Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday January 31, 2013

A Grand Junction Police Commander has died unexpectedly.  54 year old Greg Assenmacher passed away Tuesday night.   Assenmacher had been with the police department since 1981, and was active with Crimestoppers, JUCO and the Western Slope Honor Flights.

No record of custody at the Mesa County Jail for Heather Jensen, a former Palisade woman arrested earlier this month in the deaths of her two sons in her SUV on the Grand Mesa in November. Heather Jensen was arrested in Florida on a warrant for Criminally Negligent Homicide and Child Abuse Resulting in Death. She waived extradition and is apparently being returned to Mesa County. Jensen's 2 and 4-year old sons died after being left in an SUV with the heater running for about an hour.

Grand Valley off-road vehicle users
are coming out in droves against a preferred BLM alternative Draft Resources Plan.  The off-roaders say the plan would close access to 2,100 of 3,100 miles of road on BLM land locally.  A group of multi-use supporters held a meeting yesterday ahead of a BLM open house in Grand Junction today from 4:30 to 7:30 at the Clarion Inn. They tell the Daily Sentinel The BLM's proposed plan is "an assault" locally on access to roads on public lands.

A 35 year old man arrested in Morrison last week has been indicted on three charges related to improvised explosive devices found at his home. A video made by an undercover ATF officer shows Richard Sandberg offering to trade the devises for drugs or money, and making threatening statements toward lawenforcement and specifically ATF.

Mesa County residents looking to get a Concealed Carry Permit will be able to apply for that only three days a week beginning next Monday.  The Sheriff's Office, which handles the applications, says a significantly higher number of requests is slowing down the process.  They say accepting the applications Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, will allow staff to process those in a timely manner.

Neighbors in an Aspen residential area say drivers are going too fast and they want a new speed limit.  The city council is looking into a proposed 14 mile an hour limit.  Signs alone would cost about $25,000.

Senate Bill 33, the so-called ASSET bill that would give in-state tuition to some students living in the country illegally is getting some support from Republicans who earlier said they would not support the measure.  The Denver Post says Senator Greg Brophey of Wray has changed his stance. He says wishing people living in the state illegally would "just go home" doesn't make any sense.  The bill has passed out of committee and is expected to pass out of the full senate.

One firearms bill has died in a state senate committee, two others are to be introduced soon. The bill defeated yesterday would have required business owners to allow concealed-carry weapons in their businesses or provide private security.  A Republican senator is proposing a measure to allow school employees to carry concealed weapons, and another measure seeks to keep the state from having to enforce gun laws handed down from the Federal Government.

A teenager is making news at CSU.  18 year old Crystal Vander Zanden is a 2nd year biochemistry doctorate student in Fort Collins. Vander Zanden started college at age 13 and is now working towards her doctorate developing effective pharmaceuticals and is even a teaching assistant for students older than her.

For a 3rd straight year, a bill to simplify the language on Colorado ballots has died in the state House.  A 2011 Pew Center study showed Coloradans needed a doctorate level of reading comprehension to understand the state ballot.  The bill had been supported by the Colorado County Clerk's Association, AARP and the Colorado Secretary of State.

The School District 51 Foundation making a significant donation to reading intervention classes in the district.  The Foundation is donating 500 Nook simple touch e-readers preloaded with books to elementary schools in the district. The Foundation is committed to supporting literacy in district 51 and raised money last fall to pay for the Nooks.

The Colorado State Forest Service will resume slash pile burning on state lands as a preventive measure against wildfires. Governor Hickenlooper stopped the state burning last spring but says it will resume, with some modifications. Slash piles of forest debris will only be burned when there is 4 to 6 inches of snow on the ground and neighbors in the area will be alerted to the burns.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday January 30, 2013

CMU-Montrose students have a new scholarship available, The Doyle E. Burns Scholarship.  The 93 year old Burns has lived in Montrose since 1980 and his daughter and others in the community kicked off the scholarship fund with a $150,000 donation.  The scholarships will be available based on need, to CMU Montrose students with a grade point average of at least 2.5.

Colorado's state treasurer says any K-12 education funding legislation should include Colorado's Public Employees' Retirement Association's role in school finance.  Walker Stapleton says PERA has $26 billion in unfunded liability.  He says if left as it is, PERA contributions from school districts will equal more than 20% of their teacher salary budgets.

Democratic Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran have introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure members of the military continue being paid, even if Congress allows a government shutdown.  Both say its the least congress can do for those who give so much.

Montrose State Representative Don Coram is in town this weekend holding a meeting with constituents.  It's Saturday at 1:00 at US Tractor on North Townsend.  Coram will be talking about proposed water legislation, a proposed Hemp bill and taking questions. Anyone can attend.

The sudden resignation last week of Mesa County Administrator Chantal Unfug left alot of questions.  Some answers coming now, the result of an open records request by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.  The county says Unfug received six months pay, or $62,500, and accrued benefits which are private. The Sentinel also is asking for e-mails between county commissioners and Unfug before the resignation. Only one email was provided.

45% of students in School District 51 receive free or reduced cost meals, and if a bill just passed in the House Education committee becomes law, 5 elementary schools will begin serving mandatory breakfasts after class starts.  According to the Daily Sentinel, schools where 70% of students qualify for free and reduced price meals would be required to provide breakfast sometime after class starts.

Governor John Hickenlooper is on record backing universal background checks on private gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines of more than 10 cartridges. Now the head of the NRA is coming to town to meet with the governor.  The Denver Post says the NRA confirmed next Thursday's meeting but wouldn't talk about what might be discussed.

The Colorado department of agriculture is investigating a confirmed case of equine herpes virus of a horse that was stalled at the National Western Stock show in Denver. 7 horses have been quarantined as a result.  Horse owners who traveled to the stock show and participated in events in the coliseum should monitor their horses for clinical signs and contact their veterinarian immediately if their horse becomes ill or has a fever.

A report released by CSU researchers says the pollution in Fort Collins during the High Park fire was on par with the worst air pollution days in Mexico City and Los Angeles over the last 10 years. prior to the fire, air pollution levels were some of the cleanest in the country.

The Gunnison Sheriff's office acted quickly Monday after getting a tip about threats made on Facebook.  The Montrose press reports the sheriffs office interviewed a man after Facebook comments threatening to put Gunnison on the map along with references to recent violence were brought to a school resource officers attention.  Following the threats, security was temporarily heightened at all 3 schools before the man was picked up by police.  the press reports no arrest has been made in the case as of Monday night.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking volunteers to serve on their new statewide advisory panel.  The Sportsmen's Roundtable is panel that will provide feedback to the CPW on hunting, fishing and wildlife management in Colorado.  The group will meet twice a year with hopes of identifying important issues and providing advice and ideas to tackle issues in the state.  A short application is available at the Colorado parks and wildlife website.

5 positions are available on the BLM's Western Slope Advisory Council, Northwest Colorado district.  the council, composed of citizens chosen based on their expertise, advises the BLM on public land issues.  Individuals may nominate themselves or others. The positions open are for public land ranchers, representatives of environmental groups, and representatives of local and state agencies.  Nominations are due by March 14, the forms can be found on the BLM website.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday January 29, 2013

X-Games snowmobiler Caleb Moore is clinging to life in Intensive Care at St. Mary's Hospital.  Moore was injured Thursday during the snowmobile freestyle contest.  He under rotated a back flip and the machine slammed him as he was tumbling down the mountain. Caleb's grandfather tells The Denver Post the 25 year old is "not doing good at all," suffering from a cardiac injury and a secondary complication involving his brain.

A large winter storm moving across western Colorado has made for some tricky driving.  Highway 50 near Delta was closed for a couple of hours following multiple crashes.  It reopened around 8:30, just about the time Glenwood Canyon became a slip and slide.  I-70 was closed through the canyon after pile up involving two semis, a pickup and an SUV. Several other crashes happened as a result. The canyon re opened about 11:00.  Highway 65 is closed over the top of the Grand Mesa due to adverse conditions.

