News in Brief |

News in Brief

Oil, gas industry focus of heath studyGARFIELD COUNTY A Grand Junction research institute looking into possible health risks associated with the oil and gas industry in Garfield County will conduct a telephone survey of between 700 and 800 residents this summer.Project director Teresa Coons, who also is the senior scientist with the Saccomano Research Institute in Grand Junction, said the phone survey is intended to “get a really good assessment of the health status of people in Garfield County.”The survey will ask questions about an individual’s health much like a doctor would ask for a medical history. Coons said questions will include whether or not the person has had such common conditions as diabetes, asthma, heart problems or cancer. They’ll also be asked where they work, where they get their drinking water, how they heat their home and if they smoke or drink.Between 2 and 4 percent of the county’s total population will be targeted for the survey, Coons said. Coons said the calls should go out in late June or early July. A first call will alert people that their telephone numbers were selected and will set up a good time to conduct the 20-minute interview.Coons and her team have hosted two public meetings as well as public focus groups to give people an opportunity to comment about health problems they associate with oil and gas development. They also are gathering discharge information from area hospitals. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)

Teen faces another assault chargeGLENWOOD SPRINGS Aaron Rabidue, 18, was arrested again May 30 on suspicion of assault and harassment-related charges.Bond was set at $6,000 and hadn’t been posted Monday.According to an arrest affidavit, he shoved a couple walking at Two Rivers Park and threw a large rock that came “within inches” of the girl’s head. Police answered a report of an assault at the park and found Rabidue hiding under the Two Rivers pedestrian bridge. Rabidue said he was “talking [expletive],” but that there was no contact between him and the couple. A police officer wrote that he noticed the odor of alcohol coming from Rabidue as he spoke.Rabidue’s girlfriend told police he pushed a male and someone else, according to the affidavit. The couple told police they were walking through Two Rivers Park and saw Rabidue. They tried to avoid him, but he saw them and followed. He began taunting and yelling at them, eventually throwing the large rock. He approached them and pushed the woman. Then he pushed the guy, who ran. The couple told police they feared for their lives, according to the affidavit.Rabidue, of New Castle, was last arrested with his twin brother Jan. 10. Police believe Aaron and Randy Rabidue assaulted another teenager that day. Five days later, police say the twins and their father, Skip Rabidue, harassed and intimidated the alleged victim at the Glenwood Springs Mall. Between his two cases, Aaron is accused of attempted second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, second-degree assault, third-degree assault, intimidating a witness, reckless endangerment, menacing, two counts of harassment and one count of underage consumption of alcohol. (Glenwood Springs Post Independent)Fees lead to camping improvementsSUMMIT COUNTY While the Forest Service’s recreation fee program is still under fire nationally by a small but dedicated group of activists, the Summit County ranger district is reporting increased compliance with the three-year-old fee program at the Green Mountain Reservoir recreation area.Last summer, the Forest Service collected about $80,000, helping to pay for maintenance and improvements to the area, up from $50,000 collected in 2004. A day use at Green Mountain costs $5, with $10 fees for overnight use and $25 fees for an annual pass.During the past few years, the fees have helped fund the installation of new toilets, rock barriers to control traffic flow, as well as new fire pans and fire grates at the popular camping and boating area.Improvements planned for this year include new restrooms at Cow Creek South Campground and Cataract Lake. Already this spring, 400 cottonwood seedlings were planted at Cow Creek South Campground to provide shade and soil stabilization.Even with voluntary compliance improving, the Forest Service will step up efforts to collect fees from everyone who uses Green Mountain. People who don’t pay the fees face a $50 fine.”It’s important that the public understands why these fees are necessary and why we are not going to be lenient to those who do not pay to enjoy the area,” said Ken Waugh, Dillon District recreation staff officer. “These funds have allowed us to make some very positive changes for both the public and the land at Green Mountain.”Waugh said rangers will not be lenient on those who do not pay the fee within the required time frame. “Excuses such as, ‘I was going to pay on my way out,’ and, ‘I didn’t see the signs’ will not be tolerated,” Waugh said, adding that rangers wrote numerous warning tickets last year. (Summit Daily News)

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