Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday February 28, 2013

Delta Police have called in the CBI to investigate an altercation involving officers at the Delta Wal-Mart early yesterday.  Officials say more than one officer has been placed on leave as they investigate.  The officers responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle, when the fight broke out.  One person was hospitalized.

A bill designed to protect Colorado jobs has passed out of the House Finance committee and is headed to the floor for consideration.  The bill would allow local governments to offer business personal property tax breaks up to 100% to companies considering leaving the state.  Loveland Representative Brian DelGrosso says the measure is designed to make Colorado less prohibitive for job creators.

State legislators are looking at a measure to up the cap on damages citizens can recover on account of government wrong doing. A bill moving forward in the state senate comes after last year's Lower North Fork fire. Several homes were destroyed and three people were killed. It's sponsor says the bill strikes a better balance between government accountability and ensuring financial stability.

The Mesa County Coroner's Office has released the name of a man shot and killed by his father in Grand Junction yesterday.  48 year old Garth Meier died of a gunshot wound to the chest.  Police aren't saying anything about possible charges and no arrests have been made.

Colorado's U-S Attorney supports a ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines.  John Walsh testified before the U-S Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday in Washington.

The IRS is warning taxpayers about out-of-the-blue emails claiming to be from the IRS.  A Colorado IRS spokeswoman warns the emails may contain malicious code that will infect your computer.  She says no links should be clicked on and no confidential information should be entered.  Scammers use the IRS name and logo to appear authentic, but the IRS does not initiate contact by email. If you receive one of the emails, you should forward it to

A Grand Junction man is headed to prison in a plea agreement for selling firearms to an undercover agent who said he would take them to drug cartels in Mexico. The Daily Sentinel says  Miguel Reyes-Robles delivered the weapons to an undercover agent at his store, R&R Discount Car Audio after meeting with the agent in May of 2011 and again in February of last year.  That's when he was arrested.  The plea agreement calls for Reyes-Robles to spend 30 months in federal prison.  He remains free until space opens in a federal facility.

A former Girl Scout leader is looking at probation, community corrections or a jail sentence after striking a deal with prosecutors. 27 year old Carmen Wyson admitted taking money from her troop's cookie fund and using it to pay bills.  The Daily Sentinel says Wysong initiated the investigation that led to her arrest, reporting the theft of nearly $7,000 but later confessing to taking it. Wysong has also been ordered to repay the money.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday February 27, 2013

Grand Junction Police are questioning a father in the shooting death of his adult son early this morning. Investigators say 3 people were in a home on 29 1/2 Road when the father and son got into an altercation and the son was shot and killed.  Both the man and the 3rd person at the home are being questioned.

Nearly a half million people visited the Colorado National Monument in 2011, spend over $23 million in surrounding communities...that spending supporting 314 jobs in the local area.  Those stats in an annual spending analysis of national park visitors across the country compiled by Michigan State University. The study shows visitor spending at parks across the country translates to a $30 billion impact on the US economy supporting 252,000 jobs.

A bill setting a legal limit for driving marijuana impaired in Colorado has passed out of one state House committee and is on its way to another.  HB 1114 is a bipartisan bill setting the limit of five or more nanograms of delta-9-THC. Bill sponsor Mark Waller of Colorado Springs says in 2011, 13% of deadly crashes in Colorado involved marijuana.  He says with the number of marijuana users is likely to grow with the passage of Amendment 64, there is a sense of urgency to create an impairment standard.

The Montrose Recreation Foundation is brand new, and has an anonymous $10,000 donation to get up and running.  The Foundation's goals are to increase the youth scholarship fund to allow more kids to participate in organized physical activities and raise capital for expanding recreational opportunities in Montrose.

The search for a missing 81 year old Grand Junction man has ended with the discovery of a body in Grand County, Utah, 11 miles west of the Colorado border above Glade Park.  Lou Schneider was reported missing after family members said they couldn't contact him.  Schneider's death is not considered suspicious.

More gun discussion at the state capitol today.  Senate President John Morse is introducing the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act. Morse says gun manufacturers, sellers and dealers in Colorado have blanket immunity, which he says no other industry has in the United States. According to Morse, the Assault Weapon Responsibility Act acknowledges the rights of assault weapon manufacturers, sellers and owners, while clearly defining the responsibility accompanying those rights.

A Whitewater man arrested last week on suspicion of molesting a 10 year old girl has been released from jail after the Mesa County DA's office said it couldn't prove a crime. The Daily Sentinel says Charges against 38 year old Tillman Clifton were dismissed without prejudice meaning they could be refiled if new evidence develops. Clifton spent a full week in jail before his release yesterday.

School District 51 is looking to add panic buttons and keyless lock systems at some of its schools and is applying for nearly $400,000 in grant funding to do that.  The Daily Sentinel says the money is administered by the Garfield County Federal Mineral Lease District.  School District 51 is eligible because it is a nearby government entity.  The grant awards are to be announced in April.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday February 26, 2013

If you see a lot of fire engines from Grand Junction and Lower Valley Fire Departments at the old Mesa County courthouse tonight, not to worry.  They're doing some practical training inside.  Grand Junction Fire spokesman Mike Page says it's a chance for firefighters from the different departments to work together in a simulated training exercise.  They plan to head inside around 6:30 and finish up about 9:00 tonight.

The BLM is starting work on its Roan Plateau Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement with public meetings in Silt tomorrow and in Grand Junction Thursday. The BLM is looking to identify issues to be address in the SEIS. A US District judge ordered the agency to address deficiencies in the BLM's earlier environmental analysis and Resource Management Plan Amendment.  Details are available from the BLM's Silt office.

Grand Junction city voters can meet candidates for city council at a forum hosted by the Association Student Government of CMU.  The forum is open to the public next Wednesday morning at 10:30 on the 2nd floor of the University Center.

Mesa County's Chief Deputy DA is out with a warning for recreational pot users.  Don't light up in public or you could be prosecuted. The Daily Sentinel says Dan Rubinstein has been advising the task force set up to study implementing Colorado's voter approved Amendment 64 which is designed to regulate marijuana like alcohol.  Rubinstein says there are a lot of gray areas in the law which he says could lead to marijuana becoming a cash-industry, avoiding taxation which was used as a selling point for the amendment.

The District 51 Save Our Schools committee is weighing in again on the possibility of having armed volunteers on campuses or teachers armed with concealed carry permits.  According to the Daily Sentinel some committee members say too much time is being spent on placing more armed people in schools, but little is being said about other alternatives.

