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U.S. Senator Ken Salazar, yesterday, had to defend his legislation to draw down U.S. forces next year from sharp attacks by anti-war groups that claim his efforts will only get more U.S. servicemen killed. Salazar is sponsoring legislation to have congress adopt the bipartisan Iraqi study group‚€™s recommendations to change U.S. policy in Iraq, a bill that has gathered the support of both moderate democrats and republicans who want to begin withdrawing troops next year, while leaving some forces behind to continue training the Iraqi army. Salazar and Sen. Lamar Alexander are the prime sponsors of the study group legislation. Anti-war activists have attacked Salazar‚€™s effort as a ‚€œtoothless‚€Ě bill that does not force the administration to do anything and gives political cover to lawmakers who are afraid to keep supporting the White House‚€™s ‚€œsurge‚€Ě in Iraq, but are unwilling to support a faster withdrawal.
Alamosa County Judge Martin Gonzales told Loral ‚€œCassie‚€Ě Hall, 32, during her sentencing yesterday that he must ‚€œsend a message to every person who walks in that school as a teacher, as a coach, as a mentor, as whatever it may be, you do not lay a hand on a child‚€Ě. Hall was given 2 years probation with 60 days in county jail in connection with a misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact charge involving a 17-year-old female student while Hall was employed at Alamosa High School. Judge Gonzales also required hall to annually register as a sex offender, submit to genetic marker testing and participate in sex offender treatment. The judge also prohibited Hall from contact with people under age 18. Gonzales said that as someone in her 30‚€™s, Hall should have known better than to get involved with a 17-year-old, and saying that the relationship was consensual was no excuse because of the youth‚€™s age.
The deaths of a Costilla County resident and a Custer County resident are confirmed to have been caused by Hantavirus, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment‚€™s laboratory. An investigation is being conducted to determine how each of the victims became infected. No details about the victims were provided in the announcement from the health department. The virus, which is often carried by deer mice, results in a respiratory disease in humans. The virus can infect humans when they inhale dirt and dust contaminated with deer mice urine and feces, whether they have contact with infected mice or stir up dust infected by the mice waste, while working in or cleaning out structures where mice have been living over the winter.
The Southern League 12 and Under All-Stars will be playing the Cal Ripkin State Tournament today through Monday in Walsenburg. The local team from Walsenburg, which is the southern all-star team, will play in the first game this evening at 8pm. The teams involved in the tournament include teams from Las Animas, Lamar, Santa Fe, Baca County, southeast Denver, Fountain Valley, the Wet Mountain Valley and Walsenburg. It is an honor to host the Cal Ripkin State Tournament in Walsenburg. Everyone is welcome to come out and cheer on the teams.
Grammy award-winning pianist George Winston will perform a benefit concert at 8pm on Tuesday at Adams State College‚€™s Leon Memorial Concert Hall. Proceeds will go towards the Boys and Girls Clubs of the San Luis Valley. Donations will also be accepted for the Action Against Hunger and Malnutrition Food Bank. This is the second time that Winston has done a benefit concert for the clubs. Tickets for the show are $25 and may be purchased at the Boys and Girls Clubs in Alamosa and Monte Vista, or by calling 589-5252.