February 1, 2007

Front Page

Big tax hikes ahead

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

Archuleta County taxpayers could face a 50 to 65 percent increase in property taxes for 2007 according to Archuleta County Assessor Keren Prior.

"This is a huge whammy. Some areas won't be hit as hard, some will be hit harder," said Prior.
Prior conveyed the information to county staff, elected officials and eight citizens during the first Archuleta County "County Hall" meeting Tuesday evening in the courthouse.

During the meeting, Prior said the forecasted property tax increases are due to a surge in vacant land and improved property sales between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, and was fueled largely by the land sales efforts of National Recreational Properties Incorporated (NRPI).

Prior said she observed the California-based company buying properties in the Pagosa Lakes area, then turning and selling them in the spring and summer of 2005 for two and three times the original price.
The company used an aggressive multi-state television ad campaign, including offers of free trips to Pagosa and a "Fly Before You Buy" program to sell the properties.

Prior said those sales led to increases in surrounding property values, with land values ultimately averaging 100 percent increases and home values increasing 50 percent between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006.
Prior described NRPI as the "driving force" behind the initial sales frenzy and the overall escalation in property values, but added that subsequent sales compounded the market increases.

"A lot of sales from NRPI were unqualified, but then the properties were sold again and again, which set the market," Prior said.

Prior explained qualified sales are "arm's length," non-incentivized transactions, and that an analysis of qualified sales is what assessors across the state use to set values.

"These are the sales that we saw, and that's what I had to use, qualified sales," Prior said.
Prior said a preliminary analysis of sales between Jan. 1, 2005, and June 30, 2006, indicated valuation hikes up to 118 percent, yet disqualification of some initial NRPI sales led to an 18 percentage point drop. She said she is still crunching numbers for final notices of valuation that will be sent out in May.

"The qualified and unqualified portion of the project is done. Although, I'm still looking at neighborhoods, and economic areas, and will keep the public abreast of any changes," Prior said.

Prior said the increases in valuation will hold for two years, but in 2009, taxpayers should see a plateau effect.
"In the future, what I see is a leveling off and not such a sales frenzy," said Prior.

But the increases in value cut both ways. For the seller, increased valuation means a higher asking price when they attempt to sell their land or home. For the taxpayer, the sting of a nearly doubled tax bill is likely to smart. The winner in the end, however, may be Archuleta County.

According to Prior, based on a 100-percent increase in land valuation, a 50-percent increase in residential housing valuation, and a county mill levy fixed, per Ballot Issue 1A, at 18.233 mills, the county could take in $7.5 million in property taxes for 2007 - roughly $3 million more than will be collected for 2006.

With potentially $3 million more in the coffers, audience member John Bozek asked County Administrator Bob Campbell how, in the light of Ballot Issue 1A and the commissioner's letter of commitment, the county planned to distribute the extra revenue.

According to the letter of commitment, dated September 2006, "500,000 or 40 percent of the extra property tax revenue (1A funds), whichever is greater," will be used to maintain county roads in 2008. During the same year, the letter pledges 20 percent toward parks and recreation, 20 percent toward general county services and 20 percent toward architectural plans and the public planning process involved with building a new jail and sheriff's facilities.

According to the letter, the spending pledges operate on a number of assumptions, among them, a 30-percent increase in net assessed valuation and a total of $1.3 million in extra property tax revenue.

Responding to Bozek's question, Campbell said the county is committed to the $1.3 million estimated revenue as outlined in the letter.

Commenting on voter approval of Ballot Issue 1A and the impact the projected valuations will have on the county and the taxpayer, audience member J.R. Ford said, "We did it to ourselves. The values are the values."

County limits campus options

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

The Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners narrowed site options Tuesday for a new courthouse and jail from four down to three, and committed to pursuing the construction of a county campus rather than a split facility.

Eliminated from the running was the use of the county's Hot Springs Boulevard property, which, with its limited acreage and strict deed restrictions, make it unusable for jail or law enforcement activities and insufficient to accommodate projected facilities growth.

Archuleta County Administrator Bob Campbell said estimates indicate 12 acres are necessary to meet the county's present and 20-year projected growth needs. The Hot Springs Boulevard Property is 4.77 acres.

With Hot Springs Boulevard eliminated, the commissioners directed staff to explore costs associated with building at Mountain Crossing, located at the southeast corner of U.S. 84 and U.S. 160, the Goodman Property, located at the southwest corner of U.S. 84 and U.S. 160, and on a portion of the Archuleta County Fairgrounds.

Commissioner Ronnie Zaday asked staff to look at each option as a 12-acre campus site which would include administration, courts, the jail, sheriff's department and a senior center.

Both the fairgrounds and Mountain Crossing have sufficient acreage and those cost estimates are complete. Current estimates for the Goodman Property assess costs associated with acquiring and building on a four-acre parcel. Thus, availability and costs associated with acquiring additional acreage must be factored in to make an even comparison between the three sites.

According to James Lichty, of Archetype Design Group, the firm working with the county on planning and designing the new facilities, the fairgrounds option allows for a variety of campus configurations.
"It's kind of exciting with this acreage. There's a lot of potential here," Lichty said.

However, and according to J.R. Ford, the decision to build on the land in question is ultimately up to the Western Heritage Event Center board of directors and Pagosa Springs Enterprises, who together, must decide whether trading or selling land to the county, or any other entity, in exchange for an indoor arena on the site is the appropriate course of action.
Ford said the board will grapple with the question Feb. 8. Depending on their decision, the fairgrounds could remain, or be eliminated from the mix.

Mountain Crossing also remains a possibility, although during two public meetings in January, questions arose whether environmental cleanup issues remain on the site. The Mountain Crossing property was once the home of a sawmill.

Jeff Knuckles, a managing member of the Mountain Crossing property owners group said more than $1 million had been spent about five years ago for environmental cleanup, and that the property has a clean bill of health. He added he has full documentation to support his assertion, including an asbestos closure report.

Town Manager Mark Garcia said the annexation agreement between the town and the Mountain Crossing property owners mandated a full environmental cleanup and that the owners of Mountain Crossing met that condition.
"I believe they satisfactorily met the requirements of the annexation agreement. It's been the town's assumption all along that they have submitted the proper information for the site cleanup."

Campbell said if Mountain Crossing is a finalist, then the county would ask for the site cleanup documentation and undertake soil sampling.

"We're going to be well educated consumers," said Archuleta County Special Projects Manager Sheila Berger. "We don't take expenditure of public funds lightly."

And that according to Campbell will be the case with any site finalist. Once a choice is made, county staff will explore access, environmental and other issues and will work to negotiate the best possible terms.
Current estimates indicate between $22 and $24 million for construction of the new facilities.

Town receives Corps permit for river work

By James Robinson

Staff Writer
Kayakers and rafters could find more fun in the San Juan River in downtown Pagosa Springs this year, following installation of two new U-drops near this site. The Town of Pagosa Springs has received the go-ahead from the Army Corps of Engineers to proceed with work in the river. It is expected that efforts this spring will produce the U-drops, an ungrouted control structure just upstream of the pedestrian bridge, and bank stabilization below the current drop structure in the river.

Inside The Sun

Planning commission to consider subdivision proposal

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

The preliminary plan for a 52.3 acre subdivision proposed for a site adjacent to Piedra Road, and geared toward aging active adults, will go before the Archuleta County Planning commission Feb. 14 at 6 p.m. in the courthouse.

Called TreeTops of Pagosa, the development calls for 176 dwelling units and 140,000 square feet of commercial space roughly four miles up Piedra Road from U.S. 160 and just south of the Coyote Cove subdivision. The development is on the west side of Piedra Road (County Road 600).

Archuleta County Associate Planner Jason Peasley said the Feb. 14 event marks the project's first public meeting and that the planning commission will undertake both a preliminary plan review and will hear a rezone request. He said because the project is a planned unit development (PUD), the preliminary plan review and the rezone request run concurrent.

According to Peasley, the project includes a variety of housing types and a strong mixed use component such as retail or commercial square footage at street level, with residential space above. He said the project also includes a centralized area that includes a mixed use streetscape and limited free standing commercial space.

Peasley said discussions to date indicate a variety of commercial possibilities such as restaurants, grocery and office space, but that a large format retailer or gas station weren't part of the mix.

"What we're not looking to do is get a Big Box out there," Peasley said.

According to Peasley, the project is the first PUD to go through the new land use regulations adopted in May 2006. And he added that county staff is working to fine tune both the process and requirements for PUDs.

"This is the first PUD with the new regulations. That, in and of itself, is a new challenge," Peasley said. But he added that the new regulations, as written, were up to the task.

"This will go through the full process just like a subdivision, like Coyote Cove," Peasley said.

TreeTops of Pagosa is fronted by TreeTops of Pagosa, LLC. The limited liability corporation consists of nine members, including Archuleta County Commissioner Ronnie Zaday and her husband, Dick Zaday, of Zaday Home Builders.

Commissioner Zaday said the corporation owns the land and she is an investor in the group. She added that Zaday Home Builders is likely to participate in construction operations on the TreeTops project.

"I am not involved in the financial part of the board. I don't make the financial decisions," Commissioner Zaday said. "I'm overseeing the project as it goes through the engineering and design phases."

In a letter dated Jan. 24, 2007, and delivered to The SUN, Zaday acknowledges her membership in the development group and pledges to recuse herself from all planning decisions linked to the rezoning and subdivision development process. In the letter, Zaday also pledges not to participate in ex-parté communication.

"I want everyone to be aware that I am involved in the project, so that there is no hint of impropriety or conflicts of interest," Zaday wrote.

The planning commission preliminary plan review and rezone request is open to the public and public comment will be heard.

 

All mobile machinery now subject to tax

By James Robinson
Staff Writer

According to county clerk and recorder June Madrid, the reach of a county pilot program designed to collect unpaid Special Mobile Machinery Taxes got a boost following the last Colorado legislative session.

The Special Mobile Machinery (SMM) tax works much like a motor vehicle tax in that it requires businesses and citizens to register and pay fees with the county clerk for mobile machinery such as backhoes, bobcats and loaders. As alternative to paying the SMM tax, mobile machinery owners can list the equipment as personal property with the county assessor.

Under the tenets of previous SMM regulations, if the equipment never left one's private property, payment of SMM taxes was not required. Now, said Madrid, following changes during the last legislative session, all mobile machinery, regardless of its location or type of use, is subject to the tax.

"The law now reads that all equipment must be registered or on the tax rolls, regardless of the purpose or use of the equipment. So the rule saying 'if it never leaves your property,' no longer applies," Madrid said.

Madrid added that, contrary to popular opinion, defunct or little-used equipment is subject to the same SMM rules as active an operation equipment.

"Some people are under the impression that if the equipment does not run or sits idle you do not have to keep the registration current. This is wrong. It is the same as your motor vehicle. Whether it is running or not, the taxes are due. If you pay late, back tax is added," Madrid said.

In order to register the machinery with the county clerk, a dealer invoice or a dated bill of sale is required. For machinery purchased out of state, proof of when the equipment entered Colorado is required.

"Even equipment brought in from New Mexico must be registered," Madrid said. "You have the option to go through port-of-entries and purchase a partial registration. If you are bringing heavy equipment into Colorado, you should be stopping at a port-of-entry. You're inviting trouble if you bypass this step."

Special Mobile Machinery sticker or plate fees vary according to the item's age, purchase price, and weight. Generally speaking, newer, heavier and more expensive items pay higher registration fees.

Current Special Mobile Machinery taxes for some of the most common equipment found in the county include: $82.13 for a 1986 Kubota tractor; $292.46 for a 1993 Caterpillar backhoe and $497.12 for a 2001 John Deere backhoe.

"It still figures, pricewise, that it is less money to register the equipment in the clerk's office rather than having it added to your property taxes," Madrid said.

Barely a year has passed since the pilot program's inception, and in that time Madrid said, two county employees have been searching for unregistered equipment. Those efforts, Madrid indicated, have resulted in the collection of more than $100,000 in taxes. Madrid said the $100,000 is beyond what was paid in voluntary registrations and renewals.

Madrid said she intends to sustain the effort throughout 2007, and that failure to pay after being notified by county staff will result in impoundment.

Impound fees are currently $150, but once impounded, machinery owners will also be required to pay the necessary registration fees before the equipment is released.

For more information on the Special Mobile Machinery tax, contact the county clerk at 264-8350.

 

Town seeks volunteers for code committee

The Town of Pagosa Springs is seeking volunteers to serve on an advisory committee to assist with revision of the town's land use and development code.

Potential volunteers should know the town's current land use code, have experience in applying land use codes, be keenly interested in town development issues or have other applicable experience.

Qualified applicants should submit a letter of interest to the Town of Pagosa Springs Planning Department no later than 4 p.m. Feb. 9. Letters may be sent via mail to P.O. Box 1859, or e-mailed to Town Planner Tamra Allen at tamra.allen@centurytel.net.

For more information, contact Allen at 264-4151, Ext. 235.

 

School district asked to create new Wellness Committee

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

Ronnie Doctor and Crista Munro, representatives of a group of parents interested in improving nutrition and wellness in Pagosa schools, submitted a proposal Monday to Archuleta School District 50 Joint to reestablish a district Wellness Committee to "work toward achieving the goals of the district Wellness Policy."

The district's wellness policy, which sets goals and guidelines in the areas of general wellness education, nutrition and physical education, was instituted last July, after being constructed by a previous Wellness Committee made up of school nurses, physical education teachers, representatives from district food services, administrators and parents.

Since its implementation, the policy has been under the oversight of the District Accountability and Accreditation Committee (DAAC).

Doctor and Munro's proposal would give direct oversight of the wellness policy to the new Wellness Committee, which would then report to the DAAC, while working with the accountability committees of individual schools.

Munro said the reestablished wellness committee was necessary, because the DAAC has too many responsibilities to fully address nutrition and wellness in the district.

It would also ensure community involvement, which was stressed when the wellness policy was originally established, said Munro.

Doctor and Munro's proposal calls for the committee to include physical education teachers from each school, food services representatives, counselors from each school, school nurses, teachers from each school, and students and parents from each building.

Munro said that parents advocating for wellness and nutrition changes in the district have not made the impact they would have liked, since their nutrition group is not formally recognized by the school district. However, a wellness committee (as proposed by Munro and Doctor) would give parents, and even students, a way to work toward positive changes.

Before preparing the proposal, Doctor and Munro met with Superintendent Duane Noggle to discuss the issue. "We had a good conversation and talked about progress that has been made," said Noggle.

The proposal was presented to and discussed with principals at a district meeting with Assistant Superintendent Bill Esterbrook Wednesday, in order to obtain the principals' feedback.

Noggle said the decision, whether or not to begin a new Wellness Committee, would be made collectively. "We need to run it by (the principals) because it would affect staff from their school, who would be serving on the committee," said Noggle.

Noggle said there are already many committees on which staff are expected to serve, and the original decision to place the wellness policy under the control of the DAAC was made to avoid creating an unnecessary committee to take up the time of educators.

However, Noggle agreed that it is important to ensure that there is a forum for P.E. teachers, nurses and food service personnel to express their views - and was willing to consider, with principals, whether a Wellness Committee would be a useful addition to the district.

Noggle said the district would likely have a better idea of how it will proceed with a Wellness Committee after another meeting with principals in two weeks.

louis@pagosasun.com

 

Boy Scouts are 'Scouting for Food' Saturday

By Bob Hogrefe
Special to The SUN

Boy Scouts across America are participating in the annual Scouting For Food drive starting Saturday, Feb. 3.

Please be on the lookout for food bags placed at doors this Saturday. The bags will be picked up after 9 a.m. the following Saturday, Feb. 10.

This food drive will collect nonperishable foods that will be distributed locally to a variety of church food programs for the needy.

Food can also be dropped off at the Community United Methodist Church, 434 Lewis St., at any time.

Thanks a million in advance for your help.

 

Fund-raiser Feb. 10 and 11 for Lorraine Gurule

Snowmobiles and food - at a "piping" hot fund-raiser for Lorraine Gurule, Feb. 10-11.

Lorraine Gurule was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2006 and she has undergone several surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and physical therapy, and has had many doctor visits. Lorraine is a native of Pagosa Springs, graduated from Pagosa Springs High School, and is employed by La Plata Electric Association (LPEA). She has recently returned to work part time, but the medical bills are numerous.

Family and friends are serving lunch and hosting a bake sale for Lorraine Gurule and her family during the Winterfest Snowmobile Races Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10 and 11, at the Archuleta County Fairgrounds Extension Building on U.S. 84.

Everyone is invited to celebrate life, have fun and enjoy some authentic Spanish food beginning at 10:30 and served until gone. The Garcias will have the fryer hot with fresh fried bread, and the Gallegos family will be serving Navajo tacos, beans, green and red chili, chili beans, posole (pork/harmony stew) and hot dogs with all the fixings. Hot and cold drinks will also be available along with baked goods featuring Pagosa's best brownies, cakes, cookies and tortillas.

Contact Margaret, 264-2970, or Tessie, 731-9244, for more information about the lunch or bake sale. Contact Pam Lloyd, 731-5740, for details about snowmobile racing.

Please keep in mind that at sometime in our lives, someone has helped us. It is now up to us to help a family in need.

 

Child Find meeting to be held in Pagosa Springs

San Juan Board of Cooperative Educational Services will host a meeting to discuss Child Find, the identification and service requirements for parentally placed private school students who may be currently identified or suspected of having a disability.

The meeting will take place at 2 p.m. Feb. 13 at Our Savior Lutheran Church, 56 Meadows Drive.
R.S.V.P. to Sally West, Child Find administrative assistant, 247-3261, Ext. 146.

 

Intermediate school honor roll

The first quarter honor roll for students receiving all A and A/B honors at Pagosa Springs Intermediate School was released this week.

Fifth-grade students receiving straight A's (GPA 4.0) are: Kylee Bonnell, Emily Bryant, Devyn Doctor, Rose Graveson, Julia LeLievre, Grant Logan, Anissa Lucero, Mesa Lynch, Lindsay Martinez, Mariah Mondragon, Sierra Monteferrante, Ruby Pacheco, Colton Polczynski, Lorenzo Quezada and Cheyan Rice.

Sixth-grade students receiving straight A's are: Keith Archuleta, Tristen Bennett, Kitman Gill, Kain Lucero, Nikolas Monteferrante, Gabrielle Pajak, Jason Reece, Samuel Sarnowski, Toni Stoll and Tyler Talbot.

Fifth-grade students receiving A/B honors are: Rachel Barksdale, Tessa Bush, Lane Chavez, Cassandra Daignault, Jesus Dominquez, Jacob Fortney, BaiLee Gallegos, Tyler Greenly, Jessy Hampton, Luke Hanse, Joshua Harwood, Shawnee Koster, Allison Kuhns, Maria Marchand, Mikaela Marchand, Ana Martinez, Kiva Maxwell, Kyler McKee, Randi Mettscher, Braden Mitchell, Devin Mulbery, Maya Novak-Herzog, Amber Onello, Sierra Perdee, Richard Peterson, Jose Ramirez, Jesse Richardson, Cheyenne Rosser, Richard Salas, Dean Scott, Taylor Strohecker, Clint Walkup and Samuel White.

