Top Stories – The Pagosa Springs SUN The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Wed, 20 Nov 2019 21:09:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 County releases part of executive session recording Thu, 21 Nov 2019 12:00:42 +0000 Archuleta County has released portions of an executive session recording after Sixth Judicial District Chief Judge Jeffrey Wilson issued a court order stating part of the recording is not protected from public release.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

PSMC hit by Russian hacking No patient data compromised Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:59:10 +0000 Staff at Pagosa Springs Medical Center (PSMC) recently learned that the medical center was criminally hacked by a group purportedly sponsored by the Russian government about two years ago, though the hackers were not successful in gaining any data.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Gray Wolves appeal to snow god Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:58:42 +0000 Photos courtesy Simon Fuger

It appears that the Gray Wolves Ski Club has been successful in its appeal to the fictional Finnish Snow God Heikki Lunta to provide an abundance of snow. With the lack of snow prior to this week, the group gathered recently to perform various dances to honor Heikki Lunta, who was first recognized in 1970s in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. With Mother Nature holding back on significant snowfall prior to this week, the Gray Wolves felt that this tribute might help.

Forest Service considers land exchange proposal Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:57:05 +0000 Local property owners are seeking a potential land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Walmart files lawsuits against Colorado counties Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:56:44 +0000 Walmart is suing Archuleta County and 31 other Colorado counties, arguing that the valuation of the personal property in its stores is too high.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Lodging tax collections up Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:55:30 +0000 Local lodging tax collections continue to rise compared to last year, and collections are budgeted to increase further in 2020.

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

Detention center on schedule Thu, 21 Nov 2019 11:54:54 +0000 SUN photo/Shari Pierce
Roofing will be starting this coming Monday on the county’s detention center, which is under construction in Harman Park. Nunn Construction Superintendent Thomas Vinci reported Wednesday that the project is tracking on schedule and, weather depending, the facility should be enclosed within the next few weeks.

Brown announces candidacy for county commissioner Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:00:40 +0000

Warren Brown

On Nov. 4, Warren Brown announced his candidacy for November 2020’s election for Archuleta County commissioner for District 1.
Currently, the District 1 seat is held by Steve Wadley, who is term-limited.
Brown explained that he is running for this position because believes that it is important to have a strong “central point of leadership” within the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners.
“I think it’s important that we have a commissioner that is willing to look for solution-based alternatives that allow us to access the resources we need so we can better address the challenges we face as a community,” Brown said in an interview.
Brown added that it is also important to have a commissioner who has courage and is willing to do things differently than the way they have been done previously.
If elected, Brown explained he has a couple of different goals in mind.
“I think that we need to have some responsible infrastructure maintenance and development,” Brown said.
Brown cited things such as local roads and broadband as examples.
“I also think it’s very important that, as a county, we pursue other business investments that fit into the fiber of our community so we can balance our tourist-based industry,” he said. “Because we’ve seen at our neighboring communities, one significant fire season is likely to have a significant impact on our economy. So I think, in essence, we need to diversify.”
Brown also noted it’s important to have representation at every level — local, regional and state — so that the county can have a seat at these “tables.”
By being involved, the county can stay relevant in conversations and other governmental agencies can know what the county’s needs are and how to meet them, Brown described.
In regard to challenges facing the office of county commissioner, Brown explained that there are a number of them.
“I think that, really, we’re all working towards the same goal: teamwork,” he said. “And that’s one of the specialties that I’ve had for years, not only as a local business owner but also in more than a quarter century as a public servant, are bringing people together toward a task or set of tasks and working together towards that accomplishment.”
Brown described that he has had over 26 years of experience in public service, working at three other law enforcement agencies, with 20 years being spent in the city of Montrose’s police department.
Additionally, Brown worked for two years in Tarrant County, Texas.
Locally, Brown spent a short stint at the Pagosa Springs Police Department and was hired at the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office (ACSO) four years ago, he explained.
Brown currently serves as the ACSO’s operations lieutenant, overseeing the day-to-day operations for patrol, investigations, animal control, school resource, and property and evidence.
Along with his wife, Brown owns a local insurance agency, which is what prompted Brown and his family to move to Archuleta County in April 2015.

