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News in Brief

The Aspen Times has a new phone system. The Times’ main number, (970) 925-3414, has not changed, and the fax numbers have not changed. The public still can reach any employee by calling the main number and asking for him or her by name. A receptionist will still answer the phone during the day.However, all the employee extensions within the building have changed. If you’re accustomed to contacting your favorite reporter or sales representative using his or her three-digit extension, you’ll have to learn a new five-digit extension.Each employee also has a direct-dial line, so don’t be afraid to ask for the number.Please be patient if you encounter any problems reaching us.

DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has for the first time cited an oil company for alleged erosion violations, the Rocky Mountain News and The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.EnCana, one of the largest oil and gas producers, is accused of a failure to control contamination, inadequate erosion control and failure to stem the flow of sediment from drilling sites spread across hundreds of thousands of acres.The alleged violations in the Mamm Creek gas field south of Rifle and Silt and the Paradox Basin gas field in Montrose and San Miguel counties were described in an 11-page document given to the company.The violations were “pretty systematic” and likely would result in a monetary penalty, said Steve Gunderson, chief of the health department’s water quality division. He would not estimate the amount of fines.His department assumed control of regulation of water quality at oil sites three weeks ago, rejecting complaints from the industry that it lacked authority to do so.”I expect that EnCana will work in good faith and work well with us,” Gunderson said. “They’re a company that takes their responsibility seriously and I expect that they’ll work to improve their processes.”

DENVER (AP) – Mayor John Hickenlooper, who initially said he had no interest in running for governor, now is dropping hints that he might, the Rocky Mountain News reported Saturday.Hickenlooper made his comments during an affordable housing conference.”I don’t think the governor’s job could be as much fun as the mayor’s job,” Hickenlooper said after an audience member asked if he will run for governor. “But I do believe now it probably has greater impact.”You know, my plan was only to give 10 or 15 years to public service. If you’re going to look at it that way, you should probably try to be as useful and have [the] maximum impact as you can.””So it’s a balancing act of what you love and what you know [in the mayor’s role] vs. maybe having more impact in a different place,” Hickenlooper continued.Hickenlooper promised to make a decision soon. “Certainly within the next few days I promise we will get it figured out,” Hickenlooper said. “I know people are sick of talking about it.”Republican candidates in the race include U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez and former University of Denver President Marc Holtzman. Democratic candidates are former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter and state Rep. Gary Lindstrom of Breckenridge.


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