January 11, 2007

Front Page

 

Bid made on courthouse, talks continue

James Robinson

Staff Writer

Negotiations between a local developer and Archuleta County concerning the sale of the courthouse moved closer to a conclusion Tuesday.

Following a regular meeting of the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners, the board entered into executive session to discuss the sale of the courthouse property, and the purchase offer put forth by Pagosa Holdings LLC.

Archuleta County Administrator Bob Campbell said Pagosa Holdings LLC is essentially Dave Brown and BootJack Management.

Following executive session, the board reconvened in a public session and voted two-to-one in favor of accepting Pagosa Holdings' offer with conditions. According to the motion and the vote, if the county's counteroffer is accepted, the sale will be approved.

Although Campbell would not disclose the deal's particulars, he said, "The offer has been accepted contingent on three factors. Staff is directed to negotiate those factors and they will be presented in a counteroffer. If our counteroffer is accepted, staff is directed to enter in to a sales agreement."

John Hundley of BootJack Management struck a similar chord.

"Until we are further along in the process, I would like to withhold comment," Hundley said.

With negotiations pending, Hundley would not discuss development possibilities for the site, although he did indicate they "have very preliminary conceptual plans."

Negotiations between Pagosa Holdings LLC and the county are the result of the county's request for bids to purchase the courthouse. According to Campbell, that request went out in early October, with an Oct. 31 deadline for responses. During that time, Campbell said, the request garnered just one response - from Pagosa Holdings LLC.

Since Pagosa Holdings LLC made their initial offer, Campbell said county staff and company representatives have been in negotiations, with the company's final offer presented Tuesday.

According to Campbell, the decision to sell the courthouse and move county offices to a new location began in 1999. Campbell said the intent of the move is to provide more modern, spacious facilities capable of serving county facility and citizen needs well into 2027. Campbell said the current courthouse is hamstrung by a number of issues, including spatial constraints and structural or design problems, such a chronically leaking roof.

"One of the big issues is that the jail does not meet current state or federal guidelines. It is a crisis situation waiting to happen," Campbell said.

Furthermore, Campbell laments the $100,000 spent each year for renting extra-courthouse space in order to accommodate departments, such as building and planning and social services that don't fit in the courthouse proper. He said operating six satellite offices is inefficient, both for citizens seeking services and for employee productivity when work time is spent shuttling staff between various offices.

Although Campbell was reluctant to speculate on a timetable for finalizing the deal, he said, "The sale gives the county ample time and the resources to plan and prepare for new county facilities."

Commissioners Bob Moomaw and Ronnie Zaday voted in favor of the counteroffer, while Commissioner Robin Schiro carried the dissenting vote.

Following the vote, Schiro said, "there are too many unknowns," and that a number of issues require resolution before finalizing the sale. Later, she said her "nay" vote was due in part, to unresolved questions regarding the building's historic status.

According to Town Planner Tamra Allen, although the courthouse is not formally designated as a historic landmark, the building does lie within the bounds of a historic district. Therefore, the property and its structures are governed by the town's historic preservation regulations found in Article 14 of the town's land use code.

Allen explained that within the district, buildings not officially landmarked were designated by the town's Historic Preservation Board as either "contributing," or "non-contributing" to the historic district. The courthouse is designated "contributing."

According to Allen, the preservation board made the determination based on criteria found in Article 14 used for the designation of historic landmarks. According to Article 14, landmark designation, using the same set of criteria, requires the property owner's written consent or application. The designation of "contributing" or "non-contributing" however, did not.

Although buildings not officially landmarked aren't governed by the full gamut of Article 14 regulations, Allen said the "contributing" or "non-contributing" distinction does carry weight.

"Non-contributing" buildings, Allen explained, have an easier path to approval for alteration, demolition or relocation, whereas "contributing" structures have to meet the criteria for alteration, demolition or relocation as described in Article 14. However, the town currently has a moratorium suspending permits for demolition, alteration, removal or modification of buildings 50 years old or older, which trumps Article 14 until April 1, 2007.

According to Campbell, "About a third of the building is 'historic' by virtue of being constructed in 1928."

Campbell added the other two-thirds of the courthouse were constructed in the 1980s to address jail issues. Since 1928, Campbell said the initial one-third had undergone "significant reinforcement" due to structural and other issues.

With the moratorium in place, anyone wishing to modify, demolish or relocate the courthouse, or any other "contributing" structure within the historic district, must prove the building is either structurally unsound, is an economic hardship to keep and maintain "as is," or lacks historic significance.

Under the moratorium, the property owner must make their case to the preservation board, with the town council making the final determination.

According to Allen and preservation board chair Shari Pierce, part of the intent of the moratorium was to allow time for the preservation board to fine-tune Article 14 such that it could better address the complexities of historic preservation, including incentives which might entice property owners to keep older buildings.

Apparently, that effort has been slow in the undertaking, and meetings between the preservation board and the town council regarding the retooling of Article 14 have not yet come to fruition.

 

Schools to share info with law enforcement

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Archuleta County School District 50 Joint Board of Education unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with minimal changes Tuesday night, which will facilitate the exchange of student information with law enforcement agencies, if approved by county and town officials.

Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the police and sheriff's department would agree to provide the school district with information regarding charges, adjudications and delinquency involving individual students. Agencies would report criminal or delinquent acts, threats or incidents that were determined to pose a public safety concern, in the opinion of the agency.

If local governments and the sheriff's department agree to the memorandum the school district has already signed, a student's law enforcement record would be made available to the superintendent and school principals. Under the agreement the police and sheriff's department would "allow a principal or superintendent, or their designee, of a school in which a student is or will be enrolled to inspect all law enforcement records concerning that student."

With the memorandum, the school district agreed to disclose student education records to help the justice system "effectively serve a student prior to adjudication," in the case of emergency health or safety concerns, to comply with a subpoena or to give information to county human services and law enforcement agencies when school officials have reasonable cause to suspect a student is being subjected to abuse or neglect.

The school district also agreed to provide attendance information, when necessary, to criminal justice agencies - in regard to investigations, adjudications and parole monitoring.

The memorandum requires school officials to report crimes and "acts compromising school safety" to law enforcement agencies - including menacing, theft, extortion, child abuse, knowingly false allegations of child abuse (directed at school staff), endangering public transportation, hazing, false imprisonment, inciting a riot, engaging in a riot, ethnic intimidation, false report of explosives and interference with students or faculty.

As first drafted, the section involving the report of crimes and acts compromising school safety was questioned by board member Ken Fox, who thought the language could force school officials to report less serious incidents that would be best handled in the schools, based on the circumstances.

"If we don't flesh out the language," he said, "we could end up with a big brother situation."

Principal David Hamilton commented that the high school currently has a good relationship with law enforcement officials, in which they communicate well and make decisions based on individual situations, with the student's well being in mind. Other principals echoed Hamilton's statement.

Fox suggested that the memorandum could limit and hinder the cooperation that is already in place.

The school board members discussed ways the wording could be changed to allow administrators to make decisions based on the situation, including the phrase "at the discretion of the principal, per school policy."

The phrase met wide approval until assistant superintendent, and past high school principal Bill Esterbrook pointed out that putting legal decisions at a principal's discretion could raise liability issues.

The first portion of the phrase was dropped, and it was agreed that the memorandum would be revised to state that crimes and acts compromising school safety would be reported to law enforcement agencies "according to district policy."

Superintendent Duane Noggle said the extensive district school policy would provide clear definition of the acts compromising school safety, which were not clearly criminal - thus guiding school officials as to what incidents should be reported.

Fox moved to approve the memorandum with the brief revision, and the measure was unanimously approved.

The Memorandum of Understanding will now be sent to town and county officials for their consideration and possible approval.

In other business, Noggle outlined the progress of the Facilities Master Plan. The school board entered into contract with Blythe Design this fall to begin the project, which will establish a plan for renovation, development and construction of district facilities. Noggle will meet with Blythe today to finalize plans, but meetings with staff, the community and a steering committee will be a part of the process. The master plan will likely be completed in late spring, said Noggle.

At the request of Sheila Berger, special projects director for the county, the school board voted to direct $20,000 toward the completion of a Regional Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan. The school district entered into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the town and county in 2004 to support joint development projects, which benefit the constituents of all entities, and facilitate grant funding. This year, the district's $20,000 commitment to the IGA was dedicated to the master plan, by Tuesday's vote, which will facilitate future construction projects and grants. Berger said money would likely be left over after completion of the master plan (budgeted at $85,000), which could go toward a project focused to the school district next year.

 

Snowpack below average, ahead of last year

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

What a difference a year makes.

Even though the combined snowpack in the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river basins was just 77 percent of the 30-year average by Jan. 1, it was 163 percent of last year's total on the same date. According to a report issued by the Natural Resources Conservation Service, some measuring sites in southern Colorado have recently recorded snowpacks of two to four times that of a year ago.

By the first of the year, the statewide snowpack was 96 percent of average, and 94 percent of that recorded on Jan. 1, 2006. Snowpack totals ranged from a high of 128 percent (of average) in the South Platte basin, to our low of 77 percent in southwestern Colorado.

According to Allen Green, state conservationist with the NRCS, "The late-December blizzards helped boost the South Platte and Arkansas basins to the highest basin-wide percentages in the state."

In a press release dated Jan. 5, NRCS data collection office supervisor Mike Gillespie said, "December's weather contributed to a dramatic shift in snowpack patterns across the state. After the storm cycle, snowpack percentages are the highest along the Front Range of the South Platte and Arkansas basins, and taper off to below average across the mountains of western Colorado."

"In addition," Gillespie said, "across the South Platte, Arkansas and Rio Grande basins, the sites at the lower elevations are reporting the highest percents of average snowpack."

"That's certainly a pattern we rarely see across the state," said Green. "However, it's expected after receiving two back-to-back upslope blizzards which have pounded the eastern plains."

So far, based on the shift Gillespie described in his press release, portions of southern Colorado have fared much better this year than last.

"This has been a welcome change for these water users who were faced with well below average snowpack totals last year," said Green.

In light of current snowpack conditions, the South Platte and Arkansas basins appear poised for an above-average spring runoff. Southern Colorado, on the other hand, may end up with one near average, but significantly improved over last year.

Of course, the amount of moisture within the snowpack at any given time is of greatest concern. The NRCS publishes a Snow-Precipitation Update daily, and yesterday's release reflected a current Snow Water Equivalent of 9.6 inches in the Upper San Juan River Basin.

That amount was only 66 percent of average for the date, yet for the season since Oct. 1, 19.8 inches of total precipitation had been recorded at the same site, which equaled 115 percent of average for Jan. 10.

Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) represents the amount of moisture a snowpack contains at any given time, and Total Precipitation (TP) reflects how much water content has been measured at a given site over a specified period of time.

As of yesterday, the current SWE at the Wolf Creek Summit site was 15.0 inches, or 94 percent of average. Since Oct. 1, the TP there was 19.0 inches, or 110 percent of average. These figures suggest the present snowpack at the summit site is slightly dryer than normal, while this year's overall precipitation totals have actually exceeded the average, thus far.

In other basins across the state, the percent of average TP as of yesterday was as follows:

- Gunnison River - 114 percent.

- Upper Colorado River - 108 percent.

- South Platte River - 132 percent.

- Laramie and North Platte rivers - 99 percent.

- Yampa and White rivers - 90 percent.

- Arkansas River - 124 percent.

- Upper Rio Grande River - 113 percent.

- San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan rivers - 110 percent.

In a related matter, statewide water storage as of Jan. 1 was 93 percent of average and 99 percent of last year's levels. Here in the combined San Juan, Animas and Dolores basins, reservoir storage was 110 percent of average, but only 97 percent of readings a year ago. Last year's water storage, together with a wet summer, saved southern Colorado from what could've been a disastrous wildfire season.

 

Inside The Sun

BoCC sets new meeting, public forum schedule

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

After being sworn in Tuesday morning, District 3 Archuleta County Commissioner Bob Moomaw took the bench in the afternoon with fellow commissioners Robin Schiro and Ronnie Zaday, and the three set to work establishing basic policies and procedures for 2007, including a rigorous meeting schedule for the new year.

First among the changes was Schiro's appointment to the position of board chair &emdash;Zaday held the post through much of 2006 - with Moomaw taking the vice chair seat. Second, the board broke from routine by establishing a four-meeting-per-month schedule for 2007.

As a holdover from 2006, the board will continue meeting at 1:30 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of each month throughout 2007 to cast votes and conduct official county business. The key change, however, comes on the second and fourth Tuesday, when the board will meet informally at 2 p.m. in work session format to wrangle with issues they will face on the following Tuesday's agenda.

The work sessions will include an in-depth review of the coming agenda coupled with more comprehensive staff reports, background information, and according to Moomaw, will provide the commissioners an opportunity to informally discuss issues before they come up for vote.

Moomaw and Archuleta County Administrator Bob Campbell said although the work sessions will be duly noticed and are open to the public, no public comment will be taken during the work sessions, nor will the commissioners make decisions.

Public comment will be heard during the policy-making meetings on the first and third Tuesdays.

Unlike board of county commissioners' policy-making meetings, which happen at the same location every week - in the commissioner's meeting room in the courthouse - the work session locations will vary according to scheduling demands for the board of county commissioners' meeting room in the courthouse. Thus, those intent on learning the background behind forthcoming policy decisions will need to keep watch on the bulletin board in the hallway outside the commissioners' offices to stay abreast of work session locations. In addition, and also unlike regular board of county commissioners' meetings, and audio recording will not be made of the work sessions.

Although the town has no formal policy regarding audio recordings of work sessions, Town Clerk Deanna Jaramillo said following the recent installation of new electronic audio equipment in town council chambers, she has been regularly recording their work sessions.

In a second change of tack from 2006, the commissioners will also host a series of public forums at various locations around the county, including Chromo and Arboles, to hear citizen comments and concerns. The meetings are scheduled for months with five Tuesdays. The 2007 public forum schedule is as follows: Jan 30, at 7 p.m. in the Archuleta County Courthouse; May 29, in Arboles - time and location to be announced; July 31 in Chromo - time and location to be announced; and Oct. 30 in the courthouse.

In addition, at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, in the board of county commissioners' meeting room, planning staff will provide an update on the progress of county big box regulations. The public is invited to attend.

 

Ski Day and Après Ski Party to benefit United Way

By Stacia Kemp

Special to The SUN

Take out delicious home-made hearty soup, fresh bread and enough tasty dessert for a party of four while helping United Way's Archuleta County campaign on Wednesday, Jan. 24.

This après ski (or après work) event is part of the Party 'Round Pagosa benefit series and is hosted by the Archuleta County United Way Advisory Committee.

Takeout meals must be reserved in advance with a $25 donation to United Way-Archuleta County. Meals will be available for pick up from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., following United Way Ski Day at Wolf Creek Ski Area. Full-day lift tickets will be sold for $34 that day, with $11 of each ticket sold going to United Way.

Proceeds from United Way Ski Day and the Après Ski Party will help Archuleta County's United Way campaign to raise money for 15 organizations that care for the people of Archuleta County.

For more information or to reserve a takeout meal, call Stacia Kemp, 264-3230, by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.

 

USFS announces current road closures

As of Jan. 4, the following roads on the Pagosa Ranger District are closed by snow or have been gated and locked:

Black Mountain. No. 661.

Blanco River, No. 656.

Blue Creek, No. 012.

Buckles Lake, No. 663.

Castle Creek, No. 660.

Devil Creek, No. 627.

Devil Mountain, No. 626.

East Fork,, No. 667.

Eight Mile Mesa No. 651.

First Fork, No. 622.

Jackson Mountain, No. 037.

Kenney Flats, No. 006.

Lefthand Canyon, No. 024.

Lower Piedra, No. 621.

Middle Fork, No. 636.

Monument Park East and West, No. 630.

Mosca, No. 631.

Nipple Mountain above Echo, No. 665.

Plumtaw, lower and upper, No. 634.

Price Lakes, No. 731.

Snowball, No. 646.

Trail Ridge, No. 639.

Turkey Creek, No. 647.

Turkey Springs, lower and upper, No. 629.

Valle Seco, lower and upper, No. 653.

West Fork, No. 648.

Willow Draw, No. 722.

Roads that are still open, but subject to close due to weather and road conditions are:

Burns Canyon, No. 649.

Echo Canyon, No. 029.

Mill Creek, No. 662.

Nipple Mountain, below Echo, No. 665.

Williams Creek, No. 722.

 

Six new CHI houses now occupied in Overlook Development

By Joe Davis

Special to The SUN

Colorado Housing, Inc. (CHI) would like to report that, on Dec. 28, six more families in Pagosa Springs moved into their new houses in the downtown Overlook Development.

Lending their support and approval during the final inspection processes were Duane Dale and Tiffany Huff of the USDA, and CHI staff of Jenny Iguchi, program director; Jamie Blechman, outreach coordinator; Joe Davis, office assistant; Casey Caves, construction supervisor; Steve Koneman, construction supervisor; and Josh Christner, construction supervisor.

These six new houses, along with the eight houses finished in November 2006, bring the total to 196 new homes in the self-help program for the four southwest Colorado counties of Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan. The program began in September 1995, and has been well-received in the four-county area. CHI and the new homeowners receive major financial and grant support from USDA/Rural Development, the Housing Assistance Council (a department of HUD), Colorado Division of Housing and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka.

CHI, with its office in Pagosa Springs, faces major challenges in the future in being able to find affordable land on which to build due to increasing costs. This self-help affordable housing program is very important to families pursuing the dream of home ownership.

For more information or to learn how you can help this worthwhile program with your donations of land, etc., contact CHI at 264-6950. Such donations are subject to attractive tax benefits.

 

July-Dec. 2006, news in review

July 2006

- Widening of U.S. 160, between Piedra Road and Alpha Drive, was initiated. The asphalt paving was part of the Aspen Village project and included: widening the highway; installation of acceleration and deceleration lanes; installation of a traffic signal at the intersection of U.S. 160 and Aspen Village Drive; and 5,000 cubic yards of grading and safety improvements.

- As mandated by the federal government, Archuleta County School District 50 Joint drafted and implemented a new wellness policy, which set standards for nutrition and physical activity in the schools - though some parents and members of the district, including vice president of the school board Sandy Caves, expressed concerns the policy was not as progressive as it should be.

- Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners and staff asked citizens to organize non-governmental groups to ensure maintenance and snow removal on county secondary roads, due to the county's cessation of work on secondary roads as of June 15. County officials also said there was a possibility of addressing the roads issue by stabilizing the mill levy through a ballot question.

- Fire restrictions, which had been imposed in the Pagosa area after a mild winter and relatively dry spring, were lifted when the monsoon season hit with greater than average strength.

- The Pagosa Springs Department of Motor Vehicles office was closed on July 26, due to safety risks posed by one-person offices.

- The U.S. Forest Service upheld its decision to grant the developer of the Village at Wolf Creek two separate access roads to its 287.5-acre inholding in the Rio Grande National Forest. The Forest Service decision was questioned by nonprofit groups and legislators, including U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who asked USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong to investigate allegations of improprieties in the Forest Service's evaluation and decision on the final Environmental Impact Statement, regarding the access roads.

- On July 14, District Court, Water Division 7, Judge Gregory G. Lyman rendered a decree granting two area water districts, the San Juan Water Conservancy District and Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District, rights to divert and store water at a proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir outside of Pagosa Springs. Both proponents and opponents of the reservoir project sought clarification of the decision.

- The Northern San Juan Basin Coalbed Methane Development Project released a preview of its plan for drilling in the HD Mountain to the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners on July 18. The developer's preferred plan would open 12,000 acres of roadless area to drilling.

- County officials said the county would plow secondary roads, despite the BOCC's decision to end maintenance of secondary roads. The county also advocated other solutions to the longterm issue, including public improvement districts and a stabilization of the mill levy, through a ballot question.

August 2006

- Citizens of Pagosa Springs raised their concerns at the Aug. 3 town council meeting about a "Big Box" ordinance that would allow retail stores up to 180,000 square feet.

- Pete Gonzalez won the Republican primary for Archuleta County Sheriff with nearly 58 percent of the vote, defeating Steve Wadley and Bob Grandchamp. With no Democratic candidates in the race, Gonzalez effectively won the office with the primary victory.

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approved a measure to put a ballot question before voters that would stabilize the mill levy, in order to fund county road maintenance and other projects, while still encouraging citizens to form public improvement districts.

- The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District continued its expansion of the Hatcher Water Treatment Plant, in order to increase capacity and improve water quality. The district also started the planning process for more than doubling the size of Stevens Reservoir.

