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U.S. Army officials are arguing that a lawsuit from ranchers in U.S. District Court in Denver should be dismissed because the army acted properly in doing a 2007 environmental study of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The army filed those comments on Friday in response to a lawsuit brought by the Not 1 More Acre group that opposes the planned expansion of the 238,000-acre training facility northeast of Trinidad. Opponents say that the army‚€™s 2007 analysis looking at doing more training at the current Pinon Canyon site failed to adequately look at other training alternatives or the environmental impact of current use. The army‚€™s answer to the lawsuit basically says that ranching opponents failed to raise their claims during the public comment period on the environmental study and that the army did not need to do more extensive analysis on other training options because there is no ‚€œexcess‚€Ě training space at other army posts. Not 1 More Acre argued last month that army documents revealed by the lawsuit showed that the army had much bigger plans to expand Pinon Canyon than it ever acknowledged ‚€“ 7 million acres according to 2004 plans ‚€“ and that it has done extensive environmental damage to the current training site.
Jesse Sloan, 39, and his girlfriend, were taken into custody on Saturday at Sloan‚€™s parent‚€™s home about 4 miles south of Fort Garland. Sloan is a Department of Corrections escapee who eluded authorities after a near capture in the Denver area last week. Alamosa Police Department swat members and Colorado Fugitive Location and Apprehension group members were enacting a state arrest warrant issued by the Colorado Department of Corrections for escape and theft. Sloan and his girlfriend, Lori McNitt, were taken into custody without incident. McNitt was questioned by authorities and was released without any local charges. Sloan‚€™s parents, who were not identified by authorities, were not charged in the incident. Sloan escaped capture on January 13th when a Weld County sheriff‚€™s deputy attempted to stop a car he was riding in. Sloan jumped from the vehicle and fled into a nearby field where he eluded attempts to capture him.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Canon City has temporarily banned motorized vehicles on 1,600 acres of newly acquired public land in Garden Park pending a travel management plan. The garden park trail area, located in the gold belt tour area 6 miles north of Canon City, consists of 1,600 acres of public lands that were acquired through a land exchange by the BLM in September. The Garden Park area is a historic and nationally significant fossil area, so the temporary closure to motorized vehicles is needed to protect the fossil resources. For more information, call the BLM‚€™s Canon City office at 719-269-8547.
The National Park Service will begin an artist-in-residence program this fall at the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve that will give photographers, sculptors, painters and other types of artists free housing for two weeks while they put their own stamp on images of the dunes. Artist-in-residence programs are not new for the park service, as many of the more famous parks in the U.S., such as everglades and the Grand Canyon, already have such programs. In Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park has had one for decades. Two residencies are scheduled for September 20th through October 3rd and October 4th through October 17th. Deadline for applications is February 28th.
The Spanish Peaks Public Library in Walsenburg will be closed from noon this Friday until noon on Tuesday, January 17th, in order for all of the library staff to attend the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association being held this year in Denver. The mission of the gala is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.