THESE furry paws are preparing for a much colder week than we’ve had so far in January, and maybe even a touch of snow (and boy, does Cooper love to romp in the snow). Now for some other news nuggets to get the week started:

Cooper the Weather Dog. He is cute and loves tummy rubs. Also: he loves to play in the snow.

large group of people sitting in folding chairs, with flower arrangements, in a high school gym

1. Final respects for Erik Melgoza

Alamosa High School’s gymnasium was filled with family, friends and students at the funeral service for Erik Melgoza, the school’s athletic director. “He had a way of making you feel that you were very special to him, and he never asked for anything in return,” said AHS Principal Andy Lavier. Full story HERE.

Black and white photo of man in cowboy hat standing in a dirt road.

2. George Whitten named regional assistant commissioner

Saguache County rancher George Whitten has been appointed regional assistant commissioner of agriculture by Colorado Ag Commissioner Kate Greenburg. Whitten is one of two regional assistant commissioners named by Greenburg under a new structure she has created to help guide the work of the state ag department. The position is part-time. Jo Stanko of Steamboat Springs was also appointed to be a regional assistant ag commissioner.

“Agriculture, at its core, is about bringing people together to share our food and culture. Both Jo and George are respected community leaders who care deeply about preserving Colorado’s agricultural heritages while working proactively for the future,” said Greenberg. “As the first two regional assistant commissioners, Jo and George will lead the way to ensuring there is a direct line of communication between CDA and agricultural communities across the state as we face great challenges but also great opportunities to build resilience, drive profitability, and advance stewardship on behalf of Colorado agriculture.”

Whitten operates a grass-fed beef ranch in Saguache County and has been a member of the Rio Grande Water Conservation Subdistrict 5 board of managers. He has served one term on the Colorado Agricultural Commission, which expires in February 2023. He will resign his post as a member of the Agricultural Commission and begin as Regional Assistant Commissioner, effective February 6, 2023.

figure walking their dog near water

3. UPDATE: Pedestrian Bridge over Rio Grande at Adams State

The curve at the end of Stadium Drive is too sharp. And the house that sits there may be too old. Before another connection is made from the Rio Grande’s north side to its south side, the curve may have to be flattened and the house may have to be demolished. This doesn’t mean Alamosa’s newest bridge won’t be constructed. It just may not be happening as soon as some trail users and residents would like. Read the full story. 

4. Modified contract for Cleave Simpson

The Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board of Directors has a packed agenda, as usual, for its quarterly board meeting on Tuesday. Among the agenda items is a proposed modified contract for General Manager Cleave Simpson. Ever since Simpson was elected to the Colorado State Senate, the board has worked to adjust pay and hours for the period of time that Simpson is in Denver serving in the legislature. Amber Pacheco has been appointed to run Rio Grande Water Conservation District when Simpson is focused on legislative duties. The modified contract reflects these realities.
The RGWCD board also takes up the latest amendment to Subdistrict 1 Plan of Water Management and the district’s Groundwater Conservation Easement program. We’ll report back.

5. Rio Grande compact case: Texas vs. New Mexico

Speaking of the Rio Grande, Texas and New Mexico, and to a degree Colorado, have been arguing since 2013 about water from the Rio Grande that Texas says New Mexico shorts it. Now the case has a proposed settlement. The biggest change the two sides have agreed on is that the gage station in El Paso, not Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico, would be where Texas’ share of the Rio Grande would be measured. The agreement still needs a sign off from the U.S. Supreme Court.

podcast guest with The Valley Pod logo

6. Boys & Girls Clubs respond to four-day school week

When schools in the San Luis Valley began shifting to a four-day school week a few years back, Boys & Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley responded by extending its hours and outreach to help provide a safe space for kids on Fridays. Now with Alamosa planning a shift to four days, Boys & Girls Clubs is ready to respond once again. Boys & Girls Clubs Executive Director Aaron Miltenberger weighs in on the four-day school week and how the youth organization addresses the challenge. Listen HERE, or wherever you get your podcasts.

7. Adams State listening tour comes to Fort Garland, Alamosa

Interim President David Tandberg resumes his listening tour across the San Luis Valley with sessions scheduled in Fort Garland and Alamosa this week. Tandberg has been criss-crossing the Valley to hear from town residents and to better understand how Adams State can grow in its service to the Valley. The Fort Garland meeting is Wednesday at the Fort Garland Museum and then Thursday at Alamosa County. Both meetings start at 6 p.m. Tandberg is in Saguache County on Jan. 25.

MLK Adams State art

8. Martin Luther King Day events

Find them HERE.

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