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Governor Bill Ritter says that a new audio and video health care program will provide health care to rural communities that lack doctors and hospitals. The National Connected Care Telehealth Network that was introduced yesterday involves establishing connected care Telehealth clinics in several existing rural health centers. Ritter said that many Colorado communities are underserved by the health care system and 14 Colorado counties don‚€™t have hospitals at all. Under the program, clinics will feature sophisticated audio, video and other technologies to connect patients with medical specialists hundreds of miles away. United Health Care is partnering with Colorado‚€™s Rural Health Program and Centura Health to allow physicians using computers and electronic medical equipment to diagnose and treat problems from hundreds or thousands of miles away.
San Luis Valley leaders and representatives from Iowa Pacific, the owner of the San Luis and Rio Grande Railway, met with Colorado Department of Transportation Commissioner Steve Parker yesterday for advice on how to successfully proceed with a proposal for a transportation investment generating economic recovery (or T.I.G.E.R.) grant. Ed Ellis, president of Iowa Pacific, said his company is submitting a grant application for $80 million to upgrade the San Luis Valley rail tracks for 60 mph traffic. Ellis said he wants to be able to carry freight from South Fork to Walsenburg. He wants to utilize the freight dock and warehouses south of Antonito as a major transfer point, where agricultural goods can be loaded onto trucks and shipped out to New Mexico and other points. Ellis also said that having passenger service available would be even more important after the Greyhound bus service stops running in September. CDOT will review all T.I.G.E.R. grant proposals and will send a prioritized list for a federal review.
Some Walsenburg residents have been concerned recently about the contamination of water in the area by coal bed methane gas. The city of Walsenburg wants to reassure citizens that the Walsenburg city water supply is not contaminated with coal bed methane gas. The area of concern is instead out in the River Ridge Ranch area to the east of Walsenburg and concerns water from wells in that area. If you have any questions regarding the city water supply, please call the city utilities or city clerk‚€™s office at city hall.
The Alamosa County Public Health Department has announced that old tires will be accepted at the ‚€œold coop landfill‚€Ě on the 8 South west of U.S. 285 this Thursday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm each day. The tires will be shredded as a free service. It is hoped that this event will result in less areas where mosquitoes can breed that can potentially carry the West Nile Virus. No rims will be allowed. For more information, call 719-589-4848.
Lathrop State Park west of Walsenburg on U.S. 160 will host 2 programs this weekend. The first will take place on Friday, August 21st, beginning at 7pm and will feature Wilson and McKee for some great old Celtic music. The second will take place on Saturday, August 22nd, also beginning at 7pm, and will feature naturalist Bob Kennemer who will share important information about mountain lions and bears. Both programs will take place at the Pinon Campground Amphitheater and both are free, however, all vehicles entering the park must have a valid parks pass.