Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday May 31, 2012

No charges will be filed against a former Colorado State Trooper accused of bias in some DUI arrests over 4 years in Mesa County.  DA Pete Hautzinger tells the Daily Sentinel he'll throw out 10 convictions stemming from arrests by ex-trooper Don Moseman. 8 others have been dropped already.  Hautzinger says quote, "there's no evidence proving he knowingly or intentionally framed innocent people or was trying to manufacture evidence."  Moseman parted ways with the State Patrol last December.

Officials working the 6,000 acre Sunrise Mine Fire say they have 70% containment and expect full containment by Sunday.  Nearly $2 million has been spent fighting the fire since it broke out southwest of Gateway last Friday afternoon.  More than 600 personnel have been working the fire, including as many as six helicopters.

Officials in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forest are reminding the public about fire restrictions.  They say conditions are very ripe for wildfire and want people to be extra careful in the forest.  Information on the ban is available on several public lands websites.

A Grand Junction man arrested in the child abuse death of his girl friend's 19 month old son in April is sitting in jail in Grants, New Mexico awaiting extradition.  25 year old Justin Keel was arrested last week, accused of blunt force trauma leading to the death of Owen Reak.  The boy died in Montrose, but the crime is believed to have been committed the day before in Grand Junction. Mesa County Sheriff's officials tell the Montrose Daily Press extradition could take two weeks or longer.

The Sierra Club says it's finished backing natural gas as a bridge fuel to renewable energy, and will fight to stop oil and gas drilling.  The Daily Sentinel cites an editorial in the Wall Street Journal suggesting the low cost of natural gas is the reason for the club's reversal, that moving from natural gas to renewable energy would take longer than expected. The Colorado Petroleum Association says it's a jobs issue and the Sierra Club is on the wrong side.

The Grand Junction Lions Club is not making calls for donations.  Police say they've received reports of someone trying to collect money.  Contact police if you get any of those calls.

The Colorado Division of Insurance says there's a possible scam going on by someone who attempts to get personal banking info over the phone.  The caller claims the state has taken over your insurance company and asks for account information to directly deposit a check.  The scammer identifies him or herself as being with the "Colorado Insurance Commission" which does not exist. Contact local law enforcement if you get any of these calls.

The gondola from Telluride to Mountain Village is down. Mechanical problems forced evacuation of the gondola for the first time since it opened 16 years ago.  9 people and a dog were off loaded after the breakdown Tuesday.  The free gondola service carries more than 2 million people in its 10 months of operation every year.

Staff from Senator Michael Bennet's office is in Delta County today on a listening tour about the 2012 Farm Bill.  They'll be at the Bell Heddles Rec Center from 9 to 10 this morning and in Cedaredge from 2 til 3 at the Stoney Mesa Winery.  Tomorrow the listening is in Grand Junction at the Old Courthouse Training Room at 1:30.

If you live in Palisade and don't have room to garden, you do now.  The new Palisade Community Garden is open with plots available for lease.  Soil and water is provided with a lease for the season.  You can spend from $25 to $45 depending on the plot size.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wednesday May 30, 2012

Firefighters at the Sunrise Mine Fire say they have almost 50% control after gaining the upper hand along the north perimeter of the 6,000 acre fire.  Heavy helicopters are dropping water on hot areas, making it safer for the crews.  A forecast wind shift today is expected to help crews on the northwest corner of the fire.  Work today is being concentrated on protecting structures northwest of Buckeye Reservoir near the old landing strip.

25 RD @ 6 & 50 CLOSED
The intersection of 25 Road and Hwy 6 & 50 is officially closed.  No north/south traffic is allowed during 18 days of construction.  East/West traffic is still moving, and right hand turns are allowed from all directions, but no left hand turns.

A new law in Colorado creates immunity for persons who report a drug or alcohol overdose and cooperate with law endorcement or emergency responders.  Fear of police involvement is the number one reason people fail to call emergency services after witnessing an overdose. In 2010, Colorado ranked 3rd in the nation for deaths from overdose.

A 39 year old Englewood Police officer has died of injuries suffered when he and a motorist he had stopped were hit by a suspected drunk driver.  Jeremy Bitner was an Army veteran serving in the Airborne Infantry during the Bosnian War.  He was married with two children. The man Bitner had pulled over was released from the hospital yesterday.

Rural area deputies with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office are getting a new tool today to help save lives while responding to emergencies in remote places.  Family Health West Hospital has donated two AEDs, or Automated External Defibrillators for a total of six in rural deputies' and Alternative Sentencing Unit vehicles.  The AEDs give automated instruction on treating victims of sudden cardiac arrest.

Stats are in from the first weekend of the 100 Days of Heat drunk driving campaign in Colorado.  6,700 vehicles were stopped over the four-day weekend with 93 arrests for suspected drugged or drunk driving and 81 arrests for other violations.  Two crashes killed a total of three people, two of whom were not wearing seatbelts.

A 21 year old Grand Junction man has been arrested in a crash on the Colorado National Monument.  It happened early yesterday morning when a car driving by Timothy Taylor went off the road and down a 60 foot embankment.  A front seat passenger suffered only minor injuries, but two people in the backseat were seriously injured and remain hospitalized.  Taylor was jailed on multiple counts, including suspicion of drunk driving, reckless driving and vehicular assault.

The Delta County School District 50J is putting another patch on its administration, planning to hire the district's personnel director as the interim superintendent.  Jerre Doss had been acting superintendent since the resignation in January of Mike McMillan at the request of the school board.  The Daily Sentinel says the post now is being offered to Caryn Gibson, with the board expected to approve a contract with Gibson at its regular meeting next week.

Former Montrose DA Myrl Serra is out of prison, but not out of jail.  Serra entered a so-called Alford plea to charges he sexually harassed employees, and was found guilty on harassment and bond violations last fall. The Montrose Daily Press says Once he finishes a 60-day sentence in the Montrose County Jail, he's to serve 4-years probation under the supervision of the Mesa County probation department.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday May 29, 2012

The State Patrol and National Park Service rangers are investigating a crash early this morning on the Colorado National Monument.  A Honda Civic with 4 people inside rolled down an embankment near the Serpent's Trail Head less than a mile inside the park.  Troopers say  all four in the car were taken to the hospital.  It happened around 3:00 this morning and troopers were still on the scene more than 2 hours later.  They say alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

The State Patrol is investigating a hit and run accident early yesterday morning injuring an Englewood Police officer and a driver he had pulled over.  Trooper Nate Reid says the officer and the driver were outside their vehicles when small SUV crashed into them.  The officer is described as in critical condition, the driver hospitalized with serious injuries.  The 20 year old driver of the vehicle that ran was stopped several miles from the crash and faces possible charges including DUI.

An 18 year old Pueblo man is dead and and a 16 year old passenger are dead in a rollover crash in Pueblo.  The Colorado State Patrol says the 18 year old was reported speeding and ran two red lights, then lost control on a curve and rolled the Mitsubishi Outlander he was driving. The girl was thrown from the car and died at the scene, the driver died at the hospital.  3 other girls in the car suffered serious injuries.  Troopers say the car had been reported stolen out of Colorado Springs.

The 5,300 acre Sunrise Mine fire continues to burn in rugged country 4 miles north of Paradox.  It broke out in gusty wind Friday afternoon and quickly grew.  Officials say the fire is 30% contained and is bieng managed by a national team with about 350 personnel.  Buckey Reservoir Road, R-1 Road and John Brown Road are all closed to the pbulic. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The price of gas always goes up over long holiday weekends, or does it?  the average in Colorado is down 2.1 cents over the past week to $3.72/gallon, 13.4 cents a gallon lower than one month ago. says it's surprised by the downward trend.  The national average is $3.65/gallon.

The Mesa County Sheriff's office has released an update on a human skull found on the Uncompahgre Plateau last fall, the information is slim.  According to the Daily Sentinel, a DNA profile has been extracted and all of the roughly 2-dozen combined missing person cases in the area have been ruled out.  The DNA is being run through a national data base which checks for matches with profiles of arrestees and convicted felons.

Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is in Craig this morning, at the invitation of the owners of a local hotel.  The couple tells the Denver Post the energy industry is over regulated and they want help from Romney.  Romney's stop is the second in western Colorado this campaign season.  He's off to Las Vegas for a high-dollar fundraiser with Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich after the stop in Craig.

A huge fire in Avon has completely destroyed a $1.3 million, four unit, 3-story condominium complex, and 3 acres of hillside behind it.  One firefighter and one resident were treated at a hospital for unknown injuries and released.  3 of the units were occupied when the fire broke out yesterday afternoon.

A group saying the richest one 1% aren't paying their fair share is marching on downtown Denver today, saying corporations should be made accountable to the communities they do business in.  The Colorado Fair Share Day Coalition says Wells Fargo is an example of a company earning $69.1 billion over the last 4 years, but paying an only 3.8% income tax rate

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday May 25, 2012

It's no secret law enforcement will be out in full force this weekend and all summer in an effort to keep drunk drivers off the roads.  In Eagle County they're rolling out the national "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign.  The Gore Range DUI Task Force says the campaign has been responsible for a 20% drop in alcohol-impaired driving  fatalities, but still work to be done since on average there is still one alcohol-related fatality every 51 minutes across the country.

Montrose County and UMETCO Mineral Corporation are getting ready to party after the signing of an agreement transferring control of property near Uravan from UMETCO/DOW Chemical to the county.  The deal goes back to 1988 and the formal agreement provides for upgrades to the town by the companies and the county in time for the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Uravan.

Today is the last day to switch parties if you want to vote in a county primary.  The election is June 26th, and if you want to change parties, you have to do that today. If you are an unaffiliated voter and want to vote in the primary, you can declare a party at the poll.  If you're not registered or inactive, Tuesday is the deadline to register for the primary.


                                                 Jared Lee Keel, DOB 05/09/86

A Grand Junction man has been arrested in the death of a 19 month old boy in Montrose last month.  Justin Keel was arrested last night in New Mexico on a warrant out of Mesa County.  Mesa County Sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Benjamin says Keel faces one count of child abuse resulting in death.  Benjamin says Owen Daniel Reak, the son of Keel's girlfriend, suffered what authorities say was non-accidental blunt force trauma in Grand Junction and died in Montrose County.

Garfield County finally has a new County Manager. 47 year old Andrew Gorgey was the county attorney and took the new position after a unanimous vote by the county commissioners. Gorgey has been the acting County Manager since the commissioners fired former manager Ed Green in January.

The City of Grand Junction is waiting for the transfer of a deed and plans demolition of the burned out White Hall.  KJCT says the exact use for the property is still up in the air and the Downtown Development Authority has signed on to help.  They say some of the structure is still viable and that could help with financing and redevlopment.  The former church burned in a huge fire last September.

Camping in tents is out of the question at the Aspen Campground, a few miles out of the town.  Forest officials say multiple bear sightings are the reason.  No tents or fabric trailers or campers are being allowed.

City officials in Montrose have signed off on a deal to keep Ross Reels in town for at least the next 5 years.  City Manager Bill Bell tells teh Montrose Daily Press it's a win-win for the company and the city and county.  The agreement calls for national marketing of Ross Reels, the leading fly reel manufacturer in the country, with Montrose featured in that promotion.

The Governor's Energy Office is no more.  A Bill changing its name to the Colorado Energy Office has been signed into law, moving the mission of the Office to promoting responosible traditional and renewable energy development across the state. The idea is to throw out current failing strategies and replacing them with more effective and efficient energy policies.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursday May 24, 2012

C-DOT is kicking off its 100 Days of Heat this weekend, a summerlong effort to crack down on alcohol-and-drug impaired driving.  Last summer, 67 people were killed in alcohol related crashes between the Memorial and Labor Day weekends.  Law enforcement agencies across the state will be using increased patrols and sobriety checkpoints in their efforts to crack down.

Fire ban or not, the Grand Jucntion Fire Department is ready for some live fire training today.  An empty building on Struthers Avenue near the Colorado River is being burned to make way for Kannah Creek Brewing's new facility and the old building has to go.  Spokesman Mike Page says the live fire training is essential for new recruits.  He says the training is one type of fire still allowed under the county's burn ban.  The fires will be lit throughout the day.

A Durango company is recalling bottles of its Honeyville Honey Barbecue Sauce because it might contain undeclared fish, putting people with fish allergies at risk.  The sauce has Worchestershire sauce in it and THAT sauce has anchovies in it. You can return the product where you bought it.

The Uncompahgre Valley Water Users Association and DMEA are breaking ground tomorrow on the South Canal Hydroelectric Project. DMEA says it's one of the largest renewable energy projects in Western Colorado producing 6,000 kilowatts of power, 27 million kilowatt hours of electricity, equal to the power used by more than 3,000 homes.  Tomorrow will be the last opportunity to see major elements of the construction including large trenching and 11 foot pipes taking the water from the canal to the powerhouses.

A 49 year old woman arrested after a chase on I-70 reaching speeds over 100 miles an hour. The Daily Sentinel says it happened yesteray afternoon when Michelle Phegley refused to pull over for a state trooper on Highway 6&50 near 22 Road.  Instead, she took off and headed west on I-70 where she finally pulled over a few miles later. Phegley was arrested at gunpoint after the chase.

A 26 year old Grand Junction woman has been arrested, accused of stealing narcotics on the job and selling them for a profit.  The Daily Sentinel says Jacinta Goad worked at Redlands Pet Clinic and admitted to police taking five bottles of narcotics and selling them.  An arrest affidavit says the woman took the drugs in response to a bad financial situation.

If you're planning a drive through Rocky Mountain National Park, chances are you'll have to be in a tour bus.  The National Park Service says starting Tuesday, a 5 mile stretch of Bear Lake Road between Trail Ridge road and Glacier Basin Campground will be closed to private vehicle traffic between 9am and 4pm. Work includes new retaining walls, more pullouts and parking, bridge repair, widening and resurfacing.

Authorities in Denver are looking for anyone who may have had contact with a bat at the Denver Zoo last Sunday.  The Denver Post says a zoo employee was bitten by the bat and it has tested positive for rabies.  People can be exposed to rabies when they assist, feed or handle wild animals.  They don't have to be bitten or scratched.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Wednesday May 23, 2012

Mesa County is the latest to enact a fire ban.  It takes effect at midnight , and it's different from other bans.  This one includes the Sheriff's Office, BLM and Grand Junction Fire Department.  The restrictions are based on vegetation moisture content, weather predictions and fuel content in the county, and allow fires only in government designated fire pits. No restrictions are in place in higher elevation forest lands in Mesa County.

Kannah Creek Brewing Company is teaming up with the Grand Junction Fire Department on their path to a new brewery. An abandoned building on the property where the new brewery will be built along the Colorado River has to go, and the Grand Junction Fire Department has agreed to demolish it as part of training for new recruits.  That training starts tomorrow.

If you thought the construction on Highway 6 & 50 at 25 Road was no big deal, you'll probably change your mind starting next Tuesday.  C-DOT says work in the intersection will restrict left turns in all directions.  Right turns will be permited.  The intersection is expected to be closed for a maximum 18 days.

The Colorado ACLU is accusing the Garfield County Sheriff's Office of putting undocumented domestic violence victims and witnesses at risk by referring them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  They say that may deter victims from contacting authorities in domestic situations.  GarCo Sheriff Lou Vallario calls the accusations slanderous and lies.  He says the Sheriff's Office has never turned over a victim of a crime to any organization.

Hilltop's Life Adjustment Program has received its 6th 3-year accreditation by the international accrediting body.  That means Hilltop has shown a commitment to promoting quality, value and optimal coutcomes of services to enhance the lives of those in the LAP.  The Life Adustment Program serves traumatically brain-injured adults on a track to independence.

Colorado's Dolores River Tamarisk Removal project is one of ten projects outlined by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as part of America's Great Outdoor Rivers Initiative.  The program's designed to conserve and restore key rivers across the country and expand outdoor recreational opportunities and support jobs in local communities.  One river project in each state has been named.

