Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – November 2006 – Colorado Central Magazine

Killer Found

A longtime mystery, the whereabouts of Richard Williams, may be solved. Williams shot and killed his estranged wife, Rhonda, in 1992 and fled. Known to have high “mountain man” skills, Williams was believed to have been in hiding for the past 14 years. Last month, decomposed remains were found south of Platoro, an apparent suicide. DNA confirmation is pending.

Campaign Stuff

Longtime Valley politician Lewis Entz, who is running for re-election to the state senate, was “surprised and disappointed” by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar’s endorsement of his opponent, Gail Schwartz. In Alamosa County politics, commissioner Darius Allen was nailed for using a county fax machine to send out campaign literature favoring a new sales tax.

More Dirt

Costilla County has a new claim to fame — distinctive dirt. A unique type of soil was found near Blanca during a soil survey. It’s to be called Cososa soil, for Costilla and Alamosa counties. Good news for other dirt in the Valley — the Rio Grande Natural Area bill passed. It protects a 33-mile stretch of the river from the southern border of the Alamosa Wildlife Refuge to the New Mexico border. The tract, a quarter-mile wide, encompasses both banks of the Rio. The bill signifies the land’s importance, but doesn’t really restrict development or activity.

Safety Last

Adams State College is in the process of beefing up its security. It’s kind of necessary, since after Oct. 6 there were no campus officers on duty. Gregg Mestas, the director of public safety, resigned without notice and left the total campus cops at zero. The shooting of a burglary suspect on Sept. 9 and the recent spate of school shootings is cause for concern at ASC. For now, Alamosa police are in charge of security at the school.

Brief Briefs

Costilla County said “no” to two new subdivisions. The Little Norway phases 5 and 6 won’t be happening anytime soon.

Art Hutchinson, who grew up in Salida, is the new NPS Superintendent of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Formerly the assistant to the NPS director in Washington D.C., he replaces Steve Chaney, who’s now stationed at Redlands.

Red McCombs has contracted to purchase the Flying W Ranch west of Del Norte. The 1,480-acre property will become a subdivision and golf course.

The San Luis Valley is to receive $1 million for its river basins from the state’s Interbasin Compact Committee. How to spend the money is the next challenge.

Sandy Blevins, longtime head of the Alamosa senior center, announced she’ll retire by year’s end. Marvin Reynolds, head of the CSU Extension Service in the Valley is leaving for Pueblo.

The Del Monte Gun Club asked Alamosa County for permission to build a 300-foot track to host tractor pulls. The club is located between Alamosa and Monte Vista, on county land.

The ASC president’s house was officially renamed the Marvel house, in honor of Dr. John Marvel, who ran the college in the 1960s.

Alamosa will have a new hockey program, thanks to Minnesota. The equipment was donated by Totino-Grace High School in Fridley, MN.

Costilla County broke ground for a new health care center in San Luis.

Fourteen new U.S. Citizens were sworn in at a special ceremony at the Great Sand Dunes.

Ducks Unlimited and The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust teamed up to hire Aaron Welch to continue the groups’ conservation work along the Rio Grande corridor.

Clarke Dirks is the new deputy manager of the Alamosa-Monte Vista Wildlife Refuges, replacing Ron Garcia, who’s the new manager of the Baca Refuge.

Wendi Seger of Center earned the coveted pink Cadillac from Mary Kay.

La Puente (featured in the January, 2000, edition of Colorado Central) dedicated its new facility.

Antonito opened its new municipal park, which includes new playground gear, sidewalks, pavilion flooring, and revitalized restrooms.