Tag Archives: Saguache County

Trooper Tips: Older Drivers

By Master Trooper Gary Cutler

Driving is a feeling of freedom you get when you’re able to just travel wherever you wish.  But, there may come a point in time when either you or someone close to you must make the decision to put the keys away and find another way to commute.

Talking to an older person about their driving can be difficult and is often delayed until their driving is to a point of being dangerous.  But if delayed too long, it can be a hesitation that can turn fatal.

I speak from personal experience when I lost my grandmother in a crash.  The signs were there prior to the fatal crash, but we failed to see them as a serious enough problem and hesitated in having her stop driving.  It started with a few scratches here and there on the car, and pulling into the garage a little too far.  Perhaps, if we had acted upon those signs we may have had her around longer.

Years later when another driving situation approached my family, we didn’t hesitate to take action.  My father began to show signs of having trouble driving due to early-onset dementia and we took steps to keep him from driving and possibly hurting himself or someone else.  A problem you may face is the older driver believing they are driving fine, when in fact you are seeing dangerous problems.  I won’t tell you it was easy to have the conversation.  My father was upset with us for a while, but I would do it again to make sure it keeps everyone safe.

Older drivers get tips from Colorado State Patrol Trooper Gary Cutler
Night driving can get tricky for older motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that in 2018, 19% of all fatal crashes were caused by drivers 65 years and older.  Now this doesn’t mean just because you turn 65 you should have your driver’s license taken from you.  Far from it, it just means it’s time to start being aware of any changes.  For a start, keep track of eyesight, physical fitness, and reflexes.

Saguache Today columnist Trooper Gary Cutler is the Public Information Officer for the Colorado State Patrol. A Public Information Officer is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer media questions.

SLV Foods Gets $245k of Good News

On Friday, Dec. 6, the San Luis Valley (SLV) received an early Christmas present from Washington D.C. as Senator Michael Bennet, announced that the SLV Local Foods Coalition and Bytable will receive $245,963 in funding to further grow its Local Foods Local Places project. Locally, many know the name and face of this successful program as Liza Marron, the Coalition’s Executive Director. Congratulations to you and your team, Liza!

Liza Marron, growing vegetables and successful programs in the San Luis Valley. Photo: Colorado Health Foundation.

“We are thrilled to hear we have received this support from USDA. This funding will be a true force-multiplier for rural food access in the San Luis Valley by helping strengthen three existing farmers markets in Alamosa, Monte Vista and South Fork, two of which have previously been run by volunteers. This funding will also help us establish a new farm stand at the Rio Grande Farm Park,” said Marron.

The #goodnews funding was secured through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program. Many residents living in Saguache Today benefit from this program which will be ever-more important as other food supplemental programs like SNAP – sit on the chopping block in budgetary committees back east.  

“Colorado is fortunate to have many organizations focused on increasing access to local and regional food systems, including San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition and Bytable,” said Sen. Bennet who is a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry,

“I strongly supported increasing funding in the 2018 Farm Bill for these innovative efforts, and I’m pleased to see these grants go to work here in Colorado.”

The SLV Local Foods Coalition will receive $245,963 in funding to further grow its Local Foods Local Places project, including expanding its farmers market network and education efforts to raise consumer awareness. Bytable, based in Colorado Springs, will receive $437,951 in funding to promote an understanding of regional and local food systems and provide consumers with easy and affordable access to sustainably- and regeneratively-produced food products.

From the fields to the tables San Luis Valley farmers and ranchers are an intricate part of the landscape and local economy. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell

The Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program grants are a part of a $50 million USDA annual investment through the 2018 Farm Bill to develop and expand local and regional food markets, enterprises, and producer-to-consumer marketing. 

 “The Bytable team and our partners are incredibly excited and humbled to be awarded a Local Food Promotion Program grant for over $430,000 from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service to be used over the next three years. Our mission to create a regionally-focused food system that supports growth for sustainable and regenerative food producers, particularly in meat, will be greatly accelerated by this funding,” said Jacy Rittmer, Chief Executive Officer of Bytable.