WELCOME to Monday in the San Luis Valley, where the birds are staging for their fall migration, the leaves are beginning to turn into the splendid colors of the season, and the political debate season is upon us.
To wit, Club 20 in Grand Junction, which bills itself as the Voice of the Western Slope, hosted a debate over the weekend between Rep. Lauren Boebert and challenger Adam Frisch. It went about as well as expected, beginning with Boebert’s opening attack on the moderator over the debate rules. You can watch the uncomfortable opening to the debate here if you care to. It’s really all anyone is talking about when it comes to the Club 20 Third Congressional District debate.
Here are a few more items to get your week started. (BTW, Monday Night Football features the Broncos on the road in Seattle. Kickoff is 6:15 p.m. MST.)
1. Monte Vista’s turn to boost its downtown
Enter Monte Vista in the effort to bring its downtown back to life as an enhancer to the town’s quality of life. We’ve seen Alamosa’s push to revitalize its Main Street and how it’s helped to add to the retail mix and events happening downtown. We see how Del Norte and Antonito have been able to bring life back to the core part of their community through redevelopment efforts and how that’s helping stir energy and daily life into those communities.
Now comes Monte Vista, and for Monte it starts with the Vali Theater. To that end, the city began publicizing a request for proposals on how to use the old theater as that major building block for a downtown resurgence.
“The City is seeking proposals from interested non-profits, developers, businesses or individuals who can illustrate their ability to utilize the VTT in a business venture that creates measurable economic development and benefit. The VTT has enormous potential and can support a number of projects and business opportunities, and done correctly, can be a catalyst to downtown revitalization.” You can read the full RFP here and if you have a great idea, Monte Vista City Manager Gigi Dennis and her team would like to hear it.
2. Birds of the Valley
We shot this video of hundreds of birds flying in formation and wondered, “What the heck?” So we reached out to Jenny Nehring and Cary Aloia, biologists with Wetlands Dynamics in Monte Vista to better understand.
“What you are observing is called staging – birds are starting to group up and prepare for migration,” wrote Nehring. “In the fall bird populations are at their highest levels because of all of the young of the year that have grown to adult size. During staging birds group into larger flocks and feed together to put on the weight needed from migration. The young of the year birds will be making their first migratory journey and learning routes from adult birds as they are flocked together for migration.”
Nehring then shared ways to track the bird migrations in the Valley. The tools were developed by Cornell Lab and Colorado State University as part of their BirdCast partnership – bird migration forecast maps and live bird migration maps:
Here is a recent migration report for Alamosa:
3.Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association
receives state recognition
The Sangre de Cristo Acequia Association in the San Luis Valley, which represents more than 70 acequias, was honored with the State Historic Preservation Officer Agricultural Legacy Award during the recent Colorado State Fair. History Colorado and the Colorado Department of Agriculture expanded their annual Centennial Farms and Ranches commemoration to include categories that recognize the cultural and commercial sides of agriculture’s heritage, in addition to Colorado ranch and farm family operations that are honored for their longstanding commitment to agricultural values.
Acequias are community-operated irrigation systems that can only be found today in four Colorado counties (Conejos, Costilla, Huerfano, and Las Animas) and New Mexico. The unlined ditches of an acequia system replenish aquifers and support diverse ecosystems – and continue to provide water to Colorado farms that support hundreds of families.
4. On Deck: Alamosa Arts Festival
Each year it grows in stature and brings more art and culture to Downtown Alamosa. The Alamosa Arts Festival is this Friday and Saturday, with a host of events scheduled. The installation of new public art pieces will take place Friday. It’s worth the visit into Downtown to meet the artists and to stroll Main looking at the new art pieces that will greet visitors for the next year.
photo courtesy Adams State University
5. Cool night at Rex Field
The Game Day changes that Adams State Athletics made to its home football games worked well on Saturday night. Fans found the tailgate and the Bear Garden – both new twists and new hits with the hometown crowd. Playing under the lights was also a treat and Adams State has two more night games this season – Oct. 1 against New Mexico Highlands and Oct. 22 against Colorado Mesa University. Adams State is back at Rex Field this Saturday for a 1 p.m. kickoff against Colorado School of Mines.
6. And finally, the music of the harvest season
The cumbias blare from the portable music players, and the farmworkers demonstrate the true meaning of teamwork as they pick, wrap and box the iceberg lettuce and send it on its way to market. It’s beautiful to see the cohesion and the flawless efforts to get Valley crops harvested and out to market to meet the consumer demand. It’s a tribute to the cycle of farming and all the hands it takes to make the Valley’s agricultural economy work.
Take a look at this video we created on the first week of the 2022 harvest season, and have yourself a fine week.