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Briefs for November 12, 2009

Bridge replacement begins on Highway 10

WALSENBURG- Work is underway to replace a bridges over Saunders Arroyo on Hwy. 10 between Walsenburg and La Junta.

    The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) project, about 39 miles east of Walsenburg, involves removing the current structure and constructing a new bridge, asphalt paving, new guardrail, striping and detour construction.

    Traffic will continue on SH 10 during construction on a paved detour, just south of the old bridge.  Traffic will be shifted to the detour by late November, allowing the new bridge to be built.  Work is scheduled from 7 am to 5 pm, Mon.- Fri.   The speed limit through the area is reduced to 45 mph.

    “The bridge was constructed in 1935 and after 74 years of use, it’s become functionally obsolete,” said CDOT Resident Engineer Doug Lollar.  “Twenty-six percent of vehicles that travel Highway 10 are large trucks so installing a new structure, as well as widening the shoulders through the immediate area, is a safety improvement as well.”

    Tricon 2 LLC of Castle Rock, CO is the contractor for the $1.6 million project.  It is scheduled for completion in April 2010.

    Motorists are reminded to please Slow for the Cone Zone, stay alert and pay attention to and obey all work zone/advisory signs and flaggers.  Traffic information about this or other CDOT projects is on the cotrip.org website or by calling 511 statewide.

Conservation options for land owners

TRINIDAD- On Wed. Nov. 11, there will be a free informational workshop at Trinidad State Junior College for anyone interested in learning about conservation easements.  It will be an opportunity to hear from a landowner who has an easement, as well as from appraisers, an estate attorney, a tax credit broker, land trusts, and agencies. There will be an opportunity to ask questions.

    This workshop is hosted by Colorado Open Lands.  RSVP to Sarah McDonald [303] 988-2373 Ext 220  by Nov. 6.

Free film, “Flow”

TRINIDAD- Our free Environmental Film showing this month will be ′”Flow,” a documentary that is a timely, behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our drinking water.  Not only are we in a water crisis in which two-thirds of the planet may be without drinkable water in just 11 years, but multinational corporations are literally pillaging small communities for this precious resource and bottling it into the very bottles which contribute to the plastic soup in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and which clog and pollute our community landfills.

    This documentary film is an opportunity to help the public become aware of the following.  Bottled water is not safer.  It isn′t tested to the same standards as municipal tap water.  Bottled water is much more expensive.  Bottled water costs thousands of times more than tap water.

    Bottled water hurts the environment.  After millions of barrels of oil are used to produce and transport plastic water bottles, 90% of them land in the garbage instead of the recycle bin.

    Join us at the Carnegie Library, Thurs. Nov. 12  at 7:15, for this free film offered through the collaborative efforts of the Carnegie Library, Earth Mountain Education Farm, and the Culebra Range Community Coalition.

La Veta Library screens “Smoke Signals”

LA VETA- November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and in honor of that celebration, the La Veta Public Library will be showing the film “Smoke Signals” on Fri. Nov. 13, at 6:30 pm. “Smoke Signals” is based upon stories in Sherman Alexie’s book “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven.”      Alexie, a Spokane/Coeur d’Alene Indian, wrote the screenplay for “Smoke Signals,” and the principal actors in the film are all Native Americans.  The film is rated PG-13 for some rough language, and is suitable for older teenagers and adults. 

    Viewers will enjoy a very funny, heart-warming film, featuring the adventures of Thomas-Builds- The-Fire and his friend Victor, as they travel from Washington to Phoenix to retrieve the ashes of Victor’s recently deceased father.  The film will begin at 6:30 pm., followed by discussion of the book and film at 8 pm.  Admission is free, and the event is made possible by the Friends of the La Veta Library.

National Gaming Day

WALSENBURG- The Spanish Peaks Library will host National Library Gaming Day on Nov. 14 from 11 am to 3 pm.  Various board games, card games, and role playing games will be available for all ages to play throughout the day.  Patrons may also play WII Resort on the library’s WII Nintendo system.

DeerHeartWolf

WALSENBURG- Celene Bensink, DeerHeartWolf, Mohawk Indian Woman will speak on subjects for all at Spanish Peaks Library on Nov. 14 from 10:30 am-12:30 pm.   Topics include Greeting to the Natural World, Thanksgiving Address, Mohawk Indian Village, Iroquois Confederacy of Tribes, and The 13 Ceremonies.

Friends Group is forming at Lathrop Park

WALSENBURG-  Anyone interested in becoming a board member or a founding member of a newly forming organization called “Friends of Lathrop State Park” is invited to a start-up meeting this Sat. Nov. 14 at 10 at the Visitors Center. 

