Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday June 22, 2012

You can't innertube on the Yampa River in Steamboat Springs, and now, you can't fish either.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife says minimal snowmelt and no significant rain so far this year are the reasons.  Water temperatures are way above normal and threatening fish.  Flow in the river has been measured at 81 cubic feet per second, compared with the average 1400 cfs this time of year.

The US Senate has passed the 2012 Farm Bill which includes provisions to improve agriculture and conservation programs important to Colorado's rural communities.  The bill also includes an amendment by Colorado's Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall to increase Bark Beetle-Mitigation Funding.

Country Jam is underway in Mack, keeping area law enforcement busy. The Mesa County Sheriff's Office is on the concert grounds and reminding people about their zero tolerance policy for underage drinking.  Anyone underage caught drinking will be issued a summons and evicted from the event.  Any adult supplying alcohol to someone underage will also be charged and evicted.

Officers from three different agencies investigating what was first reported as a stolen vehicle at Country Jam.  Police scanner traffic indicated the car was stolen about 4:30 this morning, then a car with the same description was reported invovled in a rollover crash on I-70 at Fruita, the driver injured.  Mesa County Sheriff's Deputies, the Colorado State Patrol and Fruita Police officers all on the scene at about 4:45.

Dollar General may headed to Palisade after all.  A proposed store in the town was fought by local residents last year, and finally the company said revenue projections would keep it form locating there.  The Daily Sentinel says property has been purchased on 37 3/10 Road south of Peach Bowl Park. Town Manger Rich Sales says the new site on the Highway 6 corridor may be better suited for the store.  A public meeting is set next Wednesday.

Some are calling fire conditions across Colorado the worst ever as fire restrictions are in place in all of Colorado and many areas under fire bans.  Three major fires continue to burn, the High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins, the Little Sand fire in the San Juan National Forest near Pagosa Springs, and the Springer fire near Lake George.  Officials are bracing for more with another week of hot temperatures, high wind and low humidities.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


The June 19, story: UTE, PITKIN SOUTH AVES FLIP should have read: the feasibility study would cost about $500,000.

Wednesday June 20, 2012

The Colorado Riverfront Trail is a step closer to completion thanks to a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado.  Mesa County is getting $2.9 million and will use it to build the next section of trail between Grand Junction and Fruita.  GOCO reps are in Grand Junction today to get a closeup of where the new section will be.  The funding means the "Fruita Connection" can now be completed by 2014.

Returned ballot numbers in the Mesa County primary election are slowly inching up.  $50,000 ballots have gone out to registered party voters who have until Tuesday at 7pm to return them.  The county clerk and recorder's office says 16% of the ballots have been returned.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says a move by Metropolitan State College to charge a discounted tuition rate for undocumented students living in Colorado is illegal.  Suthers says under federal law, only state legislatures can pass statutes affirmatively providing tuition benefits to undocumented students.  The Colorado General Assembly has repeatedly failed to pass such a bill.

More fire restrictions in western Colorado, this time on BLM lands, the Colorado National Monument and the White River National Forest. Moisture levels are near record lows, fuels are significantly lower than kiln dried wood. Beginning Friday the stage 2 ban goes into effect banning ALL campfires in those areas.  A fire spokeswoman says there are fewer beetle-killed trees in the Grand Mesa-Uncompaghre and Gunnison National Forest so the Stage 2 restrictions won't go into effect there.

The District 51 2012-13 budget is final.  The school board last night ok'd the $154 million plan which includes $5.7 million in cuts to the general fund.  Those cuts include the elimination of 4 admin positions and several teaching jobs, along with hikes  in middle and high school athletic fees.

The High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins has now burned close to 60,000 acres and is considered 55% contained.  189 homes have burned.  The Denver Post says the fire is the third largest ever in Colorado, behind the Hayman fire on the front range, and the 73,000 acre Missionary Ridge fire near Durango in 2002.

The High Park fire is now considered 55% contained having claimed one life and burning 189 homes.  Two other fires are still burning in the state.  The 2-square mile Springer fire in the foothills west of Colorado Springs is now considered 20% contained.  The Craig Daily Press says a fire 10 miles west of Craig has burned some 2,000 acres. Some residents were evacuated but allowed to return to their homes last night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tuesday June 19, 2012

The District 51 School Board is expected to adopt its 2012-13 budget tonight, including $5.7 million in cuts.  Those cuts are being made through the elimination of some teaching and administrative positions, and fee hikes for middle and high school athletics.  Tonight's meeting is at the BTK Center on Patterson Road at 6:00.

