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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – September 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Noxious Weed Win-Win?

A unique experiment is under way in Monte Vista to see if cows will eat noxious weeds. Cattle are grazing the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge for white top, tall white top, and Canada thistle.

Success would mean a solution to weeds and more grazing land for cattle.

Noxious Weed Redux

A herd of Valley Boy Scouts grazing at Red Feather Lakes near Fort Collins suffered food poisoning and spent their camping trip at the hospital. A final diagnosis had not been made, but camp rations were the likely culprit.

If It’s Broke …

The Fort Garland Water and Sanitation District Board is under fire for not accepting residents’ demands that it accept loans and grants to fix the system. The state health department says the existing system has been operating over capacity for a while, and should be improved.

The board members replied that they’re waiting for an audit to determine whether the loans can be repaid. State Rep. Al Gagliardi is involved, and Attorney General Ken Salazar is aware of the problem as well.

Hot Car

An Alamosa cop had his car flamed outside his residence in July.

Someone doused Patrolman Sam Maestas’ ’92 Chevy Caprice with gasoline and then lit ‘er up. A reward is offered for information leading to the vandal/protester.

Arterial Transplant

Alamosa will pay for a study of its traffic mess, with a possible recommendation for a bypass of downtown. U.S. 160 and 285 intersect just east of town and again in the center of town, making a heavy traffic mixture of those passing through and those staying in. The bypass idea is generally opposed by town businesses, who would like to siphon off some of those travel dollars.

Nature Zaps Again

Power was cut off to over 2,400 Valley residents after a bird dropped a piece of wire into a substation. San Luis Valley Rural Electric Cooperative spokesman Tom Smith said that technicians have found bird’s nests with “rebar and logging chains in them.” Hurray for recycling.

Dunned for Dunes Dousing

The Zapata Homeowners Association has been billed $742,234 for the costs of fighting the fire at the Great Sands Dunes last April.

Investigators have traced the fire source to a trash pit at the development. The association has insurance, but Travelers Insurance may fight the finding and the bill that goes with it. Several Zapata residents say they keep a close eye on the trash pit, and it wasn’t in use for several days before the fire.

The Source

The best ideas about reform can come from inside the system. Alamosa County employees have come up with suggestions to trim the county budget by more than $500,000. The suggestions include skipping the Christmas party, doing letterhead and business printing in house, and doing away with uniforms.

You’re Out!

The Saguache County Commissioners dismissed the Saguache Housing Authority Board and appointed themselves in that capacity. After a public hearing and a review of records, the commissioners decided the authority board members were not working well together and not fulfilling their duties. The commissioners didn’t say how long they’d be in charge.

Why Might the Engine Cross the Street?

Narrow-gauge steam engine 169, which welcomes visitors to Alamosa, may move across the street. Other locations are also being debated to provide the best visibility for the engine and its car. Accessibility for visitors is also a factor.