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Stephen Bleck, 64, of Prescott, Arizona, alleges that Alamosa Police violated his constitutional rights against excessive force by police and his right not to be arrested without probable cause by shooting him in a hip and arresting him last August 6th, in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on December 31st. Alamosa Police recently stated in a court filing that they are not liable for serious injuries to Bleck after he was shot during a check on his welfare. Bleck contends that he was eating pizza peacefully on a motel bed when he was shot. Police went to the motel in response to a call from a mental health counselor working with Bleck. In its filing, the City of Alamosa contents that Bleck’s arrest was reasonable and the force used against him was justified by his conduct. The city contends that Corporal Jeff Martinez shot Bleck accidentally. Bleck says the shooting was intentional. Bleck is seeking $261,041 for medical bills. He is also seeking unspecified monetary damages for pain and suffering, impairment of quality of life and emotional distress.

Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jorge Leal, 32, of Trinidad, is back on duty following an investigation into a bar fight that took place on December 31st at the Cactus Canyon Nightclub in Greeley. Leal had been placed on paid administrative leave while the patrol investigated the incident. Leal, who is assigned to the state patrol in Trinidad, was charged with and issued a citation for third-degree assault in the fight. The focus of the internal administrative investigation was to determine any potential, possible violations of CSP policies and of general orders. Because the investigation is a personnel issue, the patrol did not release whether or not it was determined that Leal had violated policies or orders. The criminal case against Leal is ongoing. The case has been moved to Greeley municipal court. If Leal is found guilty in Greeley, there may be another investigation. According to police, Leal was at the nightclub drinking with his wife, another woman and three other men about 11:35pm when they were asked to leave. A disturbance began near the front door of the club and escalated into a fight. Leal and one of the men he was with were cited for third-degree assault.

Richard Mignogna, a renewable energy specialist at the Public Utilities Commission, filed testimony last month that calls for Xcel Energy to scale back its solar plans in the San Luis Valley as a way to gain experience with the technology while limiting impacts to ratepayers. Mignogna wrote, “Under this scenario, there would be more than sufficient capacity on the existing transmission lines and the project could not be held hostage to a perceived lack of transmission”. Mignogna suggested that a smaller plant would be a good first step. Xcel on Friday said the company disagreed with the analysis in that important economies of scale would be lost by going with the size limitation. Mignogna added that Xcel could contract for a 50-megawatt plant, which would represent a small size for such technology. Both Xcel and Mignogna’s filing note the cost of solar plants are likely to fall, a factor that would increase the company’s interest in solar. Xcel is expected to file a new proposed resource plan in the fall.

The Colorado Department of Transportation begins a project this week to replace the Missouri Creek Bridge on northbound Interstate 25, about three miles north of Walsenburg. The left lane of southbound I-25 will be closed near the bridge site tomorrow and Wednesday near the bridge site so concrete barrier can be placed for the upcoming detour. Additional project preparations will continue through mid-May. On Monday, May 16th, both northbound and southbound I-25 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction for about a half-mile as all northbound traffic is shifted to southbound I-25. The project is scheduled for completion in September.

Trailwise Back Country Horsemen is hosting a re-organization meeting and buffet on Saturday, April 30th, beginning at 1pm at Dos Rios Restaurant, 1635 North Highway 285, in Monte Vista. A variety of Mexican and American food with a salad bar will be served. Reservations should be made by April 28th. Trailwise Back Country Horsemen is a non-profit, equine-related organization. The goal of the meeting is to let new and interested people know more about the organization and to introduce them to outdoor-related people, places and activities. For reservations and more information, call Barb Carpenter at 719-588-5666.