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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – August 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

High and Dry

The San Luis Valley escaped major flooding this year, despite a very large snowpack. Thanks go to Mother Nature, which sent alternating warm spells and cold blasts throughout the spring, ensuring a slow, gentle runoff. Now that the water supply is safe for this growing season, residents can begin worrying about next year.

In other water news, The Rio Grande Interbasin Roundtable gave grants to local projects including the Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project (profiled in CC May ’06); the Santa Maria and Continental Reservoirs Rehabilitation; Manassa Land and Irrigation Company and Platoro Reservoir Rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, Alamosa’s city water supply is still loaded with chlorine. The post salmonella treatment will continue until late summer, when a new water plant is slated to go online.

Lost & Found

Mount Blanca gave up the body of Lygon Stevens. The 20-year-old woman died in an avalanche Jan. 8.

The remains of two men were found in an out-of-bounds area of Wolf Creek Ski Area. The pair from Albuquerque vanished in January.

Richard Lynn, 19, was found safe after disappearing from the Great Sand Dunes. While a search party scoured the preserve, he hiked over Mosca Pass and hitchhiked to Westcliffe.

Lost $$$

Another year, another embezzlement case. Bookkeeper Lynette Cooper has been charged with felony theft and forgery. She was employed at San Luis Care Center, an Alamosa nursing home.

Brief Briefs

Fort Garland celebrated its sesquicentennial. The festivities included a parade, a re-enactment of the fort’s opening, and speeches by U.S. Rep. John Salazar and State Sen. Gail Schwartz.

The city of Alamosa will conduct a survey to find out what residents want. The statistical sampling will poll 400 Alamosans to learn their priorities and visions for the city’s future. Adams State College Professor Melissa Freeman has the contract to conduct the survey, estimated to cost $6,000.

The Alamosa County commissioners approved a “Code of the West” booklet outlining county regs and restrictions for newcomers and anyone else who thinks government is supposed to take care of everything.

Cumbres Pass in Conejos County was closed for a spill of liquid nitrogen.

The Zapata subdivision, just south of the San Dunes, is undergoing rezoning. Many of the lots will become rural, rather than commercial or residential.

The Alamosa Bus Company is in idle, awaiting funding. High gas prices and a bureaucratic snag left the transit line running on empty, except for tours and charters. Supporters are holding fundraisers for the company.

Laura Haefeli, Del Norte, and Simon Gutierrez, Alamosa, set new U.S. Records in mountain running.

Russ Johnson, CEO of SLV Regional Medical Center, became a fellow of the American College of Health Care Executives. Arnold Salazar of Alamosa was named by the governor to the Centennial Care Choices Program panel.

Alamosa musician and beloved volunteer Viola Ormond moved to California.

Artist Terry Ruggles of Alamosa earned a Small Steps Award from the Colorado Council of the Arts. She is currently showing her work at Alamosa State Bank and at Art in the Park in Monte Vista. Artist Joyce Henry of Blanca donated a mural to the San Luis Valley History Museum.

Alamosa is now home to the 10th official Colorado Welcome Center. It’s in the train depot downtown.

Margot Williams is working unpaid to beautify the outside of the Alamosa County Courthouse with flowers.

Tammy Fuller is the new director of the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce.

The San Luis Valley scored $1,653,263 in PILT payments. The Payment in Lieu of Taxes is compensation by the government for lost taxes on public lands.

Cathy Thompson of South Fork was named Educator of the Year by the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists.

The Centennial School Board in San Luis voted not to renew the contract of superintendent Diana Cortez.