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Week in Review

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” Turnout for party caucuses was heavy Tuesday night in Garfield County, as Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney claimed victory among county caucus voters.

The Garfield County Republicans were the first to report their numbers. Across the county, party faithful cast 572 ballots, giving Romney 317 votes of those votes or 55 percent of the total. John McCain was second with 113, and Mike Huckabee was third with 86. Following in fourth was Ron Paul, who received 51 votes.

Although Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson have both dropped out of the race, Giuliani received one vote and Thompson took in another four votes from county voters.



“Some folks just don’t give up,” said Milt Blakey, chair of the Garfield County Republicans, who reported his local party’s numbers to the state party.

County Democrats, in their presidential preference polls, gave Obama a huge victory. He received 675 caucus votes ” or about 71 percent of the 947 raw votes cast Tuesday night.



Hillary Clinton was second with 249 votes, which equaled 26 percent of the county Democratic caucus votes. Edwards, who has dropped out of the race, was third with 13 votes. Another 10 people were uncommitted.

“We have never had anything come close to those kinds of numbers,” Sands said. “We have never had caucus this size before.”

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” An emergency stay of removal motion filed on behalf of Henry Akim Gama was approved Thursday by the Immigration board of appeals.

This development ensures that Gama will remain in the country until the board of appeals makes a decision regarding his deportation case.

“It’s an uphill battle but this is a change in his legal status,” said Gama’s attorney, Mark Barr, of Lichter and Associates in Denver. “It’s not a big win but it gives him legal protection here where before he could have been put on a plane and sent back any day.”

The stay of removal request was filed in December and Barr mentioned that these requests are not often granted on frivolous appeals and is an indication of a strong appeal in Gama’s case.

Gama was arrested Sept. 11, 2007, after missing an August 2006 court date regarding his application for asylum. He has been awaiting a decision in the case for nearly five months. Barr said he intends on submitting a parole request and is hopeful that the court of appeals will grant one.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” There is no such thing as a “geothermal mantle” just below the ground that could be easily damaged and draw down flows at the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.

That was a key point in CDOT’s presentation to the City Council Thursday. CDOT shared its estimation of geothermal flows with the city after the Hot Springs Lodge and Pool asked the city in November to draft an ordinance restricting excavation in Glenwood for fear it could harm flows to hot springs.

Pool officials began a letter to the city about the ordinance by mentioning that the former Mid-Continent property is under contract for sale and saying CDOT plans to build an office building near there, also close to CDOT’s current facility.

“In some letters in 2007, they talked about nicking the geothermal mantle, which seems like it could be misleading or confusing,” said Mark Levorsen, a hydrogeologist for the URS Corporation. “What I believe they’re referring to is travertine deposits.”

Levorsen worked on the CDOT team to study geothermal flows. He said travertine is formed at the surface from discharge of mineralized groundwater from hot springs. It is a hard layer with very low permeability, he said.

But Levorsen said travertine deposits are spotty and aren’t very good confining layers over distance.

NEW CASTLE ” The Bureau of Land Management plans to burn about 25 slash piles northeast of the Canyon Creek subdivision this month.

Federal fire crews from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit in the fall created an 11-acre defensible space buffer on BLM lands on the east side of the community by thinning trees and removing low branches that can carry a fire into the canopy.

“This 11-acre buffer will increase public and firefighter safety by slowing any wildfires advancing towards homes in the area,” said Jamie Connell, Glenwood Springs BLM field manager, in a news release. “This fire break also reduces the risk of a wildfire burning from public land onto private land.”

The New Castle Fire burned about 1,240 acres in June and forced the evacuation of about 90 residences, calling attention to fire danger in the area.

Crews plan to burn the piles when wind and smoke dispersal will affect the subdivision least. Some drift smoke could impact homeowners for a short period of time. Anyone with health conditions that may be affected by short periods of smoke should contact Ody Anderson, the project leader, at 947-2800.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS ” The first phase of a long-term goal to build a trail from Glenwood Springs to the Mesa-Garfield county line via Interstate 70 was officially inaugurated Tuesday.

A group of about 11 people ” which included Garfield County commissioners John Martin and Tresi Houpt and county, city and state personnel ” broke ground on the new 650-foot South Canyon Trail in West Glenwood Springs.

It is a humble beginning for an ambitious trail out of Glenwood Springs and across much of Garfield County, said Larry Dragon, executive director of the Lower Valley Trails Group.

“This is a first step in a dream that is going to be the Lower Valley (LoVa) trail,” Dragon said. “The LoVa trail eventually will be a 47-mile trail starting from right here and heading 47 miles to the west all the way to the Mesa County line.”

One of the biggest goals for the project is to bring the trail out five miles to Canyon Creek so that people who want to commute on bikes from the west of Glenwood Springs don’t have to deal with Interstate 70 traffic, Dragon said.

“There is no alternative road or trail,” Dragon said.


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