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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – January 2009 – Colorado Central Magazine

Boom Time

A home under construction in South Fork exploded while workers were inside. The house, being built for Doug Adams, was destroyed in the blast which sent eight workers to area hospitals. The cause of the explosion is undetermined as yet.

Bus Stop

The Alamosa Bus Company dumped the Monte Vista Economic Development Corp. as its fiscal agent. The bus company, citing inconsistent funding and intermittent shutdowns, partnered with Costilla County.

The fiscal agent is responsible for disbursing funds to the company and getting reimbursement from CDOT. Representatives of the MVEDC protested, saying the entity did its job properly.

Enviro News

The environmental impact statement for the proposed Village at Wolf Creek has been put on hold, pending submission of a new or amended application by the developers.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service okayed exploratory drilling on the Baca Wildlife Refuge despite colonies of the Gunnison’s prairie dog on the land. Environmental groups are seeking an injunction.

The Alamosa School District is contracting with SunEdison to build a solar power plant for the high and middle schools.

Algae — aka pond scum — could become a commercial crop for the Valley. Researchers say farmers could grow it in indoor tanks and have a year-round cash crop to sell as biofuel, fertilizer, and livestock feed.

And it’s never too early to worry about snowpack. According to the Colorado Division of Water Resources, the Upper Rio Grande snowpack is just 39 percent of normal.

On the Edge

Centennial School went ahead with staff cuts to address its budget shortfall. The administration plans more cuts next school year. The district also took a loan of over $300,000 from the state and agreed to conditions including regular review of financial statements, formation of an accountability committee, and improvement of academic standards.

Brief Briefs

There is now a Southern Colorado Film Commission. Local realtor Bill Werner, who has previous experience in this arena, is leading the organization, determined to bring filmmakers to area locations.

Several economic development groups in Alamosa have proposed uniting for more impact on the community.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley closed its programs in La Jara and Monte Vista because of funding.

The state is considering a takeover of training services for Rocky Mountain SER (Service, Employment, Redevelopment), a non-profit training group. The staties say it’ll cost less to operate their satellite offices directly.

The Alamosa National Guard unveiled plans for a new armory in town.

Adams State College dedicated its new Haynie Center for Mass Communication, in memory of Dr. Brooks Haynie, late professor of that department. In Monte Vista, Valley Publishing donated its old press building to the city.

Conejos County Hospital donated five acres for the construction of a nursing home. The hospital’s long-term care unit closed last year. In Alamosa, Valley-Wide Health Services opened a walk-in clinic.

In a survey, Alamosa residents overwhelmingly agreed their top recreation wish was a swimming pool. The city has been pool-less since the closing of Splashland and the Adams State College pool.

The SLV Mental Health Center is one of three in the state testing the Firefly Initiative, aimed at helping returning veterans with mental health issues.

The EPA is building a model of the San Luis Valley to determine economic sustainability. Their report says the Valley is in good health in terms of sustainability.

Aaron Welch of Alamosa earned a Fulbright Scholarship to India.

Richard Wertz of Crestone was appointed to the governor’s Small Business Council. Alamosa High School Librarian Mark Skinner received the Julie Boucher Memorial Award from the Colorado Library Association.

Robert Mathis retired as the Valley’s 4-H Extension Agent.