Regional News Roundup

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet poses with members of the regional rafting industry during a lunch break on a river trip down Browns Canyon with other dignitaries, including Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper and USFS Chief Tom Tidwell, to celebrate the official designation of Browns Canyon National Monument on July 18. Pictured from left to right are: Micah Salazar, Noah’s Ark Rafting; Joe Greiner, Wilderness Aware Rafting; Bennet; Bob Hamel, Arkansas River Tours; and Mike Kissack, American Adventure Expeditions. President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate the nearly 22,000 acres of public land as a National Monument this past February. Among those participating in the ceremony were: U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Rep. Diane DeGette, and BLM director Neal Kornze. Photo courtesy of Wilderness Aware Rafting.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet poses with members of the regional rafting industry during a lunch break on a river trip down Browns Canyon with other dignitaries, including Colorado Gov. Hickenlooper and USFS Chief Tom Tidwell, to celebrate the official designation of Browns Canyon National Monument on July 18. Pictured from left to right are: Micah Salazar, Noah’s Ark Rafting; Joe Greiner, Wilderness Aware Rafting; Bennet; Bob Hamel, Arkansas River Tours; and Mike Kissack, American Adventure Expeditions. President Barack Obama used the Antiquities Act to designate the nearly 22,000 acres of public land as a National Monument this past February. Among those participating in the ceremony were: U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, U.S. Rep. Diane DeGette, and BLM director Neal Kornze. Photo courtesy of Wilderness Aware Rafting.

Justice Sentenced
Gunnison resident and talk show host David Justice has been convicted of destroying a barricade on public land administered by the BLM. He will spend a month in jail and pay $4,000 restitution. He has also been banned from all federal lands for two years.
In July 2013, Justice, whose real name is Stanley Hugh Anderson, and his supporters destroyed a federally owned gate across Cushman Creek Trail near Montrose. He was arrested by the FBI, U.S. Marshals and BLM agents a year later in July 2014 after the case was put together by federal prosecutors.

Tragedy Strikes Newlyweds
A 31-year-old woman was killed after being struck by lightning on Mount Yale on the last day of her honeymoon, less than a week after getting married in Denver.
Kathleen Bartlett and her husband, Ryan Pocius, were hiking just above treeline at 12,400 feet on Denney Creek when the lightning hit, striking two other hikers nearby. Pocius, 32, was critically injured by the strike but has since been released from the hospital and is recovering. The two others hikers suffered only minor injuries and were able to hike out on their own.
Bartlett was the first lightning fatality in Colorado in 2015.

Woman Runs Over Boyfriend
A 54-year-old Leadville woman is in jail after hitting and killing her boyfriend with her car on July 8.
Maria Day, who also goes by Linda Martinez, ran over 55-year-old John Alexander Martinez, and faces charges of vehicular homicide, reckless driving, third-degree assault and domestic violence.

Censorship by Theft
The July 3 issue of the Gunnison Country Times had to be reprinted after someone nabbed bundles of the paper shortly after they were circulated.
Surveillance cameras caught a Gunnison man in his 20s in the act of stealing the papers. He claimed he was trying to protect a friend who was the subject of an unflattering story in that edition. Times publisher Chris Dickey decided not to press charges after the young man “owned up to his mistake, apologized and returned all of the stolen papers.”
When Deer Attack
An unusually aggressive deer had to be euthanized by Colorado Parks and Wildlife after it attacked a woman walking her dog at the South Rim Campground of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison Park.
The Arizona woman suffered serious injuries from being struck repeatedly by the female deer’s hooves,  as she was apparently trying to protect her fawn. Tests done on the deer have not shown any diseases which might explain the animal’s behavior.
Shorts …
• Western State Colorado University has eliminated its speech codes, earning the highest “green light” rating for free speech from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
• Blasting caps were discovered in a box when members of the St. Elmo Historical Society were cleaning up an old outbuilding as part of a restoration project. The blasting caps were safely destroyed by a bomb squad.
• The city of Salida collected $30,000 in sales tax on the sale of recreational marijuana from January through April 2015.
• A mud- and rockslide closed the Cottonwood Lake area near Buena Vista for nearly a week in early July.
• A mistrial was declared in the murder trial of a former Florence businessman, Anthony Wright, who was suspected of murdering a Fowler man, Byron Griffy, in 2012.

“Notable Quotes”
“There’s no way to protect yourself when thunderstorms hit … especially above tree line.” – Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze, discussing the lightning strike that killed a woman on Mount Yale. – The Denver Post, July 20, 2015

“It was awesome. I never get to do this stuff.” – Gov. John Hickenlooper, reflecting on his paddle trip through Browns Canyon on July 18 as part of the Browns Canyon dedication. – The Mountain Mail, July 20, 2015

“I do not support this blatant federal interference into a local issue and cannot celebrate it.” – A portion of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s response to the dedication ceremony for Browns Canyon National Monument, posted on his Facebook page. Many posters who challenged his assertions were banned from his page.

“I consider Huerfano County the marijuana promised land.” – Huerfano native and owner of a cannabis business in Walsenburg, Travis Nelson, after county commissioners decided to not renew a moratorium on county pot grows. – The World Journal, July 9, 2015

“He’s got more product than I do.” – Susie Richardson, whose daughter Daniel’s steer, Poe, was shown at the Chaffee County Fair. A 4-H member, Daniel uses hair products, a comb and blow dryer to groom the steer. – The Mountain Mail, July 17, 2015

“If I carry over a bunch of vets, they’ll watch over the Commemorative Park at night, but you might not have any suspects when they get done.” – Silver Cliff Mayor Larry Weber, discussing the frequent vandalism in the town parks.
– Wet Mountain Tribune, July 16, 2015