapixel camera has enough resolution to make fine 4X6 pictures and even acceptable 8x10s. One word of caution, though - get a camera that has an optical zoom, in addition to the digital zoom. All a digital zoom does is expand the picture area with a corresponding loss of resolution. So, a "3X" optical zoom, which is like the zoom on your old film camera, is a very worthwhile feature.

If your techie is also a music fan, consider an MP3 player. An MP3 player is basically a small, portable hard drive onto which you load music (and also videos on some newer models). You use earphones to listen to the music, although small speakers are now available. Sound quality is generally quite good (the music is digital), although this varies by brand and model. If you can, try to listen to the model you are considering before you buy it.

The best known and original MP3 player is the Apple iPod, but many manufacturers now produce them. Like a hard drive, capacity is given in megabytes or gigabytes. The smallest models are about 512 MB, which will hold about 50 songs. Some new models range up to 60 GB, which can hold thousands of songs. Music is downloaded (at a cost) onto your home computer and transferred to the MP3 player through a USB connection. You can also load music from your own CD collection, again through your computer. Some MP3 players also have built in FM radios. You might want to check on battery life, as batteries can get expensive. Rechargeable batteries would be a definite plus.

My personal favorite when it comes to electronic gadgets is the little storage device called a flash drive, a jump drive, a key, or any one of several other names. These connect to your computer via USB and are small enough to wear around your neck or attach to your key chain. They can hold small or huge amounts of data, depending on size and price. For instance, you could back up all your personal files or even chunks of your hard drive if the flash drive's capacity allows. If you regularly use more than one computer, having your files on a flash drive is an easy way to move files from one computer to another.

Don't forget to call 264-4152 to reserve your space for Christmas 'round the world (wide web). The event will be held in the computer lab on Tuesday, Dec. 6, from 10 am until noon. All computer help at the Center is free.

Opportunities

Do you have a special talent or hobby you would like to share - singing, dancing, arts and crafts, cooking, foreign language conversation group, coffee mornings, sports, etc.? We're looking for volunteers interested in forming interest groups. Call me at 264-4152.

Activities

Today, Dec. 1 - Beginning Yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.- noon.

Friday, Dec. 2 - Colorado Department of Education workshop, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; legal deposition, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30-4 p.m.; 4-H Cloverbuds, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Mage Knight game, 4-7 p.m.; private birthday party, 6-8 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3 - Elks Club shoot-out basketball tournament, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.; teen center open, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; Grace Evangelical Church toy drive, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 4 - Church of Christ Sunday service, 9 a.m.- noon; Grace Evangelical Free Church service, 9 a.m.- noon; United Pentecostal Church service, 2-4 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 5 - Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners budget hearing (pending), 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; seniors' bridge club, 12:30- 4 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; teen center open, 4-8 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Christmas 'round the world (wide Web) computer class, 10 a.m.-noon; seniors' walking program, 11:15- 11:35 a.m.; computer Q & A with Becky, 1-4 p.m.; teen center open, 4-8 p.m.; non-denominational Bible study, 6:30-8 p.m.; Community choir dress rehearsal, 7-9 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Rural Philanthropy Day, 9-10 a.m.; Pagosa Brats play group, 10 a.m. - noon; Bridge club, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.; seniors' walking program, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Durango Planned Parenthood session, 3:30-5:30 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45-5:30 p.m.; teen center open, 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Church of Christ Bible study, 7-8 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 8 - Colorado rural water training 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Beginning Yoga with Richard Harris, 11 a.m.-noon; Pagosa Springs Area Association Board of Realtors meeting, 1-3 p.m.; C team basketball practice, 3:45- 5:30 p.m.; teen center open, 4-8 p.m.; youth basketball games, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Need a place to have a party or meeting? We have very affordable rooms for small, mid-size and large groups. A catering kitchen is also available. Tables, chairs, a portable stage, a dance floor, and audio visual equipment are available, too. The center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. Call 264-4152 for information.

 

Senior News

Make Medicare Drug Insurance appointments at The Den

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

Have questions regarding the new Medicare Drug Insurance plans?

The Den can help. Medicare Drug Insurance appointments can be scheduled at The Den Friday, Dec. 2, from 9:30 a.m. to noon; Dec. 5, 12, and 19 from 11 a.m to 1 p.m.; and Dec. 6, 13, 20 and 21 from 9:30 a.m. to noon.

Walk-ins without appointments will not be accepted.

We are also expecting printed information from the state Division of Insurance regarding the new Medicare Drug Insurance plans around Dec. 1. Call The Den at 264-2167 for an appointment to answer your questions and help you choose a plan that best fits your needs.

Holiday food drive

Operation Helping Hand receives donations from the community and distributes them to families, children and senior citizens in need during the holiday season.

The Den is going to sponsor a food drive Dec. 2-13 in support of Operation Helping Hand and as a way to give back to our community. We will be accepting canned goods and nonperishable food items throughout the beginning of December. The food donation boxes will be located in the lounge. Please bring in a can or box of food and help those in need this holiday season.

"A Christmas Carol"

Does the Ghost of Christmas past, present and future sound familiar?

The favorite holiday classic, "A Christmas Carol," is coming to Pagosa. The Den will attend the musical adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic story performed by the Pagosa Music Boosters Saturday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. at the high school. Join us for this family favorite and spend the afternoon with friends enjoying the talent and music celebrating the holiday season.

Insights and perils of a stage actor

Join Eddie Bennett at The Den Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. as he shares fascinating tales about being a stage actor. Eddie has been an actor in the U.K., Africa and the U.S.

Trip to the Candy Store

Chocolate, caramels, jellies and jams, The Choke Cherry Tree makes them all by hand. The perfect gift you do seek, join us for this holiday treat. On Wednesday, Dec. 7, at 1 p.m., The Den will head to The Choke Cherry Tree for an afternoon of fun. The mode of transportation will be carpooling or catching a ride on the senior bus for $1. We will enjoy a demonstration and taste some samples of incredible homemade products. They make and sell everything from delicious candies and jams to tangy salsas and sauces.

Bill, the owner, was 14 when his grandmother taught him to make strawberry jam. Since that time he has made jam and jelly out of everything he could think of. He opened the shop in Pagosa in 1999 and became interested in sweets. He then began reading candy books and experimenting. The first few batches of candy weren't anything spectacular, but he finally came up with a winner - homemade caramels. The rest, as they say, is history.

Sign up with The Den by Tuesday, Dec. 6, to take a trip to the local candy store and enjoy the homemade love that makes The Choke Cherry Tree a fantastic specialty shop to visit.

Sound Of Assurance

The Sound of Assurance, Susie Long and Judy Patton, will perform a holiday celebration at The Den Friday, Dec. 9, at 12:45 p.m. They will entertain us with good old classic, holiday songs and singalongs. This will be a great chance for The Den to practice our singing voices for our big debut, caroling later in the month.

Big thanks

Thank you to Jackie Schick, one of The Den's desk volunteers, for all of her help in getting the December newsletter out on time. We couldn't do it without you.

Volunteers needed

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center has an opportunity for you to make new friends while you donate your time for our senior citizens.

Make an immediate impact on someone's life and volunteer as a driver for medical shuttles to Durango to help those with medical appointments who are unable to drive themselves. A county vehicle and the fuel are provided for the shuttle.

You must have good people skills and be a safe driver. All applications are currently being accepted in The Den office. A background check will be completed on all candidates.

For more information contact Musetta at 264-2167. Please make a difference and volunteer.

Seniors Inc.

The Senior Center newsletter will be posted at the post office in Chromo and at the Chimney Rock post office.

There will be a Christmas party at the center beginning at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16. Everyone is encouraged to attend.

The board voted to increase the amount available for scholarships for eyeglasses, dental care and medical devices. No action was taken on raising the level of scholarships for prescription assistance because the board members felt they needed to stay where they are until they can get more information about the new federal prescription program associated with Medicare.

The board is developing a survey form to seek information on the services needed by the seniors of Archuleta County. A form will be mailed to selected homes the first part of next year. You are encouraged to give the completion of the form your best efforts because the replies we get will help determine what kind of assistance you may be receiving in the future.

A Home Safety Checklist for senior citizens regarding fall and fire prevention is available in the ASI office. You are encouraged to get the list and go through it for your living space.

Membership at the time of the recent board meeting was 985.

Preliminary numbers on the Oktoberfest indicate the organization made more than $2,000. A final report on this fund-raiser will be in hand in December.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Dec. 1 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Nov. 29); food drive begins at The Den to help those in need this holiday season.

Friday, Dec. 2 - Medicare Drug Insurance appointments, 9:30 a.m.-noon (please call 264-2167 to make an appointment); Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veterans' services, noon; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3 - "A Christmas Carol," 2 p.m. at the high school.

Monday, Dec. 5 - Medicare Drug Insurance appointments, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (please call 264-2167 to make an appointment); gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Yoga in motion, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; Seeds of Learning kids visit, noon; canasta, 1 p.m.; "The Insights and Perils of Stage Acting," a presentation by Eddie Bennett, 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Choke Cherry Tree tour and demonstration, 1 p.m.

Friday, Dec. 9 - Qi gong, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; the Sound of Assurance holiday presentation, 12:45 p.m., Bridge 4 Fun, 1 p.m.; Seniors Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.

Menu

Suggested donation $2.50 for ages 60-plus, all others $4.50.

Salad bar every day, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday, Dec. 1 - Lunch in Arboles (reservations required by Nov. 29). Beef tamale pie, mexicorn, tossed salad and spiced applesauce.

Friday, Dec. 2 - Oven fried chicken, potato salad, peaches and corn bread.

Monday, Dec. 5 - Beef stew with veggies, biscuit and fruit parfait.

Tuesday, Dec. 6 - Baked fish fillet, bliss potatoes, spinach, mandarin oranges and ginger snap.

Wednesday, Dec. 7 - Lasagna, Italian vegetables, garlic bread stick and fruited Jell-O.

Friday, Dec. 9 - Green chili stew, flour tortilla, tapioca pudding and fruit cup.

 

Veteran's Corner

House passes veterans' funding legislation

By Andy Fautheree

PREVIEW Columnist

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2528, the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006, which appropriates $70.038 billon for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Most notably, over the last two years, funding for Veterans medical care has increased by 18 percent. For the first time ever, this bill allocates $2.2 billion solely for mental health care and doubles funding for mental health research.

"This increase in VA funding for 2006 will ensure a quality veterans' healthcare system and help us improve the accuracy and responsiveness of the veterans' benefits system," said Chairman Steve Buyer.

Information technology

Buyer went on to note that, "this appropriations bill will improve VA IT programs by providing VA with a separate IT systems account, bringing greater accountability to their IT spending." The bill includes recommendations that the VA initiate a new pilot program to provide a comprehensive restructuring of the complete revenue collections cycle and states that the VA provide quarterly progress reports to the Committees on Appropriations in both Houses of Congress.

Funding breakdown

Department of Veterans Affairs Funding:

- $36.995 billion mandatory.

- $31.818 billion discretionary.

- $1.225 billion contingent emergency funding for medical services.

- $70.038 billion TOTAL VA.

- Including the recently passed COLA, total VA funding would be brought up

to $70.249 billion.

Medical care

Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Care and Benefits:

1. Veterans Medical Services are funded at $22.5 billion, $575 million above the President's budget request and $1.7 billion above FY05. VA also has available an additional $1.14 billion in available funding from FY 05 for carry over into the FY 06 funds.

2. Mental Health Services: For the first time ever, $2.2 billion is fenced for specialty mental health care and the bill doubles funding for mental health research.

3. This bill contains a new "Prosthetics and Integrative Health Care Initiative" to treat returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost limbs in combat. $412 million will provide for medical and prosthetic research, which is $19 million over the budget request.

