News, December 11th

DRILLING REGS DEBATED

DENVER (AP) – Colorado gas-and-oil regulators are debating new rules for water quality and drilling near homes. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will not make a final decision on water quality testing until January at the earliest. The rule would require water-quality testing before and after a well is drilled and hydraulically fractured. The commission is debating a separate rule change about buffer zones between wells and houses. That rule would require consultation with building owners within 1,000 feet of a proposed well.

BASALT SEARCHES FOR NEW POLICE CHIEF

ASPEN (AP) – A local newspaper is suing for access to documents about former Basalt police chief Roderick O’Connor. The paper filed suit Saturday to force the town to release an investigation report on the professional conduct of O’Connor. The lawsuit seeks a hearing to determine if the investigation documents should be released under the Colorado Open Records Act.
O’Connor was placed on paid administrative leave in October after the town received a complaint from within the department about him. The nature of the complaint has never been revealed. Basalt’s attorney said the documents are protected as part of a personnel matter. O’Connor resigned Nov. 23. Town officials say finding O’Connor’s replacement will take 4 to 5 months.

LEGALIZED WEED

DENVER (AP) – Colorado wasn’t the first state to legalize marijuana, and officials wanted to keep the adoption of a voter-approved pot amendment low key.
Their plans worked perfectly Monday, when Gov. John Hickenlooper took a final procedural step to legalize marijuana on a blustery morning weeks before his deadline. He announced his declaration after the fact.
When Washington state became the first in the nation to legalize pot last week, celebrants lit up outside the Space Needle and other landmarks. Colorado saw only a handful of marijuana activists gather outside the state Capitol to smoke. Both states prohibit smoking marijuana publicly but no one was arrested in either.
Washington’s marijuana enactment date was set by voters, setting up a public countdown. But in Colorado, the governor had flexibility on when to finalize the amendment.

MISSING BOY FACEBOOK SCAM

DURANGO (AP) – Authorities say someone is trying to capitalize on a missing boy case in Durango and scam people out of money by sending messages via Facebook demanding ransom money. A person is falsely claiming to be a new resident of the area and is asking for $1,000 for a photo of Dylan Redwine and another $4,000 for the 13-year-old boy’s release. A task force comprised of the sheriff’s office, FBI and other law enforcement agencies is conducting a criminal investigation into Dylan’s Nov. 19 disappearance from this father’s Vallecito home near Durango. Authorities have released few details but say they do not believe that Dylan ran away. About 300 people searched the area on Saturday and found some clues that were collected for future reference.

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