News in Review
January 3, 2014
Shooting in Gypsum
A 28-year-old woman from Aurora is accused of killing her 60-year-old adopted mother by shooting her multiple times in the back and leaving her body on Gypsum Creek Road Nov. 29. The victim, Penelope Cunningham, is also from Aurora. Police arrested Traci Cunningham in Lakewood on Saturday and she has been held in Eagle County on a $1 million bond. Court proceedings started Monday. If convicted of first degree murder, Traci Cunningham will be automatically sentenced to life without parole and could face the death penalty.
Beer and cheese pairing
On Friday, Crazy Mountain Brewing Company in Edwards will host a winter beer and cheese pairing at its tasting room. The event will pair five artisanal cheeses with five Crazy Mountain beers, including the winter seasonal styles. Tickets must be purchased in advance from Crazy Mountain’s tasting room in Edwards or by credit card over the phone at 970-926-3009. They are $15 per person.
The event runs from 5 to 7 p.m. Photography by Joseph Roybal will also be on display and you can meet Roybal starting at 5 p.m. He will give a talk about his photography experiences all over the world and have a Q&A session at 6 p.m. where guests can ask him photography questions. For more information about the beer and cheese pairing or the photography talk, call 970-926-3009.
‘America’s Got Talent’ auditions are Dec. 7
The hit NBC show “America’s Got Talent” is hosting auditions this Saturday in Denver and all ages and talent are welcome for the open casting call. The auditions are at the Colorado Convention Center at 700 14th Street in Denver. Those interested in auditioning should pre-register at http://www.americasgottalentauditions.com/. Every type of performer is welcome – last season’s competitors included musicians, dancers, magicians, contortionists, comedians, singers, jugglers, animal acts and everything in between.
Sunlight closes temporarily
After its official Nov. 27 opening, warm weather prompted Sunlight Mountain Resort to shut down the lifts for a few days, with the mountain set to reopen Friday.
Roundup River Ranch gets grant for shade structure
Roundup River Ranch in Gypsum hosted a dedication ceremony Wednesday for a shade structure built with help from a grant from the American Academy of Dermatology. Roundup River Ranch is a camp for children facing chronic and life-threatening illnesses and who are especially vulnerable to the intense mountain sun. The recently completed structure will serve to protect camp participants and allow campers to enjoy the outdoors, UV-exposure free. Roundup River Ranch board member John Gates supplemented the grant funds to ensure the shade structure provided the optimal level of coverage.
Counties face potential loss of PILT funds
A federal program that has pumped millions of dollars into the coffers of Eagle, Pitkin and Garfield counties for the last 37 years is threatened by belt tightening in Congress. The Payment In Lieu of Taxes, or PILT, program was started in 1976 to offset rural counties that have large amounts of non-taxable federal land within their boundaries. The federal government doesn’t pay county property taxes on national forests or lands managed by other agencies. About 1,900 counties in the U.S. have some amount of federal lands.
The law forcing mandatory funding of PILT expired this year, so the payments counties received in June would be the last if Congress doesn’t reauthorize the program, according to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, who is helping a bipartisan effort to get the program renewed. Tipton represents Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Aspen and Pitkin County. This year, Eagle County received $2.04 million in PILT funds, Garfield County received $2.83 million and Pitkin $1.26 million.
Solar farm moves forward
A proposal for a solar farm on 5 acres next to Interstate 70 east of Eagle moved forward Nov. 19 after Eagle County Commissioners granted a special use permit with several conditions. Arion Energy needs to start construction by Dec. 31 to qualify for an incentive from Holy Cross Energy.
Glenwood Springs Chamber study identifies consumer spending gaps
Glenwood Springs continues to be the retail sales hub of Garfield County, with tourists and shoppers from outside the county accounting for a large portion of those sales, according to the latest Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association TRENDS economic indicators report. Of interest to outlying communities, the report includes an assessment of so-called local “opportunity gaps,” which are shortfalls between overall consumer expenditures for certain types of merchandise and actual retail sales of those goods locally.
While Rifle and Carbondale and the county as a whole have opportunity gaps, the data shows Glenwood Springs by itself has surplus sales in every category. “Therefore, there is no retail opportunity in the city when considered alone,” according to the report. However, the door is still wide open for would-be new merchants to capture some of that spending in other places, the report suggests. “Women’s clothing shows the largest gap between sales and expenditures, with local consumers spending over $11 million outside (Garfield County),” the report concludes. “Children’s wear follows with a nearly $9 million gap, and drugs, health and beauty aids are in third place with a gap of $6.6 million.” Smaller gaps exist for toys and games, books, electronics, and optical goods.
State leaders hear Obamacare concerns
Colorado’s insurance oversight commission hosted a meeting in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday to talk about the state’s “geographic rating system” that grouped Garfield County with three wealthier neighboring counties — the ski-resort locales of Pitkin, Eagle and Summit counties — in terms of health-insurance premiums. State insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar and other officials of the Colorado Division of Insurance were be at the meeting to hear directly from consumers how they feel about the state’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as Obamacare.