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Briefs: Military training to continue

Daily Staff Report

EAGLE COUNTY ” Keep looking for those military helicopters flying over Eagle County. High-altitude training based at the Eagle County airport for Colorado National Guard pilots will continue ” but not increase ” on national forest and other federal lands in Eagle and Garfield counties.

A request to double the amount of training hours from 3,000 to 6,000 a year was denied.

“We all understand and respect the need for this training, and the three agencies sat down to work through potential issues while keeping in mind the important goals of the Colorado National Guard,” said White River National Forest Planner Wendy Haskins. “What we found is that the current 3,000 training hours meet the needs of the pilots without providing an undue burden on public lands resources.”

The National Guard says aircrews who have trained at high-altitude have fewer accidents. Under new rules, pilots cannot fly over federal wilderness areas, try not to harm wildlife or livestock, and reduce the number of landings in the Red Table and Dome Peak areas, both of which are proposed to become official wilderness lands.

For more information on the decision regarding the High-Altitude Army Aviation Training Site, contact Wendy Haskins, White River National Forest planner, at 970-945-3303; or Brian Hopkins, Bureau of Land Management community planner, at 970-947-2840.

VAIL ” Former U.S. Congressman and potential Senate candidate Scott McGinnis will speak at the Eagle County Republicans’ Lincoln Day Dinner on March 18.

Also scheduled to speak are former Eagle County Commissioner Dick Gustafson, Colorado Secretary of State Mike Coffman and state Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams.

McGinnis has been traveling across the state to assess his chances in the 2008 race, when Sen. Wayne Allard will vacate his seat. From 1992 to 2004, McGinnis represented much of Colorado’s Western Slope in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Lincoln Day Dinner takes place March 18 at the Manor Vail Resort at 595 East Vail Valley Drive in Vail. The event begins with a reception from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the banquet is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

For reservations or tickets , contact Teak Simonton at 328-2025 or Tsimonton@centurytel.net.

VAIL ” Two environmental activists who pleaded guilty to setting fire to buildings on Vail Mountain in 1998 are now scheduled for sentencing hearings in May.

Chelsea Dawn Gerlach and Stanislas Gregory Meyerhoff were originally scheduled to be sentenced in April. But on Friday in Eugene, Ore., U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken set sentencing hearings on May 22 for Meyerhoff and May 25 for Gerlach.

The two have pleaded guilty to some of the $20 million worth of arsons between 1996 and 2001 by a Eugene-based cell of the Earth Liberation Front known as the Family.

Prosecutors have recommended a 10-year prison sentence for Gerlach and 15 years and eight months for Meyerhoff.

Twelve people have pleaded guilty in the cases. The alleged leader of the group, William C. Rodgers, killed himself in jail in Arizona in December 2005.

” The Associated Press

VAIL ” The Vail Recreation District is looking for someone to operate its golf course restaurant.

The public course’s restaurant is located at 1778 Vail Valley Drive. Anyone who is interested should contact rec district director Mike Ortiz at 479-2461 or mortiz@vailrec.com to obtain an application.

Proposals are due March 15.

ASPEN ” A former postal carrier who threw away nearly 1,500 pieces of mail intended for Aspen Village residents has been sentenced to one year of probation as part of a plea agreement.

Glenwood Springs resident Vickie Ann Walker pleaded guilty to “obstruction of mail,” a federal misdemeanor, on Feb. 23. Walker had faced six months imprisonment and a $5,000. fine.

Walker, who was not a full-time mail carrier, was fired from her contract delivery job in June after allegations surfaced that she had been trashing mail.

Authorities learned about Walker after Aspen Village resident Ned Carter discovered 150 pieces of dumped mail. Further investigation by U.S. postal inspectors determined that from Dec. 29, 2005, to June 22, 2006, Walker had tossed 1,436 items of mail, including 91 first-class mailings, according to court documents.

Walker admitted she had thrown away mail but said she did not intend to toss first-class pieces, according to court papers.

“[Walker] stated that many of the mail boxes in the Aspen Village area had become full of mail because the addresses had not been regularly retrieving their mail from their mail boxes,” the plea agreement said. “The defendant admitted that she threw away standard and bulk mail but indicated that she did not intentionally throw away items of first class mail.”

Walker, court papers say, also threw away some college books intended for delivery. She could not be reached for comment last week.

” Rick Carroll


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