News, February 19th

GARCO CLARIFIES STANCE ON THOMPSON DIVIDE LEGISLATION

Glenwood Springs—Contrary to reports, Garfield County Commission Chairman John Martin has not urged Western Slope Congressman Scott Tipton to support an effort to permanently ban drilling on the Thompson Divide.  County officials say Thompson Divide Coalition Director Zane Kessler took statements made earlier this month out of context and drew incorrect conclusions.  In a written response to the media, the county says Martin did sign a letter to Congressman Tipton but did not refer to any specific bill.  According to two resolutions passed by the county in 2009 and 2010, the board supports the efforts of the coalition to protect special areas from energy development that respects the rights of existing stakeholders. 

GARCO COMMISSIONERS PUT BUFFALO VALLEY APARTMENT COMPLEX ON HOLD

Glenwood Springs—The plans to build a 57-unit apartment complex where the old Buffalo Valley restaurant sits has been put on the back burner for the time being.  The developer, Partners III LLC is applying for a land use change permit to build the Buffalo Valley Apartments.  Garfield County Commissioners decided to continue the hearing until April 14th to allow the developer to address a couple major safety concerns including insufficient parking and the lack of an acceleration lane onto Highway 82. 

WATER WORRIES; AGRICULTURE NEEDS MUST BE CONSIDERED

GREELEY (AP) – A group working on a plan for Colorado’s water is emphasizing the economic importance of agriculture.The Interbasin Compact Committee on Tuesday agreed on language that stresses the economic impact of farms and ranches and says that future water projects must consider any negative effects on agriculture. The issue has been at the heart of the committee’s discussions on new water supplies.T. Wright Dickinson of Maybell says there’s been an assumption that agriculture will have to crumble in order to meet everyone else’s water needs. He says the plan must say that Colorado will do everything it can to protect the third largest part of the state’s economy.Committee members will now discuss the draft language with people in their basins.

GJ AIRPORT INVESTIGATION CONTINUES, PROPERTY SEIZED

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – As federal authorities investigate fraud allegations at the Grand Junction Regional Airport, the airport is taking steps to protect whistleblowers.
The airport authority on Tuesday adopted a policy that encourages anyone to report fraud through the airport’s website or through a hotline. It also assigns responsibility for fraud investigations. In a related move, board members also unanimously backed a policy barring board members, employees and their families from buying discarded airport vehicles and furniture.Grand Junction-based assistant U.S. attorney Michelle Heldmyer was in the audience during the meeting.The FBI hasn’t released details about its investigation and search of airport offices in November. However, the newspaper reported that agents seized pickup trucks owned by the former board chairman and former aviation director last month.

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