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U.S. Representative Scott Tipton was conspicuously absent last week when Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar returned to the San Luis Valley to pitch his proposal for conserving the area’s cultural heritage at Adams State College last week. Salazar was joined by all of the area’s congressional delegation, except that Tipton was not present. According to Scott Tipton’s office, it was because the congressman was not invited. Salazar’s office responded that Tipton was invited, but details of the invitation, etc., were not provided. Josh Green, a spokesman for Tipton, said that the congressman supports the preservation of the state’s scenic, historic and cultural sites, but that land-use designations should be initiated and driven at the local level. Salazar raised the possibility that some parts of the valley may merit National Historic Park designation, although such a proposal would first require a study from congress. Green said Tipton would not oppose such a study. Tipton sits on the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.

Joseph Cordova, who along with his sister, Trinidad City Councilwoman Linda Velasquez, were charged with alleged liquor and gambling law violations following a July raid at Gino’s Sports Bar in Trinidad, pled guilty to lesser charges last week. Cordova pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of engaging in professional gambling. Third Judicial District Judge Leslie Gerbracht ordered Cordova to pay a $1,000 fine plus court fees and gave him 6 months of unsupervised probation. Velasquez has been charged with two felony counts of unlawfully permitting gambling on premises with a liquor license on July 14th and July 28th. Velasquez is also facing one felony count of attempting to influence a public servant, a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a government official and a misdemeanor count of harassment. A hearing for Velasquez has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Alamosa District Judge Pattie Swift will not preside over the parental termination portion of a case that involves the custody of a half-Navajo child, however she plans to remain on for the balance of the case. Swift was asked to remove herself from the parental termination portion of the case due to a professional relationship that swift has with one of the expert witnesses in the case. The foster parents of the child, who is now a year hold, asked for the termination of the child’s biological parents’ rights so that they could initiate adoption procedures. The child’s paternal grandparents, who are members of the Navajo Nation, asked for custody of the child within months of the child’s birth. A request to move the case to a tribal court was denied by Swift in October. A 3-day termination hearing has been scheduled to begin at 9am on January 31st.

Mario Dean Chavez, 21, of Trinidad, waived his right to a preliminary hearing in court on Friday in connection with the home invasion that turned deadly last November in Trinidad. Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid said that he has been negotiating a possible plea in the case. A disposition hearing has been set for February 22nd. Chavez surrendered to police on November 22nd. Rory David Rodriguez, 24, of Denver, was shot by the homeowner and later died at Parkview Medical Center in Pueblo. Chavez was formally charged last month with second-degree burglary of a dwelling, first-degree trespass, conspiracy and attempted theft. Bail was reduced for Chavez on Friday from $40,000 to $5,000, however he remained in custody as of Friday. A third suspect in the break-in, Alejandro Rodriguez, was arrested on November 21st in Denver. He is scheduled to be in Las Animas County Court on January 13th.

Pueblo democrat Chuck Rodosevich on Friday announced that he will run for the Colorado House of Representatives District 47 seat in November. Rodosevich, 62, is the past chairman of the Pueblo County Democratic Party. He retired from the Colorado Department of Human Services as director of employment affairs in 2004. He lost the democratic primary for house district 46 to Representative Sal Pace of Pueblo in 2008. Rodosevich has roots and still owns a ranch in Las Animas County. The reapportionment process last year left house district 47 without an incumbent as Representative Keith Swerdfeger was drawn into house district 46. Republican Ray Watts of La Junta is also running for the seat.