Tag Archives: Saguache County

Villa Grove Trade: New Year, New Owners

The Villa Grove Trade stands at the northern gateway to the San Luis Valley.

By Kathy Bedell, © Saguache Today

“We stumbled on this opportunity,” said Allen Plumley who along with his partner Jamie Williams became the new owners of Villa Grove Trade on January 1, 2019. “I don’t think it was something we were looking for when we came to the valley.”

And maybe that’s just how these Old West stories are supposed to go, the less planning the better! Regardless, the pair now steps to the helm of one of the most historic businesses, as well as the established port of entry at the northern end of the San Luis Valley. Villa Grove Trade has been a general store since 1882 and includes a restaurant and retail area that promotes local food, artists and musicians. The business also includes The Inn @ Villa Grove.

The new owners hail from Hutchinson, Kansas and both have restaurant management experience. They have been working on site with the former owners Amber and Jeff Shook since last summer.


Meet Allen Plumley (front) and Jamie Williams (back), new owners of Villa Grove Trade

“Jamie started working here in mid-June, and my sister had worked here before,” said Plumley in an interview with Saguache Today in December. Plumley arrived in late summer after discovering that the place was up for sale, which accelerated the pair’s plans to move west to Colorado. 

“Originally there was somebody else that was going to buy it,” explained Plumley, confirming earlier reports that Villa Grove Trade was going to be bought by a Sous-Chef-from-Boulder.

Yes, for those who may not have heard, it was the tongue-wagging news that the long-time owners of Villa Grove Trade were going to be selling the place to a Sous-Chef-from-Boulder that manifested more than a few puzzling looks.  As expected, there were concerns that things would change, drastically.

“It wasn’t something that a lot of locals weren’t looking forward to,” stated Plumley.

It’s a one-stop-shop at The Villa Grove Trade, from food to lodging, to arts and crafts!

But who could blame the Shooks for wanting to sell the place – to anyone!? Hadn’t they done their time, 15 years in all? Running the only game-in-town for food and lodging can wear on folks. Sure it’s fun when the summer visitors pass through with their tips and tale tall adventures. And no doubt, there’s always time for a visit when the locals pop in for pancakes and coffee. But those 15 years that Amber and Jeff ran The Villa, also included some lean times. You wonder how you’re going to get through February, then March and maybe even as late as June until the money starts to flow again along with the spring run-off. So it’s nice when friends and neighbors see hard-working people like the Shooks get the pay-off in the end.

“I just want to sit and rock my grand babies,” Amber said during an October visit. “But we’re not going anywhere. We’ll still be here in Villa,” she added. That was back when the other buyer was the front-runner.

But the San Luis Valley has a strong spiritual reputation for a reason. So it was a comfort for many to learn that the winds of fate had changed direction and that people with a more congruous vision would be buying the place. For now, it doesn’t seem like there will be too much will change at the northern end of the SLV.

“Our plan and our vision is probably not too different from what Amber and Jeff have;  we plan on keeping it the same,” Plumey confirmed.

New owners (left to right) Jamie and Allen takes the reins from former owners Amber & Jeff.

While regulars can expect to see the same menu, like any new owners the pair will introduce some new items as well and perhaps some extended hours during the summer, including a weekly dinner night. Of course, a good meal is nicely paired with live music, another mainstay regulars can continue to look forward to. Sounds like The Villa will be grooving again come this March, with Jeff agreeing to help set up the local gigs.

As for now, you can find the Villa Grove Trade open with the same hours which are 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily, closed on Tuesday.  The establishment is located officially at 34094 Highway 285 in Villa Grove, CO 81155. You can also stay connected through the Villa Grove Trade Facebook Page.

Congratulations to the new owners, Allen and Jamie! And many thanks and best wishes to Amber and Jeff. Much peace and joy to all!

Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin, LLC a digital media company in Leadville, Colorado which publishes Leadville Today and Saguache Today. She may be reached at info@saguahcetoday.com

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It’s Movietime in Saguache Today

“Nutcracker” with Twist Playing in Saguache 

It’s a twist on a seasonal classic for The Nutcracker and the Four Realms which is what is playing this weekend at Cozy Castle Cinema: in downtown Saguache. Disney brings the Christmas classic into the 21st Century in this 2018 American fantasy adventure film

In this weekend’s film, Young Clara needs a magical, one-of-a-kind key to unlock a box that contains a priceless gift. A golden thread leads her to the coveted key, but it soon disappears into a strange and mysterious parallel world. In that world, she meets a soldier named Phillip, a group of mice and the regents who preside over three realms. Clara and Phillip must now enter a fourth realm to retrieve the key and restore harmony to the unstable land.

 

The Cozy Castle Cinema in downtown Saguache.

The Cozy Castle Cinema in downtown Saguache.

Showtimes are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Ticket prices are $7 with children 3 and under free. The Cozy Castle Cinema is located at 403 4th St, in downtown Saguache. 719-221-4159.

Saguache News – October 20

“A Simple Favor” Found in Saguache Today

Here’s what #RottenTomatoes says about what’s playing this weekend at Cozy Castle Cinema: “Twisty, twisted, and above all simply fun, A Simple Favor casts a stylish mommy noir spell strengthened by potent performances from Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively.”

In this weekend’s film, Stephanie Smothers is a widowed single mother who runs a vlog with crafts and recipes. Emily is a busy working mother, a PR director for a fashion company, whose son Nicky attends the same elementary school as Stephanie’s son, Miles. Emily and Stephanie become fast friends, arranging play dates for the boys. They trade confessions and secrets. Find out Emily’s. Starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively and Henry Golding. Directed by Paul Feig.​

 

The Cozy Castle Cinema in downtown Saguache.

The Cozy Castle Cinema in downtown Saguache.

Showtimes are Friday at 7 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m. & 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 4 p.m.

Ticket prices are $7 with children 3 and under free. The Cozy Castle Cinema is located at 403 4th St, in downtown Saguache. 719-221-4159.

Saguache News – October 16

Here Comes The Judge – Is It You!?

By Trish Gilbert, Saguache County Clerk & Recorder

Student Election Judge Program

Are you interested in shaping your community?   Voters elect our leaders and governing bodies whose decisions influence events in the state of Colorado, the United States and, as recent events have proven, the world.    Student Election Judges share firsthand in those events on election day assisting voters as they exercise their constitutional right marking their ballot choices for candidates and issues.  Contact the Saguache County Clerk’s Team today to find out how to be a part of this grass roots lesson in democracy.

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Saguache Town Election Judges (left to right) Alice Wardlow, Bill Hazard and Caroline Irwin helped residents cast their votes in the 2016 Election. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

The State Legislature enacted legislation that allows Juniors and Seniors in High School to work at polling places as Student Election Judges. State Statute makes the following provisions:

  • Student Election Judges need not be registered electors.  There are no party affiliation requirements for Student Election Judges.
  • Be at least 16 years old and a Junior or Senior “in good standing” at a public or private high school at the time of the election at which they plan to work;

Submit an application;

  • Have the written consent of a parent or legal guardian;
  • Have the approval of their school’s principal or designated administrator;
  • Be U.S. citizens by the date of the election at which they are scheduled to work;
  • Be willing to serve – knowing that Election Day runs from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. – or longer;
  • Be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of an Election Judge;
  • Attend a mandatory Election Judge class prior to each election at which they work;
  • Never have been convicted of election fraud, other election offenses or fraud; and
  • Not be related to any candidate on the ballot in the precinct where they are working.
  • All applicants must have a Social Security number, which is required on the application. Students cannot be paid without a Social Security number.
  • Even before you turn 18 you can register to vote, and can take part in the election process.