Energy Impact money funneled from local governments to the state to balance the budget is going back to municipalities for the first time in two years.  Governor John Hickenlooper says the state is making $20 million in severance tax money available through the state's Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Grant Program.

The District 51 budget for next year, isn't a done deal, but it's getting closer.  The School Board last night heard about proposed cuts totalling $5.76 million, and including the elimination of 23 teaching and counseling jobs and 30 support positions.  Two more hearings are scheduled before the budget is formally adopted June 19th.

President Obama is making his second visit to Colorado in less than a month when he arrives for the morning commencement speech at the Air Force Academy, and a Denver fundraiser.  The Graduation is at 11:00.  The fundraiser at the downtown Hyatt Regency Denver is a few hours later.  Tickets begin at $250 per person and go all the way to as much as $40,000.

Noble Eenrgy is spending $8 billion to drill Colorado's shale oil fields, only not in western Colorado, on the eastern plains near Greeley.  According to the Denver Post, the company is developing horizontal wells stretching nearly two miles underground, with increasing density of wells drilled from the same pads.  Noble has identified 4,000 drill sites in Colroado.

The wife of a skier killed in a January avalanche inside the Winter Park ski area has filed suit against the Denver-owned ski area's operator.  The attorney for Salyndra Fleury says the people running a ski area are responsible for making sure it is safe, and tells the Denver Post conditions the day the father of two was killed represent gross negligence.  The attorney says they'll test the Colorado industry standard Ski Safety Act which limits a resort's liability in lawsuits filed by family of those killed to $250,000.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday May 22, 2012

If you want to go to church JUCO Sunday without all the frills, some local churches are making that easier with a Worship Service at the Lincoln Park bandstand.  State Fellowship of Christian Athletes Director Lee James will talk about athletes as Christians and Christian Athletes. Family, coaches, teams and fans  are invited.

If you're a seniors living Colorado, you may qualify for the senior property tax exemption signed into law earlier this month. You could be eligible for a 50% exemption on the first $200,000 in actual value of your primary residence. To qualify, you must be 65 or older and have owned and lived in the home for the last ten years as of January 1st 2012. Contact your county assessor office for more info.

A long term tax exemption on the sale of beetle kill wood products is in effect with the stroke of the pen of Governor John Hickenlooper.  He was in Grand Junction yesterday to sign into law three different measures, including the beetle-kill exemption. The bill by Collbran Representative Laura Bradford extends a tax emption already in place for an additional 7 years.

Counties in Colorado now have more control of the spending in the office of the Public Trustee with the governor's signing of a bill by Grand Junction State Rep Ray Scott.  He says the law allows counties to set an annual budget for the trustee's office, improving transparency and accountability.  Public Trustees oversee foreclosures within their counties.

The number of driving deaths as a result of not wearing a seatbelt has gone up in Colorado for the first time in 9 years.  The latest numbers released by CDOT show 187 people died last year as a result of not buckling up.  That was up from 164 in 2010.

Mesa County's pollen count is dropping after a pretty high weekend. Tree pollen is still  moderate, especially oak trees.  Weeds have dropped, too, but are still moderate, with grass pollen still at low levels.

The state health department is trying to avert a potential listeria outbreak with a recall of salads bagged in Salinas, California. Several types of salads bagged by River Ranch Fresh Foods are on the list.  So far NO illnesses have been reported.  More information is available through the FDA's Recall web page.

The newest technology in energy recovery is the topic of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce's Energy Briefing tomorrow morning.  Representatives from EnCana and WPX will talk about an advancement in reg technology called Split Rigs.  The briefing is at 7:30 tomorrow in the Chamber lower level conference room.

The District 51 School Board has a long agenda for tonight's meeting, including the 2012-13 budget...  Possible staffing cuts, student fee schedules and more. The meeting's at the BTK Center off Patterson Road at 6:00.

Details are being released in the arrest of a former Grand Junction Police Officer accused of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust.  A report in today's Daily Sentinel says a woman who was 16 at the time said she began a sexual relationship with Eric Janusz in 2000, with encounters continuing through August 2011 when she reported the affair. Janusz worked for the Police Department for ten years before being hired by the Grand Junction Fire Department.  He's scheduled to return to court next month.

139 OPEN
Highway 139 has reopened after a tanker crash and fracking fluid spill.  It happened early yesterday afternoon, when the tanker rolled onto its side at mile marker 36.  Hazmat crews were called out and the road finally reopened just after 9:00 last night.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday May 21, 2012

The price of gas in Colorado continues to fall as drivers get ready for the unofficial kickoff to the summer travel season. says the average over the past week has fallen 3.4 cents/gallon to $3.75. Over the past month, gas prices in the state have fallen an average 12.3 cents/gallon. says the fact prices are falling before Memorial Day puts to bed an old myth that gas prices rise ahead of a major holiday.

Construction is set to begin this morning east and west of Whitewater on Highway 50.  C-DOT says it's resurfacing a 6.2 mile stretch between Grand Junction and Whitewater and making improvements on an 18 mile stretch from the Mesa/Delta county line south to Delta.  That work involves milling the pavement to level out waved sections of the road.  Construction's scheduled through June.

Montrose Republicans are holding a County Commission Candidate Forum tonight.  Ron Henderson and Ed Ulibarri, both seeking the District One seat will square off first, then it's District 3 candidates David White and Jim Haugsness's turn. Because only republicans will vote in the June 26th Primary, only registerd Republicans will be allowed to ask questions.  Some Democrats in the county are questioning the format.  Republicans say it makes sense since only republicans can vote in the primary.

Governor Hickenlooper is set to sign 3 bills into law at the Mesa County Commissioners hearing room this morning.  The first changes the statutory designation of Colorado Mesa University from being “moderately selective” to “selective." CMU joins CU Boulder, CSU, UNC, CU Colorado Springs and Fort Lewis College with "selective" admission standards. The 2nd bill transfers the job of the Public Trustee to the County Treasurer's office. And the 3rd,  enacts a tax exemption for Spruce Beetle-Kill Wood Products.

A 55 year old homeless man is facing possible Assault and Felony Menacing charges after an ax attack at Whitman Park.  Grand Junction Police say Mark Hirschberg reportedly hit a man several times with the axe then left on a bike.  He was later arrested on an island in the Colorado River south of Riverside.  The victim is expected to survive.

How much will the Montrose County commissioners chip in for the annual Olathe Sweet Corn Festival?  Olathe Mayor Rob Smith wants $10,000 for the two-day event in August.  Olathe officials also want the commissioners to waive food inspection fees for the event. It's on the commissioners agenda this morning.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is having a breakfast tomorrow to wrap up the 2012 legislative session. Representatives Laura Bradford and Ray Scott, and Senator Steve King will be there. The topics will focus on issues affecting businesses.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday May 18, 2012

It could take days to notify the family of a man killed in a motorcycle crash on I-70 Tuesday. The crash happened near Palisade, the man was thrown from the bike and died of head injuries.  The Mesa County Coroner's office says the victim was from out of state and they haven't been able to notify his family.

Among the bills signed by Governor John Hickenlooper after this year's legislative session, one to make sure kids can read before moving to more advanced coursework.  The Colorado Early Literacy Act addresses kids kindergarten through 3rd grade, offering more resources for teachers and parents.

Governor Hickenlooper is traveling the state on a Bill signing tour..12 stops and 11 bills signed. The Governor comes to Grand Junction's Grand Valley Catholic Outreach's St. Martin Place Sunday evening.  The 16-unit apartment community serving homeless veterans, for a discussion of the new "Pathways Home Colorado" plan to prevent and end homelessness.  Then Monday, Hickenlooper signs three bills
before the Mesa County Commissioners regular meeting.

Governor John Hickenlooper's trip to Grand Junction this weekend includes the signing of three bills Monday morning.  Hickenlooper will sign the County Treasurer Becoming Public Trustee, Spruce Beetle Kill Wood Products Tax Exemption, and the official name change of Colorado Mesa Univeristy.  The ceremony is at the Old Mesa County Courthouse before the County Commissioners regular meeting.

