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Week in Review

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Crystal River Elementary School plans to move forward with implementing dual-language instruction in Fall 2007.The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Board of Education approved the proposal presented by a dual-language committee Wednesday.Administrators said it’s another option to boost student achievement for a school that has about a 79 percent Hispanic population and has struggled with segregation issues in the past. About 71 percent of Hispanic students at the school speak English fluently, according to RFSD records.”Our kids are making great growth,” CRES Principal Karen Olson said. “We think they can make better growth.”The plan is to add one dual-language class to kindergarten and one to first grade. The program seeks to integrate native English speakers and native Spanish speakers for both content and literacy in both languages. It would add to a Spanish literacy pilot program currently in place at CRES and could be expanded in the future if it proves to be successful.

A proposed housing development south of New Castle drew the ire of neighbors Wednesday but won a resounding nod of approval from the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission.The Rapids on the Colorado River has been on the county’s planning books since 1997 at various densities. The latest iteration, a proposal for 104 single-family homes clustered on cul-de-sacs around a central pond and playing fields, won approval for planned unit development zoning as well as its preliminary plan Tuesday night.The proposed subdivision is one mile east of the Apple Tree Mobile Home Park, on the south side of the Colorado River on County Road 335.Craig Schultz, who lives on County Road 335 near the property, said the site plan for the homes was too dense and did not fit in with the surrounding area.

Wednesday night, the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 Board of Education appointed Sonja Linman to fill departing board member Susan Hakanson’s term.Board President Michael Bair flipped a dime after the two 30- to 45-minute interviews as a joke indicating the toughness of the decision. “Right now we have two very strong candidates for the position,” he said.Linman expressed her thanks for the opportunity.”This is a privilege,” she said after being sworn in. “Thank you very much. I feel honored.”Board members said they felt Linman had more on-the-ground experience as a teacher and involvement with the school district.

Attorneys may be just a few months away from resolving a legal dispute that has resulted in foreclosure proceedings against Glenwood Springs car dealer Ron Esch.”We’re seeing a lot of positive movement toward the resolution of any dispute between the parties,” said Cynthia Tester, an attorney for Esch.J. Thomas Macdonald, a Denver attorney for Falcon Financial, was out of town and could not be reached for comment Tuesday. However, Garfield County deputy public trustee Bob Slade said he has received indications from attorneys that negotiations may be leading to the foreclosure action being withdrawn.Esch owns the local Chevrolet, Subaru, Honda and Nissan dealerships. In June, his Glenwood Automotive Group Land Management company sued Falcon Financial, a Delaware company, saying it misrepresented terms of a loan of about $10 million issued in 2000.Falcon Financial then foreclosed on Esch’s properties at 130 Center Drive in West Glenwood and 2718 and 2602 South Glen Ave.

A diverse group of agencies and nonprofit organizations is undertaking the first comprehensive watershed plan for the Roaring Fork Valley.The effort is being sponsored by the Ruedi Water and Power Authority, but is the result of two years of effort by entities such as The Nature Conservancy, Roaring Fork Conservancy and Colorado River Water Conservation District. They have been working together as a planning and information-sharing group called the Watershed Collaborative.An initial phase of the planning process entails creating a State of the Watershed Report. It will pull together information from several dozen studies and create a comprehensive picture of the watershed’s current condition, said Mark Fuller, executive director of the Ruedi Water and Power Authority.”The philosophy is we won’t be able to tell what we want to change until we know what we’ve got,” Fuller said.The authority has contracted with the Roaring Fork Conservancy to take the lead on the planning effort. The watershed report is scheduled to be completed in November, and the final plan a year later.


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