News, October 16th

Glenwood Springs–The lawsuit against Garfield County over the controversial March 27th meeting in Vernal, Utah has been settled out of court. The suit, filed by the Western Colorado Congress, Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance and Paul Light accused the Board of County Commissioners of holding an illegal, closed-door meeting with Uintah County Commissioners to discuss a resolution opposing the BLM’s plan for oil shale in the region. Garfield County Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky say they did nothing wrong or illegal. However, they agree an out of court settlement saves taxpayers a lot of money. The Board did agree to pay over 75-hundred dollars in attorney’s fees.

Glenwood Springs–Garfield County’s air isn’t too bad after all. According to data gathered over the last four years, the air is right in line with federal standards. County Environmental Health Director Paul Reaser while some areas showed occasional spikes in certain chemicals and toxins, it wasn’t enough to cause alarm. Reaser says the ambient air quality monitoring is set to expire next year. He says it should continue.

DENVER – Campaigns to legalize marijuana for recreational use in three Western states are courting conservatives to endorse their cause. Most Republicans – including Mitt Romney – oppose making pot legal in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. But a handful of conservatives have signed on. They include former presidential hopefuls Tom Tancredo and Ron Paul, as well as the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson. Legalization activists are appealing to Western individualism, states’ rights and a mistrust of federal government to make their case to conservatives. Tancredo, a former Republican congressman from Colorado, compares the federal government’s prohibition on marijuana to New York City’s ban on sugary sodas.

DENVER – A spokesman for Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is dismissing a call for an investigation of a complaint that Gessler misused state funds to return from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. Andrew Cole says the allegations by Ethics Watch are a partisan attack and are unfounded. Colorado Ethics Watch said Monday it filed a complaint with the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission, asking the commission to investigate allegations that Gessler misappropriated public funds when he attended a Republican election law training event and the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

GRAND JUNCTION – More than 120 employees of the Choice Hotels call center in Mesa County have been told that the company plans to close and move the center to Phoenix. Choice Hotels said about two dozen positions would be shifting to a new location, and some of the employees would be offered the option to transfer. About 40 people who work from home will be offered jobs with a new company. The company says the call center handled up to 4.5 million reservation calls a year, but that number has been steadily declining. The group also wants a criminal investigation. Gessler says death threats were made against his family in August, prompting his early return from the Republican convention.