Monday's a big day in Grand Junction for Governor John Hickenlooper.  Not only will he sign three bills into law before the Mesa County Commissioner's meeting, he'll get a look at the "Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness."  The plan, two years in the making, is being unveiled in conjunction with the 2012 Vulnerability Index compliled by over 100 community and social service agency reps and others.

A Red Flag Warning goes into effect at 11:00 this morning in eastern Utah and western Colorado including the Grand Valley as a strong Pacific storm moves into the area.  Wind gusts up to 40 miles an hour are expected and low humidity which make for critical fire conditions.

A Delta County man accused of killing his wife a year and a half ago has been released on bond.  The Montrose Daily Press says 47 year old Billy Kissner posted a $100,000 bond, and is awaiting a preliminary hearing next month.  Kissner has been charged with 2nd Degree Murder as an Act of Domestic Violence.  Kissner reported finding his wife Raelynn dead in a hot tub.  Prosecutors say she showed significan head injuries, and no sign of drowning.

A 29 year old Grand Junction man has been arrested in connection with the robbery of the Dollar General store on Orchard Mesa last Sunday. Gary Michael Lynn Barnett, also known as Gary Michaels was arrested Wednesday.  Investigators say Barnett was also wanted on a no bond warrant for robbery and escape out of Washington State. Local investigators discovered his real name after finding he was a suspect in a shoplifting incident in Fruita in January.

Police in Rifle aren't saying much, but they are thanking several agencies who helped diffuse a situation yesterday at Cross Roads Assisted Living.  A man with a gun reportedly barricaded himself in a public restroom at the center and wouldn't come out.  Residents werre evacuated during the 45 minute ordeal.  54 year old Gregory Blurton of Rifle finally surrendered.  No one was injured and charges are pending.

A Colorado Mesa University Student has been arrested twice this week on suspicion of dealing heroin.  The Daily Sentinel says 22 year old Cameron Coon was released on a personal recognizance bond after being booked Tuesday. He was arrested again, several hours later on the same charges. Coon's bond now is $25,000 cash only.

The Mesa County Health department says that pollen levels have gone up in the latest samples. Tree allergens lead the way with weed and grass allergens at lower levels. The Health Department also says that high wind over the weekend could lead to higher levels over the weekend.

High school drop outs have a second chance to graduate after Gov. Hickenlooper signed a bill into law creating the Dropout Recovery Concurrent Enrollment Program. The law allows Community Colleges and local schools to create "recovery programs" that will allow students to finish their HS diplomas.

The Colorado Childrens Campaign is applauding Governor Hickenlooper signing the Literacy Bill. The bill gives teaches more tools to help kids struggling with reading skills. Colorado Children's Campaign President Chris Watney says that the law will dramatically increase the chances of struggling students and is happy with the speed it was passed.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursday May 17, 2012

Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park opened early a few days ago, but its closed again.  Officials say it will reopen when adverse condtions improve.

Get ready for some construction east and west of Whitewater on Highway 50.  C-DOT says it's resurfacing a 6.2 mile stretch between Grand Junction and Whitewater and making improvements on an 18 mile stretch from the Mesa/Delta county line south to Delta.  That work will involved milling the pavement to level out waved sections of the road.  The project starts Monday and is expected to be finished by July 1st.

Garfield County Crime Stoppers and Glenwood Springs Police are looking for a bank robber who held up the U-S Bank on Grand Avenue in Glenwood April 27th. The suspect's picture is on the garco crimestoppers website, along with the number to call.

3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton's All of the Above Energy planning act has passed the House Natural Resources Committee and is on it's way to the House floor for a vote.  The Planning for American Energy Act advances responsible energy development on federal land without repealing any environmental regulation or review process.

Mesa County Sheriff's Investigators are looking for a Grand Junction woman who hasn't been heard from for a month. Her family says 42-year old Gerrie Dawson experienced a significant medical event 2 years ago and they're concerned for her safety.
Dawson is 42-years-old, white, 5’ 11” tall, weighing about 140 pounds with blue eyes and brown hair. She typically wears her hair in a ponytail on top of her head. Anyone who sees her or knows her location should contact the non-emergency dispatch at: 970-242-6707.

The Salvation Army in Grand Junction is celebrating National Salvation Army Week today with tours of its facilities throughout Mesa County.  The main office and food storage and processing area is on North 4th Street.  There are also two thrift stores on 4th Street and in the Peach Tree Shopping Center in Clifton.

A Denver-based gas field services company has agreed to pay $4 million and install pollution controlls at operations on two Indian Reservations in northeastern Utah.  The EPA and Department of Justice say the settlement will result in cleaner air for residents on the Uintah and Ouray Reservations and allow responsible development of energy resources in compliance with the Clean Air Act.

U-S Senator Mark Udall's Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act bill is getting a hearing on a House version today.  It's already been heard in a Senate committee.  It would give states flexibility to spend already alloted funds to create or improve public shooting ranges.  Udall says the bill has the support of more than 5,000 Coloradans who've signed petions backing Udall's work to develop public shooting ranges.

The state patrol still has not released information about a motorcyclist killed in a crash on I-70.  It happened yesterday morning between Clifton and Palisade.  Troopers say the man was not wearing a helmet and was not carrying identification.  No word on what might have led to the crash.

Attorneys for a man facing murder charg\es in the death of a 19 year old Palisade woman in 1994 say he was improperly contacted by the FBI and other law enforcement in the Mesa County Jail.  Douglas Thames, Jr. was arrested in the death of Jaycie Taylor after a man convicted of the killing was exonerated.  Thames' attorneys say FBI agents checked into the Mesa County Jail last week and collected evidence from Thames during that visit.

A voluntary river flow program to provide enhanced spring peak flows for endangered fish will not take effect this year because river flows in western Colorado will not approach levels where increased flows would benefit the endangered fishes. This year is very dry, similar to 2002.  The current forecast for the water supply for the Colorado River at Cameo near Grand Junction, Colo., is 44 percent of average.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Wednesday May 16, 2012


The Town of Palisade has stopped adding fluoride to its water, saying the additive does not make the water safer to drink. Naturally occurring fluoride in the water is about half the recommended levels, and town trustees and public works officials say in the best best interest of public safety, they're not going to add more.  Residents who want more fluoride for dental health can use fluoride infused rinse or toothpaste, and can contact town officials and their dentists.

Former Montrose DA Myrl Serra is to be released from prison May 29th.  The Daily Sentinel says that's nearly 6 weeks earlier than originally projected.  Sera was sentenced to a year in prison in January after admitted sexual misconduct with employees.  He gets out of prison early because of mandatory earned time off for good behavior.

Some middle school teachers in District 51 have gotten their walking papers, victims of budget cuts.  According to the Daily Sentinel, each middle school has two PE teachers, one man and one woman.  The schools have been told to let one go and hire an instructional assistant of the opposite gender to supervise in locker rooms.  Some of the teachers say the decision makes no sense as childhood obesity rates continue to rise. Other certified positions are being cut, along with a 15% reduction in district central administration.

A Denver 9-1-1 operator has been fired in connection with a road rage incident in which a caller's passenger was killed by gunfire.  It happened last month. The operator received a call from a person in a vehicle with three passengers, saying people in another vehicle threw bottles and other debris at their car, breaking a window.  The dispatcher incorrectly told the driver to return to the area of the road rage incident.  That's when the shooting happened.

Back to the drawing board for Grand Junction State Senator Steve King.  His bill to set a limit for driving under the influence of marijuana killed in the legislature's special session.  The Denver Post says one key supporter was absent and the bill died on an informal tie vote.

A Palisade area rancher says he's missing 33 head of cattle and believes they've been stolen.  The Daily Sentinel says the livestock is valued at about $50,000 would've had to have been moved by truck.  Operation Livestock Thief is taking tips.

The body of a Grand Junction man reported missing last summer has been found in San Miguel County.  The Sheriff's Department there says 54 year old Jonathan Keith Kelley was found by his brother who had been searching on his own.  The Daily Sentinel says Kelley had communicated to his family his intent t commit suicide.