4. For construction programs, the bill recommends the budget request levels of $607 million for major construction and $199 million for minor construction. Of these funds, $532 million of major construction and $155 million of minor construction are designated for the "Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services" or CARES program.

5. Veteran's benefits are increased $1.9 billion over last year.

IT budget

Other highlights include:

- $1.2 billion for VA IT and IT restructuring.

- An additional $40 million for VBA operation expenses to prevent staff reductions in processing disability claims benefits.

- $85 million for state extended care facilities.

- Creation of three "Centers of Excellence" for Mental Health/PTSD medical care.

- Requirement that VA to brief Congress on a quarterly basis on the status of its financial situation.

- Requirement that the VA maintain the current system of processing home monitoring devices for diabetes patients.

- Fully funding of all mental health care and PTSD requirements.

* The agreement encourages the VA to provide full assistance to veterans in rural areas through information campaigns and distribution of VA benefits handbooks.

Share-A-Ride

Don't forget to call or stop by my office with your VA health care appointments for the Share-A-Ride 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 located at 400 South Camino Del Rio, Suite G. Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

More Information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located on the lower floor of the county courthouse. The office number is 264-8375, the fax number is 264-8376 and e-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, 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

Books on CD, new technology and the library

By Jacqueline Welch

Special to the PREVIEW

Have you listened to a good book recently?

If you enjoy listening to audio books while driving, walking or doing housework, then stop by the library and check out our new selection of CDs. We have over a dozen new titles that are certain to please a variety of tastes.

If biographies are to your liking, we have "The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin," "His Excellency, George Washington," "John Paul Jones" and "The Journey of Crazy Horse."

Music lovers will enjoy our new biographies of jazz great Miles Davis or The Doors' Jim Morrison.

"Good ni-i-ght, and pleasant dre-e-ams!" Some of our patrons may remember sitting around the radio listening to the Inner Sanctum show when they were younger. Well, we have the original radio broadcasts of that, as well as "The Best of Boris Karloff."

Fiction readers will enjoy "Breakfast of Champions," by Kurt Vonnegut Jr., an upside-down look at war, sex, racism, success, politics and pollution. We also have Carlos Ruiz Zafón's "Shadow of the Wind," a story of a young boy searching through post-war Barcelona for an author whose book is dangerous to own - and impossible to forget. In "Magic Seeds," Nobel laureate V.S. Naipaul considers how idealism affects us as we follow Willy Chandra when he joins an underground movement in India devoted to freeing the lower castes.

And there's more. We've added titles in history, science fiction, drama, science, humor and philosophy.

Audio books are probably some of the most popular items in our library's collection. They are also some of the most costly to buy and to replace. The unabridged CD version of "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" costs $75 compared to $29.99 for the book. However, the next generation in digital or electronic audio books will allow libraries to offer downloadable audio books on the Internet without providing physical space on library shelves or worrying about replacing broken tapes or scratched CDs.

According to the folks from WebJunction's Technology Watch Committee, "downloadable audio books may be set up as self-service so the patron can peruse and browse the collection 24/7 at their convenience, select a title, check it out, download it, and listen to it on their computer, burn it to a CD, or transfer it to a portable device. When the book is due, the book checks itself back in, automatically becoming available to the next person, with the file unreadable on the previous borrower's computer."

Another new technology was introduced in July when Playaway (www.playawaydigital.com) released "the world's first self-playing digital audio book." With prices starting at $34.95, you can purchase an audio book that is ready to go from the moment you take it off the shelf. In a package about the size of a playing card, this self-contained audio book includes a battery to make it play, earphones, and controls for volume, fast forward and so forth. With this model, no one has to worry about the file format, whether they have a computer or not, or what kind of player to use.

These are just a couple of the new technologies for libraries to think about as we strive to provide better service for our patrons. Please stop by the library and let us know what you think.

 

Arts Line

Get your tickets now for the Gala Gallery Tour

By Kayla Douglass

PREVIEW Columnis

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council's third annual Gala Gallery Tour Walk is tomorrow, 5 to 8 p.m.

Participating galleries are:  Wild Spirit, Pagosa Photography, Moonlight Books, Taminah Frame Center, Handcrafted Interiors, Lantern Dancer, Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery, The Crucible, Soledad's Studio and Gallery, Back Door Collectibles, Rainbow Gifts and Puttin' on the Rydz.

Galleries will be decorated for the holidays and ready to provide a festive atmosphere with refreshments, door prizes, live or recorded music, and may have guest artists available to meet and greet. 

Tickets are $8 for PSAC members and $10 for nonmembers, and will be available at WolfTracks, Moonlight Books, and the Chamber of Commerce. NOTE: Tickets will not be sold at the PSAC Gallery, due to limited winter hours.

This is a great way to kick off the holiday season, gather some unique ideas for your holiday gift giving, and support the local art community. It will be a very festive evening for all.

Gift calendar

This is the first year for a calendar produced by local artists with subject matter reflecting Pagosa Country.

Our 14-page full color calendar features images for the 12 months, as well as a cover image. Works featured are from local artists Bruce Andersen, J. D. Kurz, Jan Brookshier, Sabine Baeckman-Elge, Jeanine Malaney, Jeff Laydon, Ginnie Bartlett, Claire Goldrick, Barbara Rosner and Tom Lockhart.

The 2006 calendars are available through the Arts Council at a price of $9.95 plus tax for nonmembers and $8.95 plus tax for members. They make great Christmas gifts.

Don't forget the gallery is on winter hours. Feel free to call ahead and reserve copies to be picked up when we are open: Tuesday and Thursday 11-2. Calendars are also available at The Chamber of Commerce, Moonlight Books and Lantern Dancer.

The PSAC gallery gift shop also has local artist items for sale. Available items vary from cards or bookmarks for only a couple of dollars each to higher priced limited prints, woodworking, silk items, and more.

Drawing with Davis

Due to other commitments Randall Davis has been unable to teach this class the last few months and we are pleased to have him back in December.

The class usually meets the third Saturday of the month. Randall planned to teach it the first weekend of December, but has had to reschedule it for the second weekend, on Dec. 10.

The class begins at 9 a.m. and usually finishes up around 3 p.m. at the community center.

If you do not consider yourself an artist, that's OK. You won't be lost; Randall gives a lot of one-on-one attention as well as an excellent step-by-step demonstrations. 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.

All you need to bring is a large sketchpad, a few drawing pencils; preferably a mid-range No. 2 or 3 and a 6 in a bold lead and in a hard lead, a ruler, eraser and an attitude to enjoy the day. Bring your own sack lunch, since you'll be having so much fun you won't want to take the time away from drawing to go get one.

It's best to make a reservation through PSAC, 264-5020. The gallery is on winter hours now and is only staffed two days a week, but someone will get back to you as soon as possible. Space allowing, walk-ins are always welcome.

Watercolor Club

The PSAC Watercolor Club was formed in the winter of 2003. Since that time, Pagosa watercolorists have met at 10 a.m. the third Wednesday of each month in the arts and craft space at the community center. The rooms are available to us for the day and we each contribute $5 for the use of the space.

The program for the day varies: some times we have a demonstration of technique from a professional watercolorist or framer; other times a few people bring still lifes or photos or other projects they want to complete. Come join us, bring your lunch and your watercolor supplies for a fun day.

Due to the holiday season, the meeting in December will be held Dec. 14. In January it will go back to the third Wednesday of the month.

Photo club meeting

The Pagosa Photography Club will meet 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec, 14, in the arts room at the community center. 

This month's program will include a roundtable discussion about problems and solutions for scanning negatives and transparencies into digital files.

Photo competitions are held at each club meeting. The two competition categories are the theme category and the open category - where any subject is allowed. This month's theme is "Multiple Exposures." Members may enter one print in each category.  This is a reduction from the number allowed in the past.  Ribbons are awarded in each category to the top three prints as voted by the members.

The photography club meets the second Wednesday of each month during the club year from September through May.  Current paid-up memberships for 2004-2005 will remain in effect through May 2006.  Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend the first meeting at no charge. Any and all are invited to join for a modest annual fee. For more information, contact club president Jim Struck at 731-6468 or jim@perfassoc.com.

Basics of watercolor

The Basics of Watercolor for Absolute Beginners is being offered by Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett, Jan. 11, 12 and 13 at the community center, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring your lunch. Cost for the workshop is $150 for PSAC members and $175 for nonmembers.

This is your opportunity to learn all of the things you wish you had been taught when you first started painting in watercolor.  This workshop will cover brushes - their care and how to use them to make the marks you need to create your own painting; watercolor papers - what surface to use, what weight to buy; pigments - how to mix colors and properties of colors; and much more about each item of equipment. 

Each day will begin with lessons and handouts on a given subject and the afternoon will be spent creating a painting utilizing the points from the morning's lesson, the overhead mirror and the follow-me format.

This workshop is for adults who have always wanted to try their hands at watercolor but were afraid to attend other workshops.  It is a chance to learn to paint with others who are afraid they have no talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own with limited success. 

Learn the basics, especially the things you need to know about materials and techniques to begin the process of creating your own works of art. With two instructors, there is plenty of individual attention and assistance.

This is the first of three workshops, with other offered later in the winter. This is the only workshop series Denny and Ginnie will teach in Pagosa during the next year. Basics II is scheduled Jan. 25-27 and Intermediate I is scheduled Feb. 8-10. For additional information on the content of the workshop you can call Ginnie at 731-2489 or Denny at 731-6113. Class size is limited, so sign up early at the Pagosa Springs Arts Council building in Town Park or call 264-5020.  Don't forget the PSAC gallery is on winter hours, with limited personnel there Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. So leave a phone message if no one answers and we'll get back with you as soon as possible. Materials list will be available when you register.

Winter hours

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is now on its winter-hours schedule. Hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Voice mail and e-mail are checked regularly, so please leave a message if no one is available in the office.

PSAC calendar

All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the arts and craft Space at the community center, unless otherwise noted.

All Exhibits are shown at the PSAC Gallery in Town Park, unless otherwise noted.

Dec. 2 - Gallery Tour, 5-8 p.m.

Dec. 10 - Drawing with Randall Davis, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., community center, $35.

Dec. 14 - Watercolor club, 10 a.m., community center.

Dec. 14 - Photography club, 5:30 to 7 p.m., community center.

Jan. 11-13 - Beginning Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Jan. 25-27 - Beginner's II Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Feb. 8-10 - Intermediate Watercolor, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., community center.

Artsline is a communication vehicle of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. For inclusion in Artsline, 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

Welcome to The Brotherhood of Extraordinary Pain

By Karl Isberg

PREVIEW Columnist

People ask their enemies dead - but I do not. I say give them gout Š

Lady Mary Worthy Montagu

Gout.

If you are one of the unfortunate souls who has suffered the affliction, you are a charter member of The Brotherhood of Extraordinary Pain.

If you have not experienced a bout of gout Š try your very best to avoid it.

It's possible.

As long as you're not like me.

Overindulgence seems to be one of the sure ways to put yourself in line for this form of arthritis. "Overindulgence" is my middle name. I was born with the brand; I've done my best to justify it since.

Gout is caused by the collection of uric acid crystals in a joint - most often in the foot, and often there behind the big toe.

Doesn't sound too bad, eh?

Fat chance.