Sixth-grade students receiving A/B honors are: Satara Arthaud, Sable Baxstom, Heather Brooks, Ashlyn Burch, Emma Donharl, Garek Erskine, Angela Gallegos, Zachariah Griego, Dean Hampton, Amber Hanley, Brannon Harbur, Kylie Johnson, Jaime Kirkland, Alyssa Lee, Megan Loran, Travis Loran, Christopher Mannara, Hannah Matzdorf, Mandon Miller, Peter Morey, McKenna Putnam, Benjamin Reece, Linda Rivas, Clay Ross, Jonah Sanchez, Kendra Schlom, Elijah Stephens, Brandon Thomas, Isaiah Thompson and Lauren Toomey.

 

Women Helping Women to hold pajama party fund-raiser

By Louis Sherman
Staff Writer

A Pagosa group dedicated to giving support to women diagnosed with serious illnesses will hold a movie and pajama party fund-raiser Monday, Feb. 5, at the Liberty Theatre.

Women Helping Women, a network of Pagosa women institutionally supported by the Community United Methodist Church, provides financial gifts, rides to Durango for treatment and "emotional support" to women who have illnesses such as cancer.

Seven women, identified by word of mouth, have benefitted from the group, which now hopes to extend its network and enable continued support with the help of the fund-raiser.

"We want women to know there is someone out there that cares for them," said JoAnn Laird, who cofounded the group with Joanne Irons.

According to Irons, the group was started to provide better support for women in the community, while being "better girl friends."

If women were to do more things together while healthy, they could be more help to each other when something bad happens, said Irons.

The fund-raiser will include a classical Hollywood "chick flick," said Laird, and will double as a pajama party. All attendees are invited to wear their most comfortable attire in a show of camaraderie.

All proceeds will go to the charity, since there are few expenses entailed in organizing the event.

"It's a good way to formally get out the word," said Laird.

Women Helping Women also hopes to use the evening to sign up new members.

Tickets are available for $25 at Galles Properties, next to the theater. Laird directed interested women to buy their tickets in advance, because they will not be sold at the door. Ask for "Doris," the seller's code-name, and the password is "Rock Hudson," said Laird.

Only women are invited to attend. The fun will begin Monday at 7 p.m.

 

Local students to take 'European Odyssey'

By Chuck McGuire
Staff Writer

This summer, a group of local teenagers will embark upon a 20-day "European Odyssey" that will afford them firsthand knowledge of the long history and colorful cultures of France, Italy and Greece. Meanwhile, to pay for the trip, fervent fund-raising efforts continue.

The trip is part of the People to People Ambassador Programs founded by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956. This year, 40 U.S. students in grades 9 through 12 - including nine from Pagosa Springs - will tour the three Old World countries, while spreading good will and establishing lifelong friendships in a shared quest for world peace. Throughout, they'll be accompanied by four teacher leaders.

"I have long believed, as have many before me, that peaceful relations between nations require mutual respect between individuals," President Eisenhower once said.

According to the People to People Web Site, America's 34th president believed that ordinary citizens of opposing cultures, when given an opportunity to communicate directly, could solve their differences and find ways of living in harmony. While expressing those beliefs at a special White House gathering of national leaders in 1956, the president first established the People to People Ambassador Programs.

The People to People mission initially evolved around close communication and personal exchanges between citizens of contrasting societies. In 1963, however, the programs were broadened to include the Student Ambassador Programs, which have since taken thousands of young Americans abroad, and across our own continent, to learn "what it means to be a good neighbor and a global citizen."

Of the 40 students participating in this year's journey, 37 are from the Southwest and include Ashley Iverson, Amber Lark, Jessica Low, Jennifer Mueller, Amanda Oertel, Sarah Sanna, Natahna Sell, John Sharp and David Smith of Pagosa Springs. Two of their four teacher leaders are Pagosa residents, Bill and Cindy Nobles.

To qualify as a student ambassador, a youngster must first be nominated by someone (often anonymously), then complete a detailed application. He or she must attach three letters of recommendation, with two being from teachers, and submit to a personal interview. If chosen, the student must commit to paying shared costs of the venture, and attend five in-depth, pre-trip orientation meetings.

During pre-trip meetings, students learn to act as a team, while developing citizenship responsibilities. They acquire diplomacy and communication skills, and increase global awareness, by brushing up on current events, geography, government and world economics. Between meetings, they complete applicable assignments.

Once underway, student ambassadors will fly to Paris to visit historic galleries, the Eiffel Tower, architectural structures and cathedrals, and take in some of the world's most important art exhibits. Splitting up, each will spend three days learning French culture with an individual host family, before rejoining the group and moving on to Italy.

Tours of Venice, Pisa and Rome will afford them such sights as the Basilica di San Marco cathedral, the Bridge of Sighs, the Venetian canals, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. They will take in the Roman Colosseum, St. Peter's Cathedral, the Pantheon and the Spanish Steps before moving south to Mount Vesuvius and the ancient city of Pompeii.

An overnight ferry will carry the ambassadors to Patras, the second largest port in Greece. From there, they will venture forth to Olympia, where the first Olympic Games were held in 776 B.C. While touring Athens, they will visit a 4th Century B.C. amphitheater and the Acropolis, with its famous Parthenon. Before heading home, they'll even spend a day on the beach at the Mediterranean Sea.

Throughout their journey, student ambassadors will act as more than simple tourists learning about the places on their itinerary. As a "give and take program," they will also share much of what they know about their country and way of life in the southwest with those they meet along the way. In the process, and after meeting academic requirements, they will also earn high school credit in "Ambassadorial Studies."

Certainly, such adventures don't come cheap. With travel expenses totaling $5,900 for each ambassador, students are now engaged in a number of fund-raising activities to help offset costs.

Bake sales have generated some revenue, and food concessions at a recent Lake Pagosa ice-fishing tournament have also helped. Sales of premium candies ($15 a box) have been somewhat beneficial, and should increase around Valentine's Day. The group is hopeful that food sales at an upcoming Lake Hatcher ice-fishing tournament will contribute further, while more bake sales and spring car washes are planned soon.

For anyone interested in owning a goat, or those definitely not interested in owning one, local resident Shelly Low is heading up a goat raffle to help fund student travels.

Raffle participants can purchase one or more tickets for $10 each, and enter either their own name, or the names of others. If a person has been entered in the raffle, but wishes to be excluded, he or she can pay $15 for "goat insurance," resulting in immediate name withdrawal. Of course, if someone else enters that person again, more insurance will be required. "Permanent" insurance is available for $25.

If anyone wishes to assist student ambassadors with travel expenses, Low is graciously accepting monetary contributions. Donors can contribute by contacting Bill and Cindy Nobles at 459-4030, or calling Shelly Low at 946-0930.

Outdoors

San Juan Outdoor Club scholarship program in eighth year

San Juan Outdoor Club 2007 scholarship applications are available to eligible high school seniors.

Applications can be picked up at the office of Pagosa Springs High School Counselor Mark Thompson on or after Feb. 5. Completed applications are due March 28.

Thanks to the generous donations of time and money by members, the San Juan Outdoor Club Scholarship Fund will provide a total of $5,000 for college scholarships to selected Pagosa High School seniors this year.

The scholarship program was begun in 2000 as an extension of the club's mission to protect and maintain the environment as well as educate and involve community members in outdoor recreational opportunities. Scholarships are financed through SJOC fund-raising activities, including the Ski and Sports Swap, ATV registrations during the hunting season, as well as through members' contributions.

In 2006 there were 15 applicants. The five winning applicants received scholarships of $1,000. each. Virtually all those applying had demonstrated high levels of academic performance and participation in school and/or community activities. Active participation in outdoor recreational activities and an interest in maintaining the environment was another common trait among the applicants.

Scholarship applicants must be registered and attend an accredited college or university within the next year. Each applicant must meet scholarship requirements, write an essay around the theme of contributing to the community and the environment, provide letters of recommendation and be interviewed by the SJOC scholarship committee. Committee members (all former educators) this year are Sara Scott, Sally Hanson and Gary Hopkins.

Completed student applications are turned in to Thompson. They will include grade transcripts, SAT and/or ACT test scores, essays, a resume of school and community activities, work experience (optional) and letters of support from teachers, employers or other community members. The scholarship committee will review the applications and select finalists who will be interviewed in April. Interview questions will revolve around the candidate's selection of college and major, career choice, and plans for future community, recreational and environmental involvement. After the interview ,ranking charts are completed by committee members and the scholarship winner(s) are selected. The award certificate(s) will be presented at the high school graduation ceremony.

 Catch and Release

The language of the night

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The three-quarter moon throws long shadows across the snowy landscape - human, canine, canine, canine, the manic chiaroscuro of a gnarled cottonwood. With the moon blazing overhead and thick blankets of snow on the ground, the landscape is bathed in muted hues of bare steel and indigo. Muted. Like Miles Davis' harman mute and Coltrane's velvety tenor in "Blue In Green." It's all tactile, and muted, like indigo moonlight from a three-quarter moon. It's all, kind of blue.

As I walk, the soles of my boots cut precise, waffle-shaped patterns in the crusty snow. As the treads grab, they speak a strange, creaking language, like ravens telling ancient riddles while poised on power poles in autumn's amber light. Cr-a-a-a-a-a-ck, says the raven, and in the crusty snow, my boots are engaged in cruel mimicry. Murakami had his wind-up-bird, and now I have my own.

We plod on, up the two-track and around the pond. The going is good and I sink only occasionally in a knee-deep posthole. From time to time, I look back, stop, wait, and herd the dogs like a devoted shepherd. Coyotes wait across the icy river, yapping impatiently. The sound of their heckling tells me they are close, and all that separates us is a thin stand of willows and an icy river. In the darkness, I imagine them, nose to the ground, working a scent, searching for a place where the ice has fused - a place where they can cross. The dalmatian does the same, and when she catches their scent, she stops, lifts her right front leg and points. She is motionless, statuesque. It is only ice on a river that separates the wild from the domesticated.

As we walk along the edge of the pond, the coyotes follow on the far side of the river, yapping all the while. And if ravens tell their ancient riddles like tired, squeaky springs, then coyotes yap like frat boys chuckling at the same tired prank. But when a coyote howls, that is another story.

At the far end of the pond, we cross the spillway, then zig-zag through scrub oak and spiky brambles to the cottonwood grove, and as we do, we leave the coyotes behind. When we enter the cottonwood realm proper, we find scores of massive twisted trunks standing like cruelly misshapen monoliths - their bark is corrugated with rough, sinewy tendons. When I run my fingers over the bark, the texture is firm and resolute, like a Hammurabic code hewn into stone. When we pass the place where the elk bed down, the dalmatian samples the latest vintage of elk scat. She sniffs, nibbles, and finding the marble sized morsel to her satisfaction, dives in for more, chewing enthusiastically.

We cross the clearing and make again for the river. When we arrive, we find the channel almost completely buried beneath a heavy sheath of ice. Closer inspection reveals just a three-foot wide ribbon of black, free flowing mountain water. We stop and listen. The river gurgles and splats like unruly plumbing, and unlike last year, it refuses to go silent. It babbles impatiently, in defiance of the season.

I've been seeking silence for weeks. I need an aural tonic to cool the stress that runs through my temples like megawatts blasting through high-tension power lines. But even under the cover of darkness, ice, and a Taureg-blue, three-quarter moon, not even the river will cooperate. I listen. Like an incessant, almost inaudible bass note, the ice heaves and moans, then pops sharply. It sounds impatient. I'm impatient.

We turn from the river and follow our tracks back through the cottonwoods; my boots speaking in strange, creaking raven language. Orion, with his star-studded belt, and Sirius stand high over my right shoulder, they point the way home. In the distance, high above the valley now, coyotes continue their cacophonic chorus. River ice pops like gunfire. I give up on silence and talk to the dogs as we plod along, my heart pounding out an impatient rhythm, that I hope will lead us to spring.

Letters

Fences and horses
Dear Editor:

I want to thank Mr. Bramwell for his article last week about livestock laws. His timing could not have been more perfect, as my neighbor for the past 4 1/2 years has felt that it is okay to let his horses run at large through the neighborhood and down a dangerous County Road 700. Last Wednesday night, again, his three horses were out, this time the gelding got tangled in my fence line. My boyfriend drove up that evening and saw the neighbor's horse caught in the fence with the other two loose on the road. He informed the neighbor, then went back to help the horse. As the neighbor and his son walked up, the horse bolted over the fence into my pasture nearly trampling my boyfriend. The horse was left in my pasture with my two horses overnight and the neighbor promised to remove him before he went to work the next day.

This is not the first time this has happened; it happens all the time. I have asked and begged the neighbor to fix his fences, shut his gates, water his animals, feed his animals. I have reported incidents to the authorities countless times. They tell me it is my job to fence them out. My neighbor's three-strand "legal" barbed wire fence, leaning and is broken in most places, has not done its job keeping his thin-skinned horses in. The next morning when he did not come for his horse and the other two were still out, my boyfriend called the authorities and this time they came out.

Animal control was first, then a sheriff's deputy and finally, the brand inspector, who out of all of them had the legal authority to solve the problem, yet did nothing but tell me my fences were not legal. I asked them all to notice that it was not my horses that were out. It is the neighbor horse that got out of that so-called "legal" barbed wire fence and is now sporting cuts on three legs (that same brand inspector could not get close enough to the neighbor horse to see those cuts, but the animal control officer did). Not only did this horse, with two pasture mates, get out of a fenced pasture, he did considerable damage to my fence line by getting caught in it. And still my horses, along with his horse, are secure in my "non-legal" four-strand fenced pasture.

The last thing I asked the brand inspector was how well he knew my neighbor, and in front of the whole gathering of five people, he denied knowing him at all, yet this same brand inspector left before the neighbor, who was contacted, was on his way. Since the brand inspector had left by the time the neighbor showed up, no horses were confiscated, no legal action taken, and no warnings issued - for letting animals run at large, not providing fresh water, adequate feed, and not maintaining "legal" barbed wire fences. The animal control officer did his best, even the sheriff who did not know Colorado fence law did his best. But the man who had the legal authority to solve the problem, the brand inspector, left early without even talking to the neighbor whose horses were running at large.

I am disappointed in the brand inspector. My animals mean too much to me financially and emotionally. I care if they get fence cuts. I care if they have heated water in the winter. I care if my animals have enough hay to eat. I would not behave this way to my neighbor. What gives him the right to behave this way toward me? In 1889, barbed wire was the answer to the fence problems of that time. Has anyone noticed we live in the now and the problems of today are a little more complex? Fence laws can and do need to be amended to solve the issues of today.

Sincerely,

Jenny Lee Hall

Editor's note: According to Jim Bramwell, it remains Colorado law that an owner is responsible for fencing his or her property to prevent animals from entering.

If an animal is continuously running at large, the animal's owner can be held liable for damage done to other property. In such a case, it is the brand inspector's job to identify the animal. The legal matter is then civil in nature, the responsibility of the complaining property owner.

Big Box issue

Dear Editor:

The Big Box issue.

Folks, this community has been hearing, writing, meeting for almost two years on the Big Box issue. My last reading in The Pagosa SUN after a county commissioners' meeting on the subject, sounds like we are hearing the issue for our first time. Only about 15 folks attended the county commissioners' meeting. Why - because I believe people are burnt out on the subject. We even had a mailed out survey. Did the surveys get put in the round file? If not, what a good source to let county commissioners, county planners, town, hear/read it again.

Most folks do not want the Big Box - haven't you seen the saying, "Keep Pagosa, Pagosa?"

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Time served

Dear Editor:

With eager expectation, I look forward to viewing the next photo of our Archuleta County commissioner, Robin "Road Warrior" Schiro, with some political figure in Colorado government. The Jan. 25 SUN picture of Schiro saddled up to Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman and his wife in Denver was just lovely.

However, as a local voter, I could honestly care less about the Road Warrior's consistent and intense drive to get her mug familiar to others in the state's political arena at some victory celebration. Wonder how many days Schiro has spent away from her elected position as the Archuleta County commissioner in the last year?

Sure would like to see the Road Warrior resign so she could spend all the time she needs on the road pursuing her politico falling star. Then her party could draft someone else from the county who believes in serving the local taxpayer five days a week just like every other county employee.

Today, there is very little doubt that any door of opportunity won't open unless you do some pushing. With a little luck, I think it's time that the Road Warrior pushes her collapsed opportunity down the road - the sooner the better.

Jim Sawicki

Preview Calendar

Today
Outdoor club

The monthly meeting of the San Juan Outdoor Club will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Pagosa Springs Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard. A presentation on sports medicine will be provided by Dr. Matt. The yearly calendar of outdoor activities with sign-up sheets will be available. For information, call Bob Harrington, president, at 264-4145. Visitors welcome.
Feb. 4
Pagosa Singles

"Pagosa Singles will meet for dinner, 5 p.m. at Dogwood Cafe. All singles 40-plus are invited. R.S.V.P. at 731-1803.
Feb. 6
Community choir

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir will meet at Community United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. for registration and their first rehearsal. Registration is easy: There will be a small form to fill out and a $20 fee will help offset the cost of the music.
Feb. 10
Valentine's Dance

Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge Band from Durango will provide music at the community center, 7-11 p.m.
This is the center's first fund-raising event of the year. Sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, beverages, a dessert bar and a cash bar will be available.
Cost: $25 per person in advance and $30 at the door. Purchase your ticket, and reserve a table for 10 people. Tickets will be available at WolfTracks, the Chamber of Commerce and the center Jan. 29. Call the center at 264-4152, or Siri at 731-9670.
Feb. 14
Woman's club

Pagosa Springs Woman's club meets the second Wednesday of each month. Dues for the year are $12. This month's meeting is at JJ's Restaurant at 11:30 a.m. Cost of is $10 and reservations are a must. Guest speakers will be Susan Little, who will talk about The Eagles Nest Orphanage, and Luke Baxstrom, who is a Pagosa Springs People To People student Ambassador. If you have any questions, call Cathy Rose at 731-0791.
Feb. 24
Simulcast event

Beth Moore Live Simulcast Event, based on her new book "Get Out of That Pit," music by Travis Cottrell, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Centerpoint Church (formerly First Baptist Church), 2750 Cornerstone Drive.
Tickets are $20 (includes brunch. R.S.V.P. by Feb. 19. A reservation is required for childcare.
For additional information or tickets contact Centerpoint Church at 731-2205.

Submit your calendar items to editor@pagosasun.com, mail them to The Pagosa Springs SUN, P.O. Box 9, Pagosa Springs CO 81147, or deliver them to The SUN office, by noon Monday.

   Community News

Red Shoe Duo plays Pagosa
By Jeni Middendorf
Special to The PREVIEW

Treat yourself to a "red hot" night of music Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Pagosa High School auditorium with the Red Shoe Duo. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the performance begins at 7:30.

The Red Shoe Duo, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano, formed in the fall of 2003 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. They are dedicated to performing the great standards of the repertoire, while avidly championing contemporary compositions. Tischhauser and Campi are currently faculty members at Fort Lewis College where they maintain active teaching and performing careers.

