The Upper Rio Grande is running 140 percent above median for this time of year thanks to the deep snow season on Wolf Creek. However, with less than a quarter-inch of precipitation so far in March, the question becomes: How quickly will the dry Valley floor soak up the spring runoff in April and May? The week ahead shows warming temps back into the 50s, and, of course, some wind but no moisture. Here’s more to get the week started:
1. Power in the sun
We spent some time going through comments submitted to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission around solar and transmission development in the San Luis Valley. There is no timetable on when the CPUC will take up the topic again after inviting comments. But in reviewing the filings with the state regulatory agency, you get that there is a sense of urgency for the CPUC to move the discussion forward.
“It is imperative that this potential resource is not hampered by lack of transmission,” the Interwest Energy Alliance and Western Resource Advocates said in their joint comments. They later noted, “Larger transmission interconnection to the rest of Colorado and the wider western interconnect could have profound implications for job growth and job diversification in the SLV as well.”
Here’s the full story. The discussions at the CPUC on solar and transmission development is one of the biggest conversations involving the Valley that is happening at the state level. We’ll track it and keep you up to date as it unfolds.
2. Redrawing boundaries
The 2020 Census has both Alamosa County and the city of Alamosa redrawing boundaries for elected representatives. Because of the population growth that occurred from 2010 to 2020 – around 12 percent – both local governments are required to re-balance their representative maps.
The ideal district and ward maps would evenly split the number of people each commissioner and each city councilor represents. And while that’s not likely to happen, there are percentage variations that have to be met. For example, the three county commissioner districts cannot have a deviation of more than 5 percent. In other words, the population of each county commissioner district has to be within 5 percent of the others. Currently the deviation is 8.5 percent.
We’ll have more on both processes as the county commissioners and the city council take up redrawing of their district and ward boundaries.
3. Monte Vista’s Vali 3 Theater options
One of the questions Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis has been pressing on is what to do with the downtown Vali 3 Theater? The city has issued two requests for proposals, and the latest has yielded two ideas for which the Monte Vista City Council recently heard presentations.
Radio station owner Bob Richards wants to turn the Vali Theater into a hub for his operations and open up the theater for special movie nights, among other community engagement efforts. The Valley Church of the Nazarene, meanwhile, proposes to use the Vali 3 as an extension of its ministry services. The city of Monte Vista is under no obligation to accept either proposal, and neither the city council or city manager has signaled a preference for either idea.
The Vali Theater figures heavily into Monte Vista’s downtown revitalization efforts. It’s wise for the city to take its time and figure out the best use of the Vali 3 that will benefit not only Monte Vista but the visitors it looks to attract, including those from neighboring towns.
4. Tributes for the late Marguerite Salazar
The Colorado Democratic Party will name an annual community service award in honor of the late Marguerite Salazar, who passed away last November at the age of 69. It’s one of two tributes recognizing her public service. On Saturday, April 1, the Cesar E. Chavez Peace and Justice Committee of Denver will recognize Salazar during its annual march that begins at 10 a.m. at Regis University. Both are fitting recognition for one of Colorado’s most influential Latinas. She may be gone, but she’s certainly not forgotten.
5. The Outdoor Citizen
You can now find The Outdoor Citizen podcast streaming on Spotify, Apple and everywhere else podcasts are found. Or the easiest thing is to subscribe to all the Alamosa Citizen podcasts and listen when it’s convenient for you. The latest episode of The Outdoor Citizen with Marty Jones features a rundown on all the events coming up in April for “We Love Our National Park” celebrations supported by Visit Alamosa and the Great Sand Dunes National Park. It all kicks off on April 7 during Visit Alamosa’s First Fridays monthly celebration. The Outdoor Citizen podcast, produced with support from SLV GO!, also gives a rundown on outdoor conditions and outdoor news items influencing the Valley’s outdoor scene. Check it out.
6. SLV Women’s March
A quick look at the weekend ahead shows the SLV Women’s March scheduled for 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 1. The annual march starts at the corner of Main Street and Richardson Avenue. A reception at McDaniel Hall Room 101 follows. It’s all part of Adams State University Women’s Week event lineup. The week of activities begins with a Monday evening talk by Danielle SeeWalker, above, author of “Still Here: A Past to Present Insight of Native American People and Culture.” The talk is at 7 p.m. in McDaniel Hall 101. Here’s the full list of events at Adams State.
7. How the Rio Grande Farm Park benefits us all
There’s no better example of community gardening than Rio Grande Farm Park located off Hwy 17, East Alamosa. The annual spring volunteer work day was Saturday, and then on Sunday the farm park hosted a Biointensive Growing workshop to help growers better understand density growing for small plots of land. The Rio Grande Farm Park has 20 families with private grow operations and 12 commercial growers, according to co-program director Seth Armentrout. It’s the seasonal output from the commercial growers that will feed the upcoming farmers markets around the San Luis Valley, providing a benefit to the greater Valley long envisioned by founders of the Rio Grande Farm Park.
A recent addition of an indoor greenhouse and chicks to produce eggs has the farm park staff and volunteers working year-round. If there’s a more efficient and effective example of community gardening, we’d like to see it.
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