When it's this hot, pet owners need to take extra precautions to make sure their 4-legged friends are safe and healthy.  You can get a list of tips from Animal Services on the Mesa County website.  They include making sure there's enough shade and water outside, excercise them in early morning or late evening, and avoid the temptation to shave your dog, that will actually make them hotter.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall is set to deliver his 4th address on the senate floor about what he says is the need to pass the Wind Production Tax Credit. Udall has launched a cammpaign to urge passage of the bill every morning.  Udall says the soon-to-expire PTC is especially important to the wind industry in Colorado and for the country's global competitiveness.

Mesa County has sent out 50,000 Republican Ballots for the June 26th Primary and has gotten back just under 11,000, or 14.5%.  A report from the Clerk and Recorders office says nearly 1,700 ballot have been returned undeliverable.  Registered Republicans have until 7:00 next Tuesday night to get their ballots in.

A Montrose County man has been arrested, accused of domestic violence, felony menacing, child abuse, illegal discharge of a firearm, and reckless endangerment.  36 year old Steven Carter was arrested yesterday after his wife said he became agitated Sunday evening and shot a round through the ceiling of their home.

Assessment teams combing the wreckage of the High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins have found 8 more homes destroyed by the fire, bringing the total to nearly 200.  The fire grew by some 2 square miles yesterday, now covering almost 81 square miles in hot dry conditions.  Humidity only 3 to 5%. The fire has stayed at 45% containment since Saturday.  A fire near Pagosa Springs has covered 19 square miles and is reported 30% contained.

Authorities say a man found in the burned out wreckage of an RV last week was killed before the fire.  22 year old Lucos Schultz and 26 year old Julius Sutton were formally charged yesterday with 2nd Degree Murder, 1st Degree Arson and other charges.  According to the Daily Sentinel, prosecutors say the victim was killed and his body set on fire intentionally.  Arrest affidavits remain sealed, and the name of the victim hasn't been released.

The City of Grand Junction is expected to commit $1 million to a renovation project at the Avalon Theater. The phased rehab is to include a 3 story addition to the east of the theater, larger restrooms, and a new heating and cooling system.  The $1 million from the city will go along with $3 million from the Avalon Theatre Foundation which hopes to raise another $2 - $3 million for construction beginning next spring.

Smoke in the Grand Valley air is coming from a fire burning in Nevada, and its mixing with dust to keep things hazy.  The National Weather Service says a cold front moving in today is likely to blow all of that out of the valley, and drop temperatures into the upper 80s or lower 90s.  The repreive will be short lived though, with temperatures back up to near 100 by Thursday. A Red Flag warning remains in effect today for eastern Utah and most of western Colorado.

Grand Junction's Downtown Development Authority is floating the idea of moving one ways along Ute and Pitkin to Pitkin and South Avenues. Executive Director Harry Weiss says the flip would make Ute a two-way street, improving access to Emerson and Whitman parks and opening up property development along Ute.  The Daily Sentinel says a feasibility study would cost about $500,000, the project $8 to $12 million.

An 18 year old who admitted going on a shooting rampage in Clifton and Fruitvale late last year has reached a plea agreement and will spend between 21 and 64 years in prison.  The Daily Sentinel says Aaron Plotner was the triggerman in a 5-day shooting spree which included shooting a man he didn't know in the shoulder before driving away. The driver of the car also faces prison time.

It's already illegal for the public to light fireworks in Colorado, now some cities are cancelling their public displays.  One of those is Steamboat Springs.  The Fire Chief tells the Steamboat Pilot the city doesn't want to end up with a fire.  Steamboat last cancelled its 4th of July display during the drought of 2002.

Pollen levels in the Grand Valley have changed all that much in the past few weeks, but the Health Department says dust levels are higher.  More dust could mean more allergy symptoms for some people.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Monday June 18, 2012

18 Helicopters dropping water on the High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins have been grounded in 50 mile an hour winds, and some new evacuations have been ordered.  The fire has burned 181 homes, but fire officials are quick to point out they've protected over 500 residences, and call those efforts a success. more than 56,000 had been burned by last night and the fire considred 45% contained.