BENEFITS:

  • You will be paid.
  • Practical experience serving your community.
  • Election Judge experience looks great on a resume or college application.
  • Take part in a rewarding activity while learning about the democratic process!

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • As a student election judge, you will serve alongside other adult election judges at the VSPC (Voter Service and Polling Center). Some of the duties student election judges assist with are:
  • Checking-in voters at the polling places
  • Assisting electors in casting their ballots.
  • Serve as mail-in, mail ballot or early voting judges.

Student Election Judges will be compensated for working Election Day.  Additionally, they may receive payment for attending the mandatory Election Judge Class.

Saguache_Election Ballot_BoxPost

Local Elections Matter!

Since its inception in 2000, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Student Election Judges Program has been a great success for students and a bonus for the county election officials and educators who have participated in the program. During the 2012 Presidential Election hundreds of students around the state joined the ranks of adult Election Judges working cooperatively setting up polling locations, processing voters, ballots and tallying the votes cast.

Student Election Judges will be appointed by and will serve at the discretion of the local Election Official (County Clerk).

Ultimately, we hope it motivates these students to become active voters in their communities and election judge resources for future elections.

Our team would like to give a shout out to Jody Abeyta for recruiting two students from Mountain Valley High School, Samantha Clark and Azlyn DeHerrera, who will be working with us as election judges for the General Election.  Great job Jody and ladies!!

 

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Saguache News – October 15

Saguache News – October 15

4-H Enrollment Opens This Week

Postal Customers in Saguache Today and the San Luis Valley could see more than their mail-in election ballot in their mailbox this week as the 2018-19 4-H San Luis Valley enrollment opens. According to 4-H October newsletter, check your email or mailbox around October 16 for complete info on enrolling or re-enrolling in the San Luis Valley 4H group for the 2018-19 year!4H Click

Enrollment will once again be conducted through 4HOnline. Re-enrollment for existing 4-H members will run through January 4. New members can enroll, and existing members can add and drop projects, through March 31. Organizers of the agriculture-focused, youth group encourages folks to re-enroll early to get in their system and be eligible for camp and event registration. Do not miss the January 4 deadline for re-enrollment, or you will not be eligible to participate in 4-H or compete with 4-H projects in the SLV Fair.

If you have trouble with re-enrollment once the system reopens, give our office a call. They can walk you through common problems. If you have limited internet access, or want in-person support, drop by the office during office hours, Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Adults Needed as 4H Volunteers

The San Luis Valley 4-H youth development program is looking for adults to share their knowledge as volunteers. These volunteers will leverage their experiences and interests to help youth build life skills in various subject areas.

“Volunteers are essential to help youth make the most of the wide variety of learning experiences they are presented with in 4-H,” said Amy Henschen, 4-H Extension Agent with Colorado State University. “We are currently looking for adults to serve as project leaders or help with workshops and school programming so we can better serve youth in the Valley.”

Volunteering with 4-H is an opportunity for people to share their personal interests by demonstrating expertise in subjects as varied as robotics, food and nutrition, public speaking, agricultural science, shooting sports and more. A person doesn’t have to have a degree in a specific field to become a volunteer in the 4-H program. Instead, they just need a passion for working with children and an interest in a certain area.

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As a 4-H volunteer you will play a key role as an adult mentor and role model for young people that live in your community. MORE INFO.

Adults can choose to serve as project leaders, helping kids enrolled in specific areas learn and complete their project requirements, or as area activity leaders, helping at specific workshops or school programs. Project leaders are needed in a variety of areas, including shooting sports, cake decorating, sewing, rabbit, cooking, outdoor adventure, and photography. The program is also seeking adults to be activity leaders at upcoming outdoor adventure, photography and horticulture workshops.

Volunteer opportunities also exist outside of these specific focus areas. The 4-H program4-H program is flexible with finding opportunities that match the skill sets and meet the needs of interested adults. Training and support will be provided by the San Luis Valley Extension office. Volunteers must pass a background check.

