NEWS, JUNE 29TH

Garfield County–The Pine Ridge Fire near Debeque is now 5 percent contained but has burned over 12 thousand acres. The lightning ignited fire quickly blew up late yesterday spreading from 15-hundred acres to 10 thousand. The fire kicked up a lot of smoke and ash throughout western Colorado. For up to date information on fires and impending evacuations, go to garco911.org or garcopublicinfo.org.

Colorado Springs–The Air Force has now joined the fight against the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire. For the first time since 2008, all 8 of the specially-equipped c-130’s are capable of dumping up to 3 thousand gallons of water or slurry on the flames. The fire is about 15 percent contained and has destroyed a state record 346 homes. That number is expected to grow with more estimates.

DENVER (AP) – Former Republican Gov. Bill Owens says President Barack Obama’s visit to fire-ravaged Colorado is a distraction. Owens said yesterday that Obama’s planned visit to Colorado Springs today diverts “time, equipment, energy and resources” from fighting wildfires. Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach says he appreciates the visit – and plans to ask for cash.

DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that voted ballots are public records open to inspection by any citizen. The ruling Thursday ends a three-year-old lawsuit against Aspen City Hall by Aspen resident Marilyn Marks, who ran against incumbent Mayor Mick Ireland and lost. The city opposed making the ballots public, saying it would violate voter secrecy. Pitkin County election officials agreed to allow limited inspection of ballots cast in the 2010 election after the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled ballots must be made public as long as they don’t identify voters.

DENVER (AP) – Colorado business leaders are cheering as a temporary 2.9 percent state sales-and-use tax on the industrial purchase of energy comes to an end. A measure passed by lawmakers in 2010 temporarily eliminated the sales-and-use tax exclusion for energy. Businesses say the tax cost them about $26 million. The Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry that lobbies for businesses says the tax hurt businesses across the state that need energy to manufacture their products.

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