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The recently completed Government Accountability Office, or GAO, reports state that the army has again failed to explain why even the one hundred thousand acres is needed to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site northeast of Trinidad. More importantly, the reports also re-state the GAO position that the Department of Defense has no up to date training lands inventory and strategy. Pinon Canyon Expansion Opposition Coalition President Lon Robertson said, ‚€œThese reports were completed by an objective, independent and non-partisan government agency.‚€Ě He said that PCEOC ‚€œis pleased the GAO shares [the] desire to correct a process that does little to instill trust between people and government‚€¶ something our new president is intent on correcting‚€Ě. President Obama‚€™s inaugural address said that ‚€œthe question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small but whether it works‚€¶ when the answer is no, programs will end.‚€Ě The address continues: ‚€œThose of us who manage the public‚€™s dollars will be held to account ‚€“ to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day ‚€“ because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government‚€Ě. PCEOC encourages everyone to continue to ask their state and U.S. Congressional representatives to exert the principle of civilian control and oversight of the military by continuing the spending ban on the PCMS expansion and to support the GAO recommendations requiring the army to start over.
Las Animas County Sheriff James Casias was airlifted to a Denver hospital yesterday morning for an unknown illness, according to Las Animas County Undersheriff Derek Navarette. Navarette said, ‚€œWe really don‚€™t know what is going on right now.‚€Ě ‚€œAll we know‚€Ě, he said, ‚€œis that the sheriff became sick and had to be taken to a Denver hospital‚€Ě. Casias did not report for work yesterday morning. He was in stable but still critical condition when he was airlifted to Denver from Mt. San Rafael Hospital. Navarette said that the Casias family does not want to release any statements at this time.
With State Water Engineer Dick Wolfe‚€™s decision to move forward with well rules and regulations this year, the stopwatch is now ticking on the San Luis Valley‚€™s first groundwater self-management efforts. That has groundwater management sub-district organizers feeling the urgency to get the sub-districts up and running. Basically, water users will have to be in a sub-district or have an augmentation plan, or the water user‚€™s wells will be shut off. While the courts have approved the valley‚€™s first water management sub-district, located in the closed basin area of the valley, approval of the sub-district‚€™s management plan is still pending with the court. Other sub-districts throughout the valley are currently on hold as their organizers wait to see what happens with the first water management sub-district.
The Alamosa Public Schools Board of Education on Tuesday did an emergency approval on a new drug testing policy for bus drivers in the district. Mary Owens presented the federally mandated changes to the board that had already been set in place and needed immediate approval so that the transportation department can implement them if necessary. The first change to the policy states: ‚€œAll drug testing samples will undergo specimen validity testing for adulteration and specimen dilution‚€Ě. The second change states that ‚€œany employee, who during the collection process, attempts to substitute, tamper with, or adulterate a urine sample, will be required to provide a urine sample under direct observation.‚€Ě
Children playing with either matches or a lighter is the reason that firefighters had to respond to a residence at 11th and East Avenue in Alamosa on Tuesday at about 3:20pm. A mattress in one of the bedrooms was ignited and that caught the bedroom walls, doorway and hallway on fire before firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze. The fire was headed to the ceiling and attic when fire crews stopped it from spreading. No one was injured in the blaze.