News in Brief |

News in Brief

After months of discussion, the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees finally chose a location in south Rifle for its new West Garfield County Campus.

The 13-acre site, donated by Bob Howard, is on the east end of Airport Road. It was one of two sites in Rifle the board was considering. The other was behind the Grand River Medical Center across from Wal-Mart. Jim and Jean Snyder, of Silt, own that property.

“The vote was 6-1 for the Howard property,” said Debbie Crawford, director of public relations for CMC. “But both parcels were really excellent, and we appreciate how generous [the offers] were.”

The board reviewed architectural and engineering studies on both the properties before making a decision. Because the Snyder property is in a 100-year flood plain, it would have required approval from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could have taken up to one year to obtain. The site also presented other costs that the Howard property did not.

The school sought a new Rifle campus to replace the existing commuter campus on Railroad Avenue due to the age of the building and increasing enrollment. The board expects to send out request for proposals for construction of the new building by next week.

According to CMC president Dr. Bob Spuhler, construction of the new campus could begin in 2006 and the campus could open in spring of 2007.

Water releases from Ruedi Reservoir will increase the flow of the Fryingpan River to about 150 cubic feet per second starting today, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

The agency, which operates the dam, announced it will bump the release up by 41 cfs. That release combined with Rocky Fork Creek will produce the total flow of 150 cfs.

“The change is due to runoff. The weather is warming up and we anticipate higher temperatures through this week,” the Bureau of Reclamation said in a statement. “Ruedi is currently storing and filling. We expect to have the reservoir full by the end of this month.”

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) ” Great Salt Lake is on the rise again, and that’s great news for birds, bugs and boaters.

The lake, which hit a five-year low elevation of 4,194 feet above sea level in November, climbed to 4,198 feet this month. That is 1 1/2 feet higher than a year ago at this time, and much of the higher-elevation runoff is still to come.

“It’s a break from the fever of drought,” said Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of Great Salt Lake. “We’re still below the [historic] average. But the dynamic is beginning to change. Life is beginning to emerge again because of the significant precipitation levels we’ve been receiving. We’re able to see that.”

The rising water helps some commercial enterprises at the lake while hurting others.

“If you’re a mineral extractor, it hurts business because you have to evaporate that much more water to get the minerals out,” said Rob Baskin, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist. “But if you’re a brine shrimper, your boats run aground more often when the lake is low, so this is all good.”

Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said the continuing runoff could add another 6 inches to the lake.