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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The Assault Weapon Responsibility Act is moving forward in the State Senate. The Judiciary committee passed the bill yesterday on a 3-2 party-line vote. Democrats say the measure is intended to hold manufacturers, sellers, and owners to a high standard of responsibility. Senate President John Morse says the bill marries right with responsibility.
All seven gun control measures on the table in the state Senate have passed out of committees, paving the way for full Senate debate Friday. The Capitol was crowded yesterday with opponents of the measures who say they are attempts to erode Second Amendment rights.
Two employers have reached a settlement for violations of federal statutes related to military service. Two U-S Air Force veterans' said Delaware Resource Group of Oklahoma and FlightSafety Services Corporation stopped paying money into their 401(k) while they were on military leave. Under the settlement both companies will allow the men to make their "catch up" contributions and will provide matching employer contributions to each of the 401ks.
If you're planning a trip to the Little Snake BLM area around Craig to collect shed antlers make sure you don't drive off the road. Field Manager Wendy Reynolds says driving off-road can cause significant damage anytime, but especially in the spring when soil damage can cause serious impacts. Citations for riding an ATV off existing roads can result in a $250 fine. Harassing wildlife carries a $200 fine.
As promised, Colorado Democratic Senator Mark Udall and Republican Main Senator Susan Collins have introduced legislation they say will mitigate effects of the sequester. The Udall-Collins bill is designed to give the executive branch more flexibility in implementing cuts while allowing Congress to conduct appropriate oversight throughout the process.
CMU's Water Center is hosting a week-long conference and workshop next week to bring together researchers, students, agency managers, and practitioners to network and bridge the gap between research and land management. The Tamarisk Coalition, River Management Society, BLM and International Submerged Lands Conference will be in attendance. For information you can go to CMU's Water Center website.
A trial is underway for a man accused of killing a Fruita man one year ago. 30-year old Julio Ortiz and his brother 31 year old Jose were arrested after Able Roper was found stabbed to death outside his pickup, the engine still running, at the Pioneer Village mobile home park. According to the Daily Sentinel, a fight started between the Ortiz brothers and Roper at Cruisers bar the night before. Roper was stabbed 13 times. Jose Ortiz is to return to court next month.
District 51's School Security and Safety Work Group continues its work, with a list of suggestions to be presented to the school board in two weeks. According to the Daily Sentinel, work group is looking at more counseling, more anti-bullying education, and better door labeling for first responders. The final meeting is next Monday when the group is expected to talk about the cost of some of the safety measures.
8 former DEA administrators say the federal government needs to act sooner rather than later to force Colorado and Washington to nullify laws legalizing recreational marijuana use. The Denver Post says the 8 are issuing joint statements today saying the Obama administration has reacted too slowly and should immediately force the states to rescind the legislation.
Monday, March 4, 2013
The Olathe Sweet Corn Festival is scaling back. Olathe Town Administrator Scott Harold tells the Montrose Daily Press the festival is going back to its roots with a more agricultural theme. The advisory board is also looking for public input as it makes its plans. The event hasn't turned a profit since 2008.
Four democrat-sponsored gun laws go before the State Senate Judiciary Committee today. Grand Junction Senator Steve King sits on the committee and says the bills go too far, infringe on citizen's rights and will have no positive impact on public safety. In a news release, King says the bills are at best distractions from real problems in society, and don't address the problem of violent crime.
Students in District 51 can find out what skills they need and how to navigate available technology to find a job today. The District, the Chamber of Commerce's Future Workforce Committee and the Mesa County Workforce Center are teaming up for a virtual job fair. Five local manufacturers are taking part, and if it's successful, The chamber says virtual career fairs featuring other industries will be planned.
You might not have noticed the price of gas in Colorado was down last week. That's because the price dropped just over a half cent a gallon. GasBuddy.com says their survey of more than 2,100 gas stations found the price at $3.55/gal. Prices are still 35 cents a gallon higher than a month ago.
The Colorado State Patrol is continuing its investigation of a crash on Highway 65 that killed the driver of a motorcycle. It happened just after 6:30 Saturday near Orchard City. The Patrol says 60 year old Christopher Sorensen of Delta slammed into the back of a pick up that slowed to avoid hitting a deer. The driver of the pickup wasn't injured. Sorenson died at Delta County Memorial Hospital.
Competitive mountain bike racing is coming to Grand Junction this summer. Epic Rides President Todd Sadow tells the Daily Sentinel they're hoping to attract 600 riders to the three-day event Labor Day weekend. Epic Rides runs a race in Prescott, Arizona with a $35,000 purse split between a male and female winner. No purse has been announced for the Grand Junction event. You can register for "The Grand" as organizers call it, at EpicRides.com.
CU and CSU are already working on their 2013-2014 budgets and both are considering 9% tuition hikes. The possible hikes come even with a $30 million budget boost from the state. CSU's chief financial officer says without the increased funding they'd be looking at a double digit tuition hike. The Denver Post says both schools cite faculty raises for increased budgets. They say other more prestigious schools are luring away faculty with larger salaries.
Former U-S Representative Gabby Gifford's husband is in Denver today to testify in suport of at least one of seven gun-control bills to heard today. Mark Kelly is scheduled to support House Bill 1229 requiring all private gun sales and transfers to be subject to background checks. Before Kelly's testimony, The Denver Post says family members of victims of the Aurora Theater shootings, and Sandyhook and Columbine school shootings will speak in the press room at the state capitol.
State legislators are looking at a bill that would allow community colleges to offer select four-year degree programs, but not everyone is happy about it. The Boulder Daily Camera says CU president Bruce Benson and several leaders of other state colleges are opposing the measure. They say a bachelor's degree from a community college would have limited value in the marketplace and accrediting community colleges would be expensive. Community College System president Nance McCallin says there's a demand for four year trade degrees. She says those students typically work their way through school and can't afford to move to a four-year institution.
Today is the final day for Grand Junction city residents to register to vote in the April 2nd municipal election. That registration is through the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder's office.
Avalanche conditions across the state are considerable after heavy mountain snows and more on the way. Another foot of snow is expected in the mountains of northwest Colorado and another 4 to 10 inches in other mountain ranges. The National Weather Service says snow will taper off from west to east through the afternoon making way for another strong pacific system from Thursday night into Sunday.
Friday, March 1, 2013
A former mentor with Mesa County Partners has been sentenced to serve 12 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to molesting four boys. 51 year old Mark Bustamante was arrested last summer, accused of molesting two boys while he worked as a Partners mentor. The Daily Sentinel says under a plea agreement, Bustamante plead guilty to two counts of sexual assault on a child in exchange for a maximum 24 years in prison. His 12-years-to-life means he must serve 12 years before being eligible for parole.
A group of Grand Junction area residents says sequestration cuts to National Parks and other federal services will hurt local communities. The group plans to highlight the effects at the Colorado National Monument this afternoon.
Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins say they're introducing legislation to stop across the board cuts called for under sequestration, and replace them with targeted cuts and appropriate congressional oversight. Udall says blunt shortsighted budget cuts are not the responsible way to reduce the deficit. The two senators say their bipartisan plan keeps cuts at the same level, but gives to the president and Congress replacing arbitrary cuts with smarter, focused spending reductions.
Bow hunting is as popular as ever in western Colorado, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering a class to help new hunters. It's March 10th from 8 to 5 at the Horsethief Canyon State Wildlife Area. A $10 fee gets participants an accelerated hunter education class focusing on bow hunting strategies, safety, and ethics.
United Way of Mesa County is out with results from this year's fund raising campaign and they're not great. They fell short of their $1.25 million goal. By the end of February, United Way had raised just over $1 million, 7% below the amount raised during the same period last year. The campaign remains open for pledges for the next two weeks in order to maximize the funds available for some 51 health and human service programs applying for funding in the coming year.
An Aspen man has been found guilty of conspiracy to distribute cocain and faces a minimum 20 years and a maximum of life in federal prison because of prior felony drug conviction. The U-S Attorney's office says Montgomery Chitty was convicted of conspiracy to distribute more than five kilos of cocaine. Law enforcement agencies from Glenwood Springs, Garfield County, Rifle, Vail and the IRS were involved in the investigation.
March is Red Cross Month across the country and in Colorado with the organization recognizing hundreds of volunteers who help their neighbors everyday. Local chapters are holding events throughout the month including a Day at the Capitol March 19th, where Red Cross instructors will teach legislators and their staffs how to save a life using hands-only CPR.
