News in Brief |

News in Brief

Pitkin County Landfill goes greenPITKIN COUNTY Officials from the county landfill proposed a plan to county commissioners Tuesday to capture methane leaking from the landfill and use the gas to create electricity.Larger landfills and waste management facilities around the country by mandate must collect gas emissions, said Chris Hoofnagle, solid waste manager. Some facilities produce “near-pipeline-quality gas,” which can generate electricity.Hoofnagle proposed a feasibility study to find out if collecting gas emissions from the facility would be economically viable. The study would cost between $7,000 and $10,000.”We are right on the cusp of being a large, regulated landfill,” Hoofnagle said. And while the county is not regulated to collect and recycle gas emissions as larger facilities are, he believes it is part of the county’s green vision.Commissioners were skeptical about costs but were receptive to the idea; Hoofnagle will make a formal proposal at a regular board meeting in the coming weeks.Man pleads guilty in Highway 82 wreckASPEN Steven Felt, 52, pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving after a wreck killed one person and seriously injured another in December 2005.Elizabeth Birt, 49, a nationally known advocate for autistic children and Felt’s fiancee, died in the crash Dec. 28, 2005. The crash also seriously injured Felt’s son, Michael, 14. The Colorado State Patrol established that Felt ran a red light at Brush Creek Road and Highway 82, turning into the path of an oncoming truck. At the time, State Patrol said that neither alcohol nor speeding played a role.Felt was sentenced to 60 days of suspended jail time, two years of probation and a $300 fine. The terms of the probation include no traffic violations or broken laws, eight hours of traffic school, six victim crime panels and 120 hours of public service.Felt’s lawyer, Fred Winocur, said Felt will perform his service at the Extreme Sports Camp in Aspen, a nonprofit that takes kids with autism on various adventures in the area. The plea bargain with Assistant District Attorney Gail Nichols originally mandated that jail time could not be part of the agreement. In a hearing that at times became heated, representatives of the various victims in the case spoke passionately over the telephone. Judge Erin Fernandez-Ely ruled that she would not accept the plea agreement unless jail time was a possibility, following hearing from the families of victims. Felt, who lives in Wilmette, Ill., did not speak during the hearing and did not apologize. Much of the testimony over the phone focused on a likely wrongful death civil suit against Felt, according to statements at the hearing. Rifle teen in stable conditionGLENWOOD SPRINGS – A 16-year-old pedestrian who was struck by two cars while walking on Highway 6 near Rifle Jan. 11 is now in stable condition, according to the Colorado State Patrol.Ryan Nichols of Rifle, 16, was transported to the Grand River Medical Center after the incident and is now at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, in an intensive care unit in stable condition.According to the patrol, the incident occurred near mile marker 93, approximately 11 1/2 miles east of Rifle, at about 6:30 p.m.Nichols was in the eastbound lane and walking with the flow of traffic when he was struck by an eastbound Nissan. He was thrown over the top of the car and came to rest in the eastbound lane.He was then struck by a second eastbound vehicle and dragged roughly 80 feet. Both drivers, along with other passers-by, assisted him until paramedics arrived.One eastbound lane at the crash site was closed for approximately two hours during the investigation. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)Semi-truck crashes in Glenwood CanyonGLENWOOD CANYON – A semi-truck crashed west of the Hanging Lake Tunnel in Glenwood Canyon Tuesday morning, spilling about 70 gallons of diesel fuel onto the highway and closing both lanes of traffic for more than an hour.According to the Colorado State Patrol, a Roadway Express semi traveling westbound in the left lane crashed into the center barrier at about 6:25 a.m. It slid along the barrier for more than 1,400 feet before stopping and partially blocking the left lane. Its fuel tank ruptured and released about 70 gallons of diesel fuel onto the highway. The truck carried hazardous materials in the front trailer, which did not leak, but the road was closed as a precaution when first responding units noticed the hazardous-materials markings on the truck. The right lane was reopened for traffic around 7:40 a.m., and after a commercial cleanup contractor worked at the scene of the crash, the left lane was reopened around 1:45 p.m.The 60-year-old driver, Robert Stump of Northglenn, was not injured. The investigation revealed that Stump was momentarily distracted while reaching for a soda causing him to drift off the left side of the road. He was cited for careless driving. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)