Kara MasonKara MasonFebruary 8, 20183min753

Last April, U.S. Potato Council CEO John Keeling sent a letter to President Donald Trump outlining some ways the new administration could improve the potato industry.

Mostly, Keeling said NAFTA could use some work, but pulling out of the agreement altogether would be catastrophic for potato farmers, such as the ones nestled in Colorado’s San Luis Valley where Keeling spoke this week for the 2018 Southern Rocky Mountain Agricultural Conference and Trade Fair.

In last year’s letter Keeling said:

The potato industry believes that potato exports to Mexico could grow to $500 million annually with full unrestricted access for all U.S. fresh and processed potatoes. Those same conditions would produce exports of Canada of $300 million annually. These increased sales would generate additional jobs on-farms, in agricultural processing, in transportation and other related sectors. As potatoes are produced in 35 states these new U.S. jobs would occur throughout rural America.

So, how’s the president doing? Keeling reported to the conference in Monte Vista on Tuesday that while there’s been some major changes in the White House, there’s also a lot of the same.

Alamosa News reports:

For example, he said although congress passed the tax bill, it did so in too much of a hurry and did not think it through thoroughly or give it the attention to detail it required, which resulted in some problems that will have to be remedied.

At last year’s conference Keeling anticipated that the Trump Administration would enact regulatory reform, as that was one of Trump’s goals.

“The Trump Administration has brought a new attitude towards regulation,” Keeling said.

Keeling told the audience a shakeup at the Environmental Protection Agency has been a positive change, as has some related executive orders on regulations, according to the news report.

Another hot topic for the potato farmers at the conference was immigration.

“We need a comprehensive reform, need border security, need guest worker workforce that can work in agriculture, come to this country, work and go home and some way to keep people working in agriculture who might not be completely documented,” Keeling reportedly said.


Jessica MachettaDecember 1, 20175min929
Glenwood Springs city attorney Karl Hanlon has announced he is running for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, reports the Post Independent Citizen Telegram. “Over the last several months, I have spoken with many people about the challenges we face in western and southern Colorado. In those conversations, the thing I’ve heard over and over is that […]

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Kara MasonKara MasonOctober 23, 20172min743

Last week Alamosa’s city manager said the city finance director had such a “sophisticated” embezzlement scheme it was difficult for even city auditors to crack the case.

In July, Amanda McDonald was charged with theft, embezzlement of public property, unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, and first degree official misconduct, according to a city news release. A warrant was also issued for her arrest.

McDonald, who was fired in October following a lengthy period of “restricted access” to city finances following a city audit, allegedly misappropriated $65,000 in city funds and provided health insurance to a family member, which supposedly cost the city around $400,000.

Alamosa City Manager Heather Brooks said during a recent city council candidate forum that the theft occurred “in very small amounts,” according to the Alamosa News.

More from the San Luis Valley newspaper:

“Some of the techniques that were used were very good and sophisticated where the auditors and even additional services were not able to find them,” Brooks explained.

Brooks also stressed that while the case was still proceeding through the court system, “everything I say is allegedly because nobody’s been found guilty.”

McDonald’s case is scheduled in court again in December. But the Alamosa News reports she is “accepting a plea agreement that includes a deferred judgment on a felony unauthorized use of transaction device charge and a straight plea to a misdemeanor theft charge.”




Marianne GoodlandMarianne GoodlandSeptember 9, 201711min421
If you think paying for the state’s transportation wishlist at an estimated $9 billion is expensive, you haven’t seen anything yet. Meet water. When it was released in 2015, the state water plan estimated the cost to implement its recommendations — just to handle an expected population surge of 3 to 5 million people by 2050 […]

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Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinNovember 4, 20164min382

The presidential candidates and their surrogates are making Colorado appearances right and left as the final countdown to Election Day enters the last few days. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump returns to the state for a 9:30 p.m. rally Saturday, Nov. 5, at the National Western Complex in Denver. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Find ticket information here.