- The Archuleta County BOCC culminated a five-year process by adopting a county zoning map. The nine zoning districts include: agriculture forestry, agriculture ranching, agriculture estate, rural residential, residential, mobile home park, commercial, industrial and planned unit development.

- The Town of Pagosa Springs received presidential designation as a Preserve America Community. The designation allows Pagosa Springs access to dedicated grant funds and other economic incentives.

September 2006

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approved a new ground lease for owners and users of airport hangers at Stevens Field, replacing a version less favorable to hangar owners adopted in August of 2005.

- The Archuleta County BOCC sent a message to the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service Sept. 5 with their approval of a resolution stating opposition to coal bed methane drilling within 1.5 miles of the Fruitland Outcrop in the HD Mountains area.

- The Upper San Juan Health Service District and Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation symbolically broke ground for the construction of a new Critical Access Hospital on the west side of South Pagosa Boulevard, just south of U.S. 160.

- The Town of Pagosa Springs began construction of its Riverwalk Trails project, in the wetlands behind Town Hall.

- After a multi-month inquiry, USDA Inspector General Phyllis Fong stated in a letter to U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, who initiated the inquiry, that her office had found no evidence of improper conduct or political pressure regarding United States Forest Service decisions pertaining to the controversial Village at Wolf Creek development. The decision was based largely on the testimony of Forest Service Winter Sports Coordinator Ed Ryberg, who retracted statements he had made earlier, which questioned the environmental review process, which proceeded granting village developers key access points.

- After vocal concerns from citizens regarding Big Box development, along with negotiations and multiple drafts, the town council unanimously approved an ordinance to limit Big Box stores to 100,000 square feet and require all proposals over 40,000 square feet to require an economic impact statement.

- County commissioners signed a letter of commitment, designating money to be spent on county road maintenance, if Ballot Issue 1A were to pass in November. The letter promised at least $1 million would go toward the roads during the years 2007 and 2008.

October 2006

- County staff and the board of county commissioners met with architect James Lichty of Archetype Design Group to discuss five site options for a new courthouse, jail and sheriff's facilities - choosing two final candidates near the intersection of U.S. 160 and U.S. 84 for the construction of a campus-like county facility.

- District Court Water Judge Gregory G. Lyman issued a revised judgement and decree, clarifying his ruling involving litigation over the proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir. His former decision had not clearly defined water rights to be shared between the Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and the San Juan Water Conservancy District. The final decree provided the districts the water rights needed to construct and fill the reservoir.

- Colorado Gov. Bill Owens announced that Archuleta County was awarded a state aviation grant totaling $192,719 for improvements at Stevens Field to fund taxiway construction and other improvements.

- More than a 100 area residents turned out at the Pagosa Springs Community Center to hear U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar speak about local issues, and to field questions from the audience regarding the Village at Wolf Creek. Questioners were decidedly opposed to the Village and Salazar questioned the sufficiency of the environmental impact statement, while suggesting a smaller development would be more palatable to area communities.

- Construction of Pagosa Springs' Critical Access Hospital began in earnest, as financing of the project fell in line, with the sale of revenue bonds and a loan closing.

- Two area environmental groups, Colorado Wild and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, filed a lawsuit in federal court Oct. 19 challenging the United States Forest Service environmental impact statement and record of decision regarding the proposed Village at Wolf Creek.

The lawsuit alleged the EIS and record of decision are illegal and inadequate because the Forest Service failed to address the impacts of the Village as a whole, and Forest Service Supervisor Peter Clark unlawfully modified the record of decision "making it easier for the developer to begin construction."

November 2006

- In the general election, 50 percent of the electorate turned out to pass TABOR exemptions for Archuleta County, the San Juan Water Conservancy District and the Upper San Juan Health Service District.

Local ballot questions that failed included Ballot Question 3A, extending term limits for school board members, and Question 5A, asking voters to support the library with a mill levy increase.

In local government, Republican county commissioner candidate Bob Moomaw beat Democrat John Egan 2,541 to 2,055.

- After months of discussion, spurred by the intended sale of the Pinewood Inn, a reworked moratorium prohibiting demolitions of buildings 50 years old and older passed on first reading with a unanimous vote of the Pagosa Springs Town Council.

The new ordinance allows property owners to obtain exemptions from the demolition moratorium if they can prove their building is structurally unsound or demonstrate that maintaining or keeping the building "as is" is an economic hardship.

- Stevens Field sought bids from prospective contractors to build aircraft hangars on a 12-acre parcel near the new fixed base operator building, as part of expansion plans.

- Trout Unlimited filed an appeal with the Colorado Supreme Court, forestalling plans by Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District and San Juan Water Conservancy District to move toward development of Dry Gulch Reservoir, as per the decision of district court judge Gregory Lyman.

- Ballot issues 1B and 1C, which would have instituted a public improvement district near Wapiti Place in Pagosa Meadows, were voted down by the neighborhood of electors who petitioned for the ballot question. Road maintenance work was performed by the county, with the understanding that the PID would pass, said county officials, while neighborhood members said the maintenance was not predicated on approval of the PID. Residents of Wapiti Place cited the county's confused road maintenance policies (which proposed implementation of a mill levy stabilization, along with self-taxing PIDs) as reasons for the defeat of 1B and 1C.

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously to amend the county's divisive road maintenance policy to state: "Effective immediately and upon the passing of Ballot Issue 1A on Nov. 7, 2006, staff are directed to maintain secondary roads at least at a minimum level of one blading, and snow plowing as needed."

- U.S. District Court Judge John Kane granted a preliminary injunction against the United States Forest Service and Village at Wolf Creek developers, after two area environmental groups filed a suit to forestall construction this winter.

December 2006

- The Colorado Department of Education released its School Accountability Reports for the 2005-2006 school year - giving Archuleta County schools average marks, except for the junior high school, which graded "high" for its overall academic performance on state assessments.

- The Upper San Juan Health Service District Board of Directors chose Ronald A. Ommen of Jackson, Wyo., to be its new Chief Executive Officer, pending negotiations. Ommen has experience as a CEO, and holds advanced degrees in business, hospital and health care administration, and has worked in the medical field since 1972.

- After approval of Ballot Issue 5B, which freed the district from TABOR constraints, the San Juan Water Conservancy District began to apply for grants and permits to initiate development of the proposed Dry Gulch Reservoir.

- Pagosa Springs Town Council passed Ordinance 683, which regulates the demolition of buildings 50 years old or older, while establishing new exemptions for those seeking demolition, based on economic hardship or the structural integrity of the building.

- The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners approved a plan to allow all county residents to have access to a discount prescription drug buying program, called the Caremark Prescription Drug Card Program.

- The BOCC passed a $28.9 million county budget for 2007, with total government operations at $15.5 million. A large portion of the funds were dedicated to road maintenance and improvement.

- Archuleta County School District 50 Joint made the de facto decision to postpone a cooperative effort with community members to rework the meals program at the elementary school, due to a pending audit of the district meals program, while concerned parents and educators will continue to promote better health and nutrition through information campaigns in upcoming months.

 

Outdoors

Be special, attend the 'Hearts for Horses' benefit

By DiAnn Hitchcox

Special to The SUN

"There is something about riding down the street on a prancing horse that makes you feel like something, even when you ain't a thing." - Will Rogers

The magnificent horse makes us all feel like "something special."

Lasso (Large Animal Support Southwest Organization) understands the "special" feeling of the horse. The all-volunteer organization works hard rehabilitating, nurturing and training horses placed with the organization. The ultimate goal is finding permanent, loving homes for horses.

On Feb. 10, everyone is invited to this year's "Hearts for Horses" benefit.

The largest fund-raising event of the season promises to be most memorable. Local artists of the Four Corners area have graciously donated their work of spectacular fine art. Signed prints, sculptures and original works of art will highlight the event. Items generously donated will be auctioned both live and silently.

As in years past, there will be many miscellaneous donation items which will be used for the Chinese auction. Deena and Andy, of Chama, N.M., will keep things lively with their great music.

Those of you who attended last year will not forget Amy's (Wildflower Catering) fabulous dinner. She's agreed to repeat her talents and dazzle everyone again.

Great music, endless shopping, an evening of divine entertainment. This event is not just for "horse" people. This event will please everyone.

All proceeds benefit the care of the large animals. Funds are also used to create educational material and provide educational opportunities for our community.

LASSO is a recognized non-profit 501C-3 organization. Your gift is entirely tax deductible. Most important, your gift is used to continue the care of needy large animals. Mark your date night calendar and bring your Valentine. This will be the best spring date you'll have - Feb. 10, 6:30 p.m., Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, 230 Port Ave.

For tickets and information, call 264-0095, 264-2264, or 264-9355.

 

Apply now for conservation district grants

The San Juan Conservation District announces a new program, "Conservation Helping Hand."

Are you interested in implementing a conservation practice on your property, but need help with the cost? The district will be awarding grants to pay for 50 percent of your project, up to $3,500.

Conservation practices to promote the use of planned grazing systems, more efficient irrigation systems, improved riparian area conditions, and rangeland/woodland productivity and plant diversity that will benefit both livestock and wildlife will be considered.

Stop by the district office for an application. Staff will accept applications until March 30.

Applications will be reviewed by the elected board members and prioritized based on the targeted resource concern, environmental benefits and cost of implementation. Winners will be notified by April 9. All projects must be completed by Sept. 1, 2007.

Technical assistance will be provided by the NRCS and all approved projects must meet NRCS Standards and Specifications.

Stop by the office at 505A CR 600 (Piedra Road) to pick up an application or call 731-3615 for more information.

 

High Country Reflections

While strange, our Merriam's Turkeys are fascinating

By Chuck McGuire

SUN Columnist

At first glance, the appearance of a wild turkey is both peculiar and deceptive. Even as America's largest game fowl, and one that Benjamin Franklin preferred over the bald eagle as our national bird, it doesn't seem entirely fit for such esteem.

After all, with a blue featherless crown covered in caruncles, a red throat, spindly reddish-orange legs and a plump, heavily-feathered body that seems disproportionately large for its head and limbs, its features are not exactly stunning.

Throw in a nine-inch "beard" protruding from its breast, a floppy dewlap dangling from the bill, bright red wattles on the throat and neck, and spurs on the back of its legs, and a male turkey is arguably unattractive. And, his marked preference of foot travel over air, at once conveys the image of an ill-favored, ungainly and largely flightless bird.

But, as already mentioned, initial impressions are often misleading.

Aside from the obvious, wild turkeys bear between 5,000 and 6,000 feathers, reflecting various shades of black, red, blue, purple and bronze. Most males, commonly called "gobblers" or "toms," also show prominent white barring on their primary wing feathers, and white-tipped tail feathers become quite conspicuous when "fanned" during flight or courtship displays.

To attract a mate, toms engage in elaborate displays of strutting, color change, gobbling and drumming. The ritual typically takes place in March or April, when the males puff out feathers and fan their tails, all the while, strutting around and dragging their wings in the presence of prospective partners.

Interestingly, toms can change hues, depending on mood. Though they are generally more colorful than their female counterparts, during courtship, a tom's head and neck most often show brilliant casts of red, blue and white. If the head and neck are solid white, he is most excited.

To establish territory, or again, to impress the ladies, toms gobble and scrape the ground, thereby announcing their whereabouts. They also emit a low-pitched drumming sound that competing birds seldom miss, but among their various vocalizations, including clucks, putts, purrs, yelps, cutts, cackles and kee-kees, gobbling makes the loudest statement and, in fact, can be heard a mile away.

Contrary to popular belief, wild turkeys are excellent and agile fliers capable of achieving mid-air speeds of 50 miles per hour. Even with an average wingspan of five to six feet, they seldom fly further than a quarter-of-a-mile or so, but can flap and glide up to a mile. Relying on keen eyesight and acute hearing, they prefer walking while feeding, but can run between 15 and 18 miles an hour, when necessary.

When Europeans first encountered turkeys in the Americas, they mistakenly identified them with the African Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris), which were referred to as turkey-cocks, because they were imported to Central Europe through Turkey (the country). In reality, only two species of turkeys exist in the wild and are classified in the genus Meleagris. They are the North American Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) and the Ocellated Turkey (Meleagris ocellata) of Central and South America.

In North America, there are five subspecies of wild turkeys, including the Eastern, Osceola (or Florida), Rio Grande, Merriam's, and Gould's.

As one might expect, Eastern turkeys are found in the eastern half of the United States and Canada. Osceolas occupy the Florida peninsula, and Rio Grandes inhabit much of Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and parts of eastern Colorado. Merriam's range throughout the Rocky Mountains and neighboring prairies of Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. Gould's, on the other hand, are native to central and northern Mexico, and the southernmost regions of Arizona and New Mexico.

Recent estimates suggest 340,000 Merriam's turkeys roam the entire mountain west, and now occupy areas between 3,500 and 10,000 feet in elevation. Their original range once encompassed the ponderosa forests of Colorado, New Mexico and northern Arizona, but they have now been introduced to the pine forests of at least nine other states, from California to Nebraska and South Dakota.

Named in 1900 in honor of C. Hart Merriam, the first chief of the U.S. Biological Survey, Merriam's are prevalent in an estimated 19,000 square miles of Colorado forest lands, including the San Juan Mountains. Dwelling primarily in mixed ponderosa pine and Gambel oak forest, they also inhabit lower pinon/juniper forests and some aspen groves.

Merriam's don't migrate per se, but heavy snow will push them to lower elevations, sometimes as far as 40 miles away, until conditions moderate. As omnivorous creatures, they forage on the ground, or climb shrubs and small trees in search of acorns, pinon nuts, various seeds, berries, roots and insects. On occasion, they will also consume small snakes, frogs and salamanders. Feeding takes place early and late in the day, and nights are spent roosting in the upper reaches of ponderosa pines, well out of the reach of predators.

Like all turkeys, Merriam's are gregarious. Over the colder months, hens and poults (young) flock together as high in elevation as winter weather allows. Toms will feed in similar habitat, but are not typically seen with the hens, except during the March and April breeding season. That's when strutting, drumming and gobbling begin in earnest.

Tom turkeys are polygamous. During courtship, they form harems with about five hens, and defend territories from competing gobblers. Remarkably, they will often court in pairs, with both birds inflating waddles, fanning tails, dragging wings and strutting.

On average, dominant males that court as part of a pair typically father significantly more eggs than those courting alone. According to genetic analysis, close relatives sharing a high degree of identical genetic material carry out the partnership, which, scientists believe, allows less dominant males to pass along their genetic heritage.

As mating concludes, hens move to higher elevations and dense habitat to dig shallow dirt depressions amid thick vegetation. There, they will lay a clutch of 10 to 12 eggs, usually one a day, and incubate them for at least 28 days. Upon hatching, the chicks are quickly capable of independent activity and will leave the nest in just 12 to 24 hours.

It goes without saying, roast turkey is a favorite Thanksgiving dish in the United States and Canada. Of course, meals are most often prepared with farm-raised turkeys, but few realize the Aztec Indians domesticated the southern Mexican subspecies, Meleagris gallopavo mexicana, eventually giving rise to the popular holiday. In fact, the first pilgrims to colonize North America brought farm-raised birds with them, not knowing they inhabited the New World.

Though somewhat bizarre in appearance and behavior, wild turkeys are at once a joy to behold. The forests of Archuleta County provide prime turkey habitat, where enough time spent in the woods will invariably lead to encounters. While appearing awkward, they are actually quite cunning, and their antics seldom fail to amuse even the casual observer.

I know I've been watching them from my living room windows lately.

 

Letters

Transparent

Dear Editor:

As W approaches the moment when he's about to announce his latest new plan for the war in Iraq, I wondered whether it's time to quit attacking and support the "surge" for what's "good" in the long term for America. After days of political BS from all sides and leaks galore, I began to lean toward supporting this plan.

Then I was reminded that Gen. Shinseki was fired for taking this position years ago while Bremer was given the Presidential Medal for gutting their govt and army. Next, I learned that Iraq's massive oil reserves, the third-largest in the world, are about to be thrown open for large-scale exploitation by Western oil companies. Which is expected to be combined in law with completion of the long-delayed national oil law giving their central government the power to distribute current and future oil revenues to the provinces or regions, based on their population.

Sunday's "surprise" was the new American operational commander in Iraq said that under W's new strategy it may take another "two or three years" to gain the upper hand in the war. Security is necessary for well being; but whose security? Iraqi's or oil companies? And yes, in the shallowest of perspectives, $50 dollar barrel oil is economically better than $100 for all the world except for our service men, their families, environment and maybe those left in Iraq.

W embraced but surely never read Adam Smith, as he could never set people free to pursue their own self-interest without class, political, economic or religious impositions. More likely, he will follow the "greater-good" in directing Americans to die for his legacy as he rejects our Iraq Study Group's recommendations. Recall his promise to pay for this war with their oil!

How does one blindly support W or attempt to rationalize the greater good, when The Decider is so transparent? Yes, congressional challenges are possible; but don't expect many Democrats to throw themselves on swords.

Conclusions: you can't ever be politically blind and that most Republican holdovers in the White House and prior Congress, many restating their choice of this war based on their naive ideology, now just don't have the personal incentive, will, talent or wisdom to put together a military and diplomatic solution out of Iraq.

Dave Blake

 

Lasting value

Dear Editor:

Great story on Bob and Betty Lindner's latest contribution of lasting value to southwest Colorado! What a blessing Bob and Betty have been around here. Their graciousness and generosity has greatly enriched us all. Our Ruby Sisson Library probably never would have come to be without their early generous gift. They have made significant contributions to our soon-to-be new hospital as well youth ministries here locally. They have been incredible stewards of their lands and hired quality conscientious local managers to care for this legacy in their absence. I count it a real privilege to have known them.

Jerry Driesens

 

Fee increase

Dear Editor:

Reference Pagosa SUN article: slight water/wastewater increase. This increase reflects reference due to the Chris Mountain Village development.

I ask, what happens if and when Chris Mountain Village II, III, or whatever development title occurs? What slight increase will take place?

Solution, versus folks paying again for growth?

Impact fees and connection fees can carry the slight increase.

Folks, I hope you ask these same questions. Write to PAWSD board, Pagosa Water, PO Drawer 4610, Pagosa Springs, CO 81157.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

 

Dog control

Dear Editor:

I live in Archuleta County on Butte Road. A neighbor owns a dog with wolf breeding. For many months, the wolf hybrid dog has from time to time, broken free and run through the neighborhood. Once loose, it is difficult for the owners to catch it, so it can be loose for hours at a time.

Some months ago, a deputy from the sheriff's department, along with the animal control officer, attempted for a lengthy time to catch the dog, but to no avail.

During the month of December, the dog was loose on three different occasions that my husband and I know of. It delights in stalking cats. It is known to have killed one cat, injured another, and badly terrorized several others.

On Dec. 19, during a snow storm, the dog was running free and chased a cat that lives outside and is deaf. We were barely able to get the cat inside our home before the dog reached it. I called the sheriff's department, only to learn that the animal control officer was ill.

Two days later, the dog began howling during the nights. Again that was reported.

On Dec. 23, at 5:15 in the evening, we were unloading our car when our own cat stepped out onto our porch just as the wolf dog appeared from nowhere and attempted to grab her. I called again for assistance and was again told that there was no one who could help me, that I could go to the sheriff's office and file a report on Dec. 26. The dog continued to block the door and stalk the windows, even as we attempted to chase it away.

On Dec. 26, when going to the sheriff's department, I was told that there was no one available to take a report.

On the evening of Dec. 26, the dog came again, chasing after the deaf cat. Fortunately, a deputy from the sheriff's department came out, but was unable to catch the dog. It continued to stalk our home for most of that night.

On Dec. 27, I was finally able to give a report to the animal control officer. I thank those of the sheriff's department who did assist me. Our Christmas holiday had become a nightmare, while we attempted to protect the cats from all of the terror of the dog.

I question why any animal that cannot be controlled is allowed to be kept within either the city or county. Is it right for an animal whose innate breeding requires that it run many miles a day be confined to a small area?

When any dog is known to kill or injure, it stands to reason that it can injure or kill not only cats, but dogs and even small children, as well. Yet there are evidently no laws that provide the protection that is needed for animals or humans.

Marilyn Ralph

 

Fiddling

Dear Editor:

I saw Al Gore's report on global warming titled, "An Inconvenient Truth," available on DVD at the local movie rental stores.

Then I listened to the news real hard.

We're literally, as a nation, fiddling while Rome burns.

Everybody, watch the DVD. Know it. Tell others.

My dream: that all you young folks dressed up like hippies would look back to the sixties to see what organized protest can do and then do it. It's your turn and it's your future life on Earth.

