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Two bills concerning liquor sales that are currently before the Colorado State Senate saw different fates yesterday. SB82, a measure that would end the ban of alcohol on Sundays, passed the Senate Business Affairs & Labor Committee yesterday on a 5-1 vote. SB149, a measure which would allow grocery stores to sell wine and beer, and let liquor stores sell non-perishable foods, died in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a similar 5-1 vote. The two measures together were part of a compromise to give both sides something they wanted, however, because one of the measures died, just how well the other will do when it is debated on the senate floor later this month is uncertain. Senator Ken Kester, of Las Animas, a member of the business committee that approved the measure that would allow alcohol sales on Sunday, said that he surveyed 31 liquor stores in his southern Colorado district and only one of those stores opposed the idea.
Calling his plan a ‚€œbuilding block for health care reform, Governor Bill Ritter yesterday announced his short-range plan that is designed to improve Colorado‚€™s health care system. The plan would focus on covering more children and implementing system wide efficiencies. It calls for allocating $25 million from this year‚€™s budget to children‚€™s health-care coverage, the creation of a new center for improving values in health care, greater efficiencies in public and private health care and better transparency to assist consumers. Even though Ritter said that he wants to see the estimated 160,000 children in Colorado who are not currently covered placed in the state‚€™s program by 2010, he said that nothing is expected to be placed on this year‚€™s ballot to find new funds to pay for it.
Almost all the speakers during a 4-hour long meeting on a proposal that would drill two natural gas exploratory wells on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge, called for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct an environmental impact statement. Many of the residents of the town of Crestone and of the Baca Grande Subdivision expressed that the project would adversely impact their quality of life, drinking water and nearby wildlife. The development, which would include roads and well pads, could disturb between 11 and 15 acres on the 92,500-acre Baca Wildlife Refuge just northwest of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a draft environmental assessment that analyzes the potential impacts of Lexam Explorations‚€™ proposal. The assessment remains open for public comment until March 2nd. A determination will be made later this spring as to whether there will be no significant impact, or whether a longer, more detailed environmental impact statement should be done.
Pueblo Public Health officials have closed the tuberculosis investigation linked to the death of a student at CSU Pueblo last June. The investigation found no active TB among any of those who had been identified as having had contact with the student who died. Public health officials identified 215 individuals as having contact with the original TB case that would put them at risk for TB. Those tested included 156 Pueblo County residents and 18 El Paso county residents. No one was found to have active tuberculosis.
June Madril of Antonito has announced that she will seek the position of Conejos County Commissioner for District 1. She will run as a democrat. Madril joins the race for the commissioner seat currently held by John Sandoval, who is running for re-election, and by fellow democratic candidate Andrew J. Garcia, Sr. Madril was born and raised in Conejos County and graduated from Antonito High School in 1979. She is currently a field service representative for Rocky Mountain Ser. She was previously the child support administrator in Conejos County for 22 years and has also served on the South Conejos School Board.