Grand Valley Power says yesterday morning's widespread outage was caused when three substations went dark.  Xcel Energy provides electricity at those stations, but didn't have an answer to what went wrong.  About 8,000 GVP customers were affected.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday May 15, 2012

A House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands is hard at work on the bark beetle epidemic.  Members including 3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton met in Montrose to hear about the epidemic and its effects, espeically across the west.  A headline in today's Montrose Daily Press calls the epidemic "The Katrina of the West." Witnesses at the hearing say the best long term solution to the bark beetle situation is improved forest management to improve forest health, water supplies and wildlife habitat.

A semi loses its load of scrap metal not once, but twice traveling through Grand Junction.  First, the Pacific Recyclers truck tipped over in the Northbound lanes of 5th street, blocking traffic there.  Then once the mess was cleaned up, a tow truck hauling the disabled trailer tipped over at 1st and Ute spilling the scrap again.

2,000 5th graders are going to college today and tomorrow to learn about water.  It's the 19th annual Children's Water Festival at CMU, put on by Ute Water.  Students from the Grand Valley, Parachute, DeBeque, and Delta will learn about water and water-related careers.

The diagnosis of a case of Equine Herpesvirus or EHV-1, in a horse in Douglas County has officials on the lookout, but they say right now only one case has been reported and it's nothing like an outbreak last summer.  Last summer several horses contracted the virus at events across the west.  Vets say there are no restrictions in place on movement or events in the state.

Grand Valley Catholic Ourtreach is getting new communication equipment thanks to a grant from the Daniels Fund.  The $25,000 grant will be used to buy new phone and computer systems.  Grand Valley Catholic Outreach helps the homeless through the Soup Kitchen, Clothing Bank, Day Center, Financial Aid and Housing Programs.

The state patrol now says a man killed in a crash on I-70 near Palisade Sunday may have been intoxicated.   21 year old Johnathan Wix was killed when he was thrown from his car as it rolled after colliding with another westbound car.  Wix's passenger, 21 year old Anthony Merrit of Parachute was hospitalized with minor injuries.

A man who told police he's addicted to pain killers is in the Mesa County Jail, accused of using false names to get medical care and narcotics at St. Mary's, and hospitals across the country.  40 year old Morris S. Brown was arrested Sunday night.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Brown allegedly admitted the schemes at 7 hospitals across the country, possibly racking up bills totalling roughly $280,000.

Trail Ridge Road over the top of Rocky Mountain national Park is open, weeks earlier than normal.  The road that reaches more than 12,000 at its highest point didn't open last year until June 6th.  The earliest the road has opened after winter closure was May 7th, in 2002, while Colorado was going through anextreme drought.

Civil Unions in Colorado are a no go, even after a special legislative session called to debate the issue.  A civil unions bill was killed in committee yesterday on a 5-4 party line vote. According to the Denver Post, Committee member Montrose Representative Don Coram, who has a gay son, said he couldn't vote for the bill, citing a 2006 statewide vote to ban gay marriage.  He said passing a Civil Unions bill would be invalidating that statewide vote.


Grand Junction Police are looking for a man missing since last Thursday. 29 year old Harley Edwin Lammert hasn't been seen since going for a bike ride and not returning.  He's described as 5-11, 170, with light brown curly short hair wearing a gray or blue t-shirt and jeans.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday May 14, 2012

Grand Junction Police are looking for a man who robbed the Family Dollar Store on Orchard Mesa.  It happed just after 4:00 yesterday.  A man wearing black said he was armed and demanded cash from the register and ran from the store.  No other details were released.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission has approved hunting license numbers for the year, including reduction in numbers for mule deer, elk and pronghorn and increases in licenses to manage growing populations of moose and black bears.  A 2008 study show big game hunting in Colorado provides more than $430 million a year in economic impact and supports 4,660 jobs in the state.

C-DOT crews are repaving on and off ramps on I-70 at Canyon Creek this week.  Motorists will see some slowing and lane reductions.  The New Castle Exit can be used as an alternative.  The work is to be finished by Friday.

More good news for Colorado drivers.  The price of gas has fallen 3 cents a gallon over the past week.  The average now $3.78, 5 cents higher than the national average. says the Colorado average has dropped 8.1 cents during the last month, compared with a 16 1/2 cent drop nationally.

A 120 acre fire burning on the G-MUG forest between Whitewater and Delta is still burning in a very remote area.  It was started by lightning on private land Friday and spread to forest land in windy conditions late Saturday.  Fire officials say crews, including a hotshot team and an engine are working to contain the fire.

State Troopers say the driver of a car that side swiped another, before rolling on I-70 near Palisade may have fallen asleep at the wheel.  The driver was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown out as the car rolled 2 1/2 times near mile marker 42.  A buckled-in passenger suffered minor injuries, and the driver of the car hit before the rollover was not injured. The wreck happened about 6:30 last night and is still under investigation.

The Homeward Bound Homeless shelter on North Avenue is moving, and expects to open by early next year.  Staff tell the Daily Sentinel the old Grand Valley Rural Power building at 28 Road and I-70 B is being converted and added onto, and when it opens will be more than twice the size of the current shelter.  Plans call for a separate wing for families and a playground.

State lawmakers at back at the capital for a special session starting today.  The issue of Civil Unions prompted the session, but other bills are also on the agenda.  According to the Denver Post, Governor Hickenlooper who called the session, says it's as much about the other bills that died in the Civil Union debate.  Lawmakers are set to tackle funding for water projects, penalties for driving under the influence of drugs, stablizing unemployment-insurance rates, and others.

One person dead and 3 others injured when a tractor trailer rig rolled off an I0-070 overpass at Avon, landed on a car below and exploded into flames.  A spokeswoman for the town of Avon tells The Denver Post the driver of the truck was killed, but three people in a Honda CRV the truck landed on, lived.  It happened about 10:00 yesterday morning.  The westbound I-70 bridge remains closed as damage is being assessed.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday May 11, 2012

Independence Pass above Aspen is opening today, nearly two weeks ahead of schedule. The 12,000 foot pass is closed every winter, usually through Memorial Day weekend, but a lack of snow this year has moved that up.  Last year, CDOT crews worked non-stop for weeks to get the pass open on time, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center says snowpack last year was more than 400% of average.  This year, data show zero % of average. [The road opens this morning, but will close overnight for Ride for the Pass, an annual fundraiser for the Independence Pass Foundation.  The highway reopens at 1:30 tomorrow afternoon.]

Palisade's new Fruit and Wine Byway gets its official kick-off this afternoon.  A Specialty Crops Grant helped pay for signs for the route aiming to improve visibility, ease of travel and road safety while traveling from one vineyard or orchard to the next.

Members of a committee charged with making a decision on whether to seek National Park status for the Colorado National Monument are divided and say they need more time.  The Daily Sentinel says half the committee members took part in a conference call yesterday, the other half agreeing to a face to face meeting with  Senator Mark Udall and Congressman Scott Tipton in July.  Community leaders say a name change would bring more international travelers, others say there needs to be a balance tourism benefits and quality of life.

State lawmakers are headed back to Denver Monday for a special session called to deal with a Civil Unions measure and several other bills killed during last minute wrangling over the Civil Unions measure.  Other bills on the table include funding $55 million in water projects and penalties for driving under the influence of drugs.

The girlfriend of a man who admitted killing a 16 year old Thanksgiving night on Orchard Mesa has been arrested on suspicion of buying the gun used in the shooting illegally.  23 year old Tamika Wilson is accused of buying the gun used by Joshua Ringold who pleaded guilty last month to second degree murder in the death of Cody English.  The Daily Sentinel says the couple who were the target of a failed burglary attempt that night now face charges including illegal possession of drugs.

Colorado's Day of Prayer has been ruled unconstitutional by the state Court of Appeals.  According to the Denver Post, when the state sponsors such a day, it undermines the premisee that the government serves believers and nonbelievers equally.  The case against the Day of Prayer proclaimations was filed against Governor Bill Ritter in 2008 by the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation.