Bonnie Runyan

 

Troglodyte

Dear Editor:

Hallelujah! It was exhilarating to read in last week's SUN letters that the storied "Arboles Troglodyte," Bob Dungan, has not bought the farm. Of course, any deeply rooted hominid is aware that having to devour food and drink in frosty, damp surroundings keeps the liver from becoming inflamed and engenders a longer life - some say.

However, our maker must have rolled aside the great stone over Dungan's cavern entrance. Now he can plan to extricate those bikini-clad San Francisco Palooza Pelosi Democrat's motor homes from the deep carp muck down on Navajo Lake come springtime.

The "Troglodyte" takes the initiative to assist those greenhorn ladies whenever in need; a helpful and concerned Archuleta County citizen, a real Chamber of Commerce man. Thanks, Bob: You've been blessed.

Jim Sawicki

 

   Community News

North Carolina band in Sunday Pagosa house concert

A North Carolina bluegrass band, Town Mountain, travels to Pagosa Springs for a house concert at the Davis Ranch, 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14.

These five young musicians have already made a name for themselves, winning the prestigious Rockygrass band competition in Lyons, Colo., in the summer of 2005.

Their self-titled CD, "Town Mountain," is all-original tunes, bluegrass with roots country and alternative country influences such as George Jones and Son Volt.

The first house concert filled up quickly, so call 731-1202 to reserve your seat and for directions. Bring a dish to share.

 

ECA presents Woodwork Percussion Ensemble

By Paul Roberts

Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts proudly presents the Woodwork Percussion Ensemble, 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Woodwork is the brainchild of Dr. John Pennington, renowned percussionist and music professor at Fort Lewis College. Performing with Pennington are Philip Peters, Michael Pratt, Sean Statser, Chance Harrison and Grayson Andrews - students at the college who are preparing for careers as concert performers.

Performances by Woodwork are an auditory and visual treat. The ensemble's instrumentation includes marimbas, xylophones, glockenspiel, vibraphone, croatales and cajon.

As a special addition to this concert, Pennington will perform solo hand drum compositions on his extraordinary collection of ethnic percussion from various cultures: Egyptian riqq, Moroccan bendir, Middle Eastern tar, Irish bodhran and African mbira.

In Woodwork, percussion has a heyday, exploring its unique possibilities for creating melody, harmony and rhythm. The Jan 27 concert in Pagosa will feature lush arrangements of classical music, American ragtime and traditional music from around the world. Here are some of the highlights: selected works of J.S. Bach; "Galloping Comedians," by Dmitri Kabalevsky; "Prelude No. 2," by George Gershwin; traditional folkloric tunes from Mexico, Guatemala, Russia and Zimbabwe; American ragtime from the 1920s and '30s.

Pennington is a man with a musical mission and Woodwork reflects his belief that serious music students should have plenty of experience being part of high-level professional performing and recording ensembles. "It's essential to get students out of the practice room and out of the rehearsal hall, to become the musicians that they're destined to be," he said. "There's practicing and there's performing. This ensemble performs extensively to all types of audiences and we're very excited to play for your audience in Pagosa."

A bolt of inspiration struck Pennington when he began playing the drums at age 10. "I got into music through the drum set. Rock and roll and jazz was what fired me up and how I became connected with music. Later, through school music programs, I became interested in orchestral instruments and this expanded my thoughts about percussion." Pennington's creative intensity continues unabated as he contributes to the world of music as performer, recording artist, educator, conductor, composer and author.

Pennington's life work demonstrates that percussion is not just the icing on the cake for music, but can be the main course.

"I think of myself as a global musician, as someone who has embraced a myriad of styles. At my core, I still feel I'm rooted in the classical and orchestral tradition but I certainly have a very strong jazz element and a very strong global music element as well."

Pennington began teaching at Fort Lewis in 1992 after receiving his doctorate. Besides teaching at the college, he performs all over the world. He's got a tall musical order to fill, but he does it incredibly well (he's a tall guy, too, standing at 6' 7").

The Woodwork Percussion Ensemble is the fulfillment of Pennington's dream to perform and record with his most advanced students. "Percussion tends to be in the back of the orchestra or band," he said. "The Woodwork Ensemble shows the soloistic and expressive possibilities of these instruments."

Advance discount tickets, for $12, are available through elationarts.org and at WolfTracks Coffee House. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults. Children with parents attend for free.

Desserts and coffee will be provided at intermission. Please bring a dessert to share if you wish.

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

For more information, log on to elationarts.org or call 731-3117.

 

Pagosa Health and Wellness Network organizes

By Constance d'Angelis

Special to The PREVIEW

Pagosa Health and Wellness Network has organized as a Colorado Non-profit Corporation.

At an organizational meeting held Dec. 29-30, the board of directors elected the following officers: Sonya Flores Lugo, president; Constance d'Angelis, secretary; Athena Raphael, treasurer; Karen Kauffman, vice president; Mary Jane Knight, vice president; Arthur Sattva, assistant secretary; Terri E. Miller, assistant treasurer.

The Network's first project is publication of the Pagosa Health & Wellness Directory. Five thousand copies of the premier directory will be distributed throughout the greater Pagosa area.

Due to exceptional interest, the time period for submission has been extended until Jan 17. Any individual, community organization, or business interested in sponsorship or listing in the Pagosa Health & Wellness Directory, Premier Edition, should contact Arthur Sattva at 264-3354 for application and information.

 

Fellowship of Christian Cowboys chapter being organized

By Bart Burnett

Special to The PREVIEW

Come join the Pagosa Cowboy Church Thursday evening, Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in the new building at the rodeo grounds on U.S. 84, as we organize an FCC chapter for Archuleta County.

Fellowship of Christian Cowboys is a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive influence on young people through combining the teaching of rodeo skills and the word of God. We welcome youth from all walks of life, not just country kids. Through FCC, we're planning to have our first annual Youth Rodeo Camp here in Pagosa next summer, but we need interested adults to help lay the foundation of this chapter in order to begin.

Anyone who feels they would be interested in such a worthy cause should contact Bart Burnett at 731-4384 or 759-5733, or just come to the meeting for more information.

 

Paul Pennington to judge annual photo show

It is January and the photo contest committee is once again looking forward to all the exciting photo entries this year.

The annual photography show is an opportunity for everyone to display the images they caught on film during the past year.

Are your entries matted or framed and ready to hang? Don't get caught unprepared.

Entry guidelines are available at Moonlight Books. The deadline for entries to be delivered to Moonlight Books is 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 31.

Remember to check the guidelines thoroughly to avoid any problems when entering your photos. Attach entry forms to the back of each photo and remember to choose the entry category carefully.

Will that great shot of the deer in your meadow take a ribbon this year? Did you record one of our glorious sunrises? What about that photo of last winter's snow - do you think everyone would like to be reminded what winter looks like?

The photo contest exhibit will be on display at Moonlight Books Feb. 3-24. As always, there will be plenty of time to study the entries and choose a favorite for the People's Choice Award.

Pennington to judge

This year's judge is Paul Marshall Pennington, of Durango.

Pennington was educated at Fort Lewis College, receiving a bachelor of fine arts degree in 1992, with an emphasis in fine art photography and a minor in art education. He also attended Colorado Mountain College, Glenwood Springs, studying photography, 1982-86.

Grants and awards

Durango Arts Center, Visions from the Edge, 2004.

Durango Arts Center, Photographers shoot the West, 2002.

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, apprenticeship program in photography, 1997.

San Juan National Forest, Mancos, Artists in Residence Program, Aspen Guard Station, 1995.

Anderson Ranch, Pinhole Photography Workshop Scholarship.

Colorado Council on the Arts, Governor's Award finalist, 1990.

Exhibition highlights

Photo-eye Gallery Bistro Web site, Santa Fe, N.M., 2003.

Fort Lewis College Fine Arts Gallery, 2004.

Durango Arts Center, Durango, Co. "Visions from The Edge", 2004.

Ellis Crane Gallery, Durango, 2002.

Nason & Williams, Taos, N.M., 2001.

Plan B Juried Group Show, Santa Fe, 2000.

Soho Gallery of Photography, New York, 1996.

Columbia College Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, "Art of Paper." 1996.

Craig Museum of Art, Craig, 1995.

Nora Ecceles Harrison Museum of Art, Logan, Utah, 1995.

Loveland Museum of Art, 1994.

Denver Historical Museum, Denver, 1994.

International Miniatures Exhibition, Toronto, 1991.

Major publications

The Sun Magazine, Mountain Gazette, Bike Magazine, High Country News, Natural History Magazine, Denver Post, Durango Herald, Durango Magazine, Glenwood Springs Post, Grand Junction Journal, San Juan Almanac.

Work experience

Animas Hiking & Photography Tours, 2004-present.

Fort Lewis College, Durango, photography professor, 1998-present.

Pueblo Community College, photography instructor, 1997-98.

Community of Learners, Durango, drawing, painting, sculpture teacher, natural history, 1997-1998.

Penumbra Photography, Durango, photography lab, commercial and fine art shooting, 1993-present.

San Juan College, Farmington, N.M., photography instructor, 1994-1997.

 

Local Yoga Day USA fund-raiser Jan. 27

Yoga makes people feel better, stronger and healthier. Just ask the over 17 million Americans who practice regularly.

Yoga Day USA, on Saturday, Jan. 27, offers those who haven't tried it the opportunity to experience firsthand how yoga can enrich their lives. Free or low cost workshops will be offered nationwide as part of the eighth annual celebration.

Yoga Pagosa is joining yoga teachers, studios and schools across the country in offering free classes for those new to yoga and those who practice regularly but would like to try a different style. Yoga Pagosa is located in the uptown City Market center (behind Movie Gallery).

The event is also a fund-raiser for the Pagosa Springs High School athletics department, so aspiring yogis can experience Karma yoga, the act of selfless giving.

Yoga Pagosa invites everyone to attend any one or all yoga classes held on Jan. 27 and in exchange for taking a class, to donate to fitness and team building for Pagosa's youth. The workshop is open to all ages and fitness levels.

"People begin to practice yoga for many reasons," said Yoga Alliance President and CEO Stephen Russell. "It might be stress or pain relief, improved fitness or weight management. Regardless of why they began, most say yoga has provided them with a heightened sense of well-being that has made it essential in their lives."

Medical research is now confirming what those who practice yoga have been reporting for decades. Studies have demonstrated that practicing yoga postures (asanas), meditation or a combination of both reduced pain for those with cancer, multiple sclerosis, auto immune diseases and chronic conditions such as hypertension, arthritis, asthma and carpal tunnel syndrome, among others.

"We see more evidence every day that yoga is a valuable tool for people of all ages to improve their quality of life," Russell said. "It is included in many health and wellness programs and the continuing growth of mind body awareness in our culture is positioning yoga as an important complement to today's healthcare."

Athletes to weekend warriors to professionals, including golfers, cyclists and football and basketball players have discovered yoga, finding that it complements their regular workout regimen and helps them to better focus during competition.

Yoga challenges the body and calms the mind while providing a sense of relaxation and rejuvenation. There is a style of yoga to suit everyone regardless of age, body type or fitness level. Yoga Day USA offers a great introduction to the benefits of Yoga for Life.

Yoga Day USA is sponsored by Yoga Alliance. A non-profit professional organization, Yoga Alliance as the leader is setting educational standards for yoga teachers and schools. Sponsors for Yoga Day USA also include Yoga Journal, Hugger Mugger, Gaiam, Inc., Wellness Business Systems, Yoga Plus Joyful Living and Body and Soul.

For more information about the Yoga Day USA workshop at Yoga Pagosa, call 731-0089, or visit the Web site at Yogapagosa.com.

For a complete list of classes nationwide or to learn more, visit www.yogadayusa.org.

 

January at Congregation Har Shalom

Following is the schedule of Congregation Har Shalom activities for January, in Durango.

- Friday, Jan. 12, 6 p.m. - Shabbat potluck at Pat and Mary Dworkin's home, 16 Long Hollow Lane. Call 259-9434 for more information.

- Tuesday, Jan. 16, 6:30 p.m. - Reading Circle Folk tales and Legends Night at Har Shalom.

- Thursday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m. - The Conscious Community Group at Har Shalom. For more information, contact Harold Shure at 3385-6793.

- Friday, Jan. 19, 7 p.m. - Torah study led by Harold Shure at Har Shalom. Call Harold at 385-6793 for details.

- Sunday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. - Shalom Yeladim Religious School at Har Shalom. Contact Marla at 247-2992.

- Sunday, Jan. 21, 10:30 a.m. - Adult Hebrew class at har Shalom. Contact Harris Richard at (505) 326-2936 or hrichard@obii.netfor more information.

- Thursday, Jan. 25, 7 p.m. - Jewish Meditation and Conscious Community Group (CCG) at Har Shalom. For information about the meditation group, contact Judith Vanderryn at 247-3292 and for the CCG, contact Harold at 385-6793.

- Friday, Jan. 26, 6 p.m. - Shabbat on Weekend with SABABA begins with a potluck and very special musical Shabbat service with Robbi Sherwin and Scott Leder at Har Shalom.

- Saturday, Jan. 27, 7 p.m. - SABABA Concert. You don't want to miss, with opening songs by St. Mark's Choir.

- Sunday, Jan. 28, 10 a.m. - Energetic Songfest for Kids. Enjoy great music and singing with Steve Brodsky, Robbi Sherwin and Scott Leder. Bagel lunch and schmooze to follow.

 

'Meditation: Patience and Peace' at UU service

The Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship will hold a meditation service Sunday, Jan. 14, entitled "Meditation: Patience and Peace." It will be led by noted author and educator John Hornecker.

He states, "The first of the year often brings with it a sense of hope, an idea or a wish that things might change, that we may be transformed somehow with the newness of it all. Yet transformation and change, in most cases, take time. One quality that we can cultivate in the meantime is patience, even in the midst of world turmoil or personal transition. Consider: how might an attitude of patience be a display of peace in our lives? Can a willingness to be patient support the growth of compassion and peace in our world?"

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit B-15, Greenbriar Plaza. Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa Boulevard by the fire station, then left into the parking lot and look for the big sign.

All are invited for this contemplation with readings, chanting, silent meditation and group discussion.

 

Christian Women's Retreat in February

The 10th annual Christian Women's Retreat will be held Feb. 2-4 at Sonlight Christian Camp, north of Pagosa Springs.

This year's featured speaker is Christine Jahani, with Humility Ministries.

Cost is $105, which includes a date with God, two nights' lodging, unlimited hot tubbing, and five delicious meals.

For additional information, contact Teresa Mael at 264-4786, or Christina Velarde at 731-4136.

 

Chuck Bob at the Movies

The four worst films of 2006

By Charles Streetman

PREVIEW Columnist

In my last column, I took a look back at some of my favorite movies of 2006.

This week, I'm listing the four absolute worst films I have seen all year.

A lot of other critics have already exposed and ridiculed the more popular and obvious stinkers from last year, but there are always some that slip through and somehow find their way into my DVD player.

This week, I'm doing fellow movie buffs a favor and warning them about these four cinematic bombs, so they don't waste their time and money like I did.

No. 4. "The Black Dahlia."

Director Brian De Palma ("Chinatown") tackles the infamous, unsolved murder of Elizabeth Short, and in doing so successfully digresses from the historical facts as much as possible and provides the viewer with a fictitious solution to the murder.

Although many facts in the case are well documented, the film was rife with innacuracies, lacked depth and offered little insight into the crime or its victim. Ironically, although touted as a murder mystery, the movie hardly touched on the murder itself. Instead, it focused largely on the fictional lives of the people involved in the investigation. It doesn't sound like it's that bad, but throw in De Palma's touch of cinematic "weirdness" and you have a disturbed, disjointed and very annoying clunky thriller.

No. 3. "An American Haunting."

Yet another thriller based on true accounts, and another that fails to provide any legitimate depth to the actual incident.

"An American Haunting" is another dopey horror film attempting to cash in on the "based on a true story" tagline which apparently is supposed to make it scarier than it really is. Maybe it would have been scarier if director Courtney Solomon ("Dungeons and Dragons") had a better script - one that actually relied on a decent plot, rather than campy, over-the-top effects and dull, predictable PG-13-rated jumper scenes for a scare factor involving an expected twist ending that is not only illogical, but asinine.

It doesn't help either that the film's leading actress, Rachel Hurd-Wood ("Peter Pan"), gives one of the most laughably bad performances of the year. Her role simply required her to look bug-eyed, straight at the camera and scream while the "ghost" smacked, dragged and threw her around the house. I will be surprised if she doesn't receive a Razzy nomination this year.

No. 2. "Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children."

Those who know me well know I am a die-hard fan of the Final Fantasy video game franchise, before I am a fan of anything else. "Advent Children" is a sequel feature film to the best-selling seventh installment of the series. It never made it into American theaters, and was released straight to DVD.

Despite a little over two years in production, and presentation of some of the most astoundingly realistic computer animation ever seen, "Advent Children" ultimately fails when it discards the two elements that made Final Fantasy what is today: deep and involving characters, and a complex and compelling story. "Advent Children" had neither of these elements. In fact, it lacked a plot altogether. The movie progressed disjointedly for over 90 minutes with a blur of stunning animation mixed with preposterous, over-the-top action sequences and incoherent events that didn't make a lick of sense even if you had actually played the video game.

"Advent Children" also sported one of the worst English dubbing jobs I've heard since I endured the anime series "Excel Saga." None of the actors' voiceovers matched with their characters, the dialogue was poorly translated, and the lip syncing was almost as bad as the old Godzilla movies.

"Advent Children" was one of the biggest disappointments of the year.

No.1. "Hostel"

I cannot express my utter disgust for this film strongly enough, nor abundantly enough. "Hostel" is the poster child for everything that's wrong with American horror films today.

Eli Roth's thriller had potential, but wasted it on excessive gore and unnecessary soft-core porn, rather than focusing on a coherent and provocative plot that could have produced genuine psychological terror. Roth needs to learn that gore is not scary when it is shown constantly and in graphic detail for extensive periods of time. Instead, it is overkill and distracts from any real fear the scene can generate, since it causes the viewer to become desensitized and bored.

The concept of the film itself is frightening; Wealthy individuals travel to an obscure European town where they pay top dollar to live out their sickest and most violent fantasies by torturing, mutilating and eventually killing kidnapped tourists. There was promise for this film, and maybe that's why I am so enraged and offended by the schlock it ultimately became.

"Hostel" is indeed the worst film I have seen all year, and I have no hope, nor interest in seeing if Roth improves upon his film in its upcoming sequel, due out in theaters early this year. In fact when I heard there would be a sequel the only question that occurred in my mind was a resounding, "Why?"

 

Community Center News

How do you build a community?

By Mercy Korsgren

PREVIEW Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Community Center has a poster titled "How To Build Community" which is fitting for the facility, and I would like to share what it says.

Take a moment for the message to sink in and ask yourself if you live in a "community".

"Turn off your TV, leave your house, know your neighbors, look up when you are walking, greet people, sit on your stoop, plant flowers, use your library, play together, buy from local merchants, share what you have, help a lost dog, take children to the park, garden together, support neighborhood schools, fix it even if you didn't break it, have potlucks, honor elders, pick up litter, read stories aloud, dance in the street, talk to the mail carrier, listen to the birds, put up a swing, help carry something heavy, barter for your goods, start a tradition, ask a question, hire young people for odd jobs, organize a block party, bake extra and share, ask for help when you need it, open your shades, sing together, share your skills, take back the night, turn up the music, turn down the music, listen before you react to anger, mediate a conflict, seek to understand, learn from new and uncomfortable angles, know that no one is silent, though many are not heard, work to change this."

What do you think?

It is obvious that we have a beautiful, healthy, generous, loving and caring community. We should all be proud and thankful we live in this community of Pagosa Springs.

Volunteers' dinner

On Saturday, Jan. 27, from 6-9 p.m., the community center is hosting a Volunteers' Appreciation Dinner and Dance for all the volunteers who have helped the past year.

This is our way of saying, "Thank you for all the help and support. We would not have survived the year without your volunteer time and talents".

Check your mailbox for the invitations, they should be to you by the end of this week. Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Pre-Valentine's Day Dance

Yes, this is our next fund-raising event, to be held from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10.

By popular demand, we are happy to have Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge Band provide music. As usual, we will have yummy, sumptuous hors d'oeuvres (more than just snacks) and a cash bar will be available. Watch for details next week.

Baton twirling class

Karla Dominguez is back with this fun, challenging activity.

Elementary school-age children are invited to join this class at the center, 3:30-4:30 p.m every Monday after school. The first lesson is free and continuing lessons are $3 per session. What a bargain!

