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Week in Review

Glenwood is struggling with a pigeon problem.

The birds have flocked to Glenwood Springs, and pedestrians in certain places are wise to keep their eyes to the skies.

Seventh Street under the Grand Avenue Bridge would be one such place, for anyone wanting to steer clear of pigeon plop.



“It’s kind of like I look up first before I go through there to see if there’s any birds up there, because you take your chances when you go through there,” said city manager Jeff Hecksel.

Besides roosting in public places, the birds are ruffling the feathers of some hotel and restaurant operators.



“They’re on my rooftop now,” Sean Cronin, manager of the Quality Inn in West Glenwood, said last week.

The pigeon problem hasn’t escaped the notice of City Council member Dave Johnson, who brought it up at a recent council meeting. Hecksel said the city is looking into installing tack strips in places where pigeons perch.

Dave Mahosky, regional sales and service representative for Terminix Pest Control, said he stays at the Quality Inn and Cronin asked if his company deals with pigeon problems. He said the owner of the local franchise shied away from taking on the job, but suggested putting up pigeon spikes. Mahosky likes that environmentally friendly approach.

After having no luck with tack strips, Cronin spent $1,000 on the specially designed spikes, which are about five inches long and mounted to a plastic platform. Cronin said the spikes aren’t sharp.

Dave Clark, a board member of the Roaring Fork Audubon Society, sees that as less of an issue than the growth in the number of people in the area. That has resulted in increases in birds that adapt to humans and bird feeders, and a decrease in those reliant on native vegetation.

He said one challenge in dealing with pest birds is avoiding disturbing birds that receive federal protection.

Hecksel said it’s a violation of city ordinance to feed pigeons. But he knows of one elderly woman downtown who does so nonetheless.

CANYON CREEK ” The Colorado State Patrol is investigating an accident that killed a Glenwood Springs man Wednesday afternoon on Interstate 70, snarling traffic for hours.

The crash occurred at about 4:30 p.m. on the eastbound lanes of Interstate 70, about a mile west of the Canyon Creek exit.

Glenwood resident Roger Ruiz’s Nissan Maxima stopped in the middle of the right eastbound lane, causing a semi-truck to rear-end Ruiz’s car and force it into the guardrail, crushing the car.

The truck plowed through the guardrail and came to a rest with the cab dangling precariously over the Colorado River.

Ruiz, 34, was pronounced dead at the scene. The truck driver, Ruben Aguirre, 45, of Texas, was not injured.

It was unknown Thursday what caused Ruiz’s vehicle to stop in the middle of the road.

State Patrol Captain Rich Duran said Thursday Aguirre has not yet been cited and didn’t know if he would be.

The White River National Forest is seeking to recruit volunteer rangers this summer to chat up trail trekkers, take stock of human impacts on the backcountry and to encourage the unwise from doing something they may regret.

With the help of the Forest Conservancy, the WRNF is looking for some folks to don Forest Service uniforms to hike backcountry trails and hang out at trailheads mostly on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District and at Hanging Lake, providing a Forest Service presence in the backcountry.

“We just walk around and talk to people face to face,” said Marcia Johnson, Forest Conservancy executive director. “Volunteer rangers basically patrol the trail and educate the visitors along the trail about outdoor ethics, Leave No Trace, forest rules and regulations. We’re not policemen, we’re educators.”

This will be the second summer volunteers have patrolled the Hanging Lake Trail, and the fourth summer they have patrolled other areas in the WRNF. Last summer, the conservancy, which was formed in 2001 to protect and preserve the WRNF, had 40 active volunteers patrolling 30 of the 45 trails on the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District, Johnson said.

Ross Talbott can become nostalgic talking about the colorful past of the church building at 1116 Cooper Ave. in Glenwood Springs.

But he and fellow Baptists who once worshiped there couldn’t see much of a future for a building dating back to an era when congregations were much smaller and many walked rather than drove to Sunday services.

The structure is tucked in on a residential street, leaving little room for expansion or parking.

Talbott’s congregation now holds services at the Riverside School in New Castle. The New Hope Church has probably 500 members and about 300 in attendance on a given Sunday, he said. The church rented the Glenwood location to Glenwood Springs Baptist Church, and offered to sell it to Glenwood Baptist, but that church had the same concerns about the facility’s limitations.

Instead, the property was sold to a group of buyers who are converting the church building for residential use.

Elsewhere in Glenwood Springs, other former church buildings also are being sold for other purposes.

When St. Stephen’s Catholic Church moved to a new, larger building in town, it sold its downtown Grand Avenue location to Catholic Charities, which is remodeling it for use by several nonprofit agencies.

On South Grand Avenue, EnviroTextiles is moving into the former Immanuel Baptist Church. The church relocated to Rifle.

On Blake Avenue downtown, a Nazarene congregation is trying to sell its small church building and has moved to West Glenwood, said Amy Luetke, the real estate agent working on the sale. As with other local older church properties, parking and size limits restrict the abilities of other congregations to use the site, although one small church has expressed some interest in it, she said.

Luetke said most people are just interested in redevelopment of the whole property of old church buildings, and she thinks the high value of real estate downtown is also a factor in what is happening to them.

While there is currently a lot of activity involving outdated Glenwood churches, such activity isn’t new. Even the old Catholic church supplanted a previously existing one. The Episcopal church across from Sayre Park used to be located downtown by the Glenwood Springs Branch Library.


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