Week in Review
Police are looking for a woman and have arrested a man in connection with a continuing investigation related to the shooting of a Colorado State Patrol officer Oct. 24.Nichole Brownell, 39, was being sought Thursday on a charge of being an accessory to attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer. Wayne Daniel Hangs, 44, was arrested at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday evening on felony charges of being an accessory to a crime and tampering with physical evidence, and a misdemeanor charge of obstructing a peace officer.Hangs was taken to Garfield County Jail and later freed on $5,000 bond.Authorities went to Brownell’s residence Thursday after a warrant had been issued for her arrest. However, they learned that she had fled the residence in the company of her boyfriend, according to a news release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.District Attorney Martin Beeson said Thursday night he could not release the name of Brownell’s boyfriend. Police believe he and Brownell are driving a silver Ford Mustang with unknown Utah plates. They think Brownell may be staying around Glenwood Springs, Rifle or Parachute. Both have strong ties to the Grand Junction area and people involved with methamphetamine, authorities say.
Garfield County Commissioner Trési Houpt handily won a second term in office, beating out challenger Steve Reynolds 8,928 votes to 5,883. Houpt, a Democrat, took an early lead and held on to a 60 percent margin over Republican Reynolds.”Obviously I’m feeling fabulous about the outcome of this campaign,” she said after the final votes were tallied about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday. “It sends a message to me that the people really agree with the work I’ve been doing the last four years.”In the county assessor race, challenger John Gorman’s single-minded focus on making Garfield County’s energy industry pay its fair share of taxes paid off for him.The Democrat unseated Republican Shannon Hurst 7,580-6,992.Longtime chief deputy county clerk Jean Alberico walked away with almost 60 percent of the vote in the race to replace retiring Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Mildred Alsdorf. Democrat Alberico garnered 8,600 votes while her challenger, Marian Clayton, also a deputy clerk in the same office, won 5,896 votes.”I’ve been waiting for this for so long,” Alberico said. “I’m thrilled.”And it’s back to business for Garfield County Treasurer and Public Trustee Georgia Chamberlain, who was re-elected to the job.”There’s plenty of work I’ve got right on my desk now that needs to get done and I’m ready to get doing it,” she said.
The Garfield County commissioners moved to end a long-standing tiff with the city of Glenwood Springs Nov. 6. They agreed to accept a settlement to a lawsuit over money the city collects for its Downtown Development Authority (DDA).In 2002, Garfield County and Colorado Mountain College sued the city over its tax increment financing (TIF) plan for the DDA. TIF is a method used to help pay for the efforts of urban renewal and downtown development authorities. Under the plan, the city will collect all new tax revenues created by growth in the property tax base downtown over 25 years. CMC and the county argued that TIF would deprive them of nearly $4 million in tax revenues.The city won a summary judgment in the case in district court in 2003. A state appeals court again sided with the city in 2005, agreeing the county and college had no legal standing to sue, and in August 2005 the Colorado Supreme Court refused to hear the county and college’s appeal of the case.The city and county continued to negotiate over the release of approximately $600,000 held by the county treasurer that has been generated by the TIF funding since the court fight started.County Commissioner John Martin cast the only vote against releasing the money, saying while he agreed the case should be resolved, the county would not receive any accounting for where the DDA will spend the money.”The stipulation agreement we signed off on, we didn’t agree with the outcome, but we wanted to move on,” said Commissioner Trési Houpt.
A key liaison position between Garfield County, the oil and gas industry and citizens has taken a new turn. Since losing three oil and gas liaisons in as many years, the county commissioners officially took a step Nov. 6 that they hope will keep someone in the job. In a memo to the commissioners, acting oil and gas liaison Jesse Smith outlined two scenarios for the liaison position, both of which include a field technician to be shared by the liaison and the environmental health manager’s office. The first scenario involved hiring an oil and gas liaison, a field technician and a clerical support person. The second scenario, which the commissioners voted to adopt Monday, calls for a “semi-professional” community support representative to work under the liaison to field complaint calls from citizens and refer them to the appropriate agency or county department. No clerical support would be provided by the county. The community representative will work under Smith for a year with the possibility of taking over from him as oil and gas liaison after a year of training.
A new half-million-dollar skateboard park is among the goals outlined in a proposed parks and recreation master plan for Glenwood Springs.Some other key components of the recently unveiled plan include improving trail connectivity and finishing some of the projects already started, such as completing the Community Center landscape plan.The plan lays out capital improvement projects totaling $1.34 million and suggests exploring a new parks and recreation tax as one means of helping fund needs.Other funding ideas include pursuing grants, creating volunteer opportunities and establishing a nonprofit parks and recreation foundation.Karon Badalamenti, with the GreenPlay consulting firm, presented the master plan to City Council Nov. 2. Council planned to take a closer look at the plan before considering its adoption.The city Parks and Recreation Commission has endorsed it.”We unanimously think it’s a great plan, and we encourage you to adopt it,” said commission chairperson Susan Cashel.
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Garfield Public Health vaccine clinic adding walk-in option; mobile vax unit visiting area next week
A recent drop in scheduled appointments for people seeking COVID-19 vaccines has prompted a shift to a walk-in format for Garfield County Public Health vaccine clinics going forward.