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The two groups of ranchers and area residents opposed to the Pinon Canyon expansion, namely the Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition and Not 1 More Acre, declared their intention to keep fighting the army last week and have been joined by other critics of the expansion this week. Democratic Representatives Liane ‚€œBuffie‚€Ě McFadyen of Pueblo West and Wes McKinley of Walsh sent statements and letters out on Monday calling on congress to extend the funding ban on the army spending any money on the expansion next year, although the army has completely ignored congress‚€™ ban this year. Pueblo County Commissioners Jeff Chastner and Anthony Nunez also renewed their opposition to the expansion at the Pueblo County Commission meeting yesterday. Army Assistant Secretary Keith Eastin announced last week that the Pentagon intends to go ahead and solicit landowners to sell 100,000 acres, despite the congressional funding ban, saying that the ban pertains only to the army‚€™s military construction budget and that the land outreach will be paid for from other funds.
According to campaign finance reports that were filed this week, Alamosa physician Rocky White has outpaced his competitors in cash in his bid for the Colorado District 62. White has raised more than $18,000 so far, although nearly $6,000 of that total came from his own pocket. Of the rest of the money that white has raised, a total of $4,385 has come from medical professionals. His challenger in the democratic primary, Edward Vigil, was a close second, raising about $12,800 of which more than $4,000 is from vigil‚€™s own pocket. Much of the remaining money that Vigil has raised has come from outside of the San Luis Valley and mostly from attorneys, including the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association. Randy Jackson, who is running on the republican ticket and is unopposed for the primary in district 62, has only raised a total of $767 on top of the $8,662 that he‚€™s contributed himself. The three are hoping to unseat Representative Rafael Gallegos of Antonito, who failed to get enough votes during the district caucuses or enough petition signatures to qualify for this year‚€™s ballot.
A forum was held in Alamosa, Monday, regarding the more than 1,300 acres of open space of the city owned ranch north of Alamosa. The ranch features walking trails, wetlands, wildlife and cattle grazing and has been protected so far from development by a city council moratorium. That could change, however, following a $15,000 study conducted by Lafayette-based firm Design Concepts. The city has asked the firm to lay out management options fro the ranch, including the possibility of commercial development. When the more than 30 residents that attended the forum were asked about what should happen with the ranch, suggestions ranged from leaving the ranch alone to using it for solar or geothermal power development. No one suggested real estate development. More public meetings will be held on the management plan for the ranch as the study progresses. The city‚€™s contract calls for the firm to complete its work by November 26th.
Edith Cordova, 43, of Sanford / La Sauces, was arrested yesterday after eluding authorities for nearly a week. Cordova was wanted for distribution of prescription drugs following a drug sting operation that was conducted by Alamosa and Conejos County authorities last week. Besides the felony drug charge, Cordova was also wanted on a warrant for obstruction. Nicholas Salazar of Romeo and Eric Cordova of Sanford / La Sauces, both turned themselves in on Monday after being wanted over the weekend in connection with the same drug sting operation.
Lathrop State Park will hold two amphitheater programs this weekend. The first will take place on Friday at 7pm and will feature the El Fandango Dancers. The second will be entitled ‚€œBirds of Prey‚€Ě by Dianna Miller, and will take place at 7pm on Saturday. All events are free, however, a valid parks pass is required on all vehicles entering the park. Lathrop State Park is located about 3 miles west of Walsenburg on U.S. Highway 160. For more information, call 738-2376.