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Briefs for June 17, 2010

Southeast Rural Philanthropy Days returns

LA JUNTA- Registrations will open June 14 for Southeast Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days, which will be held Sept. 15-17, at Otero Junior College in La Junta. The event, held every four years in Southeastern Colorado, brings philanthropic funding organizations and non-profit organizations together to explore funding needs and grant possibilities. 

    Southeast Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days focuses on the eight-county region including Baca, Bent, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Otero and Prowers counties.

    Registration opens Monday, June 14, online at and all registrations will be done via the Website. The cost of registration is $100 per person which includes five meals, three capacity-building workshops and the opportunity to meet with funders. Organizations do not have to have a 501(c)3 to register; however non-profit organizations will be limited to two representatives.

    Rural Philanthropy Days began in the early 1990s as a way to bring Front Range foundations and government agencies to rural Colorado to open dialogue, provide networking opportunities and create relationships with non-profit organizations. To accomplish this goal, Colorado has been divided into eight rural regions with each region hosting a Rural Philanthropy Days event every four years. Under the direction of the Community Resource Center, two Rural Philanthropy Days events are held in Colorado each year. Southeast Colorado last hosted the regional event in 2006.

    The 2010 event will be the fourth Philanthropy Days held in the region. According to Teri Erickson, event co-chair, “Since holding Philanthropy Days in the area, grant makers have increased their funding to rural non-profits by nearly 300 percent.” While in Southeastern Colorado, grantors will have the opportunity to meet with non-profit groups and community leaders where they will learn firsthand the issues and needs of the eight-county region.

    For additional information, contact Almabeth Kaess, event coordinator, at 719-384-6821 or

FSA County Committee nominations open

Lakewood– Trudy Kareus, State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced that farmer and rancher candidate nominations will begin on Tues. June 15 for local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees. The nomination period continues through Mon. Aug. 2, with the election taking place between Fri. Nov. 5, and the close of business on Mon. Dec. 6.

    "I encourage all producers to participate in the nomination of county committee candidates by the Aug. 2 deadline," said Kareus. "We would like as much participation as possible since county committees provide a vital link and a voice for landowners, farmers and ranchers to have opinions and ideas heard at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With better participation in recent years, we also have seen a trend of increased nominations of minority and women producers that we hope will continue."

    To be eligible to serve on a Farm Service Agency county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

     Producers may nominate themselves or others, and organizations representing minorities and women also may nominate candidates. To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form FSA-669A. Nomination forms for the 2010 election must be postmarked or received in the local USDA Service Center by close of business on Aug. 2. The form and other valuable information about FSA county committee elections are available online at

     FSA county committee members make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other important agricultural issues. Members serve three-year terms. Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members who are elected by eligible producers.

     FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 5. The ballots are due back to the local county office either by mail or in person by Dec. 6. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office Jan. 1, 2011.


Fridays for fun: a special treat for you and your child/grandchild….a great present for Father′s Day!

LA VETA- This is an opportunity to paint collaboratively, an experience to remember. "Painting Together" this Fri. June 18 with artist Jill Schwarz, participants will use big brushes and bold colors to create shared abstracts on canvas.

    The workshop is open to children and their parents/grandparents.  Participants should wear old clothes or ones  to get paint on! Class to be held in the courtyard of 718 Oak Street,  the Victorian with a lovely wall around it, 1-4 pm, $35/pair.  Painters should enter from the Cascade St. side. This is opposite Whispering Oaks nursery. Participants may also register on-line at All materials will be provided.

     A limited number of scholarships are available on a first come/first served basis.

Economic Development  meets    

WALSENBURG- The Huerfano County Economic Development Inc. will hold their monthly meeting on Fri. June 18, 6 pm at the Walsenburg Housing Authority Building, 230 Russell Ave. All future meetings will be held on the 3rd Friday of each month at the time and location listed above.

Lathop Park Events 

 “King Coal”

On Fri. June 18 at 8:30 pm, Jon Sudar local history enthusiast and Walsenburg native will tell the story of a time when coal was king.  Come explore the history of coal mining, the tragedy of Ludlow Camp and its consequences, the coal camps and the lives of the people who worked and lived there, and various operations of a coal mine. 

