I’m not sure I’ve met anyone who will miss 2019; or the whole 2010 decade for that matter. Even those without perfect vision are looking forward to “2020” and the new decade.
This past year was marked by bad news and more bad news beginning with near historic snowfall and bitter temperatures which led to flooding and the loss of three lives to drowning in the raging Rio Grande and its tributaries. Our sympathy to those families especially the survivors of lifelong Creede resident Zack Jones as the new year begins.
High water in the Rio also lead to a disastrous season at Cattails Golf Course as sub water inundated much of the course for months, and also affected the Rio Grande Club near South Fork at times.
Cancer and other maladies for those we know, and love continued to mar 2019 including the forced retirement of longtime Courier editor Ruth Heide.
My children and grandchildren lost a kind and gentle stepdad and grandfather.
Most recently, my wife and I lost her brother Scott Sowards to a long battle with cancer. Many of you knew him from the years he spent at the Alamosa post office.
Scott was known to be a kind soul, not necessarily over religious but definitely spiritual as we were reminded at his graveside service.
Never to be considered a man who could go “postal,” one favorite story about Scott’s time at the post office comes to mind. Dealing with a particular irate customer, he finally asked her “Did a house fall on your sister?” Think Wizard of Oz.
Change is inevitable, as they say, but this past year has brought more changes than we’ve seen ever on the newspaper staffs of the SLV. Ruth’s departure led to several interim editors at the Courier and finally to the present with Daniel McKillop. Welcome again, Daniel.
Longtime Valley Publishing manager Jennifer (Cerny) Alonzo left her post there after nearly 20 years to pursue other interests. Welcome new G.M. Trey Spaulding.
Many changes also occurred at our home office in Illinois this past year too, but I won’t bore you with those details.
As we look back on 2019 in the SLV some top stories come to mind. Wintry weather and resulting high water were bad, but it also helped prevent any large wildfires in the area.
The rage of fire was still in the news often particularly when nearly a full city block burned in the town of Moffat destroying at least three homes.
Railroads and Great Sand Dunes National Park were both in the limelight for good and bad. Both the Rio Grande Scenic Railroad and the Dunes saw record use by locals and visitors alike, the latter also benefiting from high snowpack in the hills resulting in unprecedented flow in Medano Creek below the Dunes. Both had their issues as well with a government shutdown early in the year forcing closer of GSDNP and the railroad facing bankruptcy and an unknown future, a potential disaster for both tourism and agriculture as well as others using the rail for freight.
On the commerce side we saw the loss of downtown anchor J.C. Penney’s after nearly a century here, followed by the announcement that Colorado Sports would be shutting down.
Other good news occurred as well as Adams State University rebounded financially under the leadership of Dr. Cheryl Lovell and Alamosa voters approved a sales tax to improve city streets.
Attacks with machetes and chemicals seemed to add some bizarre to the local crime scene, but all in all it was a fairly peaceful year thanks to the efforts of local law enforcement.
We hope you enjoy today’s edition and the recap of 2019, but let’s pray for 2020 vision in a new year.