Firefighters working a 300 acre fire in the Pike National Forest.  It blew up for about 2 acres yesterday afternoon and is said to be human-caused.  Evacuations have been ordered in towns in Park and Teller Counties.  It's called the Springer fire, about 3 miles south of Lake George.

If you notice smoke in the air in the Grand Valley this morning, you're right.  The national weather service says upper level winds are coming out of the west today so it's not clear exactly which fire in the west the smoke is coming from.

It'll cost more to fill up your gas tank this week than it did last week.  The price up gas has gone up 2 cents a gallon, with the Colorado average now $3.69/gal.  The price is 6.8 cents lower than a month ago and compares to the national average $3.53/gal.

Garfield County's Childhelp River Bridge Center is severing ties with the national group it used to get off the ground.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Childhelp, based in Arizona, hasn't made rent payments to the county and hasn't returned calls from the Center. The Garfield County group provides advocacy, treatment and investigation services for abuse and neglect victims. They say the amount they pay Childhelp is equal to the amount they charge Childhelp for rent.

Xcel Energy has filed a request for a decrease in electricity and natural gas bills.  The company says it's the result of lower costs associated with fuel and purchased energy.  If the PUC agrees, Xcel says residential and small business customers can expect a 15% drop in their 3rd Quarter gas bills, and a 3-5% reduction for electricity.

Teens in Fruita are getting a chance to see how their police department works.  All this week, students between 13 and 15 years old can attend the Fruit Police Department's Junior Citizen Police Academy and learn about patrol operations DUI detection, crime scene investigation, k-9s and more.  It starts today at nine.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursday June 14, 2012 Flag Day

27 1/4 FATAL
Grand Junction Police say speed and alcohol were factors in a crash that killed an 18 year old.  Brandon Mills in the rollover off 27 1/4 Road north of H Road early yesterday morning. The Mesa County Coroner's office says Mills' blood alcohol content when he died was more than twice the legal limit for driving in Colorado.

Both the indoor and outdoor pools at the Montrose Aquatic Center are closed because of mechanical problems.  Circulation pumps on both pools broke down unexpectedly forcing the closure.  More than 500 people use the facility everyday and staff say they're working to get the pumps up and running again.

A republican candidate for the CU Regent At-Large is calling on his primary opponent to drop out of the race.  Brian Davidson says opponent Matt Arnold should end his campaign after admitting he doesn't have a Master's Degree he said he has.  Davidson says if Arnold were a faculty member and lied about his credentials, his job would be on the line. The misrepsentation was published last week by the Colorado Springs Gazette and The Denver Post.

The Colorado State Patrol is investigating a crash in Teller County that injured four children.  The 6, 9, 10 and 12 year old kids were riding in the bed of a pickup when it went of the road and rolled.  All four were thrown out and suffered serious to minor injuries.  Neither drugs nor alcohol are considered factors, but charges are pending against the 28 year old driver.

The manager of Two Rivers Convention Center and the Avalon Theater has resigned after being found naked and drunk in a downtown restroom.  The Daily Sentinel says 33 year old Theron LaFountain was ticketed on suspicion of indecent exposure just after 4:00 Tuesday morning at the Greyhound bus station. Grand Junction City spokeswoman Sam Rainguet says LaFountain resigned for personal reasons.  He was hired by the city last fall to run the two facilities.

Two men arrested on suspicion of murder and arson are being held on $1 million bond each. 22 year old Lucos Schultz and 26 year old Julius Sutton were arrested Tuesday following an RV fire on Orchard Mesa in which a man died.  The Daily Sentinel says a judge yesterday granted a request by DA Pete Hautzinger for physical exams of the suspects, to look for deep bruising under their skin. The motion for the request is under seal and Hautzinger didn't provide any further explanation.  The name of the victim still hasn't been released.

A Grand Junction Democrat running for the House District 54 seat held by Republican Ray Scott says he wants to limit Colorado's legislative sessions to 90 days instead of 120.  Dan Robinson says money saved could be used for other things, like business loans.  The Daily Sentinel says Robinson plans a public announcement on the idea today.  Scott in the meantime says he'll kick off his fundraising campaign at a Canyon View Park barbeque next week.

