News in Brief | AspenTimes.com

News in Brief

MONTROSE (AP) A Montrose County authority says the reluctance of illegal immigrants to cooperate and their transient nature have made it difficult to investigate the death of a Mexican farm worker, whose body was found near Olathe a year ago.Gerardo Garcias body was discovered in a drained canal on Dec. 24, 2004. He had been reported missing by his employer after he failed to attend work that previous September.Garcias death is being investigated by the Montrose County Sheriffs Office as a homicide, but Lieutenant George Jackson said there were no suspects.The problem is, his being in the country illegally to start with and the reluctance of other illegals to cooperate with law enforcement make this difficult to work, Jackson said.The Montrose County coroner had ruled out Garcia died naturally, but the sheriffs office has not released how he died. (From The Montrose Daily Press)

CRAIG With Colorados two biggest elk herds and more than 25 percent of the states big game living in the area, some residents of northwestern Colorado say they should have more influence in wildlife-management decisions.Nobody from the region has served on the policy-making Colorado Wildlife Commission since 2003.We have the largest herd and no voice, said Annette Gianinetti, executive director of the Craig Chamber of Commerce.She said the 11-member commission should have an open seat within the next several months, and Gianinetti and other community leaders in the area want one of their neighbors to fill it.The commission is appointed by the governor. The board must have a mix of Republicans and Democrats and unaffiliated voters, but the law allows the sitting governors party to have one more member than the other parties.Area business leaders last fall criticized commissioners for changing the way hunting licenses are allocated. The new rules mean more licenses for in-state hunters at the expense of out-of-state hunters, who comprise an important component of the areas economy.Former Moffat County Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos served on the commission from 1999 to 2003, leaving Tom Burke of Grand Junction, about 120 miles southwest of Craig, as the only commissioner representing an area close to northwestern Colorado.Raftopoulos said a majority of the commissions decisions during her time as a member directly affected the area. (From the Craig Daily Press)

COLORADO SPRINGS (AP) Marking the 50th anniversary of a Christmas Eve tradition, the military agency charged with detecting any threats against the United States and Canada reported it was tracking Santa Claus on his annual sleigh ride around the world.With help from several civilian companies, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, operates a Web site and helps answer telephone calls and e-mails from people around the world as it reports Santas progress.The trip began at the North Pole, of course. By 6 p.m. MST, NORAD said Santa had been spotted in North America on Canadas eastern coast after visiting Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and South America.Last year, the tracking Web site at http://www.noradsanta.org received 912 million hits from 181 countries, and the Santa Tracking Operations Center answered nearly 55,000 phone calls on Christmas Eve.According to NORAD lore, the tradition began in 1955 when Sears-Roebuck placed an ad in The Gazette in Colorado Springs telling kids to dial a number if they wanted to talk to Santa.But the number was one digit off. When the first call came to NORADs predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command, Col. Harry Shoup told an eager child he would check the radar screens for Santa.The Web site is available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese and Spanish.