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U.S. Senator Ken Salazar yesterday resigned from the senate and was sworn in as the new head of the Department of the Interior only hours after President Barack Obama took the oath of office. Salazar was among six Obama nominees confirmed in their new cabinet positions yesterday by a unanimous vote of the senate. Salazar becomes the 50th secretary of the interior. Salazar clashed with the same department during the Bush administration over its decision to issue oil shale development leasing regulations for Colorado‚€™s western slope and Utah. As head of interior, Salazar now inherits the oversight of those same regulations and leasing program. Salazar said yesterday that he ‚€œwill be a strong and forceful advocate for the wise stewardship of our nation‚€™s land and water resources‚€Ě. He said his ‚€œfirst priority‚€¶ is to lead the department with openness in decision-making, high ethical standards and respect for scientific integrity‚€Ě.
3rd Congressional District Representative John Salazar sat just a few rows from President Barack Obama yesterday as Obama gave his inaugural speech. Salazar said that the mood was one of awe at seeing history in the making. Salazar said that he appreciated that Obama warned the nation that restoring the economy would take sacrifice. Salazar said that one of the best things in his speech was about how resilient America is when we come together. He said he was impressed once again yesterday by how closely the entire world was watching Obama‚€™s inauguration. The event dominated headlines and television coverage around the globe.
Craig Cotten of the Division of Water Resources told members of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District Board yesterday that the Rio Grande Basin is second highest in the state in terms of snow pack with 128% of normal. The Arkansas River Basin is the highest in Colorado with 136% of normal, and all other basins in the state are either close to or above 100% of snow pack. Cotten said that it is too early to tell what the year will bring, but he said at this point both the Upper Rio Grande Basin and the Sangre De Cristo mountain range basin are well above 100% of normal snow pack. Almost all of the Snotel snow-precipitation measurement sites as of yesterday recorded snow readings well above normal. The Cumbres trestle Snotel site was at 155% of normal, the Wolf Creek summit site was at 121% of normal and the north Costilla site in the Sangre range was at 180% of normal.
The city of Monte Vista is asking residents to continue to run a thin stream of water through their faucets in an effort to combat frozen water lines. Despite warmer daily temperatures recently, the effort is still needed to stave off frozen pipes. Last winter, more than 200 water meters needed to be replaced after freezing and public works crews responded to dozens of incidents of frozen water lines. Residents will not be charged for the extra water used through mid-March. For more information, call the city at 719-852-2692.
The Huerfano County Chamber of Commerce will hold a special meeting tomorrow night at 5:30pm at the chamber office in Walsenburg to discuss the Groundhog Breakfast, Valentine‚€™s dance, awards banquet and the Black Diamond Jubilee. Everyone‚€™s attendance is requested at the meeting. For more information, call the chamber office at 719-738-1065.