News, October 4th

Rifle–The wildfire north of Rifle has grown since yesterday to over 500 acres. Officials say the fire broke out early yesterday afternoon near Highway 13 and was human-caused. Winds gusting to 40 miles an hour fanned the flames and sent the fire in an easterly direction to the Hogback. David Boyd with the Bureau of Land Management says the fire is burning in thick brush and is kicking up a lot of smoke and ash. A couple of homes and radio towers are threatened but no evacuations have been ordered. Boyd says because of the rugged terrain and remote location, most of the battle is taking place in the air with slurry bombers and helicopters.

Glenwood Springs–The Glenwood Springs City Council is expected to vote on a resolution to preserve the Thompson Divide area from oil and gas drilling. The council is being asked to consider endorsing a bill by Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet that calls for withdrawing public lands in the area from mineral extraction. Tonight’s meeting begins at 7.

GRAND JUNCTION – The Mesa County District Attorney’s Office is deferring prosecution after a 65-year-old man signed a contract promising to take a gun safety class after causing a panic at Grand Junction High School while carrying a gun on his hip. District Attorney Pete Hautzinger says the man also agreed to 48 hours of public service and promised to write a letter of apology to staff and students. The incident on Aug. 29 forced the school into a lockdown while police checked out the situation.

GRAND JUNCTION – A nonprofit group associated with the Southern Ute Indian tribe is seeking grant funding to provide daily roundtrip bus service between Grand Junction and Durango. If the Colorado Department of Transportation approves the funding through its Intercity Bus Program, the service could be running by May.
Southern Ute Community Action Programs Inc. applied for the grant. It already runs a smaller-scale transit service in La Plata County. The proposed service would run daily from Durango to Cortez, then Telluride, Ridgway, Montrose, Delta and Grand Junction. Peter Tregillus of Southern Ute Community Action Programs says the trip would take about five hours one-way and cost $30 to $40 for the entire route.

Loveland– Another Colorado ski area has fired up the snowmaking machines. Loveland Ski Area took advantage of cold temperatures and began making snow early Thursday. Copper Mountain started making snow Tuesday, a month before its expected opening date. Loveland hopes to open by mid-October. Last ski season was a difficult one for the ski industry. Total skier visits dropped more than 12 percent at some resorts.