News from the San Luis Valley – August 2009

Solar Farm on tap for 2010

ALAMOSA – A new solar farm is scheduled to be installed across from the current Sun Edison solar farm near Mosca on Hwy 17. The 200-acre project, to be built in 2010, is projected to produce 17 megawatts of sun-generated power and 48,000 megawatt hours by 2011.

Sun Power hopes to create 50 local jobs during the construction phase with several longer-term positions after completion.

Police Chief found Dead

CREEDE — South Fork Police Chief and Creede resident Robert Harris, 50, was found dead in his home on July 23. An autopsy was performed to determine cause of death and results have not yet been released.

News Briefs By Marcia Darnell


A minor collision occurred June 10 involving a Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad train and a flat bed trailer. A second collision occurred involving the reporter covering the wreck and a railroad employee. A company representative at the scene denied that any accident had taken place and tried to physically bar the reporter, Larry Winget, from taking photographs of the accident scene. He reportedly punched the reporter in the stomach. A criminal complaint was filed against the employee, identified as Michelle Martin.

Bus Stop

The Alamosa Bus Company remains out of service as it continues to lacks funds to restart service in the Valley. The various towns and counties can’t pony up enough to keep the busses running. Adams State, Trinidad State, and SLV Regional Medical Center, the main beneficiaries of the service, have been approached about kicking in some bucks. For now, the operation is in “park.”

Ram Trucks

A semi truck rammed into a public housing unit in Del Norte. The parked truck’s brake failed and the cab ended up in someone’s home. No one was injured. Farther east in the Valley, a semi pulled into the path of the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad near Ft. Garland. The train engine collided with the left rear section of the truck trailer. The truck driver received minor injuries.


New GOCO grants benefitting the Valley include $200,000 for a sports complex in La Jara, $43,000 for the Fort Garland Park, $520,000 to the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (profiled in CC, Oct. ‘99) and $191,000 for the Vista Grande Parkland in Saguache County.

Brief Briefs

• Petitions are circulating to recall two members of the Antonito Town Board, Virginia Sylvester and Russ Espinoza.

• Movie lovers rejoice! The Ute Theater is open in Saguache, showing flicks Friday through Sunday and a foreign film monthly.

• Thanks to recent water quality scares in Alamosa and Monte Vista, the SLV Ecosystem Council is testing wells throughout the Valley. The agency is coordinating with other entities for the job. Well users are signing up in droves.

• The feds will hold public meetings on the Baca Mountain Tract. Plans for the area include public access via motor vehicles.

• La Jara garnered funds to restore its town hall. The Colorado Historical Society anted up to restore, in phases, the 1911 railroad depot.

• The Alamosa City Council KO’d a plan to ban tobacco use in parks and other rec areas. For now, smoking is still allowed outdoors.

• The Villa Grove Cemetery now has a veterans memorial. The inscribed stone was dedicated in a ceremony on Flag Day.

• The PTA of La Jara Elementary School is converting the school’s playground into a community park. Donations are supplementing grants from Conejos County and GOCO.

• The Alamosa Planning Commission approved the plat for a new elementary school complex.

• The Masonic Hall in Alamosa is undergoing restoration, and Adams State College broke ground for new residences.

• Valley-Wide Health Systems will get $1.6 million in federal funds to improve its facilities and equipment.

• Blanca, through the National League of Cities, is offering drug discount cards to its citizens.

• Adams State trustee Bruce Oreck was named U.S. Ambassador to Finland.

• A state study recommends a Valley-wide ambulance district, rather than the piecemeal system currently in place.

• Former Alamosa city manager Mike Hackett will be honored with a plaque at the Alamosa Ranch, open space he helped acquire for the city. Hackett now lives and works in Arcata, Calif.

• An arsonist burned an unoccupied house in Center. In Antonito, two teenagers were injured when a pipe bomb they were building went off.

• The Colorado Assessors Association held its annual meeting in the San Luis Valley for the first time.