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Rachael Haddan, a 21-year-old woman who was believed to be suicidal, led Pueblo County Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase late on Wednesday on Interstate 25. Authorities received a call at 10:35pm that Haddan was suicidal and was driving in the area of Overton Road. Not long afterward, Haddan, who was driving a white minivan, reportedly fled from Colorado State Patrol troopers, who called off the pursuit. Sheriff’s deputies found the minivan parked in the median of I-25, near mile marker 112. Haddan was unresponsive in the van and deputies tried to enter the van by breaking a rear window, but Haddan drove off at a high rate of speed heading north on I-25 without headlights. Deputies used a pursuit intervention technique, or pit maneuver, a few miles later, and Haddan drove off the road and onto the shoulder, where her vehicle was blocked by deputies. Haddan was taken to the hospital for evaluation and wasn’t arrested. She is facing possible charges of vehicular eluding and reckless driving.

Members of Citizens for Huerfano County, a non-profit corporation with more than 200 members, have filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court against oil and gas producer Shell and the state oil and gas conservation commission that seeks to block a proposed test drilling project west of La Veta. Shell officials say the company wants to drill a test well to explore for natural gas. Members of the group say that the commission did not follow its own rules during Shell’s permit process for the well. The group contends that it was not allowed a public hearing over the proposed project and is seeking one. The group says that the goal of the lawsuit is to protect the health and safety of residents and visitors of Huerfano County. The group is hoping for a fairly quick ruling by the judge in their favor, and that the judge will require state regulators, and Shell, to go back to the beginning and re-do the application process properly. The group wants Shell to follow certain safeguards that include requiring Shell to set aside a substantial bond or escrow account and also wants baseline water samples to be taken within five miles of the well site and at the intake for the town of La Veta’s water utility, along with other creeks and surface run-off areas.

Lobato vs. Colorado, a landmark case rooted in the San Luis Valley, goes to trial in Denver District Court, beginning at 8am on Monday, August 1st, with Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport presiding. The case is the first statewide school adequacy lawsuit to be tried in Colorado and began with Center School District parents like Anthony and Denise Lobato, the first plaintiffs named in the case, who maintain that Colorado’s school finance system violated the state constitution’s requirement for a “thorough and uniform” public education system. Efforts in the case began in 2005. In March of 2006, Denver District Judge Michael Martinez ruled against the plaintiffs, saying the current system met the requirements of amendment 23. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the decision in 2008, however the Colorado State Supreme Court overturned the previous rulings in 2009 and sent the case back to district court.

The Colorado Field Institute invites you to join them for a day out in the field. The second trek of the summer field lecture series will look at sustainable agriculture. The tour will look at composting, potato farming and cattle ranching and the role that they play in today’s drive for sustainable agriculture and the valley’s future. Cost for the trip is $15 for CFI members, $20 for non-members and $5 for students. The trip will leave from the USDA Service Center in Center at 9am tomorrow and will return at approximately 1pm. For more information, call 719-378-6384.

Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor, along with other Pueblo County Fire officials have determined that the current conditions support a cautious move from stage II fire restrictions back to stage I restrictions. Stage I restriction prohibit open burning, except fire and campfires within constructed fire enclosures, and prohibits smoking except within a vehicle or area at least three feet in diameter that has been cleared of flammable materials. Conejos County Sheriff Robert Gurule has lifted the county-wide stage one fire ban and all restrictions.