Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Dennis Hall to the 1st Judicial District bench, filling a vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Peter A. Weir. The appointment is effective immediately.
“Dennis’ background as a special prosecutor and deputy district attorney will suit him well on the District Court bench,” Ritter said. “His experience and dedication to the law will be an asset to the community and the people of the 1st Judicial District.”
Hall previously served as the senior deputy district attorney for Jefferson County, heading the special prosecutions unit. He has worked in the District Attorney’s Office since 1983. His caseload consists of grand jury investigations and various types of complex criminal prosecutions such as financial crimes, racketeering and homicides.
Hall also speaks to law enforcement groups regarding the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act and grand jury procedures. He served on the Wheat Ridge City Council from 1993 to 1995. He received his bachelor’s degree from Carleton College in 1976 and his law degree from theUniversity of Colorado in 1982.
The 1st Judicial District serves Jefferson and Gilpin counties.
The initial term of office for a district court judge is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent will have a term of six years if approved by the voters.
Hall fills the vacancy created when Ritter appointed Weir to serve as executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Safety.
Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the formation of a Business Advisory Group to help the administration shape a 21st Century economic-development agenda that will benefit the entire state of Colorado.
“I’m pleased that such a talented and diverse group of business leaders has agreed to advise me and my economic-development team,” Ritter said. “Much of what I hope to accomplish around renewable energy, transportation, education and health care must be part of a broader economic-development strategy. This team will help us lay out a comprehensive vision that places an emphasis on creating economic opportunity for all.”
The 20-member advisory group held its first meeting on Feb. 1. It will meet monthly during the legislative session and bi-monthly after that. The group is co-chaired by Rick Sapkin, managing partner of Edgemark Development and head of Colorado Concern, and Pat Vincent, president of Xcel Energy’s Colorado operations.
“The Business Advisory Group will be a bi-partisan effort to work on business issues that are in the best interests of Colorado,” said Pat Vincent, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. “We will look at economic development opportunities that benefit all residents in all parts of the state.”
Other members include: Reeves Brown, head of the Western Slope’s Club 20 organization; Rob Cohen, chairman and CEO of the IMA Financial Group Inc. and chair of the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce board; Hubert Farbes, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt and Farber;Craig Ferraro, partner and CFO of East West Partners; John Ikard, president and CEO of FirstBank Holding Co.; Walter Isenberg, founder of Sage Hospitality; Annette Quintana, co-founder of TeamExcel Inc.; Ann Sperling, former senior managing director of Trammell Crow Co.; Wellington Webb, former mayor of Denver and head of The Webb Group.
“This is a broad group of business people who can be a sounding board for the governor so he can ask hard and pointed questions, and get honest and direct answers,” Sapkin said.
Ritter developed the idea for the advisory group during his campaign for governor, when numerous constituency groups formed to support his candidacy. Similar advisory groups representing other communities of interest also will be named in the coming months.
Colorado Renewable Energy Leaders to Sign Historic “Collaboratory” Agreement
Leaders from four state and federal research institutions will gather Wednesday to sign the historic “Collaboratory” agreement that will establish Colorado as the renewable energy capital of the country.
The agreement brings together the Colorado School of Mines, Colorado State University, Universityof Colorado and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to form the Colorado Renewable Energy Collaboratory. The Collaboratory will direct cutting-edge research-and-development projects that will power Colorado‘s new energy economy.
WHAT: Signing ceremony for the landmark Collaboratory agreement.
Myles W. “Bill” Scoggins, Ph.D., President, Colorado School
Larry Edward Penley, Ph.D., President, Colorado State University
G. P. “Bud” Peterson, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of Colorado at Boulder
Dan Arvizu, Ph.D., Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
WHEN: 9:15 to 10 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007
WHERE: State Capitol, West Steps (West Foyer in case of inclement weather)
Also speaking at the signing ceremony will be U.S. Senators Ken Salazar and Wayne Allard, Gov.Bill Ritter, and U.S. Reps. Mark Udall and Ed Perlmutter.
The Collaboratory was created in 2006 when former Gov. Bill Owens signed House Bill 06-1322. The law dedicates $2 million a year for three years as matching funds for federal dollars. The idea for the Collaboratory was formed in January 2006 during discussions led by Sen. Salazar at the Renewable Energy Summit, which Salazar organized and hosted.
RITTER TO VISIT MONTROSE ON TUESDAY TO MARK
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORP.’S 50th ANNIVERSARY
Gov. Bill Ritter is scheduled to visit Montrose on Tuesday for the swearing-in of new 7th Judicial District Judge Jeff Herron and to deliver the keynote address at the Montrose Economic Development Corp.’s 50th anniversary dinner.
Ritter appointed Herron to the District Court bench last week to replace retiring Judge Dennis P. Freidrich. Herron’s swearing-in is scheduled for 4:30 to 5 p.m., with the location in Montrose still to be determined.
Later Tuesday, Ritter will deliver the keynote speech at the Montrose Economic Development Corp.’s 50th anniversary celebration.
“I’m honored to recognize the half-century of accomplishments the MEDC has achieved,” Ritter said. “The organization’s dedication to economic growth and business development, and its commitment to improving the area’s quality of life, serve as perfect examples of how we can move Colorado forward together.
“It gives me great pleasure to congratulate the Montrose Economic Development Corp. for all it has accomplished in its first 50 years, and my best wishes for continued success over the next 50 years,” Ritter said.
