Western Slope Round-Up: It’s Nos-ville in the Mountains

Negativity and bad luck reigned on the Western Slope this past week. And we didn’t include the forest fires. Read more below.No One Suspected Danger on Well Site
Steamboat Springs Pilot— Two teenagers from Routt County were killed when the oil storage tank they were jumping on exploded. The tank was next to an oil and gas well in Routt National Forest.

The two boys were among 16 teens at the party. A third boy climbed down from the tank right before it blew up. It is suspected that the two boys damaged a valve in the tank that was about half full with 160 barrels of oil. When a lighter was used, the police suspect it may have ignited the vapors.

The boys were thrown over 150 yards to their death. Alcohol may have been a factor. No one else was injured, however a dog was also killed.

No Pitkin County Services for the Poor
Aspen Times — You are out of luck if you live in the Aspen area and you need welfare assistance, food stamps or need to talk to a social worker. After losing all of its social service staff members, Pitkin County Social Services has had to close.

The 160 clients will have to go to Eagle County to get temporary assistance and child protective services among other social needs. Eagle also has more infrastructure and specialists to handle social services. One Pitkin County supervisor noted the social services case load has been diminishing in the Aspen area. “You can’t live here and be at poverty level,” she said.

No Affordable Housing in Grand Junction
Grand Junction Daily Sentinel — In a recent housing survey, the affordable apartment vacancy rate fell to 1.9 percent in the first quarter of this year. Since last October, there has been virtually no one-bedroom apartments available in the Grand Junction area.

Although vacancy rates have crept up for two-bedroom rentals to 3.4 percent, three-bedroom apartments have dropped to little over 2 percent. There are long waiting lists for affordable housing and those working in retail and service sectors have been squeezed by higher rents. Plus, no affordable housing in the Grand Junction area is being built. One housing official said that “people will have to come up with more creative ways to find housing.”

Do Not Feed the Bears
Post Independent — A brown bear that was fed and petted by campers and Glenwood Springs locals had to be killed by the Division of Wildlife because the bear had gotten too used to humans. DOW officials did not want the bear attacking anyone like the boy in Utah.

There have been many homeowners and businesses in Glenwood Springs that have not bear-proofed their trash receptacles, increasing the likelihood that more bears will have to be destroyed. The police department and the DOW are going to send out notices to locals about wildlife regulations and trash ordinances to prevent further problems.

Garfield County Commissioners have been encouraged to adopt a bear ordinance that would make businesses and homeowners follow strict regulations for trash storage. 

No Water for Golf Course
Leadville Chronicle — Lake County’s Mount Massive Golf Course may have to close in the next few years because it may run out of water. Currently the golf course near Leadville leases its water from the Pueblo Water Works, but that contract probably won’t be renewed next year.

The golf course is owned and managed by a non-profit organization and leases its land from the county. Because the county also needs more water, it may try to buy its option with the City of Aurora and divert some of it to the golf course. The county may consider selling some of its excess county property to for the water purchase.

No One Left to Govern?
Canyon City Record — In the little mountain town of Williamsburg, Colorado most of the town council people are facing a recall. One trustee has already quit and so has the current mayor-after telling a local judge to “bite me.” In some districts, it only took 31 signatures to start a recall process.

In 2005, things were even worse in Williamsburg. There were eight recall petitions that led to the resignations of six trustees and the mayor.

One resident said that no one knows how much money the town government has. “This town has run amuck and has been raped and pillaged for years,” he said, “this town is hopeless.”

Some residents feel maybe the town needs to be dissolved and annexed into the town of Florence. The town clerk said that because the residents don’t want to be bothered by rules and regulations, they have no problem kicking people out of the town council.

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Leslie Robinson

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