NEWS

RIFLE CREW HELPING WITH SUMMIT COUNTY FIRE

Dillon—A 20-person hand crew from Rifle was sent to help fight the wind-whipped wildfire near Dillon.  The Tenderfoot 2 fire has burned about 25 acres since late Monday but is 50 percent contained.  The fire, burning in a large beetle-kill area of lodgepole pine trees along with sage and heavy timber, was first reported around 5 pm Monday. Investigators say the fire was caused by a blown insulator cap on a power line that ignited nearby grasses and burned up slope.  No evacuations have been ordered in the nearby neighborhoods of Oro Grande and Corinthian Hills.  U.S. Forest Incident Commander Eric White says most fires in Summit County have a high risk level.  White says crews were battling winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour.  In addition to the crew from Rifle, 22 crew members from the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit have been on the scene. Officials say the fire could continue to burn for several weeks.

GARCO; EXTRA MONEY FOR FREE HOGBACK ROUTE

Glenwood Springs—Not everyone is looking forward to the opening of the Grand Avenue Bridge.  A lot of people from points west have grown accustomed to the free ride aboard the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Hogback Bus.  To help with the transition, RAFTA Director Dan Blankenship went before the Board of County Commissioners seeking another $38,000.00 to continue the free service through December 9th. Blankenship then suggested the possibility of continuing the free bus ride through spring and perhaps all of 2018. To continue the free Hogback Bus Route through next year would cost the county $722,000.00 on top the normal $731,000.00 contribution for regular service. As the board’s budget representative, Commissioner Tom Jankovsky says to make it work some programs will have to be sacrificed and he’s not willing to do that.  He says, “the funds just aren’t there.” The board was amenable to granting the $38,000.00 request to provide service for the remainder of the year.

COLORADO RIVER DISTRICT FINDS NEW GM

Glenwood Springs—The Colorado River District knew replacing a knowledgeable, respected and renowned water expert like Eric Kuhn as General Manager was going to be a big challenge.  After an exhaustive nationwide search, the district found someone in the local neighborhood.  Longtime Glenwood Springs attorney Andrew Mueller was named as the sole finalist to take the helm.  Mueller is a partner with the law firm, Karp, Neu and Hanlon and has extensive experience dealing with water issues having served as the water board’s President and Vice President.  Mueller says he looks forward to working with the board and staff of the district to “continue the history of excellence and protection of Western Colorado’s vital stake in the Colorado River System. While Mueller is the only candidate, an official contract offer won’t be made for two weeks.  Eric Kuhn is retiring after 36 years as General Manager of the Colorado River District.

GOLD KING MINE TO GET BARRIER TO PREVENT FUTURE SPILLS

Denver—A special barrier and valve is being installed at the Gold King Mine near Silverton to prevent spills like the one that fouled three rivers with toxic wastewater over two years ago.  The Environmental Protection Agency, which triggered the spill, will install the 12 inch valve to regulate wastewater from the inactive mine.  The August 2015 spill sent some 3 million gallons of toxic materials including arsenic, iron, copper, zinc and aluminum into the Animas and San Juan Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona.  The EPA hasn’t indicated how much the barrier and valve will cost to install.

GJ COUPLE TAKING THE FULL LOTTERY PAYOUT

Grand Junction—Every week, without fail, for the past 30 years, Judy Finchum has played the same five Powerball numbers. The Grand Junction woman’s persistence paid off and she finally hit the jackpot last weekend, winning the largest prize in state history of 133.2 million dollars.  Finchum and her husband Mac are taking the lump sum payment after taxes of 66 million.  She plans to retire and Mac says he’ll use the money to either fix his old pickup truck or maybe buy a new one with cash.  They also plan to do some good with their new found fortune.  The Finchums plan to donate part of the money to victims of the recent hurricanes and wildfires.  The convenience store where she bought the winning ticket also gets a big reward of $50,000.00…the appropriately named “Lucky Me Super Store.”

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