News in Brief |

News in Brief

It didnt take long for Valley View Hospitals new helipad to see some serious use; emergency workers load a patient to be transported to St. Marys Hospital in Grand Junction on Tuesday. (Dee Warwick)

Aspen, CO ColoradoMan pleads guilty to forgeryRudolph Alvarado, 62, pleaded guilty to felony forgery of a check on Tuesday, the day his trial was to begin at the Pitkin County Courthouse in Aspen.As part of the deal with prosecutor Gail Nichols, Alvarado agreed to nearly $4,000 in restitution and four other felony charges were dropped.Nichols said Alvarado wrote himself numerous extra paychecks for roughly $700 each while working as a bookkeeper at ABCD Soderberg, a company that does handyman work around the valley. Nichols charged Alvarado with the crime back in March 2005, but the case became stagnant during the reign of the last district attorney. So Alvarado has been out on a personal recognizance bond for more than a year.Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 5 at 1:45 p.m., and Nichols said she would likely ask for probation as the crime is a first offense. Superintendent discusses snow daysThe new downvalley school superintendent’s surprise decision to declare a snow day Monday generated enough discussion to cause her to address the issue in her weekly community newsletter that went out Tuesday.Roaring Fork School Superintendent Judy Haptonstall noted she consults with “weather watchers” throughout the district. If one area, usually Basalt, has severe conditions which make the transport of students unsafe, school is canceled throughout the district, which includes Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.”Because of the number of commuting parents and the unavailability of bus drivers after 8:00 in the morning, the district is unable to utilize a ‘delayed start’ practice that many Front Range school districts use, often delaying school opening until 9:00 or 10:00,” Haptonstall wrote.Haptonstall was a longtime assistant superintendent in the district, but now is experiencing what it’s like to be the top official – and being under the microscope.She failed to call a snow day two weeks ago when Basalt was hit with about 14 inches of snow and driving conditions were dicey. Her decision early Monday to cancel school later seemed silly to many observers because only a couple of inches of snow fell.Fortunately there is a lot of winter left for her to hone her skills.Valley View helipad opensValley View Hospital opened its new helipad Tuesday morning and about two hours later sent out its first patient to St. Mary’s Hospital.A CareFlight helicopter from St. Mary’s in Grand Junction landed in a flurry of snow churned up by its rotors at about 11:30 a.m. to celebrate the opening of the pad.According to hospital spokeswoman Dee Warwick, the crew members of the helicopter had just finished their lunch and were preparing to return to Grand Junction when Valley View staff told them they had a patient who had a critical need to be transferred to St. Mary’s.”Earlier in the day we had another (critical) patient who had to be driven by ambulance to St. Mary’s,” Warwick said. “The patient transport had not been scheduled in advance and the helicopter’s presence was a stroke of luck for the patient.”The helipad marks a big step up in the level of care offered by Valley View. In order to meet the prescribed standard of care for the lab, critical patients need to be transferred to a hospital that can perform cardiac surgery within 60 minutes, said chief clinical officer Deb Wiepking.The helicopter crew opened the aircraft to visitors, including several little boys who were obviously charmed with the machinery. The helicopter is capable of transporting four patients at a time and has a full range of equipment and medications to handle emergencies. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

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