News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

Bridge is one lane tonightThere will be single-lane, alternating traffic across Maroon Creek Bridge this evening, during installation of a pedestrian fence on the span. The work will start at 7:30 p.m. and should be completed later in the evening, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation.Work is progressing on utility relocation at either end of the separate pedestrian bridge; moving pedestrian traffic onto the highway bridge cannot occur until the utilities are moved. This may take two to three weeks. Then, the pedestrian bridge will be dismantled to make way for construction of a new highway bridge.Progress of Lindblom case irks judgeA district judge Monday expressed impatience with the slow progress of a vehicular homicide case and persuaded the prosecutor to accept an earlier date for a preliminary hearing.Stormy Lindblom, 25, of Fort Collins, also faces charges of DUI and careless driving causing bodily injury. The accident she allegedly caused in which Redstone resident Josanna Reece, 22, was killed happened on New Years Eve; she is currently free on bond. Hers was the first felony case filed in 2005.And were talking about a preliminary hearing, said Judge James Boyd yesterday.Deputy District Attorney Andrew Heyl said a plea agreement had been made to Lindblom.There will be quite a few witnesses at the preliminary hearing, he said, requesting a court date in October to allow enough time to subpoena the witnesses. Noting the length of the case, Boyd urged Heyl to take Sept. 16 instead as the date for the preliminary hearing, which the prosecutor agreed to.Heyl said among the witnesses will be the blood-work technician who tested the suspect and the doctor who performed the autopsy on Reece.Study aims to assess health risk from drillingThe Garfield County Commissioners Monday awarded $35,000 to the Saccomano Research Institute of Grand Junction to begin a two-year study of health risks, if any, associated with the oil and gas industry in the county.Saccomano, a part of St. Marys Hospital, is best known for research into lung cancer associated with uranium workers. It focuses on public exposure to environmental and occupational threats to human health.A $371,200 fine on EnCana Oil & Gas USA last year will fund the $64,999 study. The record fine was imposed after natural gas from an EnCana well surfaced last year in West Divide Creek south of Silt. The bulk of the money is funding a hydrogeological study in the area of the seep.Earlier this month, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which is administering the fine monies, agreed to award the contract to Saccomano.Some residents of the county have reported skin irritations and headaches they say is associated with natural-gas wells near their homes. Laura Amos, of Silt, believes contamination of her water well caused her to develop a rare adrenal gland tumor.The public may feel as though their health is at risk and they may wish to obtain an understanding of possible threats to their health, as well as acknowledgment by the oil and gas industry of their concerns, said Teresa Coons, senior scientist at Saccomano, who will conduct the study.Coons said the study will make use of existing data about drillings impacts, and will look at tumor registries and cancer incidence information. It will also examine survey participants family health histories, as well as other factors, such as smoking. Over the course of the study, Coons will hold a series of public meetings in Rifle, Parachute, Silt and Glenwood Springs to identify how the public perceives health risks related to natural-gas operations, as well as any health problems they have.In addition, a health-risk assessment will aim to identify means of industrial exposure, such as drinking water. It will also evaluate air and water quality. The information will be used to create a model of natural gas and other environmental impacts on local human health.Russell Walker, an environmental sciences professor at Mesa State College, will survey local residents on their general health as well as health concerns voiced in the public meetings. (From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

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