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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Election Over

Following the national trend, voter turnout was huge in the Valley, including a 92 percent return in Alamosa County and a record 90 percent in Saguache County.

David Mahonee is the new DA for the SLV. The Democrat was a deputy DA earlier. Democrat Edward Vigil beat Randy Jackson for a seat in the state house, and Alamosa voters said yes to more money for schools.

June Madril and Charlie Manchego, Democratic losers in the race for Conejos County Commissioners, have demanded a recount and accused the county clerk, also a Democrat, of wrongdoing.

Enviro News

Rumors are flying that the proposed Village at Wolf Creek is being redesigned to be smaller and less harmful to the land. No new plan has been unveiled, but a new developer hired by owner “Red” McCombs told a reporter “We haven’t seen a single thing yet that we’re keeping.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. John Salazar joined environmental groups in asking the EPA to become a co-operating agency (along with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Colorado Department of Transportation) in the new environmental impact statement for the project.

Elsewhere, it’s back to court for enviro groups opposing Lexam’s exploratory drilling on the Baca Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced its environmental assessment revealed no significant impact by the project, and the groups want a full environmental impact statement.

In Mesita, Costilla County is home to a new biodiesel production plant. Plans for the project began in 2000.

Finally, the dispute over the water has gone to trial. The Valley’s first sub-district plan for managing ground water is at issue by resident users.

Building Developments

Adams State President Dr. David Svaldi and his wife moved into the restored Marvel House. The renovations ran to $475,000, including some new furnishings and linens. (The old ones were damaged by a herd of kitties that moved into the storage facility.)

South Fork is asking a developer to halt. The town board says the builder of Vista del Rio subdivision hasn’t met agreed-upon deadline for the project.


Centennial School in San Luis is in deep doo-doo. The district is in the red and looking at staff cuts in the middle of the school year. State officials have stepped in to rescue the school’s finances for the second time in three years. As many as nine staff members may be

cut, and the entire staff voted “no confidence” in the school board. Charges of malfeasance are flying, and legal probes are forthcoming.

Brief Briefs

Burglars hit two offices of La Puente homeless services. Stolen were computers and other electronics. The grinches even stole toys meant for the shelter’s children at Christmas.

Butch and Izora Southway earned the 2008 Billy Adams award. The recognition is given in honor of the founder of Adams State College for supporters of the school and community.

The U.S. Forest Service may create a series of interpretive displays for the Old Spanish Trail in the Valley.

The U.S. Forest Service reports that Rio Grande National Forest is plagued by spruce beetles. About 45,000 acres of trees are affected.

Alamosa’s new water treatment plant is operating. The facility was required by the feds’ new arsenic standards.

Someone killed a Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep near Creede in October. There’s a $1,000 bounty on the shooter.

Adams State Trustee Peggy Lamm resigned to accept a position in Moscow.

Trinidad State Junior College received a $1.7 million grant from the U.S. Dept. of Education to draw disadvantaged students into math, science, and tech programs.

U.S. Rep. John Salazar received the Friend of Farm Bureau award from the Colorado Farm Bureau.

Monte Vista is getting $165,000 in state lottery funds for the improvement of Chapman Park.

Former state Sen. Lewis Entz is now on the board of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District.