This is a fund-raising event to raise money for the construction of a new Senior Center in Pagosa. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for Seniors Inc. members, $10 for children ages 8 to 12, and children under 8 years of age are free. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center located in the community center at 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

A portion of this magnificent program is devoted to the historic dances of Europe and Eastern Europe. The Gavotte and dances in the Bach Suite are all very symmetrical in nature and could be classified as "courtly" or "sophisticated." The Bulgarian dance is on the other end of the spectrum. It is a peasant dance in irregular meter.

"Variations and Fugue on a theme by Handel, Op. 24," by Johannes Brahms is on the program. Brahms composed the virtuosic set of continuous variations in 1861, when he was only 28 years old. It was composed for his friend, Clara Schumann, who later performed the piece in Hamburg. The theme is borrowed from an aria in George Frederic Handel's "Harpsichord Suite in B-flat," composed in 1733. The original piece by Handel contained five variations. Brahms, on the other hand, composed 25 variations and an extended fugue based on the original theme, in which he explores chromatic chords and key areas, huge orchestral textures, hemiolas and syncopated rhythms, and a myriad of romantic colors and moods.

Ginastera (1916–1983) wrote three "Pampeanas" for varied scorings, each intended to evoke the essence of the Argentine plains. He wrote: "Whenever I have crossed the pampa, my spirit felt itself inundated by changing impressions, now joyful, now melancholy, produced by its limitless immensity and by the transformation that the countryside undergoes in the course of the day ... from my first contact, I desired to write a work reflecting these states of my spirit." Throughout "Pampeana No. 2 (1950)" Ginastera exploits characteristic Argentine dance rhythms - the estilo, which moves first in a slow 4/4, then a fast 6/8; and the malambo.

The performers

After receiving both the bachelor of music degree in cello performance and the bachelor of arts degree in applied mathematics from East Carolina University, Katherine Jetter Tischhauser earned the master of music and in 2003 the doctor of music degree in cello performance from Florida State University. She did her primary musical training with Selma Gokcen, Andrew Luchansky and Lubomir Georgiev. She has performed in master classes of Janos Starker, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Channing Robbins and Stephen Doane.

Tischhauser's chamber and solo experiences include performances with the International Cello Festival Master Classes in Kronberg, Germany, the Killington Chamber Music Festival, the Alfred Chamber Music Institute, the Florida State New Music Festival, the Red Shoe Trio (Fort Lewis Faculty Trio), the Alexander Murray Recital Series, and the Amical Ensemble. She was the cellist for the Camellia String Quartet for two years during which time the ensemble placed in the finals of the Carmel Chamber Music Competition.

In the position of principal cellist she has played in the Florida State Symphony Orchestra, the Showcase Chamber Ensemble, and the San Juan Symphony. Other orchestras Tischhauser has been a member of include the Tallahassee Symphony, the New Carolina Sinfonia, the Tar River Orchestra, the National Opera Company Orchestra, the Music in the Mountains Festival Orchestra, and the Santa Fe Symphony.

Currently, Tischhauser resides in Durango. She is associate professor of cello and music theory at Fort Lewis College. In addition to her duties at the college she actively teaches in the Four Corners area through private lessons and the Conservatory Music in the Mountains. Her performance schedule is filled with solo recitals, Red Shoe recitals, the San Juan Symphony, the Showcase Chamber Ensemble, and the national touring Amical Ensemble. She is currently recording a second album with the band Formula 151 and is an active performer with the group. She is the secretary of the Colorado ASTA with NSOA chapter and is an active clinician in Colorado and New Mexico. Dr. Tischhauser is frequently asked to present clinics at state and national string conferences. She has done extensive research on contemporary techniques in string literature and cello pedagogy.

During the fall of 2006, Tischhauser was on sabbatical from Fort Lewis College, on a national tour performing and researching cello literature. Upon her return, she took over the position of department chair.

Lisa Campi is the assistant professor of piano at Fort Lewis College where she performs, accompanies, teaches private and class piano, theory and history. She was previously an assistant professor of piano at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.

Campi has performed and adjudicated throughout North America, and has given lecture recitals for such organizations as the National Music Teachers Association. She has played recitals for the Chautauqua Institute in New York, the Scotia Festival of Music in Nova Scotia, for CBC radio, for the National Public Radio on WBFO: for the "Opus, Classics Live" series at the University of Buffalo, and for the "Piano Bench" series on KPBX, Spokane Public Radio. A native of Silver Spring, Md., Campi received her bachelor's degree from Indiana University, her master's from the University of Maryland, and her doctorate from the Eastman School of Music where she studied with Rebecca Penneys. Campi was the pianist for the Taliesin Piano trio which participated in the National Endowment for the Arts/Chamber Music America rural residency in Blytheville, Ark., and which founded the concert series, "Composers, in their Own Words."

Campi is the co-artistic director and pianist for the Clock Tower Chamber Music festival, and she founded, directed and adjudicated for the Four Corners Piano Competition at Fort Lewis College. She also currently serves as the keyboardist for the San Juan Symphony Orchestra, and regularly performs as the pianist for the Red Shoe Duo. She is a vigorous advocate for the music of our time, has performed a wide range of solo and chamber works by leading contemporary composers, and has been associated with several modern music ensembles, including "Ossia" in Rochester, N.Y., and "Zephyr" in Spokane.

All proceeds from the concert will benefit The Den and the Fort Lewis Scholarship Fund. Join us Thursday, Feb. 8, for an evening of celebrated music with the Red Hot Duo and help support The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center's expansion to continue to provide activities and services to our ever-growing community.

 

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.

 

Woodwork Percussion Ensemble thrills local audience

By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW

Last Saturday's concert in Pagosa by the Woodwork Percussion Ensemble was greeted by enormous enthusiasm.

The audience's high level of appreciation was reflected back by the performers. "I must tell you, it's palpable: your engagement and enthusiasm," said Dr. John Pennington, the ensemble's director, towards the end of the performance. "It's a great feeling and we're very pleased to be here."

The concert featured an extremely diverse selection of musical styles. The ensemble's level of musicianship was quite astounding.

Pennington is an orchestral percussionist who has been influential in building a greater appreciation for the fine art of percussion through his teaching, recording and worldwide performing. He is a music professor at Ft. Lewis College.

Featured in the concert was a world premier of the piece entitled "Contrinuum," written by Pennington. With Pennington on frame drum and the rest of the ensemble playing hand held metal percussion bars, the otherwordly sound produced had the flavor of Indonesian Gamelon on high octane.

Performing with Pennington were some of the college's top music students: Philip Peters, Michael Pratt, Sean Statser, Chance Harrison and Grayson Andrews. These students are preparing themselves for careers as concert performers.

Their extraordinary concert, here, left no doubt that these students will be successful in their chosen field.

The Woodwork Percussion Ensemble is result of Pennington's innovative educational program in which students develop their creative abilities through learning, composing, improvising, recording and performing.

The concert was sponsored by Elation Center for the Arts. Arrangements are being made for a future return engagement.

 

ECA free workshops

Elation Center for the Arts offers two free workshops, Feb. 10 and 17.

Carla Roberts presents "The Irish Bodhran," a history and basic playing technique, at 10 a.m. Saturday Feb. 10.

In Irish music the bodhran is the round frame drum played with a "beater or tipper" that gives the dance tunes their rhythmic drive. There will be a selection of drums to play on during this hands-on session. Call 731-3117 to sign up and receive directions. This workshop is appropiate for ages 10 thru adult.

On Saturday, Feb. 17, at 2 p.m., "An Introduction to Hand Drumming and Other Percussion" at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse will give participants a chance to see and play a wide variety of percussion instruments. Besides many unusual drums such as the Indian tabla and African clay Udu, facilitator Carla Roberts will have marimbas, hammered dulcimer, mbiras and more for everyone to play and experiment with. All ages are encouraged to attend this free workshop.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision. 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.

 

Winter Song, a community celebration

By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW

Elation Center for the Arts presents Winter Song, a community sing-along, potluck and social, 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Let's come together to sample each other's cooking, sing some songs, swap howdy's and make new friends.

Pagosa's legendary John Graves will be on hand to crack a few jokes and get us all singing. Mountain Musicians will kick up some those good old-time tunes to get us hopping around. And there will be plenty of hand percussion instruments to play.

We'll begin with the food part, so bring plenty of grub. A suggested donation of $5 for adults goes towards rental of the clubhouse. Children with parents attend free.

For more information about how you can help with this joyous community celebration, call 731-3117.

 

Community Choir to begin spring concert rehearsals
By Matthew Lowell Brunson
Special to The PREVIEW

The Pagosa Springs Community Choir will meet at Community United Methodist Church at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 for registration and a first rehearsal.

Registration is easy: there will be a short form to fill out and a $20 fee will help off set the cost of the music given to each participant. All you need is a love for music and a committment to attend almost every rehearsal from Feb. 6 to the concerts in May.

Director Larry Elginer has selected many new songs for this year's spring concert, and all are sure to please.

If you have any questions, call Matthew at 903-1183. Come and join the fun!

 

Express yourself with a Cupid Classified

By Robbie Schwartz
Special to The PREVIEW

Don't miss out on a unique way to celebrate Valentine's Day with the ones you love. Send a Cupid Classified and tell the world who you love and appreciate.

A Cupid Classified is a classified ad that will be printed in The SUN Thursday, Feb. 8.

It is a great way to surprise your loved one with a simple poem or prose. Your loved one may have read the Cupid Classifieds in years past and wished that you would send them one, so make this year the year you remember those you love in this special way.

A Cupid Classified is always the right size and costs only 30 cents a word with a minimum of $6 per ad. It is a special gift that fits every budget.

The deadline for Cupid Classifieds is noon, Feb. 5, at The SUN office at 466 Pagosa St.

Forms are available at The SUN, the Humane Society Thrift Store and the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center. Or, simply write your special Cupid Classified on a piece of paper and take it to the SUN office before the deadline.

All proceeds are donated by The SUN to the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs to help the homeless animals in Archuleta County.

For information call 264-5549.

 

'The Healing Power of Music' at UU service

For the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship service on Sunday, Feb. 1, Paul Roberts, local musician, teacher, entrepreneur and co-founder of the Elation Center for the Arts will discuss "The Healing Power of Music," based on his experiences working in the field of music therapy.

As he became involved with psychiatric patients at McLean Hospital in the 1960s, he was struck by the significant improvements which music was bringing about. With the help of his teacher and mentor, Morrie Schwartz, of Tuesdays With Morrie fame, Roberts went on to become active as a music therapist.

The service begins at 10:30 a.m. in the Pagosah Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall, Unit 15, Greenbriar Plaza. Child care and/or the Religious Education program for those 3 years old and up is offered every Sunday, except the second Sunday of the month, which is devoted to a meditation service.

Turn east on Greenbrier Drive off of North Pagosa by the fire station, then left into the back parking lot and look for the big sign. All are welcome.

 

Lifelong Learning lectures resume in Pagosa Springs

By Biz Greene
Special to The PREVIEW

The spring schedule of Saturday afternoon Lifelong Learning lectures at the Sisson Library is now taking shape, and will again feature speakers from the Professional Associates of Fort Lewis College.

Two of the Mesa Verde Centennial Book Series lectures, sponsored by Colorado Humanities, the Ballantine Family Fund, BYU Charles Redd Center and the La Plata County Historical Society will also be featured, opening the Lifelong Learning lecture series. March 3 and 10.

The lectures and programs that launched Lifelong Learning in Pagosa last fall attracted 376 local residents for topics such as preserving western history, creative expression in old age, writing your memoir, sudoku, and how an artist looks at art.

All lectures and programs are free and open to the public.

Valentine's Dance at community center

By Siri Schuchardt
Special to The PREVIEW

Put on your dancing boots and head to the Pagosa Springs Community Center's Valentine's Dance Saturday, Feb. 10, with music by Tim Sullivan and Narrow Gauge, one of the area's premiere country western bands.

Tim Sullivan has appeared on stage with such well-known artists as Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Alan Jackson, Glen Campbell, and Tammy Wynette. He has won a Songwriter of the Year award in Massachusetts for his song "Dance In The Rain," and is featured on the soundtrack of a new motion picture, "Follow Me Outside." Tim is an entertainer and songwriter who has performed from Los Angeles to Manhattan, and the community center is proud to bring him and his band, Narrow Gauge, back to Pagosa Springs for the annual Valentine's Dance.

The evening will start at 7 p.m. and end at 11 p.m. Cost is $25 per ticket and $30 at the door. The ticket price will include a dessert bar, sumptuous hors d'oeuvres, and there will be a beer, wine, and soft drinks cash bar. Tickets will be available at Wolf Tracks, the Chamber of Commerce and the community center beginning Jan. 29.

Last year, more than 300 people danced to Tim Sullivan & Narrow Gauge at the Valentine's Dance.

Please buy your tickets early to insure that you have a ticket, and so we have an accurate head count for planning purposes.

We are always in need of volunteers to help with the community center dances. If you are interested, call Mercy (community center facilities coordinator) at 264-4152, Siri (dance coordinator) at 731-9670, or Pam Stokes (decorations chairman) at 731-1284. It is a great way to volunteer your time, meet some wonderful people, and play a part in keeping the community center dance program successful.

Archaeological society to hold charter meeting

All persons interested in the archaeology and history of our area are welcome to attend the kickoff meeting of the Archuleta County Archaeological Society.

Members intend to form themselves as a chapter of the Colorado Archaeological Society. Early members will be charter members of the chapter.

The charter meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 12, at the Pagosa Springs Community Center, 451 Hot Springs Blvd.

Proposed topics of discussion will be non-profit and tax exempt status, membership, purpose, structure, committees, cooperation with the state/local historical society, meeting times and location, etc.

For more information, contact Diane Owens at 731-5176 or Ben Bailey at 264-0293.

Community Center News

No excuses: Plenty of activities available

By Mercy Korsgren
PREVIEW Columnist

The Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Dance last week was a great success.

Everyone had a wonderful time and enjoyed the delicious and tasty food catered by Eddie B Cookin'. The volunteers also enjoyed specially-prepared appetizers and desserts which consisted of pork loin with chipotle raspberry and salsa sauce, the hot cheese tomato chili dip, and the mouth watering desserts - flan and petit fours mini cakes. And, last but not the least, there was the music played by DJ Bobby Hart was fantastic.

Thanks to all our 2006 volunteers. We are very grateful for all your donated time and for sharing your talent. We could have not done what we did and offered to the community without your help.

Valentine's Day Dance

This is the center's first fund-raising event for this year and, by popular demand, we are bringing back Tim Sullivan and the Narrow Gauge Band to provide music from 7-11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. Siri Schuchardt and her crew are working hard to make this evening another "talk of the town" event.

Treat your Valentine date to this fun, relaxing and special evening. Ticket price includes delicious hot and cold hors d'oeuvres (more than just snacks), coffee, pop and bottled water. A cash bar with several kinds of wine and beer bar will be available.

Tickets are available at WolfTracks, the Chamber of Commerce and at the community center. After tickets are purchased you may reserve your table for 10 people by calling the center, and be prepared to give your ticket numbers. Cost: $25 per person in advance until noon Saturday, Feb. 10, and $30 at the door. Also, this is an adult, 21 and older event.

Purchase your ticket now, space is limited to 200 attendees.

Spring rummage sale

Yes, we are already preparing for this event and you should, too.

Start cleaning your cupboards, cabinets and garages. Or check your attic for stuff you haven't used for a while - perhaps someone will need them. Saturday, April 14, is the date. Watch this column for more information.

AARP tax help

The AARP Foundation is AARP's affiliated charity program, helping communities all across America.

AARP Tax-Aide program is one of the programs offered by the Foundation. It provides free tax preparation service for anyone, especially for low- and middle-income individuals age 60 and older.

If you need help preparing your taxes you need to sign up at the desk located inside the senior dining room. Help is available every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. AARP Tax Aide volunteers will be available to assist you during these hours. No phone reservation will be accepted.

Movie Night program

The center needs a volunteer to be the chairperson for this free program. The responsibilities include the following: select the movie, pick up and return the tape or disc, set up the room with a couple of tables and several chairs, and make sure attendees help take down afterwards. The volunteer can recruit a co-chair for assistance. Now is the time to start this winter indoor activity.

If this is something you would enjoy doing, call 264-4152.

Beaded jewelry program

Two people are already signed up for this activity and space is limited to eight students. The free orientation meeting will be held 10 a.m.-noon Thursday, Feb. 22. At this meeting, Treva Wheeless will talk about the details of the upcoming classes, the group's interests, tools needed and what is involved in beading jewelry.

Classes will be held March 1, 8 and 15. Those attending must be prepared to pay for the cost of supplies.

Call the center, 264-4152 to sign up for this program.

Line dancing

At 9 a.m. Gerry starts the class for couples and she teaches two-step, waltz and nightclub two-step. This is the third meeting for 2007. Steps are very simple, and aim only at getting around the dance floor without a disaster.

Line dancing rocks on as usual at 10. Gerry and her assistants - Beverly and Peggy - teach the basics and easy dances, and the dances gradually increase in difficulty until 11:30. Everyone is welcome.

Yoga

Come join Diana Baird and Addie Greer every Tuesday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Bring a towel or mat. It's free and everyone is welcome.

Computer class

Classes are still on hold due to Becky's medical issues. It was good to see Becky and her husband, John, at the Volunteer Appreciation Dinner and Dance last week. Becky informed us her doctors are not done yet with all the diagnostic tests she needs to undergo. She will keep us posted of the findings; please continue to pray for her. We hope to see her back soon.

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 show up at the gym. This is another free program offered by the center; it's a fun way to exercise and meet new friends. Larry, the group leader, invites all to join. This is open to everyone, 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 every Friday, noon to 1:15 p.m. Dan Aupperle is the contact person for this activity. Call Dan at the downtown Citizens Bank if you're interested in this fun game.

Scrapbooking class

The next meeting will be 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10. Melissa hasn't worked out all the details for this class, so call her and let her know your interests.

She has been asked to give demonstrations on Pearl Ex powders, Staz On Ink Pads, and a mini photo album using tags. Melissa also will have different Valentine's Day card samples, if someone wants to copy them.

If you need more information, you can reach Melissa at 731-1574. Scrapbooking class is a free program offered here at the center by volunteer instructor Melissa Bailey.

Center hours

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

Activities this week

Today - Hoopsters Basketball for Exercise, 8-9 a.m.; AARP Tax Help, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; San Juan Outdoor Club monthly meeting, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 2 - Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; open basketball, noon-1:15 p.m. Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Feb. 3 - Moonlight Books annual arts contest, 9 a.m.-noon.

Feb. 4 - 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.

Feb. 5 - Line dancing, 9-11:30 a.m.; Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30-4:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 6 - Hoopsters Basketball for Exercise, 8-9 a.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.

Feb. 7 - Senior Walk, 11:15-11:35 a.m.; senior's Aikido class, 1-2 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Weight Watchers, 5-6 p.m.; eBay class, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

Feb. 8 - Hoopsters Basketball for Exercise, 8-9 a.m.; AARP Tax Help, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Teen Center open, 3:30-6:30 p.m.; Archuleta County Democratic Party meeting, 5:30-6:30 p.m.; youth basketball, 5:30-8:30 p.m.; Trinity Anglican Church bible study, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Senior News

Plan to attend the Red Shoe Duo concert

By Jeni Middendorf
SUN Columnist

Treat yourself to a "red hot" night of music Thursday, Feb. 8, at the Pagosa High School auditorium, with the Red Shoe Duo.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Red Shoe Duo was formed in the fall of 2003 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. They have performed throughout the region to delighted audiences, and are dedicated to performing the great standards of the repertoire, while avidly championing contemporary compositions.