 “Potentially Dangerous Wildlife” 

    What do you do if you come across a mountain lion or bear while out hiking or camping??  Will rattlesnakes chase you if you run? On Sat. June 19 at 7:30 pm, Regional DOW officer Lance Gatlin will  teach  about the potentially dangerous wildlife living in southern Colorado, and the harmful bacteria which can be transmitted by wildlife including West Nile and the Bird Flu.  Lance will also share with us specimens and furs collected by the DOW for a truly hands on learning experience.  

    FYI- Parents! If you are interested in the Junior Ranger Certification for your youngster ages 7-12,  contact the Interpretive Ranger for details.


St. Mary Parish Yard Sale

WALSENBURG- There will be a parish yard sale on Sat. June 19 beginning at 8 am at Mazzone Hall, on East 7th street in Walsenburg.  Proceeds will benefit St. Mary Church.  All welcome!

Summer hours at the Carnegie

TRINIDAD- The new summer hours at the Carnegie Public Library have begun. Here is the new schedule:  Mon. 9 am-7 pm, Tues-Fri. 9 am-5 pm, Sat. 9 am-3 pm. Children′s Story Hour is still held on Fridays at 10:30 am.

     The Friends of the Library Book Sale was so successful during Santa Fe Trail Days it will be  extended to Sat. June 19 from 8 am until noon. The sale will be held at the Sebastiani gym in conjunction with Holy Trinity Parish′s Clearance Flea Market. In order to qualify for the Friends of the Library discounts, you must show your membership card.

St. Jude Saddle Up Ride

LA VETA- Saddle Up for St. Jude is a fun, family-oriented fundraising event based around horseback riding that raises money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Collect pledges and/or bring a donation.  The ride will start at 10:30 am Sun. June 20 at  Sulfur Springs Ranch.  There will be a potluck lunch at 2 pm and more riding if you wish.  Call Lisa Northup at 742-5510 for more info.

Plein air painting in the  park

LA VETA- Have you ever dreamed of dragging your easel outdoors to paint but just don′t quite get it done? Next Mon. June 21 is the perfect opportunity to do just that. Coni Grant, accomplished plein air oil painter and painting teacher from Alamosa, will be leading a three-hour workshop on plein air painting in the La Veta Town Park in conjunction with judging the Colorado Expressions show for SPACe.     Coni will begin with a demonstration and then participants can do paintings of their own. The cost is $35; you provide all the necessary materials, 10 am – 1 pm, June 21. Coni′s work can be seen at the La Veta Fine Art Gallery or at .Call Kathy at 742-5756 for more information or email

 Board meets Monday

WALSENBURG- The Board of the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District will meet at 6 pm on Mon. June 21 at City Hall, 525 S Albert

Avenue. The meeting is open to the public. 

Enterprise meets Monday

WALSENBURG– The Water Activity Enterprise of the Huerfano County Water Conservancy District will meet immediately after the HCWCD regular meeting, approximately 6:45 pm on Mon. June 21 at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public. 

Pizza Hut fundraiser for Girl Scouts

WALSENBURG- Next Mon. June 21, Pizza Hut is hosting a Pizza Night fundraiser for Huerfano Girl Scout troop #70.  There is no extra cost to those wishing to help out; all you have to do is have dinner that evening at Pizza Hut in Walsenburg.   The girls have flyers with tear off claim checks at the bottom that you give to the cashier when you pay your bill, and the restaurant donates 25% of the cost of your meal to the local troop. 


Old Blind Dogs on tour from Scotland

WALSENBURG– One of Scotland’s most acclaimed bands, the “Dogs” are twice winners of Scotland’s prestigious award “Best Folk Band of the Year,”and their last CD won best recording of the year. They are appearing just one night, Thurs. June 24 at 7:15 pm.  A jam session will follow, so musicians please bring your instruments!

