JUNE leaves us with rain showers, and July opens with the 4th on a Monday to bring us a three-day weekend. Enjoy and be safe in whatever you do and wherever you go. Here’s a roundup of news and events as we head into Primary Election Day on Tuesday. If you haven’t voted, we encourage you to do so.

I Voted stickers

1. Make sure to vote
As we head into Tuesday’s 2022 primary election our eyes are on a few races that will set up key matchups on the November 2022 general election ballot: Of course Colorado’s Congressional District 3 is top of mind with incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert facing Republican challenger Don Coram in Tuesday’s primary, and three Democrats – Soledad Sandoval Tafoya, Alex Walker and Adam Frisch – facing off to determine who will take on the winner from the Republican side. Political handicappers continue to have Boebert as the favorite to win re-election. How the U.S. Supreme Court overruling of Roe v. Wade and the gun violence epidemic play into the mood of the November electorate is anybody’s guess.
In state races, Tuesday’s primary will determine the matchup to replace Don Valdez, the Valley’s current representative in the state legislature who campaigned for the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District but didn’t make the primary ballot. Watch the returns on the Republican side between Ryan G. Williams and Carol Riggenbach. The winner will take on Matthew Martinez, the lone Democrat in the race to succeed Valdez in House District 62.

classroom photoillustration

2. A boost for teacher pay in Alamosa
An 8 percent cost-of-living salary adjustment and the promise of a 4-day school week have teachers in Alamosa looking ahead. We interviewed Kathy West and Myra Manzanares, co-presidents of the Alamosa Education Association, along with Alamosa School Superintendent Diana Jones and Assistant Superintendent Luis Murillo about the developments. Here’s the story.
We also had Jones and Murillo on this episode of The Valley Pod where they discussed the school district’s strategic action plan framework.

DonChapman with fire trucks in the background

3. End of an era
Don Chapman, who has been on the job as fire chief in Alamosa for 17 years, has announced his retirement. It’ll become effective once the city finds his replacement and he can assist with the transition. Alamosa posted the fire chief’s job last week and has an application deadline of 5 p.m. on July 25. You can find the application for the position here.
Chapman will be part of the interview committee and will stick around long enough to make sure the next person is comfortable taking over. “I will be around there until sometime this fall and  longer if need be, I don’t have any set dates,” he said. “It’s just whenever they get a replacement in place, and I want to stay and make sure there’s a smooth transition.”

4. From the weekend
The Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center, under the direction of Eric Carpio, continues to build on the narrative and exploration of Native Americans and Hispanic settlers in the San Luis Valley. Carpio acknowledged the museum’s efforts to “expand that narrative” with the opening of Merciless Indian Savages, an exhibition by renowned multi-disciplinary artist, activist and “disruptor” Gregg Deal (Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe).
The opening weekend program included a blessing and performance by the Dineh Tah Navajo Dancers (shown above) and a poetry performance by Albuquerque Poet Laureate Jessica Helen Lopez.


5. July = farmers markets
As the calendar turns to July, more of the Valley’s fresh produce and that of surrounding southern Colorado and northern New Mexico becomes available through local farmers markets. The Alamosa Farmers’ Market has its opening weekend this Saturday, July 2. We caught up with Mandy Pittman, who’s been organizing the Alamosa Farmers’ Market for the past 10 years, in this episode of The Valley Pod.
The Rio Grande Farm Park will host its Mercadillo en el Rio beginning Wednesday, July 6. The market is open from 4-7 p.m. each Wednesday through Sept. 28.

Payne portrait

6. DA Payne recall update
The city of Alamosa collected enough signatures to place the recall of 12th Judicial District Attorney Alonzo Payne on an upcoming ballot, according to the Colorado Secretary of State. Now the city will wait for a date from the state on when the recall election will be held. The city of Alamosa, led by City Manager Heather Brooks and her staff, submitted 5,974 signatures for Payne’s recall and 4,757 signatures were accepted to put the recall in place.
Successor candidates can request a petition form from the Secretary of State Elections Division.

Small American flag planted in a field with a sunrise behind

7. The at least three-day weekend ahead
It starts July 1 with the monthly First Friday’s Celebration along Main Street in Alamosa and runs through Monday, July 4, and the Kiwanis Club Pancake breakfast and Independence Day Parade downtown.
The town of Center has its Fourth of July events scheduled for Saturday, July 2, while Antonito will host a Freedom Free For All 3×3 CO-ED Basketball Tournament for ages 15-plus on Sunday, July 3, at the Main St. Basketball Court.


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