Katherine Jetter Tischhauser on cello and Lisa Campi on piano, are currently faculty members at Fort Lewis College where they maintain active teaching and performing careers.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit The Den and the Fort Lewis Scholarship Fund. This is a fund-raising event to raise money for the construction of a new senior center in Pagosa. Ticket prices are $18 for adults, $15 for Seniors Inc. members, $10 for children ages 8 to 12, and children under 8 years of age are free. Tickets are available at the door of the event or in advance at The Silver Foxes Den Senior Center located in the community center.

Join us for an evening of celebrated music and help support The Den's expansion to continue to provide activities and services to our growing community.

Provider performance

Before getting medical care - whether it's having a knee or hip replaced or another non-emergency treatment - it's helpful to know how a particular hospital, even physician, performs compared to other providers. Checking out a provider's quality performance becomes increasingly important as individuals take on more health care decision-making in the era of consumer-driven health care.

Increasingly, federal and state governments, along with employer and consumer organizations, are making easier the difficult task of determining the quality of healthcare providers. Recognizing the need to provide consumers with more performance information, many states are providing Web-based tools to help consumers locate the best hospital or physician for their medical treatment and care. The type and amount of information made available electronically varies by state.

Even if your state doesn't yet offer its own comprehensive data - or if you simply want other resources to help with your research - you can turn to the easy-to-use www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov, maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This tool allows adults to get information about hospitals in their area and the quality of their treatment for certain medical conditions, such as heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia by using available data. It also highlights how well each facility does in preventing surgical infections. The Web site has hospital information, quality measures and patient tools. Other sources to check out include:

- The Leapfrog Group (www.leapfroggroup.org), a group representing the millions of employees of more than 70 companies and organizations that buy health care, rates hospitals on how they are doing on several key measures of improving patient safety. Consumers can search for hospital rankings with the Leapfrog Hospital Quality and Safety Survey Results, where you can search for hospital information by your ZIP code.

- Quality Check (www.qualitycheck.org), a service of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, allows consumers to see and compare the quality and patient safety performance of local hospitals.

- DocInfo.org, a fee-based service offered by the Federation of State Medical Boards, provides consumers "with professional information on physicians and physician assistants licensed in the United States and includes information on disciplinary sanctions, education, medical specialty, licensure history and locations." A directory of state medical boards (www.fsmb.org) may provide you with access to free information through your state's medical board.

Meanwhile, good sources of health care quality information can be found at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality consumer site (www.ahrq.gov). For more information on identifying a local hospital that's best for you, see AARP The Magazine Online's story on the subject.

While the state of Colorado does not rate hospital or physician performance, Colorado consumers can check out the quality of their hospitals through the Colorado Business Group on Health (www.cbghealth.org). The group has an online Hospital Quality Guide that shows how Colorado hospitals perform on key areas of patient safety and quality, developed by the national patient safety organization, The Leapfrog Group.

Meanwhile, Colorado residents can find how local hospitals perform treating a range of conditions, from heart attacks to hip fractures, and several procedures at

Colorado Hospital Quality (www.hospitalquality.org), a Web site offered through the Colorado Health and Hospital Association and the federal government. Consumers also can use the Hospital Compare Web site (www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov) to compare quality performance of their local hospitals for treating common medical conditions. See how specific facilities stack up when it comes to treating heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, as well as efforts to prevent surgical infections.

Health claims on food labels

Ever wonder about the difference between reduced fat and low fat? Or does "light" on a label really mean no fat? FDA has strict guidelines on how these food label terms can be used. Here are some of the most common claims seen on food packages and what they mean:

- Low calorie - Less than 40 calories per serving.

- Low cholesterol - Less than 20 mg of cholesterol and 2 g or less of saturated fat per serving.

- Reduced - 25 percent less of the specified nutrient or calories than the usual product.

- Good source of - Provides at least 10 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.

- Calorie free - less than 5 calories per serving.

- Fat free/sugar free - Less than 1/2 g of fat or sugar per serving.

- Low sodium - Less than 140 mg of sodium per serving.

- High in - Provides 20 percent or more of the daily value of a specified nutrient per serving.

- High fiber - 5 or more grams of fiber per serving.

- Lean (meat, poultry, seafood) - 10 grams of fat or less, 4 1/2 grams of saturated fat, and less than 95 mg cholesterol per 3 ounce serving.

- Light - 1/3 fewer calories or half the fat of the usual food.

- Healthy - Decreased fat, saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol and at least 10% of the DV of vitamins A, C, iron, protein, calcium, and fiber.

FDA also sets standard for health related claims on food labels in order to help consumers identify foods that are rich in nutrients and may help to reduce their risk for certain diseases. For example, health claims may highlight the link between calcium and osteoporosis, fiber and calcium, heart disease and fat or high blood pressure and sodium.

Tax Aide program

The AARP sponsored Tax-Aide program is returning this year. This program provides free personal income tax assistance to low-and-moderate income taxpayers with special attention to those aged 60 and older. This program maintains strict confidentiality and protects the security of all taxpayers' information and records at all times. Free electronic filing (e-filing) of tax returns prepared by Tax-Aide counselors is also available. New this year is that taxpayers can claim a refund on their 2006 tax returns, for excise tax they paid on long-distance telephone service. Individuals not required to file a federal income tax return can file a new form (form 1040EZ-T) to claim their refund. Preparation assistance for Colorado Property Tax/Heat/Rent Rebate Application (PTC) will be provided even if the individual is not required to file a federal tax return.

The tax counseling and preparation is done by IRS/AARP trained volunteers who reside in the Pagosa Springs area. This program will be offered every Thursday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., beginning Feb. 1 through April 12 in the Art Council room of the community center. It is requested that you make an appointment for this help. There will be sign-up sheets for appointments on the bulletin board in the senior center dining room. Appointments will not be accepted by telephone. Walk-ins will be assisted on an as available basis. Individuals with appointments have preference.

Wear Red Day

National Wear Red Day on Feb. 2 is a day when Americans nationwide wear red to show their support for women's heart disease awareness. One in three American women dies of heart disease every year, making it the No. 1 killer.

Whatever a woman's age, she needs to take action to protect her heart health. National Wear Red Day promotes the symbol and provides an opportunity for everyone to unite in this life-saving awareness movement by showing off a favorite red dress, shirt, tie or Red Dress Pin. So, put on those red colors and come to The Den for lunch tomorrow to support heart disease awareness.

Baking class

Would you like to make cookies for your grandchildren that will go down in family history? Or maybe just pick up a few baking tips to add a little ease and spice to your normal baking habits. Whatever your motive is, join us for an afternoon of fun with a baking class at the Pagosa Baking Company at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7. The cost is $8 per person and each person will get to take home some delicious homemade baked goods. The class is limited to eight people so sign up by Monday, Feb. 5, to learn the secrets from the baking experts.

Nails with Dru

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

Dance For Health

Dance For Health classes are available at The Den at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, free of charge. Instructor Karma Raley 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 classes

Aikido is a relatively modern martial art, although its roots go back nearly a thousand years to secret techniques of samurai warriors. The Den offers Aikido classes every Wednesday at 1 p.m. with instructors Bill Trimarco and Lisa Jensen. Aikido students 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. Please sign up with The Den if you would like to participate.

Viola and guitar

Kate Kelly, our very own Ginger Kelly's daughter-in-law, is a talented musician. Kate has been playing the viola for more than 20 years and is a music instructor here in Pagosa. Kate, accompanied by Truett Forest on guitar, will join us at The Den at 12:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 9, to entertain us with music and share the lovely sound of stringed instruments.

Seniors Inc. memberships

Seniors Inc. annual memberships for folks 55 and older are sold at The Den for $5 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 10 a.m. to 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 members.

As you can see, the benefits of a Seniors Inc. membership are endless, so stop on in at The Den during the scheduled hours to renew or to purchase your first annual membership. Please remember 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, Feb. 1 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required.) Tax-Aid by appointment only. The Den is closed.

Friday, Feb. 2 - National Wear Red Day for heart disease awareness; the Geezers meeting, 9 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; veteran's services, noon; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; duplicate bridge, 12:30 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 5 - Susan Stoffer, nurse and counselor, available 11 a.m.-1 p.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Bridge-4-Fun, 12:30 p.m.; canasta, 1 p.m.; final day to sign up for baking classes.

Tuesday, Feb. 6 - Yoga, 10 a.m.; gym walk, 11:15 a.m.; Seeds of Learning kids visit.

Wednesday, Feb. 7 - Nails with Dru, 9:30-11 a.m.; Dance For Health, 10 a.m.; basic computer class, 10 a.m.; Aikido class, 1 p.m.; baking classes at the Pagosa Baking Company (reservations required with The Den), 3 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 8 - Tax aid by appointment only; The Den is closed; Red Shoe Duo performance at the high school, 7:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 9 - 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.; music with Kate Kelly and Truett Forrest, 12:45 p.m.; Seniors Inc. board meeting, 1 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.

Thursday, Feb. 1 - Lunch served in Arboles (reservations required). Roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, pineapple and mandarin oranges, and whole wheat roll.

Friday, Feb. 2 - Beef stroganoff, noodles, orange spiced carrots, beet salad, mixed fruit, and dinner roll.

Monday, Feb. 5 - Lasagna, Italian vegetables, seasoned cabbage, garlic bread stick, and ice cream.

Tuesday, Feb. 6 - Oriental pepper chicken, steamed rice, cut broccoli, pineapple tidbits, and whole wheat roll.

Wednesday, Feb. 7 - Honey BBQ chicken, oven potatoes, spinach, diced pears, and whole wheat bread.

Friday, Feb. 9 - Ham and beans, vegetable medley, orange wedges, and corn bread.

Veteran's Corner

Colorado property tax exemptions for veterans

By Andy Fautheree

With Colorado property tax statements just sent out it is a good time to recall the senior and disabled veteran's property tax exemption that many veterans and their families may be eligible for.

The jury is still out at this time on the Colorado disabled veteran's property tax exemption recently passed by Colorado voters by an overwhelming 80-percent margin. Veterans who are 100-percent VA rated service-connected disabled will be eligible for a tax exemption of up to 50 percent of the first $200,000 of property evaluation. This is very much the same as the senior homestead exemption, except there is no 10-year residency requirement.

In a recent discussion with Karen Pryor, Archuleta County Assessor, I was advised the state is still formulating plans to enact the veterans' measure. Rest assured I will pass along the information on how to apply for this state benefit as soon as I receive word. Most likely, the application for the veteran's property tax exemption will be handled by the assessor's office, same as the senior property tax exemption.

The senior Colorado "homestead" property tax exemption is for qualifying senior citizens and surviving spouses of seniors.

Senior requirements

The three basic requirements are:

- The qualifying senior must be at least 65 years old on Jan. 1 of the year in which he or she qualifies.

- The qualifying senior must be the owner of record, and must have been the owner of record for at least ten consecutive years prior to Jan. 1.

- The qualifying senior must occupy the property as his or her primary residence, and must have done so for at least ten consecutive years prior to Jan. 1.

For those who qualify, the exemption reduces the actual value of residential property by 50 percent up to a maximum reduction of $100,000. The state pays the tax on the exempted value. This exemption first became available again beginning in the 2006 tax year after several years due to Colorado budget constraints.

Application deadline

Qualified individuals must file a completed application with the county assessor for the exemption no later than July 15 of the first property tax year for which the exemption is claimed. It is too late to apply now for 2006 tax exemption. You must apply between now and July 15 of this year to get the exemption next year for the 2007 tax year.

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 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, the fax number is 731-3879, cell number is 946-6648, and E-mail is afautheree@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 to 4, Monday through Friday.

Library News

Books about Colorado and Southwest offer myriad options

By Carole Howard
SUN columnist, and the library staff

Everyone who lives here knows what exceptional beauty and historical variety surround us in Colorado and the Southwest. Here is a sampling of new books, all gifts to the library from the Jacob and Terese Hershey Foundation, to help you learn more about interesting places and fascinating facts of our area:

- "Anasazi Architecture and Design," edited by Baker H. Morrow and V.B. Price, features 16 essays by leading archeologists, historians, architects, artists and urban planners about Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.

- "The Architecture of the Southwest," by Trent Elwood Sanford, covers pueblos, kivas, mission churches and other buildings in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

- "Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu," by Leslie Poling-Kempes, reveals the beauty and history of Abiquiu, Ghost Ranch and the people of this beautiful area made famous by the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe.

- "Colorado Trivia," compiled by J. Murphey-Lenahan, is the who, what, when, where and how book of our state, filled with interesting Qs and As about well-known and not so well-known facts of Colorado.

- "Colorado Above Treeline," by Jeremy Agnew, contains 100 driving, 4WD and hiking trips with maps and photos.

- "More That I Never Knew About Colorado," by Abbott Fay, is his second book on unique places and unusual facts about the state.

- "Colorado's Best Wildflower Hikes: Volume 3, San Juan Mountains," by Pamela Irwin, contains text, maps and beautiful photos by David Irwin.

- "Best Hikes with Dogs: Colorado," by Ania Savage, features 80 hikes to delight you and your dog.

- "Guide to Colorado Insects" by entomologists Whitney Cranshaw and Boris Kondratieff documents the insects you are likely to see throughout the state.

- "Roadside Guide to Indian Ruins & Rock Art of the Southwest," by Gordon and Cathie Sullivan, is a comprehensive and informative guide to indigenous art and historical sites of the Four Corners.

New computer access procedures

If you use our computers and do not have a library card, please apply now because you'll need to enter the barcode from the back of your card to use a computer. If you're under 17, you will need your parent's or guardian's signature to get a library card. These changes are now in effect because the library has installed new software that enables self-service signup for PCs and provides management of printing, letting you know the number of pages and cost before you print, thus avoiding waste. It also ensures fair access to computers, locates the next available PC and allows automatic signup with your library card, thus offering additional patron privacy and convenience. The new software is a gift from the Woman's Civic Club.

Lives of real people - interesting women

"Riding, Roping and Roses: Colorado's Women Ranchers," by Judy Buffington Sammons, features stories of women ranchers from the late 1870s to the present, some relatively well-known and many who have gone unrecognized. ""Woman at the Edge of Two Worlds" is Lynn V. Andrews' latest chronicle of her path to self-discovery and her explorations into feminine spirituality.

Lives of real people - interesting men

"Aldo Leopold: A Fierce Green Fire," by Marybeth Lorbieck, is an illustrated biography of the foremost American conservationist of this century, who worked throughout his life - for the Forest Service and as a naturalist, educator and writer - to articulate an American land ethic. "The Burn Journals," by Brent Runyon, describes his devastating suicide attempt when he set himself on fire at age 14 and his recovery over the following year. "Trout Bum: Fly-Fishing as a Way of Life," by John Gierach, recounts the emotional, spiritual and tangible pleasures of stalking trout in and around the Rockies. "A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell," by Donald Worster, recreates Powell's great explorations as he led the expedition that put the Colorado Rover on American maps and revealed the Grand Canyon to the world.

Real-world people facing life's challenges

"The Betrayal of Work: How Low-Wage Jobs Fail 30 Million Americans," by Beth Shulman, chronicles the condition of one in four American workers employed in jobs paying poverty wages and providing minimal or no benefits. "Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age," by Judy Kramer, tells what old age looked like in this journalist's family and how she dealt with all the pain, worries and responsibilities relating to her parents' last years. "Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Cruelty, Threats and Distress," by Nancy E. Willard, provides in-depth insight for school administrators, counselors, psychologists, teachers and others on effective strategies to deal with this challenging issue.

Thanks to our donors

Our thanks this week for gifts of books and materials from Carmen Booz, Lisa Brown, Stan Church, Theresa Lucero, Martin Margulies, Mary McDonald, Sepp Ramsperger, Cathy Reece and Margaret Wilson.

 

Arts Line

Annual photo show opens Saturday

By Linda Strathdee
PREVIEW Columnist

Join the artists from 5-7 p.m. Saturday night, Feb. 3, at Moonlight Books for the annual Photography Contest Exhibit opening reception.

This is the time when you can vote for the People's Choice Award. It is a very special award and your vote is very important. Mark your calendars.

The exhibit will be on display Feb. 3-24.

Pennington judges contest

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.

Free art clinic

Pagosa Springs Arts Council will host a free art clinic 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Feb. 17, at the community center. The clinic is for beginners and intermediates who are stumped and need technical and artistic instruction and encouragement.

Betty Slade is an artist with 40 years experience, and she is graciously offering her service to anyone who is trying to paint or just not sure how to correct a problem. Whatever style you desire to achieve, Betty is able to bring your work to another dimension.

Bring your works in progress for a critique (maximum three paintings) and bring your art supplies. This workshop is for anyone working in oils, watercolors or acrylic. Call Betty and reserve your spot. 264-2824

PSAC 2008 calendar

The Pagosa Springs Arts Council will accept images Feb. 27-March 3 for the 2008 calendar.

A submission can be any artwork that makes one think of the charm and beauty of the country around Pagosa Springs. The Council is looking not only for drawings, paintings and photographs, but will also consider other types of artwork such as sculptures, stained glass, quilts etc. Acceptable artwork is not limited to identifiable scenes; it may be abstract. Criteria for acceptance will be the appeal to the judges and its appropriateness for a particular season.

For an artwork to be used in the calendar, it will need to be presented in a photograph, in landscape format. We urge those whose artwork was not accepted for previous calendars to consider entering again. It may be just what the judges would like for a particular month this year.

ExxonMobil Foundation grant

PSAC has received a matching grant from ExxonMobil Foundation. Pagosan Dorothy Childers annually volunteers many hours, helping staff the Pagosa Springs Arts Council. It is because of her efforts that Exxon has honored PSAC with a grant of $500.

Thank you, Dorothy, for all your hard work and thank you Exxon for recognizing this work and for rewarding the Arts Council.

Gallery hours

The PSAC Gallery in Town Park remains on winter hours. Although the gallery is not staffed on a regular basis, voice mail and e-mail are 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 winter workshops and this can be done over the phone or through the mail.

The Artist Spirit

The Artist Spirit addresses your heartfelt questions about the arts. It is geared to enlighten and inform, be sincere, humorous or just have fun. This is an opportunity to hear what other artists are thinking and feeling and a place to speak out in the art 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, P.O. Box 533, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. Your name is not necessary.

Dear Liz Rae:

Aspiring poets are hard to come by these days. Being one of them I am often stymied by people's reactions to my poetry. Either they don't understand it or they can't appreciate it. I sent a poetic short story to a publisher one time and they asked me to change it. Doing so would have destroyed the message of my story.

So in theory I have three questions for you. Number one; if people can't understand or appreciate my material, am I writing about a bad subject?

Number two; if an editor asks me to change the material, am I being obstinate not to? Or, are they being unreasonable?

Number 3; is there a list of editors and publishers that I can get a hold of?

Aspiring Poet

Dear Aspiring Poet:

Tastes and style in poetry vary from person to person. Do not expect everyone to understand or appreciate your poetry. It doesn't mean they are wrong or your poetry is bad.

