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Area news briefs

Fresh powder at SunlightSunlight Mountain Resort welcomed the return to winter weather earlier this week. The resort had 6 new inches of snow Wednesday afternoon and “wonderful” conditions, said Mandy Burns, a Sunlight guest-services representative. Today’s temperatures should be fair, about 40 degrees, but rain and snow return for Friday and the weekend, said Jim Daniels of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. Sunlight can thank its most recent batch of powder to a mass of moist air from the southwest running into a mass of cold air from the north, said Daniels. Snow was heavier in the Southwestern part of the state, with 14 inches in the ghost town of Gothic near Crested Butte leading the way, said Daniels. Though some folks played hooky yesterday to go play in the snow at Sunlight, for some it was just another day. Oil and gas forum today in RifleCurrent drilling activity and the long-range forecast for natural gas development will be among the topics of the Northwest Oil and Gas Forum today, Thursday, Feb. 17, in the new meeting room at the Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle.The forum begins at 10 a.m.On tap are updates from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission about natural gas well permits, current drilling activity and long-range forecasts from industry representatives from Williams Production, EnCana and other operators in the county. The Bureau of Land Management will also present an update on its Roan Plateau EIS.EnCana will report on its efforts to identify the sources of a natural gas seep in the West Divide Creek area. It will also present information on a recently concluded soil gas survey in the seep area.Public comments will be taken from 11:30 to noon.After a half-hour break for lunch, Jim Smith of Wagon Wheel Consulting Inc. will speak about pipeline construction strategy, sizing and permitting.The forum is made up of representatives of federal, state and local government, the oil and gas industry and concerned citizens. It is co-chaired by Garfield County Commissioner John Martin and COGCC director Brian Macke.KDNK sets $40,000 goalThe KDNK Spring Membership Drive officially starts March 9, but new or renewed memberships will be entered in a drawing for two nights in the Honeymoon Suite of the Laughing Horse Inn in Taos, N.M.KDNK brings National Public Radio, Democracy Now!, Alternative Radio, local news and lots of diverse musical styles to the Roaring Fork airways. The station is starting its 22nd year of community radio.Membership accounts for one third of KDNK’s operating budget and helps keep KDNK live, local and independent. Levels range from $16 for a Pet to $365 for an Addict Membership. KDNK will break membership down into monthly payments or pledge in one lump sum. To pledge your support call 963-0139.Cocaine use kills Basalt manFor the second time in three weeks, cocaine has been ruled a contributing factor in the death of a Roaring Fork Valley resident.Donald Turner died on Feb. 10 after his heart stopped as a result of cocaine use, according to Pitkin County Coroner Steve Ayers. The official cause was listed as “cardiac arrhythmia secondary to cocaine toxicity.”Dr. Gordon Gerson, a cardiologist at Aspen Valley Hospital, said the drug can stimulate an irregular heart rhythm and ultimately cause it to stop. Turner was found dead in bed at his Elk Run subdivision home by Basalt police officers. They were asked by a relative to check on Turner’s welfare.Police Chief Keith Ikeda said “it was apparent there was cocaine use” at the scene, but the coroner’s report was needed to determine if that was the cause. Turner, 46, had last been seen Tuesday night, Feb. 8, by neighbors.- Compiled from staff reports


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