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Week in Review

As the crowd chants transformed from “Western Slope” to “golden ball,” it all started sinking in.For the first time in the history of the school, the Grand Valley Cardinals were finally champions.After pulling off upsets in the Great Eight and Final Four, the Cardinals boys basketball team defeated Burlington 84-75 to win the Class 2A state title on Saturday at the Pueblo Event Center.”Praise God. It is a dream come true, really,” said senior Luke Braby, who scored 16 points in the win. “It’s my last game, and I am going out on top. The fab five, the seniors (Braby, Sam McKinley, Mitch Belden, Danny Manzanares and Richard Gallegos), the team – we did it. I feel like we shocked the world. We put Grand Valley on the map.”With a crowd of white cheering in the background, the players and head coach Scott Kiburis hugged and celebrated before, during and after the golden ball trophy presentation.”Our bench just loved (when the crowd was yelling “Western Slope”). We feel like we are underrepresented in the sense that people don’t give us enough attention,” Kiburis said. “They think (Western Slope teams) shouldn’t be in the tournament, or have two teams in the tournament (Meeker was the other WSL team at state). But it feels good, for the community, the school, the Western Slope and 2A basketball. We are excited about it.”Grand Valley fans’ chants continued long after the game was over, as the crowd stood outside the locker room and yelled “Cardinals, Cardinals, Cardinals…””When we set out, we said we want to come back with that gold ball and we did it,” Braby said. “We told the bus driver we were going to have a little more hardware coming home and we got it.”

A two-year-old proposal to building a housing development on two former Four Mile Road ranches will undergo its first Garfield County planning hearing in April.The Reserve at Elk Meadows development would include 189 homes that would be built on the Bershenyi and Martino ranches.It is scheduled to be heard by the Garfield County Planning Commission at 6:30 p.m. April 11.In their application, the Illinois-based developers say the project would “create a rural residential community that is compatible with other residential land use patterns in the Four Mile Creek corridor.”The Bershenyi Ranch consists of about 1,500 acres, and the Martino ranch totals around 100 acres.Developers are asking the county to amend the county’s comprehensive plan from low-density to medium- and high-density residential for the development site. They also are seeking rezoning of 505 acres to accommodate the project, and subdivision of a little more than 600 acres. They are proposing lots ranging from 12,600 square feet to more than 30,000 square feet in size, with house sizes ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 square feet.The county also requires such projects to provide an affordable housing component amounting to 10 percent of the total units. The developers say in their application that because the site is a few miles from commercial and social services and public transportation, it is “not a desirable location for affordable housing units.” As a result, it is proposing to comply with the requirement offsite, as the county allows in such cases. Developers want to build the units in Glenwood or another area community.They hope to dedicate a 960-acre “mountain park” on the Bershenyi Ranch to a public or private entity that would open it for public, nonmotorized use.That use could include seasonal limitations for wildlife protection if recommended by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.”Even with sensitive consideration for wildlife, the mountain park will provide an enormous recreational resource that is readily accessible to residents in the Four Mile corridor and Glenwood Springs,” they say in their application.

Vandals sprayed “God is Dead” and a pentagram in red paint at a church in Glenwood Springs Friday night, when several cars also were broken into in the same neighborhood.Police chief Terry Wilson said it is a “distinct possibility” the same people may be responsible for both the spray painting and break-ins.The vandalism is the latest of more than a half-dozen incidents that reportedly have occurred at the new church building since St. Stephen’s moved there from downtown about three and a half years ago. Last May, a fountain at the church was knocked over and broken, causing several thousand dollars in damage.On Friday night, vandals wrote “God is Dead” on the church doors, marked the occult pentagram symbol on a coat of arms etched in concrete and sprayed the face of a statue of Mary red.The paint has since been removed.Wilson said at least four vehicles were broken into within a few blocks of the church the same night, at least one by force, and a few items were reported missing. In the case of two vehicles targeted on the 1700 block of Bennett Avenue, items had been spread around but only some change was taken and a stereo was left on a seat, suggesting the culprits may have been spooked and left in a hurry, Wilson said.Wilson found the vandalism at the church disturbing.”To me that’s a really nasty thing to do. To go to someone’s place of worship and do something like that is really wrong,” he said. “It begs the question: Parents, do you know where your children are?”



For the second year in a row, rates are going up for Glenwood Springs water and sewer customers.City Council on Thursday increased rates as part of a multi-year plan to bring them in line with the city’s cost for providing those services.Council soon may be looking at raising electric rates for the same reason.For now, it decided to raise water rates by 10 percent and sewer rates by 20 percent – the same amounts it boosted those rates last year. The rate changes take effect in April.Water customers will be charged $8.47 a month, along with $1.45 per thousand gallons for the first 5,500 gallons, with higher consumption rates for higher usages.City residents will pay a monthly minimum bill of $25.56 for sewer, up from $21.30, also with higher rates for higher usage.City manager Jeff Hecksel said an electrical system rate study has been completed. He’s anticipating the city may implement a small increase in the electricity rate, with no immediate need for further increases.The electrical system has produced surpluses over the years and hasn’t required rate increases, but Hecksel said those surpluses are diminishing. The city isn’t trying to generate surpluses in its utilities, but simply wants them to break even, he said.The water and sewer rate hikes have been aimed at making those utilities pay their own way rather than continue to rely on city sales tax revenues as well. Hecksel said more rate increases are planned in future years, although the plan will be reassessed each year to make sure they are warranted.A consultant last year recommended 10 percent water rate hikes from 2006-08, no rate hikes the next two years, and then possibly another 10 percent increase in 2012. It suggested 20 percent annual increases in sewer rates through 2010, with 15 percent increases the following two years.

A lender on Tuesday withdrew a foreclosure action against Glenwood Springs car dealer Ron Esch.Esch’s attorney and Falcon Financial have resolved their differences over the loan, said Esch’s attorney, Cynthia Tester of Snowmass Village. Those differences also had resulted in Esch suing Falcon Financial, a Delaware corporation.The parties had been in a dispute over terms of a loan of about $10 million issued in 2000.Falcon Financial had demanded a $3.5 million payment if Esch paid off the loan early. He maintained he had received repeated verbal promises that no prepayment would apply, and that the loan documents were changed without his consent.Falcon contended that the terms of the loan were spelled out in loan documents, and Esch also was barred by statutes of limitations from making claims about a loan issued more than six years ago.A foreclosure auction on Esch’s dealership properties, at 130 Center Drive in West Glenwood, and 2718 and 2602 South Glen Ave., that first had been planned for last September had been postponed numerous times since then as the parties sought to reach an agreement. Bob Slade, deputy public trustee for Garfield County, said the auction had been scheduled for today but was called off on Tuesday for good when HSBC, based in New York City, withdrew the foreclosure action.


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