Week in Review
Accused arsonist Robin J. Clifton is headed for trial to defend himself against charges he set four fires on Labor Day 2005 in Rifle. The fires destroyed the Rifle Amoco service station and nearly destroyed the Fireside Lanes bowling alley.At the conclusion of a preliminary hearing Tuesday, District Court Judge Denise Lynch ruled there was probable cause that crimes were committed that day and that Clifton committed them. Lengthy testimony by an investigating officer and a chilling videotape that showed a man start the fire in the gas station led Assistant District Attorney Jeff Cheney to link Clifton to the crimes by a complicated web of circumstantial evidence.Cheney painted a picture of a man who set fire to the gas station to destroy evidence that implicated him in felony theft.”This is what this case is all about, coverup,” he said.
The foreclosure on the 280-acre Bair Chase property is complete, as the site of a proposed residential and golf course development fell into a lender’s hands this week.Following PlainsCapital Bank’s bid on the sale at a foreclosure auction in April, Bair Chase Property LLC was unable to make good on its debt to the bank during a six-month redemption period that ended Oct. 30. As a result, it has lost ownership of the land.Garfield County deputy public trustee Bob Slade said Bair Chase and two other entities – the holder of a second lien and the Roaring Fork Conservancy – had filed notices of intent to redeem the debt. But it remained unpaid and the property now goes to PlainsCapital. He said it’s his understanding that the bank may assign ownership of the property to a subsidiary.
Glenwood Springs City Council agreed late Thursday night to provide some financial concessions for a proposed affordable housing project.The move is intended to clear the way for a 120-unit rental housing development to be built at Glenwood Meadows. However, council turned down some of the concessions developers were requesting.Council agreed 5-2, with council members Joe O’Donnell and Larry Beckwith voting “no,” to defer payment of more than $700,000 in development fees. That includes $202,000 in school impact fees.However, the council unanimously turned down a request for waiver or deferral of $206,000 in emergency services fees. It also unanimously rejected a request for a public infrastructure grant, loan or loan guarantee worth $220,000.
A limited number of gas stations, transportation costs over the mountains and the price of doing business on expensive property are just some of the reasons that Glenwood Springs has one of the highest fuel costs in the state, according to AAA Colorado.While the cost of gasoline has been dropping nationally, the Glenwood is still seeing an average gas price of $2.58 per gallon for regular fuel as of Friday, Nov. 3. The same gas on Friday cost $2.13 in Denver.Garfield County as a whole is also seeing higher gas prices than elsewhere in the state.”There are a lot of factors that come into play here,” said Eric Escudero, spokesperson for AAA Colorado. “There aren’t as many gas stations and competition plays a big part. There are many areas on the Western Slope where it’s more expensive to operate a gas station because of the property value. Another factor is that it’s more expensive to get the gas there.”
Challenged by the region’s labor shortage, the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park considered a possible sale of the facility to the Hot Springs Lodge & Pool earlier this year.Those discussions broke off, but the labor problems remain, Glenwood Caverns owner Steve Beckley said Tuesday.He said other operations on the mountain such as cave tours and rides have been adequately staffed, but the restaurant has not.Glenwood Caverns discussed a possible sale to the pool earlier this year. Beckley said the idea arose as the two entities were discussing other matters. Beckley and pool assistant general manager John Bosco said the pool decided Glenwood Caverns wouldn’t be a good fit.
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