    Tickets are $18 in advance (or for youth under 18), and $20 at the door. To order tickets by phone:  719-742-5410 or 719-746-2061. Tickets may also be purchased at Mike’s Coffee Barn a half block west of Safeway on 7th Street in Walsenburg or at North by Southwest  just south of Charlie’s on Main Street in La Veta.               

    This concert benefits the 6th Annual Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival Sept. 23 – 26,  2010. This is your chance to have a great evening and help support a great festival! See our website:

Volunteer as a Reading Ranger

LA VETA- The La Veta Library and the La Veta public school need volunteers to be Reading Rangers in the 2nd and 4th grades next school year.  Community members, parents, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts and uncles, etc. will read with the students in these classes with the goal of improving the children’s reading skills. 

     Orientation and training will take place at the school in late July or August, and the volunteers will begin reading with the students in September.  Each Reading Ranger will meet with small reading groups of children once or twice a week for 30-45 minutes during the Fall semester. 

     We would also like some volunteers to work with the avid readers in the 11th and 12th grades. 

     This project is part of an ongoing collaborative effort between the library and the school district to help our students become better readers.  Our teen summer reading program slogan this year is “Making  Waves.”   Adults, help us make waves and rock the boat in our small town.  When a young child befriends an adult or one other person besides his or her parents or teachers, it helps that child become a more successful high school student. Please make a difference by reading with our elementary school students.  Call the library at 742-3572 to sign up.

Stop the Japanese Beetle How property owners can help

 LAKEWOOD- Thirty-five states to the east of Colorado are currently considered infested or partially infested with Japanese beetle; the Colorado Department of Agriculture is providing valuable tips to homeowners to help protect their property.

     The Japanese beetle (Popillia japonica) is an insect pest that is not native to Colorado and can cause significant damage to landscape plants, turfgrass, and fruit trees. Originally introduced from Asia to the Eastern US in the early 1900’s, the beetle has slowly managed to expand its range westward.

     This pest is under quarantine in Colorado which is a regulatory activity that limits the transport of goods that spread pests or diseases.  CDA, in conjunction with the Colorado Nursery and Greenhouse Association (CNGA) and the US Department of Agriculture, is working diligently to ensure that future introductions of this pest are prevented.

     Japanese beetle is most frequently moved from state to state in infested nursery stock and soil.  Currently, all trees, shrubs, sod and ornamental grasses brought into Colorado from infested states to the east, must first be certified by the state of origin to be free of Japanese beetle.  While it is illegal to knowingly move plants and soil infested with Japanese beetle into the state, it is also illegal to knowingly move plants and soil infested with Japanese beetle within the state.

     What is a Japanese beetle? Japanese beetle adults are scarab beetles, approximately one-half inch long with a metallic green body and copper-colored wings.  There are five distinct tufts of hair along each side of the beetle’s abdomen. The larvae are white grubs that reside in the soil.  Grubs are about an inch long and lie in a curled position or ‘C’ shape when at rest.

     What are their favorite plants? Japanese beetle larvae prefer to feed on the roots of grasses, such as those found in lawns or in ornamental beds.  The adult beetle has a wide range of plants it prefers including grapes, roses, hollyhocks, black walnut, apples, crabapples, peach, cherry, plum, lindens, mountain ash and lombardy poplar.

     How can the beetle be prevented? Purchase landscape plants, trees, and turfgrass only from nurseries, garden centers and landscape contractors that are registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture.  Registered nurseries and sod farms are inspected and nursery stock is verified to be Japanese beetle free.  A list of registered nurseries and landscape contractors can be found at and click on “Nursery Program.”

     Don’t bring uninspected plant materials into Colorado from infested states.  Don’t move plants and soil from your property to other portions of Colorado OR to states west of Colorado.  This pest is under quarantine and those that bring uncertified plant material into Colorado are subject to fines.

     What should one do if they find Japanese Beetle? If you suspect Japanese beetle, collect it and contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture or your local Colorado State University Extension office.  The insect’s identity will be verified.

     Follow best management strategies to manage the pest by watering your lawn as little as possible, avoid using plants in the landscape that are favored by the pest, and hire a licensed pesticide applicator, if you consider using a chemical control.


