Local News Briefs | PostIndependent.com

Local News Briefs

Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Kathleen Curry, House District 61 representative, has filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to overturn the language in the Colorado Constitution that limits monetary contributions to unaffiliated and minor party candidates.

Curry, who switched from Democrat to unaffiliated in January, is running for re-election as a write-in candidate after she lost another lawsuit in an attempt to get on the ballot.

In her current lawsuit, which was filed by her attorney on Thursday, Curry is going through legal channels to fight a campaign finance rule that limits the amount of money that unaffiliated candidates can accept.

“I was informed early on in the campaign by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office that I can accept only half the donation amount that my opponents can accept,” Curry said in a news release. The reason for this rule is that unaffiliated candidates do not have primaries.

Curry’s lawyer, Bill Zimsky, believes the limitation on donations to Curry’s campaign violates the first and 14th amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

Curry admits that the lawsuit could be futile this late in the election year, but she said she hopes the lawsuit brings attention to the issue regardless of the outcome.

“I think it is a worthwhile effort regardless. We need to eliminate the discriminatory practices set forth in the current law whether or not the results impact the current election cycle. The goal is to even the playing field for all candidates running for office,” she said in the news release.

Republican Luke Korkowski and Democrat Roger Wilson are also vying for the District 61 set. This is Curry’s third term in the district.

Plans to pave a roughly 2.5-mile section of the Rio Grande Trail in the Woody Creek area, and provide a separate soft-surface trail for equestrians and mountain bikers, is moving ahead.

The Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board of trustees, meeting in Aspen on Thursday, gave the nod to putting what is estimated as a $1.2 million project out to bid. There is about $920,000 available to do the work and that may be enough, according to Gary Tennenbaum, land steward for Open Space and Trails. The county is aiming to do the work this fall.

The trail segment between Pitkin Iron and the W/J Ranch area is part of a longer section of the trail that currently has a gravel surface. The paving will give road bikers an option to avoid sharing a narrow, steep stretch of McLain Flats Road with traffic, including the multitude of dump trucks accessing the Elam Construction gravel pit.

A separate easement has been acquired along much of the segment in order to provide the soft-surface trail. Woody Creek Development, Holy Cross Energy and Elam Construction Inc. have all agreed to provide easements that will allow a separate, gravel trail on a bench of sagebrush.

A new bridge is planned at the lower end of the trail segment, crossing Woody Creek, for both the hard and soft surfaces. There was at one time a railroad trestle serving the Rio Grande, but it was removed when the railroad was abandoned and pulled up, said Dale Will, open space and trails director.

The Rio Grande Trail, a popular 42-mile bicycle and pedestrian link between Aspen and Glenwood Springs, is almost completely paved. A stretch from Stein Park outside of Aspen to a point above Woody Creek will remain gravel after the planned paving work is done.

The Town to Town Tour, a wintertime nordic and snowshoe tour from Aspen to Basalt, will return for a third running in January after a year’s hiatus.

The sponsor, the Basalt-based Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, decided not to hold the event last winter given the fundraising challenges posed by the recession.

Now, the organization is looking at cutting costs and seeking sponsors for a Jan. 22, 2011 tour, said RFOV staffer Karin Teague, who secured a $2,500 commitment to the event from the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board of trustees on Thursday.

“The Town to Town Tour event is one, I think, that is a great way to have people celebrate the Rio Grande Trail in the dead of winter,” Teague said.

This time, the tour will end in downtown Basalt (the Roaring Fork Club and Basalt High School were the end points for prior tours) and local restaurants will be involved in supplying the post-tour food, she said.

RFOV’s goal is to make the event a sustainable, self-supporting event, Teague said.

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