A 37 year old Grand Junction woman has been jailed, accused of having a sexual affair with a 15 year old boy.  Wendy Crowell was arrested Friday and is being held on $10,000 bond.  According to the Daily Sentinel, police began their investigation after the victim's mother found a series of text messages between her son and Crowell.

Mesa County is going ahead with applications for Great Outdoors Colorado grants for improvements to the fairgrounds.  Over $400,000 is being eyed for upgrades on the east end of the facility, including RV hookups, a covered arena, and engineering costs for a new traffic signal and entrance on the west end.  The Daily Sentinel says the cost of the livestock and equestrian facilities makeover is about $2 million  and construction could begin as early as next fall.

The task force working on implementing Colorado's new Marijuana law  says pot should be sold in child-proof packaging and not contain any logos or ingredients designed to appeal to children.  The Denver Post says the panel also wants pot-infused edibles to come with labels detailing the items' potency and disclose pesticides or fertilizers used in cultivation.  The measures designed to give consumers information to make the right decisions. The task force findings will be used to craft a bill legislators will have to pass by the end of the session May 8th.

Cantaloupe farmers and packers are being told to be ready for inspections and testing of melons for pathogens after two years of illness and recalls. The Denver Post says farmers got a letter from the FDA Monday informing them of the increased inspections.  The action comes following a listeria outbreak traced to a Colorado farm in 2011.  33 people died in that outbreak.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday February 25, 2013

The price of gas in Colorado is another 6 cents higher this week, bringing the price in the state to an average $3.56/gal. says the tide has turned. The national price has gone up every day since January 20th, but has dropped the last two days.  Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan says motorists shouldn't be overly thrilled as prices are expected to linger near these levels for sometime.

For the first time since 2008, sales tax collections in Montrose were up last year compared with the year before.  The Montrose Daily Press says the increase was just 1.6%, but significant considering the declines of the three years before, including a 9% drop in 2009 compared with 2008.

The Mesa Land Trust is working on an idea to connect the Three Sisters bike area on Monument Road to downtown Grand Junction and to the entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  The public process is underway with a website to add input.  It's The site says comments are being taken there for 34 more days.

The BLM is getting ready to move 700 wild horse from short-term facilities in Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada to a ranch in southwestern Montana. Accordng to The Denver Post, some neighboring ranches are worried the horses could escape, and that the land can't sustain them.  The BLM says the Spanish Q ranch will house the horses for $1.36 per horse per day, compared with the $5.50 cost of the short term facilities.

Colorado stands to lose $85 million in federal funding if lawmakers can't agree on a budget by the end of the month.  The Denver Post says if automatic cuts happen, the sequester is designed to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal government over over 10 years. Governor John Hickenlooper tells The Denver Post he's most concerned about job losses.  And  Colorado Senator Mark Udall says the automatic budget cuts are coming because some in Congress are not interested in the balanced, deficit-reduction approach that Coloradans want. In the meantime, the White House has released a 7 page document outlining specifics of federal cuts in Colorado.

 White House Releases New State-by-State Reports on the Impacts of the Sequester 
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the White House is releasing new state-by-state reports on the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families across the country if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1st.

These reports are EMBARGOED until tonight at 8:00PM ET. The link to each state report can be found below:
1.      Alabama        
2.      Alaska        
3.      Arizona        
4.      Arkansas        
5.      California        
6.      Colorado        
7.      Connecticut        
8.      Delaware        
9.      District of Columbia
10.  Florida        
11.  Georgia        
12.  Hawaii        
13.  Idaho        
14.  Illinois        
15.  Indiana        
16.  Iowa        
17.  Kansas        
18.  Kentucky        
19.  Louisiana        
20.  Maine        
21.  Maryland        
22.  Massachusetts        
23.  Michigan        
24.  Minnesota        
25.  Mississippi        
26.  Missouri        
27.  Montana        
28.  Nebraska        
29.  Nevada        
30.  New Hampshire        
31.  New Jersey        
32.  New Mexico        
33.  New York        
34.  North Carolina        
35.  North Dakota        
36.  Ohio        
37.  Oklahoma        
38.  Oregon        
39.  Pennsylvania
40.  Rhode Island
42.  South Dakota
43.  Tennessee
44.  Texas
45.  Utah
46.  Vermont
47.  Virginia
48.  Washington
50.  Wisconsin
51.  Wyoming

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday February 22nd 2013 Washington's Birthday

Officials in the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests say they DO plan to continue prescribed burns this spring following slash pile burns in December and January.  The burns are used to help manage vegetation buildup and improve wildlife habitat.  Forrest officials are continuing to monitor moisture levels and conditions and hope to conduct burns this spring on 2,500 to 5,000 acres.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall says is urging private contractors to respect upcoming  U-S Forest Service contracts for next-generation air tankers.  Udall says some private contractors have already delayed the Forest Service's acquisition of seven of the tankers, and challenging new contract could leave Colorado without the firefighting equipment they need.

The Grand Junction chapter of the Salvation Army is celebrating 105 years in the community by thanking all the volunteers and businesses who've helped the organization.  The Army says it's helped thousands of families over the years, providing food and shelter, clothing, and rehabilitation services for the community and a VA component added in 2008.

The Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce is taking its annual trip to the state capitol next week to meet with legislators about business concerns.  There is still time to register for the trip Thursday and Friday.  You can call the Chamber for information.

If you want to know more about Referendum A on the Grand Junction City ballot in April, the Chamber of Commerce is holding an informational Open House March 2nd. It's at Brady Trucking on 27 1/2 Road at the Colorado River from 10 until noon. Brady is requesting a zoning change in order to use their property. Opponents of the change say it will hurt the River and compromise the Riverfront Trail.

The Grand Junction Kiwanis Club has put together a Children's Resource Directory, compiling information and resources available to parents of young children in the grand valley.  The club has produced the handbook for the past ten years and says this year's new design makes it easier than ever to use.

Businesses would be able to choose a higher deductible on workers comp insurance and lower premiums under a bill passed by the state house this week.  The bill's sponsor says the change would incentivize safe work environments and reward good business practices. The bill has wide support including the National Federation of Independent Business and organized labor.  It now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

A bill to make DUI a Class 5 Felony for some repeat offenders is moving forward in the State House.  Colorado is one of five state without a felony conviction for DUIs.  The bill would make three consecutive DUI or DWAI convictions in a seven-year-period a felony. And four convictions in a lifetime a felony. The bill moves to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration.

