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"We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions — bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality. Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities."
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 2 February 2018  

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Front Page Photo
Patricia Kreps (left) and Lora Rose are about to cut the cake, which highlighted The State Bank’s 125th anniversary celebration. Photo by Lindsey Harrison

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  The State Bank celebrates 125th anniversary
  By Lindsey Harrison

  On Jan. 12, The State Bank celebrated its 125th anniversary at its location in Falcon, Colorado. The State Bank has two other locations in Colorado: one in La Junta and one in Rocky Ford. Annette Causey, senior vice president of The State Bank, said the anniversary is technically Jan. 13, which marks the 125th anniversary of the bank’s charter.
  Since the date of the celebration often coincides with inclement weather, Causey said the bank plans to have another celebration in June, so it can be held outside with more activities for the guests.
  The celebration included sandwiches, chips, cake, coffee and other refreshments for guests. Causey said Safeway in Falcon provided the cake, and John Davis with D Graphix Design in Colorado Springs designed the logo. The bank also commemorated the anniversary with knit winter hats, made by Art Pierson of Phoenix820, a Falcon vendor.
  “Small businesses are the heart of our economy, the most important part,” said Lora Rose, who will eventually succeed her mother, Patricia Kreps, as the bank president. “They give us our standard of living; and, as a family-owned bank, we like to find other small businesses to help.”
  Kreps said The State Bank’s staff deserved thanks and recognition for putting together a great celebration.
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  New year — new limits on pot plants
  By Bill Radford

  The new year brought new limits on marijuana home grows - and a beefed-up effort to go after those who violate limits in El Paso County.
  State law now limits residential grows of recreational marijuana to 12 plants per household; previously, the limit was six plants per resident over age 21. House Bill 1220 also set the same limit of 12 plants per household for home grows of medical marijuana; the previous cap was 99.
  Although the law allows marijuana patients and caregivers to grow 24 plants under certain circumstances, the limit remains at 12 in El Paso County, Sheriff Bill Elder said.
  The new law also sets criminal penalties for violating the limits; violating the previous limits was a civil matter, Elder said.
  "We can't draw search warrants off of civil cases," he said. With a criminal violation, if a grow is suspected of violating the limits and probable cause is established, Elder said the Sheriff's Office can get a search warrant and “execute it, grab up all the plants that make it a violation, grab up all the equipment and arrest the people who need to be arrested or serve them a summons."
  The Sheriff's Office is aware of as many as 650 home grows, with the majority likely out of compliance under the new limits, Elder said. He said he has little patience for anyone unaware of those limits, noting that the law was signed last summer. "Everybody's had plenty of warning," he said.
  County commissioners in December approved $100,000 for the Sheriff's Office to aid the fight against illegal grows. The majority of that will go to overtime, Elder said.
  Some of the money will go to protective gear for those handling the plants, he said. "These plants have been sprayed with insecticides and herbicides – different kinds of chemicals, we don't know what they are – so we're going to protect the guys a little better."
  Members of the Rural Enforcement and Outreach Unit serve on the front lines in the battle against illegal grows. "They're going to be the ones who are doing the majority of the coordination, but a lot of it is going to be with Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence, along with our Special Operations group,” Elder said.
  The Sheriff's Office is often tipped off to potential illegal grows through neighbors' complaints. "Most of it is neighbors who are like, this house out here has this big barn, lights are on all night long, we smell marijuana, we see people coming and going at all hours,” he said.
  The target of the stepped-up effort isn't those truly growing pot for their own recreational or medical use, but large-scale grows fueling the black market, Elder said.
  "Colorado is exporting an unbelievable amount of high-grade marijuana right now," he said. “And it's time we get a handle on it. ... We're excited about getting after it and making a difference in this thing in eastern El Paso County."
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