The agriculture, natural resources and energy committee approved a bill yesterday to clarify that water rights may be included in land conservation easements. The bill, hb1008 will now go to the full senate for further action. House speaker lola spradley, of beulah, and sen. Ken kester, of las animas, are the sponsors of the bill that would make sure that no one could question a rural landowner's voluntary decision to sell or donate the development rights not only to land but also the water rights that go with it. The decision would be a voluntary one between the owner of the property and a land conservation trust. A committee amendment to the bill further clarifies that the owner would retain the right to use the water when needed, such as in times of drought.
A preliminary hearing for johnny lucero, 22 of alamosa, was continued yesterday until next tuesday. Lucero is charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death in connection with the death of his girlfriend, julie duran, 25, also of alamosa, last december 20th. Duran received head injuries after being run over near her hom on oliver street in alamosa. She was taken to the san luis valley regional medical center and was then airlifted to penrose hospital in colorado springs. She was removed from life support early on december 21st, and died about 11am the same day.
The citizens' protective association appeared at tuesday's city council meeting in walsenburg to continue pressuring local authorities, judges and city officials for more arrests to ensure the safety of walsenburg residents. This after a rash of burglaries have taken place in walsenburg over the past several months. Police did arrest five suspects last friday almost simultaneously with a meeting at city hall regarding the recent break ins. Residents at the city council meetings complained that three of the five arrested, frank cruz, 53, steve cruz, 34 and sancy martinez, 48, are back on the street after posting $5,000 bond. Toby martinez, 20, and damien martinez, 26, remain in huerfano county jail. Residents at tuesday's meeting said that as long as walsenburg's drug dealers are out on the streets, more burglaries will occur to get goods to pay for drugs. If you were a victim of a break-in in walsenburg in the past few months, call the walsenburg police department at 738-1044. A number of goods were recovered during the execution of the search warrants in walsenburg last friday.
Jay morfin, 33, of alamosa, was killed in a one-car accident that occurred about 7:15pm tuesday near center. Morfin was speeding on saguache county road 53 when he lost control of his car, according to the colorado state patrol. The vehicle went off of the right side of the road, hit a fence and rolled onto its top. Morfin was thrown from the vehicle. He died of massive head injuries at the scene.
The westcliffe center for the performing arts is sponsoring its fifth annual one-act play competition. Colorado and new mexico playrights are welcome to enter and have until april 1st to submit a cover letter, synopsis, manuscript and a $5 fee. The two wining plays will be presented at the jones theater in westcliffe in august. For more information, log onto www.westcliffecenter.org, or call will at (228) 466-4774.
A new tax checkoff program for the colorado watershed protection fund will appear on this year's colorado state tax form, and money raised from the checkoff will help the san luis valley. The money raised will be distributed to local watershed protection groups like the rio grande headwaters restoration project which is devoted to restoring the health and functioning of the river in rio grande and alamosa counties.