News from the San Luis Valley

By Patty LaTaille

Journalist Allegedly Attacked

A temporary protective order alleging physical and possible sexual assault was filed on a former Saguache County Commissioner and current Center school board candidate after an incident Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Saguache County Courthouse.

County Planning Commission Chairman and Center School Board candidate Bill McClure allegedly attacked Center Post-Dispatch reporter Teresa Benns in the Land Use Office.

Benns photographed McClure while he was allegedly reviewing petition signatures for the recall election of Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers.

According to the Valley Courier, reporter Benns said; “I simply walked into the office and took a photo. He (McClure) rushed me and pinned me to the wall so tightly that I couldn’t move; I felt violated.”

Benns added that she could see Saguache County Land Use Administrator and County Co-Administrator Wendi Maez “grinning in the background” while the alleged assault occurred. Eventually, Maez convinced McClure to release her and led him away, Benns added.

The incident was captured on courthouse video surveillance tapes and witnessed by three Land Use office employees.

Benns allegedly reported that McClure threatened her several times, while restraining her and called her a “bitch.”

McClure was not arrested, although the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office was notified. The protection order did not get served until days later.

According to the Valley Courier, “In the 1980s, McClure was charged with felony menacing, a probation violation and assault. He was convicted of tax fraud in August of 2006 and served several months’ time in the Florence maximum security prison.

Benns had obtained a temporary protective order on McClure last year for his harassment over photos which showed him making obscene gestures at public meetings in the spring of 2010. During one of these meetings, he also called Center trustee Peggy Martinez a “bitch.”

In the course of the statewide grand jury investigation of Saguache County Clerk Melinda Myers earlier this year, several Saguache residents allegedly warned the attorney general’s office that retaliation would result if measures were not taken to address the “deep-seated problems” in Saguache County.”


SoS Sets things Straight

“The Secretary of State’s office came to Saguache at the end of August to put to rest any uncertainty regarding the November 2010 election results for the Clerk and Recorder and Commissioner race,” according to The Crestone Eagle.

This effort took three days and involved a number of local citizens in the count, which confirmed the results of the previous counts. Melinda Myers, Clerk and Recorder, was confirmed as the winner of her position, and Linda Joseph was confirmed as Commissioner.

The Secretary of State’s review totals, and the original County-certified totals in parenthesis:


Commissioner’s Race

Linda Joseph (D) 1193 (1204)

Steven Carlson (R) 1169 (1178)


Clerk and Recorder’s Race

Melinda Myers (D) 1217 (1227)

Carla Gomez (R) 1155 (1166)


Area Hispanic Man Recognized for Contributions

Charlie Sanchez, of Alamosa-based Veterans Green Jobs, attended a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month in Washington, DC at a dinner with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden on September 29.

According to the Valley Courier, this event was held “in recognition of the outstanding contributions of Hispanic Americans across the military, government and private sector. Guests were treated to Carlos Santana music, Cuban-style foods and commemorative photos with the vice president and his wife.”


Drum Away …

The annual Drumming for Peace was hosted by Tu Casa and the SLV Anti-Violence Task Force on October 7. Community members watched the Crestone Kaminari Teiko Drummers at the new Alamosa Elementary School gym.


And the Winner is:

Wolf Creek Ski Area opened on a record-setting October 8 after receiving 36 inches of new snow.