It begins with pain in the foot and rapidly develops into a swollen joint, a puffy foot and red, shiny skin. It hurts when moved or touched, even by sock or bedclothes - a pain beyond my power to exaggerate; like razor blades slicing the skin, a bolt shot bone deep. It is difficult, if not impossible to put any kind of pressure on the foot. That means no standing or walking. Nothing seems to help, and it takes a week or so for the malady to subside. If the condition is chronic, it can destroy the afflicted joint

I had a run-in with the disease a couple years ago. I was, not too happily, on my way up Reservoir Hill on foot, there to shoot a series of fascinating photos of folks at a mountain man rendezvous - guys and gals dressed in goofy outfits, pretending they were living in the good old days. You know, the days of yore when impacted wisdom teeth, infections, a poor diet, hypothermia, nasty aborigines and typhoid fever limited the average life span to somewhere around 25, most often miserable years. You know, back when STD's had folks perched on tree limbs, yapping like monkeys; when fleas spread epidemics like a wind-whipped fire moving through dry grass, and rye ergot on the holiday loaf sent hordes leaping in hallucinatory panic off the edges of cliffs. Ah, yes, the good old days.

On my way up the hill, my foot started to ache. Really ache. By the time I trudged down the hill, I was dragging my left foot and whimpering. And, believe me, I was whimpering about a whole lot more than the cheesy arts and crafts sold by the vendors at the rendezvous.

I'd been doing some pretty heavy squats at the gym that morning. Maybe I sprained my foot, I thought. Maybe fractured a bone. Yeah, that's what it is. I'm too old to do really heavy squats; perhaps this is a clear warning to cease and desist.

Nope.

Not so easy. The condition degraded. The foot was swollen, the skin took on a shiny, waxed-paper quality, glowed a shiny red. I finally freaked out and went to the doc.

"Gout," he said, shaking his head. "Not good, and not a lot we can do. Some colchicine, some anti-inflammatories. Stay off it. Adjust your lifestyle."

Yeah, sure.

I gobbled the anti-inflammatories, waited a week or so, and went on my merry way. That's the great thing about non-chronic, physical pain: No matter how dramatic, once it's gone, it's oh-so-easy to forget. Forget it and get back to business.

So, the other day, I'm at the gym, doing really heavy squats. This, after I've waddled round the racquetball court for an hour or so, playing what Jim and I laughingly refer to as a "match."

The upshot: a lot of stress on the feet.

That night, when I begin to feel pain in my left foot, I figure I've hurt myself doing heavy squats. A sprain, perhaps. A fractured bone.

I'm a slow learner.

The next day, I can't walk. I've moaned my way through a day at work, seeking sympathy, shuffling around like a failed lab experiment at old Doc Frankenstein's place, and I'm dragging myself through the grocery store when my favorite stranger asks about my obvious problem.

"Oh, I was lifting heavy objects and putting them down, and gravity won."

Heh, heh. Clever, even when suffering.

"You ought to use one of the motorized carts they have at the front of the store," she says. She furrows her brow, making it seem she actually cares about my affliction. I like that; the veneer of concern is better than no concern at all.

I finally make it home, take about two minutes to remove my left shoe and sock - biting down on a towel to keep from screaming - take a look at the foot, and I remember.

Not gravity, Not squats. No sprain. No broken bones.

Oh, no; nothing that manly.

It's gout. Associated with hyperuricemia, too much acid for the kidneys to excrete. A hardened form of uric acid in the synovial fluid or synovial lining of a joint.

"I warned you, didn't I?" asks my ever-compassionate wife, Kathy. "All weekend long, you were overdoing it again, going way too far. Waaaaay too far. I sounded the alarm and, as usual, you didn't listen, did you Mr. ADD? Well, now you're in a fix, aren't you?"

She was raised a Nazarene, thus our theologies and our definitions of "too far" are worlds apart.

Universes apart.

I mentally review the weekend.

Let's see: plenty of red meat, a significant amount of dairy, plenty of high-fat foods, lots of wine. So, no different than any other weekend.

Kathy corrects me. "You are, as always, a victim of selective memory. In reality, you ate a ton of red meat. You ate a lot of spinach. You pounded down a truckload of cream and butter and cheeses. You drank how many bottles of wine in three days time? You were hiding them from me, weren't you? And the paté. What about the paté, Einstein? You wolfed down ... what? ... a pound? Tell the truth."

Hmmm, let's see.

Friday afternoon, a snoot of single malt.

Friday night - stuffed meatloaf, plenty of creamy, cheesy broccoli casserole, half a pint of super-rich coconut pineapple ice cream, a couple glasses of wine. OK, a couple glasses of wine, plus a couple Š or so.

Saturday, Ivy and John joined us for dinner as I tried out dishes I intend to make for some friends next week. I whipped up two lasagnas.

The first was somewhat conventional. I made a simple red sauce with tomato puree, tomato paste, tons of garlic, oregano, basil, a teeny pinch of thyme, salt, pepper, a major wad of veal demi-glace and extra-virgin olive oil. I cooked it for about two hours until it was sweet, then reseasoned it to bring it up to par.

I then cooked up a very thick bechamel, (I plopped in a teaspoon of chicken demi-glace so, I suppose, it was more a velouté), enhancing it with a flutter of ground nutmeg, shredded asiago and Parmesan cheeses and garlic.

I drained a tub of whole milk ricotta and whipped it together with two beaten eggs, salt, pepper and a bit of the nutmeg.

I sauteed hot Italian sausage, tossed in thinly sliced onion and sliced cremini mushrooms and, when done, added the mix to the sauce. I was ready to rock.

I assembled a three-layer dish, bedded in a slick of the sauce: al denté noodles, a bit of sauce, a slather of ricotta mixture, slices of mozzarella cheese and a sprinkle of the asiago/Parmesan mix; noodles, sauce, mozzarella/asiago/Parmesan and a layer of the thick bechamel. Layer of noodles, sauce, blobs of bechamel, shredded cheeses. Bingo.

The second lasagna was made with noodles, spinach, bechamel, the ricotta mix and the grated cheeses, again in three layers.

I blanched the contents of two packs of frozen, chopped spinach and squeezed the spinach dry in a towel.

Slick of bechamel in a baking dish greased with olive oil, noodles, layer of spinach with a bit of salt and pepper, ricotta blend, mozzarella, grated cheeses; noodles, bechamel, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, grated cheeses; noodles, blobs of bechamel, grated cheeses. Good to go.

I tented the baking dishes with foil and into a 350 oven they went for 60 minutes. I took the foil off the pans and let the lasagnas cook 20 minutes more. At the end of the cooking time, I cranked up the broiler and finished toasting the cheeses and bechamel to a deep, golden brown. Then the lasagnas and I rested for a while.

We definitely needed something to snack on before dinner, and something to drink. It's civilized, don't you agree?

What's better than a paté (pork, veal, ham, chicken livers, pistachio nuts, pork fat), with rosemary crackers? Did I mention pork fat?

And a bit of wine? A sauvignon blanc, perhaps?

And, boy, was that paté fine stuff; splendid spread on a cracker with a wad of unsalted butter or paved over on a teeny hunk o' baguette. Did I mention butter?

Then, with the dinner, a green salad with an herbed vinaigrette, and more wine - a bottle of Cahors, deep and brawny. Just right.

Kathy was ill the next day, but it didn't stop me. Nosiree. There was plenty of that spinach lasagna left and, you know what?, about half the paté was in the fridge and I could hear it calling me. "Karl, I'm unbelievably rich and fatty good. Take me out. Eat me. With butter. There's some cheese in here too - triple cream. Come on, you can do it, big boy. Did I mention butter?" And what did I discover in the wine rack but a bottle of Coppola Rosso - a cheap and dandy everyday drinker.

Why resist?

Bottom line: I knew the answer to my question all too soon. After three days pounding down the worst possible combos of food and drink, those devilish uric acid solids gathered for a hoedown at the ball above my big toe. It was pretty obvious who should have shown some restraint.

I had consumed a enough purine-rich foods - red meats and, especially the organ meats in the paté - to nourish an infantry division.

I ate spinach and mushrooms (could have been other "pulse foods" like peas, cauliflower, asparagus, lentils or beans, and the damage would have been done as well). I put a massive load of cheese and other high-fat dairy into the pipeline. I'd been taking a diuretic to control blood pressure - i.e. not enough water moving through the system to flush those icky acids out. And I drank (I will never admit it was "too much"). But, yes, I did take in some alcohol. I admit that.

I went to the doc and she prescribed a couple medicines: a thermonuclear anti-inflammatory (beware of bleeding in the stomach) and colchicine. "Take two of the colchicine right away, then one every hour," she said, "until you find relief or you have uncontrollable diarrhea."

Well, that establishes a pretty long playing field, doesn't it? Wonder which end zone I'll be heading for?

When I get home, I follow her directions. I exercise an enormous amount of will and refrain from washing down the pills with a swallow or three of a decent California blend of cab, zinfandel and cabernet franc.

By mid-day the next day, the swelling starts to go down, the pain begins to subside.

As I sit in the bathroom - my fourth trip there in an hour's time - I am put in mind of what good old Ben Franklin said: "Be temperate in wine, eating, girls and sloth, or the gout will seize you and plague you both."

Of course, Franklin ate and drank way too much and was a notorious womanizer. He suffered from gout, as did Thomas Jefferson. Obviously Poor Richard was attempting to steer others away from what he loved most, so he could have more.

So, it's a matter of good diet, less alcohol, lots of water.

I think I can manage it.

At least as well as Ben Franklin.

White bordeaux, anyone?

How 'bout a teensy bit of seared foie gras?

Just a slice, a rational wedge. Not enough to do any damage, would you think?

 

Extension Viewpoints

Try a sensible approach to holiday spending

By Bill Nobles

PREVIEW Columnist

Dec. 1 - Shady Pine Club meeting, 7 p.m.

Dec. 2 - Clover buds at community center, 1:30-3 p.m.

Dec. 2 - Colorado Mountaineers Club meeting, 2:15 p.m.

Dec. 2 - 4-H holiday party, 7 p.m.

Red Books are here

The 2006 Integrated Resource Management Red Books are now available at the Extension Office for $5.

These books contain gestation tables, death loss code, salving ease score, pasture usage, breeding and herd management information, tables and places to record information along with a yearly calendar and place for address or phone numbers.

Holiday budgeting

Do you ever have that letdown feeling after Christmas? Especially when you are paying the January bills?

One way to cut down on holiday spending is to take an inventory of how your family celebrates the holiday. List the family traditions as well as family and friends you plan to give gifts to this year. Don't forget to figure in the cost of additional groceries, gift-wrapping, mailing packages, travel expenses, new holiday clothing and decorating, including the electricity for the outdoor Christmas lights. Holidays are supposed to be a time for family but sometimes it seems that our families get crowed out as our holiday calendar fills up with school activities, office parties, club parties and church activities.

One way to avoid over committing our time during the holiday season is to sit down with your family and a December calendar. Decide what activities are most important to you as a family - a Hanukkah celebration, making holiday candy or cookies, caroling, a Christmas play, Christmas Eve services, and the Christmas basketball tournament. Write these activities in on the calendar. Be sure and include writing in at least one night a week for the family to sit down together for supper. If supper is hard to make work, plan a time for the family to eat breakfast or lunch together. Don't hesitate to cross activities off you list that aren't important to you as a family or can wait until next year. You might want to sing in a musical this year instead of taking part in a play or you may want to just take a break from extra activities. Think about what activities you want to be involved in if someone asks for your help. It's okay to say "No, I'm sorry that doesn't fit into my/our schedule this year, but thank you for thinking of me/us."

The goal of taking a holiday inventory is not to make you feel you should sacrifice cherished traditions, but rather to help you prioritize the things that are most important to you during this special season. Most people will discover that spending time with family and friends is more important than extravagant gifts or extravagant feasts. You will be able to enjoy a happier, more carefree holiday by eliminating some of the unnecessary obligations and costs of the holiday season.