The Garfield Re-2 School District is working on its 13-14 draft calendars and wants feedback. Last year the district adopted a 4-day week school calendar, and is now looking at a two year plan.  Both are available on the Garfield Re-2 website under the News Tab.

It's been over a week since Dutch the dog was ordered surrendered to the Montrose animal shelter to be euthanized and his owner Jeremiah Aguillar ordered to spend two days in jail for having a vicious dog. Since then the judge offered to send the dog to a sanctuary in California to live.  The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel says Aguillar has not responded to that option. He's to return to court in May to hear when he'll serve his jail sentence.

Expect Highway 65 to be closed over the top of the Grand Mesa this morning as CDOT avalanche crews work to remove the danger of snow slides onto the roadway.  16 inches of fresh snow was reported in the area south of Mesa Lakes. Powderhorn ski area is still accessible from the 1-70 Highway 65 exit.

A Clifton man has been arrested, accused of trying to make meth in his apartment.  Deputies got a warrant after responding to the apartment on a disturbance call last week. The found suspected meth ingredients in the home.  The Daily Sentinel says 26 year old Brian Doyle allegedly admitted trying to make meth to alleviate some of his medical issues.

Magpul Industries says it will still leave the state if a bill limiting the capacity of ammunition magazines that can be sold in the state, even with an amendment that would allow the company to sell those magazines in other states.  A state representative and state senator toured the company's plant yesterday.  Several hundred workers are employed by Magpul.

 The Regional Sportsmen's Caucus has chosen two delegates to represent their concerns at the statewide Sportsmen's Roundtable in Denver next month. Kenny Marcella and Jim Spehar were chosen.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife is encouraging sportsmen to contact their delegates with issues they would like to have addressed at the meeting in Denver.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thursday February 21, 2013

A Grand Junction man has been arrested in the armed robbery of the Bradley Sinclair gas station at 2nd and North last weekend.  30 year old James Rucker was arrested yesterday on suspicion of Aggravated Robbery and other charges including possession of a weapon by a previous offender.  At the time of his arrest, officers say Rucker was carrying a fully loaded handgun matching the description of the gun used in the robbery.

The Mesa County Coroner's office releasing a special report on suicide in mesa county in 2012.  Overall suicides in the county jumped 6.8 percent over 2011  increasing from 44 to 47 last year. The suicide rate in Mesa County is nearly 3 times the national average.

The National Weather Service has issued several winter weather advisories through tomorrow evening for 5 to 10 inches of new snow in the higher mountains of western Colorado and 3 to 6 inches in areas along the I-70 corridor.  Snow is expected to continue through tomorrow evening with another system moving through the area Saturday night through Sunday and another one through Tuesday.

The State Department of Agriculture is out with a warning for consumers to watch out for nursery stock included for "free" with the cost of exorbitant planting and landscaping costs.  The department says free plants likely don't meet minimum state standards and consumers could end up with poor quality or soon to be dead trees and shrubs.  Check with the Department of Agriculture to make sure the person or company you're buying from is registered to sell nursery stock.

The National Weather Service has issued several winter weather advisories through tomorrow evening for 5 to 10 inches of new snow in the higher mountains of western Colorado and 3 to 6 inches in areas along the I-70 corridor.  Snow is expected to continue through tomorrow evening with another system moving through the area Saturday night through Sunday and another one through Tuesday.

A special showing of FrackNation is sold out tonight at the Avalon Theater, but the woman who made the documentary is in town to talk about her film.  Ann McElhinney says FrackNation was paid for with individual contributions, not industry money.

The BLM's official comment period on the draft management plan for the Grand Junction region ends April 25th, and now Mesa County is weighing in.  The Daily Sentinel says County Commissioners are looking closely at the plan opposed by many off-roaders.  Commissioner Steve Acquafresca says the county is looking closely at what roads would be closed under the plan.  In the meantime, the Colorado Mule Deer Association says ATV trails and access roads for public sportsmen are threatened.  They're holding a public information presentation Saturday at 2:00 at the Grand Junction City Auditorium.

St. Mary's Hospital's annual donor Dinner tonight will come with word of a $670,000 donation.  According to the Daily Sentinel, it was made anonymously by couple the hospital's foundation director says had no family in town and no known significant link to the hospital or its programs.  The money will be used to purchase equipment and fund building projects.  A large chunk of the money is also earmarked for the hospital's Senior Companion and foster Grandparent programs and the Gray Gourmet.

A Grand Junction man has a plan to upgrade North Avenue. Levi Lucero says because the road is no longer the North boundary of town, it makes sense to re-name it University Boulevard. The Daily Sentinel says some businesses between 1st Street and 29 1/2 Road think the idea is a good one.

Vacancies of Grand Junction apartments stood at nearly 10% as the fourth quarter of 2012 ended.  The Colorado Division of House says that was up from 7% the last quarter of 2011.  According to the Daily Sentinel, the Division says high unemployment was a major reason. They also say fluctuations in survey responses may have factored into the hike.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wednesday February 20, 2013

School in District 51 will start August 12 for the fall semester next year, and even earlier the following year.  The School Board last night adopted the calendar which calls for school to end May 21st of 2014.  The calendar includes a full week of vacation in the fall and two weeks in the spring.  The following year, school will start August 4th and include two week breaks in the fall and in the spring.

Xcel Energy is asking the PUC for a waiver allowing the company to speed up procedures for new wind generating resources. Xcel says it will allow wind developers to take advantage of the Production Tax Credit.  In order to qualify for the PTC, companies have to have their projects started before the end of the year.  In order for that to happen, Xcel says it needs to move up the dated for bid solicitations from April to March 1st.

A state House committee has passed a bill by Fruita Representative Jared Wright calling preventing the state from taking part in a federal investigation, prosecution, or detention of any U-S citizen pursued under specific federal laws permitting that.  Wright says civil rights have been slowly eroded over the last 70 years and this is a first step toward protecting those rights. The bill has support from diverse groups including the ACLU.

The mother and son of Marcus Bebb-Jones say they don't believe he killed his wife Sabrina in Grand Junction in 1997. Sabrina's skull was found in Garfield County in 2004 and Bebb-Jones later jailed in her death.  He pleaded guilty last week. The Daily Sentinel says Bebb-Jones son, who was 3 when his mother was killed, said he still thinks his father is innocent...calling him "one of the kindest men I've ever known." Bebb-Jones' mother says she believes he admitted the killing in order to avoid a life sentence.  He'll get 10 to 20 years when he's sentenced.