First, make sure the publication publishes similar poetry to yours. If they ask for a change that means they like your poem they just want it tweaked a bit to fit in better with their publication and readership. It's part of the editor's job to make suggestions. Generally it's a good idea to go along with them unless you're totally adamant against the change. You can work with an editor on what you're willing to change and what you're not. If your differences are too severe, you'll just have to go on to someone else. Be congenial about it, you might agree on another poem. If you sell first or one-time rights, you don't have to keep their changes when selling your poem to the next publication or when you self-publish.

In general, they are not being unreasonable. They know what they want to publish in their publication. If you really feel strongly about something, say so. You might be able to come up with a compromise that you both feel comfortable with. If you think you're words are sacred and not a bit should be changed, you'll have difficulty being published anywhere and will have to go to self-publishing.

Buy a current Writer's Digest Poet's Market. They also have information on submitting your work and how to relate to editors.

Hopefully this will encourage you to write, write, write.

Liz Rae

Watercolor club

Watercolor club meets the third Thursday of each month at 10 a.m. in the Arts and Crafts Room of the 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 the club for $20 annual dues.

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

Winter workshops

Brighten up your winter by signing up for one PSAC's winter classes.

- Local artist Randall Davis will hold a one-day drawing workshop 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10, 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. The cost for the day is $35. Call PSAC to register, 264-5020.

- Denny Rose and Ginnie Bartlett will teach their Intermediate I Watercolor Workshop, Working from Photographs, Adding People to Your Paintings and More, Feb 19-21. This workshop builds on both the Beginners I and Beginners II workshops, using everything students learned in those classes. In Intermediate I, students will work from photographs, using value sketching, understanding space and proportions and adding people to their paintings. Cost for this class is $150 for PSAC members and $175 for nonmembers.

Watch this column for upcoming workshops.

Fabric art lecture

Local artist Jeanine Malaney will present "Painting with Fabric," a one-hour lecture on her unique technique of paint and fabric collage at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the Silverthread Quilt Guild in South Fork.

Jeanine will introduce a step-by-step technique, and will consider 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.

PSAC Calendar

All PSAC classes and workshops are held in the Arts and Craft Space at the Pagosa Springs 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.

Feb. 10 - Randall Davis drawing workshop.

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

March 29-30 - Betty Slade, Intermediate Watercolor.

April 26-27 – Betty Slade, Beginning.

Tasting Notes

It all makes scents

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

The onion weeps crystalline juice as I slice it into thin strips. The liquid runs a slow, plaintive course across the cutting board and I weep with the onion - literally. I've always been a sissy when it comes to slicing onions, and this particular white onion's powerful aroma hits me in waves like Nessun Dorma in the final act of Puccini's Turandot. And it's fitting. Although I'm preparing a beef braise and plan on drinking a powerful French red from deep within the Provençal hinterlands, the onion's scent runs strong like an ocean current and sends me to Puccini's country, my first restaurant gig and triggers a flood of memories.

I'm in the galley at an Italian restaurant east of Seattle, I'm about 15, and it's a Friday night. It's late in the shift, were running low on marinara, and the owner begins barking orders in Italian and broken English. Spittle flies from his lips as he hurls insults like a drill sergeant. We scurry like rats - kitchen rats. Jeremy and Jason grab four cases of imported, industrial size canned tomatoes. I grab a 50-pound bag of white onions and set to work.

The procedure is simple. Each onion must be peeled, sliced in half, then chopped. I know the routine well because I do it at least once a week, although it never fails. After about 10 onions, I'm crippled with my eyes swollen to thin slits and tears streaming down my face and over the lenses of my glasses. The view is like peering out from inside an aquarium, and despite the fact I can't see, I persist. This is the belly of the beast, a place where cocaine-addled line cooks grab stainless steel sauté pans and steak skillets off the broiler with their bare hands. It's a place where, if you nearly cut the end of your finger off while working the antipasto station, you suck it up, wrap it in an apron, elevate the bloody stump above your head, wipe the blood off the salad bar and keep pumping out the goods with your one good hand. In short, walking away from onion duty is not an option.

As my thoughts drift back to the present, I return to my kitchen in Pagosa and the mincing of garlic. I want the pieces as thin as rice paper and I work the knife slowly, methodically, aware of the placement of my left hand's ring finger. I should have learned my lesson 20 years ago, but it keeps creeping out to within millimeters of the blade - it appears old habits are hard to break.

With the garlic finished, I move on to carrots. And they send my memory racing, taking me back to Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico and Mariepaule's Café where I gorged on green chile tuna melt sandwiches always served with a wax paper pouch of baby carrots - not chips - as a side. I would drop by in the morning before school, park my motorcycle on the curb, and drink black coffee with fresh Belgian-waffles. And at the end of the day, I would stop by again to help clean and haul trash and she'd feed me then too - always something tasty, and always lots of carrots.

When the vegetables are prepped, I change knives and reach for two pounds of stew beef. As I do, I peer out the kitchen window, and the snow glows a strange bluish-white, like a fluorescent light bulb in its death throes. With the knife in hand, I trim away tendons and fat, and flip the scraps to the trio of dogs waiting just beyond the kitchen linoleum. When the beef is nearly carved into hunks, I set a heavy saute' pan to heat. I coat the bottom with olive oil and toss in two wads of butter. When the butter moves easily across the teflon like an experienced politician working a crowd, I toss in the meat.

When the cool flesh hits the hot oil, droplets of extra virgin splatter my shirt and glasses and the pan erupts with a searing malevolent hiss. Smoke and steam pour out, and I am engulfed in the aroma of low grade beef being vaporized by hot olive oil and butter and the smell sends me back 14 years to the Aleppo souk.

I'm walking beneath the market's ancient arched porticoes in the heart of the butcher's quarter. My boots slip noiselessly across the slime and grime covered cobbles. The stones are worn and rounded, cold, dank and fuzzy gray. They interlock in crazy patterns like a mason's rendition of congealed brain matter. In the middle of the cobbled lane runs a narrow gutter and blood flows there in slender rivulets, mixing freely with odd bits of foreign matter - a bit of hair, an unidentifiable piece of flesh, a cigarette butt, bits of plastic bag. Syrians bustle about doing their shopping, but I stand motionless, anchored to the bricks like an exotic fencepost, captivated by the scene. A portly, middle aged man in a once white, blood stained butcher's coat shuffles past, grunting and groaning under the weight of a wheelbarrow overflowing with freshly severed goat's heads. The man wheels his cargo down a long secondary corridor and disappears into shadows.

When I return my gaze to the main market and peer into the butcher's stalls, I discover lungs, trachea and whole sides of goat hanging from hooks in the ceilings. Glass display cases are filled with hearts, tongues and more whole goats' heads complete with glassy eyes staring vacantly. Outside the sun is blazing, but inside the butcher's quarter it is cool. It smells of cold, aged, low-grade meat and olive oil. The scent lingers in my nostrils and clings to my clothes. It shrouds me like a wet wool blanket.

My saute' pan in Pagosa Springs has created a linkage to memories of long ago, but the urge for wine breaks the reverie, and I realize I forgot to open the bottle. I grab a corkscrew and tackle the task with a few quick turns of the wrist, and pour a taste. When I plunge my nose deep into the glass, I expect aromas of blackberries, cassis and wild Provençal brambles. Instead, I smell cork, but it doesn't phase me a bit. This one will probably blow off, and I let the glass sit.

They say smell is the most powerful of all the senses, and one whiff of a particular odor can send the sniffer into the deepest recesses of memory. Unfortunately, the woody scented liquid does not trigger a cerebral flood the way cold meat and hot olive did, although the subtle yet profound smell of cork prompts me to ponder the power of smell and an incident that occurred in the office this afternoon.

When I returned after lunch and walked in the front door I stopped, looked at Missy and Sandy, and said. "It smells like new computer in here."

They both laughed and looked incredulously as I ran my nose across packages of freshly opened software bundles and around the edge of Sandy's new monitor. "It takes me back to Christmas," I said.

With the braise simmering on the stove, aromas of red chile, garlic, seared beef and sautéed onions fill the house. The scent is transfixing, and I sip my corked wine.

They say smell is the most powerful of the senses, but as I sip, the Police come on the radio and Sting belts out the first verse of "So Lonely." As the notes and lyrics hit my ears, suddenly I am back 10 years, racing across the Sahara well beyond the Atlas Mountains and near the Algerian border in a Fiat Uno with David from Montreal and Angus from South Africa. As we skitter over a narrow ribbon of pockmarked asphalt, Sting's "So Lonely" blasts from little car's blown out speakers and we're chain smoking Marlboros, contemplating marriage to Berber girls in the High Atlas. Little do we know, in two days the Fiat's timing belt will break leaving us stranded in a Taureg camp deep in the desert. But that, I suppose, is another tale, another sound, and another scent altogether...

 

Food for Thought

Cream: Don't be shy, but don't overdo it

By Karl Isberg

Ahhhh ... cream.

Cream. One might argue: The very best power trio of the '60s, The Jimi Hendrix Experience excepted, and I would buy that argument. The music of Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce ( one of the most undervalued geniuses of his generation) and the wild, wacky and (perhaps?) speed-addled Ginger Baker accompanied many of my more extraordinary moments during those times. And, I am sure, a whole lot of even more extraordinary moments I can't remember.

But, it is not Cream of which I speak here.

No, it is...cream.

The food product that has accompanied many of the most extraordinary eating experiences in my life.

Most of which I remember.

Cream. A basic ingredient.

Cream. An ingredient condemned by the health police.

As a result of the actions by the food facists, there's a whole lot more cream on the shelves for those of us who could give a damn about what the health police say.

Cream. It's all a matter of butterfat. A minimum 36 percent, to be precise.

Milk leaves cow; the milk settles and cream rises to top. Since we moderns are so impatient, we throw the milk into a centrifuge; milk and cream separate, we draw off the cream and we are in business.

There's heavy cream (the only kind worthy of serious consideration) and light, so-called "table" cream (less butterfat than we prefer). There are deranged souls wandering lost in the food world who would lump half-and-half into the mix, but we remind you it is called "half-and-half" for a reason. Who wants half when it comes to cream?

Just because I don't pay heed to the food goofs and their fear-of-the-day regimen, doesn't mean I don't recognize it is very easy to go overboard on cream and butterfat. Take a few steps too far, too many times, and you wake up (with luck) in the ICU with an intern hovering over you, extending odd looking paddles toward your chest and screaming "clear" to a gang of uncomprehending orderlies.

You can, indeed, get too much of a good thing.

But, I submit, it's hard to get enough of just the right amount of a good thing.

And it is just plain wrong to ignore a good thing when it comes to food.

Thus...cream.

There are some dishes that make use of cream as a main ingredient. They are mighty fine, but (as noted above) when included as a regular element in the diet - unless you're a Finnish reindeer herder or a lumberjack - they will drop you like a ton of bricks. A bit of gratin dauphinoise now and then or a custard, sweet or savory, is peachy. A bechamel, made with cream, can prove a delight. Just hold it to a mild roar.

Beware of overindulging in the French cream and egg yolk sauce (which you won't do unless you have a constant supply of eels) and take care not to overindulge in any of the many cream fillings for pastries. Go too far, and you've hitched a one-way ride on a nasty highway.

Instead of overindulging, I prefer to take my cream in small doses. I use cream, primarily in sauces, as a thickener. As a grace note.

Full of fat.

The French have the right idea, despite the commonly held-conception that classic French cuisine is too fatty, too creamy.

It is. But, so what? Our more contemporary Gallic pals have managed a bit of temperance, and the results are worth exploring. As are those from other, equally notable cuisines.

As in a cream and garlic sauce, best served with sauteed mushrooms. The sauce, as is the case with many cream sauces, blends the butterfat with a stock of some sort, the stock reduced to near syrup prior to an introduction to its creamy partner. The sliced mushrooms are sauteed in oil and butter, seasoned and joined with chopped shallot and chopped garlic. The mix is cooked until the veggies are soft and chopped parsley is added. A moderate amount of stock is added and reduced. At the very end of the process, in go a couple tablespoons (note the moderation) of cream. The mix is kept on the heat long enough for the cream to tighten the mess and then it is served.

Creamy good.

How about a similar sauce, served over an escallop of veal or chicken - maybe a medium-rare fillet of salmon? Once the meat is sauteed and removed from the pan, chopped shallot and garlic are added and cooked a while, then the goodies are brought off the bottom as the pan is deglazed with a bit of Calvados and cider. A touch of stock is added, the liquid reduced, a couple tablespoons of cream are added and brought to heat (never too much heat or too long over the heat, to avoid the whole shebang from breaking).

In fact, you can flavor such a sauce, excluding the calvados and cider and using white wine and/or stock to deglaze, with just about anything, some notables being coarse mustard or ginger (for fish).

Mouth feel? You bet.

Creamy good.

Can't say there are a whole lot of vegetables that don't benefit from a smidge of cream.

Tarragon goes very well with cream and the high-butterfat beauty is also the base for an Alfredo sauce. Fettucine Alfredo has become a dreary staple in all too many cheesy Italian joints and, with the help of our lovely, but potentially deadly pal cream, we can make a version at home that tops nearly anything we can buy. You got cooked fettucine - al dente. You've sauteed thinly-sliced white onion and minced garlic in butter and extra virgin olive oil and you add a load of heavy cream, a bit of freshly grated Parmesan, a bit of salt, some pepper and a fluff of grated nutmeg. Taste the sauce, adjust. Add to fettucine. You are a genius!

As for other flavors in a cream sauce, the sky's the limit, with a bit of white wine as the common ingredient along with the cream: Chipotle, paprika, horseradish garlic, tomato, pesto, turmeric, any and all herbs.

Then, there are leftovers that improve with a saucy companion on the second go-round.

The other night, I cut some boneless chicken breasts in half, horizontally, then pounded them out. I dredged them in seasoned flour, sauteed them and removed them to a heated plate. I sauteed shallot and garlic and deglazed the pan with chicken stock. I tossed in some crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes and cooked them a bit, then threw in a can's worth of rinsed white navy beans and heated them through. In went some pitted kalamata olives and a bit of herbes de Provence (it was all I had) and I cooked the mess a while longer, adding the chicken breasts when all had tightened up and finished with a clod of butter as the pan left the heat.

I had leftovers - a couple paillards and about half the bean and veggie mix.

Two nights later, out of the fridge the leftovers came. I cubed the breasts and tossed the cubes and the bean mix into a saucier with a bit of chicken stock and I set the mix to heating. I added some additional crushed, fire-roasted tomatoes and cooked the mix while I sliced and sauteed cremini mushrooms in butter and oil, until the shrooms gave up their moisture and browned. I added Marsala to the mushrooms and reduced most of the wine. I tossed the mushrooms into the saucier and cooked a batch of egg noodles. When the pasta was done and drained and slicked with some butter, I turned the heat up under the chicken mix, added a touch more Marsala, and reduced until things began to caramelize. At the point, in went about a quarter cup of heavy cream (the good kind, remember?) and some chopped Italian parsley. I brought the cream to heat and it thickened. I reseasoned the mix and topped a stack of the cooked pasta with the saucy delight, frosting all with shaved Parmesan and throwing a bunch of steamed broccoli on the side as a gesture to my wife.

Whoowee.

Creamy good.

More than two helpings, though, and it's time to dial 9-1-1.

Cream: a power trio, a power food.

Extension Viewpoints

Mandatory Livestock
project meeting next week

By Bill Nobles

SUN Columnist

Today - 6:30 p.m., Shady Pine Club meeting.

Feb. 2 - 1 p.m., Radon program.

Feb. 2 - 1:45 p.m., 4-H Fridays, Community United Methodist Church.

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

Feb. 2 - 3 p.m., Dog project meeting.

Feb. 5 - 4 p.m., Shooting Sports project meeting.

Feb. 5 - 6 p.m., Mandatory Livestock project meeting.

Feb. 6 - 9 p.m., Master Gardener program in Durango.

Feb. 6 - 6:30 p.m., Colorado Kids Club meeting.

Feb. 6 - 6:30 p.m., Biological Pest Control Program by NRCS.

Feb. 7 - 4 p.m., Sportsfishing project meeting.

Radon program

Archuleta County Cooperative Extension Office is offering a free program explaining the dangers of radon in the home.

This program will be open to the public and will be held at the Extension Office, at the fairgrounds, 1-2 p.m. tomorrow, Feb. 2.

There will be free materials and radon testing kits available, while supplies last, to those who attend. Reservations are not required but are appreciated: 264-5931.

Mandatory 4-H meeting

All 4-H Livestock project members and parents are required to attend a mandatory meeting at 6 p.m. Feb. 5. New rules and regulations for 2007 will be discussed, as well as plans for fair layout and set up. No excuses for absences will be taken after the meeting. Call Pamela with any questions at 264-5931.

Biological pest control

Join us at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Extension Office for a wonderful program on biocontrol, and for dessert. Dan Bean, manager of the Palisade Insectary, will speak about biological pest control methods and the programs they have available to the public. The program will conclude at 8.

Beef Symposium in Pagosa Springs

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

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

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

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

Pagosa Lakes News

Get yourself ready for the WinterFest Triathlon

By Ming Steen

SUN Columnist

So you've done the Moab Half, the Durango Double and the Pagosa Lakes Triathlon. What other frontiers are there?

Plenty. You can get on a plane and head to China to do the Great Wall of China Marathon, skip over to St. Croix and tackle Half Ironman St. Croix or you can stay put here in Archuleta County and participate in the Feb. 11 WinterFest Triathlon.

Although some people are using races as an excuse to visit countries all over the world, I tend to use local races as an excuse to not travel all over the world. The drag of airports, different time zones, whacked out body clock and energy drinks at rest stops that may be as foreign as the language - all these and more keep me close to the home turf.

The second annual WinterFest Triathlon, organized by the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce, consists of three legs: cross-country skiing (your choice of skating skis or classical skis), snowshoe and a multi-choice downhill (alpine, Telemark or snowboard).

I participated in this event last year and had a blast. The race course for the cross country ski leg is set in the woods and is very pretty. On the snowshoe and downhill legs, spectator support is overwhelming from the people in the chairlift. The post-race refreshments were great last year, with all-you-can-eat trail mix, energy bars and sport drinks. It sure gave some of us the opportunity to see how much we could eat and drink in the span of an average 800 meter time.

But this year, the kitchen staff at Wolf Creek Ski Area will provide the lunch and if you've eaten there, you know how delicious that food is. A bonus this year will be the opportunity to hear Greg Lyman, a 1972 Olympian speed skater, talk about his experience as an Olympian and the methods he used to achieve that pinnacle of human athleticism.

Now that's not all. The race entry fee of $30 (single), $45 (team of two), and $65 (team of three), will also include a lift ticket for that day, and many great prizes. Our generous local merchants donated so much last year that even after every participant received a prize, there were still items left over.

With the exception of a handful, the rest of us mere mortals can focus on having a good time and forget about breaking or setting any personal records. The weather on race day - I'd forget about that as well. The closest most skiers come to influencing the weather is burning their old straight skis. Regardless of sunshine, clouds, sleet, record highs or lows, there will be plenty of snow in the true Wolf Creek tradition.

