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Pueblo officials evacuated Pueblo County employees and closed surrounding city streets yesterday after an empty cooler was left south of the Pueblo County Department of Social Services building just after 10am yesterday morning. The Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office shut down the block around the building, which is located at 212 W. 12th Street, to both vehicles and pedestrians, until the Pueblo Metro Bomb Unit confirmed that the package did not pose a threat. The suspicious cooler was deemed safe at 11:46am yesterday and employees were allowed to return to work and downtown streets were reopened. The Pueblo County Fleet Department south of the DSS building and the probation office were evacuated. Employees on the south side of the DSS building were moved to the north side of the building.

Speaking to about 15 workers at Wagner Equipment Company in Pueblo yesterday, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton said that “people are hurting”. He said that “there are people in Washington… who have never run a business who are trying to make decisions for businesses.” Fielding questions from the men, Tipton said, “We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. It is stopping the development of business”. Tipton called tax legislation recently passed by the house “good, common sense law”. Tipton said he does not believe that new gun control laws are necessary. He said he believes in 2nd amendment rights and that laws we already have should be enforced before we talk about passing new ones. Tipton also spoke in favor of individual health care savings accounts, which he called “an incentive to people to manage their own health care”. Tipton said he is reaching out to people in his district to gauge what the people in the district believe will create more jobs.

President Barack Obama will make a two-day campaign swing through Colorado tomorrow and Thursday, speaking at rallies in Denver, Grand Junction, Pueblo and Colorado Springs. Colorado is an important battleground state for both Obama and Mitt Romney, his republican challenger. Romney was in Golden last week. Obama is expected to criticize congress for resolving the deadlock between the house and senate over extending a series of tax cuts initially approved a decade ago. Obama wants to extend the cuts for all except for those earning more than $200,000 a year. Obama will also stress his support for extending a federal tax credit to help the growing wind power industry. The president will be at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo in the Ag Palace with his speech beginning at 11am. Anyone interested in attending should contact one of his campaign offices for tickets.

The Colorado State Health Department has launched a campaign to encourage Coloradoans to take advantage of vaccination benefits that are available through the Federal Affordable Care Act. The new law requires insurance companies to provide full coverage for all immunizations, and the state health department hopes to improve the health of all Coloradoans by promoting immunizations. Recent outbreaks of whooping cough in Colorado and elsewhere have given everyone a fresh reminder of why we need to immunize, according to officials. A website will help users determine whether or not their insurance plan covers the costs of immunizations and other preventative care required by the Affordable Care Act. Those who do not have insurance may access low-cost vaccines through their local health department.

The Rio Grande National Forest is seeking public comment on the next phase of the San Juan Silver Project, a mineral exploration project located in the Creede Mining District near the town of Creede. A public meeting will be held at the Creede Community Center in Creede next Tuesday, August 14th, from 6 to 8pm. The plan of operation for the project will be discussed from 6 to 6:30pm, followed by an open house. Comments may be mailed to the Rio Grande National Forest at 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, 81144, attn: San Juan Silver Project. Call 719-852-5941 for more information.