Gail Binkly

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.

Austin Cope / KSJD

A spirited debate over the idea of using a one-cent sales tax to fund a county-wide broadband project dominated talk at a town-hall meeting Monday with the Montezuma County commissioners. About 30 people attended, many thanking the board for holding the evening meeting.

Six months remain of the Obama administration, and as the clock ticks down, anticipation and apprehension are growing around the possibility that the President will use his executive authority to name one or more new national monuments.

raincarnation40 / Creative Commons

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding the public that wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act. The warning comes as biologists anticipate the canines’ eventual return to the state. Wildlife managers have not yet spotted packs, dens or other signs of wolf populations dwelling in Colorado, but they believe that will change soon. Killing a wolf or any endangered species is a criminal offense carrying penalties of up to a year in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Dennis Skley / Creative Commons

No adverse effects were noted from the Long Draw Fire in Dolores County near Lone Mesa State Park. Dolores District Ranger Derek Padilla and fire management officer Patrick Seekins told the Montezuma County commissioners Monday the lightning-sparked blaze is believed to be out except for occasional wisps of smoke. After it was reported June 21st at about 8,200 feet in elevation, the fire was managed and monitored by the Forest Service but allowed to burn to clear out forest litter and Gambel oak.

Sam Green / The Journal

The Forest Service is developing an informal method of handling uncontested historic-road claims, but it may not be completed in time to help the Montezuma County commissioners in their current quest to obtain title to part of the Dolores-Norwood Road. They say the route predates the San Juan National Forest and the agency agrees, but as things stand, the matter has to be adjudicated in court.

Alvesgaspar / Creative Commons

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating the link between the Zika-related death of an elderly Utah resident in late June and a new case found in a member of the victim’s family. The CDC reports the deceased man, of Salt Lake County, had traveled to an area with Zika and had “uniquely high” amounts of the virus in his blood. However, the second person, who has completely recovered, did not travel to a Zika-infested area and reportedly did not have sex with anyone infected.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association

All the Four Corners states are listed among the 10 states with the fastest-warming summers. That’s according to an analysis by Climate Central, an independent organization researching climate change. Its “States at Risk” project considers summer temperatures since 1970 to project future heat waves for many metro areas in the U.S.

Gail Binkly / KSJD

A vehicle-storage yard just across County Road 23 from the upscale Indian Camp Ranch subdivision does not need a high-impact permit. That was the unanimous recommendation of the Montezuma County Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday. Indian Camp owner Archie Hanson said he isn’t asking for the storage business to be shut down, only for the 10 to 20 cars to be moved so they aren’t visible from the subdivision’s “very, very expensive” entrance.

Dennis Skley / Creative Commons

The Democratic challenger for Colorado’s Third Congressional District seat, Gail Schwartz, met with about 30 supporters Wednesday in Cortez. Schwartz, a former state senator from Crested Butte, said a key way she differs from incumbent Scott Tipton of Cortez is regarding public-lands management. She said federal public lands should remain with the United States government rather than being transferred to the states. Schwartz said sportspersons are supporting her because she doesn’t want to “sell off” the lands.

John Fowler / Creative Commons

Utah Congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz introduced the long-awaited Public Lands Initiative bill on Thursday.