For more race information or to register for the event, contact Kimberley at the Pagosa Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Registration forms and information flyers are also available at the recreation center.

Congratulations to Larry Lynch and his staff for putting on an outstanding perch tournament last Saturday. Record numbers attended the tournament, the weather was flawless and the hot food sold by a group of local students was in big demand.

There were 273 registered adult anglers on the lake as well as a number of observers and passersby wondering what was going on.

In the adult category the winning total of perch caught was 216, by Rich Baldwin, earning him $400 prize.

The second category, largest perch by weight, was won by Anita Martinez with a 1.3 pound lunker of a perch. Anita received a $400 cash prize.

In the kids' categories there were 47 registered contestants in three different age brackets, and many of the youngsters had well over 100 perch in their creel.

In the 12 to 16 year old bracket the big winner was Tanner Pavlek with 148 perch. Tony won a combination fishing rod.

In the 8 to 11 bracket the big winner was John House with 113 yellow perch. Jon received a combination fishing set.

In the 7 and under age bracket the overall winner was Owen Severs with 67 perch and he won a great fishing combination set.

All the kids on the lake received great prizes, donated by Terry's Ace Hardware. A big thank you to Terry's Ace Hardware and his staff for all the support and prizes.

The second Pagosa Lake Winter Perch Tournament will be held at Lake Hatcher Saturday, Feb. 10, in conjunction with WinterFest.

Tickets are available at Ponderosa Do-It-Best, Terry's ACE Hardware, Pagosa Lakes Recreation Center and Pagosa Lakes administration office. Tickets can also be purchased the day of the tournament at the lake. All revenue from ticket sales is used for prize money. The tournament is open to the general public and no permit or fishing license is required. Kids 16 and under fish free and will compete for fishing related prizes.

The warranty surface repairs to the main pool at the recreation center have gone smoothly so far. The pools will be refilled today and there is a strong possibility that it will be available to swimmers by Wednesday, Feb. 7. Please call the recreation center to verify.

 

Obituaries

Larry Novak

Larry Novak peacefully passed away in his Pagosa home on Monday, Jan. 29, 2007.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Karol; his two children, Amy Huff and Chad Novak; his grandchildren, Owen Huff and Cassidy Novak; and his two sisters, Margaret McCoy and Gloria Roelen.

Larry was born in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, March 4, 1944, to Martin and Magida Novak. He graduated from the University of California at Long Beach with a degree in electrical engineering, and eventually started his own successful medical business. He retired early and moved to Pagosa Springs where he spent the last 10 years enjoying his family and the impressive Colorado wilderness.

Friends will remember him as the "gentle giant" who listened and acted with kindness and patience. His genuine concern and love of others was evident in his daily interactions with both close friends and strangers. Family members will remember his happy and lighthearted nature, which he was able to exude at all times... even the difficult times. He had a confident optimism that lifted spirits, and his life practices were all motivated by a desire to give and to help those around him. As a committee member of the Pagosa Bible Church, Larry was revered for living his faith; his actions were clear reflections of his selfless, compassionate ideals. He was admired by all, and he will be dearly missed.

Services for Larry will be at Pagosa Bible Church on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, at 10:30 a.m. In lieu of gifts, please send donations to Wells Fargo, where a fund has been set up in his name for the foster children of Pagosa Springs.

 

 Business News

Chamber News

WinterFest is just around the corner

By Mary Jo Coulehan

SUN Columnist

Attention all you winter enthusiasts, athletes and snowmobilers: WinterFest is just around the corner, with lots of fun and activities for participants and spectators alike.

Pagosa's winter playground opens up for all sorts of events Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 10 and 11.

On Saturday, Feb. 10 , we hope the weather cooperates and balloonists who come to Pagosa will be able to fly in the morning, starting around 8 a.m. We understand that about 10 balloonists could come to Pagosa for the weekend.

Then, for the first time in many years, snowmobiling returns to Pagosa with the Rocky Mountain States Snow Cross.

Pagosa is the third town on the circuit this year and avid snowmobilers and racers will hit the ground vying for prizes and trophies. This is a great spectator sport and the event will be held at the fairgrounds starting at 10 a.m. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children 6-11, and free for children 5 and under. This fast-paced exciting tournament will be held on two days, so if you are fishing or entering the sled race Saturday, don't worry - the racers will be at the fairgrounds Sunday. After the snow cross race, there will be drag races as well. These should start in the afternoon. For more information about entering the races or attending, call Pam Lloyd at 731-5740.

Then, starting around 9 a.m., ice fishermen and women of all ages can head out to Hatcher Lake where an ice fishing tournament will be held. There will be prizes, and the lake is prime for fishing. We thank the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association for hosting this event every year. For more information about the ice tournament, call 731-5635.

If fishing is not your game, then just travel three miles east of town to the Best Value High Country Lodge where the "Anything Goes Downhill Sled Race" will take place Saturday. Registration begins at noon, with the race at 1 p.m.

This event is another great spectator sport. All sleds must be homemade, not store-bought. Some of the entries in the past have included a massage table on skis, toilets seats, signs, chairs, and numerous other normal, yet for this purpose, eclectic materials. This fun race takes the average of three runs and the winner is declared on the basis of the fastest average. There will also be a prize for the most creative entry as well as door prizes for all who attend. The entry fee is $5; the winner will receive $50. Second place gets $25, third place $15.

After the race, enjoy complimentary food and beverages from our hosts and sponsors at High Country Lodge, Dick and Kathy Fitz. The Fitz' have sponsored this race for five years, and we appreciate their generosity and involvement in this fun event. The snow is great, the hill is ready and some great sledding is in store. Make this a fun family event. Youth or school groups can have a blast and win some money. For registration forms or for more information, please call the Chamber at 264-2360.

Saturday night, WinterFest and Valentine's Day combine at the community center at a special dance. Tim Sullivan and Narrow Gauge will rock the center as they always do. The dance starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until 11. Tickets are available at the community center, the Visitor Center and WolfTracks Bookstore for $25 in advance. Tickets are $30 at the door. There will be a cash bar and snacks available. Treat your sweetheart to a great evening out on the town and enjoy the music of Tim Sullivan.

On Sunday, weather permitting, the balloons will hit the skies again, creating a stunning vision of color against the snowy mountains. Flight time is set for 8 a.m. on the west side of town.

Athletes hit the slopes at Wolf Creek Ski Area Sunday for the second annual WinterFest Triathlon. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at the lodge up at the ski mountain, with the race starting at 9:30. Participants will ski cross country, snow shoe up the mountain, then downhill ski or snowboard. Awards will be given for thebest overall time in the following categories: men's, women's, children and team entry. Registration forms are available at the Chamber. Entry fees are $30 for a single entry, $45 for a team of two, and $60 for a team of three. Entry fees this year include lunch after the race with Olympic speed skater Greg Lyman, a resident of Durango.

As WinterFest activities get bigger and better every year, we hope we are including activities for all winter enthusiasts, whether they are a participant or just a spectator. If you will be visiting Pagosa, make sure you enjoy some of the reasons that we love this community: winter and the fun and beauty that this season brings to our area.

Updates

Don't forget that the 19th annual Pagosa Springs Arts Council Photography Contest opens at Moonlight Books 5-7 p.m. Saturday. The show will continue until Feb. 24, but the opening night is always exciting. Moonlight Books is filled with wonderful works of photography, great food, and so much talent! You will be able to vote for the People's Choice award throughout the showing.

Our mail boxes have been filled with "Important Tax Information" envelopes, and businesses and accountants are frantically trying to get the proper forms and W-2s to their staff members. It's hard to believe it's tax season again.

The generous volunteers who work with the AARP Tax-Aide program have been testing and updating their knowledge to provide free assistance to low and moderate-income taxpayers. This wonderful yearly service provides assistance, with special attention to those age 60 and older. This program is strictly confidential and free electronic filing is available. Tax assistance will be provided every Thursday in the Arts and Crafts room at the community center, Feb. 1 through April 12. Appointments are requested and can be made by signing up at the senior center dining hall. Appointments will not be taken if you call the senior center or community center. Walk-ins will be assisted if the schedule permits. Many thanks to the individuals who give of their time and knowledge this time of year, with little to no recognition. If you would like more information about the program or might be interested in volunteering, call Bob Henley at 731-9411.

Here are two "heads up" programs being offered by the San Juan Conservation District. The first is a grant process which allows property owners who are interested in implementing a conservation practice on their property, but would like assistance with the cost, to apply for a grant to pay for 50 percent of the project costs up to $3,500. Conservation practices include the use of planned grazing systems, more efficient irrigation systems, improved riparian area conditions, and rangeland/woodland productivity and plant diversity that benefit both livestock and wildlife. Technical assistance will be provided by NRCS. Grant requests must be submitted to the SJCD offices by March 30. Winners will be notified by April 9, and all projects must be completed by September 1, 2007.

The second San Juan Conservation District program offered is the yearly tree and shrub seedlings program for conservation planting, shelter belts, reforestation and wildlife habitat enhancement. Bare root trees are available in multiples of 50 per species and potted trees in multiples of 30 per species. Orders for this program will be taken through March 28. For more information on either program, contact the San Juan Conservation District offices at 731-3615, or stop by the offices at 505A Piedra Road.

Memberships

We have three new members to welcome this week and quite a few renewals.

We start off with noted local artist Betty Slade and her Blanco Dove Retreat Center. This beautifully decorated home is brimming with heartwarming artistic charm in typical beautiful Betty Slade style! The retreat center hosts group meetings and conferences workshops, and reunions. There are rooms with private and shared baths, kitchen facilities, cottages with a bathhouse, and a completely furnished apartment. Walk along the Blanco River, or sit next to a quiet and inviting pond. For more information on this delightful retreat center, please contact Betty at 264-2824.

For your party, wedding, company function or reunion, we have a DJ as a chamber member now. Wulf DJ Service, with Kevin Munro, joins our roster. Kevin can add music to your function, bar or tavern, playing a large range of musical requests. He serves Pagosa Springs and surrounding areas and can be contacted by calling (970) 470-0352, or check out his Web site at www.WULFDJ.com.

Eddie Ring with Fairfield Pagosa Realty joins us this week. Eddie can broker homes, land and commercial properties. Very familiar with the area since his full-time residency began in the 1990s, Eddie works at the high volume office in the Pagosa Country Center. Give him a call to list a property, or help you purchase a property, at 731-5161. We thank Genesis Mortgage for referring Mr. Ring to the Chamber. They will receive a free SunDowner admission for the referral.

Our renewals this week include: EarthBlock, Inc. with Jim Hallock; Buckskin Towing and Repair; Robin Auld, Attorney at Law; Holladay Auto and Truck Repair; Kerry Dermody, manager of Management of Fine Properties; and the Archuleta County Education Center.

Stay tuned the next several weeks for the announcement of our new business learning series: Business Bites. This monthly series will be an abbreviated version of our three hour Business Builder learning sessions. Business Bites will be 1 to 1 1/2 hour information sessions that will change monthly and be offered at the lunch hour. A minimal cost will include your lunch and you will hear a guest speak on a different topic every month. There are so many important subjects related to our business community, and we want to offer you the latest and best information.

The snow is great this year and we are ready for a killer WinterFest, filled with lots of activities for participants and spectators of all ages. Call the Chamber for more information at 264-2360.

Biz Beat

Terry Smith, owner of Terry's Ace Hardware, has created Mountain Home Furnishings, Design & Decor, and Susan Day has come on board, bringing with her 25-plus years experience in interior design and product knowledge.

Susan, a Colorado native, looks forward to setting a new standard in what you can expect in furnishing your home. Mountain Home Furnishings, Design & Decor, features living room, dining room and bedroom sets, log furniture, housewares, bedding and mattresses, lighting, interior design service and more.

Stop in and see what's new, and always changing at Mountain Home Furnishings, Design & Decor, located inside Terry's Ace Hardware, 525 Navajo Trails Drive.

People

Engagement

Alexander/Russler

Daryl and Rebecca Alexander, and Mark and Alice Russler, are proud to announce the engagement of their daughter, Makaila Russler, to Bobby Hart, son of Bob and Mary Hart of Pagosa Springs, and Chris Black of Katy, Texas.

The couple met in Pagosa Springs while playing basketball. Makaila is a Pagosa Springs Intermediate School physical education teacher and coaches junior high volleyball and basketball. Bobby is contract manager and estimator at Hart Construction Corporation in Pagosa Springs.

The couple is planning a June 2, 2007, wedding in Pagosa Springs.

 

Anniversary

Alexander

Jeanne Alexander and her husband, Fern, of Pagosa Springs, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on Feb. 6, 2007.
They were married at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Renton, Wash.

Sports Page

Pirate wrestlers battle for title tomorrow night

By Karl Isberg

Staff Writer

It's unexpected.

And it will be fun.

The Pirate wrestling team, its roster filled with youngsters, has fought through to the final night of the regular season, and will battle for the Intermountain League championship Friday.

It is a dream match for the Pirates, long figured to be in a rebuilding year in a sport that rewards experience.

It's a dual meet with Bayfield - the other IML team solidly in the hunt for the league crown.

It's at home, in the PSHS gym.

It's an ideal scenario for athlete and fan alike.

The dramatic dual was set up last week at Monte Vista as both the Pirates and the Wolverines beat the defending champs. Each team has now defeated their IML foes in dual meet action and have only each other left.

Winner take all.

"It's a tall order," said Pirate Coach Dan Janowsky of Friday's dual with Bayfield. "But, you know, it's going to be fun and it's little things like this that keep kids motivated. We've had plenty of setbacks this year, but for our guys to have a chance to win the league championship at this stage of their development is a great opportunity - win or lose, a night like this can only help us."

The road to the league title match was not an easy one for Pagosa.

Last Thursday, at Monte, the Pirates had to first face the Florence Huskies, one of the premier Class 3A teams in Colorado. And Florence proved its mettle with a 68-10 win. Only two Pirates won their matches against the Huskies - Cole Mastin, at 119 pounds, and Mike Smith at 152.

Mastin managed max points against Derrick Tucker, of Florence, getting six with the pin at 5 minutes, 30 seconds.

Smith had a fairly easy match against Aaron Smith, getting the win with a 14-3 major decision.

"Florence has a lot of balance," said Janowsky. "They are real physical kids - real strong. There were four or five weights, though, where we went with them for a while and could have come away with a better result. We still need to work on our consistency."

Then came the IML dual with Monte Vista. The hosts are never an easy foe, in particular in their home gym.

Pagosa was more than ready for the challenge.

"We rebounded quite well," said Janowsky of the 47-29 victory.

In forging the win, Pagosa took six of 11 matches wrestled.

"We had two kids in our lineup who made a big difference for us," said the coach, referring to Eric Hurd, at 215, and Steven Smith, returning from a broken hand at 112.

Hurd started what would become an impressive run of matches across a three-day period of time, pinning Chris Salazar at 3:51.

Smith took on a wrestler he had never beaten - Pablo Mascarenas - a wrestler who eliminated Smith from state contention with a regional victory last season. Mascarenas had also defeated Smith at the Warrior Classic earlier in this season. This time, it was the Pirate's turn. Smith won with a 7-5 decision in what would certainly be one of several matches the two will fight before year's end.

"Those wins were huge for us," said Janowsky. "Having those two spots in the lineup filled by sturdy athletes makes our lineup different and more difficult for our opponents."

Joe Hausotter contributed a win to the Pirate cause, earning a 2-0 decision over David Warren at 285.

Dillon Sandoval was victorious at 130, pinning Jose Villagomez at 5:03.

Joe DuCharme added points to the Pagosa total, getting a 20-3 technical fall at the 5-minute mark over Aaron Heredia.

Mike Smith got his second win of the evening, pinning Adam Heredia at 1:39.

"In a lot of the matches we didn't win," said the coach, "we wrestled them hard. That's the only way you learn. If you wrestle hard, you can clearly identify the areas in which you need improvement. We continue to mature and, in a way, our freshmen aren't freshmen any more; they've got nearly a season under their belts now. We're making steady improvement and we need to keep hammering away at it. Confidence is still a factor, and a win is the best way to boost your confidence."

A trip to Centauri Saturday, for the Centauri Invitational, provided lessons and an ebb and flow in confidence for the young Pirates as they fought at the final tournament of the regular season.

By day's end, the Pirates had competed in five dual matches and left La Jara 2-3.

The Pirates couldn't get going - perhaps a result of young athletes having had a very long Thursday (arriving home after 11 p.m.) and not knowing exactly how to handle the school's Sadie Hawkins Dance Friday night, with a 5 a.m. departure time looming.

In a word, the Pirates were lackluster. Substitute unfocused or fatigued, the picture remains the same.

A 13-58 loss to state contender Olathe started the day.

Hurd, Steven Smith and DuCharme led the way for the team - Hurd getting a pin a 3:44, Smith a 15-10 decision and DuCharme an 18-4 major.

Monte Vista got a measure of revenge in the second dual of the day, defeating Pagosa 59-24.

Hurd again nailed a pin, beating Chris Salazar at 3:36. The only other Pirate wins were by forfeit.

The Pirates finally emerged victorious, fashioning a 42-36 victory over Dolores Huerta. Hurd pinned Chris Benevidez at 3:07. Steven Smith got a 3-2 win over Domingo Abraham - the No. 2-ranked 112-pounder in Class 2A. Mastin scored with a pin at 3:43.

Sandoval won his match at 130, pinning Victor Guerrero.

DuCharme earned a 10-2 decision over Nick Segura and Mike Smith pinned Daniel Vigil at 3:41.

The roller coaster ride continued with a 28-38 loss to Centauri.

Most of Pagosa's wins were by forfeit. Mike Smith beat Jared Rogers, 14-5,

The day ended on a high note; Pagosa defeated Buena Vista 36-33 to end tourney action.

Hurd got yet another pin, at 3:03, over Brett Keyte.

Mike Smith pinned Travis Bouillon at 1:44.

Pat Ford got a victory at 160. The Pirate junior put Mike Rucker's shoulders down at 1:24.

"Eric Hurd had a great day," said Janowsky of the junior, "and he made a big difference for us. And Joe (DuCharme) was there all the time in terms of effort. Another bright spot was that Waylon Lucero (freshman, 140) wrestled very well. I hope the others watched him. Waylon was trailing eight to two in the third period of his last match, but he added points, getting a takedown with three seconds left. That's what we've been teaching all year. Waylon never got down on himself, he never gave up, he kept wrestling hard to the very end."

Overall, though, the coach said his team, "looked tired and flat. Now, we'll work on getting more aggressive. We've worked hard on technique all season, and I think that's just about played out. Now, its time to do some Pagosa wrestling, physical wrestling, pressing the action."

The team has a chance to stay in tune as it goes to Durango tonight for a 6 p.m. makeup dual against the Demons.

Then, tomorrow x the Big Show, the meet of the season, the kind of event an athlete, and a fan, waits for. They don't happen that often.

Ignacio is also in town for the league dual. Action starts at 6 p.m.

editor@pagosasun.com

 

Pirate girls go to .500 with win over Bayfield

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Pirate girls varsity hoops won a key victory last Thursday against league rival Bayfield, 53-37, bringing them back to .500, with a 7-7 record.