Also, a discounted monthly rate is available. Bring your own balanced baton or purchase new ones for $18. Karla will have them available at the class. Join and get ready to perform during the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Line dancing

This toilsome activity is reaping it rewards. At least 40 fun people joined together on the bigger floor during the recent dance at the center and they line danced a couple of times. What a fun time for everyone, including those watching! Thanks to our volunteer instructors.

Couples line dancing resumes Monday, Jan. 15. The center will be closed, but the group will still meet this day. The group welcomes all beginners and the more experienced as well. Gerry will break you into basic steps, while Peggy and Beverly have new and exciting dances for all abilities. If you are a beginning couple and would like a private preview to see if this is for you, call Gerry at 731-9734.

This is a community center-sponsored program, so there is no charge other than a big smile. Gerry hopes to see you in 2007. Schedules are: couples at 9 a.m., beginners at 10 and intermediates at 10:15 a.m.

Yoga

"While yoga evolved as a spiritual practice, in the West it has grown popular as a form of purely physical exercise. Some western practice has little or nothing to do with Hinduism or spirituality, but is simply a way of keeping healthy and fit," (Yoga Journal). Come, join this group and let the energy flow with proper stretching, breathing and concentration.

Diana Baird and Addie Greer lead this active group, which meets every Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Everyone is welcome.

Weight Watchers

The group meets at the center 4:45 to 6:45 p.m. every Wednesday. After the holidays, we need to get back on track with good, healthy eating as well as lots of exercise. Come join this group.

Computer class

We are pleased to announce that the community center is now offering wireless Internet connectivity. A recently-acquired piece of hardware provides us with this capability.

Your computer will need to be able to access the wireless network. And, in addition, you will need to register at the reception desk. Registration takes only a few minutes, requires a one-time-only fee of $2, and allows you access to the center's Internet connection. Stop by to get the instruction sheet, which will walk you through the login process. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

The January Beginning Computing classes will start next week, Tuesday, Jan 16, and Wednesday, Jan 17. Becky will call all class participants to be sure those who have signed up are actually planning to attend. If you haven't received a call, don't hesitate to contact the center to find your place on the waiting list and when you can expect a place in one of the classes.

eBay class

Ben Bailey, our volunteer for this free program, teaches the class on how to sell and buy goods through eBay. Learning this skill is fun and you may even make money that you didn't expect. And, if you do make money, remember the center - we'll appreciate any donation.

The group meets twice a month, every first and third Wednesday from 5:30-7:30 p.m. January 17 is the date for the next class.

Open gym

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning from 8 to 9 a.m. the Hoopsters meet for an hour of "exercise basketball." Call Larry Page, 264-1096, or just come to the gym. This is another free program offered by the center. It's a fun way to exercise and meet new friends. Larry invites everyone to join; this is open to all, including those who go to work. Remember, the center has shower and locker facilities that anybody can use - so, there should be no excuses.

Another open gym takes place noon-1:15 p.m. Fridays. Dan Aupperle is the contact person for this activity. Call Dan at the downtown Citizens Bank if you're interested in participating.

Scrapbooking

It is time to organize those holiday photos and cards. Come join the Scrapbook Club sponsored by the center. Melissa Bailey is our volunteer in charge of this free program. The January meeting is this Saturday, Jan. 13, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The club will meet in the North Conference Room, which is close to the northwest side entrance of the center. If there is a specific tool you need to complete your project, give Melissa a call so she can see if she can find it for you. Her home number is 731-1574. Please remember there is no cost to come and work on whatever project you have.

Center's hours

The community center's winter hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10-4. Call 264-4152.

Activities this week

Today - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jan. 12 - Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, 12 noon-1:15 p.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; 4H Cloverbuds, 1:30-3:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Wolf Creek Backcountry Avalanche Training, 6-9 p.m.;

Jan. 13 - Wolf Creek Backcountry Avalanche Training, 8 a.m.-noon; drawing class with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; scrapbooking class, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.;

Jan. 14 - Grace Evangelical Free Church and Church of Christ services, 10 a.m.-noon; High Roads Baptist Church service, 6-8 p.m.; Fairfield Activities meeting, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.;

Jan. 15 &emdash;Center is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jan. 16 - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; watercolor class, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; yoga, 10-11:30 a.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.;

Jan. 17 - Watercolor class, 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; seniors' Aikido class, 1-2 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 4:45-6:45 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Knights of Columbus meeting, 6:30-8:30 p.m.;

Jan. 18 - Hoopsters basketball for exercise, 8-9 a.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Arts Council open house, 4-7 p.m.; Chimney Rock meeting, 6-8 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

 

Senior News

Cohabiting seniors should protect their rights

By Jeni Wiskofske

SUN Columnist

More and more senior citizens are living together without getting married. According to U.S. census data, the number of cohabiting seniors nearly doubled between 1989 and 2000.

For some seniors, marriage isn't financially worth it because they don't want to lose their former spouses' military, pension, or Social Security benefits. Others don't want to have to pay their partners' medical expenses or get entangled with the objections of children worried about their inheritance.

But there are risks to cohabiting without marriage, as well. For instance, you have no rights concerning your partner's health care decisions. In addition, you may be considered married at common law by a court after you die — possibly causing a dispute between your partner and your children.

If you and your partner plan to live together without getting married, you can take a number of steps to ensure that you are protected and your wishes are followed.

Sign a cohabitation agreement. This type of agreement can state your intentions not to be considered legally married at common law, or to make nay legal claims against each other or be responsible for each other's debts. It can also specify the division of household expenses and what will happen to your house in the event of death or breakup.

Provide access to health care decisions making. If you are not married, you have no right to participate in your partner's health care decisions, or even in some circumstances to visit your partner at the hospital. To avoid this, you need several documents. You can sign a medical release under a federal law to allow each other access to medical information. In addition, you should have a health care proxy or a durable power of attorney for health care designating your partner as your agent to make health care decisions. Sign a durable power of attorney. A power of attorney allows your partner to make financial decisions foe you if you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney, a court will have to appoint a conservator or guardian to make those decisions and the judge might not choose the person you would prefer.

Update your will. Your will should be clear about what happens to your possessions when you die, including your house and its contents. It is particularly important to specify what will happen to your house if you don't own it jointly with your partner.

Think about the tax consequences of gifts. Married couples can leave each other as much as they want without paying estate taxes, but unmarried couples cannot. If you want to leave money to your partner, you can speak with us to find ways to limit estate taxes.

Look into registering as domestic partners. Some cities and states have domestic partnership laws, which may allow unmarried couples to take advantage of their partners' health insurance or to participate in health care decisions.

Thyroid fact sheet

The thyroid gland is the small, butterfly-shaped gland found just below the Adam's apple. The thyroid gland produces hormones that influence essentially every organ, tissue and cell in the body. In short, if the thyroid doesn't work properly, neither do you. If left untreated, thyroid disease can cause elevated cholesterol levels and subsequent heart disease, infertility, muscle weakness, osteoporosis and, in extreme cases, coma or death.

Twenty-seven million Americans have overactive or underactive thyroid glands but more than half remain undiagnosed. More than eight out of 10 patients with thyroid disease are women. Women are five to eight times more likely than men to suffer from hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Fifteen to 20 percent of people with diabetes and their siblings or parents are likely to develop thyroid disease (compared to 4 percent of the general population).

Nearly one out of 50 women in the U.S. is diagnosed with hypothyroidism during pregnancy. Six out of every 100 miscarriages are associated with thyroid hormone deficiencies during pregnancy. Five to 18 percent of women are diagnosed with postpartum thyroiditis. Approximately 25 percent of women will develop permanent hypothyroidism. Incidence of hypothyroidism increases with age. By age 60, as many as 17 percent of women and 9 percent of men have an under active thyroid.

Some common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are as follows: heat intolerance; sweating; weight loss; alterations in appetite; frequent bowel movements; changes in vision; fatigue and muscle weakness; impaired fertility; mental disturbances; sleep disturbances; tremors; thyroid enlargement; forgetfulness; depression; dry, course hair or skin; mood swings; weight gain; hoarse voice; and constipation.

Check with your physician if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or would like more information on hyperthyroidism.

Lifelong Learning - Sudoku

Sharpen your brain with Sudoku - a fun way to activate your mind. Sudoku puzzles are now available everywhere - books, the Internet, in The PREVIEW. The Sudoku class in December was so much fun that everyone wanted another session. On Friday, Jan. 12, a Sudoku class will be held at The Den at 1 p.m. in the lounge. The basic instructions will be taught, then puzzles will be done in a group. Various sources of puzzles and how to select the ones you want will be discussed.

Instructor Katy Deshler has been doing Sudoku puzzles for about a year. She has found that the instructions are simple, but actually completing the puzzles can be challenging. Assistance from people who do them regularly has helped her improve her ability and enjoyment of the puzzles. And she wants to assist others to get started learning Sudoku so they can also enjoy this brain-stimulating form of recreation.

Closed for the holiday

The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center will be closed Monday, Jan. 15, for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We will look forward to seeing you all for lunch on Tuesday.

Sky Ute Casino

Step into the action and play to have fun during our monthly trip to Sky Ute Casino Tuesday, Jan. 16. Free transportation (with limited seating) provided by Sky Ute leaves The Den at 1 p.m. returning at approximately 6. Play the slots, hang out with friends and win (or lose), you are sure to have a great time! Sign up with The Den to participate.

Nails with Dru

Do you want to feel pampered? Or how about some fun conversation while doing something nice for yourself? Dru Sewel has offered to do your nails free of charge at The Den on Wednesdays, 9:30-11 a.m. You can either make an appointment or drop in for your nail treatment. Dru will trim, file and paint your nails while entertaining you with her bubbly personality.

Dance For Health

Dance For Health classes will be available at The Den Wednesdays at 10 a.m. free of charge. Karma Raley, the dance instructor, enjoys sharing her love of dance and blends basic ballet, modern jazz, and jazz dance with yoga awareness to create a full body routine which makes it possible to work out to the degree you want and/or need to. Wear loose comfortable clothing and bring a mat or towel. Join us at The Den and learn great dance techniques while having a fun time exercising!

Aikido

Aikido is a relatively modern martial art, although its roots go back nearly a thousand years to secret techniques of samurai warriors. In January, The Den is offering Aikido classes every Wednesday at 1 p.m. with instructors Bill Trimarco and Lisa Jensen. Aikido students will learn how to redirect an attacker's energy with hand techniques, and train with the wooden sword and short staff. Aikido is beneficial for health, coordination, stress relief and character with the goal of bettering oneself rather than trying to be better than an opponent. Sign up with The Den if you would like to participate in the January classes.

An afternoon of culture

You don't need a big city for fine dining and culture _ we have it all right here in our lovely mountain town of Pagosa Springs.

The Den would like to invite you to join us Thursday, Jan. 18, for an afternoon of fun as we explore the finer things in our quaint town. Our day will begin with a luncheon at Dionigi's Restaurant at noon, as we enjoy a taste of Italy right here in Pagosa. You will have a choice of four classic Italian entrees including eggplant parmesan, chicken parmesan, fettuccine alfredo, or spaghetti and meatballs, along with a salad, bread and a drink for the all-inclusive price of only $10.

After our delicious dining experience, we will attend a tour of Shy Rabbit Contemporary Art and view "Hold It!," an exhibition of contemporary containers. The show opened in December and runs through Jan. 20. This elegant exhibition features seven emerging and mid-career artists working in varying and somewhat unconventional mediums. "Hold It!" artists were asked to stretch the concept of a typical container or vessel. This exhibition entertains the viewer's imagination with a wide range of materials and forms. Several of the artists invited to participate in "Hold it!" had existing works that fit the show theme; others created new work inspired by the show title and the freedom they were allowed in the process. The process was a very organic one that resulted in the creation of work that is natural and unforced. Please make your reservation with The Den by Tuesday, Jan. 16, for this afternoon excursion. Transportation will be provided by The Den for $2. We look forward to sharing a slice of culture with you, Pagosa style!

Inside Out Day

It is Inside Out Day at The Den Friday, Jan. 19. When you get dressed in the morning, make sure all of your tags and seams are on the outside rather than the inside. Yes, I mean wear your clothes inside out! We will have some great prizes for those who look a little funny that day.

Sing-alongs with Judy Esterly

On Friday, Jan. 19, at 12:45 p.m., The Den is happy to welcome Judy Esterly for some great fun and music. Judy has been playing guitar and singing for 43 years and considers herself "a plinker and a plunker." She has offered to join us at The Den for sing-alongs to some favorite songs (song sheets supplied) as a way of giving back to our community and to just have a great time!

Seniors Inc. memberships

In January, 2007 Seniors Inc. memberships for folks 55 and older will be sold at The Den. The 2007 memberships can be purchased for $5 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Memberships will not be sold Thursdays.

Your Seniors Inc. membership entitles you to a variety of discounts from participating merchants. For qualifying members, it provides scholarships to assist with the costs for eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental expenses, and prescription and medical equipment. Your Seniors Inc. membership will also cover $20 of the $30 transportation fee for medical shuttles to Durango. The Den's Monthly Mystery trips to fascinating destinations are sponsored by Seniors Inc. so these cool trips in the warmer months are open to all Seniors Inc. members.

As you can see, the benefits of a Seniors Inc. membership are endless, so stop in at The Den during the scheduled hours to renew or purchase your first annual membership. Please remember that you do not need to be a Seniors Inc. member to join us at The Den. Everyone is welcome to be a part of our extended family.

Activities at a glance

Thursday, Jan. 11 - The Den is closed.

Friday, Jan. 12 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; Seniors Inc. board meeting, 1 p.m.; Sudoku class, 1 p.m.

Monday, Jan. 15 - The Den is closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Tuesday, Jan. 16 - Yoga, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; Sky Ute Casino, 1 p.m.; final day to make reservations for Dionigi's luncheon and Shy Rabbit tour.

Wednesday, Jan. 17 - Nails with Dru, 9:30-11 a.m.; Dance For Health class, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Visually Impaired Persons (VIPS) support group is cancelled; "Ask the Doc" about thyroid disease, with Dr. Bricca, 12:30 p.m.; Aikido class, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 18 - Blood pressure checks in Arboles, 11:45 p.m.; lunch served in Arboles (reservations required), noon; Dionigi's luncheon and Shy Rabbit tour (reservations required), noon. The Den is closed.

Friday, Jan. 19 - The Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Inside Out Day, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.; music with Judy Esterly, 12:45 p.m.

Menu

Suggested donation $3 for ages 60-plus and kids 12 and under, all others $5.

Salad bar available every day at The Den beginning at 11:30 a.m. Menu subject to change.

Friday, Jan. 12 - Chili con carne, broccoli cuts, pineapple and mandarin oranges, and corn bread.

Monday, Jan. 15 - The Den is closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Tuesday, Jan. 16 - Meatloaf with gravy, mashed potatoes, asparagus, pineapple tidbits, and whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Jan. 17 - Turkey sandwich, pea soup, relish platter, Cole slaw, and mixed fruit with bananas.

Thursday, Jan. 18 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). Meatballs with gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley, whole wheat roll, and cherry cobbler.

Friday, Jan. 19 - Roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, apricots and peaches, and whole wheat roll.

 

Veteran's Corner

Using the Internet for military information

By Andy Fautheree

This office makes extensive use of the Internet to help veterans, families and loved ones, with information and assistance with VA claims and benefits, and resources for other information related to military service. I get all of my VA benefit and claims forms and much information from the official VA Internet Web site: http://www.va.gov/index.htm

One benefit of using the Internet for veterans' services is information.

The Internet is the world's largest depository of information in the history of mankind. A person can look up military information on where and whom served with, Army, Marine Corps, Coast Guard outfits, Navy ships, almost an infinitesimal amount of information on almost any subject.

As an example, I have found about 100 pictures of my old ship and fellow crew members who I served with in the Navy.

Vietnam Wall

I recently came across some information about the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. on the Internet that I wasn't aware of. I am planning a trip to the Vietnam Wall on Memorial Day 2007 and I wanted to know more information about the wall to assist with planning for the trip.

As you are probably aware, the names of every known person, over 58,000 who died in the Vietnam War, are shown on the Vietnam Wall Memorial. I'm sure many visitors to the Vietnam Wall go there for many personal reasons, to remember someone who died in that conflict - a buddy, a husband or wife, a son or daughter, a father or mother or loved one, or perhaps just someone who may be special to the visitor. We all have our reasons to visit the wall and remember.

Name rubbings

I have often heard that many visiting the Vietnam Wall like to make a rubbing of the name of the person who is special to them.

I found an Internet Web site you can go to a get a "virtual" rubbing of any person's name that is engraved on the Vietnam Wall: http://www.vietnamwall.org/search.php. I tried it and it works. You can look up the name and create the "rubbing" of that name, and print it out (in black and white) just as if you were there at the wall, with pencil and paper.

Library computers

If you do not have Internet at home you can go to the local library and use their computers for Internet research.

Isn't the Internet wonderful? The marvel of our age!

I think it is.

Fuel money

Don't forget to stop by my office with your "proof of appointment" information, fuel and overnight accommodation receipts to VA health care appointments for reimbursement of expenses. We are currently reimbursing nearly 100 percent of your VA Health Care travel expenses. Also, help a fellow veteran who may be going in the same direction to the same VA facility and 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, (next to Big 5 Sports). Phone number is 247-2214. Albuquerque VAMC phone number is (800) 465-8262.

Further information

For information on these and other veterans' benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office located at 46 Eaton Drive, Suite 7 (behind City Market). The office number is 731-3837.

 

Library News

Cookbooks local and international - a treasure trove of recipes

By Carole Howard

Sun columnist, and the library staff

Everyone knows there are huge numbers of excellent cooks living in Archuleta County. So it should be no surprise that cookbooks featuring favorite recipes of local cooks are real gems because every recipe is a tried and true favorite of your friends and neighbors.

The latest local cookbook donated to the library comes from Lisa Scott, who hosts a Girls Night Out and Holiday Cookie Exchange each Christmas. She commemorates each cookie party by printing a booklet containing the recipes from the previous year, the current one being Volume 5 from 2005. All five of the annual cookie booklets are available in a binder behind the circulation desk. You're welcome to review them but not take them out of the library, to ensure these booklets remain available for all patrons. If you want to copy any of the recipes, you may do so free on the library's copy machine.

All of the other 466 cookbooks on the library's shelves are available to be borrowed. The variety is impressive - and we are grateful for people's generosity because the majority of these cookbooks have been donated.

Other outstanding local recipe collections in the library include those produced by the Gray Wolf Ski Club, the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, the Woman's Civic Club and Friends of the Library, and Chimney Rock volunteers. There also is a group of booklets with high-altitude baking tips.

Nationally, there are many of the "best of" and annual collections from cooking magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, Cooking Light, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet, Southern Living and Sunset. There also are cookbooks from celebrity chefs such as Craig Claiborne, Julia Child, the Frugal Gourmet, Paul Prudhomme and Martha Stewart.

Recipes from famous restaurants such as Chez Panisse, the Silver Palate and Moosewood Restaurant are available, as is the Denver Junior League's "Crème de Colorado" and a unique collection from First Ladies. There are classics like the "Joy of Cooking," plus offerings for special diet needs like low-fat, low carb, low cholesterol, vegetarian and diabetic. And there are books of international recipes from China, India, Thailand, the Caribbean and most all the European countries.

Next time you are in the library, take a few moments to look over the cookbooks to add some variety to the food you cook for your family and friends.

New for youth

"Safe Surfing on the Internet," by Art Wolinsky, is an excellent guide written for students in support of parents and schools trying to implement safety guidelines for Web usage. It covers the rationale for guidelines, researching online, using e-mail and entering chat rooms. "The Wounded Spirit," by Frank Peretti, is a frank look at the pain he experienced as a child - plus information about how ridicule and rejection can push people beyond the brink - especially students being teased for being undersized or fat, klutzy or less than beautiful.

Historic non-fiction

"Battles and Leaders of the Civil War: The Struggle Intensifies," authored by the commanders and their subordinates from both the Confederate and Union forces, is volume 2 in this much-praised series. "The Dragon in the Land of Snows," by Western-trained Tibetan Tsering Shakya, is a history of modern Tibet since 1947. "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community," by David C. Korten, argues that corporate consolidation of power is merely one manifestation of the organization of society through hierarchy and violence that has held sway for the past 5,000 years.

New fiction: adventures, thrillers and mysteries

"Snow," by Orhan Paumk, about an exiled poet returning to Turkey, won accolades from virtually all the major national media as one of the best books of the year. "The Mephisto Club" is a new thriller by best-selling author Tess Gerritsen. "The Bright Way," by Patrick F. McManus, is the latest mystery featuring Bo Tully, sheriff of Blight County, Idaho. "Winkie," by Clifford Chase, is a magical novel about a teddy bear who winds up on the wrong side of America's war on terror - and this is not a children's book! Kathy Reichs' latest mystery featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is "Break No Bones," which was the inspiration for the Fox TV series "Bones."

