View Full Version : December 1, 2003

12-01-2003, 12:43 PM
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After a nine-day trial in May, a judge ruled last week that Alamosa County‚€™s method of electing county commissioners does not violate a federal voting rights law as the U.S. Justice Department claimed in the lawsuit. The U.S. District Judge Marcia Krieger wrote in a 40-page decision, the ability of Hispanic voters to participate or elect candidates of their choice in county commissioner elections has neither been abridged nor curtailed in violation of the voting rights act. Her decision was a blow to the justice department‚€™s civil rights division, which enforces the 1965 voting act and which filed suit in 2001 seeking to overturn the county‚€™s method of voting for commissioners. The judge concluded that, ‚€œdespite historical discrimination and frustration in implementing particular political or social agendas, Hispanic residents in Alamosa County freely and fully exercise their rights to suffrage in the county commissioners elections.‚€� She also stated that ‚€œthe benefit of electing county commissioners at large, particularly in a rural/urban county such as Alamosa, is that every commissioners is accountable to the entire county rather than solely to neighbors in his or her residency district.‚€� She ruled, ‚€œThe current at-large system of electing county commissioners in Alamosa County should not be disturbed.‚€�

The deaths of three Colorado children and a suspected fourth flu death, along with the number of flu cases doubling by the day have health official worried that a flu outbreak of unprecedented numbers is under way. The number of confirmed flu cases is near 4000 statewide. It is very important for Coloradoans to get flu vaccinations and work to keep the flu from spreading. Tips from the State Health Department to stem the rising number of cases is to wash hands with soap and water, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, avoid close contact with sick people, cover you nose & mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, don't sneeze into your hands, stay home if sick, don‚€™t share utensils.

John Salazar San Luis Valley state legislator announced Friday that he will introduce legislation aimed at lowering prescription drug costs for Coloradoans. The bill would direct state agencies such as The Department of Corrections, The Department of Health, and PERA to form a council that would negotiate the purchase of prescription drugs at a bulk discount rate. Salazar said that statistics show one in six Coloradoans are either uninsured or under unsured, and 70 million Americans do not have insurance that covers prescription drugs. Under his proposal, those people would receive much needed assistance to purchase necessary medications. Salazar stated, ‚€œAll we‚€™re asking is that Colorado use it‚€™s power not as a regulator but as a purchaser on behalf of its citizens. The concept of bulk purchasing pools has succeeded in providing the citizens of other states with their medications while saving the states millions of dollars. According to Salazar's office the bill is modeled after legislation passed in Texas in 2001.

Adams State College has received a $793,000 federal grant to help 60 teachers earn their Master's Degree in Education with two specialties. Fifteen grants were funded from 140 reviewed said Barbara Medina who is Chair of Teacher Education and Graduate Studies and prepared the final version of the application for the grant, which will be spent over four years. Donna Stout, Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Adams State College and also assisted in the grant application, stated this is a unique opportunity for teachers to receive a dual degree and dual endorsement. The project will benefit teachers seeking a Master's Degree with dual endorsements in special education and English language learning. Once trained, the teachers should be able to better address the needs of Southern Colorado's diverse populations.