Week in Review
The owner of one Glenwood Springs massage establishment and an employee of a second were arrested on prostitution-related charges in apparently unrelated incidents Thursday night.The arrests are highly unusual for Glenwood, so much so that city police had to consult with other agencies to decide how to carry out the undercover operations that led to the arrests.”This is just not something I’ve got a lot of familiarity with. … This was definitely a little bit of a twist for us,” said Chief Terry Wilson, a longtime member of Glenwood’s police department.Arrested were Qing Zhang, 41, the owner of Asian Day Spa at 718 Cooper Ave., and a resident at that address, and Hui Jun Mu, 48, an employee of A-1 Chinese Health Care Massage at 1026-B Grand Ave. and a resident there.Zhang faces charges of prostitution, unlawful sexual contact and keeping a place of prostitution. Jun Mu is charged with prostitution and unlawful sexual contact.All are misdemeanor charges.The two were taken to Garfield County Jail but both had posted bonds and been released by Friday. Jun Mu’s bond amount is $1,250, and Zhang’s is $2,000.Zhang is due in court Nov. 2, and Jun Mu on Nov. 6.Wilson said he doesn’t think the two cases are connected. He also has no reason to suspect the owner of the business where Jun Mu worked knew prostitution was occurring there. She was the only employee there when the incident occurred.”There’s nothing to indicate that somebody else was involved,” he said.
Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney wove a complex web of circumstantial evidence in district court Thursday in an attempt to link accused arsonist Robin Jay Clifton to a series of devastating fires. Clifton, 47, of Collbran, has been charged with setting four fires on Labor Day, Sept. 5, 2005, which destroyed the Rifle Amoco service station and nearly destroyed the Fireside Lanes bowling alley.After the first day of testimony, the case was continued until later this month.Cheney led Rifle Detective William Jones through the details of the investigation that tied articles of clothing, a stolen motorcycle, a ball cap, and finally a chilling, almost cinematic videotape of a person spraying what was apparently gasoline around the inside of the Amoco station on Sept. 5, and setting it, and himself, alight in a exploding inferno of fire. The video was from a surveillance camera at the Amoco,The preliminary hearing is held to determine if a crime has been committed and the prosecution has probable cause to believe the accused committed it.
CARBONDALE – Three homes above the BRB Campground about five miles south of Carbondale on Highway 133 were threatened by a mudslide, caused by a “ditch failure” that occurred Thursday night about 8 p.m. The slide compromised the integrity of one mobile home on Riverside Drive, leaving it hanging on a ledge overlooking the Crystal River. A septic tank and a petroleum storage tank were swept down into the river as well.Jack and Dee Searing, residents of Riverside Drive, spent Friday looking for some answers.”I just want to go home,” Dee said. “But no one is cleaning up the mess.”According to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department Patrol Director Jeff Lumsden, the apparent cause of the slide was a blocked irrigation ditch. “The Thomas irrigation ditch failed, but not due to rain or runoff,” Lumsden said, “it seems to have blown out underneath, like the lining broke.” The Carbondale Fire Department was able to find the source of the water flow and shut it down, Lumsden said.”I could see my house from the street through the trees, and it looked like the mud was about 20 feet from my house,” Searing said. “I’ve lived here for about five years and have seen mudslides here before, but nothing like this. This was a big one.”Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach said that the slide had washed out a large section of the road, blocking entrance to the two homes, but had caused no apparent damage to any of the structures themselves.”The road is wiped out,” Leach said. “It’s cut off the people that live on the other side of the road.”
With natural gas development reaching out from the valley floor up into the high country, Williams is seeking permission from Garfield County to build a temporary worker camp in a remote area.On Sept. 15, Williams, the largest natural gas producer in the county, applied for a special use permit to park manufactured housing on a 20,000-acre lease area about 14 miles north of Parachute.Williams crews leave from its Parachute office and face a 70-mile one-way trip to the Trail Ridge lease, which is accessed via the Piceance Creek Road north of Rifle in Rio Blanco County.”We want to place them in a safe environment for the length of their shift so they don’t have to drive back and forth,” said Williams spokeswoman Susan Alvillar.Since expanding its development efforts in the area last year, Williams wanted to continue to operate during the winter months in the area, which is at an average altitude of 8,300 feet, Alvillar said.Last winter drilling rigs were pulled out of the area and moved to the valley floor for the season.”This is a pilot program,” Alvillar said.The Williams camp will require a change in county zoning. The company operates in what the county has designated resource lands where temporary worker camps are not permitted.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario has formally denied abusing inmates in the county jail and claimed that their own actions have determined how they had to be treated.Attorneys for Vallario and county sheriff commander Scott Dawson have filed a 61-page response in U.S. District Court in Denver to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union earlier this year.The two deny allegations that the jail has abused prisoners through the use of restraint chairs, pepper spray, pepper ball guns and electric shock belts, and has kept mental health care from indigent prisoners and imposed harsh discipline without due process.The jail’s actions “were taken in good faith and for legitimate reasons and did not violate any constitution or any regulatory, statutory, common law or other legal provision of any kind,” the defendants said in their answer to the ACLU suit.The answer calls for a judgment in Vallario and Dawson’s favor and dismissal of the suit.It also states that they are protected from being sued by the Colorado Government Immunity Act, and that some or all of the suit’s claims aren’t allowed under the federal Prison Litigation Act.
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The 27th Street Underpass Bridge project design has reached 30% completion, with a final design expected to be completed by August.