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  • Sections: News Published

    Local hemp proponents keep eyes on the prize

    Local advocates for creating a hemp industry in Colorado are actively pursuing their goal, including the creation of a year-long schedule of activities for local supporters throughout 2015, and plans to support a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate on Jan. 8 that would legalize the cultivation of hemp for farmers across the country. Hemp, the non-intoxicating cousin to the marijuana plant, was legalized by Amendment 64 to the Colorado Constitution, which was passed by voters statewide in 2012, and state bureaucrats have been working on a framework to enable cultivation and use of the plant ever since. A total of 14 states around the U.S. have passed similar legislation, aimed at creating a legal outlook that hemp is distinct from marijuana and that its cultivation should be again permitted as part of the nation’s industrial output. News organizations around the state have carried stories about the difficulties inherent in putting together a hemp industry, starting with a definitional division in the state’s regulations between hemp fields for research and development (R&D), and fields intended for commercial applications. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Police put down injured mountain lion

    Carbondale police shot and killed a diseased mountain lion on Jan. 24, after the animal had been spotted lying by the Crystal River under the north bridge along North Bridge Drive in the River Valley Ranch subdivision. No one other than the lion was hurt in the incident, which occurred at 2:40 p.m. According to a statement from Carbondale Police Chief Gene Schilling, the lion was “a very sick cat” and was not able to move under its own power. “It was a tom cat about 1-2 years old,” said the statement from the chief. “It had mange and was very malnourished. The cat had sores all over its body.” The statement reported that the cat did not move even though police officers were standing on the bridge “only 15 feet away” from the lion’s location. “There was a possibility that the cat had been hit by a vehicle,” the police statement continued, “however, that was not the contributing factor of its condition.” Police contacted the Colorado Parks & Wildlife division, and were instructed to shoot the animal and put it out of its misery. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Fire district tight-lipped on master plan proposals

    The leaders of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District will meet on Jan. 28, in a public session, to decide which of four firms should be hired to write up the district’s 2015 master plan, which is intended to guide the district’s operations for the coming decade. The meeting will feature on-site interviews with three of the four firms that submitted proposals in response to the district’s Nov. 26, 2014 request for proposals and bids. A fourth firm will be interviewed by telephone. In interviews with The Sopris Sun leading up to the Jan. 28 meeting, however, district officials have declined to reveal how much the four firms are estimating their work will cost. Officials have stated that the district has an obligation to protect any “proprietary information” contained in the bids, including the bottom-line, estimated overall price tag for the work. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Police puzzled over shot car

    Carbondale police are puzzling over a Jan. 14 incident in which someone, or perhaps more than one person, shot 10 holes into a parked car on Capitol Avenue between 3rd and 2nd streets, just north of the Third Street Center. No one was injured, other than the car, police reported. The incident happened at about 2 a.m., according to police, and was heard by several nearby residents, although police did not officially learn of the shooting until about 10:30 a.m., that morning. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Valley Visual hits 35, 60 artists respond

    Participating artists in the 35th annual Valley Visual Art Show have dropped off their artwork at the Launchpad, with an opening night reception slated for 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 23. The Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities show features the work of 60 Roaring Fork Valley artists, working in oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, mono prints, clay prints, multi-media, sculpture and more. “This is one of the longest outstanding community art shows committed to featuring local artists,” said CCAH spokeswoman Deborah Colley. “Valley Visual began in 1980 as a venue for local artists to share their artwork with the public. The show still provides this opportunity, especially for artists new to the area and budding artists, but it has also become both a salute to the wide variety of artistic talents in our area and a time to bring the artist community together. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    CRES principal resigns, EL decision put on hold

    Heather Cremeans, principal of Crystal River Elementary School, announced her decision to resign at the end of the current school year. In a letter to sent to community members last Friday, Superintendent Diana Sirko and Chief Academic Officer Rob Stein stated, “We are thankful for Heather’s hard work and dedication to our students during her two years as principal and we wish her all the best in her transition to new opportunities. As Heather has expressed her intentions to finish the year strong, we still have plenty of time to plan for celebrations and goodbyes.” Cremeans began her tenure as principal of CRES in the fall of 2013. In an e-mail, she told The Sopris Sun “I am excited about the RFSD Strategic plan and look forward to CRES bringing it to fruition. I appreciate the staff and parents who have supported my efforts to make CRES the best it can be.” read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Town nails CDOT for removing school zone signs