New biographies

"The Disastrous Mrs. Weldon," by Brian Thompson, covers the life, loves and lawsuits of a legendary Victorian woman whose rebellious personality made her wreck havoc on almost everyone she met. "Living with Nature's Extremes: The Life of Gilbert Fowler White," by Robert E. Hinshaw, details the life a great geographer who helped establish the fields of natural hazards research and resource management that have become crucial to modern environmental planning and policymaking. "Confessions of a Barbarian," by Edward Abbey, carries selections from the journals of this unique man who was a hero to environmentalists and a writer who attracted a cult following.

Special gifts from Log Park

The library has received a beautiful Mansfield custom upholstered wingback chair from Joyce Hopkins on behalf of Log Park Trading Company. The rich chocolate mocha color of its fabric goes perfectly with the rest of the Turner Reading Room - and what a comfortable chair it is for reading in that lovely, sunny room. Log Park also generously provided us with a wonderful array of Christmas decorations for the library.

Thanks to other donors

Our gratitude to Jim and Barbara Corboy for their monetary gift, and to Margaret Wilson for funds to purchase "Hank the Cowboy" books. For books and materials, this week we thank Anne Allison, Robin Alspach, Diane Bower, Mark Brown, Shanta D'Alanzo, Bob Howard, Eileen Midge, Kathryn Mueller, Deana Phelps, Bev Warburton and Neil, who did not give his last name.

 

Arts Line

Workshops, photo show highlight winter season

By Linda Strathdee

PREVIEW Columnist

Have you taken an outstanding photograph and wondered if it might be worthy of public display?

Have people admired one of your photos hanging in your home?

If so, plan to plan to submit one or more of your photographs to this year's annual photography contest at Moonlight Books.

This fun event is open to all amateur and professional photographers. Each exhibitor may submit up to three entries either in black and white or color - but only two entries in any one category.

There is a $4 entry fee per photograph; entries will be accepted at Moonlight Books until 5 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 31.

The opening reception is 5-7 p.m. Feb 3 and if you attend, you can vote for the People's Choice Award. Photographs will be on display Feb. 3-24.

Rules and application forms can be picked up at Moonlight Books or downloaded off the Pagosa Springs Arts Council Web site at www.pagosa-arts.com.

Pennington to judge contest

Renowned Fort Lewis College professor Paul Marshall Pennington has agreed to serve as a judge for this year's photography competition. Pennington has exhibited at Nason & Williams in Taos, N.M.; in a Plan B Juried Group Show in Santa Fe, N.M., and at the Soho Gallery of Photography in New York, to name a few. He has been published in Bike Magazine, Natural History Magazine, The Denver Post and numerous other publications. He has received awards from the Durango Arts Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the San Juan National Forest, Mancos, Co-Artists in Residence Program, Aspen Guard Station.

PSAC and Moonlight Books are indeed fortunate to have such a celebrated individual to judge their contest.

PSAC gallery hours

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council Gallery in Town Park is on winter hours.

Although the gallery will not be staffed on a regular basis, voice mail and e-mail will be checked regularly, so please leave a message and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

Remember, it is not too early to sign up for the January workshops and this can be done over the phone or through the mail.

The Artist Spirit

This segment addresses your heartfelt questions about the arts. It is geared to enlighten and inform, be sincere and humorous or to just give us a chance to have fun. This is an opportunity to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling and a place to speak out in the arts community

If you have any questions for Dear Liz Rae, e-mail psac@centurytel.net attention: The Artist Spirit, or mail your questions to The Artist Spirit, PSAC, PO Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Your name is not necessary.

Dear Liz Rae:

I discovered over 30 years ago that I have a real gift for poetry. My stuff was submitted to the heads of the English department of a university in Texas. I thought this was very cool, they said I was a natural.

What I struggled with over the years is that my writings were not published. Good or bad, I finally realized I write because I have to write. It's for my betterment.

I have a question - do you think there are many people as myself that need to rest in their abilities without affirmation from others.

Thanks for input.

Very sincerely,

Squirmie

Dear Squirmie:

Yes, I do, but I can understand why many people squirm about what they have or haven't done. Because they haven't had their work published they feel their work isn't as good as those who have. Or, their purpose hasn't been realized and they have missed the boat. Wrong!

In the writer's world, to be "published" is the stick that measures success. I have been to writers' conferences and the one question that everyone asks is "Are you published?" There seems to be something magical about that word. If you haven't, in their eyes your work hasn't measured up to their standard. It is as if to say, you haven't cared enough to get your work out there for everyone to read.

Success is different for each person. There are many high-profile musicians. However there are, I suppose, thousands alive who have a lifetime of performing music that are more skillful and creative than anyone that has media exposure. Some, probably millions, are simply playing because they just want to do it for themselves. This is good, very good! It's about freedom of expression for all. I say write on, dance on, sing on, live on and rest on.

Liz Rae

Watercolor club

Watercolor club meets the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room at the Pagosa Springs Community Center. Watercolorists of all levels are provided the opportunity to use the room for the day. Attending members contribute $5 for use of the space. Attendees should bring a bag lunch, their supplies, and a willingness to have a fun creative day! New participants are always welcome.

Photography club

Interested photography enthusiasts are welcome to attend their first Pagosa Springs Photography Club meeting at no charge. Any and all are invited to join for $20 annual dues.

For more information, contact club president Sharon Comeaux at 731-4511 (daytime), 731-5328 (evening) or e-mail m_mcomo@yahoo.com.

PSAC winter workshops

Brighten up your winter by signing up for one of the earliest classes of the New Year

- Drawing with Randall Davis, a one-day workshop, Jan. 13.

Local artist Randall Davis will hold a one-day drawing workshop 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13, at the community center. This workshop will focus on drawing the face. This session is appropriate for beginners as well as advanced students. If you have never attended one of his classes, it's wonderful to see what you can produce in a day under Randall's guidance. Everyone leaves with a completed drawing.

Supplies needed for this class include a sketch pad (preferably 11x14), assorted drawing pencils, including a 3H or 4H, a No. 2, and a 3B or 4B, eraser, ruler, pencil sharpener. Plan to bring a bag lunch. Cost for the day is $35. Call PSAC to register, 264-5020.

- Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach Beginners I, the Basics of Watercolor Jan. 15-17. This workshop is for individuals who have always wanted to try their hand at watercolor, or who are not ready to take other workshops. It offers a chance to learn to paint with others who are sure they have no talent, or who have struggled to learn on their own with limited success. Cost is $150 for PSAC members and $175 for nonmembers.

- Denny and Ginnie will teach Beginners II, Building Blocks of Watercolor. Jan. 25, 26 and 27 at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. each day. Bring a lunch. Cost is $175 for three full days, $150 for PSAC members This workshop builds on Beginners I, The Basics of Watercolor, and uses everything students learned in those classes. In Beginners II, students will continue to work together to make it easy for you to create independently. They use all the materials from before, and just a few more things. Remember, watercolor is magic and fun!

Mornings, there will be lessons and exercises about shapes, composition and design, choosing subjects, further study about value and color, and advanced techniques such as lifting, scraping, masking, glazing, working with sponges, salt, plastic wrap and waxed paper. Afternoons will be spent painting, using the morning's lessons.

- Pierre Mion will teach his winter watercolor workshop (snow scenes) Jan. 29-31 with an optional fourth day on Thursday, Feb. 1. The group will spend a day prior to classes photographing outdoor subjects, this date yet to be determined. These classes are fun, relaxed and open to all levels, including beginners. His classes are always great fun.

Pierre is an internationally-known artist and illustrator who worked with Norman Rockwell for 12 years. Cost for this class is $240 for PSAC members, $265 for nonmembers, who will automatically get a one year membership.

Fabric art lecture at South Fork

Local artist Jeanine Malaney will present "Painting with Fabric," a one-hour lecture on her unique technique of paint and fabric collage. The presentation will be held in South Fork at the Silverthread Quilt Guild at 11 a.m. Tuesday Feb. 20. Jeanine will introduce a step-by-step technique, choice of fabrics, paints, and threads. Several of her fabric paintings will be on display. Jeanine has recently exhibited in Taos, Durango, Ouray and Pagosa, and previously in Arizona. She is also known for her watercolor artwork and was selected for the 2006 PSAC Juried Fine Art Show. You can see originals at her Web site, www.paintingswithfabric.com. For more information, call Jeanine at 731-1664.

Arts Council open house

PSAC will hold an open house Jan. 18 in the South Conference Room at the community center. Mark your calendars and plan to drop by and learn more about the Arts Council, its mission and goals, what it hopes to accomplish in 2007 and beyond, and the benefits of volunteering for this dynamic organization.

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 Town Park gallery, unless otherwise noted. For more information contact PSAC at 264-5020.

Jan. 13 - One-day drawing workshop with Randall Davis, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., community center.

Jan. 15-17 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett workshop: Beginners I-The Basics of Watercolor.

Jan. 18 - Watercolor club, 10 a.m., community center.

Jan. 18 - PSAC open house, community center, 4-7 p.m.

Jan. 22-24 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett workshop: Beginners II-Building Blocks of Watercolor.

Jan. 29-31 - Pierre Mion watercolor workshop.

Feb. 12-14 - Soledad Estrada-Leo's Big Little Angelos Workshop.

Feb. 19-21 - Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett Workshop: Intermediate I-Using Photos, People and More.

 

Tasting Notes

Every once in a while ... you're corked

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

Corked.

It's New Year's Eve and after a day of snowshoeing on Wolf Creek Pass, I'm settling in to the preparation of one of my favorite meals - Colorado lamb chops with Madeira wine, garlic and shallots, asparagus and new potatoes. I've got a bottle of cru Beaujolais I set aside back in August for the occasion, and although I consider the wine might pair better with duck and a red fruit-based sauce, I'm happy just the same. It's hard to beat Château Thivin's Côte de Brouilly.

About the same time I fire up the burners on the stove, Miles Davis comes through on the stereo blowing the first notes of "My Funny Valentine" from his "Cookin'" album&emdash; an appropriate disc for the activity - and before I set to work mincing garlic, I reach for the bottle. It's time for a glass of wine.

First, I trim the foil, careful not to turn the wrapping into a jagged mess, and when the small burgundy and silver colored foil coin comes free, I pop it into my pocket - an old waiter's habit. Next, I flip open the corkscrew, guide the tool's spiral arm into the cork with my index finger, and I give a quick turn. But instead of burrowing deep, the screw grabs tentatively, and as I complete the initial rotation, the cork spins free in the neck of the bottle. Trouble. But with more than 15 years spent perfecting the art of cork coercion, I am able to ease the stopper, intact, from its resting place, although my pleasure with a job well done is tainted by the stench of rotten, musty wood.

Corked.

I pour a taste, give it an official sniff, and there's no doubt about it. My coveted 2005 is a wreck, but I'm optimistic. I'll prepare dinner and maybe the "corkiness" will blow off after 30 minutes or so. It's worth a try. And I start on the garlic, then the shallots, peel potatoes, chop parsley, set the potatoes to boil and prepare two sauté pans - one for the chops and one for browning the spuds. Thirty minutes pass, and during that time, I occasionally swirl the glass, hoping to relieve the juice of its woody, rotten burden. Forty minutes later and the chops are rare, the potatoes garnished, the asparagus steamed and the spears placed in steaming pile. I return to the glass. The Brouilly is as woody as a tree farm, and I dump the contents of the glass and bottle in the sink. My heart sinks as the ruby liquid disappears down the drain, but seriously corked wine isn't even worth keeping for cooking.

Statistics indicate that between 3 and 5 percent of all wine sealed with wood corks ends up tainted or ruined. To date, I've ordered between five and six cases from my purveyor in San Francisco, and at the 5-percent mark, I should have had at least three bad bottles by now. All told, I've only had one - the 2005 Brouilly - and so far I'm beating the odds.

But what causes wines to die a death by corkage? I pondered the question while searching the wine cabinet for something else to drink.

Technically, "corked" is a term used to describe a wine that's been affected by a faulty cork, however the real culprit is a chemical compound called 2,4,6 — Tricloroanisole or 246-TCA. 246-TCA is created when a cork fails to seal a wine bottle, either due to inherent defect, rot or dryness, and oxygen enters the bottle. Research indicates humans are quite adept at detecting even minute concentrations of the chemical, and some sources indicate we can detect concentrations as low as 30 parts per trillion. Depending on the concentration, a wine affected by 246-TCA may seem austere, or lacking fruit or depth, while greater concentrations will give the taster aromas of wet newspapers, moldy cardboard or rotten wood. While lighter concentrations can blow off, heavier concentrations have permanently tainted the wine, making it unpleasant for smelling, drinking or cooking. In the case of a suspect bottle, it's always worth letting the wine breathe a bit.

In order to reduce incidents of 246-TCA, wine makers must start with high quality, undamaged corks, and no winemaker would intentionally seal a bottle with a cork they know won't do the job. However, some corks have imperceptible internal defects, but often, corkage occurs in handling. From winery, to bottle shop shelf, to home, most wines undertake an arduous journey. Often, the bottles make the trip standing straight in shipping containers, sit in blistering heat on loading docks, and end up in unrefrigerated delivery trucks for their final trip to market. To add insult to injury, some unlucky bottles stand on store shelves for days or even weeks, corks drying out all the while and gradually losing their ability to tightly seal the bottle. So, how do you avoid purchasing a lemon - or in this case - a cork?

Aside from obvious problems like a cork that has been pushed slightly out of the neck of the bottle or a bottle top that has leaked, it's impossible to tell the condition of the juice inside the bottle. Thus, from where and whom you purchase wine makes all the difference. Wine buyers should assess their retail source as a giant walk in cellar and all the basic storage considerations should be taken into account. How warm or cool is the store? Are bottles standing upright or laying down? If some are standing, are they on special and expected to move quickly, or are they sealed with a synthetic cork or screw cap? (In cases of the latter, screw caps and rubber corks eliminate corkage issues.) Are the bottles exposed to harsh sunlight or severe temperature fluctuations? What's the store's turnover? Are wines that are more apt to sit longer, such as high-end offerings, stored with more care than the daily drinking, vin de table?

In many cases, corkage issues can be eliminated altogether by dealing with a reputable wine merchant, and presumably, wines purchased in the store will have been handled with greater care. And, if a corkage issue arises, many merchants, including a number of local retailers, have a corked-wine return policy. A nearly full bottle presented with the suspect liquid and a receipt will ensure a smoother exchange.

Nevertheless, whether you buy locally or mail order, you're still playing the odds, and there is a chance you'll get a bad bottle. It comes with the territory. In the wine world &emdash;cork happens.

 

Food for Thought

It's simple . . . let's waltz

By Karl Isberg

Outside it is deep winter but, on this day, the sun is shining, the skies are brilliant blue. It is cold out there, very cold; there is snow clumped on the limbs of the pines.

But, oh that sun. The sunlight pours through the large windows at the front of the house, into the room, falling on the wood floorboards, the furniture, my legs, my chest.

I am sweatered in sun; I close my eyes.

Then, as with all reveries I experience, this one is cut painfully short.

Kathy is with me on the couch. She is reading.

"Hey, Big Boy, shake outta your stupor and check this out: it's just as I thought. It says here that people who waltz at least once a week get more exercise than folks who do an equivalent amount of time on a stationary bike, and a whole lot more than the bozos like you who go to the gym and hurt themselves lifting weights."

"Huh?"

"Apparently, the waltzer's oxygen uptake greatly exceeds that of most regular exercisers, and their endurance is astounding. Just as I thought."

"Huh?"

"Waltzing and, I assume, ballroom dancing in general, is one the best things you can do to ensure good health."

"Don't exert yourself. The answer is 'No'."

"Ah, c'mon."

"We've gone through this too many times. You're not going to browbeat me about taking ballroom dance classes. The answer is the same: 'No.' We are not going to stagger around some dimly-lit room with other stumblebums, much less do so wearing some kind of goofy outfit."

"It's not fair. You grew up in a different world than I. You got to dance; I didn't"

"I didn't get to dance I was forced to dance."

"It's all I ever wanted to do. Especially the waltz. The waltz is so graceful, so refined."

"You had no choice about being raised in the Church of the Nazarene. Extremism was forced on you, as it was on me, in a much different form."

"You were able to learn ballroom dances. You got to go to balls and whatnot."

"Please, don't remind me. It's like having a tooth drilled without novocaine. I had to take classes, I had to go to cotillion. The specter of the debutante ball cast a fearsome chill on my existence. I'm uncomfortable talking about it to this day."

"We could go to one lesson. Just one. Puleeeeeze. I want to learn to waltz."

"No way. It's too difficult, too complex. I can't manage it. You know how much trouble I have learning or remembering complicated things, what with my ADD and all, and my reluctance to wolf down Ritalin. Bright, shiny objects distract me. There's no way I could complete a waltz lesson. Especially if someone nearby is wearing clothing festooned with sequins."

"Ahh, Karl, we could learn and then, if you wanted, we could just switch on some waltz music, push the furniture back and dance here in the living room. That would suit me just fine."

"Is that the phone? Did I hear something? Look, outside, what's that bright, shiny thing out there, just past the trees?"

The appeal-to-simplicity ruse works, yet again. Kathy apprehends the futility of her venture, skulks over to piano and pounds out a rousing version of "God, the Ominipotent." Again and again.

I seek refuge in the basement.

Simple.

Works for me in my defense against ballroom dancing.

Works for food, and cooking as well.

Have you noticed? "Simple" is the current mantra issuing forth from a legion of celebrity chefs.

The first question, before entertaining the mantra itself, is why do we have celebrity chefs?

Perhaps it's best to regard their presence as we do the steam rising off a pan of boiling water - a sign of something more profound happening at its source, prior to its arrival.

To cut to the chase: We live in a culture so decadent, so luxurious, that we are able to divert the attention of the masses with televised cooking shows, "celebrity" chefs and the cults of personality that ensue.

Wow, what a world!

The first thing I think as I watch one of said shows and chefs is that, in general, we have no idea what this means. We rarely contemplate how fortunate we are to enjoy the plenty and idleness that such a creation requires.

And we have no idea how manipulated we are, since we accept that watching these goofs is a reasonable use of our limited time on the planet.

I realize both things.

Nearly every night.

As I watch cooking shows and celebrity chefs.

I have very few years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds, nanoseconds, etc. left in this feeble life of mine, yet I am regularly content to capture well-ordered photons and allow myself, flexing my Kantian muscle, to reassemble them and the sound waves that accompany them, into food-oriented phenomena. Granted, I do not have a giant screen (from which many more photons could stream) nor surround sound (with its greatly enhanced wave power) but I have enough juice in my 1983 Magnavox to keep me nearly motionless in one place for hours at a time.

So, here I am, wasting my time watching this moron on television and he is saying something I am flat-out tired of hearing: "The simple preparations are the best. The freshest ingredients, prepared in a simple fashion."

Dear lord! This is what it takes to be a celebrity chef? Well, this, a set of whites and a couple high-grade knives. Doesn't hurt to be cute, overweight, hirsute or superficially eccentric either.

I am appalled. But, I agree with the premise; there's something to this "simple" thing when it comes to food (or excuses for not attending ballroom dancing classes).

I am reminded of this on New Year's Day. Kathy and I are invited to an afternoon open house. Being the sociable fellow I am, I at first refuse to go.

Kathy pouts, then shifts gears and pulls out her hole card - we are a week away from her birthday. Therefore, I owe it to her. Who can argue with that?

The scene at our friends' house mirrors our own situation: The man does the cooking, the woman does the cleaning after the storm has passed. All is as it should be. I do all the cooking at our place (an undertaking too important to entrust to someone less than totally committed to the task) and Kathy deals, never silently, with the debris.

The open house goes swimmingly. Our host has prepared a bunch of fine stuff, including one of the better loads of hummus I've encountered in a long time, and an interesting German potato salad. He has also cued some beef and some pork ribs.

The key goodie, however, is roasted chicken - a couple of the beauties, cooked to crisp-skinned, moist flesh perfection, split down the backbones then further dismembered into discreet, juicy parts.

Ahhh, he does it well. And I go back for seconds. Or is it thirds?

Keep it simple and fresh.

Easy to say, but hard to do in Siberia With a View.

I have little patience with the white-clad boobs who front the TV shows when they crow about "fresh ingredients." It's easy to toot your horn when you live near farmers' markets, when you are but an hour or so from valleys full of produce, from shorelines that feature the catch of the day.

