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The State of Colorado paid $60 million in unemployment benefits last year to claimants who could not prove that they were in the United States legally. Another $83 million was paid to people who could not prove they tried to find employment, according to an audit released yesterday. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment announced last month that it had paid $169 million in unemployment benefits in 2010 to claimants who failed to meet eligibility requirements. Governor John Hickenlooper responded by issuing an executive order calling for stricter control over benefit payments. Ellen Golombek, executive director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, blamed swelling unemployment claims since the economic downturn that began in 2008 and an outdated computer system for many of the problems identified in the audit. Since 2006, overpayments to unemployment claimants in Colorado total more than $382 million, according to a report by the office of the state auditor.
Alamosa Police caught a man who was identified as Michael Anthony Olivas, 45, yesterday in record time thanks to Alamosa Police Department Code Enforcer Karen Hobbs. According to Lieutenant Duane Oakes, the call came in at 12:24pm yesterday that a man entered the senior citizens center next to Cole Park, went into the office and took all the money out of the safe. He then fled on foot, then on a bicycle. He then headed toward Main Street and started going through alleys. Hobbs was in the area and spotted Olivas, maintaining visual contact until more officers arrived. Olivas was arrested for alleged third degree burglary (between $1,000 and $20,000) and theft. In addition to the money, papers and credit cards were taken. Everything was recovered, according to Oakes, and all of the recovered items were found on his person except for a few things that he dropped. Olivas was a transitional client at Community Corrections. Information on how long he had been at Community Corrections was not immediately available.
3rd Judicial District Chief District Judge Claude Appel yesterday denied motions to hold the Walsenburg Chief of Police and the chief of the Colorado State Patrol in contempt of court and to dismiss the case against Lee Grace Dougherty, the sister of the Dougherty trio. Doughterty, 29, appeared in Huerfano County District Court yesterday with public defender Patrick McCarville. McCarville told Judge Appel that on several occasions, law enforcement officers involved in the case have violated a pretrial publicity order in the case. Appel’s order, which was set on August 12th, prevents attorneys and law enforcement officers in the case from making extrajudicial statements to the media. The trio’s capture followed a dramatic cross-country crime spree that included a shootout with police officers and two high-speed chases in two states. Lee Grace Dougherty pleaded not guilty to all charges against her. A two-week trial has been set to begin on February 21st.
The Colorado State Patrol Communications Center in Alamosa received notification yesterday morning of a one-vehicle rollover on U.S. 285 near mile post 69 in Saguache County. When troopers, Saguache deputies and Center Fire and Ambulance arrived, it was determined that the driver was deceased. The investigation into the incident revealed that a 1997 Ford F150 was southbound on U.S. 285, went off the left side of the road for over 200 feet, traveling in the ditch. It appears the driver fell asleep and woke up when the vehicle went into the ditch. The driver attempted to steer the Ford back onto the road, causing it to go out of control where it rolled three times, coming to rest on its wheels facing west. The driver, whose identity has not been released, was wearing his seatbelt, but sustained fatal injuries as a result of the vehicle rolling multiple times. Speed is considered to be a contributing factor in the accident.
KSPK, along with all other broadcasters across the United States, will participate in first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System scheduled for tomorrow, November 9th, at 12 Noon. The audio for the test will last about 60 seconds, and will only interrupt our regular programming for that amount of time. This test is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Federal Communications Commission.