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Week in Review

RIFLE – When Susan Stoakes left to take her cat to the vet Thursday and noticed a small wildfire a few miles away, she had no idea it would be the last time she would see her home.It also was the last she saw of at least three of the dogs she and her husband, the Rev. Rich Stoakes, kept as pets.”Those three undoubtedly perished. I’m sure they did,” Rich said as the two contemplated their losses in his office at the Rifle United Methodist-Presbyterian Church downtown Friday.The three dogs had been inside the couple’s home up Spruce Creek Road southwest of Rifle. The Stoakeses learned late Friday morning that their house had gone up in flames. The news came just a few hours after residents who had been evacuated due to the Red Apple Fire had been told that no homes apparently had been lost.

Office Depot plans to open a store in the former Gart Sports in south Glenwood Springs, putting it in direct competition with industry leader Staples, located on the city’s west end.The move also adds to the challenge for smaller, locally owned stores such as Raymond’s Office Machines and Supplies, a Glenwood Springs business that’s nearly 50 years old.”It does make it rather tough for the small businesses to make it against those guys,” said Fred Andersen, service manager at Raymond’s.Peglen LP on Monday announced a long-term lease of 20,000 square feet of its property in the Roaring Fork Marketplace to Office Depot. Gart, now the Sports Authority, moved to Glenwood Meadows last November. Office Depot is scheduled to open this November.

Accused arsonist Robin Jay Clifton is likely to be stuck in jail for quite a while unless he can come up with a large amount of cash.Tuesday, newly appointed 9th Judicial District Court Judge Denise Lynch raised his bail from $100,000 to $500,000. Lynch cited Clifton’s lengthy criminal history, which included a conviction for escaping from prison in Boise County, Idaho, as justification for the increased bond.Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney said his office has confirmed Clifton has at least five felony convictions. Besides the prison escape, Clifton has also been convicted of grand theft and possession of stolen property in Idaho and burglary, theft and second degree robbery in Utah.



The American Civil Liberties Union has added two claims to a class action lawsuit against Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, accusing him of denying mental health care to indigent county jail prisoners and imposing harsh discipline without due process.Sometimes that discipline is being imposed on people for actions resulting from their mental problems, the ACLU contends.The organization amended its suit Aug. 1. Jail commander Scott Dawson also is named as a defendant.In an interview Aug. 28, Vallario denied the ACLU’s newest claims, as he previously had taken issue with those made in its original suit, filed in federal court July 19.

Volunteer applications are lagging a little, but interest in part-time jobs has been strong as the Glenwood Springs Fire Department continues to try to boost its firefighting force.Six people have applied to become volunteers in response to the department’s new recruitment effort. The department has three volunteers now.Meanwhile, 13 applicants for part-time, or reserve, positions will be tested on Sept. 11. If all are hired, that would bring the city’s reserve numbers to 33, up from just eight earlier this year.The department also has about 20 full-time staff.”I think our manpower situation is much improved, considerably improved from where we were six months ago. We’re hopeful that the reserves and the volunteers will be sufficient to take care of the manpower issues that we were facing early on,” Fire Chief Mike Piper said.


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