If you have a non-EPA certified wood stove or fire place, go ahead and burn wood.  For the first time in a couple of weeks, the Mesa County Health Department has issued a Blue Air Quality advisory. A new advisory will be issued tomorrow afternoon at 3:00.

Congress has passed a National Disaster Relief bill without help for Colorado communities hit by wildfires last summer.  Senator Mark Udall says the legislation was passed without an amendment by him and Senator Michael Bennet to cover the cost of repairing drinking water infrastructure in El Paso, Larimer, Teller and Weld counties. Udall is pledging to continue fighting for any help for Colorado.

A 20 year old Clifton man who plead guilty to Second Degree Murder in a crime spree that ended in the murder of a Grand Junction man in the summer of 2011 has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.  According to the Daily Sentinel, the judge in the case handed down the sentence for Lester Miranda-Davis in a written order. The family of Jorge Carrasco, who was shot to death at the North Avenue Taco Bell, told the Sentinel they were disappointed they weren't allowed to speak at the sentencing.  One other man is jailed in connection with the spree, two others still wanted.

Grand Junction residents who want to vote in the April 2nd municipal election have until March 4th to be registered.  City Council candidates have turned in their paperwork setting up ten candidates for 4 seats.  A TABOR and zoning change are also on the ballot.

The hunt for a new Palisade police chief is winding down, 6 finalists set to meet with residents Thursday.  None of the 6 is from the Grand Valley, in fact only one is from the western slope.  The reception is Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Palisade Community Center building.

Don't look for teachers to carry concealed weapons in Colorado any time soon.  Democrats in a state Senate committee yesterday voted down a Republican measure that would have allowed that. One of those opposed to the bill said he feared armed teachers might end up shooting their students who would be in a crossfire.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday January 28, 2013

Leaving a vehicle running unattended is illegal in Colorado, but a survey shows at least 30% of drivers admit they've done it.  A statewide "puffer" awareness campaign gets underway today with the help of auto theft task forces. The term "puffer" actually coined by car thieves who look for easy targets. Those caught puffing this week will get educational information from officers.

A North Fork Valley group says it's ready to sue if the BLM doesn't take 20 parcels off the table in a lease sale February 14th.  Citizens for a Healthy Community says BLM findings for the sale were based on a 1989 resource management plan that needs updating. The BLM says it's already removed 10,000 acres from the sale, and that an accepted bid doesn't necessarily mean drilling will occur.  CHC tells the Montrose Daily Press that's not enough.  The BLM is listening and says it will issue a decision two days before the sale.

A big drug bust in Garfield County.  Deputies pulled over a car for speeding on I-70 Saturday morning and found the driver didn't have a license or proof of insurance.  The vehicle was impounded and cops found a little over two Kilos of suspected Methamphetamine with a street value over $218,000.

Secretary of State Scott Gessler is in Grand Junction tomorrow to hear ideas on improving Election Conduct on the state or local level.  The public meeting is at the old Mesa County Courthouse on Rood at 2:00 tomorrow afternoon.  It's open to anyone and people can also submit comments by email to Gessler's office or Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Sheila Reiner. is out with the latest stats on gas prices and says Colorado's average is up more than 11 cents a gallon in the last week to $2.91. The national average is $3.31.  Analyst Patrick DeHaan says the price is likely to continue to rise as refinery maintenance season begins.

It's Colorado School Choice Week.  Governor Hickenlooper is joining fore than 20 governors making the proclamation.  He says more than 100 events are planned across the state to call attention to the belief that children deserve greater access to challenging, motivating educational options. You can get more info at

Backers of changing the Colorado National Monument to a National Park are launching an all out effort to get the public behind the move.  3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton and Senator Mark Udall say they'll decide by mid summer whether to pursue legislation.  Backers tell the Daily Sentinel they're setting up a Facebook page and using other social media to answer questions.

Parents can get an up close look at academic options in School District 51 Wednesday night. A fair is being held at Bookcliff Middle school starting at 5:30 showing options available outside traditional schools.  The idea is to show how the district can engage kids with various learning styles and help at risk kids.

A news report out of Boulder says then-DA Alex Hunter refused to sign off on a grand jury's indictment of John and Patsy Ramsey in the 1996 death of their daughter JonBenet.  The Boulder Daily Camera says Hunter believed he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.  Legal experts are now looking at the move to decide whether Hunter's decision agrees with Colorado grand-jury law.

Attendance at the 2013 National Western Stock Show & Rodeo started out good enough, but when the show ended yesterday the numbers were the lowest since 2004. It looks like the Stock Show isn't going anywhere.  It had threatened to move to a new hotel complex in Aurora, but pulled that off the table in November.

Denver Democrat Representative Diana DeGette is says Coloradans need to get involved in the gun control fight.  DeGette tells the Denver Post  gun violence is threatening the country and she's introduced legislation to ban high capacity magazines.  At the same press conference, State Representative Rhonda Fields said she's introducing legislation in the state House to close a loophole that allows guns to be sold privately without a background check.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday January 25, 2013

A Grand Junction mother and her boyfriend are being held on suspicion of felony child abuse. 28 year old Ashleigh Wallace and 30 year old Jessie Martinez were arrested yesterday.  Martinez was already in custody on an unrelated parole violation.  Wallace's 4-year old son was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital January 13th with multiple injuries. She and Martinez told authorities different stories about how the injuries occurred.

The State Senate Education Committee has passed the Colorado ASSET bill and sent it to the appropriations committee.  The bill would grant in-state tuition to undocumented college students who have attended for three years and graduated from a Colorado High School. Supporters of the bill say by providing affordable higher education for aspiring Americans, the state will see a better return on its K-12 investment.

The VA Medical Center says there's a continued high demand for flu shots so they're making it even easier for vets to get one.  Next Wednesday they're holding a drive-thru clinic at the Center from 4:30 to six.  The drive-thru will be under the drop-off entrance at the main lobby. Veterans need to provide proof of service or a VA Patient ID card.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office is getting part of the take from a woman convicted of operating an interstate prostitution ring. The sheriff's office worked with IRS Criminal Investigators to take down the ring. U-S Attorney John Walsh says more than $1 million were seized as a result of the investigation.

A 35 year old former Marine is being held without bond after authorities found him in possession of several Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. Richard Sandberg of Morrison was arrested yesterday morning after officers said he offered to trade some of the devices for cash or cocaine. The ATF, US Attorney's office, and several front range law enforcement agencies and bomb squads worked on the bust.

A new Triple-A study says motorists who use cell phones while driving are more likely to engage in additional dangerous behaviors including speeding, driving drowsy, driving without a seat belt and sending texts or emails. More than two thirds of licensed drivers said they used a cell phone while driving in the past month, and 9 in 10 drivers said they believe other drivers using cell phones are a threat to their personal safety. Triple A says it's continuing its drive for a text messaging ban in all 50 states.  Right now, 38 states including Colorado have bans in place.

Officials say an earthquake reported late Wednesday night may have been caused by a deepwell injection project in Paradox Valley.  According to the Daily Sentinel, the Bureau of Reclamation has a Salinity Control Facility there where salt brine is injected into a well 16,000 feet below the surface.  The Bureau says smaller quakes have been recorded in the same area before.

Mesa Developmental Services will continue serving people with developmental and other disabilities, but under a new name.  MDS is now Strive.  The 47 year old organization changed it's name yesterday saying services they offer have outgrown the old name.  Strive Board of Directors President Jeff Parker tells the Daily Sentinel the group represents more than 750 individuals who strive themselves to be independent.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday January 24, 2013

A Civil Union bill has passed out of the state Senate Judiciary Committee and is headed to the appropriations committee.  If it passes there, it will go to the full senate for a vote.  Senate Bill 11 gives couples, regardless of gender legal protections including property rights and legal rights relating to medical care and treatment and hospital visitation.