Coach Bob Lynch said the game would help his team build confidence and momentum as they move into the second half of the league season, since the game was built up to be a showdown game.

The Wolverines were not as much competition as the Pirates expected, though they did not lose any seniors from last year.

Lynch said there was a mismatch at every position, in the Pirates' favor - Pagosa being "a little bit bigger, a little bit quicker."

But the win should not be ascribed to a failure on Bayfield's part, rather to the strong play of the Pirates.

"The reason they (the Wolverines) weren't as strong is we really handled them man-to-man," said Lynch.

The Pirates confronted Bayfield with half-court man coverage throughout the game, occasionally applying the pressure over the full length of the court.

Pirate players like Lyndsey Mackey had strong defensive games, tipping passes, swatting balls loose, making steals and fighting for jump balls. Mackey knocked the ball loose twice in the first possession of the game, and followed it up with a steal.

On offense, the Pirates showed greater ability at passing the ball into the paint, as well as converting high-percentage shots than in weeks past.

By finding their strides on offense and defense, the Pirates showed that they are not simply a group of individual performers but individuals capable of playing as a strategic team.

The success "speaks to the fact that our girls keep improving" and "could make some noise down the road," said Lynch.

The Pirates won with scoring contributions from all positions, and despite challenges faced by season-leading scorers - Jessica Lynch and Camille Rand.

The high-scorer for the game was Jessica Lynch, who finished with 16, though she had to battle against a three-point shooting slump, in which she made three of 16 from behind the arc.

In addition, Rand's playing time was limited due to foul trouble, which brought her point total down to 10 points.

The Pirates had two other players in double digits -- both forwards. Samantha Harris had 10 points on the night, seven coming in the second quarter.

Kristen DuCharme finished second in scoring with 13 points, from a strong performance in the paint.

Bayfield beat the Pirates in a slow first quarter, 8-9, due in large part to missed shots under pressure -- the Pirates occasionally shooting the ball too forcefully, bouncing shots off the board without so much as touching the rim. But the Pirates rebounded with a seven-point lead at halftime, 21-14 - based on strong defensive pressure and better shooting. The Pirates extended their lead to 17 points at the end of three quarters and held the Wolverines at bay to close the game.

Though Bayfield suffered a convincing defeat, they did win over the officiating crew, which seemed to cast a favorable eye upon the home team.

Coach Lynch respectfully argued calls throughout the game, especially after several Pirate shots were blocked in the paint in the first half, without a foul call. Lynch expressed amazement that there could be so many clean blocks in a well-match high school game, without any contact.

Pagosa will have a chance to win over officials in a rematch later this season at home, Feb. 9, while the Wolverines will have a chance to make up for their loss.

"They'll play a better game next time ... they'll understand us a little better," said Lynch.

Until then, the Pirates have other opponents to outmatch, including the Centauri Falcons (a team that beat the Pirates in a tough season opener), this Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at La Jara.

 

High school baseball umpires needed

Baseball umpires are needed for the upcoming high school season in the Four Corners area.

Schools served include Pagosa Springs, Bayfield, Durango and Ignacio.

Successful umpires should have baseball or softball playing experience, umpiring experience at some level, be at least 18 years of age, and have a desire to provide a positive playing environment for student athletes. New umpires will be worked with individually and assisted by experienced umpires to develop their on-the-field skills.

The baseball season lasts from March through May. Game times are typically at 4 p.m. on weekdays with some morning games on Saturdays. Umpiring fees, in addition to travel mileage where appropriate, are paid.

Umpire meetings are held weekly in Durango, Wednesday evenings at 5:30 p.m. Rules, field positioning, and previous game situations are discussed.

Anyone interested in becoming a baseball umpire should contact Jim Turner, president of the Durango Area Baseball Umpires Association, at (970) 759-4389.

 

Pirate girls skin bobcats, now 3-1 in IML

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Faced with a weaker opponent in the Ignacio Bobcats, the Pirate girls' varsity basketball team played its entire squad in a 73-29 victory at home Saturday - taking the team to a season record of 8-7, 3-1 in Intermountain League play.

Coach Bob Lynch rotated two squads of five players to start the game, each group with a mixture of starters and backups. Throughout the game, season starters shared time with their understudies, except for a period in the second quarter, when the first team got playing time together to keep the rust off. Starters sat for most of the second half.

Lynch said such an unevenly matched game does not help the team make significant improvements, though giving significant playing time to the whole team does raise team morale.

The easy win shouldn't hurt the team's momentum, said Lynch, since the Pirates faced good competition against Bayfield last Thursday, in an important win.

The Pirates out-scored Ignacio 27-2 in the first quarter and 20-4 in the second, ending the half at 47-6. Pagosa intentionally slowed down in the second half, in an attempt not to run up the score.

Though, as a whole, Ignacio's six-girl squad was no match for the Pirates, Pagosa did face some individual competition from Bobcat guard A.J. Vigil, who scored 18 points in the game, despite sitting out several minutes due to foul trouble in the first half.

As for Pirate scorers, Camille Rand led the team with 16 points, followed by Lyndsey Mackey with 11, Jessica Lynch with 10 and Samantha Harris and Kristen DuCharme with eight each. The high-point totals were reached even though the first-teamers spent much of the game on the bench.

After the lopsided win, the Pirates will look to build up their intensity for a rematch with last year's state champion, Centauri, which beat the Pirates in their first league game at home, 58-44.

The Pirates were challenged by turnovers and poor shooting in the paint in the loss, but challenged the Falcons in the second half with strong defensive pressure that led to a 20-5 point run in Pagosa's favor.

Lynch also said his team had difficulty adjusting to Centauri's "box-and-one" defense, a four-man zone with man-to-man coverage on the Pirates' Jessica Lynch, which the Falcons featured in the first half of the game. However, the defensive set opened up the floor for Rand who stepped up with 24 points in the game, which might make the Falcons think twice about running the "over-focused defense" again, said Lynch.

Though the Pirates successfully broke Centauri's full-court press in the first game, they frequently turned the ball over after settling into a half-court offense. For the rematch, said Lynch, look for the Pirates to take better care of the ball, while finishing high-percentage shots.

If the Pirates combine ball control with the strong man-to-man defense and shooting they showed against Bayfield last Thursday, they will likely get their revenge on the Falcons.

The game tips off Saturday at 5:30 p.m. in La Jara.

Pirates get road win over Bayfield

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' varsity basketball team advanced to a 3-0 Intermountain League record, handily beating Bayfield in an away game last Thursday, 74-49.

The Wolverines were little competition for the Pirates, though they brought some hometown intensity to the game - which manifested itself in bouts of sloppy play.

The Pirates played their game of fast breaks, produced by turnovers, but complemented quick transitions with the ability to produce scoring opportunities from the half-court offense, while protecting the ball with only 14 turnovers during the game.

While easily winning the competition of putting points on the board, Pagosa also won the unrecorded contest of matching Bayfield's hometown intensity with toughness of their own - something that would be essential to defeating Ignacio Saturday, as well.

A few snapshots of determination: In the first quarter, Adam Trujillo had a shot blocked, but fought for the ball and put up another shot, scoring two. Travis Richie repeatedly challenged Bayfield's guards as they moved the ball down the court, producing two consecutive steals in the first quarter. In the second quarter, a Bayfield defender streaked toward the basket for a layup, but Jordan Shaffer tracked him down and blocked the shot from behind.

The Pirates won every quarter of the competition, closing the first quarter at 18-7 and finishing the half at 38-21. Pagosa continued to extend the lead in the second half, going up 53-32 in the third and closing the game with a margin of 25 points.

Surprisingly, only one Pirate player finished the game in double digits. Shaffer shot eight-for-11 from the floor and five-for-six from the line, scoring 22 points. Adam Trujillo finished second in scoring for the Pirates, with eight, and led the team with 10 rebounds (five on offense), four steals, two blocks and five assists (an honor he shared with Kerry Joe Hilsabeck).

Every starter, and all but two backups, scored in the game.

"Any time you beat a team by 25 or 30, you are obviously doing some good things," said Coach Jim Shaffer, who went on to say his team didn't play as well as they could, losing focus for stretches of play.

The Pirates would not have the option to lose focus when they played Ignacio last Saturday, in a game that was a contest into the fourth quarter.

Pagosa overcomes tough Ignacio five, 74-63

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys varsity basketball team faced its first real challenge in the Intermountain League on the home court Saturday, defeating tough, hustling Ignacio 74-63 - in a matchup that saw the lead alternate repeatedly.

The team added a fourth win to an undefeated league record - which gives the Pirates the position of clear front-runner. Pagosa has a 12-2 overall record.

The Bobcats came out of their warmups strong, advancing to a five-point lead to begin the game. The Pirates did not get on the board until the third minute of play, and then traded baskets with Ignacio until the score rested at 7-13. Then, two unanswered baskets from Jordan Shaffer, and another from Caleb Ormonde, closed the distance and tied the game at 13 midway through the first quarter.

The Pirates would go on to expand their lead in the quarter, 21-15. The last points of the period came as a tribute to the team's ability to compete in a back-and-forth game. With four seconds remaining in the quarter, the Pirates lined up at half court for the inbound from the opposing basket. The team ran toward the inbound line, with Kerry Joe Hilsabeck breaking away toward the Pirates' basket. Jordan Shaffer inbounded the ball to Adam Trujillo at Ignacio's three-point arc. Trujillo hit Hilsabeck sprinting toward the Pirates' basket for a quick and easy layup.

Ignacio scored more points in the second quarter 18-16, and came within three points of tying the game, but the Pirates maintained their lead, finishing the half at 37-33.

But Ignacio was not down for the count. The Bobcats score three more points than Pagosa in the third quarter, tied the game early in the period and built a 43-39 lead, which then flipped back and forth before Shaffer reclaimed the lead for the last time, with a jumper that put the score at 51-50. The third quarter ended at 53-52.

Ignacio would not regain the lead in the fourth quarter, which the Pirates won 21-11, the Bobcats tiring from their hustle and being unable to compensate with finesse basketball.

Ignacio's strength in the first three quarters of the game came from strong rebounding and good ball movement. Though the Bobcats missed more than their fair share of shots, their offensive rebounds gave them additional opportunities. Perimeter shots produced long rebounds, which the Bobcats claimed with their hustle. The Bobcats brought down 10 offensive boards in the first half.

According to Coach Jim Shaffer, the Pirates did not do well at the boards during the first half, allowing Ignacio to take second shots at the basket. His team also had to adjust to defend Ignacio's quick dribblers and to step up to take a charge when a teammate was beat on defense.

In comparison to Ignacio's offensive rebounding, the Pirates claimed only four boards after their own missed shots.

Another factor that made the Bobcats a threat was their intense, physical play. The Bobcats are "really, really quick, aggressive and athletic kids," said Shaffer.

The Pirates responded with skillful play and shooting and were tough when they needed to be - especially when protecting the ball, said Shaffer. But when they did lag in aggressiveness or hustle, Ignacio was quick to take advantage.

Intensity could be a factor when the Pirates face the Bobcats in a rematch in Ignacio Feb. 16 - especially with a strong Ignacio crowd, which made its presence felt in Pagosa.

Jordan Shaffer led the Pirates for the second straight game with 24 points. He also tied for the lead in steals with three, with Hilsabeck, who led with nine assists. Ormonde led with seven rebounds, and both he and Hilsabeck had 12 points.

Pagosa defeats Cortez in non-league matchup

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

The Pirate boys' basketball team traveled to the Four Corners Tuesday to play Cortez in a non-league varsity game, which the Pirates won 70-57, bringing their season record to 13-2.

Jordan Shaffer led his team in scoring with his third straight 20-plus-point game, with 21 points - shooting seven-for-10 from the floor and six-for-six from the line. The Pirates as a whole shot slightly under 60 percent from the floor and 70 percent from the line.

Caleb Ormonde and Casey Hart also achieved double figures with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Ormonde led in rebounds with eight and Kerry Joe Hilsabeck led in assists and steals with eight and five.

The non-league game was an interlude in the league season. Having faced every other team in the Intermountain League once thus far, the Pirates are undefeated with a 4-0 league record. They will play all four teams again, beginning with Centauri this Saturday, in La Jara.

Though the Pirates easily defeated Centauri in the first game of the league season, Coach Jim Shaffer said the Falcons will be "a different team, playing in their home gym," and said he believes Centauri will challenge the Pirates with a full-court press and traps.

The second half of the league season, on the road to the playoffs, will start at 7 p.m. Saturday in La Jara.

Pagosa Springs Recreation

Register now for adult basketball

By Tom Carosello

SUN Columnist

The Pagosa Springs Recreation Department is now accepting team registrations for the 2007 adult men's and women's basketball leagues.

Staff will accept registrations for men's recreation league, men's competitive league and women's recreation league. However, if there are not at least four teams registered for the women's league by the deadline, the women's league will be canceled.

Registration forms are available at the department office in Town Hall; deadline for registering teams in this year's leagues is Feb. 14.

Because of the strong likelihood for shorter seasons this year due to limited gym space, team registration fees have been lowered from the traditional rate of $250 to $150, plus a $25 fee per player.

The leagues are tentatively scheduled to begin later this month.

Call the recreation office at 264-4151, Ext. 232 with any questions.

Officials needed

The recreation department is in need of game officials for the upcoming adult basketball leagues and would like to hear from anyone interested in officiating in this year's league.

Pay scale ranges from $15-$20 per game depending on experience.

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

Youth basketball photo nights

Photo nights for this year's 9-10 and 11-12 youth basketball teams have been scheduled for Feb. 1, 5, 6 and 12.

Jeff Laydon, of Pagosa Photography, will be conducting each shoot according to the following schedule:

- Thursday, Feb. 1 at the junior high school (9-10 Division) - Royal and Red at 5 p.m., Black and Gold at 6 p.m., Purple and Columbia at 7 p.m.

- Monday, Feb. 5 at the community center (11-12 Division) - Navy and Columbia at 5 p.m., Red and Black at 6 p.m., Orange and Gold at 7 p.m.

- Tuesday, Feb. 6 at the community center (9-10 Division) - Navy and Vegas at 5 p.m., Orange at 6 p.m.

- Monday, Feb. 12 at the community center (11-12) Division - Red at 7 p.m.

Parents' and coaches' cooperation in making arrangements to have players arrive promptly at their team's scheduled photo time will be greatly appreciated.

Youth basketball schedules

Youth basketball schedules are available at the recreation office in Town Hall and can also be downloaded in Adobe format through links on the recreation department Web page at www.townofpagosasprings.com (click on "town departments," then click on "parks and recreation").

Schedules can also be obtained by calling the sports hotline at 264-6658. The hotline is updated regularly throughout the season.

Skate pond

The skate pond at the River Center remains open for the season.

Resurfacing efforts continue on Monday and Thursday evenings.

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 to 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.

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

Viable alternatives

Our state penal system is in trouble and, therefore, our judicial systems and pocketbooks feel the pinch. The problem: for several decades an emotionally satisfying and politically advantageous "lock 'em up" mentality has driven policy and spending. And we have spent our way into a hole. A very big hole.

Colorado now has more than 22,000 inmates in state prison facilities, just about 445 per 100,000 residents - above the national average. The prison system is full. Moreover, the state's prison population is the fourth fastest growing in the nation. In fiscal year 2005, that population grew 5.5 percent, compared to a national growth average of less than 2 percent. At this rate, the state needs to add nearly 1,000 prison beds per year to accommodate the increase in inmate numbers. The state would need an estimated $100 million more in funds each year to meet the needs of the growth in prison population.

Check out the current costs for housing a prisoner and for constructing one new cell for the prison system. It costs approximately $100,000 to build one new prison cell. The taxpayers spend at least $28,000 per year to house one prisoner. A General Fund appropriation proposed last year, designed to help meet this demand, was nowhere near what was needed x to simply tread water. Twenty years ago, Colorado spent less than 3 percent of the total state budget on prisons; now it is more than 8.5 percent, and it could climb.

Unless we find ways to cut growth in prison population. Unless we change our ideas about, and our methods for dealing with "crime."

A similar fiscal and facility problem affects Archuleta County. The current Archuleta County Jail is barely adequate to handle the load. The need for a new facility is undeniable.

There is little additional money to deal with the problem; we have other problems in the county, and all need to be addressed.

Fortunately, there are some clear thinking people hereabouts. Our Focus Feature this week details one of the efforts underway to lessen the demand on our local jail and, perhaps more important, to create a better approach to deal with a problem in the community and give those creating the problem a chance to change their lives for the better.

The feature deals with the recently instituted Drug Court in Archuleta County - a program designed for first-time drug offenders not convicted of dealing and with no history of violent crime.

The program allows an offender a chance to stay out of jail and clean up his or her act - to overcome possible addiction problems, to be employed, to take part in family and community life. Offenders channeled to the Drug Court program receive help from a variety of sources as they "serve their time." They are closely monitored, their performances evaluated on a regular basis. The program seeks to prevent another offense via in-community rehabilitation.

An alternative sentencing program operated by the sheriff's office does much the same with other offenders. Twenty-eight offenders have entered that program since it began a year ago and only three have failed to complete it successfully.

That's 25 potential inmates who did not go to jail, at the taxpayer's expense.

A similar DUI Court will begin operation this spring - taking on repeat offenders as well as first-timers, and involving more, and enhanced, monitoring systems.

Lesson one: People convicted of certain offenses who show a willingness to be rehabilitated should be treated, not jailed.

Lesson two: We need to reevaluate our personal and collective opinions regarding which crimes are worthy of expensive and often unproductive incarceration. It is too easy to adopt a strident and comforting one-dimensional response to "crime." When we are wrong, it is very expensive.

Karl Isberg

Legacies

Shari Pierce

90 years ago

Taken from SUN files of February 2, 1917

Owing to the breaking of a shaft at the light plant Saturday, our town was in darkness from Saturday until Tuesday.

Frank Matthews purchased a house at the mill and is having same placed on his lot by the Lake property near the depot.

Pete Baldwin's team had a narrow escape from drowning a week ago Saturday. They walked off the ice into the river, one of them going under and the other turning over. They were in deep water and had to swim quite a ways upstream before getting out.

Preston Bonnell went over to the mill the other day to get some lumber for a pair of skis.

75 years ago

Taken from SUN files of February 5, 1932

The board of directors of the Archuleta County Dairymen's Association, consisting of H.A. Bryant, president, Harry Macht, secretary, Fred Flaugh, treasurer, Vic Johnson and Leon Flaugh, met last Friday afternoon at the Pagosa Creamery, and voted a dividend of 40 cents per share on the entire capital stock of 2400 shares, valued at $2.00 per share. The dividend represents about $1000 net earnings for the year 1931, not withstanding poor business conditions in general and low prices received for butter and cream.

The Lester W. Mullins post of the American Legion met Wednesday eve at the court house, for the purpose of electing a new commander to succeed Ralph H. Ludlum, who departs next week for Trinidad.

50 years ago

Taken from SUN files of January 31, 1957

The entire San Juan Basin and the mountain passes are loaded down with new snow as a result of the storm that started last week. There is an estimated 12 feet of new snow on Wolf Creek Pass and it has been closed to traffic since Saturday. The Pass will more than likely be closed for some time as every known slide, and a few new ones, has come down. A slide also swept through the west side highway camp, covering machinery and damaging buildings there. The total official snow depth on the Pass is not available, but men working up there estimate it at 15 or 16 feet at the camp on this side and more on top. The snow was exceptionally heavy and wet and a fall of 15 feet or more in less than a week.