The celebration goes from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Montrose Pavilion,
1800 Pavilion Drive
Gov. Bill Ritter today signed an executive order dissolving the 2-year-old Office of Colorado Benefits Management System (CBMS), a move that will save taxpayers nearly $200,000 annually.
The CBMS office was created in May 2005 to manage a new eligibility and payment system for social services, health care and other benefits administered and distributed by Colorado‘s 64 counties.
Prior to creation of the office, the Colorado Departments of Human Services and Health Care Policy and Financing oversaw management and operations of the benefits system. Ritter’s executive order returns those responsibilities to the two departments.
“Maintaining a separate Office of CBMS within the Governor’s Office is no longer necessary or efficient,” Ritter said. “Thanks to a new spirit of cross-departmental cooperation and accountability, we can save the taxpayers money and deliver services more efficiently by signing this executive order.”
“The change will be seamless and transparent to counties and beneficiaries,” the governor said. “The departments are committed to ensuring the smooth delivery of services and benefits.”
The savings will be achieved by eliminating the positions of office director and administrative assistant. “I want to thank Dr. John Witwer, who served as director of the Office of CBMS from May 2005 until December 2006 and instituted needed reforms and changes,” Ritter said.
Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Jeff B. Herron of Montrose to serve as a District Court judge in western Colorado‘s 7th Judicial District. Effective immediately, the appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Dennis P. Freidrich.
“Jeff’s experience as a magistrate and judge has given him a deep understanding of the law and the judicial system,” Ritter said. “His long service to the citizens of the 7th Judicial District also has provided him with a profound understanding of the people and the area.”
Herron has served as the District Court magistrate for the 7th Judicial District since April 2006. His many years of dedicated public service include three years as a Palisade municipal judge, three years as a Grand Junction alternate municipal judge and two years as a Mesa Countyguardian ad litem. He also served as a public defender in Trinidad and Grand Junction. Herron earned his law degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1983.
The 7th Judicial District includes Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
The initial term of office for a judicial district judge is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent will have a term of six years if approved by the voters.
Gov. Bill Ritter and General Motors on Thursday will announce a new partnership that will lead to increased availability of E85 ethanol in Colorado.
WHAT: Gov. Ritter and General Motors news conference to announce the increased availability of E85 ethanol in Colorado.
WHEN: 10 to 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, 2007
WHERE: West Steps of the Capitol
(Inclement weather location: West Foyer, inside the Capitol)
Christine Milligan, Mullen for General Motors, 978.468.8951 or 917.841.2098,
GOV. RITTER CRITICIZES USDA DENIAL & VOWS TO KEEP
WORKING WITH CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION FOR AID
Gov. Bill Ritter today criticized the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s denial of a disaster declaration for 10 Colorado counties devastated by back-to-back December blizzards.
“I’m disappointed,” Ritter said. “The USDA based its denial on criteria that are nearly impossible to meet given the nature of the storms. Our ranchers, farmers and cattlemen sustained immediate losses, and they’ll continue to incur losses for months to come, that do not fit neatly into the USDA parameters.”
The USDA bases its secretarial disaster declarations on 30 percent production losses rather than direct economic losses.
“It’s difficult to ascertain those losses when there’s still so much snow on the ground, when damage is still being uncovered, and when so much more loss is yet to come,” Ritter said.
“I will keep working with our congressional delegation to pressure the USDA to reconsider,” the governor added. “I also will continue urging the delegation to support legislation that will provide grants and other aid to help farmers, ranchers and cattlemen recover from the storms.”
Ritter said Colorado Department of Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp is in Washington D.C.today meeting with members of the delegation.
The 10 counties denied the disaster declarations are Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Otero and Prowers.
Without the USDA disaster designation, farmers and ranchers will not be eligible for other USDA funding or low-interest operating loans. The USDA has made low-interest loans available for physical losses in response to a request by Gov. Ritter.
In a letter sent to the congressional delegation Feb. 1, Ritter requested immediate action to make grants and other funds available. Those funds would help ranchers recover costs of purchasing feed, the costs associated with rescuing stranded livestock and disposing of livestock carcasses.
Ritter said today it will now be important for any congressional action to be independent of the USDA disaster declaration.
Monica Jo Gomez named to Douglas County Court
Gov. Bill Ritter today announced his first judicial appointment: Monica Jo Gomez to the Douglas County Court bench. Effective March 5, the appointment fills the vacancy created by the retirement of the Hon. Grafton F. Biddle.
“Monica brings a deep respect for the law and an even deeper respect for the people she’s touched in the legal system,” Ritter said. “Her legal background, professionalism and dedication make her a perfect choice for this new role.”
A resident of Parker, Gomez is currently a district court magistrate judge in the 4th Judicial District. As a magistrate judge, she presided over felony drug and misdemeanor cases and reviewed search and arrest warrants. She also has served as an assistant attorney general and as a state public defender in the 4th and 18th Judicial Districts. Her areas of practice have included criminal law, employment law, family law, and workers’ compensation.
Gomez also served as an assistant professor of legal writing and as an adjunct professor of basic criminal procedure at the University of Denver. In addition, she has served as president of the Hispanic Bar Association in El Paso County, and was the Colorado State Public Defender Bootcamper of the Year. Gomez received her B.A. from the University of Northern Colorado and her law degree from the University of New Mexico Law School.
The initial term of office for a county court judge is a provisional term of two years; thereafter, the incumbent will have a term of four years if approved by the voters.