A bill that would give collective bargaining rights to Colorado firefighters has passed out of a Senate committee and is on its way to the floor.  The bill grants firefighters the right to organize, form, join, or assist an employee organization... and prohibits firefighters from striking.  The Grand Junction City Council doesn't like the idea and has sent a letter to local representatives asking them to vote against the measure. The letter points to a vote by Grand Junction voters in 2000 to keep firefighters from unionizing.

People in Bedrock in the Paradox Valley were shaken last night by an earthquake measuring 4.4 on the Richter scale.  The epicenter was 58 miles southwest of Grand Junction. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction relayed the information from the Earthquake information center in Golden.

The Grand Valley's record setting cold continues, with the average low in January so far just -4 degrees.  That ties the old record set in 1925.

The Mesa County Public Library is kicking off it's 2013 One Book, One Mesa County today.  The book is called The Dog Stars written by Peter Heller.  The Denver Post name Heller one of Colorado's top thinkers of 2012 in the Books category.  The One Book, One Mesa County series began in 2004.  Events are taking place throughout February and March and will culminate with a personal appearance by Heller March 9th.

The 7th Judicial District has a new CASA Volunteer Coordinator.  Carlton Mason will work throughout the District in Delta and Montrose Counties, with a special emphasis on the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates for children in Delta. Potential volunteers can call the CASA office in Montrose for information.

Annie's Rising Crust Frozen Pizza is being recalled after the company said it learned a fine metal mesh screen failed at a third-party flour mill and fragments were found in the flour and pizza dough. The pizzas are sold at several stores across Colorado.  More inforamtion is available at

The Grand Junction Police Department's Homeless Outreach Team is on hold, its two officers being reassigned to patrol next Monday.  Spokeswoman Kate Porras tells the Daily Sentinel the move is in response to a wave of attrition at the same time 8 potential new officers continue to train.  Porras says the department's traffic team is also on ice, its members transferred to patrol.  Both teams are expected to return when more officers are ready to hit the road alone.

The head of the Colorado Bureau of Investigation says Universal background checks for gun sales would overwhelm an already over-taxed system.  CBI Director Ronald Sloan tells the Denver Post a backlog of background checks right now stands at about 10,000 without requiring checks for individual, private sales of firearms. Sloan says he would need additional personnel.  Some lawmakers have suggested would-be gun buyers should pay for their own background checks instead of the money coming from the state's general fund.
State lawmakers are working on a bill that would provide compensation to people who spend time in prison for crimes they didn't commit.  The bill is in response to the Robert Dewey case.  Dewey was cleared last year after spending 16 years in prison for a 1994 rape and murder of a Palisade woman.  The Denver Post says 27 states already have compensation for the wrongly convicted.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday January 23, 2013

Few details in the sudden resignation of Mesa County Administrator Chantel Unfug. The Daily Sentinel says Commissioner Steve Acquafresca called Unfug's decision was the result of a "Mutual agreement."  Unfug was hired in July of 2011, her resignation less than 2 weeks after two new county commissioners were sworn in.  County Internal Services Director Tom Fisher is serving as interim county administrator.

Partners in Delta and Montrose holding their 12th annual SuperBowl a week from Saturday at Valley Lanes in Delta.  There's a kids tournament in the morning, and adults in the afternoon with cash prizes.  You can get more information at

The Farm Bill is back in the U-S Senate, introduced yesterday by Colorado Senator Michael Bennet and others on the Senate Agriculture Committee.  Bennet's office says the bill is nearly identical to the Farm Bill passed last year in the senate with broad bipartisan support and $23 billion in deficit reductions, but stalled in the House.  Bennet says the bill is an important step in providing vital resources to Colorado farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

The Grand Valley inversion continues, prompting the Mesa County Health Department to issue an Air Quality Advisory for elevated smoke levels.  People sensitive to smoke, those with heart disease, the very young, and elderly are being encouraged to limit time outside until smoke levels decrease. The advisory remains in place until the inversion breaks which may be several days.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is continuing a statewide election integrity listening tour with stops next week in Mesa, Montrose and Garfield County.  Gessler's looking for citizen feedback on the recent election and soliciting changes or improvements for future elections.

The Fruita Relay for Life is kicking off its 2013 event tomorrow at the La Quinta Inn. The Relay this year is May 31st and tomorrow's rally will be the first opportunity to register teams for the event with the theme of Wild Wild West.

Add Palisade to the list of cities and towns banning social marijuana clubs.  The town council there made the move last night.  Fruita has already put a ban in effect and Grand Junction and Mesa County appear headed the same direction.  The action is in the wake of the passage of Amendment 64 legalizing possession of small amounts of pot for recreational use by adults.

Two Boulder Police officers arrested Friday in the killing of a trophy elk have resigned. One of the officers shot the elk while on duty, the other off sick the same night took the animal away.  The Boulder Daily Camera says the officers face nine felonies each after an arrest affidavit alleged texts between the two show the planned to kill the elk as a trophy.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday January 22, 2013

A 31 year old Illinois man is dead in a snowmobile crash on the Grand Mesa. It happened late yesterday morning in the Electric Mountain area north of Paonia.  Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee tells the Daily Sentinel there are few details and the man apparently died at the scene of the crash.

Two western slope lawmakers are planning legislation to allow commercial production of hemp.  The crop is similar to marijuana, but contains only trace amounts of the active chemical in pot. According to the Daily Sentinel,  State Senator Gail Schwartz, whose district includes Delta County and Montrose Representative Don Coram say hemp is a versatile, drought resistant crop that can be used for making everything from fabric to food. Two Town Hall meetings on the subject are scheduled next month in Gunnison and Hotchkiss.

A Colorado state district court judge has ruled against Secretary of State Scott Gessler who said county clerks could mail ballots only to "active voters." The case was brought against Denver County's Clerk and Recorder after she mailed ballots to inactive voters in 2011.  According to the Denver Post, Gessler says he's working on a compromise with clerks to allow more people to receive notice about their inactive statuses.

Governor John Hickenlooper is supporting legislation that would cap tax breaks for businesses in Enterprise-Zones.  An investigation by the Denver Post showed most of the tax breaks go to a handful of companies, mostly oil and gas companies, for what the paper calls investments that would've happened anyway.

One of the hostages who made it out of an Algerian gas field over the weekend is from Colorado.  Steven Wysocki is a petroleum engineer, his wife well-known as a trainer and judge in dressage circles. The Denver Post says Wysocki texted his wife Kristi saying he was hiding from the terrorists in the facility.  She didn't hear from him for three days when he was rescued.

A man killed in an avalanche near Marble just over a week ago apparently scouted the area earlier that day and week.  According to the Aspen Daily News, 37 year old James Lindenblatt and three other skiers decided to ride on Marble Peak Ridge after making several exploratory trips there.  Lindenblatt became the second avalanche fatality in Colorado this season after being buried under four feet of snow while the others tried to find him and dig him out.

A 29 year old registered sex offender has been arrested, accused of sexually assaulting two young girls he was baby sitting.  KJCT reports Jeremy Cisneros was booked on suspicion of 18 counts after the girls went to authorities.  Apparently Cisneros and his wife were baby sitting the 6 and 4 year old girls when the assaults allegedly occurred.

No one was injured when a Southwest Airlines jet blew three tires during an emergency landing at DIA. It happened yesterday afternoon. The pilot said a warning light went on just after takeoff and he returned to the airport.  An airport spokeswoman said the plane's landing gear brakes got overheated causing the blowouts.

