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Robert Baker, of Surprise, Arizona, was critically injured Thursday afternoon in an accident in the snow shed on U.S. Highway 160 near the Wolf Creek Ski Resort. According to the Colorado State Patrol report, Baker was eastbound on 160 driving a 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle when he entered the west end of the upper snow tunnel and failed to negotiate a right hand curve. Baker lost control of his motorcycle and skidded on two wheels into the westbound lanes of traffic where he collided with a semi tractor. Baker reportedly hit the bumper of the semi, went underneath, and rolled out from under the truck before he could be run over by the rear wheels. Baker‚€™s right leg was nearly severed in the accident. He was taken to the Rio Grande County Hospital in Del Norte and was then flown to Swedish Medical Center in Denver where he was scheduled to undergo emergency surgery. Alcohol was not a factor in the accident.
U.S. Senator Ken Salazar will meet with county commissioners from Las Animas, Huerfano, Otero and Baca Counties tomorrow in Trinidad as part of Salazar‚€™s effort to find a solution between the army‚€™s plan to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site and the strong opposition from area ranchers. A spokesman from Salazar‚€™s office on Friday said, ‚€œThis is going to be an opportunity for Sen. Salazar to listen to the local officials and see if there is any way to find a win-win solution‚€Ě. The meeting is scheduled for 1:30pm tomorrow at the Las Animas County Courthouse. Salazar will first view the region by air. Ranchers opposed to the expansion also expect to meet with Salazar during the day tomorrow. The army wants to acquire 414,000 more acres around the current Pinon Canyon facility for future training purposes. Most of that area would come from ranchland in Las Animas County, where the current training site is located.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has announced that Colorado 78, the major highway between Pueblo and Beulah re-opened last night about 7:30pm. The highway, which is the only major route to connect Beulah to the outside world, was washed out by heavy rain last Wednesday night when more than 6 inches of rain fell on the area. The road has been repaired temporarily and is now a narrow 2-lane road, not a full-width 2-lane road. Traffic can get through, however the Department of Transportation is asking people to be cautious when using the temporary crossing, which is being described as an 18-foot culvert. Crews from Tezak Heavy Equipment Company in Canon City worked 24-hours a day to temporarily re-open the road.
Alamosa‚€™s new Police Chief John Jackson told the Alamosa City Council last week that Alamosa Police officers plan to be more visible and more involved in their community. Jackson promised he would be a working chief, would lead by example and place the police department‚€™s resources where they are needed in the community including the schools and residential and commercial neighborhoods. Jackson said his goals for his officers are to keep them safe, train and equip them, encourage them to be ethical, professional and accountable and ensure that the supervisors are hands-on supervisors.
Dan Dallas has been named the Rio Grande National Forest Supervisor and manager of the San Luis Valley Public Lands Center. Dallas will replace Peter Clark, who retired in January. He is currently a district ranger on the Mountain City Ranger District in Nevada. Dallas also received managerial experience during a five-month stint as interim supervisor for the Uinta National Forest in Utah last year. He will begin his new position on August 19th.