Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – August 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bigger Birdhouse …

The Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge, seasonal home to cranes and other birds, may grow by 465 acres. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service hopes to purchase three quarter-sections of the Parma Ranch, which borders the refuge. The price is about $500,000.

… and Finer Fish Farm

The fishies have new digs, too. A rare aquatic species hatchery opened west of Alamosa in June. The facility shares 760 acres with the Playa Blanca State Wildlife Area. The hatchery will house rare and endangered species of fish and amphibians.

Fix It, It’s Broke

Only two years after it was split in two, the Valley wants to be reunited as one state legislative house district. The state Republican Assembly passed a resolution asking the state legislature to put back what Valley voters tore asunder. The Valley was split into two districts over concerns of racial balance. Looks like mutual concerns, like water, are greater.

Mayoral Maneuvers

Five members of the Antonito Town Board ousted Mayor Carla Lucero in June. Lucero is being sued by former board member Barbara Anne Smith, who said that she was struck by a binder that Lucero slammed on a table in front of her during a meeting, and the board said the action made it hard to work with her.

About three weeks later, District Judge Robert Ogburn reinstated Lucero, who intends to sue to recover legal costs.

The Rev. Scammer

Residents in the Valley have been giving a free ride, so to speak, to a thief posing as a preacher. The man knocks on doors, claiming to have run out of gas while visiting the sick and elderly. Trusting homeowners give the “pastor” gas (and gas cans) and never receive payment.

At current prices, gas may be more valuable than loaves and fishes.

Money Talks

Saguache County is withholding its dues to political group Action 22, saying its commissioners weren’t allowed to discuss their reasons for voting against the group’s resolution supporting the conversion of the Sand Dunes from a national monument to a national park.

The commissioners are concerned about the loss of property tax dollars to their poor county if the monument expands.

Access At Last

About 30 climbers will be permitted access to Culebra Peak on July 29.

The fourteener is part of the Taylor Ranch, purchased last year by Lou Pai. Access has been restricted ever since, and only the Colorado Mountain Club will be allowed to take climbers up.

May We Dump Here, Please?

The Battle Mountain gold mine has applied for a permit to discharge water from its treatment plant into Rito Seco Creek. The potentially polluted water could affect the drinking water supply of San Luis.

Residents voiced concerns about the level of pollution, which is unknown. BMG had promised a “zero discharge operation” in the early ’90s.

Lynx Looking Livelier

The second stage of the lynx reintroduction program has been more successful, say zoologists and wildlife experts. Of the 55 animals released this year, only two are dead, and the rest are roaming far and wide, with one animal escaping from its satellite collar. The Rio Grande/San Juans area seems to be the favored habitat.

Idiomatic Error

In a story about Ride the Rockies, The Denver Post referred to Colorado Highway 17 between Alamosa and U.S. 285 as “the Gunbarrel.” Sorry, guys. Highway 17 is as straight as a gunbarrel, but “The Gunbarrel” is the nickname of U.S. 285 between Monte Vista and Saguache.

Next time, check with a local.