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Dolores Gonzales, 34, a former Trinidad postal clerk who was caught stealing from the mail, was sentenced yesterday to two years of supervised probation. Gonzales, who had previously pleaded guilty, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn. Agents of the U.S. Postal Service‚€™s Office of Inspector General began an investigation after the Trinidad postmaster told him a $20 gift card had been stolen from a greeting card that had been deposited in a collection box in March. After being caught on surveillance video, Gonzales admitted that she had been opening mail for about six weeks and estimated she had taken about $200 in currency and $45 in gift cards.
Las Animas County Sheriff James Casias remains in stable condition, however, the Casias‚€™ family has not released a statement on his illness. Las Animas County Under Sheriff Derek Navarett, who is acting as sheriff in Casias‚€™ absence, said the family is awaiting word on what caused the illness. In the meantime, a fund has been set up to help with medical costs being incurred by the sheriff. The fund is set up at International Bank in Trinidad. Anyone wishing to donate to help the family with travel and medical expenses can do so by going to the bank, or by calling 719-846-1600.
In an attempt to have Amendment 54 declared unconstitutional, a group of teacher and labor organizations filed a lawsuit on Wednesday asking to have the amendment thrown out because it limits campaign contributions and limits free speech by banning such contributions. The amendment, which narrowly passed last November, is designed to prevent people and groups who contribute money to campaigns from getting sole-source government contracts. Tom Lucero, chairman of the amendment‚€™s main issue committee, Clean Government Colorado, said the suit is likely to fail because no court in recent years has invalidated similar ‚€œpay to play‚€Ě reform measures. Lucero said, ‚€œThe litigants in these actions are political insiders who are using legal [wrangling] and discredited legal arguments to overturn the will of the people‚€Ě. The union groups, however, said the measure really wasn‚€™t about preventing people from getting government contracts by contributing to candidates, but to prevent teachers unions that already have labor contracts with schools from making contributions.
Colorado State Senator Gail Schwartz yesterday stood on the state capitol‚€™s stops to recommend passage of a comprehensive jobs creation package. New State Representative Ed Vigil, a San Luis resident who now represents House District 62, is one of the sponsors of a portion of the package that will provide new energy economy job training. Schwartz said yesterday, ‚€œWhile Colorado has fared better than most states, we know we are not immune‚€Ě. The proposed legislation will focus on creating jobs by helping to fund or make money available to transportation, new businesses, credit, the new energy economy, and rural job creation.
Federal charges were filed yesterday against Victor Carranza, 31, and Liz Minerva Carranza, 27, both of New Mexico, for possession of 100 kilograms or more of marijuana with the intent to distribute. The couple was caught with 587 pounds of marijuana following a rollover accident that took place on I-25 near Walsenburg. Victor Carranza reportedly told investigators that he and his wife were traveling to Denver to visit relatives. Carranza reportedly said that he was driving to help his wife and that they have been having marital difficulties. Carranza said the marijuana belonged to his wife and denied knowing it was in the trailer he was pulling. Mrs. Carranza admitted that she had packed the marijuana and was headed to Denver to sell it, something she had done more than 7 times. She also said her husband knew about the marijuana and was helping her. It is not yet known if the defendants are in the couple illegally or if one or both are U.S. citizens. Authorities suspect the marijuana came from Mexico.