Very few details in a move by the Montrose City Council to sever ties with the Montrose Association of Commerce and Tourism.  Board member Scott Byer tells The Montrose Daily Press he and other members of the group sat down with the city council last night and were handed a letter terminating the agreement at the end of March.  So far no word on a reason for the move by the city.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday January 21, 2013

Grand Junction has had a record number of days with sub-zero lows.  The National Weather Service says yesterday's minus 4 marked the 21st time this winter season the minimum daily temperature has dipped below zero.  The next below zero reading will be a record. And Since December, there have been 33 days with a high below 32 degrees.

As long as super cold weather continues in the Grand Valley, area water providers are urging customers to take precautions to avoid frozen water pipes, lines and meters. The City of Grand Junction, Ute Water and Clifton Water all say they've had an increase in calls regarding water problems related to the cold.  All have tips for keeping your pipes safe in this cold weather.

Gasoline in Colorado is looking more affordable with another fall of about 3 cents a gallon in the last week.  The average price yesterday was $2.79 a gallon.  The national average went up .7 cents to $3.26/gal. The lowest price in the country right now is in Laramie, Wyoming where says it's $2.35 a gallon.

Grand Junction's VA Medical Center is putting on a Valentines Day concert, and looking for Gold Star families to honor there.  Gold Star families have lost military members in service to the United State and were awarded a "V" device for valor.  The free concert is February 14th at the Avalon in Grand Junction and features The Grass Roots.

The speed limit on Highway 65 near a back country trail head has been reduced in order make road-side parking safer.  The Daily Sentinel says the limit has gone from 55 to 45 near the County Line parking area and with help from the Grand Mesa Nordic Council parking will expand over the summer the from current space for about 27 vehicles to 60-to-80 spots.

A Boulder City Councilwoman is looking to put regulations in place, or a moratorium to prevent fracking within city limits.  The Boulder Daily Camera says The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Governor John Hickenlooper both say fracking regulations should be controlled by the state.  A second person on the council says fracking regs shouldn't be a city priority since no gas developer in their right mind would try to put a well within the city limits.

Attendance is up at the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Officials say attendance at the show which runs through next Sunday is running about 4% above last year.

American Red Cross volunteers are going door to door in Grand Junction this morning, handing out fire prevention pamphlets to try and help prevent home fires. The group is taking part in a grassroots nationwide volunteer effort to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Friday January 18, 2013

Colorado Senator Mark Udall is in western Colorado today, talking mine clean up and small business.  In Summit County Udall will talk about an EPA rule he championed to help people clean up abandoned mine sites throughout Colorado and the west. The he stops at Fiberforge, a Glenwood Springs-based company that produces lightweight thermoplastics and composite parts.  Udall is in Grand Junction tomorrow talking pros and cons of changing the Colorado National Monument to a National Park.

The state health department is helping 21 doctors dentists and nurses pay off their education loans in exchange for taking jobs in rural and urban areas with a shortage of health professionals.  Those in the 2012 grant cycle administered in November agree to a three year term in communities including Montrose, Rifle, and Meeker.

AmeriCorps in Mesa County is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by encouraging residents to take part in Random Acts of Kindness. The group says it's honoring King's message of nonviolence and honoring the victims of the Connecticut shootings by joining a nationwide movement known as "26 Acts of Kindness." Americorps in Mesa County is a Hilltop program.

The BLM has improved parking and trail accessibility at the McInnis Canyons and Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Areas, and getting ready to add more upgrades. Plans are in the works to continue with improvements at Dominguez-Escalante to reopen the area to horses.  Horses haven't been allowed on the trails at Bridgeport since water damage in 2011.

Commercial oil shale production?  It could happen this summer in the Uintah Basin in Utah.  According to the Daily Sentinel Red Leaf Resources is planning to begin construction with a goal of producing the equivalent of 10,000 barrels of oil per day by 2015.  Research projects in Colorado are on a different course, but backed in part by one of the backers of the Red Leaf project.

A group of 4th and 5th graders from New Emerson Elementary in Grand Junction is heading to Golden to compete in a robotics contest.  It's call FIRST LEGO and encourages kids to build robots using LEGO pieces.  The kids from New Emerson call themselves Team TEN which stands for Tomorrow's Engineers Now.  The Daily Sentinel says the team took second at a regional competition in Glenwood Springs in November.

Mesa County Crime Stoppers are looking for a person who shot a horse on Glade Park.  The tan quarter horse was killed sometime between December 26th and 28th, shot one time at close range with a small-caliber gun. You can call 241-STOP or go to with information.

An administrative law judge has denied a request by Xcel Energy to collect more than 16 and a half million dollars from customers for its SmartGridCity project launched in Boulder in 2008.  The project was supposed to cost $15 million but ended up with costing more than $44 million.  The Denver Post says the judge's ruling now goes before the Public Utilities Commission which will make a final decision.

A couple thousand tickets were passed out, several hundred people attended last night's reopening of the Aurora Century Theater where 12 people were killed and 70 injured in July.  Officials from the theater's owner, Aurora's mayor and Governor John Hickenlooper all spoke to the crowd before the showing of The Hobbit. Many of the victims were in attendance saying it was important for them to see the remodeled theater and move on.

The mother of two boys who died after being left in her car with the heat running has waived extradition and will be returned to Grand Junction from Florida.  24 year old Heather Jensen was arrested Wednesday on a warrant accusing her of criminally negligent homicide and child abuse resulting in death.  The Daily Sentinel is reporting Jensen has had dealings with social services regarding drug use.

The Grand Valley Health Fair is getting a make-over after 30 years.  The fair has been associated with the 9health Organization, but will become an entirely local event this year.  The fair will move from spring to fall with a goal of increasing participation by the un and under-insured.  The Mesa County Health Department will be the main driver of the fair.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thursday January 17, 2013

The mother of two children who died while left unattended in her SUV on the Grand Mesa in November has been arrested in Florida.  Heather Jensen was arrested on a warrant charging two counts of Child Abuse Resulting in Death, two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide and one count of False Reporting.  The warrant carries a $150,000 bond.  An autopsy revealed Jensen's 2 and 4 year old sons died of hyperthermia while left in the car with the heater running.

Mesa County Sheriff's investigators are looking into an assault on Orchard Mesa.  According to the Daily Sentinel, a man was reportedly assaulting a woman inside a car and drove off when deputies approached.  After a short pursuit, the woman was able to get out of the car and the driver arrested.  39 year old Noah Godward was arrested, the injured woman taken to a hospital.

President Obama says he'll introduce legislation by next week including a ban on assault weapons. This in the wake of mass killings at a movie theater in Aurora and an elementary school in Connecticut.  In Grand Junction, supporters of gun rights plan a rally Saturday at the Old Mesa County Courthouse. The Mesa County Patriots, Pro-Second Amendment Committee, and the Colorado Liberty Alliance are encouraging supporters to bring signs in support of the right of self defense and the Second Amendment on National Gun Appreciation Day.

A former Fruita man has been ordered to stand trial for the murder of a Fruitvale escort in July of 2011.  A Mesa County District Court judge ruled yesterday there is enough evidence to support charges of 1st Degree Murder against 36 year old Billy Joe Delacey who was arrested at his home in Pennsylvania in September.  Delacey is accused of meeting 26 year old Luis Alberto Oliva for sex and then beating the man to death.

The former general manager of Grand West Kia has been ordered to pay back nearly $200,000 he stole from the business.  46 year old James Gattis pleaded guilty to the theft in a plea agreement and will have 20 years to pay back the money.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Gattis blamed alcohol and drug abuse for the embezzlement.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership is looking to raise one a half million dollars to run its office for the next five years.  The GJEP meets with businesses that might want to relocate to the Grand Valley and works to get incentives for them to do so.

A Denver Police Sergeant is recovering after being shot in the shoulder during a chase and shootout with a pickup load of suspects involved with a domestic dispute.  The pickup was spotted in a neighborhood where shots were exchanged with officers before the truck crashed into a tree. The Denver Post says a female suspect was injured in the crash and another person bitten by a police dog.  The fifth suspect was arrested late last night.

