WELCOME to Monday and what looks to be cooler temps for the week. A bit hungover from the weekend’s 100th Ski Hi Stampede but all worth it. We sent a text message along to Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis saying the Valley could use more headliner concerts like Dwight Yoakam, who packed the Stampede grounds and delivered a show worthy of even the famed Red Rocks to the north. The new Ski Hi Events Complex is the best venue in the San Luis Valley and it would be great to see more big name shows there. Thanks, Gigi.

We start this week celebrating our 50th episode of the Valley Pod and our conversation with interim Adams State President David Tandberg. Take a listen, and then here are some other news nuggets to get your week started:

1. What the heck is the Rio Grande Water Security Act?
In our Sunday Q&A with Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser we asked if he was aware of the Rio Grande Water Security Act, which is a federal legislation introduced in May by New Mexico Rep. Melanie Ann Stansbury and co-sponsored by Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse and Ed Perlmutter. He wasn’t familiar enough with it to comment, but said he would talk to Neguse and Perlmutter to ask what they’re thinking by co-sponsoring the federal bill.

David Robbins – considered one of, if not the pre-eminent water attorney in Colorado – was not mincing words when he spoke to the Rio Grande Water Conservation District board about it at its meeting last week. The proposed federal legislation, among other things, calls for a federal working group to “develop and implement an integrated water resources management plan for the Rio Grande Basin.”

To have the feds determine how water use is occurring between the Gulf of Mexico and above Creede would be a disaster in Robbins’ mind. “We’ve already done the studies looking at the interaction and the various storage scenarios and we don’t need federal agencies to help us study and manage what we’ve already studied,” Robbins said. “We’ve got to pay attention to this. We just have to constantly be on alert.”

Weiser did have a bit to say on the notion of federal legislation to study and manage the Rio Grande. You can read the full QA here.

2. Douglas County Commish Lora Thomas shows up at Stampede

Speaking of water, State Sen. Cleave Simpson and the Protect San Luis Valley Water group took a bow at Saturday’s Ski Hi Stampede parade for their efforts to shed light and facts on concerns related to the Renewable Water Resources plan to export water from the Rio Grande Basin to the north. Simpson, who is also general manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District, even invited Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas who was steadfast in her opposition to the RWR concept. “Wish I could have stayed longer,” said Thomas who headed back to the Front Range following Saturday’s parade and Stampede.

3. That giant parade balloon

Gotta give applause to the city of Monte Vista for bringing out Monte the Cowboy, its new giant parade balloon which made its debut at the 100th Ski Hi Stampede parade. Every parade needs giant flying balloons. A lifetime ago we looked to create one for one Adams State and its 100th celebration but alas failed in those efforts. We were excited to see Monte the Cowboy make his parade debut. May every town in the Valley get their own giant balloon and bring them all together for the various Valley parades. And check our photo gallery from the Stampede, compliments of photographer C. Claire Lara.

4. Get ready for Click It or Ticket

The Colorado State Patrol’s Click It or Ticket campaign starts today and runs through Aug. 5. The Colorado Department of Transportation, along with the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and 44 local law enforcement agencies will begin the summer seat belt enforcement period. A seat belt violation is a Class B traffic infraction and subject to a $65 fine. A total of 1,348 seat belt citations have been issued this year during Click It or Ticket enforcement periods.

5. US 160 Wildlife Crossing complete

CDOT this week will be marking the completion of the US 160 Wildlife Crossings Project on US 160 between Durango and Pagosa Springs. The state transportation agency is hosting a media event at 11 a.m. Thursday to highlight the project. “The wildlife mitigation features included in this project reflect a commitment to enable safe wildlife passage and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions,” the agency said in a news release.

CDOT in 2023 is planning to begin an extensive wildlife mitigation project on US 160 between Fort Garland and La Veta Pass, along the Trinchera and Forbes Ranch roads, between mileposts 258-266. Here is our earlier story on that upcoming project.

6. We hope you have a great week ahead.

The Narrow Gauge Book Cooperative hosts Juliana “Hoolihan” Clayton and her new book “With Great Discretion” as part of its ongoing summer author series at 5 p.m. Friday, July 29. And before you know it, on Aug. 5 and 6, it’s Beat the Heat BBQ & Brews at Cole Park.

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