Bad Weather Driving Safety Tips

Bad Weather Driving – Some Call It Ski Season

By Trooper Gary Cutler

It’s that time of year again, which means snow storms are on the horizon.  Bad weather isn’t all that bad, because with it comes all of the fun activities we like to do in Colorado such as skiing, sledding, skiing, hiking, and skiing/snowboarders.

I joke about the ski season, but when we see a good snowstorm, that’s when skiers and snowboarders head to the slopes in larger groups than normal.  Let’s talk about the situations where we just have to get around in snow storms.

Reduced speed is always a key factor in staying safe when driving on snow, or ice packed roadways.  It’s winter, so make sure you take that extra step to have the time to drive to your destination safely, which means slower than normal speeds.  Bad weather doesn’t necessarily mean we have to have bad driving.

One situation that worries me is black ice.  Ice is the unseen danger that is often a factor in winter time driving.  I’ve seen people going lower speeds when they are on snow packed roads only to speed up to, or beyond the speed limit once the road clears.  The road may still be wet, and with cold temperatures, that means it can and often freezes to the road surface.  Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not still there.


The Veterans Day storm left roads icy and snow packed on Monday morning across the San Luis Valley.

Slick roads also mean it’s harder to stop when less than favorable road conditions exist.  Give that extra distance needed to stop when snow or ice is present.  It’s hard to give just one correct distance for bad road conditions.  Use good common sense and the rule of thumb that it could take double the distance on wet roads and up to as much as 10 times the distance on snow and ice packed roadways to safely stop.

Also be prepared to travel in bad weather.  This means having enough “survival gear” to make it through a dangerous situation if you get stuck on the roadway.  This doesn’t always mean you’re stuck because you have crashed or slid off the roadway.  It could be just that the weather is so bad the roadways have been shut down and you are stuck with everyone else traveling with no way to get off the road for a while.

Even when you are just going on a short trip, there can be situations where you need emergency equipment with you.  The items that can save a life are blankets, flares/emergency triangles, water, shovel, food/snacks, and cell phone.  I probably don’t have to remind anyone to make sure they bring their phone though.

Here are my final tips for winter driving.  When roads are dry, drive as if it’s raining.  When roads are wet, drive as if it’s snowing.  When roads have snow on it, drive as if it’s ice.  When roads have ice on it, think about staying home that day.

So there you have it, a few simple tips to help keep you safe when driving in bad weather this year. As always, safe travels!

Roll Over_saguache Sheriff

On November 11, the Saguache County Sheriff’s Office reported this one car rollover on CO Highway 285 at mile marker 107, just North of Villa Grove. A reminder to practice safe driving habits as the icy winter months come on. Photo SCSO




Icy Blast Causes Treacherous Roads

Icy Blast Causes Treacherous Roads

Residents in Saguache Today felt their first real blast of winter overnight as temperatures plummeted along with a weather system that brought a layer of ice across the San Luis Valley.Sag_1

Last night, it was reported by Saguache Sheriff Deputy Wayne Clark via social media:

Many parts of Saguache County roads are snow packed and icy. In the last 2.5 hours Deputies have responded to 3 vehicle slide-offs and one vehicle roll over. If you do not need to go out tonight please stay at home. If you do need to go out please drive slowly and carefully. Make sure you have winter supplies including blankets, food, water, and a phone charger. If you need help please contact the SO at 719-655-2525. Be safe!

In addition, the Mountain Valley School Superintendent Travis Garoutte also called a delayed school schedule anticipating the weather system could create dangerous situations on the roads. Garoutte also posted the decision on Facebook as follows:

Due to icy road conditions, Mountain Valley School will have a 2-hour delayed start on Monday, November 12th. School buses will be running on a 2-hour delay as well. Classes will start at 10 am. Stay warm and be safe

While the sun will return to Saguache Today, temperatures are not likely to climb out of the freeze box for a couple of days. Stay warm!Sag_A1


Honoring Veterans in Saguache Today

Honoring Veterans in Saguache Today

This Sunday, November 11 is Veterans Day. So if you’re looking for a way to honor those who served, then please join the American Legion on November 11 for their Military History Power Point Presentation, starting at 4 p.m. The event takes place at the Saguache Community Building at Otto Mears Park. In addition to the presentation, there will be a display of vintage military memorabilia and a silent auction.

