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Briefs from the San Luis Valley

Brief by Marcia Darnell

San Luis Valley – December 2001 – Colorado Central Magazine

No Lightin’ Up

Alamosa voters passed a referendum banning smoking in restaurants and other public places. The measure had been voted down by the city council before being put on the ballot. Good news, Ed — puffin’ is still allowed in bars!

In an earlier election, Costilla County voters recalled their sheriff, John Mestas.

Voting Blocks?

Alamosa County faces a lawsuit by the U.S. Department of Justice that the mode of electing commissioners is depriving Hispanic voters of equal representation. All three commissioners are elected county wide, even though they represent different districts.

Immortal Spores?

While anthrax spores are daunting humans, whirling disease is proving a more virulent — and perhaps permanent — bane of rainbow trout in the Southwest. Wildlife officials in Colorado and New Mexico swapped info on eradicating the spores from their hatcheries, and agreed the disease is unlikely to be removed from tainted river systems. German brown trout are immune to whirling disease.

Baca No Buy

Farallon Corp., owners of the much-sought-after Baca Ranch, reported that managing partner Gary Boyce passed on their offer to let him buy the ranch. Boyce let the deadline for his down payment elapse. This leaves the field open for The Nature Conservancy to buy the 100,000-acre property for inclusion in the Great Sand Dunes National Monument and Preserve. The Conservancy says it hopes to make the buy next year.


Who do you call for an injured ambulance? A crew from Center was involved in a crash while transporting a patient to Alamosa. The people were fine, but the ambulance was in serious condition.

Lookie Lanes

Parking lots have sprouted up along Colorado 15 at the Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge. Now observers of deer, elk and cranes don’t have to play dodge-em with semis and other travelers on the same stretch of road. Can geese parallel park?

2 Out, 2K-plus Missing

The town clerk and deputy clerk of Center were fired after money was discovered missing. The theft of the funds, over $2,000, is considered a felony.

Summitville Settled

State Attorney General Ken Salazar announced settlements with the last groups sued by the state over the Summitville mess. The “Aztec group,” current owners of the site, will fork over $20,000 and title to some properties surrounding the mine. The second group includes industrial Constructors Corp. and Washington Group International, both of which have filed for bankruptcy.


Tim Snyder, superintendent of Sargent schools, made an offer that many found they could refuse (and many others think is illegal). In order to boost the student count on October 1 — the date the state counts how many students attend a school in order to determine funding — Snyder offered cash to home-schoolers to attend classes for about a week and a half. The $600 incentive is about 10 percent of the per-person allotment from the government. The state attorney general is reviewing the matter.

Another Five

Semillas de la Tierra, the folklorico dance group (profiled in the February, 1998, edition of Colorado Central) is celebrating another five-year milestone. The dance troupe’s 30th anniversary will be celebrated December 6-8 at Adams State College.