Stamp Out Hunger, the largest single-day food drive in the country is tomorrow.  Mail carriers will be collecting food left at mail boxes across the country.  In the Grand Valley, the food will be split among area food banks to help restock shelves.

Sales tax collections in Glenwood Springs are up.  The Glenwood Post says several factors have played into the first double digit climb since the end of 2007.  City Finance Director Mike Harman says the opening of Ross Dress for Less in the Glenwood Springs Mall is getting a lot of the credit for a 41% jump in the city's apparel/accessories category.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday May 10, 2012

A Grand Junction woman reported missing is safe, thanks in large part to an Emergency Alert call from the 9-1-1 center.  73 year old Emileena Chacone was found after a citizen received an alert to be on the lookout for the woman.  The Police Department says it's a good reminder to sign up for Emergency and Community  alerts on the city's website.

Independent John Leane is turning in signatures today to get a spot on the November ballot for Mesa County Commissioner. Leane served on the commission from 1989 to 1993 as a democrat this time around he's running for the district 1 seat as an independent.  He's slated to turn in his petitions at 10:00 this morning.

A Parker man has been arrested in an alleged oil and gas investment scam.  The Colorado Attorney General's Office says Jeffory Shields solicited more than $5 million from over 60 investors and used the proceeds for personal benefit.  He's being held on $750,000 bond.

The Colorado Secretary of State's Office is launching a quarterly economic forecast based on business data.  The CU Business Research Division is putting together economic trends based on new business start-ups, trademarks, and dissolved businesses. Researches compared business filings with other types of economic data and found a correlation with employment.  The findings will be published quarterly as a tool business leaders can use when making decisions like hiring new employees.

Governor John Hickenlooper is expected to clarify plans today for a special legislative session to address the issue of civil unions.  The issue died Tuesday night after heavy debate. Democrats say Republicans blocked the bill with last-minute stall tactics.  Republicans say the bill came up too late in the session for proper consideration.  Hickenlooper says there is an overwhelming need to discuss civil unions and has called a special session.

One of 3 suspects in a crime spree in Grand Junction last summer including the murder of 31 year old Jorge Carrasco at Taco Bell, has pleaded not guilty to 16 charges.  19 year old Lester Miranda-Davis is accused of killing Carrasco, and of two armed robberies and a burglary last July.  He's being held under $750,000 bond.  The Daily Sentinel says two suspects in the spree are still on the run.  A second suspect is being held in Mesa County.  Two others from California are still on the run.

A traffic stop on I-70 has led to the arrest of a California woman on suspicion of transporting nearly 9 pounds of suspected packaged Meth. The Daily Sentinel says Mesa County Sheriff's Deputies stopped the woman's Jeep near the Utah border Tuesday afternoon.  The suspected drugs were found hidden under the Jeep's oil pan.

3rd Grade TCAP reading test scores are out and show 72% of District 51 3rd graders scoring proficient or better.  That's just below the state average of 74%.  The Daily Sentinel says scores at 67% of the district's  traditional elementary schools went up from last year.  The district's implemented a secondary testing program to help track students reading and math scores to provide help earlier.  

The Montrose County Sheriff's Posse is getting a new storage facility thanks to the estate of a man who was the subject of a rescue at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison in 2003.  James Douglas McQueen of Australia suffered a heart attack and died while climbing a the park.  The posse assisted in removal of the man's body and since, his family has donated money for a building and storage facility as a tribute to McQueen.  Ground Breaking is this morning on the new $200,000 facility.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday May 9, 2012

Two people are under arrest in Rifle, suspected in a murder in Arizona.  The pair was stopped by state troopers in Garfield County after Phoenix Police notified authorities the pair might be passing through. They're suspected in a fatal shooting in Phoenix last Sunday. An 11 year old boy and 4 year old girl with the man and woman were taken in by the Colorado DHS.

A bill to make the film industry more profitable in Colorado has moved out of the House and into the state Senate where a final vote is set today.  Known by the acronym CINEMA, the bill provides a loan guarantee program for production activities in Colorado that use at least 50% in-state workers.  It would be the first of its kind in the country.

The U-S Interior Department has signed off on a natural gas project in Utah's Uinta Basin that could see development of more than 3,600 new wells by Anadarko Petroleum over the next decade.  Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the Greater Natural Buttes Project agreement safeguards air quality and assures protection of critical wildlife habitate and outdoor recreation, while supporting up to 4,300 jobs during development.

The Colorado State Trooper cleared in the 2010 shooting death of Jason Kemp has been reinstated and is back on the state payroll awaiting back pay.  Gene Lawyer had been on unpaid leave since being indicted in October of 2010.  Trooper Nate Reid tells the Daily Sentinel Lawyer will be on paid administrative leave during an internal review and will likely require a battery of re-certification tests before returning to regular patrol duties.

No word on the condition of a man whose car crashed into the back of a school bus as it stopped to let kids off on Highway 50.  The man was taken to the hospital after being pried from the car which was stuck under the rear of the bus.  No students, nor the bus driver were injured.  The bus was taking Orchard Mesa Middle and Grand Junction High School students to their homes in Whitewater.

A civil unions bill killed in the state house last night wasn't the only bill to die.  During heated debate, 30-other bills went down during the heated debate.  The Denver Post says among those bills..$20 million worth of statewide water projects and a bill setting a standard for driving under the influence of marijuana.

A new study shows students who attend Community College in Colorado receive an 11% annual return on their investment. According to The Denver Post, the report from Economic Modeling Specialists shows 150,000 students attending Community College in the 2009-2010 academic year and the 5,600 employees drawing salaries equalled an about $222 million economic impact.  The state gets an estimated $300 billion from Community Colleges.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday May 8, 2012

The Montrose-based 3M/Ross Reels needs some money to conolidate its operations and stay in Montrose.  The company says it has a $1.75 million payroll and the city and county would lose benefits from that if it has to move.  Montrose County Commissioners are in the fray, deciding whether to help fund the company, the City Council takes up the matter in a special meeting tonight.  According to the Montrose Daily Press, the issue seems to be whether helping one particular existing business meets public economic development funding criteria.

Grand Junction Regional Airport could be getting more service, this time from what's described as a "Major" airline.  According to the Daily Sentinel, the airline approached the airport authority about the possibility of moving in. Airport Manager Rex Tippets isn't too excited, saying airlines approach the airport all the time.  Tippets and Deputy Director Amy Jordan will meet with the airline at an airport marketers meeting in California next month.

Just about everyone has seen the eyesore of junk on desert property near Mt. Garfield off I-70.  Mesa County Commissioners say they're done asking the owners to clean up the mess and will take legal action if junk isn't removed by the end of next month.  According to the Daily Sentinel, the landowners say county code-enforcement officers have been professional and put the blame for the mess on themselves.

Delta School District 50J has been without a Superintendent since the school board ousted the old one.  Now after months of looking for a new super, the board says it's negotiating with Interim Superintendent Jerre Doss to serve as Superintendent under a one year contract.  The Daily Sentinel says the board had narrowed candidates to three, but the one offered the job withdrew from consideration, leading the board to wait until later this year to start the process again.

A slowdown in natural gas production driven by low prices apparently isn't being felt in the Piceance Basin.  Encana, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobile say so-called "wet gas" is saving the day.  The Daily Sentinel says the "wet gas" contains heavier products including ethan, propane and butane, some of which can be processed into gasoline.  WPX, a spin-off of Williams, says its liquids production is continuing at higher than expected rates.

Independent John Leane is turning in petitions today to run for Mesa County Commissioner.  Leane was a Democrat when he served on the commission from 1989 to 1993. Leane will be running for the vacated District 1 seat.

A bill that would have set a back-to-school shopping tax holiday has died in the state Senate. The tax break would have allowed a tax free shopping day on clothes, computers and school supplies. It passed the house before its death in a senate committee.

G Road is closed today between Horizon Drive and 12th Street.  Ute Water is replacing a line and says the road will be reopened around 4:00 this afternoon.