Some residents evacuated by the High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins have been allowed to return home, but a couple thousand are still waiting.  A briefing yesterday indicated 118 structures have burned, some residents still waiting to hear the fate of their homes.  One person has died in the fire now estimated to cover 73 square miles is 10% contained.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday June 13, 2012

27 1/4 RD FATAL
Grand Junction Police say one person is dead in a rollover on 27 1/4 Road near H Road.  A passerby noticed the car on its top around 5:45 this morning, the victim inside. The car had crashed into the airport fence.

The Western Slope Conservative Alliance is getting ready for a roundtable forum tonight, discussing the "Constitutional Sheriff Movement.  Sheriff's from Mesa, Delta, Montrose and Garfield County are on the panel, along with Grand County Utah Sheriff Steve White.  The Rountable is at the Masonic Lodge in Grand Junction starting at 6:30.

Grand Junction Police have made an arrest in the death of a man in a motorhome fire on Orchard Mesa.  The name of the man who died in the fire hasn't been released. 22 year old Lucas John Schultz and 26 year old Julius P. Sutton are being held on suspicion of Complicity to Commit 2nd Degree Murder and 1st Degree Arson. The motorhome fire was reported early yesterday morning.  Police found the body of a man inside once the fire was out.

More personnel are on the lines of the High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins today, including a team from the Grand Junction Fire Department.  Three firefighters and a brush truck were sent to the front range yesterday with a commitment to stay 2 weeks or longer.

There could be more economic development work in Montrose if several different agencies get together with something called the HomeTown Competitiveness model.  The idea was first implemented in rural Nebraska where Montrose City Manager Bill Bell first got to know it.  He says it's designed for communities to compete on a national economic platform.  An organizing meeting is tomorrow.

Evacuations in the High Park fire are being driven by calls from local emergency providers and calling attention to the need to sign up with your own local agencies.  Montrose Police Chief Tom Chinn tells the Montrose Daily Press land lines are automatically registered, but cell phones are not. He suggests signing up through the Montrose County website. In Grand Junction, you can register your cell phone from the city's website.

Drug enforcement authorities in Mesa County are ready to crack down on sellers of bath salts.  The Daily Sentinel says the DA's office is sending letters to businesses telling them to get rid of any illegal substances use in making the drug, and the bath salts themselves.  The DEA issued an emergency order banning the substances in October.  Governor Hickenlooper signed a law last week making possession and sale illegal in Colorado.

The High Park fire northwest of Ft. Collins is still active, but crews are making progress.  Some of those evacuated have been allowed to return to their properties, others are still waiting to find out the fate of their homes.  Crews of nearly 700 are on the ground, with more on the way and air support in full force.  About 50 National Guard military police have been activated along with local police and sheriff's officials to monitor checkpoints and control access.

Governor John Hickenlooper is considering a statewide ban on campfires in the wake of the High Park fire.  More than 68 square miles have been burned, along with over 100 structures.  The fire considered about 10% contained. In the meantime, fire officials are doing what they can to make sure there's a quick response in case any new fires break out. The Denver Post says a  BLM team of 15 smoke jumpers is stationed in Grand Junction for quick deployment in hard to reach mountain areas.

ICE officials aren't saying anything about making an appearance at the Strawberry Days Festival in Glenwood Springs this weekend, and a local group is planning a protest today about what happened at the fest last year. The Glenwood Post says ICE teamed up with local law enforcement last year in what they called a gang crackdown.  The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition says the action was unconstitutional, serving as an immigrant sweep.  The group sponsoring today's protest says the ICE action creates unnecessary fear and jeopardies Latino participation and success of the community event.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday June 7, 2012

Clifton Fire investigators are heading to Harbor Freight this morning, looking into an early morning fire.  Witnesses reported flames and at first thought the fire was at Cactus Canyon Night Club.  Firefighters were on the scene just before 2:00 this morning and had the fire knocked down by ten after.  No report on damage.

The Fruita Chamber of Commerce is looking for a new director.  The Daily Sentinel says the group's board of directors asked for, and received Leanne Ingwersen's resignation Tuesday.  The board didn't say why it let Ingwersen go.  She headed the chamber since April of last year.

