News from the San Luis Valley – June 2009
By Marcia Darnell
Here Come da’ Judges
The Supremes came to the Valley for Courts in the Community. The program transported the Colorado Supreme Court to Alamosa High School to hear arguments in a real case before students. The kids had a chance to ask questions of the attorneys involved after the justices adjourned.
State Attorney General John Suthers came to Alamosa as well, and met with the press to discuss his progress in office. He pointed to his success in upholding water law in the state. He also cited his office’s fights against mortgage and foreclosure fraud and safety laws for Internet use.
Lots of stimulus money is coming to the San Luis Valley. The EPA announced grants for sites in el Valle, including Summitville Mine. The money could total $25 million to improve diversions and a dam, and to construct a hydro-power setup.
The state also handed out grants for infrastructure and construction and the Valley got a big chunk of ‘em. Costilla County scored almost $400,000, most of it for the installation of water meters in Blanca.
Other government stimulus funds will promote weatherization and alternative energy. The Great Sand Dunes will see $2.5 million in stimulus funds, and the BLM will also spend stimulus bucks in the Valley.
The State Dept. of Education is offering San Luis Valley schools a grant for a pilot program to use technology to increase math skills in students.
• The Easter series of storms built the snowpack in the Rio Grande Basin to 111 percent of normal, forecasting a healthy irrigation season.
• The U.S. Geological Survey is mapping the fault lines under the Great Sand Dunes. Using magnetic surveys via low-flying helicopters, the USGS detected a new fault line parallel to the Range Front Fault.
• KRZA, the Valley’s public radio station, won the My Source Community impact award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The award comes with $4,000.
• Saguache resident Michael Rust is still missing, but his motorcycle is not. The bike was found off an embankment south of Villa Grove. Gone since March 31, investigators theorize Rust may have left to confront burglars at his residence. His family is offering a reward for information.
• Kids from Ortega Middle School campaigned the Alamosa City Council for smoke-free parks. The students are gathering signatures on a petition to put the matter on a ballot.
• Craig Cotten of Monte Vista is the new division engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources.
• Alamosa hired Reynolds and Associates of Durango and Pagosa Springs to design its new library/city hall complex.
• Costilla County is trying to get the buses back on the road. The county is acting as fiscal agent for the Alamosa Bus Company, which provides public transportation to five of the Valley’s counties. Grants and government funds are being pursued to revive bus service.
• The Orient Land Trust (profiled in CC Feb. 2005) has a new executive director, Amy Trainer.
• The SLV Local Food Coalition is implementing “Garden in a Box,” to provide low-income households with tools, supplies, and training to start growing their own food.
• Adams State College has joined the Council of Graduate Schools.
• The Colorado Brownfields Foundation met with Valley representatives to discuss its capacity to clean up old buildings and decrepit properties.
• Marcella Garcia is the new superintendent of South Conejos schools.
• Sewer rates in Alamosa will increase for the next three years, following approval of the city council.
• Ruth Ann Woods was the commencement speaker at Trinidad State Junior College – Valley Campus. Retiring this month, she is the first woman to serve as president of the school.
• Adeline Lee was named Volunteer of the year by the SLV chapter of the America Red Cross.
• The truck stop in Hooper has re-opened as Miss Deb’s, a cafe, convenience store and gas station.
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