The Grand Junction City Council has OK'd a question for the April ballot asking voters to De-Bruce, or allow the city to spend money collected over the limit stated in the Tax Payers Bill of Rights.  The Daily Sentinel says the TABOR money, an estimated $2.4 million a year, would be used to pay for transportation projects including 29 Road to I-70, and face-lifts for North Avenue, Horizon Drive and 24 Road.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday January 16, 2013

A Garfield County District Court Judge has issued a summary judgement in the case of a former county sheriff's employee who sued Sheriff Lou Vallario and her jail supervisor Scott Dawson.  Lisa Martin said she was wrongfully terminated in 2007. The judge yesterday ruled in favor of Vallario and Dawson, saying both followed procedure when Martin was fired.

Grand Junction State Senator Steve King has been appointed vice chairman of the Legislative Audit Committee which reviews audits and recommends special studies regarding various State agencies.  King says he looks forward to helping safeguard the money and trust the people of Colorado have given their state government.

Some schools in rural Colorado are splitting $13 million through the Secure Rural Schools program and Community Self Determination Act.  Senators Michael Bennet and Mark Udall say the funding comes from the U-S Forest Service to develop and maintain rural schools and roads. The Senators say the money will create good-paying jobs and bring much-needed repairs to schools in rural communities.

The Colorado Department of Health is reporting high levels of flu, 674 cases from 36 counties hospitalized with the flu.  Two additional pediatric deaths from the flu have also been reported, bring the number of pediatric deaths this season to four. The Centers for Disease Control says this year's vaccine is estimated to prevent 62% of flu cases requiring a doctor visit, making it still the best prevention measure.

Hospitalizations from flu are increasing across the state. So far more than 600 of those cases have been reported, including 17 hospitalizations in Mesa County.  Health officials say it's not too late to get a flu shot and there doesn't seem to be any shortage of vaccine.  You can contact the health department or your health care provider.

Some good news about pine beetles.  This from researchers at CU in Boulder.  A new study shows small trees and other vegetation near waterways that survive beetle infestations increase their uptake of nitrate from streams. Logging or storms can drive up stream nitrate levels. According to the Boulder Daily Camera the study shows beetles don't disturb watersheds the same way as logging or storms.

Who oversees Colorado's Avalanche Information Center? It's been headed up by several agencies, most recently the Department of Natural Resources. A bill passed last year would move the center to the School of Mines, but now a new representative from Steamboat Springs says that doesn't make sense.  Mitsch Bush says the CAIC is important to public safety and quality of life, and is not research driven.  Her bill to move it back to DNR has already passed out of committee.

Former Colorado Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he's leaving that post with the Obama administration and returning to Colorado.  The Denver Post says Salazar will return to Colorado where he and his wife are primary caretakers of their 5 year old autistic granddaughter who is enrolled in a special school.

The wife of one of the victims of the Aurora theater shootings has filed suit against the CU psychiatrist who was treating alleged killer James Holmes.  Chantel Blunk is suing Dr. Lynne Fenton and five unnamed defendants.  According to the Denver Post Blunk claims the shooting would not have occurred had the doctor ordered a psychiatric hold.

A gun bill expected to be introduced today would require business owners to allow concealed carry holders to have a gun in the business or face increased liability.  Republican Kent Lambert of Colorado Springs tells the Denver Post businesses that don't allow concealed carriers would be required to provide security for their customers.

A 60 year old hunter has been rescued after falling through the ice on the Colorado River near I-70 at mile marker 24.  It happened yesterday around noon. Teams of ice rescuers from lower Valley, and Grand Junction fire Departments made their way to the man who had gone out on the ice to retrieve a goose. He was being treated for hypothermia.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday January 15, 2013

Rescuers in Gunnison County have released the name of a man killed in an avalanche near Marble Sunday.  37 year old James Lindenblatt of Summit County died after being buried in the slide.  Two men with him escaped uninjured and were able to dig Lindenblatt out of the snow, but he had already died.  The area was extremely unstable and the mission was described as dangerous. The body was removed by helicopter yesterday.

A couple of days without an inversion was nice, but it's over and the inversion is back in place leading air quality experts to call for burn restrictions.  A Do Not Burn advisory is in effect through at least tomorrow when another call will be made. An ordinance in the City of Grand Junction prohibits burning in non-EPA approved stoves and fireplaces.  The advisory is voluntary in the rest of Mesa Delta and Montrose Counties.

Two State Senators today are introducing legislation to provide in-state tuition rates to any undocumented student who graduates high school or receives a GED in Colorado, is admitted to a Colorado college or university and provides an affidavit stating they have applied for lawful presence, or will as soon as they are able.  The Colorado ASSET bill is expected to be assigned to committee today.

Things are looking up in the grand valley if building permits are any measure.  The Daily Sentinel says more than 3,300 permits were issued last year, after a couple years of decline. Single family home permits were up about 100 compared with 2011 and Mesa County's chief building official says one reason is builders are snapping up bank owned lots at reduced rates.

A former Mesa County couple have entered a plea agreement to wrap up a reported $53,000 welfare fraud case.  Tony Padilla, Jr. and his wife Venica plead guilty to single counts of theft in exchange for the dismissal of 27 other charges.  No jail time was ordered, but the two must pay restitution to the Mesa County Department of Human Services. Venica Padilla had been a caseworker with DHS.

Brady Trucking's efforts to use property it owns along the Colorado River may be in the hands of city voters.  The Grand Junction City Council says it'll decide tomorrow night whether to put a zoning question on the April ballot. According to the Daily Sentinel, Brady has been fighting to use the land since 2006 and has spent about a half million dollars cleaning up the property near the river.

The future of a proposed uranium mill in Montrose County is now in the hands of state regulators.  Environmental groups have been challenging a license issued for the mill.  The Daily Sentinel says a judge yesterday ruled legal requirements have been met and regulators can now rule on whether to grant a license to Energy Fuels for the proposed mill.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Monday January 14, 2013

The Grand Junction VA Medical Center and locations in Craig, Glenwood Springs, Montrose and Moab have flu vaccine and are hosting clinics this week.  In Grand Junction, vets can get shots from 9 until noon and 1 to 4. You can contact the other sites for hours.  The shots are free and veterans just need to show proof of military service.

Colorado State Patrol Chief Jim Wolfinbarger is retiring after heading the patrol for four years.  Wolfinbarger's contract was to have ended in June, he'll step down at the end of the month.  Wolfinbarger was with the patrol for 14 years, including a two year stint in Grand Junction. In a letter to state patrol employees, Wolfinbarger says he's decided to pursue new challenges and looks forward to the next phase of his professional life.

Two Grand Junction men have been arrested in an alleged bank fraud scheme in 2007 and 2008. 57 year old Franklin Harris and 51 year old Merlin Unruh were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver last week, accused of bank fraud and money laundering in the development of two valley subdivisions. Both are free on bond and scheduled to be arraigned in Grand Junction tomorrow.  Harris and Unruh were each charged with thirty-five counts of bank fraud, six counts of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted they face federal prison and millions of dollars in fines.

Two 19 year old California men working in Eagle County have been arrested accused of stealing an iPhone and attempting to sell it on Craig's list.  The victim spotted his phone on the site and contacted police who arranged to buy the phone. An Eagle County Sheriff's news release says one of the men apparently stole the phone, the other attempted to sell it on Craig's List.

If you want to know about safety at Montrose schools, look no further than the Montrose Daily Press. The Paper yesterday published an editorial by Superintendent Mark MacHale outlining procedures and relationships with local emergency agencies to keep schools safe.  He says the district is in the process of another full-scale safety audit and called on parents, students and the community to keep schools safe.