Make other parts of the holiday as exciting as opening presents. Children, want and need their parents to define the celebration for them. Talk with your children about gifts and your own sense of values. Plan family activities in which gifts play only one part. Shift the focus from receiving to giving by making special treats or crafts for neighbors and friends, a homeless shelter or a crisis center.

Sitting down as a family and planning a holiday budget also helps avoid an over-commitment of money. After you and your family have decided on what is really important you might want to consider the following ideas for cutting expenses:

- Cutting down on your gift or greeting card list. Send Christmas greetings via e-mail. Try creating a family web site that allows sharing pictures as well as notes to one another all year long. It's a good way to keep in touch as we're scattered across the United States.

- instead of gifts consider hosting a potluck supper for family and/or friends. This gathering could also be the setting for a candy or cookies exchange or just an evening of games.

- Give hand-made gifts rather than store-bought gifts whenever possible. If that isn't possible learn to make do with less. Spend time with you family and friends rather than spending money. Maybe craft items are your specialty. These items would make great gifts. In our fast-paced world a gift of homemade bread, cookies or even a frozen casserole is a welcome gift. Chocolate covered pretzels, peanut clusters or peppermint bark doesn't require a lot of cooking expertise. Recipes are included at the end of the article.

- If you feel that sharing your holiday with someone in need is important then set that as your goal. To fulfill this goal, you might volunteer to serve a holiday meal at a shelter or provide a gift for a needy child. Ask kids which was more fun - giving or receiving. Surprise a public servant. Your kids may not realize that not everyone gets to take time off around the holidays. Firefighters, police officers, people who work at hospitals. Your family might want to share holiday cookies or other treats that your family has prepared.

- Save on your food budget by cutting down on the meals you eat out. Try eating out of your pantry or freezer. Soup and salad make a simple, yet filling meal if you're short on time. Or maybe the local pizza shop has a $5 special on large pizzas.

- Try to pay cash for all Christmas gifts. Begin saving in a Christmas club account or set aside small amounts of money each paycheck to pay for gifts. If you use credit cards to purchase gifts (or at any other time) attach a small sticky note to your card and keep a running total of your expenditures.

Some time during the 1980s there came to be more malls than high schools in America. That makes it hard not to fret that consumerism is overwhelming our values. There is a long-standing American ideal of simple, honest, and moderate living. Frugality used to be a key word in America's civic vocabulary. Yet ever since World War II, it's a word and lifestyle that is shunned.

Ironically, our national productivity has more than doubled since 1948, and with each increase, we could have had more free time to pursue deeper connection with our loved ones, including our pets. Yet, we work even harder in order to foot the bill of our excess consuming. The average credit card debt has soared over $5,000 per American. All too often we just want "one more" new tool, television, car, house. Of course, we can't change our ways overnight, but we can change them over time. We can model different values for our children. We can make other choices.

Remember the story of "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?" Even without a rude awakening from the Grinch, we can embrace the idea that Christmas doesn't come from a store; that possessions don't give us safety or confidence, and that, often, as soon as we have them, we discover anew that the real source of desire in our lives is not "stuff." It's the need for intimacy, for community, for love and friendship, for safety within our relationships and our world, for peace of mind. This quote from an eight year old boy says it very well: "Love is what is in the room with you if you stop opening presents and listen."

Even after you sit down with your family and talk about your holiday priorities don't try to make all the changes this year. Remember that change may be slow and may not happen or be comfortable for your family until next year.

Check out our Web page at www.archuleta.colostate.edu for calendar events and information.

 

Pagosa Lakes News

Annual Turkey Trot sets record

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

At last Thursday's second annual Turkey Trot organized by the Pagosa Lakes Swim Club, we had a record number of participants. Many locals turned out to support the event. Many timeshare families also turned out to support the event. With no record snow depth at Wolf Creek Ski Area, doing a trot on Thanksgiving morning was a good alternative.

Over 90 men, women and children competed and completed. Now, if we counted babies in strollers and dogs on leashes, we easily had over 100.

In the male category, for the five-mile run, Chance Adams crossed the finish line with a time of 38:05. Kyle Aragon came in second in 38:58. Both Chance and Kyle are members of the Pagosa Springs High School cross country team. Bruce Adams, Chance's dad, finished third in 39:01.

In the female category, for the five-mile run, Julia Adams sprinted across the finish line with a big smile, bold wave and an impressive time of 38:35. Wouldn't you say the Adams family dominated, and perhaps there is also a genetic predisposition to running.

Karen Ross came in a close second with an equally fast time of 38:59. Cynthia Kodas, an out-of-town visitor who is in training for an upcoming marathon, finished third in 39:30.

In the two-mile walk category, there was not an obvious winner. A couple of participants were ahead of the walking pack but they were also running part of the way. Let's just say that everyone who started out completed the course, worked up an appetite and were able to later on in the day indulge without guilt.

My thanks go out to all of the supporters of the event, to the many families who brought their children and grandchildren and to the brains and brawn behind the Turkey Trot: Scott and Carol Anderson, Stacia Aragon, Steve Williams and the Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center.

The recent wave of cold weather has put a precariously thin layer of ice on the lakes. Please do not venture out onto the frozen lakes at this time and keep an eye out for children or pets out there as well. If you spot someone out on the lakes please call the sheriff's office immediately; conditions are just not safe at all for ice activities.

A good rule of thumb is that there needs to be at least six inches of solid, clear ice before it is safe to venture out onto the frozen surfaces and that may be a couple weeks away at this point.

Births

Samuel Glen Bahram Eyre

Samuel Glen Bahram Eyre was born at 8:29 a.m., Aug. 3, 2005, in Fort Collins, Colo. He weighted 7 lbs. 13 ozs. and was 19 1/2 inches. Kevin and Stephanie Eyre are the proud parents. Samuel was welcomed home by his sister, Carla. Grandparents are Glen and Linda Eyre from Pagosa Springs, and Dr. Gerard and Monique Adhoute from Agay, France. Great-grandparents are Gretchen Eyre from Johnstown, Colo., Chuck and Kay Herren from Kingman, Ariz., and Anna and Pierre Roger Seite from Marseille, France.

 

Obituaries

 

Ione Patterson

Ione Leona Conner Patterson entered into eternal rest on Nov. 29, 2005 in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. She was born in Valparaiso, Indiana, on October 24, 1914. Her parents were Brenzel Frank Conner and Mary Leona Teeson Conner. She was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. She and her husband, Harry Alva (Bud) Patterson, were both high school graduates of the Pagosa Springs Class of 1932 and were married on August 11, 1935, In Aztec, New Mexico. To this union a daughter, Anna Marie, was born. After Bud joined the church, they were married and sealed in the Salt Lake City L.D.S. Temple on June 16, 1975.

Ione was very active in her church, teaching Sunday school classes for years in Pagosa Springs, Durango and in Arizona, where they retired. She opened her arms to many children, shut-ins, foreigners who didn't know the English language well, and most anyone needing physical or spiritual healing. She was also an excellent seamstress.

Ione was preceded in death by both her parents and her husband; a brother, Frank E. Conner of Durango; a nephew, Frank R. Caldon of Santa Maria, California; and a sister-in-law, Julia (Juju) Patterson Cox, of Pagosa Springs. Survivors are her sister, Tinnie E. Lattin of Pagosa; her daughter, Anna Marie Price; three grandchildren, Julia Ann Price, Duane Arthur Price and Michael Allen Price; two great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren, all of Grand Rapids, Michigan; one sister-in-law, Wilma Conner, of Durango; a niece, Cheryl Conner, of Lakewood, Colorado; two nephews, Alva Lee Cox and Dean Cox, of Pagosa; and one grandniece, Patricia Lee Mettam, of Moonpark, California, and by many friends.

The family lived in Pagosa until moving to Durango where Ione worked part time in the La Plata County Treasurer's Office. They later moved to Arizona where she and Bud continued to be very active in their church.

Ione requested no memorial service and will be laid to rest beside her husband in the Pagosa Springs Hilltop Cemetery.

 

 Business News

Chamber News

Two weekends of holiday fun in Pagosa

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

From the time you read this article, you will have only 24 more shopping days until Christmas!

That's OK , because you still have lots of places to shop right here in Pagosa.

I was quite annoyed at myself the other day as realized that I missed most of the great sales right after Thanksgiving. All work and no play makes Mary Jo a very unhappy shopper, especially when she misses the sales. But I know many of the businesses are still having sales and open houses, and that they still have great inventories available to us consumers.

But, as the gift giving day approaches, those inventories will become depleted, so don't wait until the last minute, unless you are shopping the Chamber of Commerce. We too have lots of gift giving options for those people who just love Pagosa.

First and foremost there are those Pagosa Perks. Give these as a gift and you ensure the dollars you spend at the Chamber stay in Pagosa. with Pagosa businesses. The Perks come in denominations of $10 and $20 and can be spent just like a traveler's check. Chamber businesses include the Perks with their regular deposit.

Consumers can use these Chamber dollars with any Chamber business; and with over 770 members, you have a pretty good chance of using your Perks almost anywhere in town. The recipient of the Perks then gets the best gift of all: They can use these checks in the way they see fit and the merchants also get a gift - business.

Then we have lots of Pagosa Springs-related clothing for those people who have visited our area before, love us, but aren't here to enjoy the holiday season in our community. Send them something to remind them of our wonderful town.

We have long-sleeve and short-sleeve Henleys, a colorful array of long-sleeve T-shirts, and a myriad selection of baseball caps, hats and visors. All these clothing items are embroidered with the "Pagosa Springs" logo.

Now, can I tell you how many people come into my office, see my computer and comment on what a beautiful picture is on my screen? That's because I have this 32-picture screen saver that includes representative scenes of Pagosa. This screen saver is only $10 and you can tuck it into a greeting card and mail the card for the 37-cent postage.

And while we're talking greeting cards, we also have a 12-card set of winter Pagosa scenes (the card is actually a photograph) that will send the receiver into the "I wish I was there" mode. We have lots of other fun stocking stuffers and gift ideas for you to see when you come by.

The beauty of shopping the Chamber is that when you're done choosing a Pagosa gift, we can direct you to a local store and help you complete your other shopping needs. So shop early, shop until the last minute, shop often and remember to shop Pagosa.

Event reminders

Here is a quick rundown of the upcoming holiday events. Try to find some time to attend even a few of these events in between all your other holiday commitments.

- "A Christmas Carol."

The Music Boosters will present their adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic "A Christmas Carol" 7:30 p.m. from Dec. 1-3 at the high school auditorium. On Saturday, Dec. 3, there will be two performances - one at 2 p.m. and one at 7:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased in advance at The Plaid Pony or you can purchase them at the door. Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for children and students.

- PSAC Gala Gallery Walk

Friday, Dec. 2, starting at 5 p.m. the streets are filled with the participants in the Gala Gallery Walk. Here is the list of participating galleries: Rocky Mountain Wildlife Park and Gallery, Lantern Dancer Gallery, Back Door Collectibles, Soledad's Studio and Gallery, Handcrafted Interiors, Puttin' on the Rydz, Moonlight Books, The Crucible, Pagosa Photography, Wild Spirit Gallery, Rainbow Gifts and Taminah Frame Center.

Most galleries will have refreshments and many of the artists will be on hand. Tickets for this event can be purchased at the Chamber, Moonlight Books and WolfTracks. These participating galleries have worked hard for this event and they will provide some wonderful gift ideas to the gallery goers.

- Christmas in Pagosa

Saturday, Dec. 3, will be a busy day here at the Chamber when we highlight the day by presenting Christmas in Pagosa and the annual Visitor Center lighting. The downtown area will come even more alive when we tax LPEA with all the lights we have in store. Our day starts at 3:30 p.m. when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive to listen to all the wishes of the children. Jeff Laydon, with Pagosa Photography, will be on hand to take Polaroid photos as well as digital shots. We will provide sweets and cookies, hot drinks and candy canes.

