Statetap: Tables turn on DA Frank Ruybalid, now on probation

Third Judicial District Attorney Frank Ruybalid who oversees prosecution in Las Animas and Huerfano counties will spend the next 23 months on probation for mishandling cases, breaking court rules and withholding evidence from defense attorneys. Some of those botched cases include charges of second-degree murder, child abuse, domestic violence and assault cases that never went to trial. During probation, Ruybalid can’t break any court rules, must attend an ethics class and accept monitoring by an attorney. His office will also face a “practice audit” to review and improve operations. “It’s a fair result,” Attorney Regulation Counsel James Coyle told the Denver Post‘s Jordan Steffan, “He serves a very important role as the elected DA. Our goal is to make sure he fulfills all of his duties to the public and the courts during his remaining time as DA.” Ruybalid’s remaining time as DA will last until 2017, barring any other hiccups.

The Gazette‘s Debbie Kelley examined the ebb and flow of students across school district boundaries in the Pikes Peak region, revealing a competitive world of choice, charters and changing reputations. She gives a break down of the exact gains and losses in the number of students enrolled at each school this year, but, underneath the numbers, every kid has their own reason for choosing one school over another. Some seek out an early-college program that will help them get into actual-college program; some are drawn to the various vocational training options; and some would prefer to take online classes from the privacy of their own homes. For grammatical forms of the word “choice” you never imagined possible, give it a read. (Photo of Eagleview Middle Schoolers by Mark Reis.)

Elected officials in Erie struck down a one-year fracking moratorium on all new oil and gas development within town lines on Tuesday night, after punting the decision two weeks ago. The measure was introduced out of desperation, according to Mayor Pro Tem Mark Gruber, when the town’s “memorandum of understanding” with Encana Oil and Gas and Anadarko Petroleum reflected satisfactory emission reduction and regulation goals. Now the town has the leverage it needs to negotiate with the energy companies, rendering the moratorium unnecessary, he told the Daily Camera‘s Joe Rubino.

Five women on the Aurora city council tried and failed to get a vote-of-no-confidence against city manager Skip Noe on the agenda at their Monday meeting. Noe was caught off-guard by the unusual and extreme move, since he got high marks and a raise out of his last performance evaluation a few weeks ago. Their issue with him, they say, has nothing to do with running the city – it’s that he treats women unfairly. “I truly regret we have to do it this way. It’s not the way I like doing things, but when I feel that I haven’t been heard for over a year, it’s just very frustrating,” councilwoman Barb Cleland told the Aurora Sentinel‘s Rachel Sapin“I’m an elected official, I would like to be treated the same as any other elected official.” Councilman Bob LeGare, who voted against the measure said “I think that Skip has done a fantastic job. I have no issues whatsoever with Skip’s performance.”

La Plata County received more than twice the number of applications for drilling permits this year than it did last. But, partially due to low gas prices, more permits “doesn’t mean they’re actually going to drill,” executive director of the La Plata County Energy Council Christi Zeller explained. Via the Durango Herald. 

[Photo by J. Stephen Conn.]