Western Slope Round-Up: Book Snails & Street Heat

Take a short trip–well, actually a delayed trip with all the road problems–around the Western Slope. We’ve captured a few news highlights that feature travel, bucks, books and power.Maybe It’s Time for Trains
It’s been harder to travel around the northwest part of the state lately whether you go by car or plane. First, a massive slide on McClure Pass between the Carbondale area and Paonia has closed Highway 133 for at least a week. A huge crack in the ceiling of the eastbound tunnel through Glenwood Canyon has forced its closure reducing traffic for several miles to two lanes indefinitely-with tourist season around the corner.

The Aspen Airport is closed for renovations until June and the Durango Airport was closed temporarily from a bomb threat. Let us not forget the continuous I-70 traffic hassles from Denver to Vail….

Western Slope Considers Its Trophy Deer Dear
A $10,000 fine was levied on an oil and gas drill rig worker who poached a “once in a lifetime kind of animal” trophy buck deer in Garfield County. He also lost his hunting privileges in Colorado for a lifetime, the Post Independent reported. The rig worker was fined the maximum amount according to the “Samson” law, named after a magnificent bull elk was illegally poached in Estes Park.

Richard Antonio Jr. of the Colorado Department of Wildlife said to the judge at the sentencing “we need to send the right message to the oil field folks that have moved into our community.”  Rumors of poaching wildlife around drill rigs have circulated around the Western Slope for several years, however in this case, it was the poacher’s fellow workers who had turned in the tip that the buck had been illegally killed. The defendant shot the animal, cut off its head and left the carcass to rot. He has seven children at home in Utah and had asked for leniency in the fine because of hardship.

“Read and Keep” Craig
Approximately 10,000 people live in Craig area and they must love to read, slowly. In the past seven years there have been 7,000 library fines levied on overdue library books. If all these fines were collected, the Moffat County Library in Craig would be nearly $32,000 richer, according to the Craig Daily Press. The head librarian said people check out books, but never get around to returning them, even after a personal home visit by the librarian.

Nucla Suffers Economic Blow
Not that life was ever easy in Nucla, a former uranium mining town in Montrose County, but if San Miguel Power Association closes its offices there, about 23 people will lose their jobs-that’s about 7% of the households in this tiny Western Slope town.

The Montrose Daily Press noted that the town received the news of the potential closure from a press release. A Montrose County Commissioner feared the closure would be a “temporary death knell to some of the folks” in Nucla. In the press release, the co-op power company said impending double-digit wholesale rate increases is the reason why the cooperative is looking to save money.

The Energy Tale of Two Cities
While the city of Durango aims to have 100% of the power it buys generated from renewable sources, the town of Vail is expanding its street melting system with a price tag of $14.4 million to construct.

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Leslie Robinson

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