Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – May 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

The Other Cheek

Officials of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints traveled to San Luis to apologize for one of their own. Three Mormon missionaries vandalized a statue at the stations of the cross in San Luis. The apologists were not met with Christian forgiveness, however. Several residents demanded that the men — and the church — leave town. Their response seems to have ignited more controversy than the original crime. Despite the Catholic bishop’s request for forgiveness, feelings still run hot.

Eco News

The BLM is selling oil and gas leases in Rio Grande County. Naturally, the area’s residents are protesting. The lease sale on 133 parcels of land is slated for May 8.

As for the proposed natural gas drilling on the Baca Refuge, the EPA and enviro groups say more analysis is necessary before the drilling can be approved. Some say a full environmental impact study is needed, rather than just an environmental assessment

There’s been no flooding in the San Luis Valley — yet. A nice, slow runoff has kept rivers and creeks controllable so far, but snowpacks are still above average. The Valley will owe a whopping amount of water downstream per the Rio Grande Compact.

More Bods on Boards

The San Luis Valley is showing more representation in state affairs. Ruth Ann Woods, president of Trinidad State Junior College – Valley Campus, is on the Colorado Jobs Cabinet. The Collaborative Scopes of Care Advisory Committee includes Helen Lester of Alamosa, and Del Norte’s Travis Smith was re-appointed to the state Water Conservation Board.

Transportation Terminal

The recession has forced the shutdown of “the Loop,” a regular city route of the Alamosa Bus Company. The outfit is expecting a $300,000 CDOT grant in July and is still offering tours, charters, and medical transport.

South Fork got a depot to serve the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad Historical Foundation. The 1893 structure used to be in Hooper, on the Alamosa-Salida line. Rail head Don Shank says he plans to start shuttle service to Creede this summer; no word yet on how the town of Creede plans to meet the challenge.

Brief Briefs

Former Rio Grande County Undersheriff Jonathan Gonzales was charged with evidence tampering and official misconduct. Gonzales has resigned his position.

Adams State College students voted for a fee hike to fund $35 million in improvements to the campus over the next several years.

The Costilla County courthouse, the oldest in the state, is moving into the final phase of its remodeling. The Colorado Historical Society kicked in $300K for work on the adobe structure.

Nathan Smith of Del Norte was named middle school principal of the year by the Colorado Association of School Executives.

Fort Garland will celebrate its 150th birthday this summer. Events include the re-creation of a fandango from 1860. For more, go to

In Alamosa, muni court fines can now be paid with plastic.

Chuck Kurtz, who began as the new head of the Creede Chamber on Dec. 3, resigned Mar. 28. Family medical issues forced his move back to Kansas.

Philip Trejo is the new principal of Del Norte Middle School.

The ASC women’s track team won the NCAA-II indoor championship.

A benefit dinner and auction raised more than $20,000 toward the purchase of a refrigerated truck for the Valley’s food bank network.

The Presidential Teacher Award went to Adams State College instructors Kim Kelso (psychology), Eva Brown (sociology), and Gene Schilling (art).