A Whitewater man is in jail, accused of molesting a 10-year old girl.  Tillman Clifton was arrested Tuesday after calling 9-1-1 and saying he was locked out of his house and his wife accused him of molesting the girl. According to the Daily Sentinel, Clifton was arrested after the girl confirmed the accusations.

Vice President Joe Biden's trip to Aspen over the weekend cost the city of Grand Junction $5,000.  The Daily Sentinel says the police department racked up the bill providing providing security after Biden's arrival at Grand Junction Regional Airport last Thursday night, and when he returned to the airport Monday night.

A 27 year old man who pleaded guilty to First Degree Assault in a shooting at a Horizon Drive motel last June has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.  The Daily Sentinel says Joseph Lara, who was arrested in Denver after the shooting, admitted selling meth in Grand Junction since 2009. Lara reportedly has a criminal record with 21 prior misdemeanors and a prior felony conviction.

A task force looking at the intricacies of the new Colorado Marijuana law has voted to allow people from outside Colorado to shop in retail marijuana stores-- so called pot tourism.  The amount of pot they could buy though, would be limited.  The Denver Post says the task force also approved recommendations that recreational pot shops be owned only by Colorado residents who have lived in the state for two years.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday February 19, 2013

A 21 year old Grand Junction man is being held on $100,000 bond accused of shooting a man Saturday during a custody dispute.  Michael Renteria, Jr. was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of Attemped First Degree Murder, First Degree Assault and other charges.  Grand Junction Police say Renteria and two men armed with bats went to a home on Glen Drive. 37 year old Frank Rodriguez was shot in the leg. 3 other people were injured by the bats.

School safety is at the forefront at School District 51. A 25 person School Security and Safety Work Group is meeting weekly and listening to several proposals and expects to present findings to the school board next month.  District 51 Academic Achievement Executive Director Mary Jones tells the Daily Sentinel no ideas are being turned away. The group is looking at everything from allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, to have armed and unarmed volunteers patrol schools.

State lawmakers are looking at updating the formula for financing public schools.  Making necessary changes would require a ballot question to raise new revenue, between $750 million and $1.1 billion.  The Daily Sentinel says some districts rely more on property taxes that have been reduced in many counties.

The Icon Lasik Tour of the Moon bicycle ride over the Colorado National Monument has been approved for October 5th.  Last year's first Tour drew 1,700 riders. Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert tells the Daily Sentinel officials are working on a visitor-activity and commercial-services plan for evaluating future applications for activities in the monument.

The Matriarch of Fruita's Moon family has passed away at 94.  Ella Moon died at home Sunday.  The popular Moon Farm has hosted thousands of Grand Valley kids over the years, including the popular Moon Farm Day Camp which ran from 1976 through 2007.  The Day Camp is still open April through October.  Funeral Services are Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Mesa County Sheriff's deputies have found the body believed to be 62 year old Roxanne Kostka.  Kostka was reported missing Saturday afternoon. An all-day search Sunday turned up nothing.  The body was found yesterday morning not too far from Kostka's home.

All four gun measures up for votes in the state House have passed and are on to the Senate.  Two firearms accessory manufacturers have said they will move out of the state if a law banning the sale of high capacity magazines is passed.  That bill was one of those passed out of the House yesterday.

The price of gas in Colorado continues to climb.  It's up 15.4 cents a gallon in the last week.  The average price Sunday is $3.49/gal.  The national price is also up-- nearly 12 cents a gallon to $3.68.
 Mary Jones, tells the Daily Sentinel no ideas are being turned away. The group is looking at everything from allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, to have armed and unarmed volunteers patrol schools.

State lawmakers are looking at updating the formula for financing public schools.  Making necessary changes would require a ballot question to raise new revenue, between $750 million and $1.1 billion.  The Daily Sentinel says some districts rely more on property taxes that have been reduced in many counties.

The Icon Lasik Tour of the Moon bicycle ride over the Colorado National Monument has been approved for October 5th.  Last year's first Tour drew 1,700 riders. Monument Superintendent Lisa Eckert tells the Daily Sentinel officials there are working on a visitor-activity and commercial-services plan for evaluating future applications for activities in the monument.

The Matriarch of Fruita's Moon family has passed away at 94.  Ella Moon died at home Sunday.  The popular Moon Farm has hosted thousands of Grand Valley kids over the years, including the popular Moon Farm Day Camp which ran from 1976 through 2007.  The Day Camp is still open April through October.  Funeral Services are Friday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

Mesa County Sheriff's deputies have found the body believed to be 62 year old Roxanne Kostka.  Kostka was reported missing Saturday afternoon. An all-day search Sunday turned up nothing.  The body was found yesterday morning not too far from Kostka's home in Loma..

All four gun measures up for votes in the state House have passed and are on to the Senate.  Two firearms accessory manufacturers have said they will move out of the state if a law banning the sale of high capacity magazines is passed.  That bill was one of those passed out of the House yesterday.

The price of gas in Colorado continues to climb.  It's up 15.4 cents a gallon in the last week.  The average price Sunday is $3.49/gal.  The national price is also up-- nearly 12 cents a gallon to $3.68.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Friday February 15, 2013

A vicious dog in Montrose has been ordered euthanized by a Municipal judge.  Jeremiah Aguilar, "Dutch's" owner, ordered to pay fines and spend two days in jail. His attorney plans an appeal. Aguilar was found guilty of violating the city's vicious animal ordinance after Dutch attacked a woman who was caring for him in November. Her medical bills are over $28,000.

Mesa County Democrats are changing their meeting schedule.  The Executive Committee meetings are being held on the 4th Monday of the month, beginning on the 25th. The meetings are open to all democrats at the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 9 Headquarters.

The Mesa County Health Department has called a No Burn advisory because of moderate particulate levels. Another advisory will be issued at 3:00 this afternoon.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation says it expects to clear a backlog of gun-purchase background checks fairly quickly under new operating hours.  Director Ron Sloan says the number of checks being done hasn't been as high as expected, so redirecting some CBI resources should get the backlog cleared within the current budget. He says it's a quick fix and CBI will continue to work with the legislature to address future resource needs.

