Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday September 21, 2012

A slight drop in Colorado's unemployment rate in August.  The State Labor Department says the number decreased from 8.3% to 8.2%.  Chief Economist Alexandra Hall says there was a larger decline in the number of people actively participating in the labor force, than the decline in those reporting their status as employed.  Colorado's 8.2% unemployment rate is higher than the national 8.1% rate for the first time since 2005.

They're cleaning up at La Villa Grande after fire in an elevator motor this morning.  Residents were evacuated, there were no injuries, and Grand Jucntion fire crews were able to take care of the fire with a dry chemical extinguisher.  No injuries reported.

A Grand Junction man arrested earlier this year in the beating death of his ex-girfriend's 19-month old son has been charged with 1st Degree Murder. The Daily Sentinel says 26 year old Justin Keel is accused of knowingly causing the death of Owen Reak who died a day after suffering trauma to the stomach. Keel remains jailed on $1 million bond.

A 55 year old Pear Park man has been arrested, accused of sexual assault on a child. The Daily Sentinel says Robert Lynn Zimmerman was booked yesterday following an investigation started in July after a 14 year old girl told a school official Zimmerman had touched her on several occasions.  Bond is set at $50,000.

A Grand Junction man convicted of vehicular homicide in the death of his wife in a 2002 desert crash, is now suspected of crashing into a pole on Highway 6&50.  Grand Jucntion Police tell the Daily Sentinel 52 year old Robert Sheets ran into the pole after leaving the Rim Rock Shopping Center parking lot about 1:30 yesterday.  Sheets served prison time on the vehicular homicide charge, but not before two additional drunk driving arrests.  Alcohol is suspected in yeserday's crash.

The new I-70 Parachute interchange is nearing completion with work starting tomorrow on the second phase which includes roundabouts on the north and south sides of the existing U-S 6 bridge.  Phase 3 begins in mid-October and includes paving along US 6 and the bridge over I-70.  The interchange should open by Halloween.

A Meeker man has been convicted by a federal jury of six charges of violating the Lacey Act. An indictment accused  72 year old Dennis Rodebaugh of operating a big game outfitting business, offering guided hunts during which deer and elk were shot from tree stands near where Rodenbaugh placed salt each spring. The Lacey Act prohibits taking big gam with the aid of bait.  Each of the six felony counts carries a maximum punishment of five years in prison and up to a$250,000 fine.

Better than expected state revenue forecasts for September could mean more money for the State Education Fund.  Under a bill passed in this year's legislative session, $59 million will be transferred to the State Education Fund this fiscal year, and at least $678 million at the end of the fiscal year next June.

Senior Obama Administration officials are in southern Colorado today for the announcement making Chiney Rock a National Monument.  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair Nancy Sutley will be on hand for the event late this morning.

The Grand Junction VA Medical Center is going through flu vaccine faster than anticipated and that means some waits for veterans who haven't received their flu shots.  Spokesman Paul Sweeny says there is still plenty of vaccine at satellite clinics in Glenwood Springs, Montrose, Craig and Moab.  More vaccine is expected in Grand Junction in the next few weeks.

The Colorado Farm Bureau says six Congressional members from the state have been named "Friend of the Farm Bureau." Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, along with Representatives Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, and Dough Lamborn--all cited for voting with the Farm Bureau on priority issues.  A vote on the 2012 Farm Bill has been postponed until after the November election.

Three Tipis are in place for the 3rd annual Montrose Indians Nations Powwow today through Sunday.  The powwow is at Friendship hall, the tipis all with a different theme.  A grand entry including local vterans is tonight at 7:00.

The top issue for women in Colorado is economic security.  The first major research project by the Women's Foundation of Colorado since 2000 has the exact same findings.  The number of women heads of household has increased dramatically since 1987, creating an economic security gap.  The Denver Post says the report is part of the Foundation's 5-year plan aimed at making sure nonprofit organizations, public officials and agencies consider how their policies and program impact women throughout their lives.