Starting at 4:30 p.m. we will be entertained both inside the building and out by a variety of local groups. The Community United Methodist Church Bell Choir will play some holiday favorites inside the Visitor Center. Outside, we will have the Children's Chorale, the Mountain Harmony Ladies Chorus, and cast members from "A Christmas Carol" to entertain the gathering crowds.

At about 5:30 p.m. Santa will give the order to turn on the lights and the Visitor Center will officially welcome in the holiday season. Come join us for a visit with Santa, some refreshments, some caroling and some good down-home camaraderie as we celebrate the holidays with the community here at your Chamber of Commerce.

- Parade of Lights

Could you use an extra $100 for the holidays?

Even if you or your group doesn't need the money, come join in the fun at the seventh annual Parade of Lights on San Juan and Pagosa streets Friday, Dec. 9.

Starting on 6th Street at 6 p.m. luminous floats will grace the downtown area as participants and viewers alike brave the cold and come out to watch this magical parade.

Entry forms are available at the Chamber and there is no fee to enter the parade. A $100 prize will be given out to the best and brightest floats in the following categories: Family or Individual, Group or Organization, and Business. Not only can you tout your business at the Fourth of July parade, but you can put your name in lights and let everyone know about you during the winter months as well.

Lots of downtown stores located from 6th to 2nd streets will stay open late to accommodate viewers and shoppers. Many of the businesses will offer specials, discounts and hot beverages to add some spice to your parade experience.

So, carry your special message in lights at this fun parade. Entry forms need to be turned into the Chamber by noon Thursday Dec. 8. We look forward to the zany, comical, outrageous and respectful floats, all out for the Parade of Lights. Don't be left out in the cold, come out and participate.

Art exhibition

New member, the SHY RABBIT will continue an artists' invitational and open juried exhibition Friday, Dec. 2, from noon to 9 p.m. at 333 Bastille Dr., B1 and B4.

This is just the beginning of a very busy arts calendar for the SHY RABBIT. Stay tuned as we list more artistic events.

Train tickets

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will offer local appreciation tickets until Dec. 9 . Tickets are just $10 weekdays and $15 for weekend trips. The Cascade Canyon Winter Train departs at 10 a.m. and returns at 3:05 p.m. Don't miss this stunning canyon trip now that the snow has begun to fly. Call 247-2733 for reservations. The railroad is a Pagosa Chamber member.

Bar D Wranglers

You can get your tickets now for the annual Bar D Wranglers Pagosa Christmas performance to be held Friday, Dec. 16, at the community center. The performance will start at 7 p.m. and tickets are available at the center for $12 for adults and $5 for children under 10 years of age. As always, these delightful and entertaining gentlemen will steal your heart at this annual heartwarming concert. If you miss this opportunity, you will be able to see them again in January as they perform at our annual Chamber meeting. But it won't be the same Christmas special. Try not to miss this popular concert.

Memberships

Our only new member this week is another out-of-town participant, the Taos Lodge. Diane Pola offers comfortable lodging in the woods around Taos. Her facility sleeps two to eight people with two bedrooms, two lofts, and 2 1/2 baths. There is a fully equipped kitchen, cooking and childcare are available, and it is convenient to downtown Taos as well as the Taos Ski Valley. So, if you are looking to "get out of Dodge" for a little while, why not get out and support a Chamber member at the same time. Call Diane at (505) 776-0117. We thank her for coming north to Pagosa and joining our Chamber of Commerce.

With this precarious time of the year upon us, we are glad to have the American Avalanche Association renew its membership. This professional organization with worldwide membership has a mission of providing information on snow and avalanches and how to live, work and play in these conditions. This group offers informational seminars and provides a wealth of knowledge. For more information on this organization or the services it provides, call 946-0822.

Staying in the snow mode, we welcome back what was once Pedal Power. We now have Pedal and Powder, with Eric and Teri Matzdorf.

We also give a hearty welcome back to renowned dentist, Dr. Harold Thompson, DMD,

Moving from an associate member to a business member, we welcome back Fred and Mary Webb and their business, Photowebb DVD Creations.

Then last on the renewal list this week is Our Savior Lutheran Church and School.

I'm sure many of us had cause to give thanks for being with family and friends this past Thanksgiving weekend and also for the snows that came our way. Keep up the snow dances and let those flakes fly!

I hope to see many of you at our very special Christmas in Pagosa celebration and keep those Parade of Lights float entries coming.

 

Sports Page

Pirates have experience and depth

By Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

The 2005-2006 Pagosa Springs High School girls' varsity basketball team starts the new season with a lot of experience and depth.

The 2004-2005 Lady Pirates lost three outstanding athletes to graduation and all three are playing at the next level. Two are now in school on volleyball scholarships at CSU-Pueblo, while the third is playing basketball at Western State.

But the Pirates will not skip a beat.

Head coach Bob Lynch thinks this year's team will be as good as or better than last year's second round 3A state playoff team, which won the district championships. Lynch said that "we had a very good summer league and come into this year with a lot of experience and some good depth. Most people are saying that Centauri is the team to beat, but I really like our chances."

The Pirates' four-out motion offense includes the 1 and 2 positions (point and shooting guard), the 3 and 4 positions (forwards) and the 5 position (post).

Four seniors and one junior round out Lynch's starting five for Pagosa to begin the season. At the 1 and 2 positions are senior Liza Kelley and junior Jessica Lynch. Both are able to interchange between the two positions. Seniors Kari Beth Faber and Caitlin Forest will fill the 3 and 4 positions respectively while senior Emily Buikema holds down the 5 spot.

Three other players round out Lynch's top eight and all will see plenty of action. They are Kristen DuCharme, Lyndsey Mackey and Kim Canty.

Last weekend, the Pirates played unscored scrimmage matches against the Durango and Alamosa teams. Lynch said he was pleased with his team's ability to push the ball up court and to score "transition baskets," the points gained when the team breaks from defense to a successful offensive play.

The Lady Pirates open preseason play at the Buena Vista roundball tournament tomorrow and Saturday. The teams participating in the tournament, besides Pagosa, include the host team 3A Buena Vista Demons, the 3A La Junta Tigers and 4A Alamosa Mean Moose. The Pirates' first opponent will be La Junta. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. Winners will play Saturday at 6 p.m., losers at 3 p.m.

The upcoming games should be a good test for the girls and an indication of an exciting season to come.

On Dec. 9 and 10, the Pirates will host the annual Wolf Creek Classic at the PSHS gym. Other girls' participants include the 3A Gunnison Cowboys, the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers and the 4A Montezuma-Cortez Panthers. The girls' classic is a round robin affair and Pagosa will open with Gunnison at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 9. The second and third contests will be Saturday, starting with Montezuma-Cortez at 11:45 a.m. and closing against Aztec at 6:45 p.m.

 

Pirates could be team to beat this year in IML

Randy Johnson

Staff Writer

It seems like a long time ago when the Pagosa Springs High School boys' varsity basketball team brought home the third-place trophy from the 2004-2005 3A state basketball championships in Fort Collins.

Head coach Jim Shaffer had a seasoned team then, good athletes and an excellent big guy in the middle.

But this is another winter, the lineup has changed and round ball begins a new year.

A key to this season will be how Shaffer replaces the big guy, Caleb Forrest, who is now on scholarship at Division I-A Washington State. The Cougars are in the competitive PAC-10 conference and are trying to decide whether to redshirt Forest this year.

Shaffer said, "You can't really replace a big threat like Forrest. We will just have to make adjustments with players we have."

Another graduate and fine athlete to replace is Otis Rand, who is on a track scholarship at Adams State College.

But all is not so bleak.

Shaffer has a good group of returning seniors and juniors that can fill the gaps created by the loss of Forrest and Rand.

Shaffer's five starting slots include the 1 and 2 guard positions, the 3 and 4 forward positions and the 5 post position.

Currently there are seven experienced veterans vying for the starting slots. The seven include seniors Casey Schutz, Craig Schutz and Paul Przybylski. Juniors rounding out the current seven are Caleb Ormonde, Jordan Shaffer, Kerry Jo Hilsabeck and Derek Harper.

Juniors Casey Hart, Adam Trujillo and Travis Richey are also in the mix.

No matter how the depth chart works out, many will receive a lot of playing time as Shaffer continues to press and run the floor.

Look for a lot of variations in the preseason to find the right mix.

Following a series of scrimmages, regular season action begins tomorrow when the Pirates travel to Buena Vista for their annual tournament. Others in the tournament are the host 3A Buena Vista Demons, the 3A La Junta Tigers and the 4A Alamosa Mean Moose. The Pirates open with La Junta. Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. Winners play Saturday at 7:30 p.m., losers at 4:30.

Shaffer said he was not familiar with this year's La Junta team, but said last year he thought they did fairly well. He said his focus now is not necessarily on the competition, but on honing the prowess of his own team.

"We need to take care of our stuff and get ourselves ready to play," Shaffer said.

After observing his team scrimmage last weekend, Shaffer said he liked what he saw.

"We have to change who we play and change our philosophy, but the team has adapted real well and will continue to get better," the coach said.

Shaffer added that defense during the scrimmage looked solid and that his seven veterans played strong. He said any of them is capable of starting against La Junta and said he would choose his line up at game time.

The next gig on the Pirate schedule occurs Dec. 9 and 10 when the Pirates host the annual Wolf Creek Classic at the PSHS gym. Other participants in the boys' bracket include the 3A Gunnison Cowboys, the New Mexico 4A Aztec Tigers and the 4A Battle Mountain Huskies. The Pirates' first opponent is Gunnison at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 9.

Overall, Shaffer said he thinks his Pirates stand a strong chance of dominating the Intermountain League this year.

"We are 23-1 in the IML over the last three years and have a good nucleus of kids returning. I think we are and should be the team to beat. The IML will have to go through Pagosa again this year," Shaffer said.

Pirate grapplers open season Saturday at Rocky Ford

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

Time's up.

Preseason practice is finished; the season starts in earnest Saturday.

Get ready to wrestle.

Pirate wrestlers have paid their dues in the wrestling and weight rooms; they've battled their comrades for several weeks, they've worked hard to get in competition condition and to get to weight.

Saturday, the 2005-2006 Pirate varsity wrestlers will walk inside the circle with something to gain and something to lose.

It will happen, as it has at the start of a number of seasons now, at the Rocky Ford Duals - out on the southeastern plains of Colorado where they raise melons, consider any hill over 500 feet in height a mountain, and produce generation after generation of fine wrestlers.

High school wrestling in Colorado is one of the only sports in which teams from smaller schools and smaller programs often have an advantage over the biggest schools. Kids in many small towns start wrestling young, battling in peewee tournaments, competing during the summer in freestyle events. They wrestle their ways through junior high and, unlike athletes at many of the state's largest schools, they arrive at high school armed to the teeth - a base of fundamentals is second nature; the subtleties of the sport, the bone-deep reactions built through a thousand reps, settle at their cores.

They make 'em that way in Rocky Ford. They build them like that in La Junta and Canon City. There's a batch of them in Trinidad every year, in Crowley County too. And they produce a legion of them up north, in places like Roosevelt.

And, over the years, some of the best have come from west of the Divide, from the southern San Juans.

From Pagosa Springs.

And now, once again Š it's on.

Time's up, and there's something to prove.

This year's Pirate team will be a blend of young and old, of rookie and veteran - the cast to shift as the season progresses, as wrestle-offs are won, as weights change, as warriors succumb to injury.