Visitors in Times Square are getting a view of the Grand Valley in a 15 second electronic billboard.  It's a joint effort of the Grand Junction visitor and Convention Bureau and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.  The groups estimate 300,000 people will see the ad every day through April 14th.  Both groups say it's a perfect way to elevate the community profile and market the area.

The 2013 1st Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival is this weekend in Edwards. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office is working with the Eagle River Youth Coalition and the Gore Range DUI Task Force to make sure people don't drink and drive.  The youth group's Drug Free Communities grant is paying for the effort. Look for increased patrols and compliance check enforcement.

Two people in Clifton were injured Wednesday when a man tried to kill himself.  The Mesa County Sheriff's Office says the man shot himself in the chest and the bullet went through his body striking a woman.  Several guns were found in the home.  Deputies are continuing their investigation about ownership of the guns.

The Grand Junction Police Department is out with statistics for 2012 and says it's a mixed bag.  According to the Daily Sentinel, violent crime was down last year compared with 2011, while property theft, theft from vehicles and shoplifting was at a five year high.  Drug arrests were also up.  Police Chief John Camper says when drug arrests are up, property crimes usually are too.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day

Third District Congressman Scott Tipton has reintroduced legislation to streamline the process and reduce administrative costs for small hydropower development at the Bureau of Reclamation’s facilities.  Tipton's bill has bipartisan support and backing from three senators who will introduce the measure in the Senate.  Tipton says the measure supports renewable hydropower and jobs that would create.

The Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture gets underway in Denver today from outgoing Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The forum is a daylong conference focusing on the critical role of innovation to the future of U.S. Salazar is stepping down as Interior Secretary to return to Colorado where he was formerly State Attorney General before being elected to the US Senate and ultimately named Secretary of the Interior in President Obama's first term.

The state Senate has passed a bill to expand the state's use of alternative fuel fleet vehicles. Senate Bill-70 directs departments throughout the state to work toward converting vehicle fleets to utilize alternative fuels and requires the state to work toward developing the infrastructure necessary to support the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the state's fleet.

A bill that would've combined county offices of Treasurer and Public Trustee has died in a House Committee.  Grand Junction Representative Ray Scott says his bill was an attempt to reform the office of the public trustee and restore it's accountability. He says counties would have saved money by consolidating common functions including mailings, notices and real estate database management.

Mesa County Sheriff's investigators are looking into a shooting in Clifton.  It happened at a home on Delicious Drive around 5:30 yesterday.  Deputies were dispatched on a report of a suicidal man, heard a gunshot, and two people stumbled outside with apparent gunshot wounds. The injuries were apparently non-life threatening.

A Clifton man and woman taken to the hospital after 9-1-1 reports of a suicidal man.  Mesa County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a home on Delicious Drive around 5:30 yesterday and found the two with apparently non- life-threatening injuries.  Sheriff's spokeswoman Heather Benjamin says two children and another adult in the home were not injured.

Police in Montrose are planning beefed up security as a man and his dog appear in court for sentencing.  Jeremiah Aguilar was cited for owning a vicious/dangerous dog after the dog reportedly attacked and bit a woman trying to break up a fight with another dog.  The woman has racked up $24,000 in medical bills, and the dog, Dutch, has since gained a following on Facebook.  Police Chief Tom Chinn tells the Montrose Daily Press extra police officers will be on hand, and the city's borrowed a metal detector from the county for court. Dutch could be ordered euthanized and Aguilar could be fined or jailed.

The woman who's been heading up the BLM's Grand Junction Field Office is taking the position full-time. The Daily Sentinel says 32 year old Katie Stevens arrived in Grand Junction from Montana four years ago and too charge of the McInnis Canyons Conservation area, then the Dominguez-Escalante area when it was established.

You might not know it, but you're in C-DOT's Region Three. And is just so happens Region 3 is number one in the state.  C-DOT executive Director Don Hunt singles out one region every year for the Director's Cup and this year it goes to Region 3.  Bridge repair, fixing that huge sink hole on US Highway 24 near Leadville last summer, and working with the City of Grand Junction on the new Diverging Diamond interchange at I-70 and Highway 6&50 all played into the award.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday February 13, 2013

A former Palisade woman charged in the deaths of her two young sons on the Grand Mesa late last year wants to fire the attorney who's represented her so far.  The Daily Sentinel says Heather Jensen signed a request yesterday asking the judge to allow the withdrawal of attorney Ed Nugent. Nugent filed yesterday as well, asking to be let go.

Governor John Hickenlooper making friends with energy groups and annoying environmentalists at a US Senate committee hearing in Washington.  The Denver Post says Hickenlooper told the committee yesterday states, not the federal government, should lead in regulating natural gas production. He says Colorado is a national model in how it regulates natural gas extraction.

The forecast is sunny for the Grand Valley for the next several days, but in the northern mountains, it's a different story.  The National Weather Service says a couple of upper level disturbances could drop 10 inches of snow on the region northeast of Rifle to the Wyoming line, including Steamboat Springs between tonight and Friday night.  Aspen and Telluride also could see a couple inches of snow today and tomorrow.

A State House committee has passed a bill requiring background checks for all gun sales and another banning high-capacity ammunition magazines.  The Denver Post says the ammo limit was raised from ten rounds to 15 in an amendment offered by Durango State Rep Mike McLachlan who said citizens should be allowed to protect themselves.  The measures now go to the full House for debate.

A gag order is still in place in the Aurora Theather Shootings case, but there are still questions about what can be discussed. The City of Aurora as the judge to lift the order to allow police officers to give talks to other departments about how they responded to the July shootings.  The Denver Post says the judge ordered the rule left in place, saying it doesn't necessarily prohibit Aurora police from talking about or releasing information.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday February 12, 2013

A woman who had her $4,200 camera stolen on a ski outing to Vail Mountain, says she got it back via Craigs List.  The Eagle County Sheriff's Office says the victim got the seller to take a picture of the camera and was able to match the serial number. Once a deal was made, undercover deputies met with the seller and made an arrest.  The 29 year old Vail Resorts employee faces Class 4 Felony Theft charges.

March of Dimes is celebrating 75 years of service in 2013.  In Grand Junction the group is launching a new year of events and campaigns to help mothers deliver full-term healthy babies. The kick-off is tonight at 5:30 at Allen Unique Autos on River Road.