Governor John Hickenlooper has signed the so-called Long Bill, the state's budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st.  It includes a $7.4 billion general fund plan, and $100 million in tax breaks for seniors.  It's the first time in 3 years there is no cut in K-12 funding.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday May 7, 2012

Winter weather making a return to Colorado, with a winter weather advisory in effect for Pikes Peak areas through 6:00 tonight.  Forecasters say Pikes Peak could get between 6 and 10 inches of snow, with 2 to 5 inches on parts of the eastern slope tonight. 

Foreclosure sales in Mesa County are driving the real estate market.  Although it's not rebounding, it is moving, and a local company says there are signs the the market is moving toward a potential bottom out.  Real Data tells the Daily Senintel sales were up in the first quarter of the year, but with a slight decline in prices.

DNA testing that exhonorated a Grand Junction man jailed for 16 years, now may be used to cover crimes other than murder, manslaughter and sexual assault.  The Daily Sentinel says a $1.4 million grant from the National Institute of Justice is being used in an effort to screen cases that might benefit from DNA testing.  The  coordinator of the Colorado Justice Review Project says her office is in the early stages of review.

A bank robber is still on the loose after tying up employees and one customer at a Carbondale bank Saturday.  Garfield County Sheriff's officials say the robber stole an employee's car and is on the run.  The suspect's described as a white man about 5-8 and 150 pounds.  He may have been wearing a long straight black wig and fake mustache along with a long sleeve gray shirt and gray pants.

Some relief at the pumps in Colorado with the price of gas down just over 2 1/2 cents this week. the price isn't falling as fast as it climbed over the past few months, averaging $3.82/gal.  Nationally the average has dropped 13.5 cents a gallon in the last month, compared with a 1.5 cent a gallon drop in Colorado.

Whoever fills the vacancy on the Fruita City Council, it will be a man.  Four men are vying for the seat left vacant when councilwoman Lori Buck was elected mayor last month.  The Daily Sentinel says the council will choose Buck's successor at its meeting next week.

Super PACs, or Political Action Committees, have received more than $1 million from Coloradans this election cycle, from as little as $25 from some donors to as much as $100,000.  The Denver Post says a lawyer at the Campaign Legal Center says what's troubling is a Super PAC can single-handedly sway a smaller house race like the 3rd Congressional District where democrats are trying to win back the seat held by Republican Scott Tipton. Democrat Sal Pace, through Super PACs, could outspend Tipton by as much as 3 to 1. Pace says he'd rather win without the Super PAC money

Scientists have been poring over the ice age findings art the Ziegler Reservoir near Snowmass Village and now are trying to figure out if early man may have been there.  The Aspen Daily News Online says two co-leaders of the dig found soccer-size rocks where they shouldn't have been and say similar stones have been found to have been used to hide meat cashes in ice-bound spots away from predators.

The state legislature is down to its final 3 days of the session.  All of the floor and committee action can be seen or heard on the legislature's website.

Friday, May 4, 2012


May 3, 2012
This week Crime Stoppers needs your help in locating the suspect that robbed the Alpine Bank at 3243 I-70 Business Loop around 4:00 pm on Thursday, April 26, 2012.
The suspect is described as a white male, approximately 45-50 years old, 5’11” tall, with a thin built, dark hair and mustache. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, tan shorts and baseball cap. He showed the bank teller a note demanding money and stated he had a weapon. The suspect exited the bank and was last seen leaving the area in an older model blue hatchback Subaru. The survelliance photo of the suspect can be viewed at
If you know the identity or whereabouts of this subject, please contact Crime Stoppers at 241-7867. Information reported to Crime Stoppers that leads to an arrest can earn you up to $1,000 cash reward and you will remain completely anonymous. For more information, see us at
MCSO Case Number: 2012-00011116

Friday May 4, 2012

The Colorado State Patrol is honoring law enforcement officers who've died in the line of duty.  A ceremony today will add the names of 7 officers, including two who died last year.  Governor John Hickenlooper has proclaimed today "Colorado Law Enforcement Day" in honor of those killed in the line of duty.

Garfield County Sheriff's officials are warning recreationists to be on the look out for people who might be exposing themselves on public trails and rest areas.  They say there've been an increasing number of reports since 2008 and want the public to be aware and report any suspicious incidents immediately.

New concrete road bed in Glenwood Canyon is complete, and crews today will re-open all lanes in both directions. C-DOT says the work is the third in a series of phased projects replacing the current asphalt pavement through the canyon with more durable, longer-lasting concrete pavement which has a 30 year life span.  The work was finished 10 days ahead of schedule, netting the contractor $60,000 in early-completition incentives.

Snowpack in Colorado continues it's rapid decline, with the latest snow surveys showing most low and mid elevation measurement locations well below average and rapidly melting.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service says the May 1st snowpack is just 19% of average, with stream-flow forecasts less than 50% of average for the May to July season.  Reservoir storage remains above average in all basins in the state except the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan where measurements show 89% of average storage.

Nearly 60 visitors from Denver are making their way to the Grand Valley this weekend for the 23rd annual Colorado Wine Country Experience.  The Visitor and Convention Bureau is hosting the event with AAA Colorado.  The group arrives by train and returns to Denver by bus.  The VCB estimates each tour like this one produces more $10,000 in revenue to the community.

State lawmakers are trying to make a substance known as "bath salts" a controlled substance and a bill to do that has passed out of the House Jucidiary Committee.  Senate Bill 116 creates a new class 3 felony for a person who distributes, manufactures, dispenses or sells the substance which can produce a stimulant like effect leaving abusers with symptoms similar to cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamines. Bath Salts are legal under Colorado Law but the bill's sponsors say the law will help combat new problems and protect people.

Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger has dismissed two charges on which a jury failed to reach a decision in the trial of State Trooper Gene Lawyer who shot and killed an unarmed suspect nearly two years ago. The jury found Lawyer not guilty on four counts including criminally negligent homicide. Now Lawyer tells the Daily Sentinel he wants his job back. Lawyer still faces a federal lawsuit in the death of Jason Kemp.  Cpl Kirk Firko who was with Lawyer at the time of the shooting is to go on trial in July.

A state house committee has approved a bill allowing same-sex couples to enter into civil unions.  The debate was heated, and in the end, the measure which has already passed the Senate, moves on to the Finance and Appropriations committees.  If Senate Bill 2 eventually passes, it will make Colorado the 9th state to provide state-level recognition of civil unions or domestic partnerships.

The 280 pound black bear whose picture falling from a tree went viral last week is dead.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say the bear was hit by a car and killed yesterday morning on highway 36.  The bear was found on the CU campus April 26th and relocated to a wilderness area 50 miles away. It took just over a week to make its way back to Boulder.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thursday May 3, 2012

A United Express flight from Grand Junction with 45 people on board made an unscheduled stop in Amarillo.  The jet was headed to Houston when the crew declared a pressurization issue around 1:30 yesterday.  The passengers were transferred to another plan and taken on to Houston.

Grand Junction has a new mayor.  City Council elected Bill Pitts to the role for the next year.  Laura Luke, mayor pro-tem.  Pitts was elected to the City Council in May of 2009.  Luke was appointed in April of last year to fill a vacancy on the council.

C-DOT is getting ready for some pretty significant road closures to improve communications in Jefferson and Clear Creek Counties.  Right now cell phone and other services are not available in Clear Creek Canyon and a partnership with the counties and Crown Castle International, a national wireless operator, will change that.  Weeklong closures of Highway 6 will continue through June, so travelers should check with CDOT before making plans for travel to Black Hawk, Central City and Golden.

The Western Colorado Council of the Boy Scouts has a new endeavor and it gets started officially tomorrow.  It's a community garden at KREX TV.  The boy scouts will oversee the plot of land planted with fruits and vegetables.  Encana is the title sponsor, and others have donated materials for the garden. A ribbon cutting is tomorrow morning.

