Week in Review | PostIndependent.com

Week in Review

A jury on Tuesday convicted Garfield County Jail inmate Clarence Vandehey of disobeying an order while rioting in a detention facility, a Class 5 felony charge stemming from a November 2005 disturbance in the jail involving three other inmates.

Vandehey, who pleaded not-guilty to the rioting charge for which he has been jailed since December, was also convicted Tuesday of two related charges, including second-degree misdemeanor criminal tampering and second-degree misdemeanor criminal mischief.

Vandehey and inmates William Baine Langley, Ryan Sims and Forest Mangus on Nov. 29, 2005, each trashed their own jail cells, plugging their sinks and toilets with toilet paper, causing a flood. Water from the flood leaked into Sheriff Lou Vallario’s office below.

RIFLE ” A rash of break-ins and vandalism in Rifle continued late July 30 or early July 31 when vandals struck Rifle High School and the Garfield School District Re-2 Transportation Department building, causing about $10,000 in damage.

“We’ve been a target all summer long,” said Re-2 spokeswoman Theresa Hamilton. “This is our eighth break-in or vandalism attempt.”

Somebody broke into RHS and spray painted purple the RHS bear mascot in the main office, vandalized class photos and the DECA store, discharged two fire extinguishers on a bank of computers in the school computer lab and broke up to 20 windows.

Thirty percent of the school’s classrooms were entered, Hamilton said.

The vandals also hit the district transportation building, destroying a copy machine, a vending machine and a computer monitor. They also decorated the building with graffiti, she said.

SILT ” Mayors from Aspen to Grand Junction joined together Thursday morning to take a flyby airplane ride of the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys and discuss regional issues.

Representatives from Pitkin, Garfield and Mesa counties met at the Garfield County Airport in the morning to get an aerial view of the valley’s oil and gas wells, oil shale projects, and gravel pits along the Colorado River and the Interstate 70 corridor.

Afterwards, the group met at Silt Town Hall for an informal discussion about various issues. Glenwood Springs Mayor Bruce Christensen, who had a prior obligation, was absent.

A number of issues were discussed at the informal meeting, including oil and gas matters, gravel pit reclamation and the development of roadless areas.

Kris Chadwick was a big supporter of the idea of trying back-in angle parking on Cooper Avenue in downtown Glenwood Springs.

Now, the City Council member has seen enough of the pilot project to decide the concept just isn’t right for Glenwood.

“I think it was a great experiment … but I just don’t think it’s working out very well for our town,” she said.

Chadwick’s conclusion was encouraging to Joe Ruden, co-owner of the Good Health Store on Cooper, and one of many business owners on the street to rail against the back-in parking. He has been furious at city officials over their decision to implement the project.

“They’re just hurting downtown business. It’s just crazy; there’s no reason for it,” he said.

Even supporters of the project are now admitting it could have been better implemented.

“If we had it all to do over there are things that we’ve learned from this experience that might modify the way we did it,” said city engineer Mike McDill.

A wave of whitewater park supporters roared into Glenwood Springs City Hall Thursday night and watched City Council gulp at a $600,000 request for support for their $1.4 million project.

Some 50 backers of the plan crowded council chambers as members of a whitewater park task force made their case for city backing.

They heard nothing but positive comments from council about the project in concept, but also lots of hesitation over the amount of city funds being sought.

Mayor Bruce Christensen, a longtime supporter of the park proposal, said he was taken aback by the request to provide $300,000 per year over two years.

“Having worked with our budget, that’s not easy to find,” he said.

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