Here in Siberia With A View, it is a very different story. It is not always simple to be simple.

For the most part, nearly everything we purchase here has a "use or freeze by" date printed on the package. More accurately: "Not fresh and toxic by this date."

Aside from the jealously guarded treasure grown in private garden plots, there is no fresh produce here, ever - unless you count an apple or two from Arboles, or a gourd that appears mysteriously some time near the end of September. And fresh meat this time of the year entails poaching, punishable with heavy fines and potential time in the slammer.

Some commercial meat, however, comes close - flesh that does not require aging, wet or dry.

As in poultry.

As in chicken.

Roasters, to be precise.

In particular (in a nod to the bride, who is increasingly aware of additives, etc.) those darned birds raised without growth hormones or antibiotics or radiation. You know, the ones that strut around a bit, outside the coop, before they're methodically slaughtered by merciless and efficient illegal aliens.

The chickens are easy to find (after all, they ain't walking around any more). Pick one, or two, or four, out of the case at the market. Maybe 4 pounds each.

The birds need to be washed, and dried. Then, the prep work is easy.

Simple, one might say.

Smear the skin of the bird with butter, then season, inside and out with kosher salt and pepper.

If you wish, you can halve a lemon and toss the halves into the bird's cavity. You can jam some fresh herbs in there too. There's plenty of room, considering what's been removed.

Truss the legs with butcher's twine and put the bird in a roasting pan. You can toss all manner of coarsely chopped veggies in with the bird - potatoes, peeled shallots, carrots.

Put the bird-bearing pan into a preheated 425 oven and roast the chicken until its skin is crispy and juices run clear from a wound in the thigh - maybe an hour and 20 minutes or so.

Take the bird out and put on a warm plate. Take out the veggies and place in a covered, warm bowl.

Pour the pan juices into a container and remove most of the fat. Put the roasting pan on a burner over medium high heat and deglaze with a smidge of dry, white wine and a bit of chicken broth, scraping the goodies off the surface of the pan. Maybe splash in a bit of decent quality balsamic vinegar. Pour the pan juices into the mix as well as any juices that have collected in the roasted bird's body cavity. Reduce the juices in the pan by two thirds, adjust the seasonings, take off the heat and swirl in a significant amount of butter. Emulsify. Use. Enjoy.

Mmmmm - those fat and juice-bespattered veggies, that sauce on everything. Maybe even drizzled on a large, garlic-riddled crouton or two. Or three.

Ahhhh. Simple.

I make the meal. I pour some wine. We sit down to eat at the dining room table.

Kathy gets up and turns on the sound system.

Hmmmm. Is that Strauss?

 

Extension Viewpoints

Free radon test kits available

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Jan. 12 - 2 p.m., Rabbit Project meeting.

Jan. 12 - 2 p.m., 4-H Fridays, Community United Methodist Church.

Jan. 12 - 2:15 p.m., Wolf Creek Wonders Club meeting.

Jan. 15 - Office closed for Martin Luther King Jr. birthday.

Jan. 15 - 4 p.m., Advanced Entomology Project meeting.

Jan. 18 - 5 p.m., Cake Decorating Project meeting.

Beef Symposium in Pagosa Springs

The 25th Annual Beef Cattle Symposium will take place Tuesday, Feb. 13, here in Pagosa Springs at the Archuleta County Cooperative Extension Building.

This year, the focus will primarily be on management and marketing.

Registration cost is $10 before Feb. 7, or $15 after that date. This cost includes six informative presentations, lunch and refreshments.

Stop by and pick up your registration form today at the Extension Office.

Free radon test kits

January is Radon Action Month, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is offering free radon test kits to Colorado residents this month.

Radon, a colorless, odorless, tasteless radioactive gas, is the second leading cause of lung cancer and the primary cause of lung cancer in non-smokers. Radon exposure causes approximately 21,000 lung cancer deaths annually in the United States, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates.

According to Dennis E. Ellis, executive director of the state health department, many of these lung cancers can be prevented.

"Nationally, about one in fifteen homes has high radon levels, and that number is probably much higher in Colorado because fifty-two of the state's sixty-four counties are rated at high risk for radon," Ellis said.

Radon gas is produced as part of the natural decay process of uranium. Highly mineralized areas, such as those in Colorado and its mountains, have a bounty of metals, including uranium. As a result, the risk to Coloradans from exposure to radon gas indoors is higher than the national average.

Radon risk comes from long-term exposure to radon in indoor air. Fortunately, radon testing is easy and inexpensive &emdash;and this month, free. If necessary, elevated radon levels can be effectively reduced for between $800 and $1,500 - the cost of many average home repairs.

Test kits are easy to use and remain in the home for approximately 48 hours. The kit is mailed to the lab in a prepaid postage envelope provided with the kit, and the results are returned to the homeowner in about two weeks.

A coupon for a free test kit may be obtained from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Web site at www.cdphe.state.co.us/hm/rad/radon, or by toll free at 1(888) 569-1831, Ext. 3420.

 

Pagosa Lakes News

First perch tournament of the year coming soon

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

The first Pagosa Lakes Winter Perch Tournament of the season has been scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27, at Lake Pagosa.

The tournament will begin at 9:30 a.m. and will run until 2:30 p.m. The entry fee is $10 early purchase, and $12 at the lake on tournament day.

Money generated from the entry fee will be used for cash prizes to be awarded at the end of the tournament for the winners in two categories: most perch caught and largest perch caught (by weight).

Neither a Pagosa Lakes issued fishing permit or a state fishing license is required. Children 15 and under will fish for free at the tournament and will compete for some great fishing-related prizes.

This is the fifth year for these Pagosa Lakes tournament events, and they are growing in popularity each year.

Last year, we had a record number of contestants (over 140) in both winter tournaments and over 2,000 perch were caught. These tournaments allow us to keep yellow perch numbers under control while at the same time gather local anglers together for some fun ice fishing.

Tickets will be available at Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center, Pagosa Lakes Administration office, Terry's ACE Hardware and Ponderosa Do-it-Best, starting next Wednesday, Jan. 17.

A second Winter Perch Tournament this year will be held at Lake Hatcher on Feb. 10.

The Pagosa Lakes administration office is deep in carpet dust, tack strips and all of the general chaos that goes with a recarpeting project. Unless your business is urgent, I would recommend that you give the staff through the end of this month before visiting the office.

Heidi Malano, who competed in the Miss USA/Miss World and was ranked second and eighth respectively, will be featured this Monday at 11 a.m. on Fox Sports Channel. This will be the second airing; the first was last Saturday, Jan. 6. Don't miss the opportunity to see Heidi's tremendous performance.

The Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association board of directors meets at 7 p.m. tonight in the PLPOA Clubhouse on Port Avenue. The meeting agenda is arranged to create an atmosphere that encourages open discussion.

A designated time is also set aside for owners to speak at the beginning of the board meeting. Owners who are frustrated because they feel they have not had an opportunity - or don't think they have had an opportunity - to express their views, air their criticism, or offer their suggestions, are urged to attend and speak. The board encourages input from owners and wishes to make you feel your opinions are welcomed and valued.

 

Obituaries

W.R. Anderson

W.R. Anderson, M.D., passed away Friday, Dec. 22, 2006, at his home in St. Petersburg, Fla., surrounded by his children. He was a young 77. He lived life as large as his physical presence. Born June 17, 1929, in New Briton, Pa., he graduated from Rutgers University where he also played football and basketball. He received his medical degree from New York Medical College, after which he worked as a physician for the Navy, stationed in Norfolk, Va. In 1961, he moved his growing family to St. Petersburg, Fla., where he began his private OB/GYN practice.

He was always involved with his children's activities, coaching football and baseball with his sons throughout the '70s, or serving on boards for his daughters' swim or dance clubs. He was the head of the residency program at Bayfront Medical Center, as well as holding a teaching fellowship at the University of South Florida medical school.

After retiring from private practice in 1992, he traveled the country working as a locum tenans doctor. He then alternated residences between St. Petersburg and Pagosa Springs to be close to his grandchildren. He enjoyed being outdoors and many different sports, an avid tennis player, running with his dog, Bo, yard work (which he would always tell you was a form of exercise), kayaking, camping and hiking. He rode his bicycle in Europe and across the United States. He thoroughly enjoyed his time in Pagosa Springs; from the beauty of the place to the special people he came in contact with.

He was a committed father throughout his four children's lives, and this desire to be involved in family life continued with his grandchildren. He is survived by his former wife, Sally Anderson, and their four children: Barbi Bozich, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Scott Anderson, D.C., Pagosa Springs, Colo.; Bari Jo Davis, Richmond, Va.; and Ricky Anderson, St. Petersburg, Fla. He is also survived by six grandchildren: Rachel and Tanner Bozich, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Kelsea and Keanan Anderson, Pagosa Springs, Colo.; and Sarah Mac and Emma Davis, Richmond, Va.

 

Frank O'Caña

Frank Darrell O'Caña, 56, died Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2007, in Durango, Colorado. A Recitation of the Rosary was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. A Mass of Christian Burial took place Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father Carlos A. Alvarez of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church officiated. Burial was at Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.

Mr. O'Caña was born April 23, 1950, in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, the son of Frank and Petronilla O'Caña. He married Sophie K. Lucero on Nov. 15, 1969, in Pagosa Springs. Mr. O'Caña enjoyed playing guitar and had his own band for years. He also enjoyed hunting, collecting, working on vehicles and anything hands-on. He was a hard worker and good provider for his family. He was deeply committed to his wife and family and proud of all of them and enjoyed being with his grandchildren. He was a man of few words, but those spoken held deep meaning. He had a strong faith.

He is survived by his mother, Petronilla Opal Romero O'Caña, Frank O'Caña (son) of Boulder, Colo., Darrell O'Caña (son) of Peoria, Ill., Vanessa Miller (daughter) of Parker, Colo., September O'Caña (daughter) of Pagosa Springs, Ramona Fergeson (sister) of Lake Eli, Calif., Susie Candelaria (sister) of Durango, and eight grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sophie K. Lucero O'Caña, and his father, Frank I. O'Caña.

 

Sophie O'Caña

Sophie O'Caña, 55, died Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007, at her home in Pagosa Springs.

A Recitation of the Rosary was held at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church on Friday, Jan. 5, 2007. A Mass of Christian Burial was held Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church. Father Carlos A. Alvarez of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church officiated. Burial occurred at Hilltop Cemetery in Pagosa Springs.

Mrs. O'Caña was born Aug. 15, 1951, in Pueblo, Colo., the daughter of Manuel and Jane Lucero. She was raised in Pagosa Junction. She married Darrell O'Caña on Nov. 15, 1969, in Pagosa Springs. Her life ambition was reached and surpassed as a daughter, wife and mother. She enjoyed listening to music, reading, crocheting, preparing meals, taking walks and praying.

She is survived by her husband, Darrell; her father, Manuel Lucero, of Pueblo; her stepfather, Baltazar Gallegos, Sr., of Arboles; her mother, Jane Martinez Lucero, of Pagosa Springs; and her children Frank O'Caña of Boulder, Darrell O'Caña of Peoria, Ill., Vanessa Miller of Parker, and September O'Caña of Pagosa Springs. She is also survived by brothers Joseph Lucero and Louie Lucero both of Durango, Baltazar Gallegos and Mae Jaramillo both of Pagosa Springs, Jose Gallegos, Jr. of Arboles, David Lucero of Colorado Springs, and eight grandchildren.

Mrs. O'Caña passed away peacefully in her home with her husband, children and loved ones nearby.

 

 Business News

Chamber News

The trip to D'Iberville, an anniversary

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

It's hard to believe that one year ago Kim Moore, Helen Richardson and I were in hurricane-devastated D'Iberville, Miss.

As our community rallied to provide goods and financial assistance, D'Iberville struggled to rebuild from the weather onslaught.

Many people have asked if we have heard from our Mississippi contacts since our visit. I'm pleased to finally give an update just after the anniversary of our visit.

Our contact in Mississippi was Irene McIntosh, a dynamic professor and volunteer extraordinaire. Her communication to us indicated that, in the past year, the community, with help from numerous volunteer organizations, has rebuilt 540 homes and they have 327 in progress. Key volunteer organizations have been Habitat for Humanity, Christian Aid Ministries (Amish and Mennonite volunteers), and Mercy Housing and Human Development.

I have been contacted by two volunteers from our community who have gone down to D'Iberville to work on housing. Monies we sent assisted three families in rebuilding their homes, with $1,000 grants to each.

The city is back in business working and trying to rebuild the business sector. They have reinstituted their Chamber of Commerce and this organization is trying to build partnerships with other regional Chambers to develope a healthy business sector.

The coastal area was given a reprieve from hurricanes this past season and communities all along the Gulf Coast continued to rebuild. New Orleans has many areas that are still in a state of flux and other communities struggle as residents, developers and investors try to ride the real estate wave.

As Mother Nature demonstrated her force with heavy snows in Denver and northern New Mexico this year, it was a time for me to reflect on the impact made on the Gulf Coast just over a year ago.

Once again, I'm so very thankful to live here, and for the kindness that so many people exhibited in helping a similar-size community thousands of miles away. We carry on with our lives here in beautiful Pagosa and so do the residents of D'Iberville, each grateful for another day, each a little anxious when severe weather conditions are mentioned, and each thankful for the generosity of those around them.

With this comment in mind, I thank all who took the time to nominate a fellow resident or organization in this community for Volunteer and Citizen of the Year. All the nominees were exceptional and worthy of an award.

Thank you for thinking of others here in Pagosa and across the United States. We wish D'Iberville continued success in its efforts to rebuild.

Annual meeting

By now, Chamber members should have received invitations to the annual Chamber of Commerce meeting and dinner.

This year's festivities will take place at the community center at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20. Our western theme incorporates an evening of delicious food and the Durango-based High Rollers providing music for dancing right after the awards ceremony, the recognition of three departing board members and the raucous Office Olympics.

Get your team together now and start practicing for these fun "Olympics" in which team members will have to sharpen pencils, make a paper clip chain, perform the waste paper basket toss, and execute an office obstacle course. The festivities will be short but fun, then there will be plenty of time to dance the night away. Might we have some particular businesses competing with each other? Say, the contractors against the bankers, or the Realtors against the merchants?

This event will be the last time you will be able to vote for three new board members from a slate of six candidates. We have a varied and involved group of nominees this year and we are pleased the candidates are running for the three open positions. Nominees this year are: Jim Stacy, with Eagles Nest RE/MAX Realty; Robin Carpenter-Hubbard, of Pagosa Candy Co.; Shawn Lacey, of Plaza Liquor; Frank Schiro, with Jim Smith Realty; Janis Moomaw, an associate member; and Mark Horn, with Bank of Colorado. If you are not able to attend the annual meeting, make sure you stop by the Chamber to vote for your candidates of choice. There is only one vote per membership.

Tickets for the meeting and dinner are available at the Chamber for $30 per person, in advance. They will be $35 at the door. Take an evening off for yourself and enjoy the camaraderie of other people and businesses that make this community tick.

Photo contest

The 19th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest at Moonlight Books opens Saturday, Jan. 20.

Contest guidelines are available at Moonlight Books. There are fifteen different categories in which to enter; entries must not have been previously exhibited in Archuleta County, and each exhibitor may enter a total of three entries. Entries will be accepted, matted, mounted or framed until Wednesday, Jan. 31 For more information, contact Moonlight Books at 264- 5666 or the Pagosa Springs Arts Council at 264-5020.

Other events

The "Hold It!" exhibit at Shy Rabbit Contemporary Arts will close Saturday, Jan. 20 . Works of Chad Haspels, Sarah Hewitt, Clarissa Hudson and three other artists are on display. You can call the gallery at 731-2766 for more information about the exhibit or the hours at the gallery.

Music in the Mountains gift certificates are on sale for benefit, chamber and orchestra concerts. The benefit concert will be held at the beautiful Moomaw residence in Echo Canyon Ranch with the stunning backdrop of the northern mountain range. The benefit concert will be held June 16. Chamber concerts will be July 18 (with world-renowned violinist Vadim Gluzman) and July 25 (with violinist Anne Akiko Myers and Aviram Reichert, a master at the piano). Orchestra concerts will be held July 28, with Guillermo Figueroa as the guest conductor, and Aug. 3, with Leif Bjaland as the guest conductor. At the end of this season, with Mischa Semanitsky's retirement, one of the guest conductors from the past two seasons will be chosen to replace him.

Don't forget that Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Surprise him or her with a gift certificate and celebrate all over again at one of these fabulous concerts. Gift certificates may be redeemed after April 2 for the concert of your choice. Don't miss out on another year of superb music at stunning BootJack Ranch.

Membership renewals

This week, we welcome back Touchstone Gift Shop, Main Street Antiques, Conoco East near the River Center and Conoco West near 7th Street, and the Pagosa Fire Protection District. We also have a new associate member - Tari Woods. Tari has been very involved in numerous community affairs including helping out at the bike tours this past year and you can see her supporting the arts, the concerts, and other community events. We welcome her enthusiasm and involvement in the community and at the Chamber.

Don't forget to get your tickets, and maybe even reserve a table for the annual Chamber of Commerce meeting. Practice tossing those paper balls into the trash can and work those wheels on the chairs in preparation for the obstacle course. Pull out your boots and make plans to shimmy into the dance in those suede jackets.

We look forward to seeing you at this year's festivities. Please call the Chamber if you have any questions.

 

Jump into January by setting financial goals

By Margaret Kral

Special to The SUN

Everyone wants to jump into January and get started on brand new set of New Year's resolutions.

With holiday bills arriving in the mail and tax season underway, it's a good idea to make sure those resolutions include taking a fresh look at your financial picture and setting new financial goals and habits for 2007.

Yet for many, the idea of a personal financial review lapses into February before dropping off the calendar entirely. The reason? They don't know where to begin. Here are a few ideas to jumpstart your financial planning:

Talk to your banker

One way to stay committed to "jumping" into a new financial plan is meeting with a personal banker or financial advisor. Just like staying on New Year's diet, a little support and guidance from a "coach" can help you put together a great plan and turn it into a new, effective financial strategy.

Set goals

When it comes to achieving financial success, you need to know where you are headed. Write down your financial goals - down payment on a home, college education for the kids, paying off high credit card balances. Add short-term goals such as saving for vacation because early success can encourage you to keep going long term. Some financial institutions offer online tools that allow you to establish savings goals and easily monitor your progress toward reaching them. Be specific about the amount you will need and the target date for reaching each goal, then set up a savings plan that will get you there. It's important to mark key dates on the calendar and track progress with your saving goals.

Take stock

Add up all your expenses - receipts, checkbook entries and credit card purchases - for at least a month. Again, some financial institutions have online tools to help track your spending. Ask your banker or financial advisor about the ability to monitor transactions. With many online services, you can download transaction records directly to personal finance software, making it even easier to monitor your costs - no more sifting through shoeboxes stuffed with receipts at tax time. What's more, online services could help you reduce taxes by keeping track of every deductible expense. Make two lists of expenses - essentials such as mortgage, taxes, food and insurance, and non-essentials (or at least more flexible costs) such as entertainment and clothing.

You may be surprised at how much you're spending on the non-essentials. After you've taken stock of your expenses, it's important to continue to keep track of your finances. Sign up for online banking and online bill payment services, which allow you to set up automatic payments for recurring expenses.

Cut costs

How can you save when you spend every dime to meet expenses? Look again at those costs, you might find considerable savings.

For instance, does your financial services company have a relationship approach to service? In other words, does the company offer you more value and discounts, in time and money, the more business you do with them? Be sure to ask your financial services company about its relationship approach and what you need to do to qualify for relationship benefits that may help reduce or even eliminate fees or to enjoy "perks" like 24-hour customer service and free online services.

Also, talk with your insurer about how you can lower your insurance costs - and shop around for discounts. For example, many insurers offer a discount if they insure your home and your vehicles.

You don't need to live like a miser to trim dollars from your monthly expenses, yet you do need to pay attention to every purchase and avoid impulse buying.

Cut credit card debt

The most recent statistics show that consumer credit debt in the United States totals nearly $660 billion, and the average amount of credit card debt per household is about $8,400. According to the Federal Reserve, more than 40 percent of American families spend more than they earn.

If you have large credit card balances, consider a home equity loan to pay them off. The interest likely will be lower than that of credit cards, and your tax adviser can tell you if the interest qualifies as a tax deduction.

If a home equity loan is not an option, you still can pay down the balances. Pay the minimum on the lowest-interest cards and as much as you can on the higher-interest cards until they're paid off.

