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Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman hopes to be done with the re-certification of thousands of voting machines in the state by the end of next week when he will make his final determination as to which machines can be used during this year‚€™s elections. Coffman said yesterday that it is important that county clerks know as soon as possible what voting equipment they will be able to use for the upcoming election. He said, ‚€œBefore the passage of house bill 1155, this process could have taken up to several more months to complete. But, under this new law, we will have answers to the clerks by the end of next week‚€Ě he said. Coffman said most of the additional testing has already been done on the de-certified machines, however he won‚€™t make any final determinations until after a public hearing next week.
Two separate accidents occurred yesterday on Interstate 25 north of Pueblo claiming two lives and injuring four others. The first accident occurred at 9:38am in the southbound lanes of traffic between the Eagleridge off ramp and the Pueblo Crossing Shopping Center. Emil Roberts, 90, of Pueblo, died of multiple traumatic injuries at 11:59am in Parkview Medical Center‚€™s emergency room. Roberts was the lone occupant of a 1992 Buick that was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes. He struck a 2002 cargo van head-on. Two victims in the van were also taken to Parkview, one with serious spinal injuries, the other with minor injuries. The worst of the two accidents occurred at 12:20pm in the northbound lanes of traffic near mile marker 115, about 13 miles north of Pueblo. The driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, pulling a double-axle flatbed trailer loaded with scrap metal, lost control. The jeep and trailer separated with the jeep rolling at least once and ending up on its top. The driver, who hasn‚€™t been positively identified, was trapped in the vehicle and died at the scene. Two other victims were ejected. One was in serious condition yesterday, the other in good condition.
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar will meet with elected officials and community leaders in the San Luis Valley on Monday, February 18th, at 9am, to discuss his San Luis Valley regional priorities. Salazar said he has met regularly with county commissioners, mayors and other community leaders in each of Colorado‚€™s 64 counties. Salazar has mapped the state into ten distinct regions, each linked by common watershed interests, economic characteristics and geography. The San Luis Valley Regional Plan is part of a larger statewide effort to identify specific goals and priorities for each of the ten regions. The meeting will take place at the Inn of the Rio Grande in Alamosa. Salazar will also hold a meeting at the Old Fort in Fort Garland to discuss two of his regional priorities at 11am on Monday at the fort.
The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin a rock mitigation project along State Highway 12 next week, just east of Weston. Work will include rock scaling, rock fall mitigation, new guardrail, seeding, striping and erosion control. The project will also include retaining wall construction along the south side of the highway and realignment of an irrigation ditch. The work will begin on Monday with initial work hours from 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday. 30-minute traffic delays are expected during the first 3 weeks of the project.
More candidates in our area have announced their intentions to run for office in the past week or so. Monte Vista attorney Matt Hobbs, 37, has announced that he will run as a democrat for the position of 12th Judicial District Attorney in the San Luis Valley. Conejos County volunteer fire fighter Andrew J. Garcia, Sr., has announced that he will run as a democrat for the District 1 County Commissioner‚€™s seat. District 1 covers the southern part of the county. And, Fort Garland businessman Patrick Allaart, 51, has announced that he will run as a republican for Costilla County Commission from District 1. Allaart is a 1975 graduate of Sierra Grande High School and is a graduate of Adams State College.