In Brief: Spiritual teacher at Aspen Chapel; wine at the supermarket this week; Colorado senators jump in postal crisis |

In Brief: Spiritual teacher at Aspen Chapel; wine at the supermarket this week; Colorado senators jump in postal crisis

Staff Report

James Finley presents ‘Awakening Mystical Awareness’

One of this country’s leading meditation teachers, James Finley, will be speaking He will be speaking at the Aspen Chapel from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, chapel officials announced.

According to organizers: Finley entered the Trappist Monastery of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani in 1961 and spent six years with Thomas Merton, who acted as his spiritual director, giving him insight into the life of the man who has defined the practice of meditation and contemplation for many people today.

After being released from the order, he has become a spiritual teacher in his own right, writing books and conducting retreats all over the world, chapel officials said. A faculty member at the Center for Action and Contemplation, he is the author of “Merton’s Palace of Nowhere” and “The Contemplative Heart,” and the host of the Center for Action and Contemplation’s podcast “Turning to the Mystics.” 


Wine joins beer on the supermarket shelf starting Wednesday

It’s almost wine-o-clock.

As Coloradans browse the aisles of their local grocery and convenience stores in March, looking for the right loaf of bread or reasonably priced eggs, they will soon have a new option for soothing their inflation-squeezed shopping experience: wine.

That’s because voters in November approved a ballot initiative allowing wine to be sold in grocery and convenience stores. Proposition 125 narrowly passed with 50.6% of voters in favor.

Both grocery and convenience stores with a license to sell beer can begin selling wine March 1. That’s approximately 1,900 licensees as of this month, according to the Department of Revenue. They’ll also be able to offer beer and wine tastings. 

The Colorado Licensed Beverage Association, which represents small liquor retailers, opposed the measure and warns that its members could be crushed by the change.

“While many liquor stores will adapt and outsell grocery stores because of their selection, we foresee approximately a third of the 1,600 independent liquor stores across the state are in danger of losing their business,” said Chris Fine, executive director of the organization. 

The measure also didn’t change any other existing alcohol-sales rules, such as the prohibition of sales between midnight and 8 a.m., and no alcohol sales to anyone under 21. 

Stores that plan to immediately add wine at all of their Colorado locations include Trader Joe’s, King Soopers and Safeway. 

— Colorado Sun

Senators jump in postal crisis

Last week Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper sent a letter to the U.S. Postal Service’s top leadership, inviting them to visit to experience the service and delivery challenges facing many communities’ post offices.  

The letter is addressed not only to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy but also to Joshua Colin, the agency’s chief retail and delivery officer and executive vice president.

“Our office has worked closely with the Colorado-Wyoming USPS district office on these issues, and it is clear that the district is strapped for resources and attention from Washington. We’re hopeful Postmaster DeJoy and USPS leadership will come to Colorado to see the challenges their staff and our communities face firsthand,” Bennet said in a prepared statement.

Campaign finance complaint vs. Garfield County sheriff dropped

A complaint alleging campaign finance violations filed against Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario was dismissed last week, the sheriff’s office announced in a news release.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold made the decision on Feb. 22. It constitutes final agency action on the part of the Secretary of State’s Office.

The complaint was originally filed by David Wheeler, president of American Muckrakers PAC, Inc., on Sept. 2, 2022. American Muckrakers is a North Carolina political action committee registered with the Federal Election Commission.

Vallario, using his position and email account, was specifically accused of encouraging voters to support ultra-conservative Silt Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District and call out her opponent in last year’s primaries, Don Coram.

The sheriff’s office said the allegations were unsubstantiated and used to harass Vallario over his support of Boebert. This is supported by the Secretary of State’s findings that “while the PAC is involved in high-profile federal congressional races, it does not appear to be involved in any state-level campaigns,” the release states. 

“Except for the campaign of Sheriff Vallario, which was obviously a state-level campaign,” the release states.

The sheriff’s office also called the allegations against Vallario politically motivated and frivolous, saying Vallario “was confident that he had committed no violations” and that “he remained steadfast in his confidence that the outcome would be dismissal, as it was.”

“I’ve been an elected official for 20 years and this is not my first rodeo,” Vallario said in the release. “I am fully aware of my boundaries within the law. It is unfortunate that people from out of state do not understand, nor take the time to become educated on Colorado law.”

Park City electeds fight for local control of housing

There’s a housing crisis in Utah. State legislators and the governor have indicated they see increasing supply as part of the solution and implied Summit County doesn’t play well with developers. 

But the County Courthouse, arguing for local control, says those on Capitol Hill don’t understand what it’s like to live in the Park City area.

“It’s hard to really believe this idea of fixing Utah’s housing crisis, this notion that they had to pass this legislation, S.B. 84, to fix a housing problem is simply pretext,” Summit County Council Chair Roger Armstrong said in an interview after Wednesday’s work session with Dakota Pacific Real Estate developers. 

Craig lurches toward riverside rec project

The Yampa River Corridor Project has pushed back its timeline to break ground, but the delay is giving city officials more time to seek additional grant funding for the project, which aims to boost outdoor recreation in Craig and improve the city’s river infrastructure. 

The river project, which has been in the works for several years, was anticipated to break ground in fall 2022 after the city received a $3.3 million Economic Development Administration Assistance to Coal Communities Grant for the project. However, as a part of the EDA funding, additional approvals and permits were required, which delayed the project’s start. 

Melanie Kilpatrick, the city’s executive assistant who has been managing the project, said the delay has given the city more time to secure additional grant funding, as well as resources for grant administration. 

Spotted owl proposed for threatened list in Sierra Nevada

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list the California spotted-owl population in the Sierra Nevada as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

The agency has determined that the California spotted owl is comprised of two geographically- and genetically-distinct population segments, the Coastal-Southern California population and the Sierra Nevada population. The agency is proposing to list the Coastal-Southern California population as endangered and the Sierra Nevada population as threatened.

As part of this proposed listing, the Fish and Wildlife Service is including a rule for the Sierra Nevada owls that exempts the prohibition of take under the Endangered Species Act for forest-fuels management activities that reduce the risk of large-scale, high-severity wildfire.

“Our goal is to help the California spotted owl recover across its range,” said Michael Fris, field supervisor of the agency’s Sacramento Fish and Wildlife office. “Ongoing collaboration with a number of partners will result in positive conservation gains and put this species on the road to recovery.”