News in brief | AspenTimes.com

News in brief

Aspen Times writer

Hurricane FEMA credits Colorado firefighters with New Orleans rescueDENVER (AP) – Two firefighters from Centennial working at a shelter for Katrina evacuees in Fort Worth, Texas, are credited with the long-distance rescue of a family of four, including a paraplegic, still trapped in their house in New Orleans.Firefighter Patrick O’Brien said he and his partner, Gary Federico, of South Metro Fire & Rescue overheard Shawn Pleasant at the shelter trying to get help for her family.”She had gone around the shelter here for three days talking to different people and kept getting the run-around. My partner and I found that to be completely outrageous,” said O’Brien in a telephone interview Sunday.He said Pleasant’s family had a cell phone but could call only her because their minutes were used up but her cell phone plan allowed unlimited calls between family members. She said they had been out of food and water for four days and couldn’t travel because her stepfather is a paraplegic.”Because we are part of a FEMA urban rescue team we were able to make contact with people in the New Orleans area. We started making calls to police and FEMA and some contacts she gave us. Finally, after a day of working on it, we made contact with somebody down there who knew them. We don’t know exactly who it was. It took about half an hour to convince them but we finally got them to drive into the area,” said O’Brien.The family, which had tried to leave earlier but couldn’t get out even though their neighborhood wasn’t flooded, was rescued and hopes to soon join Pleasant in Fort Worth.”Firefighters O’Brien and Federico performed a heroic service through their diligence,” said FEMA’s Fort Worth operations senior official, Dennis Hunsinger. “Their action highlights the crucial difference firefighters from across the country are making through their work at FEMA’s Disaster Recovery Centers, and shows that you don’t have to be physically at the scene of a disaster in order to save lives.”TellurideResidents to vote on loosening enforcement of marijuana lawsTELLURIDE (AP) – City residents will vote this fall on whether to make enforcing laws against adults possessing small amounts of marijuana the lowest priority of the town marshal.A group of citizens got the referendum on the ballot after a successful petition drive.Town Council member Stu Fraser said he didn’t believe the measure would pass.If it does, it will be challenged in court, he said, because administrative and judicial functions of the town government can’t be put to a democratic vote.