Week in Review
It took a jury just 30 minutes to find Hui Jun Mu not guilty of prostitution Wednesday.”Justice triumphs over prosecution, prejudice and publicity,” defense attorney Thomas Silverman said via telephone.Silverman had maintained there was never any real communication between an undercover officer and Jun Mu.”I pointed out all the inconsistencies in any kind of theory that Ms. Mu had done anything wrong,” Silverman said. “It was really clear through the labored efforts in the court room that communication was difficult.”In the two-day trial, 9th Judicial Deputy District Attorney Kate Brewer called an undercover officer and a nearby massage business owner to testify. The officer testified about the night in question and the business owner spoke of phone calls and other suspicions that led her to contact police.Defense attorney Thomas Silverman called Jun Mu herself, as well as the owner of the A1 Chinese Health Care Massage business and one of his investigators. The trial, originally expected to finish in a day, stretched into two full days in large part due to translation issues. Questions had to be translated into Mandarin Chinese and answers into English.
If high housing costs and lack of affordable housing weren’t enough to deter home buyers from attempting to break into Garfield County’s real estate market, qualifying for a home loan may now be the highest hurdle, right out of the gate.With the nation’s housing market in the tank and most of the country in a strong buyer’s market, lenders are tightening the purse strings on who gets qualified nowadays.”Basically what’s happening is the pool is being decreased,” said Bill Dillon, co-owner of Family Home Loans in Glenwood Springs. “The number of people that are qualifying today is shrinking.”A year ago where 50 people would qualify for a certain loan, today maybe only 40 of those same people would qualify for the same loan, Dillon said.”It’s the borrowers that are feeling the affects more than the lenders really,” he said.
A 9-year-old boy died in an auto accident on Highway 6 outside of New Castle Monday afternoon.The crash occurred when a white Chevy Tahoe driven by a 16-year-old Rifle girl attempted to pass another westbound truck in a no-passing zone and went out of control, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The Tahoe rolled down a steep embankment off the roadway, and the 9-year-old in the back seat was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to a state patrol news release.A passenger in the front seat, 18-year-old Alma Valencia of Washington, was wearing a seat belt, as was the driver. Maria Barrigan-Silva, 21, died the morning of Aug. 11 in a suspected drunken-driving accident in West Glenwood Springs.Glenwood Springs police charged the driver, Patricio Mellin-Tapia, 28, with DUI, vehicular homicide, driving with a revoked license, reckless driving and failure to provide immediate proof of insurance. “Essentially what we have from our initial investigation is that the vehicle was traveling east on Highway 6 Saturday morning just before 7 a.m. at an estimated speed of 86 miles per hour,” Glenwood Springs Police Chief Terry Wilson said.The speed limit in the area is 40 mph.The white 2000 Nissan Maxima began to lose control and skidded to the left across the westbound lane. It crashed into a cement retaining wall in the corner of the Oasis restaurant’s parking lot. The initial impact was on the front right corner, with a secondary impact on the right rear segment of the vehicle.”It rebounded off the wall and came to rest in the corner of the Oasis parking lot,” Wilson said.
As if the Silt Town Board did not have enough on its plate, a town trustee has been charged with felony harassment and stalking after allegedly following a woman home from a softball field outside of Glenwood Springs.Bobby Joel Hays, 49, was arrested at 10:26 p.m. on Aug. 9, for following the woman home from a softball game and allegedly blocking the entrance to her home on Ponderosa Drive, according to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office”She called 911 and we located his vehicle down the street and contacted him,” said Sheriff Lou Vallario. “He was asked what he was doing there and he said he was just driving around.”Hays has been a town trustee in Silt since April 2006.Vallario said the report indicated that the woman said Hays has been stalking her since 2000.
Three groups inched closer to completion of a trail system from Glenwood Springs and Carbondale to as far as Vail Pass, Grand Junction, Crested Butte and Aspen.”We could become to bike touring what Moab is to mountain biking,” said Dale Will of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails (POST).Garfield County commissioners promised $150,000 Monday in 2008 funding to be split evenly among three trail projects. POST, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) and the Lower Valley Trails Group (LOVA) will get $50,000 each from conservation trust money. LOVA has been working on funding a 2.3-mile trail project for a Glenwood Springs trail to South Canyon and hopes to make progress toward the goal by getting about 530 feet done.RFTA’s $50,000 share will aid completion of the Rio Grande Trail from County Road 114 – near the Thunder River Market – to 23rd Street in Glenwood Springs. That’s expected to be done this year. Also in the works is completion of the trail from Carbondale to County Road 114. RFTA has committed to complete that segment by 2010. With the paving of the segment connecting to Glenwood Springs, bicyclists would be able to pedal the length of the Roaring Fork Valley without riding on Highway 82.POST is working toward a five-mile segment of the Crystal Trail, which could eventually stretch from Carbondale to the summit of McClure pass, connecting with trails beyond. It asked for the $50,000 to help fund the segment and still needs at least $850,000 more.
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Located north of New Castle, the West Elk trail system is a popular winter playground for snowmobilers, Nordic skiers and snowshoers. West Elk Trails, Inc. grooms the cross country ski trails while the Rifle Snowmobile…