The Colorado River is flowing at near record lows.  Drought conditions in the state have decreased the streamflow recording at the state line to its 3rd percentile, or equal to or less than 97% of previous streamflow recording for this time of year.  The Daily Sentinel says data from the Colorado Climate Center at CSU shows soils in western Colorado and eastern Utah are exceptionally dry with the area having recived only about 20% of average rainfall.

Dish says it's KREX and KFQX's fault you can't see the local stations on DISH Satellite.  The TV stations say it's DISH's fault.  DISH removed the stations saying they demanded a 200-percent rate increase and demanded DISH eliminate the customer enabled commercial skipping technology called AutoHop, even though the service has been available for years. KREX says it wants to be on the DISH system and is continuing negotiations.

A 25 year old Grand Valley man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a series crimes over the last year.  Cody Joe Lynn entered guilty pleas yesterday to theft, trespass of an auto, identity theft and burglary. His attorneys said he was a victim of opiate addiction, but the court didn't buy it. The Daily Sentinel says he was arrested on 132 criminal charges in which 70 local residents were victims. Lynn was ordered to pay nearly $37,000 restitution.

A plea agreement may be coming in the murder case against former Grand Junction resident Marcus Bebb-Jones.  He's accused of killing his wife Sabrina in Junction in 1997 and leaving her body in a remote part of Garfield County.  He was arrested in Great Britain in 2009, and extradicted to Glenwood Springs a year later, and remains in the Garfield County Jail. The Glenwood Post Independent says the plea deal is expected to be announced today.

A 58 year old Grand Junction man has been cited on suspicion of DUI have hitting a bicyclist on Orchard Mesa Friday night.  Police tell the Daily Sentinel 15 year old Michael Massingill road his bike into the path of George A. Williams' car, was hit and seriously injured.  Willams is to appear in court June 27th.

Two Independent Candidates are on the November Ballot for District 1 Mesa County Commissioner.  John Leane was certified for the ballot last month, yesterday, the Mesa County Clerk's Office certified petitions turned in by Jana Bingham-Gerow.  Republicans, Ken Henry and John Justman face off in the primary later this month to challenge Gerow and Leane for the seat currently held by term-limited Craig Meis.

A 43 year old Grand Junction mother is in jail, accused of taking her 4 year old daughter to a meth deal.  The Daily Sentinel says Dawn Scholl was arrested Tuesday night after a deal set up by a Drug Task Force informant.  Scholl was being held on $10,000 bond, but also has a hold which could prevent release.

Heavy rain and hail in south Denver and El Paso County.  The National Weather Service says a small tornado was spotted just north of DIA around 5:00, and another one in northeastern Colorado about an hour and a half later.  There were reports of up 6 inches of hail in areas around Parker.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday June 6, 2012

When the 2012 Farm Bill goes before the Senate this week, it'll include a request for reauthorization of stewardship Contracting Projects.  Those are underway in Colorado and Senator Mark Udall says it's important the projects continue, partnering the Forest Service with businesses to promote forest health and create jobs in Colorado's rural areas.

A new Public Service campaign has been launched to encourage residents to prepare their properties for potential wildland fires.  The campaign is called The Fire Adapted Communities Initiative and raises public awareness.  It includes information about proactive steps like clearing brush, and offers tools and resources people can take to be prpared for wildfire.

Grand Junction Police say they have an attempted first degree murder warrant out for a man believed involved in Monday's shooting at the Affordable Inn on Horizon Drive. They're looking for Joseph Martin Lara, last known to be living in Fruita. Neither the name of the victim nor his condition of have been released.  Details of the incident have been sealed.

A $1.4 million FAA grant means the start of construction of new facilities at the Grand Jucntion Regional Airport.  Deputy Administration Director Amy Jordan tells the Daily SEntinel they hope to start work on a new Admin building by the end of the year.  It'll include admin offices, fire station and airport board meeting room.  Plans also call for demolition of the existing terminal and new construction in phases.  The terminal was built in 1982 and costs the airport more in maintenance than it would to replace it.

Fire restrictions are moving up from lower elevations to the top of the Grand Mesa.  Forest officials say the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests have burn bans in place.  No campfires except in developed campgrounds, smoking only inside a vehicle, building, or within a 3 foot area barren of flammable materials.  Internal combustion engines must have a spark-arresting device.  Nearly all western slope counties have imposed fire bans in light of low moisture in fuels.