Montrose State Representative Don Coram's SUCCESS Act for Small Business has passed out of committe and is on to the full house.  The measure stands for Stopping Unnecessary Costs and Creating Economic Sustainability for Small Business.  Coram says the measure grew out of a statewide tour by Republicans.  He says the bill creates a temporary moratorium on the state health department's ability to impose fines on businesses for minor violations, unless a business fails to cure the infraction within a reasonable time.

6 troopers from the Fruita office of the Colorado State Patrol have been singled out by CDOT for their work in traffic safety.  CDOT handed out awards across the state citing the Glenwood Springs Police Department for making 82 DUI arrests last year.  The CSP Fruita Troop Office was recognized for issuing more than 700 seat belt citations. CDOT says programs like the Heat Is On and Click It Or Ticket are credited with helping reduce the number of traffic fatalities in Colorado, which declined to a record low in 2011.

The Montrose City Council is struggling with how to deal with an economic development request to keep a successful company in the city.  The unnamed company has been in Montrose for 25 years, and according to the Montrose Daily Press, has a yearly payroll in excess of $1 million.  The problem is the lack of economic development funds. The company may have to leave the area if assistance isn't available.

A 26 year old man arrested at Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs last summer has been sentenced to a year in federal prison and deportation.  Local law enforcement agencies including the Garfield County Sheriff's Office Threat Assessment Group or TAG, and ICE arrested David Adrian Centeno and others.  A lawsuit had been filed after the incident accusing TAG of using the crackdown as an immigration sweep.

A 73 year old woman arrested in January accused of driving the getaway car for botched burglary has been sentenced to 2 years probation, court costs and 48 hours community service.  Barbara Mae West was arrested after fleeing from police with 2 men who got out of her vehicle and ran. The Daily Sentinel says West pleaded guilty to one count of vehicular eluding.

A bill addressing stoned driving has passed the state senate and moves to the House by the slightest of margins, 18 to 17.  Grand Junction State Senator Steve King's bill sets a limit of THC in a driver's blood to be considered too impaired to drive at 5 nanograms.  The amount is similar to the alcohol limit of .08.

Tuition at CSU is going up by 9% next year.  That's for residents.  The increase of $568 brings tuition to just over $6,800 a year.  OUt of state students though, will feel a huge hit.  A 3% increase bringing the total yearly tuition to just over $22,000.  If your kid wants to go to CU, get ready to pay a ton...$8,000 a year.

The conundrum cows are coming home...or something like that.  Forest officials say dead frozen cows found in a cabin near the Conundrum Hot Springs south of Aspen will be cut up with hand saws today and scattered in the forest for nature to take her course.  The Forest service says the public will be asked to stay off the Conundrum Trail for a month as the cow parts decompose.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday May 2, 2012

The state legislature is forming a task force to look into the state's enterprise zones.  The zones give businesses tax cuts in exchange for bringing jobs to the area.  The Denver Post says an analysis it did last year filed documents for $75 million in tax credits while creating a net 564 jobs, a cost of about $133,000 per job.

The Colorado Attorney General's Office is looking into whether a commission to compensate victims of the Lower North Fork Fire violates the state constitution.  There's a question of whether singling out victims of the fire is consitutional, considering the $600,000 state liability cap.  According to the Denver Post, a bill to create the commission is picking up steam in the house.

 A state health department grant is helping fight childhood obesity.  The $105,000 grant is going to the Colorado Farm to School Task Force to help schools local farmers and communities bring fresh local food into K-12 meal and snack programs.  The grant will fund outreach and technical assistance to local communities, research on best practices in farm-to-school policy.

The City of Grand Junction is working on the city's first roundabout at 12th Street and Horizon Drive.  Some curbing is being replaced and that means the busy intersection is being closed overnight through the week.  The closures will be marked with detours between 6pm and 6am and is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

Some motorists might be surprised that 3% of all vehicles registered in Colorado are motorcycles, but what's even more surprising is the number of fatalities. Motorcycle riders accounted for 17% of traffic deaths in Colorado last year.  The state is doing what it can, stepping up awareness of sharing the roads with cycles. Tips for both drivers and motorcyclists are available online at Video links are also available.

The City of Grand Junction is the latest to weigh in on the BLM’s  Draft 2012 Oil Shale and Tar Sand Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement process.  A letter signed by Mayor Tom Kenyon says the city is interested in several parts of the plan, including implementing protections for the community.

The Mesa County Public Library is on the move.  Not in a bookmobile, but into temporary quarters in the old Ashley Furniture Store on 1st Street.  The Daily Sentinel says a $5.5 million renovation and expansion at the existing library is set to start this summer and finish next spring.  The project adds 9,000 square feet to the 36,000 square-foot facility.

An economist with Wells Fargo Bank says things are looking up economically in the Grand Valley and nationally, but the news could be short lived.  The banks's senior economist tells the Daily Sentinel the scheduled ending of a pair of Bush-era tax cuts and a 2% payroll tax reduction next year could throw the economy back into recession.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday May 1, 2012

Convicted murderer Robert Dewey was has been exonerated.  Dewey was convicted of murdering a 19 year old Jacie Taylor, in Palisade in 1994.  Yesterday DNA analysis linked another man to the crime.  Dewey waited 15 years in prison before his release. A new suspect, 39 year old Douglas Thames, already serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a Fort Collins woman in 1989, is now the chief suspect in Taylor's murder.

51 year old Robert Dewey sat patiently in a Colorado prison for more than 15 years for a crime he didn't commit and now he's free.  Dewey was released yesterday after authorities say DNA evidence used to lock him up was wrong.  Dewey was convicted of murdering 19 year old Jacie Taylor in Palisade in 1994, but never backed down from his claim of innocence, and last week, DNA evidence proved that.  Dewey is free and a 39 year old man who lived near the Palisade murder scene has been implicated.  Douglas Thames, Jr. is already serving a life sentence for killing a Ft. Collins woman in 1989.

A 51 year old man in prison for 15 years, wrongly accused of murdering a Palisade woman in 1994 is a free man.  Robert Dewey walked out of the Mesa County Justice Center yesterday, exonerated after DNA analysis pointed to another suspect in the rape and murder of 19 year old Jacie Taylor in 1994. New DNA evidence has implicated another man already serving time for the murder of a Fort Collins murder five years before Taylor was murdered.

Local law enforcemnt are getting involved with Special Olympics this week with three separate events, the first one this morning.  The Grand Junction SWAT team is running the Special Olympics torch to Stocker Stadium to light the cauldron with the athletes, it happenes around 10:15.  A huge multi-agncy run is Friday over the Clorado National Monument. Then Saturday, The Mesa County SWAT Team will carry the torch from teh Sheriff's Office to Grand Junction High School where the regional games are set.

State lawmakers are hoping to create more film industry jobs in the state with the Film Production Activities in Colorado Act.  The measure would be the first of its kind in the country, increasing rebates for film makers from 10 percent to 20 percent.  Bipartisan backers say the creative industry is the fifth largest employment sector in the state, and one of the fastest growing in the country. The bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee.

The BLM has released a preliminary Environmental Assessment and unsigned Finding of No Significant Impact for public comment regarding the proposed coal lease modifications at the Bowie mine five miles northeast of Paonia.  The Bowie #2 Mine employees nearly 300 workers, the majority living in Delta County, with total direct economic benefits exceeding $60 million annually.  Comments on the EA are being taken in writing through the end of the month.

Powderhorn Mountain Resort says it didn't suffer the same fate other resorts did with a dismal snowpack.  Instead, the owners tell the Mesa County Commissioners skier visits were up 7 percent the past season compared with a 7% drop at other areas in the state.

Occupy Grand Junction is planning a daylong rally at Lincoln Park today.  The Daily Sentinel says the gathering falls on the foot heels of a Values Rally by the Heritage Foundation at the park yesterday, but says little about the Occupiers agenda.  This Friday, The Western Slope Conservative Alliance is putting on a Tea Party Rally at the same location with national speakers, music, food and a call to action.  That party is from 4 until 7.

Grand Junction city officials are looking at raising the price of sewer and water in light of a dip in the the services's enterprise fund.  City Council will take up the issue in coming meetings.