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Week in Review

Staff ReportsGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

NEW CASTLE The Garfield County All Hazards Response Team broke down Tom Shifletts door Friday night and, following a court order, took his son for medical treatment. The doctors recommendation: Take Tylenol and apply ice to the bruises. The boy was back home a few hours later.Authorities said they had reason to believe Shiflett mistreated his 11-year-old son, Jon, by failing to provide him proper medical care for a head injury. But Shiflett says his privacy and his rights were invaded, and that he has the right and the skill to treat his son himself. Shiflett, 62, said he served as a medic in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive.Who in the world puts a stipulation on how adequate a person is to care for an injury? Shiflett asked.Speaking about the incident from his home in the Apple Tree Park on Monday, Shiflett was very upset. Perhaps most offensive, Shiflett said, was that law enforcement didnt announce there was a warrant before breaking into his home south of New Castle.I would have let them in, he said. It was traumatic to my children, and its unnecessary.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS Drafting new rules for oil and gas development can be stale, bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo for some.But for oil and gas companies in Colorado, the ongoing process to update the states current rules is anything but that. In fact, some energy officials say it is the most pressing issue facing the industry in Colorado.This is the No. 1 issue for the industry in the state, said Meg Collins, president of the Colorado Oil & Gas Association.Some in the industry have criticized the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for not allowing industry experts to bring technical expertise to the table when the agency drafted its initial pre-draft rulemaking proposal this fall. The industry also has criticized the proposed rules they have seen so far as a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies such as EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) and Williams Production RMT have said the new rules could delay the issuing of permits by up to seven months, put contracts with surface and mineral owners into jeopardy and create uncertainty for companies. The COGCC, in late November, issued its initial proposal for rules the agency may implement as it moves forward with implementing House bills 1298 and 1341. The 2006 legislation expanded the focus of the COGCC to consider public health and wildlife impacts and require use of best management practices to minimize harm from oil-and-gas development.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS City officials gave the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association glowing praise before awarding it a contract last week for 2009s tourism promotion funds.Mayor Bruce Christensen said, I think the tourism portion of the chamber has done a remarkable job in the past couple of years, especially since (vice president of tourism and marketing Kate Collins) has been here, and the whole organization has shown a ratcheting-up of professionalism.The city considered putting the contract out to bid after some city officials questioned the chambers spending of contract money in 2005. The chamber has held the contract for more than 20 years, and its never been put out to bid.The amount of the 2007 contract was $600,000 and the 2008 contract is $725,000. Funding comes mostly from accommodations tax revenues.



GARFIELD COUNTY The real estate market in Garfield County can be hard to decipher when looking at the numbers.Usually a decline in total transactions would mean a decline in total dollar volume, but that hasnt been the case in Garfield County.Through November 2007, Garfield County saw a decrease in transactions of 0.53 percent compared to 2006, but an increase in total dollar volume of 17 percent. The county also reached a new record of $1.09 billion in total dollar volume for the year not including December transactions higher than the $1.04 billion reached in 2006 for the entire year.A market analysis report from Land Title Guarantee Co. in Glenwood Springs shows a declining trend in total property transactions from August to November 2007 compared to the same time for 2006. August and September recorded a 21 percent decrease, October bounced back with only an 11 percent drop, but then came November, with a 31 percent decrease over November 2006.However, this is not a point of concern, according to Tonya Nieslanik, co-owner and broker with Vicki Lee Green Realtors in Glenwood Springs.Its typical for the winter season to be slower, Nieslanik said. But this fall was slower than the past two or three years.

SILT With the ending of an era, another one begins.Just two weeks earlier, in the still town of Silt, students at Roy Moore Elementary School packed their bags and left the school for the last time. They went on holiday break and enjoyed the time away from school but they knew what to expect when they had to go back to school today.The students of Roy Moore are now the students of the newest addition to the Garfield School District Re-2, Cactus Valley Elementary. Today is the first day of classes for the students, and its a first day of school for the teachers and staff as well.Its all new and fun, said Cactus Valley principal Lisa Whitmore. Its exciting.Tuesday, the school was open for the first time to parents and students of Cactus Valley. It was an open house setting, with parents seeing how bond money was used and where their students are going to learn. But for the kids it was like another holiday gift.What do you think? Whitmore asked a dark-haired girl as she entered the library.Its big, the little girl answered, her eyes stuck wide open in amazement.



GLENWOOD SPRINGS An environmental organization says state data about oil and gas company wastewater ponds in western Colorado shows the ponds are posing greater risks to human health than previously thought.Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, a Denver-based nonprofit, said data collected by the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division shows wastewater evaporation ponds in places such as Garfield County are major sources of air pollution and pose greater threats to human health than previously reported, the group said in a statement. Oil and gas evaporation ponds are putting communities in western Colorado at an ever-increasing risk of illness, said Jeremy Nichols, director of the organization, in a prepared statement. This latest data confirms what many have believed from the start: that evaporation ponds are major sources of toxic air pollution.The data was gathered after violations of clean air laws were reported at several evaporation ponds, according to the group.Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action, citing the states data, said Williams Production RMT reported that as much as 268 tons of hydrocarbons per year were released at its Grand Valley Facility in Garfield County or nearly 10 times the amount previously thought. The group also said that Williams Rulison facility released 88 tons per year of hazardous air pollutants.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS The skiers and the snowboarders love it.But several days of falling, fluffy white stuff have caused difficulties for area commuters, and city and county agencies charged with keeping the roads clear. Gary Haas, 39, who lives in Glenwood Springs, said he has had been having difficulty getting out his neighborhood because of all the snow and infrequent snowplowing in the area.The main streets in (Glenwood) are good, but the side streets are poor, he said while sitting in his car and next to the citys fire station on Cooper Street in Glenwood. I am hoping that when I get home, theyve been through with the snowplows.Robin Millyard, the public works director for the city of Glenwood, said snowfall through the week and what fell on Friday which he said was not forecast led him to find city staff to work overtime to catch up on removing snow from areas of the city this weekend. He said some crews have been coming in at 4 a.m. to clear city roads and the work has been stretching them thin.But thats our job, Millyard said.He said it was difficult to determine how much snow removal might cost because the citys fiscal year just began Jan. 1. The city has a hierarchy to its snow removal process, Millyard said. Commercial, business and school routes are cleared first, with residential areas at the bottom of the order, he said.


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