Colorado Gives nonprofit spotlight: Habitat for Humanity, The Humane Society and Rise Above Violence Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:00:36 +0000 By Lori Henricksen, Mike Stoll and Ashley Wilson
Special to The PREVIEW
Colorado Gives Day promotes giving to nonprofits that directly impact our community. This week’s spotlight highlights organizations that provide vital services to our community. Give where you live, Pagosa.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity, now, more than ever, is making a difference in Archuleta County.
We’ve spent the last 25 years providing affordable homeownership in our community by building 27 homes for working families and completing vital home repairs for 28 senior households. In 2019, we expanded our impact on homeownership to:
• A school district employee with two children who became a first-time homeowner.
• Three area families who received low-interest USDA mortgages to purchase a home.
• Four senior households who will age in place due to repairs performed on their homes.
This was accomplished with more than 6,800 hours of volunteer labor, 500 hours of homeowner sweat equity and the financial generosity of individuals and businesses like you.
Habitat operates entirely on funds generated from this affiliate, so we rely on your support to provide homeownership for Archuleta County families who would not otherwise be able to own their home. By contributing to Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County through, you’ll help us impact more Archuleta County families. Our goals for 2020 include:
• One new home built for a family of four (another school district employee).
• Four home repairs for seniors.
• Four low-interest USDA loans for new homeowners.
• Preparation to increase our new home construction to two per year starting in 2021.
The impact your donation makes to these families is more than physical shelter. Homeownership provides:
• A stable place for children to grow up, empowering future generations.
• Pride of ownership and investment in the community.
• Social mobility through home value appreciation.
Your investment in Habitat also adds to our community’s economic base:
• We build a product that stays in Archuleta County, providing tax revenue for our infrastructure.
• Over 88 percent of the materials and services we purchase are in Archuleta County.
• A total of 92 percent of the grants and donations we receive stays in Archuleta County. A small amount of our income is tithed to Habitat’s mission in vulnerable communities around the globe.
• More than 50 Care-A-Vanners — Habitat volunteers that travel throughout the country building homes — stayed, played and worked in Pagosa, adding “volun-tourism” dollars to our economy.
Humane Society of
Pagosa Springs
The Humane Society of Pagosa Springs (HSPS) operates the only animal shelter in Archuleta County and provides a safe haven for lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs and cats. Shelter staff work diligently to reunite lost pets with their families and to find new, loving homes for abandoned and unwanted animals.
Over the past five years, HSPS has maintained a 98 percent live-release rate for all animals entering the shelter, far exceeding the criteria for consideration as a “no kill” shelter. Of the 3,200 dogs and cats entering the shelter during that time, 1,650 were adopted, more than 1,000 lost animals were reunited with their families, and another 400 were transferred to larger like-minded Colorado shelters where adoption demand is great and a new home is just days, not weeks, away.
In addition to caring for animals in need, HSPS serves our community with a wide range of programs designed to benefit both pets and people. HSPS’s spay/neuter programs provide free and low-cost spay/neuter assistance. Since 2015, HSPS has helped cover the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for over 650 owned pets and nearly 800 unowned outdoor cats, as well over 1,200 HSPS shelter animals that were spayed or neutered prior to adoption.
Our community pet retention programs offer assistance to local families and individuals who might otherwise be forced to surrender their pets when faced with unforeseen emergencies or hardships. Programs include a veterinary emergency fund to help cover the cost of pet medical emergencies, helping over 200 in the last five years; provide food donations; help with the cost of pet deposits for pet-friendly affordable housing; provide safe-keeping for pets when an owner is temporarily hospitalized or incapacitated; and offer aid to senior citizens who may struggle to provide the level of care their pets need.
Providing quality care for hundreds of shelter animals each year and supporting our community service programs is enormously expensive. Revenue from grants, fundraisers and our thrift store covers only a portion of annual costs. Financial gifts from donors, near and far, are essential to our continued success.
Rise Above Violence
Rise Above Violence is the only organization that provides supportive services to victims and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Pagosa Springs and the whole of Archuleta County. Rise provides all services for free in order to offer help, hope and healing to those who have experiences this kind of trauma. Rise supports between 350 and 400 victims each year through grants, donations, fundraising efforts and volunteers Rise provides the following services:
• Immediate crisis intervention available 24 hours a day by an advocate trained to listen and provide support. Call anytime day or night at 264-9075.
• Court advocate to explain the criminal justice system and assist with civil restraining orders.
• Emergency transportation to safe shelter. Shelter provided by the SW Safehouse.
• Advocates to assist with other community agencies and supportive organizations.
• Information and referrals.
• Speakers and trainers to provide community education.
• Youth education on topics such as bullying, Internet safety and healthy relationships.
Domestic violence is a repeating pattern, and that recovery from either domestic violence or sexual assault can be a lengthy process. While our advocates are not professional counselors, they do understand. They are trained to assess the needs identify and discuss the options, access available services, and provide information and referrals to other agencies available to help with long-term issues. Rise also has a court advocate on staff to explain and assist with the legal process, including help with filing of restraining orders.
Rise provides all of its services through the help of committed volunteers and the generous support of our community.
Colorado Gives Day
Colorado Gives Day highlights local nonprofits so you can select an organization (or several) that are close to your heart and make an impact in our local community. The organizations from Archuleta County participating are: Rise Above Violence, Aspire, Chimney Rock Interpretive Association, Habitat for Humanity, Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Justice Ministries of Pagosa and Sonlight Adventures.
Please consider supporting Habitat for Humanity of Archuleta County, Humane Society of Pagosa Springs, Rise Above Violence and our fellow nonprofits on Southwest Colorado Gives Day. Your support strengthens our community. We appreciate your generosity.
For more information or to donate, visit