    A Friends Group is a citizen-based organization that provides support to a state park through fund-raising, community support, financial donations, or ideas for park improvements.  Founding members will have a say in which goals the group would like to achieve for the park, so this meeting will be an opportunity to help set the direction of the group’s purpose.  For information, contact Stacey Lewis at 738-2376.

Volunteers for Change meets

WALSENBURG- The Sangre de Cristo Volunteers for Change will hold its November meeting on Sat. Nov. 14 at 3:30 pm. at the Huerfano County Community Center in Walsenburg.  Many new projects will be discussed, and light refreshments provided.  Call Susan Kalman at (719) 676-4493 or (719) 250-6097 for information.

Judith Baker Montano: Gift of Art Show

LA VETA- The Spanish Peaks Arts Council (SPACe) in La Veta announces the opening of the 13th annual Gift of Art show.  The opening reception is Sun. Nov. 15, 4 – 6 pm.  Refreshments are provided and there is no admission fee.

    The show is on display until Jan. 2, 2010 and is a collection of affordable original artwork created by local artists, including six original pieces by internationally acclaimed fiber artist, Judith Baker Montano that are showcased in her newest book “Fibreart Montage.”  Judith will be on hand at the reception with copies of her book.

    The SPACe Gallery is located in the La Veta Town Park at 132 W. Ryus. For additional information visit www.spanishpeaksarts.org or call 719 742-3074.  Gallery hours are Tues. Thurs. and Sat. 10-3 pm.

Wind Farm open house

WALSENBURG- Renewable Energy Systems Americas Inc. (RES Americas) invites the communities of La Veta, Walsenburg, and Huerfano County to an open house for the Silver Mountain Wind Project Mon. Nov. 16, 4 to 7 pm at the Huerfano County Community Center, Walsenburg, CO

Public Hearing

WALSENBURG- Planning and Zoning Commission is holding a public hearing on the RES/Silver Mountain Wind Farm at the Walsenburg Community Center on Tues. Nov. 17 at 2 pm.  Public comments may also be sent in writing until then.

Vendors needed for holiday craft fair

LA VETA- Sat. Nov. 21, 8 am to 4 pm at the La Veta Community Center.  Call 742-3083 to reserve a table.

Bazaar/winter clothing/bake sale

LA VETA- The La Veta United Methodist Women will hold a Bazaar/Winter Clothing Sale/and Bake Sale on Sat. Nov. 21 from 10 am until 2 pm at the church in La Veta.

    This event will be featuring beautiful crafts and gifts, gently worn winter clothing, and delicious baked goods and gourmet foods.  Benefits raised will go towards the various mission projects the UMW supports.

    In conjunction with the bazaar, the church is sponsoring a sealed bid auction to help raise funds and awareness of their 2009 -2010 "Courage Fund".

    Please mark your calendars and don′t miss this fun event!

ThanksLiving service

WALSENBURG- An opportunity to support the county charity, Dorcas Circle, is part of the seventh ThanksLiving service Sun. Nov. 22 at 7 pm.    Choirs from around the Walsenburg community will provide the music for the service to be held this year in the Calvary church, 801 Pennsylvania, Walsenburg.   The speaker will be Charles Goza and the leader will be Pam Brietweiser.  The offering is to go  to Dorcas Circle, the Main Street storefront open two days a week for clothing and food assistance and for shoppers to find low cost items from books to dishes.

    Providing music are Soloist Rita Cordova, the St. Mary men′s choir, St. Mary women′s choir, and the Community Youth Chorus as well as Nadine Julch doing readings.  A special extra is the book signing by Brianna Crump for her book Grateful.  After the service there will be a time of fellowship around the reception area.  Each year representatives from Walsenburg churches plan this gathering to give the county residents an opportunity to express thanks for the blessings in their lives.

Eagles craft sale

WALSENBURG– Eagles Auxiliary #1187 will be holding a craft sale and raffle at Eagles Hall in Walsenburg Nov. 27 after the Parade of Lights. All craft items and food items will be allowed. Tables are $10.00 each. For table reservations or for information please call 738-2713 or 738-1263.

Being An American Essay Contest

ARLINGTON, VA– High school students and their teachers are reminded that the national Being An American Essay Contest deadline is Dec. 1.  The contest asks students in grades 9-12 to share their thoughts on American citizenship by answering the question:

    “What civic value do you believe is most essential to being an American?  Trace the enduring importance of this value throughout the American story  by discussing: a Founding document that reflects this value; a figure from  American history who embodies this value; and examples of how you have and/or could put this value into practice.” 

