News in brief | AspenTimes.com

News in brief

There will be preliminary construction activity on a truck passing lane on Brush Creek Road as part of the Base Village development project from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday. Approximately one and a half miles up from Highway 82, Brush Creek Road will be reduced to one lane for approximately a quarter of a mile, creating temporary stop-and-go flow in each direction. An alternate route for those traveling between Aspen and Snowmass Village is Owl Creek Road. For more information, call 970-920-7019.

PUEBLO (AP) – Colorado’s delegation divided along party lines over whether to create a congressional committee to investigate the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.Democrats John Salazar, Mark Udall and Diana DeGette voted against the plan, saying the investigation should be done by an independent commission.Republicans prevailed, however, and the measure passed Thursday by a 228-188 vote.Republican Reps. Joel Hefley and Tom Tancredo voted for it. Reps. Marilyn Musgrave and Bob Beauprez did not vote.Salazar said Congress should form an independent panel, similar to the one that looked into the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”Accepting the blame and putting politics aside would have been the true sign of leadership,” Salazar said. “(President Bush) has taken responsibility – Congress needs to do the same.”The issue of whether the federal government responded too slowly to the hurricane that devastated New Orleans and a large swath of the Gulf Coast has become a partisan dispute in Congress. Democrats are threatening to boycott a special committee authorized by the Republican majority because the GOP dominates it.President Bush, who has come under scrutiny in the aftermath, is Republican.”A partisan panel of government officials to look into the government’s mistakes? That’s like the fox guarding the henhouse,” Salazar said.

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) – Wildlife biologists believe that black-footed ferrets released into the wilds of Colorado are thriving – and breeding – as the state tries to build a self-sustaining population of the mammal considered to be the rarest in North America.About 170 ferrets have been released in Colorado, mostly on Bureau of Land Management land. Recent population counts in northwestern Colorado have convinced state biologists that the animals are reproducing.”Seeing so many is very encouraging,” said Pam Schnurr, a Colorado Division of Wildlife biologist. “And the fact that we saw so many means that there are a lot more out there.”One captured female was lactating, meaning she gave birth earlier this summer.Black-footed ferrets were thought to be extinct until a dog dropped a dead ferret on a rancher’s doorstep in northwestern Wyoming in 1981 and a small group was found in a prairie dog colony.The last confirmed sighting of the animal in Colorado was in 1943.Since the discovery in Wyoming, about 3,000 ferrets have been bred in captivity and released in various states.Biologists estimate there are a total of 400 ferrets in the wild in Wyoming, South Dakota, Montana, Arizona and Colorado.Environmentalists welcomed news of the Colorado program’s progress, but said hurdles remain.

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