A chili dinner will follow, starting at 5 p.m. The meal will be served with cornbread, salad, dessert and drinks provided by the American Legion Garcia Post 110 and the Women’s Auxiliary. The cost for dinner will be a free-will donation. If you would like to assist with activities or donations of food please call (515) 480-1636.

In other Veterans news, the local post is also looking to expand the tribute at the cemetery, according to member Terry Gillette, who reported via the Saguache Today Facebook Page. “If you have information on any of the local Vets we have lost abroad and buried outside the area please forward to us. Thank You.”

Folks can send info to; Garcia Post 110, PO Box 395, Saguache, Co 81149. Or e-mail, Terry Gillette at

vets Day Saguache

What is the American Legion?

Sometimes traditions can evoke questions and this time of year, one of those inquiries is “What is the American Legion?” According to their website, The American Legion is the largest wartime veterans service organization with nearly 2 million members and more than 12,000 posts in communities throughout America. In Saguache, that local post is known at the American Legion Garcia Post 110.

The American Legion, established by an act of Congress in 1919, was instrumental in getting the original GI Bill through Congress and the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Here are some other fast Facts provided by the agency. Be sure to honor those who served this Sunday, November 11, Veterans Day.

Fast Facts Americon Legion.jpg

Election Results Saguache County 2018

Saguache Voters Stick With Incumbents

Status Quo might be one way to describe the mid-term election results in Saguache Today. At least that was the message voters relayed when it came to county-elected positions, as all incumbents held their ground at the polls today.


After Election 2018 it seems that things wont change much at the Saguache County Courthouse as voters held tight with the incumbents.

While voters were making their choices heard for SIX county offices, by Election Day the true contests came down to three offices, since the Saguache County Assessor, Coroner, and Treasurer Offices went unchallenged, with incumbent candidates running unopposed by November 6.

Here’s the preliminary results for #Election2018 Saguache County.

It’s important to note that these results are UN-official results until final canvass, which is November 22, although  not much usually changes. 

Saguache County Clerk and Recorder

Incumbent Trish Gilbert (R) saw voters show of support at the polls today, tallying 1409 votes to Democratic contender Renee Hazard 1232.  Voters must be happy with her job performance because they just extended her job contract for another four years.

Saguache County Sheriff 

In one of the more contentious showdowns, the Office of Saguache County Sheriff was once again awarded to incumbent Dan Warwick (R) defeating challenger Nobel Havens (D) by a wide margin. The final tally reports 1,857 votes for Warwick, compared to 725 ballots cast in favor of Havens.

Saguache Sheriff Dan Warwick

Saguache County Sheriff Dan Warwick (left) was re-elected in Saguache Today.

Saguache County Commissioner, District Three

In the beginning, there were four candidates. In the end, it was Incumbent Tim Lovato (D) who will continue to represent District Three on the Board of County Commissioners. The race was on, starting last spring with challengers Ellen Cox (R), and two unaffiliated candidates Terry Gillette and Lisa Rosen.  Then the choices dropped to three, when Cox dropped out late summer. The final three candidates ran an engaging race, with well-attended candidates forums being held throughout Saguache County. Those public exchanges were then shared on social media and website platforms, giving many voters an opportunity to check-in with where these politicians stood on the issues before hitting the polls. Final votes were tallied as Lovato (1366), Terry Gillette (633), Lisa Rosen ( 549)

Saguache County Coroner

There was only one candidate for this position, Incumbent Tom Perrin who got 2083 votes.

Saguache County Treasurer

There was only one candidate for this position, Incumbent Connie Trujillo, who has held the office for 26 years. Trujillo tallied 1974 votes of support from residents today.

Saguache County Assessor

The Saguache County Assessor race was determined in last June’s Primary Election when Incumbent Peter Peterson tallied the most votes against challenger Rhiannon Curry. In the 2018 mid-term election, Peterson demonstrated support from 1816 voters.

FULL Results HERE, including how the local initiatives did.




Saguache News – November 6

Here Comes The Judge(s) In Saguache Today

by Trish Gilbert, Saguache County Clerk & Recorder

Credit Due.  We experienced a widespread interest in voting during the 2018 General Election.  We want to give a big shoutout to all voters for your participation in this election.  We are proud to be part of a community that cares enough to “get-out-the-vote”.