Veterans living in Colorado can get a service identifier on state IDs or driver's licenses, but it'll cost you.  The state legislature ok'd the identifier last year and a fee of $15 to add it.  A bill that's passed out of the state House, takes away that $15 fee. One Representative said anything to alleviate unnecessary fees for those who have served should be done.

Colorado has some of the stiffest rules in the country for limiting the impact of drilling near residences and other occupied buildings.  The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission yesterday signed off on new setback requirements, and  measures they say are among the strongest in the country for monitoring and protection of groundwater.

150 western slope high school students are at CMU today for the 15th Annual Math Extravaganza. The students get to spend the day on campus learning mathematical concepts not typically seen in the standard high school curriculum. At the end of the day, they'll get a chance at some prizes for scoring well on a quiz testing their understanding of the day's activities.

A bill Republican Grand Junction State Representative Ray Scott said would have brought new jobs and investments into the state has died on party lines in a House committee. Scott's bill would have created so-called "incentive wells" exempting energy developers from paying severance tax on new wells for two years then directing taxes to a College Opportunity Fund.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Monday February 11, 2013

A Montrose man is to be sentenced Thursday after being found guilty last month of violating the city's vicious animals ordinance. The dog is a 107 pound American Allaunt who Animal Control officers say attacked and seriously injured a woman who was caring for it while the owner was out of town.  The woman suffered injuries including a bite on the hand that severed an artery.  The Montrose Daily Press says city officials were inundated with emails from people across the country trying to intervene on behalf of the dog after stories appeared on the Internet.

Another double digit increase in the price of gas in Colorado. says the average yesterday was $3.30 a gallon, up 13.3 cents a gallon in the last week, and 47 cents in the last month.

Attorneys for a former Grand Junction man jailed in Garfield County accused in his wife's 1997 murder, have filed a motion to put a gag order on prosecutors and others involved in the prosecution of the case against Marcus Bebb-Jones. The Daily Sentinel says the attorneys claim while running for re-election last fall, former DA Martin Beeson said he was concerned about prosecution if the case were handed over to a new DA. They say that jeopardizes Bebb-Jones' right to a fair trial.

Backers of changing the status of the Colorado National Monument to a National Park have a new committee working harder than ever to make that happen.  The Grand Valley Citizens for a National Park tell the Daily Sentinel 360 businesses have signed on to support the change.  The group's draft resolution calls for legislation permitting and encouraging "at least two major bicycling events on an annual basis" to "better engage the public with the new national park.

All District 51 Schools and the Emerson Building on Ute are stocked with applications for School of Choice.  Parents can fill those out starting today if they want their kids to go to a school outside their neighborhood boundaries.  Superintendent Steve Schultz tells the Daily Sentinel there likely will be some changes to the current transfer policy.  That'll be decided at the School Board meeting on the 19th.

The state legislature is set to start debate on setting limits on how much pot can be smoked before a driver is considered impaired.  The Denver Post says one argument from the British Medical Association shows why marijuana impairment is dangerous...the other is DU and Montana State University researchers that found laws in other state limiting the amount of THC in the blood have had no significant impact on traffic fatalities.

Mesa County's information channel 12 has been suspended amid budget constraints.  The county has been unable to hire a public information officer, that's the person responsible for programming on the station.  The county says it's working on solutions and looking for feedback on the public's desire and need for the programming.

The Home Loan Taste of the Grand Valley is today at Two Rivers Convention Center.  All the Proceeds go to Mesa County United Way.  Donations  are down this year, about $65,000 off the $1.25 million dollar goal.  The Taste is going on from 4:30 to 7:00.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Friday February 8, 2013

A Mesa County District Judge has ordered public records to remain open and turned down a defense request for gag order in the Heather Jensen trial.  The Daily Sentinel says Judge Valerie Robison noted "All attorneys are already bound by Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct and no further order is required."  Jensen's attorney said there is a "Lynch Mob Mentality" against Jensen. In court yesterday, Jensen was charged with criminally negligent homicide and criminally negligent child abuse resulting in death.  Her two young sons died late last year after they were left in an overheated SUV.

The Grand Junction VA Medical Center has received an anonymous donation of $375,000 in trust for veterans seen at the facility. The donation is one of a handful across the country... the anonymous donor routing the money through the Chicago Community Foundation's Northern Trust Charitable Giving Program to protect their identity.

A bill that would require law enforcement to test forensic evidence collected from rape victims has passed out of the House Judiciary committee.  Sponsor Frank McNulty says 18% of unsolved alleged sexual assault cases have rape kits that have never been tested, including more than 100 in Colorado.  McNulty says law enforcement in Michigan recently began testing a stockpile of more than 11,000 untested rape kits and identified at least 20 serial rapists after testing just 153 kits.

A bill that would have required certain local public construction projects be open to competitive bidding among private business owners has died in a House committee.  Republican Representative Polly Lawrence sponsored the bill, she says it doesn't make sense for government to compete with Colorado's job creators.  The bill was killed on a party line vote.

The Colorado State Patrol had to shut down westbound I-70 near Wolcott because of multiple crashes in sunny weather, but ice on the road.  The first crash was just after 9:30 and involved three passenger cars.  The state patrol was investigating that crash when six semi-trucks, including one carrying hazardous material, were involved along with five passenger cars.  It took about four hours to clean up the mess and reopen the westbound lanes of the Interstate.

The State Department of Agriculture is holding town hall meetings in Delta and Monte Vista later this month focusing on growing demand for local meat.  The USDA's Food Safety Inspection Service will also be there.  Colorado has an abundant supply of locally grown meat, but farmers and ranchers often aren't able to get it processed locally.

The Montrose Sheriff's Office isn't saying much about a traffic stop near Naturita yesterday in which shots were fire.  A man in the stopped car was taken to the hospital with unknown injuries, and no deputies were injured.  Colorado 145 was restricted to one lane for several hours after the shooting yesterday morning.

Colorado Democrats have introduced 4 of 8 gun bills.  The measures include requiring universal background checks, and a bill to require those getting one to pay for it.  Other legislation would ban high-capacity ammo magazines and prohibition of concealed weapons on college campuses.    

The Pew Charitable trust is ranking Colorado in the top 4 states for election administration for the 2012 election.  Their election performance index gave Colorado high marks for voter turnout, acceptance rate of military and overseas ballots, and online voter registrations.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is looking for hunters and fishers for the upcoming Northwest Regional Sportsmen caucus in Grand Junction February 20th.  Attendees will discuss wildlife-related issues and select two delegates to represent the region's wildlife concerns at the newly formed Sportsmen's Roundtable in Denver next month.