    Carbondale officials, angered and dismayed over potential hazards to school kids walking across Highway 133, on Tuesday convinced the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) to reinstall “school zones” signs and flashing beacons near the intersections of Highway 133 and two major cross streets near schools, at least for now. But the state agency will take another look at the issue come spring, and may take them down again unless it feels the signs and beacons are warranted by potential for accidents involving children crossing the highway, said Town Manager Jay Harrington. The signs and flashing lights cautioned motorists to slow down from 40 miles per hour, the speed limit just north of the zone, to 25 MPH along the stretch of highway from just south of Hendrick Drive to the intersection at Snowmass Drive, an area close to several schools and regularly crossed by numerous school-aged children. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Libraries look to Boulder for first-ever gun policy

    The idea of carrying guns into a public library may not be at the top of local readers’ list of things to do, but the possibilities underlying that idea will be on the agenda of the Garfield County Library board when it meets on Feb. 5 in Carbondale, according to the library district’s director, Amelia Shelley. According to Library Board of Directors at-large member Bill Lamont of Carbondale, the issue was discussed at a board meeting last week, and Shelley was directed to write up a proposed policy statement much like the one adopted by the Boulder Public Library Commission in 2012. Prior to that adoption, the Boulder library prohibited the possession of guns in the library facilities except for library security officers and police. The library board in Boulder, according to an account in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper, adopted a new policy that simply states, “No person may bring or possess a weapon, except as expressly permitted by state law.” State law, Shelley told The Sopris Sun, does allow holders of concealed-carry permits to possess guns in many public places, including libraries. According to the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, 2,619 concealed-carry permits have been issued in Garfield County since carrying concealed weapons became legal in Colorado in 2003. Of that number, 1,507 are active, 267 have expired and 792 are open for renewal, the sheriff’s office reported this week. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Rep. Bob Rankin pushing two bills in legislative session

    Fresh from his re-election victory last November, and set to dive into the 70th session of the Colorado General Assembly this week, Colorado Rep. Bob Rankin (R-Carbondale) already had been hard at work for more than two months in his new role as a member of the bi-partisan Joint Budget Committee (JBC), which oversees the state’s $26.9 billion annual budget. “It’s really good to have a person from the Western Slope on that committee,” Rankin told The Sopris Sun during an interview on Jan. 3 in Carbondale, explaining that while he is the sole Western Slope member on the JBC, his position give him the chance to “ask questions about things that might affect us over here,” issues that might not be raised or addressed by representatives from districts in eastern Colorado. Rankin, 72, says of himself on his Facebook page, “I am a constitutional and fiscal conservative who believes in limited government, less regulation and support of free market capitalism.” His district includes Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties in northwest Colorado. read more →
  • Sections: News Published

    Some RFTA riders riled over crowded 133 lot

    Area bus riders might be forgiven for being a little upset at the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority about the availability of parking spaces at the Carbondale Park & Ride lot, acknowledged the transit agency’s CEO Dan Blankenship recently. But, he promised, things will improve in the spring or summer. “We’re in the height of the busy season right now, and the lot’s overflowing,” said Blankenship in an interview in late December. But RFTA planners had been working on a solution, including the purchase of a lot next to the Park & Ride at a cost of $425,000 and making plans to expand the parking lot, plans that he had hoped would come to fruition before the end of 2014. But, he said, the agency got a nasty surprise when construction estimates for another Park & Ride expansion project in New Castle came in last fall at more than twice the $500,000 estimate. At that point, he said, he and his board were worried that RFTA was at the mercy of contractors who already had plenty of work, and who were putting high-premium prices in their estimates for anyone trying to get more work out of them. read more →