We also want to thank our election judges for their dedication and every-day enthusiasm.  Your work is key to our success (listed in no particular order):

  • Karen Cowan
  • Kathy Geddes
  • Lisa Jaminet
  • Chuck Tidd
  • Donna Ford
  • Barbara Tidd
  • Lucky Ford
  • Kevin Noland
  • Richard Drake
  • Marilyn Fenton
  • Bill Hazard
  • Samantha Clark (Student Judge)

We are looking forward to working with this team of knowledgeable, skilled, dedicated judges next election. Our team works very hard to effectively and efficiently serve our citizens needs and achieve better outcomes.  We make every effort to put citizens and services first.

 . . . and to the Clerk’s team for the extra hours and team effort during those long, sometimes stressful days.  Thank you for your tireless efforts and hard work.  This team is known as THE-AWE-SOME-FOUR!

  • Jane
  • Desiree
  • Ben
  • Dominique

To all I say, You make us better collectively! I appreciate you today, and every day!




Saguache News – November 4

Kim Smoyer Next Chamber Speaker on Tuesday

By Carita Ginn, Saguache Chamber Secretary

The Saguache Chamber of Commerce continues with their speaker program on Tuesday, Nov. 6 featuring long-time Villa Grove resident, Kim Smoyer of Smoyer & Associates

Fall Festival_2_Chamber Bary Van Sant

The Saguache Chamber ‘s Speaker Program continues Nov 6 at the Road and Bridge meeting room at 6 p.m. Pictured here is Saguache President Barry Van Sant at one of the many community festivals in Otto Mears Park. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

As noted on the Smoyer & Associates website, Kim’s firm is “dedicated to assisting nonprofits, government agencies, educational institutions and small businesses on an as needed basis.” Kim is well known to many of us who have been involved with the growth and development of Saguache over the last 10 years. While working with the Saguache County Sustainable Environment and Economic Development organization several years ago, Kim was instrumental in leading the strategic planning, securing the funding, and managing the Downtown Revitalization project that help jump start the failing downtown business district.
Kim was also instrumental in bringing a large contingent of donor-foundations to the Town as part of the annual Rural Philanthropy Days event. This three-day event brought together dozens of non-profits and foundations, and hundreds of visitors to the town, in an effort to create alignments and opportunities for future funding.
Smoyer & Associates is an active and influential firm focused on helping the people and organizations in the San Luis Valley grow and succeed. Come hear about all the great things Kim and her team have been up to over the last several years. Perhaps her services could help you take the next big step! To learn more, visit the Smoyer & Associates website.
The Chamber monthly meetings (as always) are open to the public. Please contact the Chamber at or call Barry at 719-322-7298 if you have any questions about this meeting or if you’d like to be part of the Chamber Speaker Program in the future.

Join others from the community at 6 p.m. at the County Road & Bridge at 305 3rd. St. in Saguache on Tuesday, Nov.6.


Saguache Today – November 2

Tell A Tale for Tourism


It’s an Open Call for storytellers as the Saguache County Tourism Council is looking for tales from the San Luis Valley.

The Saguache County Tourism Council (SCTC) announced last month that it was awarded a grant from the Colorado Tourism Office for the Saguache County Transmedia Story Experience. Now the group is seeking input to gather the important, amusing, mysterious, cultural or otherwise interesting stories about the San Luis Valley area and local cultures.

There is currently a Call For Story Ideas, with a $50 cash prize offered to the best story idea. Send your story idea of 3-5 sentences to enter. The SCTC is looking for stories from the entire county: historical, local interest, comical, socially conscious/environmental. They will consider stories from

  • Crestone area
  • The Town of Saguache and environs
    Center, Hooper, the Sand Dunes, La Garita/Penitente
    Villa Grove and environs (Bonanza, Mineral Hot Springs, Valley View and the northern mountains)
  • Remote and mountain areas, ranchlands, wildlands, wetlands, human stories, and animal stories

Please share this with your creative friends and history buffs, students, teachers, and anyone interested in telling their stories and learning our stories!

The deadline is November 9. Contact Chair Vivia Lawson, Saguache County Tourism Council via email at They are also looking for people interested in being part of the creative team.San Luis Mural