One of the crafters of Colorado's Amendment 64 says he's honored to have been a part of helping implement the will of Colorado's voters. Christian Sederberg represented the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol on the task force charged with crafting recommendations for taxing and regulating adult-use marijuana in Colorado. The task force finished its work yesterday sending their recommendations to the legislature to craft laws implementing Amendment 64.
Denver sees 6.1 inches of snow in an average February, but this years was not average. Last weekend's nine inches of snow sent the unofficial total way over that. The National Weather Service says March is normally Denver's snowiest month and with a variable weather pattern in the forecast that could hold true.
A decision is expected next month on a permit request for a uranium mill in western Montrose County. Telluride's Sheep Mountain Alliance appealed a state health department permit for Energy Fuels to build the mill near Nucla and The Denver Post says state health department director Dr. Chris Urbina yesterday denied that appeal. Energy Fuels proposes building the Pinon Ridge Uranium and Vanadium Mill, a project that was expected to bring 85 jobs to the area once a nuclear hub.
*apologies for any spelling or grammatical errors*
Thursday, February 28, 2013
Delta Police have called in the CBI to investigate an altercation involving officers at the Delta Wal-Mart early yesterday. Officials say more than one officer has been placed on leave as they investigate. The officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle, when the fight broke out. One person was hospitalized.
A bill designed to protect Colorado jobs has passed out of the House Finance committee and is headed to the floor for consideration. The bill would allow local governments to offer business personal property tax breaks up to 100% to companies considering leaving the state. Loveland Representative Brian DelGrosso says the measure is designed to make Colorado less prohibitive for job creators.
State legislators are looking at a measure to up the cap on damages citizens can recover on account of government wrong doing. A bill moving forward in the state senate comes after last year's Lower North Fork fire. Several homes were destroyed and three people were killed. It's sponsor says the bill strikes a better balance between government accountability and ensuring financial stability.
The Mesa County Coroner's Office has released the name of a man shot and killed by his father in Grand Junction yesterday. 48 year old Garth Meier died of a gunshot wound to the chest. Police aren't saying anything about possible charges and no arrests have been made.
Colorado's U-S Attorney supports a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines. John Walsh testified before the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in Washington.
The IRS is warning taxpayers about out-of-the-blue emails claiming to be from the IRS. A Colorado IRS spokeswoman warns the emails may contain malicious code that will infect your computer. She says no links should be clicked on and no confidential information should be entered. Scammers use the IRS name and logo to appear authentic, but the IRS does not initiate contact by email. If you receive one of the emails, you should forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Grand Junction man is headed to prison in a plea agreement for selling firearms to an undercover agent who said he would take them to drug cartels in Mexico. The Daily Sentinel says Miguel Reyes-Robles delivered the weapons to an undercover agent at his store, R&R Discount Car Audio after meeting with the agent in May of 2011 and again in February of last year. That's when he was arrested. The plea agreement calls for Reyes-Robles to spend 30 months in federal prison. He remains free until space opens in a federal facility.
A former Girl Scout leader is looking at probation, community corrections or a jail sentence after striking a deal with prosecutors. 27 year old Carmen Wyson admitted taking money from her troop's cookie fund and using it to pay bills. The Daily Sentinel says Wysong initiated the investigation that led to her arrest, reporting the theft of nearly $7,000 but later confessing to taking it. Wysong has also been ordered to repay the money.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Grand Junction Police are questioning a father in the shooting death of his adult son early this morning. Investigators say 3 people were in a home on 29 1/2 Road when the father and son got into an altercation and the son was shot and killed. Both the man and the 3rd person at the home are being questioned.
Nearly a half million people visited the Colorado National Monument in 2011, spend over $23 million in surrounding communities...that spending supporting 314 jobs in the local area. Those stats in an annual spending analysis of national park visitors across the country compiled by Michigan State University. The study shows visitor spending at parks across the country translates to a $30 billion impact on the US economy supporting 252,000 jobs.
A bill setting a legal limit for driving marijuana impaired in Colorado has passed out of one state House committee and is on its way to another. HB 1114 is a bipartisan bill setting the limit of five or more nanograms of delta-9-THC. Bill sponsor Mark Waller of Colorado Springs says in 2011, 13% of deadly crashes in Colorado involved marijuana. He says with the number of marijuana users is likely to grow with the passage of Amendment 64, there is a sense of urgency to create an impairment standard.
