News, December 20th

ICY ROADS, COLD TEMPS CAUSE TRAVEL HEADACHES

Glenwood Springs–The stretch of I-70 through South Canyon has been treacherous for motorists the past 24 hours. Several accidents have occurred on the icy section, forcing at least two closures and numerous tie ups in both directions. The heavy snow from Tuesday’s big storm turned into a thick layer of glare ice thanks to sub-zero, overnight temperatures.

COLORADO ECONOMY CONTINUES TO REBOUND

DENVER (AP) – Colorado economists say the state’s tax receipts continue to be higher than expected, but uncertainty over fiscal cliff negotiations is preventing stronger growth. Gov. John Hickenlooper’s economists told lawmakers this morning that Colorado’s tax receipts will be close to 160 million higher this fiscal year than they estimated three months ago. The additional money is being invested in a savings account for schools.
Economists say however that tax receipts next year could slow down and change the state’s revenue outlook if the so-called fiscal cliff is not averted. The latest figures continue a trend of growth in quarterly state forecasts this year. The state’s general fund revenue for the current fiscal year that began in July is now projected to be $8.1 billion, compared to just under $8 billion predicted in September.

COURT VICTORY FOR SKI AREA WATER RIGHTS

DENVER (AP) – A federal judge has overturned a regulation requiring ski area permit holders on public land to turn over water rights to the U.S. Forest Service. Judge William Martinez ruled that the government violated its own procedures, failed to evaluate the economic impact and violated ski area rights. Martinez sided with the National Ski Areas Association, which sued over the new water rights permit rules. Martinez sent the case back to the Forest Service to resolve those issues.

STATE SNOWPACK IMPROVING BUT MUCH MORE NEEDED

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – The latest round of snowstorms has been good for Colorado but we’re going to need a lot more to recover from the current drought. Bureau of Reclamation hydrologist Erik Knight says the mountains will probably need two solid months of snow this winter and probably a good blast of snow in the spring to simply get the snowpack to average levels. There is a chance for more snow on Christmas eve. Before the latest storm, Colorado’s snowpack was 60 percent of average statewide.

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