FEBRUARY started with a string of record-high temperature days, then brought record snow and now closes cold and windy. Welcome to almost-springtime in the San Luis Valley. March opens with cloudy weather turning to warmth by the week’s end. Here’s more to get the week started:
1. New name for the still-chugging-along railroad
February was a big month for the Valley’s long-running railroad. The sale of the San Luis & Rio Grande closed on Feb. 7 to KCVN LLCV and its parent company, Soloviev Group. Then upon close of the sale, the new owners officially changed the name of the railroad to the Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad, or CP Rio Grande, according to the U.S. Federal Register. Indeed it is a new day for the historic railroad, with promise of investment from the new owners. Officially, according to the Federal Register, the railroad runs from milepost 299.30 near Derrick, Colo., to milepost 180.00 near Walsenburg, comprising the CP Rio Grande’s Alamosa Subdivision, and between milepost 251.7 at Alamosa and milepost 281.78 at Antonito (the Antonito Subdivision), a total distance of approximately 149.38 miles (collectively, the Line). CP Rio Grande is also acquiring incidental trackage rights conveyed to SLRG by Union Pacific in the vicinity of Walsenburg between milepost 180.00 and milepost 175.00.
2. More Simpson legislation out of the state Capitol
Whenever you hear the words bipartisan and water coming out of the Colorado Legislature, good chance State Sen. Cleave Simpson of Alamosa is involved. The first bill this legislative session to gain a signature from Gov. Jared Polis is a water projects eligibility list, HJR23-1007, which Simpson helped sponsor. It establishes a list of Colorado water projects that are eligible for federal funding based on their focus on safe drinking water, and wastewater and stormwater projects. Creede, Crestone, Fort Garland and other communities in the sprawling Senate District 6 that Simpson represents all have projects on the eligibility list.
It’s also Simpson legislation that has the Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board meeting this week to finalize criteria that will guide Valley groundwater well irrigators as they apply for a piece of the $30 million pie tied to the Groundwater Compact Compliance Fund. Simpson is general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District and will chime in both in that capacity as well as author of the legislation.
3. The winter sports at Adams State
Yes, there were loud noises coming out of Plachy Hall over the weekend. It’s been a while since Adams State had so much to cheer about during the winter sports season, but here we are celebrating the Grizzlies’ march to the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference playoffs in women’s basketball, its conquering of the NCAA Division II Super 6 Wrestling Regionals, and its impressive performances at the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships that saw the Grizzlies win both the men’s and women’s conference titles in the mile run, among other performances that qualified Adams track and field athletes for the upcoming NCAA DII Indoor Nationals.
Here’s a quick recap by sport:
The women’s basketball team under head coach Mario Caetano, in particular, is seeing a resurgence. The Grizzlies have a 20-win season for the first time since 2010-11, and enter the RMAC playoffs as the No. 4 seed after a satisfying win over the weekend against Colorado School of Mines which finished second in the league. The Grizzlies will host a RMAC playoff game at 6 p.m. Tuesday night, which will bring out a rowdy student section. Plachy Hall is alive going into March.
On the wrestling front, the undefeated Noah Hermosillo is the baddest dude Adams State has had on the mat in a long time. Hermosillo, at 157 pounds, and teammate Josiah Rider, 149 pounds, both won NCAA DII titles a year ago and over the weekend qualified again for the national wrestling championships. Those will be held March 10-11 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Hermosillo and Rider will be joined by teammates Brendon Garcia, 125 pounds; Aaden Valdez, 165 pounds; and Hunter Tobiasson, 184 pounds. Adams State Interim President David Tandberg said he plans to be there.
Over the weekend Adams State hosted the RMAC Indoor Track & Field Championships at its High Altitude Training Bubble. Miguel Roca and Maggie McClesky both electrified the crowd with their performances in the mile run. Roca set an Adams State fieldhouse record for the mile in 4:10.42 (translates to 3:56.84 at sea level) and set himself up as one to watch when the NCAA DII Indoor Track & Field Championships are held March 10-11 in Virginia Beach. McClesky won the mile with her closing speed as she beat Kate Hedlund from UC-Colorado Springs at the finish line. Don’t sleep on the Grizzlies at the NCAA Indoor Championships. In addition to individual glory, team titles could be in order.
4. A friendly reminder from city hall
Alamosa City Hall is out with a reminder on existing ordinances related to loud noise, and specifically loud car noise or “nuisance vehicles.” The city last week issued a communication that spelled out the specific ordinance and traffic code regulating car noise after receiving citizen and downtown business complaints about “unreasonable noise” emanating from vehicles. The cars of concern have a modified exhaust system that intentionally makes them obnoxiously loud. City Manager Heather Brooks said the intent of the public reminder is to “share it as an educational item since these are not new laws/ordinances. They were already in existence and it is simply a matter of making sure residents are aware of them and that we intend to enforce them.” Here’s more on this story.
5. On The Valley Pod
Some 10,000 downloads and counting later, we’re nearing our 100th episode of The Valley Pod. Like everything else we do here at The Citizen, the podcast is an experiment in content development. Like every community and region, the San Luis Valley is influenced through the technological advances of our modern world. Podcasts offer a way to listen when you have time and when it’s convenient for you. We hope the content is worth listening to. Here’s the latest episode with PJ Bergin, founder of SOIL Sangre de Cristo. Upcoming this week is Center Town Manager Brian Lujan and then Dawn Melgares, executive director of the San Luis Valley Housing Coalition. We’ve also launched The Outdoor Citizen with host Marty Jones in partnership with SLV GO! Give them a try – when you have the time and it’s convenient for you.
6. The March Outlook
March is peak crane month and when we spring forward. Here’s a quick peek:
First Fridays Shamrock & Roll, Main Street Alamosa, Friday, March 3.
Singer-songwriter Lisa Morales at Society Hall, Saturday, March 4.
40th Annual Monte Vista Crane Festival, March 10-12. The premier of the short documentary “Where the Cranes Meet the Mountains” by Christie Bode-Skeie is Saturday, March 11.
Daylight Saving Time starts March 12.
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