NEWS

CONTROVERSY, SPECULATION, ACCUSATIONS OVER GLENWOOD MGR JOB

Glenwood Springs—Today is Jeff Hecksel’s last day as the City Manager of Glenwood Springs, a position he has held for 11 years.  Former Garfield County Manager and Attorney Drew Gorgey was hired as the interim City Manager with a 4 to 1 vote during the consent agenda last night.  Two council members abstained in protest to the process; Matt Steckler and Stephen Bershenyi who read a prepared statement before angrily walking out of the meeting.  Bershenyi accused certain members of the council of holding secret meetings about the manager’s job in violation of Sunshine Laws.  The Councilor-at-Large called the whole process a “unethical sham.”  Mayor Mike Gamba says Bershenyi’s claims are false and inappropriate.  He says no secret meetings have ever been held and the rushed decision to hire Gorgey was based on his knowledge of the area and the major challenges facing the city in the immediate future including the Grand Avenue Bridge project.  Gorgey’s first day on the job will be Monday, December 7th.

IN OTHER NEWS…

WHITE RIVER NATIONAL FOREST ISSUES FINAL DRILLING PLAN FOR THOMPSON DIVIDE

Glenwood Springs (AP) — The White River National Forest has finalized an oil and gas leasing plan that closes part of the Thompson Divide area to future leasing.The Forest Service says 194,100 acres of the 2.2-million-acre forest will be available for leasing, including more than 118,000 acres not already leased.Environmentalists have been arguing against leasing the Thompson Divide, which covers about 220,000 acres southwest of Glenwood springs, but much of it is already leased.White River Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams says the new leasing plan does not affect the status of the 114,520 acres of existing leases inside the forest, but will apply if those leases expire, are terminated or relinquished, or development on them is completed.

DRILLING RULES CHALLENGED IN COURT

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — Environmental groups are appealing a judge’s decision to suspend new rules for oil and gas drilling on federal land in Colorado and other states. The Sierra Club and others say the rules should be allowed to take effect while a lawsuit over the rules continues. The states and two petroleum industry groups say the rules would be too costly for industry and cause economic harm.

TRACTION LAWS HELPING TRAFFIC ON MTN CORRIDOR

DENVER (AP) — Transportation officials say travel along the Interstate 70 mountain corridor has improved partly because of stricter enforcement of the state’s new traction law. All passenger vehicles are required to have snow tires, or chains or an alternative traction device when the law is in effect.