Sheriff James Casias will run for State Senate

TRINIDAD — Announcing from the Las Animas County Courthouse Square on Thursday, Aug. 5, Las Animas County Sheriff James Casias, a Democrat, stated his intention to seek the District 35 State Senate seat in Denver. The seat is currently held by Republican Larry Crowder. “Democrats in the 35th District feel that Sheriff Casias, can win the seat,” said Andrew Short, Executive Director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Fund. “He reflects the values of the 16 counties that make up the 35th District.” Many Democrats in SD 35 feel that Sheriff Casias is a strong contender for the seat and has the best chance of defeating incumbent Larry Crowder, a Republican from Alamosa, who has held the seat since his election in 2012. During his four years in the Senate, Crowder has accumulated a number of liabilities that a strong opponent can exploit, including voting against rural broadband, affordable housing, and senior services – and above all voting to change the way retirement benefits are defined for a significant number of Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) retirees in the 35th district. When connsidered together, all of the above add up to a potent challenge to Crowder in a competitive key race for the Colorado Senate seat in 2016. PERA includes employees of the Colorado state government, public school teachers in the state, many university and college employees, judges, many

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The “once in a lifetime” dam project

TRINIDAD — “A once in a lifetime” project is underway at the Trinidad Dam, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) at a recent informational meeting. Drilling of any sort rarely occurs on a dam, so staff in the Trinidad and Albuquerque District offices are excited to be involved with the “Trinidad Lake Instrumentation Replacement Project.” The first on-site phase – drilling for soil samples to evaluate factors such as composition, moisture content and plasticity – is in progress at four locations on the earthen dam, which was constructed in 1978. A crew from the Savannah (GA) District is using a sonic drill, which does not produce vibrations, to safely pull core samples from as deep as 220 feet. The project began in 2011 when engineers conducted a comprehensive evaluation that included reviewing historical data and inspecting pipes with a down-hole camera. The inspection revealed several breaks. They could not determine why the pipes broke, but factors could include construction flaws, natural settling and seismic activity. Because the dam is rated “high hazard” due to people living immediately downstream, they submitted funding requests. Albuquerque District Senior Geologist Suzi Hess-Brittelle and Dam Safety Manager Dennis Garcia said the project involves installing instruments near the

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Compressed gas fueling station operational by October

TRINIDAD — Sparq Natural Gas delivered key equipment August 6 for the construction of a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station, located at 806 E. Goddard in Trinidad. The equipment to be installed includes compression equipment, natural gas storage, dryer, monitoring equipment, and transmission pipes. Following the delivery and installation of the equipment, there will be an additional eight to ten weeks of construction and equipment commissioning and site start-up. The construction of the station puts Trinidad and Pueblo among the first CNG stations developed with public support from the Colorado Energy Officeʼs ALT fuels Colorado Grant Program. The $1 million ALT Fuels Grant is designed to reduce the risk of investment for the CNG stations in Trinidad and Pueblo. ALT Fuels Colorado grant program will provide $30 million over a four-year period from 2014 to 2017 through the Federal Highway Administrationʼs Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to advance Coloradoʼs adoption of alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs). The program is designed

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Obituary Justin Fleshman

Justin Fleshman was called to Heaven on July 24, 2015 at the age of 25 in Aurora, CO. Justin was born August 1, 1989 in Pueblo, CO to Darren and Rhonda (Archuleta) Fleshman, the oldest of two children. At the age of two, his family moved to Lamar, CO, where he graduated from high school in 2008. Justin loved wrestling from the time he was little until he graduated. After high school, he spent some time with the circus traveling the country. Upon leaving that adventure, he briefly came back to Lamar until he moved to Strasburg, where he worked a short time for TexCo Energy before he found his place at Kinder Morgan. Justin spent his time in Strasburg finding the love of his life, Talina Berry, and also persuing his passion as a body builder. In Justin’s life, family was always number one, from helping in any way he could to making you laugh, giving great hugs, and always putting everyone first. Justin left behind his parents, Darren and Rhonda (Archuleta) Fleshman; his brother, Layne Fleshman and sister-in-law Tanisha (Kisamore) Fleshman; fiancée Talina Berry; step- children, Jerald “JB” and Kylee Stewart; his grandparents, Gus and Marie

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Walsenburg Family Resource Center a shining example for the rest of the state

WALSENBURG — The Family Resource Center in Walsenburg is a shining example of what a resource center can and should be. Unique among Colorado’s family resource centers, the Walsenburg center recently attracted the attention of the state for its comprehensive and coordinated program. About eighteen months ago, the Family Center Director Terri Patrick submitted an application to include the Walsenburg Family Resource Center in the state-wide Family Resource Center Association. The application was accepted, and in the process of getting it approved and started up, the resource center was mentioned to the head of the Colorado Department of Human Services. The department decided to visit on August 4, while on their tour of Colorado, and were shown around the facilities. They were impressed by the integrated and cooperative efforts of the center and are seriously considering implementing Walsenburg’s integrated model into other resource centers across the state. One of the things that makes the Walsenburg center so well-organized and easy to navigate and use, is the fact it works under the auspices of the Department of Social Services and shares a building with CrossRoads. Most family resource centers are stand-alone entities, but by being connected with Social Services, the Walsenburg resource center is able to obtain Federal grant money to fund programs. The close ties and