Pagosa Springs Girls Choir holiday concert set for Dec. 5 Wed, 20 Nov 2019 12:00:27 +0000

Photo courtesy Linda Parker
The Pagosa Springs Girls Choir will present “Christmas at the Movies” on Dec. 5 at the Community United Methodist Church.

By Linda Parker
Special to The PREVIEW
As the holiday season approaches, the movie channels flood the airways with favorite Christmas movies. To mention a few, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” “The Christmas Carol,” “Holiday Inn” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” come into our homes to make the season bright. Each of us has our favorites and most of us can at least hum the title song.
This year, you won’t have to go far to hear your favorite song from some of the best-loved holiday movies. The Pagosa Springs Girls Choir (PSGC) will present “Christmas at the Movies” on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. The annual performance will be held at the Community United Methodist Church (CUMC) and will include many audience favorites that fill our hearts with joy and love.
Along with the PSGC, the concert will feature Beth Filliowich as the featured soloist. Filliowich is well-known at CUMC, giving of her time and talent frequently. A stellar soprano, Filliowich has also chosen some beautiful music from movies that will delight the audience.
The PSGC is a community choir of girls from grades five through eight. While most of the girls attend public school, some of the singers are home-schooled. The choir is in its seventh year of existence after a stellar six years in this community.
PSGC director Linda Parker said, “It has been thrilling to watch these girls and this organization grow and to have the community support us in such splendid ways. There are many very talented young artists in Pagosa who need an opportunity to perform and we appreciate how this community has been so supportive of their efforts. The girls have worked very hard in preparing their holiday music and they are eager to wow their Pagosa audience again this year. Our numbers are small this year, but we are great on sound and musicianship.”
Listeners are in for a treat when they hear these talented young ladies perform. Please make plans now to come see and hear some of the best that Pagosa has to offer for the holiday season. We hope you’ll join the Girls Choir on Dec. 5. Admission to the concert is free, but donations will be gratefully accepted.