Two people in Utah have died from hantavirus in the past month.  Officials say that's an unusually high rate for the disease that isn't always fatal.  According to the AP, both victims had been exposed to rodents in the two to three weeks prior to their deaths.

Colorado improperly paid nearly $128 million in unemployment benefits last year and wants it back.  About $98 million is from state coffers, the rest federal.  According to the Denver Post, the majority of cases are due to clerical error, only 2 to 4% fraud.  The Colorado Department of Labor says last year the state rcouped $73 million in improperly paid funds and expects to increase that by 10% this year.

A former Gunnison County man has been arrested in Alabama in a NASCAR memorabilia investment scam.  57 year old Michael Corrigan is accused of selling items like die-cast cars and apparel promising big returns on investments.  Corrigan allegedly obtained nearly $1 million in investor funds.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tuesday June 5, 2012

Grand Junction Police aren't saying much about a shooting at a motel on Horizon Drive.  It happened about 11:00 yesterday morning at Affordable Inns.  One man was shot in the stomach and taken to the hospital. Investigators are looking for two men who they say may have "information" about the shooting.  They were seen leaving in a silver or grey 4-door dodge diesel pickup. You can get their descriptions on the Crime Stoppers website,

An aggressive black bear has been killed in Dinosaur National Monument's Lodore campground.  Park staff shot the bear a week ago Sunday after several confrontations dating back to last year.  On May 27th, the bear entered two campsites and stole food.  He was shot after showing no fear of people.

Colorado agricultural producers are getting a tax break thanks to a new law signed yesterday.  It reclassifies the sale of certain agricultural products as wholesale instead of retail, making them no longer subject to sales tax.  The measure repeals the "Ag Tax" on things like livestock feed and pesticide used in the production of final goods like crops to be sold.

More help from the state for victims of the Lower North Fork fire that destroyed 23 homes and killed 3 people last March.  The fire was started when a controlled burn in the area rekindled.  Bills signed into law yesterday make it easier for victims to get compensation from the state and amends the Governmental Immunity Act to free up more than the $600,000 the state is liable for under current law.

Voters in Mesa County likely have another independent candidate to choose from in November. Jana Bingham Gerow turned in signatures to get a place on the ballot for the District 1 County Commissioners seat.  Independent John Leane has already turned in signatures.  Gerow needs 750 valid signatures to get on the ballot.  She turned in more than 1,100.

Western State College will become Western State Colorado University August 1st under a bill signed by the governor yesterday.  Western joins Adams State College in Alamosa, and Metro State in Denver changing their names to University this year.  Mesa State College in Grand Junction became Colorado Mesa University last year.

Early spring, early summer.  The high temperature in Grand Junction yesterday tied the record 98, recorded in 1977.  The temp today isn't expected to be a record, but it'll still be way above the average in the mid 70s.

A Pacific storm with a Cold Front is moving into the area today with strong winds increasing throughout the day.  The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for eastern Utah and western Colorado and is calling for wind gusts of 35 to 50 miles per hour.  Hot temperatures, gusty winds, low afternoon humidity and dry fuels will create critical fire weather conditions across all of eastern Utah and western Colorado this afternoon and evening.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Monday June 4, 2012

A national fire management team has finished work on the Sunrise Mine Fire southwest of Gateway.  Officials declared the 5,700 fire 100% contained yesterday. The estimated cost of putting out the fire is $4.1 million.  The Sunrise Mine fire broke out May 25th in gusty winds.  At its peak, more than 600 firefighters were on the lines.

Two pilots are dead in an air tanker crash near Cedar City, Utah.  The plane had been dropping retardent on a 5,000 acre fire started by lightning in eastern Nevada Friday night and moved into Utah.  The BLM says the P-2V tanker went down just before 1:00 yesterday afternoon. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

Officials in Garfield County say the number of foreclosure filings there is down, but still too high for comfort.  Chief Deputy Public Trustee Bob Slade tells the Daily Sentinel filings are on track to finish the year about 100 less than last year's record 701.  Home prices in Garfield County average $278,000 so far this year, down 11% from the average for all of last year.

