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April 25, 2013
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News Briefs 4-26-13

Our friends at the Glenwood Post Independent recently reported that officials continue to detect benzene, a carcinogenic compound often associated with natural gas activities, in the area where a leak of natural gas liquids has contaminated an unknown volume of soil and groundwater alongside Parachute Creek.

According to a recent report from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, benzene was detected during last weekend at the same three sites where it was first found on April 18.

It's been reported that the concentration of benzene at the closest point to the valve set, 1,800 feet away, on Saturday was three parts benzene per billion parts water. In the subsequent two days, no benzene was detected at that location on Sunday, and 3 ppb was reported on Monday. Analysis of samples taken at the more distant sites showed the concentration of benzene decreasing at each site and decreasing as samples were taken farther from the supposed source of the leak.

Safe drinking water standard for benzene is 5 ppb, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

According to a recent Associated Press report, shelter dogs and cats may be "designated Colorado's state pet with a bill under consideration by lawmakers."

The bill will go to the House this week for discussion, and supporters say it helps kids learn about "the legislative process" and it "sends a positive message about caring for animals."

"Colorado already has an official state animal, the Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, and a state bird, the lark bunting," the report said. "Opponents of the bill say it creates a designation for a business transaction and that some of the shelter dogs and cats are possibly not even from Colorado."

In a recent news release issued from the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce, it was announced that councilor-elect Rick Brainard resigned from his spot on the Chamber Board earlier this month.

"Mr. Brainard has not sought direction from this organization about the charges against him or his future plans regarding serving on the City Council," the news release said. "The voters who elected Mr. Brainard have every right to determine whether he will continue to serve."

The release continued: "This incident has brought increased attention to the issue of domestic violence. We hope the community will openly discuss this issue and ensure adequate resources are available for those at risk."

Brainard has yet to resign from his place on the City of Grand Junction City Council, to which he was elected in early April. Brainard was arrested April 6 for an alleged third-degree assault on his live-in girlfriend, and since then the community has rallied loudly in favor of his resignation.

New council members will be sworn to office May 6.

All but one GJ City Council member present at the April 17 City Council meeting voted in favor of a resolution asking embattled councilor-elect Rick Brainard to resign. Brainard was arrested April 6 for alleged third-degree domestic assault and harassment against a live-in girlfriend. Local residents have rallied, asking for Brainard to step down.

Councilor Teresa Coons was not present at the meeting, thus did not vote for the resolution. In a statement sent to the Free Press, Coons said:

"First, let me be perfectly clear - I do not now, nor can I ever condone domestic violence, whether it be against woman, man, or child. Nor do I believe that the use of physical or verbal abuse is a proper way to solve problems or vent frustration in any situation. I also believe that those of us who are public figures (elected or not) should expect to be held to a higher standard and be willing to serve as role models with respect to our behavior in difficult situations.

"That said, although many of us may feel that it would be a good decision - for a number of reasons - for Mr. Brainard to voluntarily choose not to serve on City Council at this time, it is also important that we follow the proper process and procedures that are in place to protect the rights of both our citizens and those of Mr. Brainard. Should Mr. Brainard choose to respond to public requests that he step down, I strongly urge whichever Council has the responsibility for choosing his replacement to take care that they follow the highest ethical standards and avoid any appearance of 'conflict of interest' in making their selection."

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The Post Independent Updated Apr 25, 2013 06:02PM Published Apr 25, 2013 04:46PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.