Democrats in the state legislature have killed a bill that would have reformed retirement plans for public employees and potentially saved the state money.  A recent analysis showed the public pension system is only 61% funded.  The reform could have prevented high payouts from the public pension system.

The Montrose City Council has agreed to support construction of hiking and biking trails on 110 acres of land owned by the city on Cerro Summit.  The Montrose Daily Press says construction on the trails could start as soon as next summer.

Mesa County Crime Stoppers is looking for help locating a suspect passing counterfeit bills in Grand Junction.  The suspect is a slender black male about 6 feet tall between 25 and 40.  He attempted to pay with a fake 100 at Mesa Mall last month.  Call 241-stop with information.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday February 7, 2013

A bill to improve school safety has passed out of the State Senate Judiciary Committee.  Grand Junction Senator Steve King's School Resource Officer bill would help school districts better utilize SROs to put their unique training and experience to work, bridging the gap between the community and schools. The bill now moves to the Senate Education Committee.

The Mesa County Sheriff's Office is warning people about a couple different scams popping up again.  One is a lottery or sweepstakes scam, the second involves Craigs List. Information on both scams is on the Sheriff's Office website.

Three teenagers in trouble in Fruita, suspected of breaking into a home and stealing weapons.  It happened Tuesday morning near 21 and H Roads.  The victim knew one of the suspects and called police reporting the burglary and providing a vehicle and license plate. A 14 year old boy and girl, and a 17 year old boy were picked up a short time later.  Both boys had active warrants for their arrests, the girl was released to her parents.

The Town of Palisade has a new Police Chief.  Colorado Springs Police Sgt. Tony Erickson. Town Administrator Rich Sales made the announcement yesterday calling Erickson the best selection among six finalists who visited Palisade last month.  Former Chief Caroll Quarels was asked to step down last November.

A Boulder greeting card business says it's worried about the effect of losing Saturday U-S Mail delivery.  Blue Sky Publishing's president tells the Denver Post the move overall is not good for the company.  He says Blue Sky experiences a rush from September through early December and Saturday deliveries are especially important during that time.

Add Grand Junction to the list of Colorado municipalities stopping marijuana facilities in town. KREX-TV says the city council last night passed a resolution doing that and asking the City Manager and City Attorney to monitor any legislative or administrative actions that might cause the council to change their decision.

Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton arrested on suspicion of DUI Tuesday night in Thornton , where he lives year round.  Helton releasing a statement saying he is very sorry for the transgression.  The Rockies releasing a statement saying they are disappointed in Helton and that this type of behavior is taken seriously by the organization.

The BLM Advisory Council is set to meet next Wednesday in golden at the Denver West Marriott.  The Council agenda includes a discussion on the Grand Junction Field Office Resource Management Plan, and an update on drought mitigation efforts in the region.  The 15 member citizen advisory council  is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior and meets quarterly.

State officials setting up new statewide hotline for people to report abuse and neglect.  175 children died of abuse in the state over the past 6 years and this is intended to help reduce that number.  The state is also setting up website where the public can track child welfare departments in the state.

Governor John Hickenlooper and Colorado Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond urging all school based educators to complete a statewide survey of teaching and learning conditions.  Responses are anonymous and confidential.  Educators receive a personal security code which allows them to go online and provide their feedback.

Another counterfeit bill used at a Grand Junction business, this time a fake 100 hundred dollar bill.  Montrose Police also reporting an increase in counterfeit bill there.  Business owners should always verify the authenticity of bills.  If the bill doesn't look or feel right, alert your local authorities.

Protests and criticism from the public have prompted the BLM to drop 20,000 acres from the February oil and gas lease sale in the North Fork Valley.  The Daily Sentinel says the BLM received nearly 200 protests from ranchers, wineries and Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and others.

Colorado senator Mark Udall supporting President Obama's decision to move swiftly to appoint a new secretary of the interior following Ken Salazar's resignation announcement.  the president nominating REI CEO Sally Jewell for the position.

A Texas man is suing C-DOT and two contractors over injuries he suffered in a crash while riding his bicycle on Highway 82 last summer.  The Aspen Times says Daniel Herndon's suit claims the defendants didn't post signs warning of danger from the work being performed. The suit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wednesday February 6, 2013

A new survey by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group shows Colorado lost $504 million to offshore tax dodging in 2012, enough money to increase funding for education, chop the state's sales tax, improve road and bridge funding and other programs. CoPIRG says the state should not wait for federal action, but look for changes at home.  By using off-shore tax havens, the extremely wealthy and corporations are shifting their tax burden to the rest of the citizens of the state.

Democrats in the state legislature and Governor Hickenlooper are announcing a plan today to protect children from child abuse and neglect. 5 state senators, 4 representatives, and the Governor introducing the plan they call a collaborative legislative/executive child protection plan at the State Capitol.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service is out with snowpack numbers, and even with huge snows in the mountains last week, the snowpack is still below average.  As of February 1st, statewide snowpack was at 72% of normal, and 90% of last year's readings.  The NRCS says snowpack in the Colorado River Basin is 67% of average, behind only the South Platte and Arkansas River Basins for totals.

Grand Junction's Police and Fire Chiefs are being paid a monthly stipend for driving their personal vehicles, but they say the money would be better spent by city leasing official vehicles for them. According to the Daily Sentinel, both say they would likely respond to more emergencies.   The two will go before the city council tonight asking for the new 4x4s.

The lawyer for Heather Jensen says prosecutors and other agencies involved in the case placed under a gag order.  Ed Nugent filed the motion citing a "lynch mob" mentality about the defendant.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Nugent says much of the information reported about Jensen is "immaterial and irrelevant" and could hurt the chances of finding an impartial jury.  Jensen is accused in the deaths of her two young sons who died after being left inside an overheated SUV on the Grand Mesa.

Utah lawmakers are considering a proposal to make it illegal for a driver to smoke with a child as a passenger in the car.  It would be a secondary offense, meaning a car could not be pulled over for that, but a driver could be ticketed if stopped for another reason.  One representative said child safety trumps adults' personal freedoms.

