NEWS: Monday February 22, 2010

Feb 22nd @ 11:19 am in News by Scott Staley

The cause of a fire that tore through a Grand Junction business this morning is under investigation. According to the Daily Sentinel, Bestway Services on Fourth Avenue, a company that offers drain services, septic tank pumping, and portable toilet service burned down this morning. No neighboring businesses were affected. The fire caused nearby roads to be closed while the fire was being put out.  A sandtruck was brought in because the water being sprayed was turning to ice.  No one was injured.
Source: Daily Sentinel (Posted 12:00p)

The Colorado Supreme Court agreed with plaintiffs today in the lawsuit contending that Amendment 54 – passed narrowly by Colorado voters in November 2008 – was unconstitutional. The decision upheld a lower court’s injunction of Amendment 54, which prohibited campaign contributions from labor unions and holders of sole source government contracts.

“The authors of Amendment 54 tried to silence political speakers they don’t like, but they ran into a little roadblock called the First Amendment and, fortunately for all of us, they have failed,” said Mark Grueskin, from Isaacson Rosenbaum P.C., attorney for some of the plaintiffs.

Former Colorado Supreme Court Justice Jean Dubofsky also served as a plaintiffs’ attorney, and was joined as co-counsel former Colorado State Representative Doug Friednash and litigator Michael Davis from Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Dubofsky said, “Today’s decision overturned an overbroad and unconstitutional law.  Amendment 54 would have restricted the political speech of thousands of individual Coloradans and organizations, and we are pleased that the Supreme Court agreed.”

The lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs requested that the defendants – Governor Bill Ritter and the Executive Director of the Department of Personnel and Administration – be enjoined from implementing or enforcing Amendment 54.

“This decision sends strong message to those who recklessly attempt to change Colorado’s Constitution through the ballot initiative process ,” said Friednash. “In overturning Amendment 54, the Colorado Supreme Court protected core political speech.”

In its decision, the Supreme Court said, “We find it impossible to achieve Amendment 54’s legitimate purpose without substantially rewriting the Amendment from the bench; therefore, we find the entire Amendment unconstitutional.”   The Supreme Court recognized that Amendment 54 “could not be salvaged as a meaningful legislative enactment.”

Judge Catherine Lemon granted a preliminary injunction after a two-day hearing in June in Denver District Court.  In her written order of injunction, Judge Lemon concluded that Amendment 54 was overboard and contained multiple unconstitutional provisions.   The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the lawsuit on December 3.

The plaintiffs included Kerrie Dallman, Dan Ritchie, Laurence Botnick, Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, Pat Hamill, the Aurora Fire Fighters Protective Association, The Children’s Hospital, the School District 14 Classroom Teachers Association and Political Action Committee, The Colorado Seminary and the University of Denver.

The full opinion can be found here:
Source: Press Release   (Posted 10:32a)

The three final candidates under consideration to become the ninth President of Fort Lewis College will meet with all of the college’s communities when they visit the campus and Durango during the weeks of February 22, 2010 and March 1, 2010, the Board of Trustees for Fort Lewis College announced today.

“We are pleased to present the presidential finalists and look forward to their upcoming visits,” said Richard Ballantine, chair of the Board of Trustees. “We think they are strong candidates and have the potential to provide exceptional leadership at Fort Lewis College as it meets the challenge and capitalizes on the opportunity the next decade offers.”

The finalists designated by the Board include, in alphabetical order:

Dr. Elizabeth S. Grobsmith, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dr. Grobsmith will visit the campus on March 3-4.

Dr. Dene Kay Thomas, President, Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, Idaho. Dr. Thomas will visit the campus March 1-2.

Dr. Kent M. Tingey, Vice President for Advancement, Idaho State University, Pocatello, Idaho. Dr. Tingey will visit the campus February 24-25.

Schedules of the visits can be seen at, along with their complete curriculum vitae.

The board plans to make a decision by the end of March, after receiving comments from the all of the college’s communities following the candidates’ visits. The finalists were selected from candidates recommended by a ten-person Presidential Search Committee, with representatives from the faculty, students, staff, administration, Durango and the board.

“We screened 110 very qualified candidates from all over the country, as well as a couple of international candidates,” said Dr. Peter R. Decker, a trustee and chair of the committee. “The committee and the board were very impressed with the quality of the candidates who applied, which included a number of sitting presidents as well as candidates from outside the academy. Clearly, academic leaders from across the country are impressed with Fort Lewis College and want to participate in its future development.”

Dr. Decker emphasized that the Board of Trustees will place a great deal of importance on the comments it receives following the campus visits. He encouraged all faculty, students, staff, administrators and members of the Durango community to participate.

“My colleagues and I need to hear what the campus and community think of these candidates because we are hiring a new president at a critical time in the college’s history,” Dr. Decker said. “It’s essential for this new leader to have strong support.”

He encouraged students and faculty to contact their representatives on the board, Dr. Charles Riggs and Michelle Kinney, who will participate in the discussions. The Board of Trustees will also hold a special meeting on March 16, 2010 to hear public comment on the candidates from 9 a.m. to noon, in a location yet to be determined. Comments can be emailed directly to the board at Anonymous comments can be submitted at
Source: Press Release   (Posted 10:19a)