Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Wednesday September 5, 2012

Colorado has confirmed two deaths from West Nile virus this summer, both in Montrose County. The county has recorded six cases of the viruse so far.  The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta says about 1% of those infected develop a severe illness like encephalitis, inflammation of the brain. One in five cases results in less severe West Nile Fever.  Both of the deaths in Montrose County were from encphalitis.  Colorado had 33 confirmed cases of West Nile through the end of August.

Colorado's energy industry is seeing improvements.  Federal mineral lease payments and severance taxes amount to about $62 million, $8 million more than last year.  The Department of Local Affairs says the money is being split among 500 counties, local governments and school districts.  According to the Daily Sentinel, communities in Mesa and Garfield counties, with the most industry workers, mines, well permits and industry production, will get higher distributions.

Mesa County Commissioner Craig Meis has paid a $78.50 fine for lighting a fire in a charcoal grill during this summer's statewide fire ban.  Meis was ticketed June 30th in Chaffee County, and reports in the Daily Sentinel suggested Meis may have tried to get out of paying.  The paper today says Meis appeared in court in Chaffee County  yesterday, pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $78.50 in fines and court costs.

It'll be  awhile before neighbors in Delta County hear whether two cage-free egg-laying operations will be allowed to operate there.  A public hearing eysterday included pros and cons, and in the end the Delta County Commissioners decided to wait before making a decision.  The Daily Sentinel says Edwin Hostetler received approval last year for two operations in the county and has one up and running on Powell Mesa.  The case was sent back to the commissioners after a district court judge said more public testimony should be taken.

Commissioners in Garfield County have recinded an oil shale resolution drafted after a meeting with other entities in Utah.  Two environmental groups and a Battlement Mesa man filed suit last week, calling the resolution illegal.  According to The Daily Sentinel, GarCo commissioners yeseterday admitted public notice was not given before the Utah meeting and the resolution should be revoked.

A Garfield County paving company has gotten the go ahead to operate a contractor's yard near the Garfield County Airport, in spite of complaints by a nearby organic farm.  The Glenwood Post says a hearing yesterday resulted in approval by the county commissioners for Bedrock Resources to stockpile recycled asphalt and concrete material, with crushing operations limited to four weeks a year during the non-growing season.

Powderhorn is hoping you'll be more likely to buy a season pass with new partnerships with Aspen Skiing Company, Steamboat and Telluride Ski Resorts, and others. If you buy a season pass before November 15th, you'll have a chance to cash-in with lower prices at other ski areas.  The details are on the Powderhorn website.

When you take a ride up Vail Mountain this ski season, you might feel more like you're in an RV than a gondola.  The new Gondola One is replacing the Vista Bahn Express lift and set to open When the resort opens in November.  The Vail Daily says it'll be the fastest gondola in the world, carrying ten passengers per cabin which include heated seats and Wi-Fi.

Chevron is helping pay for this summer's Pine Ridge Fire with a $20,000 donation, 10-thousand to the BLM for re-seeding in partnership with the CMU Water Center, and 10-thousand to the Mesa County Wildland Fire Team.  Chevron's Rocky Mountain Area manager says they hope the donation will help support the local agencies, providing essential equipment and training, and protecting the Colorado River watershed.

One 2012 Presidential Debate is being held in Denver October 3rd, and while tickets to that may be hard to come by, Rocky Mountain PBS is offering an alternative. They're holding a "Debate Watch" with History Colroado, The Civic Canoipy and DU's Institue for Public Policy Studies. Participants will watch the debate on TV feed, then take part in a panel discussion with a diverse group including former U-S Senator Hank Brown and former Governor Dick Lamm.

Montrose County Partners are getting ready for their 2nd Annual Benefit Pistol Shoot.  It's Saturday at the San Juan Shooting Range, hosted by the Montrose Police Department.  Individuals and teams are encouraged to enter for cash prizes. Call Paul Miller at the San Juan Shooting Range for information.

The Western Slope Conservative Alliance is holding an informational meeting with candidates or their representatives from Federal, State and Local races.  It's a forum rather than a debate, with candidates giving a short presentation about themselves.  The meeting is at the Grand Junction City Auditorium Thursday night at 6:30.

Mountain lion harvest limits, raptor importation guidelines, crossbows during archery season...just a few of the items on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission agenda in Glenwood Springs this week.  Finances and strategic priorities are on tap tomorrow, with a laundry list of action Friday.  The meetings are open to the public, with agendas available on the CPW website.