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Week in Review

SILT – A 74-year-old Silt woman was mauled by a pit bull Sept. 22, which sent her to the hospital with multiple wounds and about 200 stitches.Judy McGruder was on the way to pick up her grandson, but accidentally ended up at the wrong residence about a mile west of Silt. When she knocked on the door, a man answered and four dogs came out of the home.After talking for five minutes with a man who answered the door, McGruder headed back to her car and hadn’t gotten inside yet when one of the dogs – a 3-year-old male pit bull named Butterbean – began to attack her.The dog attacked the back side of her left arm and past the elbow and her forearm, tearing the muscle, according to McGruder. The man at the door, who was not the dog’s owner, tried to pull the dog off, but the animal then allegedly attacked her in the leg and the backside – with the man again trying to pull the dog off several more times – before it attacked her head.The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has cited Julia Dawn Sullivan, 32, who lives just west of Silt, with unlawful ownership of a dangerous dog, a misdemeanor, and with violating a county requirement that the dog be licensed.Also, Butterbean, the animal that mauled 74-year-old Judy McGruder, will be euthanized with Sullivan’s consent.Sheriff Lou Vallario’s decision to charge Sullivan comes after days of struggling with the legalities surrounding the case, and even as District Attorney Martin Beeson is continuing to try to make his own determination as to whether Sullivan may have broken any state laws.

A rush of emotions came over Judy Haptonstall as she heard the news of Wednesday’s deadly school shooting in Bailey.”I just thought about the horror and the worry and the concern for the people in that situation,” said Haptonstall, superintendent of the Roaring Fork School District Re-1. “It’s a horrible, horrible situation.”On Wednesday, 53-year-old Duane Morrison took six girls hostage at Platte Canyon High School, sexually assaulting at least some of them, and killing 16-year-old Emily Keyes.”There isn’t much of a defense with somebody who has motives like that,” Haptonstall said. “There isn’t a building in our county that’s impervious to that. All you can do is have systems in place, and we do have crisis plans in place for a variety different scenarios.”After the 1999 Columbine High School shooting that left 15 dead, including the two gunman, Haptonstall said her school district worked with local law enforcement to establish crisis plans.”We’ve established clear lines of communication with local police,” she said. “We are always looking at resource plans, and every year we revisit those.”

Glenwood Springs’ in-town bus service is becoming a victim of its own success, meaning some difficult decisions await city officials.Record ridership is requiring the city to look at buying bigger buses, which means it may not be able to afford fully implementing a long-term plan that is supposed to include restoring service to south Glenwood.That has led city engineer Mike McDill to suggest that City Council ask voters to approve an additional 0.1 percent sales tax to expand the service.But council member Dave Merritt, who represents south Glenwood and long has called for service to be brought back there, said the tax hike idea “is terrible.”Merritt believes voters living outside south Glenwood would have little incentive to vote for the tax hike.”You have to have a tax that has benefits to the entire community,” he said.Merritt said the reverse is now true, with south Glenwood residents not getting service, but paying a bus sales tax along with the rest of town.



At least two more arrests have been made and up to 15 in total may result from a months-long investigation into a local drug ring.District Attorney Martin Beeson confirmed the additional arrests Wednesday and said he expected more to follow. Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario said he believes as many as 15 arrests may result from the investigation.Jose Jesus Sanchez-Ceja, a suspected ringleader, was arrested Monday night near the Lazy Glen trailer park near Basalt and is being held in lieu of $750,000 bond because he is considered to be a flight risk.Beeson declined to identify the latest arrestees, but two people have been advised this week in court of charges that apparently are related to the investigation.Ivan Dizan Rascon-Garcia is charged with a total of 24 felony counts related to cocaine distribution, possession and possession with intent to distribute. He also faces charges of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and theft charges, including one count of conspiracy to commit aggravated motor vehicle theft.Kristie Kay Goodhard faces four felony drug charges, including possession, conspiracy to possess, conspiracy to distribute and unlawful use.

Glenwood Springs car dealer Ron Esch has withdrawn his lawsuit against a lender, and the lender has delayed foreclosure action against him, as they seek to resolve legal differences over the terms of a $9.985 million loan.Attorneys for Esch’s Glenwood Automotive Group Land Management company and Falcon Financial, a Delaware company, are negotiating in an attempt to settle the matter, they say.The Garfield County Public Trustee’s Office had scheduled a public auction for three of Esch’s properties for today, but it has been delayed until Oct. 31.”I think both sides are proceeding in good faith to explore a way to resolve our differences,” said Patrick Tooley, a Denver attorney representing Esch.J. Thomas Macdonald, an attorney for Falcon Financial, said the auction was delayed by agreement of attorneys for both sides.In moving to dismiss his lawsuit, Esch reserved the right to refile it later if negotiations break down.


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