Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – March 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Animal Valley

The Alamosa deer hunt is drawing fire from every direction. The town granted hunting permits to 15 individuals who qualified by shooting five arrows into a 9-inch target from 30 yards, or hit said target with a shotgun blast from 75 yards. As of press time, there were five confirmed kills, according to city manager Nathan Cherpeski.

“The response has been more positive than negative,” he said, “and we’re getting calls from other cities asking how to do it.”

Many locals are upset, however, at the barbarity of shooting semi-tame deer, and that no public forum was held on the matter.

Elsewhere, a herd of emus was taken in by the Alamosa County Sheriff’s Dept. The big birds, over 50 of them, were left behind by an evicted renter. The emus are currently residing at the alligator farm until someone — maybe Colorado Gators — buys them.

And Valley residents were saddened by the death of Biggles. The friendly chow owned by Aileen and Frank Peek had traveled to schools to educate children in caring for pets, and helped sponsor the SLV Animal Welfare Society.

Ritter Blitz

The new Guv blew into town on his “Colorado Fly Around” tour. He reiterated that “the whole state matters” and thanked the Valley for its support in his election. Gov. Ritter enumerated his priorities for the state’s future as K-12 education; renewable energy (“not just promoting, but establishing”); higher education; a state health plan (“a bipartisan need”); and water (“We have to convince users that it’s a scarce resource”). U.S. Rep. John Salazar took part in the meet-and-greet as well, touching base with constituents.

Money Crunch

Conejos County Hospital laid off nine of its employees in January. The reduction was due to budget restrictions, and comprised less than 8 percent of the La Jara facility’s work force

Alamosa County’s offices will be open fewer hours, also due to a tighter budget. Customers can do business from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 1 p.m. Fridays.

Crime Hits Home

Antonito was a crime victim. Someone broke into the town hall and stole slightly over $1,000 from petty cash. This happened during the town’s search for a new police chief. Joe Taylor Jr., formerly Conejos County sheriff, later got the job.

Brief Briefs

Former Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad commissioner David Cargo has called for an audit of the management’s books. The company has claimed a loss of $3 million over the past two years.

Members of the Conejos Water Conservancy District petitioned the Rio Grande Water Conservation District for a groundwater management subdistrict. The petition has signatures from 78 landowners in the district.

The state’s oldest church was the site of an ordination in January. It was the first such rite for 150-year-old Our Lady of Guadalupe in Conejos.

Ty McConnell is the Coors top grower of the year for the state and the nation. The winner gets $1,500 and a commemorative belt buckle.

Blanca residents are drinking bottled water after a main ruptured and flooded an intersection.

Courts in the Valley, including water court, are now wired for e-filing.

Peter Clark retired as Rio Grande National Forest supervisor. Commander Robert Jackson of the Alamosa Police Dept. graduated from the FBI National Academy. Creede b-ball coach Walter Martinez was killed in an avalanche while snowmobiling.

Donna Wehe is the head of the SLV’s Small Business Development Center. Brett Shawcroft was named the SLV Cattleman of the Year.

Monte Vista was the host of the Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference and Agricultural Trade Fair.

SunEdison held a job fair to hire as many as 50 people for its planned solar power plant.

El Pomar gave over $100,000 in grants to 13 Valley non-profit organizations.