SLV Briefs – March 2009

by Marcia Darnell

Two students at Alamosa High School protested the school’s lack of recognition of Martin Luther King Day by skipping classes and waving a sign at passersby.  Their activism might have carried more punch if the sign didn’t read, “Remeber Dr. King.” The misspelling made it clear they needed more time in school.
Another man’s plan ricocheted when Jesse Sloan escaped from the Dept. of Corrections and stupidly went home to Fort Garland, where a SWAT team was waiting for him. No one was hurt in the re-capture.

Leaving Naturally

U.S. Senator and Valley native son Ken Salazar left some parting gifts on his way to a new job.  The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Act would authorize as much as $10 million in matching funds to preserve historic, cultural and recreation resources in Conejos, Costilla, and Alamosa counties.  And the Baca Wildlife Refuge Management Act would set a mission for the refuge, including “to restore, enhance, and maintain” the environment and wildlife.  Both bills head for the U.S. House, while Salazar heads for the Interior Department.

Merging Marketers
A group of economic developers in Alamosa asked the county commissioners for $20,000 to reorganize and merge the chamber of commerce, the Alamosa County Development Corp., the Alamosa Downtown Merchants, and perhaps others.
A group of Alamosa merchants is disgruntled that an outside company is getting incentives from the city for a commercial development.  They’re asking for a “level playing field” and also want the city to clean up downtown, where dirty streets, burned-out street lamps, and unsightly alleys are off-putting to shoppers.

Brief Briefs
• Water officials report the snowpack is above average.  The Rio Grande Basin is 128 percent of normal, and Wolf Creek Summit is 121 percent.
• Adams State College unveiled plans for a new building. Bonds will finance a new residence hall that will also house a broadcasting studio and retail space.
• The Valley has a speedway again. The SLV Motor Plex opened near Mosca.
• The Western Environmental Law Center approached the SLV Regional Transportation Planning Region about forming a U.S. 160 Coalition to coordinate issues and long-term planning.
• An aerial survey of Rio Grande National Forest shows that spruce beetle is spreading, and is infesting aspens as well.
• Centauri High School in La Jara was named a top performing high school by Business Week magazine.
• Former Mineral County Sheriff Phil Leggitt survived 25 years in law enforcement, but was brought down by black ice.  A nighttime fall left him hospitalized, but recovering.
• There’s conflict on the Alamosa Board of Education, as a board member works for the company that does the electrical work for the schools.  The Alamosa Education Association is investigating the matter.
•RiGHT is securing a fifth easement along the Rio Grande to protect and restore another six miles of riverfront corridor.
• Valley water groups are coalescing opposition to proposed bills to make precipitation harvest legal.
• Del Norte residents Ray and Colette Skeff auctioned their custom 1981 Cadillac Eldorado and donated the take — $15,300 — to the local clinic.
• The Alamosa airport scored over $123,000 in federal grant money for improvements.
• Fred Bunch, a ranger at the Great Sand Dunes, earned the Intermountain Regional Director’s Award for natural resource management.
• Darius Allen is the new chair of the Alamosa County Commission.
• Ted Smith and Robert Philbin were named Faculty of the Year at Trinidad State Junior College – Valley Campus.
• The Valley is a top priority for CDOT, should stimulus money come through, officials say.
• Valley native Lawrence Martin was promoted to major in the Colorado State Patrol’s local office.