USDA’s Conservation Stewardship Program

Lakewood- The United States Department of Agriculture recently announced the publishing of its final regulations governing the  Conservation StewardshipProgram (CSP). Authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, CSP is a voluntary program that offers payments to producers who exercise good land stewardship and want to improve their conservation performance. Changes expand access, increase payment limits, and promote greater environmental benefit while maintaining program goals

    “Voluntary conservation practices by private landowners and producers are an essential part of our effort to improve soil and water quality,” said Tim Carney, Assistant State Conservationist for Programs.

    The enrollment period for CSP’s second year, which is currently open, has been extended an additional two weeks, now closing June 25.

    Administered by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), CSP is available to all producers regardless of operation size, crops produced, or geographic location. Eligible lands include cropland, pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forest land, and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. Under the final rule published today and effective immediately, the program retains the broad features outlined in the interim final rule, including:

CSP pays participants for conservation performance – the higher the performance, the higher the payment.

    Producers get credit both for conservation measures they have already implemented and for new measures they agree to add.

    CSP’s new features include the following.

Higher payment rate, higher payment limit, new minimum payment, pastured cropland added, resource-conserving crop rotation, enhancements. Some conservation enhancements work better when implemented as a system and under the new rule are offered as enhancement “bundles.” Participants who implement such comprehensive bundles get higher rankings and higher payments.

     Other changes in the regulation give producers greater flexibility in establishing their eligibility to apply for CSP and in certifying their control of the land.

    To read more about the CSP final regulations, visit this website:

Renewable Energy Transmission Taxation Bill signed into law

    Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Walsh) is happy that Governor Bill Ritter recently signed into law his bill ensuring fair taxing of transmission interconnection “tielines” from renewable energy projects.  These projects, located largely in rural, agricultural parts of the state, provide significant new economic benefits for local communities and residents. The new law preserves fair taxation while keeping the budget balanced.

    House Bill 1431 clarifies the legislature’s intent of how the state is to value renewable energy facilities for purposes of property taxation.  

    Rep. Wes McKinley (D-Baca County) and Sen. Josh Penry (R-Grand Junction) sponsored HB 1431 late in the 2010 legislative session.  Together, these legislators solidified the legislative policy of encouraging renewable energy investment by ensuring the property tax treatment for renewable energy facilities does not exceed their non-renewable counterparts.

    “I’m looking for a level playing field here,” said Rep. McKinley.  “We just have to have fairness in taxation.  Taxes are only acceptable if you get something of fair value in return – and that’s what this is, a fair value tax.  Consumers, industry, and county folks all supported the changes to make the transmission tax fairer.”

    Under HB 1431, the state property tax administrator will ensure that tielines for renewable energy projects that go online after January 1, 2012 will be taxed at rates roughly equivalent to those of conventional energy generation facilities.  This ensures that Colorado’s thriving renewable energy projects are not penalized due to the inherently longer length of their tielines to the grid.

    Craig Cox, executive director of the Interwest Energy Alliance, a trade association representing major renewable energy industry companies, said “This new law ensures that Colorado will continue to be a national leader in the renewable energy industry.”

    JoAnn Groff, the current property tax administrator for the state of Colorado, hailed the legislation as a great step in eliminating potential ambiguity regarding the valuation of renewable energy facility tie-lines for property tax purposes.  “It is always best when the General Assembly and Governor give clear policy direction through the statutes.  By signing this bill, Governor Ritter ensures the process of valuation for property tax purposes will be a known factor as renewable energy developers price their projects.”

    Since 2001 Colorado statutes have dictated that, for property tax purposes, the value of renewable energy facilities should not exceed the costs of a comparably sized non-renewable facility.  Since renewable energy projects, such as wind energy and large-scale solar projects, are typically located farther from the transmission grid than most conventional fossil energy projects, these clean renewable energy projects faced the prospect of significantly higher property tax bills due to their inherently longer transmission “tielines,” or “extension cords” linking these projects to the grid.  Therefore, as a matter of equity, the statute was amended to confirm the legislature’s intent related to taxation of tie-lines to be considered as part of the non-renewable facility cost comparison.

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