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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – March 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Eco News

It should be a good year for water users in the Valley. The heavy snowfall this winter means a snowpack far above average, and plenty of the wet stuff to go around. Allen Davey, water engineer for the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, reported that the Valley’s aquifer recovered quite a bit last year.

It looks as though Lexam Exploration may drill for oil and gas in the Baca National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will impose restrictions, but not ban the exploratory wells altogether. Saguache County’s moratorium on drilling permits will expire July 7. Lawsuits filed by enviro groups have yet to be decided.

And the Durango Herald reports that both sides in the Wolf Creek Village dispute are talking about a possible settlement. The proposed 2,172 residential units and 220,000 square feet of commercial and office space has generated myriad lawsuits and court tussles over access and environmental impact. A court date is slated for this summer if mediation doesn’t work.>


It was the end of an era, as Chaparral Tires in Alamosa was sold to Ernie Medina. John Burt and Art Medina ran the business as a partnership for more than 40 years.

And in Creede, the Amethyst Emporium is no more. B.J. Myers ended a 35-year run and sold the building to John Herschman and Abra Houston, who plan to re-open as Off Broadway, selling antiques, jewelry and lighting.

VCF Reviving

Valley Community Fund is coming back. The financial umbrella for 20-plus non-profits has slashed overhead and is recouping itself after last year’s money melee. The organization doled out too much money for awhile, and nearly folded last spring. Board president Stephanie Steffens has streamlined the agency’s practices and worked out repayment plans with its debtors.

Brief Briefs

An avalanche claimed the life of 20-year-old Lygon Stevens on Mt. Blanca in January. Her remains have yet to be recovered, but her family held a memorial service near the mountain.

Blanca will celebrate its centennial this year, and is planning summer festivities and seeking volunteers.

Mineral County will not lend its support to a tourist railroad to Creede. Residents there have fought Don Shank’s proposed day-tripping line from South Fork from the beginning.

Neil and Terry Seitz donated 150 acres to the Orient Land Trust. The parcel, about a mile north of Valley View Hot Springs, includes the Orient Mine site and loads of wildlife.

Del Norte is exploring the idea of a wifi corridor in town.

The Alamosa Bus Company is teaming up with the Area Agency on Aging to deliver Meals on Wheels. The rising cost of fuel made the

partnership a natural.

Samantha Sparrow, just 16, was elected president of the Episcopal Churchwomen in Alamosa. The high school sophomore says she plans to become an Episcopal priest.

The Alamosa City Council passed a graffiti ordinance which pressures property owners into cleaning up the vandalism or facing fines.

A murder suspect committed suicide in the Saguache County Jail; Felix Granados, 64, was the chief suspect in the murder of Isidora Chavez, 34, in Center.

Erma Hensley in Conejos County is the victim of a flood — again. Her yard is covered with sewage from an unattended, overflowing ditch. County officials can’t seem to pinpoint the ditch’s ownership and force cleanup.

Chuck Kurtz is the new director of the Creede/Mineral County Chamber of Commerce. He relocated from Olathe, Kan.