Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – July 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Lasting Lesson

A teacher’s gift keeps giving, even after she’s gone. Joyce Stegman, who died in December, is still passing on education to her students. Her memorial fund made it possible for 18 Alamosa students (with adult chaperons) to travel to Colorado Springs to visit museums and absorb some culture. One of the lucky student heirs was Stegman’s grandson, third-grader Landon Nye.

Gallegos Guilty

Former Conejos County Sheriff Isaac Gallegos was found guilty of extortion and embezzlement. Plenty of witnesses testified to the man’s forcing county prisoners to work on his home, and to cut firewood that Gallegos sold for personal profit. Gallegos, 70, faces a possible prison sentence. His wife’s trial is slated for later this summer.


“Cross West Adventures,” a 13-part series on Altitude, will feature the San Luis Valley. Scheduling hasn’t been set, but the episode will show the Dunes, the Gator Farm, the railroads, and some local businesses. The series is the creation of Cristian Bohuslavschi, >whose previous documentaries include the Swiss Alps and Transylvania.

C’mon Down!

Thanks to the Dunes becoming a national park, and publicity about the new rail line, Alamosa was listed in the top five destinations requested by AAA members for travel info. Alamosa boomed over Memorial Day weekend, with packed hotels, busy restaurants, and ringing cash registers. Colorado Gators also recorded its biggest day ever. Let the synergy build.

School, Kids Flunking

According to the Alamosa High School principal, a third of the freshmen have a D average — or worse. In addition, almost 30 percent of the sophomores are just as bad. Shelly Swayne also pointed out that many students with less than a D average have already dropped out. The school must find solutions quickly, because Alamosa high is up for accreditation next year. The school may itself flunk if it can’t bring its own grades up.

Brief Briefs

State Sen. Lewis Entz can add another kudo to his resume: The C&TS Railroad named a caboose for him, in gratitude for his efforts to keep the old train rollin’.

Del Norte opened its new skate park. Located near the town park, the rec facility cost over $60,000. Local youth are ecstatic.

Holly Lowder, Alamosa County Clerk and Recorder, is movin’ up. She’s replacement is Melanie Woodward.

Adams State received $5 million to restore the ancient and crumbling Plachy Hall.

An Alamosa landmark is no more. Curtis Bros., a furniture store and Main Street fixture since 1947, closed.

Talks have begun in Saguache County about developing the north entrance to Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

The Lobato Bridge is officially open, linking Conejos and Costilla counties across the Rio Grande.

Chili’s restaurant will open in Alamosa this fall.

A car crashed into the Alamosa Senior Center. No one was hurt, and bingo was uninterrupted.

Aaron Hackerott is the new manager of the Monte Vista Co-op.

ASC’s Aucencio Martinez competed in the Reebok Grand Prix Mile, a world-class race run in New York.

The Million Reservoir re-opened near South Fork, four years after it was closed by ash runoff from the Million wildfire.

All national forest in the Valley is under Stage 1 fire restriction, meaning no campfires, stoves, smoking, or fireworks. If it’s lit, it’s >a no-no.<

Legal volleying continues in the Village at Wolf Creek battle. Both sides have appealed the USFS’s approval of a road, with the developers saying the requirements are too expensive, and the opponents wanting the approval yanked. Stay tuned.

Alamosa is considering a water rate hike and may ask for a sales tax increase on the November ballot.