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News from the San Luis Valley

Xcel Buying Solar From Hooper

Xcel Energy is now purchasing power generated by the 50-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in Hooper by SunPower Corp.

The power purchase agreement allows Xcel to purchase the energy at cost-competitive rates. It estimates the 320-acre plant is generating enough electricity to power approximately 13,500 average Colorado homes. Xcel is based in Minneapolis and is Colorado’s biggest provider of electricity and natural gas.

CPW Urges Motorists to Pull Over

Officials from Colorado Parks and Wildlife are concerned about a growing trend of motorists stopping to view wildlife in the San Luis Valley.

They are asking drivers to pull off the road if they are going to stop to view animals. Particular problem areas are those viewing elk south of Fort Garland and bighorn sheep between South Fork and Creede.

“We want people to admire Colorado’s wildlife, but they need to be aware of other vehicles for everyone’s safety,” said Conrad Albert, a district wildlife manager in the valley, in a news release.


Malting Plant Underway

Central Colorado beer brewers rejoice! A malting company based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin has announced they will be  opening a craft malting plant in Monte Vista intended to serve local craft brewers and other specialty malt users.

Proximity Malt, LLC, which produces malts for the craft brewing industry, will rehabilitate brown field sites in Rio Grande County in order to improve the local communities they serve and to avoid any unnecessary loss of local farmland; they will use locally sourced barley and other grains gown in the Valley.

A second Proximity craft malting plant is under construction in Delaware; the company hopes  to produce approximately 50,000 MT of malt per year.

University Big Economic Driver

Adams State University has a $78 million annual impact on the San Luis Valley, according to a study done by an Adams professor and one of her students.

Professor Liz Thomas Hensley and Jacob Heaton presented the analysis to the school’s trustees on Dec. 18.


• The Monte Vista Wreaths Across America commemoration drew over 1,100 sponsors.

• Among the counties with the highest jobless rates in Colorado are Costilla at third with 5.0 percent, and Saguache at fourth with 4.9 percent unemployment. Rio Grande County is tied for fifth along with Otero and Delta Counties.

• Monte Vista High School football coach Manny Wasinger will be inducted into the Colorado High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2016.

• Two Alamosa city employees are recovering after an 86-year-old Alamosa motorist crashed into the paint machine they were operating last fall to paint First Street.

• Saguache County is forming a marijuana task force to gather information and make recommendations to the county in relation to Amendment 64.