News, April 24th

GLENWOOD TEEN DRIVER IN DEADLY CANYON CRASH WAS DRUNK

Glenwood Springs—The Glenwood Springs girl who was driving the car in the deadly April 14th head-on crash with a semi in Glenwood Canyon was drunk.  According to toxicology reports from the Garfield County Coroner’s Office, the blood alcohol content of 17 year old Brianda Zavala was more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent.  Zavala was killed along with her passengers, 16 year old Jennifer Nevarez of Carbondale and 24 year old Albino Monge of Gypsum.  Troopers say Zavala was going east in the westbound lanes of I-70 through the two-lane construction zone when she hit the semi head on.   Authorities are still investigating to find out how and where Zavala got alcohol.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS MINING COMPANY SUING FOREST SERVICE

Glenwood Springs/Aspen—The Elbram Stone Company of Glenwood Springs wants to mine alabaster and marble year ‘round in the Avalanche Creek area of Pitkin County.  The White River National Forest is saying no.  Elbram is challenging that denial in federal court in Denver. Company officials and lawyers say the U.S. Forest Service’s denial is a clear violation of federal mining law and other regulations.   While refusing to comment on a pending legal matter, officials with the forest service will say the main concern is that mining activity could have a negative impact on Colorado’s official state animal, the bighorn sheep. Elbram officials say year ‘round mining is necessary to turn a profit.

OIL AND GAS COMPANIES SETTLE COLLUSION CASE

Aspen—Two oil and gas companies accused of collusion to obtain leases in Gunnison and Delta counties have agreed to pay more than a million dollars to settle the dispute out of court.  SG Interests of Houston, Texas and Gunnison Energy will each pay 275 thousand dollars to settle the civil antitrust lawsuit.  That money is on top of penalties paid by each company of over 200 thousand dollars for violations of the False Claims Act.  Neither company has admitted any wrongdoing.

ASPEN URGING LODGES TO STAY SMALL

Aspen—When it comes to lodges in Aspen, smaller is better.  To maintain a quaint atmosphere for tourists, city officials are toying with the notion of offering on-street parking and waiving permit fees for lodge owners looking to renovate.  The incentives would only apply to lodges of 60 rooms or less.  If they expand beyond that the fees would have to be repaid.  Currently, just over a dozen lodges in Aspen would qualify.

PARACHUTE CREEK COMMUNITY MEETING SCHEDULED

Parachute—A big crowd is expected at a long-awaited community meeting on the hydrocarbon contamination of Parachute Creek.  Next Monday, April 29th, a panel of experts from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the state health department, the Environmental Protection Agency and Garfield County Public Health will tackle questions about the clean up process and potential public and environmental dangers associated with the leak that was discovered in groundwater near Parachute Creek.   Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn will moderate Monday night’s discussion. The meeting at the Grand Valley Fire Department is scheduled to begin at 6 o’clock.

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