Your Evening News - December 19th, 2014

Dec 19, 2014

Colorado’s Unemployment Picture

Colorado’s unemployment rate continues to drop. New figures by the Department of Labor and Employment show the rate dropped to 4.1% in November. The national unemployment rate is 5.8%.

The last time the Colorado unemployment rate was as low as 4.1% was in January of 2008. The largest job gains were in the trade, transportation and utilities, financial, mining, logging and information sectors. Month-over-month declines were felt in the leisure and hospitality industry, as well as construction.

Governor Hickenlooper lauded the news but said more work needs to be done. He says his office wants to come up with “creative and effective ideas that will help support those still looking for work.”

Over the year, the unemployment rate fell from 6.3% in November 2013 to 4.1% last month. Total employment year-over-year increased by 117,000 and the number of people unemployed decreased by about 60,000.

Drug Defendants in Court

Defendants in a major drug sting appeared in court yesterday. The bust was carried out earlier this year by TRIDENT – the Two Rivers Drug Enforcement Team.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports at least ten people were arrested in the case, which cracked in October. Seven pounds of methamphetamine, 2 kilos of cocaine, and other contraband were seized. Documents in the case show the investigation revealed Western Colorado gets a lot of cocaine and meth from California and Nevada with a key contact operating through Mexico. At least four defendants in court yesterday were assigned new court dates in January.

Basalt Downtown Plans Under Review

A committee charged with brainstorming redevelopment ideas for downtown Basalt presented their findings yesterday. The Downtown Area Advisory Committee met with Town Council, the Planning and Zoning committee along with scores of interested citizens.

The volunteer committee has been meeting regularly since October, pouring over a map of downtown Basalt. Basalt is considering redeveloping several key parcels.

The committee came up with concepts rather than concrete suggestions. Moderator Paul Anderson says the idea was to explore how the community would feel with a certain level of development.

“They took a very broad-brushed look at what Basalt could be and what could bring the most vitality as a result.”

The committee suggested where they’d like to see commercial and residential development, including a multi-story development where the old Clark’s Market building is. The group also prioritized connecting the town to its rivers, improving Lion’s Park and allowing density to drive revitalization.

Update: Aurora Shooting Trial, Memorial Planned

Mixed news in the Aurora movie theater shooting case, today. The Denver Post reports the parents of James Holmes have asked that their son be spared from execution. They say he is mentally ill and in need of treatment. One of the 58 people wounded in the shooting, Marcus Weaver, says he has forgiven Holmes for the shooting but he still has to answer to the people of Colorado for the horrific act that he carefully orchestrated.

Meanwhile, a "Reflection Memorial Garden" is planned to remember those who were killed and wounded in the attack. The garden will be located at the Aurora Municipal Center. There is an effort underway to raise 400-thousand dollars to construct the memorial. 

James Holmes has been charged with murdering 12 people and trying to murder 70 others in the summer of 2012 in an Aurora movie theater. His attorneys do not dispute the charges but claim he was insane at the time. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. The case goes to trial early next year.