THE warmer weather moves out and colder temps move in this week. The possibility of snow is in Monday’s forecast (these furry paws love running through the snow) and then it’s chilly temps as we move into mid-December. If you have students at home, this is their week of final exams before school breaks for the holidays. A little extra TLC is in order.

There are 13 days till Christmas and still plenty of time to Shop Local. As you contemplate your nice-or-naughty list, here are some news items to get the week started:


images from the San Luis Valley -- people, mountains, trees -- with the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area logo

1. Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area reauthorization

Julie Chacon and her team at the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area are closely watching the end of the 117th Congress. The hope is that Congress will adopt a reauthorization of Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area, Cache La Poudre National Heritage Area, and South Park National Heritage Area in the state of Colorado before it completes the year. Sen. Michael Bennet is sponsoring the bill in the U.S. Senate that will extend through September 30, 2036, funding from the Department of Interior for the national heritage areas. The hope is that it will be part of the the year-end omnibus bills package.

Locally it’s one of the more important pieces of federal legislation still winding its way through Congress. Like Chacon and her staff and board, we will be monitoring to see how this all turns out.

2. Little push back to Alamosa’s four-day school week

Not much push back or even very many families who turned out for last week’s Alamosa School Board meeting on the proposed four-day school week. The school board took comments from the audience and then went through a presentation on the work of the four-day school week committee. Some parents lamented the fact the meeting conflicted with a school band concert that prevented some from attending the school board meeting. We’ve heard more push back from both parents and teachers than the school board received, but it really only matters what the school board itself hears.

This week we will have Alamosa School Superintendent Diana Jones and Assistant School Superintendent Luis Murillo on the Valley Pod to talk more about the plans for a four-day school week. The school board is expected to vote on the matter at its first meeting of the new year, Jan. 5, 2023. Then it would be full planning ahead to implement the four-day school week in Alamosa for the 2023-24 academic year.

Guest in the podcast studio with The Valley Pod logo

3. DA Anne Kelly on the idea of a SLV drug task force

Twelfth Judicial District Attorney Anne Kelly continues to push forward on the idea of creating a San Luis Valley drug task force to get more proactive in combating the distribution of narcotics. She’s a long way from establishing such a group, but she continues to see the need and articulates why it could be another way to address the illegal drug trade that historically has existed across the six counties. Hear her reasoning in the latest episode of The Valley Pod. Kelly also talks about her request for more funding for the DA’s Office and how the six counties that help fund it have responded to the request. For her part, Kelly continues to make the adjustment from her previous role in the Boulder DA’s Office to serving as DA for the San Luis Valley

“What a breath of fresh air this place is. You can see for miles,” she said. Listen to the conversation HERE.

wolves on a snowy path

4. Colorado’s wolf reintroduction plan

Colorado plans to reintroduce 30 to 50 wolves over the next three to five years (10 to 15 per year) as part of its Grey Wolf Restoration and Management plan which was released last week. CPW is taking public comment on the plan through Feb. 22, 2023. To comment, go here.CPW says the wolves will likely be sourced from populations in the northern Rockies in cooperation with state wildlife agencies; and that captured wolves will be reintroduced onto state and cooperating private lands in select areas west of the Continental Divide with a 60-mile buffer from neighboring states. FWIW, the Valley doesn’t see many lobos.

woman outdoors painting cranes in flight

5.  Not too early to think 2023 Crane Festival

Organizers of the annual Monte Vista Crane Festival are preparing for the 40th annual event in 2023 and will be releasing a documentary film to celebrate the occasion. Here’s a trailer of the film by Christi Bode Skeie as well as information on the March 2023 event. Tickets for the 40th anniversary event will go on sale Jan. 1.

head shots of speakers

6. Adams State fall commencement is Saturday

Adams State has invited Fourth Judicial District Court Judge Samuel A. Evig, a 2001 graduate, to deliver this Saturday’s fall commencement address. “We live in a world that can appear dismal and dark. But we also live in a world where amazing, beautiful, and wonderful things happen,” Evig said in previewing his speech. He still remembers his own Adams State graduation day. “At the time, I was happy just like most graduates are happy. But when I sat there on graduation day, I did not realize the value of what I had done and what I received. I knew, intellectually, I had finished something important; but I did not then recognize the value of what I had done and what Adams State gave me.”

The Adams State University 2022 Fall Commencement Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in Plachy Hall. Jasmina Martinez, who is first in her family to attend college, is the student speaker. Martinez is from Albuquerque and is among the 98 students who will be awarded a bachelor’s degree.

And just in time for graduation, Adams State said it was retiring its mascot Boomer and has added two new mascots, Russet and Billy, to represent the Grizzlies. Cute.

PHOTO: Friday’s brilliant sunset over the Valley. Courtesy Janice Watkins.


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