Brief by Marcia Darnell
San Luis Valley – April 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine
District Attorney Pete Comar needs a new receptionist. Diane Mondragon, the DA’s gatekeeper, was arrested for selling cocaine, allegedly right out of the office. Comar launched an investigation of his staffer after a call from an informant. A drug-sniffing dog named Bugs was one of the investigators.
No Call Zone
Hermits and misanthropes should flock to La Jara. The small town south of Alamosa has had big problems with phone service. Circuits were busy nearly constantly for days, making it difficult-to-impossible to call into or out of town. According to CenturyTel, the problem originates with heavy internet usage in the evenings, tying up the trunk lines.
Valley Republicans honored a native son at their annual Lincoln Day dinner, despite the fact that Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar is a Democrat. Salazar told the GOP crowd that the Baca Ranch sale was expected to be completed in April. He also mentioned Summitville, saying the $5 million initial payment from former mine owner Robert Friedland might not be seen for two years. Salazar said that it’s also possible a federal judge could reject the $29.5 million settlement deal.
Always popular in the Valley, Salazar’s appearance prompted talk of his becoming governor someday. Salazar deprecated the idea, saying his next political goal is to be mayor of Manassa.
Speaking of the Dunes …
Saguache County was informed by the U.S. Department of the Interior by letter to remove 40 acres of land from its tax rolls. The land, now within the boundaries of the Great Sand Dunes Monument and Preserve, was purchased for $44,000 from private owners. Mineral rights were included in the deal.
Taylor Tide Rolls On
Another ranch controversy continues, as protesters planned a march to focus attention on alleged civil rights violations by Lou Pai, the new owner of the Taylor Ranch. Charges include fencing areas outside the ranch’s boundaries, unlawful land and water use, and assault.
Ball and Chain
The husband of former Sargent School District Superintendent Patricia Sholar is charged with embezzlement. Robert Sholar is accused of swiping an undisclosed amount of money while a district employee. The couple has since moved to Oklahoma, where she works as a school superintendent.
The Alamosa City Council instructed the city attorney to draft an ordinance banning smoking in public places within the city. Bars would still be smoker-friendly, as would private homes and cars. The issue has divided residents as well as council members.