Places: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

By Mike Rosso What’s a mountain dweller to do when they need to get some sand between their toes? When the nearest ocean is 1,000 miles away? One solution lies close to home in the San Luis Valley. Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve sits at the base of the majestic Sangre De Cristo …

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Museums of Central Colorado: The San Luis Valley Museum

The Pioneer Schoolroom at the San Luis Valley Museum.

By Joyce Gunn

The San Luis Valley Museum is located in Alamosa, across the street from the fire department, at 401 Hunt Avenue. On the north side of the building is a mural depicting 96 or so images of various sites in the Valley as well as many of the people who had an impact on the Valley’s history. Stop by and we’ll be happy to give you an informational guide to the mural.

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Alamosa’s New Venue: Society Hall

By Mike Rosso

Back in 2014, a small group of Alamosa residents began considering the possibilities of buying and converting an old Christian Science Society building into an event and performance center. By the spring of 2015, they formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Society Hall Foundation, and purchased the building in August that same year.

They dubbed the building Society Hall, and today it is Alamosa’s newest venue for concerts, plays, workshops, weddings and other community uses.

Board president Ruthie Brown first considered the building, constructed in 1922, after seeing someone actually leaving the building, something she’d not witnessed in her 40 years in Alamosa. She immediately called local musician Don Richmond and his wife Teri McCartney to share her thoughts and once the couple had a look at the building, they decided it would be a great facility for the city.

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Making Tracks

Don Richmond at the control board in the Howlin’ Dog studio. Photo by Duke Sheppard.

By Anthony Guerrero

In the early 1980s, Don Richmond and his friends played music in a location next to some rowdy canines. The howling dogs made an impression, and some of the musicians suggested should Richmond ever open a music studio it should be called “Howlin’ Dog Records.”
A short while later Richmond did in fact begin operating his own record company, called it Howlin’ Dog Records, and the name stuck.
Despite the name, the recording studio is actually located in a very serene location near Alamosa. “It’s really peaceful and quiet here. There’s not many interruptions, which is great when we’re recording music,” said Richmond.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Gena Akers Gator Gets a New Home Jay Young, owner of the San Luis Valley’s Colorado Gators Reptile Park, recently drove 2,200 miles in 48 hours to rescue Jaxon, an 8-foot alligator. Wildlife officials found Jaxon in a backyard in Los Angeles, relocating him to a zoo. After retrieving Jaxon, Young visited the alligator’s …

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The Velhagen Clock: Crown Jewel of Downtown Alamosa

by Susan Foster The Velhagen Clock, located for over 50 years at 505 State Avenue in Alamosa, might be called a “horologe”: an obsolete term for a timepiece that is antiquated yet timeless. Alamosa’s historic, 18-foot-high, two-ton, Velhagen Clock is a five-foot diameter, two-faced structure with cast iron gingerbread ornamentation which was built by the …

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A Dream Realized: The Rio Grande Healthy Living Park

By Gena Akers

This past July, a group of individuals united by a common dream for a plot of land near a rural Southern Colorado town got a second chance. 

“Over time, I hope this becomes part of the fabric of our community,” says Julie Mordecai, acting director of the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park (RGHLP). For Mordecai and the other RGHLP supporters, it is an honor to just have the sewing machine back out on the table.

The future home of the RGHLP is the former Polson Elementary School property, a 38-acre plot near the intersection of Hwys. 17 and 160, just east of Alamosa. Some of the plans for the RGHLP include a working farm, a year-round local food market, botanical gardens, commercial kitchen, event space and walking trails, all of which will help to make the “entrance into Alamosa more attractive,” says Mordecai. Besides these initiatives, proponents hope to continue their relationship with the San Luis Valley’s local Guatemalan community. The RGHLP is host to eight farm plots managed by Guatemalan families, many of which were economically displaced after the closure of the nearby Rakhra Mushroom Farm. Besides these plots, proponents hope to expand agricultural research opportunities beyond potatoes, one of the Valley’s main crops. Through all of these combined efforts, Bill Brinton, RGHLP supporter and East Alamosa resident, says the project will offer “a new kind of economic self-reliance.”

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Milagros – Hoping for a Miracle

By Ann Marie Swan

Milagros means miracles in Spanish. Fittingly, a miracle would be helpful right about now to keep Milagros Coffeehouse on Main Street in Alamosa. The lease ends this year and this beauty of a building is for sale.

All profits from Milagros support the nonprofit La Puente, which means the bridge. La Puente’s mission is to feed, clothe and shelter people in the San Luis Valley. Milagros, in the center of town, is a public relations storefront for La Puente’s work. Other La Puente enterprises include a motel, two thrift stores and a boutique.

The nonprofit’s message doesn’t appear on Milagros’ exterior, a red-brick historical treasure. The philosophy is experience the place first, then learn of the mission later.

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From the Battlefield to Salvation

By Ann Marie Swan

Alamosa may be a little bit of heaven on earth for Afghanistan Army veteran Spc. Mary Harmon. It’s where she found healing, peace, grace and redemption.

Harmon’s journey home from Afghanistan has been a bumpy one as she’s transitioned to life after the military. She’s tried to soothe her post-traumatic stress disorder, sometimes drinking and drugging. PTSD is an anxiety disorder that can occur following a traumatic event, according to the National Center for PTSD. PTSD is a normal reaction to a horrific experience and it’s as old as combat.

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La Puente Home

 By Virginia McConnell Simmons

In a narrative poem by Robert Frost, Warren and Mary are sitting on their porch, arguing about whether to let Silas return to the farm once again. He had been an unreliable hand, his wanderlust often causing him to go missing when he was most needed, like during haying time, and Warren complains that Silas doesn’t deserve another chance now. But Mary contends that they have no choice except to take him in.

“Home is where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,” Mary says.

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Squirrel on a Cold Tin Roof

by Frankie Will

In this climate we have a phenomenon called black ice. A road or a surface looks completely dry, but is covered with a thin sheet of ice – slippery as a wet ice cube on a warm countertop. It is very dangerous and causes many accidents.

This November, we’ve already had quite a few snowy and freezing days, promising a long, cold winter.

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