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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

Half a Million Grant for Improving Saguache

The Town of Saguache received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs to fund 4th Street renovation and improvements as outlined in the Saguache Downtown Revitalization Project. This work will begin this summer in time for Saguache to host the San Luis Valley Rural Philanthropy Days event on Sept. 14 – 16.


Toddler Trauma

Sheila Martinez is recovering from surgery to remove a swallowed screwdriver at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center in Alamosa. The little girl, who is nearly two years old, underwent surgery to remove a three and a half inch eyeglass screwdriver. The operation lasted about an hour.

According to The Denver Post, her family says she is doing well but they have no idea how she got her hands on the screwdriver.


Baca Refuge is Site of Controlled Burns

During the period of May 1- June 30, 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be conducting a series of prescribed burns on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge to contribute towards wildlife habitat improvement. Burn dates will depend on weather conditions and other requirements.

Residents of the SLV need not contact the fire dept. and should be aware that large plumes of smoke will be generated as a result of the prescribed burning. Some burn areas may smolder for several days. All burns will be monitored until they are declared completely out.


Local Lifesaver

Alamosa Police Department Detective Brian Cooper – formerly Alamosa Police Officer – was honored with the prestigious Lifesaving Award during the May 4 Alamosa City Council meeting.

Officer Cooper was on patrol on Main Street in downtown Alamosa when he saw an elderly man start choking and fall to the curb while crossing the street.

He immediately requested an ambulance but did not wait for it to arrive before beginning Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and cleared the airway of the man who had been choking on a piece of food. He successfully performed CPR and saved the man’s life.

Cooper, who was speechless at the award ceremony, had told his supervisors he was “just doing his job.”


Disappeared Without a Trace

Two young women in Colorado who look amazingly similar have been abducted in the past few months.

Angelica Sandoval, 21, disappeared on the night of February 23 in Alamosa. She is Hispanic, approximately 4 feet 11 inches, and weighs about 105 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. Angelica had returned home from the laundromat and brought her one-year-old daughter and some of her laundry into the home, before returning back to her car for her purse and the rest of the laundry. There has been no sign of her since.

Another woman, Kenia Monge, disappeared the night of April 1 from a bar in Denver. She is also Hispanic, 4-foot-11, and weighs 115 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.

Both women abruptly disappeared, leaving behind their purses and cell phones.

Angelica’s disappearance was highlighted on a television show, CBS Word. Alamosa Police Captain Robert Jackson has three investigators assigned to the case. The FBI is also involved with both cases.

Michelle Sandoval, Angelica’s mother, said a vigil will be held every month in front of her daughter’s apartment on 13th Street.


Lost Hiker Update

A hiker discovered a backpack that contained personal items, which included a Georgia driver’s license that belonged to Abisha Mounce, at an abandoned campsite about a mile and a half above the North Crestone Campground within Saguache County.

Mounce, age 38, from Atlanta, Georgia, had been reported missing in November 2010. His vehicle had been parked at the North Crestone Trailhead since October. Partial skeletal remains were discovered by one of the search and rescue dog teams, and they are expected to be confirmed by DNA testing to be Mounce.