Photo courtesy Devon Peña, San Luis

Xcel provides breakdown on Valley
communities that lost power Dec. 30

In response to questions from, Xcel Energy said Tuesday that 9,537 households in the San Luis Valley were affected by Xcel’s controlled power outages on Dec. 30 as the utility company dealt with natural gas system concerns related to the fires in Boulder County.

Here’s a breakdown by community:

Alamosa – 5,664 customers

Saguache – 43 customers

Del Norte – 595 customers

Monte Vista – 2,964 customers

Ansel (Rio Grande County) – 271 customers initially reached out to Xcel to understand why the San Luis Valley was part of Xcel’s controlled outages as it worked to manage the residential and commercial demand on its natural gas system and prevent a larger natural gas outage as a result of the fires.

You can read the story, “Why three SLV counties had power outages” through this link:

Xcel spokesperson Michelle Aguayo told The Citizen that the power outages in the San Luis Valley lasted between 2 ½ and 3 ½ hours. “We appreciate our customers’ participation, help and understanding,” she said.

State Rep. Don Valdez is holding a town hall meeting with Xcel at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5, to discuss the power outages. To pre-register and attend the meeting, follow this link. The town hall will be virtual.

A wait-and-see attitude to federal help
on meatpacking competition 

MONTE VISTA – As president of the local Rocky Mountain Farmers Union chapter in the San Luis Valley, Kyler Browner has been advocating for the federal government to get involved to help local livestock producers realize more profits for their work. You can bet his ears perked up Monday when the Biden Administration announced a $1 billion effort to expand independent beef, pork and chicken processing to stimulate competition.

The president’s announcement is here.

“These middle men are doing a phenomenal job gobbling up any margin out there,” said Browner. He said he’s “taking a wait and see approach” on Biden’s plan but welcomed the news.

The Biden Administration has blamed a near-monopoly by four meat-packing companies. “Four large meat-packing companies control 85 percent of the beef market. In poultry, the top four processing firms control 54 percent of the market. And in pork, the top four processing firms control about 70 percent of the market,” according to White House fact sheets distributed for the announcement.

Browner can relate. “The local producers are getting left out and the consumers are really feeling it,” he said.

Prices for meat and poultry have increased 12.8 percent over the previous 12 months, according to Consumer Price Index data from November.

Call Sanford The Thundering Mustangs 

 new mustang mascot

SANFORD – When this year’s class from Sanford High graduates, they will do so as the Sanford Indians, the school’s longtime mascot. Then, once the graduation ceremony is complete and the 2021-22 school year is complete, Sanford schools will become The Thundering Mustangs.

“After multiple community and student surveys, a new mascot has been chosen and will become the official mascot for Sanford Schools effective May 28, 2022,” said Sanford Superintendent Kevin Edgar in making the announcement. “After retiring the Indian Mascot at graduation, Sanford Schools will officially welcome our new mascot, The Thundering Mustangs.  The school will retain the colors of Kelly green, white, and black. 

The Colorado Legislature adopted a bill in 2021 that prohibited public schools from using American Indian mascots. The legislation is here.

Sanford engaged in a thorough community process to determine a new mascot. Now it will find a graphic design artist to come up with an official image for The Thundering Mustangs. In the announcement, Sanford included a drawing that reflects what the new mascot will look like. The full school announcement is here.

CDOT conducts La Manga Pass
avalanche mitigation 

CONEJOS COUNTY – Avalanche mitigation is planned on La Manga Pass, CO Highway 17, beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. Traffic will be stopped on either side of the pass near mile points 12 and 14. Travelers can expect a lengthy delay of 1-2 hours.  

Travelers should plan ahead for this closure. Allow for extra travel time or arrive at the closure points before designated traffic stop times. Please be aware that the estimated closure duration may be extended due to the amount of snow and debris that must be cleared from the highway as well as other possible and unusual circumstances.

La Manga was pretty bare up until this last storm. Matt Huber, Southern Mountains Group Forecaster for CAIC says we’re “doing pretty well this year.”

Before the storm there was lingering snow which became problematic. However, with the last storm there was significantly more avalanche activity. The last storm gave us a really good snowpack, but it has a weak area it’s settling on. 

Additionally, Wolf Creek Pass received 10ft of snow in 10 days and 12.8 inches of water.

La Manga Pass La Manga Pass

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