Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday January 24, 2013

A Civil Union bill has passed out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee and is headed to the appropriations committee.  If it passes there, it will go to the full senate for a vote.  Senate Bill 11 gives couples, regardless of gender legal protections including property rights and legal rights relating to medical care and treatment and hospital visitation.

A bill that would give collective bargaining rights to Colorado firefighters has passed out of a Senate committee and is on its way to the floor.  The bill grants firefighters the right to organize, form, join, or assist an employee organization... and prohibits firefighters from striking.  The Grand Junction City Council doesn't like the idea and has sent a letter to local representatives asking them to vote against the measure. The letter points to a vote by Grand Junction voters in 2000 to keep firefighters from unionizing.

People in Bedrock in the Paradox Valley were shaken last night by an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale.  The epicenter was 58 miles southwest of Grand Junction. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction relayed the information from the Earthquake information center in Golden.

The Grand Valley's record setting cold continues, with the average low in January so far just -4 degrees.  That ties the old record set in 1925.

The Mesa County Public Library is kicking off it's 2013 One Book, One Mesa County today.  The book is called The Dog Stars written by Peter Heller.  The Denver Post name Heller one of Colorado's top thinkers of 2012 in the Books category.  The One Book, One Mesa County series began in 2004.  Events are taking place throughout February and March and will culminate with a personal appearance by Heller March 9th.

The 7th Judicial District has a new CASA Volunteer Coordinator.  Carlton Mason will work throughout the District in Delta and Montrose Counties, with a special emphasis on the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in Delta. Potential volunteers can call the CASA office in Montrose for information.

Annie's Rising Crust Frozen Pizza is being recalled after the company said it learned a fine metal mesh screen failed at a third-party flour mill and fragments were found in the flour and pizza dough. The pizzas are sold at several stores across Colorado.  More inforamtion is available at

The Grand Junction Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team is on hold, its two officers being reassigned to patrol next Monday.  Spokeswoman Kate Porras tells the Daily Sentinel the move is in response to a wave of attrition at the same time 8 potential new officers continue to train.  Porras says the department's traffic team is also on ice, its members transferred to patrol.  Both teams are expected to return when more officers are ready to hit the road alone.

The head of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation says Universal background checks for gun sales would overwhelm an already over-taxed system.  CBI Director Ronald Sloan tells the Denver Post a backlog of background checks right now stands at about 10,000 without requiring checks for individual, private sales of firearms. Sloan says he would need additional personnel.  Some lawmakers have suggested would-be gun buyers should pay for their own background checks instead of the money coming from the state's general fund.
State lawmakers are working on a bill that would provide compensation to people who spend time in prison for crimes they didn't commit.  The bill is in response to the Robert Dewey case.  Dewey was cleared last year after spending 16 years in prison for a 1994 rape and murder of a Palisade woman.  The Denver Post says 27 states already have compensation for the wrongly convicted.