News from the San Luis Valley

By Richard Flamm

Alamosa Set to Build New Airport Terminal
Due to the dilapidated condition of the current building, Alamosa County Assistant Administrator Carol Osborn stated the new terminal is a necessity. The Valley Courier reports the new terminal will likely attract a new air service provider as well. The estimated cost of the terminal is $3.5 million.

Valley’s Unemployment Rate Above Average
The Valley’s unemployment rate remains worse than the national and state average, which ranges from 6.2 and 6.6 percent. The Valley Courier reported Alamosa’s unemployment rate at 7 percent and average hourly wage at $14.85.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Cop Caught Stealing Care Packages

Grandpa sent you a care package that “disappeared” in the mail? Maybe someone else needed more care than you. Juan Jose Romero, 54, a former Adams State University police officer, was recently convicted of stealing a college student’s care package from the campus mailroom.

Granddaughter Samantha Sergent, a student at Adams State, never received Norman Cwicky’s care package from Phoenix, Ariz. Cwicky had sent a package through priority mail with a $25 Wal-Mart gift card, a roll of quarters, M&M candies, lip balm, lotion and other miscellaneous items to Sergent. When she told him she never received it, he contacted the Adams State police with the serial number from the Wal-Mart gift card, having kept it for his records.

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SLV News

By Patty LaTaille

Grief and Loss in the Valley

Alamosa High School senior class president Anisa Montoya, 18, would have graduated this month. Serina Sena,14, was an eighth grader at Sangre de Cristo, and Selena Mascarenas, 14, was an eighth grader at Ortega Middle School. All three would be alive today if Gilbert Onesimo Sanchez hadn’t driven drunk and run a red light resulting in the April 28 fatal crash in Pueblo, where the youths and their families had attended a church service that evening.

The three Alamosa teens were killed after Sanchez’s vehicle crashed into theirs at the corner of Northern Avenue and Pueblo Boulevard in Pueblo. The loss of these young people has devastated the Alamosa community.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Patty LaTaille

When No Solar is a Good Thing

Tessera Solar withdrew its bid to construct a 1,525-acre industrial solar power plant in Saguache County. For two years, residents and ranchers have fought the massive installation of 8,000 forty-foot hydrogen-fueled dish Stirling SunCatchers.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, “Tessera’s original proposal failed to meet state limits for noise and drew sharp criticism from county residents for its effects on neighboring property, wildlife and the environment.”

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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.

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News from the San Luis Valley

Fate of Transmission Line in Limbo

A proposed electricity transmission line over La Veta Pass is facing uncertainty after Xcel Energy threatened to walk away from the project. Xcel would like to see public money used to help finance the Southern Colorado Transmission Line Project.

The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will soon decide whether to approve a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) application for the transmission line. Conditions placed on the CPCN by administrative law judge Mana Jennings-Fader would require Xcel to repay 50% of the project’s cost to its customers if the new line does not carry at least 700 megawatts of energy generated in Southern Colorado within ten years of operation.

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News from the San Luis Valley

By Patty LaTaille

Waste Not …

Lawsuits have been filed against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in regards to the transfer of nuclear waste in onto railroad cars in Antonito, within 100 yards from a tributary to the Rio Grande River.

The Conejos County Clean Water, Inc., and San Luis Valley Ecosystem Council, along with Santa Fe-based Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety are requesting a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study.

“A Dream Come True” Airport Expansion

The new runway at the Astronaut Kent Rominger Airport in Del Norte is being celebrated as a lifesaver for patients at the Rio Grande Hospital. The access to airlift and emergency care is a great asset to the Del Norte community.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Marcia Darnell

Marmot Alert!

Usually when a mechanic pops a car hood, he expects to have to investigate to find the problem. But on June 3 the workers at Caton’s Super Lube in Alamosa didn’t have to dig deep at all. The flashing lights and weird sounds in a local woman’s vehicle were due to a marmot (aka groundhog, woodchuck or whistle-pig) in the engine compartment.

“We opened the hood and everybody went ‘WHOA!’” said George Rivera of Caton’s. “It took off and went into the break room and hid behind a file cabinet.”

Animal control officers trapped the marmot and took it away. According to Rivera, finding animals under the hood isn’t that rare, but this type of animal was a surprise.

“It was a trip,” he said.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Marcia Darnell

Can’t Fight City Hall

A coalition of Alamosa residents was unsuccessful in convincing the city Council not to build a new city hall/library/firehouse complex. The council voted to move forward with the bidding/building process. The anti group was successful at garnering enough signatures on a petition to force a vote. The issue of funding the new complex will be on the primary ballot this summer.

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News from the San Luis Valley

by Marcia Darnell

Outdoor Adventure

Winter fun proved treacherous for three in February. Wayne Brown’s snowboard outing led to his getting lost in Mineral County for three days after a snowstorm. He was found safe and in the process of hiking out. In Conejos County, a couple from New Mexico were also found safe. Donald and Carol Bonney took refuge in a yurt after getting lost while cross-country skiing.

Nature Negotiation

U.S. Rep. John Salazar, perhaps inspired by President Obama’s “let’s have a beer and talk it out” example, hosted a roundtable of 23 participants Feb. 17 over the controversy surrounding the proposed Village at Wolf Creek. No solution was reached, but Salazar vowed to listen to all sides and study the environmental review before deciding whether to sponsor the land-swap legislation.

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