25 years ago

Taken from SUN files of February 5, 1982

April 24, 1982 will be the date for the first annual Channel 9 Health Fair in Pagosa Springs. Presently there are 144 sites in the state holding this annual event. It should be emphasized that health fair is strictly a voluntary effort. In order to have a successful event we need volunteer help in many areas. We hope our first health fair in Pagosa Springs will set a precedent for the future years. With the current discussion about a hospital district and the proposed new emergency care facility, health fair can be a good forum for information disbursement and public awareness.

Site selection for a medical facility will be the subject of a special meeting scheduled for Tuesday night in the County Courthouse.

 

Features

A new approach

By Louis Sherman

Staff Writer

Archuleta County recently joined a small group of about 500 jurisdictions in the United States with its institution of a drug court, which attempts to rehabilitate first-time drug offenders without histories of violence or dealing drugs.

The program is an attempt to help early users with drug problems break the habit, avoid second offenses and become productive members of society. And if the offender agrees to take part, they enter into a difficult program, one that requires activity, responsibility and commitment - but a program that allows them to avoid jail time.

While in the program, probationers give up freedoms, while taking on responsibilities. The primary rule is that they must not use any illegal drugs. They must call in every day to arrange random drug testing - which occurs five times per week. They must complete counseling and community service as directed by the court, as well as other requirements determined on an individual basis. They even may be told they cannot be in relationship with another person, with whom they once did drugs.

These requirements are part of the five key components of the drug court program - which includes heavy monitoring, intense supervision by a probation officer and representatives of the court, risk assessment, therapy and court hearings - "where it all comes together," said Archuleta County Court Judge Jim Denvir.

The structure of the court may surprise those tuned in to law-and-order dramas. There is a judge, but there is a remarkable absence of lawyers. The "defendants" stand for themselves and discuss their progress in the program with Denvir, including their adherence to the requirements of their probation and any questions or concerns they may have. If they have followed the terms of the drug court program, they are rewarded (in large part by empowering standing ovations from community members who are involved); if they have not met the terms, they face sanction, including jail time and eventual dismissal from the program.

Community members and agencies have taken roles in the drug court. Davilyn Valdez, a county probation officer, has taken on probationers in drug court as additional clients and works closely with Denvir in the program. Meg Dunne, of Pathfinder Clinic, works with probationers and participates on an advisory committee - as do Pastor Don Ford of the Community United Methodist Church, Erlinda Gonzalez, county human services director, and representatives from the police and sheriff's department.

"This is a community problem and something the community should be involved in," said Denvir.

In the advisory meeting, which occurs every two weeks, along with the drug court, the group reviews the probationer's success during the last two weeks - evaluating the progress of therapy, drug tests, community service and employment. The committee recommends action to be taken in the case, whether the probationer should be rewarded or sanctioned.

During the closed session, there is a "well balanced conversation about what the person is doing," said Valdez. Every person gets an individual focus and "they don't get swept under the carpet," said Denvir.

During the open drug court which follows, Denvir calls the probationer before the court to discuss his or her participation in the program during the last two weeks - checking on the attendance of therapy sessions, completion of community service, drug tests and employment. Denvir judges the probationer's success and formally issues rewards or sanctions.

Since drug use is based in addiction, Denvir said attempts at rehabilitation should pay heed to the probationer's psychology. Thus, drug court works as a type of behavior modification, since it is necessary to retrain the individual after drug use has affected his or her personality, behavior and mind. Simply, behavior can be modified by rewarding socially positive behavior and punishing negative behavior. The acts become associated with their effects (reward or punishment), thus breaking the draw of negative behaviors.

Rewards include standing ovations and the right to randomly draw prizes that are donated by the community, including passes to the hot springs and gift certificates to restaurants. Denvir said many of the probationers likely had an absence of positive reinforcement in their lives, which led them to drugs. The rewards program attempts to remedy that lack.

According to Valdez, probationers come from situations where they weren't given a lot and were drawn to drugs to make up for their situation. The incentive program is important because it gives in return for what the program asks from participants.

Denvir said one way the community could meaningfully contribute to the drug court program is by donating rewards, to be drawn by successful probationers.

Sanctions are administered in stages: failure to adhere to the requirements of the sentence, such as making a call to check-in daily, results in the loss of privileges or rewards, while continued failure to meet requirements or a greater offense (such as a positive drug test) results in jail time and eventual expulsion from the program.

According to Denvir, the court acts as an enforcer for the probationer and therapist - to ensure the defendant meets the stipulations of the court's decision, while getting help.

Denvir emphasized the effectiveness of the monitoring and supervision and said that it should show the community that probationers are unlikely to return to drugs after completion of the program.

The program errs on the side of doing everything, said Denvir, to ensure the probationer beats the problem during the limited period of time that he or she is under the jurisdiction of the court.

Since giving up a drug addiction is so difficult, the court must have a screening system before letting defendants into the program. The district attorney's office acts as the gate-keeper into the program, determining which cases show potential and are not weighed down by years of drug abuse, drug dealing or failed attempts at correction.

When the district attorney's office determines a potential candidate, it suggests a deferred judgment to the court, in exchange for a plea of guilty. If the defendant agrees to make the plea and take on the difficult program, rather than being sentenced to jail, the defendant then enters into the probationary period under the drug court. If he or she completes the program successfully, the case is dismissed.

Denvir said that each individual program involves three stages of varying intensity. Each stage generally takes three to four months to complete, but the actual time depends on the probationer's success. If they do not complete or adhere to the terms of a stage, they can not move on and could be subject to a prison sentence.

According to Valdez, drug court means telling participants they need to change every aspect of their life in order to kick the habit. "The sense of accomplishment lets them fill the void they were filling with the drugs," said Valdez.

"Defendants are doing a really hard thing," said Denvir, "and should be applauded for what they do."

According to Denvir, there are three main philosophies of sentencing in the criminal justice system: Deterrence, punishment and rehabilitation. As a whole, courts in the United States have tended to focus on the deterrence factor. This focus poses some significant problems: emphasis on deterrence (through prison sentences and thus more jails) makes it more difficult for the system to implement programs focused on rehabilitation, thus promoting a high level of recidivism. Housing more prisoners costs more than programs to rehabilitate nonviolent offenders. Prison terms break up families, and pull employees from work. Finally, prison provides access to or education in illegal activities, such as drug use and distribution.

Denvir suggested that drug offenses were among the crimes least affected by the deterrence factor, since the crimes are generally caused by addiction. But when a rehabilitation model is used, such as drug courts, recidivism drops from about 50 percent to about 10 percent, said Denvir, with results varying slightly depending on the community.

But as far as the Archuleta County program goes, "I can see a difference in the people so far ... they look better," said Denvir.

The drug court was not the first alternative sentencing program in the county. For the last year the sheriff's department has had its own alternative sentencing program - initiated to reduce the costs of housing prisoners in Archuleta County Jail or sending them to other facilities.

In addition to financial impact, the goal of the program is to rehabilitate offenders with good potential, allowing them to work and care for their families, while making them productive members of society, said Sheriff Pete Gonzalez.

According to a memo prepared by Gary Schott, special deputy in charge of the alternative sentencing program for the sheriff's department, it costs Archuleta County $86 per day for every inmate. Alternative sentencing programs, on the other hand, require probationers to be responsible for much of the tab, since they must pay for the costs associated with their own lodging, testing and other requirements.

Working with the district attorney and the courts, the sheriff's department takes on good candidates for home monitoring, testing and supervision. The sheriff's department, through its alternative sentencing program, will also begin to work with the courts to monitor probationers in the drug court and a future DUI court. Due to the new responsibilities, the sheriff's department will now maintain a full-time position for the program, which used to be halftime.

"Our role is expanding, because we have several more people in the program," said Gonzalez.

Schott said that expansion of the position will also allow him to keep in better contact with people in the program - making more visits and location checks.

Individuals who are in the sheriff's alternative sentencing program are monitored by satellite, with the help of an electronic ankle bracelet. The individual's location is relayed to Schott's computer and cell phone, so he can easily check his or her location at any time.

Probationers agree to the monitoring, as a condition of their alternative sentence, as well as random breathalyzer or drug tests, depending on the offense.

Schott said the program has had remarkable success since it began in February 2006. Out of 28 offenders who have been in the program, all but three have successfully completed it.

"The wheels are on the cart and it is rolling very well," said Schott, who went on to say that it would only get better.

The duty of law enforcement agencies, said Gonzalez, in regard to alternative sentencing, is to enable rehabilitation without putting the community at risk.

Gonzalez assured the community that the programs were only open to those willing to commit to the difficult undertaking, and the agencies involved do not recommend or accept people who are risks to the community.

Similarly, Denvir insisted that dangerous and repeat offenders should be incarcerated, in order to protect society, but many drug, DUI and other offenders show potential for rehabilitation without being incarcerated - and while not being a threat to society.

"These are people that want to rehabilitate," said Schott.

Out of the frameworks already established by the drug court and alternative sentencing program, a new DUI court will begin this spring - made possible by a federal grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and another from the Colorado Department of Transportation. Archuleta County won the funds due in large part to southwestern Colorado's disproportionately large number of alcohol related accidents.

The DUI court will be similar to the drug court, except it will take on repeat offenders, who will be monitored continually by an ankle bracelet capable of detecting even the smallest amount of alcohol through the probationer's skin.

The new court will be much larger than the drug court, including as many as 30 probationers, said Denvir - making it even more important for the community to become involved, along with area officials and law enforcement agents.

Pagosa's Past

A self-supporting economy develops

By John M. Motter

Sun Columnist

Finally, as pages from the 1920s calendars slipped away one by one, the Jicarilla economy began to develop on their northern New Mexico reservation.

As of 1921 there were slightly more than 8,000 sheep and fewer than 1,000 cattle on the reservation. By the end of the decade there were 28,000 head of sheep.

In the fall of 1929, the Jicarilla received $37,644 from the lamb sale. Wool receipts added $13,999 the following spring. These results might have been higher had it not been for the stock market crash of 1929.

Cattle raising did not flourish as did sheep raising. In 1930, when more of the southern range was becoming available, four townships were designated for the tribal cattle herd. A cattle ranch was established at Otero Ranger Station, 40 miles south of Dulce, and a stockman was put in charge of the operation. It later became a kind of winter headquarters where people congregated. A branch trading post was established there about 1936.

The livestock industry did much to improve Jicarilla morale. It added a new dimension to their lives, engendering a new feeling of confidence and a greater sense of self worth. There was a complete transition from a bare subsistence agricultural economy to a thriving livestock economy - a transition that could and should have occurred much earlier.

Although the distribution of sheep had positive effects on the people and the economy, the tribal funds that accrued from grazing fees on both individual and tribal lands and from timber sales continued to be mismanaged and misused. Since about 1920, when the timber lands were released from the Treasury Department, a good portion of the money had been used for agency purposes. The Interior Department appropriations bill for 1925 made $75,000 available from the Jicarilla trust account. Of this amount, $25,000 was used for agency supplies and $2,500 for miscellaneous purposes.

The mismanagement of funds became evident during 1928-33 when a Senate subcommittee was holding field hearings on the condition of Indian tribes. At the hearing held in Dulce in 1933, Sen. Burton A. Wheeler of Montana summarized what the Bureau of Indian Affairs had done with a part of the Jicarilla tribal funds. He stated, "What has been done to these Indians is that the timber resources have been depleted and all that money has been spent practically for agency purpose."

Wheeler thought that every dollar that was left in the federal treasury should be protected so that the Indians could use that money to buy sheep and cattle, which would put them on a solid, self-sustaining basis, and that if the department did not do that it would be derelict in its duty.

Sen. William H. King of Utah, in a speech on the "Conditions of the Indians of the United States," made before the Senate on Feb. 8, 1933, revealed that the Bureau and the Interior Department were mismanaging tribal funds to an unbelievable extent.

King stated that the Indian Bureau had dissipated Indian tribal funds to the amount of hundreds of millions of dollars in excess of $110,000,000 since 1920. In the 1932 fiscal year of 1932, the government used approximately 76 percent of the total tribal income of all Indians in the United States. The supporting documentation for this speech pointed out that a draft was made against Jicarilla tribal funds for Bureau employees in the amount of $30,000, but the total draft on tribal funds was $78,886.

More next week concerning the Jicarilla struggle to build a self-supporting economy on their New Mexico reservation. Information for this series of articles is taken from "The Jicarilla Apache Tribe, A History, 1846-1970," written by Veronica E. Velarde Tiller.

Pagosa Sky Watch

A spectacular array of open clusters

By James Robinson

Staff Writer

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

Sunrise: 7:11 a.m.

Sunset: 5:32 p.m.

Moonrise: 5:08 p.m.

Moonset: 7:38 a.m. Feb. 2.

Moon phase: The moon is full tonight at 10:46 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

With clear cold skies, mid-winter provides a prime opportunity to explore Puppis, a constellation of particular interest to planet hunters and home to a spectacular array of open clusters.

In the annals of astronomy, Puppis dates back to ancient times and was once part of a much larger constellation said to represent Argo Navis - the storied ship of the Argonauts. In 1763 however, Argo Navis's status changed when Nicolas Louis de Lacaille split the mythological vessel into three separate components, creating the constellations Carina, the keel, Vela, the sails, and Puppis, the stern. Of the three, only Puppis lies high enough above the southern horizon for viewing by northern hemisphere viewers. Thus, Vela and Carina are decidedly southern constellations.

But de Lacaille's separation would have more impact than simply breaking a large constellation apart. Typically, the stars within a constellation are ranked hierarchically, by brightness, using letters of the Greek alphabet. Under the system, the constellation's alpha star - the first letter in the Greek alphabet - is usually the brightest of the constellation, followed by beta - the second letter - and so on. As with many systems however, there are anomalies, and Puppis presents one such case.

When de Lacaille split Argo Navis into three parts, he left the stars, despite their status within their new constellations, with their original Greek letter designations. Thus, rather than beginning with alpha, the stars in Puppis begin with zeta, and zeta Puppis is the brightest star in the constellation.

To locate the stern of the cosmic sailing ship, stargazers will need to venture out after 10 p.m. when the constellation has climbed to its highest point in the southern sky. Unfortunately though, even at its highest point, Puppis' lowermost corner will remain hidden below the horizon. Nevertheless, because the constellation lies along the rich band of the Milky Way, there remains plenty to see.

To locate Puppis, begin at Orion and walk the hunter's three belt stars down to Sirius, the brightest star in the sky and the alpha star of Canis Major. From Canis Major, stargazers can follow the dog's torso down to Aludra, a magnitude 2.4 blue supergiant marking the pooch's snout. From Aludra, it's a five to ten degree jump diagonally downward to zeta Puppis - a magnitude 2.2 blue supergiant - and the brightest star in the constellation.

Zeta puppis, also called Naos, meaning ship, is the hottest of all naked eye stars with a surface temperature of 40,000 degrees Celsius. Thus, it shimmers a truly brilliant blue.

With a full moon looming high overhead, naked eye stargazers may find tracing Puppis' outline difficult. Those viewing with binoculars however, can use Naos as a starting point to explore many of Puppis' open clusters which should remain visible even through the bright moonlight.

Scanning about a degree to left and slightly above Naos, stargazers will find NGC 2546, an open cluster with an apparent magnitude of 6.3.

From NGC 2546, scan with binoculars up about five degrees and slightly to the left. Careful observation should reveal NGC 2571 - a modest open cluster appearing as a faint fuzzy patch with a few brighter stars. Moonlight may make viewing NGC 2571 difficult. Under dark skies however, up to thirty stars may be visible.

From NGC 2571, scan at a 45 degree angle about five degrees to the right to arrive at the next open cluster. While en route, the first object encountered should be xi Puppis, a magnitude 3.3 yellow supergiant. From xi Puppis, scan slightly up and about a degree to the right to M93 - a magnitude six open cluster of about 80 stars arranged in a wedge shape.

The final destination in Puppis' open cluster tour will take skywatchers about five degrees directly above M93 to M46 and M47.

M46 is a sixth magnitude open cluster of about 100 faint stars. Depending on your binocular's or telescope's magnification, M46 may only appear as a fuzzy patch of light about two thirds the size of the full moon.

M47 lies less than a degree to the right and above M46, and is visible under dark sky conditions as a naked eye cluster roughly equal to the apparent size of the full moon. Binoculars should reveal about 36 stars.

Returning to Naos, stargazers should scan a few degrees to the right and slightly above Puppis' brightest star. There, skywatchers will find NGC 2477 and NGC 2451.

NGC 2477 is a sixth magnitude open cluster appearing as a spectacular swarm of faint stars. NGC 2451 should be easily visible in binoculars as a large bright open cluster centered on a magnitude 3.6 orange giant.

All told, Puppis contains 16 open clusters and a fascinating, three-planet system and an asteroid belt orbiting a sun-like star 41 light years away. Astronomers say the planet system is the closest analogue to our own solar system yet discovered.

The two planets closest to the star are rocky and uninhabitable like our own Mercury. While the third and outermost planet, orbits within the star's "habitable zone," and is of particular interest to researchers searching for life beyond planet Earth.

With more than a dozen open clusters and other deep sky objects, a star chart will prove invaluable for skywatchers wishing to make the most of their explorations in Puppis and its environs.

 

Weather

 

Date

High

Low

Precipitation

Type

Depth

Moisture

1/24

44

1

-

-

-

1/25

45

3

-

-

-

1/26

43

3

-

-

-

1/27

38

1

-

-

-

1/28

40

4

-

-

-

1/29

39

4

-

-

-

1/30

36

0

S

1"

.05"

 

Colder temperatures, light snow expected

By Chuck McGuire

Staff Writer

With fresh snow adorning Pagosa Springs and the surrounding countryside, the most pressing questions now seem to be, how much did we get, and how much more will fall?

The answers? Well ... they're a little more complex.

Official statistics for last night's storm weren't available by press time, but by 7:30 a.m. yesterday, two inches had fallen on Pagosa Lakes. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a Heavy Snow Warning for yesterday afternoon and evening, with five to 10 inches expected in the San Juan Valley and Pagosa Springs.

For today, a cold front should pass through later this afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures and additional light snow. At this point, foreseen accumulations appear minimal, as snow showers linger into tomorrow afternoon.

After more than a week of relatively warm sunny weather, interrupted by the past few days of clouds and snow, the outlook for the next several days calls for clearing skies and cold temperatures through Sunday, followed by another warming trend.

Today's high should reach 30 degrees, with tonight's low dipping to two-below-zero. Tomorrow's high will only make it to the mid-20s, with an overnight low of one above. Saturday's high will only be a degree or two warmer than Friday's, but the high Sunday should climb into the 30s. Most of next week, highs should reach the low 40s under partly cloudy skies. Lows, meanwhile, will hover in the low to mid-teens.

By 6:30 a.m. yesterday, the Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 6 inches of new snow, with a total of 80 inches of powder and packed powder at its mountain summit. Midway reported 75 inches.

So far this season, the ski area has received a total of 264 inches of snow.