"Nobody has the same lineup in February they start with in December," said Coach Dan Janowsky. "But we're going to start this season with a guy at nearly every weight."

At 103 pounds, veteran Travis Moore is likely to start at this first meet, but there is pressure from a couple freshmen: Steven Smith and Cole Mastin. The lower weights are flush with freshmen this season, all working to wedge their ways into the lineup.

At 112, Caleb Pringle and Blake Bahn are contending for the starting role.

Veteran Josh Nelson is at 119 ( a 112-pounder last season) and he is joined there by Cameron Creel.

Senior Orion Sandoval will probably start the season at 125. Sophomore Quinn Griffin is also at the weight. Sandoval, however, could also begin the year at 130, joined at the weight by Joe DuCharme.

Until the weights sift out, 135 is one of the few question marks for Janowsky. For now, freshman Mike Smith fits the niche.

Senior Paul Hostetter is likely to begin the year at 140 and a junior transfer from North Carolina, Izen Perry, is ready to go at 145.

State tourney veteran Ky Smith is ready for a big year, starting this weekend at 152 but almost certain to drop weight before season's end.

Another veteran, Justin Moore, appears ready to battle at 160 and state tournament qualifier Matt Nobles will start his 2005-2006 season at 171.

At 189, the Pirates will put either Reynaldo Palmer or Josiah Burgraaf on the mat Saturday, depending on the results of a wrestle-off.

Back for his senior season at 215 is Bubba Martinez, the third-place finisher in the state in Class 3A last year.

Joe Romine completes the roster of starters. Romine will fight at 275.

"It's a pretty good lineup for a first run," said the coach. "I definitely think they are ready for competition. We've covered all the areas I think we need to deal with at this time."

But, the fact of an unknown opponent, one with an unpredictable approach and different style, is what makes the sport so interesting. You can get ready all you want against your teammates, but it's an unpredictable situation when you face a wrestler from another team. It's a chance to learn and to improve.

"Saturday will reveal a whole new layer of things we need to address," said Janowsky, "When you wrestle an opponent with a different philosophy, you notice the areas you need to work on."

And that will go on throughout the regular season, until everything is on the line. Until the post season league meets, the regional qualifier and the state meet - make it or break it time.

The coach is patient, and persistent.

"I think, come January," he said, "we'll be a pretty good dual team. It's kind of hard to hold things together early on. We'll need to deal with issues of technique, weight issues. But, this weekend starts a pretty good pre-holiday season for us. Between Rocky Ford, the Buena Vista Duals and the Warrior Classic, each of our guys should get at least 12 matches before the break. It's like a discus thrower coming out the first day of practice and making a throw. That distance sets the mark that he tries to surpass."

Saturday's dual meets at Rocky Ford will involve the hosts, Pagosa, Trinidad, La Junta, Canon City, Taos, Sand Creek, Crowley County, Roosevelt, Pueblo Central and two teams unknown at this time. The teams will be placed in three pools of four teams - the pools determined on the basis of last year's finishes.

Winners advance to the championship pool where first through fourth are decided.

Preliminary round second-place finishers form a second pool, the third-place teams form a third pool.

The Pirates hope to improve on their 2-2 finishes of the past several years.

Regardless of the outcome, it will be back to the wrestling room, back to the weight room in order to make adjustments, to refine technique, to get ready for a trip to Buena Vista Dec. 10.

PSHS cheerleaders return to state competition

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

The Pagosa Springs high school varsity cheerleading squad is in top form for Saturday's state competition at the Denver Coliseum.

The Pirate yell team finished fourth at last year's state meet. They are prepared to defend their status and are excited about the possibility of gaining in the standings.

"The competition is really tough, but this is the best routine we've ever had," said senior Lynda Johnson, putting things in perspective relative to their main rivals: Holy Family and Colorado Springs Christian high schools. Johnson is heading into her fourth state competition. "'The routine' is much more advanced," she said. We've been getting better every year."

The squad members have been practicing their performance for about six weeks. The approximately two-and-a-half-minute routine is comprised of upbeat dance music and cheering, and is packed with daring stunts and lifts.

"I'm excited about going because I think we'll really bond as a squad. And I think we've got a good chance of winning," said freshman Sarah York.

"I'm excited and nervous," said Savannah Maez, another Pirate freshman.

The squad is comprised of 19 students, although one member is injured and cannot compete on Saturday. There is a mix of first-timers and those with experience. Five seniors lead the group that also includes six juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen. The underclassmen attest that the seniors are their role models, exhibiting leadership and patience.

"I'm ready for us to push it harder than we ever have before - it's our last hurrah," said senior Rebecca Martinez.

The cheerleaders are coached by Renee Davis and assistant coach Tom Kasper, who focuses on stunts and tumbling. The squad departs for Denver Friday.

 

Pagosa youngster takes ninth at national rodeo event

James Robinson

Staff Writer

After recently capturing the New Mexico Junior Bull Riding Association division championship buckle for calf riding, 9-year-old Tyreese Tyndall took his buckle and headed to Shawnee, Okla. for a shot at the Junior Bull Riding Association national competition.

The event was held Nov. 13 through Nov. 19.

At the nationals, Tyreese represented New Mexico in the 9-year-old calf riding division and he rode against competitors from eight other states.

Although his national performance was not a repeat of his championship effort in New Mexico, he did place, and ultimately took ninth in his age division.

Tyreese's coach and uncle, Steve Tyndall, said his nephew rode hard against what Tyndall described as "tough competition."

"He rode like he had Velcro on his butt. He stuck to those calves like glue," Tyreese's grandmother, Pat Sheppard, said.

According to Tyndall, on his nephew's first go, Tyreese rode for 5.3 seconds out of a possible six-second ride. On Tyreese's second trip out of the chute, Tyndall said, Tyreese scored a 66, with a full, six-second ride. On the third calf, Tyreese rode for 5.8 seconds.

Although Tyreese did not achieve the national ranking he sought, Tyndall said his nephew has taken the experience in stride and the two are gearing up for an intense schedule of rodeo action in Ignacio during the first three weeks of December.

In June, following a winter of calf riding, Tyreese will turn 10. At that time, according to association rules, Tyndall will transition from calf riding, to riding steers and pee-wee bulls.

Both Sheppard and Tyndall said they were thankful for the community support that helped make Tyreese's trip to nationals possible.

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Gain an advantage with the right mental attitude

By Myles Gabel

SUN Columnist

What makes a good player great? Sound basics, size, strength, speed?

Most believe it is attitude; the ability to except situations and make them work in your favor.

Losers never seem to know why they lose. They blame the referees for bad calls, the gym or field conditions, their teammates, etc. Winners, on the other hand, play above the problems.

What is the most important measurement on a court, diamond or field? Without a doubt, it is the six inches between your ears. Winning and losing comes down to who can stay focused. Great players never let their opponent or outside conditions control their game. They are mentally tough, mentally conditioned.

It's easy to get frustrated when pressure and mistakes happen. The more you dwell on it, the more mistakes you'll make. During a basketball game, how many times have we seen a player get the ball stolen, then commit a personal foul because they were out of control? If an opponent can pull you out of your game, who wins? Once you're mad, you're through.

Remember these points:

- Show sportsmanship. It's easy to be a good winner, but it takes real class to hold your head up after a tough loss. Great players never take losing well. But, if you gave 110 percent during the game, and you were beaten, there is no shame in having lost. Give credit to the team who played better on that given day. Learn from it and let it go. The respect you'll gain from opponents and fans on both sides are well worth it.

- Stay in shape. A hero is no braver than the ordinary person, but they are braver five minutes longer. Spend as much time caring for your body as you put into your game. Eat well, get the correct amount of rest, work out and most of all stay away from drugs and alcohol. If you lose a contest, make sure it was because they were better players, not in better shape.

- Never give up. Winners never quit. Nothing is impossible when you believe. You will be surprised what can happen when you never give up.

- Work hard and be aggressive. Never be out hustled or out fought. The team who is persistent usually comes out on top. Show enthusiasm. Make a commitment to excel, and never stop improving. Don't count the days; make each day count. The only person who keeps you on the bench and from being a starter, is you.

- Strong players criticize themselves, not their teammates. Everyone has room for improvement no matter what the level of play, and talking about someone else's shortcomings never helps improve your game. Take an interest in your squad and friendships will grow along with the success of the team.

- Never be afraid to take charge. When a teammate gets down, pick them up with some encouragement and get it back on track. At practice be the first one on the court and the last one to leave. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. Be a total player.

- Play hard. But never take yourself so serious that you forget to have fun also. Enjoy the game, many lessons about life are taught from your adventures in sports. Take what it has to give you and apply it to what life throws your way. Concentrate on what is important, experience and learn. Be the best you can, and the best will come back to you. Champions are made, never born. Ability can get you to the top, but it takes the right mental attitude to keep you there.

Reference: YouthSports.com.

Hoop Shoot

The 2005 Elk's Club Hoop Shoot will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in the community center gymnasium. The 2005 Elk's Club Hoop Shoot is free to all participants and you may sign up on the day of the event.

This is a free throw shooting contest, and every participant will receive a Hoop Shoot T-shirt.

The Hoop Shoot basketball free throw contest is a nationwide contest for boys and girls ages 8-13. Over 3,000,000 of America's youth participate in the yearly event, the ultimate winners competing and advancing through local, district, state, regional and national contests. National winners' names are inscribed on a plaque at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. At each level of the competition the winners are awarded trophies and other prizes.

The shoot-out among the winners of contests in Pagosa Springs, Durango, Bayfield and Ignacio will be held at Escalante Middle School in Durango Saturday, Jan. 7. First-place winners at that shoot-out will be awarded trophies and basketballs and will advance to the West Colorado District contest Jan. 21, at Montrose.

Boys and girls groups compete separately in the following age categories: 8/9, (age 7 is fine only if the youngster will be 8 before April 1, 2006.); 10/11, and 12/13. Youngsters are too old to participate if they turn 14 before April 1, 2006.

Qualification and category assignment are determined by a participant's age as of April 1, 2006.

Soccer photos

If you bought and paid for extra photographs of little Joey or Susie playing soccer, your photos are still available at Pagosa Photography. Stop in at Pagosa Photography located at 480 San Juan St. in downtown Pagosa Springs or call 264-3686 to speak with Jeff Laydon about delivery.

Referees/scorekeepers

If you have a background in basketball as a player or coach, we need you. The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is hiring referees and scorekeepers for the 2005/2006 youth basketball season. High school students through adults are welcome. Training is provided. Pay depends on experience, certification and the level of the games you officiate/scorekeep. Contact the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department at 264-4151, Ext. 232, if interested. Sign up now.

Sports hotline

Information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be found by calling the Pagosa Springs Sports Hotline at 264-6658 or logging on to townofpagosasprings.com and going to the Parks and Recreation link. All schedules and upcoming events are updated every Monday morning.

More information

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

Editorial

Spend the dollars here

This week's Whaddaya Think features a question about doing one's holiday shopping locally. The responses are uniformly positive. The respondents indicate they intend to spend their money here this year. If only this were the case with most residents of Pagosa Country.

A great amount of revenue is still lost to out-of-county enterprises during the holiday season. But, it seems the situation is changing. With rapid growth of population and a perceptible shift in the economic profile of the average resident, there has been a corresponding change in the business community, in terms of the number of businesses available to the local consumer and in the types of goods and services offered.

Not long ago, the notion of doing most of one's holiday shopping in Pagosa Country was implausible due to a lack of options. The establishments did not exist; products - beyond the basics - were often not found here. And, if found, the price was prohibitive. There was a time, not too long ago, when one had to travel to places like Durango, Farmington, Santa Fe or Albuquerque to find a variety of goods at reasonable prices. Or, one had to do without.