Start saving

Start now, even if it's just a few dollars a week. Ask your financial adviser about 401(k) and other direct-deposit accounts that move money straight to savings or investment funds. This process makes savings much easier, and a 401(k) can cut your tax bill. If your employer matches your 401(k) savings, try to have the maximum deducted each pay period.

Be flexible

Treat yourself to small splurges, once in a while, and don't get discouraged if an unexpected expense throws you off budget one month.

Now isn't that worth a few hours of your time in January?

Margaret Kral is Wells Fargo's Community Bank president for Southwest Colorado.

 

People

Cards of Thanks

O'Caña family

On behalf of the O'Caña family, we would like to thank the following for all their support during this difficult time with the passing of our parents, Darrell and Sophie O'Caña: Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Father Carlos, church/kitchen help, Guadalupanas, Joseph Rivas and band, Hood Mortuary, Century Telephone for donations, Pine Ridge, September's work for all donations, spouses, family, friends, Teresa Lucero, Susie Candalaria, Jenny Bell, and all those who donated food and offered condolences.

We realize many have traveled a lot of miles to be with us during this difficult time.

 

Cross country skiers

The cross country skiers of Pagosa and the many visitors to this area would like to extend our thanks to Norm Vance and Dick Cole who unselfishly have given their time and use of their equipment to groom the West Fork Nordic ski trail. We would also like to acknowledge the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce for helping support this effort. Any donations would be greatly appreciated to defer fuel expenses at the Chamber.

Sincerely,

Guiseppe and Maureen Margiotta

Sports Page

Pirate boys return to hardcourt action this week

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' varsity basketball team returns to competition this weekend, after three weeks off from play, with an away game against Kirtland Central tomorrow and a home rematch against Farmington Saturday.

Coach Jim Shaffer said he was glad his team did not have a game scheduled last week, giving his athletes more time to get back in shape, after the holiday break.

The extra week was also fortunate, since starting center (and leading scorer) Caleb Ormonde came down with a sprained ankle early in the New Year. Without a game last week, Ormonde will likely only miss the non-league matches this weekend, before returning for league play next Friday, against Centauri.

Kirtland Central, tomorrow's opponent, is quick and shoots the basketball well, said Shaffer. As a 4A team, they should provide good competition as the Pirates get back to form.

The Pirates' home game Saturday against Farmington will be their second matchup this season. The Pirates won the first game in December, 51-43, against the larger New Mexico school, in Farmington.

Pagosa is 8-0 after December play, and they will be difficult to beat during the league season, which begins next Friday at home against Centauri. The Pirates are favored to win the Intermountain League and could challenge their own third-place state finishes of the last two years.

But the team is not quite back to speed, said Shaffer, and will use the games against Kirtland and Farmington, as well as three weeks of practice in the New Year, to round into top form.

Tipoff against Kirtland Central will be at 7 p.m tomorrow. The Pirate home game against Farmington will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday.

 

Pirate girls lose to Alamosa, Kirtland on the horizon

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate girls' varsity basketball team jumped to an early lead last Thursday against Alamosa, only to give ground in the second and third quarters and yield to the larger school in the fourth, losing 58-40.

Alamosa's full-court press forced Pirate turnovers throughout the game and prevented a successful half-court offense from developing. The home team only infrequently had scoring opportunities from the paint, and scoring threats like Kristen DuCharme and Camille Rand were limited to six and four points, respectively, though DuCharme did lead the team with five steals.

DuCharme has been successful from the paint this year, turning feeds and rebounds into points to become the team's second-leading scorer. Rand, whose quick athleticism has made her a top rebounder and slashing scorer, accounted for 24 points during a single game of the Wolf Creek Classic.

Though the team had a tough time getting the ball to forwards, Jessica Lynch had a strong showing as a scorer from the point guard position, putting 19 points into the bucket and leading the team.

The Pirates started quickly, with a 7-0 run into the fourth minute of play - on the strength of a Lynch three-pointer and twos from Lyndsey Mackey and DuCharme. The game seesawed briefly, as Alamosa came to within one (7-6), but the Pirates made another run (7-2) to end the quarter, the last basket coming on another Lynch three.

But after the quick start, the Mean Moose defense dug their hooves in during the second quarter, holding the Pirate offense to 10 points, compared to 17 in the quarter for Alamosa.

Alamosa's effort gave it the lead for the first time in the last minute of the half, after key threes from its guards. The score at intermission was 25-24.

Alamosa slightly increased its lead in the third quarter, scoring 14 points to the Pirates 13, but the Pirates were still in position for a comeback, after Lynch hit another three (her fourth of the game) to pull Pagosa within two.

But the urgency of the situation was apparently too much for the Pirates in the fourth. In tandem with Alamosa's defense, the Pirate offense hurried shots and didn't take the time necessary to set up or convert plays.

In the fourth, Pagosa scored only three points, on a Lynch two-pointer and Mackey free throw, while Alamosa scored 19, to close the game with a 58-40 win (after playing keep-away and running down the clock in the last two minutes).

The loss put the Pirates at 5-4 for the season. They will play tomorrow night at Kirtland Central, starting at 5:30 p.m., followed by another game against Kirtland at home next Tuesday, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Kirtland series will be the last games before league play begins next Friday, at home against Centauri at 5:30 p.m.

Centauri won the Intermountain League title last season, along with the state championship, though the Pirates upset the Falcons in the District tournament. Centauri lost four starters and will likely not be quite as good as they were last year, said Pirate Coach Bob Lynch, though they should still be strong competition with their "pressing, running style."

If the Pirates beat Centauri, it will be a good start to league play, which will determine their playoff hopes.

Hopefully, a successful Kirtland series will provide momentum.

 

Pagosa hosts Invitational, takes to the road

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

There are few sports as difficult, and as unforgiving, as wrestling.

There are few sports so clear, so immediate. Nor are there many sports that, on the surface, seem so simple but, in reality, blend the obvious with so much that is subtle.

To excel takes strength, agility, a large measure of toughness and courage, and long hours of practice and experience - to be a journeyman, much less to excel.

It takes time.

It is the experience, hard-earned, and persistence and patience, that are staples in the Pirate wrestling team's competitive diet these days. This is a team with many youngsters on the roster, each in his own way faced with a fundamental sporting truth: if you pay your dues, develop the discipline and exert the energy, if you absorb your instruction and adapt, if you labor to overcome adversity and loss, you succeed. Otherwise you quit, you lose.

It is a worthy challenge.

Saturday, the Pirates hosted the Rocky Mountain Invitational and the athletes had yet another opportunity to face the challenge. While snow on the Front Range kept at least one team - Air Academy - from making the trip to Pagosa, there was plenty of competition at the event. Plenty of excellent teams and accomplished wrestlers.

Plenty of lessons to be learned.

At this point in the Pirates' season, some of those lessons are as seemingly insignificant as a wrestler finding a way to remain competitive another minute into a six-minute match.

That's what it takes for the majority freshmen and sophomores in the sport. And most of the Pirates are freshmen and sophomores.

When the dust cleared at the end of Saturday's fray, a talented Bloomfield N.M. team had captured the tourney crown. At the far end of the standings were the Pirates.

The thing the two teams have in common: Three years ago, the Bloomfield Bobcats were a team of youngsters - freshmen and sophomores - at the tail end of the tournament standings. The time and effort has paid off for Bloomfield. As it can pay off for the Pirates.

"There were a lot of times we were competitive during the first half of the match," said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky. "That's an improvement from, say, the Warrior Classic (prior to the holiday break), where we were competitive in the first two minutes of a match. You take one small step at a time. I figure if you're competitive in the first two or three minutes, you can be competitive through the third round."

A number of the Pirates were able to sustain their efforts and win matches.

Cole Mastin won a match at 119 pounds, getting a first-round consolation victory over unattached wrestler Mario Espinosa at 3 minutes, 9 seconds of the match. Mastin finished eighth in the weight class.

Sophomore Mike Smith took third place at 152, with three wins and one loss. Smith began with an 18-1 technical fall over Antonio Escojeda, of Aztec, N.M. The Pirate faced John Lavengood, of Durango, in the second round of championship bracket action and forged a 16-3 major decision over the Demon. Smith's one loss came to Kedric Curtis, of Monticello, Utah. In the battle for third place, Smith again dominated an opponent on the way to a win - this time Tyler Finch, of Piedra Vista, N.M. Smith took third with a convincing 17-6 major decision.

"Mike placed the highest for us," said the coach. "He had only one breakdown, in the semifinal match. He did well."

Joe DuCharme was also 3-1 at the Rocky, taking fifth place at 145. The sophomore Pirate drew a first-round bye, then faced Cris Leyva, of Piedra Vista, losing a 15-9 decision. Dropping to consolation, DuCharme recovered nicely, pinning Isaiah Serrano of Espanola Valley at 1:30. Next up for DuCharme was Aaron Heredia, of Monte Vista. The Pirate nailed a 15-3 major decision and advanced to the fifth-place match against Ronnie Goodman, of Durango. DuCharme finished his tournament with a 13-7 decision.

Three other Pirates medaled at the Rocky, courtesy the brackets. Caleb Burggraaf was fourth at 171 , Pat Ford was eighth at 189, Joe Hausotter fourth at 275.

Pirates getting in valuable action at the tournament, with two matches each, were: Shasta McMurray (103), Caleb Pringle (125), Quinn Griffen (130), Dillon Sandoval (135), Waylon Lucero (140) and Andrew Carroll (160).

"One thing our guys need to continue to work to learn," said Janowsky, "is to be open-minded and realize they can win despite their ages - by being competitive, by competing the whole time. This is a tough thing to learn; you can't do it in one practice or at one tournament. It happens a bit at a time. And it's something that will haunt you until you correct it, or you graduate. There were guys we should have beaten, but we didn't. However, I did see greater effort Saturday than I did Friday (at the Rocky Mountain Duals). We're improving, hanging in longer. I'm pleased with our guys for that; it takes courage to hang in there for six minutes and now we're extending into the second half of matches. We're getting there."

And getting there, in this toughest of sports, is an accomplishment. One step at a time.

That next step could occur Saturday as the Pirates motor to Alamosa, for the Alamosa Invitational.

Always a rough affair, the Alamosa tournament this year seems more loaded than usual.

Beside the hosts and the Pirates, the lineup this year includes Alliance, Neb.; Aztec, N.M.; Broomfield; Delta; Douglas County; Durango; Mesa Ridge; Montrose; Piedra Vista, N.M.; Pueblo East; Rock Canyon; and Thunder Ridge. The matchup of Alamosa and Broomfield - two of the best teams in the state - should highlight the action.

Wrestling, on three mats, starts at 9 a.m. with finals tentatively set for 5 p.m.

"It looks to me like one of the toughest fields they've had over there," said Janowsky. "Alliance is a good, strong program. It will vary individual to individual, but overall the tournament should be an opportunity to practice what we've worked on during the week. The Alamosa tournament is always the peak of our regular season in terms of competition."

The team remains active this week, traveling to Durango Tuesday to dual the Demons at 6 p.m.

 

Pirate wrestlers 1-2 at Rocky Mountain Duals

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

The Pirate wrestling team hosted the Rocky Mountain Duals Jan. 5, a competition that included three New Mexico teams - Espanola Valley, Taos and Bloomfield.

Pagosa finished the evening 1-2, with a win over Taos in the second dual of the evening.

The Pirates started the night battling Espanola Valley. Of the 30-42 loss, Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky said, "A twelve-point margin in dual meet scoring is a matter of a swing match or two. We would have liked to have had that one, for sure, but we let it get away from us."

Two Pirates won matches against Espanola Valley: Dillon Sandoval at 135, with a pin at three minutes, 53 seconds, and Joe DuCharme at 145, with a pin at 3:32. The Pirates got other points on forfeits at 130, 189 and 275.

The 55-24 win over Taos came on the heels of the Pirates winning more matches wrestled than Taos, and receiving points on forfeits at 130, 140, 160, 171, 189 and 275.

Victories were earned by Cole Mastin at 119, with a pin at 3:59; Caleb Pringle at 125, with a pin at 1:15; DuCharme at 145, with a technical fall, 22-9; and Mike Smith at 152, with a pin at 4:27.

The final dual of the evening was a disappointing venture for the home team, ending with a 3-72 loss to a very strong squad from New Mexico. Pagosa's only win, and only points, came on an 8-6 decision by DuCharme, at 145.

"We could have had a couple other wins against Bloomfield," said the coach. "We were in the matches at 125 and 140 for a while, and we were disqualified for a slam at 152. Those could have made it a bit more interesting, but Bloomfield is a good team (good enough, in fact, to go on the next day to take first place at the Rocky Mountain Invitational).

"Overall," said Janowsky, "considering our age, and considering we had only three days practice before the duals and the tournament the next day, we had some decent matches. But, inconsistency has to be a big concern for us; one guy will wrestle well, and another won't. We can't get momentum going, and we need to develop that ability in order to get better and to succeed."

Following the weekend's action, Pirates went back to the wrestling room, and to the weight room, in preparation for Saturday's Alamosa Invitational, featuring 12 teams and some of the most difficult competition the Pagosans will face during the regular season. Action at Alamosa begins at 9 a.m.

Tuesday, the team is back on the road, for a dual meet at Durango, beginning at 6 p.m.

 

Season's first Fun Race at Wolf Creek Ski Area

Results of the Jan. 6 Fun Race at Wolf Creek Ski Area are as follows:

- Boys 6-8 - John Patterson, Pagosa Springs, 1 minute, 42 seconds.

- Boys 12-14 - Lucas Morelock, Pagosa Springs, 36:25; Ian Patterson, Pagosa Springs, 45:39.

- Boys 15-17 - Jacob Haynes, Pagosa Springs, 36:48; Matt More, Pagosa Springs, 42:82.

- Boys 18-20 - Paul Muirhead, Pagosa Springs, 33:01.

- Men 21-25 - Colin Batterham, Australia, 34:16; Daniel Patterson, Pagosa Springs, 37:95; Jason Pecoslo, Pagosa Springs, 1.08.

- Men 26-30 - Justin Slawson, Pagosa Springs, 44:52; Jason Slawson, Pagosa Springs, 1.2.

- Men 31-35 - Demian Ainther, Albuquerque, N.M., 41:25.

- Men 41-50 - Bill Newcomb, La Veta, 31:13; Ruben Whonout, Texas, 35:34; Mike Haynes, Pagosa Springs, 35:84.

- Men 51-60 - Jim Hicklin, Pagosa Springs, 36:52; Mike Evans, Pagosa Springs, 39:81; David Smith, Pagosa Springs, 40:16.

- Men 61-70 - Cris Philips, Pagosa Springs, 32:67; Glen Van Patter, Pagosa Springs, 35:45; Klaus Newburt, Pagosa Springs, 37:78.

- Men 71-plus - Sonny Parrish, Pagosa Springs, 34:52; Bryant Lemon, Pagosa Springs, 37:80; Wayne Odom, Colo., 41:65.

- Girls 6-8 - Kathryn Wyrobeck, Minn., 1.01.

- Girls 9-11 - Kerri Patterson, Pagosa Springs, 40:9.

- Girls 12-14 - Olivia Wilson, Monte Vista, 40:04; Abby Hicklin, Pagosa Springs, 41:95.

- Women 21-25 - Patty Slawson, Pagosa Springs, 1.21.

- Women 26-30 - Sara Wisemiller, Lake Tahoe, Calif., 37:06; Ashley Northcut, Flagstaff, Ariz., 43:65.

- Women 41-50 - Julie Morelock, Pagosa Springs, 33:41; Kitzel Farrah, Pagosa Springs, 33:80; Kris Hicklin, Pagosa Springs, 42:31.

- Women 51-60 - Randi Young, South Fork, 33:76; Marry Gamache, Pagosa Springs, 43:74; Sheila Patterson, Pagosa Springs, 45:44.

- Women 60-plus - Lynda Van Patter, Pagosa Springs, 41:37; Carol Ash, Pagosa Springs, 42:55; Judy Clay, Pagosa Springs, 1.08.

 

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Pagosan headed for Hoop Shoot district competition

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

Pagosa Springs was well represented during the regional "Elks Hoop Shoot" free-throw shooting contest held Jan. 6 at Bayfield Middle School.

Anissa Lucero, daughter of Clifford and Gina Lucero, connected on 14 of 25 free throws to take first place in the girls' 10- and 11-year-old age bracket at the annual event, which is sponsored by the Durango Elks Lodge.

By finishing atop her division, Lucero earned the right to advance to the West Colorado District contest, which will be held in Bayfield Jan. 20.

Lucero will face competition from winners in area shootouts held in Grand Junction, Montrose, Delta, Hotchkiss, Ouray, Telluride and Cortez for the right to move on to the state competition in February.

Other Pagosa youths who placed highly at the regional contest were Dean Hampton (second place in boys' 10-11 division), Brooke Spears (second place in girls' 12-13 bracket) and Kain Lucero, who took second place in the boys' 12-13 division.

The recreation department staff congratulates each of these young athletes on their impressive showings during the Hoop Shoot events.

Youth basketball

Players who registered before the deadline for the 9-10 and 11-12 divisions have been drafted onto teams; coaches will be contacting parents over the next few days.

Parents who have not been contacted by coaches as of Monday can call the recreation office at 264-4151 Ext. 232 to obtain roster information.

Schedules for both leagues will be available by Monday afternoon at the recreation office and will also be posted on the department Web page at www.townofpagosasprings.com.

Games in the 9-10 division will be held Tuesdays and Thursdays, while games in the 11-12 division will be slated for Mondays and Wednesdays.

Due to record numbers of teams and participants in both divisions this year, the seasons will likely run through mid-March.

Officials needed

The recreation department is in need of game officials for the 11-12 youth basketball division and would like to hear from anyone with a general knowledge of basketball rules who is interested in officiating in this year's league. Pay scale ranges from $12-$15 per game depending on experience.

If interested, please contact Andy Rice at 264-4151 Ext. 231 or Tom Carosello at 264-4151, Ext. 232.

Christmas tree recycling

The Town is once again conducting a Christmas tree recycling program. Trees can be dropped off at the designated site at South Pagosa Park any time between now and the middle of February. Look for the snow fencing surrounding the drop-off area and the signs posted just off of South Eighth Street.

Please remove all ornaments and trimmings before leaving your tree. Trees will be mulched, and the mulch will be distributed to planting areas in the town's parks.

Skate pond open

The skate pond at the River Center remains open.

Resurfacing of the pond takes place Monday and Thursday evenings through the season.

On the nights we resurface the pond, skating is suspended at 6 p.m. The rest of the time the lights will be on, and skating will be available from dawn until 10 p.m. Please observe any posted changes to this schedule on the signboard by the tables at the pond.

The parks crew will do its best to provide the level of services, as well as the level surfaces, to make the skating experience as enjoyable and safe as possible. The public can assist in this effort by refraining from leaving foreign objects on the ice, and by accommodating the wide array of skill levels and skating styles of their fellow gliders.

See you at the pond.

Sports hotline

General information concerning the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department can be obtained 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 on a weekly basis.

If you have questions or concerns, or need additional information about any of the Pagosa Springs Recreation Department adult or youth sports programs, call 264-4151, Ext. 232.

 

Editorial

Cheers for volunteers

We live in a charitable community. There is a significant num-ber of local residents - full time, part time - who respond to the call, people who give of their time and energy to provide assistance via all manner of activities and programs.

This time of year in particular, we witness a flood of charity, a rush of well-meaning assistance. Volunteers in a variety of civic programs, church-based programs, quasi-governmental and educational programs, extend hands in one way or another to help their neighbors. The reservoir of volunteer help is replenished year after year, drawing as it does on the membership of civic organizations and church congregations, and a constant supply of retired individuals with good hearts.

Our Thanks section in The SUN bears testimony to this phenomenon, featuring regular expressions of gratitude to volunteers and volunteer-driven organizations.

But, rarely do we find open thanks extended to another group of volunteers: Pagosans who give of their time, talents and energy to protect life and property - who often put themselves in harm's way for the sake of others. Most specifically, volunteer emergency medical personnel and our volunteer firefighters.

Members of the first group, though fewer in number than they were years ago, due to an increasingly professional staff at Emergency Medical Services, act as volunteer EMTs for the local health services district, responding when needed to accidents, emergency medical calls of all kinds. A meaningful number of folks in Pagosa Country owe more than mere thanks to these folks. In some cases, they owe their lives to them.

Then, there are our local volunteer firefighters - many of them in service to the fire protection district for decades. Here, the risk of life and limb for a volunteer is tangible and these individuals do not shrink from the prospect. They are there when accidents occur, when rescues are necessary, when flame threatens property. Always.

