NEWS

DEADLY EARLY MORNING ROLLOVER NEAR RIFLE

Rifle—A man and a child were killed and five people were injured early this morning when a Chevy SUV hit a bear on westbound I-70 and rolled several times near Rifle. According to early reports from the Colorado State Patrol, the vehicle rolled through the median and into the eastbound lanes near mile marker 89 between the Rifle and West Rifle exits. Officials say seven people were in the SUV.  Two men, two women and three children were in the vehicle but it isn’t clear how many were ejected during the rollover. The man and child were declared dead at the scene by Garfield County Coroner Robert Glassmire.  The others were taken to either Grand River Hospital in Rifle or Saint Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction with injuries ranging from serious to critical.  Eastbound I-70 was closed for about six hours before reopening just before 10 o’clock this morning. The names and hometowns of the victims have not been released.

SMALL MARIJUANA FARM DISCOVERED IN WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST

Carbondale—Five acres of illegally grown marijuana had to be destroyed early Thursday morning outside of Carbondale.  The reason?  It was on forest service land.  According to reports from the White River National Forest, over 2,700 plants were found along with irrigation pipe, chemicals to ward off animals, fertilizer, camping gear and a lot of trash. At least one person has been arrested and is now in federal custody.  For several months, the forest service has been investigating this grow operation in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security, the Drug Enforcement Administration,  the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Sheriff’s offices of Pitkin and Gunnison County.  Forest Service Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams says not only are marijuana grows in the forest against federal law, they are incredibly harmful to the forest, watersheds, drinking water, aquatic species and deadly for wildlife. This is the fourth time an illegal marijuana grow site has been found and destroyed in the White River National Forest since 2013.

COMMON ISSUES, SOLUTIONS SHARED BY PITKIN, GARFIELD COUNTIES

Glenwood Springs—Politically and economically, Pitkin County and Garfield County are worlds apart.  There are however, too many common issues to ignore.  That’s why leaders from both counties got together in Glenwood Springs recently to discuss the challenges they each face and how to solve them with a little regional cooperation.  Pitkin County Commission Vice Chair Patti Clapper says face to face meetings with other leaders in the area opens to the  door to communication now and in times of crisis.  She says it’s also nice to just sit down and break bread once in a while.  The commissioners from both counties talked about landfill issues, the need for a detox center, broadband accessibility and the environment.

GLENWOOD ELECTRIC RATES GOING UP

Glenwood Springs—It’s going to cost a little more to turn on the lights in Glenwood Springs.  The city’s new rates go into effect this Sunday, October 1st.  The Glenwood Springs Electric System will no longer include the first 100 kilowatt hours of the monthly service charge and will stop charging the declining rate for anyone consuming over 45,000 kilowatt hours.  As a result, Glenwood Springs customers will pay an extra $10.66 per month.  Officials say the rate increase is due to higher costs for daily operations and maintaining electric infrastructure.  The new rate schedules were discussed two years ago and formally approved by the city council earlier this month.

GARCO CHILD WELFARE DEPARTMENT HONORED

Glenwood Springs—Garfield County gets glowing reviews and high marks from the state when it comes to the well-being of children.  It’s rare to score 100 percent on state compliance reviews but that’s exactly what Garfield County’s Human Services Department achieved in a recent voluntary examination conducted by the Child and Family Services Review team.  Garfield County’s child welfare staff was one of only three in Colorado to volunteer for the review which issues ratings in three categories including safety, permanency and well-being outcomes.  The areas where Garfield County scored 100 percent include safety for abused children and education needs for children.

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