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January 10, 2013
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News Briefs 1-11-13

The City of Grand Junction and CDOT are partnering on projects to improve safety and traffic flow on U.S. 6 at 22 Road with reconstruction, and on I-70 Exit 26 with the design and construction of a "diverging diamond interchange."

A public open house to present construction plans is set from 4-6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, at the Westgate Inn, 2210 US Hwy. 6 and 50.

These plans will accommodate growth and increased traffic from current and future commercial and industrial development around 22 Road, as outlined in the City's Comprehensive Plan. Two companies are currently applying through the City's development process for separate truck stops in the area, one north and one south of U.S. 6 at 22 Road.

AAA predicts gasoline is going to cost less in 2013 due to increased domestic oil production and lower demand. The national average price of gasoline should peak at $3.60-$3.80 per gallon barring any significant unanticipated events, which compares to a peak of $3.94 a gallon in 2012, said AAA.

Gasoline prices should rise steadily through April or early May, but at a slower pace than last year. Following a late-spring peak, prices should drop during the first half of the summer to as low as $3.20-$3.40 per gallon before rising again in advance of the Gulf Coast hurricane season and the switchover to winter-blend gasoline. Prices should end the year by falling to low or near-low averages for 2013.

Today, the average price of gasoline in Colorado is $2.91, a drop of 12 cents from the same date last year and a decline of 37 cents during the last month.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced in its annual "State of the Climate" report this week that 2012 was the warmest year on record in the contiguous United States with the average temperature for 2012 being 55.3 degrees F - a 3.2 degree F increase above the 20th century average, and 1 degree F above 1998, the previous warmest year on record.

Of note, the NOAA also reports that 2012 was the 15th driest year on record with 61% of the nation hit by drought.

Before beginning the second year of its camping permit system for the Ruby-Horsethief Canyon section of the Colorado River, the BLM wants to hear how people feel the first year went.

BLM is hosting a public meeting Tuesday, Jan. 15, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Two Rivers Convention Center. Staff from the BLM's McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area will share data collected during 2012, provide updates on how they felt the system worked, and ask how boaters felt it worked.

Last year BLM began a new camping permit system for the 35 camping spots available along the Ruby-Horsethief stretch of the Colorado River to better manage the popular area between Loma and Westwater, Utah.

BLM did not charge a fee for the permits the first year. However, in 2013, BLM will charge a fee for the camping permits based on group size. Fees will range from $20-$100.

The GJ Commission on Arts and Culture announced winners of the Champion of the Arts Award for 2012.

The business award goes to Doyle Trading Consultants. Steve and Sibylle Doyle, owners of Doyle Trading, were nominated for their unending and unwavering support of High Desert Opera.

The individual award goes to Harold P. Moss and his late wife, Ruth. Since the inception of The Art Center in 1953, Ruth and Harold have been a part of the organization for 60 years. The Mosses support The Art Center Foundation through the Ruth Moss Endowment Fund, which ensures the Summer Art Camp stays financially accessible to all children.

A reception and award presentation will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, to honor these Champions of the Arts at GJ City Hall, 250 N. Fifth St. The public is invited.

During the 2012-13 ski season, Maison la Belle Vie Winery in Palisade is holding a fundraiser to benefit Colorado DiscoverAbility and Powderhorn's Adaptive Sports Program.

From now through March, $1 from every Maison la Belle Vie wine purchased will be donated. The brand is carried in liquor stores, bars and restaurants in the Grand Valley and at the winery, 3575 G Road, which is open from Friday to Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 970-361-6022.

The Colorado ACLU announced this week a settlement agreement with the Colo. State Patrol that will resolve a federal court lawsuit filed on behalf of the family of Jason Alan Kemp, who was shot and killed at his Grand Junction home in 2010 when he refused to allow state troopers into his home without a warrant.

The State Patrol will pay over $1 million to Jason's family and will also implement new training modules for all current and future officers to include specific instruction on the warrant requirement of the Fourth Amendment and its limited exceptions.

According to the lawsuit, troopers Kirk Firko and Ivan Lawyer were investigating a minor accident that resulted, at most, in minimal damage to a neighbor's lawn. They suspected Jason Kemp was responsible and that he may have been driving under the influence of alcohol. When they knocked at his door, Kemp told the troopers to get a warrant. Instead of seeking a warrant, the troopers proceeded to break down Kemp's front door, with guns drawn. When the door gave way, trooper Lawyer fired his weapon, killing the unarmed Kemp at the scene.

In 2011, a Mesa County grand jury indicted Firko and Lawyer for their actions in connection with Jason's death, but the criminal charges were ultimately dismissed.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 10, 2013 03:44PM Published Jan 10, 2013 03:42PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.