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U.S. House Democratic leaders have decided to attach $4 billion in disaster aid to a $93 billion defense budget bill that is making its way through the house this month. The disaster aid would include money to help eastern plains ranchers that were hurt by the recent blizzards. Rep. John Salazar said that he was assured yesterday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Collin Peterson, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, that disaster aid will be attached to the Pentagon Supplemental Bill. Just how much will actually go to farmers and ranchers in Colorado is still to be determined, however, Salazar said. Salazar said earlier this week that lawmakers from western states hurt by the blizzards were hoping to get $50 million dedicated for blizzard relief.
Colorado State Rep. Marsha Looper of Calhan received unanimous approval from the House Transportation and Energy Committee this week for a watered-down measure that she hopes will address the immediate concerns of landowners in the proposed corridor for the so-called ‚€œSuperslab‚€Ě project. Looper said that by compromising this time, she‚€™ll still be able to continue to fight and hopes to ultimately eliminate a law made in the 1880‚€™s that gave the Prairie Falcon Parkway Express the right to declare a 3-mile-wide, 210-mile-long corridor in which it wants to build a private four-lane toll road in her HB1068. Looper had hopes of squeezing the ‚€œSuperslab‚€Ě out of existence. Instead, Looper, who once was a leading voice among eastern plains landowners who opposed the project, had to settle for a little less. The watered-down measure now heads to the full house for more debate.
Eugene Benedict Aquirre, of Gardner, is facing a bond revocation hearing next Friday. Aguirre is alleged to have violated his probation on drug charges 7 times since his arrest last October after the Huerfano County Probation Department wrote 7 letters to District Attorney Lee Hawke asking that his bond be revoked because he tested positive for illegal drug use. Aguirre was initially charged after an October 30th bust at his Gardner home netted more than a pound of cocaine, some methamphetamine and several weapons. On Wednesday, District Judge Leslie Gerbracht agreed to a gag order in the case after the defense alleged that the probation department gave out information to the press concerning the case. Gerbracht did not agree to a request that the probation department no longer be allowed to supervise Aguirre. Aguirre remains free on $115,000 bail. Even though the case has been bound over for trial, no trial date has been set.
Now that the city of Alamosa can fine those who sell liquor to underage customers, it has set the fine at $500 or ¬Ĺ of the maximum allowed under state law. That number was acclaimed by some and decried by at least one person at last week‚€™s city council meeting. Council has scheduled hearings for March 26th at 7pm for three liquor stores, First Street, M&M and Chief‚€™s, to show cause as to why their liquor licenses should not be suspended for selling liquor to minors.
Kent D. Kelley, 41, of Walsenburg, has been identified as the driver who died when the water-tanker truck he was driving rolled off an embankment inside the Colorado State Wildlife Area, about 21 miles west of Trinidad, on Tuesday morning. The vehicle rolled 200 feet down a steep embankment. Kelley was ejected about halfway down the embankment. Kelley died at the scene. The Colorado State Patrol is still investigating the accident.
The order to boil water in the city of Walsenburg was lifted yesterday afternoon after tests from the Colorado Department of Health returned a clean bill of health for the municipal water system. The boil order was put into affect on Monday after a break in one of the main lines spilled more than 500,000 gallons of water from the system.