    The names of the top three prize winners in the nine contest regions will be announced at a special Washington, DC Awards Gala in the spring of 2010.  The first place winners in each region and their sponsoring teachers will each receive $5,000 cash awards, second place winners $2,500, and third place winners $1,250.  Honorable mention prizes of $250 will be awarded to 7 students and teachers from each contest region. The winners will also be treated to a tour of prominent national landmarks and will hear from a range of important voices on American citizenship.   

    The contest is hosted by the Bill of Rights Institute, and the contest’s national sponsor is David H. Koch.  Additional sponsors include Amway Global and the Jack Miller Family Foundation.

    High school students from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible to participate.  Nearly 50,000 students have participated in the contest to date.

    For complete rules visit www.BeingAnAmerican.org. 

Holiday art feast- Italian style!

LA VETA- For the second year in a row, kick off the holiday season with a festive progressive dinner that takes you to three outstanding galleries in La Veta. From 5:30-7:30 on Dec. 5, the Spanish Peaks Arts Council again sponsors the “Holiday ART Feast”, this year with an Italian theme.  Tickets are limited and are $20 each.  Take in the annual tree lighting and carols then, beginning at 5:30, guests may embark on their feast at Pinon Hill Pottery, 221 N. Main, with scrumptious appetizers plus a drawing for locally handcrafted ceramics.

    After 6 pm they can move on to the SPACe Gallery, 132 W. Ryus (in the Town Park) for the main course- a fabulous selection of Italian style cuisine, and more drawings for locally created artwork.

    Beginning at 6:30, delightful desserts and confections will be served at the La Veta Fine Art Gallery, 210 S. Main, where more artwork will be awarded to winners of a drawing there. Tickets may be purchased in advance at each of the 3 galleries, as well as at Charlie’s Market and La Veta True Value.

    Proceeds raised by the dinner will go to the SPACe Building Expansion Fund and will be matched by the Gates Challenge grant. This is an opportunity to donate to the building project and to enjoy an artful evening in La Veta.

    The Spanish Peaks Arts Council is a nonprofit, volunteer 501(c)(3) organization supporting the arts and art education in the Spanish Peaks region.  The original gallery building was built by community volunteers on land generously leased to the organization (Friends of the Arts Guild) by the Town of La Veta in 1981.  Since then the organization has grown and needs more room.

    The expansion will retain the original building, adding two stories to the east of the existing building and a storage area to the north, retaining the southwest appearance. There will be room for workshops, meetings, studio work, more gallery space, a better restroom and kitchen area, an entrance directly into the Town Park, and other upgrades. Donations to the fund are tax deductible and will help to sustain the arts in the community. Contact Kathy Hill, 742-5756 for more information.

Navajo Christmas Party

NAVAJO- The Navajo Homeowners have planned their annual Christmas Party for Sat. Dec. 12 at 5:30 pm to be held at the La Plaza Inn located at 118 W. 6th Street.  Reservations are $16 per person and will include a meal of roast beef or chicken with vegetable, salad, dessert and drink. The price includes tip. 

    As always each person attending is asked to bring a wrapped white elephant gift.  The party is limited to 50 people and reservations must be paid for by Dec. 4.  Please call Mary Copeland, 738-1058 or Bill Boeck 738-2820.

Water Quality

HUERFANO- What is Water Quality?  Most of us take for granted that we go to the faucet, water fountain, or any other common source of good quality water.  All water provided to a City or Town goes through a rigid quality monitoring and filtering system without which we would all probably be sick sometime or another.

    When the average person asks about water quality, they probably want to know if the water is good enough to use at home, to drink, to play in or if it is suitable for plants and animals. Water quality is a term used to describe the chemical, physical, and biological characteristics of water, usually in respect to its suitability for a particular purpose.  Scientific measurements are used to define water’s quality.   The vulnerability of surface water and ground water depends on a combination of natural landscape features, such as geology, topography, and soils, climatic and atmospheric contributions and human activities related to different land uses and land-management practices.

    Water quality is determined by the presence and quantity of contaminants, by physical/ chemical factors such as temperature, by the number of salts present and by the presence of nutrients.

    To determine water quality, samples are taken in a medium and tested.  Laboratories test these samples on various factors.  Selected characteristics are then compared to numeric standards and guidelines to see if they suffice water quality standards and decide if the water is suitable for a particular use.  So the next time you “turn on the water” remember what went into making water SAFE for you to use.

    Water test kits are available for pick up at the Natural Resources Conservation Service Office (NRCS); 711 Walsen Ave., Ste. A.