NEWS: Wednesday January 27, 2010

Jan 27th @ 9:11 am in News by Scott Staley

Last week the town of Cedaredge appointed a new trustee to their board. Out of the three candidates who applied for the position, Dr. Lawrence Smith was the chosen one.  Mountain Valley News says Smith is a doctor of psychology and has active practices in Arvada, San Antonio, and Cedaredge. He was sworn in last Thursday.
Source: Mountain Valley News (Posted 8:11a)

Steven Clay Romero, age 37, of Grand Junction, Colorado, and his sister, Melissa Marie Lockhart, age 32, of Fruita, Colorado, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver late Monday on charges related to the dragging death and subsequent cover up of “Buddy the Dog,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the National Park Service announced. Romero is presently being held in federal custody. An arrest warrant has been issued for Lockhart. Romero is due to appear in federal court in Grand Junction this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Laird T. Milburn.

According to the indictment, between December 29 and December 30, 2009, Romero did knowingly torture, needlessly mutilate, and needlessly kill an animal, known as “Buddy the Dog,” by dragging the dog behind a vehicle at the Colorado National Monument. The defendant allegedly tied a rope around the bumper of a vehicle on one end and a rope around the dog’s neck on the other end, driving and dragging him until the dog was dead.

Between December 30 and December 31, 2009, Lockhart had knowledge that a felony crime, namely aggravated animal cruelty, was committed by Romero. Further, the indictment alleges that Lockhart concealed the crime by making false statements to law enforcement, and that she did not make the crime known to a judge or another person in authority.

Steven Clay Romero is charged with one count of aggravated animal cruelty. If convicted he faces not more than 3 years in federal prison, and up to a $100,000 fine, or both. Melissa Marie Lockhart is charged with misprision of a felony. If convicted she faces not more than 3 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine, or both. Lockhart also faces state charges of dog theft in Delta, Colorado.

The case was investigated by The National Park Service, which is a division of the Department of Interior, the Delta Police Department, the Fruita Police Department, the Grand Junction Police Department, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Romero and Lockhart are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michelle Heldmyer.

These charges are only allegations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Source: Press Release (Posted 8:11a)

North Fork Valley coal miners are nervous as the Colorado Department of Natural Resources argues with the federal government about roadless area rules. According to Crested Butte News, The Elk Creek Mine is one of three that collectively employ over 1,000 workers and paid over a million dollars in severance tax to county coffers last year. Colorado has drafted its own roadless rules that would make allowances for certain activities in areas where there are coal mines, oil and gas operations, and ski resorts—three of Colorado’s biggest industries.  No date has been set for final decisions. As of now, miners in the North Fork Valley get to keep their jobs.
Source: Crested Butte News (Posted 7:17a)

Colorado lawmakers are scheduled to take up Governor Ritter’s proposal to eliminate about a dozen tax breaks to balance the state budget. House Republican Minority Leader Mike May calls the proposals a taxpayer-funded bailout of the Democrats’ overspending in the previous year. Ritter says Colorado can no longer afford to offer tax breaks while the state is struggling to balance the budget. The bills are scheduled to be heard today in the House Finance Committee.
Source: Press Release   (Posted 7:16a)