The Mesa Land Trust is $25,000 short of its goal for building the Three Sisters project, 130 acres of trails and an educational center off Monument Road, but now is closer than ever. Alpine Bank has made a challenge grant, saying it will give $12,500 if the community will match that.  The Daily Sentinel says the Trust has already raised $1.6 million and hopes to begin construction in the fall.

Gas prices in Colorado aren't falling as fast as the  climbed in early spring, but they are falling....down 2.4 cents a gallon in the past week to $3.69. According to, the price of gasoline in Colorado is now 1 cent a gallon higher than a year ago. The national average is $3.61.

Mesa county Sheriff's Deputies are looking for a man who held up the C&F Convenience Store on 32 Road late Saturday night.  The man, described as white, in his late teens or early 20s, about 5-6 with a thin build and wearing a black hoodie over his face, with dark pants and slippers showed the clerk a knife, and  demanded money.  He didn't get any money, but did take several items before running away.

Police are looking into the role alcohol may have had when a 16 year old boy was hit by a car on Orchard Mesa.  It happened around 9:30 Friday night at Highway 50 and Palmer Street.  Investigators say the boy was riding his bike across the road when an eastbound car hit him, knocking him to the ground and causing serious injuries.  The driver stopped, and no arrests had been made after the accident.

Downtown Montrose has unveiled a new wireless network providing free internet access.  A public/private partnership put together the network.  Montrose DDA Director Scott Shine says they hope to eventually cover the entire Main Steet corridor from the Uncompahre River to the San Juan Bypass.

Victims of the Lower North Fork fire will be getting some compensation when Governor John Hickenlooper signs two bills today.  Three people died in the fire and 23  homes were destroyed.  The state has taken the blame for fire which started from embers left from a controlled burn.

Friday, June 1, 2012

June 1, 2012

Officials working the Sunrise Mine Fire southwest of Gateway are getting help from Grand Junction 9-1-1 dispatchers.  They're specially trained to provide services at major incidents.  In the meantime, the fire has held steady at 6,200 acres and is 85% contained, with full containment expected by Sunday.  BLM fire investigators say they have not been able to determine the cause of the fire.  So far $2.5 million has been spent on the fire.

There are now fire restrictions in place in Montrose County.  Sheriff Rick Dunlap says the fire ban is NOT a reaction to the Sunrise Mine Fire that's burned 6,200 acres.  He says fire danger is high on the Uncompahgre Pateau and extreme in the Uncompahgre Valley.  The city of Montrose and Town of Olathe have not enacted fire bans.  A burn ban is already in place in Nucla and Naturita.

Water rationing is underway in Grand Junction, specifically the Redlands.  The Daily Sentinel says Redlands Water and Power Co. is alternating days residents can use irrigation water.  Flow levels on the Gunnison River are about 1/7 of the median flow over the past 100 years. The fish ladder at the Redlands Diversion Dam has been suspended.  Officials say low water could cause the ladder to be suspended all summer long.  The first time that's happened since it opened in 1996.

A 19 year old Grand Junction man's death in April has been ruled a homicide, and the Mesa County Coroner says bath salts played a role in his death.  Daniel Richards was taken to the hospital by friends April 10th, and was taken off life support two days later.  The coroner's report says there was evidence of marijuana, alcohol, and Alpha-PVP, one of the synthetic compounds in bath salts.  Investigators say Richards died of strangulation caused by the effects of the drug.

Mesa County District Judge Thomas Deister has disqualified himself from the case of  Douglas Thames Jr. charged in the 1994 murder of a Palisade woman.  Deister was a deputy prosecutor and worked with Palisade Police investigators after the murder of Jaycie Taylor. And tells the Daily Sentinel he was a newly appointed county court judge in 1994 when he presided over criminal proceedings against Robert Dewey, the man convicted and served 16 years in prison for Taylor's murder Before his exoneration last month.

Get out your fishing poles, fishing is free this weekend in Colorado. Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife holds the free fishing weekend to promote sport fishing. No license is required, but all other regulations are in place.  Regulation and restriction information is available in the 2012 Colorado Fishing brochure.

Investigators with the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team say they've arrested a major cocain supplier.  25 year old Manuel Cruz-Sanchez of Carbondale, reportedly sold more than a pound of cocaine to undercover officers in March and May.  He's being held on $50,000 bond in the Garfield County Jail.