Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – August 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

Emu or Albatross?

Alamosa County is feeling a big nip, having to foot the bill to feed a flock of emus. The big birds, more than 50 of them, were abandoned when their owner was evicted, and are now wards of the state. Currently residing at the alligator farm on Colorado 17, the avian critters are munching $900 worth of chow per month. If their owner doesn’t return for them soon, they may be auctioned.

Rising Tide

The San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council scored a $100K grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The environmental organization will use the money in its water quality project, called LEAP HIGH (Landscape Environmental Assessment Plan — Health Inspired Goals for Humans). SLVEC hopes to help well owners with quality and cost problems.

Another water warrior, Hal Simpson, retired as state engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources. Before going, he encouraged water users to adopt sub-districts to protect surface water rights.

New Views

Alamosa’s channel 10 may become visual. Since its inception, the public station has just been scrolling a list of events, ads, and alerts. A new franchise agreement, however, may mean residents leap into the world of local coverage. Government meetings and special events may be televised.

Paving Under

An improvement project designed to enhance downtown Alamosa is instead driving some businesses under, owners say. Construction along Main Street and its arteries is hurting businesses during the money-heavy tourist season. But their pain is mild compared to those along Sixth Street. Major construction there has all but shut down many enterprises, which are laying off employees, losing revenue, and facing disaster. Business owners packed a city council session, demanding redress, but CDOT said it can’t reimburse businesses for lost revenue.

Friend Indeed

An Antonito woman received a lenient sentence for attempting to kill her husband by putting rat poison in his medication. Marietta Madril got three years’ probation for trying to off her better half, who begged the judge for a light sentence. Robert Madril said his marriage is repaired and that his attempted killer has suffered enough. The victim is a former public defender.

Brief Briefs

R&R Market in San Luis celebrated 150 years in business. Historians say it’s the oldest business in Colorado.

Splashland opened — finally. Plagued by neglect and alleged embezzlement, the season started about a month later than usual for Alamosa’s 52-year-old swimming pool.

Valley attorney Keith Vance donated 70 bike helmets to the Boys and Girls Club for distribution to kids in need. Vance was hit by a car while riding his bike when he was 9.

Adams State College president Dr. David Svaldi was named to the executive committee of the American Council of Education National Council of Fellows, and elected chair of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference’s executive council.

Race Across America, a cross-continent bicycle challenge, made a stop in Alamosa for the second straight year.

Valley attorney Gigi Darricades was named to the Adams State College Board of Trustees. Gov. Bill Ritter also named Dr. Barbara Medina and LeRoy Salazar to his P-20 Education Coordinating Council.

Two Alamosa High teachers, Andrew Lavier and Shawn Cody, received $5,000 from the Qwest Foundation to improve classroom technology.

Marguerite Salazar, CEO of Valley-Wide Health Services, was appointed to the Colorado State University system Board of Governors.

The San Luis Valley is conducting a feasibility study about forming a power authority.

Sargent High students Katlin Hornig and Alex Schnaderbeck, and Monte Vista High student Chelsea Oden all took prizes at the International Science and Engineering Fair.