Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday March 15, 2012

3 uncontrolled ag burns have fire officials in the Grand Valley sending out a warning.  Grand Junction Fire spokesman Mike Page says very dry conditions are causing fires to burn hotter and travel
faster than expected, getting out of control quickly. Enough resources were available yesterday to keep the fires from causing significant damage, but Page says more wind is expected today and those with burn permits should use caution before conducting their burns.

In Garfield County, firefighters have responded to 9-wildland fires this week alone, and county officials are advising caution.  Emergency responders say burns should be completed by noon to allow embers to cool before dry afternoon winds move into the area.

A bill to strengthen anti-stalking laws in Colorado is one step away from the governor's desk.  "Vonnie's Law" would require an arrested stalker to go before a judge and be issued a restraining order before possible release from jail.  The bill passed the Senate yesterday and goes back to the House for consideration of amendments made in the Senate.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall has introduced legislation that would lift a cap on credit unions, allowing them to loan capital to smaller small businesses to expand and create jobs.  A move with not cost to tax payers.  Udall says his Small Business Lending Enhancement Act could make a huge difference in local communities.  He says small businesses don't need help with a billion dollar IPO, they need a small bridge loan.

C-DOT crews will be closing stretches of I-70 through Glenwood Canyon tomorrow to bring down unstable rocks above the intersate.  Spokeswoman Nancy Shanks says the work is scheduled  near the Shoshone Power Plant with closures expected on a 2 1/2 mile stretch.  Starting at 10 tomorrow morning through 6 tomorrow night, delays up to 15 minutes will occur.  A rockfall contractor may finish early depending on how much rock is brought down.

The Garfield Re-2 school district is going to a 4-day week next fall, but exactly how that will work hasn't been determined.  The move, expected to save the district about a half million dollars, is being worked on through staff and community conversations.  A specific calendar for the 2012-2013 school year is expected to be adopted later this spring.

At one foreclosure sale for every 706 households in Mesa County, the county had the highest rate of foreclosure sales in the state last month.  The Daily Sentinel says the closest county was Adams where sales translated to 1:858 households.  One realtor says the news isn't really bad...that properties on the market for a long time are finally selling.  The bad news would come if the high number of foreclosure sales continues.

Plans to build a new fire station in Palisade keep getting scaled-back.  The Daily Sentinel says the town orginally wanted to build a multi-purpose $3.6 million facility next to the town hall.  That budget was trimmed to $1.3 million for a scaled down structure, and now it looks like the bdget for that is too small.  Town officials are looking for an extra $300,000 to cover the cost of new bays for the town's two fire engines.

Former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland has died at the age of 79.  Friends tell the Denver Post Strickland had been in poor health.  Strickland was first elected in the State House in 1968 and the State Senate two years later, and was Senat President from 1983 to 1992.  Strickland was lieutenant governor from 1973 to 75, ran unsuccessfully against Dick Lamm in 1978 and against Roy Romer in 1986.

The CU Board of Regents are looking at a couple of different options for increasing tuition at the Boulder campus.  The Denver Post says one option is for a one-time tutition hike.  The other, a multi-year approach.  No decision on the hike is expected today.

The legislature's Joint Budget Committee is trying to fix the state's computer system that manages programs from food stamps to Medicaid, but doesn't look to be even close.  Governor John Hickenlooper has asked for $13.7 million for improvements to Colorado Benefits Management System.  The Denver Post says the JBC doesn't want to put up the money without guarantees the repairs will work.  The CBMS's problems include delays in processing eligibility for benefits, erroneous information being sent to recipients and a nubmer of technical glitches.