A state task force helping create rules for marijuana legalization is endorsing a policy that would allow employers to fire workers for smoking pot off-the-job.  The Denver Post says the Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force was split, those opposed saying the amendment changed the statusquo to give off-the-job pot use the same kind of protection as alcohol use.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday February 5, 2013

The mother of two boys who died after being left in an SUV with its engine running and heater on is back in Mesa County to face charges.  24 year old Heather Jensen was arrested in Florida in January on warrants alleging criminally negligent homicide, and criminally negligent child abuse.  She made her first appearance yesterday, and remains jailed with bond set at $150,000.

The grandparents of two boys who died after being left to overheat in a running SUV on the Grand Mesa in November, have taken custody of the boys' bodies and will bury the two in Palisade Thursday.  According to the Daily Sentinel, Diane Mathena fought for custody saying she wanted the boys buried next to their father, her son Eric Jensen who was killed in a car accident last October.  The boys' mother, Heather Jensen wanted the boys cremated.  The decision was finally made in court yesterday.

Police in Montrose are warning people and businesses to watch for counterfeit currency being circulated in the city.  The bills are usually 20s and 100s and are of poor quality.  Check your cash for watermarks of the president appropriate to the bill, a metal strip is also located in the bill, and you should look for color-changing ink on the front of the bill and small red or blue fibers in the paper.

Today is National Pancake Day and like they do every year, I-Hop is serving free pancakes all day.  Nationwide, the restaurant has teamed with the Children's Miracle Network Hospital on their first fundraiser of the year.  In Grand Junction, proceeds donated will go to the Shriner's Club.  Last year the group raised over $3,000.

If you've ever wondered about the numbers the Mesa County Health Department uses to decide whether to call a No Burn Day, you can find those online.  A Red Air Quality Day today follows particulate readings in the Moderate level, compared with Good levels in every other state measured area of Colorado.

A bill to offer more curriculum options for advanced students in Colorado has passed the state house and is on to the senate.  The bipartisan bill instructs school district to put into place an academic acceleration policy for their high-ability students.

Mesa County Commissioners have signed off on a plan to build a new Workforce Center north of the the county's Community Services Building.  The plan was ok'd by the previous board of commissioners, but put on hold when two new commissioners took office last month.  At their meeting yesterday, the move was ok'd again, all three commissioners saying new construction on county-owned land made the most sense.

Grand Junction City Council members are ready to sign-off on a state sponsored plan to reduce air pollution. According to the Daily Sentinel,  council heard from the state Health Department's Air Pollution Control Division yesterday. The council can opt for the state- sponsored five year plan and avoid possible federal requirements.

Daylight Saving time is here to stay in Colorado, at least for now.  A bill that would've kept the state on that time year round died in a state senate committee yesterday.  The bill's sponsor said the idea was to stop the "body damage" of setting clocks ahead one hour in the spring and behind one hour in the fall.  The Denver Post says opposition from Colorado ski areas and an Aspen-based travel group ultimately convinced the committee to block the measure.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Monday February 4, 2013

The Mesa County Coroner's Office has released the name of a man killed in a motorcycle crash on Orchard Mesa.  49 year old David Smithey was the driver of a motorcycle that collided with an SUV on Highway 50 near City Market Saturday morning.

Grand Junction Fire investigators are combing what's left of a house on the Redlands that burned to the ground Saturday night.  The fire at 300 South Redlands Road was reported just before 6:30, crews got there 7 minutes later and the house was completely involved.  So far no word on the cause.

The real estate market in Montrose is looking up. According to the Montrose Daily Press, a local research firm says sales in 2012 were up 35% compared with the year before.  The news is good, especially for sellers because there isn't much competition with fewer properties on the market.

The first two gun bills in the legislature have been shot down and Grand Junction State Senator Steve King says it's only the beginning.  King says he's expecting a plethora of gun legislation, including many he says are aimed at restricting 2nd Amendment rights.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is shutting the door permanently on using bar codes or serial numbers on ballots, said to allow for tracing votes to the person who cast them. A temporary rule expired December 18th, and Gessler says he wants to make it permanent.  Anyone who wants to know more about, or weigh-in on New Rule 10.8 can do that by e-mail at the Secretary of State website.

Colorado avalanche forecasters say the backcountry remains under "considerable" avalanche danger, after a 23 year old Durango man was killed in an avalanche.  He and two others had skied outside the Silverton Ski Mountain boundaries Saturday when the slide hit.  The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says the current snowpack across the state is in a delicate state of balance.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday February 1, 2013

A nationwide crackdown on fake NFL merchandise has ended with ended with the seizure of more than $13.6 million worth of fake jerseys, ball caps, t-shirts jackets and other souvenirs, including 160,000 items of phony Super Bowl-related memorabilia.  The US Attorneys office made the announcement yesterday.  The take included nearly 80,000 items seized in Denver alone.  Nearly 120 websites used to sell the goods were shutdown.

Colorado Senator Mark Udall says he plans to vote in favor of the confirmation of Chuck Hagel as the next Secretary of Defense.  Udall is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and met with Hagel in mid January.  In a press release, Udall said he urged Hagel to support the Defense Department's role in leading cybersecurity efforts in Colorado.

The BLM's preferred alternative of their draft resource management plan is getting widespread criticism.  At a public open house last night, off-roaders said it closed too many existing trails, 68% of 4,000 roads and trails according to the Daily Sentinel.  Two more open houses on the plan are in Gateway Tuesday and Fruita Thursday.

A 4-year old boy remains in critical condition, his parents facing felony charges.  Elijah Wallace was hospitalized January 13th with a broken arm and head trauma.  The Daily Sentinel says the boy's mother, 28 year old Ashleigh Wallace and her 30-year old boyfriend, Jessie Martinez were formally charged yesterday.

Classes in the Elbert County School District 200 canceled this week after an unusually high number of absentees.  The Denver Post says there are only 207 students in the district, all in one building.  There's been one confirmed case of whooping cough at the school.  The Denver Post says on Tuesday, 83 students were reported absent, about 40% of the student body, and within 90 minutes of the opening bell another dozen had gone home with fevers.

State employees could be getting a bigger raise than expected.  State lawmakers yesterday proposed hiking the raise from 1.5% to 2% thanks to a better than expected revenue increase. The Denver Post says state workers salaries are nearly 7% lower than those in the private sector.

If you buy a gun in Colorado, you'll be subject to the third-highest rate of purchase denials in the country.  According to the Denver Post, 3.6% of applicants are turned down.  Only Tennessee and Delaware are higher.  There are holes in the system though.  According to the Denver Post, as many as 58.8% of denials that were appealed, were overturned.