Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – January 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

New Wind A-Blowin’

It used to be called a “gust,” but that term just isn’t high-tech enough for the new millennium. What’s now being called a “micro-burst” of wind is responsible for tearing the roof off of a real estate office in Alamosa. Anyone up for renaming those below-zero nights

$$$ Still Short

Speaking of things “micro,” the Alamosa County budget is so tight it squeaks. County employees will get no pay raise for 2006, and roads will be repaired, but not repaved.

In Monte Vista, Ski-Hi Pool has been closed indefinitely for financial reasons. The facility, built in the ’60s, is one of the last aluminum pools left in the U.S.

Rio Grande County voters rejected a 3-mill levy increase in November, so now they’re facing cuts.

Tiny Town Turmoil

Hooper (pop. 122) passed a zoning ordinance after a year of preparation. This being Colorado, opposition was immediate. Some object to having their homes in a commercial zone; others wonder at the need for zoning regulations at all. The town has been around for over a century and occupies one-quarter of a square mile.

South Fork’s new code limiting signs to 20 feet means several longstanding businesses will have to replace their high-standing signs. The Town Board is mulling adopting a 25-foot limit.

Center had to take out a loan to pay its Xcel bill. The town owes the power company $160,000.

Tell Me What You Want

At the request of U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, Valley leaders and just plain folks participated in “One land, One Plan, 50,000 Voices.” The project involved several public meetings and resulted in a list of issues for Salazar to focus on back in D.C. The concerns include high energy costs, health care, and education.

Brief Briefs

Alamosa added the First Baptist Church on State Avenue to the local register of historic places. The city itself was certified by the National Park Service for its preservation work.

Monte Vista artist Tom Lockhart (featured in the December, 1997, edition of Colorado Central) snagged first place in the central regional exhibition sponsored by Southwest Art magazine.

The Valley chapter of the Red Cross has opened a sub-office in Conejos County, to increase response time in the east end of the Valley.

The historic Dunn Ranch — and its water — are now under conservation easement. Owners Roger and Marilyn Perry have protected their 1,240 acres and its runoff into La Garita Creek with the help of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust.

Ruth Ann Woods was named president of Trinidad State Junior College/Valley Campus.

Conejos County Clerk Andrew Perea resigned after 23 years of service.

Alamosa City Councilor Kathy Rogers was named mayor pro tem, the first woman to hold that position.

Debra Goodman is the new head of the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce/Tourism Office combo.

U.S. Rep. John Salazar came out against the proposed Village at Wolf Creek, saying it would hurt the area he represents.

The Red Cross office in Monte Vista was hit by vandals who broke windows and damaged a computer. The repairs will probably have to be funded by the local office, as national headquarters is still reeling from hurricane costs.

Adams State College spiffed up its computer lab with new machines and a new mural. The lab is in Nielsen Library.

The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad will operate next summer, but it’s not clear when the train will run. Management and money woes persist at the narrow-gauge operation.

ASC received a $400,000 HUD grant for community projects, including an art coalition and outreach to high schoolers.

Adams State announced it will not search for a new president until fall 2006.

Organizers began signing up well users for a water sub-district in Conejos County.