For more information on serving as a volunteer with the 4-H youth development program contact the San Luis Valley Extension office at 719-852-7381 or slv4H@colostate.edu. 4-H is a national program that teaches kids life skills through partnerships with caring adults. The program is a cooperative effort between Colorado State University Extension and Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties. Extension programs are available to all without discrimination.

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The competition was fun and fierce at the 2018 San Luis Valley 4H Robotics Table Clear contest. Photo: SLV 4H Facebook Page.

 

 

Saguache News – October 13

New School Construction Continues in Saguache Today

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The crew from FCI continues with the new construction of Mountain Valley School in Saguache. Many neighbors were a bit surprised by the four-foot rise in baseline elevation before the first brick had been laid. The center frame work represents the new building’s entrance way. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

Reading: It’s Number One!

By Joyce Rankin, Colorado Board of Education

Joyce Rankin

Colorado Board of Education Rep. Joyce Rankin

I pointed out in my July column that teachers have many responsibilities. For example, understanding technology, suicide, depression, mental illness, bullying, drug use and provide sex education, and safe schools.  They also monitor breakfast and lunch programs and, oh yes, did I mention math and reading? But if reading and math aren’t the highest priority, how are our Colorado students performing on assessments? According to the 2018 English, Language Arts (ELA), or reading test, we’re not doing well. The Colorado Measurement of Academic Success (CMAS) ELA scores for third graders show that only forty percent are reading at grade level. Research has shown that students who cannot read by the end of the third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school. And according to the National Adult Literacy Survey, 70% of all incarcerated adults cannot read at the fourth grade level. They lack reading skills necessary to hold down anything but lower paying jobs.

Reading is at the core of learning and our legislature recognized this in 2012 when they passed the READ Act. The READ Act was to ensure students in grades K-3 were getting the help they needed to read at grade level when they exit the third grade. Grants were made available to help students reach this goal and in the 2017-18 school year 40,533 students with significant reading deficiencies (SRD) were eligible for these grants. The total amount directed at these students last year totaled $33M.

Saguache School Construction_October 2018_8

The Mountain Valley School’s new $3.7 million dollar renovation project will bring the buildings and facility up to a 21st century safe, learning environment. Photo: Saguache Today.

With the release of the 2018 Colorado test scores in English, Language Arts (ELA) we found that 40 percent (4 out of 10) of our third graders are reading at or above grade level as they exit the third grade. That means sixty percent are not reading at grade level and, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Colorado mirrors what is happening in the United States and it’s been that way since the 1990’s.

There’s still some good news this month. I’d like to shine a spotlight on two schools in the Third Congressional District receiving the Colorado Succeeds Award for Transformational Impact. Awards were based on a data-driven process conducted by an external analyst to select public schools making transformational gains in academic achievement. Only one elementary school, one middle school and one high school in the state are selected.

Carbondale Middle School in the Roaring Fork Valley was the recipient of the Middle School Award, with Jennifer Lamont, Principal. I met with Ms. Lamont last week and she discussed the reasons for their success.

Delta County School District’s Paonia Elementary School was the winner in the elementary category.  Principal Sam Cox spoke with elected officials recently about the pride he takes in his students, teaching staff and community. On the English Language Arts assessment from last spring, his sixth graders scored 81.5% proficient. That translates to 8 out of 10 students at or above grade level.

Both schools impressed me by their administrative leadership and partnership between teaching staff, parents and community. Could this be the secret to success?

Thank you for the honor to serve on the State Board of Education, 3rd CD.

Joyce Rankin, a retired teacher, is on the State Board of Education representing the Third Congressional District, which includes Saguache and Saguache County. She writes the monthly column, “Across the Street” to share with constituents in her district.  The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the Capitol.

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The view from the corner of 6th and Pitkin Avenue in Saguache Today slowly changes with the building of a new school. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell