Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Officials are renewing warnings for adults to be careful with guns after the shooting deaths of two five year olds. On Friday, a Lakewood three year old shot and killed his brother with the gun of a family friend. Then Monday night, a girl in Fremont County shot herself with her father's .45 caliber handgun. Both shootings happened while adults were in other parts of the homes whey they occurred.
Police in Parker are looking into an apparent murder-suicide that started in a McDonald's parking lot yesterday evening. The Denver Post says 40 year old Donna Marie Royer was shot as her 3 middle-school aged children watched from inside the restaurant. The woman's ex-husband was found dead about 90 minutes after the shooting.
An engineer working with a contractor for several schools and public buildings across the state has had his engineering license suspended. The State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors opened an inquiry into Gary Howell's work after a Denver Post report detailed a litany of problems with a Neenan Company-built school in Meeker. The Post says action requires Howell to stop practicing engineering until a hearing several weeks from now.
A 26 year old Clifton man has been sentenced to 14 years in prison after pleading guilty to hitting four men with his truck in the parking lot Cactus Canyon in July of 2010. The Daily Sentinel says Robert Helwig admitted running down the men after a verbal fight. All four were hospitalized, two with serious injuries
New Year's Eve is still a few days away and the State Patrol and other agencies are hoping drivers use that time to plan ahead. They're planning for saturation DUI patrols and reminding drivers of cab vouchers smart phone apps and other ways to make sure you don't drink and drive on New Year's.
A Red Air Quality No Burn Advisory continues in the grand valley, Delta and Montrose through Friday. the Mesa County Health Department says inversions due to a combination of snow on the ground, cold temperatures and short daylight hours are to blame. Another advisory will come Friday.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
A closed session meeting of the state board of education resulted in the decision to appeal the Lobato vs. the State of Colorado ruling that said the state is not meeting the Colorado Constitution's requirement of a "thorough and uniform" public education system. The board of education's decision goes along with the two other defendants listed in the case, Governor John Hickenlooper, and education commissioner Robert Hammond. All three defendants have decided to appeal to the State Supreme Court. The Decmber 9th ruling declared the state's system to be under-funded.
Lottery funds were more plentiful in 2011, than 2010. The Daily Sentinel says $45 million dollars of the Conservation Trust Fund was doled out. That's $1.5 million more than last year, but still short of 2008 numbers when the economy went into recession.
Plans for a facelift at the Mesa County Fairgrounds are underway. A new entrance and enhanced intersection with Highway 50 is first on the list. The Daily Sentinel says the county is now soliciting proposals for that project. County officials hope to enhance safety on the highway there, and plan for future growth.
Ridgway Dam could soon be producing hydro power. The Bureau of Reclamation agreed that construction of a power plant at the dam would have no significant impact on the environment or recreational users there. The Tri-County Water Conservancy District and the Bureau of Reclamation can now proceed with lease of the power privileges.
Gas prices usually climb around the holidays, but that's definitely not the case in Colorado this year. According to GasBuddy.com, the average price is now $3.07 a gallon. That's down 5.3 cents from last week and 26.5 cents lower than a month ago.
Back to the drawing board for a proposed Montrose Whitewater Park. The city applied for a Great Outdoors Colorado grant earlier this year, but was not one of 27 proposals to get funding. According to the Montrose Daily Press, a review committee ranked the city's proposal 19th among municipal applications. 11 of those were chosen.
The owner of the failed Valley Investments will be sentenced in Grand Junction. Phillip Lochmiller's federal trial was in Denver because space issues in Grand Junction, but his sentencing in March will be at the Mesa County Justice Center. The Daily Sentinel says Lochmiller's conviction on 31 conspiracy, money-laundering and fraud-related charges could bring a senced of more than 300 years in prison. The collapse of Lochmiller's business cost 400 investors more than $30 million.
The National Ski Areas Association has jumped into the battle with the National Forest Service over water rights. The group representing 121 resorts tells the Denver Post a new water-rights clause amounts to a federal taking of tens of millions of dollars in private water rights. A consortium of legislators including Colorado's two senators and Third District Congressman Scott Tipton are urging the Forest Service to suspend implementation of the new clause but the Department this week declined to issue a moratorium.
A free bus ticket didn't do it for a homeless man from Aspen. An anonymous donor gave the man a $190 ticket to North Dakota to find an oil job. Instead, Jimmy Baldwin, Jr. ended up in jail in Williston, ND for allegedly urinating outside a stip club.
Colorado Highway officials are trying to figure out why they've been passed over for highway-project stimulous funding. Spokeswoman Stacy Stegman tells the Denver Post Colorado has been passed by for two years without explanation. This year the federal Department of Transportation received 848 applications from all 50 states. A project in Wyoming and and one in Montana werre funded, but for the most part, Western states — including Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and Arizona — were skipped.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Look for snow overnight tonight into tomorrow morning in the Grand Valley. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from 6:00 tonight to Noon tomorrow. Forecasters say 1 to 3 inches are expected in the valley with temperatures and visibility dropping. Depending on those temperatures and the amount of snow that falls, snow in the valley could last until Sunday making for a somewhat White Christmas.
A man once accused of shooting his then-girl friend on Christmas Eve 2009 is on his way to prison. The Montrose Daily Press says under a plea agreement, Thomas Howe Jr. has been sentenced to one year in the Department of Corrections and a mandatory one-year term of parole. Howe had been charged with attempted 2nd Degree Murder, but Delta County prosecutors said they couldn't prove he fired the gun.
Some Western Colorado counties are looking at oil and gas fracking operations and considering regulations for the activities. On the front range, cities and counties are moving. Some have crafted regulations just in case companies want to pursue operations within their boundaries. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission says tells the Denver Post it doesn't believe local governments should be trying to stop fracking through moratoriums or bans.
Officials say the bodies of a man and his 9 year old son found in a van in Grand County last weekend were the victims of a murder suicide. Now Sheriff Rodney Johnson tells 9 News in Denver the case is even worse since someone came across the van with the bodies inside and robbed it. He says he'll release more information today. The CBI says it has more than 10 investigators working the case.
Black Mountain Recycling has gotten the go ahead from Mesa county to receive production water and fracking fluid in 4 evaporation ponds and to build one new pond. The Daily Sentinel says the company has been under scrutiny since a temporary shut down by the county after a 2001 spill. County commissioners yesterday voted unanimously to amend Black Mountain's conditional us permit allowing the company to bring the facility into full operation.
The Grand Junction Salvation Army Christmas food distribution continues today at the new Army National Guard facility off D Road behind the Regional Center. Several National Guard dignitaries were in town yesterday to kick off the distribution.
Grand Junction fire investigators are looking for the cause of a house fire near 10th and Ute. When they arrived at the house around midnight, firefighters found heavy smoke coming from an attached shed. Fire damage was limited to the shed but the house suffered smoke damage. No one was in the house at the time of the fire.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A 39 year old Fruita man was sentenced to 22 years in prison on charges of charges of second-degree murder, menacing and two counts of possession of explosive or incendiary parts, relating to the slaying of his 37 year old roommate. The Daily Sentinel says Wayne Girt received his sentence today. He was convicted in the 2010 slaying of his roomate Henry Trisler Jr.
Canyonview Vineyard Church and Comfort Keepers are looking to help out the elderly on Christmas eve by delivering meals. If you or anybody you know could use a Christmas Eve meal, make a reservation by Wednesday by calling Comfort Keepers at 241-8818.
There is a red air quality advisory in effect starting today and running at least through 3:00 tomorrow afternoon. That means a ban on WOOD BURNING IN FIREPLACES AND NON-EPA APPROVED WOODSTOVES in Grand Junction, Delta and Montrose. The ban is expected to be lifted tomorrow afternoon.
Things are looking up for Colorado's mountain casinos. The Denver Post reported that the group reported a 3% increase in revenue in November as compared to last year. The State Division of gaming says total bets were up to $58.6 million from $57 million in the same month last year.
Vail Mountain is turning 50 next year, and officials with the resort are announcing an early present. The Vista Bahn chairlift was built in 1985, and will be replaced with a brand new high capacity gondola, as long as it's approved by the US Forest Service. Vail Mountain opened on December 15th, 1962.
Monday, December 19, 2011
The city of Grand Junction still has no manager. After requesting manager Laurie Kadrich's resignation last week, the city council is still weighing the options for her replacement. Rich Englehart is the deputy city manager, and will likely be the interim. A longer terrm plan is expected today from city council.
One man is dead after he crashed his motorcycle into an SUV on 25 1/2 Road. Grand Junction Police say the crash happened last night just before 7 o'clock. The motorcyclist ran into the back of a Honda CRV. The driver of the Honda was not injured. No identities have been released.
11 Basalt families are without a home for now after a fire gutted an apartment building. The blaze was a quick moving one on Friday night, and displaced 27 people in all. Luckily nobody was injured. Six of the 11 units in the building were a total loss. Anyone interested in helping the families affected can call the Red Cross, Western Colorado Chapter by calling 970-242-4851.
Former Parachute police officer Kristy Kolecki is suing for gender discrimination, after she says she was berated by a supervisor for being female, then fired for lodging complaints about it. The Daily Sentinel says Kolecki complained in 2008 after her field training with Cpl. Greg Birley, during which he callied her “stupid” and made statements about his disdain for working with females. Kolecki took her complaints all the way to the town council before she was fired in June of 2010.
The Christmas tree on display in front of the nation's capitol this year is from California. Next year's will be from Western Colorado. The White River National Forrest to be more specific. Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennett, along with representative Scott Tipton made the announcement last weekend. The U.S. Forest Service will work with local officials over the next year to pick candidate trees. The exact tree won't be publicized until it's cut down.
Rifle authorities are looking for whoever broke into and vandalized several businesses there. Police say the culprits used a pick axe to get into the Rifle Creek Museum and the Rifle Thrift Store. Once inside, the vandals caused thousands of dollars of damage. If you have any information on the crimes, you are urged to call Crime Stoppers at 945-0101.
Grand County Sherriff's Deputies made a grisly discovery on Saturday. When investigating a van parked near the Colorado River, deputies found two bodies. The Sherriff's Department says the bodies appeared to have been there for a few days. No identities have been released, but the Sherriff's department did say the victims were from the Denver Area.
An oil and gas company with holdings mostly in the Collbran area has filed for bankriuptcy. The Daily Sentinel says Delta Petroleum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware court last week. The company holds oil and gas leases for the equivalent of about 22,000 acres in the Collbran area and employs 32 people, mostly in the Denver area.
A child's call to 911 resulted in the arrest of a 36 year old Grand Junction man on charges of assault, misdemeanor child abuse, and other charges. The Daily Sentinel says Rickie Allen Morgan was arrested on Saturday night, after the child called to report that he had fought with another adult, threw holiday decorations, and flipped over a couch. Police found Morgan walking down the street near the address of the incident.
Thursday, December 15, 2011
Grand Junction City Council, and Mayor Tom Kenyon have asked for the resignation of city manager Laurie Kadrich. In a release, Kadrich stated that there are some fundamental philosophical differences between her and the City Council. Kadrich became the city manager in July of 2007. She came to Grand Junction as the deputy city manager in January of that year.
A Mesa county District Court Judge has ruled two Colorado State Troopers charged in the 2010 killing of a man on the Redlands do not have leagal immunity from progsecution. The Daily Sentinel says Trooper Gene Lawyer and Cpl. Kirk Firko said they had probable cause to arrest Jason Kemp after a crash they believed was caused by Kemp being under the influence. Kemp was shot and killed in the doorway of his home. A grand jury indictment said Lawyer and Firko attempted illegal entry into Kemp's home without a warrant.
Numbers are finally available from a Colorado Parks and Wildlife check station on I-70. It was the first checkpoint of its kind in nearly 20 years. 13 hunters were cited for a total of 22 charges for various infractions. The operation last month lasted 24 hours and more than 1,700 vehicles were checked.
Mesa County Crime Stoppers is trying to identify two men who stole a gas welder and plasma cutter from Murdoch's Ranch and Home Store in Clifton. The theft happend November 22nd and surveillance camera pictures are posted on the Crime Stoppers website 241stop.com.
The Mesa County Federal Mineral Lease Board has given Colorado Mesa University $1.6 million to set up an endowment for energy innovation. The Daily Sentinel says the money is the county's entire share of Colorado mineral lease funding. University President Tim Foster says the money will be used for the study of natural gas, uranium, solar, wind and oil shale.
Former Montrose District Attorney Myrl Serra has been disbarred. The Montrose Daily Press says the action yesterday was under an agreement with the State Supreme Court's Attorney Regulation Counsel. Serra resigned as DA last January after being arrested in September of last year on allegations of sexual misconduct. Sera faces up to 12 years in prison when sentenced next month
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
The Colorado Attorney General's office is warning consumers about an e-mail scam appearing to be from the Better Business Bureau. The e-mails might include the subject line, “complaint from your customers,” and contain a link to a Web site that includes malicious code.
A group of parents have formed a group to try and figure out ways to fund education in the Grand Valley. About 10-parents with students in District 51 have formed Save Our School, or simply SOS51.org. One board member tells the Daily Sentinel they want to ensure a quality public education without any assumptions about how the district is using its budget.
A murder warrant has been issued for a transient under arrest in Sacramento, CA. According to the Daily Sentinel, 23 year old Joseph Conn is suspected of first degree murder in the killing of 36-year old fellow transient Williard Bobbitt whose body was found in the Colorado River in August last year. Conn has been under arrest in California since January 5th, in the beating deaths of a Sacramento man and his roommate New Year's Day.
Things are looking up for the Colorado economy, even if it's still a long way up. CU economist Richard Wobbekind presented the university's Colorado 2012 Business Outlook to the Grand Jucntion Area Chamber of Commerce. According to the Daily Sentinel, Wobbekind predicts a dismal 1% job growth rate next year, with small increases in government, construction, mining and logging and education services...and declines in real estate, finance and manufacturing.
The Meeker School district will have to pay some of the cost of repairing its empty trouble plagued $18.9 million elementary school. The building's contractor, The Neenan Co. of Ft. Collins, came under fire last month for structural issues which made the school unsafe. Neenan agreed to make the fixes. Now an independent soils sample paid for by the district has found other problems. According to the Denver Post, cost to the district hasn't been determined.
The Coloraodo Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has unanimously approved new rules requiring disclosure of chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The Daily Sentinel says the rules require companies to file a "claim of entitlement" when seeking trade secret exemptions to the requirement. The industry contends there's no connection between fracking and ground water contamination although an EPA report last week noted a likely link in groundwater contamination in Pavillion, Wyoming.
District 51 officials say a substitute teacher died while working at Clifton Elementary School. It happened yesterday afternoon, in a classroom where no students were present. Spokesman Jeff Kirtland says the person had a pre-existing medical condition. A letter about the incident was sent home with students and couselors were made available.
Monday, December 12, 2011
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is meeting tomorrow to vote on whether to require natural gas drillers to disclose all the ingredients in their fracking fluid. According to the Denver Post, Halliburton and others have said they'd support listing the ingredients but don't want to publicly disclose their amounts.
They're just talking about it and already the subject is heated. A lift ticket tax in Breckenridge to pay for transit. Some town council members came up with the idea saying a 4.5% tax would bring in an estimated $2.9 million annually from lift tickets. The Summit Daily News says Vail Resort executives are opposed to the tax and would like to work with the town to find an alternative way to pay for mass transit.
Gateway Canyons is in the middle of a transformation from resort locals might be able to travel to, to a resort aimed at Fortune-500 level visitors. Discovery channel founder John Hendricks has turned over management to Noble House which also manages the Mountain Lodge in Telluride. According to the Denver Post, a $20 million wintertime refashioning is underway changing the resort into an exclusive luxury getaway, and moving the convenience store and gas pumps around the bend near the Gateway Community Center.
Answering the question of how well your local school is performing is being made simpler with the Colorado School Grades coalition website. Launching today, the website gives schools a simple A through F grade. The Denver Post says the state Departemtn of Education ranking system is based on a curve, with C for average, and only 10% receiving an A.
Grand Jucntion's getting closer to having a paperless planning department. The process has been in the works since 2009 and the Daily Sentinel says by Spring, the planning website should be up and running for permits and local development research. The paper says the online process creates less need for storage in city buildings, speeds up the public neighborhood development process, and saves on postage and time it takes forms to be mailed.
That big plane at the Grand Jucntion Regional Airport yesteday...a 757, not usually seen at the small airport. The United Airlines jet was flying from Denver to LA when it had a mechanical problem. The airline says the plane landed safely about 11:45 and the passengers and crew were later taken on to LA on a plane sent from Denver.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Fly to space from Front Range Airport east of Denver. It might not be all that far away. Colorado is pursuing FAA designation for a spaceport that would allow for creation of a facility offering tourism, travel and cargo transport to space and from point to point on earth. Governor John Hickenlooper made the announcement yesterday, saying the idea seems far-fetched, but there's huge potential. According to the Denver Post, Hickenlooper says spaceports are opportunities like cell phones in the early 1990s. Space planes could potentially take passengers from Denver to Singapore in an hour and a half.
A former Colorado State Trooper is being accused of bias during investigations. The Daily Sentinel says State Patrol District 4 commander Maj. Barry Bratt sent a letter to Mesa County DA Pete Hautzinger describing an internal investigation involving Don Moseman. Hautzinger hundreds of cases in Mesa County involving Moseman are expected to be re-examined and some could be dismissed altogether. One defense attorney tells the paper cases from misdemeanor drunken-driving offenses to vehicular- homicide investigations may be at issue.
General aviation tenants at Grand Junction Regional Airport want the Grand Jucntion City Council to change leadership at the airport in part because of a wildlife fence and security gates. They say it goes too far. The Daily Sentinel says last night's city council meeting was packed. According to the Denver Post, similar security and fencing issues are popping up around the country. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association based in Frederick, MD calls the fence the most "Draconian" example of complying with Federal airport security rules.
A Mesa County fugitive accused of auto theft and escape is under arrest in Denver. Police there tell the Denver Post Dartanian Mitchell and his bother Rodney Mitchell were arrested Tuesday in a 10-day crime spree including four armed robberies in the Denver metro area. Dartanian Mitchell failed to show up for court in Mesa County in October and was later arrested in Tennessee. He escaped while being returned to Colorado by a private transport service November 16th.
The Delta/Montrose Electric Association has received a USDA Rural Development grant to help businesses become more energy efficient. The company plans an official announcement this morning in Montrose and this afternoon in Delta. Officials say they're ready to answer questions about economic importance of saving energy and money, and how the grant can help local small businesses save energy and money.
A final accounting is expected by the end of the month, but right now, the second Colorado Gives Day was a huge success. Fund raisers for non profit organizations across the state say the campaign raised nearly $12 million dollars, up from $8.4 million collected last year. The Denver Post says $50 donations led the way, followed by $100 donations, making up half of all contributions. One unnamed charity received a $500,000 contribution.
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
A crash involving multiple vehicles tied up traffic for several hours this moring. Grand Junctino Police say a car drifted into oncoming traffic and struck another one head on. At least two people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries. It happened on Patterson Road near 28 1/4 Road just as morning the morning commute was getting underway. Traffic was backed up past 29 Road for more than an hour. Citations are pending.
Colorado's Tax Amnesty period has raised some $11 million for public education. The "Jump at the Chance" initiative allowed businesses and individuals to avoid civil and criminal prosecuation in exchange for paying back taxes. The Denver Post says another $3 million could be recouped when the final payments are posted next month. The previous tax-amnesty event in 2003 netted $23.4 million.
Former Arapahoe County Sheriff Pat Sullivan has bonded out of his "own jail." Sullivan was jailed a week after his arrest on charges he offered a man meth in exchange for sex. The Denver Post says Sullivan posted a $50,000 bond yesterday as Arapahoe County commissioners announced they'll review the policy by which the county names buildings after living people because of public concerns regarding the allegations against the former sheriff.