Things have changed. Development of the area, the arrival of people with different needs and the money required to satisfy those needs has produced a more expansive business community. This holiday season, during which many residents are infected with consumer fever, is a fine time to change habits.

The use of local merchants is an integral part of our economic stability, since we lack industry independent of the desire of people to visit or relocate here. Growth of the community has fueled an economic boom with revenues pouring in, most generated by tourism and the real estate and construction industries that cater to new arrivals. There are more jobs and more money is circulating, Small businesses have opened and flourished where, 20 years ago, the prospects for new businesses and products were minimal. Patronizing these new businesses, purchasing their products and services, is a vital contribution to the creation of a healthier economic network.

And we are just the folks to do it. Where, in other nations and parts of the world, people riot for lack of food and shelter, or because of dire political conditions, we Americans riot in the marketplace - literally and figuratively. Last week, the day after Thanksgiving, there were several nasty incidents in the U.S. with police and "rioters" clashing at the sites of early Christmas holiday sales. Our values are clear - often too clear - but we can make our intense acquisitiveness work for us.

By spending our money close to home if you are one of those inclined to purchase gifts during the holiday season. You might pay a slightly higher price for certain items but consider whether that price, adding the cost of travel to a distant location and back, is out of the question.

Remember, too, the dollars you spend here are exchanged here; the money is spent, for the most part, again and again, near home. A dollar spent here goes through many hands.

Take advantage of some of the upcoming holiday events - tomorrow's gallery walk, Saturday's Christmas in Pagosa, the Parade of Lights - and stop in at one of the local merchants open for the occasion. Instead of making the trip out of town, stay here, park downtown and walk around. Drive to retailers out west. Drop your dollars in Pagosa Country. Take advantage of the commercial blessings that come with growth that, in some other respects, is unpalatable. There is a positive aspect to every change and, for the avid consumers among us, the increased breadth and depth of our commercial community is one of those aspects. Shop here this holiday; you'll like it.

Karl Isberg

 

Pacing Pagosa

What if Mr. Can Do can't

By Richard Walter

SUN Columnist

The old never-leak faucet always leaked and by now it leaked more from below the faucet than came through the spout.

Not to worry, Mr. Can Do is on the job.

Let me speed off to the hardware for a new one. Installation? A snap.

Turns out the "snap" was to be within the macho man himself.

Never have I seen so many pipes and such a tiny area in which to try to replace connections than in the area under our kitchen sink.

Mr. Can Do became a human pretzel, flat on his back, staring upward into the dark limited area behind the double sink bowls, trying desperately to be confident.

Twist, turn, balance your head on the incoming water pipe. Left arm up and over the horizontal drain, right grasping a special installation tool recommended by the hardware guru.

Now, see if you can get that tool to link with the connecting cover flange after first coating the threads with Teflon tape (recommended on the box in which the faucet came).

Twist, turn, bump elbows, break fingernails, read the instructions again, bump your head on the back wall.

One hour. Two. Nearly three hours later and finally, with a satisfied grin, you extract yourself from pipe heaven and turn on the water.

It spurts wildly from the final connection you just made. Quickly, shut it off again. Go to the toolbox and get your own special tools, a pair of pliers and a sure-grip wrench.

Back under into a plumber's nightmare you go, determined to whip this grotesque task. Clamp one on the service line and the other on the lock sleeve. Turn both and it seems to move slowly into position.

You've done it Big Guy. Turn on the water. Only a small drip, a bucket strategically placed will take care of that. What's important is that water flow from the faucet, not around it.

Satisfied, pleased, a little pompous, perhaps at having demonstrated such skill.

Hours later a call from the kitchen.

Guess what?

The connections are reversed - hot from cold, cold from hot. But, yes, there is no leak.

Ah, success.

The next day dawned as usual - except for the muscles aching in places no macho man will admit having sore muscles.

Rib cage bruised. Right thigh likewise. Wrist limp from reverse angle strain. But the faucet still works.

Strange noise, however, whenever the toilet in the bathroom is flushed. Sounds like the house is coming apart at the seams with increased water pressure. Never heard that before.

Could it be that Mr. Can Do can't?

Impossible. A blow to his pride.

What about that old television antenna still on the roof? Planned to take that down three years ago, right?

Well, yeah, but my ladder's not tall enough. Buy a new one? Why? I'll get on the porch roof from the short one and reach up to get the antenna down.

Someday.

Right now I'm just too sore.

Legacies

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 3, 1915

Quite a large crowd attended the dance at the hall Thanksgiving eve and many expressions of thankfulness were expressed that they were really able to dance enough to keep warm.

The county court was grinding pretty steady this week, the cases being varied. The cases of the mother and daughter for maintaining a disorderly house at Pagosa Junction, went to trial on a not guilty plea, resulting in a jury verdict of guilty for the daughter and a discharge for the mother. The daughter was given a record sentence of 60 days in jail, with a jail mittimus in the hands of the sheriff, who has orders to enforce it if the lady is found within the borders of the county after 48 hours.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 5, 1930

An army of 400 to 500 men will be put to work on the big timber cutting job on the upper Piedra River next spring. Field men working out of the International Paper Company, the biggest pulp and paper manufacturing concern in the world, arrived in the basin about two weeks ago and have been checking up on the timber and conditions in the upper Piedra River country. The company has a contract on the San Juan National Forest to cut off 800,000 cords of pulp wood for paper mills and 50,000,000 feet of saw logs for sawing into lumber at sawmills. Pagosa Springs will enjoy a business and residence building spurt, starting early in the spring of 1931 and should have good times for the next 20 years as the closest town to the actual cutting work.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 1, 1955

Work is rapidly coming to a finish on the installation of the new Pomolift Ski Tow being installed at Wolf Creek Pass Recreation area. A crew of men are busy this week putting the finishing touches to the installation. The towers are all erected, the cable has been strung on the hill, the motor is located and the gas tanks have been installed for fuel. Part of the time the crew of volunteers have been working in snowing weather and a lot of the work has been down since there has been 4 feet of snow on the ground.

Mrs. John Gallegos of Arboles was chosen this year as the top homemaker of Archuleta County by the Western Farm Life Magazine. She has received a certificate of merit from that magazine in recognition of her efforts.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of December 4, 1980

The lighted star on Reservoir Hill and the lighted cross just northeast of the city limits are now lit for the holiday season. These Christmas and holiday lights are a project of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority.

The Revitalization Advisory Committee cordially invites the public to a Town Meeting on Tuesday in the County Courthouse. The purpose of the meeting is to receive comments and reactions from the community to the proposals made by BMML concerning the economic future of Pagosa Springs. Maps and brochures provided by the consultants are available for inspection at the Town Hall.

Very fine weather prevailed over the Thanksgiving weekend and thus far into December.

Features

A matter of education.... and appreciation

Students, veterans meet for breakfast

By Kate Collins

Staff Writer

When generations come together, the feasting is on more than food.

Veterans and students alike found their hearts as well as their stomachs full after experiencing the fellowship offered at the sixth annual Veteran's Day breakfast hosted Nov. 11 by eighth-graders of the Pagosa Springs Junior High School.

"I think it can be a life-changing experience for the kids," said Scott White, teacher of eighth-grade American history. White heads up the breakfast effort in which eighth-grade class members serve veterans of all wars by greeting them upon arrival, registering each veteran to notify them of upcoming events, and acting as table waiters and waitresses by serving the veterans platefuls of homemade food.

"Our main goal is to honor the veterans," said White. "We want kids to give back to them. We want the students to understand the value of civic virtue by putting community interests above their own. Part of this is recognizing what the veterans have done to protect our freedom."

Judging from the response of veterans, this goal is met in five-star fashion every year.

"I was so impressed by the students in serving and sitting down to talk about our adventures in the service of our country. You are to be commended" stated Jim Bisio, a veteran of World War II, in a letter directed to White for the eighth-grade class as a whole.

The breakfast offered social interaction that enabled eighth-graders to step out of their comfort zones to embrace and honor those who have given so much to make their quality of life a reality. "We stress that we want the kids to talk to the veterans and find out what their experience was like," said White.

"[The students] caring, respect and interest in the veterans touched me deeply. I finally can put away some of the ghosts from 1950 and 1951 thanks to the effect of that eighth-grade breakfast. On behalf of myself, and the many young men from my company who did not survive to experience the appreciation of our combat in a forgotten war, I salute the eighth-grade group," stated Jim Haliday, of the 2004 breakfast, in a letter to the editor of the Pagosa Springs Sun.

"I have been approached by veterans with tears in their eyes. They have retired here from Texas or Oklahoma - this is not their home community, but they've received more respect and honor here then anywhere else," said White.

"These people were so brave&emdash;they risked their lives. We really owe them recognition. It was definitely an experience I won't forget," said Dakota Ross, a Pagosa Springs eighth-grader.

Eighth-grader Josie Snow was surprised to find just how many men and women from the Pagosa Springs community served the country in the military. "I just didn't know there were that many [veterans]. And most students think of veterans being old, but I saw lots of people in their twenties."

"I really wanted us to reach out to younger veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," said White. "We'd love to honor the most recent veterans also."

"I appreciate them more now that I understand what they did," said eighth-grader Casey Crow. The selfless attitude of those who served in the military was displayed openly as they reached out to the students. "They mostly liked to talk about us - and they liked to talk about America, how lucky we are to have what we do," reflected Crow.

"There were people there I've known all my life. I didn't even know they were veterans. I'm so glad to see them getting recognition," said Ross.

"There's a lot more to the military than I thought," said Snow, reflecting on exactly what the veterans offered when they gave their time and service to their country.

"I teach American history from the beginning through the Civil War. We talk a lot about natural rights and freedom," said White. "This breakfast fits perfectly with the curriculum because it gives the students an opportunity to realize and appreciate what the veterans did."

Don Bartlett wrote to the eighth grade class in 2004: "I just wanted to say, as a veteran of Korea and Vietnam, that it was very much appreciated by all Š Please know that this old vet really, really especially appreciated it."

Figuring on the response of Pagosa's eighth-grade students, the feeling is mutual.

Kids' Holiday Retreat

The holiday season is here and the hustle and bustle of shopping has begun.

Do you need a safe place for your children to go while you shop? The Archuleta County Education Center has the answer. In the spirit of the holidays the center invites kids in first to sixth grades to participate in a Kid's Holiday Retreat 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10. The day will be filled with fun crafts and movies. Snacks will be provided, however, students will need to bring a bag lunch. The cost for the day is $15.

To register your children, or for more information, call the Archuleta County Education Center at 264-2835.

 

PCC registration

Registration for the spring semester is underway at Pueblo Community College's Southwest Center. Classes such as Introduction to Business, U.S. History, Introduction to the PC, Sociology and Psychology begin Jan. 9 in Pagosa Springs. Financial aid is available for qualified students. To learn more, call the Durango office at 247-2929 or go to the Web at Pueblocc.edu.

 

Clinic open house

Mercy Medical Center's Diabetes Education and Nutrition Therapy Center, a multi-service clinic that provides education tools and support to Four Corners area residents living with diabetes and other chronic diseases, will host an open house 3 to 5 p.m. Dec. 1. The open house will be in the medical suites adjacent to Mercy Medical Center at 1800 E. Third Ave., No. 108. Refreshments will be served.

The center provides diabetes management and education for people of all ages. The center staff provides individual and group sessions aimed at promoting optimal health and wellness, including blood glucose monitoring, medications, exercise and nutrition. Individual education is provided for that needing insulin management, insulin pump training and gestational (pregnancy) diabetes. The educators are certified in insulin pump therapy and have access to the latest diabetes care technology.