The city of Montrose hasn't given up on a plan for a whiewater park project on the Uncompahgre River and now they're hoping to team up with the county.  The Montrose Daily Press says city council will consider a proposal from the Montrose county Commission for a commitment of up to $50,000 for development of the park. The issue comes up at tomorrow's Montrose city council meeting and if approved, would add the county to the city and Montrose Recreation District to pursue lottery funds for the park.

Mesa County is being recognized today by the National Weather Service as being "Storm Ready," for its commitment to being prepared to protect infrastructure and save lives in case of severe storms. Grand Junction meteorologist-in-charge says the county has a strong network of highly dedicated emergency services personnel, and volunteers ready to take action.

There's been talk about the restructuring of the I-70/Highway 6&50 interchange, now it's starting to take shape.  There's an open house tomorrow to outline the realignment of 22 Road and the new diverging diamond. The Daily Sentinel says the open house will include a video demonstrating how to drive the new interchange. The City of Grand Junction is working on 22 Road, that project beginning in March.  And the state the diverging diamond beginning in June.

A National Institute of Justice grant means two cases in Mesa County may be up for review. The two involve people convicted of murder at trial in Mesa County, and are among 5 statewide singled out for review. Modern DNA testing could have an impact on the cases.  The Daily Sentinel says the reviews were begun following the exoneration of Robert Dewey last year after he had spent 16 years in prison.

Water users in Colorado are still praying for snow with snowpack levels well below average for this time of year. Information from the natural Resources Conservation Service shows the Upper Colorado River area at 61% of average.  As of January 1st, statewide snowpack was 70% of average.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday January 11, 2013

The Judge in the James Holmes theater shooting case has set an arraignment this morning, but Holmes' attorneys say they aren't ready and will likely ask for a delay.  According to the Denver Post, the attorneys are looking at an insanity plea, but specifics are very involved and will take time before such a plea is entered.  If the plea is successful, a person found not guilty by reason of insanity is committed to the state psychiatric hospital until well enough to be released--which may be never.

The Grand Valley's Homeless Shelter, Homeward Bound has a new director.  Douglas Karl has been chosen to lead HomewardBound and help move the shelter into the future.  Interim Director AJ Johnson made the announcement saying he's looking forward to working on a smooth transition with Karl.

Mesa County AmeriCorps is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by calling for Random Acts of Kindness,  Director Angie Bertrand says the group would like to see county residents join the movement of taking part in 26 Acts of Kindness.  Anything from shoveling someone's sidewalk, to giving blood.  They're encouraging anyone who does an act to post it on the Mesa County AmeriCorps Facebook page.

Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Bender is delivering the biennial State of the Judiciary address to a joint session of the legislature today. Bender will cover the public's trust in the rule of law, collaboration between the courts and the justice system and public needs.

The Western Colorado Drug Task Force is at it again, searching buses that stop in Grand Junction, and finding illegal drugs. According to The Daily Sentinel a Wilmington, California man was arrested Wednesday after officers said they found 5 pounds of suspected meth in two of his suitcases.  Victor Rocha is being held on $150,000 bond.

The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service wants to list the Gunnison sage grouse as an endangered species, saying it is going extinct.  In an effort to save the sage grouse, the Service wants to protect them by setting aside 1.7 million acres in southwest Colorado and southeast Utah and in a federal notice posted today a 60day comment period is being launched.  Fewer than one-tenth of the birds historical population have survived in fragments around western Colorado.

The City of Grand Junction and CDOT are hosting an Open House next Tuesday to talk about projects to improve safety and traffic flow on Highway 6 at 22 Road.  It all has to do with the planning of the new "diverging diamond" plan at the nearby I-70/ 6&50 interchange.  The meeting's at the Westgate Inn from 4 until 6.

A new pot group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana is up and running in Denver, started by a group of former government officials led by Patrick Kennedy. They say they want to quote "focus on practical changes in marijuana policy that neither demonize users nor legalize drugs".  Smart Approaches will work with state partners including Smart Colorado led by Bob Doyle.

Dylan Redwine disappeared while visiting his father over thanksgiving weekend in Durango.  The investigation into the disappearance of Redwine continues. over 30 thousand dollars has now been raised for information leading to Dylan's whereabouts.

Winter weather can mean higher heating and utility bills for small businesses.  The small business majority is offering a reference guide for small business owners on energy efficiency programs that can help business owners save money.  the guide is available at their website

The spike in flu cases in the state has caused some health care providers to run out of flu vaccines, especially on the front range.  In Mesa County, the health department says it does have flu vaccines as do many individual providers.

Governor John Hickenlooper calling for universal gun background checks at his state of the state address yesterday.  Background checks are already conducted for retail sales and gun shows, but the governor wants like to see that expanded to private sales.  Hickenlooper also calling for bipartisan action on marijuana regulations and action on civil unions.

fortunately no injuries reported and no damage when a man in his seventies drove his Lexus through the front doors of the Safeway at 29 Road and Patterson.  The car ended up parked between a display of chips and bagels.  He was ticketed for the incident.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thursday January 10, 2013

The Colorado Oil an Gas Association has approved sweeping new setback regulations designed to limit drilling impacts on stake holders including mineral rights holders, businesses and developers. They say the rules are more rigorous than any in the country and will protect the public health, safety and environment.  A comprehensive study of emissions tied to oil and gas development is also being launched this summer to look at drilling effects on the northern front range.

Petroleum website is predicting a continued drop in gasoline prices through January, a time when prices normally go up.  Analysts say it's because inventory is 7% higher than December and at its highest level since February of 2011.  GasBuddy is predicting average national gas prices in the range of $3.21 to $3.43, with a median price of $3.29 a gallon.

Another death on Colorado ski slopes.  This one last night.  According to the Denver Post, a 20 year old college student from Texas died after hitting a tree on an intermediate run at Keystone.  The woman was not wearing a helmet when she struck the tree just after 7:00.

Great weather for the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo in Denver.  A parade this morning kicks things off.  The 107th show runs through January 27th.

We haven't heard alot about frozen pipes and broken heaters, but it is happening.  KJCT says at least one plumbing company has been getting almost 60 calls a day about frozen pipes and heaters that don't work.  John Burwell with Peterson Plumbing says it's the busiest they've been in at least 5 years.

Governor John Hickenlooper gives his 3rd State of the State address this morning.  He's expected to address gun laws, the Aurora theater shootings, and the summer wildfires. It's the first time during his tenure both the State House and Senate are controlled by Democrats.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wednesday January 9, 2013

Still no word on how the District Attorney will proceed with the case of two young boys who died in their mother's vehicle on the Grand Mesa in November.  The Mesa County Coroner yesterday released the cause of death of the  boys, 2-year old William and 4-year old Tyler Jensen. Both died of Hyperthermia, or abnormally high fever. The Coroner calls the deaths accidental and prosecutors say they'll have to look at the case more closely before deciding whether any charges should be filed.

Two men wanted in Garfield County on drug charges have been arrested, one remains on the run.  The two were arrested after their pictures were featured on Garfield County Crimestoppers posters last week. 21 year old Eduardo Hernandez-Carrera is still wanted on active narcotics warrants.

The Rocky Mountain Gun Owners or RMGO is giving away a Colt AR-15 rifle in what they say is an effort to increase the size of their pro-gun army. Anyone can enter to win the gun on the RMGO website. No fees or donations are required.  A drawing will be held January 25th.

Women, if you're looking for a sugar daddy, he might not be any further than the countries top ski resorts.  A dating website that hooks up wealthy men and attractive women conducted a poll to see where these men like to ski., says three Colorado resorts are in the top ten North American resorts.  Vail is at number 3, and Telluride number five.  Aspen was also on the list at number nine.

