Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – March 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Good-bye, Sun

The Sunshine Festival, arguably the San Luis Valley’s biggest event, is leaving Alamosa. The festival’s committee has been at loggerheads with the city council over vendor fees, park rental fees and electrical fees. Organizers and vendors say the fees are too high, while the city says the costs of police protection and sanitation aren’t completely covered by those fees. Vendors at similar events in Grand Junction, Fort Collins and Denver are not charged fees.

In January, the organizing committee made an ultimatum to the council, but the council didn’t back down. The “High Noon” showdown led to the abdication of the Sunshine Festival after more than 20 years. City officials in Monte Vista are interested in hosting the festival, which draws about 20,000 people the first weekend in June.

Green Comin’ Back

Recycling is returning to Alamosa — again.

Residents who hate throwing out those cans and newspapers have an alternative for the first time in months. The private firm that offered recycling folded up its tent, leaving Alamosans nowhere to go but the Saguache County landfill, too far for convenience or environmentalism.

After several studies and polls, the city determined that its residents want recycling, and after more studies, set up a drop-off site. The city is presently hauling its treasures to Saguache, but is planning a study to find a way to profit from the service.

Protests Move

Anti-logging demonstrators have set up a protesting outpost in South Fork, site of U.S. Forest Industries, a sawmill. The mill is processing the logs taken from Taylor Ranch, the disputed land near San Luis. Town residents say their historic access to the land is being illegally denied, while the ranch’s owner has court rulings on his side.

Six protesters were arrested in South Fork in January after briefly stopping work at the mill, a subsidiary of Stone Forest Industries. The demonstrators were reportedly members of Ancient Forest Rescue.

Operation Coöperation

Representatives of chambers of commerce gathered to talk about coördinating events and promotions in the San Luis Valley. This will be great for tourism as well as for editors of small regional magazines, which until now have had to call every chamber in the Valley to find out what’s going on.

The calendar of events will be coordinated by the SLV Visitor’s and Information Center, which will post the info on its web page and mail copies to whoever asks. For relieved tourists and writers, the number is 719-852-0660.

Mauler Makes Good

The U.S. Postal Service has honored native son Jack Dempsey with a postage stamp. The Manassa Mauler’s image was unveiled in his hometown Jan. 27 in a ceremony involving postal officials, community leaders and, yes, boxers.

State Meets Debt

Colorado met its water obligation to New Mexico, thanks to the Conejos River. The Rio Grande didn’t measure up to the requirement of the Rio Grande Compact last year, but the Conejos, which surprised everyone by not flooding last spring, made up for it.

The compact commission’s annual meeting will be in Alamosa this year, on March 26. For more info, call 719-589-6683.