Medical Nutrition Therapy for conditions such as heart disease, allergies, high blood pressure and eating disorders is provided with a health care provider's referral.

The center also provides community education classes on topics including weight management, heart-healthy eating, and more.

For more information contact Bonnie Stone, 382-1718.

Pagosa's Past

The closing of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs

By John M. Motter

PREVIEW Columnist

I've been writing for some week about the Army's decision to move Fort Lewis from Pagosa Springs to a point further west in order to better control the Ute Indians. We know the Army actually commenced construction on two sites, one on the Mancos River and one at the confluence of the Uncomphagre and Gunnison rivers.

Finally, in a letter from Lt. Col. Robert A. Crofton on the 13th Infantry commanding Cantonment Rio de La Plata, Colo. and dated August 1880, we learn that a decision has been made to locate the new post on the La Plata River.

We read: "Sir; I have the honor to inform you that in accordance with instructions from Headquarters Department of Missouri a new post has this day been established on plain overlooking the Rio de la Plata, Col. 68/100 mile south of the mail road from Animas City, Col. To Parrott City, Col. twelve miles distant from the former, and seven from the latter place."

And so, even though Fort Lewis at Hesperus had begun, Fort Lewis at Pagosa Springs was not yet abandoned. A Capt. Torrey of the 13th Infantry was left in charge of the Pagosa Springs post. Throughout 1880, directives came down asking why no post returns had been submitted from Pagosa Springs listing enrollment in Co. D, Ninth Cavalry. Apparently, Washington thought the Buffalo Soldiers were still in Pagosa Springs. In fact, according to accounts of the Apache Wars, that company was down in southern New Mexico and up to its ears in a running warfare with Nana and the Warm Springs Apaches.

In a letter dated Oct. 10, and sent to a Col. Henry Page at the Southern Ute Agency (on the Pine River ... Ignacio), Lt. Col. Crofton asked for the following information: "Sir; In order to complete the records of this post, I would respectfully request your reply to the following queries; -1- The names and designations of the different tribes and bands of Indians within the limits of your agency; their numbers, localities, and ranges. Their habits and manner of subsisting, whether upon their own resources exclusively, or in part, or entirely on government supplies. Whether they are at peace or war with the whites, or other Indian tribes. What portion of their warriors use firearms, and from whence these, and their ammunition are obtained. Whether they use horses in war and in the chase, and are well supplied with them. Whether they live permanently on reservations assigned them by the government or wander away, and where their families remain during different seasons of the year when the warriors are absent. Whether they cultivate the soil; if so state to what extent. Whether they hunt game.

"-2- Whether the law of February 13th, 1862, prohibiting the introduction of spirituous liquors into the Indian Territory is violated, and if the military authorities have taken any steps to prevent it ..."

(Motter - I wish I had the answer to this request in my files, but I don't.)

By November of 1880, Crofton was send troops into New Mexico to investigate reports that whites were mistreating Navajo Indians living along the San Juan River between Largo Canyon and the Hog Back east of today's Farmington.

More next week on military activities in the San Juan Basin leading to the abandonment of Fort Lewis in Pagosa Springs.

Pagosa Sky Watch

Observe winter's signature constellation

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

According to data from the U.S. Naval Observatory, the sun will rise today at 7:04 am and will set at 4:51 p.m. Moonrise will occur at 7:21 am, with moonset at 4:43 p.m. A new moon will arrive in Pagosa Country today at 8:01 a.m.

With the new moon and moonrise and moonset times, exceptionally dark skies will prevail during the next few days, making for a weekend of prime sky watching conditions. Sky watchers willing to brave the cold can use the dark skies to their advantage to explore Orion, winter's signature constellation.

The constellation is the celestial representation of the great hunter of Greek mythology from whom the constellation takes its name.

According to mythology, Orion is the mortal, but boastful, son of the sea god Poseidon. In the story, the arrogant Orion claimed he could hunt and kill every animal on earth. Orion's boast drew the ire of Zeus who sent a giant scorpion (represented by the constellation Scorpius) to hunt the hunter. During an epic battle between the foes, the scorpion vanquished Orion with a lethal sting.

Following Orion's death, Diana, the goddess of the hunt, asked Zeus to place Orion in the sky. Zeus conceded, but placed the scorpion in the heavens as well. However, Zeus positioned the two far apart, and at opposite ends of the sky to ensure they would never fight again. Hence, when Scorpius is visible and at its most prominent during the summer, Orion is not visible. When winter arrives, the scorpion disappears below the horizon and Orion rules the sky.

Orion is one of the largest, brightest and most distinct of all the constellations, and its size and grandeur is befitting of the reputation and story of its namesake. Dominating a vast swath of the wintertime night sky, the constellation depicts the hunter with his shield thrust forward and his club held high. Within the constellation, a key grouping of three stars, known as Orion's belt, makes the constellation particularly easy to identify.

To locate the belt, and to explore the entire constellation, you will need to wait until about 9 p.m. for Orion to come into full view. Begin your observations by looking to the east. The three belt stars will line up in a distinct, tight, short row and will be clearly visible just above the horizon.

The middle star in the belt is a magnitude 1.7 blue supergiant known as Alnilam, "the string of pearls."

To the right of Alnilam is the star Mintaka, meaning "belt." Mintaka appears to the naked eye as a 2.2 magnitude blue giant, but telescopes reveal it as a multiple star system.

Lastly, to the left of Alnilam is Alnitak, "the girdle," which, to the naked eye, appears as a magnitude 1.7 blue supergiant. Large telescopes, however, will reveal a magnitude 3.9 companion star.

Once you have identified the stars in Orion's belt, you can then use those stars as landmarks to locate the other key stars in the constellation.

Going back to the belt and starting at Mintaka, trace a straight, slightly upwards diagonal line to the next bright object. This bold, bright, bluish white star is Rigel, a magnitude 0.2 blue-white supergiant. Rigel is the brightest star in the constellation.

Again, starting back at the belt, begin at Alnitak, and travel in a straight, but slightly downward diagonal line to the next bright object. This is the star Saiph, a magnitude 2.1 blue supergiant.

In the area about midway between Saiph, Rigel and the stars of the belt, lies a particularly rich region of the sky which is home to M42&emdash; the celebrated Orion Nebula. The nebula is a gigantic stellar nursery comprised of clouds of gas and dust and is perhaps one of the most fascinating and breathtaking objects in our night sky. Although the true beauty of the nebula is revealed only with a powerful telescope, it is, however, visible to the naked eye as a hazy cloud and binoculars might reveal some of the nebula's more prominent features.

In addition to the Orion Nebula, the constellation is also home to another fascinating object - the star Betelgeuse (pronounced beetle-juice). Betelgeuse is a massive red supergiant that is about 500 times larger than our sun and is perhaps one of the most studied stars in the sky.

What draws astronomers to Betelgeuse is the fact that observations indicate the star is particularly unstable and could explode at any time. Astronomers believe the star's volatility is due to its massive core which generates tremendous heat and that the heat enables the star to rapidly consume and fuse the elements in its composition. The result is, that as the star gobbles each element in turn, gravity compresses the star's core ever tighter. This compression then generates even more heat and allows for the consumption of the next element. In essence, the star is collapsing in on itself and is becoming heavier, denser and hotter in the process.

Ultimately, astronomers predict that once all the star's elements are consumed, Betelgeuse will expire in a dazzling, massive supernova explosion. The star's core, which will have fused down to iron, is likely to remain as a super dense neutron star which could provide the fodder for a future black hole.

Unfortunately though, it will probably be luck that will allow the amateur star gazer to witness Betelgeuse's grand demise. The reason is that astronomers currently have no method for gauging a star's core activity, and understanding what is happening in the core is critical in predicting the star's future. Therefore, with our current astronomical capabilities, any estimates on when Betelgeuse will explode are really just educated guesses. It could happen tonight, or in 10,000 years. No one knows.

To locate Betelgeuse, travel back to Orion's belt and the star Alnitak. Once there, shift your gaze upward and away from Alnitak to a point that is nearly the same distance as that between Alnitak and Saiph. Betelgeuse is not necessarily the brightest star in the constellation, but its size, brightness and color make it distinct and hard to miss.

Weather

Date High Low Precipitation

Type Depth Moisture

11/23

55

17

-

-

-

11/24

48

18

-

-

-

11/25

50

14

-

-

-

11/26

44

17

-

-

-

11/27

34

9

S

.5

.05

11/28

30

2

-

-

-

11/29

34

4

-

-

-

Winter weather: tune the skis, take care with wood stoves

By John Middendorf

Staff Writer

Pagosa Springs received only 0.27 inches of precipitation for November, much less than the 90-year (1906 to 1998) monthly average of 1.39 inches of precipitation, or 10 inches of snow. Last week's temperatures ranged from the mid-50s F. to 5 degrees F., with the low reported on Monday morning.

Many of the November storms hit northern Colorado but fizzled by the time they reached Pagosa, with northern ski areas such as Vail reporting 98 inches of snow on the slopes, compared to a year-to-date accumulation of 37 inches at Wolf Creek Pass.

But things should be changing in the upcoming weeks. The high pressure system that has recently dominated the region is weakening, and winds are expected to shift and blow in from the south/southwest, bringing a moist air mass that is moving in from the Pacific. We should be getting more snow beginning Friday and continuing over the weekend if all goes well in the troposphere. Skies will then clear for a cool and windy work week with highs mostly in the 30s, then building again with warmer temperatures towards the end of next week, cumulating in another weekend storm. Time to get the skis tuned up!

For those of you with wood stoves adding warmth to your home, be sure to inspect the operation of your wood stove for the season. Wood stoves warm primarily by providing radiant heat from hot exterior metal surfaces (around 400 degrees F.). Inside the stove, temperatures typically exceed 1,100 degrees F., requiring operational care. First, check the clearances in the chimney connection through the roof, making sure there has been no corrosion in the flashing and stovepipe heat shields. A safe chimney installation requires at least a 2-inch clearance from combustible material.

The National Fire Protection Agency also recommends an annual cleaning for creosote, the flammable by-product of incomplete combustion that builds up on the interior of the stovepipe.

Proper operation of a wood stove improves efficiency and reduces creosote problems. A small, briskly burning hot fire with dry, well-seasoned wood is best. Add small amounts of wood at a time and operate the draft control in at least a half-open position. Overnight burns, where the firebox is loaded with wood and the draft restricted for a long duration burn, creates more creosote build-up. When loading the firebox for an overnight burn, set the draft controls wide open for the first 20 minutes to establish a hot fire and then restrict the draft.

Combustion of creosote in your stovepipe is most likely to occur during a very hot fire in your stove, which can occur when burning paper such as Christmas wrappings. A chimney fire is not difficult to detect. It involves flames and sparks shooting out the top of the chimney, a roaring sound similar to a jet engine, and a red hot stovepipe which may throb or vibrate. Although a chimney fire generally has a short duration, it can be intensely hot with temperatures exceeding 2,000 degrees F., potentially damaging the stovepipe and causing a house fire.

In case of a chimney fire, have a 10-pound ABC fire extinguisher nearby and shut off all oxygen to the stove. Call the fire department and carefully observe the chimney, attic and outside of the house for fire. When a chimney fire is extinguished, inspect the chimney for damage, especially the area around the stovepipe where it goes through the roof for any smoldering fires that may later re-ignite. Have the stove professionally inspected before using it again to ensure that nothing is damaged compromising the safety of the system.

Fun weather facts of the week: Depending on air temperature, the same amount of moisture in one inch of rain could equal anywhere from two inches of wet slushy snow to as much as 40 inches of dry fluffy snow. Almost every place in the United States has seen snow, with only the Florida Keys remaining flurry-free.