The Montrose Recreation Foundation is brand new, and has an anonymous $10,000 donation to get up and running. The Foundation's goals are to increase the youth scholarship fund to allow more kids to participate in organized physical activities and raise capital for expanding recreational opportunities in Montrose.
The search for a missing 81 year old Grand Junction man has ended with the discovery of a body in Grand County, Utah, 11 miles west of the Colorado border above Glade Park. Lou Schneider was reported missing after family members said they couldn't contact him. Schneider's death is not considered suspicious.
More gun discussion at the state capitol today. Senate President John Morse is introducing the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act. Morse says gun manufacturers, sellers and dealers in Colorado have blanket immunity, which he says no other industry has in the United States. According to Morse, the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act acknowledges the rights of assault weapon manufacturers, sellers and owners, while clearly defining the responsibility accompanying those rights.
A Whitewater man arrested last week on suspicion of molesting a 10 year old girl has been released from jail after the Mesa County DA's office said it couldn't prove a crime. The Daily Sentinel says Charges against 38 year old Tillman Clifton were dismissed without prejudice meaning they could be refiled if new evidence develops. Clifton spent a full week in jail before his release yesterday.
School District 51 is looking to add panic buttons and keyless lock systems at some of its schools and is applying for nearly $400,000 in grant funding to do that. The Daily Sentinel says the money is administered by the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District. School District 51 is eligible because it is a nearby government entity. The grant awards are to be announced in April.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
If you see a lot of fire engines from Grand Junction and Lower Valley Fire Departments at the old Mesa County courthouse tonight, not to worry. They're doing some practical training inside. Grand Junction Fire spokesman Mike Page says it's a chance for firefighters from the different departments to work together in a simulated training exercise. They plan to head inside around 6:30 and finish up about 9:00 tonight.
The BLM is starting work on its Roan Plateau Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement with public meetings in Silt tomorrow and in Grand Junction Thursday. The BLM is looking to identify issues to be address in the SEIS. A US District judge ordered the agency to address deficiencies in the BLM's earlier environmental analysis and Resource Management Plan Amendment. Details are available from the BLM's Silt office.
Grand Junction city voters can meet candidates for city council at a forum hosted by the Association Student Government of CMU. The forum is open to the public next Wednesday morning at 10:30 on the 2nd floor of the University Center.
Mesa County's Chief Deputy DA is out with a warning for recreational pot users. Don't light up in public or you could be prosecuted. The Daily Sentinel says Dan Rubinstein has been advising the task force set up to study implementing Colorado's voter approved Amendment 64 which is designed to regulate marijuana like alcohol. Rubinstein says there are a lot of gray areas in the law which he says could lead to marijuana becoming a cash-industry, avoiding taxation which was used as a selling point for the amendment.
The District 51 Save Our Schools committee is weighing in again on the possibility of having armed volunteers on campuses or teachers armed with concealed carry permits. According to the Daily Sentinel some committee members say too much time is being spent on placing more armed people in schools, but little is being said about other alternatives.
A 37 year old Grand Junction woman has been jailed, accused of having a sexual affair with a 15 year old boy. Wendy Crowell was arrested Friday and is being held on $10,000 bond. According to the Daily Sentinel, police began their investigation after the victim's mother found a series of text messages between her son and Crowell.
Mesa County is going ahead with applications for Great Outdoors Colorado grants for improvements to the fairgrounds. Over $400,000 is being eyed for upgrades on the east end of the facility, including RV hookups, a covered arena, and engineering costs for a new traffic signal and entrance on the west end. The Daily Sentinel says the cost of the livestock and equestrian facilities makeover is about $2 million and construction could begin as early as next fall.
The task force working on implementing Colorado's new Marijuana law says pot should be sold in child-proof packaging and not contain any logos or ingredients designed to appeal to children. The Denver Post says the panel also wants pot-infused edibles to come with labels detailing the items' potency and disclose pesticides or fertilizers used in cultivation. The measures designed to give consumers information to make the right decisions. The task force findings will be used to craft a bill legislators will have to pass by the end of the session May 8th.
Cantaloupe farmers and packers are being told to be ready for inspections and testing of melons for pathogens after two years of illness and recalls. The Denver Post says farmers got a letter from the FDA Monday informing them of the increased inspections. The action comes following a listeria outbreak traced to a Colorado farm in 2011. 33 people died in that outbreak.