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Your Morning News - December 4th, 2014

Dec 4, 2014

Big Bike Race Comes Back to Aspen

Aspen will be included in the USA Pro Challenge once again.The route for the 2015 cycling race was announced live on Denver’s 9news this morning. The race starts on August 17th in Steamboat Springs and moves through Arapahoe Basin and Copper before it arrives in Aspen. From Aspen, the cyclists head to Breckenridge.

Aspen has hosted the race several times. In August of this year, it started in Aspen/Snowmass.

The USA Pro Challenge includes the world’s top cyclists who take on challenging high-altitude courses. 2015 will the race’s fifth year.

Big Fines for Loose Trash Could Come to Glenwood Springs

The penalty for leaving trash unlocked in Glenwood Springs could get pricier next spring. The city is considering charging hundreds of dollars in fines for letting a bear get into someone’s garbage.

The move comes after a lot of bear activity in city limits over the past year. Right now, if one gets into your trash that can mean several light citations. But after recommendations from local wildlife officials, the Police Department wants to toughen it up. Soon there could be much higher fees on a second violation. Terry Wilson is Chief of the Glenwood Springs Police Department.

“We’re proposing somewhere in the three to five hundred dollar range. And we basically put that on the approximate cost of your standard animal resistant, wildlife resistant trash containers.”

Chief Wilson says he’s aware bear proof containers can be difficult to purchase, and wants to make sure any new regulations are not too hard for locals to follow. The Glenwood Springs City Council would likely approve any changes in the spring.

State Seeks Help Catching Elk Poachers

State of Colorado wildlife officials want hunters to be on the lookout for elk poachers. Parks and Wildlife is investigating three illegally killed bull elk in Northwest Colorado. Two of the three were found along Highway 318 near Maybell late last week. The third was near Irish Canyon.

The state is offering a big game license for information leading to a conviction in the case. Penalties can include felony charges and a prison sentence.

A Basalt-based conservation group is putting some science behind water problems on the Crystal River. A drought in 2012 made clear the need to improve the river’s health, when stream flows dropped to a trickle.

The problem with the Crystal River that runs through Redstone and Carbondale, is sometimes there’s not enough water and too much dirt. Heavy sedimentation can smother fish and aquatic insects. In 2012, American Rivers named the river one of the most endangered in the country.

The Roaring Fork Conservancy wants to do more than just raise awareness. So, it created a management plan. Right now, the group’s gathering data about the riverbed. Heather Tattersall is with the Conservancy.

“So (we’re) making a computerized model of what the Crystal River looks like, as far as where there are pools, where it’s flat, where it’s deep. So we’ll be able to take that model of the river and say, ‘Ok, if we add this much water to it, how much fish habitat do we create? If we take water away from it, where does it get hurt?’”

Once the modeling is complete, the Conservancy may take steps like restoring the river bank or narrowing a river channel.

Farmers, ranchers, municipalities and neighborhoods divert water from the Crystal and the Conservancy is working closely with these stakeholders. Executive Director Rick Lafaro says they want to keep agricultural production intact, while raising water levels on the river.

“So we’re just trying to look at ways that we can improve the health the Crystal River and maintain the agricultural and open space vitality that the Crystal River has.”

The Conservancy has held two “Crystal River Conversation” events to keep the dialogue going on the river’s health. The latest meeting was Tuesday.

Gov. Says Sorry for Sand Creek Massacre              

On November 29th, 1864 Colorado militia volunteers slaughtered up to 150 women, children, and elderly members of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes at Sand Creek. Yesterday, Governor John Hickenlooper apologized to the descendants of the Massacre at the 150th Anniversary and Commemoration Ceremony. Hickenlooper says he doesn’t make the announcement lightly and it follows discussions with all the former living governors of the state.

“We should not be afraid to criticize and condemn that which is inexcusable, so I am here to offer something that has been a long time coming. On behalf of the State of Colorado, I want to apologize… (cheers)”

He says Coloradans are sorry for the atrocity the government and its agents visited upon the ancestors of those gathered for the event. He adds that quote - “we will not run from this history… but seek peace and healing.” Hickenlooper is the first governor in Colorado history to offer an apology for the Sand Creek massacre.