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LAC Commission hears new airport manager

 Commissioners agree to try new County Clerk and Recorder hours

TRINIDAD — The number of items handled by the commissioners at their regular commission meeting Tuesday, Aug. 4 made it an eventful meeting. The Las Animas County Clerk and Recorderʼs office is changing its hours of operation. It is now open from 7:30 am to 5 pm. Making his first public statement, new Airport Manager Elliot Grupert gave a report on the condition of the Las Animas County Airport. He is seeking bids to repair the roof on one of the buildings and repair damage to several other buildings in preparation for a visit by Ron Neihoff from the Federal Aviation Administration. He noted clean up continues and that there is a lot of scrap metal on the property that can be recycled. Grupert is also looking for a larger mower. “It took me 12 hours to cut the grass on the unpaved runway.” He is looking for a mower with a 15-foot deck that will allow him to cut the same area in three hours. “I have, according to FAA regulations, about 1.3 million square feet of grass to cut. And I am eager to get the airport in shape.” Revenue for the

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Big boost for Sprout Tiny Homes project

WALSENBURG — Following a short public hearing Tuesday night in which no objections were filed, the Walsenburg City Council voted unanimously to approve a zoning change that will allow development of a tiny homes community on the old football field located behind the Spanish Peaks Public Library. Rod Stambaugh, President of Sprout Tiny Homes of La Junta attended and testified at the public hearing noting that he has purchased the nearly three acre parcel of land and feels the project will bring affordable new housing to the city as well as promote economic development. Monica Birrer and Jan Tucker voiced questions regarding how the development would look from the library, but Walsenburg City Attorney Dan Hyatt said those kind of questions would be best saved as Stambaugh moves into the next phase of development; planning the subdivision. In this phase there will be additional information presented concerning the look and configuration of the subdivision. The action Tuesday night, approval of Ordinance 1070 on second reading, changed the zoning of the land from AO to R2. In response to a question by councilperson Silvana Lind, Stambaugh said he plans a single road running through the subdivision that

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There’s a new Marshal in town. No, really!

 LA VETA — At Tuesday night’s meeting of the La Veta Town Board, Mayor Doug Brgoch swore in former Walsenburg Police Chief Jim Chamberlain as La Veta’s new Deputy Marshal. Chamberlain had to delay his start date by more than six weeks after breaking his ankle in a ranching accident. For the first time in more than a year, La Veta is back to having two law enforcement officials. Marshal Harold Wilburn went on to report that he has seen an influx of homeless people in town, adding that rumors are claiming that he is running the homeless folks out of town. Wilburn stated that his approach is first work with the local churches, which have emergency vouchers to aid people that get stuck in town with no means of support. These vouchers are available to provide food, gasoline and temporary lodging. Wilburn can also provide an escort to other nearby towns, where a person can catch a bus. Apparently Aguilar and Walsenburg are experiencing the same

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City adopts some things new, keeps some things old

TRINIDAD — With a 6-0 vote the Trinidad City Council created a unique type of permit allowing for wine tasting in the city. “This is in essence a manufacturers’ wine tasting license,” said City Attorney Les Downs. The permit was filed by Craig Stevens and his wife Della, owners of the Tees Me, Treat Me shop at 105 W. Main, even though the name on the license is the Mountain View Winery from Olathe, Colo., a small town on Highway U.S. 50 near Delta, Colo. Under the permit, the Stevens’ will be authorized as a seller for the manufacturer to sell Mountain View Wine from their shop in Trinidad. “This is not a big operation. We will be tasting the wine 12 pm to 5 pm during the week,” said Stevens. The city added to the Trinidad Industrial Park by annexing land under a petition filed by Trinidad Las Animas County Economic Development. Parcel D, is about 18 acres and already adjoined to the industrial park. The council, on a 6-0 vote, approved the first reading. The second reading of the ordinance to annex the parcel is set for Aug. 18. The property will be zoned community commercial for future development. The city approved, with a 6-0 vote, the first reading of an ordinance amending the zone map to establish the

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Plea deal offered in Jackson child death case

 WALSENBURG — One year and two days after her arrest for child abuse resulting in death, Marissa Jackson broke down in district court Wednesday morning leaving a plea bargain on the table for at least the next two weeks. The case was called for formal arraignment of the defendant, accused in the child abuse death of four year old Alani Tatiana Reyes-Cueva sometime during the night of August 3, 2014 at the home Jackson shared with Donavan Cueva, the toddler’s biological father, at 227 E. Eighth Street in Walsenburg. Third Judicial Judge Leslie J. Gerbracht presided at the hearing this week. Jackson is represented by Adam Schultz and special prosecutor Cynthia Kowert, Assistant Attorney General represented the state. “This is the first time I’ve heard about a plea agreement,” Judge Gerbracht said as she began reading over the document. The offered plea bargain would have seen the defendant enter a guilty plea to count one, child abuse resulting in death, a class two felony; and count four, child abuse, a class two misdemeanor. The sentence cap

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