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The House Education Committee yesterday heard testimony on a bill that House Speaker Andrew Romanoff hopes will lead to the repair of dilapidated schools throughout Colorado. The measure, HB1335, is designed to use money from Colorado‚€™s School Land Trust Fund and leverage that money into a new fund to repair schools that are in bad condition or to build new ones. The bill would take $30 to $40 million a year from the fund for five years and put it into a new public school capital construction assistance fund. Romanoff and other lawmakers expect that the money will grow upwards to about $1 billion. The program would only take about 35% of the money that the trust fund earns each year. To help the money go further, grants from the new fund are designed to be matched with local money, such as from bond measures passed by voters in individual school districts. The house education committee is expected to vote on the bill on Monday.
12th Judicial District District Attorney Peter Comar has announced that he has named Larry Orr as the chief deputy in his office. Comar said that ‚€œ[Orr] has experience, knowledge and training having worked in both the Denver DA‚€™s office and the 12th Judicial District‚€Ě. Comar said that that experience as a prosecutor led him to name Orr as the chief deputy. Comar said that Orr has worked in every county in the district and is familiar with all the judges, law enforcement and agencies associated with the judicial system. Comar also said that Orr‚€™s experience in supervising other attorneys in the DA‚€™s office was another factor in naming him to the chief position. Orr is a native of Alamosa who attended Adams State College before obtaining his law degree from the University of Colorado.
Some of the residents in the River Ridge Ranch subdivision in Huerfano County are terrified at the prospect of Petroglyph Energy implementing the second phase of a gas mitigation plan that was recently approved by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. Petroglyph operates 56 coal-bed methane gas wells in the area. It shut down all of its wells back in June after a methane explosion blew the roof off of a water well house in the subdivision. Petroglyph‚€™s plan calls for a ring of hydraulic wells drilled around the area where methane is seeping into the water aquifer. Ken Smith, Chief Operating Officer for Petroglyph, said that it is possible that the methane coming out of the water wells could intensify during the transition time, however, the overall effect will be no methane in the aquifer to contaminate the water wells, he said. A group of property owners in the area are now considering suing Petroglyph because of the problems they are experiencing and in order to give the landowners some options as to what to do with their homes and land.
The San Luis and Rio Grande Railroad has filed a protest against a request by the town of Creede for the adverse abandonment of a mile of train track inside the Creede city limits. The town of Creede asked the U.S. Department of Transportation‚€™s surface transportation board back in December to grant the town‚€™s request that tracks within the city be abandoned because, ‚€œThere has been no rail service or request for service over the line since 1970.‚€Ě Creede has until today to file its response to comments for or against its application for the adverse abandonment. It will then be up to the surface transportation board to make its decision.
The next workshop to be hosted by the promotions committee of the Monte Vista Chamber of Commerce will be entitled ‚€œCustomer Service: Fighting the Big Boxes‚€Ě. Donna Wehe, from the Small Business Development Center in Alamosa, will present the workshop on Monday, February 25th, from noon to 1:30pm at the Information Center in Monte Vista. She will speak on the subject of holding one‚€™s competitive edge against the big box stores like Wal-Mart. Cost for chamber members is $10 or $20 for non-members. Only 30 seats are available, so register soon. Call Mary Bork at the chamber to make your reservation at 852-2731.