Keeping schools safe the focus of discussion at the District 51 School Board workshop last night.  Representatives from several local law enforcement agencies and the Pro Second Amendment Committee turned out. The Daily Sentinel says the conversation included an idea to have armed volunteers trained by the district patrol schools... another idea would allow teachers to conceal and carry guns in school. The discussion is continuing.

The Grand Mesa Nordic Council wants improvements at the cross country skiing and showshoeing trail head on Highway 65 where a Grand Junction couple were killed Saturday.  Linda and Glen Eyre were struck by a Ford Explorer as it swerved to miss a car pulling out of the parking area onto Highway 65.  The Daily Sentinel says the council met last night to see what can be done.  They would like to see the parking improved and at the very least signage warning motorists speeding by at 55 mph of activity along the side of the road.

A new report on prescription painkiller abuse shows Colorado with the second highest rate in the country.  According to the Denver Post, 6% of Colroadans said they used prescription painkillers like Percocet or Oxycontin for nonmedical purposes in 2010 and 11.  The state's division of Behavioral Health says there's not one solution to the problem.  The national Governors Association expects a report on drug policy changes by the end of next month.

Gun advocates plan to rally this afternoon near the state capitol as the 2013 legislature begins its session.  One organizer tells the Denver Post the rally is meant to be peaceful and convey a message to legislators that individual freedoms need to be protected and gun laws don't make a difference in curbing violent crime.

James Holmes' preliminary hearing continues in Centennial today, the third day of presentations by prosecutors of what happened at an Aurora movie theater last July. A Prosecution witness read the names of wounded victims, describing their injuries.  911 tapes were played and a look at Holmes apartment where he had rigged the door to set a fire, and cause an explosion. That didn't happen.  The hearing continues today.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday January 8, 2013

The family Jason Kemp, shot to death by a Colorado State Trooper in July of 2010, have reached a settlement with the State Patrol. Kemp was shot after a minor hit and run accident near his home. Troopers tried to get into his house, he tried to stop them and was shot to death.  Two troopers were involved and later fired--after one was found not guilty, and charges against the other were dropped.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Kemp's parents will receive more than $1 million.  The settlement also calls for more training for current and future troopers.

A Do Not Burn order is in place in Mesa, Delta and Montrose Counties for the next three days. Air Quality Specialist Ed Brotsky says a strong inversion has been in place since about December 19th, and since then, only a couple of days have qualified for an OK advisory.  Under the No Burn advisory, the health department asks people not to burn in non-EPA approved stoves and fireplaces.  The order is mandatory within the City of Grand Junction.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has approved some new ground water protection rules it says are among the strongest in the country.  Under the rules, rig operators are required to sample nearby water wells before and after drilling activities in order to identify potential problems.  The O&G commission has been collecting similar data for years and has over 6,000 samples in a water quality data base accessible online.

There's more fake cash in the Grand Valley and more counterfeit bill reports to the Grand Junction Police Department. They say business owners should train employees to spot the differences like paper that doesn't feel like other bills, the size of bills, or missing watermarks.  The bills in circulation are ofter 20s, police say they've seen everything from 5s to 100s.

Colorado Parks and Recreation has $1.7 million it wants to hand out as grants for outdoor recreation in the state.  Local governments and local groups can apply for the funding as matching grants for project benefiting fishing, shooting ranges or boating. Application periods vary for projects and information can be found on the Parks and Wildlife website.

The District 51 School Board has a full agenda for tonight's work session.  The board is looking at safety issues, the possibility of changing the school calendar, school choice, and Senate Bill 191 which establishes new requirements for evaluating teachers and principals. Statewide regulations are to be in place by next fall, and finalized for the 2014-2015 school year.

A trial date has been set for a former Grand Junction Police officer and firefighter accused of sexual assault on a child.  42 year old Eric Janusz was arrested last year, accused of having an affair with an underage woman. KREX TV says the trial will begin March 11th.

A Colorado State Senator plans to introduce legislation that would allow parents to buy alcohol for their children in bars and restaurants. Senator Greg Brophy says the bill is crafted after a law in Wisconsin which allows parents of returning service members to buy their children drinks.

Mesa County's two new commissioners are being sworn in this morning.  John Justman and Rose Pugliese are taking over for Janet Rowland and Craig Meise, both of whom were term limited out of office.

Rocky Mountain Health Plans is being recognized by the Wellness Council of America with their highest award designation.  The Platinum award recognizes the group's effort to continue to meet health promotion standards and demonstrates a commitment to improving the health and well being of its employees.  Rocky Mountain Health plans is the only Colorado company to receive the platinum designation.

The state health department is encouraging people to test their home for radon during National Radon Action Month.  Testing works best when all doors and windows are closed.  The health department provides coupons for reduced cost radon kits on the website.  Radon is one of the leading causes of lung cancer in the country.

The BLM wants public comment on the environmental assessment for a natural gas project near Debeque.  The plan is for up to 24 wells north and south of I-70.  The EA is online at the BLM website. Comments are being taken online or by mail.

The Colorado Avalanche information center issuing a warning that the potential for avalanches in western Colorado remains high and that skiers and hikers could trigger large slides in the northern San Juans, Summit County and Steamboat Springs.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Monday January 7, 2013

The Montrose Police and Sheriff's Departments are getting passing grades after a mock-shooting drill at Olathe High School Saturday.  When officers got to the school, they were informed the situation was a drill ... their guns and ammunition were traded for replica weapons and paint balls.  Sheriff Rick Dunlap tells the Montrose Daily Press the drill was being planned about two weeks before the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings and only those doing the planning knew it was coming up. School officials say they learned a lot from the drill, too.

More suicides were recorded in 2012 in Mesa County than any other year.  The Daily Sentinel this morning cites a report from the County Coroner's Office showing 47 deaths by suicide last year, up from 43 in 2011. Most had been treated for mental health issues and most were also under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of their death.  And already this year, the coroner's office has investigated two suicides.

The BLM is out with some new regulations on public lands drilling designed to protect wildlife.  The U-S Fish and Wildlife Service says it's recommending improving waste water facilities and marking fences to keep birds from flying into them.  A local energy industry group tells the Daily Sentinel most of the proposals are already being followed and aren't needed.  A conservation group says the policy should result in a more consistent approach to wildlife protection.

Statewide snowpack is at 70% of average to start the new year, and reservoir storage is still low, about 68% of average.  The Natural Resources Conservation Service says snowpack improved greatly during December, climbing from just 36% of average.

New information about prosecutors case against accused Aurora Theater shooter James Holmes today.  A preliminary hearing begins in Arapahoe County.  The Denver Post says prosecutors are expected to present evidence related to each of the victims, 12 people killed and 70 others who were wounded or shot at. The hearing is expected to last all week.

Authorities have not released the name of a man who shot and killed three people in Aurora Saturday before police shot him to death, but neighbors are talking about 33 year old Sonny Archuleta, calling him a talented artist who "went over the edge." The Denver Post says the neighbors identified the victims as Archuleta's sister, her boyfriend, and Archuleta's father-in-law.  Archuleta's wife escaped, jumping from a second floor window.

Steamboat Ski Resort is celebrating its 50th birthday with a 10 day party starting Friday.  The Denver Post says a 25-year old time capsule from 1988 will be opened that day, followed by a week of concerts and festivities and the annual Bud Light Cowboy Downhill featuring cowboys from the Denver Stock show.

No new information about a crash on the Grand Mesa in which two people were killed.  It happened Saturday morning at the parking area for the County Line trail head.  A car pulled into the path of an oncoming SUV that swerved into the lot, killing two people and hitting a car in the lot. The crash is still under investigation.

The Grand Junction Lions Club is getting ready to announce the recipients of grants from this year's carnival and raffle. $1 million has been raised by the downtown club in the past 6 years.  Donations over the past 84 years total more than $4 million in charitable giving.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Friday January 4, 2013

The Mesa County Coroner's Office has identified a man hit by a car and killed New Year's night on the Redlands.  68 year old John J. Timony had a blood alcohol of .075, just under the level considered too intoxicated to drive in Colorado.

