Week in Review
Bus service from Glenwood Springs to Rifle got a shot in the arm Oct. 16 when the Garfield County Commissioners committed $248,000 to keep it running. The move is something of a change of direction for the county commissioners. “This is really a big step forward in terms of our cooperation between RFTA and the county,” said Roaring Fork Transportation Authority CEO Dan Blankenship.While the commissioners have supported RFTA trails projects and improvements to bus stops in the recent past, and in 2003 and 2004 gave $25,000 to support the service, since 2004 they have not supported the Grand Hogback service directly. The Hogback service was initiated in 2002.In considering the $248,000 contribution Monday, commissioners Trési Houpt and John Martin voted for it and Larry McCown against.McCown said because the current Grand Hogback service makes only one stop in unincorporated Garfield County, the $248,000 that RFTA asked for “goes beyond what our obligation should be.” Houpt pointed out that while the buses make only one county stop, “People who catch the bus in various locations live in unincorporated parts of the county.”
Despite an announcement Oct. 16 by the Denver Water Board that its water shortage is over and its reservoirs topped up, the West Slope may not be out of the woods yet.Glenwood Springs water engineer Louis Meyer, who represents the county on the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, said declining flows in the Colorado River – due to the worst drought in the state’s history and increased demands by West Slope and Front Ranger water users – point to future water quality problems right here at home.Meyer, who brought the Garfield County Commissioners up to date on the workings of the Colorado River Basin Roundtable, said the group is wrestling with both water quality and shortage issues.The round table “has started people talking” about water issues, people who have disparate views about water use, such as farmers and ranchers, business people and environmentalists.”We are all realizing we have common issues and we need to present a united front (with) our biggest issue, transmountain diversions,” he said.
A lawsuit brought by Parachute rancher Sid Lindauer against oil and gas developer Williams Production may have a far-ranging effect on mineral rights owners in Garfield County.Lindauer filed a class-action suit in Garfield County District Court in early October against Williams for underpayment of royalties. Lindauer ‘s wife Ruth and brother Ivo are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Also named are all the mineral rights owners in the county.The lawsuit contends that Williams did not properly calculate royalty payments “because it has failed to fully account for the proceeds that it receives from the sale of gas products,” the court filing said. Williams also charged expenses for placing “gas in a marketable condition to deliver to the commercial marketplace” to the mineral owners, deducting those expenses from the owners’ royalties.Attorney Nathan Keever, with the Grand Junction law firm of Dufford, Waldeck, Milburn and Krohn, said, “It’s our contention that (Williams) set aside taxes in an escrow account, paid the tax and kept the rest.”
A woman arrested on suspicion of using methamphetamine early in her pregnancy faces new charges after giving birth to a baby with the drug in its system, authorities say.Tishe Marie Quintana, 26, of Glenwood Springs apparently used meth in the week before the Oct. 4 delivery of a baby girl, a Glenwood Springs police arrest affidavit states. The baby, Justice Areala Burkholder, tested positive for the drug but appeared to be doing well and showing no symptoms of withdrawal, Glenwood police detective Amy Roggie said in the affidavit.While meth use by mothers can result in low birth weights, Justice weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces at birth.However, “Some of the injuries, ailments and conditions that this child may experience due to the exposure and use of methamphetamine are unknown and may remain unknown for years to come,” wrote Roggie, who formerly was assigned to the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team, or Trident.Quintana has been charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury, unlawful use of a controlled substance, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor by causing her baby to use a controlled substance. Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney called the latter “sort of a unique charge” for the circumstances.
Worried about Glenwood Springs’ status as a community downwind of natural gas development, City Council Thursday night supported applying new air quality standards to the industry.However, council members called for the standards to go even further than is now being considered by the state, saying local limits should be as stringent as those proposed for the Front Range.”We should have the same protections that other parts of the state have,” said Mayor Bruce Christensen.In 2004, the state began requiring the industry to reduce emissions from condensate tanks, dehydrators and compressor stations. But the requirement applied only to the Denver metropolitan area and northeastern Colorado because ozone emissions there were close to or exceeded Environmental Protection Agency levels. The industry’s production of smog-producing compounds is unregulated elsewhere in the state.Patrick Barker, an organizer for the 3,000-member Western Colorado Congress citizens group, told City Council Thursday that the WCC is encouraging the state Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to apply the same standards statewide “and say what’s good enough for the Front Range is good enough out here, especially in Garfield County because we’re in the heart of it.”
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