Some traffic cones are up along I-70 this morning where a tanker truck spilled some 50 to 60 gallons of a low grade corrosive. It happened just before 3:00 this morning at mile marker 38. State patrol says the driver noticed the leak right away and the spill was contained to a few hundred feet. A clean up crew from Carbondale is expected around 8:00 this morning.
A glass of water will cost more in the grand valley in the coming year. Clifton Water District is raising its average monthly rate by about 14% to help make bond payments and keep up with the slow economy. Ute Water plans to up its monthly base rate by $2to $15. If approved, that would affect some 85,000 customers. The Daily Sentinel says rates in Grand Junction and Palisade are expected to remain the same for 2012.
Montrose City Council is continuing talks with the Montrose Recreation District about how to fund a proposed community rec center. The district says it needs $22.6 million and wants a .2 percent sales tax increase to pay for it. The issue is far from settled. The Montrose Daily Press says the city is looking at several options. The MRD is holding a meeting on the proposed center tomorrow.
Colorado Gives Day has been extended through noon today because of computer problems. High traffic volumes to GivingFirst.org website are to blame. The Denver Post says the jam came yesterday morning, the decision to extend the period by early afternoon. More than 900 charities are listed on GivingFirst.org. Contributions had totaled $7.8 million by 6:00 last night.
Grand Junction Police are trying to find some vicious dogs and their owners. One man was attacked by two dogs as he was riding his bikeSunday night in Whitman Park. He was bitten several times and taken to the emergency room. The second attack was about 8:00 Monday morning at Duck Pond Park where four dogs bit a man. He called a cab and was taken to the hospital. Neither victiim could provide a good description of the dogs but believe they were pit bulls. Police want anyone who sees dogs acting aggressive or with pack-like
behavior to call 9-1-1. More info: http://gjcity.org/Administration.aspx?id=2147527366
behavior to call 9-1-1. More info: http://gjcity.org/Administration.aspx?id=2147527366
Colorado Senator Mark Udall has his mark on the proposed extension of the payroll tax cut. Yesterday he added language to keep millionaires from receiving unemployment benefits. Udall says those benefits are intended as a "social safety net" for those who lose their jobs and need temporary assistance while they look for employment-- not as extra cushion for the financially well off.
Monday, December 5, 2011
The City of Rifle says it wants to see a state law limiting the use of what are called low-speed neighborhood electric vehicles. The city bought 4 of them with Governor's Energy Office and other state funds a few years ago. Now they say their use is limited to the north side of I-70 because of state safety and speed rules. The Daily Sentinel says State Sen. Gail Schwartz of Snowmass Village is sponsoring a bill that would let the vehicles be used on 40 mph state roads. C-DOT says it'll oppose the bill, citing major safety concerns.
There are 89 properties listed as part of the Colorado Natural Areas Program and the State Division of Parks and Wildlife is looking at adding three more. The board is set to discuss the move at it's meeting in Ft. Collins Thursday. One of the areas is over 2,500 acres in San Miguel County, considered a critical area for the Gunnison sage-grouse.
Four people are dead in a small plane crash north of Silverton. The single engine plane was flying from Durango to Aspen when it went down Saturday afternoon. Rescue crews were hampered by bad weather and 8 to 10 inches of snow had fallen at the crash site.
The house is safe, but the garage is gone. When the Grand Junction Fire Department got to a reported garage fire on Bookcliff Court last night the whole thing was on fire. The garage was attached to the house only by a short section of roof, that part damaged, but the house ok
The price of gas in Colorado continues its downward slide, falling 5.2 cents in the past week to an average $3.27 a gallon. ColoradoGasPrices.com says that's 17 cents a gallon lower than a month ago. The lowest price in the coutnry is $2.84 in New Mexico.
The BLM has extended the comment period for the Colorado River Valley Resource Management Plan. It covers a huge area including mineral resources in Mesa, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Eagle, and Pitkin counties over the next several decades. The BLM was to have closed the comment period next week but says the draft is complex. They say the extra time will give agencies and organizations time to thoroughly review the draft.