News from the San Luis Valley

Saguache Elections Update

The 2010 general election was conducted following all state and federal statues and rules. The mail-in ballots that were recounted for the clerks and commissioners races produced in the exact same results as the Nov. 5 re-tabulation. The results have been examined and signed off by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office and the Saguache Canvass Board as true and accurate.

The Saguache County Clerk invited a technician from Election Systems & Solutions along with two representatives from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office who reviewed the election processes, reconciled the ballots and researched the data error in the software.

The election was found to be accurate and conducted according to accepted statutory procedures. All ballots were accounted for and tallied.

“It is the hope of this office, that finally all citizens, will be reassured that the election was run with the highest of integrity and the every vote was accounted for,” Melinda Myers, Saguache County Clerk & Recorder.

(Editor’s note: We received a note from an election counting judge in Saguache who requested we publish the following corrections about an article that ran in our December 2010 issue concerning the election there:

“There was never ‘an official investigation.’ The clerk’s office invited the Secretary of State to help with the process once a problem with the tallies was found.”

“The Nov. 2 results were not reversed. They were thrown out and the election was retabulated.”

“There were no uncounted ballots on election night (mail-in or otherwise) and again, there was no investigation.”

“The majority of all ballots in Saguache County are mail-in and so the last sentence of the write-up is true for all races.”

Colorado Central Magazine used published source material from The Denver Post, Valley Courier and Crestone Eagle for the article and regrets any inaccuracies.)

In Alamosa, MMJ Must be Grown on Your Own

An ordinance banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits was recently voted in by the Alamosa city council. Colorado legislation gives local governments the option of banning dispensaries. One MMJ dispensary is in operation east of the city limits.

According to The Valley Courier, Alamosa Police Chief John Jackson said that individuals can also still grow marijuana on their own properties if they have medical prescriptions for it. The currently-operating dispensary is doing business under the state regulations, “so they (permit-carrying individuals) have access to the marijuana that they need in our area.”

An “ARRGH!” to the Governor

Representing Monte Vista, the student body of Bill Metz elementary school “Pirates” recently gave Governor Bill Ritter a resounding “ARRGH” – standing for Attitude, Respect, Responsibility, Greatness and Honor!

Governor Ritter visited Monte Vista to praise the city’s Sustainable Main Streets Initiative work and the school district’s progress with Building Better Schools Today (BEST) funds.

According to the Valley Courier, Governor Ritter told the children that “Sustainability meant creating a really beautiful, livable place that would continue to be so beautiful and livable that they would want to live there as adults.

It’s about what kind of community people want to live in – what do they want for their kids?” Ritter said.”

Missing Man Search Stopped

Abisha Mounce, 38, of Atlanta, Georgia, was reported missing by his family in mid-November. Dog teams and 40 search and rescue personnel had been involved in the active search, which will now end and possibly be re-activated in the spring.

Mounce’s vehicle was found at the North Crestone trailhead by a Saguache County Deputy Nick Tolsma in late October.

Since the vehicle had been at the trailhead for nearly two months, and with current winter conditions in the mountains and no further evidence of Mounce being on the mountain, the search and rescue effort has ended. The Sheriff’s Office continues to inform make hikers and climbers in the area to be aware of Mounce’s disappearance by posting flyers at and near the trailhead.

Waste – Not!

A special use permit for EnergySolutions to run a transload facility south of Antonito has been denied by Conejos Board of County Commissioners.

Concerned with the health and welfare of the community, the commissioners weighed in on issues involving the transport and took into account the large majority of the business community and resident opposition.

According to The Valley Courier, the Surface Transportation Board (STB) is in the process of deciding whether pre-emption is warranted for the SL&RG in this case. Pre-emption, if granted, will overrule the board’s decision and allow the SL&RG to control and operate the transload facility without interference or oversight from the county, and the transport of the radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory will continue once again.

Commissioner Sandoval said, “If the STB rules in favor of the railroad we will have zero control.”

A Year without a Christmas Pup

The SLV Animal Welfare Society (AWS) reports that eight husky puppies were stolen from a foster home. Many of the pups were reserved for adoption as Christmas gifts for families, who provide critical funds for AWS upon the adoption of these animals.

A report has been filed with the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office, and AWS is offering a $300 reward for the safe return of all the puppies (or $30 per puppy, no questions asked, if the puppies have already been placed in homes).

It’s time to rat out the Grinch who stole the Christmas Puppies – and make it a warm, happy holiday for the furry friends and families. Please. Hope it was a Merry Christmas for all!