A totally serious preview of 2016
Here at the Post Independent, we don’t engage in such silliness as an April Fool’s Day edition — we want to be taken seriously and admit that in that quest we may take ourselves too seriously at times.
Today, though, as we look ahead to 2016, we’ll suspend our earnestness a bit and offer predictions for the coming year, some serious and some decidedly not.
Predictions usually end up being wrong anyway, so no harm here, right?
OK, on the mostly serious side, we think it’s possible that these things will happen:
• Among the first steps in construction of the new Grand Avenue bridge, a process scheduled to take two years, will be construction of a temporary pedestrian bridge attached to the east side of the vehicle bridge. The new pedestrian bridge will be nice, with overlooks to enjoy the river and a peek at Glenwood Canyon, but with the ambiance of traffic right next to walkers, folks will want to get across the temporary bridge as quickly as possible.
• John Martin will decide to run for a sixth term as Garfield County commissioner, but will face a challenge from within for the Republican nomination at the spring party assembly.
• A former prosecutor, not saying which one (ahem, Tony Hershey) will be nominated by Republicans to run for district attorney in the three-county 9th Judicial District, and will square off against the incumbent DA, Democrat Sherry Caloia, in the November election.
• Glenwood Springs and Carbondale homeless support groups will come together with Feed My Sheep to provide expanded, year-round shelter services in both communities.
• Glenwood’s transient/vagrancy problem will all but disappear over the next two years during construction of the new Grand Avenue bridge, as folks find it too difficult to get from one side of the river to the other and have no place to panhandle. Watch out, Eagle County.
• In Carbondale, trustees are expected to ask voters if they want a carbon tax on utilities. Local environmental groups such as Clean Energy Economy for the Region and Community Office for Resource Efficiency are pushing the proposal to increase electricity and gas bills (about $7 for homeowners and $30 for businesses on average) to help offset carbon emissions. The town’s lighting code could also see updates that impose restrictions at houses and businesses.
In addition, the first public hearing will be in late January or early February on a proposal to build a new City Market at the northwest corner of Main Street and Highway 133. And in April, Carbondalians will vote to fill three trustee positions. Up for grabs are the seats now held by Pam Zentmyer, John Hoffmann and Allyn Harvey. Zentmyer and Hoffmann are term limited.
• Glenwood Springs and RFTA work together to start a bike share transit system to help people get around town during the bridge construction.
• Large-scale development proposals pop up around the planned new Eastbank school site, leading to wild suggestions that a new town will form between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale, or that the two towns might just as well merge into one.
• The Lower Valley Trails group, working with the city of Glenwood with the lead of newly hired permanent city manager Drew Gorgey, will finally win a big state grant to get the South Canyon trail connection completed.
• The Denver Broncos turn to Peyton Manning in the second half of a playoff game after Brock Osweiler struggles to get anything going in the passing game. Manning takes over and leads the Broncos to the Super Bowl in one final ride before calling it a career.
• But the Arizona Cardinals top the Broncos, 34-20, in Super Bowl L as Bruce Arians and the resurgent Cardinals cap off a dream season. Carson Palmer captures the Super Bowl MVP as he throws for 300 yards against the feared Broncos defense.
• With little pitching and a boom-or-bust lineup, the Colorado Rockies lose 100 games one year after losing 94 in year one of the Walt Weiss tenure. Due to a poor start, the Rockies deal away Carlos Gonzales and fire Weiss and his staff.
On the not-so-serious side, maybe these things will happen:
• Massive spring runoff from the biggest snow year on record in the Colorado River Basin compromises the existing Grand Avenue bridge structure to the point that it must be closed prematurely. Construction of the new bridge is put on the fast track, including early completion and opening of the Midland Avenue and Eighth Street detour route.
• Meanwhile, a vigilante group led by disgruntled members of Citizens to Save Grand Avenue works with landowners up South Canyon to punch a bypass through to Three Mile. Developers wanting to build 1,000 new houses in the Three and Four Mile valleys agree to fund the now-$50 million South Bridge project, and … voila!
• The natural gas industry and environmental groups will team up to organize a three-way charity cage fight between the TDC’s Zane Kessler, West Slope Oil and Gas Association director David Ludlam and Wilderness Workshop attorney Peter Hart. Proceeds from the fight will go to buy out the Thompson Divide and other disputed forest leases for good.
• The Kind Castle will win its case on appeal, but it will all be for naught for this and every other privately owned marijuana business in Colorado, Washington and Oregon. That’s because President Barack Obama, in a last act before leaving office, signs an executive order removing marijuana as a controlled substance under federal law, and legalizing retail sales to pay for a new single-payer health-care system, turning all operations over to the state.
• Hanging Lake will be closed to people from other states.
• Recognizing a revenue opportunity, the Broncos decide to sell naming rights for code words used in their snap counts. Out with “Omaha,” in with “Chipotle” — the Denver-based restaurant that could stand to call an audible of its own after recent E. coli troubles.
• Having backed away from restrictions on cats, Carbondale will nonetheless enact a bird-protection ordinance that sets up a kitty jail for any feline convicted in a bird death. With fewer cats roaming and fewer birds for them to kill in the winter, the facility gets deodorized in November and used as an overnight homeless shelter through April.
• When Carbondale and Glenwood Springs combine (see above), the PI launches an unsuccessful editorial campaign to revive the name Defiance, with plans to rename the paper The Daily Defiance. The whole thing fizzles when letter writers wage a campaign of compliance.
• The newly combined town of Carbon Springs solves the region’s housing problem with a massive subdivision of tiny homes at the Cattle Creek site. Disputes break out over whether weeds may be sprayed with pesticides and whether cats are allowed outdoors.
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Robert Shapiro was sentenced to the maximum 25 years in prison for running a $1.3 million real estate Ponzi scheme that claimed more than 7,000 victims.