CDOT is replacing signals at the Highway 6 and State Highway 82 intersection in Glenwood Springs. The old lights wee on span-wires and had been hit several times.  The project includes 4 new traffic signal poles and mast arms for the lights.  Temporary signals are in use right now and the new ones should be up in the next few weeks.

A former Denver man will be sentenced in April after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud the United States with respect to claims, and one count of misuse of a Social Security Number.  65 year old Thomas Quintin and a co-conspirator were indicted by a federal grand jury in February of last year.  The two submitted $1.8 million in income tax return claims in the names of deceased individuals.  Quintin faces up to ten years in federal prison and fines of more than $250,000.

A Palisade man under arrest in the hit and run killing of a woman on a downtown street last fall, is now facing drug charges.  The Daily Sentinel says 26 year old Cody Boden is accused of having distributed a controlled narcotic to three people hours before the fatal crash. The drug charges were filed yesterday.

Prosecutors CAN use threats posted on Facebook to move forward with a case against a Grand Junction man.  Kenneth Wheeler was arrested in Grand Junction last March after a post made in Italy calling for followers to "kill cops and drown them in the blood of their children."  According to the Denver Post, Wheeler had unfriended all of his followers so was not communicating with anyone when he made his post.  A tipster notified police after seeing Wheeler's post.

A Craig man has died after an explosion at an oil rig site in Moffat County.  Investigators tell the Craig Daily Press a tank holding left-over fracking water exploded, as workers tried to offload water from another tank. A propane heater was being used to thaw the valves when the explosion happened killing 49 year old Jon Herod of Craig.

The Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies is moving to Palisade from the site on Scarlet Drive in Grand Junction where they've operated since 2001.  The Daily Sentinel says everything is being moved today and over the weekend for Monday's opening at 119 Bower Street in Palisade.  Donations can be made there, or at the Salvation Army or Community Food Bank at Mesa County Central Services.

A small earthquake near Paonia was probably caused by coal mine activity.  That's what the USGS says bout the 2.8 quake.  The Daily Sentinel says CMU has a network of seismometers and records small quakes in the area "all the time." A tembler has to register 2.5 to be published by the USGS.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thursday January 3, 2013

Statistics are out for the Colorado State Patrol's anti-DUI enforcement during the New Year's holiday enforcement and they look good.  The Patrol says no fatal crashes due to impaired driving were reported between December 28th and January 2nd.  The patrol does say the man killed when he was hit by a car on the Redlands Tuesday night apparently was intoxicated. Statewide, 81 DUI citations were issued.

A man killed while working on a car in Grand Junction New Year's Day was not crushed by the car. The Mesa County Coroner's Office says 50 year old Stephan Barley of Meeker had positioned the car to allow access underneath when the car rolled, trapping him. He suffocated.

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission is holding its first meeting of the year today and tomorrow in Westminster.  On the agenda are more than 40 proposed changes to big game regulations, including establishing a mountain lion hunting season during the month of April.  A full agenda is available on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

The Colorado Lottery has announced the winning numbers from its Holiday Raffle game.  40% of the nearly 100,000 tickets available were sold and prizes are based on that 40%.  1 number was drawn for the $200,000 grand prize.  Other prizes go down to $20.  The winning numbers are listed at

Hunters of shed antlers on public land in the Gunnison Basin are being reminded of a few restrictions during the winter. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says animals in that area are under alot of stress during the winter and shouldn't be disturbed.  Any violator can be fined $70 and be assessed five penalty points against their hunting and fishing privileges. Collectors are advised to consult CPW for rules.

A Grand Junction Business has donated $1,000 to the Western Slope Food Bank of the Rockies.  Simply-Mac, collected donations of canned food and donated funds for every computer purchased between November 16th and December 15.  The company is based in Utah and has held similar food drives there. It's the first year the Grand Junction store has taken part.

The inversion in place over the Grand Valley will likely remain through at least next Thursday, and the National Weather Service says we won't necessarily be out of the cold after that.  Service Hydrologist Aldis Strautner says it'll take a significant storm to move out cold air trapped in the valley.  He says that could come on the 10th or 11th. And while the system may move the cold air from the valley floor, more cold air is behind it.

Four seats are up for grabs on the Grand Junction City Council in the April 2nd election and at least one person is eyeing the at-large seat held by Mayor Bill Pitts.  The Daily Sentinel says West Star Aviation operations vice president Rick Brainard has picked up an information packet from city hall.  Brainard says is running in response to frustration over what he perceives as a cavalier nature in which current council members make financial decisions.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wednesday January 2, 2013

Grand Junction police are investigating the death of a 50 year old man when a car he was working on apparently fell on him.  It happened yesterday around noon on Darby Drive in Fruitvale.  Police aren't releasing the name of the man until family are notified.

Waiting time for a background check to buy a gun in Colorado is going up, even though the number of requests is going down.  The Denver Post says wait-time right now is 9-days, for a process usually taking just minutes.  The process became backlogged following a massive rush to purchase guns.

3rd District Congressman Scott Tipton is putting in his two cents on yesterday's Fiscal Cliff vote.  Tipton says the bill raises taxes on American families and businesses and increases the size of government without any spending reforms to address the $16.3 trillion national debt.  Tipton says the Senate ignored meaningful legislation passed last August that would have avoided tax hikes and put into place a pathway to a simpler and fairer tax code. Tipton voted against yesterday's legislation.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall voted for the fiscal cliff legislation passed yesterday which includes extending the Wind Production Tax Credit Udall has been fighting for. He says it protects thousands of jobs across the country including 5,000 in Colorado.  Udall says the bill addresses a series of automatic tax increases for the middle class, but he's calling for a longer term, comprehensive deal on the deficit when Congress returns to work this year.

Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, a democrat, bucked the trend and was one of only 8 senators voting against yesterday's fiscal cliff bill one of only three democrats voting no.   Bennet tells the Denver Post the senate took the easy way out and will have to face the budget crisis at some point.  He says the bill has no meaningful deficit reduction.

The price of gasoline in Colorado is more than 6 cents a gallon lower than last week. says the that's down nearly 37 cents a gallon in the past month.  Analysts say 2012 brought the highest average price ever for consumers.

It's called a diverging-diamond and when it's complete, a new interchange at Highway 6&50 and I-70 will be only the 7th one of its kind in the country.  According to the Daily Sentinel construction of the $24 million project starts this month, including two new truck stops on the north side of I-70.

A man is dead after being hit by a mini van on the Redlands.  It happened just before 6:00 last night near Fire Station 5 on Broadway.  The Colorado State Patrol says the man was crossing the road when he was hit.

The city of Fruita is hoping to draw more tourists by adding hotel booking to it's tourism website  City officials tell the Daily Sentinel the planned web page will re-route traffic for larger hotel chains, but guests will be able to book right there for smaller properties without an online footprint. The city's marketing and promotions budget comes from a 3% lodging tax.

By the time deconstruction of the old Cameo power plant in Debeque Canyon is finished, there'll be a new bridge taking cars across the Colorado River to the property. The Daily Sentinel says once the property is cleared and the bridge replaced, plans for redevelopment can begin.

The city of Grand Junction is reminding residents about a city ordinance requiring property owners to clear their sidewalks of snow and ice within 24 hours of a snowfall.  The idea is to make it easier for the elderly and disabled to get around in the snow.

 Lawyers in the Aurora theater shooting say they are ready for next week's preliminary hearing.  James Holmes faces 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other charges after killing 12 people and injuring 20 last July. The Denver Post says the preliminary hearing is where prosecutors will for the first time outline the evidence against Holmes in detail,  and is expected to fill a week's worth of all-day courtroom sessions.