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Week in Review

from staff reportsGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Garfield County Clerk and Recorder Jean Alberico is hoping a solution for Colorado’s voting machine problems will be addressed when the state legislature convenes in January.Alberico said Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman presented some possible solutions to the voting machine problems earlier in December. But she added that it will be the legislature that will probably make the final call about how voters are going to cast their ballots in next year’s presidential election.The legislature convenes for the start of its regular session on Jan. 9.Coffman announced earlier this month that he was decertifying three electronic voting machines across the state based on accuracy and security problems. He required the companies to reapply for certification. Several county clerks and recorders are looking into the possibility of an all-mail ballot election for 2008, Alberico said. During a Joint Budget Committee meeting on Dec. 21, clerks from other counties said they didn’t have enough money to purchase new voting machines, and if they did, there wouldn’t be enough time to teach workers how to use them.

MARBLE – The Colorado Supreme Court could soon issue a ruling about the Marble Town Board that sets a precedent for how government bodies must do business under the state’s Sunshine Laws.Specifically at issue is what exactly must be posted on agendas for public meetings. In 2004, a group of four citizens accused the Marble Town Board of violating open meeting laws by allegedly failing to post an adequate description of an agenda item. To some people’s dissatisfaction, a vote was cast not to locate a permanent structure in a town park.The structure would have included a full-sized replica of the Tomb of the Unknowns monument, which is in the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The original, obtained from the Yule Marble Quarry near Marble, has cracked and the idea was raised of replacing it. Two replicas were to be created in case one cracked while being transported. If it didn’t, some thought it would be a good idea to locate the extra replica in the Mill Site Park as a historic attraction.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Two more accused of being accomplices in the shooting of a Colorado State Patrol trooper pleaded not guilty earlier in December.Police believe Steven Appl shot CSP Trooper Brian Koch during a traffic stop near Silt in October 2006. Koch survived due to a bulletproof vest but suffered serious injuries. Appl later shot himself to death at a police checkpoint and three people suspected of aiding Appl were arrested after the incident.Nichole Denise Brownell, 40, and Wayne Daniel Hangs, 45, entered not guilty pleas in 9th Judicial District Court Friday. Hangs was charged with being an accessory to a crime and tampering with evidence. Brownell was charged with the same crimes plus marijuana charges.Cori Elizabeth Graham, 28, also charged in connection with the case, previously pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence, obstructing a peace officer and two counts of being an accessory to a crime.



GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A casual observer looking at a hillside at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park sees only that – a hillside.Park owner Steve Beckley stares at the same hillside as if with X-ray vision, peering inside Iron Mountain, and also into the future.Just across from the Canyon Flyer alpine coaster attraction, a surveying stake sits up the hill. Underground, 27 feet below the stake, lies the “Penalty Box,” one of several rooms in the cave system that Beckley hopes one day to make accessible to the general public.”So you could have a new cave tour, starting digging right here,” Beckley says, pointing to the slope on a recent Sunday afternoon.His hope is to build a tunnel that eventually could be anywhere from 150 to 300 feet in length and allow for family tours to several new rooms in Glenwood Caverns. The current family tour, leading to the giant and formation-filled rooms of King’s Row and the Barn, is at capacity all summer, drawing more than 700 people a day. Being able to offer a new tour would be a big way of drawing back previous visitors to what has grown since its opening in 1999 into one of the top attractions in the tourist town of Glenwood Springs.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – The wheels on the bus keep going round and round while Ride Glenwood’s ridership numbers keep surging higher and higher.Numbers from the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority show ridership coming in at another record year. Ridership for 2007 through November was 444,420.”When we’re taking almost a half-million vehicle rides off of Grand Avenue because of Ride Glenwood, that’s pretty significant,” said Chris McGovern.McGovern is on the city’s Transportation Commission and until recently served as a city councilor.Glenwood’s bus service has seen huge increases in ridership since 2005, when the City Council made changes including dropping bus fares and focusing the coverage area on core parts of town.The 2007 ridership – already 444,420 through November – will be up almost 30 percent from 2006, which was up 70 percent from 2005, which was up 48 percent from the 2004 total of 150,878 riders.


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