News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

The Pitkin County Road and Bridge Department is doing tree removal work this week on Sopris Road and Conundrum Creek Road that will affect traffic.The work will be done along Sopris Road on Tuesday and Wednesday and on Conundrum Creek Road on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. All the work will be done from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Roads will be down to one lane with traffic control. The department asks motorists to travel with caution and expect slight delays during the work. Any questions or concerns can be directed to Pitkin County Road and Bridge Department at 920-5390.

DENVER (AP) – Homicides, rapes, robberies, burglaries and auto thefts all increased in Colorado last year and experts aren’t quite sure why.Major crimes in the state were up by almost 9 percent, according to a report released Friday by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.”We grit our teeth when the figures come out because it’s difficult to attribute it to anything,” said Lance Clem, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Public Safety.Homicides in 2004 increased by 18 percent to 199; rapes by 4 percent to 1,870; robbery by 2 percent to 3,637; burglary by 6 percent to 31,690 and auto theft by 14 percent to 22,971, according to the report.Richard Swanson, a forensic psychologist who teaches at Metro State College, said factors such as unemployment rates and the amount of drug-treatment programs can all play a role in the crime rate.But most experts hesitate to make a direct correlation between those types of variables and an increase in crime.

DENVER (AP) – A Rocky Mountain News analysis on water use in the five largest communities on the Front Range and the five largest on the Western Slope shows residents have slashed water use an average of 20 percent since 2001 amid a deep drought.According to the 10-city survey by the newspaper, the fast-growing Denver suburb of Aurora led in water-saving efforts with a 35 percent drop in residential use since 2001. Fort Collins had a 34 percent drop, and Denver cut home water use 29 percent.Since the summer of 2002, many towns and utilities have imposed restricted lawn-watering schedules, steeper water rates and sometimes surcharges for high-volume water use.That prompted Aurora resident Darrel Welch to get rid of a sprawling, water-intensive vegetable garden and to take shorter showers. “Now, I can take a nice shower in five minutes,” Welch said.A recent study by Denver Water, which serves 1.2 million customers, showed people were most likely to save by watering their lawns less and by taking shorter showers.