Their numbers have grown as the district has grown. When the district split from its association with the now-defunct Pagosa Lakes Public Safety Office in 1988, there were 15 active volunteers. In the early '90s when the district absorbed the town volunteer department, approximately 20 more volunteers were on the rolls. As the district expanded to five stations and numerous pieces of equipment, the volunteer firefighter roll grew to its present 60. With a sixth station about to open, the numbers could increase soon. How many of them will you know? How much do you know about what they undergo as part of their volunteer service?

These volunteers spend a great deal of time training to respond to a variety of situations and, under federal mandate following 9/11, their training load has increased. The district now has volunteers trained in wildland and structure fire fighting, in hazardous materials work, in extrication (the district responds to many, if not most local vehicle crashes and collisions) and some are cross-trained as EMTs. Each volunteer firefighter must complete at least 36 hours training per year. Volunteer officers take command of the department from its professional staff (six in all) Friday night, Saturday and Sunday.

And, then, they respond. As Fire Chief Warren Grams puts it: "They're there all the time, during the work day, on holidays, in the middle of the night. Any time they respond." How often? Last year, said Grams, district crews answered 367 calls with volunteers participating in as many as 80 percent of them.

And we are all the better for it, for the effort and dedication of our neighbors who answer the bell.

Next time you see one of our volunteer EMTs or one of our volunteer firefighters, give them the same thanks we accord all the others who make this a most charitable, and safe, place to live.

Karl Isberg

 

Legacies

Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 12, 1917

A general epidemic of la gripe is spreading over Pagosa, keeping the doctors on the bounce and emptying the picture shows and school room.

Dr. Ellsworth is negotiating for a Wright Bros. flying machine and he offers $50 to the person who takes the first flight. He also is agent for a life insurance company and he wants the person to take a policy in his name for $50,000.

J.Q. Vermillion, while county superintendent of schools, declared that the territory south of Blanco Basin, known as the Kohler settlement, was School District No. 18 of Archuleta County. These settlers have been trying to get a school for some three or four years but have been denied it.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 15, 1932

A wind and snow storm that set in Tuesday evening has once more isolated the San Juan Basin from the rest of the country by causing a complete tie-up of railroad and mail service, the release of which is not yet in sight owing to the condition of Cumbres Pass. It is predicted that the blockade will continue until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

Due to the absence of no mail for several days, we are compelled to go to press with very little news. Also, we are delayed in printing due to the non-arrival of our print paper.

A case of measles has been reported in this community - in the Butcher family, who reside in the McGirr building on San Juan Street.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 10, 1957

Winter really blew into the San Juan Basin the first of the week and at this writing, not knowing when it will be printed, it looks as if the storm probably left up to 6 or 7 feet of new snow in places and at least 3 inches everywhere. Here in town, better than a foot of new snow fell and in addition it rained most of the day Tuesday.

Monday was the first regular meeting of 1957 for the town council. One of the problems that took up a good part of the evening was that of cesspools which are overflowing onto private property and into the streets and alleys. The board instructed the town attorney to go ahead with legal action against those cesspools where there had been a complaint made. They felt this necessary to protect the health of citizens.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 14, 1982

Archuleta County, contrary to the national trend, showed a healthy increase in the number of building permits and the dollar value of new construction during 1981. According to a report prepared by Archuleta County Planner Fred Ebeling for the county commissioners, the number of building permits was up 18 percent for 1981 compared to 1980. During 1981, 165 permits were issued compared with 140 permits for 1980. Construction costs for permits issued in 1981 was $14,222,184. The same figure for 1980 was $8,183,200.

Judy Norton-Taylor has consented to be the guest celebrity for the Pagosa Springs Winter Fest. Ms. Norton-Taylor was Mary Ellen on the "Waltons" for nine seasons.

 

Features

Setting The Line An exercise in order

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The histories and myths of the American frontier are a part of our national and Colorado identity. Pagosa school children learn of the military outposts, gold rushes and Native American cultures, while many of their elders can remember an untamed time, before development, tourism and the population boom.

But much of the frontier past was focused, not on the freedom of boundless nature, but on establishing order for the construction and maintenance of civilization. At any moment, we Pagosans can step into the wilderness that nearly surrounds us, but we are also dependent on the order of civilization (for our government, infrastructure and social network).

With potential oil and gas development on the horizon, and after variations in La Plata County's definition of our mutual border, Archuleta County Assessor Karen Prior requested an attempt to stabilize the county line. As a result of the unclear boundary, some property owners were being assessed by both Archuleta and La Plata counties.

The project became the responsibility of David Maley - county surveyor since 1991, licensed since 1984 and active in the field since a teenager in 1966.

To begin his project of establishing the border, Maley first researched county records for any description or definition of the line. As an example of how abstract our geographic order really is, no clear definition could be found - beyond the statutory definition Maley was already aware of, which itself relies on reference to other borders.

The stalemate was ended when Maley noticed a small square on the county line in a National Forest Service Map. The symbol, Maley had a hunch, represented a monument (or border marker), which meant that the county line had been surveyed in the past.

With this bit of information, Maley was able to discover the original survey notes, produced through a survey in 1888 by the La Plata County Surveyor, Blair Burwell.

The seven-pages of handwritten notes describe and define the points along the county line that Burwell marked during his 40-plus mile survey, which began in Hinsdale County and ended at the Colorado/New Mexico state line.

With the notes, Maley was able to retrace Burwell's survey, which established the historical definition of the Archuleta/La Plata county line, in order to solve the assessment problem.

With the clear county line, Prior was able to adjust her assessment of property bordering La Plata County. According to Prior and Maley, it appears likely that La Plata County will also accept the new survey and adjust its assessments.

According to Maley, surveyors prefer to rely on established official surveys, rather than arbitrarily make new borders (which could potentially impact other existing borders). Maley went on to say that about 90 percent of surveying projects involve retracing previous surveys.

Retracing an older survey, especially one more than 100 years old, is much more difficult than starting from scratch. Modern surveying is computerized, utilizing lasers and GPS technology. Burwell's trade, on the other hand, depended on solar observations, the compass and chain measurements. In order to retrace Burwell's survey, Maley could not just take a straight line through the land, with the help of computerized technology. Rather, he had to go where Burwell's 19th century technology led him - along a remarkably, but not exactly, straight line.

Burwell set out to mark the La Plata and Archuleta county lines on July, as defined by Colorado statute. Along with four other men, Burwell completed the assignment in a little less than a month, traversing rugged wilderness and constructing monuments to give greater permanence to the nascent boundary.

In 1888, Archuleta County was a newcomer to the Colorado map, having been formed in 1885 out of the western half of Conejos County - one of the original 17 counties created in 1861 by the Colorado legislature.

Conejos covered most of the southwestern corner of the state, until Hinsdale, Rio Grande and La Plata were separated in 1874. (La Plata would later split, forming Montezuma.)

As the last county to be partitioned out of Conejos, Archuleta's borders depended on those already established. Thus, in stabilizing the boundary between La Plata and Archuleta, Burwell found a starting point from a clearly defined point in Hinsdale County: "a point six miles west of the mouth of Lost Trail creek (sic)," according to the Colorado statutes.

With his four-man crew, Burwell made built a monument in the middle of the Lost Trail Creek delta to mark his survey's point of origin: "Beginning on the north bank of the Rio Grande at a point in the old channel of Lost Trail Creek which point is situate (sic) between the mouths of the two streams of said creek as it at this date divides and empties into the Rio Grande," Burwell describes in his notes.

When Maley engaged in his search for the county line, he found Burwell's original Lost Trail Creek marker intact, and from that position was able to follow Burwell's steps.

From Lost Trail Creek's confluence with the Rio Grande, Burwell used the North Star and prominent landmarks - including "Simpson's Pyramid" and "Table Mountain" - to find a point six miles due west, through triangulation methods, which marked the Hinsdale/La Plata County line, where he placed a monument. "This monument stands at timber line on the Mesa (sic) between the Pine and Vallecito Rivers at a point where said mesa braks (sic) off toward Vallecito river (sic)," he writes in his notes.

Once on the La Plata County line, it was not difficult for the trained surveyor and engineer to find his bearing, since he simply had to head due south, based on solar observations. From his position between the Pine and Vallecito Rivers, Burwell made his way south about eight miles to the Ninth Standard Parallel, where the Hinsdale/La Plata line became the Archuleta/La Plata line. Then he continued southward about 29 miles to the state line. However, though the original bearing might have come easily, Burwell, and Maley after him, would not be able to trace an easy line on cooperative soil.

Burwell's notes show the inevitable: the surveyor's need to bend to the will of the land. Establishing a straight line, in this case, did not mean following the shortest distance between two points. When the lay of the land failed to cooperate, Burwell and his crew had to follow feasible routes, using triangulation to find a point back on the line. Likewise, Burwell attempted to leave monuments at regularly spaced intervals - that is, every mile. But due to geographic formations, the surveying crew placed their mark between miles (while duly marking the divergence), "an intermediate point being impracticable."

The centerpiece of Burwell's monuments are generally a large boulder, buried in the ground and etched with its coordinates, as well as abbreviated references to the counties it stands between. (In areas where stones were unavailable, Burwell would use timber. Burwell's crew also piled a mound of smaller stones, as part of the monument, with a vertical post (of spruce, cedar or aspen) in the midst of the mound. After the monument was formed, the surveyor emblazoned nearby trees with the bearing to the monument.

In addition to the monuments, Burwell described geographic features along, or visible from, the county line in his notes - including cabins, caves, forested areas, ridgelines, mines, creeks, "hog backs," land slides, roads and railroads.

Despite Burwell's efforts, it was not easy for Maley to find all of the monuments. Many along the southern portion of the boundary, between New Mexico and Piedra Mountain, had eroded beyond recognition or been tilled over by landowners. When monuments could not be found (between Piedra Mountain and the state line, for instance) Maley established a straight line between the last discernible markers, thus approximating Burwell's original survey.

Maley determined Burwell's boundary over the course of several months, between June and November of this year. When his responsibilities as county surveyor permitted, Maley would drive to a staging area, from which he would access the approximate location of a monument. He found remnants of most of the markers or bearing trees, with some discovered in tact - 118 years after being constructed.

The most difficult part of the project for Maley was the trek to discover a monument on a spur of Piedra Mountain. This portion of the county line had caused difficulties for Burwell as well, forcing him to establish his monuments at odd intervals and distances greater than a mile.

Maley hiked through the day to climb a quarter mile in about one-and-three-quarter miles - pretty good for an "old" man with a desk job, he joked. On the mountain he found the last extant southern monument before the state line (where he had established the county line based on old general land office records). Finding the Piedra Mountain marker was essential, as a second point to reconstruct the line of the last leg of the boundary.

While Burwell's effort was of a different era, Maley's effort was notable for his dedicated attempt to follow in Burwell's footsteps, as he described his goal. Though he used modern technology when he could, such as a GPS, Maley employed it as an aid in reference to Burwell's notes, in search of the original monuments. Modern technology could have easily drawn a straight, arbitrary line, but Maley took the hard route - like his predecessor.

Unlike other types of engineering, Maley pointed out, surveying is a process of history, since every project goes on record. Thus a boundary is not simply about a line, but about the lines that were drawn, historically. Even though Burwell's survey occasionally diverges from a straight line, due to the technology available at the time, Maley adhered (when he could) to those divergences as the established, historical line.

Maley did not quite understand why so many people have been taken by Burwell's story and his own project. Surveyors, he said, "are dealing with history all the time" - whether making new history by surveying for development or retracing the lines of the past - and thus it does not seem so out-of-the-ordinary to them.

Maley may be modest about the work he did reestablishing the county line, but the survey is a force for order in our community, and even our civilization, while occasionally providing a glimpse of what still exists at the American frontier.

 

Pagosa's Past

Time moves slowly for the Jicarilla

By John M. Motter

Sun Columnist

Soon after moving onto their New Mexico Reservation in 1887 the Jicarilla Apaches set about trying to make a living from the resources found on their new homeland. The only possibilities centered around harvesting healthy stands of Ponderosa timber and extensive livestock grazing.

Finally, in 1894, Congress passed a bill enabling the Jicarilla to sell $20,000 worth of timber to use for launching a cattle industry. Typical bureaucratic shortcomings delayed the actual sale of timber until after 1900. During the interim, the Jicarilla faced starvation.

The failure to sell timber is puzzling when we consider that a booming lumber industry surrounded the reservation at the time. By the early 1890s large mills were making lumber at Rio Brazos south of Chama and at various points along the Chama River from El Vado northward, By 1900 the Biggs Bros. had logged out the Rio Brazos project, operated mills on Willow Creek outside of Chama, operated a mill at Monero, operated a huge mill at El Vado, started a mill at Lumberton which was soon abandoned due to a lack of water, and by 1895 moved into Archuleta County with the state's most modern mill located at Edith in southern Archuleta County.

Time moved slowly for the unfortunate Jicarilla. In March of 1905, the Indian commissioner repeated the same old song for the umpteenth time. He reported to Congress that dire conditions prevailed on the reservation because of allotment confusion characterizing surveys, the unsuitability of the land for farming, and the urgent need to purchase livestock to provide a livelihood for the Jicarilla.

Finally on March, 1907, (the Jicarilla had already lived on the reservation 20 years) a bill was passed to quit all titles to lands on the Jicarilla Reservation. The secretary was authorized to make a new assignment of allotments and dispose of salable timber. On the plus side, the president issued an executive order Nov. 11, 1907, which nearly doubled the reservation area by adding 25 townships to the south.

This addition provided a satisfactory solution to the problem of year-around grazing. The northern part of the reservation was to provide summer grazing for the stock - still not purchased - while the southern portion was to be used for winter range.

The first logging operation began in the winter of 1908-1909. A sawmill with a capacity of 5,000 board feet per day was purchased and began operation in 1910.

The sawmill produced railroad ties, most of which were sold to the Rio Grande and Southwestern Railroad which constructed a spur on the reservation.

The intended livestock distribution did not happen. Stock for individual members was not purchased. Instead, proceeds from the sale of timber were deposited in the United States Federal Treasury in the name of the tribe. Congress did approve a reimbursable government loan from which a flock of sheep and a herd of cattle were purchased. In 1914 - my, how time flies, especially when you hope to feed your children at least once a day - a tribal herd of sheep was purchased for $23,477.50 and in 1915 a cattle herd was bought for $65,000. Both herds remained under management of the Agency, the government agency. Apparently the government did not believe that the Jicarilla were individually competent to care for the livestock, although there were already a number of Jicarilla who owned sheep and cattle.

More next week on the Jicarilla struggle to make a home out of their reservation.

 

Pagosa Sky Watch

Explore the Winter Circle

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The following sun and moon data is provided by the United States Naval Observatory.

Sunrise: 7:22 a.m.

Sunset: 5:10 p.m.

Moonrise: 12:19 a.m.

Moonset: 11:30 a.m.

Moon phase: The moon is at last quarter today at 5:45 a.m. Mountain Standard Time.

Orion takes center stage again in this week's column, as we use the celestial hunter as a landmark and springboard to expand observations beyond Orion and the Winter Triangle to the triangle's parent asterism, the Winter Circle.

Sometimes called the Winter Hexagon, the Winter Circle provides stargazers with an opportunity to explore a vast swath of sky while visiting some of the winter sky's most notable stars and their parent constellations along the way.

To explore the Winter Circle, stargazers should begin their observations after 8 p.m. when Orion, and the entire asterism are well above the eastern horizon. Locating Orion should be a easy. The three, vertically oriented belt stars will be clearly visible in the east-southeast.

Once Orion and his signature belt are located, stargazers can return to Betelgeuse - the red supergiant marking the hunter's left shoulder - and then leap from Betelgeuse down and slightly to the right to Sirius, the alpha star in Canis Major and the brightest star in the sky.

Sirius, as mentioned in last week's column, marks one of three points on the Winter Triangle and our starting point for exploring the Winter Circle.

If you can imagine the Winter Circle as the face of a clock, then Sirius marks roughly the six o'clock position. Moving clockwise from Sirius to the next star in the Winter Circle asterism, stargazers will find the now-familiar Procyon - the eighth brightest star in the sky, the alpha star in Canis Minor, another key point in the Winter Triangle and one of the seven stars in the Winter Circle.

Together, Canis Major and Canis Minor represent Orion's faithful hunting dogs.

From Procyon, the tour continues in a clockwise fashion to roughly the nine o'clock position and the stars Pollux and Castor, the famous twins in the constellation Gemini.

On the Winter Circle, Pollux is the lower and the brighter of two stars, burning reddish orange at a magnitude of 1.2. Pollux is the brightest star in Gemini. Just above Pollux lies the star's twin, Castor, although the pair are twins in the mythology only and not in physical appearance. For example, whereas Pollux shimmers reddish-orange, Castor blazes away as a magnitude 1.6 blue-white star. In addition, the pair lie at different distances from Earth - Pollux at 34 light years away and Castor at 52. Furthermore, although Castor appears as a single star to naked-eye observers, those with telescopes will learn that Castor is actually a fascinating six-star system. And depending on the telescope's aperture and magnification, some observers may be able to resolve the Castor system into all of its components.

Moving around the circle to the 12 o'clock position, the next destination is Capella, the alpha star in the constellation Auriga, the charioteer.

Capella, like most stars in the Winter Circle, ranks among the top ten brightest stars in the sky, and at magnitude 0.08, places sixth in the celestial hierarchy.

Capella lies 42 light years away and although the naked eye perceives Capella as a single star, it too is part of a binary system whose two yellow giant stars orbit each other every 104 days.

Moving from Capella to the two o'clock position, stargazers will find Aldebaran, the alpha star of Taurus and a shimmering red orb marking the bull's glowing eye. Aldebaran is an orange giant fluctuating between magnitude 0.75 and magnitude 0.95.

Just a few degrees directly above Aldebaran, and a side trip well worth the effort, stargazers will find one of the night sky's prettiest objects - M45, the Pleiades, or Seven Sisters. The Pleiades appears as a cluster of blue-white stars arranged in a tiny dipper shape.

The last star on the Winter Circle tour, brings the stargazer to the four o'clock position and back to Orion and the night sky's seventh brightest star - Rigel - a brilliant blue white supergiant, marking the hunter's foot.

Although Rigel is Orion's beta star, at magnitude 0.2 it trumps Betelgeuse's luminosity and is the brightest star in the constellation.

With the tour complete, those viewing with a telescope or binoculars can return to the Pleiades, pay a visit the Orion Nebula, or the Hyades, a spectacular open cluster of about 200 stars found in Taurus.

 

Weather

 

Date

High

Low

Precipitation Type

Depth

Moisture

1/3

41

8

-

-

-

1/4

44

8

-

-

-

1/5

31

17

S

6"

.05"

1/6

28

-9

S

1"

.01"

1/7

30

-8

-

-

-

1/8

36

-3

-

-

-

1/9

47

6

-

-

-

 

Heavy mountain snow possible, clearing by Monday

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

In the first 10 days of 2007, high temperatures in the Pagosa Lakes area ranged from a cool 28 degrees last Saturday, to Tuesday's toasty 47 degrees.

Last Thursday's low reading of 8 degrees felt balmy, however, compared to Saturday's 9 below-zero. Overall, since Saturday, temperatures have gradually warmed under sunny skies and light breezes.

Last weekend's winter storm brought the month's only precipitation thus far, with six inches piling up Friday evening, and another inch falling early Saturday. According to local weather guru Toby Karlquist, the snow totaled just .06 inches of actual moisture.

As of midday yesterday, National Weather Service forecasters were calling for increasing cloudiness last night and this morning, with a chance of snow by noon. Depending on the track of this approaching storm, the southern mountains may see significant snow accumulations through Saturday, into Sunday.

There is a 30 percent chance of snow today, with the likelihood increasing to 60 percent by this afternoon and evening. Snow will continue tomorrow and tomorrow night, with a 70 percent chance of amounts exceeding 2 to 4 inches. Snow is likely Saturday, with a 60 percent chance of further accumulations, and light snow and snow showers should continue into Sunday night. The surrounding mountains could see heavy snow throughout the forecast period.

According to the National Weather Service forecast over the next five days, temperatures will fall rapidly, beginning with today's predicted high of 38 degrees. Tomorrow through Tuesday, high temperatures will steadily fall from the upper to lower 20s, while lows will dip below zero by Sunday. Sunday and Monday will be "two-cat" nights, with temperatures dropping to around 5 below.

The sun should return by Monday, Martin Luther King Day, but temperatures will rebound slowly through the week. By the time the next edition of The SUN hits newsstands, the thermometer will finally top the freezing mark, as a slight warming trend pushes readings into the high 30s over the next few days.

Meanwhile, by 7:18 a.m. yesterday, the Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 6 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit, with 66 inches midway.