HAPPY FRIDAY THE 13TH!
Grand Junction Fire investigators are working to figure out the cause of a fire that severely damaged Ed Bozarth Chevrolet's Body Shop. It happened about 1:45 yesterday morning, several cars being prepped for work were damaged. 10 shop employees will be reassigned within the dealership.
New data from The National Climatic Data Center shows last month was the driest March ever in Colorado. The Daily Sentinel says nearly all of Colorado experienced a short-term "extreme drought," The south-central part of the state conditions rated only "severe." State Climatologist Nolan Doesken says the driest areas this year, were the wettest last spring and summer.
Two jurors in the Criminally Negligent Homicide trial of State Trooper Gene Lawyer have been removed leaving only 12 jurors. If another leaves, that would force a mistrial. According to the Daily Sentinel, one juror was dismissed Wednesday, then yesterday another juror didn't show up for court. Lawyer is accused of shooting Jason Kemp to death in his apartment after Kemp was allegedly involved in a hit and run accident in a quiet Redlands neighborhood.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT TUITION
It's not clear if a bill to reduce tuition costs for illegal immigrants in Colorado will make it to the House floor, but it IS moving forward, having been assigned to the House Education Committee. The bill is supported by businesses, clergy and some key Republicans. Senate Bill 15 is also set to be heard in the House Appropriations Committee.
STATE BUDGET BILL
Colorado's $19 Billion buget plan has passed out of the House on a nearly unanimous vote. House Speaker Frank McNulty tells the Denver Post, the budget is responsible, increasing funding for education, protecting seniors and helping build a better Colorado. The budget now goes to the Senate where some amendments are expected. The bill would then go to a conference committee to settle Senate and House differences.
ASPEN RESORTS CLOSING
Snow is expected in Colorado this weekend, but it won't be enough to keep some resorts open. Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass are rolling up the carpet Sunday, a week earlier than scheduled. The Aspen Times says some areas have melted so much skiers have to walk between lift rides. The melt-out is being called "unprecedented."
The Mesa County Health Department is warning residents to take some precautions this spring when cleaning areas that may have been inhabited by mice over the winter. Mice droppings can contain Hantavirus, and there have already been two reported cases of the sickness in neighboring counties. Be sure to wear gloves, ventilate the areas, and even spray with a water and bleach mixture before cleaning sheds, barns and garages this spring.
UDALL FOREST SVC LETTER
Senator Mark Udall is expressing concern for wildfires in Colorado, but more specifically, the ability to keep up with what looks to be a busy season. Udall wrote to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell about the service's dwindling and aging fleet of air tankers. Udall says he hopes the fleet of just 11 planes can keep up with multiple fires, or even a single large wildfire. The fleet was 44 strong in 2002.
FALSE REPORTS AT CU
University of Colorado Chancellor Phil DiStefano sent out a warning to students about false police reports this week. The Boulder Daily Camera says at least two incidents on campus were reported to police, and falsely accused a black man, and hispanic man of criminal activity. DiStefano said the reports create a climate of fear, and asked students to examine their own biases.
MEEKER BANK ROBBERY
A bank robber in Meeker didn't get very far. Meeker Police say the Mountain Valley Bank was held up at 9:00 yesterday morning and a reverse 9-1-1 was issued. The 25 year old suspect was arrest after a citizen report.