Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday February 8, 2013

A Mesa County District Judge has ordered public records to remain open and turned down a defense request for gag order in the Heather Jensen trial.  The Daily Sentinel says Judge Valerie Robison noted "All attorneys are already bound by Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and no further order is required."  Jensen's attorney said there is a "Lynch Mob Mentality" against Jensen. In court yesterday, Jensen was charged with criminally negligent homicide and criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death.  Her two young sons died late last year after they were left in an overheated SUV.

The Grand Junction VA Medical Center has received an anonymous donation of $375,000 in trust for veterans seen at the facility. The donation is one of a handful across the country... the anonymous donor routing the money through the Chicago Community Foundation's Northern Trust Charitable Giving Program to protect their identity.

A bill that would require law enforcement to test forensic evidence collected from rape victims has passed out of the House Judiciary committee.  Sponsor Frank McNulty says 18% of unsolved alleged sexual assault cases have rape kits that have never been tested, including more than 100 in Colorado.  McNulty says law enforcement in Michigan recently began testing a stockpile of more than 11,000 untested rape kits and identified at least 20 serial rapists after testing just 153 kits.

A bill that would have required certain local public construction projects be open to competitive bidding among private business owners has died in a House committee.  Republican Representative Polly Lawrence sponsored the bill, she says it doesn't make sense for government to compete with Colorado's job creators.  The bill was killed on a party line vote.

The Colorado State Patrol had to shut down westbound I-70 near Wolcott because of multiple crashes in sunny weather, but ice on the road.  The first crash was just after 9:30 and involved three passenger cars.  The state patrol was investigating that crash when six semi-trucks, including one carrying hazardous material, were involved along with five passenger cars.  It took about four hours to clean up the mess and reopen the westbound lanes of the Interstate.

The State Department of Agriculture is holding town hall meetings in Delta and Monte Vista later this month focusing on growing demand for local meat.  The USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will also be there.  Colorado has an abundant supply of locally grown meat, but farmers and ranchers often aren't able to get it processed locally.

The Montrose Sheriff's Office isn't saying much about a traffic stop near Naturita yesterday in which shots were fire.  A man in the stopped car was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, and no deputies were injured.  Colorado 145 was restricted to one lane for several hours after the shooting yesterday morning.

Colorado Democrats have introduced 4 of 8 gun bills.  The measures include requiring universal background checks, and a bill to require those getting one to pay for it.  Other legislation would ban high-capacity ammo magazines and prohibition of concealed weapons on college campuses.    

The Pew Charitable trust is ranking Colorado in the top 4 states for election administration for the 2012 election.  Their election performance index gave Colorado high marks for voter turnout, acceptance rate of military and overseas ballots, and online voter registrations.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is looking for hunters and fishers for the upcoming Northwest Regional Sportsmen caucus in Grand Junction February 20th.  Attendees will discuss wildlife-related issues and select two delegates to represent the region's wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen's Roundtable in Denver next month.

Democrats in the state legislature have killed a bill that would have reformed retirement plans for public employees and potentially saved the state money.  A recent analysis showed the public pension system is only 61% funded.  The reform could have prevented high payouts from the public pension system.

The Montrose City Council has agreed to support construction of hiking and biking trails on 110 acres of land owned by the city on Cerro Summit.  The Montrose Daily Press says construction on the trails could start as soon as next summer.

Mesa County Crime Stoppers is looking for help locating a suspect passing counterfeit bills in Grand Junction.  The suspect is a slender black male about 6 feet tall between 25 and 40.  He attempted to pay with a fake 100 at Mesa Mall last month.  Call 241-stop with information.